7 Examples of What Being an Ally at Work Really Looks Like

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Diverse and inclusive workplaces can be both difficult to find and hard to create. But if you care about making your own workplace truly inclusive, you have the ability to effect real change—as an ally.

An ally is someone who is not a member of an underrepresented group but who takes action to support that group.

It’s up to people who hold positions of privilege to be active allies to those with less access, and to take responsibility for making changes that will help others be successful. Active allies utilize their credibility to create a more inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, and find ways to make their privilege work for others.

And wielding privilege as an ally doesn’t have to be hard. I’ve seen allies at all levels take action with simple, everyday efforts that made a difference—often a big one!

Here are a few roles that allies can choose to play to support colleagues from underrepresented groups in beneficial ways.

1. The Sponsor

I once worked for a software company that was acquired by a larger company. In the first few months following the acquisition, I noticed something interesting. My new manager, Digby Horner—who had been at the larger company for many years—said things in meetings along the lines of: “What I learned from Karen is the following…”

By doing this, Digby helped me build credibility with my new colleagues. He took action as an ally, using his position of privilege to sponsor me. His shoutouts made a difference, and definitely made me feel great.

When an ally takes on the role of the Sponsor, they vocally support the work of colleagues from underrepresented groups in all contexts, but specifically in situations that will help boost those colleagues’ standing and reputations.

How to Act as a Sponsor

  • Talk about the expertise you see in others, especially during performance calibrations and promotion discussions.
  • Recommend people for stretch assignments and learning opportunities.
  • Share colleagues’ career goals with influencers.

2. The Champion

In May 2015, Andrew Grill was a Global Managing Partner at IBM and a speaker at the Online Influence Conference. He was on a panel along with five other men when a female member of the audience posed the obvious question to the all-male lineup: “Where are the women?”

The moderator then asked the panelists to address the topic of gender diversity, and Andrew, after sharing some of his thoughts, quickly realized he wasn’t the best person to respond. In fact, none of the panelists were. He instead asked the woman who asked the question, Miranda Bishop, to take his place on the panel. By stepping aside, Andrew made a bold statement in support of gender diversity on stage and championed Miranda at the same time.

Since then, the nonprofit organization GenderAvenger has created a pledge to reduce the frequency of all-male panels at conferences and events. It reads, “I will not serve as a panelist at a public conference when there are no women on the panel.” Anyone can sign the pledge on their website.

When an ally takes on the role of the Champion, that ally acts similarly to the Sponsor, but does so in more public venues. Champions willingly defer to colleagues from underrepresented groups in meetings and in visible, industry-wide events and conferences, sending meaningful messages to large audiences.

How to Act as a Champion

  • Direct questions about specific or technical topics to employees with subject-matter expertise instead of answering them yourself.
  • Advocate for more women, people of color, and members of other underrepresented groups as keynote speakers and panelists.
  • If you’re asked to keynote or serve in a similar public role and know someone from an underrepresented group who’d be an equally good fit (or better), recommend that person (after asking them first if they’d like to be put forward).

3. The Amplifier

In a Slack channel for female technical leaders, I met a data engineer who was working at a 60-person startup. One team inside the company had an unproductive meeting culture that was starting to feel truly toxic. Yelling and interrupting frequently took place, and women in particular felt they couldn’t voice their opinions without being shouted over.

One of this engineer’s colleagues decided to take action to ensure that the voices of those who weren’t shouting would be heard. She introduced communication guidelines for a weekly meeting, and saw an immediate improvement. The guidelines included assigning a meeting mediator (team members would take turns in this role), setting clear objectives and an agenda for every meeting, conducting a meeting evaluation by every participant at the end of every meeting, and reminding the members to be respectful and practice active listening.

When an ally takes on the role of the Amplifier, that ally works to ensure that marginalized voices are both heard and respected. This type of allyship can take many forms, but is focused on representation within communication.

How to Act as an Amplifier

  • When someone proposes a good idea, repeat it and give them credit. For example: “I agree with Helen’s recommendation for improving our net promoter score.”
  • Create a code of conduct for meetings and any shared communication medium including email, chat, Slack, and so forth.
  • Invite members of underrepresented groups within your company to speak at staff meetings, write for company-wide newsletters, or take on other highly visible roles.

4. The Advocate

Shortly after she became the CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki spoke up about how tech industry titan Bill Campbell had advocated for her. In an article for Vanity Fair, she wrote:

I learned about an important invitation-only conference convening most of the top leaders in tech and media, yet my name was left off the guest list. Many of the invitees were my peers, meaning that YouTube wouldn’t be represented while deals were cut and plans were made. I started to question whether I even belonged at the conference. But rather than let it go, I turned to Bill, someone I knew had a lot of influence and could help fix the situation. He immediately recognized I had a rightful place at the event and within a day he worked his magic and I received my invitation.

When an ally takes on the role of the Advocate, that ally uses their power and influence to bring peers from underrepresented groups into highly exclusive circles. The Advocate recognizes and addresses unjust omissions, holding their peers accountable for including qualified colleagues of all genders, races and ethnicities, abilities, ages, body shapes or sizes, religions, and sexual orientations.

How to Act as an Advocate

  • Look closely at the invite list for events, strategic planning meetings, dinners with key partners, and other career-building opportunities. If you see someone from a marginalized group missing, advocate for them to be invited.
  • Offer to introduce colleagues from underrepresented groups to influential people in your network.
  • Ask someone from an underrepresented group to be a co-author or collaborator on a proposal or conference submission.

5. The Scholar

I’m a member of the Women’s CLUB of Silicon Valley, a nonprofit leadership incubator for women. Many of our events are open to guests, who come to hear the speakers and participate in our workshops. Most guests are women, so it stood out when a male guest started attending our events. I asked one of my friends who he was, and she told me he was a former colleague who wanted to better understand the challenges women face in the workplace. He spent many evenings at our events, listening and absorbing information about the issues we discussed so he could be a better ally.

When an ally takes on the role of the Scholar, that ally seeks to learn as much as possible about the challenges and prejudices faced by colleagues from marginalized groups. It’s important to note that Scholars never insert their own opinions, experiences, or ideas, but instead simply listen and learn. They also don’t expect marginalized people to provide links to research proving that bias exists or summaries of best practices. Scholars do their own research to seek out the relevant information.

How to Act as a Scholar

  • Investigate and read publications, podcasts, or social media by and about underrepresented groups within your industry.
  • Ask co-workers from marginalized groups about their experience working at your company.
  • If your company or industry has specific discussion groups or Slack channels for members of underrepresented groups, ask if they’d be comfortable letting you sit in to observe. Asking is essential: Your presence may cause members to censor themselves, so be sure to check in before showing up.

6. The Upstander

I remember being impressed by Lisa, a white software engineer who stepped outside of her comfort zone to be an ally. When asked to name her “spirit animal” as part of a team-building exercise, Lisa spoke up. She wasn’t comfortable taking part in an exercise that appropriated Native American spiritual traditions.

When an ally takes on the role of the Upstander, that ally acts as the opposite of a bystander. The Upstander is someone who sees wrongdoing and acts to combat it. This person pushes back on offensive comments or jokes, even if no one within earshot might be offended or hurt.

How to Act as an Upstander

  • Always speak up if you witness behavior or speech that is degrading or offensive. Explain your stance so everyone is clear about why you’re raising the issue.
  • In meetings, shut down off-topic questions that are asked only to test the presenter.
  • Take action if you see anyone in your company being bullied or harassed. Simply insert yourself into a conversation with a comment such as, “Hi! What are you folks discussing?” and then check in with the victim privately. Ask if they’re okay and if they want you to say something.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

Here’s How to Make Your Mark at a Big Company

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Working for a big company has plenty of upsides. A large team means there’s tons of room to explore other areas and learn new things. There’s also a lot more opportunity to climb the ranks and—as an added bonus—the office has amazing facilities.

But like anything else, there are also some drawbacks to consider.

It’s tough to get to know people outside of your immediate team, you can barely figure out who does what, and you may find it challenging to develop any sort of reputation or name recognition for yourself.

It’s easy to feel like just another number in your massive organization. But the good news is there are some steps you can take to find your footing and make your mark at work.

1. Get Comfortable With Self-Promotion

We’re not always good at drawing attention to our own accomplishments because it can feel a little egocentric. However, owning your contributions and being vocal about them is a necessity when your work can easily slip by unnoticed at a large employer.

This doesn’t need to be as over-the-top as you’re likely imagining. It can be as simple as chiming in with a “thank you” when your boss points to something that was done well (that they weren’t aware that you were responsible for).

You can also incorporate some of your achievements into your introduction to new people in the company—particularly if your work is relevant to them in some way. For example, if you’re meeting someone from the sales team for the first time, you can shake their hand and say, “Great to finally meet you! I’m the one who worked on the new application for your customers.”

That statement not only highlights your work, but also pulls out a common thread between the two of you that you can use to get the conversation rolling.

2. Don’t Skip the Pleasantries

Speaking of conversations, I know how tempting it is to avoid small talk. It feels, well, small and completely inconsequential.

But here’s the thing: small talk can actually be quite memorable, particularly if you know how to do it well. So don’t be afraid to strike up pleasant conversations with people you don’t already know.

Maybe you’re waiting in line for coffee with a director from a different department. Introduce yourself and then get a conversation started—even if it means you just recommend the breakfast sandwiches.

These small interactions are a great way to expand your web of connections within your company and lay the groundwork for a continued relationship. Who knows, the next time you see that person, you might just move past small talk.

3. Raise Your Hand for Opportunities Outside of Your Team

When you’re part of an especially large organization, the bubble of your own department or team feels comforting. It’s daunting to venture out and surround yourself with strangers.

You already know what I’m going to say: If you’re eager to make your mark, you’re going to need to get over that and get used to saying “yes” to all sorts of different opportunities.

Is the product team putting together a golf outing that needs some more volunteers? Step in and help. Is there a happy hour or training program that you’d normally skip or a project that could benefit from a few extra hands? That has your name all over it.

Jump on those opportunities and you’ll meet more people, strengthen your impact, and feel more connected to your company as a whole.

4. Speak Up in Meetings

Do most of your meetings have a lot of different people packed into a crowded conference room? Do you still speak up and actively contribute—or are you too intimidated, so you choose to sit in silence and fly under the radar?

Of course, there’s no reason to chime in unnecessarily for the sake of being noticed. But if you do have something valuable to contribute, gather your courage and make it known.

It’s better to voice your thoughts and your opinions in the moment, rather than following up afterwards with an email. That way you’re giving people an opportunity to associate your face with your name.

5. Be Transparent About Your Career Goals

This tip is important whether you work at a company of two or 20,000. But, especially when you work for a big organization, you need to be upfront and vocal about your professional goals.

Your manager can’t read your mind, and you can’t expect them to advocate for you and your ambitions if you don’t make those known.

Whether you hope to eventually move into a management position yourself, want to learn more about a different department, or would like to pursue some additional training or education, have those honest conversations with your boss.

Not only does this investment in your own career and development help you stand out to your immediate supervisor, but being transparent about your goals also opens the door to other opportunities to make an impact at your company.

6. Solicit Advice From Others

Do you really want to know how to make your mark? Why not ask somebody who’s already successfully done it?

Within your organization, there’s bound to be someone who’s been there for years and successfully climbed the ladder. Reach out to see if you can take them out for coffee and find out more about their journey, as well as pick their brain for advice on how you can follow a similar path.

Even if you don’t walk away with a super-detailed action plan, you still have the benefit of forming connections and relationships with people outside your department.

When you’re one of hundreds or even thousands of employees at your company, it’s easy to feel like a small fish in a ginormous pond. Does anybody even notice all of the hard work you’re doing? Wait…does anybody even know your name?

You can’t snap your fingers and change the size of your employer, but you can change your own actions. That’s right—making your mark all starts with you.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

What to Expect From Your First Job Out of College

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You’ve graduated college — congratulations! You are now ready to enter the professional world and start building your career with your first job out of college. The prospect can be very exciting and more than a little intimidating.

Remember how big your college campus seemed when you first arrived as a freshman? You were unfamiliar with the buildings and there were a lot of new people. But by your sophomore and junior year, you had it all figured out. As a senior, you felt as comfortable at college as you did at home.

Get ready to feel like a freshman again. Your first job out of college is a foray into the unknown, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into it completely blind. Here are few things you should expect from your first job after college. But first, what does “entry level” even mean?

What does “entry level” mean in terms of your first job after college?

Just like it sounds, an entry-level job is meant to get your foot in the door at a company. It may not require a lot of the specific skills that are expected of higher-level employees — it’s a training ground for new employees. However, the competition can be steep, so don’t assume you’ll get the first job you apply for just because you have that shiny new degree. You’ll need to think carefully about what you accomplished in college outside of the classroom and frame that properly on your resume. Did you have a part-time job, an internship, or work-study? Perhaps you were the leader of a campus organization. Anything that you can leverage to show that you’ve learned discipline and leadership skills can help give you an edge over the competition.

Now that you know what “entry level” means, here’s what you should expect when you land the job.

You need to be communicative

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively both in person and in print is an essential part of most businesses. Employers look for that in candidates — especially when it comes to entry-level candidates. An applicant with a strong resume but poor communication skills may lose out to a lesser qualified candidate who knows how to get his or her point across clearly.

Why? Because the same holds true after the person is hired. In today’s workforce, the ability to communicate is crucial. Whether it’s person to person, in meetings, or via email, communication skills are a must-have for employees at any level. But don’t just declare that you’re a good communicator; employers need to see it in action.

Make note of any internships, jobs, or even hobbies that showcased your ability to communicate verbally or otherwise. Most importantly, when you are looking for that entry-level job, make sure that everything they see shows how well you communicate. Your Linkedin bio, other social media, and especially your cover letter should be interesting and clearly get your message across.

If you do all of those well, you’ll set the table for a great first interview.

You won’t get paid a lot

Most entry-level jobs come with entry-level pay. Think carefully before you accept a job offer. This will likely be your pay for the next year. Most employers do not negotiate or give raises after three or six months anymore. On the bright side, while it may not pay as much as you were hoping to make, it’s probably a lot more than you were making in college.

Remember, it’s not about this job; it’s about where this first job out of college can take you. Do you know what you want to be doing in five years? Think about it because employers will ask, and they want to know that you have a plan.

Related: How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

You won’t get the “fun” tasks

You chose your field of study with certain jobs in mind. However, those jobs are probably at the higher end of the pay scale. For your first job out of college, you will find yourself doing things that may seem menial or beneath you. There are a few reasons for this.

First, as an entry-level employee, you’re at the lower end of the pay scale, therefore the lower-end tasks go to you. Secondly, and this is really important for you to realize quickly, you’re being tested.

If you want to get bigger, more exciting tasks to handle at your new job, you need to knock those trivial ones out of the park. Don’t just shuffle through them. Take care of your assignments and maybe even see if there is a better way to do them. When you show that you can handle these little jobs, and handle them well, you’ll earn the opportunity to get cooler assignments.

You need to embrace variety

Not only will you be doing things that may seem trivial to you, but they may not be relevant to your field of study at all. This can be challenging or even frustrating, but at this stage of your career, you can do yourself a big favor by embracing these diverse tasks. Why? By engaging yourself fully in a variety of jobs, you will give yourself a chance to discover what you really like to do. Maybe what you thought you’d like isn’t what you do best.

In any case, you’ll want to work to the best of your ability at this first job. Even if you find out what you don’t like doing, that can help you guide your career.

Your attitude matters more than ever

In college, you just needed to get your work done and done well. Once you enter the workforce, there’s a lot more to it. It’s not just what you do and how well it’s done — it’s how you do it. Do you roll your eyes when given an undesirable task? Do you pay attention in meetings, or are you zoned out or playing with your phone? Once you have a foothold on your career path, it’s not just about getting the work done, it’s about finding better ways to do it. Always be engaged and enthusiastic.

Does this mean you can’t challenge your boss on certain things? Absolutely not. If you believe you’re being treated unfairly or need a change of scenery, you need to speak up for yourself. Get your thoughts together and have a detailed argument for your points. A good boss respects an employee who is willing to speak up when they have a legitimate complaint.

You have more to worry about than just yourself now

You’ve grown used to being on your own and realizing that the choices you make impact your life. Once you join a new company in your new first job out of college, there’s more to it. It’s not just about you. The choices you make can affect those in your department or even across the whole company.

Sick days are a great example of this. They’re willing to pay you not to come to work when you don’t feel good. How cool is that? However, think about what will happen at work if you do call in sick. Who has to cover for you? Will they have to call someone else in on their day off? Will another worker be responsible for their own job plus yours?

You’re part of a team now, and while it’s okay to use sick days when you’re really sick, you have to be aware of how your choices affect the rest of your team. This same mode of thinking needs to go into every work decision that you make. Your employer needs to know that they can depend on you.

Continue on to Top Resume to read the complete article.

7 Tips to Help Mentally Overcome an Employment Gap

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Here’s advice on overcoming the mental roadblocks employment gaps create before they sabotage your job search, from those who’ve been there.

William Childs loves his new job. He is Marketing Director at  Kitchen Magic, a growing national kitchen remodeling and cabinet refacing company. “This job is a creative person’s dream. The product, the people, the collaborative ideas we are generating, it’s totally amazing,” Childs says. “This is what I spent my 14-month employment gap searching for, and I am so glad I didn’t give up on my career goals.”

Employment gaps do not define you

According to a recent Randstad U.S. study, the average job search today takes about five months. When Childs was laid off late in 2017 from an executive-level marketing job, he did not anticipate a longer-than-average employment gap. He explained: “When my old job was eliminated, it was the first time in many years that I had no specific job to go to next. I had always benefited from people just knowing me and my work, so starting from scratch while unemployed felt pretty weird.” When a few leads at the beginning of his job search didn’t materialize, he felt a bit demoralized.

According to a 2019 Monster survey, 59 percent of Americans have had an unexpected gap in their career. For a lot of people looking for jobs with a gap on their resume, there can be internalized feelings of shame, says Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Ph.D., organizational psychologist, CEC-certified executive coach, and author of “The YOU Plan.” “Shame puts on a lot of added pressure to an already stressful time, which can lead to obsession,” Dr. Woody explains. “Don’t victimize yourself over a lost job or a failure in the past. It can be debilitating.”  He advises readers to recognize their setback as just that, a setback — then deal with it and move on to better things.

Childs did keep moving forward. He designed an online portfolio and kept adding to it during his hiatus by taking on freelance work. He wrote for an online magazine and volunteered his talents to local non-profit groups. A year into his search, he took an advertising sales job as he continued to apply for positions. “The sales job was what I needed to do financially, and what I needed to do for my own piece of mind,” he reflects. “I was earning income, learning, and connecting with people. It helped me a lot.”

While he did not give up on finding an innovative executive marketing position, Childs needed ways to stay focused and positive on his continued career search. When it comes to overcoming the mental roadblocks employment gaps create, the following advice can help keep you more focused, motivated, and confident.

1. Honesty really is the best policy

Susan is happily employed in Reno, Nevada at The Slumber Yard, a specialty online clearinghouse of reviews, comparisons, and deals for mattresses and bedding products. Prior to taking the job last year, this mattress review specialist (whose name has been changed for this piece) had left the workforce to care for her young son after he was injured in a serious accident. When she was ready to re-enter the workforce, Susan crafted a very targeted resume and cover letter that succinctly addressed her employment gap. Still, the two-year pause in her career had her a little nervous. “I wasn’t exactly sure what the job market would be like for me,” she remembers.

“Her resume had everything we were looking for, and when she told me why she had a gap in her employment history, her honesty really impressed me,” says Matthew Ross, The Slumber Yard’s Co-Founder and COO. Ross immediately called Susan in for an interview. “Her experience and knowledge of our industry are what got her the job. But, the way that she explained her employment gap really showed her character, both as a person and as a professional.”

You can explain your employment gap without oversharing, says Dick Lively, Partner and HR Consulting Director at RAI Resources in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “On a resume or in a cover letter, saying you took time to care for a family member who was ill or that you relocated across the country for your spouse’s job should be enough detail. Keep it professional but not too personal,” he says. It is also OK to exclude a gap explanation from the resume altogether, so long as you are prepared to address it during the interview if you are asked. Just don’t make something up. “At the end of the day, the truth always comes out, explains Lively. “You don’t want to face a potential employer or a new boss and try to explain why you lied.”

Continue on to Top Resume to read the complete article.

American Indian College Fund to Continue College Access and Success Program with $2.5 Million, Three-Year Grant

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Native American and Alaska Native students are in a college-going and completion crisis.

Research shows the national rate of all students going to college within six months of graduation after high school is 70%. For Native American and Alaska Native students, those numbers are closer to 20%.

The American Indian College Fund knows that education improves the lives of individuals, their families, and entire communities, yet scholarships are not enough for student success. It needed to create a college-going culture with prospective students to ensure the transition to college and support them while in college. Thanks to a $2.5 million grant renewal for 36 months from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the College Fund will continue its work to increase college access and success through the College Fund’s Native Pathways to College Program .

The College Fund’s Pathways program is divided into four components working with students. The High School Admissions Pathway program works to increase the college-going rate of Native Pathways participants closer to the national college going rate. The College Bridge Pathway works to bring Tribal College and Universities (TCUs) and area high schools together to help prepare students for the academic and social environments at college. The Tribal College Transfer Pathway aims to increase the retention rate of TCU students, increase the number of TCU graduates, and increase the number TCU graduates transferring to a four-year institution. The Student Success Pathway will support successful transition and increase retention of students who transition into a new institution of higher education.

The program will continue its work in broadening a college culture and college completion at more schools across the nation, with the goal of working with 90 reservation-based high schools and 30 TCUs in 11 states, impacting approximately 16,000 students. The College Fund will provide training materials and will work with students, staff, and community members on college access workshops, coaching, and events.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “The College Fund and the Andrew Mellon Foundation share a vision of equity that emerges when young people see themselves as having an education that leads to a better life. Engaged, active citizenship rooted in Native identity is our goal. We know that all of society benefits from healthy communities, diverse knowledge, and improved economies. We are pleased that the Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation looks beyond the academy to the future of our society in our youth.”

About the American Indian College Fund

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org .

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

5 Things Successful Employees Do Right

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Being good at your job can buy you a degree of security and set you on a path toward a promotion. If you’re eager to step up your game, it helps to understand the habits of employees who are already successful. Here are a few positive traits to mimic.

1. They communicate well

Communicating well means knowing when to share information and how to share it effectively. Strong communicators are able to express themselves succinctly and diplomatically when warranted, and they’re good at conveying information electronically, over the phone, and in person.

Working on your communication skills often boils down to observing those who are good at it and aiming to adopt their behavior. Being mindful of the language you use, however, will also help you improve in this regard, so start taking the time to really think about what you’re putting in emails or how you’re responding during live conversations.

2. They ask for help when they need it

In an age when multitasking is often hailed as something to celebrate, asking for help might seem like a sign of weakness. Actually, though, it’s anything but. Acknowledging the need for assistance, whether for a minor issue or a major one, is a sign that you’re aware of your own limitations and are being resourceful in seeking out other ways to get a given task done. And the more comfortable you get with it, the more you’re likely to excel.

3. They’re not afraid to step outside their comfort zone

Once you get into a flow at work, it’s easy to grow content with that routine. But if you don’t change things up or push yourself to do new things, you’re apt to get stuck in a rut. Those who are successful at work often take on challenges that scare them just a bit. But it’s their can-do attitude and willingness to take chances that sets them apart from the pack.

4. They build solid relationships with their peers

Developing relationships is an important part of being successful, and people who do that typically make a point of working well with their peers. If you’re eager to do the same, invest some time into getting to understand your colleagues better.

Figure out where their strengths and weaknesses lie and how you and your peers can help each other achieve mutual goals and overcome collective challenges. It also helps to get to know your co-workers on a personal level to take your relationship to a more solid level.

5. They stay organized

When you only have so many hours in a day, week, or month, you really need to make the most of that limited time. Successful employees are generally good at time management and being organized, so if you can’t say the same about yourself, make an effort to improve.

You can start by physically cleaning up your workspace so it’s easier to access the documents and tools needed to do your job. Additionally, it pays to get into the habit of creating daily or weekly to-do lists so you can keep tabs on various deadlines and ensure that priorities are addressed as needed.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 AISES Leadership Summit: Planning STEM Futures in a Welcoming Cherokee Community

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STEM is here. STEM is evolving. STEM is the future. The AISES Leadership Summit is focused on honing strategies to enable science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals and emerging leaders in STEM fields to think proactively about their goals.

This annual gathering focuses on the core competencies and capacities of individuals. It stimulates participants to think about their responsibilities and the impact of their work and studies on the global STEM community. It enables participants to stop, think, and plot their incredible life journey, and it supports them as they process the lessons and opportunities they come away with.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) generously sponsored and hosted the 2019 AISES Leadership Summit March 14–16 in Cherokee, North Carolina. The Qualla Boundary, the official name of this sovereign nation’s land, is adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in western North Carolina. This historic, scenic area is home to a close-knit community that proudly and graciously welcomed Leadership Summit participants as friends and relatives.

There was excitement in the room! Cherokee Principal Chief Richard Snead opened the Leadership Summit by sharing his message of goodwill from the Cherokee community. AISES is grateful to the EBCI community, tribal members, and Cherokee community partners that invested in the 2019 Leadership Summit, including the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, the Sequoyah Fund, Owle Construction, the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute, the Cherokee Boys Club, and many programs of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Following Principal Chief Snead’s inspirational talk, the Cherokee Youth Council (CYC), a culturally based leadership program for students in grades 7–12, performed two social dances. The CYC is housed under the Ray Kinsland Leadership Institute at the Cherokee Boys Club and is funded by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. EBCI Youth Ambassadors invited conference participants to join them in the Friendship Dance, bringing together friends and strangers in unity.

Once again, AISES designed and presented a top-notch conference of action-packed days filled with meetings, tours, and events. Complementing all the activities were multiple forms of learning, from written materials and workshops to a choice of over 30 conference sessions. Participants arrived from Canada and 31 states as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. Over 260 students and professionals, including advisors and chaperones, were part of this year’s gathering.

Within the Leadership Summit was a lineup of AISES program events. The Faculty Career Development Workshop was a daylong program for Native people preparing to become STEM faculty.

Pre-college Energy Challenge poster participants presented their winning concepts and had an opportunity to showcase their work before skilled career professionals, who offered advice and feedback. Each student’s project is based on an energy challenge affecting his or her community, and students use a two-phase engineering process to create a real-world solution.

“The AISES Leadership Summit is an extraordinary example of how a Tribal community is committed to the future of their people and sustainability of their workforce,” says Alicia Jacobs, Vice Chair of the AISES Board of Directors. “I have seen the value of increasing the representation of American Indians in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers right here on the Qualla Boundary. The EBCI community through the exposure of a national organization such as AISES has a strong STEM presence within the professional body of the tribe along with our college students pursuing STEM fields, and down to our students at the Cherokee Central Schools level who are working on culturally-based STEM curriculum. The EBCI community, Executive Office and Tribal Council are setting a strong example for other tribal communities to follow when it comes to supporting STEM by investing in the AISES Leadership Summit.”

Investing in the Leadership Summit benefits us all. AISES could not accomplish the goals of the Leadership Summit without the support, involvement, and enthusiasm of our committed sponsors, which include the tribal programs and partners previously listed, along with BMM Testlabs, Chevron, HP, America’s Navy, University of North Carolina Asheville, General Motors, United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service, Double Rafter, and DiversityComm.

The Leadership Summit is an opportunity for STEM professionals, industry partners, and students to meet and interact with each other, as well as with the AISES board of directors, staff, and advisory council members. Together participants build a shared support base for the growth and development of essential leadership skills. Invest in yourself and you invest in the future.

Join AISES at the 2019 National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 10–12, 2019. We’d love to see you there!

 

These 6 Customer Service Skills Will Help You Land Any Job

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

1. Strong Communication Skills

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

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

2. Solid Active Listening Skills

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

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

3. Excellent Problem-Solving Skills

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

4. Ability to Work as Part of a Team

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

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

5. Good Multitasking Skills

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

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

6. The Ability to Show Resilience

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

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

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

Source: CareerBuilder

4 Tips for Responding to “Sell Me This Pen” in an Interview

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You’re in a job interview for a sales position, and things are going well. Then the interviewer presents the challenge that you knew to expect (yet were still dreading): “Sell me this pen.”

This type of prompt is enough to send your stomach plummeting to your shoes. It’s challenging to think on the fly to begin with, and when that’s combined with the fact that your nerves are running high, it’s common to draw a blank and stare at that pen completely slack-jawed.

Fortunately, like any other type of job interview question, a little preparation and practice can help you knock your response out of the park.

So what do you need to know to effectively answer a “sell me something” interview question? We’re covering all of the details right here.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

As you might guess, this type of question is frequently asked in interviews for sales positions.

While a pen is a common default object, that’s not the only scenario for this type of sales prompt. Your interviewer might say, “Sell me this bottle of water” or even simply, “Sell me something” and then have you choose an item in the room and state your pitch.

It’s tempting to think that they’re only asking this to stump you or put you in a tough spot—and honestly, that’s partially true.

“Sales can be a very high-pressure job. Interviewers want to see how you answer the question, not necessarily what you say,” says Neely Raffellini, Muse Career Coach and founder of the 9 to 5 Project. “Do you respond with confidence? Do you seem genuine?”

In any sort of sales role, you’ll occasionally find yourself in sticky situations. So interviewers don’t ask this question with the expectation that you’ll have a flawless response (although that certainly doesn’t hurt!). Instead, they simply want to observe how you react under pressure.

4 Tips for a Solid “Sell Me This Pen” Answer

It’s comforting to know that employers are more interested in your overall demeanor—as opposed to only the content of your response.

However, you still need something to say (and ideally, it’ll be effective and impressive). Here are four tips to help you craft an impactful answer to this common question.

1. Be Confident

Remember, the primary reason your interviewer is asking this is to gauge how well you respond when you feel pressured or caught off guard.

Even if you don’t have a perfectly polished sales spiel to whip out at a moment’s notice, do your best to display a level of confidence as you work your way through your answer.

Sit up straight, maintain eye contact, speak clearly, and smile. Those nonverbal cues will go a long way in making you seem poised and self-assured—regardless of the actual content of your sales pitch.

2. Highlight a Need

In a famous scene in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character tells a salesperson, “Sell me this pen.” The salesperson immediately takes the pen from DiCaprio and then asks him to write his name down—which is impossible to do without any sort of writing utensil.

“The purpose is to prove that he needs the pen,” explains Dan Ratner, a former account executive at The Muse.

While you might not replicate that exact approach, this is definitely a tactic that you can borrow when answering this question yourself.

The best place to start is by asking questions. The temptation is strong to jump right in with a long-winded sales pitch. But remember that a good salesperson takes the time to learn about the needs, goals, and challenges of their prospective customers so that they can tailor their pitch to their audience.

“Your goal is to dig deeper and to understand why they need whatever you’re selling,” adds Ratner. “Usually, this can be ascertained by simply asking, ‘why?’”

Ratner demonstrates the power of asking this type of question with the below interview question and answer example:

Interviewer: “Sell me something.”
Candidate: “Okay, what do you need?”
Interviewer: “A new car.”
Candidate: “Why do you need a new car?”
Interviewer: “My car’s a gas guzzler and I want something that has better MPG.”
Candidate: “Why do you want better MPG?”
Interviewer: “I’m tired of spending tons of cash to fill my SUV. I want to save money.”
Candidate: “Why is it important to you to save money?”
Interviewer: “I’m saving up to buy a house.”
Candidate: “What I hear is you’re in need of a car that helps save you money in the long run so you can buy a home. Is that right?”
Interviewer: “Yes, exactly.”
Candidate: “How serendipitous! I’m in the business of selling electric cars. I’d love to get you started on your dream as a homeowner. Do you prefer cash or credit?”

3. Emphasize the Features and Benefits

In addition to connecting your sales pitch to specific needs, it’s also helpful to call attention to the features or benefits of whatever you’ve been asked to sell. This is all about setting up a distinct value proposition for that item.

“For example, does your pen write with very smooth ink? How will that benefit them? Maybe it can help them write faster or more effortlessly. Does your pen have red ink? Red ink will help their markups stand out on a page,” shares Raffellini.

Raffellini says that selling these unique attributes or perks is a tactic she has used herself in job interviews.

In her first sales interview, “the interviewer [who] asked me this question already had a pen sitting in front of them and pointed to the pen sitting in front of me saying, ‘Sell me that pen.’ I realized that the interviewer didn’t need a pen, so I explained why I would choose the pen that I had in front of me. It worked, because I got the job!”

4. Don’t Forget to Close

The close is the most important part of the sale, but it’s also an easy one to forget when you know that the interviewer won’t actually be cutting you a check for that pen of yours.

The last piece of your response is the portion when you can really end on a strong note and leave a lasting impression, so don’t fall into the trap of leaning on something weak like, “So yeah, that’s how I’d sell that…”

Instead, summarize the main points you made and then show the interviewer you know how to close by actually making the ask (like you would in a real sales situation). That might look something like this:

“With its comfortable grip and smooth ink, this pen can help you increase your writing speed, save precious time in your workday, and get more done. Should we move forward with placing your order?”

When you’re on the hunt for any sort of sales position, you need to be prepared to answer some variation of the “sell me this pen” interview question.

The good news is that interviewers don’t expect that you’ll have a completely polished sales pitch ready to go—they’re mostly trying to discern how you respond in high-pressure situations.

Continue on tho The Muse to read the complete article.