Cracking the code: how to get more women into computing

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Computer programming jobs are growing 12% faster than the market average – here’s how business and society can encourage more women into the profession.

The schooling may be hard, but the opportunities are broad. As a coder, you could just as easily find yourself working for a hot tech start up as you could a high street fashion brand. And since a report from Burning Glass revealed that programming jobs grew 12% faster than the market average, these opportunities will keep on coming.

This is great for skilled job seekers, but tricky for employers. As the present tries to catch up with the future, there’s more demand for people who can code than there is supply. Fortunately, pathways exist for women to break in, through education programmes, university recruitment and businesses who foster and support women into the field.

Start as you mean to go on

While computing-related fields are a major growth area, non-profit organisation Girls Who Code notes that by 2020 women are on track to fill a mere 3% of these jobs in the US. In the UK women account for just 21% of the country’s science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) workforce, with only 3% saying tech is their first choice career, according to PwC. This is stark news for today’s female coders, but it’s also an opportunity for the future. One of the clear ways to close the skills gap is to pave the way for women, starting when they are still girls.

Parents across the UK who are signing their children up to after-school programmes will know that coding clubs are a way to nurture young, prospective tech leaders. Within a single term, today’s children will be able to code instructions and create their own computer games.

nd it’s more than after-school; coding has been embedded into the UK school curriculum since 2013. As reported by the Guardian’s Stuart Dredge, Michael Gove, the education secretary at the time, said that the revised curriculum teaches children “not just how to work a computer, but how a computer works and how to make it work for you”.

Echoing a similar ethos, Melissa Sariffodeen, co-founder and CEO of Ladies Learning Code, is committed to sharing the language of coding to women and girls to “help us understand, harness and build – not just consume technology”.

“Learning to code is like learning any new language. While the barriers to start are really low, to become proficient and a strong developer requires practice,” says Sariffodeen. “Technology is always changing and evolving so there’s always something to learn and keep on top. That is what makes the industry and roles so dynamic for so many people – including women.”

Pique the interest of the best and brightest

As an industry with its own language, coding can be intimidating to outsiders. That’s why university fairs have become an opportunity for tech companies to present not just themselves as great employers, but to attract new talent that would not necessarily identify themselves as techies.

“Attracting a diverse workforce must start in schools and at universities,” says Sheridan Ash, who heads up PwC’s Women in Technology programme. “We want to get the message out early about the broad opportunities of working in technology which go well beyond the stereotypes.”

Continue onto The Guardian to read the complete article.

Goldman Sachs Goes Online for Next Step in Its 10,000 Women Push

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has made a push to be more digital, even in its charitable operations.

The bank has hit the goal it set a decade ago to help 10,000 female entrepreneurs in developing countries grow their business and access capital. Now, one of Wall Street’s most well-known philanthropic efforts is expanding its reach by offering free online classes.

In the wake of public scrutiny after the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs set up two programs to try to improve its image — 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses. As part of the former, the firm has donated more than $100 million and taught business skills to women in countries such as Brazil, India and Nigeria. In developing countries, female entrepreneurship has been increasing, and there are now about 8 to 10 million of these businesses, according to research from the World Bank.

“By virtue of contributing to their families economically, the barriers — whether cultural or religious — were lifted,” John Rogers, chairman of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, said in an interview. “And lifted enough that their daughters were able to go to school.”

The new curriculum will be offered in English through Coursera, an online learning platform accessed by more than 32 million users. It will feature graduates of the program in case studies and videos in the course.

The bank originally built the program around research it did showing global economic growth could be increased by boosting women in the workplace. The firm is battling with that itself — women made up 38 percent of the bank’s U.S. employees and its top executives have pledged to increase to 50 percent at some point in the future. It’s aiming to start with an even split in its hiring of recent college graduates by 2021.

Continue onto Bloomberg to read the complete article.

The Growing Influence of Women Entrepreneurs

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There are many challenges that women face in the modern workplace — and that goes double for the boardroom or when trying to break through the ever-present ‘glass ceiling.’ These issues are never more of a challenge than when a woman decides she is going to go ‘off on her own’ as an entrepreneur. With locating reasonable financing, confronting gender bias and the paucity of appropriate mentors and the diminutive learning curve, a business owned and run by a woman can be a real struggle for survival.

Because of these special challenges, some backward-looking people still insist that women aren’t cut out to become business owners in their own right. This kind of negative mindset increases, sadly, when the woman is a person of color or disabled — or in any other way marginalized by lingering male prejudices. To break down these persistent barriers to success, women must be willing to understand and recognize the problems they face when beginning a woman-centric enterprise. With understanding comes the determination to not let such medieval concepts upset their plans and helps to bring more women into entrepreneurial endeavors.

Finding the money

Traditional lenders, such as banks and credit unions, are some of the worst offenders when it comes to gender prejudice. Studies show that such lending institutions continue to be resistant to loaning out seed money to women entrepreneurs, to the extent that their approval rating is as much as 20 percent less than it is for men who are starting their own companies. While women do have a healthy access to alternative lenders offering business loans, which somewhat levels the playing field, these other lenders, usually online, charge interest rates that are always higher than a regular bank. So this means a woman-owned business starts off with a heavier debt load.

One alternative that seems to be working in women’s favor, though, is the rise in crowdfunding initiatives. This is a completely gender-neutral venue for raising capital for new businesses.

Mentoring

The process of mentoring is a recognized necessity for most male entrepreneurs, and there are many channels through which a man can obtain another older and experienced man’s help in starting up a new business. The same cannot be said for women — yet. Luckily, the numbers are going in an encouraging direction.

While traditional infrastructure, such as banks, is still male-dominated, other areas, especially in sales and marketing, are now becoming rapidly equalized between men and women, and a woman who is beginning her own business should look to the marketing and/or sales sector for an experienced and savvy mentor to help her steer her ship through the riptides and shoals of the startup ocean.

Continue onto Entrepreneur to read the complete article.

Cliché Answers to the Most Common Interview Questions—What you should say instead

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By Brianna Flavin

The internet offers a massive amount of job interview advice, sample questions and potential responses. When you are trying to land a job, it’s easy to devour this advice in bulk, but that might actually be more detrimental to your career than you realize.

What’s resulted is hiring managers hearing the same cliché responses over and over again. When your objective is to learn about applicants to determine if they will be a good fit for the position, and they all say their biggest flaw is “perfectionism,” it’s frustrating, to say the least.

As a job seeker, you want to do your homework and come to the interview prepared to answer the most common interview questions. But how can you avoid sounding like an echo of every other candidate?

“The preferred response to any question is one that is honest and upfront,” says staffing and onboarding coach Jen Teague. Ideally, your circumstances, interests and aspirations will factor into every answer, leaving your interviewer with a clear and accurate impression of who you are.

To get you started in the right direction—and to help you steer clear of some responses that could leave a bad impression—we asked hiring managers to share the most cliché answers they encounter when interviewing job candidates. See what the folks in the hiring seats are sick of hearing and their advice on how to craft a more impressive response.

  1. Why would you excel at this job?

What NOT to say: “I like working with people.”

“This is one of the most robotic answers a candidate could provide,” according to Beth Tucker, CEO of KNF&T Staffing Resources. She says though it might seem like a friendly answer, it doesn’t actually reveal anything about you as a person or employee.

“Most people like to work with other people,” Tucker explains. “Instead of saying this, try thinking of the core message you’re trying to communicate.” Are you an especially strong communicator? Do you work harder when you’re collaborating with coworkers on a project? Do you enjoy delegating responsibility?

“You’re much better off giving an example that demonstrates your abilities,” Tucker says.

A better approach: Talk about a team project where you interacted with a diverse group of people—or difficult people. This will have a much bigger impact and make a better impression on the interviewer.

  1. What do you know about our company?

What NOT to say: “Not much. I was hoping you could tell me.”

“This answer highlights your lack of initiative and preparation,” says Mike Smith, founder of SalesCoaching1. He urges to always do your research on any company you are interviewing with and come prepared to dazzle.

A better approach: Smith suggests a statement that displays what you understand about the company and what you might still want clarification on. An example is, “I found your annual report and noticed your company has grown your market share and is opening other branches. What is the next location planned?”

  1. Why do you want to be in this business?

What NOT to say: “It looks like a cool company to work for.”

This vague enthusiasm also reveals a lack of research. Smith says experienced interviewers hear this same answer time and time again. Why would you prefer to work for this company, rather than some of their competitors? Even if you do plan to interview at both companies, you are better off being specific.

A better approach: “I have done a lot of research in this marketplace. Your company and your competitors (name them) are in the fastest growing sector. I want to be a part of that growth.”

  1. Why did you apply for this position?

What NOT to say: “I want to get my career started.”

“The worst cliché answer I receive is something along the lines of, ‘I’m not picky about my position; I just want a chance to work,’” says Shell Harris, President of Big Oak Studios Inc. He says this kind of answer typically comes from the mouths of college graduates having difficulty landing their first job.

“When I hear this response, I am thinking this person is desperate to work and will say anything to get any job, even a job they may not like,” Harris says. He adds that this is often an indicator that the candidate will continue job searching even if he or she does land the position. He believes applicants who have specific expectations about what kind of work they will do in the company come off much better.

“It tells me they understand what we do, how they can help and, most importantly, that they want to be a part of the company,” Harris says. “Sure, I believe they want to work, but they aren’t being honest with me or themselves if they say they’ll take any job.”

A better approach: Talk about what the role you’re applying for does for you. Could it help you develop a skill you’re hoping to sharpen? Does it align with your strengths or expertise? What excites you about the position?

  1. What is your biggest weakness as an employee?

What NOT to say: “I’m a perfectionist.”

This is one of the biggest clichés out there in interviewing world. “The age-old advice about spinning any negative about yourself into a positive only works when it’s specific,” says Gail Abelman, recruiter at Staffing Perfection.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard people tell me, ‘I’m a perfectionist,’ or ‘I’m too honest,’” she says. “These are about as cliché and phony as it gets.”

“You can tell immediately when people are not being genuine,” says Rebecca Baggett, Director of Human Resources at Bigger Pockets. She says responses like ‘I’m a perfectionist’ or ‘I’m too loyal’ really communicate either a lack of honesty or a lack of self-awareness. “I always appreciate when a candidate says, ‘I messed up and this is how I corrected the situation,’” she says.

Ableman advises telling a story to answer this kind of question. It will sound more personal and realistic, and you will provide your interviewer with a better picture of who you are and what it will be like to hire you.

A better approach: Describe an issue you experienced at a previous job, the problem you had solving it and the steps you took to ultimately overcome it.

  1. What are your long-term goals?

What NOT to say: “I want to move up within the company.”

Advancement might seem like the only right answer to give to this question, but thinking of your goals in terms of a one line track to the top is actually rather limiting. Teague says personal goals as well as professional goals can play into your answer here, particularly if they could intersect (i.e., Wanting to learn another language).

Once again, get specific. Your interviewer wants to know what motivates you. Try to think beyond a larger paycheck and detail some goals that make you excited about what you do.

A better approach: Explain that you’re motivated to advance as a professional, and list some particular goals you’d like to achieve (both personal and professional).

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

What NOT to say: “No, I think you covered them all.”

This answer if often on the tip of everyone’s jittery tongue at the close of an interview, but it reveals no preparation or willingness to research the industry, according to Smith. As this is often the question that will conclude the interview, your response has the potential to leave a particularly lasting impression.

Smith suggests thanking interviewers for what they did cover and offering at least one, in-depth question. You can riff off something they already mentioned in the interview or bring up something you found in your research. “This shows a business maturity and a professional approach,” Smith adds.

A better approach: Ask about a recent announcement you encountered in your research or ask the interviewer about what brought them to the company.

About Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college that is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through high-demand and flexible educational programs. Since 1900, the College has been committed to academic innovation and empowering students to pursue a college degree. Rasmussen College offers certificate and diploma programs through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in seven schools of study including business, health sciences, nursing, technology, design, education and justice studies.

Source: rasmussen.edu/student-life/blogs/college-life/cliche-answers-to-the-most-common-interview-questions/

This Latina Is Using Her Own Experience With Blindness To Bring About Change In The Workforce

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Over the course of her career, Kathy Martinez has worked with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, served under two administrations, and led Wells Fargo’s Disability and Accessibility strategy — when she was just starting her career, her counselor at the California Department of Rehabilitation believed that her career aspirations would not extend past working at a lock factory, all because she was blind.

“My counselor at the California Department of Rehabilitation had minimal expectations for people with disabilities and tended to offer low-levels jobs with no hope for growth,” explains Martinez. “Although his expectations for me were low, I had people in my life who knew I could do more, and were behind me every step of the way while I pursued my degree.”

While it took Martinez 13 years to graduate from college, the later start in her career has not prevented her from making an impact where it matters most to her — ensuring that those living with disabilities are not discounted.

“My passion is to help create a society and work environment where people with all abilities are able to obtain an education, secure a good job, buy a house, and be successful,” shares Martinez. “This includes building a society that is physically and digitally accessible, and help change attitudes about the capabilities of people with disabilities and our desire to contribute to our communities and corporations.”

Martinez’s own career has helped moved the needle forward in how those with disabilities are both treated and see themselves in the workforce. She has made it a point to both champion inclusivity within companies, while not erasing that humanity and dignity should be prevalent values in a company culture, regardless of the employee.

“My focus is on delivering an experience that recognizes disability as a natural part of the human condition and helping people with disabilities fully engage with the company to succeed financially,” shares Martinez. “With a more accessible workplace, more people with disabilities will be on the payroll rather than rely on benefits and, ultimately, increase their capacity to be productive members of their communities.”

Below Martinez shares further thoughts on how companies should be expanding their cultures to champion those with disabilities, what advice she has for Latinas, and her biggest lesson learned.

Vivian Nunez: What are your goals in changing how those with disabilities are able to access career opportunities?

Kathy Martinez: When I was growing up I never saw people with disabilities who worked at banks unless they were in entry-level jobs. Today financial institutions, like Wells Fargo, are hiring people with disabilities at all levels. I never imagined I would have the job title of senior vice president at Wells Forgo or Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. And now that I have attained those titles, I want other people, such as Latinos and people with disabilities, to know that they can achieve their professional goals, including the position of CEO.

One of my key goals is to ensure that more people with disabilities are at all levels of the career ladder. That is why was passionate in helping develop and roll out Wells Fargo’s Diverse Leaders Program for People with Diverse Abilities. This unique three-day program enables team members, who identify as individuals with a disability, understand, and embrace their strengths, overcome challenges, and learn how their differences help them add value as leaders on the Wells Fargo team.

Another goal is to get more people to serve as a mentor and mentee to others with disabilities. I serve as a mentor for people of all abilities inside and outside of the company, and continue to learn what it means to be a team member of choice so that I can share that information with the Latino and disabilities communities.

Nunez: What role did you play in the Obama administration?

Martinez: I consider disability an issue that is important to both political parties. From 2009 – 2015 I served as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.

I also worked for President George W. Bush’s administration for seven years,    serving as a member of the National Council on Disability and as a member of the U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on Disability and Foreign Policy.

Nunez: What advice do you have for Latinas who are navigating both a disability and building lasting careers?

Martinez: Find a mentor and set high expectations and goals for yourself. I have had mentors with and without disabilities, men, women, and people of all ethnicities and backgrounds, and have learned something from every one of them.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Why is Professional Woman’s Magazine a top magazine for professional business women?

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Professional Woman

Given that 2018 has been cited as the “Year of the Woman,” it only makes sense that there be reputable, and relevant publications like “Professional Woman’s Magazine” to connect professional business women all over the nation.

Today, women are more engaged, energized and determined than ever. Issues that were long ignored are finally coming to the surface, and women are beginning to speak up and use their voices and influence to demand real change.

In the workplace, professional business women have made huge strides in the past twenty or thirty years, but statistics show that there is still more to achieve. As one of the nation’s fastest-growing magazines, Professional Woman’s Magazine promotes the advancement of multicultural women in all aspects of business and employment to ensure equal opportunity.

It is important that women feel supported, respected and represented and that is what makes Professional Woman’s Magazine a top magazine for professional business women.

The magazine covers news that ranges from professional concerns to civic affairs, trends, diversity careers and business. Every issue includes articles on education, finance, health, technology, travel, arts, lifestyle and family issues– all topics that impact the professional business woman.

Professional Woman’s Magazine, provides the latest, most important diversity news, covering virtually every industry, business and profession. This includes up-to-date statistics on workforce diversity as well as business-to-business trends. We offer both recruitment and business opportunities, along with accurate, timely conferences and event calendars. And, just as important, we spotlight inspiring role models and noteable mentors.

Looking for tips on how to boost your LinkedIn profile and land your dream job? Or maybe, you are an entrepreneur looking for a guide to start your own business.

Professional Woman’s Magazine gathers these types of informative, helpful  topics in one place.

And yes, Professional Woman’s Magazine does share articles featuring celebrity women, but on closer look you’ll see they’ve found celebrities who uphold the same values as the professional business woman.

We’ve highlighted inspiring celebrity business-minded women like Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu and Ellen Degeneres on our magazine covers and we shared an article about model Karlie Kloss helping girls learn code.

We believe that Professional Woman’s Magazine is a top magazine for women because women have a different perspective in work/life balance, customer service and employee relationships. They usually have a greater focus on community and charity causes and maybe even some contrasting views on entrepreneurship.

Based on their experiences, women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens and, in turn, do things differently. We’ll be quick to note that we do not mean better, just differently.

This is reflected in the kinds of businesses women start. Whether it’s Priyanka Chopra, star of the ABC series “Quantico” who is standing up for girls as UNICEF’s Global Goodwill Ambassador, Estée Lauder, who turned a passion for skincare and make-up into a beauty empire, or Oprah Winfrey, whose media business continues to help women reach their potential.

As times continue to change there are more and more role models for professional business women to look up to and “Professional Woman’s Magazine” aims to honor these women. There are so many women in the world who can show us how to strategize, how to combine work and family and how to give back.

These are the stories that are going to empower other women to create a legacy of their own and that is what Professional Woman’s Magazine is about.

This Latina Built A Community To Encourage Other Latinas To Travel The World

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There was no way for Olga Maria Czarkowski to know that the condition that she was once bullied for would become the driving force behind her biggest passion project — Dreams in Heels — but she’s thankful it did.

“I was born with a leg condition whereby my Achilles tendon is shorter than average. I cannot walk with my feet flat on the ground; I can only walk on my tippy toes. Thus, heels are much more comfortable for me,” explains Czarkowski. “This experience made me stronger and taught me never to judge others based on their looks and inspired me to turn something negative (as being bullied) into something positive, my brand.”

Dreams in Heels is a lifestyle blog that Czarkowski started 5 years ago as a way to give a home both to her personal story and every day adventures. Since then she’s amassed a dedicated following that spans across her blog and her travel-centered community, Latinas Who Travel.

“Once I launched the group through word of mouth, people started to join and say how much they dreamed about finding a group like this, a community for them to connect with other Latinas who have the same passion for traveling the world, or wish to travel, and want to learn from others who are already doing it,” explains Czarkowski.

Through her brands, Czarkowski aims to connect Latinas with each other and with the possibility of exploring the world on their own terms.

Below she shares her entrepreneurial story, traveling advice, and how she’s overcome her most challenging moments.

Vivian Nunez: How would you describe your trajectory as an entrepreneur? 

Olga Maria Czarkowski: I think it all started when I realized how much I did not like working in a traditional office setting and not being myself. I really was craving freedom, openness to create and just do more. Then it all started by my exploring all of the areas of interest to me (like fashion/beauty, charity work, organizing events, social media marketing, traveling, writing, photography) and then finding something that combines all of the above.

I think that it is okay to explore, to evolve, and to transition into different careers or niches. When you cannot find what fuels your passion, oftentimes you need to be creative and reinvent yourself. I do feel proud of each of my steps and of everything I’ve learned along my journey. For me, it is all about the journey, even if I’m still a work in progress.

Nunez: What is one of your biggest lessons learned when it came to starting a brand based off of your own personal story? 

Czarkowski: I think for me, there are a few lessons that I’ve rolled into one: Learn how to say no, know your worth, charge for your time and separate your business from your personal life. I had to learn all of these the hard way.

Oftentimes, when you start a brand off your personal story, people try to mix personal with business; they ask for favors, they do not value your time and try to get things from you as a person rather than a business. As much as it is nice to help others, you do need to realize your worth and remember how hard you had to work to start a brand and maintain it.

Nunez: What advice do you have for other Latina storytellers and entrepreneurs who are looking to start a movement/brand based off their own stories? 

Czarkowski: My best advice would be that personal branding and social media are key to being successful. Throughout the years I’ve dedicated myself to building my personal brand/image and also my social media network. You always need to be aware of what you share online and offline. In addition, it is more important to convey who you are, where you are going and your mission to others. A strong personal brand can help you transition to different careers

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

The Pipeline: How A Mars 2020 Engineer Started Her Career Later In Life

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When Melony Mahaarachchi interviewed at SpaceX in 2010, she was asked a question that would make most candidates go into panic mode: “We hire rock stars at SpaceX. You just presented a failed project. How do you expect us to think you’re a rock star?”

Mahaarachchi didn’t skip a beat when she answered, “Two reasons: Number one, rock stars are rock stars because they failed at the beginning and learned from their mistakes. Number two, be happy I failed before joining SpaceX so that failure is not at your cost.”

That searing reply was a bit unusual, but it was carefully crafted well before the presentation. Mahaarachchi, then applying for her first job, was different from many of her fellow applicants. The recent UCLA engineering grad was at least 10 years older, with two young children, and no summer internship experience. (“I was busy doing summertime with my kids.”)

But Mahaarachchi knew she was qualified enough to get the job as a mechanical design engineer and excel at it. So when an on-site interview was scheduled with only three days to prep, she started searching for a way to stand out in the competitive pool of candidates. Mahaarachchi was asked to create a 30-minute presentation on an engineering project. The audience would include her hiring manager, the VP of her prospective department, and the entire team of people in that department. She was also told that Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and tech wunderkind, might attend.

Mahaarachchi spent an entire day learning everything she could about Musk, reading blogs and biographies and watching every interview she could find on YouTube. She took notes: Musk liked going to Burning Man, he sold a computer game when he was 12, and as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, he reportedly turned a frat house into a nightclub. Since there’s so much coverage of Musk, Mahaarachchi confesses she also found out about “a lot of private things you should not know about your future boss.”

But the perceptive engineer derived a larger, more important message from her research on Musk and SpaceX: “I realized he was a man with many failures. At that time, SpaceX had not even launched the Dragon.”

So she decided to appeal to her future boss’s history with losing, and present her senior project from UCLA — one which her entire team had failed. It was a risky, but clever move, that ultimately paid off. By the time she arrived home, Mahaarachchi had a job offer waiting in her inbox.

Mahaarachchi’s journey to that first job was anything but usual, but it speaks to the persistence that has always defined her.

Continue onto Refinery29 to read the complete article.

The Three Smartest Ways To Use LinkedIn Early In Your Career

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Why bother using LinkedIn when you don’t have much job experience to put on your profile page? Here’s why–and how to do it.

LinkedIn is a great place to build a network, diversify your knowledge, and find new career opportunities–even when you’re early in your career. Students and recent grads may neglect LinkedIn, thinking it’s premature to start investing time into the platform before actually building up a solid amount of work experience. That’s a mistake.

I’ve found unexpected opportunities lurking within LinkedIn that simply require some ingenuity to take advantage of. Here are a few tips that have worked for me in the past few years I’ve spent in the tech industry after graduating.

1. START NETWORKING CONVERSATIONS YOU CAN TAKE OFFLINE

Yes, LinkedIn is kind of like a database. You load it up with information on your interests, objectives, skills, and accomplishments so the leaders and peers you connect with can tell what you’re all about. Obviously, when someone checks out your profile, you’ll want it to be thorough and compelling.

But all the work you put into your profile is just a springboard for reaching out to other professionals in your industry. Whenever you come across someone you’d like to connect with on LinkedIn, your real objective should be to take the conversation you strike up offline as quickly as possible. Don’t treat LinkedIn the way you might operate on Instagram, racking up contacts you have no intention of interacting with in the real world.

LinkedIn is a means to an end, and that end goal should always be real-time conversations–ideally face to face, or by phone if necessary when you live in different places and don’t plan to visit soon. Using LinkedIn to set up face-to-face meetings with new people is a crucial and underutilized tactic for younger professionals working to build their networks in a meaningful way.

2. TREAT LINKEDIN LIKE A FREE SEMINAR

Learning quickly at a new job is one of the most exciting and daunting tasks entry- and associate-level workers usually face. First you have to learn your role and size up the work culture. Then you’ve got to get a handle on the industry and understand how your company is competing in the market. LinkedIn can actually help you with all of that.

So search for and join groups, follow leaders, comment on conversations, and share interesting stories. You can start by following industry-specific groups, first as an observer, and then as a participant as you get more comfortable. Make sure you also pay attention to what your company and its competitors are posting. Staying engaged–even by checking in on the chatter just once a week or so–can help you stay informed and ahead of the game.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How to knock your next interview out of the park

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Give your interviewer a firm handshake. Make eye contact. Answer each question succinctly. Have questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

If you’ve had a job, then you’ve had an interview, and you likely know those interview essentials and these interview questions.

But if you want to move from being a viable candidate to the hiring manager’s top choice, you’ll need to go well beyond the basics. While the way you dress and present yourself is important, it will be the substance of your responses and interactions that leave the interviewer picturing you in the role—and, more importantly, being unable to imagine that anyone else could be a better fit.

Convey these four messages in your next interview, and you’re sure to hit a home run.

1. You Were Indispensable in Your Previous Jobs

Hiring managers want to hire people who have a history of getting things done. The logic goes that if you were successful in other jobs, then you’re likely to be successful in this one. Truly, nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs.

So, your first task in the interview is to describe how indispensable you were in your previous position. Now, you can’t just say, “I was the best Junior Analyst they’d ever seen, and the place will never be the same now that I’m gone”—you have to show the interviewer by providing specific examples of the actions you took and what results came because of them.

These are two of the four components of the S-T-A-R method for responding to interview questions. To use this method, set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a Junior Analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result).

“In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 5%.”

Don’t worry that someone else could have done it if they were in your position—they weren’t. It was your job, your actions, your results.

2. You Will Be Awesome in This New Job

Unfortunately, success in one role doesn’t necessarily translate to being a fit in another role—and to convince the interviewer that you’ll be able to hit the ground running and be awesome in the new job, you must explain how your skills translate. In particular, you want to highlight those skills that specifically address the issues that the hiring manager is facing.

To understand those issues, conduct industry research prior to the interview. Are there certain themes that come up again and again in job descriptions in your field, like being a shark at sales or a detail-oriented perfectionist? Also, listen closely to what the interviewer is asking—often, she’ll ask leading questions or share challenges that others before you have had in the role.

For example, say the interviewer asks, “We have tight deadlines and have to turn around our projects quickly. Can you work under time pressure?”

Don’t just say yes—give a response that showcases your skills and how they’d transfer, like: “Absolutely. In my last job, we often had short deadlines. I was great at managing these situations because I focused on consistent communication with the team, and used my organization skills to stay on top of everything we had going on.” Then, provide a specific example.

3. You’re the Perfect Fit for This Job

Companies have interview guidelines designed to hire the most qualified employees based on experience and aptitude, but let’s be honest: Often a big factor is likability.

Hiring managers don’t generally hire people that they don’t connect or vibe with. Of course, they don’t often say that—they cloak it in statements like, “She’s smart, but I just don’t think that she is the right fit for the role.” But the truth is, you won’t get hired if you’re not liked.

So, to get the job, you must connect with the interviewer. I’m not suggesting that you crack jokes or become buddies—but you should be confident and interact as if you’re already working together, through eye contact, active listening, smiling, and avoiding nervous laughter. I call it “relaxed formality.”

It’s an interview, so don’t get too comfortable, but try to be yourself and have a natural conversation.

4. You Really Want This Job

You’re almost there! But, it’s not enough that you’re capable of doing the job and would be pleasant to work with—you have to actually want the job. Hiring managers, after all, are looking for employees that really want to be there and will be part of the team for the long haul.

So, you want to show enthusiasm for the role. Not bouncy cheerleader “spirit,” but the type of enthusiasm that comes from understanding what the role entails, how you can add value in the role based on your previous experiences, and what new challenges it offers to you for growth and development.

Think, “One of the reasons I’m so excited about this role is because it allows me to leverage my client management skills [your expertise] with larger clients on more complex deals [the new challenge].”

And, of course, you’ll want to follow up with a genuine, seal-the-deal thank you note!

Read more great career advice articles from The Muse here

Author
Nicole Lindsay

Guide to Starting Your Own Small Business

LinkedIn

By: Jessica Goodman

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had the Sunday scaries. As in, those sinking, pre-Monday feels you get before another week at your whatever job. Yeah, it can be a slog — one you needn’t do any ­longer. If you’ve ever fantasized about being your own boss or setting your own hours, there is a solution. A good one: Start your own business.

There’s never been a better time for a woman to strike out on her own. In 2017, there were 11.6 million female-owned companies in America, generating an astonishing $1.7 trillion in profits, according to American Express. Women now make up 40 percent of new entrepreneurs. Why can’t you be one of them?

You just need the right tools, people, and yes, money on your side…and this comprehensive guide. It’s time to turn those Sundays into can’t-effing-wait-for-Mondays.

Always known you’d kill it as a personal trainer or long dreamed of opening a ­coffee shop? Get it, girl. But if you’re ­struggling to define the something you want to start, follow these steps.

Find Your Idea

Ask yourself: What’s missing in my area? What do friends always complain about? “Go into the world looking for problems,” says Amy Wilkinson, a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of The Creator’s Code. “When you find solutions, that’s where your business idea will be.” Maybe your town has great hiking trails but no tour guides or your city has a dozen yoga studios but no cycling classes. Just pick something you’re actually into, says Wilkinson. “When it’s your company, you need to be committed.”

Then, figure out who you’re up against, says Tina Wells, CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group. If you want to open a gluten-free pizza shop, list every pizza place within 10 miles, then tally how many do gluten-free. None? You’re good to go. But if you’ll be competing with two spots in the next town, think again. (If you’re dead set on slinging that GF crust, you must have stuff that sets you apart: original toppings, 24/7 delivery, etc.)

Finally, ID your customer. “If you can’t name your first five customers right away, yours isn’t a good idea,” says Wells. So if you’re starting an SAT tutoring service, you should be able to say, “My friend Maria’s sister would pay for this. Ditto my cousin Nikki.”

Write A Legit Business Plan

One study found that 78 percent of unsuccessful companies crash because they didn’t ace this crucial step. “But you don’t need an MBA to write a good one,” says Elizabeth Gore, ­president of Alice, a digital ­business ­adviser for women. You can download easy-to-follow ­templates from Alice, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), or the Kauffmann Foundation’s FastTrac. Spend extra time on the below key factors, and seek help from SCORE, a nonprofit that matches entrepreneurs with mentors.

The Mission Statement
It should be hyperspecific and short — a few sentences max, says Gore. The tone needs to match the overall vibe of your brand.

The Background Research
To nail this section, you’ll need to amass in-depth details on similar businesses. If you’re opening a smoothie shop, go to every existing one you can and take notes on how long it takes customers to be served, what menu items are most popular, how many employees work at any one time, prices, and how the space is laid out. Are customers taking selfies? If so, perhaps your joint will feature a graphic selfie wall. Insta-success.

The Financial Proposal
Create Excel docs with estimates of how much money you’ll need to launch, how much you expect to make in the first year, how much you expect to spend in the first year…and whether you’ll break even or make a profit. In 2002, when Jeni Britton Bauer started Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in her home in Columbus, Ohio, she asked herself: How much can I charge for ice cream? If I got 10 people to buy from me every day, how much would we make? Would that total be enough for me to buy ingredients, pay myself, and pay back any loans?

Make It Official

Settle on a name that’s short, unique, and easily searchable. Try to think in two ­syllable words (á la Starbucks, Twitter, Facebook, Tinder). Bonus points for wording that carries personal meaning you can later use to promote your brand’s backstory. Go to USPTO.gov to see if someone has already trademarked your first choice. If not, apply ASAP with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the same website.

Then, register your ­business with state and local governments to make it totally legal. The whole process should cost about $300. (Google “[your state] SBA” for help.)

And lock down a URL. Typically, [brand name]+[industry] setups work well (for example, MILKmakeup.com). But check what’s available by searching the WHOIS.net database. Claim your domain name via host sites like NameCheap, DreamHost, or GoDaddy, all of which charge around $15 a year.

Next, get an Employer Identification Number. You’ll need one to open a business bank account, apply for licenses and permits, and pay taxes. Apply for free at IRS.gov.

Then you can open a work-only bank account. Use this — not your personal one — to pay for legal and insurance fees, manufacturing costs, office supplies, and whatever else you need to keep the lights on. And once you launch, apply for a business credit card, which tends to have higher credit limits than personal cards.

Continue onto Cosmopolitan to read the complete article.