The New Interview: How to Hire the Best Candidate in Our New Normal

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black businessman working from home during pandemic on laptop wearing a suit smiling

By Vicki Chabot & Abbey Szentes, netlogx

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned business operations upside down, but as businesses work toward a new normal and hire new staff, virtual interviews have become standard.

Gauging how an interviewee will fit into an organization’s workplace culture without sitting across from one another in-person can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.

When we’re not meeting people in-person, we miss cues that are necessary to fully comprehend communication. Research consistently shows candidates who align with an organization’s culture and values are critical for successful, strategic hiring.

Here are some of the best ways to foster a connection with candidates and how to weigh a candidate’s potential — both in work experience and their ability to align with organizational culture:

Create a Plan for Virtual Interviews

As policies and procedures change throughout the pandemic, make sure everyone is on the same page about how interviews will be conducted and what software will be used. There are many free options available like Google Meet or UberConference that are easy to use and don’t require added investments.

To minimize technical difficulties, choose a preferred software and practice using it. Perform test runs 10–15 minutes before a scheduled interview to make sure the microphone is operable, screen share options are easily accessible, and there is a strong web connection available. Ensure all candidates know what the interview process looks like and what they can expect throughout the interview. Create an agenda that can be shared with candidates and other team members and be clear about the organization’s expectations for the role. If candidates are showcasing some of their work, ask for the work ahead of time in case there are poor connections. Not everyone will have the same internet bandwidth, and it’s crucial to plan for that ahead of time.

Start with a Preliminary Phone Interview

Hiring managers and recruiters receive hundreds of applications when hiring for a new position. Conducting preliminary phone interviews with candidates who have the desired set of skills and work experience can help organize the pool of candidates and prevent lost time for those who aren’t a fit at all. It is common during in-person interviews to develop rapport with candidates, but in a completely virtual world those connections are more important than ever before. While a phone call is great for screening candidates, video conferencing should be used for any other interviews. Hiring managers should ask more questions so they can get to know candidates on a personal level.

Ask Personal and Professional Questions

A virtual interview should be treated the same as those that take place in-person, but there are benefits to meeting candidates virtually. Remind hiring managers and team members to be a bit more compassionate than they would normally be when sitting across the table from a candidate. Life frequently gets in the way with barking dogs, a phone ringing, or spouses, partners and children all working and playing under the same roof. These are perfect opportunities to learn more about candidates and their day-to-day lives as opposed to only pointed questions about work skills. Yes, those questions are important, too, but in a virtual environment, there is much that can be learned about a candidate’s lifestyle and ability to handle distractions. Take notes and ask questions about the person’s hobbies, interests, and volunteer work.

Create a Process to Gather Feedback From Candidates

It’s commonplace for potential candidates to send thank you notes after an interview, but it is helpful for interviewers to do the same as they adapt to remote-only interviews. Thank the candidate for being flexible and adaptable, and ask for feedback about the process. How did candidates feel it went? Are there things that could be improved or adjusted? These questions help hiring managers and teams to refine the interview process for future candidates and provide a glimpse of how a new hire would handle communicating information internally.

Use Work Style and Personality Assessments

If hiring managers want to know how candidates will perform and communicate, a business management assessment tool, such as the Taylor Protocols Core Values Index™ (CVI) or Myers Briggs Personality Assessment, are fantastic ways to understand an interviewee on a deeper level. Too often, employees are tasked with roles and responsibilities that can make them feel like a round peg forced into a square hole. This is something a hiring manager wants to identify before training and onboarding a new hire. As a last step, these kinds of assessments can help one candidate stand out more than another and help solidify your choice to hire them.

Business leaders should anticipate changes for interviewing practices and as the pandemic continues, remote interviewing remains the best and most viable way to understand a candidate’s potential as a new hire for the organization. Having a standardized process in place for virtual interviews and establishing a cadence of questions that demonstrate candidates’ ability to react in the moment gives hiring managers and recruiters better insight. The final step should always be a short work and personality assessment, so leaders can determine the most productive place for candidates or if different candidates may be better suited for the position at hand.

These Are The Most At-Risk Jobs Post-Pandemic

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While many jobs were put on hold during the pandemic, there are a few that may not come back—ever.

Glassdoor’s Workplace Trends 2021 report finds that job postings for discretionary health services—or those that are elective and can be postponed during a pandemic—are down dramatically. The most at-risk job is that of audiologist, for which job listings on Glassdoor declined 70% during the pandemic.

Angela Shoup, president of the American Academy of Audiology, says she’s heard reports of audiologists being placed on long furloughs, as well as some who’ve closed their private practices and retired early this year. Many recent graduates looking for jobs in audiology have been told that larger practices are not hiring, she says.

Job postings for opticians and physical therapists saw a similar fate, down 61% and 40%, respectively. There’s also been a shortage of administrative and lower-skilled office roles. Jobs for event coordinators are down 69%, making it the second most at-risk job post-pandemic. Similarly, openings for executive assistants are down 55%, human resources generalists are down 37% and receptionists are down 35%, as most offices have been closed.

Unsurprisingly, positions for personal services workers have also plummeted. Beauty consultants took the hardest hit, with jobs down 53%. Jobs for valets were down 51%.

“[These are jobs] where Covid-19 is in the driver’s seat,” says Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist. “People are not going to return to their nail salons or get discretionary LASIK eye surgeries or go to in-person events until the virus is under control.”

Discretionary healthcare, event and personal-service jobs won’t disappear altogether after the pandemic, but they will certainly be slow to come back, he says. However, he thinks it’s possible some jobs may be lost forever.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Said Yes to the Following Questions? – You’re more successful than you think

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Confident Businessman. Happy african guy smiling at camera working at office. Panorama, free space

By Jeff Haden

Sometimes comparisons can be useful, but where your sense of satisfaction and fulfillment are concerned, they’re definitely not.

Like if you constantly you compare yourself to other people. Do that and it’s easy to feel unsuccessful. If you’re an entrepreneur and you compare yourself to Richard Branson, you won’t win. If you’re a musician and you compare yourself to Taylor Swift (especially if the point of comparison is earnings), you won’t win. If your goal is to change the world and you compare yourself to Steve…

That’s the problem with comparisons. No matter how successful you feel, there is always someone who seems more successful. There is always someone better, or smarter, or wealthier, or (seemingly) happier.

So, stop comparing. Just focus on you. Then look for these signs that show you’re more successful than you might think – and, in all likelihood, that you’re happier than you think, too.

  1. “Do I have close friends?”

Close friendships are increasingly rare; one study found that the number of friends who respondents felt they could discuss important matters with has dropped from an average of 2.94 to 2.08 in the last 20 years.

If you have more than two or three close friends, be glad, not only for the social connection but also because the positive effect of relationships on your life span is double what you get from exercising and just as powerful as quitting smoking.

And where professional relationships are concerned…

  1. “Can I choose the people around me?”

Some people have employees who drive them nuts. Some people have customers who are obnoxious. Some people have casual acquaintances who are selfish, all-about-me jerks.

Guess what: They chose those people. Those people are in their professional or personal lives because they let them remain.

Successful people attract successful people. Hardworking people attract hardworking people. Kind people associate with kind people. Great employees want to work for great bosses.

If the people around you are the people you want to be around you, you’re successful.

And if they’re not, it’s time to start making some changes.

  1. “Do I have enough money to make positive choices?”

Many people live paycheck to paycheck. Worse, many have to decide between necessities. (I can remember having to choose between filling a prescription for an antibiotic and putting gas in my car.)

If you make enough money, and don’t spend so much money, that you can make positive choices about what to do with some of it – whether it’s investing, or taking a vacation, or taking classes… anything you want to do instead of have to do – then you’re successful, both because you’ve escaped the paycheck-to-paycheck grind and because you can leverage that extra money to become even more successful.

  1. “Do I see failure as just training?”

Failure sucks, but failure is also the best way to learn and grow. There will always be trials, challenges, and obstacles – but perseverance always wins in the end.

Every successful person has failed, numerous times. (Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That’s why they’re so successful now.)

If you embrace every failure – if you own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time things will turn out differently – then you’re already successful.

And in time, you’ll be even more successful, because you’ll never stop trying to be better than you are today.

  1. “Am I a giver?”

We’ve all experienced this moment: We’re having a great conversation, we’re finding things in common…and then, boom: The other person plays the “I need something” card.

And everything about the interaction changes.

What once appeared friendly now feels needy, almost grasping…and, if you’re like me, you feel guilty if you can’t help. (And especially if you decide you don’t want to help.)

As my buddy Adam Grant shows, people tend to fall into rough categories: Some takers, some are matchers, and some are givers.

And it should come as no surprise that people who feel successful tend to not be takers. They accept help if offered, but they don’t feel the need to ask. In fact, they focus on what they can do for other people.

  1. “Do I put other people in the spotlight?”

OK, maybe you did do all the work. Maybe you did move mountains. Maybe you did kick ass and take names.

If you aren’t looking for praise or accolades, that means you’re successful. That means you feel proud on the inside, where it counts. That means your happiness comes from the success of others. You don’t need the glory; you know what you’ve achieved.

If you enjoy the validation of others but don’t need the validation of others, you’re successful.

  1. “Do I feel a real sense of purpose?”

Successful people have a purpose. As a result, they’re excited, dedicated, passionate, and fearless.

And they share their passions with others.

If you’re found a purpose – if you’ve found something that inspires you, fuels you, makes you excited to get up, get out, and achieve – then you’re successful, regardless of how much money you make or what other people think.

Why?

Because you’re living life your way – and that’s the best sign of success there is.

Jeff Haden is a speaker, Inc. Magazine contributing editor, author of THE MOTIVATION MYTH, and ghostwriter.

How to Talk About Race with Employees

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Collage image of many diverse business people

This article is not entitled “How to Talk About Race TO Employees.” It’s never a voice from on high disseminating information. Like anything important, it’s a two-way conversation; you have to say something, and you have to listen.

But it can be daunting to broach any sensitive subject in the workplace. This article is a jumping off point, including some steps leaders can take, plus a framework for providing smart, thoughtful internal communication to their employees around the subject of race and racism in the workplace.

The recent incidents affecting Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper and George Floyd make the subject of race impossible to ignore. And while these acts of racism and violence did not happen in the workplace, it’s a reminder that racism still happens in the workplace, too. In spite of employers increasing investment in diversity and inclusion, a Glassdoor survey reveals that 61 percent, or about three in five U.S. employees have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on age, race, gender or LGBTQ identity in the workplace. The 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Study was conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,100 U.S. employees and revealed the prevalence of discrimination at work. Forty-two percent of employed adults in the U.S. have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace; the highest percentage of the four countries surveyed.

Given that discrimination and racism still happen in the workplace, here are some tips to consider to be a great ally to combat racism.

Set an example. Demonstrate your support and solidarity by speaking up and acting up when you hear insensitive, derogatory remarks or when you see racist, bigoted behavior. Acting ethically and in a morally sound fashion includes a responsibility to speak up and act up when we see injustice.

  • Make connections. Reach out to your black friends and colleagues. Show them that you are aware of what’s going on.
  • Listen more, talk less. You don’t have to say something all the time or post something on social media to prove how aware you are about these issues.
  • Be informed. Remember that being an ally requires you to educate yourself about the experiences of others differently situated. Try following people of color on social media to learn about their perspectives and experiences.

Here are some things you may want to consider avoiding:

Don’t sensationalize. If you do post about a racial incident on social media, don’t use pictures or videos of the incident. This risks desensitizing us to violence against black people, and can traumatize those who see it on your feed.

  • Face reality. Be sensitive and aware that Black people have been aware of systemic oppression and violence for hundreds of years; do not be surprised if your expressing surprise at these horrible events makes others feel belittled.
  • Honor differences. A person’s skin color is part of who they are and carries with it a long history and a particular experience in today’s world. Be sensitive and aware of this basic fact in all relevant contexts. These are just some of the tips you can leverage to help be an ally at work, as well as someone to help stop any racism that may be going on in your workplace.

We encourage you to read employee reviews when assessing the external perception of your company’s culture, how you are showcasing your investments in diversity and inclusion efforts, and how you’re highlighting other workplace attributes relevant to your company.

Source: Glassdoor

Here’s How to Save Energy While Working from Home

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Across the country, many Americans are social distancing and are working at home to avoid contracting and/or spreading the coronavirus in their communities. At the same time, many schools are closed, and students are attending online classes from home.

Here are 5 tips to help you save energy and money on your electric bill if you are working or learning at home.

Consider ordering light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs to replace regular incandescent light bulbs. LED bulbs use about 7 to 10 watts to create the same amount of light as a traditional 60-watt incandescent light bulb (or current 42-43 watt halogen incandescent light bulb). They also are about 33-50 percent more efficient than 13-15 watt compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Use fans instead of air conditioners. Running two ceiling fans rather than a central whole-house air conditioner for a few hours a day can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year. Remember to turn fans off when you are not in the room.

Eliminate “phantom loads.” Turn off devices you aren’t using if they consume standby power, such as some cell phone chargers and laptops and desktop computer monitors. Consider replacing standard power strips with an advanced or “smart” power strip to further reduce phantom loads automatically.

Limit how often you open appliances such as refrigerators and ovens. If you limit opening the oven to check on food as you cook, you can save electricity, protect the appliance, protect your food, and speed up cooking times.

Make some adjustments to your dishwasher habits. Only run your dishwasher when you have a full load, because dishwashers use about the same energy and water regardless of the number of dishes inside. Before running the dishwasher, be sure to scrape off food, rather than using extra water to rinse dishes. Set an air-dry option for your dishwasher instead of heat-dry. Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer recommendation on water temperature – it may have an internal heating element that allows you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature.

Use microwave ovens to cook when you can. Microwave ovens have no “warm up” time and cook more efficiently than full-size ovens. Also microwave ovens work more efficiently when the inside surfaces are clean.

For more energy-saving tips, check out EEI’s booklet, More Than 100 Ways to Improve Your Electric Bill, updated in February 2020. Located at https://www.eei.org/about/affiliates/nationalkeyaccounts/Documents/100Ways.pdf

Source: Edison Electric Institute

Supplier Diversity—Part of a Black Chamber’s DNA

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By Bobby McDonald, President, OC Black Chamber

The Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce, for over 36 years, has prided itself for providing Access to Information. Our mission has strongly supported our minority and diverse communities.

We at the Black Chamber are always looking for ways to help our business community improve, enhance and grow their business.

In 2001, Supplier Diversity became an integral part of the Orange County Black Chamber and its membership.

Southern California Edison created a supplier diversity and development team that outreached with events that identified diverse suppliers for potential business opportunities.

It was easy to follow their new innovative playbook because they understood it wasn’t just the idea of doing the right thing, but supplier diversity made good business sense.

Networking, matchmaking events, business forums, “how to do business” workshops and now, the Edison Entrepreneurial, Development, Growth and Education (EDGE) Programs, offer potential members to learn how to participate, gain experience, learn the nomenclature and variance of degrees of supplier diversity, and how to prepare to do business effectively.

As far as certification goes, we at the Black Chamber have partnered with Department of General Service, who offers training and certification for small business to businesses in California. A small business certification supports the pursuit of contract opportunities with the state and helps the state meet its 25 percent goal.

The Dept. of General Services also offers certification for Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises. The chamber offers a yearly certification training event for veterans in conjunction with the California Employment Development Department.

One our biggest success was to have a two-session certification with the DGS, where 33 individuals came to get their business SB and DVBE certification. After the training, we were informed that DGS confirmed seven individuals had garnered successful certification.

The chamber has found and truly believes that corporations that set minority procurement goals that are supported by top management can achieve substantial progress in narrowing the opportunity gap between minority- and white-owned businesses.

We are now currently involved with supplier diversity programs with Southern California Gas Company, Semper Energy Utilities along with AT&T, to name a few. It’s now part of our chamber DNA.

We totally realize and understand the value of supplier diversity and how it enhances and creates proactive business and encourages the use of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, service-disabled-veteran-owned, historically underutilized business, and Small Business Administration (SBA)-defined small business concerns as suppliers.

 

What Are the Most Secure Jobs in America Now?

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Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past months. Most states have been under stay-at-home orders, which have meant nonessential businesses have shut their doors and laid off workers. Below is a list of the most secure jobs in America now.

Nurses

The median annual wage for registered nurses was $73,300 in May 2019.

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care; increasing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as this group leads longer and more active lives.

Physicians & Surgeons

Wages for physicians and surgeons are among the highest of all occupations, with a median wage equal to or greater than $208,000 per year.

Overall employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Physician’s Assistant

The median annual wage for physician assistants was $112,260 in May 2019.

Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed to provide care to patients.

Home Health Aide

The median annual wage for home health aides and personal care aides was $25,280 in May 2019.

Overall employment of home health aides and personal care aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom generation ages and the elderly population grows, the demand for the services of home health aides and personal care aides will continue to increase.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors was $46,240 in May 2019.

Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 25 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth is expected as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling.

Software Developer

The median annual wage for software developers was $107,510 in May 2019.

Employment of software developers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Software developers will be needed to respond to an increased demand for computer software.

Researchers and Scientists

The median annual wage for computer and information research scientists was $122,840 in May 2019.

Employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be excellent.

Teachers

The median annual wage for high school teachers was $61,660 in May 2019. The median annual wage for middle school teachers was $59,660 in May 2019.

Employment of high school and middle school teachers are projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Veterinarian

The median annual wage for veterinarians was $95,460 in May 2019.

Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 16 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Overall job prospects are expected to be very good.

Lawyer

The median annual wage for lawyers was $122,960 in May 2019.

Employment of lawyers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs over the next 10 years is expected to be strong because more students graduate from law school each year than there are jobs available.

Source: money.usnews.com; glassdoor. com; bls.gov

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

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

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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.

Resume and Skills Refresh: Don’t Waste Your Pandemic

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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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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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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.

Avoid These Mistakes When Applying Online

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Black professional woman with hands up and excited looking at computer monitor while in Zoom meeting

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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