Soft Skills: Necessary, and Not Just a Temporary Buzz Word

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Happy coworkers

Use of the term ‘soft skills’ or ‘people skills’ has been thrown around a lot but what are professionals really doing to improve these skills?

By Ericka Harney, Executive Director, Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance
The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) began addressing these skills, in 2015 to complement the technical education members receive from conferences, local chapters, and employers. AFWA’s move to include more skills to help members build relationships and emotional intelligence (EQ), was supported by research and industry publications. The Journal of Accountancy and Journal of Finance have published several articles on the need to develop EQ and other skills, for professionals as well as college students.

The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) began addressing these skills, in 2015 to complement the technical education members receive from conferences, local chapters, and employers. AFWA’s move to include more skills to help members build relationships and emotional intelligence (EQ), was supported by research and industry publications. The Journal of Accountancy and Journal of Finance have published several articles on the need to develop EQ and other skills, for professionals as well as college students.

Defining Soft Skills
Soft Skills, EQ, People Skills – these encompass many aspects of human behavior, which again lends to the nebulous nature of the topic. I like to break the laundry list of facets into categories that help me focus better on individual skills.

Communication
Communication is vast, so let’s break this down further into verbal, non-verbal, written, and listening. Be mindful of word choice and jargon depending on your audience. Something as simple as leaving a clear voicemail or writing an aggression-free email needs active thought and intention. Non-verbal communication, how you stand, or when you smile, also sends an impactful message. Finally, know how to ask for and use feedback as well as provide objective and useful feedback in a non-critical way.

Action
Probably the easiest area to define is action, such as your ability to project manage, find creative solutions, dig into work, and flexibility to change. Most of us know if we are left-brained or right-brained. Project manage based on how your brain works and processes information. Also, realize that initiative and reliability are huge traits in today’s workforce. Know your tolerance for ambiguity and work with yourself to learn from both your mistakes and wins.

Relationships
Nothing is certain when other people are involved, so accept that you cannot control everyone else’s behavior. But you can make sure of few key things. Know how to handle difficult conversations – and admit when you’ve made a mistake. Take self-reflection of your emotions seriously. If you know a particular person or issue causes anxiety or fear, identify it and how to cope. While you need to know yourself well, you also need to be able to ‘read’ others, be socially aware, and able to interact and develop positive working relationships. Understand the importance of mentoring and advising, especially peer to peer. Having an outside perspective or ability to tap into someone’s experiences is invaluable to strengthen soft skills.

Developing and Selling Your Soft Skill Ability
Development of your soft skills is going to require initiative and work. Utilize assessments, like the DiSC Profile or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to understand the many facets of your personality, your strengths and areas of opportunity. Recognize the need for self-reflection to identify your skills needing strengthening. Once identified, utilize webinars, articles, blogs and other resources to support your growth. I’ll be the first to admit when helping others with resumes, I’m the proponent of ‘quantify, quantify’, sometimes missing on the opportunity display soft skills. I recommend keeping a working draft of a resume so you can pick and choose what goes into a job application. In addition to demonstration of hard skills, use this document to articulate soft skills and what they accomplished. For example, were you part of a 6-member team that found an innovative solution? Not only describe what, but how – did you communicate in person or virtually? Did you take a leadership role or were you an integral team member? Were there challenges you overcame and how? Be as lengthy as you need to be in this document, you can edit later. Making a conscious effort to strengthen soft skills is one of the best investments in yourself. Utilize networks, your employer, and resources to your advantage. Take each opportunity as it comes and remember it is a journey unto itself.

Avoiding Workplace Word Wars

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A napkin with conflict resolution solutions wrtten on it, sitting next to a cup of coffee

By Lorie Reichel-Howe
Founder, Conversations In The Workplace

If you work with people, it’s inevitable that you have felt the sting of cutting words, the stab of sarcasm and the sickening silence when a coworker is verbally attacked. When workplace word wars occur, people become casualties, relationships are strained, and morale plunges downward.

Unless people effectively and confidently respond to verbal outbursts, culture will erode, productivity will plummet, and attrition will skyrocket.

In my consulting work, I’ve observed that unaddressed behaviors become workplace norms. When hurtful behaviors are tolerated, people are dehumanized and verbal offenders multiply. On the flip side, organizations that prepare employees to effectively respond to workplace zingers, jabs and verbal bombs, establish a safe workplace culture.

Unfortunately, wanting to speak up when a verbal assault bomb is dropped doesn’t mean you know how to speak up, or even what to say so here are a few communication strategies you can implement. Instead of simply describing the strategies, I will demonstrate how to implement them in a workplace scenario where a frustrated employee, Jolene, blurts out a negative comment about the Help Desk department.

Scenario

Upon submitting a request for support from Help Desk, Jolene was informed that, due to complications with the new system software installation, that there will be a two-day delay in receiving technical support. Angry at the delay, Jolene blurted out:“The Help Desk department should be renamed the Helpless Department.”

Request clarification

In a calm and firm manner, ask Jolene to share what she meant by “renaming the Help Desk Department to the Helpless Department.” In taking a curious approach, you invite reflection of the meaning of one’s words. Asking questions prevents you from accusing, lecturing or judging the actions of others.

Acknowledge the needs or concerns of the other person

Acknowledging someone’s concern is a great diffuser. People commonly breathe a sigh of relief when their concern is recognized. When we feel angry or hurt and believe someone has crossed a line, our human tendency is to become defensive. Acknowledging the other person’s challenge is not instinctive. Even so, learning to acknowledge instead of telling someone what you think of their outburst, can become a patterned response with repeated practice. While acknowledging is not a solution to the problem, it opens up a dialogue where a solution could be explored. Rest assured, acknowledging someone’s concerns doesn’t mean you approve of their behavior, it simply means you understand what motivated their behavior or outburst.

Communicate positive wants (for everyone involved)

When people hear that you desire a positive outcome or solution to their problem, they see you as an advocate, not an enemy. It’s assuring to know someone cares about you even when you’ve acted impulsively or spoken inappropriately. It only takes a few seconds to communicate to Jolene that you want her to obtain the technical support needed to complete her work. Share that you want Help Desk to successfully implement a new system upgrade that improves everyone’s working experience and that you want other departments to support Help Desk in their improvement efforts. Lastly, include your desire for a positive work environment for everyone where concerns and needs are respectfully communicated.

Bring awareness of the impact of words and actions

To help Jolene understand the impact of her words, tell her that when you hear her say that the Help Desk Department should be renamed the Helpless Department, it comes across as an attack on a team within the organization. Share that negative comments like these, instead of unifying the organization, separate and divide. It only takes one match to ignite a fire and once negativity spreads, it’s hard to stop.”

Ask questions to spark brainstorming a solution

Successful communicators empower others by asking them questions. They avoid directing or dictating what others can or should do. Ask Jolene if there are technical support resources other than Help Desk. This moves her from attacking a department to finding another resource for technical support.

Get a commitment

To ensure that negative comments are not made in the future, ask Jolene to commit to discussing her concerns in the future without attacking a team or individual. Documenting Jolene’s agreement is helpful in case of a repeated offense. It takes discernment to know if a reminder is adequate, if an apology is appropriate or if consequences should be imposed.

If the behavior continues

If the behavior is repeated, reference the earlier commitment and identify that you are now holding an accountability conversation to address a behavior pattern. Make it clear that this is not a first-time offense – this person has a history. Pattern behaviors erode trust because they cause you to question whether a person has the ability to uphold their commitments.

Create safe and positive workplaces

It’s not enough to inform people of workplace policies, people need to know what to do when policies are violated and when employees become causalities of a toxic culture. Organizations that develop a positive and safe workplace understand that telling or expecting people to address negative behavior is as helpful as a medical diagnosis without a recovery plan. These organizations invest in training all employees, managers and teams in effectively addressing harmful workplace zingers, jabs and verbal bombs.

Lorie Reichel Howe is founder of Conversations in the Workplace. She leverages over 20 years of expertise in communication and relationship management. She equips managers, teams and business professionals to have “safe conversations” – transformative dialogue that uncovers hidden workplace issues. Whether issues are challenging team dynamics, mismanaged expectations or good old-fashioned bad behavior, “safe conversations” foster greater innovation, inclusion and collaboration within organizations.

Click here to learn more about Lorie’s impact.

Top 15 States with the Most Remote Jobs

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By Brie Weiler Reynolds, Career Development Manager

Before the COVID-19 crisis, 4.9 percent of the U.S. workforce worked from home full time. Now, nearly everyone who can is working from home due to ongoing pandemic concerns, and many companies are switching to remote work indefinitely.

According to a recent survey, more than three-quarters of office workers who’ve been working remotely say they would prefer to work from home more often, even after the pandemic ends.

Does it matter where you’re working from if you work from home, though? Many people think having a remote job will allow them to work from anywhere they choose. But the truth is that the vast majority of remote jobs require workers to reside in a specific geographic location.

Why Do Remote Jobs Require a Location?

Close to 95 percent of remote jobs have location or geographic requirements, such as a city, state, region of a country, or country. That means that only 5 percent of remote, work-from-home positions are truly work-from-anywhere jobs, and that’s really important for job seekers to know if they want to land a remote job.

The most common reasons employers need their remote workers based in a specific area include legal, taxation, professional licensing, training, and regular in-person meetings.

So, if remote positions usually have location requirements, where are the most remote jobs? The following 15 states have had the highest number of remote job listings in the last year and a half, since January 1, 2019. The state’s current remote worker population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is also noted along with the top three cities with the most remote workers, and remote-friendly companies across the state.

States with the Most Remote Jobs
1. California: 6%

Cities in California with the highest populations of remote workers:
Berkeley: 11.6%
Santa Monica: 9.6%
Pleasanton: 9.5%

2. Texas: 5.2%

Cities in Texas with the highest populations of remote workers:
The Woodlands: 11.3%
Sugar Land: 8.8%
Austin: 8.2%

3. New York: 4.5%

Cities in New York with the highest populations of remote workers:
New York City: 4.3%
Syracuse: 4.2%
Rochester: 2.9%

4. Florida: 6.2%

Cities in Florida with the highest populations of remote workers:
Delray Beach: 9.5%
Clearwater: 9%
Miami Beach: 8.6%

5. Illinois: 5.1%

Cities in Illinois with the highest populations of remote workers:
Naperville: 10.1%
Evanston: 7.9%
Arlington Heights: 6.2%

6. Virginia: 5.6%

Cities in Virginia with the highest populations of remote workers:
Arlington: 5.7%
Alexandria: 5.3%
Roanoke: 4.1%

7. Pennsylvania: 5.1%

Cities in Pennsylvania with the highest populations of remote workers:
Pittsburgh: 4.8%
Philadelphia: 4.4%
Allentown: 3.7%

8. North Carolina: 6%

Cities in North Carolina with the highest populations of remote workers:
Asheville: 8.3%
Charlotte: 6.9%
Raleigh: 6.9%

9. Georgia: 5.9%

Cities in Georgia with the highest populations of remote workers:
Columbus: 8%
Atlanta: 7.2%
Sandy Springs: 5.5%

10. Massachusetts: 5.3%

Cities in Massachusetts with the highest populations of remote workers:
Newton: 10%
Worcester: 6.4%
Cambridge: 6.2%

11. Washington: 6.5%

Cities in Washington with the highest populations of remote workers:
Bellevue: 8.2%
Seattle: 7.6%
Renton: 5.7%

12. New Jersey: 4.7%

Cities in New Jersey with the highest populations of remote workers:
Jersey City: 3.5%
Camden: 1.9%
Newark: 1.6%

13. Colorado: 8.6%

Cities in Colorado with the highest populations of remote workers:
Boulder: 14.9%
Broomfield: 9.4%
Denver: 8.2%

14. Arizona: 6.8%

Cities in Arizona with the highest populations of remote workers:
Scottsdale: 10.7%
Mesa: 6.6%
Flagstaff: 5.9%

15. Minnesota: 6.1%

Cities in Minnesota with the highest populations of remote workers:
Plymouth: 9.2%
Eagan: 6.3%
St. Paul: 6%

Remote Work Trends
Commute stress is routinely cited as one of the primary reasons workers seek remote jobs. And, With the average daily commute at 27.1 minutes one way, employees who work remotely half-time (about two to three days per week) stand to gain back 11 days a year just from not commuting as much!

Due to the fact that COVID-19 forced many companies to implement remote work on the fly, employees who otherwise wouldn’t be working virtually now are.

Zillow reports that more than half of homebuyers who work remotely say remote work influenced a major home change. For instance, remote work means that you don’t necessarily have to live in the same city as your employer, and aren’t forced to live in a larger (and more expensive) metropolitan area.

Furthermore, several cities and states now offer incentives for remote employees to move to their location. Oklahoma, Vermont, Alabama, and Colorado are some states that currently have remote worker incentive programs.

Find a Remote Job By Location

What if your state isn’t on this list? Many tools, such as FlexJobs, allow you to find remote jobs by entering your location.

Source: FlexJobs

Rihanna Joins ‘Forbes’ List Of America’s Richest Self-Made Women

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Rihanna on professional women's magazine cover wonder woman of the year.

Forbes has unleashed its list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women and there are plenty of recognizable names.

According to the outlet, the entire ranking of trailblazers are worth a collective $90 billion and have “have started or helped expand companies that do everything from build rockets to create snowboards to make Covid-19 tests.” At the top of the ranking is roofing entrepreneur Diane Hendricks, co-founder of ABC Supply, one of the country’s largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding and windows. She tops the list for the third year in a row with her empire, which reportedly exceeds $8 billion.

Meanwhile, Rihanna makes her first appearance on the list at the No. 33 spot, courtesy of her cross-genre ventures. In addition to her Fenty Beauty line, the pop titan also has her Savage x Fenty lingerie line, as well as her music ventures, racking up an estimated $600 million for her earnings across the board in 2019.

Among the other celebrity appearances include Kris Jenner, who nabbed her first entry at the No. 92 spot with a net worth of $190 million. Oprah Winfrey returns to this year’s ranking at the No. 9 spot with a net worth of $2.9 billion, while Kim Kardashian took the No. 24 spot with her net worth of $780 million and little sister Kylie Jenner took the No. 29 position with a net worth of $700 million. Lady Gaga and Jenniffer Lopez both snagged the No. 97 spot with their net worth of $150 million.

Continue on to 1043myfm to read the complete article.

NTI@Home Aids in Finding Work-at-Home Opportunities

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A woman working from home at a desk

By Kate Brouse, Business Development Lead at NTI

For many Americans with disabilities—even prior to these unusual times—finding and keeping a job comes with unique challenges: commuting to a workplace, job flexibility to allow for doctor’s visits and treatments, and needed accommodations to complete a job.

Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended traditional businesses nationwide, resulting in many companies sending employees home while at the same time, seeing a huge increase in the demand for customer support. Call and contact centers in particular have become the frontline for branding and customer experience. Companies are increasingly seeing an urgent need to create and staff virtual call centers to meet the increasing demand. This shift in the typical office dynamic has increased the availability of flexible, work-at-home jobs with competitive pay, and has opened doors for new job opportunities for the disability community.

Before mid-March, only 1.3 percent of job postings on ZipRecruiter explicitly offered the opportunity to work from home. Now, 11.3 percent of jobs on the site offer at-home flexibility. As unfortunate as the pandemic is, one silver lining it that is has forced companies to allow people to work at home—an accommodation those within the disability community have been requesting for years that has suddenly become the norm due to COVID-19. A disabled person who may be at a disadvantage in the workplace may now find it easier to secure an at-home job for which accommodations are not even required; their homes are already set up for their needs.

National nonprofit NTI@Home has been providing work-at-home opportunities for people with disabilities and their caretakers for over 25 years. NTI@Home provides free training and job placement services to disabled Americans and veterans, providing many with the first step on the path to a new career—all from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Over 4,300 Americans have found roles in government organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and other national organizations after completing NTI@Home’s free training program.

Andrea Thomas founded NTI@Home after a debilitating illness kept her out of the workforce for more than six years. Following a two-decade career and early, unplanned retirement, Thomas always had a desire to go back to work. After working with NTI and completing a self-paced training program, Thomas found a role at Celgene, a global pharmaceutical company that develops cancer and inflammatory disease therapies. As a customer survey agent, she works with patients to log prescription information, medical history, and more.

“My job has given me the opportunity to be a part of the workforce again and I love it,” said Thomas, a California resident. “This is a great opportunity for people to work from home. I love working for a company like Celgene that allows me to connect and help people nationwide.”

Thomas is the perfect example of what NTI@Home can do for people with disabilities who want to be a part of the workforce but often find obstacles in their way. NTI@Home has long recognized these barriers and helped people within the disability community find an alternate path to employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated their ability to help disabled Americans find remote work with competitive pay. The nonprofit recently expanded their mission to serve not only people receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, but also any American with a documented disability, including those with invisible disabilities and chronic health conditions like asthma, COPD, PTSD, and cancer, to name just a few.

“In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act empowered more workers with disabilities to work from home,” said Alan Hubbard, COO of NTI. “But now the economic situation created by the COVID-19 crisis has opened the doors for thousands of disabled Americans to enter the workforce.”

After making the adjustment to working as a remote customer service agent following an injury, Adrian Galaviz, 38, of Corpus Christi, Texas, is a strong advocate for working-from-home. Galaviz had worked in the call center industry on site before a car accident in 2016 caused him to seek a telework opportunity.

“You have to treat it like you would any other job,” said Galaviz. “You have to be ready mentally, with no TV or radio in the area. I also don’t have any Internet browsers open. It took a bit of time to get used to working at home. It was different than going to a brick-and-mortar store as there were so many distractions.”

For the one in four Americans who live with a disability, the opportunity to work from home after completing NTI@Home’s free training allows many benefits: a flexible schedule, a paying job in a reputable company, and an active role in the workforce. NTI@Home is committed to helping and inspiring disabled Americans by sharing stories of individuals like Andrea Thomas and Adrian Galaviz who now have successful careers working at home.

 

Source: Kate Brouse on Twitter. Click here to view Kate’s twitter.

New Law Requires Large Corporations to Diversify Boards

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A diverse board of directors sitting around a table

By Natalie Rodgers

On August 31, California lawmakers passed a new, unnamed piece of legislature that would increase diversity and inclusion rates in big California businesses.

Under this new law, large corporations would be required to have at least one board member on their team who comes from an underrepresented community. The legislature further clarifies the definition of underrepresented communities to include: Black and African American, Hispanic and Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, Asian, Pacific Islander, or LGBTQ+.

“Corporations have money, power, and influence,” Assemblyman and author of the law Chris Holden stated. “If we are going to address racial injustice and inequity in our society, it’s imperative that corporate boards reflect the diversity of our state.”

Holden hopes that the bill will make large representative changes resulting in racial justice, similar to the gender equality shown after the passing of the 2018 bill, requiring big-name corporations that have a certain number of women on their board.

While presenting the new legislature, lawmakers strived to prove the necessity for its existence by referring to various studies that showed a lack of diversity in big corporations and the state of California alike. One such study, done by the Deloitte and Alliance for Board Diversity in 2018, stated that out of the 1,222 new board members that were introduced to Fortune 100 companies, 940 of them identified as Caucasian, a whopping 77 percent. Another study, done by the Latino Corporate Directors Association in July 2020, stated that 87 percent of California business boards did not have Latino representation, despite making up almost 40 percent of the total population. Many large technology companies, such as Apple and Facebook, were also tested to have all-white executives in the top executive positions on the board.

“There is enough evidence to show there is discrimination,” Holden told lawmakers. “The numbers simply don’t lie.”

Besides the presence of discrimination, lawmakers also showed evidence of the economic impact that diversity can have on large corporations. Companies that present a larger understanding and representation of diversity have shown to increase in profit as their target audience begins to draw in more people from various backgrounds.

Under Holden’s law, diversity would be required to increase in the coming years in California businesses. Corporations with more than nine board members would need to have a minimum of three members that come from underrepresented communities and corporations with  five to eight board members would be required to have at least two of these members. If signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, the law would also penalize those violators with fines starting at $100,000.

Resume and Skills Refresh: Don’t Waste Your Pandemic

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woman holding her resume in her hand smiling

By Greg Stuart

While I’m not that old, just over 40, I can’t remember living in a crazier time. This pandemic has affected how we go about our daily life in so many different ways.

The closest thing I have to compare to this crazy time is the post 9/11 era. While COVID-19 has changed all of our travel plans, it has also changed how we function in the everydayness of life too. Most prevalently, the way in which we work and communicate has drastically changed. Remote work filled with Zoom meetings and Webex presentation have become the norm. I have enjoyed working from home because it has allowed me much more flexibility. No sitting in traffic or heading back and forth from the airport (I travel a lot for work). When I’m done for the day, I’m left with time that I normally don’t have. So, what should we do with that time? It’s a perfect time to refresh your skills and update your resume.

Remote Work Is the Best Time to Refresh Your Resume

Since the shift to remote work, I’ve taken three certification exams and added them to my resume. My skills are growing because I have time to do a lot more self-study than I had before. Here are some ideas as to how you can use this quarantine/pandemic to refresh your skills and update your resume.

Study & Learn

There is no better time than now to get online and learn something new. If you have ever thought about learning coding, there are free online resources for that. Try Code Academy. They have a large library of practice labs and exercises to teach you how to code. They offer classes in Java, Python, Perl, Ruby, and more. If cybersecurity is your thing, you can go to sites like PluralSight and Udemy to learn about the latest cybersecurity initiatives and training. Maybe being online all day for work and then staying online after work to study isn’t your thing. I get that. I prefer to crack open a book and study up on my next certification goal.

Grow Your Network

Having extra time on your hands will give you an opportunity to reach out to people within your professional network and catch up. Reaching out to someone within your network gives you an opportunity to update them on what you have been up to and find out what they are doing. Maybe you are working on projects of interest to each other and you can swap notes and ideas. In the event you are planning to be back on the job market, refreshing your professional network helps to keep multiple sets of eyes out for the best next opportunity for you. Updating your professional network helps to grow it and keep it strong. The best thing you can do is cultivate a strong professional network that you can call on for help and/or guidance from time to time.

Build a Home Lab

If you have extra time and extra money lying around, build yourself a home lab to keep up to date on the latest and greatest technologies out there. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra money, you can always download a trial license of VMware Workstation and start building yourself a nested lab that you can use to build virtual servers and appliances to further your learning. Find an older PC that you might have lying around and throw Workstation on it, and you are off to a good start. Some companies even give a lab allowance to their employees for licenses and hosting.

Attend a Virtual Event

Lastly, with this pandemic still going strong, there are many opportunities to attend a conference virtually that you might not have been able to physically. VMworld 2020 has gone virtual and has opened registration up to anyone for free (no, you don’t get a backpack!). There are other events you can attend as well, such as networking events in which you join a Zoom meeting to sync up with others in your field and learn from one another.

Balancing Personal Life with Resume Refresh Goals

There are so many things you can do to optimize your time during this phase so you are ready for a resume refresh. Find something you can do to balance learning and growing your sphere of influence within your field. At the same time, remember to enjoy your family and friends and be safe.

Source: news.clearancejobs.com

Level Up: Joining a Professional Organization to Bolster Your Network

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A group of men shaking hands and networking

By: Stephanie Hughes, MPH, CHES

Featuring: Collin Mays, MPA

If I asked a room of 10 people what comes to mind when they hear the word “networking,” I would expect to get ten different answers.

The first thing that probably comes to mind is a room full of people with name tags, exchanging resumes, or business cards. Networking is the activity that we all know and love, or hate, that involves the exchange of information in either a personal or professional capacity. We build networks every day to find jobs, mentors, and friends. This exchange of information makes it possible to form long-lasting relationships and can provide opportunities that would not be present otherwise.

We have all heard the statement, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” I remember hearing it on many occasions in both my undergraduate and graduate career. Then, “why am I spending all of this time in school, if what I know doesn’t weigh all that much?” While knowledge and expertise are important for us to mold our careers, it isn’t the only factor. If I have learned anything throughout my professional experience, it is that having champions in your corner who know your character and what you stand for are more powerful than any line on your resume.

Collin Mays, a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), an organization committed to supporting professionals in the field of public administration, recounts his experience joining a professional organization committed to public service:

“I joined NFBPA because I believe in the overall mission. Often, black public administrators are not highlighted for their work. My goal is to help promote our profession and encourage the next generation of black public administrators. I realized that to pursue that, networking is essential to your career success. Of course, I encourage everyone to pursue as much education as possible. However, while education is the foundation of success, ultimately networking will help you land your next job and advance through your career. You never get anywhere if people don’t know you.”

I resonate very much with Collin’s statement. The National Forum for Black Public Administrators was my first real experience networking and building professional relationships. I never knew what it truly meant to network. I attended their Annual Forum as a scholarship recipient and truly had no idea what to expect. It was the first time in my life where I was surrounded by so many professionals who looked like me. And for some reason, they wanted to get to know the 19-year-old girl from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Throughout the conference, I met with people from all over the country that served in various capacities and spoke about my passion for public service. Conversations seemed to flow easily as such like-minded individuals surrounded me. Individuals I met have become mentors and friends as I pursue a career in healthcare and public service. In fact, this is true for many professionals as they recount the beginnings of their careers. It was at this moment when I realized the true importance of joining a professional organization.

“Young people, especially young people of color, should join as many professional organizations as possible. Not only will each organization enhance your knowledge of the profession, but each organization can produce lifelong friendships and professional relationships.”

If you are interested in a career in public administration or a related sector and would like to join a professional organization, please  consider contacting the NFBPA.

Click here to view the NFBPA websitethrough our website

Click here to explore programs for emerging leaders and young professionals.

The National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) is the nation’s principal and most progressive organization dedicated to the advancement of African American public leadership in local and state governments. NFBPA is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1983. With more than 2,500 members, NFBPA has established a national reputation for designing and implementing successful, quality leadership development initiatives.

This Is the Biggest Career Mistake You’ll Ever Make, Experts Say

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woman manager working on her computer

We’ve all had a lot of time to ask ourselves big questions about our lives these days, including what we wish had gone differently, whether it’s in regards to our relationships, our health, our families, or our careers.

But when thinking about why our professional lives may have gone awry, we tend to focus on things we actively did wrong—like the deadlines we missed or the bridges we burned.

However, experts agree that when it comes to career missteps, we should be thinking about what we didn’t do instead.

So, what’s the biggest career mistake you’ll ever make? Giving up on learning something new. Read on to find out why, and for another regret you don’t want to live with, check out The One Thing Experts Say You’re Doing Every Day That You’ll Regret.

The career experts at Monster note that in order “to continue to advance in your field and attract new potential employers, you need to stay current. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let your skills development lapse.” And that, they say, is one of the biggest career mistakes a person can make. To combat this, they suggest that you “take an online class, attend seminars, research available certificates in your industry—just don’t let your brain gather dust.”

Similarly, in her article for The Muse on the biggest career mistakes a professional can make, career acceleration expert Olivia Gamber explains that after a decade or two in the work force, people tend to “stop hustling and stop gunning for future promotions and breakthroughs.”

If you don’t want to fall into that rut, Gamber, author of The Career Upgrade Roadmap, suggests that you “take proactive steps that would qualify you for advancement like taking classes [or] learning new skills.”

The results speak for themselves. When Coursera conducted a survey of 52,000 learners across a wide range of subjects, they found that 72 percent of participants reported career benefits from taking online classes, including increased efficiency, success at finding a new job, or receiving a raise.

That’s why, in Fast Company’s report of what makes people the most proactive professionals, “Never stand still” tops the list. “People who do the things the way they have always been done will in the best case get the same results all over again,” writes leadership and coaching professional Anush Kostanyan. “You should constantly search for new solutions and more effective approaches.”

Seeing through the learning process itself, nixing some old bad habits, and forcing yourself outside of your comfort zone mentally is what will give you the edge in your career. For more mistakes you may be making, according to the experts, read on.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

Motley Fool Stock Advisor Presents 5 Stocks Under $49

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The past year has been one of the most difficult, trying, and consequential times in recent memory. A global pandemic, a prolonged lockdown, impeachment proceedings, widespread social change, and an election to boot! But if you’ve been sitting back and not acting, you’re missing out in more ways than one.

Because not only has 2020 been the year of overdue social change…but it’s been a year of potentially life-changing wealth creation for people like you and me.

And that’s because investing is the best way I know to generate meaningful wealth that could set you and your family up for life.

But…

How many people do you know that actually take advantage of this position? Do you?

Maybe it seems just too confusing or complicated? Maybe it might cost too much? Maybe you’re worried that you’ve simply missed the boat?

But I’m being honest when I say the best time to invest is today. And the second-best time to invest is tomorrow. Because it’s never too late!

And that’s where The Motley Fool comes in. For over 25 years, The Motley Fool has proven that you don’t have to be a money manager or a fat cat investment banker to rule the market.

To prove it, we want to debunk those ideas about the market we laid out earlier: that investing is just too complicated and that it might cost too much.

Misconception #1: Investing is just too complicated

You see, in our experience, this how these brokers and money managers keep people like you and me out of the market. They use these fancy and complex terms to intimidate the everyday investor into thinking that only they can do what they do.

But they’re wrong!

At the Motley Fool, we present all of the analysis and information in a straightforward, fun, and exciting way that has led to returns like

Amazon UP 11,578%

Netflix UP 13,193%

Marvel (now Walt Disney) UP 7,705%

Priceline (now Bookings Holdings) UP 7,435%

Misconception #2: Investing is just too expensive

Now, it’s true that some stocks might cost a lot to buy one share. One share of Amazon is over $2,000! But our job here at The Motley Fool is to find and analyze great companies no matter what the price! Which is why we’ve come up with five stocks you can buy TODAY for under $49! That’s right, these stocks come with our full stamp of approval and can be bought from your broker for under $49. Now I know I already talked about Amazon and Netflix, and this is no promise that these stocks under $49 will achieve the same amazing returns, but The Motley Fool recommended BOTH of these stocks when they were under $49, so we definitely think this current batch has room to run.

SO…

Debunking these two misconceptions leaves me with one question…what’s stopping you from investing right now??

And we’ve tried to make it even easier for you…

I already told you that we’ve recommended five stocks for under $49…but we want to make this even easier for readers of The Inclusion.

That’s because this special report “Five Stocks for Under $49” is absolutely FREE for Inclusion readers. Simply click on the link below to get taken to the report!

https://www.fool.com/ecap/stock-advisor

The Motley Fool

JPMorgan Chase Commits $30 Billion to Advance Racial Equity

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Today, JPMorgan Chase announced new long-term commitments to advance racial equity. The firm will harness its expertise in business, policy and philanthropy and commit an additional $30 billion over the next five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities.

Structural barriers in the U.S. have created profound racial inequalities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing racial wealth gap puts a strain on families’ economic mobility and restricts the U.S. economy. Building on the firm’s existing investments, this new commitment will drive an inclusive economic recovery, support employees and break down barriers of systemic racism.

“Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality, especially for Black and Latinx people. It’s long past time that society addresses racial inequities in a more tangible, meaningful way.”

Over the next five years, the firm expects these new commitments, which include loans, equity and direct funding, to:

I. Promote and Expand Affordable Housing and Homeownership for Underserved Communities

A. Originate an additional 40,000 home purchase loans for Black and Latinx households. To do this, the firm is committing $8 billion in mortgages. Efforts include:

  • Improving key home lending products and offerings, including substantially increasing the Chase Homebuyer Grant in underserved communities.

B. Help an additional 20,000 Black and Latinx households achieve lower mortgage payments through refinancing loans. To do this, the firm is committing up to $4 billion in refinancing loans.

C. Finance an additional 100,000 affordable rental units. To do this, the firm will provide $14 billion in new loans, equity investments and other efforts to expand affordable housing in underserved communities. Efforts include:

  • Investing additional capital in vital community institutions and increasing funding for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing for low and moderate-income households nationwide.

II. Grow Black- and Latinx-owned Businesses

A. Provide an additional 15,000 loans to small businesses in majority-Black and -Latinx communities. To do this, the firm will deliver $2 billion in loans. Efforts include:

  • Launching a new program designed to help entrepreneurs in historically underserved areas access coaching, technical assistance and capital.
  • Accelerating a digital lending product to better support the needs of small Black- and Latinx-owned businesses seeking quick access to capital.

B. Spend an additional $750 million with Black and Latinx suppliers.

III. Improve Financial Health and Access to Banking in Black and Latinx Communities

A. Help one million people open low-cost checking or savings accounts. To do this, the firm commits to hiring 150 new community managers, opening new Community Center branches in underserved communities and materially increasing marketing spend to reach more customers who are currently underserved, unbanked or underbanked. Other efforts include:

  • Continuing to open 100 new branches in low-to-moderate income communities across the country as part of the firm’s market expansion initiative.
  • Building awareness and trust in Chase Secure Banking to meet the needs of Black and Latinx unbanked and underbanked households and expand access to traditional banking.

B. Invest up to $50 million in the form of capital and deposits in Black and Latinx-led Minority Depository Institutions (MDI) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), and continue to mentor and advise select MDIs and CDFIs to help them achieve future success.

IV. Accelerate Investment in our Employees and Build a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

A. Continuing to build a more equitable and representative workforce and hold executives accountable by incorporating priorities and progress into year-end performance evaluations and compensation decisions for members of the Operating Committee and their direct reports.

B. Providing financial coaching services to the firm’s U.S. employees.

The firm will also provide $2 billion in philanthropic capital over the next five years to drive an inclusive economic recovery and support Black, Latinx and other underserved communities. This extends and increases the firm’s current five-year $1.75 billion philanthropic commitment made in 2018. It will also include an emphasis on supporting Black- and Latinx-led organizations.

A fact sheet detailing JPMorgan Chase’s new commitments is available here.

Holding Ourselves Accountable

Measuring impact and ensuring accountability is central to these new commitments. Progress will be tracked regularly and shared with senior leadership across the firm, as well as externally with the Chase Advisory Panel, to assess performance and hold the business accountable. These efforts will further allow for maximum impact and bring an enhanced equity lens to the firm’s business.

Comments on the Importance of Advancing Racial Equity

“We have a responsibility to intentionally drive economic inclusion for people that have been left behind,” said Brian Lamb, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, JPMorgan Chase.The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated long-standing inequities for Black and Latinx people around the world. We are using this catalytic moment to create change and economic opportunities that enhance racial equity for Black and Latinx communities.”

“To ensure the Latino community can thrive, we must work together to break down persistent obstacles to opportunity created by systemic racism,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS. “JPMorgan Chase’s new commitments will help ensure that the American dream is accessible to more Latinos today, create a multiplier effect through generations, and lead to a stronger country with greater shared prosperity.”

“America’s racial wealth gap has been a persistent injustice, and it can no longer be tolerated as business as usual,” said Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League. “I am heartened to see JPMorgan’s specific, measurable commitments that we believe will address decades of systemic racism toward Black communities – and will bolster the wellbeing of families across the country, as well as our collective economy. We are proud to work alongside JPMorgan Chase to make these changes and help craft conditions for lasting racial equity.”

“All Americans deserve equitable access to affordable housing and the physical, emotional and financial security it represents,” said Lisa Rice, CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance. “JPMorgan Chase’s new commitments will help make owning or renting a reality for more Black and Latinx families, whose housing access has been impeded by decades of systemic racism and are now disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19. Addressing the affordability crisis, now overlaid with the pandemic, will require many players on many fronts, and these commitments are concrete, meaningful steps in the right direction.”

“This moment requires leaders and their institutions to shake off the husks of complacency and to stand in transformative solidarity with the more than 100 million in America who face the burdens of a democracy and economy that does not yet allow them to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential,” said Dr. Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink. “JPMorgan Chase is beginning the journey to answer this call. It’s targeted investments in black and brown communities, and its leadership advancing public policy that ensures all people in America participate in a just society, live in a healthy community of opportunity, and prosper in an equitable economy is the type of creative spark that will usher in America’s renewal.



About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.2 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

Daymond John Launches Black Entrepreneurs Day To Inspire Black Business Owners To Persevere

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What do Black entrepreneurs—more than 40% of whom have shuttered their businesses amidst the pandemic—need during this unprecedented time?

If you ask Daymond John, it’s support from industry peers, honest conversations about Black business and, during a time of heightened emotional stress, quality entertainment.

“You see people out there burning businesses when they should be building them,” the FUBU founder and CEO and Shark Tank investor tells Forbes. “People of color need more inspiration and more of the right inspiration, instead of letting out frustrations and disappointment in today’s current environment in a negative way.”

John turned his anger into action. The result: Black Entrepreneurs Day Presented by Chase for Business, an inaugural event on Oct. 24 that will bring together business leaders such as BET cofounder Robert Johnson, A-list, second-act entrepreneurs like Shaquille O’Neal, LL Cool J, Gabrielle Union and Jamie Foxx and investors like Backstage Capital’s Arlan Hamilton.

Crafted with the help of an entertainment company helmed by former 30 Under 30 honorees, Medium Rare, the event will also feature performances from artists including three-time Grammy winner Chance The Rapper.  “It’s like a big block party online,” says John. “We’re having a good time with it.” And it’ll be available for free streaming across more than 20 platforms. John’s Facebook page will be the day-of hub.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Avoid These Mistakes When Applying Online

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By Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC

The resume black hole. The abyss. The void. The applicant tracking system (ATS) creates all kinds of stress and irritation for job seekers. Candidates almost universally loathe the experience.

The ATS requires them to copy and paste sections from their resume into tiny boxes and answer questions that could be easily discussed in a quick phone call, adding to what is already a user-unfriendly, often tedious experience. While they are far from perfect, most companies are using them, and they appear to be here for the foreseeable future. Decrease some of the angst by being alert for the following common mistakes people make when applying to jobs via the ATS:

Important details in the header or footer. Some ATS systems are sophisticated. Some are clunky. The clunkier they are, the pickier they are. If you have critical information in the header or footer of your resume, there’s a real chance that it won’t translate into the system.

You don’t bother with keywords. Keywords are king. There is no way around it. The ATS allows employers to search for candidates by select keywords. Ensure that your resume is optimized for this purpose.

Wrong file type. Most ATS systems accept Word and PDF files. If your resume is in a format other than these, you will find yourself filling in each field manually.

Being overly creative or “original.” Most applicant tracking systems are unable to read charts or embedded graphics. Stick with text and standard characters only.

Functional resume format. The functional resume format is one which is organized by theme—key skills, major achievements—instead of chronologically. Recruiters and hiring managers hate them because they make it impossible to understand career progression. Applicant Tracking Systems only accept information in reverse-chronological order. Stick with that format.

Wonky fonts. ATS systems are very finicky when it comes to font, so keep it simple and use a standard serif font.

Spelling and grammatical errors. Just as you want an actual human to understand what you’re talking about, you also want to ensure that what you upload is digestible by the ATS. Incorrectly spelled words and overuse of acronyms can land your resume in the digital trash bin.

You don’t bother with the cover letter. If the ATS gives you the option of submitting a cover letter, by all means do it. This is the opportunity to address your skills and experience in narrative form.

The objective statement. ATS applications are often limited to a certain number of characters. Do not waste any real estate with an objective. Instead, summarize your career and its highlights.

You don’t review before hitting “submit.” There’s a decent chance that despite your best efforts, something wound up in the wrong field or is otherwise incorrect on the ATS. Review scrupulously before you submit.

Source: careersdonewrite.com

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