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Making the case for women in STEM

Gender diversity is still a work in progress for most industries (particularly when it comes to pay disparities and hiring for executive or leadership roles), but some are further along than others. One field that still has a significant gap between men and women is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Although more women are studying and graduating in STEM fields than ever, more men are also choosing those fields—keeping the gap very much alive.

Here’s why STEM careers should attract more women, and how women can take advantage of those opportunities.

STEM is a major growth area

While some industries are facing job shortages or lack of opportunities, STEM jobs are still growing at a crazy rate. The focus on technology and innovation is creating new avenues and opportunities for those with the skills and education to meet the demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations are expected to grow by 8% by 2029—while all other jobs are expected to grow by 3.7%. Few fields are expected to explode at that rate. That’s a huge surplus of jobs available for the taking.

Fixing the education gap is key

One of the most common barriers to a career in STEM is that it often requires advanced education, skills, and training just to get in the door. Such skills and training often aren’t available to people from lower-income backgrounds or people who don’t have the flexibility or resources to attend a STEM-dedicated college or university program. Although traditional standardized math and science testing comes out fairly equally between women and men, people from higher-income households perform significantly better—closing the door early for many students who might otherwise be interested in STEM. This means that there’s a significant need for minority women especially if the field is going to move closer to representing society as a whole

Early intervention seems to be the key. Math and science support for female students at every school level can help ensure that women stay the course and ultimately get to the surplus of STEM jobs.

Women in STEM boost the global economy

Few industries have global reach as broad (or with as many economic implications) as STEM industries—especially technology. According to research by McKinsey, job equality between women and men could add as much as $12 trillion to the global economy. With STEM jobs making up so much of current and future job growth, it shows how reaching gender parity in STEM stands to benefit everyone involved.

Small changes in the workplace can mean big things for women in STEM

Things you may not even think about can actually limit the number of women who want to enter (and succeed in) a particular field. For example, a recent study found that women performed better on math and verbal tasks when a room’s temperature was warmer, while men performed better on the same tasks when the temperature was cooler. Something as minor as raising the temperature can mean that women achieve better than they might otherwise. Is room temperature the sole reason more women aren’t in STEM? No. But it is an example of how women’s needs are often not considered or prioritized when the workplace is developed.

In a more STEM-specific example, most companies’ safety equipment is designed for the average man. That means the same equipment is often ill-fitting (and thus not as effective) for women, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Investing in better-designed personal safety equipment (PPE) creates a more welcoming, safe environment for women alongside their male colleagues.

In short, STEM fields often aren’t particularly welcoming for women right off the bat, and it makes it a challenge to both attract and keep qualified women in the industry.

Recruiting and advocacy are a solution in the meantime

Education and early intervention are key ways to get young women to go into the right programs. But what if you’re a woman who has the right skillsets or education now? How do you find the right opportunities for your career? Specialized job sites are a good place to start. There are also organizations out there that provide support and resources, like Women in STEM and the Stem2D initiative. Networking is one of the best ways to find and develop career opportunities in a field traditionally dominated by men.

STEM is an area of incredible potential for people of all kinds, but with a gender gap of 72% male to 28% female, it has even more potential for women to move in, grow, and start changing the face of these crucial careers.

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How to upgrade an outdated resume

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been in the job market. Maybe you’ve been sending out the same resume for years, relying on Old Faithful when a new job opens up. Either way now is a great time to revamp your resume and make sure it’s clean and modern. The average time spent reading a resume is seconds, not minutes, so you’ve got to grab hiring managers fast and make a good impression. Let’s walk through some tips for sprucing up your resume so that you’re attracting the right kind of attention.

Let go of unnecessary text

Real estate is crucial in your resume—you want to make sure you’re using every bit of space for useful, compelling information. That means letting go of some more traditional (but less practical) parts of the resume.

An objective section is usually a one-sentence blurb announcing what you want out of your job search. Psst . . . anyone reading your resume already knows what you want: this job. This is space that could be better used with a brief headline of your most relevant skills and experience instead of a vague sentence about how you’re seeking a position.

Another holdover from the old days of resume-ology is the line “references available upon request” or a laundry list of potential references. These days, it’s a foregone conclusion that you’ll need to provide references at some point before you’re hired. That’s something you’ll be asked by the company if you make it to the next stage (or get an offer), so there’s no need to use up resume space up front telling the reader that you do, in fact, have references.

Now that resumes are mostly digital, the “one-page” rule of thumb may seem outdated, but it’s still a good guideline to help you keep things concise and organized. If you have absolutely relevant information that goes beyond a page, great—but be conscious of the fact that you want your best information to be clear to even the fastest readers.

Update your skills

One of the biggest mistakes people make on resumes is including a laundry list of all the skills, leading to the most important ones getting lost. Ideally, your resume is targeted toward a specific job opening, which means your listed skills should be the ones most relevant to that specific gig.

Even if your resume isn’t super-targeted you should still only be including the most applicable skills and within a certain window. You don’t need to include old skills or certifications if they’re not directly relevant to the job you’re seeking now.

Get rid of old jobs that aren’t relevant

A resume is just a snapshot of your best qualifications for the job; it’s not necessarily a forensic history of your working life. If you’re not a recent grad and yet your resume goes all the way back to school days, it’s time to do some thoughtful editing. Again, space is important—do you really need to go into the details of a job you had ten years ago?

If you want to make sure you show continuity in your work history, you can condense older jobs under a brief heading and a set of years instead of fleshing them out with detailed bullets. And if you had old jobs that aren’t really applicable, those should be taken out entirely. For example, the life and work skills you gained waiting tables that summer may be significant to you, but they aren’t likely to help you get a job in healthcare administration now.

It’s important to look at your work history with a critical eye—what is most essential and relevant to the job you want now? Those are the bullet points where you want to focus your care and energy.

Think about your format

The reality of the 2021 job search is that you’re not printing your resume on nice paper and mailing it to be opened and read by hand. You’re emailing it or submitting it to a digital engine to be skimmed by keyword bots or a busy professional. Your focus should be on making the text clear and readable. Bullet points should be concise and to the point. Descriptions should be about a sentence or two. Break up long chunks of text, because those can be hard to read on a screen.

By taking a critical look at your resume—or, ideally, rebuilding from the ground up—you’ll help make sure that your resume is a sleek, modern advertisement for your greatness as a candidate.

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Hybrid work: Prepping for the post-pandemic office

There’s no shortage of anxieties around Covid-19, and that’s not likely to change as we emerge into a post-Covid world. Some things will go back to some form of “normal,” and some won’t. One of the aspects of life most likely to be changed forever (or at least in a very long-term way) is how we approach work and the workplace.

Now that vaccination rates are rising across the U.S. and infection rates start to decline, most organizations have started thinking in earnest about what it would mean to bring back remote employees, what the workplace looks like with more public health rules and safety precautions than ever, and how their employees will interact in person.

Expect to implement a hybrid work model

As many offices went empty over the past year, companies struggled with paying rent and overhead on spaces that are going unused, while balancing the idea that there may be people back at desks in the near future. Realistically, most organizations won’t have all employees back in the office now that people have transitioned into working remotely.

Still, phasing out “the office” entirely just isn’t feasible for many companies. Surveys have shown that some workers need a fixed in-office routine, while others would like to have the option of coming in, if only on a part-time basis while working from home other times.

A hybrid model might require adjustments all around, with employees having to make a concrete choice about which method they prefer (assuming they have work that can be done remotely long term) and leadership making choices about what their facilities may look like. Some companies are downsizing their space because they’re unlikely to have a full return of their workforce. Some are moving individual offices to a more open plan and are looking to alternative layouts like “first come first serve” work spaces instead of desks designated for specific employees.

Rethink how personal interactions will work in a hybrid workspace

One of the biggest losses in a remote work world has been collaboration. Thanks to meeting software like Zoom and others, people are talking as much as they ever did—but the benefits of being in a room with your colleagues have been largely lost. Even if people will only be in the office on a limited basis, it’s important to think through how they will be interacting. Will your kitchen or break areas need to be laid out so that employees can gather in a safely distanced way? Are there modifications that can be made to conference rooms or meeting spaces to make them more open spaces with distanced seating? Will some rooms or areas just be off-limits for safety reasons?

Be mindful of the potential inequities of remote and hybrid work

One of the most challenging work issues that surfaced over the past year has been the variation of experience for people working remotely. Some employees (like service or customer-facing ones) don’t have the luxury of working remotely at all. Some people struggle with internet access or childcare issues. Any post-Covid office plan should include accommodations for workers that have those kinds of challenges. Companies going entirely remote, for example, might pay for rented local office or coworking space that employees can use.

Invest in high-quality communications systems

We’ve all had communication failures this year, whether it’s connections dipping in and out during meetings or tech platforms that get buggy and overwhelmed during the workday. Many organizations are just getting by with the services they have, but looking to the future is also a good time to re-evaluate whether your communications platforms and tools have been enough—and will continue to be so. That may mean prioritizing tech upgrades that may have been put off by Covid-era budget challenges.

Robust public safety measures will be the norm

Another major lesson of the past year is that public health guidelines can change fast, whether it’s on the federal, state, or local level. The post-Covid office should have a comprehensive base plan in place for in-person employees, whether that’s frequent testing, physical distancing guidelines, vaccine requirements (including any exemptions), and employee education. But any organization should also be flexible enough to change if there’s a change in infection rates or if government guidance shifts.

If the post-Covid office seems fairly similar to the office life we’ve developed over the past year, that’s because we already have a cautious template for the new normal. A mindful transition is going to be necessary in any case, with likely partial or hybrid measures in place that can be adapted or walked back if the world changes abruptly (again). Any office reopening should include a thoughtful evaluation of what’s been working this year, what hasn’t, and what employees think. Honest feedback and assessment are the most important factors in moving forward with our future hybrid work life.

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TheJobNetwork’s rules for remote working

There’s no denying the fact that the last few years have witnessed a profound and nearly unprecedented disruption in the work world. For many of us, the transition happened nearly overnight, as employees in companies across industries and sectors went from working in offices and established places of business to working remotely from their homes.

Of course, the pandemic helped accelerate the remote working trend, but the truth is that it’s been gaining acceptance for years as innovations in technology have empowered companies and their teams to pivot towards remote work as an option and achieve business goals from wherever they are around the globe. All types of companies, from lean startups to multinational behemoths, are continually advancing new innovations in the work-from-home space. In addition, businesses are reaping the benefits as they get more done while keeping infrastructure costs low, and employees are being given greater work flexibility than ever before—a real win-win for many.

That said, with many of us working at home or on altered schedules and everyone uncertain about what work will look like moving forward, it can be tricky for businesses and employees alike to establish fair and equitable ground rules that benefit everyone. If you’re finding yourself in this situation, then consider adopting the following rules for healthy, productive, and mutually beneficial remote working. 

Set realistic targets

As the pandemic struck, many of us went from our normal work routines to remote working in the blink of an eye. Adjusting to this change hasn’t been the same for everyone. For some, this switch was relatively uneventful—in fact, many companies were starting to embrace the notion of telecommuting before the pandemic even struck. For others, it’s been more of a challenge. The truth is, each of us has a different set of life circumstances, arrangements, and distractions that affect how easy or challenging it can be to work effectively from home. A good approach is for businesses to work closely with each employee to set realistic performance targets that take their unique situation into account, and to work in tandem to make sure they remain consistently productive and valuable members of the team.

Stay connected

A significant challenge when working remotely is maintaining an appropriate level of connection with colleagues. Simply put, the absence of a shared physical workspace can lead to feelings of “out of sight, out of mind,” which could directly or indirectly affect your emotional and mental health and work performance. Work teams should develop mutually agreed-upon plans for staying connected with each other, using available tools at their disposal—including video conferences, phone calls, and email and text exchanges. Maintaining connections with co-workers on a regular basis will help employees stay engaged, feel supported, keep productive, and achieve target performance milestones.

Acknowledge burnout

The truth is, not every employee has adjusted to working remotely equally. Some of us are more social creatures than others and crave the camaraderie and in-person interaction with our colleagues—and really feel its absence, despite the prevalence of available video conferencing tools. Many of us prefer having a clearer division between our professional and personal lives, and working from home has blurred that distinction to say the least. All of this has led some folks to start wondering if they’re experiencing burnout. If you’re among this group, it’s more than okay—in fact, it’s completely normal. Forward-thinking businesses will not only acknowledge this reality but also have strategies for encouraging employees not to overdo it and to maintain a healthy work/life balance, along with having supportive resources in place to help employees cope effectively.

Avoid the avoidable distractions

The truth is, employees are a lot like fingerprints—no two of us are exactly the same, and this includes our lives, commitments, and responsibilities. While working remotely, we each have to contend with a mix of potential distractions that threaten to chip away at our work productivity—some of which are routine, predictable, and inescapable while others are more avoidable if we choose to put in the effort to do so. As a rule, take a careful look at the things that tend to diminish your productivity on any given day and make an effort to avoid the avoidable distractions, which should help you maximize your productivity with minimal effort—and without having to make significant life changes.

Retool as needed

The difference between a good plan and a great one is the ability to update and revise it as needed. For many of us, working remotely is a relatively new concept and will likely require some trial and error to get things right. As businesses and employees devise strategies and implement plans for working remotely, both sides should pay careful attention to the results and adjust things as needed. When it comes to remote working, don’t waste the opportunity to learn from your experiences, including your successes and failures, to help plan a successful path forward.

In a time of extreme uncertainty in the work world, one thing that’s clear is that remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. As we navigate through this new terrain, it’s helpful for businesses and employees alike to try and establish some ground rules—like those mentioned here—for making this transition successful.

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Thinking about grad school? Consider this before applying.

There’s no denying the fact that we’re currently living through extremely uncertain times—with everything from a persistent global pandemic and its resulting economic and social impact to waves of technological innovation forcing an evolution across nearly every facet of our lives. As we try to navigate through these unprecedented times, all of these volatile forces have led many of us to powerful inflection points in our lives. In such an unpredictable environment, it can be a challenge to figure out what strategies for personal fulfillment and career advancement make sense, as we wonder what work and life will look like in a post-COVID world and what skills we’ll need to master to succeed in the future.

Although this current era will most likely be remembered as a time of considerable disruption, even in the most volatile of times opportunities exist—especially for those who are brave enough to consider reinventing themselves and allow for growth and change. Chief among the options to consider at moments like these is continuing education. Whether or not to go to grad school is a common decision many of you might be currently thinking about. It’s long been said that those who embrace the notion of lifelong learning are best poised to steer through uncertainty and grab success from the mouth of uncertainty.

Going to grad school is a big move and one you should carefully think through before deciding whether or not to race full steam ahead. Is investing the time, money, and effort to go to grad school a worthwhile investment for you? Consider the following before making your final decision.

What are your goals?

Everyone likely has a different set of reasons for considering grad school, based on your individual life goals. Are you looking to advance your career or embark on a new professional path? Build new skills for personal advancement or just dive into a new hobby or area of interest? Make sure to have a clear understanding of your reasons for wanting to go to grad school so you can get started on the path to making an informed and careful decision regarding whether it is wise or even necessary to achieve your goals.

What will it cost?

In years past, grad school was considered a rock-solid investment in your personal and professional future. But times change, and it’s forcing folks to reevaluate the value of pursuing an advanced degree in this brave new world of rapidly evolving opportunities. A big factor that’s upsetting the old way of thinking is cost—simply put, the cost of earning a graduate degree has skyrocketed in recent years, and finding the funds to finance grad school has become more challenging. On top of this, the notion of borrowing your way through grad school has become increasingly less desirable as the stigma against burying yourself in student loan debt continues to grow and gain attention. When thinking about grad school, be sure to have a clear sense of all costs involved when determining if it’s a good decision for you.

Do you have alternatives?

When weighing the decision to go to grad school, ask yourself if the return on investment makes sense for you based on your specific goals or if there are viable alternative options worth considering. If your goals are centered around professional advancement, ask yourself if grad school is a requirement to move up the ladder in your field or if are there other avenues for growth. If your goals are more aligned with the pursuit for self-improvement, ask yourself if there are other ways to achieve these goals that may make more sense for you. When weighing any significant life decision, you should always consider the alternatives—and deciding whether or not to go to grad school is no exception.

In this era of uncertainty and change, it can be a great time to take stock of your life and retool. As we look forward into the future, reflect on experiences and lessons learned, and think about what we want out of life moving forward, it can be a prime opportunity to set new goals, take on new challenges, and work towards enacting positive change. If deciding whether or not to go to grad school is on your horizon, consider the point mentioned here to help you make the right decision.

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Inclusive leadership: how to become a leader for all

Inclusivity isn’t just a goal for recruiting or for your specific team. It’s a goal for anyone in leadership in an organization. The responsibility doesn’t start with HR, or a board—it starts with you. And me. And anyone with aspirations of moving up to a senior role. The best leaders don’t just say they’re inclusive; they show it in every aspect of their professional lives.

Inclusive leaders aren’t just team builders, they have the talent to find people who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives. A truly inclusive leader makes sure everyone feels heard, engaged, and supported. This translates very directly into results: a Harvard Business Review study found that teams with inclusive leaders were 17% more likely to report high performance. Respondents also reported being significantly more likely to make high-quality decisions and act collaboratively. Inclusive leadership also gets people through the door: the HBR review found that for every 10% increase in perceived inclusivity, work attendance improved almost one day per year per employee.

One of the great things about leadership is that as a skill, it’s always growing and developing—you always have room to improve. And if you’re interested in becoming a more diverse leader in your organization, there are ways you can build those skills.

Commit to inclusivity

This should be a personal goal, one that should be clear in all of the work that you do. That includes voicing open support for diversity and inclusion. It also includes doing so when it’s not so easy or when you might experience pushback from others. Agreeing that there are imbalances in power isn’t enough—by speaking out about the status quo and expressing specific ways you can work on changing it to be more inclusive, you’re showing your commitment.

Understand how biases work

Very few of us would say outright that we’re biased. In reality, bias is often an inherent part of human nature and perception. The trick to overcoming it is to understand what’s going on. You may feel a certain way about someone, but do you understand why? And once you consider why you perceive things as you do, are you willing to do everything you can to minimize those personal predispositions that might have more to do with you than the other person?

Bias can take many forms in an organization, from straight-up discrimination to assumptions. For example, assumptions like “this system works well for me. It must work well for everyone here.” Or “as long as someone works hard, they’ll naturally get promoted.” Others may be facing challenges that you can’t see. These blind spots can prevent you from being a naturally inclusive leader.

Don’t be afraid to admit your challenges

Good leaders are modest and willing to admit when they’re facing challenges or making mistakes. This can be just as important as sharing “inspirational” successes. By sharing the bad with the good with members of your team, it helps create a space where people can succeed—and even fail—together, in a productive way.

Be curious about others

One of the most important aspects of inclusive leadership is being open to learning more about people: people’s experiences, perspectives, and ideas. Being openly curious about others (in an entirely professional way, of course) involves listening without judgment, offering constructive criticism, and asking open-ended questions that give team members a chance to show what they bring to the table.

This kind of curiosity also helps build cultural intelligence. The more you learn about your employees and their points of view, the more you’re likely to learn about different cultures, socioeconomic experiences, religious perspectives, etc. The goal isn’t to build a happy, seamless team that avoids those differences, but rather a team of individuals that demonstrates how those perspectives can come together and provide results for the company.

Emphasize collaboration

Leaders who turn their teams into competitive machines may get short-term results, but they also get high rates of burnout and turnover. Instead, make sure you’re doing everything you can to enhance collaboration and cooperation to achieve goals. When considering specific tasks or projects, think about how you can get team members to work effectively toward shared goals.

Being an inclusive manager certainly means prioritizing diverse hiring and team assignments. But if you’re looking to take your leadership skills to the next level, put the thought and effort into making sure that you’re truly embracing all of your team and finding ways for them to shine.

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How to implement inclusive language in your job descriptions

There’s no time like the present to update your job descriptions. It’s usually something that should happen regularly anyway (shake off the status quo!), but with many organizations making it an active strategic goal to improve diversity hiring and recruitment, it’s now a must. However, saying it should happen and actually doing it are two different things. Job descriptions are often pared down to the bare necessities already, so finding different ways to convey the same information in a better way can be difficult. Here are some tips for revamping yours so that they are more inclusive and appealing to a broader range of applicants.

Take a close look at your existing job descriptions

Time to put on your editor hat. Read your current job descriptions and evaluate them differently—not for typos or factual correctness, but in a more generally critical way. Is there information in there that could be taken out? Are there job requirements that you put in because you feel like they’re standard, but aren’t actually hard-and-fast needs for the job? For example, do you list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement when the job could really be done by someone with fewer credentials but equivalent experience? Do you use a lot of jargon or complex phrases that might not be clear to someone who speaks English as a second language?

The goal here is clarity for people from a broad range of abilities and backgrounds. Your job description should be limited to “must-have” requirements, expressed clearly. There’s no real upside here for using a five-dollar word when a shorter one will do.

Create a “diversity style guide” for your organization

Style guides are used in formal writing and editing to make sure certain standards are being met. Making one that specializes in language specific to diversity and inclusion can help make sure that anyone writing job descriptions on your team is using consistent language. You can define “bias words” to avoid and give your people tools for framing job requirements in ways that don’t alienate potential candidates. Diversity Style Guide is a good reference as you start working on yours to help you see what kind of language carries bias or problematic overtones.

Emphasize your commitment to diversity

In addition to the basic points about the job and your company, make sure you’re calling out that you’re a diverse organization that is committed to finding the best people. Space can be at a premium when you’re trying to fit in all the information, but even just a sentence or two in your posting can make a variety of readers feel more welcome to apply.

Consider adding information about diversity-focused benefits to demonstrate your commitment to inclusive hiring. This can include blurbs about employee resource groups that support inclusion, any internal committees devoted to diversity, and needs accommodations (like flexible work arrangements or accessible offices).

Use tech as a tool to boost your inclusive language

Writers are human. As such, we’re always going to be subject to certain kinds of bias, consciously or not. There are a number of resources out there that can flag and remove biased language, as well as recommend replacement text. Tools like Textio and OnGig’s text analyzer help you minimize bias and maximize inclusivity in your job descriptions. If you’re unsure of whether something is inclusive or not, these tools can help remove that uncertainty.

Like with any other aspect of improving diversity and inclusivity, meaningful change to your job descriptions means thoughtful evaluation and educating yourself to ensure you’re reaching out to as many people as possible. It’s a great chance to revisit your current job descriptions and make sure you’re writing the best, most broadly appealing ones that you can. Your talent pool will be all the better for it.

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The best time to discuss salary

There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about when you should talk about money during the interview and hiring process. Person A: Don’t bring it up in an interview, that’s awkward and counterproductive! Person B: No, bring it up right away so you can advocate for yourself! So when should you bring up the cash money elephant in the room? Well, if you ask top recruiters and experienced hiring managers, it depends.

Don’t make money your first question

Almost universally, recruiters and hiring managers advise against making money talk the first conversation with an interviewer. While you can certainly bring it up during an interview if the conversation allows, the best course of action is to sell your achievements and resume up front, impress them with your qualifications, and let the other person bring it up. If you walk in and ask to talk about money before you’ve showed you’re a good fit for the job it can give the impression that you’re more interested in the salary than in the job itself. Even if you’re polite and really just looking for information, that kind of tone is often a turnoff for the interviewer.

Pick your audience

Many recruiters make it a point to bring salary up during a first session to make sure that nobody is wasting their time if they refer you to the hiring company. Budgets are very real, and if you’re expecting more than the company is willing to pay it doesn’t help you (or the recruiter) to move forward in the hiring process. In that case, if the recruiter doesn’t bring it up earlier it’s usually appropriate to bring it up at the end of a call.

However, by the time you’re in front of a hiring manager who’s more concerned with making sure you’re a good fit for the job and their company, salary is often a secondary consideration. Negotiation can happen later if you make it to the next level.

Choose your words carefully

“So, what does this job pay?” is a little too blunt and runs the risk of seeming rude. Better to frame it as more of a question about range and your interest in the job. For example, if you do decide to bring it up, you can try something like: “I appreciate you bringing me in for this conversation, and so far everything you’ve said about the job sounds great. I was wondering about the potential salary range for this position—is that something you can share at this point?”

Do your research before you interview

No conversation about salary or compensation is going to be productive if you’re going in without the right context and background information. Many job descriptions give a salary range up front. If this job description doesn’t, do a little digging online. Sites like Glassdoor can help you find salaries for similar roles, either at this company or others. That way if you do end up talking about salary you have a sense of what the role is worth.

If the job description does give a salary or range and you object to that number, the time to discuss that is not up front in an interview. If it’s significantly lower than you’re willing to accept then you should just consider not applying. Putting someone on the spot might not get you the negotiation you want, and they might not have any flexibility anyway. You don’t want to waste your time.

The general consensus among recruiters is that it’s okay to bring up salary early in the process—but you definitely want to pick your timing and your audience. It’s important to make sure your expectations are aligned with theirs before you get too far into the process, but if you introduce it too early in the general conversation, it’s risky. You may not get the outcome you want, and it can take the focus off of your qualification for the job.

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Job surge: careers that are currently on the rise

There’s no denying that we’re currently in an extremely uncertain job environment, with everything from a persistent global pandemic and its resulting economic and social impact to waves of technological innovation forcing an evolution in how business is done at every level. In such a volatile environment, it can be a challenge for today’s businesses just to keep up and stay viable and afloat.

That said, opportunities exist even in the most volatile job markets. Although 2021 will most likely be remembered as a time of considerable disruption, those who are able to grab success from the mouth of uncertainty will likely have realized that it was also a time for reinvention, and that putting in the work to take advantage of emerging trends can yield positive results.

The following fields represent areas of real growth within the work world through 2021 and into the foreseeable future, and the great news is that opportunities in each can be found across many industries.

Mental health support

Of course, 2020 was a difficult year on many levels. Adjusting to the new rules of living thrust upon us nearly overnight as the pandemic emerged certainly took its toll, and our work lives were no exception. Although each of us had different obstacles and distractions when pivoting to remote work and maintaining appropriate levels of connectedness and productivity in tough times, one thing that united nearly all of us was the fact that 2020 was a real challenge.

Now, in the early months of 2021, things have not changed significantly. Companies across industries, from lean start-ups to huge multinational conglomerates, are taking notice of this and responding accordingly with additional support services to help their employees stay healthy and navigate forward. This includes mental health support services, with both on-staff experts to help workers and their families as well as additional benefits to help cover the costs of seeking and connecting with professionals. Having staff members who are healthy and doing well benefits employers and employees alike, so it’s no surprise that more and more opportunities for mental health support professionals are appearing.

Business development

In today’s rocky work world, companies eager to outpace the competition and position themselves for post-pandemic success are turning their focus to new business opportunities and potential revenue channels. As a result, companies are increasing their engagement with business development professionals at all levels in an effort to find new customers for their products and services. They’re even tailoring their offerings to fit changes in how companies are operating and people are living their lives—which may have accelerated during the pandemic, but reflects trends that have been occurring for a while and will likely persist in the post-pandemic world. Therefore, if you have the interest and ability to embark on a career in business development, or have a desire to learn more about what it takes to be successful in this space, there is no better time than now to get started.

Diversity experts

These days, companies are more conscious than ever before of the importance and benefit of supporting equity, equality, and diversity—both in the workplace and in the world at large. 2020 was a touchstone year for bringing these issues to the forefront of social consciousness, and hopefully, this continues through 2021 and beyond. Companies have already made commitments to promote and support greater workplace diversity, which means that the need for experts within their teams—to provide education and information as well as ensure that key goals are being met—continues to grow. That means opportunities for experts in this field abound.

If you’re at a crossroads in your career journey, either by choice or circumstance, it may be a good idea to consider one of the in-demand paths mentioned here as your next possible step. Good luck!

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3 must-watch TED Talks to improve your allyship

When it comes to navigating the modern workplace, you need to make sure you know what it takes to be successful. Across most industries and roles, today’s work world seems drastically different from what it was just a few years ago. As things continue to evolve and the effects of new technological innovation alongside constantly shifting social, cultural, and economic forces take hold, our work lives will inevitably be subject to further change—hopefully for the better.

That said, despite all the workplace volatility and uncertainty, there are some tried and true strategies to help you secure and improve your work life. Chief among them is to be a stronger ally to everyone within your work orbit—regardless of rank, role, or responsibility. Although what makes a good ally can vary depending on one’s perspective and experience, at its core it means being a proactive participant and advocate when it comes to recognizing privilege; acknowledging, respecting, and appreciating the wealth of diversity to be encountered in the world; and acting as an agent for healthy and progressive change, especially for those who are marginalized and underrepresented.

Being a good ally is certainly not a new concept, but it’s been gaining increasing attention and focus in recent years as everyone from high-powered C-suite executives to support staff in companies both large and small recognize the importance and value of supporting diversity, inclusion, and equity—both in the office and beyond.

Simply put, it’s a great investment of time, energy, and resources to help improve allyship—both across a business and as a personal goal. The good news is that there are a wealth of tools available out there to help you achieve this worthy goal, many of which are accessible online. These include TED Talks, which are a series of presentations given by some of the world’s most influential, successful, and innovative thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and change agents. These talks span a wide range of topics, including allyship, and are well worth your time to investigate. The following 3 TED talks highlight the tremendous wealth of knowledge and insight available on the subject, to help you learn, improve, and grow.

Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave?

Mellody Hobson, a financial world luminary who’s currently the president of Ariel Investments, a money management firm focused on value-driven goals, is also a key thought leader when it comes to issues of race and promoting diversity in the workplace. Her TED talk focuses on this critical issue. Although previously thought of as a “conversational third rail” in the office, Hobson advocates for opening the lines of communication and speaking openly about race as we strive to move towards a better and more inclusive and equitable work world and society.

Nita Mosby Tyler: Want a more just world? Be an unlikely ally.

Dr. Tyler is a well-recognized expert when it comes to advocating for and promoting diversity and equity. She’s the Chief Catalyst and founder of The Equity Project and is committed to helping organizations and communities develop effective inclusion strategies. Dr. Tyler’s TED talk draws on her powerful personal experience to make the point that creating a fairer and more equitable world requires each of us to acknowledge our responsibility for taking part in making this happen, by being active change agents and allies who fight for others who face injustice in all forms.

Jennifer L. Eberhardt: How racial bias works—and how to disrupt it.

Jennifer Eberhardt is an accomplished social psychologist whose research focuses on race and equality. Her work investigates the negative effects of racial bias and how racial imagery and judgments shape behavior and outcomes across society, including the criminal justice system and the various social spaces we inhabit. Her TED presentation leverages her extensive body of research and published work to demonstrate how our brains categorize incoming stimuli to organize and make sense of the world, and how this invariably leads to unconscious bias. Her talk focuses on how these biases unfairly impact the lives of Black people at every societal level and serves as a powerful call to action to actively disrupt this from happening whenever possible.

Being a proactive ally in the struggle for positive change is a responsibility we all share to help move society forward, and the TED talks mentioned here can help guide you in the right direction.

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