Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive… A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way… An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance

The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive

Suggestions about LinkedIn profiles, networking, and résumés are important, but the most critical piece of career advice is to have unshakable faith in yourself and your ability to meet your goals, says CEO and long-time recruiter Jack Kelly.

Kelly writes in Forbes that when searching for a job or trying to move up within an organization—both of which can be demoralizing experiences—job seekers must believe in themselves. He notes that if self-doubt and fear creep in, those defeatist thoughts must be purged to attain a successful outcome.

Kelly points out that every endeavor has its challenges, including the job search and career advancement, and says occasionally being treated poorly is part of working life. But during those trying times, the secret to moving ahead is to persist in positivity no matter what has happened. He suggests visualizing being seated in the office of one’s dreams, feeling hopeful about the future, and focusing on the end goal despite what the present looks like.

Once job candidates have landed that job or gotten that raise, they should put the bad times in perspective, Kelly suggests. That six-month unemployment  or two years working toward a promotion is but a fleeting moment in a long professional life.

Source: Kelly, J. (2020, October 7). The most important piece of advice no one tells you. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

Whether you are a professor teaching remotely or the CEO of a global organization, a simple human act of kindness is a fundamental strategy that leaders should practice, especially during the pandemic, say Harvard Business School professors Boris Groysberg and Susan Seligson.

Through compassionate listening and conscious validation of people’s fears, leaders can help others who are dealing with the obstacles brought on by the pandemic. The authors note that kindness can be learned the same way muscles strengthen from exercising, and practicing kindness nets results by increasing morale and performance and decreasing stress. Just a few phrases said in earnest can help justifiably anxious students or employees weather this difficult time. Some examples follow.

  1. I hear you.
  2. Are you okay?
  3. What can I do to help?
  4. How are you managing these days?
  5. I’m here for you.
  6. I know you’re doing the best you can.
  7. Thank you.
Groyson, B. & Seligson, S. (2020, November 1). Good leadership is an act of kindness. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from https://hbswk.hbs.edu

An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance 

Many instructors are e-mail obsessed, manically checking correspondence and not resting until their inboxes are clear. But those are the same instructors who will undoubtedly suffer from burnout, especially if they continue to repeatedly check e-mail and wait for timely responses over the summer break.

One instructor claims to have found a happy solution, outlined here:

  • Establish an away message.
  • Check weekly, not daily.
  • Respond on Mondays only.
  • Remove the e-mail app from your phone.
  • Put away your laptop in the evenings.
  • Delete unnecessary e-mails without responding.
  • Remember the world will keep turning if you do not respond to every e-mail.

Waiving SAT, ACT Causes Huge Uptick in Applications to Top Schools… Grab Hiring Managers’ Attention… Novel System Improves Note-Taking

Waiving SAT, ACT Causes Huge Uptick in Applications to Top Schools

Another casualty of the pandemic was the college application process for the class of 2025.

When social distancing measures resulted in students’ inability to sit for the SAT and ACT tests, many of the Ivies and other highly sought-after colleges decided not to use them as part of the calculus for admissions. This led thousands of students who otherwise would not have applied to do so, overwhelming admissions officers at campuses across the country and potentially creating a freshman class unlike previous ones.

© The Wall Street Journal

Without the test scores–which critics say favor students from wealthy households—admissions committees were forced to gauge a student’s potential for success at their institutions by relying on a more holistic approach, which may have benefitted non-traditional students.

Another factor affecting the profile of the class of 2025 is the broader pool of applicants. This application season allowed students from rural areas as well as Black and Latinx students to partake in virtual rather than in-person tours, further opening up the possibilities for a very different freshman class.

How this experiment will play out is anyone’s guess. Experts say colleges won’t know what their classes of 2025 will look like until enrollment begins for the fall semester.

Source: Korn, M., & Belkin, D. (2021, March 16). College admission season is crazier than ever. That could change who gets in. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https//:www.wsj.com

Grab Hiring Managers’ Attention

When applying for a position, job hunters have to make a good impression instantly, and that means grabbing hiring managers’ attention with a compelling e-mail. Experts offer pointers about how to attract the right eyes to a job application e-mail.

  1. Craft a clear subject line. Don’t try for cute or catchy—indicate the exact job you’re going for.
  2. Address a specific person. Do the research to find the correct individual to read the e-mail. Dear Sir or Madam is a deal-killer to most hiring managers.
  3. Describe what you can provide. Hirers want to know what skills and talents a new-hire will bring to the position. Never write about what the job would do for your career.
  4. Show you want to work. Be enthusiastic about the company to which you are applying. Refer to an actual motivator that drew you to the organization, such as hearing an interview with the CEO, listening to a company executive’s speech, or admiring the firm’s involvement in the community.
  5. Customize each e-mail. Tailor your application e-mail to the specifics listed in the job spec. Never use a template when applying for a job.
Source: Leibowitz, S., Cheong, W., Teng, M. (2021, January 24). How to write an email that gets the hiring manager’s attention at your dream company. Business Insider. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com

Novel System Improves Note-Taking

Whether in a lecture or a meeting, taking meaningful notes can be challenging. Writer Ria Tagulinao came up with a system that may take you from gibberish to an organized way of revisiting details you want to remember.

Tagulinao divides her notes into four categories she labels “mind banks” and creates sections for each. She either divides one sheet of paper into four sections or uses notebook with tabs. When she takes notes, she puts information into the category that best represents what she wants to keep track of. Her four categories are:

Question bank—Ideas you didn’t understand or want to learn more about

Minutes bank—Important concepts, new ideas, factual information, quotations, or key takeaways

Idea bankAha! moments such as an idea for a new project or a thought about something you’re working on

Reaction bank—Opinions, thoughts, ideas that come as you listen

Note-taking not only serves as a repository for what was said. Research suggest that we retain information better when we handwrite our notes than when we type them in class using a notebook or laptop.

Tagulinao, R. (2020, October 14). A better note-taking system for your scattered brain. Forge.com. Retrieved from https://forge.medium.com

Answering the Dreaded Salary Question… Ace That Video Job Interview… Questions Not to Ask in Job Interviews

Answering the Dreaded Salary Question

“What are your salary expectations?” may well be the diciest question job seekers are asked. How does one frame the response so that the salary range is not too high to turn off the potential employer or so low that it will drag down your income indefinitely?

The first thing to remember is that being asked about salary expectations is standard, but being asked about current salary is actually illegal in some states. Therefore, it pays to know your region’s regulations.

Because all job seekers know the question is likely to come up, preparation is key. Experts recommend the following strategies:

  • Research typical salaries for the job title and geographic location of the position. Factor in your skill level and any other unique qualities you bring to the table before tossing out a number.
  • Know your needs. Determine the amount you need to sustain yourself.
  • Ask for details of additional benefits. The amount an employer chips in for health care, child care, bonuses, or stock options can affect the final salary figure.
  • Delay your answer. If you do not know enough about the position yet, respond by saying you can’t answer until you know more about the total compensation package.
  • Respond with a range of salaries. Rather than picking a single figure, provide the potential employer with a salary range you would find acceptable.

From Business Insider

Ace That Video Job Interview

Video interviews are much like in-person meetings, so prepare by conducting pre-interview research.

  •  Investigate the firm. Visit sites such as Glassdoor or Indeed to learn about what employees say about their company. Pour over the organization’s website and social media to find out what the company says about itself.
  • Scope out the interviewer. If you know who will be interviewing you, visit LinkedIn to learn about the interviewer’s background and current position.
  • Prepare your interview space. Make sure lighting, camera angle, clothing, and background show you as a professional. Also try using your communication technology before the interview to ensure you are comfortable with it.
  • Practice answers. If you’ve never been on an interview, locate lists of typical questions and rehearse your answers ahead of time.
  • Focus on your value. Be prepared to convey what your specific skill set can bring to the organization rather than what the organization can do for your career.
  • Ask the interviewer questions. Make sure you have questions to ask at the end of the meeting. Jot down questions that arise during the interview, too.
  • Send a thank-you e-mail. Use specifics from the interview in your follow-up e-mail, which should go out within 24 hours after the interview.

Finally, remember that each interview helps prepare you for the next one. Learn from each experience.

From The New York Times

Questions Not to Ask in Job Interviews

It’s common knowledge that interviewees should have a list of questions to ask at the end of or during an interview. But here are some questions to avoid.

  1. Personal questions (Are you single? Is that a picture of your child?)
  2. Easily researched questions (What does your company do? Is your company eco-conscious?)
  3. Self-involved questions (Will I have my own office? Will I have to work long hours? Did I land the job?)
  4. Gossipy questions (Are the rumors about a buyout true? Is it true you promote from within the organization?)

However, it is okay to ask about the next steps in the hiring process.

From Business Insider