It’s Time for a Communication Skills Check-Up
LinkedIn
Group of diverse workers gathered to communicate in a meeting

Whether employers are hiring someone to make sandwiches, sell shoes, run science experiments, or repair plumbing—communication skills are always on the “must-have” list. But what exactly do employers mean by “communication skills,” and how can you tell if you have them?

Here are some high-impact communication skills to check yourself on or work to develop, whether you’re looking for work or already have a job.

 

Face-to-face still matters

Although workplace communications are often online, well-rounded communicators need to be effective in face-to-face conversation, e-mail, on the phone, and—if used by the employer—text. Communication needs vary by position, but most jobs require some face-time interaction with managers, coworkers, or customers, and employers appreciate an employee’s ability to bring their A game in person.

How well do you connect in face-to-face interactions? Some scenarios include:

  • Do you greet coworkers and welcome customers?
  • Extend a handshake at interviews and when meeting clients?
  • Participate and stay engaged when your team is gathered for meetings or events?
  • Are your non-verbals showing interest and engagement? Consider these points: Make eye contact, nod or smile when you agree, and use open body language; avoid crossing your arms and turning away from the other person.

Be intentional in your communication

When you start your communication from an understanding of your ultimate purpose, and how the other person might receive it, your communication will be clearer and more effective. When you analyze your job, or the job you’d like to get, consider these points: Who needs to understand what you have to communicate? Possible targets for your communication might include: your manager, coworkers, the public, customers, students, patients, or others involved in the work you do.

What purpose does your communication serve? For example, do you want:

  • Customers to buy your product?
  • Patients to understand their medication?
  • The public to attend an event?
  • Your manager to know you’ve accomplished your goals?

Once you know your intention, think about what kind of message your audience would respond to. Examples could include:

  • Posting flyers in a neighborhood where your target customers live
  • Writing a fact-filled report that shows how your work performance met job goals
  • Creating a video that patients can re-watch, showing how to use medical equipment rather than to trying to explain complicated instructions repeatedly
  • Texting reminders to students to register for classes

Treating others professionally = good teamwork

Employers want their work teams to succeed, which typically means that team members get along, participate fully, and resolve conflicts when they do come up. The employer benefits and generally everyone on the team has a better experience.

If you make assumptions about a team member, they’re probably not the most positive, while asking for clarification and clearing the air after a misunderstanding helps build trust and keep the team functioning.

  • Do you let your team know when you need something or don’t understand something? Ask managers for feedback so you know what they need? Share information that would help others on the team?
  • Respect shows up in what you do and what you say. Do you speak positively about others on the team? Are good manners a priority with customers and coworkers? Do you make room for other people’s ideas?
  • In your team interactions, do you contribute to finding solutions? A team works better when members look for areas of agreement, and let unimportant differences go so the team can move forward together.

 

If you’ve decided your communication skills need some work, it’s never too late to brush up.

Source: CareerOneStop

Employee Mentoring Helps Engage and Retain Diverse Talent
LinkedIn
Happy black businesswoman talks to female mentor who leads her through office building

Organizations that want to attract, engage and retain diverse employee talent often include mentoring as a key piece of their talent development strategy—and for good reasons.

Mentoring can help employees feel valued by their employers, build supportive relationships with coworkers and develop critical skills that can help them advance their careers.

All of these can lead to employees receiving job growth opportunities, feeling more engaged at work and staying with their organizations longer.

A survey of mentees and mentors by MentorcliQ found that:

  • 90 percent of participants said mentoring helped them develop a positive relationship with another individual in their company.
  • 89 percent said mentoring allowed them to contribute to the success of their company.
  • 89 percent said that they felt like their company valued their development because they offered a mentoring program.

Those types of outcomes help companies build a positive—and profitable—workplace.

Innovative companies that want to retain and engage diverse talent have begun using reverse mentoring as a way to promote diverse employees and help them gain visibility with senior leadership. This creates a critical component within the push for equity in the workplace.

Reverse Diverse Mentoring at Labcorp
Addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion through a mentoring program has become a must-have need for companies today. Labcorp implemented an innovative and thoughtful reverse-diverse mentoring program that has received rave reviews from people at all levels of the company. This program pairs executive mentees with emerging leader mentors who are from a diverse background.

Labcorp’s CFO brought this idea with her to the company based on previous experience she had had with a similar program. “Our CFO had learned so much from her experience as a mentee based on her previous experience, and she wanted to see this valuable experience extended to other leaders in our organization to help them develop from both a cultural and strategic standpoint,” said Mary Schlegel, mentor program manager and senior instructional designer at Labcorp.

“Black employees in the U.S. are significantly less likely than White employees to report seeing leaders of their own race in their organization, and that appears to matter in creating a healthy corporate culture.” — Camille Lloyd of Gallup

They leaned on two Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to help identify and invite diverse young talent into the program as mentors: (1) the Ascend ERG, which focuses on young professional leaders, and (2) the Pulse ERG, which focuses on Black professionals. By engaging leaders from these ERGs, Labcorp was able to connect up-and-coming diverse talent with executive leaders whom they might otherwise never have met. “People really valued the opportunity to be heard, as well as helping to pave the way for other people to have a voice,” said Schlegel.

The reverse diverse program also provided an opportunity for Labcorp to engage more Black employees and other underrepresented employees in more mentoring relationships, which the team had identified as an area of growth for their overall mentoring strategy. “The unexpected benefit and learning that I’ve had with this reverse diverse mentoring program is to hope. This program allowed me to support change and amplify diverse voices within Labcorp. And the organizational commitment to this program has spread hope to my fellow colleagues,” said Schlegel.

Laura Francis headshot
Laura Francis, Chief Knowledge Officer for MentorcliQ

Tips for Your Own Reverse Diverse Mentoring Program
To implement a powerful and effective reverse diverse mentoring program that will help retain and engage diverse talent, consider these three tips.

  • Listen – Listen to your diverse employee populations, ask them what they need and work to uncover what will help them advance and grow with your organization.
  • Include – Include your diverse employees in the program planning process, get their input on key factors of your mentoring program design and ask them to be ambassadors for the program to help spread the word.
  • Act – Act on the feedback you hear from the employees, create a program that reflects their needs and look for opportunities for growth within your mentoring program to help you create and sustain a mentoring culture.

Laura Francis is the Chief Knowledge Officer for MentorcliQ. The proud mom of a child with disabilities, she enjoys writing about the connections she sees in her personal life and professional life. Her articles can be found on Training Journal, ATD, Chief Learning Officer, Training Industry and other learning and development websites.

5 Great Careers for MBA Graduates
LinkedIn
Recent graduates tossing caps in the air

By Tawanah Reeves-Ligon

After the pandemic, overall demand has increased for MBA degrees. Successful MBA grads, on average, earn $30,000 more than other business school graduates.

Getting the most of your degree means attending a top school with a well-put together program that includes a strong career services department as well as networking and internship opportunities.

After that, how do you choose the best career path for yourself?

First, you can check out these great job opportunities available to MBA graduates:
 

  1. Human Resources Manager

Human resources (HR) managers plan, coordinate and delegate administrative functions within their company. By utilizing management skills and knowledge in organizational behavior, they can recruit, manage performance and discipline and develop new ideas for helping increase productivity in the workplace.

Most top MBA programs will emphasize management and include HR-based courses like organizational behavior and human resource management.

If hired by a top employer, such as Amazon and Microsoft, they pay their HR managers as much as $120,000, about $40,000 more than average.

  1. Investment Banker

Investment banking is a popular after graduation career choice for MBA graduates. They have a simple task: advise clients on how to be financially successful. Their clients can be individuals, but they can also be institutions, corporations, governments or similar entities.

Thus, multinational companies like UBS and Credit Suisse pay well for qualified graduates (sometimes as much as $155,000). So, opening the door to this career path is easier if your school has a well-connected and active career services program.

Career services is there to help students overcome the gap between their limited network and the potential employers. They facilitate networking events, recruitment gatherings and company visits, to name a few.

  1. Management Consultant

Known as the ‘Big Three,’ McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) are some of the top consulting firms for this career. These three, along with firms like them, hire thousands of graduates each year.

Consulting allows students to specialize across several fields, so you will want to find a curriculum or take advantage of your school’s opportunities to learn a variety of skills, like strategic management or international business.

For example, environmental consultancy is increasing in popularity because organizations are growing more concerned with the consumer focus on corporate social responsibility and corporate environmentalism.

The Big Three offer starting salaries of $165,000 per year to their MBA graduates, plus bonuses of $50,000 for consulting.

  1. Project Manager

Top employers, like IBM and Accenture, pay graduates around $110,000 as new project managers.

The most important focus for students should be on business strategy since, regardless of what types of projects you want to specialize in, directing a company’s business strategy is always the main function of its project managers.

Developing one’s problem-solving abilities and leadership skills are also essential. It would be helpful to study at an MBA program where professors have years of real-world experience as well as ample opportunities for internships to gain firsthand practice working in project management before graduation.

  1. Financial Analyst

One of the most sought-after post-MBA finance careers is a financial analyst. Their main job functions involve gathering data and building financial models. Courses that can be helpful to a student on this career track include, international and corporate finance as well as financial accounting. A security investment course might be helpful too, if it’s available.

To be a financial analyst requires either a certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or an MBA.

Take advantage of the opportunities provided by your MBA program or look for the types of program benefits discussed here during your school research. Developing a plan and executing it will not only help to make you a more qualified candidate for these types of jobs in the future, but it will also help you gain the expertise needed to be successful in your new role after graduation.

Source: businessbecause.com, fortune.com

How to Nail a Virtual Job Interview
LinkedIn
businesswoman looking at computer screen on her desk in home office

By Kat Castagnoli

If you’re looking for a job right now, then there’s a good chance you’re interviewing remotely. There are some upsides to this – there’s no traffic to endure, you can reference your resume or notes without being obvious and you have the same access to any position no matter where you’re located in the country.

But there are also some serious downsides.

From technical problems and unplanned disruptions to appearing distracted or unprepared, there are many ways a virtual interview can go awry.

Below are a few tips to help you best prepare and turn your next online interview into a solid job offer:

“Of the 72% of job candidates we observed who did not bag offers, the majority (around 80%) appeared to be distracted, failed to engage their recruiter in a meaningful way, or seemed as though they were reading from a script.”

A Clean & Simple Space
You don’t need to rearrange your entire house – just find a spot that’s clean, uncluttered and free of distractions. You can also use a virtual background instead of putting yourself in front of a messy bookshelf or cluttered living room. Keep in mind that contrary to previous research, unconscious biases are less likely to creep into the decision-making process when candidates have a clean backdrop. Studies show that 97 percent of recruiters prefer virtual backgrounds of office settings over beaches, mountains or outer space.

Prepare For the Unexpected
It’s quite common for recruiters to ask candidates for examples of their most impactful work during a job interview. Don’t let this unnerve you or leave you unprepared. Create a Word document or a printout of notes with bullet points that highlight a few projects or accomplishments that you want to share. You can sort your projects under a few headers: accomplishments, research and volunteer work.

The goal is to refer to your notes minimally, so it’s best to keep these to a single page.

Rehearse Your Responses
In a virtual interview, your body language counts for a lot. One study found that 89 percent of successful candidates used wide hand gestures for big and exciting points, while moving their hands closer to their heart when sharing personal reflections. To better connect with your interviewer, be sure to keep an open posture and remember not to cross your arms.

Look into your webcam, not at your reflection, and frame yourself in a way where you are not too far from the camera – no more than two feet. Be sure to make your head and top of your shoulders dominate the screen and most importantly, look directly into the camera whenever you are speaking.

Spark Conversation & Ask Questions
There’s always an opportunity to ask questions about the office and culture in a job interview, but when you’re interviewing remotely, you will probably have a lot more questions than usual. Whatever you’d like to know, be sure to ask. The recruiter will appreciate your curiosity and interest in the company. Good questions to ask include the kind of technology you’ll have access to when working remotely, if you’ll be working in a hybrid team or how success is measured at the company.

Studies have shown that 85 percent of successful candidates who asked these kinds of questions did so to demonstrate their values and priorities, while at the same time, revealing vital bits of information about their personality.

For example, if you asked, “Do you have a flexible work policy?” you could bookend your question with something like, “I’ve been volunteering at a local shelter twice a week, and it would be great to be able to continue doing that.”

Lastly, don’t monopolize the conversation. It should have a natural ebb and flow. Listening carefully and asking insightful questions demonstrates your interest and lets the interviewer know you’ve come prepared and done your homework.

For the time being, remote hiring is here to stay. And while there are many benefits, you need to do your part to ace this relatively new process. While trousers may be optional, being prepared and ready for the unexpected is not.

Must-have Tech Skills for Career Changers in 2021
LinkedIn
Smiling young African American businesswoman leaning on a table in her office

The year 2021 has been a tough one for everyone. The coronavirus pandemic has forced corporations and individuals to adapt and implement new strategies. Because of the coronavirus lockdown, many workers lost their jobs and found themselves in a difficult situation.

Jobless people often feel stressed and overwhelmed. Dealing with the expenses and the bills can take away their sleep and make them perform awfully. To move forward, many workers began to take online courses and learn new skills. If you are thinking about changing careers, these must-have tech skills will allow you to start your journey in 2021. Employers are looking for candidates with these skills, and they will enable you to stay competitive.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is among the best cloud computing services these days. Many organizations are using it to keep their data safe and have instant access to their databases. Using the cloud has gone mainstream as it enables companies to save time and money in data backup and recovery.

Database administrators are responsible for managing databases. They have to protect companies’ information and keep databases well-organized. They are in-demand because they play a key role in companies where large amounts of data are generated.

AWS also has exceptional features to help organizations create better insights. For example, AWS machine learning features make data scientists’ jobs much more comfortable. As they save time on analyzing and interpreting data, they can create better insights and help companies develop better products. To master AWS, you can enroll in Coding Dojo’s coding bootcamp.

Coding Dojo is an education company that offers a part-time online program that allows aspirants to become self-sufficient developers in only 16 weeks. At Coding Dojo, students can learn how to code from home. Their course is an excellent option for those who have a very busy schedule.

Python

Learning Python is a great idea if you want to start a career in tech. Python is a versatile programming language fantastic for analyzing, interpreting, and visualizing data. It’s a must-have tool for data scientists and data analysts because it’s great for creating machine learning solutions. Many tech professionals, like web developers and software engineers, also use Python in their daily work lives.

Python is easy to learn, and it’s a great alternative for beginners. It has a huge community of developers who are always willing to give an extra hand. In that case, no matter what challenge you face while learning or during projects, you can always ask for help.

In 2021, a Python developer can make, on average, $110,092 per year in the US. If you’re looking to go big, you can enroll in Lamda School’s coding bootcamp. The company offers an immersive six-month program that will allow you to learn Python skills and become a full stack developer. You won’t have to start paying tuition for their computer science & software engineering course until you get hired and start making at least $50,000 per year. In other words, money won’t be a barrier to begin learning.

Digital Marketing

Nowadays, the demand for workers with digital marketing skills has increased because customers are spending more time online. Companies need professionals that are able to create better marketing campaigns and reach the target audience. Digital marketers play a crucial role in increasing brand recognition. They use tools like social networks to approach customers and email to provide a better customer experience.

Digital marketers also use their SEO skills to appear on SERPs. When companies get their work listed high on search engines, they can receive more traffic on their sites without spending a penny. Becoming a digital marketer is an excellent option for those who like to deal with customers. Digital marketers need a lot of patience and creativity to create outstanding strategies and help companies keep customers happy.

Thinkful offers a digital marketing program that enables aspirants to get equipped with SEM, content marketing, and email marketing skills in only six weeks. Students need to spend 40 hours per week on learning. However, as it’s available online, it’s a great choice to make a career change in 2021.

Web Design

In 2021, customers are more concerned about their experience, and companies are investing vast amounts of money trying to meet their needs. Providing an excellent user experience is what companies are aiming to do. A good user experience allows companies to engage visitors, which means firms are offering fantastic salaries to attract the most skilled web designers.

Web designers are responsible for creating storyboards, user flows, and wireframes to communicate design ideas. Without web designers, websites would not be user-friendly. In fact, they would be very complex and hard to navigate. Web designers also have to keep designs as simple as possible to meet customers’ needs and allow companies to stay at the top of the competition.

Many coding schools offer web design courses. Consider joining Springboard’s coding bootcamp if you’re looking to learn from home. The company provides a self-paced UI/UX design program that allows aspirants to master a skill in 36 weeks. During the course, you’ll have private video calls with a mentor every week. They will answer any question about the curriculum, provide project feedback, and career advice. Springboard’s course is suitable for anyone who’s looking to start a new career in web design.

SQL

SQL has become an important skill for those looking to enter the tech industry in 2021. It’s the right tool to deal with large pools of data. Also, it makes tech workers’ jobs much easier as it is excellent for combining data from multiple sources. Today, a SQL developer can make, on average, $81,622 per year, according to Glassdoor. Whether you seek to become a mobile developer, software engineer, or data scientist, learning SQL will allow you to make a career transition with ease.

Learning SQL is as easy as enrolling in Kenzie Academy’s coding bootcamp. Their software engineering course allows you to become a skilled coder in 12 months. The program is designed to provide students with the right knowledge to design, build, and maintain complex apps. Also, students learn core computer science concepts that are indispensable for accessing senior roles.

In Summary

The digital transition has accelerated its pace in 2021, and the need for tech skills will continue to increase. Learning these tech skills is necessary if you’re willing to make a career change and get hired. They will allow you to become an attractive candidate and change your way of life. And, as you’ll be ready to face any challenge, you don’t have to be afraid of losing your job or being left behind.

11 Great Jobs That Offer Student Loan Forgiveness
LinkedIn
latina teacher smiling at camera at back of classroom

By Kat Castagnoli

Did you know that 7 in 10 college students take out loans to pay for school? While it can take a long time to pay back student loan debt, there is a way to get your balance wiped out: by qualifying for a student loan forgiveness job.

If you work for a certain amount of time in a job with this option, you could get your student loan debt completely cancelled. While these types of jobs aren’t always the most high-paying, there’s often plenty of opportunity due to a shortage of workers to fill them. And what you might sacrifice in income, you could potentially make back with loan forgiveness after a few years.

Below is a list of 11 jobs that offer student loan forgiveness so you can decide if any would be a great fit for you:

1. Federal agency employee
Here’s a little-known fact that applies to federal agencies: If they are having a hard time finding new employees to fill open slots, they are allowed to offer student loan repayment assistance. To qualify, the new employee must sign a contract to work for the federal agency for a minimum of three years. The agency is allowed to pay up to $10,000 per year per employee for federally insured loans, but the total assistance given cannot exceed $60,000 per person.

2. Public service worker
If you work in a qualifying organization, such as a government agency or nonprofit, you could qualify for loan forgiveness. Full-time public service employees with Perkins loans can get full cancellation of their loans, as long as they haven’t consolidated them. Potentially eligible workers include family and child services employees, law enforcement and correctional officers and public defenders. Public servants with Direct loans (also known as Stafford loans) could pursue loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF is available to any worker in a government organization at any level, as well as tax-exempt organizations or for-profit organizations with a qualifying service.

3. Doctor/physician
There are several options for doctors in need of student loan repayment help. The Association of American Medical Colleges maintains a list of loan assistance programs for doctors by state. Additionally, medical professionals who serve in the military have access to forgiveness programs as well. For example, through the Navy Financial Assistance Program (FAP), medical residents receive an annual grant of $45,000 on top of residency income, which can be put toward medical school debt.

4. Lawyer
In addition to public service forgiveness options targeted specifically at graduates working in law, there are some other sources of loan repayment help for lawyers. For instance, every spring, the Department of Justice opens up its Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) to help recruit and retain new talent. Justice Department employees must have at least $10,000 in federal student loans to qualify. For those who want to work as public defenders, the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program provides loan assistance of varying amounts, depending on where you live. In addition, there are dozens of programs for borrowers with law school debt.

5. Automotive professionals
Any automotive aftermarket industry manufacturer who is an employee of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) can apply for the SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program. The SEMA program awarded $272,000 to 97 winners in 2019 in scholarships and loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must have been a SEMA employee for at least a year, hold a degree or certificate of completion from a college or technical school and have graduated with at least a 2.5 GPA.

6. Nurse
If you are a registered nurse, an “advanced practice registered nurse” (such as a nurse practitioner) or a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) facility nurse, you may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. The nurses chosen to receive assistance through this program will get 60 percent of their qualifying student loan balance forgiven, in exchange for a minimum two-year service commitment. Also, qualifying participants may receive an additional 25 percent off their original loan balance if they complete a third year of service. Please note that in this program, the full loan award amount is taxable.

7. Teacher
If you’re a special education teacher, teach in a low-income school district or work in an underemployed subject area or a teacher shortage area, you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. If you qualify, you could receive up to $5,000 or $17,500 in loan forgiveness, depending upon what subject matter you teach and your number of years of service. Note that to qualify, your student loan debt must be from federal direct loans or Stafford loans.
However, if you have Perkins student loans, you could be eligible for the Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation program, where you could potentially receive cancellation of up to 100 percent of your loans.

8. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and other qualifying volunteer organizations
Did you know that certain volunteer organizations offer student loan forgiveness opportunities? Don’t let high student loan debt deter you from taking the opportunity to help others. Certain volunteer organizations like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) all have student loan awards or repayment options. You can apply for these after you have completed your term of service with the organization.

9. Dentist
Although dentists tend to make a high income — a median of $156,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — they also accrue a huge amount of debt before they start working. The American Dental Education Association found that the average dentist with student loans in the Class of 2019 left school owing a whopping $292,169. Luckily, there are some loan repayment assistance programs, or LRAPs, for dentists, such as the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program and Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program. Programs such as these offer significant loan assistance to dentists who work in qualifying areas or workplaces.

10. Pharmacist
Like dentists, pharmacists take on a lot of education debt to earn their degrees. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, pharmacists in the Class of 2019 who borrowed student loans took on an average of $172,329 to finance their education. Here, too, assistance is available: Several national LRAPs provide financial help to health care providers, including pharmacists. Plus, some state programs, such as the California State Loan Repayment Program, will pay back all or a portion of your loans if you establish residency and practice in a qualifying area.

11. Veterinarian
Not only could working with animals be a fulfilling career, but it could also help you get forgiveness for your student loans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers $25,000 per year for three years in student loan repayment assistance to vets who work in underserved areas. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 44 percent of veterinarians in the Class of 2018 left school owing more than $200,000 in student loans, while the average debt for all graduates was $143,111.

Should you pursue jobs that offer student loan forgiveness?
Most student loan forgiveness jobs have strict requirements, contracts and a minimum term of employment to qualify for loan cancellation. Also, you have to be current on your student loan payments — your loans can’t be in default. But once you meet the requirements, you will receive debt repayment, cancellation or forgiveness. Giving just two or three years of your professional life to a qualifying job may be the answer to your student loan problems and the key to your financial freedom.

6 Things Interviewers Want Us to Know About Remote Interviews
LinkedIn
Concept of remote video with multiple images of business in a shared screen

by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

In some ways, a remote job interview can seem like a welcome relief from the traditional format. You don’t have to worry about directions or getting stuck in traffic; plus, you only have to agonize over half an outfit.

But a remote meeting doesn’t earn you full access to the body language and social cues that your interviewers exhibit.

The social awareness and mores around remote interviews are still emerging for those on both sides of the interaction.

As you prepare for your next remote job interview, consider this inside scoop from several interviewers-their insights about what matters and what may be less important.

Small talk helps.

Chit chat breaks the ice and can help make a remote conversation feel comfortable. Come prepared with a couple of easy talking points to kick things off (a funny story, a sports reference, etc.).

Jonas Bordo, CEO, and co-founder of Dwellsy, explains: “I need to get to know you via zoom, which is hard. In the old days, we would have made small talk while we walked to the interview room, but we don’t get to do that anymore. All of that preliminary small talk is important – it’s in those conversations that you get to learn about me and me about you. Invest in that time, and don’t rush into interview questions.” Researching the company and your interviewer can help you generate material.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remote interactions have their own unique brand of uncomfortable moments-glitches, freezes, etc. Please do your due diligence when it comes to tech and interview prep so that you’re prepared and practiced for your meeting. Know, however, that even when you’re well-prepared, meeting technology can be unreliable, which can leave you navigating some complexities off the cuff. “I know that remote interviews are awkward and a poor substitute for in-person interviews, but it’s best just to accept the awkwardness,” explains Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs. “If you worry about an awkward pause or an accidental moment where you spoke over the interviewer due to a connection delay, it’s easy to get frazzled and have your actual interview responses become negatively impacted.”

Cook recommends, “Stay mission-focused, and make light of remote awkwardness whenever possible. Acing remote interviews requires more focus than acing in-person interviews, in my opinion, because there are so many external factors like connectivity that affect the dialogue.”

Adopt remote-friendly mores.

Another dimension that makes a remote interview challenging is that the social mores around these interactions don’t feel totally natural. Kevin Lee, CEO of JourneyPure, recommends:

“If there’s an awkward silence during the interview, don’t panic. It’s natural to have silences because you can’t rely on visual body language cues like you can in an in-person interview. If you’re done speaking, pause and let the interviewer pick up the conversation. Rushing to fill the silence may lead you to say something that you might not normally say or fill it up with chatter, which would let the interviewer know you are nervous about the interview. You may want to practice with a friend to learn how to manage awkward silences and find appropriate times for small talk during an online interview.”

Recognize it during other remote meetings when you’re involved, when you notice participants handling pauses well. Then mirror their approach. It’s a good way to stay controlled and calm during your interview.

Be authentic.

There’s often a feeling of obligation to overprepare when it comes to job interviews, leaving interviewees flustered if anything unexpected happens. When it comes to remote interviews, though, the unexpected happens often, even when prepared. Being anxious and rigid makes it more painful to weather these inevitable occurrences.

Erik Rivera, CEO of ThriveTalk, explains: “The best advice I can give anyone going into an online interview is to make the interview as candid and relaxed as possible. If you have a child who is likely to interrupt, tell your interviewer this at the beginning of the meeting! Similarly, if you’re expecting someone to come by, full disclosure is best.”

Rivera emphasizes the importance of the human touch. He explains: “Finally, treat your interviewer like a PERSON, as they are also in this COVID nightmare. Discuss what has been hard, what has been good, how crazy everything is. Humanity needs humanity now more than ever.”

Soft skills are a selling point.

Flexibility, adaptability, emotional intelligence, innovation, problem-solving, work ethic, and other soft skills are valuable. It’s not just that the process for interviewing has changed; the reality of work has changed post-COVID. Soft skills can help finesse a changing workplace. Showcase them.
Bordo, for example, emphasizes the importance of flexibility: “I interviewed a candidate recently who was working hard to keep a pacifier in a baby’s mouth, and it was awesome. I’ve seen kids, husbands, wives, and roommates walk through backgrounds. . . I even interviewed someone with a parrot on her shoulder for the entire interview. All of that is wonderful. But, if you can’t create an environment with enough peace that you can have an interview conversation, then I worry you can’t create that kind of environment for your work.”

A culture that fits your life.

Just as you would with a face-to-face interview, do your interview prep before your meeting. Learn about the organization and the professional culture as you think about presenting yourself for your interview.

Good luck!

Click here to read the original article posted on Glassdoor.

8 Tips to Successfully Manage a Remote Team
LinkedIn
six diverse team members on a zoom call

By Kristina Žiaukė of Score

Business owners and their teams are working remotely now more than ever. But if you’re new to managing a remote team, it can feel overwhelming. Below are eight tips to keep your team motivated and engaged when face-to-face interaction is no longer an option.

  1. Schedule Meetings

Tony Sherba, President and founder of Yeti LLC, highlights the benefit of creating a standard meeting structure for employees to follow. During the pandemic, Sherba’s team is working hard to incorporate standard team meetings to mimic what would have happened in the office.

At Yeti LLC, all teams ‘meet’ at a set time on Mondays to discuss weekly strategies and allocate tasks. The individual teams then have daily “scrums” and follow-up meetings throughout the week.

This consistent conversation ensures that everyone feels involved and knows how their work impacts the overall company. It also provides a sense of certainty in an incredibly uncertain time; we can’t control much at the moment, but at 10 a.m. on a Monday, at least this team knows what’s expected of them.

  1. Huddles and One-on-Ones

In addition to large weekly meetings, Sherba also emphasizes the importance of smaller, scheduled meetings throughout the week. In particular, a group call on Fridays allows the team to share their successes and discuss improvements that can be implemented over the weekend.

It’s also vital to check-in with your team in a one-on-one setting. Use a team calendar to schedule individual meetings where you can discuss triumphs and struggles in a more personal setting.

By showing your team you’re still there for them, even when you’re not in the same room, you’ll be able to maintain relationships and ensure your team feels valued and heard.

  1. Offer Flexibility

In the office, it’s easy to manage distractions and foster a productive working environment. At home, however, daily distractions can be much harder to control.

Lynette Pettinicchi, the founder of Lynette Nicole PR, suggests giving your employees space to deal with children needing help with homework or dogs who need to go outside. This adaptability will enable your team members to be more productive and focused in the long run.

She believes that not micromanaging your team and permitting some flexibility to deal with personal matters during “work hours” can help cultivate focus and result in more quality work.

Tom Seery, founder and CEO of RealSelf, also believes that offering team members a little more flexibility can help build a sense of team spirit. “I’ve seen firsthand how our team has come together… thanks to leaders revealing the impacts they’ve endured as parents, taking care of family members and their own mental well-being.”

  1. Use Messaging Tools Effectively

If your team is new to online working, it’s a good idea to utilize messaging tools, such as Slack, to your full advantage.

Not only do these tools offer communication between staff and management to answer the smaller everyday issues that arise, but they also offer the team a chance to chat amongst themselves, perfect for building morale.

Emails should be reserved for lengthier communications, external messages or daily updates relevant to everyone. Group chats are great for keeping the team engaged and passing on smaller updates as they arise.

  1. Video Conferences

If you’re only communicating with your team via conference calls or the written word, you’re missing out.

Group video chats using software such as Zoom can ensure your team gets valuable face-to-face time with you and their colleagues, even when you’re not physically in the same space.

Video calls are also a great way to ensure your team is engaged: it’s much more difficult to be playing with your phone or multi-tasking when you’re on a video call versus audio-only.

  1. Office Hours

But while flexibility is important, many entrepreneurs also recognize the benefits of having set working hours.

Ensuring everyone is in the same virtual space during particular hours (for example, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) enables open communication and ensures everyone is available for important updates and information.

Having these hours set also gives your team (and yourself) a vital lifeline: the ability to switch off.

By ensuring meetings, one-to-ones and general office hours are scheduled, your team can have a clearer idea of what they need to be doing and when. It also means that they can switch off their computer at the end of the day and leave their designated workspace, rather than feeling like they need to stay available all night long.

  1. Make Time for Mental Health

Working from home can be an invaluable way to boost productivity and motivation, but only when managed effectively. Try to prevent every communication from being work-related and set aside time in your day, week, month to share social moments and celebrate special occasions.

Some successful leaders suggest hosting a weekly “happy hour” or “coffee break” to allow their team a little down-time and the chance to develop emotional connections. Celebrating moments such as birthdays or work anniversaries via video chat also cultivates a sense of connection that can be tricky to achieve when working remotely.

But while it’s important to focus on your team, your mental health should not be overlooked. Lily Scanlon, principal at Korn Ferry, encourages leaders and entrepreneurs to remember you’re “not in this alone.” Sharing your experiences, resources and lessons learned — or even just offering empathy and support — can all be invaluable for leaders trying to navigate a strange new world of remote working.

  1. Support

Making time for communication, sharing valuable work-related updates and keeping your team involved in the daily decisions are brilliant ways to keep remote workers engaged. But permitting ‘down-time,’ chatter and a little flexibility can also go a long way to cultivating a virtual workplace that feels supportive and welcoming.

Talk with your team about how they would like to be supported and utilize other contacts to create a positive work environment. This way, you’ll have a happy and productive team — even when they can’t all be together physically.

Source: Score.gov

Universal child care could boost women’s lifetime earnings by $130 billion—and ensure more stable retirement options
LinkedIn
Woman working from home at her kitchen counter while her three kids surround her

By Megan Leonhardt, CNBC

Since last February, over 2.3 million women have dropped out of the workforce, compared to just 1.8 million men who left the labor force between February 2020 and 2021, according to data compiled by the National Women’s Law Center. And many of those women are still unemployed because they are caring for children who are not in school or daycare.

New research from Columbia University and the National Women’s Law Center finds that a universal child-care system — one that provides affordable, reliable child care from birth to age 13 — would not only help many of those out-of-work employees get back into the workforce, but would also dramatically increase the lifetime earnings and security of women across the country.

An average woman with two children could see a $97,000 increase in her lifetime earnings under universal child care, according to the report. Collectively, about 1.3 million women in the U.S. could experience about a $130 billion boost in income over their lifetimes.

Overall, the number of women working full-time would increase by 17% if the U.S. expanded access to stable and consistent child care. The number of women working without a college degree would jump by about 31%.

“When there’s an increased investment in child care, there’s a measured increase in women’s labor force participation,” says Melissa Boteach, vice president of income security and child care/early learning at the National Women’s Law Center. The highest gains can be seen for women in their 30s and 40s, since those are the decades when women are most likely to raise children, she adds.

This increase in workforce participation and lifetime earnings could also lead to a significant impact on women’s retirement situations, the report finds. Women would have an additional $20,000 in private savings on average and about $10,000 more in Social Security benefits. That adds up to about $160 per month in additional funding in retirement, the report finds.

Those extra earnings could especially help improve the financial situations of older women, who are more likely to experience poverty later in life than men. “Senior women have significantly higher poverty rates than senior men because of all the discrimination and all of the financial challenges that compound over their lives [and] stick with them in retirement,” Boteach adds.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

Q&A with Jill Johnson, an Advocate for Women of Color
LinkedIn
Jill Johnson professional headshot

Jill Johnson is the CEO at the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) and Women of Color Connecting. Both organizations champion small business growth and development, with Women of Color Connecting targeting inclusion.

Professional WOMAN’s Magazine (PWM) spoke with Johnson about her goals and career journey.

PWM: Can you tell us about your career journey?

Johnson: My career journey started as a child working with my parents at their Amway business, and later when they started their newspaper publishing company. I saw what owning a small business was like and learned about the impact of access to capital and cash flow early. Working with them was the only job I had until getting an internship at Goldman Sachs during my junior summer in college. Upon graduation, I entered the Goldman Sachs financial analyst program in mergers and acquisitions. During the three years in that program, I saw an entirely different approach to and outcome of building a business. I saw clients who built sizable businesses that they were able to sell for nearly $100 million. These clients used business ownership to build wealth; this was a different approach from my parents and their business owner peer group, who were focused on earning a living. Not seeing a viable career path for myself at Goldman, I returned to work with my parents for several years. During the dot com boom, I stumbled into writing business plans after a friend asked for help for a dot com she had started. There I got a first-hand look at the different experiences that people had raising capital based on any of a number of factors, with race and gender seeming to be a key determinant. That experience led me to question where business owners like my parents or tech founders who were not highly networked white men would go to get help raising equity capital or figure out how to successfully exit their business. The answer to that question eventually led to the launch of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which my father and I co-founded together.

PWM: How can people/organizations champion small businesses inclusion and empower women of color? 

Johnson: This is a lot simpler than people think. The answer is to be a champion and work to become an ally. This means that you take every opportunity you can make to buy from a small business, you go out of your way to purchase from black-owned businesses, and if you are in the position to hire vendors, make sure women of color are included in your vendor pool. This all starts with making the effort to identify entrepreneurs of color and then doing whatever you can to open doors for them. I believe that empowerment comes from within. To believe that we can empower others is to assume a level of power or control over others, an attitude which is actually part of the problem. The way to help women of color feel empowered is to see them, to acknowledge them, buy from them, and open doors to opportunity for them.

PWM: Tell us about your organizations, what you’ve accomplished, and what you hope to accomplish.

Johnson: The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL) is an independent, not‐for‐profit organization that supports economic development through entrepreneurship. We are experts in creating and implementing small business programming in support of larger economic development objectives. Our mission is to eradicate the systemic barriers that prevent people of color from creating wealth through entrepreneurship. We focus a lot on leveraging the power of relationship capital. We have developed three brands around our core programmatic focus areas: Women of Color Connecting, The Making of Black Angels, and Small Businesses Need Us. We have helped thousands of entrepreneurs navigate the pitfalls of business ownership, giving them the runway they need to get to a successful outcome. The longer your runway, the more time you have to figure things out. Helping undercapitalized entrepreneurs figure out how to extend their runway is one of our core strengths. Our focus now is on helping more entrepreneurs create and execute a plan to get to an exit and build wealth. People of color and women who are able to do this often recycle capital and other resources back into people of color and women. Expanding this cycle is what will lead to greater inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We hope to significantly increase our volunteer community so that we have the capacity to help more entrepreneurs.

PWM: What are your Top 7 Predictions and Pitfalls to Look out for in 2021 on Capital Inclusion?

Johnson: I can’t say that I have any predictions for capital inclusion in 2021. I don’t really think that the situation will improve dramatically. I think there will be more companies that engage in activity for which they seek publicity and recognition, but at a fundamental level, they will still not be buying from a more diverse pool of vendors, they will not be parking their dollars with a more diverse pool of fund managers, nor will they be hiring a more diverse pool of talent into positions with P&L responsibility. It is likely that companies will announce big programs to dole out small dollar amounts to small business owners as grants.

I think we will continue to see an acceleration in the market for black and Latinx-led VC funds. I hope that the limited partner community will entrust these fund managers with larger amounts of capital. Getting more money into the hands of black and brown people and women of color especially is going to require more people who look like them being in control of the capital. This is the path to clearing the blind spots that currently exist in the capital markets.

If you are a high growth potential Women of Color entrepreneur or an ally who supports Women of Color entrepreneurs, we invite you to join our community. Inclusion must be intentional and change starts with you. Visit www.woccon.org to join the Women of Color Connecting community today. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram at W O C Connecting.

Photo Credit: Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Are Your Skills Out of Date?
LinkedIn
woman working on her computer at table with filtered light coming through window

Want to develop new work skills that will open up more job opportunities? Or upgrade qualifications in your current career? This can be a great time to update your skills, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

There are lots of ways to develop skills online, and in your community.

Start with a Clear Focus

A practical place to start is by exploring what employers are looking for.

  1. Scan job postings for the type of job you want to work in – your targeted field – on the Job Finder. Focus on the skills and qualifications section of job postings and make a note of the most mentioned.
  2. Find a professional association in your targeted field. Go to their website to read about trends. The association is likely to publish articles about new developments, offer webinars, online conferences, and training. Associations can also be a great source of contacts to reach out to for recommendations on meaningful credentials in your local area.
  3. Visit Certification Finder to search for certifications in your targeted field. Note that certifications marked with a chili pepper (“hot certifications”) indicate those that are frequently mentioned in job postings.
  4. Search the Tools & Technology Finder to look up the most common tools or types of technology used in your targeted occupation.

Quick Ways to Gain Skills

Once you’ve identified the types of skills and knowledge you’d like to focus on, there are some very accessible ways to get training quickly. The websites on this list offer classes that are either free or very low cost.

Training websites

  • Code Academy offers free online coding instruction for a variety of computer programs.
  • Coursera, edX, and Academic Earth offer free online college classes through video lecture, quizzes, and readings.
  • GCF Learn Free emphasizes basic digital and software skills and job search topics.
  • Khan Academy offers free online learning in school subjects at levels from middle school through college.
  • LINCS Learner Center from the U.S. Department of Education connects you to free online resources to reach your life goals, including job skills, math and English proficiency, and more.
  • Major universities, such as Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and Yale offer free online courses to the public. Find listings by searching the name of the institution and “free online classes.”
  • The OSHA Outreach Training Program provides workers with basic and more advanced training about common safety and health hazards on the job.
  • Language apps provide foreign language instruction in Spanish, Swahili, Japanese, Hindi, Russian, Mandarin, and more. Explore popular apps such as: Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, or Memrise.

Community-based training sources

Resources in your local area are another good prospect for immediate training. Some options include:

  • Take an online class or find free introductory classes through public libraries or American Job Centers.
  • School districts and local not-for-profit organizations often offer free training for the public. Contact those in your area to ask about training.
  • Volunteer at an organization that uses the kind of skills you need to develop or refresh. Many provide training.

Short-Term Training Options to Earn a Credential

Professional certifications

Earning a certification can help you qualify for a job, advance in your career, or give an extra boost to your resume. Generally, you need to pass a test to earn a certification, and earning one shows that you have specific skills and knowledge.

Training to prepare for certification exams is usually available through the certification sponsors, such as professional associations or technology companies, or from a local community college. The time required varies a lot.

Some certifications could be earned in several days if you can dedicate all your time to studying and passing the exam. Some certifications have multiple levels and could require months or even years to complete all the elements. Look up certifications in your targeted field.

Certificate programs

A certificate can pay off by helping you qualify for a job, get a promotion, or earn more money. Many certificate programs offered at community or technical college programs last from six months to two years.

Look for short-term training programs near you at Local Training Finder. Get started with these steps:

  • Enter a keyword for the type of job or training you’re looking for.
  • Enter your location to view a list of programs near you.
  • Use the “Program Length” filter on the left-hand side of your results to limit your results by how long it typically takes to complete the program.

CareerOneStop offers more training resources, including information for adults interested in starting or returning to college or learning about how to pay for training.

Source: CareerOneStop

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  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
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    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
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    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
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    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
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    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021

Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
  4. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  5. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021