Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

College Grads Grab 90% of Jobs… Calming Pre-Presentation Jitters… Just What Is Business Casual?

College Grads Grab 90% of Jobs

The US economy is depending more and more on an educated workforce, with statistics showing that nine out of ten new jobs over the last year were given to college graduates.

American employers have long preferred new-hires to have at least a bachelor’s degree, thereby allotting the highest wages to college-educated employees. However, the divide between those with and without degrees has widened since the Great Recession.

Recent data from the Labor Department confirm a pattern that has existed for several decades: rising employment rates for those with a BA or higher; fewer gains for those with at least some college education; and a decline in employment for those with a high school diploma or less.

As baby boomers retire in droves, employers are looking to fill those jobs with educated new-hires, people who can demonstrate skills in decision-making, communication, and administration. However, the degree itself loses its impact if the graduates’ skills do not match employers’ expectations of what the degree should bring to the job.

From MarketWatch

Calming Pre-Presentation Jitters

Up to 75 percent of people fear public speaking to some degree, and if you’re one of the many, here are some pointers to get through that next speaking engagement.

  • Discuss your fear. Avoid obsessively thinking about the fear by talking about it to a trusted advisor or friend who can remind you that nerves are normal.
  • Pamper yourself. Prepare for the presentation by eating well, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep before the big day.
  • Understand nervous feelings. Physical signs of nerves such as sweaty palms or butterflies are your body’s way of reacting to an extra jolt of adrenaline that a case of nerves brings on. Some people find that this added burst of energy helps them focus and deliver a better presentation.
  • Prepare. Practice, practice, practice…but not so much that you sound canned. Knowing your material is the best preparation to help yourself through the anxiety.
  • Be on time. Arrive early so you can acclimate to the room where you’ll deliver your talk.
  • Evaluate yourself with kindness. As long as the speech you give is better than the last one, you’ve improved. Learn from mistakes and move on.
  • Enjoy your success. Once it’s over, remember the great feeling of a job well done and recall it the next time you deliver a presentation.

From payscale

Just What Is Business Casual?

For many, the poorly understood dress code label business casualis confusing, and with good reason—it turns out there’s no single definition. Instead, business casual is dependent on where an organization is situated and the industry it is in.

Interviewing at a nonprofit or a start-up? Business casual skews to the informal. Starting a new job in DC or on Wall Street? Up your game. Denim is off-limits except maybeon Fridays.

Some basics apply to most, if not all, workplaces. No-nos include jingly jewelry, flip-flops, or clompy shoes. But beyond that, experts suggest researching a company’s culture before laying out cash for an outfit that may work for some organizations but cause you to strike out at others. The best advice is to know who you’re dressing for. A new-hire in the farming community would look out of place in a suit, while jeans and a polo shirt would be poor choices in the medical or legal professions.

Understanding what to wear at work demonstrates the ability to read and fit in with an organization’s culture, a key marker of a desirable hire.

From The New York Times

Exclamation Point or Not?! … E-mail Takes on New Role… Employers Say College Degree Is Key

Exclamation Point or Not?!

The exclamation point was once reserved for hard selling (Buy now!!!). But today, the punctuation mark has become pervasive, being inserted throughout professional communication as a way to soften a request or add levity to a message.

Critics, however, note that such use can make an author appear inexperienced, immature, or unprofessional, especially in e-mails sent in workplace situations. These tips can help guide young professionals to hit the right tone without abusing a punctuation mark.

  • Restrict exclamation points for beginnings and endings: Good morning, Mark!and See you later at the meeting!
  • Respond in kind. When replying to a message that contains an exclamation point in the body, match your response to the original.Thanks for the heads up!can be replied to with You’re welcome! whileThanks for the heads up. merits a more measured reply: You’re welcome.
  • Avoid the double exclamation point for work-related messages. It’s overkill and unprofessional.

From Business Insider

E-mail Takes on New Role

With Slack and similar apps being used for quick responses and texting becoming the de facto informal communication mode, e-mails are taking on a new role as the more formal communication vehicle—and one that requires careful execution.

However, the ease with which an e-mail can be sent often leads to sloppy or misleading content. Prudent writers may want to remember a few pointers before hitting the send button.

  1. Wait. It’s tempting to rush through e-mail, but sending without taking a moment to read the message often leads to confusion—and more e-mails to clear up that confusion. Experts advise stopping to edit e-mails for clarity. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 60 seconds before hitting the send button.
  2. Edit. Long, meandering e-mails that don’t get right to the point are a recipe for miscommunication. Well written e-mails remove redundancies, fillers, qualifiers, adverbs, and adjectives and are composed using a conversational tone.
  3. Revise. E-mails that are so brief they lack necessary details can be as bad as wading through wordy prose. Complete e-mails contain all the information necessary for the reader to do what the writer intends.

E-mails written in the workplace should also take the right tone. Researchers suggest reading e-mail aloud to catch words that may convey sarcastic, angry, or offensive language.

From Fast Company

 Employers Say College Degree Is Key

A college degree is essential, according to new research published by the Association of American Colleges & Universities. The findings from the report come from an examination of two surveys, one of business leaders and one of hiring managers, with a thousand respondents combined.

Specifically, the report notes that 82 percent of executives and 75 percent of hiring managers consider a college education “important” or “essential.” Nearly 90 percent believe a college degree is worth the time and money spent to earn it.

The results also indicate that business leaders have more confidence in American colleges and universities than the American public, and that any degree produces a “well-rounded individual … prepared to interact with high-level employees.”

Communication skills top hirers most desired qualities in employees, with 80 percent of executives and 90 percent of hiring managers calling oral communication their number one priority, and written communication coming in as the third highest important skill for recent grads.


Time to Revive Handwriting… Growing Stigma over Phone Rudeness… Discrimination Alive and Well in Workplace

Time to Revive Handwriting

The skill of writing in cursive has lost its appeal in the digital age, but researchers say taking notes by hand improves recall and information processing. Studies demonstrate that notetaking while typing on a digital device results in a frantic attempt to copy every word said. However, jotting down notes by hand requires sifting through what is heard to capture only main ideas and salient examples. This sifting requires critical thinking and focus that do not occur when we are typing.

There is a happy medium: taking notes using a pen-friendly device. The following tools can be used to jot down notes on a digital screen:

  • iPad Pro or recent iPads with an Apple pencil
  • Apple’s Notes app
  • GoodNotes app
  • Ink-friendly PCs using OneNote and Microsoft’s SurfacePen
  • Sony’s Digital Paper with a stylus
  • Moleskine’s Smart Writing set

From The Wall Street Journal

Growing Stigma over Phone Rudeness

With people checking their smartphones on average every twelve minutes, it’s no wonder the phenomenon has acquired its own word: phubbing, the practice of ignoring others and focusing on a digital device. However, a backlash has begun. To curb our collective rudeness, new tools are being developed to remind us to pay attention to people instead of phones.

Apple has created several apps that work to limit time spent on its iPhones and iPads by warning users when they reach a predetermined limit. One app even locks the phone after a period of time. Likewise, Google has issued an app that alerts users to stop binging on YouTube and another offering the option to receive a single daily summary of notifications.

Enterprises, too, have joined this growing movement to discourage overuse of phones. Some restaurants have instituted phone-free days for their diners, while an increasing number of schools are requiring students to place their phones in holders as they enter a classroom.

As society continues to adapt to this relatively new technology, experts say more controls will emerge.

From The Telegraph

Discrimination Alive and Well in Workplace

Minority job applicants who mask their race improve their chances of landing interviews, according to research from the Harvard Business School. The researchers found that by removing reference to race, Asian and African-American job applicants were twice as likely to be called for an interview.

Harvard investigators sent out 1,600 résumés for Asian and African-American applicants looking for entry-level jobs. Some résumés highlighted the candidates’ race; others were “whitened,” removing all racial clues. Employers’ responses favored those applicants who had removed reference to race.

Even employers who claim to value diversity fared poorly, the study found. The researchers said this pointed out a disconnect between the organizations’ pro-diversity stances and their behaviors.

From Harvard Working Knowledge