7 Tips to decide whether a job internship is for you

If you’re a young professional just starting out in your field or even a seasoned worker making a career change, internships are a great way to gain necessary experience in a specific industry. The job internship experience has become the route to professional work, a first step to the white-collar career. Internships look great on resumes and are an opportunity to learn hands-on about your industry. Seen as a golden opportunity for college grads and young professionals, many do not have the know-how to decide whether the opportunity is a solid one.

Below, we share some key tips to help you decide if a job internship is right for you, and what to look out for when searching for internship opportunities in a new or unfamiliar field.

7 Tips for deciding if a job internship is right for you

  1.  Consider the company size – hiring and retaining employees is a challenge for all types of enterprises. The smaller ones, i.e. start-ups have higher stakes. Small, fast-growing companies tend to have higher turnover of employees and the writing may be on the wall before you start —looking for truth in advertising.
  2.  Certainly acquire the knowledge of the start-up or small to medium size company or any size for that matter. Think and ask: Who are in charge? How long has it been around? How many employees are there? Who are the clients/customers? What position will I assume when brought on-board permanently?
  3.  Don’t be intimidated that the company has an upper-hand in the process. You hold the key of skills they are seeking in an intern and future employee.
  4.  Make certain you have the clear and well-defined scope of the work responsibilities and type of contract you will be signing up to: Paid contractor, unpaid or paid consultant, paid employee, trainee, duration of internship, hierarchy of internal management – who’s the boss. Read the contract in its entirety and seek the advice of someone who is familiar with and can review the contract with you. Don’t assume that the contract work does not violate the work agreements.
  5.  Ask about the projects that will be assigned to you or tasks and the milestone review process. If possible, test the waters before committing to the job. Not all may be what it appears. Ask for a trial period if you have doubts about the company.
  6.  Promises, promises – get it in writing. Would there be future funding for the project you are involved, and for how long? Would you eventually be hired or paid?
  7.  Employers tend to tell you about the expectations they have of you, the high bar they have set because you are a candidate for permanent employee status. But reminding yourself that you also have expectations for personal accomplishment. Success is of utmost importance so why not tell about it.

You might be interested: 10 Interview tips that will get you the job 

Take the internship experience as an opportunity to learn and provide value to the employer, but make it a two-way street. Let it be a road that takes the emotion and uncertainty out of what you really want to do on the destination to personal success and building your dream. After all, someone will hire you to build theirs.

This article was originally published in 2014 and written by Ruben Abramovich. It has been edited and updated for relevancy. 


Ruben2Ruben Abramovich

Ruben has extensive project, program management and client/partner relationship management experience. He has led wireless development teams through the complete life-cycle of product development across design centers. His program management professional service experience includes having successfully managed from the implementation and launch of IT infrastructure projects to mobile consumer communications products for major industry leaders such as Lucent Technologies, Philips and Motorola.  Ruben was born in Buenos Aires, raised in the U.S. and has native fluency of English and Spanish. Ruben holds a B.S. ​Degree in Electrical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

resume, office, laptop, writing

Beat the bots with these ATS-friendly resume tips in 2021 

With advancing technologies moving us further into the digital landscape, the world of job hiring is always changing. Gone are the days when your #1 goal as an applicant was to simply WOW the hiring manager or recruiters. Now, there are a few extra hurdles to get through in the form of AI technology. Many companies now use software known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter through resumes, narrowing down applicants before they are even seen by human eyes. Because of this, it is now crucial to tailor your resume to these systems, so you have the best chance of making it through to the next round in the hiring process. 

Below are some key resume tips to help you beat the bots and create an ATS-friendly resume in 2021 that will get your resume through the automated process and into human hands so you can get that interview! 

resume, office, laptop, writing

Try these ATS-friendly resume tips to beat the bots in 2021. (Photo credit: @homajob on Unsplash.)

7 ATS-friendly resume tips in 2021 to get the job

Keywords are key! 

One of the top resume tips in 2021 is keywords, keywords, keywords! When you’re trying to impress a bot, keywords are crucial. The ATS software will be scanning for keywords relevant to the job to see if you are the right fit. Many of these keywords may appear in the job description itself, so it’s important to have a resume tailored to each specific job. One general resume just isn’t going to cut it anymore. 

Some keywords the ATS may be scanning for could include hard skills such as “experience with spreadsheets” or “proficient in Adobe Photoshop.” Others may be spoken languages, certificates or licenses. In a profession such as teaching, the ATS may search for the required certifications that prove you can legally teach at an institution. The same is true for positions in the medical field or science where proper licenses are needed to practice.  

If you’re unsure which keywords to use for the job you are applying for, first scan the job description. Note the top requirements and job responsibilities. These are likely to be some of the target keywords. The job title itself may also be a keyword. You can also use sites like Jobscan and Skillsyncer to help you identify more keywords.

Just make sure the keywords you use are in context. Dumping a bunch of keywords with no context on your resume to “cheat” the system won’t get you far in the long run. You may fool the bot, but your resume will quickly be discarded once it reaches human eyes. 

Objective statements are out, the resume summary is in! 

Many resumes even in recent years recommended opening with an objective statement. However, the resume summary has become more popular and preferred in recent years. Try replacing your objective statement with a fresh, impactful summary detailing some of your top skills and experience to quickly communicate who you are as an employee. This summary is also a great place to add in relevant keywords that will impress the digital eyes of the ATS software. 

Choose the right format and layout 

Just as important as your keywords is your format and layout. ATS software prefers certain layouts over others as they are easier for the bot to read. You may be tempted to create a flashy or unique resume design in hopes to stand out among the rest, but this may actually hurt your chances more than you think. Obscure fonts, colors, and creative layouts make it harder for the ATS software to scan your resume. Keep it simple and ATS-friendly with a black and white, clean layout and standardized fonts such as Calibri, Arial, and Times New Roman, 

In general, both the software and the recruiters themselves prefer simple, monochromatic layouts. According to data collected by Resume Lab in a 2021 study, 72% of recruiters think monochromatic resumes are best. Additionally, 77% of recruiters think two-column resumes are better than single-column ones. Finally, of the three resume formats–chronological, combination, and functional–ATS software prefers chronological or combination. These two formats best organize your work experience in an easy to read style from most recent to oldest. For those with a normal work history with no large gaps or career changes, chronological or combination is the way to go!  

Correctly label your sections 

In addition to keeping your layout clean and simple, using the proper headings for each section will greatly help you pass the ATS screening process. ATS software organizes your information based on common resume headings, such as “Work Experience,” “Education”, and “Skills.” You may think a creative or catchy heading will make you stand out but it will only confuse the system and potentially risk your chance at making it through the scanning process. 

In general, according to Resume Lab’s 2021 Study, the key “must-have” sections are: 

  • Contact information
  • Resume profile (summary or objective)
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Soft skills
  • Hard skills

Which brings us to our next tip…

Be sure to include both soft skills and hard skills 

Data shows that 76% of recruiters prefer the two types of skills separated from one another on a resume. ATS software will scan for these two sections and recruiters are also now looking to see two distinct sections when it comes to skills. If this is all new to you or you are unfamiliar with these terms, soft skills are non-technical skills related to how you work, communicate, and solve problems. Some examples include: teamwork, communication, adaptability, creativity, and time management. Hard skills, on the other hand, are technical skills specific to the job such as: graphic design, editing, computer coding, data analysis, web development, and marketing. 

For a well-rounded, ATS-friendly resume that will impress both digital and human eyes, be sure to include skills in both sections. 

You might be interested: 10 interview tips that will get you the job

Plug your LinkedIn profile 

Something many forget but apparently makes a big difference, is including a link to your LinkedIn profile in your contact information. According to Resume Lab, 96% of recruiters surveyed believe it is important to link to your profile in your resume. Including a link won’t hurt, and it may just give you that boost over the competition. 

Lastly, make sure you select the right file type 

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make your resume ATS-friendly, is make sure it is in the right format for ATS software to scan. The standard accepted formats are .docx and .PDF and most of you are probably using these formats. However, many resume building tools and sites will often save resumes as image files such as .jpg or .png files which will not be readable by ATS software. This could automatically take you out of the running, so be sure to always save/download your resume in either .docx or .PDF format, which can easily be done using any Word Processor or Google Docs. Also be sure to check the job application to see if it lists a preferred format. 

Following these top 7 resume tips you will be able to create an ATS-friendly resume that will get you through the scanning process and one step close to landing your dream job! 

interview tips

10 Interview tips that will get you the job 

We’ve all been there. The nervous waiting, the stuttering responses, the awkward pauses, the sweaty palms just before that crucial handshake. Interviews are often anxiety ridden, nerve wracking, and downright stressful. But they don’t have to be! If you’re ready to land your dream job, then read on for these 10 interview tips that will get you the job!

interview tips

Top 10 interview tips to get you the job. (Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

Top 10 interview tips that will get you hired 

1. Research the company – Knowledge is power, as they say. The more knowledge you have the better equipped you will be to navigate any situation. This is also true when going for a job interview. Get to know the company, learn their values and mission statement. With the power of the internet and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, it’s never been easier to find information. Use this to your advantage. The company will want to know why you are the right fit for them, so, tell them! Flex your knowledge of the company and relate it back to you and your story. 

2. Practice, practice, practice – As part of your research into the company, you will likely encounter what the company is looking for and what they value. Try to use your research to anticipate the types of questions they may ask during your interview and work on your responses. As we all know, practice makes perfect, and practicing your responses will also help ease your anxiety or nerves during the interview since you will already know what to say instead of working through your responses on the spot. If you can, enlisting the help of a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview will also allow you to stretch those muscles in preparation for your real interview. 

3. Develop your personal story – Another great interview tip many do not consider is to develop your story. As we mentioned previously, you want to establish a personal connection between yourself and the company. Use your knowledge of the company to tailor your story and brand to fit with their values and mission. An interviewer will likely ask you to tell them about yourself. “Who are you?” “What’s your story?” “Why are you the right fit for this company?” When preparing for your interview, evaluate your life and experiences. Ask yourself:

  • What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them? 
  • What do you value in a company? 
  • What are your skills and what can you bring to a company? 
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years/What are your long-term goals?

Work through these questions and begin developing a story. Your story is everything, there is no one else like you! 

interview tips

Interview tips: Show up early and dress to impress! (Woman photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com)

4. Show up early and dress to impress – First impressions are crucial. We have been told over and over again that a good first impression can make all the difference. Arriving late or underdressed to an interview may send the message that you are irresponsible and not really interested or committed to the position. 

However, things may happen outside of your control such as traffic and public transportation delays. If something does arise, it’s crucial to reach out and contact the interviewer immediately to inform them of the delay. The interviewer will appreciate the notice as it will allow that person to attend to other duties or interview the next person in line until your arrival.

5. Stay calm and speak confidently and clearly – There is nothing worse for an applicant than doing everything necessary to get the interview and then blowing it because the anxiety was too much. The first step to staying calm is to breathe properly. Stress and anxiety often creates a shortness of breath, which leads to more anxiety and a jumble of words that can seriously impact your chance of getting hired. Focus on taking deep breaths. Write a reminder on your notepad to “breathe and relax.” Also speak with confidence. If you’ve been practicing, then you already know your story and answering whatever questions interviewers throw at you will be a breeze. Maintaining good posture will also help not only your non-verbal communication, but your verbal communication as well, by giving you more confidence when you speak. 

You might be interested: How to manage and prevent burnout in the workplace

6. Practice good non-verbal communication – Another often forgotten interview tip is practicing your non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is just as important as your verbal skills. Non-verbal communication is also often the first impression you give when entering an interview. Proper posture, good eye contact, and a firm handshake will help you make a great first impression, setting a solid foundation for your interview.

Interview tips: Practice good non-verbal communication. (Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com)

7. Listen and connect with your interviewer – Really listening to your interviewer is extremely important. Asking frequently to repeat a question can give off the impression that you are not focused or interested. Your interviewer may also mention things such as their alma mater, their favorite restaurant, weekend plans, a favorite book, or other topics that can be opportunities to connect and establish some commonalities. By listening and taking these opportunities to engage, you make a better impression and increase your chances of getting hired. 

8. Answer each question fully – Each question asked is a chance to tell your story and really sell why you are the best person for the job. Each question is also a tool interviewers use to gauge your personality, behavior, and skills. When you don’t have an answer to a question or don’t answer it fully, you are providing less information to your interviewer, thus lessening your chances of getting the job. Instead, someone who gave full answers and spoke about themselves will have a leg up over you. So be sure to take every question as an opportunity to share your story, your thoughts, skills, and values. 

9. Ask questions – Many candidates answer, “No,” when asked if they have questions. This is the wrong answer. Just as answering the interviewer’s questions is important to showcase who you are and why you are the right fit, asking your own questions is equally important. Asking questions again shows your interest and commitment to the position. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. By asking questions, you not only demonstrate that you were listening and engaging, you also show interest and commitment to the position. 

10. Follow up after the interview – Lastly, this interview tip could give you a boost up and help you stand out among other candidates. Following up after an interview is a great way to show your interest in the position and appreciation for the opportunity. You can follow up by sending a thank-you note or email reiterating your interest in the position. Sending a personalized note to each person who interviewed you also adds an extra touch and helps foster a stronger connection. You can also use your follow up note to include any details you may have forgotten to mention in your interview. 

remote recruitment

5 Remote recruitment tips proven to actually work

Adapting to a remote working set up is true not only for regular office tasks, but for the recruitment process as well. Here are some tips to consider for your remote recruitment strategy, from improving online initiatives to creating structured interview questions.

remote recruitment

(Photo Credit Visuals UFK- Unsplash)

Amidst the ongoing health crisis, frontline companies are hiring new employees while others are in the process of integrating remote practices into their hiring systems, according to An article on Sifted. Follow these proven tips to ensure the best talent will spot your company instead of you searching through thousands of potential candidates.

1. Focus on your online presence

Remote recruiting places the importance firmly on having a strong online presence. After all, this will be how people find your company—and an eye-catching profile makes it easier to attract top talent. You can start by improving your employee branding, just like our writer and career coach Daniela McVicker has previously discussed. Employees can help you generate a lot of online traction, whether it’s by writing reviews on job sites like GlassDoor, or sharing company content on social media platforms like LinkedIn.

2. Have an SEO strategy in place

In line with boosting your online presence, it’s also worth improving your company’s SEO strategy. Marketing experts Ayima underscore the importance of SEO in ensuring your company stays at the top of the search results, while providing you with valuable insights into how effective your posts are. It is certainly not limited to retail companies and blogs, as it can be applied to your recruitment process too—especially with The Undercover Recruiter noting how 30% of all Google searches are job-related. Aside from helping you find talent for niche skills around the world, it can also build brand value and establish company credibility.

3. Allow technology to help you create a shortlist

Shortlisting candidates is one of the most time-consuming parts of a recruiter’s job. And if your listing has managed to attract a lot of attention, it’s going to take you days (if not weeks) to sort through all those résumés. Recruiter Rebecca Skilbeck encourages you to use AI-powered tools like XOR and PredictiveHire to help you process applications, so you can focus on engaging your shortlisted candidates instead. Plus, a machine is less biased when it comes to profiles, which can even the playing field for all applicants.

remote recruitment

(Photo Credit: ImagesPexel.com)

4. Conduct a structured interview

Video interviews are harder to conduct than you think. For one, their voice isn’t as clear as listening in person. Plus, it’s difficult to gauge someone’s facial expressions and body language online. Therefore, you’ll be basing your assessment on their interview answers more than anything else. This is why it’s ideal to practice your questions and prepare them beforehand. Having a set list of questions will not only guide your conversation, it will also allow you to freestyle and veer off as you see fit. Since this is an anxious time for everyone, structured interviews can go a long way in easing the process as well.

You might be interested: Virtual fitness community empowers women to reach their wellness goals

5. Adopt collaborative hiring practices

You might think a candidate is the best fit for the job—but their potential coworkers may not feel the same way. Remote work is heavily dependent on one’s ability to collaborate, making team rapport an essential criteria in the hiring progress. Business experts on Medium suggest involving the team that is going to be directly working with the new hire in the deliberation. This can help you choose not only the most talented candidate for the position, but also the one who fits in the best.

Whether it’s finding new talent to make the remote transition more bearable, or recruiting for the sake of filling out an empty position, knowing how to recruit talent remotely will put your business miles ahead of the curve. Plus, once this turbulent time passes, remote recruiting is still something that can help you gain access to top talent who may be far from your physical location. So, nailing down this process as early as now can only be beneficial.

unemployed workers

New Jersey is stepping up efforts for unemployed workers and freelancers

To better serve the unemployed workers hit by COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey is stepping up its efforts by temporarily suspending the “work search requirement” for laid off workers and creating a jobs portal — jobs.covid19.nj.gov — to match those who are looking for work with immediate openings in industries on the frontlines of the pandemic. Thousands of positions are available immediately throughout the state.

Apply online to the NJ Division of Unemployment Services https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/before/createaccount/index.shtml

Meanwhile, a record 206,253* new unemployment claims were filed with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the week ending March 28, bringing the two-week total of new claims to just over 362,000, as COVID-19 bore down on the state’s workforce and businesses.

Initial claims for the week ending March 28 exceeded even those for the prior week, when 155,815 new claims were filed.

  • A breakdown of the claims that were processed March 15-28 shows the hardest-hit employees worked in food services/drinking establishments, with 16.5 percent of claims; ambulatory health care services (doctors’ and dentists’ offices), with 11 percent of claims; and administrative and support services, with 7 percent of claims.

“We know a lot of people are hurting, so we are grateful to announce that financial help is on the way for workers upended because of this public health crisis,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “These unemployed workers now have access to emergency paid leave to care for themselves or a loved one, they are in line for a $600 per week supplement to their unemployment benefit, and there’s a federal extension of unemployment benefits for 13 weeks.”

  • The $600 supplemental unemployment is expected to arrive beginning next week. It will be issued separately than regular unemployment benefits.
  • There’s a federal extension of unemployment benefits for 13 weeks, even for those whose claims have expired,
  • Unemployment benefits are becoming available for freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors, who typically are not eligible.
  • Additionally, applicants in New Jersey do not have a “waiting week” before benefits are paid once they are approved.

The Labor Department is awaiting federal guidance on determining eligibility for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and anticipates that guidance arriving soon.

Meanwhile, these unemployed workers should apply for unemployment insurance. The application likely will be denied, but that initial denial is a necessary step toward being able to collect the COVID-related benefit. Next, these workers should gather their past two years of tax returns, which will become necessary for their claim to be processed once federal rules are established.

Similarly, the state awaits word from the US Labor Department on who will be eligible for the 13-week extension of unemployment benefits under the CARES Act.

The data released Thursday by the US Department of Labor also indicates that nearly 156,000 residents are currently collecting unemployment, about 51,000 more than the prior week.

For national unemployment data, visit https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

For archived NJ claims data, visit https://oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/DataDashboard.asp

*This represents the final number for the week ended March 28. The number listed for NJ by US Department of Labor – 205,515 – is based on advanced reporting.

You might be interested: NJEDA announces new support to businesses impacted by COVID-19  

Changes in immigration policies_feature

How changes in immigration policies might affect hiring of Latinos

No matter what side of the political spectrum you align with, everyone knows changes in immigration policies have been a point of contention making headlines recently. It is hard to miss the viral videos of someone being handcuffed by ICE, a vocal immigrant speaking out at a press conference, or the rallies across the world.

Changes in immigration policies_feature

As these images come up on our devices, many Latinos are probably wondering if and how all this turmoil might affect their careers. The answer is mixed, and complicated.

Having immigrants highlighted on the news will have diverse ramifications for Latinos. On the one hand, the coverage of immigrants has put a more human side to Latinos.

Infographics for Millenial women immigration policies

theSKimm Infographics about millennial women and changes in immigration policies https://medium.com/@skimmstudies/immigration-is-now-a-top-issue-for-millennial-women-7c4b1b63f651

Americans are now publicly seeing what immigrants care about, why they came here in the first place, their contributions to society, their mistreatment, and so on. This could potentially cause empathy and acceptance in individuals who previously did not know enough about the lives of immigrants in the United States.

Furthermore, an entire part of the country is now rallied behind protecting immigrants and their rights. For example, a recent poll by Skimm Studies showed that millennial women have now drastically re-prioritized immigration as a top issue, changing even purchasing behavior to support immigrants because of this newfound interest.

Could these changes in immigration policies translate into new hiring trends in the workplace?

If people are starting to care more about immigrants because of what they are being exposed to via national politics, could in not be assumed that this level of care will translate into the workplace?

Indeed, companies are already seeing ramifications, and some are making pledges because of the controversy. Starbucks, for example, is offering legal services to employees. This is possibly advantageous to Latinos because hiring managers at companies may be on the lookout for immigrants.

This newly found empathy and acceptance could translate to a heightened awareness, and possibly an incentive for people to hire Latinos. Some who dislike these new policies may even try hiring Latinos as part of the #resistance.

Although Latinos may not want to be hired just because of their heritage, this heightened interest in immigrants may give them the chance to show their worth and earn the attention that they have always deserved.

changes in immigration policies women in corporate

A divided country in immigration policies impacts discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination, on the other hand, is also on the rise this year; New York City, for example, has seen a “whopping 60% hike in discrimination complaints” (Commission on Human Rights/New York Daily News).

Unfortunately at the root of much of the anti-immigrant rhetoric underlies discrimination, which in the workplace and hiring practices can reflect not only in a lack of diversity in hiring practices, but sometimes emboldened outright discriminatory activity.

Unfortunately, this is where Latinos could face heightened difficulty. Not only will searching for jobs most likely be more difficult if these belief systems are central to a company but the workplace itself could become uncomfortable at minimum.

Then there is the neutral part of the country, which will try to go about business as usual, disregarding politics entirely. Those who are not going to make political statements with hiring decisions may not change their practices at all. In this case, Latinos neither will benefit nor be hindered by the recent changes in immigration policies.

A majority that cannot be dismissed in these changes in immigration policies

And then, of course, there is practicality –Latinos are a huge percentage of the population, and it would be difficult to entirely avoid hiring them.

theSkim infographics MIllenias and immigration EO

theSkim infographics MIllenial women reaction to changes in immigration policies https://medium.com/@skimmstudies/immigration-is-now-a-top-issue-for-millennial-women-7c4b1b63f651

“A majority of United States companies will hire foreign workers in 2017 even as Donald Trump talks tough on limiting immigration… The continued ability of employers to acquire and develop global talent is vital and plays a crucial role in helping our country remain competitive in today’s economy.” (U.S. Companies Will Hire More Foreigners This Year, Survey Says – Forbes)

In truth, the effects of recent politics on Latinos and their careers will greatly depend on the point of view of the employer, as it always has before. Researching inclusive employers though, is one of the many tactics Latinos and Latinas can use to ensure the continued progress of any career.

What is unquestionable, according to history, however, is that no single political perspective remains in power for any long duration in the United States, so any patient Latinos may see the climate change in their favor if they wait long enough. The arch of a career is a long path with many turns.

emotional intelligence

From C student to the C-suite: A true story on emotional intelligence

Tami Holzman’s “From C student to the C-suite: How I Use My Emotional Intelligence to Gain Access to the Most Influential People in the World, Even With All My Sh*t and Insecurities,” a book review by Ramon Santillán

emotional intelligence

I have read my fair share of “career experts” and “job gurus” who give advice that sounds good on paper.  Problem is, sometimes what sounds cool in theory doesn’t work in “our” real world.

I remember this one book in college that was part novel, part career guide.  The book related how this fictional character overcame the trials and tribulations of being a student who is trying to find his first accounting job.

Ideally, you would read the book and then follow the steps the main character did and you would end up with a job.

This is a summary of the book:

  1. Call your dad and have him introduce you to his friends, one of which is probably a partner at an accounting firm.  Why?  Well, because your dad is a partner at a law firm so he should know other professionals high up in their organizations.
  2. Meet that partner at a country club where you both have been members for many years.  That will show him that you are part of the community.
  3. Focus 100% on your job search.  If needed, take less classes on your last semester.  (No mention of what to do if you have a job while you’re in school.  You don’t need a job if your rich dad is paying for your college.  See #1 above).

I’m sure this advice would work fine for some people.  But what about the rest of us whose fathers aren’t partners at their law firm, who don’t have connections, and who have to work to survive, much less to be able to attend school?

emotional intelligence

Tami Holzman, author

That’s why I loved “From C Student to the C Suite” written by Tami Holzman.  Her “no BS” approach to succeeding in your career really resonated with the rebel in me.

I want to share some great insights from the book that will help you get ahead even if you did not get a fancy Ivy League degree.

1. Value Emotional Quotient (EQ) over Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

Tami explains in detail how even though intelligence is great, you do business with people so being able to connect with them is more important that trying to be smarter than everyone else.

You have probably seen it in action where the people who are not necessarily the brightest, somehow always know who to get in touch to help them out with a problem.  Strive to connect with people first before you wow them with your brain power.

2. Your past does not define your future

She technically did not graduate from any of the four colleges she attended (she needed 3 more math credits) and still was able to deliver success to her employers and clients.

Many times, we impose self-limiting beliefs on ourselves because of what we have or have not done in the past.  No degree?  No problem.  If you can deliver value to your clients, they really will not (or should not) care where you got your education from.  The higher you go up in your career, the more you will notice this to be true.

The book keeps it simple to where you do not have to read some study to figure out what it means.  She lays it out in plain English so you do not have to wonder what she meant.  She talks about how she made a BFF (Business Friends Forever) over a bra mishap.

3. Ask for the sale

emotional intelligence

Tami Holzman’s book cover

I love her approach for “asking for the sale.”  Just like interviewing, most people go into a meeting, spill their guts out and then just walk out without having asked for the job or the business.

You have not done your job right if you do not ask for the sale/job before you leave the meeting.

4. “Be Present: aka put your f*cking phone away”

The chapter title pretty much gives it away.

By the way, this is not one of those theoretical, I have never tried it but it sounds good on paper books.  Tami is straightforward with how she dishes out her advice and she does not mince words.  This respectful, but candid way of writing is part of what makes this book endearing and useful.  There were times where I felt like Tami was sitting me down and just telling to me straight how to improve my career and life, f-bombs and all.

Do you want proof of how much I loved this book? This is my actual Amazon review:

Perfect book for anyone who wants to succeed without being put into a “box”

I recommend this book for anyone who:

  1. Wants to succeed despite not having the “perfect” grades/degree/experience (she doesn’t even have a degree)
  2. Women who want to learn how to better sell themselves and reach the C suite (she uses all the tools at her disposal to move up while staying true to herself)
  3. People who want to learn how to connect with others at networking events (great tips on how to start talking to people)
  4. All of the above

As an interview consultant that works with MBAs, this book will be recommend to all my clients, particularly female ones. It is just an awesome example of how you are “enough” just by being yourself. Also, the book design was very cool. I would buy the book just to look at the “Tam-isms”.

On a side note, I reached out to Tami just to tell her that I love her book and she responded!  It’s always good to know that truly successful people do not just talk the talk, but they always walk the walk (in Jimmy Choo’s).

job interview bad references review your salary

4 Tips to prevent bad references from damaging your job search

Whenever you apply for a job, you can almost guarantee that your potential employer will ask for references. However, what happens if your previous manager gives bad references to a prospective employer?

job interview bad references

Prospective employers just want to check that you were a good employee and you’ve stated the truth within your job application. As illegal as you think bad references might be, it is actually incredibly common, with estimates stating that 50% of managers give out bad references for previous employees.

Follow these tips to prevent bad references from damaging your job search, and protect your job search.

  1. Check your references

Bad references aren’t always caused by a previous termination of an employee’s contract. Sometimes it’s because of poor coworker relationships or because you left under challenging circumstances.

Firms like checkmyreference.com and Allison & Taylor Reference Checking actually offer to approach your previous employer and find out what they’re likely to say about you in their reference. If you’re worried about a bad reference or you’re unsure, this could be a great starting point for testing their opinions of you.

Double tip: DO NOT have a spouse, friend or relative call for you. If they don’t know what to ask, they might tip off your previous employer and the consequences might turn against you.

  1. Speak to your previous employer

At some point in your job search you may think that your previous employer will give you bad references, especially if your relationship with your manager was strained when you left. You may find it useful to actually speak to them and ask for an unbiased reference –usually confirm the employment dates/title of former employees– that represents you in the best possible way while still being highly accurate.

Your previous manager will be likely to appreciate this approach because you’re not only being proactive but you’re also stopping any potential cause for conflict or even legal action that could occur in the future due to a misleading reference. An agreement like this is protecting yourself as a job seeker and your previous company as a reference supplier, therefore creating a win-win situation for both parties.

Double tip: Don’t try this approach if you left in bad terms with your boss or the company. If you did, best way to go is to request a reference letter upon depart.

  1. Offer more reference options

You could counteract a bad reference by collating as many positive references for your future employer as possible, therefore implying that your bad reference is a one off and an anomaly. If you supply many glowing references and there’s only one bad reference, your future employer is likely to look past the one poor opinion of you.

One way to test who will offer a positive reference is by asking colleagues, past and present, to write a recommendation of you on LinkedIn. Once you find out who’s willing to write really positive references about you, you can contact them during future reference requests.

Double tip: Obviously, this process might take some time, so start it right away when you are at the beginning of your job search. Better to have all “ducks in a row” before answering some ads.

  1. When bad references keep happening

If your reference continues to address the issue in a negative way, then your next option is to serve them with a notice called the “Cease and Desist Letter.” The notice will emphasize that they might be open to a legal actions against the whole company –not just personal to your old boss or supervisor.

These notices are issued by an attorney and sent to senior management of the company, stating the nature and origin of the bad references. Frequently, corporate guidelines advise management against this behavior and direct the negative reference to not offer additional negative comments or bad references.

Double tip: Again, hire a professional that will act on your behalf and trust their experience and expertise. Fees well spent in preventing later damages are an investment in your future job opportunities.

In summary, it’s clear that there are ways to prevent a bad reference from occurring and approaches to counteracting a bad reference. While it’s always best to leave in good terms with an employer, it’s not always possible. Therefore the approaches described above can be incredibly useful. Checking your references via a third party, speaking to your previous manager and collating as many positive references as possible are ways to prevent bad references from sabotaging your job search in a diplomatic, proactive way.

Fellowship for Journalists of Color at BuzzFeed

reporter of color, investigative journalismAS POSTED ON National Association of Hispanic Journalism (NAHJ)

In recent years, diversity in the newsroom has regressed. According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the percentage of minorities in the newsroom fell from 13.7% in 2006 to 12.4% in 2013. Investigative reporting slots are traditionally considered plum jobs, and our observation is that investigative journalism is even more monochromatic than the rest of the newsroom.

In an effort to expand opportunities for journalists of color, BuzzFeed News and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism are sponsoring a year-long investigative reporting fellowship.

The BuzzFeed News/Columbia Journalism School Investigative Reporting Fellowship aims to give mid-career journalists of color the opportunity to tackle big, investigative stories and to improve their skills by auditing courses at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. This fellowship is not for students or people just starting out in journalism. Candidates should have at least five years of professional journalism experience.

Most important, candidates must have a well-formed proposal for an investigative story or series that exposes a major abuse of power, betrayal of trust, or systemic problem. Candidates must also demonstrate that they have the sources, skill, and reporting plan to bring the story home. The story or stories will be published by BuzzFeed News and BuzzFeed.com, and we are open to co-publishing with the reporter’s home publication. The investigative reporting fellow will report to BuzzFeed News’ investigative editor.

The fellow will receive a stipend of $85,000, plus benefits and related expenses for one year.

For application and information, see more at: http://www.nahjcareercenter.com/jobs/year-long-investigative-reporting-fellowship-for-journalists-of-color#sthash.wfjUZuBG.dpuf