10 Reasons to Consider a Career in the STEM Fields

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Thinking about going for a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics? Now is the perfect time. STEM is a quickly growing and high paying area that is a great direction for new or graduating students to take. But is it really right for you? Check out these 10 reasons why you should consider making STEM your future career.

1). Cross-Marketability of Skills
It’s not like if you’re a biologist than you can suddenly go into theoretical physics, but the basic skills you learn are useful in many different professions. By studying to follow a field in science or technology you’ll be learning math, research methods, problem solving, and how to fill out mountains of paperwork. Many different jobs across all fields need that, which means you’re already qualified. If you decide to change jobs or have trouble finding one right away, you won’t be left out in the cold.

2). High Pay
Going into STEM isn’t just a great way to get a job. It’s also a way to get a high paying job. Studies have shown that 63 percent of people with a degree in STEM-related work get paid more than someone with a bachelor’s degree in anything else. More than that, 47 percent of people with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field make more than people with a Ph.D. in other areas. Basically, you’ll be more likely to make lots of money than someone who majors in another field of study.

3). Job Availability
With this economy, you might be worried about how you’re going to get a job. Are there really that many jobs available to you? The short answer is yes. There are STEM jobs in numerous different fields ranging from research assistant to physics educator. More jobs are added all the time, so you’re never going to find a scarcity of positions for someone with your qualifications.

4). Less Competition
Even though there are plenty of jobs, there are still probably hundreds of people clamoring to get at them, right? Wrong. Every year 3.2 million jobs in the STEM fields go unfilled, mostly because there is no one qualified to fill them. By educating yourself and preparing to go into one of those jobs, you’ll be a head above the rest who don’t have what it takes to qualify.

5). Less of a Gender Gap
Ok, so maybe you’re a woman and are worried about that huge pay gap determined by gender. This is yet another way STEM can help with your life. Studies have shown that there is a much smaller salary gap between men and women in the STEM fields. It’s also got plenty of racial and gender diversity, so if you’re looking for equality in the workplace then look no further.

6). Basic Skills Won’t Get Obsolete
It’s true that technology is ever progressing, but the basics stay the same. The world will still need math and still need research. Because you have a basic knowledge of the scientific method, computers, essays or report writing and much more, you’ll be valuable no matter how things innovate. You’ll be more ready to adapt to the changes than people who have no experience in the field at all.

7). Innovation
All that innovation doesn’t just help you get a nice paycheck. It also helps others. You have the chance to work on the cutting edge of fields like medicine, computer technology, robotics, and more. If you have a humanitarian streak, what better way to show it than by gifting the world with your ability to innovate?

8). Better Classes
Right now the government is making a big push to get classes funded and available for STEM students. There are more varied classes in different areas and the funding in most states is better for STEM related classes. Given that half of high school students say they’re not going to go into STEM majors, you may also find that your classes are smaller, which gives you better access to professors and resources.

9). Everyday Critical Thinking
Being a problem solver in the classroom and at work can lead to you being a problem solver in life as well. Being trained in a STEM field can assist you in your everyday world and can even save you money. If you have a better grasp of computer engineering, maybe you won’t have to take your computer to the IT guys so often. If you’re a math wiz, doing your taxes might not be as big a bother. Besides, who else do your friends know that can make a potato cannon out of office supplies or a fighting robot from car parts?

10). Love
There is no better reason to go into a field than this. For some people, science, math, and technology are not just jobs. They’re a passion. If your career is something you enjoy doing, you’ll lead a happier and more productive life. You’ll be one of the few who doesn’t dread going to work every day and is able to brag about your job. Even if your grades weren’t the best, even if your pay isn’t as high as you’d like, pursuing what you love is a reward all its own.

Source: study.com

What Are the Most In-Demand Job Skills?

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interview candidate

By Greg Stuart

Are you in the market for a new job? Is 2019 the year that you decide to make a change in your career? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you need to get an idea of what skills are in demand.

I’ve written many articles on this subject, and most of them tend to lean heavily on the technical side, certifications, etc. I believe that this year, technical certifications will carry less weight than they used to. I see a trend in companies, inside and outside of Silicon Valley, where soft skills are starting to become more important. Lots of projects are manned not by one person, but by a team of people. To be an effective team player, you need certain soft skills to complement your technical skills to be successful. Let’s take a look at some of the most in demand technical and soft skills for 2019.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is becoming the king of the datacenter. With more and more adoption each year, cloud computing is poised to have a big 2019. Security measures are getting better, government entities are trusting the cloud, and new cloud-based certifications pop up every year. I realize the term ‘cloud computing’ is broad, so what areas of cloud computing should you focus on? Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. Amazon’s cloud computing platform is taking the market by storm. VMware’s cloud offering caved to Amazon’s stiff competition and instead focused on forging a partnership with Amazon going forward. Learn Amazon Web Services—take advantage of some of their online free training. Other options are training for Microsoft’s cloud offering, Azure. Find training on Azure and become proficient at it; Microsoft is staking a bigger-than-expected claim in the cloud space.

Adaptability to Change

Is this a skill? I believe it is, and it’s become a necessary skill to learn. If you work in the IT career field, you already know that it’s an ever-changing landscape. New technologies crop up every year, many companies will adopt these newer technologies and expect you to figure out how to maintain it. If you focused only on Dell storage, your whole career—and all of a sudden, your company—does a forklift upgrade to NetApp storage, you have to be willing to learn a new system, or get a new job. Adaptability applies not just to technology changes but also personnel changes. In many of our job roles we are tasked to work as a team, and sometimes that proves difficult. Learning to adapt to change can help greatly in this area. Adapting to change means being flexible, and being flexible opens up so many possibilities for success.

Mobility/Mobility Security

The ability to work remotely has increased steadily over the years, and mobile and Internet technology has made advances. With a 4G connection, we can connect and work on spreadsheets in real time with other colleagues, hold virtual boardroom meetings with WebEx and Skype for Business, and check and answer emails as needed on the go. Learning to become proficient with enterprise mobility suites, such as VMware Workspace One (formerly AirWatch), can help you to safely and accurately provide corporate resources to your workforce on the go. With more and more corporations allowing their employees to access corporate resources on their personal mobile devices, it has become increasingly important to secure those resources. Mobility security is an in-demand skill set now and going forward.

Thinking Outside the Box

This is one of the most overused, cliché terms I can think of, but it rings true, especially now. Thinking outside of the box also means creativity or innovation—two terms all over the values statements of major defense industry employers. Companies don’t want employees that will follow the status quo when it comes to bringing solutions to market or managing a data center. There are times when the traditional way of doing things won’t cut it. That’s when you need to get creative and find new ways to do old things. Companies love bringing in a new employee and putting them on a lagging project to see if their fresh set of eyes can see new ways to accomplish what has become stale. Learning this skill can open up lots of doors for you.

…And Much More

There are so many other intangibles that companies want to see in their employees, which is why I’ll go back to my earlier statement—soft skills are king for 2019. More companies will hire you and train you on a technology or process if you have the right soft skills and fit in with their philosophies. Spend some time polishing up your soft skills and see what a difference it can make.

Source: news.clearancejobs.com

Facebook VP says this is an immediate ‘red flag’ in a job interview

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Julie Zhuo Facebook VP of Product poses smiling seated in a chair in an office setting

Julie Zhuo is the VP of product design at Facebook. After graduating from Stanford University in 2006, she joined the social media giant as an intern and quickly worked her way up to becoming a manager at 25.

In her 13 years at Facebook, she has interviewed many recent graduates eager to score an internship or entry-level position and says no matter how qualified an applicant is, there is still one interview mistake she’ll always see as a warning sign.

“I would say one red flag when you’re interviewing is to be too focused on status or prestige,” the author of “The Making of a Manager ” tells CNBC Make It.

Facebook is still considered one of the most attractive employers today, and Zhuo says she’s seen her fair share of candidates who only want to land a job at the company because “it seems like the right thing to do, or it’s the next step up for [their] career.”

Rather than hiring someone who only wants to add a prestigious name to their resume, Zhuo says she focuses her attention on the applicants who are interested in making a difference at the company. She says she looks for candidates who are ready to “come in and just do a really, really great job.”

She wants employees who’ll “continue to learn and grow,” she says, “and do what you know is going to help the team the most.”

Zhuo emphasizes that although experience and unique skill sets may help you land an interview at Facebook, they aren’t a top priority for her because “a lot of times people are still in the learning phase and that’s great. That’s OK.”

“What I really look for are people who love to learn and who approach the job with a sense of curiosity and productivity, and who are just really eager to do great work,” she says. “I think that enthusiasm really comes across in an interview, especially in the questions that someone asks and in their tone and body language when interacting with me.”

Zhuo, who is a firm believer that interviews should be a two-way street, adds, “I love it when [candidates] ask me a lot of questions about my team, the environment and the culture that we work in.”

Continue on to CNBC News to read the complete article.

4 Hurdles to Successful Salary Negotiation – and How to Tackle Them

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woman sitting at desk smiling with chin resting on hand

Talking to an employer – or a prospective one – about money is never easy. Some people find it so challenging, in fact, that they quickly accept the first salary offer that comes with a new job. Or they hesitate to ask for a raise – even when they’re 110 percent certain they deserve one.

That’s not the wisest way to go!

A better approach is to face your fears and tackle them head on. As they say, you never get what you don’t ask for – so it’s critical to do your homework, steel yourself and then boldly command the pay you deserve.

Here are the four hurdles to overcome when negotiating salary– and advice on how to do it.

Hurdle: Determining What You’re Worth

Tackle it: This may be the easiest of all because, thanks to the almighty Internet, there’s plenty of information at your fingertips. Start your research by looking at websites like PayScale, Glassdoor or the one run by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Professional associations are also a good resource, as is asking colleagues and co-workers for “ballpark” salary info in your company or field. (Good news: Discussing salary is no longer as taboo as it once was!) Be sure to consider your education, training and credentials, years of experience and geographic location (salaries vary from place to place) when determining appropriate pay. Aim to come up with a “salary range” for your specific job, and be realistic – but a bit ambitious – in deciding where you fit in that range.

Hurdle: Articulating Your Value

Tackle it: Being a self-promoter doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people. But if you don’t appreciate what you bring to the table, how can you expect someone else to? When preparing to negotiate with an employer, start by making a list of your skills and qualifications. Be ready to offer specific examples of what you’ve accomplished in past roles and about what you will be able to achieve going forward. Don’t overly exaggerate what you’ve done (or have the potential to do), but this isn’t the time for modesty either. Once you’ve finished your list of skills, experience and achievements, commit it to memory. Then practice, practice, practice so you will feel comfortable talking about how great you are. Ask friends or family to role-play so you’ll feel super confident making your case when the time comes.

Hurdle: Knowing What (and What Not) to Say

Tackle it: When interviewing for a job, it’s best to delay conversations about compensation until you actually have an offer. But this can be tricky. A prospective employer might what you’re currently earning (though inquiring about salary history has been outlawed in many states.) Or, more commonly, you might be asked for your salary expectations. In that case, do your best to deflect the questions—and not name a number first. (If you do, you could end up with an offer of less than what the employer was prepared to pay!) Instead, respond by asking what the position pays and waiting for a response. If you’re pressed, give a range and an explanation of how you’ve come up with it. Say something like, “Based on my research, the salary for a position like this is somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000. Since I have ten years of work experience, I think I should be at the top of that range.”

Hurdle: Thinking Only About Your Paycheck

Tackle it: Salary is only one piece of your total compensation package, so don’t focus exclusively that. While benefits like health care and matching 401K tend to be standard, employers sometimes have more flexibility when it comes to negotiating paid time off, flexible schedules and remote work options. Think about the benefits that are most important to you, then confidently and politely ask for them. Remember, the worst that can happen is that you’ll be turned down. Once you do get an offer that’s satisfactory, ask for it in writing. Take a day or so to think it over before signing on the dotted line. This is standard business practice, so no one will be put off.

Of course, all of this is much easier said than done, so make sure to put time and effort into preparing as best you can. Do that by taking the AAUW Work Smart Online, a free and easy course that will give you all the information and tools you need to get the salary you deserve.

Source: AAUW.org

Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America Are All Black Women For First Time In Pageant History

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Chelsie Kryst miss usa winner poses on stage smiling holding bouquet of flowers

Cheslie Kryst contributed to pageant history when she was crowned Miss USA on Thursday: For the first time, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America are all black women.

Kryst, who represented North Carolina in the pageant, is a lawyer who practices civil litigation and does pro bono work to help get reduced sentences for incarcerated people.

Miss Teen USA 2019, Kaliegh Garris, was crowned Sunday. The high school senior from Connecticut plans to attend college and pursue a degree in nursing. Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, who won her competition in September, hailed from New York.

Both Kryst and Garris were applauded for wearing their natural hair during their pageants.

“There were a few naysayers saying, ‘You look better with straight hair,’ or ‘You should put in extensions and straighten your natural hair,’” Garris told Refinery 29, later adding, “I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair.”

Both Miss USA, Nana Meriweather, and Miss Teen USA, Logan West, were black in 2012. But Miss America that year, Laura Kaeppeler, was not.

At Thursday’s final Miss USA event, Kryst expertly answered a question on whether the Me Too and Time’s Up movements against sexual harassment and assault had “gone too far.”

“I don’t think these movements have gone too far,” she said. “What Me Too and Time’s Up are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country.”

“As an attorney, that’s exactly what I want to hear,” she added. “That’s exactly what I want for this country.”

Continue on to Black Voices to read the complete article.

8 Secrets That Can Revolutionize Your Job Search

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Woman Applying For Job

You might think that in the era of LinkedIn and social media that you no longer need to have a resume. That is unequivocally wrong. A resume is a key component of a job search, and cannot be replaced by a LinkedIn profile, or your digital presence.

This article will offer a number of resume tips, all of which are designed to help you succeed in your job search. We’ll review the importance of customization, best resume format, and the various resume sections you need to include, to name a few. Let’s get started with our review of the key resume tips you need to keep in mind when creating yours.

  1. A resume is a marketing tool.

The sad truth is that most people do not write particularly well. Make sure that your resume is impeccably written, and make sure it stands out. A well-constructed resume conveys that you’re an organized person. Concise resume language gives the feeling that you’re a no-nonsense individual who gets right to the point. A great resume can convince a hiring manager that you have the background that will be an asset to the company and can compel them to contact you for an interview.

  1. It helps the hiring manager decide that you have the necessary skills and experiences.

A well-written, concise resume does the job of quickly telling the hiring manager that you’re the answer to their problems. When you’re writing your resume, be sure to use clear, succinct language, and focus on your achievements (especially the ones that are quantifiable), rather than on your job duties or tasks. One of the biggest resume tips you can keep in mind is this: the purpose of the resume is to sell you, and what you can do to help a company succeed. The purpose of the resume is to not catalog all of your duties and tasks from the past.

  1. Customization is key.

A question I’m frequently asked is whether or not it’s necessary to customize the resume for each application. My answer is always a resounding YES. This is one the key resume tips! You have only about six seconds to impress the reader, so be sure that your resume speaks to exactly what the company is seeking. You do this by studying the job description and optimizing your resume with relevant keywords.

  1. Your resume helps with your personal branding.

A resume is a marketing document that you craft to sell yourself. But in addition to that, it is also a component of your brand. You want to ensure that your resume conveys the key messages of your brand; that is, what your strengths are, what you can deliver on, and what you’re passionate about.

  1. Add a little humanity and originality.

Let’s face it, most resumes read pretty much the same, and most of them are boring and sterile. How many resumes for a PR Director role can someone read before they all begin to blur together? Every single applicant is going to say they’re expert at media relations and that they’ve overseen a team of communications professionals. Say something different, and say something that makes you sound like an actual person and not a machine.

Here’s one of my key resume tips: Instead of writing something like “Crisis communications expert who maximizes brand potential via various channels” in the Summary section of your resume, try “I don’t put out fires. I start them. I ignite excitement and engagement among clients. When something inevitably explodes, I add another log to the fire.”

  1. What resume sections should be included?

Resume tips about resume sections are abundant; here are the key ones you need to be including in today’s day and age. Your resume should consist of a header that includes your name and contact information; a Summary section, which should provide a high-level overview of your qualifications, and what you can do for the company; a Work Experience section, which details current and previous positions you’ve held during your career; a Skills section, which should list the hard and soft skills you possess, particularly, the ones that align to the job advertisement; and an Education section, which should list the educational degrees you’ve acquired.

  1. What’s the best resume format?

The reverse chronological format is, in my opinion, the best resume format. The reason it’s the best resume format is simple—it makes it very easy for the right people to see your employment history and achievements. If you’re unsure on what reverse chronological means, it means this—you start off the Work Experience section of your resume with your most recent position, and work backwards from there.

  1. Here’s the bottom line.

A resume remains one of the foundational tools in the job seeker’s toolkit. Hiring managers and recruiters still want resumes, and they want them to be easy to read and to quickly answer the key questions they have. A good resume is one that benefits both the hiring manager and the job seeker; hopefully, the resume tips offered here will put you on the path to success with creating yours!

About the Author
Debra Wheatman is a certified professional resume writer and career coach, and the president of Careers Done Write, a leader in professional resume and career services. careersdonewrite.com/

Nearly Half of Young Professionals are Pursuing a Career in This Field

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millennials in a business room discussing career choices

The oil and gas industry is facing strong competition in attracting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent, with 44 percent of STEM Millennials and Generation Zs (Gen Z) interested in pursuing a career in oil and gas, compared to 77 percent in the technology sector, 58 percent in life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and 57 percent in health care –according to the inaugural global Workforce of the Future survey released by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The survey was commissioned by ADNOC to examine future workforce and employment trends in the oil and gas industry, particularly as the industry looks to attract STEM talent and enable the 4th Industrial Age. This is in line with ADNOC’s Oil & Gas 4.0 mission to help meet the world’s increasing demand for energy and higher-value products – by fostering a dynamic and performance-led culture that cultivates talent and applies the latest technology to optimize resources.

The survey interviewed STEM students and young professionals aged 15 to 35 in 10 countries – across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, representing a mix of significant global economies, and producers and consumers of oil and gas – and looked at their perceptions across multiple STEM-related industries, including oil and gas, and the skills they value and believe are required to succeed in these industries.

Key Findings
“Salary,” “work-life balance,” “job stability,” “on-the-job fulfilment,” and “a good work environment” are ranked the top five drivers behind potential career choices for STEM Millennials and Gen Zs. Young STEM talent also associate the oil and gas industry with high salaries and see it as an industry that is invaluable. “The industry pays well,” “the industry is crucial for their country’s economy and development,” and it is “an industry we couldn’t live without,” are ranked as the top three positive attributes about the industry.

What young professionals want, by industry
77% technology
58% life science/pharmaceuticals
57% health care
44% oil and gas

STEM Millennials and Gen Zs show the most interest in industries that they believe will be most impacted by new technologies. Globally, 42 percent say that new technologies will have a major impact on the oil and gas industry, while 56 percent say the same for health care, 53 percent for life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and 73 percent for the technology industry.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, said: “The findings from the ADNOC Workforce of the Future survey show that the more STEM Millennials and Gen Zs associate oil and gas with new technologies, the more interested they will be in a career in the industry. “As we enter the 4th Industrial Age, we need to come together as an industry and – with our technology industry partners – better highlight the exciting opportunities our dynamic industry offers to young talent with strong technology skills,” he added. The results also show that STEM Millennials and Gen Zs appear divided on whether oil and gas is an industry of the future (45 percent) or the past (44 percent). The data also indicates a mismatch between what STEM Millennials and Gen Zs see as the most important skills to succeed professionally versus what they see are the most important skills for a career in the oil and gas industry.

“Information technology and computer” skills (37 percent) and “creativity and innovative thinking” (33 percent) are seen as the most important skill-sets for succeeding in the future, but only 18 percent see “IT and computer” and “creativity and innovative thinking” as important skills for a career in oil and gas. Similarly, while 26 percent say programing languages are key for future professional success, only 11 percent view it as an important skill in the oil and gas industry. The data also shows that some experience in the job market and a tertiary education in STEM subjects can help change perceptions positively toward a career in the oil and gas sector. While interest is low among secondary school-age STEM students (37 percent are interested in a career in oil and gas), this figure rises to approximately half (51 percent) of young professionals being interested in pursuing a career in the sector – representing a 14-point increase.

Latina chef Daniela Soto-Innes is youngest to be named ‘World’s Best Female Chef’

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Daniela Soto-Innes smiling while working in a kitchen

Mexican-American chef Daniela Soto-Innes has become the youngest honoree to be named the World’s Best Female Chef by The World’s Best 50 Restaurants.

The award, which was announced Wednesday, recognizes the culinary achievements of one woman every year. Past winners include British chef Clare Smyth of London’s Core and Dominique Crenn, who leads San Francisco’s Michelin-three-star Atelier Crenn

Though she is known for running Cosme and Atla, two popular modern Mexican restaurants in New York City, Soto-Innes, 28, didn’t always plan on becoming a chef, according to the award announcement. She was a competitive swimmer during her young adulthood in Texas, where she moved from Mexico City when she was 12.

Yet the culinary arts were almost an inevitability for Soto-Innes, who was surrounded by a grandmother, mother and aunts who instilled a passion for cooking in her at a young age. “I grew up with a line of really strong women that love to cook,” Soto-Innes told The World’s Best 50 Restaurants. “When I was born, my mother was a lawyer with my father, but she wanted to be a chef because my grandma had a bakery and my great grandma went to school for cooking.

Everything was about who made the best cake, who made the best ceviche, who made the best mole. I just knew that it was the thing that made me the happiest.

It’s not only the flavorful food that appeals to Soto-Innes, but also the people who make it. Most of the staff at Cosme are Latin American immigrants, while a few hail from Russia and other countries, as well. It’s this fusion of people, ideas and recipes that makes the restaurant so successful, she said.

That shared knowledge has led to some of Cosme’s most famous dishes, including its fluffy fried tortillas called infladitas (which means inflated).

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

Why Your Job Search Should Start With Companies, Not Roles—and What That Looks Like

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women looking at her computer screen with a smile while job searching

By Abby Wolfe

When Kate Gardner was laid off from her job as a magazine editor, she wasn’t sure what to do next. She tried freelancing for a month or so, but the instability of it ultimately made her want to hop back into a full-time job at a company she really liked (and could see herself at for a while).

So she started job searching—but this time she tackled it differently than she had in the past. She decided to take a company-first approach.

“Doing this allows me to be more specific in what I’m looking for,” Gardner says. “I can look for the positions I want and am qualified for at companies I already know I like.” And it worked out for her—she recently landed a job at one of her dream nonprofits.

“I’m so grateful to have found this work I’m so deeply passionate about,” she adds. “For years I’ve been searching for something that’s made me feel alive and like I have a purpose, and I finally have.”

As a career coach, I recommend the company-first approach to almost every client I work with. I believe more people will end up finding great jobs they love, like Gardner, this way as opposed to spending hours and hours scrolling through a job board.

Here’s why you should try it—and how you can get started doing it today.

Why Adopt a Company-First Mindset

The biggest benefit of a company-first job search is that it’s more likely to land you a gig that you’ll want to stay in for a very long time. This can be especially important for those who are making a career change (and want the effort they’re putting into transitioning to be worthwhile), those who are tired of job hopping and are looking for a more fulfilling career, and those who just want a job they can see themselves in for years to come.

“With the majority of people leaving a company because of culture or people,” says Jena Viviano, a Muse master career coach, “finding the company you want to work for first has a higher chance of working out in the long-term.”

The idea is that when you pursue a company rather than a job, you’re looking for a more holistic experience. You don’t just care about the day-to-day responsibilities—you care about the mission behind your work, your growth, and your work-life balance. All these factors contribute to a happier (and ultimately more successful) career.

And by showcasing when you apply for a job that these things matter to you, you set yourself up to be a better fit for the company—which makes them more likely to hire you.

Another point Viviano makes is that companies are calling jobs all different sorts of things these days, so company-first job searching is just strategically more efficient.

“No longer can you just type in ‘HR generalist’ and find all the HR positions available,” she says. “Some companies call it ‘culture’ or ‘people’ or ‘happiness department.’ So it’s smarter to see what companies align to your goals and then to dive into their career pages to find specific roles” to ensure you’re actually applying to positions that you’d be happy in and qualified for.

How to Approach Your Job Search Company-First

By no means is company-first job searching an “easy way out.” It takes true inner reflection and time to pull off effectively. But because it’ll likely produce better results, it’s well worth the effort.

1. Figure Out What You Care About Most

The whole goal here is to get you into a job you love that fits not only your interests and experience, but your priorities. In order to do that, you need to know what’s important to you.

Reflect on past experience and examine what you liked and didn’t like about each position you held and company you worked for (and write them down). If you’re fresh out of college, this part might be a little harder—so you may consider including volunteer and internship experiences in this exercise to broaden your scope.

Here are some possible things you might consider or jot down:

  • Size: The number of people at your company or in your department can affect how much your voice is heard, the amount of work that falls onto your plate, communication between teams, and more.
  • Location: Do you have a geographic preference, or will you go anywhere? Also, what are your feelings on a company that has offices all over the country (or world)?
  • Stage: At what stage of growth is your ideal company? A startup environment is going to be much different than that of a company that’s been around for decades. (And even “startup” can encompass anything from five people in one room to a nine-figure-revenue, about-to-go-public behemoth.)
  • Mission: Is connecting with the purpose of the company important to you? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to dig to find out what each company’s detailed mission is and if the work they’re doing actually aligns with it, as well as decide if you want to work for a specific kind of mission (for example, healthcare or climate change).
  • Values: Are there values outside the company’s direct mission that matter to you, such as social responsibility? The Muse, for example, has a strict “no assholes” policy, which is such a core value that it’s included in every job description.
  • Culture: Do you prefer working collaboratively or independently? Do you like strict rules and guidelines or more flexibility to rethink processes? Do you like dressing business formal or business casual (or have no preference)? Do you want to hang out with your co-workers after hours or be able to leave work on time to be with your family? There’s no right or wrong answer for the type of culture you believe you’d thrive in.
  • Diversity and inclusion efforts: How important is it to you that the company you work for invests in diversity and inclusion? What does that look like to you?
  • Benefits: What types of benefits do you care about most? Some things you could think about are: learning and development budget, health insurance, parental leave, PTO, flexible hours, and remote opportunities.

2. Make a List of Companies That Interest You

OK, you have your list of things that you care about most. Now, how do you find companies to consider? Here are some ideas:

  • Search for the “top” or “best” companies to work for. You can narrow it down further by specifically highlighting the qualities that matter to you, such as “best companies for working parents” or “top organizations to work for as a remote employee.” The Muse actually creates several lists like this for different locations that may help you identify some good companies in your area.
  • Check out B Corporation and Idealist. If you want social responsibility to be a core value of the company you work for, then these are two great resources. Idealist is a site that specifically highlights organizations that want to make the world a better place, and Certified B Corporations “are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
  • Browse social media and recent news. We interact with companies day in and day out as consumers, so consider what brands you love and what’s being said about them online. Maybe you found out that a tech company you follow on Twitter recently instituted four weeks of PTO for its employees, or a retail store you constantly shop at invests in volunteer efforts. Those could be great places to apply to because you already know, believe in, and follow them.
  • Leverage your network. You most likely know plenty of people who work or have worked at a variety of awesome companies. Ask them about their experience! You may be surprised which companies you’re drawn to.

3. Evaluate Whether or Not They Meet Your Criteria

Once you make a list of say, 10 to 20 companies of interest, double check to make sure they align with the attributes you highlighted in the first step.

This will require some more research. You can start with The Muse, of course, as well as the company’s own website, and social media and news coverage can fill in everything in between.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

These 6 Customer Service Skills Will Help You Land Any Job

LinkedIn
professionals walking on way to work

Working in retail, hospitality, a call center, or another job focused on customer service can give you vital workplace skills. No matter which industry you want to work in, the following six strong customer service skills are transferable to any job.

1. Strong Communication Skills

Good communication is the key to good customer service. It’s also the cornerstone of working in any industries where you need to work with other people, from customers to colleagues, and clients to business contacts.

Through your customer service role, you’ll learn how to explain concepts to others in easy-to-understand terms and how to placate people who may not share your point of view. You’ll find that you use these same skills in most roles. Your oral and written communication skills will also help you get your points across in meetings and during collaborative tasks.

2. Solid Active Listening Skills

Good communication and active listening skills tend to go hand in hand. Good communication is a two-way street. While effective public speaking skills are important, so is effective listening. Customer service professionals hone their active listening skills when they listen to what a customer says, then ask questions to clarify what they’ve heard before delivering a response.

A study by Korn Ferry International, an executive search recruitment firm, found that active listening is the most important competence for any workplace. The firm gave active listening this rating because it believes active listening can cover gaps left in other workplace areas. For example, if you don’t yet have skills in negotiation, you could rely on your active listening skills to get through a negotiation process.

3. Excellent Problem-Solving Skills

Customer service representatives are pros at problem solving. So much of their job involves handling complaints and queries customers have. They must use ingenuity to find solutions that work within a business’s preferred practices yet satisfy customers. Problem-solving skills cultivated in a customer service role are transferable to almost any profession, but they are especially important for creative and technology roles, such as advertising executives, engineers, and software designers.

4. Ability to Work as Part of a Team

No customer service worker is an island. Instead, customer service employees work as part of a team to support their employer’s positive image and customer service standards. Many customer service workers find themselves jumping in to help colleagues address customer queries or assisting their co-workers when they’re especially busy.

The kind of collaborative teamwork skills demonstrated by customer service workers is essential for success in many professional environments. It’s important for people in a range of industries to work within their designated roles but come together when required, such as for group projects and meetings.

5. Good Multitasking Skills

Many customer service professions require you to multitask well. Every customer wants to feel important, even though your attention may be pulled in several directions. It’s not uncommon for customer service professionals to run computers or cash registers while speaking with customers.

You might also deal with a number of customers at once if people with more urgent concerns need help while you’re dealing with more routine matters. And, of course, you must do it all efficiently and with a smile on your face! That aptitude for multitasking is useful for working in any busy profession.

6. The Ability to Show Resilience

Customer service workers must be resilient. While most members of the public are pleasant, some can be short-tempered and belligerent. In these circumstances, customer service workers must rely on their skills of resiliency to power through. Otherwise, they can’t deliver their best service to the next customer they interact with.

Similarly, you won’t find all the people you deal with any profession in good humor all the time. Sometimes, events in life simply don’t go your way. Despite the challenges, it’s important to rely on your skills of resiliency to move on to the next task. Demonstrating your resilience to a potential new employer will hold you in good stead on any job interview that you face.

Don’t underestimate how important having a background in customer service can be. A role focused on helping members of the public can position you well for landing any job.

Source: CareerBuilder

Ever Heard of a Letter of Interest? It Could Score You a Job at Your Dream Company

LinkedIn
woman wearing glasses and casual dress is working at her desk

By Jenny Foss

You’re dying to work for Company X. I mean, it’s basically your life’s mission: Work for Company X. You love their products, their brand, and just about everything you hear about them. And while you visit their careers page nearly every day, you’ve yet to find an open role that’s just right for your skills, experience, and career goals. What should you do?

Should you keep waiting and waiting for something to pop up, or is there a more proactive way to go about getting on their radar?

You can write a little thing called a letter of interest.

Unlike a cover letter, which you use to introduce yourself and make clear your fit for a specific position, a letter of interest (also sometimes referred to as a letter of intent) is more like a pitch letter. You’re going to introduce yourself, of course. But instead of targeting a certain role, this is your opportunity to spell out what you love about the organization, and sell them on why you’d be an asset to it.

It’s the perfect option if you feel down to your bones that you have something of great value to offer to a particular organization, but you haven’t seen a posting for a job that’s quite right for you.

How, specifically, can you write a letter of interest? Here are a few quick tips (plus, some samples of what it should look like):

1. Begin With Why You Love the Company

People love from-the-heart flattery, whether it’s about themselves or the companies they represent. And hiring managers want to hire people who don’t just want a job but believe in and are excited about what their organization is doing and stands for.

That being the case, you’ve got a great opportunity to draw the reader in by kicking your letter of interest off with a quick statement that spells out what you love most about the organization.

Maybe you purchase and use their product regularly, maybe you read their newsletter daily, maybe you admire their leadership team (and religiously follow them on social media)—whatever it is, start off with the good stuff that shows you know what they’re all about. Just avoid beginning with something super generic or vague like, “I love your organization and what you do” or “I admire your company’s mission” or “I’m a big fan of [Company]”—you know, anything that can be said about any company. Get specific right away and toss these throw-away lines aside.

What That Looks Like

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

As a product development leader, I know innovation when I see it. And when I see it, I pay attention. You’re fearlessly pushing into new terrain with artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and I’d love to be a part of it.

2. Tell Them Who You Are (and What You Specialize In)

Next, shift into the “here’s who I am and how I fit into your equation” portion of the letter. This is your shot to introduce yourself as an incredibly interesting human being, and someone who might be well suited for this organization. Keep this part short and sweet, but make sure they know right out of the gate how you align with their business.

What That Looks Like

I’m Jill Smith, a curious and resourceful product innovator and program manager. I’ve built a career around delivering game-changing products, systems, and solutions on behalf of some of the biggest brands in the world, with specific expertise in SaaS and AR/VR.

3. Share a Few Thoughts on How You Might Help Them

Then, dive into the specifics. Do you have some ideas for how you could help this organization? Do you have specific skills that make you uniquely qualified to grow their business? Share them in this section.

Because you’re not applying to a specific role, this is where you showcase what value you’d bring. Even though the company may not be hiring for your dream job at the moment, if nothing else, you immediately put yourself on their radar as someone they could hire down the road should they ever decide to expand their team. Best case scenario, you open the door for them to create a role just for you.

What That Looks Like

I can help you take a design from a napkin drawing through every step of the development process. Or I can support the specific areas where you need a bit of counsel, problem solving, or leadership.

I’m particularly interested in supporting you with your next-generation content creation products, but I’m quite open to discussing any product development or program management assignment that may benefit from a change agent, a workhorse, or just an extra pair of hands.

4. End With an Invitation to Chat

And last but certainly not least, close out your letter of interest with a specific ask. What do you want the outcome to be? What, exactly, are you asking for? Maybe you do have a specific job in mind (either one they’re hiring for or one you’d like to create), or maybe you’re just looking to chat with their team to see where you’d fit in. Either way, spell this out at the end of your letter.

What That Looks Like

I’d love an opportunity to learn more about your biggest design and development goals and challenges and share specific thoughts on how I can help you continue your impressive journey to becoming one of the industry’s most notable innovators.

Thank you for your time, and please let me know if there’s any additional information I can provide for you.

Best,
[Your Name]
[your email/phone number/LinkedIn profile URL]

Once you have your letter of interest written (and edited by a friend), do a bit of sleuthing to determine the likely hiring manager for your department of interest.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.