How Shavone Charles Created Her Dream Job In Tech

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Shavone Charles holds many titles. From being a musician and artist to her role as Head of Global Music and Youth Culture Communications at Instagram and recent founder of a passion project, Magic in Her Melanin, Charles is undoubtedly known to her peers and the surrounding tech and entertainment industries as being a renaissance woman and connoisseur of culture.

The term, “Do It For The Culture”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is a statement requesting that someone carry out a specific action for benefit of their shared culture. Charles is doing just that with not only her work in Silicon Valley but for black creatives globally. With her deep Trinidadian roots, Charles is passionate about maintaining her self-identity while creating an environment of inclusivity for women of color in tech.

Before she was trailblazing a new path for future generations, millennials and black women in tech, or creating her own job title at multi-billion dollar companies like Twitter and Instagram, she was a San Diego native and first-generation college graduate from UC Merced, just trying to figure it out. Upon graduating in 2012, Charles snagged several high-profile entertainment and communications based internships at Google, BET Networks, Capitol Hill and The Department of Justice. Her big break happened when she was the presented with the opportunity to create her own role and title at Twitter.

At Twitter, Shavone established her niche career focus on culture-focused communications and social marketing, business partnerships and data analysis with a close lens on music, online communities and youth culture. Upon joining the Twitter team, Shavone created her own role, as the first person to join her team and head up the company’s global music and culture communications, with a focus on data, often working on efforts tied music partnerships and high-priority product launches and acquisitions (including Vine and Periscope). During her time at Twitter, Shavone also remotely oversaw all of the company’s communications efforts for Brazil and Canada out of San Francisco and employed a number of successful global culture-driven communications programs tied to major entertainment and consumer moments in market (including Rock In Rio, Brazil’s Fashion Week, Juno Awards and more). She led content management and curation for the official @TwitterMusic account and helped grow it by over 5 million followers, as result of social campaigns with talent and highlighting the best uses of Twitter and Vine in music.

In addition to launching PR and social campaigns, Charles had the unique opportunity to create the first-ever employee resource group for African-American employees, aptly named Twitter BlackBirds. Her role at Twitter, catapulted her into a new realm of visibility and influence, leading her to head up communications and culture at Instagram. Charles has always been intrigued by the notion of connecting diverse groups of people through social media and cultivating an accepting community for people to have the choice to share commonalities.

Technology has allowed the culture to be seen on a global scale, with creatives now at the forefront of the movement and art form. It’s not a “niche” community anymore and people are using the internet to build a community around their interests,” which she said at Forbes I.D.E.A Summit.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Professionalism in the Workplace

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Think back to your first job. Was it babysitting your neighbor’s kids? Did you work at the local fast-food restaurant during high school? While you earned money during your stints at those jobs, you likely did not have to interview in formal dress to earn your position.

Now that you are looking for a job you can turn into your career, you’re starting to wonder what’s expected. What is appropriate workplace behavior? What should you do on your first day to make a good impression? What can you do to stand out and rise through the ranks—or at the very least to not attract negative attention?

Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s natural to be nervous about beginning a serious job. While it’s true the norms and standards for workplaces can vary, some aspects of professionalism are universal. We asked professionals from a variety of industries to share some of their foundational tips for professionalism in any workplace.

8 Tips to Help You Improve Your Professional Manner

Everyone wants to hit the ground running when they start a new job—the following advice will ensure you look and act the part.

1. Dress to impress

While this one may seem obvious, it can be hard knowing what the right dress code is for a new job. Art Gelwicks, executive consultant at The Idea Pump, suggests a good rule of thumb is to dress one “level” better than what’s expected. “Don’t overdress, but remember for the first few months, every impression you make will be a first impression,” Gelwicks says.

And although many companies are beginning to veer away from traditional business attire, it’s always best to ask beforehand to make sure you are up to date on expectations.

Autumn Gray, digital marketing specialist at Goodmanson Construction, recommends asking your hiring manager what the company dress code is before your first day. “You’re already the new kid on the block, so you don’t want to dress above and beyond your coworkers.”

This can be a bit of a fine line to walk. If the dress code is casual, you probably don’t want to come in wearing a suit and tie. However, it’s always better to ask and err on the side of more formal attire your first few days until you get a feel for the office—the worst case is you may get a funny smile or two as your coworkers think back to the outfits they showed up to work in on their first few days.

2. Write things down

Your first day at your new job will likely be a whirl of faces and information. To help you remember information, write things down.

“Always bring a notebook and pen to every meeting with anyone—especially your superiors—no matter how small or quick you think it might be,” says Jennifer Schwarzkopf, founder and creative director of Estelle. “If you don’t take notes, it conveys that you don’t deem the conversation as valuable and are clearly unprepared for the expectations or follow-up.”

Don’t be afraid to ask what your next steps are or what they need from you—having a running list of things to follow up on or do will keep you organized.

3. Watch what you say

There’s nothing wrong with being friends with your coworkers; it can make for a better work environment overall. But always be mindful of what you say during work hours.

Meredith McKamey, owner of The Raw Spa, says the most important part of being professional is knowing when to keep your opinions and thoughts to yourself. That means no complaining about your boss, not gossiping with coworkers at the watercooler, keeping your personal life out of the workplace, and not shouting your political and religious views everywhere.

“It’s easy to choose the right clothes and set an alarm clock. But keeping yourself from saying ‘That’s not fair!’ when your boss gets down on you? That’s going to take some practice,” McKamey says.

4. Proofread your emails

Even if you are writing a casual email to a coworker, it’s important to always double-check your written work. “Writing clear, grammatically correct English and being careful about promptly responding is a rare soft skill that every graduate should learn,” says Gil Gildner, co-founder of Discosloth.

Being professional in your communication is essential. Having an email riddled with typos, slang and emoticons can damage your reputation and discredit you as a professional. Some companies may have more casual communication tools, such as Slack, but it is still important to present yourself as a professional there, as well. Take the time to pause and read over what you’ve written—even the best writers make plenty of errors in their rush to get their thoughts written out.

5. Come up with solutions

It’s only natural that after you settle in to a position, you will encounter different problems. Your first instinct may be to run to your manager and ask, “What do I do?” However, understand that your coworkers and manager are busy. Taking the time to think through problems and come up with solutions will show your critical-thinking skills.

“Offer solutions and not complaints. There’s nothing less professional that being the one that stirs the pot and causes trouble. Be the problem-solver, not the problem maker,” says Gina Folk, of Folk Enterprises.

Even if you’re not sure what the best solution to a problem is, taking the time to compose your thoughts about where you’ve looked for answers and proposing potential options is almost always a better look than immediately asking for help.

6. Be punctual

This may also seem like a given, but be on time for all aspects of the job. Arrive early and stay late if necessary; going that extra mile shows your dedication and gives you the opportunity to meet your coworkers and be involved.

Be on time for meetings, too. “People are busy at work. Showing up late to a meeting expresses disrespect to other’s time and is one of my biggest pet peeves in workplace professionalism,” says Levi Olmstead, Community Manager at G2 Crowd.

7. Be polite

Many of your coworkers at your new job will understand how nerve-wracking beginning a new job can be—they all had a first day, too. However, don’t let your nerves get the best of you and stop you from being friendly and approachable.

“Find a way to remember names and position titles as you go. Shake hands and look people in the eye,” says Lisa Sansom, organizational and leadership development coach at LVS Consulting.

By being polite, receptive, and respectful, you can make a good first impression that will last.

8. Take initiative

The work doesn’t stop once you are hired. Proving yourself worthy of the position from your first day forward can be a way to establish yourself in your company.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, suggests coming to meetings prepared. Spend time researching and go to meetings with ideas of your own. In meetings, try to participate, even if it’s to ask questions. Speaking up and showing your interest in the work will help you establish yourself as a hard worker and vital member of the team.

Ask how you can help and find ways to take on additional work when appropriate. But remember to keep it within reason—overloading yourself and failing to meet deadlines doesn’t help or impress anyone.

Author-Anna Heinrich

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/professionalism-in-the-workplace/

Here’s How This Latina Navigated Her Transition From Finance To Tech

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Marlene Arroyo may have started her career in finance, but it was the human aspect of any job that always drew her in. From Dell to her current role as Vice President of People Operations at Liftoff Mobile Inc., a high growth tech company in Silicon Valley, she has made it her career mission to champion employees and embrace how their humanity impacts their jobs.It was knowing what her career mission was at its core that made it possible for her to transition from one career path to the next.

“Philosophically, it became apparent to me that human resources was my calling when, as a finance professional, I’d enjoy spending most of my time dissecting costs associated to SG&A, training, hiring and coaching,” shares Arroyo. “Mechanically, the way I was able to make this transition was by having informational meetings with HR executives, taking evening courses, asking for help and being open about my aspirations to my sponsors. While the art of Human Resources came naturally to me, to differentiate myself, I needed to supercharge the impact I delivered by drawing from my finance experience and ensuring that my strategic recommendation were backed by data.”

Now, she uses her skill-set to help others achieve the kind of growth that she’s constantly challenged herself to work towards.

“My biggest motivation [through this journey] has been my family,” says Arroyo. “I feel incredibly blessed to be the daughter of immigrant parents who instilled in me work ethic and resilience. While my parents still do not completely understand what I do, they know I work hard and they are my biggest fans. Each education milestone and career progression has been theirs as well. Their American Dream lives in me and owning that, keeps me motivated .”

Growing up in the Latinx culture and within her own family unit can explain in part why Arroyo has felt the desire to pay it forward to other generations by way of her career.

Below she shares advice for Latinxs who are searching for advice on how to land their dream job, how to self-care if you’re in the position of constantly pouring into others, and how to make sure you’re learning the most from your current job.

Vivian Nunez: How has your Latinidad influenced your career?

Marlene Arroyo: Passion, humility, honor, perseverance – are all a part of my core values that I hold because of my Latinidad. Knowing that there is a lot more work to be done to help young Latinas see that they, too, can achieve their goals, keeps me in the arena.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

UCLA neurosurgeon named to National Academy of Medicine

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Election honors Dr. Linda Liau’s contributions to health care and science

Dr. Linda Liau, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon-scientist and chair of the neurosurgery department at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been elected by her peers to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Membership honors people who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements, commitment to service and contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

A scientist in UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Liau has devoted the past 25 years to developing and refining treatment strategies for glioblastoma, the most deadly form of brain tumor. Her research in the early 1990s led to her creating one of the first personalized vaccines, using a patient’s own tumor specimen and white blood cells to activate the immune system to fight off cancer.

“I have always had a huge drive to prove that things that seem impossible can actually be possible someday,” Liau said. “When I first started working on brain tumor immunotherapy, everyone told me that you can’t mount an immune response in the brain. Now we know that’s not true.”

Recognized for her expertise in complicated tumor surgery, Liau attracts patients from around the world and has performed more than 2,000 brain tumor surgeries. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for the past two decades, and she has written more than 160 research articles, along with several book chapters and textbooks.

She also is a trailblazer in her specialty: Just 6 percent of licensed neurosurgeons in the U.S. are female, and Liau is only the second woman in the nation — and the first Asian-American woman — to lead an academic department of neurosurgery. As chair, Liau directs a clinical team of more than 60 neurosurgeons, neuroscientists, residents, fellows and other specialists in the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery, one of the world’s foremost centers for neurosurgical research, clinical care and education.

Continue onto UCLA Newsroom to read the complete article.

Job Reference Misconceptions That Can Damage Your Career

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young business woman on phone

While there are many factors for the job seeker to consider in landing that new job, one stands out as particularly critical—and often overlooked. Your employment references will surely be vetted by prospective employers and can ultimately make-or-break the hiring decision.

Unfortunately, job seekers are too often unaware or misinformed of how job reference vetting really works. Here are 6 false perceptions that explain why countless job seekers go for months, or years, without landing that next job:

Myth No. 1:
Companies cannot say anything negative about a former employee.

Reality:

While countless companies have policies dictating that only title, dates of employment, and salary history can be discussed, their employees—particularly at the management level—frequently violate such policies. Former supervisors are particularly notorious in this regard, e.g. the boss with whom you had philosophical differences, was jealous of you, or perhaps even have harassed you.

Myth No. 2
Most corporations direct reference check requests to their Human Resources (HR) departments, and they are trained to ensure that nothing negative will be said about me.

Reality:

Most Human Resources professionals will indeed follow proper protocol. However, be warned that some will not. When asked whether a former employee is eligible for rehire, some will indicate they are not—and may go on to explain why this is the case. Even if they indicate “not eligible” and offer no further explanation, a potential employee is unlikely to take the risk of hiring you without knowing the reason why a past employer has described you as ineligible for rehire.

Myth No. 3
Assuming HR has nothing negative to say about me, I should be OK with that company, reference-wise.

Reality:

Prospective employers have figured out that former supervisors are much more likely to offer revealing commentary about a company’s former employees. Your supervisor(s) knew you personally and has formed opinions about you, favorable or otherwise. When asked for their opinion, supervisors frequently forget, or are unaware of, company policies that typically instruct them to refer incoming reference inquiries to HR.

Prospective employers will invariably seek this supervisory input. (How many times have you been asked “May we contact your former supervisor?”) For this reason, it is critical that you are aware not only of how HR will respond to reference inquiries about you but also how your former supervisor(s) will respond.

Myth No. 4
I should have my references listed on my resume and distribute them together.

Reality:

You never want to list your references on your resume or indicate “References Provided Upon Request.” You do not want companies that may have little/no interest in hiring you, bothering your references. What’s more, you may be wrongly assuming that the references you list truly “have your back.” Countless job seekers offer up the names of references that ultimately provide lukewarm or unfavorable commentary about them.

Instead, job seekers should cultivate their management references carefully, treating them with respect and updating them periodically as a courtesy. In addition, the candidate should have a list of their references readily available (in the same format/font as their resume) to be given to prospective employers. When offered at the conclusion of an interview—in a highly professional format—it can create a very proactive (and favorable) ending impression.

You should personally check your key references by utilizing a firm like Allison & Taylor, a third-party reference-checking organization that identifies the commentary that previous employers will offer about you to potential new employers. You will want to ensure that your key references will truly offer supportive commentary about you to your potential new employers. You will also want to identify what your previous supervisors/HR representatives will say about you as they will be regarded by employers as more important than the personal references you list.

Myth No. 5:
I took legal action against my former company, and they are now not allowed to say anything.

Reality:

They may have been instructed not be able to say anything definitive, but do not put it past them to make your life difficult. There have been countless instances where a former boss or an HR staffer has said, “Hold on a minute while I get the legal file to see what I am allowed to say about this former employee.” Most employers are uncomfortable hiring someone who has a legal history, probably dashing your job prospects.

Myth No. 6:
Even if I have a negative reference, there is no way for me to prevent them from continuing it.

Reality:

Your first step is to obtain documentation that a reference(s) is indeed problematic by utilizing a professional reference-checking firm to document both the verbal input and the tone of voice being offered by your reference. Once a problem reference has been confirmed, the reference-checking firm can identify an employment attorney well versed in assessing possible legal options. Foremost among these—particularly when the negative input does not constitute a violation of state or Federal law—is a “Cease & Desist” letter. Such letters are typically sent by attorneys to the CEO or senior management of the firm where the negative reference is employed, identifying the negative reference by name and the fact that the reference has been documented as offering negative input about the job seeker. The letter also suggests that if the reference-giver continues to offer such negative input, legal action would be contemplated against the firm.

Allison & Taylor Inc. estimates that approximately 50 percent of all reference checks they conduct reflect some degree of employer negativity. The best way to combat this type of career sabotage is to have written documentation of its existence.

Source: Allison Taylor

 

Donna Strickland is the 3rd woman ever to win the Nobel prize in physics

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“I thought there might have been more,” Strickland said, reacting to her win. She shares the prize with two other laser physicists.

The 2018 Nobel prize in physics has been awarded to three scientists — including one woman — for advancing the science of lasers and creating extremely useful tools out of laser beams.

The winners include Arthur Ashkin, 96, a retired American physicist who worked Bell Labs; Gerard Mourou, 74, now at the École Polytechnique in France and University of Michigan; and Donna Strickland, 59, now at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

These scientists are responsible for two important inventions. One is laser tweezers, which allow scientists to manipulate microscopic particles (often viruses and bacteria) within a laser beam. The second is a technology that led to the rapid increase of laser beam intensity, which has allowed for myriad laser-based tools, including the beams commonly used in laser eye surgery.

Ashkin, who took half of the $1 million prize, invented the optical (i.e., laser) tweezers in his work with Bell Labs in the 1980s. Mourou and Strickland worked on laser amplification at the University of Rochester, also in the 1980s.

Astonishingly, Strickland is just the third woman to have ever won the Nobel prize in physics. The prize has not been awarded to a woman since 1963 when Maria Goeppert-Mayer won for her work on atomic structure. That was 55 years ago! The only time a woman was awarded the prize before that was in 1903 when Marie Curie won for her work on radioactivity.

During the Nobel Prize press conference Tuesday morning, Strickland was reminded by a reporter she was the just third woman to win, and immediately responded, “Is that all, really? I thought there might have been more.”

She went on: “We need to celebrate women physicists because we’re out there. Hopefully, in time, it will start to move forward at a faster rate.” The Nobel committee has long been criticized for neglecting to honor women (who have been denied prizes, despite being behindsome incredible discoveries in recent decades.)

Why laser physics is worthy of a Nobel Prize

The Nobel prizes award discoveries and inventions that lead to the betterment of humanity. Strickland, and co-inventor Gerard Mourou, did just that. After lasers, which are focused beams of light, were first invented in the 1960s, the power and intensity they could reach quickly plateaued. That’s where Strickland and Mourou came in.

Continue onto Vox to read the complete article.

Digital Skills Help Narrow the Workplace Gender Gap

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Digitally savvy women are helping to close the gender gap in the workplace.

And digital fluency, the extent to which people embrace and use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective, plays a key role in helping women achieve gender equality and level the playing field.

A new research report from Accenture—Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work—provides empirical proof that women are using digital skills to gain an edge in preparing for work, finding work and advancing at work. The report provides ample evidence that digital fluency acts as an accelerant at every stage of a woman’s career—a powerful one in both education and employment and an increasingly important factor for advancing into the ranks of leadership.

If governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, gender equality could be achieved in 25 years in developed nations, versus 50 years at the current pace. Gender equality in the workplace could be achieved in 45 years in developing nations, versus 85 years at the current pace.

“Women represent an untapped talent pool that can help fill the gap between the skills needed to stay competitive and the talent available,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and chief executive officer. “There is a clear opportunity for governments and businesses to collaborate on efforts that will empower more women with digital skills—and accelerate gender equality in the workforce.”

Although digital fluency clearly helps women train for and gain employment, the relationship between digital fluency and women’s advancement is not as significant. This is expected to change as more millennial women and digital natives move into management; the research found that in the United States, six in 10 millennial women surveyed aspire to be in leadership positions.

While the research determined that digital fluency is having a positive impact on pay for both men and women, the gap in pay between genders is still not closing. Men are, by far, the dominant earners by household across all three generations—Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.

“There are many ways to narrow the gender gap in the workplace, but digital is a very promising avenue,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s group chief executive for North America. “This is a powerful message for all women and girls. Continuously developing and growing your ability to use digital technologies, both at home and in the workplace, has a clear and positive effect at every stage of your career. And it provides a distinct advantage, as businesses and governments seek to fill the jobs that support today’s growing economy.”

Source: Accenture

Top 10 Questions to Ask an Interviewee

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business-woman-doing interview

When it comes to job interviews, preparation is key. But, that sentiment doesn’t just apply to the candidate—it’s equally important for you as the interviewer.

This conversation is your chance to determine whether that applicant is a solid fit the position, your team, and your company in general. However, that information is really only revealed if you pose the right questions.

So, what should you be sure to ask? Here are 10 good interviewing questions to put to work in your next sit-down with a potential employee.

1. What One Skill Makes You the Most Qualified for This Position?

While things like culture fit are important, your focus first and foremost is to find someone who possesses those necessary cut-and-dried qualifications to fill that open position.

That’s why a question like this one is so important. Not only do you get to hear more detail about what that candidate considers to be his core competencies, but it’s also a chance to confirm that he has the appropriate understanding of everything the role entails.

For example, if he touts a skill that’s impressive—but totally irrelevant—that’s a red flag that you’re not on the same page about the major duties of that job.

2. To Date, What Professional Achievement Are You Most Proud of?

Candidates show up to interviews with a goal of impressing you. So, chances are, that applicant is armed and ready with a few major accomplishments up her sleeve.

Whether it’s an award, a certification, or a big project that went exceptionally well, asking the interviewee what in her professional history she’s proudest of will give you a better sense of where her strengths really lie.

Plus, this question offers the chance for her to expand on something she feels good about—which can ease her nerves and help to boost her confidence going into the rest of the interview.

3. Can You Tell Me About a Time When You Overcame a Challenge?

You know that most job seekers absolutely dread these behavioral interview questions. But, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re an effective way for you to gain a better understanding of how that person’s experience translates from paper to the real-world.

This specific question is a popular one, and for good reason. Starting a new job isn’t a walk in the park. And, even after that new employee is established, he’s bound to deal with some roadblocks every now and then—whether it’s a conflict within his team or a project he doesn’t quite know how to get started on.

Getting a grasp on how that person copes with—and, more importantly, tackles—difficult circumstances will help you zero in on the very best fit for that open role.

4. How Would You Describe Your Own Working Style?

While you don’t want to build a completely homogenous team, you do need to make sure that new additions are able to work in a way that doesn’t throw a major wrench into the way things already operate.

For that reason, it’s important that you ask each candidate about her working style. Does she take a really collaborative approach or would she rather work independently? Does she perform well with a lot of direction or is she more of a self starter?

This insight into how each applicant prefers to handle his or her work will be invaluable in determining not only the right match for that job—but for the entire team.

5. What Three Words Would You Use to Describe Your Ideal Work Environment?

In a similar vein, it’s smart to ask what that candidate prefers in terms of atmosphere to ensure you find someone who can not only survive—but thrive—in your existing culture.

Perhaps he states he likes a quieter environment with lots of heads-down work. If your office is extremely fast-paced and high-energy, that could cause some friction. Or, maybe he explains that he prefers a lot of structure and predictability—which there isn’t a lot of in your laid-back startup where everybody wears a lot of hats.

For better or for worse, this question will at least help you determine whether or not that applicant would feel comfortable in the work environment you’ve already fostered.

6. If Hired, What Is the First Thing You Would Tackle in This Position?

This is a great question to ask in a later interview round, when you’re choosing between the final candidates that you’ve narrowed down.

This one is effective for a couple of reasons. First, it’s yet another opportunity to confirm that the interviewee has the right understanding of all that position will be responsible for. Secondly, it gives you the chance to understand her priorities. What does she believe should be at the top of that position’s to-do list?

Last but not least, a question like this one means you can extend beyond the generalities that often come along with interviewing and get some insight into how that candidate would actually perform in that role.

7. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Employer?

Here it is—yet another question that is sure to make every job seeker cringe. Nobody wants to seem like they’re bad-mouthing a previous boss or employer, which makes this one tricky for applicants to answer.

However, posing this question will give you some greater insight into that person’s professional history—as well as help you to identify any red flags (ahem, complaining endlessly about his boss, for example) that might indicate that candidate isn’t the best one for the job.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article

Memo to the Silicon Valley boys’ club: Arlan Hamilton has no time for your BS

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Backstage in the greenroom of the podcast festival where she’s scheduled to appear, Arlan Hamilton is quietly singing the lyrics to Janet Jackson’s “Control.” She’d like to walk on stage as the song plays, but the festival crew has copyright concerns. So instead, she is shimmying offstage in her chair, half-humming the chorus under her breath: “I’m in control / Never gonna stop / Control / To get what I want / Control / I like to have a lot.”

Like everything Hamilton does, the song request is equal parts self-aware and unapologetic. Hamilton knows that she stands out—she is the only black, queer woman to have ever built a venture capital firm from scratch. She also knows that she has a reputation for being direct, particularly when it comes to Silicon Valley biases, and how her own story is portrayed. (Indeed, the song is a jab at Gimlet Media, the podcast festival hosts, who devoted an entire episode of their StartUp series on her to what they saw as her sometimes counterproductive need for control.) But Hamilton exudes calm, even as she attempts, through her L.A.-based firm, Backstage Capital, the near impossible task of disrupting the way that venture investors pick winners and create wealth.

“It was crazy to me that 90% of venture funding was going to white men, when that is not how innovation, intelligence, and drive is dispersed in the real world,” she tells me. “I had no background in finance, but I just saw it as a problem. Maybe it’s because I was coming from such a different place that I could recognize it.”

Three years ago, the then 34-year-old Hamilton arrived in Silicon Valley with no college degree, no network, no money, and a singular focus: to invest in underrepresented founders by becoming a venture capitalist. The story of how the former music-tour manager studied up on investing from her home in Pearland, Texas, and pushed her way into the rarified world of venture capital, scoring investments from the likes of Marc Andreessen and Chris Sacca, has become legendary in the industry. After making contact with Y Combinator president Sam Altman, she bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco. For months she stalked investors by day and slept on the floor of the San Francisco airport at night. She was broke. Finally, in September 2015, she got her first check, for $25,000, from Bay Area angel investor Susan Kimberlin, who believed in Hamilton’s vision that the Valley’s lack of diversity wasn’t a talent-pipeline problem as much as a resources problem: Diverse entrepreneurs needed money. With Kimberlin’s endorsement, Hamilton created Backstage Capital and began investing. Other funding soon followed, from backers including Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Box CEO Aaron Levie. This past June, Hamilton announced that Backstage had exhausted its first three seed funds, doling out between $25,000 and $100,000 to 100 startups in everything from beauty products to business analytics. And at all 100, at least one founder is a woman, person of color, or someone who identifies as LGBTQ.

Now Hamilton is gearing up for Backstage’s next chapter, a $36 million fund dedicated exclusively to black women founders, a demographic that’s glaringly absent in Silicon Valley: Just three dozen black women entrepreneurs, nationwide, have raised more than $1 million in venture funding. Hamilton calls her latest initiative the “It’s about damn time fund.” Her first two $1 million investments, to be announced before the end of the year, will go to existing Backstage portfolio companies. And that’s just the start. This spring, Hamilton will launch the Backstage Accelerator to foster early-stage startups with locations slated for L.A., Philadelphia, and London. She’s also laying the groundwork for a $100 million fund to provide underrepresented founders with even larger checks.

Every nascent VC is under pressure to demonstrate success—Hamilton even more so. Those in Silicon Valley who believe that the next Facebook will be created by a woman or person of color are watching her portfolio closely. Others view Backstage with more skepticism, seeing her funds as relatively inexpensive ways for investors to appear committed to diversity without having to do the hard work internally.

Hamilton shrugs it off. In an industry where privilege begets privilege—and at a time when racial justice in this country seems precarious, at best—she is claiming her seat at the table. “How much of a fist in the air would it be to just be obnoxiously wealthy as a gay black woman?” she wonders. “And [how powerful] to be able to help other people do the same?”

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How This Tech Founder Is Giving The Internet A Face Lift By Changing The Way We Shop

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Shirley Chen’s list of experiences is as diverse as it is impressive: she spent her childhood on China’s national gymnastics team, studied biochemical engineering at Columbia University, interned at Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Vogue, and worked as a media and retail consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

Chen never imagined her resume would include founding a company. But when a former Vogue colleague tapped her on the shoulder to run the marketing and business development for luxury goods brand Moda Operandi, a seed was planted. Chen was tasked with driving customer acquisition with a specific focus on digital e-commerce, and that’s where she spotted a gap in the market.

Companies were so focused on the traffic from traditional platforms like Google and Facebook that they were missing a valuable source of customer acquisition—online content. When consumers wanted to find the trendiest swimsuit, most effective blackout curtains, or best-priced coffee maker, they looked for the answer in online magazines and blogs. The problem with that was two-fold. On the one hand, thanks to an aging internet, many older links on publishers’ pages are dead, leading consumers to 404 pages. On the other, many publishers were using hardcoded, static links to Amazon product pages (some 650 million times per month), meaning consumers didn’t have the opportunity to consider purchasing from other retailers, even if Amazon didn’t have the best price. In either case, it was a lose-lose-lose situation for consumers, advertisers, and publishers alike.

Chen devised a solution with Narrativ, a tech company that’s using AI to #EndThe404 and build a better internet for shoppers by making sure that every time they click on a product link on a publisher’s site, it will lead not just to an active page, but to the retailers with the best price.

“We built a SmartLink technology that repaired broken links online, and we democratized that pipeline that was being hard credited to Amazon through content,” Chen explained. “The mission is to improve the consumer shopping experience and build a better research experience as well when it comes to buying products.”

The results so far have been stellar. In the year since their launch out of stealth mode, Narrativ has raised over $3.5 million in venture capital, rewired more than one billion links, and impacted more than 200 million internet users each month. Narrativ, who has also partnered with notable brands like Dermstore, Ulta Beauty, and New York Magazine, is set to deliver more than $600 million in advertiser value in 2018, and has earned a nod from the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.

Chen stands at the helm of it all, CEO of a game-changing tech company she was once almost too afraid to build. She recalls the nervousness she felt when the idea first came to her. She approached two former employers to build it, but both declined. That’s when Chen’s mentor, head of McKinsey’s North America Media spoke the words that fired her up: “Why don’t you build this thing on your own? I think you’re being a real coward.” She knew that he spoke not to discourage her, but to push her to make a move.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

4 on-campus jobs that can set you up for success after graduation

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One of the first things that college students should do when they arrive to campus is lock down an on-campus job. It’s a great way to make some extra money, meet new people and even earn better grades.

But beyond these academic and financial benefits, on-campus jobs can also help students build their resumes before they enter the workforce.

Hafeez Lakhani, founder of college counseling firm Lakhani Coaching tells CNBC Make It that the key to finding the right on-campus job is identifying an opportunity that aligns with your long-term professional goals. “The best jobs, in general, are ones that appeal to our larger sense of ambition,” he says. Though, he admits, “these are not always easy to find.”

The secret is to be creative. This means actively networking with various departments on campus and, when necessary, finding alternative funding sources. “Yes, there are a multitude of library, dining hall and administrative jobs for students to fill,” says Lakhani. “But if a student can be creative — by seeking funding through grants, for instance — there is a huge payoff.”

Here are four of the best on-campus jobs for students hoping get a head-start on their peers:

Lab assistant

Lab assistant positions offer students interested in the sciences unparalleled professional experience, not to mention high wages. PayScale estimates that college laboratory assistants make around $14.62 an hour on average.

But Lakhani says that working as a lab assistant is worth more than just a paycheck. “If I’m interested in medicine, for instance, it would be a great idea for me to land a place, paid or unpaid, in a professor’s lab,” he says.

Working in a lab can expose students to a wide range of scientific processes and teach them the importance of diligence and attention to detail. More importantly, working as a lab assistant can help students network with professors which can lead to research opportunities. Getting research published alongside a widely respected professor is one of the best things that students in sciences can achieve during their academic careers.

Radio DJ

Its not easy to launch a career in music but if you have your mind made up, then you are going to have to work hard. One of the easiest ways for students to get experience in the music industry is to get involved with their college radio station.

Most college stations have opportunities for first year students to work behind the scenes in operational roles with pathways to more front-facing positions like DJing.

The key to excelling in this position is to take advantage of every chance you get. Your first solo show may be at an awkward time or you may be assigned a genre that isn’t your favorite, but by embracing every opportunity that is thrown your way, you can turn an on-campus job at the college radio station into some serious professional preparation.

Newspaper ad sales

Another way to think about what on-campus job is best for you is to think about what types of skills you want to master. If you are interested in fields like sales or marketing, the school newspaper may offer the perfect job for you.

This job often includes reaching out to local businesses to sell ad space and working with operational teams to create and adjust strategy. Working in ad sales for the newspaper can be an amazing opportunity to get your hands dirty and make real sales. It also can give students the chance to oversee team goals and budgets.

Potential employers want to hear concrete examples of when you have performed a function that is part of a role so if you want to work in sales, you are going to need examples of when you have made sales. The newspaper will give you plenty of opportunities to do just that.

Endowment office aid

Depending on what college you go to, your school may have a significant endowment fund. One of the best on-campus jobs that students can land is working for the office that manages this fund.

“If a student is interested in finance, why not apply to the office of the university endowment?” Lakhani suggests.

The trick to landing this job is networking. It’s rare for an endowment office to publicize an opening but just like every other department, this team can still take advantage of help with office work and filing. Even if you aren’t making big decisions, connecting with professionals who oversee large sums of money can give students interested in finance valuable exposure.

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