The Power of First Impressions

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You only get one shot at a first impression—and that shot may count for more than you think. Why do so many job search posts deal with perfecting your handshake, making strong eye contact, and dressing properly? The reality is that those small factors comprise the first impression you make on a person. That impression frames your entire interaction, fairly or not.

Blink – a book by bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell – investigates thin-slicing, a concept in psychology describing a person’s ability to make accurate assessments of people and situations based on brief observations and limited information.

The implications of thin-slicing on first impressions have been explored in great detail. The conclusion: First impressions are formed quickly and accurately.

During networking events and job interviews – environments where people are short on time and hypersensitive to perceived “red flags” – making your best impression during the “thin slice” of interactions takes on even greater importance.

Unfortunately, simply knowing the importance of first impressions doesn’t necessarily follow that you’ll make a better one. Understand the elements that make up a first impression (what they are, what they communicate), however, and you can begin to improve how you are perceived in the opening moments of meeting someone new.

Before diving too deep, it is important to caution against missing the forest for the trees. Impressions matter. But the substance of who you are and the value you have matters considerably more.

Consider perfecting your first impression as the equivalent of a chef plating their dish; you want to present yourself in an appealing way, but the meal (and you) has to be satisfying beginning to end.

What influences a first impression?

Appearance
What you wear is up to you. We choose clothes based on their utility, their comfort, their style. We also choose clothes to express who we are and how we would like to be viewed.

But often, we can’t control how others view us based on those choices. Clothing and appearance matter when making a first impression. Snap judgements can be – and are – made based on the fit of your suit, the length of your skirt, or the color of your shoes.

A study published by psychologists in the UK compared snap judgements made about the same model wearing two slightly different suits. In one photo, he’s shown wearing a tailored suit and in another he’s wearing a suit of similar color and style, but off-the-rack. In a 3-second snap judgement, participants rated the model in a tailored suit as more successful and confident.

Not everyone can go out and get a tailored suit. However, you can make a concerted effort to dress the part for job interviews and networking events. If the event/interview is formal, match or exceed the formality of the interviewer. But if you’re networking at a Meetup.com gathering for web developers, you can probably lose the tie and wear something more relaxed.

Body language
Our bodies provide constant clues about how we feel, what we’re thinking, and who we are, often without us realizing.

Your body can reveal anxiety and nervousness often manifested in the tapping of your feet/hands, touching of your face, and biting of your nails.

Clearly, the best solution is to not be nervous. For most of us, including myself, this simply isn’t an option during a job interview or when meeting someone you admire.

Adequate preparation for a job interview or a networking event should limit your nervousness which, in turn, will lessen negative body language signals. You can also take steps to reduce jittery hands and face touching by holding something, like a coffee, pen or bag.

You can also make a conscious effort promote positive signals – like confidence and comfortability – through your body language. Maintain an open and upright posture. Limit the crossing of your arms or legs and avoid hunching your shoulders.

The introduction
You’ve already walked into the room dressed for success and with a posture that screams confidence. Next up is the introduction and obligatory handshake. Nothing has been pored over more by career, business and job search blogs than the handshake. And with good reason: the handshake matters.

A firm handshake is a strong indicator of extroversion and openness to new experiences. People with firm handshakes are also seen as less neurotic and shy. So if you have to, practice your handshake until you can deliver a firm, confident introduction.

The second part of a strong introduction is eye contact. Making consistent eye contact shows that you are confident and engaged. Avoiding eye contact shows anxiety and, potentially, deceptiveness.

You are looking to build trust and project confidence with your first impression, so make consistent eye contact. Avoid staring too long, however, as that can be intimidating.

Body temperature
Warm beverages may be the key to warm thoughts.

Researchers at Yale University conducted a study to show that physical warmth promoted interpersonal warmth. The study revealed that participants were more likely to view a person in a positive light if they were holding a warm object (like a cup of coffee), than if they were holding a cold object (like an iced coffee).

Physical warmth promotes positive feelings, so when setting up a first meeting or an interview try sitting down over a cup of coffee.

Of course, if your interviewer has an iced coffee habit, it doesn’t mean that you’re chances of making a good first impression are ruined. It just means your chances may be slightly improved if that interviewer is also wearing a sweater.

What is the takeaway
Understand that first impressions matter, but that they aren’t the whole story of who you are and what you can accomplish.

You can study the factors that go into making a positive first impression. You can buy the perfect outfit, master the handshake, use all the right body language and calculate an exact equation for appropriate eye contact. But at the end of the day you need to back up your first impression with actual substance, otherwise it’s all a show.

The best way to project confidence, aptitude and personality is to possess confidence, aptitude and personality.

You have to recognize what you can control. You can control your preparation. You can control your own abilities. You can control how you communicate your value.

You can’t, however, fully control how another person will view you. You just have to put the best version of yourself forward and hope for the best.

Author – Jeff Ayers
Source: silvermanmcgovern.com

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

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It’s a great time to learn how to code. Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career and become a developer, leverage a new skill in your current job, or just better understand what the developers on your team are up to, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s been an explosion of coding boot camps and online resources to help you get started. But it’s a double-edged sword: with near-unlimited resources, countless different languages—and a rabbit hole of passionate voices debating which are the easiest to learn, best to help you get a job, and so on—where do you start?

The best way to learn to code is to stop endlessly analyzing what to learn and just start. So, with a giant disclaimer that these aren’t all of the languages you could consider learning to start your coding journey, here are a few languages you can learn.

JavaScript

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Think of the difference between dynamic, automatically updating Gmail account and your old static Hotmail, which needed to be reloaded to see new messages. That fundamental change was thanks to JavaScript. And, as one of the most popular languages out there, it’s still bringing websites to life in new, exciting ways. It has a ton of resources and tools available to help you use it effectively, and it opens you up to a ton of software engineering jobs. It can basically do everything, and if you’re going to be a full stack developer, you simply can’t avoid it.

Ruby

Great for: beginners, aspiring software engineers

Ruby was specifically designed by its inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto to make programmers happy, and it’s delivered upon that objective: Ruby is accessible and reads like English, allowing new programmers to focus right away on the fundamental concepts and logic, rather than basic syntax. Even beginners can start building right away. The teachers at the Flatiron School find Ruby to be extremely effective at helping students learn how to think like programmers, break problems down, express themselves technically, abstract ideas, and work together with other programmers. (The Flatiron Co-founder Avi is a little obsessed with it, too.)

Python

Great for: budding data scientists

There’s a massive amount of data out there. Companies that harness it can create better products and understand their businesses better; companies that don’t lose their competitive edge and get left behind. But while at its core, data science may be similar to your high school stats class, with so much data (hundreds of millions of records), your old spreadsheet is the wrong tool for the job. That’s where code comes in. The R language is super specific to statistics, whereas Python is a general-purpose language that happens to have great tooling available to make it a perfect language for data science. It’s actually similar to Ruby in a lot of ways: easy to read, forgiving for beginners, and there’s a passionate community around it, devoted to creating and improving the tooling to make Python even more powerful.

Swift

Great for: mobile developers, developers breaking out of their comfort zone

For beginners hoping to get into mobile app development, now is the perfect time to dive into Swift. It’s new enough that there is a lot of energy and excitement around it. Each year, Apple holds their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where Apple engineers discuss the intricacies of Swift along with all the new and exciting features (don’t be surprised if it inspires you to try implementing all the new concepts into your own apps). But it’s also been around long enough that the early kinks have been worked out, and the open source community has grown significantly. If you’re already a programmer, learning Swift is a way to get out of your comfort zone—the constraints iOS puts on your code forces you to, as Apple would say, “think different.”

Still not sure where to start? That’s OK! There’s really no correct first language to learn. The important thing is to consider what you’re excited to build, what language will help you do that, and then to just start learning!

In the end, this is why schools like Flatiron School doesn’t focus on teaching one specific technology. It wants you to learn how to learn—the only coding skill that will be never become obsolete. You don’t see Fortran or ColdFusion developers anymore. Similarly, you probably won’t be a Ruby or JavaScript developer in 10 years. Eventually, you will need to know more than one language if you want to have an awesome career and build amazing things. If you become skilled at learning languages, you’ll be ready to keep pace with technology as it changes.

Source: This piece was originally published by WeWork, which provides companies with the space, technology, and services they need to success.

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.

What the Number of Years You’ve Spent at a Company Says About You, According to a Recruiter

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Here’s some insider info: One thing recruiters go back and forth on all the time is what the number of years you’ve spent at a company says about you professionally.

And while I can’t speak for all hiring managers, I can tell you all the questions I used to ask myself when reviewing dates listed on a resume, why they made me hesitate, and how you can address any issues right off the bat in your cover letter.

6 Months (or Less): Was This His Choice or His Employer’s Choice?

A common rule of thumb is that you should stay with a company for at least a year, even if you’re not totally pumped about your job. The reality is that, for a number of reasons, some people just don’t end up doing that. Sometimes that means people were part of a big layoff, they discovered the job wasn’t what they expected, or they got an amazing offer that they couldn’t turn down.

How to Address It

There is one surefire way of answering questions about the shorter stops on your resume. And that’s to be as honest as possible on your cover letter, even if you were let go. However, don’t harp on the fact that you were only there for a few months. Instead, use this space to highlight what you were able to accomplish in that short amount of time.

Exactly 1 Year: Why Has This Person Bounced Around So Many Times?

Going back to that common “one-year” rule of thumb, some candidates I reviewed really took that to heart. And by that, I mean their resumes were littered with jobs they spent exactly a year doing. While it was up to me to look past this if it was clear someone might be a good fit for a job I was hiring for, it was absolutely something I’d think about. Is he or she actually interested in working for our company, or just a job-hopper looking to continue his or her climb up the ladder?

How to Address It

Here’s the thing—it’s great to be motivated to keep moving up. But if you have a number of one-year stints on your resume, take some time to think about your career story before you apply. Your cover letter is the first (and only, in some cases) chance you’ll get to tell the hiring manager that you don’t consider his company just another step along the way. Emphasize why all of those experiences have led you to apply for this job.

1-3 Years: Has This Person Been Promoted?

This is a really solid amount of time to spend with one company. However, one thing I always looked for was upward mobility, at least in the amount of responsibilities a candidate with this much tenure at a company was given. While that didn’t necessarily mean I was only looking at people whose titles changed over their time with the company, I wasn’t exactly excited about someone who made it clear he or she was comfortable doing the same type and amount of work for three years in a row.

How to Address It

Odds are that even if you didn’t get an official promotion, you were given additional responsibilities over time. So, use your cover letter to walk recruiters through these additions. Titles rarely tell the full story, and most people understand that. Take this opportunity to make that clear—rather than breezing past it in hopes the person won’t notice.

Author-Richard Moy

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article and also check out amazing companies hiring now!

5 Questions Hiring Managers Think During Interviews (But Might Not Ask)

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interview sign

Interviews are fairly anxiety inducing, especially when your interviewer has what can only be described as a professional poker face.

You could drive yourself insane trying to figure out what exactly is going on behind that diplomatic smile.

To save you from the agony and to help you better prepare, here is an insider look at what goes through a hiring manager’s mind during an interview. In general, employers are looking for the best technical and cultural fit that their budgets will allow for. While these questions will all go through their minds, the questions they end up asking usually aren’t as direct. So, know that no matter how wacky or irrelevant the question might seem, they all come back to these five core concerns.

1. Have You Successfully Done Similar Work in the Past?

Really, the question should be more along the lines of, “Can you do the job?” but that’s not always the easiest thing to evaluate. That’s why such weight is given to your ability to show relevant work that you have done, whether it was for another company, for school, or just independently.

Any chance you get, you should be talking about your relevant experience and transferable skills. Of course, it’s not always just about results. Being able to talk about why you were successful is also important. Tell stories about your previous experience (here’s how, and be introspective. The interviewer will be attempting to draw insights from your answers, so you might as well spell them out to make sure you’re sending the message you want to send.

2. Will You Work Well With My Current Team?

There is always some context that you’re being hired into, and it’s in the hiring manager’s best interest to make sure you will be a good fit and can hit the ground running.

How exactly can a hiring manager discern whether or not you’ll work out? In the end, it’s still a bit of a gamble, but a few things you should definitely try to get across are your communication style and effectiveness, your work ethic, your career values, and how you approach problems. Think broadly about these things, and then come up with a concrete supporting example as you’re preparing for the interview.

And remember: There’s no right or wrong answer here. After all, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re a bad fit either.

3. What Do You Know About My Company?

You’re applying for a specific role that probably exists in many other companies as well, so why this one? Hiring managers want you to show not only that you know what makes their particular company special, but that you’re really excited about it. Doing your homework on the company and considering why you’d be a good fit shows that you’re invested.

Naturally, it doesn’t stop there. Asking thoughtful and informed questions about the company is a great way to show continued enthusiasm as the interview progresses (here are a few great ones). Do the company research beforehand, and show off what you know in both your answers and your questions.

4. Does the Job You’re Expecting Align With What the Job Actually Is?

In other words, do you know what you’re signing up for, and is it what you’re really looking for? No one wants to hire someone who just wants the job to tide him or her over until a new, more desirable job turns up. And, while we’re on the topic of expectations, are your salary expectations in line with the company’s? To get to the point, can the company afford to hire you?

To get to this, the interviewer might ask anything from your motivation for leaving your previous position to what you’re most excited about in the new role. The current salary question will likely come up at some point as well. In the end, there are a hundred different questions that could get at this concern. To prepare in a realistic amount of time, figure out what your career narrative is. Where did you come from, where are you going, and why? How does this job fit in with your goals? Oh, and read up on negotiation.

5. Are You Confident in Your Abilities?

This might not be something hiring managers are thinking about consciously, but you can bet that their perception of your confidence will make a difference in how they remember you. Now, confidence can mean different things to different people, but in general if you can show that you’re passionate about the work and you look the part, half the battle is won. If you want to boost your confidence even more, set some time aside to do a few power poses before the big interview.

Of course, looking confident is just a matter of practice, but being confident requires a whole new mindset. If you’re short on time, get a pep talk from your support network of friends and mentors. Having the right people in your life can make a world of difference when it comes to self-confidence—not to mention it’s easier (and more effective) to say, “My manager would describe me as hardworking,” rather than “I’d say I’m a pretty hard worker.”

Author-Lily Zhang
Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

6 High-Paying Jobs That Are Great for Career Changers

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friends discussing career options

Have you heard? Changing careers is totally in. Gone are the days of holding one job in a professional lifetime.

Unlike your parents who may have worked at one company for decades, you’re less likely to stick to the same job—or even the same career or industry—for the long haul. And the good news is, you don’t have to.

These days, career changing is becoming just as common as job hopping (although, here at The Muse, we like to refer to it as career building), and depending on what field you’re interested in transitioning into, you may be able to make the jump without too much blood, sweat, and tears. While some popular second careers may require a specific degree and credentials (nursing comes to mind), there are plenty of other roles that people with a variety of backgrounds can transition into with a splash of business savvy and a peppering of skill building. Check out the six high-paying options below.

1. Data Scientist

It turns out that not only is data science a lucrative job (we’re talking a national salary average of $118K, according to Glassdoor, with the minimum a healthy $76K), it’s also a broad one. Because data science (a relatively new title and function), can be divided up into several different roles—data engineering, data research, data visualization, and more—there’s a decent chance that your background relates to the field in some way. Whether you’re an engineering major, a former graphic designer, or someone on the business side who’s taken an interest in analytics, if you know what kind of position to look for within the crazy-growing industry, you’ve already got a leg up.

Plus, because it’s such an unmoored opportunity, if you get in now, chances for success are huge. According to one data scientist I spoke with, knowing what you can do for the company (especially if the organization isn’t exactly sure what it wants or needs) can give you the edge you need. All you need to do is have the background to support your ideas, and, well, if you’re not sure you have that, look into bootcamps, part-time classes, or workshops from companies like Byte Academy. These outfit you with the skills you need and can give you access to a strong network and career guidance. The most enticing part is that you won’t even necessarily have to quit your job and drain your savings to attend grad school.

2. Social Media Manager

Love using innovative mediums like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Pinterest to tell compelling stories? Are you devoted to building your personal brand and cultivating a strong following—and an even stronger community? Have you always loved witty remarks and writing the perfect click-able sentence? Want to get paid for it? Well then, this could be the new job you didn’t even know you were looking for. While not all social media managers start out making the big bucks, salaries in the major markets can reach six figures. And as the need for influential leaders in this arena continues to increase, so too will the average salary. In many industry circles, you’re nothing without your social media strategy, and companies big and small realized this yesterday.

The first step in breaking into this field is making sure your personal social accounts are up to par. Of course, being a good social media manager is about more than getting likes on your personal vacation photos; pay attention to companies’ social media strategies, homing in on what’s working and what they could do better.

Better yet, look for opportunities to volunteer to manage the social accounts of nonprofits or small businesses for a few months—many organizations could use the help, and it will give you experience outside of your own profiles to talk about. Use your findings and analysis to help you make the move and show companies why you’d be a great fit for the job.

3. Fundraiser

Nonprofits, educational institutions, hospitals, and the like need money to survive—and are willing to pay nicely for someone with the skills to bring in the bills. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the middle ground salary can range from $65K-$75K, but that range says nothing of top-tier fundraisers who can clock in at half a million or more, according to an analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Convincing people to give generously is obviously a huge part of the job, so having a background in sales or marketing can be impactful as you attempt to transition into this field. That said, fundraisers also must be able to build relationships to recruit volunteers and donors, manage donor accounts, make financial projections, manage multi-layered projects ranging from large campaigns to donor events, and ultimately communicate the core message of the organization and inspire people to help. It sounds like a lot, but there’s a good chance you already have these skills from past jobs, volunteer work, or even extracurriculars. For example, your graduate school leadership role managing volunteers for the quarterly clothing drives can speak to your experience in recruiting and carrying out a mission.

And of course, make sure you believe in—and show your passion for—the mission of the organization you’re applying to. If you can’t convey this to interviewers, how will you be able to convince donors?

4. Software Engineer

It may not be a stretch to say that everyone is looking for a good engineer—the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that software engineers are among the occupations with the largest projected job growth for this year. But you probably already knew that. What you might not have known is how common it is for people without a traditional background in the field to successfully make the shift. In a 2015 survey of developers by Stack Overflow, a whopping 48% of respondents never received a degree in computer science.

So how do folks make the switch? This is definitely a field where you need very specialized skills that you probably haven’t picked up in your current role. That said, these skills are very learnable; in the Stack Overflow survey, 41.8% of respondents report being self taught, and 27.4% attended a bootcamp such as Byte Academy, an online class, or an industry certification program, avenues that provide built-in structure, mentorship, and connections with companies that are hiring. Many respondents also reported learning via on-the-job training; consider seeing if there’s an opportunity to start to learn some of these skills as part of your current gig.

Whichever route you take, make sure to practice a lot with projects that you can show off to hiring managers—with engineering jobs, the proof of your abilities is in the pudding (or the coding, as it were).

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

Hiring managers share the No. 1 resume lie that could cost you the job

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While hiring managers hate all resume lies, a recent survey finds some lies are worse than others.

The jobsite TopResume asked 629 professionals to rank the most serious of 14 categories of resume lies. Nearly all respondents, 97 percent, said they’d reconsider candidates with any type of lie. Nearly half those surveyed were HR professionals, recruiters or hiring managers.

Topping the list were lies about technical capabilities, licenses and criminal records. Yet the biggest deal breaker, according to respondents, was lying about an academic degree. 89 percent of hiring managers felt this was the most serious lie, inching out even criminal records.

It’s one of the most common lies that applicants tell, says TopResume career advice expert Amanda Augustine. Many candidates don’t want to be disqualified from a search when a job listing asks for candidates with degrees. Still, it’s a dangerous lie to tell, says Augustine. Employers can easily verify this information through a background check. Instead, be honest and upfront about your level of schooling, she says. “So many people assume that others have flawless resumes so they want to fib,” says Augustine. “Ask yourself what skills you have to offer and focus on that.”

If your degree is still in progress or you’re taking a semester hiatus, be clear about that on your resume and note the expected graduation date. Trust can be hard to regain if hiring managers discover you’ve misrepresented yourself. Candidates with relevant coursework but no degree should be sure to list their classes. This can give you an advantage if those classes relate to the position for which you’re applying or if you picked up skills that could be beneficial in the prospective role, says Elaine Varelas, managing partner at career consulting firm Keystone Partners.

And don’t be too hard on yourself. Augustine suggests you read job descriptions carefully since some will ask for a degree or equivalent experience. For example, if you’re applying to a job as a web designer and you lack the requested college degree, you can note that you’ve been working in the field for a number of years and highlight the projects you’ve worked on and the skills that you’ve acquired through hands-on experience.

If you haven’t snagged that degree yet, you might also change your job-hunting strategy. Try targeting companies that don’t place a heavy premium on academia, advises Augustine. Surprisingly, you can find many of these organizations within the tech sector, such as Google, IBM and Apple. You might also scope out careers in industries such as healthcare, where it’s possible to find rewarding well-paid jobs without a classic four-year education.

Continue on here to read the complete article on yahoo.com.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is here!

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Guillermo Vazquez speaking to audience on stage

Microsoft shares inspiring stories about Latinos driven by passion, determination, faith, love – and everything in between., including From Fisherman to Senior Program Manager: A Life Full of Perseverance and Hope.

By Guillermo Vazquez For NewsUSA-Thirty years ago, I came to the U.S. from Mexico to work as a fisherman. This move represented an opportunity I had never thought of, but somehow made all the sense in the world to chase.

While I always loved life on the open sea, I knew there was more that I wanted to explore. The first step in that journey was going back to school to pursue an associate degree in computer science, and that’s when my new career began to soar.

After working in the technology industry for a handful of years, I had the opportunity to join Microsoft as an Operations Engineer – it felt like I was getting real knowledge and the hands-on experience I craved for my entire life.

Looking back on my journey of self-reinvention, I think about that moment in my life when it was all about surviving rather than thriving. Growing up, my family faced many hardships, which required me to step up at a young age and help my mother raise my younger siblings. While it was incredibly difficult, my love for my family exceeds any pain that we went through, and it moves me to see how proud they are of what I have accomplished.

Ever since I became a father of three, my dreams have shifted a bit. I can say wholeheartedly that my kids are my biggest motivator. Everything I do is for them, to raise them with a purpose and desire to make an impact in whatever they decide to be.

I feel a similar shift in work culture as well, with families integrating into the modern workplace in a way that they’re no longer perceived as external, but rather instrumental support for an individual’s success. I’ve not only been encouraged to be but also embraced as my true authentic self, which in my case, is as much a father as it is a Senior Program Manager.

If I had to give a word of advice to the next generation of Latinos, I’d point out the lessons I’ve had to learn along the way. Specifically, opportunities aren’t necessarily geographically bound – you can always find them as long as you are looking for them.

Today, serving as the chair of HOLA, Microsoft’s employee resource group for the Latinx community, I have a chance to give back and inspire others every day in the same way that I was.

Join the celebration sharing your story using #MicrosoftLatinx and #HispanicHeritageMonth.

Find more stories at Microsoft Latinx blog.

This story originally appeared on Post Bulletin

4 Insanely Tough Interview Questions (and How to Nail Them)

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Hispanic woman in interview

Problem solver. Creative. Works well under pressure.

These are key personality traits employers will be seeking no matter what position they’re hiring for—and chances are, your resume probably already showcases them in some way. But these days, hiring managers from some firms aren’t content to take job seekers at their word—they want to see it to believe it.

And that’s why some companies have turned the interview process on its head. Instead of the traditional questions you might expect in an interview, they’re giving candidates problems to solve—problems which, at first glance, might seem totally random. Google, for example, has been known to ask, “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30 PM on a Friday?” Hewlett-Packard asks, “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?”

What? Where do you even begin?

Here’s the secret (yes, there’s a secret): Your interviewer isn’t necessarily looking for a right answer. He wants to determine how quickly you can think on your feet, how you’ll approach a difficult situation, and, most importantly, whether you can remain positive and proactive and make progress in the face of a challenge.

So, if one of these “problem-solving” questions gets thrown your way—relax, be yourself, and tackle it calmly. Talk the interviewer through your internal thought process, so he can gain insight into the way you think and analyze information. Below are some of the toughest types of questions employers are known to ask—and your guide for how to ace them.

 

1. Design an Evacuation Plan for This Office Building

(Inspired by Google)

As with any complex on-the-job challenge, the first step to answering a question like this is to clearly identify the problem. If designing an evacuation plan was really your task on the job, you definitely wouldn’t be able to solve it in an hour-long meeting—you’d need a lot more information. So, when an employer asks these types of questions, the idea is actually to see if you can pinpoint and explain the key challenges involved.

For example, in the question of an evacuation plan, you’ll have to know the nature of the disaster before you can answer it. A fire would have a different plan than a hurricane or earthquake, right? You’d also need to know how many staircases, elevators, and people are in the building.

When you’re presented with a complicated question like this, don’t be afraid to answer it with more questions. What the interviewer is really looking for is that you can think through the information you’ll need to reach a solution, and then ask for it—or explain how you’d seek it out—in a structured, logical way..

 

2. How Many Tennis Balls Can You Fit into a Limousine?

(Inspired by Monitor Group)

1,000? 10,000? 100,000? In these types of questions, the interviewer doesn’t necessarily want an exact number—he wants to make sure that you understand what’s being asked of you, and that you can set into motion a systematic and logical way to respond.

So, just take a deep breath, and start thinking through the math. (Yes, it’s OK to ask for a pen and paper!) For example, start by estimating the cubic inches of a limo and the volume of a tennis ball (also in cubic inches). Pretend the limo is a box to simplify things for yourself, and just make a note out loud that you’re approximating. Divide one into the other, make allowances for the seats in the limo, and move from there. Even if you don’t know the exact measurements, the real goal is to impress your potential employers with your ability to get to the heart of the problem quickly and with purpose..

 

3. How Much Should You Charge to Wash All of the Windows in Montana?

(Inspired by Google)

Remember that not all questions must have a complicated answer. As a matter of fact, with a question like this, most candidates don’t even provide a correct answer. Employers are simply asking the question because it is difficult to prepare for, and they want to see firsthand how quickly you can think on your feet.

Prepared responses may cut it for open-ended questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” But, employers want to see that you remain calm when you feel uncertain—and that you are able to think outside of the box if they take you “off-script.”

Yes, this question is especially broad—but you could get around that by naming what you consider to be a fair price per window rather trying to figure out the number of windows in the area. Talk it out. You both know that there’s not enough information to get a completely accurate answer, so relax and see where your mind goes.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article

Young Professionals are Shaking Things Up in STEM

LinkedIn
Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski

STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—skills have become increasingly valuable, and careers in STEM are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying. Yet Latinas only account for 3 percent of the industry. Meet two young professionals who are making their mark in their STEM careers, leading the way for other Latinas to enter into these much-needed, highly paid fields.

Meet Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski. At just 23 years old, Pasterski had a job offer from NASA. Stephen Hawking cited her research. And she built her own single-engine airplane from a kit in her garage when she was 14. Once it was certified as airworthy, she took it for a spin, becoming the youngest person in history, at age 16, to build and fly her own plane. That same year, she was admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Photo caption: Honoree and physicist Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski speaks onstage during the Marie Claire Young Women’s Honors presented by Clinique at Marina del Rey Marriott. RICH POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR YOUNG WOMEN’S HONORS

Now, at 24 years old, she has a standing job offer from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Pasterski, a Harvard PhD student, researches black holes, spacetime, and quantum gravity. Her Harvard peers have characterized her as the “Next Einstein.”

“Be optimistic about what you believe you can do,” Pasterski said in an interview with Marie Claire. In 2013, she was the first woman in two decades to graduate from MIT at the top of her physics class. “When you’re little, you say a lot of things about what you’ll do or be when you’re older—I think it’s important not to lose sight of those dreams.”

Learn more about Pasterski and STEM at physicsgirl.com.

Sources: hertzfoundation.org; and curiosity.com

Meet Nicole Hernandez Hammer. Hernadez Hammer is a sea-level researcher and environmental justice activist who is educating and mobilizing the Latino communityNicole Hernandez Hammer attends the Build series ‘Smart Girls’ panel to understand and address the ways in which climate change negatively impacts them. This Guatemalan-Cuban advocate speaks from personal experience as well as academic knowledge. When Hernandez Hammer was four years old, she and her family moved from Guatemala to South Florida. There, she learned firsthand about the effect of rising sea levels. Photo caption: Nicole Hernandez Hammer attends the Build series ‘Smart Girls’ panel at Build Studio. JIM SPELLMAN/WIREIMAGE/GETTY

During Hurricane Andrew, when Hernandez Hammer was 15 years old, her house—much like the homes of other Latino families near coastal shore lines—was destroyed. She felt “obligated” to learn more about the issue, and went on to study biology and the natural sciences.

Hernandez Hammer was the assistant director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University, authoring several papers on sea
level rise projections, before moving into advocacy. She served as the Florida field manager for Moms Clean Air Force and is now a climate science and community advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In 2015, she was former first lady Michelle Obama’s guest at the State of the Union Address.

Sources: remezcla.com; blog.ucsusa.org

4 Tips on Managing Stress at Work

LinkedIn
Job Stress

Everybody feels stress from time to time at work, but it’s important not to let stress control our lives.

Unmanaged stress can lead to short-term problems like headaches, stomach pains, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Long-term stress can lead to serious health conditions like depression, obesity, and heart disease.

Here are our four tips on managing stress:

  1. Keep a journal
    Track your stressors; over a week or two, note what’s setting you off and how you’re responding to those situations. Note your thoughts, feelings, who was involved, where it happened, and what you did in reaction – did you eat an unhealthy sugary lunch, did you have an extra glass of wine at night? Taking notes can help you identify patterns and help you break your stress cycle.
  2. Break unhealthy responses to stress
    If you notice from your journal that you are delving into unhealthy activities to manage your stress – junk food, alcohol, avoidance, too much TV – try replacing those unhealthy responses with healthy ones. Exercise is a fantastic way to manage stress. Join a yoga class, sign up to a gym, or go for regular jogs before work. Exercise releases endorphins and makes you happier; it can also take your mind off your stresses and make you feel productive.

Other good responses include: taking time out to read, playing games with your family, or doing activities with your friends. Set aside time to do activities that bring you pleasure.

  1. Create boundaries for work
    In the smartphone age, it can be easy to feel pressured into being available 24/7 for work. Establish some boundaries: Don’t answer emails at dinner, switch off your phone after 7pm, take time out to not think about your assignments. It’s critical to disconnect from work and let yourself recharge.
  2. Meditate
    It’s crucial that you learn how to relax and center yourself. Try meditating and mindfulness activities. If you can’t go to a class, there are hundreds of quality apps you can download to teach yourself. Start with just a few minutes a day to focus, do deep breathing exercises, and let go. It may seem small, but by simply doing this every day, you can apply this same focus to other parts of your life.

The American Psychological Association has great resources for dealing with stress: apa.org/index.aspx

Source: mygwork.com