7 Examples of What Being an Ally at Work Really Looks Like
LinkedIn
group shot of professional diverse employees

Diverse and inclusive workplaces can be both difficult to find and hard to create. But if you care about making your own workplace truly inclusive, you have the ability to effect real change—as an ally.

An ally is someone who is not a member of an underrepresented group but who takes action to support that group.

It’s up to people who hold positions of privilege to be active allies to those with less access, and to take responsibility for making changes that will help others be successful. Active allies utilize their credibility to create a more inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, and find ways to make their privilege work for others.

And wielding privilege as an ally doesn’t have to be hard. I’ve seen allies at all levels take action with simple, everyday efforts that made a difference—often a big one!

Here are a few roles that allies can choose to play to support colleagues from underrepresented groups in beneficial ways.

1. The Sponsor

I once worked for a software company that was acquired by a larger company. In the first few months following the acquisition, I noticed something interesting. My new manager, Digby Horner—who had been at the larger company for many years—said things in meetings along the lines of: “What I learned from Karen is the following…”

By doing this, Digby helped me build credibility with my new colleagues. He took action as an ally, using his position of privilege to sponsor me. His shoutouts made a difference, and definitely made me feel great.

When an ally takes on the role of the Sponsor, they vocally support the work of colleagues from underrepresented groups in all contexts, but specifically in situations that will help boost those colleagues’ standing and reputations.

How to Act as a Sponsor

  • Talk about the expertise you see in others, especially during performance calibrations and promotion discussions.
  • Recommend people for stretch assignments and learning opportunities.
  • Share colleagues’ career goals with influencers.

2. The Champion

In May 2015, Andrew Grill was a Global Managing Partner at IBM and a speaker at the Online Influence Conference. He was on a panel along with five other men when a female member of the audience posed the obvious question to the all-male lineup: “Where are the women?”

The moderator then asked the panelists to address the topic of gender diversity, and Andrew, after sharing some of his thoughts, quickly realized he wasn’t the best person to respond. In fact, none of the panelists were. He instead asked the woman who asked the question, Miranda Bishop, to take his place on the panel. By stepping aside, Andrew made a bold statement in support of gender diversity on stage and championed Miranda at the same time.

Since then, the nonprofit organization GenderAvenger has created a pledge to reduce the frequency of all-male panels at conferences and events. It reads, “I will not serve as a panelist at a public conference when there are no women on the panel.” Anyone can sign the pledge on their website.

When an ally takes on the role of the Champion, that ally acts similarly to the Sponsor, but does so in more public venues. Champions willingly defer to colleagues from underrepresented groups in meetings and in visible, industry-wide events and conferences, sending meaningful messages to large audiences.

How to Act as a Champion

  • Direct questions about specific or technical topics to employees with subject-matter expertise instead of answering them yourself.
  • Advocate for more women, people of color, and members of other underrepresented groups as keynote speakers and panelists.
  • If you’re asked to keynote or serve in a similar public role and know someone from an underrepresented group who’d be an equally good fit (or better), recommend that person (after asking them first if they’d like to be put forward).

3. The Amplifier

In a Slack channel for female technical leaders, I met a data engineer who was working at a 60-person startup. One team inside the company had an unproductive meeting culture that was starting to feel truly toxic. Yelling and interrupting frequently took place, and women in particular felt they couldn’t voice their opinions without being shouted over.

One of this engineer’s colleagues decided to take action to ensure that the voices of those who weren’t shouting would be heard. She introduced communication guidelines for a weekly meeting, and saw an immediate improvement. The guidelines included assigning a meeting mediator (team members would take turns in this role), setting clear objectives and an agenda for every meeting, conducting a meeting evaluation by every participant at the end of every meeting, and reminding the members to be respectful and practice active listening.

When an ally takes on the role of the Amplifier, that ally works to ensure that marginalized voices are both heard and respected. This type of allyship can take many forms, but is focused on representation within communication.

How to Act as an Amplifier

  • When someone proposes a good idea, repeat it and give them credit. For example: “I agree with Helen’s recommendation for improving our net promoter score.”
  • Create a code of conduct for meetings and any shared communication medium including email, chat, Slack, and so forth.
  • Invite members of underrepresented groups within your company to speak at staff meetings, write for company-wide newsletters, or take on other highly visible roles.

4. The Advocate

Shortly after she became the CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki spoke up about how tech industry titan Bill Campbell had advocated for her. In an article for Vanity Fair, she wrote:

I learned about an important invitation-only conference convening most of the top leaders in tech and media, yet my name was left off the guest list. Many of the invitees were my peers, meaning that YouTube wouldn’t be represented while deals were cut and plans were made. I started to question whether I even belonged at the conference. But rather than let it go, I turned to Bill, someone I knew had a lot of influence and could help fix the situation. He immediately recognized I had a rightful place at the event and within a day he worked his magic and I received my invitation.

When an ally takes on the role of the Advocate, that ally uses their power and influence to bring peers from underrepresented groups into highly exclusive circles. The Advocate recognizes and addresses unjust omissions, holding their peers accountable for including qualified colleagues of all genders, races and ethnicities, abilities, ages, body shapes or sizes, religions, and sexual orientations.

How to Act as an Advocate

  • Look closely at the invite list for events, strategic planning meetings, dinners with key partners, and other career-building opportunities. If you see someone from a marginalized group missing, advocate for them to be invited.
  • Offer to introduce colleagues from underrepresented groups to influential people in your network.
  • Ask someone from an underrepresented group to be a co-author or collaborator on a proposal or conference submission.

5. The Scholar

I’m a member of the Women’s CLUB of Silicon Valley, a nonprofit leadership incubator for women. Many of our events are open to guests, who come to hear the speakers and participate in our workshops. Most guests are women, so it stood out when a male guest started attending our events. I asked one of my friends who he was, and she told me he was a former colleague who wanted to better understand the challenges women face in the workplace. He spent many evenings at our events, listening and absorbing information about the issues we discussed so he could be a better ally.

When an ally takes on the role of the Scholar, that ally seeks to learn as much as possible about the challenges and prejudices faced by colleagues from marginalized groups. It’s important to note that Scholars never insert their own opinions, experiences, or ideas, but instead simply listen and learn. They also don’t expect marginalized people to provide links to research proving that bias exists or summaries of best practices. Scholars do their own research to seek out the relevant information.

How to Act as a Scholar

  • Investigate and read publications, podcasts, or social media by and about underrepresented groups within your industry.
  • Ask co-workers from marginalized groups about their experience working at your company.
  • If your company or industry has specific discussion groups or Slack channels for members of underrepresented groups, ask if they’d be comfortable letting you sit in to observe. Asking is essential: Your presence may cause members to censor themselves, so be sure to check in before showing up.

6. The Upstander

I remember being impressed by Lisa, a white software engineer who stepped outside of her comfort zone to be an ally. When asked to name her “spirit animal” as part of a team-building exercise, Lisa spoke up. She wasn’t comfortable taking part in an exercise that appropriated Native American spiritual traditions.

When an ally takes on the role of the Upstander, that ally acts as the opposite of a bystander. The Upstander is someone who sees wrongdoing and acts to combat it. This person pushes back on offensive comments or jokes, even if no one within earshot might be offended or hurt.

How to Act as an Upstander

  • Always speak up if you witness behavior or speech that is degrading or offensive. Explain your stance so everyone is clear about why you’re raising the issue.
  • In meetings, shut down off-topic questions that are asked only to test the presenter.
  • Take action if you see anyone in your company being bullied or harassed. Simply insert yourself into a conversation with a comment such as, “Hi! What are you folks discussing?” and then check in with the victim privately. Ask if they’re okay and if they want you to say something.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

The Ultimate Job Search Checklist
LinkedIn
Latina woman working from home with laptop and smartphone in her hand

Job searches can be overwhelming and sometimes it is difficult to know exactly where to start. Resume Worded has put together a step-by-step checklist to help you stay organized and task-oriented. 

Here are the things you’ll need to think about when job searching:

Your Resume/CV
These introductory documents are what help you get an interview. A strong resume/CV gets past initial filters/screens and makes a strong impression on hiring managers. Make sure you understand what type of document (resume, academic CV, federal resume) to use for the job you are applying to. Create impact on your document through strong content and a clean, easy to skim format. Lastly, always have another set of eyes look at this document to help you edit for errors.

Your Online Presence
When you are job searching, you should assume people are looking you up online. It might be a good idea to make all of your personal Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, SnapChat accounts private. One account that should have a public present though is LinkedIn. Take some time to update it and optimize it with keywords for your intended career path/sector.

Finding a Job Online
Cast a wide net when searching for jobs online. General websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor can be helpful; however, you will also want to utilize niche job boards related to your field. Science Careers and Nature Careers often have relevant job postings. You might also want to check some professional associations connected to you field.

Applying for A Job Online
Your resume/CV and cover letter are your first introduction with an online application, so they need to be near perfect. Make sure you focus on quality not quantity and tailor each document for the relevant posting.

Getting an Introduction/Referral
A huge part of job searching is networking. Don’t hesitate to be in touch with your contacts and ask for resume referrals when appropriate. Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a career path and a company, so start reaching out now and having these conversations. People who actively network tend to shave time off their total job search, so in the end it does pay off!

Interviewing
The key to interviewing well is in the preparation. Learn about the employer and your interviewers. Know what type of interview you might anticipate. Then, practice as much as you can! Rehearse or write out your answers to typical interview questions. Think about interview questions you have struggled with in the past. And last, but not least make sure you have prepared thoughtful questions for each interviewer.

Source: NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education

The Naked Truth About Virtual Conferences
LinkedIn
finger pressing on Virtual Event key on keyboard

By Mona Lisa Faris

Over the last year, we’ve found many new and creative ways to network in every sphere. Office meetings are often held through conference lines and Zoom calls, and you’ve probably never sent more emails in your life than you have during the stay-at-home order.

But, one of the biggest changes that came to the professional world was how we would conduct our yearly conferences. Organizations have had to learn how to bring together hundreds upon thousands of people in one space in a way that is accessible for all without too many technical difficulties. While there have been many amazing features to moving conferences to an online platform, the way in which they are conducted are far from perfect.

Here at DiversityComm, we’ve had the opportunity to attend many of last year’s virtual conferences. Here are some pros of what we’ve learned that works – and the cons of what doesn’t.

Pros:

  • Availability: Without the confines of a physical space or the need to travel to a set location, a digital platform allows anyone to be in attendance without ever leaving their homes. Speakers and attendees alike who would not have been able to participate due the physical barriers of the conference space are now readily available to connect, share and grow with individuals they may have otherwise never met.
  • Special Features: Digital contact cards, company video presentations and recorded panels are just a few of the many features online platforms have made available. The annoyance of repeating your pitch, running out of business cards or having to decide between two panels at the same time has become a thing of the past. Even if you can’t attend a virtual event due to other commitments, many of the conferences allow you to watch and re-watch content for up to thirty days after the live event has ended, further increasing audience attendance. This kind of online platform also makes it easier for individuals with varying disabilities to access closed captions, audio adjustments and proper seating in a space where those services may have been more difficult to facilitate.
  • Affordability: Without the need of a physical conference space and its in-tandem travel fees, some of the biggest conferences in the business are now much more affordable than they were in-person. Businesses are able to save on the logistics of shipping cost, booth setup and travel, and send as many attendees as they would like to the conference at no additional cost.
  • Preparedness: From the interviewing process to presentations, digital platforms make it easier to be prepared for any issue that may come your way. Instead of worrying about printing enough resumes or forgetting paperwork, these files can be uploaded ahead of time for easy access, organization and viewing. Pre-recorded videos and quick computer accessibility during the conference also allows attendees and presenters alike to be more prepared to properly answer questions and have all the necessary information at their fingertips.

Cons:

  • Communication: The elimination of face-to-face interaction and an almost full dependence on written communication make it difficult to gauge how your conversations are going. Without the cues that come from body language or voice inflection, it’s harder to tell if you’re speaking to an interested recruiter or business client just based on emotionless words written in a chat box. The ability to miscommunicate is also much easier. Comments that were meant to be simple and understood can now be easily taken as rude or uninterested if misinterpreted by the listening party.
  • Overcrowding: The digital platform allows for more attendees to engage in critical information and resources, but it also means that you can be easily drowned out or forgotten. This has become such a problem that some individuals require you to have an appointment to speak with them. Having the constraints of a time slot or not having an appointment at all can prevent valuable connections from being fully explored. On the flip side, Massive virtual crowds can also mean talking to more individuals than you expected. Impromptu sales pitches to larger groups, or even the incorrect group, can leave both sides with little to gain besides missed opportunities to connect with the proper people.
  • Technical Difficulties: It may be a given, but especially with a platform that is so new and virtually unexplored, technical difficulties are common. Audio issues, visual issues, glitching, internet problems and crashing websites are just a few of the issues that were little to irrelevant in the physical conference space. Though tech support is available at many of these events to fix these bugs as soon as possible, the unavailability of resources can lead to missed opportunities, especially for individuals who depend on accessible technology to fully participate.
  • Difficult to Gauge the Takeaway: Similar to how it can be difficult to gauge the mood of a conversation online, it can be just as difficult to see if there was a takeaway from your conference. Event sponsors are not as visually prevalent in a digital space as they are in a physical setting, causing many of them to see little direct return on their services. Plus, without feedback from decision makers, you yourself can feel lost and unaccomplished in a space where you once felt the opposite.

For a second opinion on everything virtual conferences, check out what some of our partners had to say about attending these special events:

“Nothing will ever replace the bonds made interacting one-on-one at events or feeling the collective passion of a crowded conference ballroom. And yet, the unique shared experience of virtual programming throughout the pandemic has taught us how valuable technology can be to make experiences more equitable.  Since everyone, from the C-Suite to the intern, were home working in sweatpants, the virtual meeting world was far more democratized than real world events have ever been before.  But cutting out travel expenses, speaking fees, logistics planning, etc., attendees from anywhere, from the widest array of backgrounds, with any abilities (both financial and physical) could directly interact with others everywhere. I hope to see virtual attendance options remain at all future conferences and events since we’ve never made it easier for those with disabilities, those with financial restrictions, and those who may benefit more from personal space and privacy to thrive in meetings that may have previously been difficult, if not impossible, to attend before.”

  • Jonathan Lovitz, small business inclusion and policy leader / special advisor to NGLCC

“A virtual career fair, with non-person contact, is the next best thing to in-person recruitment outreach”.

  • Scot Evans, NCUA

“Like many event producers, we had to pivot our popular live Small Business Expos quickly to online Virtual Events.  Though our Virtual Events have been wildly successful, there is nothing like that feeling of meeting face-to-face with people, networking and building new business relationships in person.  At this point, over a year later, I think there is a huge pent up energy for our attendees to get back to our in-person events.  We are human, we need in-person social interaction.  With virtual events, there is a wall between you and the other person.  I think everyone is excited to break through that wall and finally meet face-to-face again!”

  • Zachary Lezberg, Founder & CEO, Small Business Expo

“The one big lesson AISES learned in executing our 2020 National Conference is to keep it simple when moving from an in-person event to a virtual setting. Our conference was successful, but we could have shortened the length of the event, reduced the number of sessions, and incorporated more breaks. Overall, the participants were happy with the cultural components that characterize AISES such as the talking circle, morning blessing, and ceremonial blessings. The 2021 AISES National Conference will be in-person and we plan to stream limited content for those who are only able to attend virtually.”

    Mona Lisa Faris headshot
    Mona Lisa Faris, Author and Publisher DiversityComm, Inc.
  • Katherine Cristiano, AISES Senior Director of Special Events
  • “By hosting the VIB Conference virtually last year we had more participation from smaller veteran-owned businesses that may have never attended due to cost or time. While attendees were still able to connect with corporations or government agencies through a virtual business matchmaking platform nothing will truly beat face-to-face meetings. As things begin to open, I think the future for events is blending the in-person with a virtual element so we can continue to cultivate the smaller veteran-owned businesses”

  • Rebecca Aguilera-Gardiner, CEO of VIB Network          

“Virtual career fairs have become the norm as a hiring strategy for many companies. As a large organization with thousands of job opportunities, virtual career fairs give us the opportunity to meet and learn more about perspective employees. These job fairs are different from the in-person experience, so come prepared and do your research in order to make a lasting impression on a recruiter or employer. Those who can adapt will have a great advantage.”

  • Kamille Morgan of Leidos

As the pandemic continues to show signs of coming to an end, it appears that conferences may be implementing more of a hybrid system where in-person and online attendance are both available. As we continue to grow in this digital space and learn from the mistakes and triumphs of this past year, hopefully we will see a positive change in this new conference world.

Why Do You Want This Job?
LinkedIn
Smiling girl wearing headphones using laptop, working online

One of the most common interview questions is some version of “why do you want this job?” or “why do you want to work here?”

How you answer that question can be a significant factor in whether you get the job because the employer wants to know if you will add value and be a good fit for their organization. They want to know why you like the position and why you like their company. So how should you prepare to answer that question?

Sometimes it helps to think of the flip side of this question. Ask yourself, “Why would this company want to hire me?” In other words, think more about what you have to offer, and how you could make an impact rather than why getting the job would benefit you. There are 3 factors that most employers are looking for in your answers. They want to know: (1) that your experience and skills qualify you to do the job; (2) that you have researched their organization and are enthusiastic about its product, service or goals; and (3) that you align with the company’s values.

Match Your Skills with the Position

If you have previous work or volunteer experience that is a good fit for the company or position, be ready to discuss that as well as why you enjoy the type of work the company does. If your skills match up well, you can shine when you are asked why you want this job.

If your work skills don’t necessarily match perfectly, maybe your soft skills do. Does the person in this position communicate with the public? If that is something you enjoy, you can focus on that aspect of the position and share your experience. Do you enjoy problem solving at work? Again, if it fits, describe how you’ve solved problems on the job or with a group before.

Express Your Interest and Enthusiasm for the Company

Before you landed the interview, you did your homework and checked out the company culture, right? Learning about the organization you’re interviewing with is key, but this includes more than just knowing what the organization does. You’ll also want to know about its leadership, culture, employees, stakeholders and competitors. By being well informed, you’ll make a good impression on an interviewer. You will also learn whether the organization is a good match for you.

When you make it to the interview, share what caught your eye about either the company or the position. Maybe the position is a good fit or the company’s mission is something you can support.

Think About Your Career Goals

Are you applying for an entry-level position in a field you’re really interested in? Are you making a career change, or do you want to apply the skills you’ve gained to a new type of position? While you don’t want to sound like you’ll only stay in this position for a short time, you can discuss where you see yourself in the future and how the knowledge you can gain from this position can help you get there. This is also a great time to discuss why you picked this company. Asking about growth opportunities and career development show you’re interested in investing in the employer for a longer time.

Source: Ticket to Work

HACRSymposium21
LinkedIn
Join us at #HACRSymposium21 Sept. 13-14 for data-backed DE&I education and networking with the nation’s most influential corporate leaders committed to Hispanic inclusion.

Join us at #HACRSymposium21 Sept. 13-14 for data-backed DE&I education led by corporate executives and industry experts—for all corporate employees. You’ll connect with the nation’s most influential leaders committed to Hispanic equity and explore the state of Hispanic corporate inclusion with the latest research from the 2021 HACR Corporate Inclusion Index.

Sign up for the virtual experience: https://www.hacrevents.org/2021-hacr-sym

Is Job Hopping Good for Your Career
LinkedIn
professional woman holding up fingers crossed

By Ron Kness

In today’s workplace, 64 percent of employees favor changing jobs several times throughout their career, and when narrowed down to just millennials, that percentage jumps to 75 percent.

For the most part, long gone is employee loyalty when a person spent their entire working life with the same company…many times in the same job! Today’s frequent change of employment is known as job hopping.

But even with a high percentage of people favoring job hopping (defined as spending two years or less in a position) it is good for your career?

 

PROS OF JOB HOPPING

The answer is it can be, and people cite many reasons they chose to change jobs often. Reasons cited include:

  • Getting out of a negative work situation
  • Increasing salary
  • Positioning for a better promotion
  • Learning new skills
  • Keeping competitive in a changing work environment
  • Challenging self to move outside a comfort zone
  • Increasing professional network
  • Preventing boredom

CONS OF JOB HOPPING

However, there are also a few reasons why it is not a good thing to job hop:

  • Hiring managers may not want to take a chance on you if you have a track record of moving every two years or less; five job changes in the last ten years on your resume will raise a red flag.
  • It can weaken your resume if you have many different work experiences in a short period of time.
  • Your resume shows a wide breadth of skills, but not much depth.
  • Starting over with each new job, learning new processes and procedures specific to that company may be exciting with the first few job moves, but it gets old after a few times.
  • Uncertainty of future employment
  • Hitting a salary plateau

SALARY INCREASES HIT A WALL EVENTUALLY

If your job hopping just to increase your salary, eventually you can wind up with nowhere else to go. Moving very quickly up the salary ladder means that you will hit a plateau at some point. The challenge is to avoid being overpriced for the market. So, if you could be missing the skills, education or experience necessary for your next move in order to get the expected salary.

If you move too fast, you won’t have a long-term track record of results. With experts saying it takes at least six months for a newly-hired individual to become productive at their job, moving every two years or less does not leave much time to show what a person can do over time. You may excel in the short-term, but make sure you’re thinking about your long-term track record.

TRACK RECORD IS IMPORTANT

Because hiring, onboarding and training employees is expensive, companies are reluctant to hire someone that has a track record of changing jobs every two years or less. While it can be desirable to change jobs, it should be done for the right reasons and at the right point in one’s career. In the long run, too much job hopping can negatively affect your career instead of enhancing it.

Source: ClearanceJobs

Is a Lack of Soft Skills Keeping You from Opportunity?
LinkedIn
Young executives man asking questions to applicant

You may have heard that employers are interested in hiring people with good “soft skills.” But what exactly are good soft skills?

Soft skills are sometimes called people skills, or work-readiness skills. They are your personality, attitudes and manners. They can also include how you present yourself. So, the way you talk, the way you listen, the way you make eye contact and even the way you dress are part of your soft skills.

Employers look for soft skills to decide how someone may do at a job. This is important to employers when they hire. Soft skills are often the reason employers decide whether to keep or promote workers.

In fact, one of the best ways to demonstrate your soft skills occurs before you even have the job. During the interview process, employers are not only looking for your technical and educational background, but at the way you communicate. Conversation engagement, active listening and the ability to answer questions carefully and quickly are all traits that carryover no matter what line of work you are applying for.

Typical Soft Skills

Some soft skills can be taught in school. But most you learn in everyday life and can improve at any time. Here are some examples:

  • The ability to adapt to new situations or changes in plans swiftly and with ease
  • Friendliness and respectfulness, regardless of the situation
  • Follows instructions and asks questions, in order to get the job done correctly
  • The ability to work with varying personalities to accomplish a task
  • Responsibility, even when you make mistakes
  • Quick learning
  • Team Work
  • Accepting to criticism
  • Patience
  • Self-Motivation
  • Punctuality
  • Determination
  • Calmness
  • Practicing Your Soft Skills

As mentioned previously, soft skills are often learned from the daily interactions we have with others, whether it’s in a work setting or not. You might have these skills and not even realize they can help an employer or you might struggle with them. If so, it’s always a good idea to practice soft skills.

Here are some ways you can practice your soft skills today:

  • Role play with a friend or family member. Pretending you are in a certain situation with an employer or a customer can help prepare you for the proper response when the time comes.
  • Practice eye contact and active listening. Whether you are buying lunch, going to the grocery store or catching up with your neighbor, there are many opportunities to engage with other people every day. Concentrate on staying engaged in these short conversations as practice; it will make these skills stronger for the workforce.
  • Ask for feedback on your soft skills. Talking to trusted individuals such as family, friends or a counselor to give your insight to your communication can help you to gauge what you need to work on and what you excel at.

No matter where your career journey takes you or what obstacles you will encounter on the way, strengthening your soft skills will always increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Source: CareerOneStop

11 Great Jobs That Offer Student Loan Forgiveness
LinkedIn
latina teacher smiling at camera at back of classroom

By Kat Castagnoli

Did you know that 7 in 10 college students take out loans to pay for school? While it can take a long time to pay back student loan debt, there is a way to get your balance wiped out: by qualifying for a student loan forgiveness job.

If you work for a certain amount of time in a job with this option, you could get your student loan debt completely cancelled. While these types of jobs aren’t always the most high-paying, there’s often plenty of opportunity due to a shortage of workers to fill them. And what you might sacrifice in income, you could potentially make back with loan forgiveness after a few years.

Below is a list of 11 jobs that offer student loan forgiveness so you can decide if any would be a great fit for you:

1. Federal agency employee
Here’s a little-known fact that applies to federal agencies: If they are having a hard time finding new employees to fill open slots, they are allowed to offer student loan repayment assistance. To qualify, the new employee must sign a contract to work for the federal agency for a minimum of three years. The agency is allowed to pay up to $10,000 per year per employee for federally insured loans, but the total assistance given cannot exceed $60,000 per person.

2. Public service worker
If you work in a qualifying organization, such as a government agency or nonprofit, you could qualify for loan forgiveness. Full-time public service employees with Perkins loans can get full cancellation of their loans, as long as they haven’t consolidated them. Potentially eligible workers include family and child services employees, law enforcement and correctional officers and public defenders. Public servants with Direct loans (also known as Stafford loans) could pursue loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF is available to any worker in a government organization at any level, as well as tax-exempt organizations or for-profit organizations with a qualifying service.

3. Doctor/physician
There are several options for doctors in need of student loan repayment help. The Association of American Medical Colleges maintains a list of loan assistance programs for doctors by state. Additionally, medical professionals who serve in the military have access to forgiveness programs as well. For example, through the Navy Financial Assistance Program (FAP), medical residents receive an annual grant of $45,000 on top of residency income, which can be put toward medical school debt.

4. Lawyer
In addition to public service forgiveness options targeted specifically at graduates working in law, there are some other sources of loan repayment help for lawyers. For instance, every spring, the Department of Justice opens up its Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) to help recruit and retain new talent. Justice Department employees must have at least $10,000 in federal student loans to qualify. For those who want to work as public defenders, the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program provides loan assistance of varying amounts, depending on where you live. In addition, there are dozens of programs for borrowers with law school debt.

5. Automotive professionals
Any automotive aftermarket industry manufacturer who is an employee of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) can apply for the SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program. The SEMA program awarded $272,000 to 97 winners in 2019 in scholarships and loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must have been a SEMA employee for at least a year, hold a degree or certificate of completion from a college or technical school and have graduated with at least a 2.5 GPA.

6. Nurse
If you are a registered nurse, an “advanced practice registered nurse” (such as a nurse practitioner) or a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) facility nurse, you may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. The nurses chosen to receive assistance through this program will get 60 percent of their qualifying student loan balance forgiven, in exchange for a minimum two-year service commitment. Also, qualifying participants may receive an additional 25 percent off their original loan balance if they complete a third year of service. Please note that in this program, the full loan award amount is taxable.

7. Teacher
If you’re a special education teacher, teach in a low-income school district or work in an underemployed subject area or a teacher shortage area, you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. If you qualify, you could receive up to $5,000 or $17,500 in loan forgiveness, depending upon what subject matter you teach and your number of years of service. Note that to qualify, your student loan debt must be from federal direct loans or Stafford loans.
However, if you have Perkins student loans, you could be eligible for the Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation program, where you could potentially receive cancellation of up to 100 percent of your loans.

8. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and other qualifying volunteer organizations
Did you know that certain volunteer organizations offer student loan forgiveness opportunities? Don’t let high student loan debt deter you from taking the opportunity to help others. Certain volunteer organizations like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) all have student loan awards or repayment options. You can apply for these after you have completed your term of service with the organization.

9. Dentist
Although dentists tend to make a high income — a median of $156,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — they also accrue a huge amount of debt before they start working. The American Dental Education Association found that the average dentist with student loans in the Class of 2019 left school owing a whopping $292,169. Luckily, there are some loan repayment assistance programs, or LRAPs, for dentists, such as the Ohio Dentist Loan Repayment Program and Maryland Dent-Care Loan Assistance Repayment Program. Programs such as these offer significant loan assistance to dentists who work in qualifying areas or workplaces.

10. Pharmacist
Like dentists, pharmacists take on a lot of education debt to earn their degrees. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, pharmacists in the Class of 2019 who borrowed student loans took on an average of $172,329 to finance their education. Here, too, assistance is available: Several national LRAPs provide financial help to health care providers, including pharmacists. Plus, some state programs, such as the California State Loan Repayment Program, will pay back all or a portion of your loans if you establish residency and practice in a qualifying area.

11. Veterinarian
Not only could working with animals be a fulfilling career, but it could also help you get forgiveness for your student loans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers $25,000 per year for three years in student loan repayment assistance to vets who work in underserved areas. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 44 percent of veterinarians in the Class of 2018 left school owing more than $200,000 in student loans, while the average debt for all graduates was $143,111.

Should you pursue jobs that offer student loan forgiveness?
Most student loan forgiveness jobs have strict requirements, contracts and a minimum term of employment to qualify for loan cancellation. Also, you have to be current on your student loan payments — your loans can’t be in default. But once you meet the requirements, you will receive debt repayment, cancellation or forgiveness. Giving just two or three years of your professional life to a qualifying job may be the answer to your student loan problems and the key to your financial freedom.

6 Things Interviewers Want Us to Know About Remote Interviews
LinkedIn
Concept of remote video with multiple images of business in a shared screen

by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

In some ways, a remote job interview can seem like a welcome relief from the traditional format. You don’t have to worry about directions or getting stuck in traffic; plus, you only have to agonize over half an outfit.

But a remote meeting doesn’t earn you full access to the body language and social cues that your interviewers exhibit.

The social awareness and mores around remote interviews are still emerging for those on both sides of the interaction.

As you prepare for your next remote job interview, consider this inside scoop from several interviewers-their insights about what matters and what may be less important.

Small talk helps.

Chit chat breaks the ice and can help make a remote conversation feel comfortable. Come prepared with a couple of easy talking points to kick things off (a funny story, a sports reference, etc.).

Jonas Bordo, CEO, and co-founder of Dwellsy, explains: “I need to get to know you via zoom, which is hard. In the old days, we would have made small talk while we walked to the interview room, but we don’t get to do that anymore. All of that preliminary small talk is important – it’s in those conversations that you get to learn about me and me about you. Invest in that time, and don’t rush into interview questions.” Researching the company and your interviewer can help you generate material.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remote interactions have their own unique brand of uncomfortable moments-glitches, freezes, etc. Please do your due diligence when it comes to tech and interview prep so that you’re prepared and practiced for your meeting. Know, however, that even when you’re well-prepared, meeting technology can be unreliable, which can leave you navigating some complexities off the cuff. “I know that remote interviews are awkward and a poor substitute for in-person interviews, but it’s best just to accept the awkwardness,” explains Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs. “If you worry about an awkward pause or an accidental moment where you spoke over the interviewer due to a connection delay, it’s easy to get frazzled and have your actual interview responses become negatively impacted.”

Cook recommends, “Stay mission-focused, and make light of remote awkwardness whenever possible. Acing remote interviews requires more focus than acing in-person interviews, in my opinion, because there are so many external factors like connectivity that affect the dialogue.”

Adopt remote-friendly mores.

Another dimension that makes a remote interview challenging is that the social mores around these interactions don’t feel totally natural. Kevin Lee, CEO of JourneyPure, recommends:

“If there’s an awkward silence during the interview, don’t panic. It’s natural to have silences because you can’t rely on visual body language cues like you can in an in-person interview. If you’re done speaking, pause and let the interviewer pick up the conversation. Rushing to fill the silence may lead you to say something that you might not normally say or fill it up with chatter, which would let the interviewer know you are nervous about the interview. You may want to practice with a friend to learn how to manage awkward silences and find appropriate times for small talk during an online interview.”

Recognize it during other remote meetings when you’re involved, when you notice participants handling pauses well. Then mirror their approach. It’s a good way to stay controlled and calm during your interview.

Be authentic.

There’s often a feeling of obligation to overprepare when it comes to job interviews, leaving interviewees flustered if anything unexpected happens. When it comes to remote interviews, though, the unexpected happens often, even when prepared. Being anxious and rigid makes it more painful to weather these inevitable occurrences.

Erik Rivera, CEO of ThriveTalk, explains: “The best advice I can give anyone going into an online interview is to make the interview as candid and relaxed as possible. If you have a child who is likely to interrupt, tell your interviewer this at the beginning of the meeting! Similarly, if you’re expecting someone to come by, full disclosure is best.”

Rivera emphasizes the importance of the human touch. He explains: “Finally, treat your interviewer like a PERSON, as they are also in this COVID nightmare. Discuss what has been hard, what has been good, how crazy everything is. Humanity needs humanity now more than ever.”

Soft skills are a selling point.

Flexibility, adaptability, emotional intelligence, innovation, problem-solving, work ethic, and other soft skills are valuable. It’s not just that the process for interviewing has changed; the reality of work has changed post-COVID. Soft skills can help finesse a changing workplace. Showcase them.
Bordo, for example, emphasizes the importance of flexibility: “I interviewed a candidate recently who was working hard to keep a pacifier in a baby’s mouth, and it was awesome. I’ve seen kids, husbands, wives, and roommates walk through backgrounds. . . I even interviewed someone with a parrot on her shoulder for the entire interview. All of that is wonderful. But, if you can’t create an environment with enough peace that you can have an interview conversation, then I worry you can’t create that kind of environment for your work.”

A culture that fits your life.

Just as you would with a face-to-face interview, do your interview prep before your meeting. Learn about the organization and the professional culture as you think about presenting yourself for your interview.

Good luck!

Click here to read the original article posted on Glassdoor.

7 Networks for Latina Professionals or Entrepreneurs
LinkedIn
Large group of latina women reaching up to the camera

By Lorraine C. Ladish, NBC News

If you are a Latina entrepreneur or professional, you are not alone. The National Women’s Business Council states that Latinas own close to 788,000 businesses in the U.S. One of the best ways to grow as a businesswoman is to network with others who face similar issues and perhaps even share your vision. There are countless business networks out there, and these are just seven that cater specifically to Latinas.

What all these networks have in common is that they are geared towards women, although a couple shared that they may include “a few good men.” They all have a website where you can read more about each of them and sign up if you wish to. They all provide interesting content aimed at entrepreneurs and professional women. The order in which they are listed is absolutely arbitrary, and they are by no means the only Latina business networks that exist today.

1. BeVisible.soy

BeVisible is an online recruiting platform and an online community for Latinas that allows women to connect and collaborate, grow their network, find mentors, interact with peers and find job and educational opportunities.

Latina career women can sign up on their website. There is no fee for the users.

Andrea Guendelman shared with us an anonymous quote from one of their millennial members: “I am drawing on the strength of my community, and am even stronger because of it. Because we are more than a list of accomplishments and professional headshots. We are empowered Latinas ready to take on the world and make ourselves visible.”

2. Hispanic Women in Leadership (HWIL)

HWIL is a nonprofit organization established in Texas in 1989.

HWIL is a service organization committed to promoting the advancement of Hispanics and women in the areas of education, professional interaction, leadership training, mentorship and the perpetuation of Latino culture.

HWIL accepts application requests on their website. There are several membership options, to include volunteers (non paying) and as members.

“In addition to providing College Scholarships, and in line with our strategic plan beginning in 2016, HWIL will begin a Summer Mentorship Program for young ladies in their teens,” said Rita A. Lopez, its president.

3. Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick

The mission of Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick is to create a movement that will empower women to live a healthy, happy, balanced and purposeful life. Their online and live events include conferences, webinars, teleconferences, retreats, workshops, seminars, networking opportunities, coaching, mentoring, and much more. There is a basic (free) and premium (paid) membership. Women may read the advantages of each membership and sign up on the webpage.

“We come in different ages, shapes, shades and sizes. We are SASSY (Smart, Assertive, Strategic, Selfless and Young-at-heart). Whether you are looking for self-improvement tools, social or business connections or career and business development, SSL is here for you,” said Elizabeth King.

4. LatinasinBusiness.us

The goal of LatinasinBusiness.us is to bring together a community of bloggers, writers, vloggers, communicators, and business owners advocating to support, enrich and empower Latinas in business and the workplace.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

How to Negotiate A Permanent Work-From-Home Arrangement
LinkedIn
young hispanic woman working using computer laptop concentrated and smiling

By Jillian Kramer

The pandemic changed a lot for workers, including where they work. A study conducted early in the outbreak showed nearly one-third of U.S. workers were working from their homes — and presumably some of those workers won’t want to return to the office when their employers call them back.

“Working from home can provide employees many benefits,” says Ray Luther, executive director of the Partnership for Coaching Excellence and Personal Leadership at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, “including a much shorter commute time, fewer distractions and a sense of freedom that might not come from reporting to an office every day.”

But negotiating a permanent work-from-home arrangement may not be a slam-dunk. Employers have “traditionally worried about employee productivity when working from home,” Luther says, adding some managers may feel they’ll lose control of employees they can’t see in person.

It’s not impossible, though. “Employees who want to make working from home permanent would be wise to put themselves in their employers’ shoes,” Luther says. “What would my employer be concerned about, and how can I show them that those concerns are minimal risks? For most employees, if you can demonstrate high-productivity, accessibility and still build productive relationships on your work teams, you will have addressed most managers’ significant concerns.” Here’s exactly how you can negotiate a permanent work-from-home arrangement.

Demonstrate your productivity.

To be allowed to continue to work from home, employers will want proof you’re as productive at home as you are in an office. “Quantify and qualify the work you’ve accomplished on a work-from-home trial or mandate,” says Luther. “How productive have you been on your own? How have you worked with co-workers to learn through the new office systems? Where have you helped develop solutions to the challenges that work from home has potentially caused?” You’ll need concrete answers to those questions to convince your manager you can be trusted at home.

Come prepared with proof of your productivity — and kick off your negotiation with hard facts.

Prepare an action plan.

While you’ve already been working from home, you and your manager may not have collected hard evidence of your ability to do so successfully. If that’s the case, Maureen Farmer, founder and CEO of Westgate Executive Branding & Career Consulting, suggests you develop an action plan that will help your manager assess your ability to work from home over a trial period. Talk to your manager about what milestones he or she would like you to reach during the trial — for example, 90 days — and agree to check-ins during that time to see if you’re on track. “The offer of work-from-home must demonstrate value and benefit to the employer foremost,” Farmer says.

Build trust.

“Once you’ve demonstrated you can be productive, show that your employer can trust you,” says Luther, who adds that most managers’ concerns about employees working from home are rooted in a lack of trust. “How does the employer know they can trust you, and what have you done to demonstrate that trust? Are you accessible when they need you?” Luther asks. “Be prepared to make the case for why they can trust you to deliver even if they can’t see you in the office.”

One way you might demonstrate your trustworthiness is by proposing a communication plan in your negotiation, says Farmer. Such a plan would “lay out the periodic and regular touchpoints with each of [your] colleagues to ensure projects remain on task,” she says. “The communication plan will offer a guarantee that [you] will be available on-demand throughout the day by phone, email, text or message service. The employee must reassure the manager of their availability.”

Show you’re flexible.

It’s important during the negotiation to “listen to your employer’s concerns about working from home and seek to understand any objections,” says Luther. “While these concerns might not be as important to you, they provide clues where you could show flexibility to it doesn’t turn into an all or nothing situation.” For example, perhaps your manager would be more comfortable if you came into the office one day a week or for critical team meetings. “Working from home can provide many benefits for employees, even if it’s only four out of five days per week,” he says.

Source: Glassdoor

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