Understanding the Emotional Tax on Black Professionals In the Workplace

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diverse business group walking and talking

Corporate hiring managers no longer need to argue the case for diversity. Data from the Pew Research Center suggests that eight-in-ten Americans value racial and ethnic diversity in the workplace, with 45% of survey respondents citing diverse perspectives and equal opportunity as grounds for increasing diversity. Another 34% see a clear business case for diversity, too, as it leads to a larger pool of potential workers.

Yet, diversity is only a starting point. Inclusion, the behavior that welcomes and supports diversity in corporate culture, goes beyond the obvious missed opportunities for great talent. Inclusion is a necessary tool for growth and competitiveness.

For people of color, coping with discrimination can create the burden of an “emotional tax” in the workplace. This emotional tax is defined as ‘the heightened experience of being treated differently from peers due to race/ethnicity or gender, triggering adverse effects on health and feelings of isolation and making it difficult to thrive at work.’ Nearly 60% of women and men of color have experienced this burden, according to a survey by Catalyst. When employees of any background don’t feel that their perspectives are welcomed and included, the company bottom line can suffer, too.

The Black tax

This emotional tax is often referred to as the “Black Tax,” because of its particular impact on Black people.

Data indicates that, while a majority of Black survey respondents reported facing discrimination, those with college or higher education experience were even more likely to say they have been affected. As many as 62% of Black workers in STEM fields—as compared to 44% of Asians, 42% of Hispanics and 13% of whites—revealed they have experienced various forms of racial or ethnic discrimination at work, including earning less than a coworker with the same role and receiving less support than their peers from managers. When Black workers face racial discrimination, bias, and microaggressions in their daily professional environment, their emotional and financial wellbeing can be affected.

When faced with bias and discrimination, Black workers may feel obligated to code-switch, a method of alternating between ways of self-expression, appearance, and behavior in the workplace, to downplay racial differences and connect with colleagues. This suppression of one’s racial identity can come at the cost of authenticity and self-confidence, and thus, decrease a sense of belonging in a work environment.

This discrimination also forces Black employees to contend with hypervisibility, the feeling of being overly visible for one’s race or ethnicity, while their unique skills and personalities seem invisible to others. While this phenomenon has been an issue for years, its effect is being felt now more than ever in the aftermath of the murders of Black Americans like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, as well as the global Black Lives Matter protests that followed.

Intersectionality of multiple challenges

Facing the intersectional pressures of race and gender bias, Black women, especially, may need to navigate situations of gender bias more carefully, including things like being asked to do office housework or being interrupted while communicating in the workplace. Other situations that stem from racial bias, such as having their hair touched without consent or being told that they are exceptionally articulate or not like others of their race, can also take a toll. A common solution offered to women to thrive in the workplace is to “lean in” or be “more assertive.” However, due to pervasive stereotypes, Black women may be labeled as “angry,” or subjected to racially biased reprisals when speaking up for themselves.

Since the burden to stay vigilant against bias can impact an employee’s self-confidence, career path, and retention within an organization, it’s no surprise that professional and financial repercussions follow. This constant attention can become a job within a job, or, at the very least, an energy-draining distraction. Black employees in non-diverse and non-inclusive workplaces may lack access to the senior leaders and spheres of influence that could provide paths for career progression. The racial wage gap embedded in the corporate system, combined with the diminished opportunity to connect and move forward, can impact earning potential throughout a career.

The Black tax, being pervasive, also threatens the ability of Black families to build generational wealth. When Black employees earn fewer wages than their white counterparts, they have access to fewer opportunities for building net worth—via savings and investing—and ultimately, less to provide for and pass onto their families. As many Black professionals may be the first in their families and communities to have college degrees (along with the access to white-collar income), they often support extended families during their earning years. Thus, the burden of the Black tax can cast a far-reaching shadow over the economic health of Black communities.

The company bottom line takes a hit

Lack of diversity and inclusiveness can weaken the path to management for internal talent and make attracting innovative new stars a challenge. Unspoken pressure on people of color to be more qualified, more professional, and harder working than their colleagues just to be valued on par, can lead to reduced productivity, costly health struggles, and high turnover for this group. Data also indicates that employees who are not carrying that emotional tax burden may also become disenchanted with their organization’s intolerance for diverse POVs and will subsequently leave, as confirmed by 72% percent of respondents surveyed in a Deloitte Poll. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees surveyed in an SHRM study felt that the respectful treatment of all employees was a very important factor in their job satisfaction.

Companies that optimize productivity from a wide variety of people tend to perform better than companies that don’t. Exposure to diverse colleagues helps everyone learn to adopt inclusive practices. The results can include increased retention and employee engagement, broader attraction of top talent, better brand image within the community, stronger financial performance, and greater innovation.

Attracting the best talent and connecting with one’s customer base requires acknowledging women of color as an integral part of the available hiring pool. Women and people of color comprise 63% of the population, but account for less than 30% of senior business decision-makers. Women of color also make up the majority of the global female population. While strides toward gender inclusion show that approximately “1 in 5 C-suite executives is a woman,” still “only 1 in 25 C-suite executives is a woman of color.”

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

How Corporate America Can Better Support High-Earning Women
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By Betsy Leatherman

My husband and I have an arrangement that’s become increasingly common in the U.S.: I work outside the home, and he manages the home front, taking on the brunt of domestic and childcare duties. We’re in good company: Some 30% of married women out-earned their husbands, according to pre-pandemic statistics. When you factor in single mother-headed households, the share of female high earners climbs even higher: More than four in 10 working mothers have been their family’s sole or primary source of income.

But when you look at how much of corporate America functions, you’ll find that companies just aren’t doing enough to account for this reality. And the pandemic only made it worse, with too many organizations failing to adequately support female heads of households at such a challenging time. Frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed, some women quit their jobs despite their roles as primary providers, becoming among the nearly 1.8 million women who opted out of the workforce during the pandemic.

The good news? It’s never too late for businesses to improve ineffective, outdated working methods. Here are three steps leaders and companies can take to help women thrive in their careers as they support their families.

Recognize and respect boundaries

Even if a breadwinning woman has a spouse who shoulders much of the domestic load, that doesn’t mean she’s available for calls at any time of the day or night. For instance, it’s become increasingly understood that in families with children, regardless of the primary source of income, both parents want to spend time with and do things for their kids, whether cooking breakfast or walking them home from school. Sometimes certain things are best-taken care of by one parent or the other, depending on their skills or talents. I’m the go-to person in my house for Spanish homework help — I speak the language; my husband doesn’t. When my kids needed to be homeschooled in Spanish during the early days of the pandemic, I took time out of my day to help them conjugate their verbs.

I’m fortunate that my company gave me the flexibility to do that. Too many don’t. In fact, the new work-from-home model has, in some cases, raised expectations for employees to be more accessible for business meetings and calls, even on weekends. I’ve heard of older male leaders with grown children scheduling calls for Saturday mornings, much to the consternation of their female colleagues who had plans to attend gymnastics meets or baseball games during those times.

Of course, companies and managers can’t define what times are off-limits for breadwinning women and employees in general. It can be different for everyone. Here’s a solution: Before you assume, just ask. And when you learn a specific time of day is going to be problematic regularly — say, 8 a.m. is reserved for walking the dog, or 3:30 p.m. is school pick-up time — make a point of accommodating such schedule constraints as often as possible.

Champion professional development

Managers invested in the continued growth of their staff — and by extension, their company — understand the significance of professional development. But corporate America, historically, has an abysmal track record of genuinely giving women, especially leaders and high-earners, what they need.

Many driven female employees feel pressure to overachieve in every aspect of their personal and professional lives. These women need programs that offer guidance on everything from how to avoid burnout to a more productive approach to learning from mistakes — in other words, how to stop beating themselves up. Such programs should include mindset and skills training, with direction on shifting from a reactive to a proactive orientation in their work. When female leaders integrate what they learn into their management styles, they’ll be in a better position to flourish, which will, in turn, pay major dividends for their companies.

Establish meaningful connections

This is the easiest step but is all too often overlooked: Take time to get to know your colleagues — and show you care. As managers, in our focus on getting right down to business, we sometimes fail to see the inherent humanity in those we engage with every day. But in stressful times — and let’s face it when are times not stressful for high-achieving female high-earners? — taking just a few minutes to engage in meaningful conversation about something other than work can make all the difference.

For example, before any video call or business meeting starts, my boss never fails to first ask me about my boys. He does so because he recognizes that my family is the most important thing in my world and central to my well-being. On the surface, this act of acknowledgment may seem inconsequential, but these icebreakers make me feel seen and respected. It cements my appreciation for him and my entire organization. It makes me want to work that much harder. Leaders who make such small but powerful gestures can build trust with their employees, raise morale and create a healthier work environment.

The steps I’ve outlined can go a long way in supporting all employees, regardless of gender or breadwinning status. But they’ll be especially helpful in improving the professional and psychological well-being of the women who are the primary or sole earners in their homes. So many have had to scale countless hurdles to attain their current positions. Going forward, let’s make it easier for them to succeed.

Ying McGuire Immigrated to the United States with one suitcase and $1000 to pursue the American Dream and Inject $1 Trillion into the Economy
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As CEO and President of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), Ying McGuire leads efforts to advance business opportunities for more than 15,000 certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) connecting them to over 1,500 corporate members generating over $400 billion in annual revenue – more than 28% of all minority business revenue in the U.S.

NMSDC’s first Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) CEO and president brings over two successful decades of leadership experience across both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors and has an aspirational goal of achieving $1 trillion in NMSDC-certified MBE annual revenue generation.

NMSDC CEO and president, Ying McGuire has an awe-inspiring story of her own. Arriving to the United States from China with one suitcase and $1,000 to pursue her American dream, Ying did not have an easy path. McGuire immigrated from China during a tumultuous period in that country’s history.

“In the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989, I packed my life into one suitcase with $1,000 and came to the United States to pursue my American dream,” she recalled. “Being a new immigrant with little English, no money and no support system, I overcame mountains of obstacles, learned to get things done with limited resources and built up my resilience.”

She built a successful career as a corporate leader at Dell Technologies, driving the strategy and execution that nearly quintupled Dell’s diversity spend from $640 million to $3 billion within three years. After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Ying felt compelled to be part of the growing social economic justice movement. She transitioned out of her tech role and became the first Asian American Pacific Islander CEO and president of NMSDC, with goals of accelerating MBEs and helping close the racial and economic wealth gap in communities of color.

Ying believes that the fastest path to achieving NMSDC’s $1 trillion plan requires a catalyst event to garner amplification and support the goal from prominent corporate C-level leaders, policymakers, high growth MBEs, thought leaders, and media. Therefore, NMSDC is hosting the second annual Minority Business Economic Forum on May 8-10, in Miami. This by invitation only event is focused on tapping into the top leaders of corporate America, the Administration, local governments, thought leaders, and academic leaders to come together and recalibrate the MBE narrative as an integral part of the American economy.

ABOUT YING MCGUIRE

  • Hometown: Jiangyin, a city near Shanghai, China
  • Hobbies: Yoga, travel, cooking, interior design
  • Favorite leadership quote: “Do not just lead by words; lead by example.” — Her father

To learn more about NMSDC, visit nmsdc.org.

Tips for Acing Your Next Interview
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Interviews are one of the basic steps to securing the job you want. They are your chance to sell your skills and abilities, which allows you to find out if the job and company are right for you. To ace your interviews, follow these simple and highly effective tips:

Review common interview questions. Practice answering them with someone else or in front of a mirror.

Come prepared with stories that relate to the skills that the employer wants while emphasizing your:

  • Strengths
  • Willingness to work and flexibility
  • Leadership skills
  • Ability and willingness to learn new things
  • Contributions to the organizations in which you have worked or volunteered
  • Creativity in solving problems and working with people

Figure out in advance how well you qualify for the job. For each requirement listed in the job posting, write down your qualifications. This process can signal if you lack a particular skill. Plan how you will address this in the interview to communicate that you can learn the skill.

Make a list of questions you would like to ask during the interview. Pick questions that will demonstrate your interest in the job and the company. You can comment on information sourced from the company website and then ask a related question. Also, ask questions about the job you will be expected to perform, like:

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
  • How will my responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
  • Could you explain your organizational structure?
  • What computer equipment and software do you use?
  • What is the organization’s plan for the next five years?

Be prepared. Remember to bring important items to the interview:

  • Notebook and pens
  • Extra copies of your resume and a list of references
  • Copies of recommendation letter(s), licenses, transcripts, etc.
  • Portfolio of work samples

On the day of the interview, remember to:

  • Plan your schedule, so you arrive 10 to 15 minutes early.
  • Go by yourself.
  • Look professional. Dress in a manner appropriate for the job.
  • Leave your MP3 player, coffee, soda or backpack at home or in your car.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Bring your sense of humor and SMILE!

Display confidence during the interview, but let the interviewer start the dialogue. Send a positive message with your body language.

  • Shake hands firmly, only if a hand is offered to you first.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Listen carefully. Welcome all questions, even the difficult ones, with a smile.
  • Give honest, direct answers.
  • Develop answers in your head before you respond. If you don’t understand a question, ask for it to be repeated or clarified. You don’t have to rush, but you don’t want to appear indecisive.

End the interview with a good impression. A positive end to the interview is another way to ensure your success.

  • Be courteous and allow the interview to end on time.
  • Restate any strengths and experiences that you might not have emphasized earlier.
  • Mention a particular accomplishment or activity that fits the job.
  • If you want the job, say so!
  • Find out if there will be additional interviews.
  • Ask when the employer plans to make a decision.

Don’t forget to send a thank-you note or letter after the interview

A thank-you note is another opportunity to sell your qualifications and leave a positive impression on the employer. A handwritten or typed thank-you note sent by mail is an excellent choice. However, you can also deliver your thanks in person or by phone. If time is short, an e-mailed thank-you note works too. The best approach will depend on the circumstances. Your message should include:

  • Statement of appreciation for the opportunity
  • Expression of continued interest in the job
  • A brief restatement of qualifications and skills
  • Additional background you may have failed to mention
  • Follow up on any websites, books, articles or contacts mentioned
  • Date and time you will follow up as previously agreed

Source: CareerOneStop

WBEs Share Why More Women Should Get Business Certified
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WBEs Angela and Dr. Pamela Ellis images

If you’re looking to become a women-certified business enterprise (WBE), you may have a lot of questions about the process or if it’s even worth it to go through the application process?

To help you decide, the Black EOE Journal (BEOEJ) sat down with two amazing women-certified business owners — Angela Randolph, founder and CEO of Stellar Ledgers LLC and Dr. Pamela Ellis, MBA, PhD, founder of Compass College Advisory — from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) who spoke about the benefits and advantages of getting certified.
 
 
Angela Randolph, founder & CEO, Stellar Ledgers LLC:

BEOEJ: What is Stellar Ledgers and how did you get started?

Angela Randolph (AR): Stellar Ledgers® (SL) is a virtual financial advisory firm that partners with clients as their business grows, offering an exceptional and value-added experience. SL offers bookkeeping, CFO/ controller, financial coaching and consulting services to business owners across the United States. The outsourced financial service we provide helps businesses improve cash flow and maximize profits as they prepare for growth and expansion. We provide the timely, accurate financial data and advice required for growth and scalability in the business. We also help prepare businesses for funding or investment opportunities.

I started the business in 2017 on the side while working full-time bootstrapping to fund operations. I am really passionate about helping fellow women entrepreneurs gain financial freedom, security and build wealth leveraging their businesses.

Dr. Pamela Ellis, MBA, PhD, founder of Compass College Advisory

BEOEJ: What is Compass College Advisory and how did it get started?

Dr. Pamela Ellis (PE): Some parents saw the success of my children and how they participated in educational programs after school and during the summers. When they asked me to help them with their children, that’s when my business started. At first, I helped those parents find the right summer programs, then the right high school, then the right colleges. I based my program off my dissertation research on high school to college transition (what supports students with navigating high school then thriving in college and completing).

Largely through word-of-mouth referrals, my business grew across the country. I met with families virtually who were in other states and opened a small office in Dayton, Ohio for locals. Our center is named Compass College Advisory.

Twelve years later, I am still partnering with parents to help their teen find the right colleges and get scholarships. The results of our work are that 95 percent of our clients have been admitted to their top-choice colleges and the average scholarship is $75,000.

BEOEJ: How did you learn about small business certifications for women and minorities? Why did you decide to pursue certification and which ones have you received?

AR: I first learned about certifications through my local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Advisor with University of Houston. I decided to pursue these certifications with plans to do business with the government, corporations and other certified businesses expanding my reach and adding multiple revenue streams to Stellar Ledgers. I am an MBE with Houston Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC), City of Houston, Metro, and a WBE through WBEA (WBENC), City of Houston, WOSB with the Small Business Administration and HUB with the State of Texas.

PE: My mom, who sharecropped and only had an opportunity to finish eighth grade, wanted me to stay home after high school. She reluctantly agreed to let me go to a college that she had never heard of. When we took the Greyhound from Memphis, Tennessee to Palo Alto, California, she gave me $70 to cover my expenses for the first year. I thought that was good money until I went to the bookstore the very next day and my books for the first quarter were $350.

I knew my mom couldn’t afford to send me anymore money. I immediately found a job and ended up working 30 hours per week during the school year and up to 100 hours per week in the summers. I had known since high school that I wanted to attend business school, so I decided to apply right after undergraduate to The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Tuck had recently started a professional development program for Black entrepreneurs. I was selected to work in that summer program before, during and after graduating from Tuck. During that experience, I learned about minority and women certifications.

When I started my business many years later, I attended every program I could find. Many of those programs were offered by the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, SBA Urban League and numerous others. The certification organizations would present during those programs and that’s how I then started to learn more about why I also should be certified.

I have received WBENC, MSDC, plus the respective state certifications and decided to do so in order to network, grow my business and develop strategic partner relationships.

BEOEJ: What were your trials and tribulations on the road to certification? How has certification helped your business?

AR: I didn’t have any issues at all with certification. I have an audit background so my records were in top shape and that made submission seamless. The certifications definitely add business credibility and more exposure to contract opportunities, development programs and fellow certified businesses who I can potentially collaborate with or who can become clients.

PE: Wearing too many hats was my biggest trial on the road to certification. Because I answered the phones, handled client delivery, tracked by books, etc., it was hard to keep up and prioritize my time. Since becoming certified, I’ve been able to participate in courses through WBENC that have helped me sharpen my hiring and delegation skills.

The certifications have opened opportunities for me to “be in the room” and gain contracts. With the certifications, my company has steadily grown over the years. Likewise, I’ve been able to participate in their professional and leadership development programs that have helped me with strategic planning, marketing and hiring. The investment has been worth every penny.

BEOEJ: What perks have you embraced from being certified, for example, have you used any of the mentors, peer-to-peer resources, financial advice, attended conferences or conventions, etc.?

Randolph: Yes, there are so many benefits to being a certified business. I’ve successfully completed business development and leadership training sponsored by the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) that was invaluable, I am currently a member of cohort 41 of Leadership Houston sponsored by WBEA and so many other mentoring programs I’ve had the privilege to participate in. I’ve also led training workshops for fellow certified businesses in accounting and tax. I’ve attended conferences and conventions for both HMSDC and WBEA, both with great speakers and opportunities to network with others.

Ellis: I’ve attended conferences and special courses for continued learning and utilized the peer-to peer resources. During COVID-19, WBENC offered an amazing program called WEThrive, which gave me an opportunity to work on my business, rather than in my business, during a critical transition for us all. I received encouragement from the other participants to keep dreaming and implementing.

BEOEJ: If you could offer one piece of advice for women business owners thinking about certification, what would you say?

AR: I would definitely encourage women business owners to get certified. It can really open so many doors of development, support and opportunity. Start now by organizing your financials, tax records and business entity documentation so the process can go more smoothly.

PE: The paperwork may feel overwhelming. To get it done, block out a three-hour appointment with yourself to focus on gathering the documents, put on some energizing, feel-good music and get it done. The hardest part is getting started. Once you do so, it’s not so bad. Plan ahead for the notary. Keep digital copies of all the documents you upload. Mark your calendar for nine months away to renew, so that your certification remains current. It’s all worth it. You’ve got this!

To read more from from Black EOE Journal and other diversity-focused publications visit, diversitycomm.net

7 Ways HR Gives Bad Job References Without Giving Bad Job References
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Have you ever heard the following mantra, it is repeated so often it almost sounds like a truism?

“Former employers direct all reference checks to their Human Resources departments, and those people won’t say anything negative about me.”

Not only does this statement frequently prove untrue, it sometimes misrepresents what HR can – and will – divulge about former employees.

7 Ways HR Can Give a Bad Reference without giving a bad job reference:
 

1. Stating that someone is not eligible for rehire, without offering details.
2. Suggesting that a legal file or similar venue would have to be examined to offer an opinion.
3. Offering employment dates/title and adding that they don’t wish to discuss the former employee further.
4. Explicitly offering negative commentary that – depending on the laws of that state – could conceivably be considered as legally legitimate.
5. Acting surprised / shocked and asking if we are certain they gave this contact as a reference.
6. Suggesting we check this person’s job references very carefully
7. Offering commentary in a tone of voice indicating hesitancy, guarded remarks, or otherwise implying unrevealed negativity.

Here’s How HR Can Give a Good Reference without Giving a Good Reference:
1. We really miss xxx – wish he / she would return.

The Truth:
Most Human Resources professionals will follow proper protocol in confirming employment dates and title (only). However, in addition to WHAT is said, reference checkers also evaluate HOW something is said. In other words, they listen to tone of voice and note the HR staffer’s willingness to respond to their questions. Both are critical factors in reference checks – how will your employment be reflected in their responses?

Note there are no federal laws that address what an employer can – or cannot say – about a former employee. As mentioned above, some states allow “qualified immunity” to employer commentary provided it is considered truthful and unbiased.

About Allison & Taylor, The Reference Checking Company

Critical when seeking a job or promotion.
Consider checking and validating your former employment references. Don’t lose a promotion or job opportunity due to mediocre or bad job references.

JobReferences.com, powered by Allison & Taylor, The Reference Checking Company will call your former employer to obtain your references, document the results and provide a report to you.

Cover Letter 101
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A cover letter is a one-page document that supplements your resume. Though they may not be required for every job you apply to, including a short letter to accompany your resume is an excellent way to help you stand out in the application process. Your application materials should look like they belong together visually. If you take the time to write a cover letter, be sure the style matches your resume. Remember, a generic cover letter is not worth your time. Make it personal, or don’t do it at all.

Why Should I Write a Cover Letter?

A cover letter lets you tell your employment story with some freedom to express yourself. You can explain your qualifications more fully. Clearly state why you are a good fit for the position and the company. You want to demonstrate an understanding of the specific challenges this company is facing and how you are prepared to add value. Keep this document to one page in length, max. If you can make your point in fewer words or paragraphs, do it.

The Cover Letter Structure

A cover letter, like your resume, should be developed individually for the position and company where you are applying. Remember, a great paragraph needs to have at least three complete sentences — a topic sentence and two supporting statements. The best structure for a cover letter can be described as the following:

  • Heading and greeting. Include the date, your name and your contact information. Address the letter to a specific person whenever possible. If you can’t find an individual’s name, use the job title of the recipient (Maintenance Supervisor, Office Manager) or perhaps “Human Resources” or “Search Committee.” Do not address your letter to a business, a department or “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Opening and introduction. Explain who you are and your reason for writing, including how you found out about the position. Use the first paragraph to express your energy, enthusiasm, skills, education and work experience that could contribute to the employer’s success.
  • Body. Sell yourself. Reveal why you are a perfect and unique match for the position. Explain why you have chosen the employer. Briefly summarize your talents, experience and achievements. Give a story about a time you went above and beyond in a similar role or share a specific problem you solved in a previous job. Don’t just repeat the information found in your resume. Go one layer deeper about what makes you the best candidate.
  • Assertive closing. Thank the person for taking the time to read your letter. Use an appropriate closing, such as “Sincerely.” Tell the employer how you plan to follow-up.

Types of Cover Letters

While a generic cover letter is effective much of the time, you may want to consider one of the following types of cover letters depending on the nature of your application:

  • Invited cover letter. Use this format when responding to an ad or other listing. Describe how your qualifications meet the needs of the position.
  • Cold-contact cover letter. Use this format to contact employers who have not advertised or published job openings. Research careers to find the requirements for the job you’re applying for matching your qualifications with that research.
  • Referral cover letter. Use this format if you were referred to a job opening through networking, informational interviews or contact with employers. A referral may be to a specific job opening (advertised or unadvertised) or to an employer who may or may not be hiring now. Make sure you mention the person who referred you.
  • Job match or “T” cover letter. Use this format to match the specific requirements of the job one-to-one with your qualifications, for example “You need 10 years’ experience.” and “I bring 12 years’ experience.” You can learn about the requirements from the job ad, position descriptions, phone conversations, career research and informational interviews.

Remember, cover letters, much like a resume, are supposed to be brief and informative. Use the cover letter to show off your ability, talent and capabilities, but don’t worry about including every tiny detail in your letter. Give it a try and best of luck!

Sources: Ohio Means Jobs, CareerOneStop

Michelle Yeoh Makes History With Best Actress Win at 2023 Oscars: ‘This Is a Beacon of Hope’
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michelle yeoh with oscar in hand smiling on stage

In a stunning victory, Michelle Yeoh took home the trophy for best actress at the 2023 Oscars on Sunday. The Everything Everywhere All at Once actress made history as the first Asian American to win the category and the first woman of color to receive the award in two decades, following Halle Berry, who was the first Black woman and woman of color to win the Academy Award in 2002 and presented Yeoh with her history-making win tonight.

“To all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” Yeoh said in her acceptance speech. “This is proof that dream big and dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime.”

She added: “I have to dedicate this to my mom – all the moms in the world – because they are really the superheroes, and without them, none of us would be here tonight. She’s 84, and I’m taking this home to her. She’s watching right now in Malaysia with my family and friends. I love you guys. I’m bringing this home to you and also to my extended family in Hong Kong, where I started my career. Thank you for letting me stand on your shoulders giving me a leg up so that I can be here today.”

Yeoh has been a force in filmmaking since the Eighties, rising to fame for her starring roles in action films Police Story 3: Supercop, James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, and international sensation Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Ang Lee. And while Yeoh has been an icon and prolific actress and stuntwoman for decades, her performance as Evelyn Wang in the 2022 film Everything Everywhere All at Once garnered long-deserved accolades from several largely white institutions.

In January, the beloved actress accepted the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and shared a touching speech about the impact of her win for the role of Evelyn Quan Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once. “I’m holding onto this,” Yeoh said as she held up her trophy. “It’s been an amazing journey and incredible fight to be here today. But I think it’s been worth it.”

Click here to read the complete article on Rolling Stone.

3 Ways to Maintain Balance When Your Work World Shifts
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confident career woman going in to office for an annual review

You may have heard of “quiet quitting,” a term that is creating a lot of buzz around setting boundaries at work. The idea is that rather than leave a job, some workers are deciding to keep doing their duties but not go above and beyond, sparking debates about what’s “normal” when roles shift and more responsibilities are presumed to be assumed.

“Quiet quitting” is making its rounds on social media and web forums everywhere for good reason. Imagine that your manager wants you to take on more responsibility at work, but doesn’t give you a promotion.

(It’s not an uncommon story. After all, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), U.S. workers work an average of 1,791 hours per year versus an OECD country average of 1,716.)
 
You can do one of the following:

  1. Grin and bear it.
  2. Demand perks, a salary bump or a bonus for your work.
  3. Desperately search for guidance because no one told you how to handle this situation.

Your answer will likely vary depending on what led to the change.

Team dynamics can shift for any number of reasons. A coworker could be taking leave or a new job, the company might be downsizing or your employer could simply decide to change your role. Whatever the catalyst, you’ll want to have a chat with your manager to define your new responsibilities, set boundaries and ensure that you’re treated fairly.

Understand the terms

Before deciding whether or not to ask for more money or a better title, find out if your new responsibilities are permanent and what prompted them.

For example, if you’re shouldering the workload of a coworker who will be out for parental leave, you might be able to negotiate an interim salary adjustment or bonus for your temporary workload adjustment. On the other hand, if your company is cutting costs after a round of layoffs, it’s probably not a good time to ask for a raise.

Read the room and think about how your needs and the company’s needs overlap and then you can make your move.

Ask for more

No matter how much you like to think of yourself as a “team player,” you don’t work for free. If your increased workload is due to temporary changes, like a colleague taking a sabbatical or medical leave, you should be paid for the additional work you’ll be doing. Be sure to ask for a specific number, whether it’s a raise or a bonus, and quantify that number with data.

If your workload is increasing because a colleague is leaving permanently, find out if the company is planning to fill the vacancy. If you’re absorbing duties for a vacant role that could be a promotion, ask for the promotion or even an “acting” title to demonstrate your skills.

In situations where a raise or a title change are out of the question, get creative. Explore perks like additional paid time off or even a one-time bonus. If the company offers educational reimbursement, you could even request more tuition or training reimbursement.

In either situation, don’t let negotiations continue indefinitely. If your manager asks for more time to figure out a plan, schedule a follow-up meeting right away.

Define expectations

Your employer shouldn’t expect you to do the jobs of two or three people in the same amount of time for the same pay. It’s neither fair nor sustainable. Setting reasonable expectations up front for your redefined role can help you avoid burnout later.

As you discuss your workload with your manager, try to create realistic estimates for how much time you’ll need to perform each task well and ask about reassigning some of your existing workload — or pieces of the new workload — to other team members. Before leaving the meeting, set a check-in date so you can reassess the situation after you’ve had time to adapt to your new role. Some of your new duties may be easier than you expected, but you may need more training or mentorship to thrive in other areas.

Put it in writing

Ideally, you’ll be completely aligned with your manager on expectations, but it’s always best to have written terms that you can reference. That doesn’t mean you have to ask your manager to draft a to-do list for you. Instead, take notes as you discuss expectations and new assignments — plus any changes to your compensation, benefits or title — and send your manager a follow-up email outlining what you discussed. If the company tries to renege later, you can point back to your email documenting the terms you agreed to.

Carpe diem

While taking on extra work is challenging, it’s also a chance to show that you’re ready for bigger roles. Setting expectations and boundaries with your manager before you jump into an expanded role can help position you for success.

Whether you use the opportunity to move up the ranks within your current company or seek another position with a new employer, shifts in your workload can sometimes be stepping stones to advance your career. Embrace the change.

Source: Glassdoor

Licenses and Permits: Everything You Need to Know
LinkedIn
man with rubber stamp and documents

Most small businesses need a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies. The requirements — and fees — vary based on your business activities, location and government rules.

Here are the basics of what you need to know:

Federal Licenses and Permits

You’ll need to get a federal license or permit if your business activities are regulated by a federal agency. If your business deals with the transport, production, sales or dealings of any of the following products, you will have to obtain a specific permit from a specific federal agency. This includes business activities such as:

  • Agriculture: Business practices that deal with the import or transport animals, animal products, biologics, biotechnology or plants across state line
    • Issuing Agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Alcoholic Beverages: Business practices that deal with the manufacture, wholesale, import and/or sales of alcoholic beverages at a retail location
    • Issuing Agency: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Local Alcohol Beverage Control Board
  • Aviation: Business practices involving the operation of aircraft, transportation of goods or people via air or aircraft maintenance
    • Issuing Agency: Federal Aviation Administration
  • Commercial Fisheries: For businesses engaged in commercial fishing of any kind
    • Issuing Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
  • Fish and Wildlife: For businesses engaged in any wildlife related activity, including the import or export of wildlife and derivative products
    • Issuing Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Maritime Transportation: For businesses providing ocean transportation or facilitate the shipment of cargo by sea
    • Issuing Agency: Federal Maritime Commission
  • Mining and Drilling: For businesses engaged in drilling for natural gas, oil or other mineral resources on federal lands
    • Issuing Agency: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Nuclear Energy: For businesses producing commercial nuclear energy, is a fuel cycle facility or is involved in distribution and disposal of nuclear materials
    • Issuing Agency: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Radio and Television Broadcasting: For businesses dealing in broadcasting information by radio, television, wire, satellite or cable
    • Issuing Agency: Federal Communications Commission
  • Transportation and Logistics: For businesses operating oversize or overweight vehicles.
    • Issuing Agency: Permits are issued by your state government and can be reached through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In-State Licenses and Permits

The licenses and permits you need from the state, county or city will depend on your business activities and business location. Your business license fees will also vary.

States tend to regulate a broader range of activities than the federal government. For example, business activities that are commonly regulated locally include auctions, construction, dry cleaning, farming, plumbing, restaurants, retail and vending machines.

Some licenses and permits expire after a set period of time. Keep close track of when you need to renew them — it’s often easier to renew than it is to apply for a new one.

What You’ll Need

Depending on the licensing you need, your license qualifications will differ. However, just about every license and/or permit requires that you have the following documentation:

  • Your business description or business plan that includes:
    • Employee numbers
    • Annual sales
    • Job description
    • Contact information for the business owner
    • Other pertinent business information
  • Government ID, including your Social Security Number or Federal Employment Identification Number
  • Fees (varies by state)
  • LLC registration, for businesses structured as one. Having your LLC is not the same as having your business license, although they often compliment one another.

For more information on what you need for your specific business license, visit sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/apply-licenses-permits#section-header-0.

Sources: Small Business Administration, Collective.com

The Roadmap to Social Entrepreneurship
LinkedIn
Chelsea C. Williams Headshot

By Kimberly Gladden-Eversley

Social movements have shaped society into what we see today, from labor to civil rights and women’s movements. Thanks to social media, we can collaborate from the comfort of our homes to drive social change, to expose injustice and to advocate for policies that protect vulnerable communities. As generational values, preferences and ideals shift, and GenZ, the most diverse generation in history, prepares to take the lead, all eyes are on how today’s businesses respond through innovation.

Introducing Chelsea C. Williams, the Founder and CEO of Reimagine Talent, who shared her expertise leading workplace & talent development and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) as a speaker at the annual SHRM Inclusion Conference. Williams shed light on the rise of social enterprises that appeal to a generation who desire to blend profit with purpose. “This makes me really excited because I believe a movement is taking place,” said Williams. “The social entrepreneur is not just focused on bringing a product or service to market…they’re not just moved by revenue, a social entrepreneur wants to make an impact…they want to drive social progress, deliver socially conscious goods, and bridge sectors towards progress.”

William’s journey to entrepreneurship was not easy, considering her quest to entrepreneurship consisted of many obstacles without a roadmap. From navigating childhood as the daughter of immigrant parents, to funding her way through Historically Black College & University, Spelman College, to launching her early career on Wall Street as an “only,” Williams has overcome significant odds. During her time on Wall Street, she represented 1% of Black employees. With that reality came its own set of challenges personally and professionally.

“I believe [in] diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging [and] I can intentionally lead that work now because I lived exclusion,” said Williams. “During my early career, I clearly saw the beauty of belonging and toxicity of exclusion — both of which playing significant impacts on the global workforce & workplace.”

Leadership with Impact

Despite representation barriers experienced in her career, Williams still found the confidence to reimagine the future and write up a business plan that would address real issues she encountered in her roles managing & leading human resources. In 2018, she stepped made the decision to leave corporate America, first completing a social impact fellowship at Teach for America and then launching her firm.

“I early learned that leadership doesn’t have an age, it doesn’t have a look, it doesn’t have a race, it has to do with impact,” stated Williams. “You can have a business that is focused on revenue, but also have a part of your mission statement or part of your strategy that is addressing a social issue. Within the case, entrepreneurs are addressing societal barriers such as the intersection between gainful employment and racism, as two examples, but also tapping into the opportunities that come with entrepreneurship such as financial prosperity and ownership.”

To awaken your inner activist as part of your business strategy takes skill that supersedes the continuous hard versus soft skill debate circulating the workplace. Instead of pinning hard and soft skills in a battle of importance, consider both skills a necessity. “Language is important. Instead of referencing hard skills, let’s say technical, let’s say job function specific skills. Instead of soft skills, let’s say interpersonal skills, leadership skills,” said Williams. “If you’re leading an organization to function or promotion, you better believe that those skills actually become more important than what got you there from the beginning.”

Creating solutions in organizations to fight social issues takes more than diversity; it takes understanding, building and nurturing relationships. “Being open to learning and supporting people, especially those who are different than us, is our ability to lead effectively in 2022 and beyond,” said Williams. “Our mission at Reimagine Talent is to educate the next-gen workforce and empower conscious organizations to build workplaces of belonging.”

Turning a Vision into Action

Despite many years of progression and historical wins, writing the business vision and making it compelling and relevant takes courage. In this case, Williams challenges aspiring social entrepreneurs to turn their vision into a business plan and to consider the economic impact of today’s most pressing challenges. Considering 45.2% of social enterprises only last between one to three years, and 45% earn less than a $250,000 profit, it’s crucial to focus on impact without forgetting the importance of running a scalable business.

“Even with vision for impact, do not lose sight of the fact that you’re still an entrepreneur, and if you’re for profit, you still have to make a profit to grow your team, products and processes; if you’re not moved by profit, you should start a non-profit,” said Williams. “Broadening out to what your vision is for your business, who do you want to serve, answering those questions upfront and really thinking about [the] short and long term is important. In the early days, you want to test out your product or service and make sure you’ve got customers/clients.”

Williams shows the beauty that comes with fully owning our stories and leveraging the roadblocks as a springboard to purpose. Her access and experiences now grant opportunity to future generations. As we reflect on her mission, let’s consider our own and ignite the confidence to become something we may have never seen before.

For more information on Williams and Reimagine Talent, visit reimaginetalentco.com.

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United States Postal Services-Diversity

American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance

Alight

Alight
 

Robert Half