These 6 Customer Service Skills Will Help You Land Any Job

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Professional brunette woman with suit on and arms folded

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

Jennifer Lopez: From the Block to the Boss

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Jennifer Lopez speaking at a radio interview

By Jovane Marie

In the nearly 30 years since she danced her way onto our screens as a Fly Girl on In Living Color, Jennifer Lopez has evolved into an award-winning, record-breaking, history-making phenomenon.

A force to be reckoned with in every industry she enters—be it dance, music, TV or film—the star has also made strides in the business world, intertwining her marketability with her personal persona and riding her brand all the way to the bank.

The Business of Being J. Lo

The consummate boss lady, Lopez has leveraged a thorough understanding of her personal brand and identity to generate several multi-million-dollar business enterprises. It is a tactic that, according to the successful multi-hyphenate, is key to longevity.

“You have to remember the value of your individuality—that you have something different and special to offer that nobody else can,” she said in an interview with IOL.

Lopez’s marketability lies in her origin story and the hard work ethic that took her from the southside of the Bronx to the highest echelons of stardom. To quote her hit “Jenny from the Block”— “no matter where she goes, she knows where she came from”—that sentiment has endeared her to fans, and consumers, worldwide.

“Staying authentic to that image of an entertainer, mother, and woman of humble beginnings in a struggling Puerto Rican family from the Bronx is important, and it’s key to reaching a bigger audience of potential customers. That’s a big part of who I am, and my brand in a way,” Lopez said in a sales pitch to Silicon Valley.

Lifestyle a la Lopez

Lopez first flexed her business muscle in 2001, when she launched her eponymous clothing and accessories line, J. Lo by Jennifer Lopez. With an unapologetic focus on providing fabulous fashion choices for women of all sizes (including often overlooked curvaceous body types), the label has gone through several iterations over the years, expanding to include girls’ sportswear and housing decor. In 2010, she relaunched the brand in partnership with popular retail chain Kohl’s, capitalizing on their exclusive private brand strategy to ensure nationwide saturation of her vision. The collection, which includes a wide array of fashion running the gamut from statement pieces to chic comfort, is a testament to the entrepreneur’s personal taste (if she wouldn’t wear it, it doesn’t hit the shelf).

“It’s great to collaborate with Kohl’s in the creation of a full lifestyle

 Jennifer Lopez performs during a stop of her It's My Party tour at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS: Jennifer Lopez performs during a stop of her It’s My Party tour at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ABA)

brand that represents my full style and essence,” said the entrepreneur, who is known for taking an active role in each stage of the production process. “I’m a mom. I work. I want comfort, but I also want to feel sexy and modern. I think a lot of women want the same thing.”

Production Paragraph

As Lopez’s star continued to rise on the charts and in theaters, she made yet another boss lady move that would further cement her status as a business mogul. Alongside then manager Benny Medina, the star co-founded Nuyorican Productions, a film and television production company, in 2001. The production house has developed a wide range of projects, from documentaries to primetime shows to online series, with Lopez often starring or serving in an executive producer capacity. To date, the entity is responsible for six films, 12 TV series (including award-winning The Fosters, which won two GLAAD Media Awards for its outstanding representation of LGBT issues), four TV specials, one online series, and nine musical releases.

The Smell of Success

Lopez’s long-term influence and impact on the fashion industry extends beyond clothing, accessories, and home goods. In 2002, she launched what would become America’s top-selling fragrance and the best-selling celebrity fragrance line in the world—Glow. The move jump-started the now common-place strategy of celebrities bringing their own namesake scents to the market. In the 17 years since its inception, Lopez has released 24 fragrances, with revenue in the billions.

No Time Off

The mid-2000s saw Lopez incrementally building her empire—starring in several films (including 2006’s Bordertown, which earned her an Artists for Amnesty Award from Amnesty International), producing several others under Nuyorican, releasing her sixth studio album, maintaining her lifestyle brands, and serving as the Chief Creative Officer for NuvoTV (a Latino community focused cable network). It wasn’t until 2008, after giving birth to twins Max and Emme, that she finally took a short hiatus to focus on her new family.

She was back on the grind less than two years later, when she joined the judging panel on the tenth season of American Idol. The comeback served as the spark of a resurgence predicated on her undeniably successful personal brand that—nearly a decade later—has yet to falter.

The Power of Branding

Jennifer Lopez Book Cover: True LoveArmed with an ambitiously sharp business mind, an innate understanding of her brand, and a ferocious work ethic, Lopez has established herself as an obvious go-to for major companies looking to connect to consumers via a relatable feel coupled with a healthy dose of glamour. L’Oréal Paris, Gillette Venus, Fiat Automobiles, denim powerhouse Guess, and luxury footwear Giuseppe Zanotti have all called on the business behemoth, who boasts one of the most powerful brands on the planet.

The numbers don’t lie: more than 150 million people, a whopping 75 percent of them millennials, follow the phenom on social media, privy to Lopez’s every post, project, and partnership. That fact alone points to her uncanny ability to connect with the masses using her high-profile status as a business asset for social commerce.

To Lopez, that universal appeal serves as the potential foundation for creating wide-ranging business opportunities that have yet to be realized.

“I want to build something that has never been done before,” she declared in 2015 at VentureScape, a venture capital conference in Silicon Valley hosted by the National Venture Capital Association. And she most definitely will. Her companies boast a track record of success that surpasses Stanford graduates (the stereotypical recipients of such funds) and is predicated in part on her willingness to take risks.

“I have found that taking risks, being true to myself, and making decisions with good intentions can exceed even my own expectations,” the mogul mused in her 2014 bestseller, True Love.

Beyond the Business

Lopez may have established herself as an entrepreneurial enigma through her mastery of multi-faceted platforms and her sheer intelligence in strategically building and managing her brand, but her talents and impact (obviously) extend well past the boardroom. The fervent go-getter was advised as her career was just starting to blossom to “make a moment of her shot” (a piece of wisdom bestowed by fellow actor Jack Nicholson while on set shooting the neo-noir thriller Blood and Wine in 1997).

She took the advice to heart, harnessing every opportunity to its full potential, smashing racial barriers, and side-stepping naysayers to become one of (if not the) most influential Hispanic performers in the United States. In 2018, TIME Magazine named her among its “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and for good reason.

The quadruple threat (singer, actress, dancer, and producer) has sold more than 80 million records in the last two decades, holding the record for releasing the first remix album—entitled J to tha L-O! The Remixes—to ever debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as well as the highest first week sales for a Spanish album in the United States—her 2007 Como Ana una Mujer.

As an actress, she has blazed a record-making trail in Hollywood as

Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez and Lili Reinhart are seen on the film set of 'Hustlers' in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY: Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez and Lili Reinhart are seen on the film set of ‘Hustlers’ in New York City. (Photo by Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

well, capturing the nation’s attention in 1997 with her portrayal of Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Perez in the namesake biopic Selena and demanding a salary that at the time made her the highest-paid Hispanic actress in history. Collectively, her films have grossed more than $3 billion, and she holds the distinction of being the first woman to have a number one film (The Wedding Planner) and the number one album (J. Lo) simultaneously in the United States.

Lopez has also left an undeniable mark in the dance industry, cementing her reputation as a powerhouse on the floor with her fierce choreography and the producing (and serving on the judges panel) of the wildly popular World of Dance, which features dancers and groups from all over the world competing for a $1 million prize.

Her influence goes beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the recording studio, however. Lopez’s list of philanthropic efforts rivals her professional achievements. From the founding of the Lopez Family Foundation, a global nonprofit “dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women and children and increasing available medical care,” to her service as the first national celebrity spokesperson for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, her care, concern, and support for her fellow man and women is evident.

With her tenacious can-do attitude, persistent work ethic, and unapologetic boss lady branding, Jennifer Lopez has built a successful, multi-tiered legacy that is sure to stand the test of time. And she is confident there is even more to come.

“You have to believe that you really have that power to make your life whatever you want it to be,” she said.

Spoken like a true boss.

6 Things Successful People Never Reveal About Themselves

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At work, sharing the right aspects of yourself in the right ways is an art form. Disclosures that feel like relationship builders in the moment can wind up as obvious no-nos with hindsight.

By Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

Trouble is, you can’t build a strong professional network if you don’t open up to your colleagues. Doing so is tricky, because revealing the wrong things can have a devastating effect on your career.

You must know where the line is and be careful not to cross it, because once you share something, there is no going back.

More than a million people have been tested and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90 percent of top performers, to be exact). Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.

Emotionally intelligent people are adept at reading others, and this ability shows them what they should and shouldn’t reveal about themselves at work. They know better than to reveal any of the following, because these things will send your career careening in the wrong direction.

  1. Your political beliefs. People’s political beliefs are too closely tied to their identities to be discussed without incident at work. Disagreeing with someone else’s views can quickly alter their otherwise strong perception of you. Confronting someone’s core values is one of the most insulting things you can do.

Granted, different people treat politics differently, but asserting your values can alienate some people as quickly as it intrigues others. Even bringing up a hot-button world event without asserting a strong opinion can lead to conflict. People build their lives around their ideals and beliefs, and giving them your two cents is risky. Be willing to listen to others without inputting anything on your end because all it takes is a disapproving look to start a conflict. Political opinions are so deeply ingrained in people, that challenging their views is more likely to get you judged than to change their mind.

  1. That you think someone is incompetent. There will always be incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.
  1. How much money you make. Your parents may love to hear all about how much you’re pulling in each month, but in the workplace, this only breeds negativity. It’s impossible to allocate salaries with perfect fairness, and revealing yours gives your coworkers a direct measure of comparison. As soon as everyone knows how much you make, everything you do at work is considered against your income. It’s tempting to swap salary figures with a buddy out of curiosity, but the moment you do, you’ll never see each other the same way again.
  1. That you hate your job. The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person, who is not a team player. This brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.
  1. How wild you used to be. Your past can say a lot about you. Just because you did something outlandish or stupid years ago doesn’t mean that people will believe you’ve developed impeccable judgment since then. Some behavior that might qualify as just another day in the typical fraternity (binge drinking, petty theft, drunk driving, abusing farm animals, and so on) shows everyone you work with that, when push comes to shove, you have poor judgment and don’t know where to draw the line. Many presidents have been elected in spite of their past indiscretions, but unless you have a team of handlers and PR types protecting and spinning your image, you should keep your unsavory past to yourself.
  1. That you’re job hunting. When I was a kid, I told my baseball coach I was quitting in two weeks. For the next two weeks, I found myself riding the bench. It got even worse after those two weeks when I decided to stay, and I became “the kid who doesn’t even want to be here.” I was crushed, but it was my own fault; I told him my decision before it was certain. The same thing happens when you tell people that you’re job hunting. Once you reveal that you’re planning to leave, you suddenly become a waste of everyone’s time. There’s also the chance that your hunt will be unsuccessful, so it’s best to wait until you’ve found a job before you tell anyone. Otherwise, you will end up riding the bench.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart®, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training serving more than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries.

10 résumé tips to impress a recruiter in 7 seconds

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Having a well-crafted résumé can be the key to getting your foot in the door at the company of your dreams. But figuring out how to make your résumé fully representative of your experience and also stand out is easier said than done.

After all, hiring managers and recruiters generally only spend about seven seconds reading your résumé before deciding whether to move forward or not.

Most people know the basics of how to put together a decent work history, but here are some tips you probably haven’t heard before that can help your résumé stand up to the seven-second test.

1. Only include your address if it works in your favor

If you’re applying for positions in the city or town you already live in, then go ahead and include your address. In this case, it lets the hiring manager know you’re already in the area and could theoretically start working right away. But if you’re targeting jobs in another area and you’d need to move in order to start working, it’s probably a good idea to leave your current address off of your résumé. Why? Recruiters are sometimes less excited to interview candidates from another city or state, since they often require relocation fees.

2. Be a name-dropper

It may be poor form to drop names in everyday life, but you absolutely should do it on your résumé. If you’ve worked with well-known clients or companies, go ahead and include them by name. Something like: “Closed deals with Google, Toyota, and Bank of America” will get recruiters’ attention in no time flat.

3. Utilize your performance reviews

You might not think to look to your annual review for résumé material, but checking out the positive feedback you’ve received in years past can help you identify your most noteworthy accomplishments and best work attributes—two things that should definitely be highlighted on your résumé. Including specific feedback you’ve received and goals you’ve met can help you avoid needing to use “fluff” to fill out your work experience.

4. Don’t go overboard with keywords

Many companies and recruiters use keyword-scanning software as a tool to narrow the job applicant pool. For this reason, it’s important to include keywords from the job description in your résumé—but don’t go overboard. Recruiters can spot “keyword stuffing” a mile away.

5. Use common sense email etiquette

There are two types of email addresses you shouldn’t use on your résumé or when applying to a job via email: your current work email address, or an overly personal or inappropriate email address, like loverguy22@gmail.com. Stick with something professional based on your name in order to make the best possible impression.

6. When it comes to skills, quality over quantity

There’s no need to list skills that most people in the job market have (Think: Microsoft Office, email, Mac, and PC proficient), which can make it look like you’re just trying to fill up space on the page. Keep your skills section short, and only include impactful skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying to.

7. Choose to share social accounts strategically

Including links to social media accounts on a résumé is becoming more and more common. But it’s important to distinguish between professional accounts—like a LinkedIn profile or Instagram account you manage for work—and nonprofessional ones, like your personal Twitter or Facebook account. While it might be tempting to include a personal account in order to show recruiters who you are, you’re better off only listing accounts that are professionally focused. Save your winning personality for an in-person interview.

8. Use hobbies to your advantage

Not all hobbies deserve a place on your résumé, but some do. Hobbies that highlight positive personality qualities or skills that could benefit you on the job are worth including. For example, running marathons (shows discipline and determination) and blogging about something related to your field (shows creativity and genuine interest in your work) are hobbies that will cast you in the best possible light and might pique a recruiter’s interest.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Jovita Carranza is the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in Trump’s Cabinet

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Jovita Carranza headshot with American Flag in the background

This year, President Donald Trump nominated Jovita Carranza to lead the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), taking over for Linda McMahon as the Administrator.

This would make her the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in Trump’s cabinet, according to the Senate.

Carranza has been the Treasurer of the United States since 2017, serving as a principal adviser to Secretary Mnuchin. Her focus was to increase participation in our vibrant economy by fostering financial capability and sustainability.

Treasurer Carranza is a Chicago native and founder of the supply-chain management company JCR Group. She previously served as the Deputy Administrator for the SBA under President George W. Bush, where she received a bi-partisan, unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

At SBA, she managed more than 80 field offices across the country and a portfolio of direct and guaranteed business loans, venture capital investments, and disaster loans worth almost $80 billion.

Prior to her SBA appointment, Carranza had a distinguished 20+ year career at United Parcel Service, where she was the highest-ranking Latina in the history of the company. She started as a part-time, night-shift box handler and worked her way up to President of Latin America and Caribbean operations. As Vice President of Air Operations at its facility in Louisville, Kentucky, she led the cutting-edge automated package processing operation.

Source: npr.org, home.treasury.gov, nasba.biz

This Factor Makes You 45% Less Likely to Land a Job Interview

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Latina woman talking to interviewers

There are different reasons job candidates might struggle to land interviews. Sometimes, it boils down to missing skills. But in other cases, your lack of interview requests could be a matter of a problem with your resume — namely, the fact that it shows a glaring gap in employment.

Resume gaps are fairly common. Parents who take time out of the workforce to raise children often reenter the job market with sizable resume gaps. The same holds true for those who take time off from their careers to travel. The problem, however, is that a gap on your resume could hurt your chances of moving forward in the job application process.

Resume-writing service ResumeGo conducted a field experiment over the course of five months earlier this year in which over 36,000 openings across popular job boards were applied to using fictitious applicants. The purpose of the experiment was to determine how badly a resume gap could hurt applicants’ chances of getting hired.

The result? Candidates with work history gaps had a 45% lower chance of getting called in for job interviews than those without gaps. And those with work gaps of three years or longer were less likely to be invited to interview for jobs than those with shorter gaps.

If you took time out of the workforce and therefore have a gap on your resume, you don’t have to let it destroy your chances of landing an interview, and subsequently getting hired. There are a few things you can do to overcome that obstacle.

Moving past your resume gap
First, let’s get one thing out of the way: Lying about your gap in work history is never a good idea. If you’re caught, it’ll ruin your chances of getting hired at the company that uncovers the truth, and at that point, you run the risk of different employers in your industry talking and blacklisting you on a long-term basis.

A better bet? Don’t cover up your resume gap. If anything, call it out in your cover letter and explain the reason for it. And if you’re not submitting a cover letter, you can explain yourself on the resume itself.

A better bet? Don’t cover up your resume gap. If anything, call it out in your cover letter and explain the reason for it. And if you’re not submitting a cover letter, you can explain yourself on the resume itself.

Imagine you took a five-year hiatus from the workforce to raise children. If that’s the case, you can summarize that period on your resume just as you’d sum up the two-year period you worked as a junior accountant for Company X, and then the three-year period you worked as a senior accountant for Company Y. In the experiment conducted above, job applicants who provided a reason for their work gap up front received close to 60% more interviews than those with gaps who offered no explanation — so be sure to include that information.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

How to dress for every stage of your career

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group of Hispanic professionals lined up outside building

By Lydia Dishman

There are a lot of unspoken rules in the workplace, and one of them is often how to dress. Today, fewer than half of American workplaces have an office dress code, according to a recent survey by Simply Hired. But even among companies that have published guidelines regarding apparel and accessories, the parameters can be rather opaque.

For instance, in a memo to staff about its new, more relaxed dress code, Goldman Sachs stated: “Goldman Sachs has a broad and diverse client base around the world, and we want all of our clients to feel comfortable with and confident in our team, so please dress in a manner that is consistent with your clients’ expectations.” Leaving employees to use their best judgment is the reason many offices allow a vast array of clothing choices, from jeans and sneakers to suits and heels.

What we wear to work does make a difference, even in an era of anything goes. In a recent study by Robert Half, the majority of professionals (86%) and managers (80%) surveyed said clothing choices affect someone’s chances of being promoted. And 44% of senior managers said they’ve had to talk to an employee about their inappropriate attire, while a third (32%) have sent staff home based on what they were wearing.

Throw in the fact that most people will cycle through several different careers during their working life, and the daily conundrum of what to wear becomes far more fraught than ever.

Luckily there are experts to guide us through best practices for how to dress at every stage of our careers. Here’s what they told us:

Entry-level to early career

When you are starting out, making the right impression is crucial. However, Alexandra Howell, assistant professor of fashion merchandising and design at Meredith College, says the old adage “Dress for the job you want” is kind of outdated in 2019.

Howell notes that if you’ve been hired, you’ve already spent time in the office and know at least a little bit about the company culture, which includes some expectations regarding what’s appropriate to wear to work there.

“Whether they require streetwear, business casual, or even formal,” says Howell, “I recommend dressing up or more formally when you first start out.” You have to keep this within reason, she cautions. If, for example, during your interview, your manager was wearing jeans, sneakers, and a hoodie, “it may be overkill to show up in a full suit [regardless of your gender], but at the same time simply replicating what your boss was wearing can seem like an overstep.” That’s why Howell advises sporting business casual. She says fitted dress pants and a button-down shirt with loafers for men and a pixie pant with a comfortable blouse or sweater and flats for women are generally safe bets. “As you become more comfortable and familiar with the culture of the company, you can reassess your wardrobe,” she says.

Dana Goren of Hibob also notes that it’s important to remember that as the youngest or newest employee, you are beginning to establish yourself and must show that you are prepared for whatever tasks you are given. “Even if you are productive and a high achiever, looking disheveled or inappropriate can undermine your credibility and cause others to doubt your abilities,” says Goren. Not only do others size you up in seven seconds or less, but research suggests that someone can determine whether or not they think another person is trustworthy within one-tenth of a second, she says.

That’s why she says, “If you work directly with clients, take care that you’re dressing in a way that’s appropriate to meet with them, as their office dress code may differ from yours.”

If you’re still struggling to figure out what’s appropriate, Scott Young, managing director of client delivery at CultureIQ, suggests simply asking the recruiter or HR leader. “You can certainly deviate in a dress code-free office,” he says, “but you want your new colleagues to focus on your performance, not your appearance.” Young says it’s perfectly appropriate to be more formally dressed than everyone else—at least to start. “Most people will accept that you are still in the post-interview process and want to put your best foot forward,” he says. “But being underdressed may signal that you don’t care about the job.”

Moving up the ranks

Yes, your dress code should change if you get promoted, says Laura Handrick, a career and workplace analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com, “but only slightly—in subtle ways.” Handrick says clothing choices help establish authority over your former peers. For example, if your team members wear vintage band T-shirts, she suggests wearing a polo shirt instead.

“Senior leadership is watching,” she says. “They’re assessing your ability to contribute at higher levels, and likely with more clients, vendors, executives, and investors.” So, if you continue to dress like your staff, you’re essentially telling your leadership team that you align better with workers than leaders, says Handrick.

Keren Kozar, who oversees human resources and hiring at January Digital, takes the opposite approach. She believes that if you’ve been dressing for the job you want the whole time you were an individual contributor, you may not need to change much. However, “if the transition requires newly added face time with clients,” she says, “make certain to dress for the client environment. If this means keeping a blazer or change of shoes at the office for client-facing meetings, do so.”

Patricia Brown, chair of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising, believes it’s always good to keep reevaluating what you wear to work. “If suits are appropriate in your work environment, then maybe a newer suit or two would be warranted,” she says. Or you could add a jacket, topper, or, in some cases, a refined cardigan to elevate an existing outfit. “A ‘third piece’ or jacket adds polish, a little bit of perceived authority, and often that extra element of style,” she says. Bonus: They double as extra warmth when summer air-conditioning turns your office into a meat locker.

Second or third act

Really, the advice for first-time job seekers still applies no matter your age or career stage, says Young of CultureIQ. More than half of U.S. employees say they feel comfortable wearing jeans in the workplace, and over one-third say the same thing for sneakers, according to the same SimplyHired survey. “That is something to keep in mind if you are an older worker coming from a more rigid, formal, hierarchical workplace into what is likely to be a less formal one,” says Young. While erring on the side of formality may work to start, Young says it could be a signal to coworkers that you are seeking a more hierarchical structure, which runs against the one encouraged in your new workplace.

Mary Lou Andre, a coach, speaker, and corporate image consultant, believes that this is an ideal time to properly reassess your closet. “Schedule an appointment to retire the accumulated clothes and accessories that have the potential to dismiss your relevance as a key contributor to your evolving industry and company,” says Andre. Next, she suggests upping your game by updating your look with clothes and accessories that are age-appropriate, yet communicate a sophisticated and modern approach to dress. “This doesn’t mean changing who you are and what you stand for,” Andre says. “Rather, it means paying attention to workplace trends and following suit in a way that gives you clout with a multigenerational workforce.”

Brown recommends giving thought to what is flattering for your age and body type and what makes you feel confident. “Your clothing should accentuate your feeling good about your ability to do the job,” she says, adding, “You should dress to feel polished, and to earn respect, even if you are learning a new role.”

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

10 Reasons to Work for the Federal Government

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Are you thinking of working for the federal government? If so, opportunities and benefits lie ahead. Check out these ten reasons to pursue a career in the field.

  1. Make a difference
    The work of government employees impacts the lives of every American and the lives of people around the world. Federal employees can play a vital role in addressing pressing issues, from homelessness to homeland security. Students interested in working in government can engage in high-impact work, such as helping disrupt the laundering of billions of dollars derived from illicit U.S. drug deals.
  2. Great benefits/competitive pay
    Average government salaries are competitive with the private and nonprofit sectors. Recent graduates can expect a starting salary from $32,415 to $42,631 a year. Pay can also increase fairly quickly for top candidates with experience and a strong education. Federal benefits, including health insurance, retirement and vacation, are extremely competitive with, if not superior to, other sectors.
  3. The government is hiring
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an employment increase of ten percent through 2018 in federal employment.
  4. Location, location, location
    Federal opportunities are not only found in the D.C area. Eighty-four percent of federal government jobs are outside of Washington, D.C. If students are interested in international job opportunities, more than 50,000 federal employees work abroad.
  5. Jobs for every major
    Working in the federal government is not just for political science majors. In fact, 28.4 percent of federal employees work in STEM fields. There are federal jobs for every interest and skill, from art history to zoology.
  6. Opportunities for advancement and professional development
    Federal employees have many opportunities for career advancement in government. An internal Merit Promotion Program helps ensure that new employees succeeding in their job have easy access to information about job openings within government. The government also offers excellent training and development opportunities and has human resources personnel to help connect current employees with these opportunities.
  7. Interesting and challenging work
    Today’s government workers are leading and innovating on issues, such as developing vaccines for deadly diseases, fighting sexual and racial discrimination, and keeping our massive systems of transportation safe.
  8. Work-life balance
    Flexible work schedules, including telework, are a major plus for those with busy schedules or long commute. Competitive benefits also include generous vacation time combined with federal holidays and sick leave. All of these packaged together make government an attractive employer for students looking to successfully balance their work and personal lives.
  9. Job security
    Government work is steady and secure, an attractive selling point, especially during difficult economic times.
  10. The federal government can help pay for school loans
    Some federal agencies can help pay back up to $10,000 per year in student loans, up to a total of $60,000.

Source: ourpublicservice.org

The Top 25 Highest Paid Federal Jobs

Did you know that the 25 highest paying government jobs all pay over $50,000 per year?

Below is a list of 25 of the most sought after federal jobs, ranked by the Office of Personnel Management as the highest paid jobs currently offered by the U.S. Government.

1) Astronomer – $116,072

2) Attorney – $114,240

3) Financial Manager – $101,022

4) General Engineer – $100,051

5) Economist – $94,098

6) Computer Scientist – $90,929

7) Chemist – $89,954

8) Criminal Investigator – $88,174

9) Microbiologist – $87,206

10) Architect – $85,690

11) Statistician – $81,524

12) Librarian – $78,665

13) Accountant – $78,030

14) Chaplain – $76,511

15) Ecologist – $76,511

16) Human Resources Manager – $76,503

17) Health and Safety Specialist – $73,003

18) Air Traffic Controller – $72,049

19) Budget Analyst – $71,267

20) Correctional Officer – $67,140

21) Nurse – $65,345

22) Technical Engineer – $63,951

23) Border Patrol Agent – $63,550

24) Medical Technician- $59,840

25) Customs Inspector – $59,248

Source: Office of Personnel Management

Make Your Resume Stand Out with This One Skill

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Most applicants don’t know that businesses are looking to fill positions with individuals who are leaders—people who aren’t afraid to take charge, organize, and grow with the company.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that administrative assistant positions will grow at a slower-than-average rate of just 3 percent between the years 2014 and 2024. For a position whose prospects could stagnate over time, it’s more important than ever for applicants to set themselves apart, both in person and on their resumes. By including leadership skills and experience on your applications, you’ll indicate to employers that you’re someone who will exceed expectations and help their business thrive. Here are a few ways to demonstrate leadership on your resume and in your role.

Take initiative

The easiest way to demonstrate leadership as an administrative assistant is by showing initiative. For instance, if an old filing system isn’t the most productive method, don’t continue using it—take the initiative to create and implement your own improved version. Proposing solutions to your manager for problems they may not even be aware of is a great way to showcase your creative thinking, project management skills, and assertiveness; even if they don’t approve a project, they’ll remember the unprompted initiative you took when new problems arise.

Another example: if you’re put in charge of scheduling a meeting, take the initiative to see the smaller details through—finding space, ordering food, ensuring that all technology is working, etc. Think about how you can go above and beyond your standard duties to let employers know that you’re thoughtful and don’t always need to be told what to do; after all, the mark of a leader is leading!

Communicate

Good leaders are effective communicators. Since many of the tasks of administrative assistants involve working closely with other employees, having strong communication skills ensures that all interactions and transactions are clear. This includes having proper email etiquette—written communication is even more common than verbal for administrative assistants. Listen attentively, but don’t be afraid to ask clarification questions if something isn’t obvious; the last thing you want is to inadvertently cause trouble for your manager, team, or company. Effective communication across all methods can also help build an effective rapport between you and your supervisor, expediting tasks in the future.

Be adaptable

The best leaders don’t boss people around—they adapt to different people’s different personalities and working styles. As an administrative assistant, you’ll be interacting with a multitude of people on different teams, in different departments, and often at other companies, each with their own quirks. Good leaders are adaptable, and they’ll be able to recognize personality differences and work with them rather than against them, making sure everyone’s needs are met. Good communication skills (including being a good listener) are key to adaptability.

How to include leadership on your resume

When composing your administrative assistant application, you may not know how to convey leadership skills and experience, especially if you haven’t previously held a leadership position. As a workaround, think about times when you showed initiative, facilitated communication, or demonstrated adaptability, perhaps on previous projects or as part of other groups. What steps did you take to help a project come to fruition successfully? How did you mediate communication between two groups, or change tactics when it was clear one wasn’t working? Even in the absence of formal leadership positions, there are so many ways to show you’ve got what it takes to thrive as an administrative assistant.

Leadership is a multi-faceted skill comprised of a wide array of valuable personal qualities; putting them on your resume tells potential employers that you’ll be an asset to their company, and they’ll also help you advance into positions with more responsibility in the future.

Source: By CareerBuilder

Job Ghosting Is Real: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Did you know job ghosting is real? And could be happening to you? You’ve probably heard of “ghosting” in the context of dating: You go out with someone cute, have a great time together, and come back home expecting a second date.

You wait by the phone nervously for the next few weeks to hear nothing at all, finally realizing that you’ve been ghosted. Believe it or not, ghosting happens in the working world, too. Job ghosting is becoming incredibly common, with one-third of candidates reporting that they were rejected from a job position by never actually getting a response in the first place.

This means hiring managers and employers are leaving candidates to wait in agony only to be ghosted after submitting their resume, after the interview, or even getting ghosted after multiple interviews. So, why would a hiring manager do this? Amanda Augustine, our career advice expert, weighs in on this practice.

You don’t make it through the ATS screening

When you don’t hear back from the hiring manager, you might be wondering if you’ve made a mistake on your resume. Of course, it’s entirely possible that you might have made spelling errors or missed critical information that led to your resume being thrown aside. However, if your resume is solid and you’re still getting ghosted, this might simply be due to the sheer volume of resumes being submitted for the job opening.

“The reality is that, on average, companies receive 250 applications per job advert — far more than an HR manager could possibly review by hand,” explains Augustine. “Which is why nearly all large organizations use software known as an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan resumes and eliminate the least-qualified candidates for a role.” However, the ATS can easily reject more than half of the resumes before the recruiter even sees them! So how do you beat this system?

The best way to work the ATS to your advantage is by looking up three to five job positions similar to the role you’re applying for and identifying the keywords in each of these descriptions. Include these words two or three times in your resume, particularly in the “Key Skills” and “Work History” sections. If you’ve already sent in your application, try to search for the hiring manager’s contact information on the company’s website or social media pages and reach out. “Keep your note short when you do — only say enough to reaffirm [your enthusiasm] and quickly summarize your relevant qualifications,” suggests Augustine.

The job opening was put on hold

Sometimes, you might’ve been ghosted simply because the job opening doesn’t exist anymore. This is not uncommon at all. Perhaps the department’s budget was cut, leading to a hiring freeze. Or maybe the management team is still debating the requirements for this role in particular. More often than not, an internal reorganization could have taken place and the position you applied for just vanished. Unfortunately, there are no laws requiring hiring managers to give you feedback after an interview. So, what do you do to ensure that you get an update?

If you made it to the interview stage, it’s best to end your interview by asking when you can expect to hear about the next steps. If you don’t hear anything by then, send an email reminder that highlights your interest and politely ask for an update. Be more specific in your message to stand out. Something along the lines of “Can we hop on the phone for a few minutes? I have just one more question about this position” is more likely to get a response than a generic email. However, Augustine says you should cut your losses five weeks after the interview. After all, how the future employer treats you now says a lot about how you will be treated once you join the team — and making you wait isn’t the best sign.

You finished second to an internal candidate

Some companies tend to post job openings and interview external candidates even when they already have an internal candidate in mind. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to avoid getting ghosted for this reason. However, if you love the company and really want to work there, don’t hesitate to follow up.

Continue on to Top Resume to read the complete article.

Master These Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

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By Casey Imafidon

To get ahead in your career, you have to bring something new to the table. While it may go beyond skill sets, other requirements for being selected for a position could be based on personal involvements, attributes, or extracurricular activities.

In this digital age, you’ll need these set of skills to stay ahead.

Accountability

There is a difference between passionately volunteering for a project and being committed to its execution. This is where accountability comes in. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew when you take that assignment.

In the modern workplace, be aware of what you are getting into when it comes to accepting a task, and you have to be accountable for the success of such task.

Adaptability

Change is not something you should shy away from in the modern workplace—it is something you should embrace. Getting stuck to old ways of doing things or old rules may not help the advancement of your career. Open your mind to new approaches and thoughts that would help you solve problems faster and better for your organization.

It is all about responding to what the current situation requires. You may have to bend your own rules and beliefs, but this will eventually make you a good people person and next in line for that promotion.

Networking

A simple conversation could pivot your career. You never know whom you are going to meet and how he or she can influence your career.

It becomes important to hold a conversation with anyone at any time and make it drive your progress in the workplace. From speaking to attending events to sending out your business card, consider what networking could do for you.

Focus

This one comes down to how productive you want to become. It is hard to focus or concentrate when there are many things begging for your time in the workplace.

We all reach that point or know that scenario when it is more fun to accomplish the easier things, such as checking emails or going through our social media page.

When it comes to standing out and staying ahead, you may need to practice focusing more so you have more satisfaction and meaning in getting work done.

Listening Attentively

Listening attentively is backed by taking the right actions after you understand a matter. You wouldn’t really understand a matter if you don’t listen or question every decision that is made.

You should be asking for specifics and getting to the root of behaviors or observations. This way, you would have clearer judgement and take smarter actions.

Being Innovative

It all comes down to asking the right questions and thinking of smarter and better ways of getting results. It could be your approach; it could be positioning yourself stronger and meeting the right people in the right way.

You may not necessarily be the hardest worker in the room, but you would be more effective if you push yourself to look for creative solutions to a problem in the workplace.

Confidence

There is a difference between misguided arrogance about your achievements and developing the ability to stand up for ideas. Sometimes, developing confidence helps you ensure and promote the achievements of others. You need confidence in the workplace if you are to deliver, engage, and reach certain goals.

Leadership

Leadership skills could be a source of influence for your co-workers and would get them on board to reach future objectives. Anyone with leadership skills will always gain visibility within an organization and be considered for more opportunities or promotions.

Communication

Whether written or verbal, communication skills help foster relationships with co-workers and superiors in the workplace. With good communication skills, clear expectations can be extracted so that you meet deadlines and deliver excellent work. Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their colleagues in an organization.

Teamwork

There is not much a company can do if it all depends on the activity of a singular person. Success is achieved when different people are working together for a common objective. Team players tend to build a friendly office culture and aid collaboration. Moreover, an organization will fare better when its employees can synthesize their varied talents or strengths.

The modern workplace is looking for persons who can collaborate well with co-workers. If you are a good team player, then you are going to be considered for promotions and career advancement.

Persuasive Skills

There is always that point in your career when you have to tell others about your ideas, services or products. Persuasive skills are necessary for career advancement because you have to be able to form a strong, convincing argument for why the other person should buy your products or services.

Negotiating Skills
In today’s workplace, good negotiating skills are beneficial during both internal and external discussions. Sellers of a new product or idea and customers always require negotiations to thrive in the marketplace. If you can have this quality and maximize it, then you have a great chance of moving upward in your career.

Knowing When and How to Show Empathy

Building relationships and sustaining them is important to long-term career success. Having the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes helps foster relationships and is a key ingredient to getting ahead in your career.

With empathy, you can provide insights and offer support that will help them grow in their job. You don’t have to be in a robotic work environment that limits growth, but with compassion you can steer your coworkers to performing at their peak.

Learn to offer support, sympathy and feedback every day you do business. You will have a more human work environment and be blessed with positive emotional returns.

Problem-Solving Skills

Your work environment presents a series of problem-solving situations. Be proactive at solving problems in an organization by going the extra mile to take the pressure off your boss and colleagues.

Patience with Others

Your patience with others could be vital in a tense situation. While the modern workplace could present stressful situations, how patient you are with coworkers and your superiors could determine your career advancement.

Patience will be noticed by management and perceived as a strong asset in pushing the company forward. There will be times when troublemakers are brought to book for their actions, but you wouldn’t be one of them if you have patience as an asset or skill.

Source: lifehack.org