Category Archives: Career Advice

Pride in the Workplace

Employers must protect individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ from workplace discrimination. Awareness of issues affecting LGBTQ+ individuals is also important, including sensitivity to the needs of transgender individuals who may be transitioning or undergoing sexual reassignment surgery.

Take Complaints Seriously

Create an atmosphere of open communication and trust so that employees can voice their concerns without fear of retaliation.

Firmly commit to taking all complaints based on LGBTQ+ status seriously, and promptly investigate them. Assure employees, managers and supervisors that they will not be retaliated against for bringing a complaint and that the complaint will be kept confidential to the extent possible.

Conduct a thorough investigation by reviewing any evidence and interviewing the complainant, the alleged perpetrator and any potential witnesses. Document the entire investigation process and the steps taken in response to the complaint. Consider implementing interim measures such as separating the complainant from the alleged perpetrator during the course of the investigation. Take remedial and/or disciplinary measures, if warranted. Then follow up with the employee to ensure that no further incidents have occurred.

Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Carefully consider all accommodation requests from LGBTQ+ individuals. Discuss the request with the employee, and provide reasonable accommodations when possible. For example, consider allowing all employees and third parties to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their current gender identity and presentation regardless of the individual’s sex at birth. Single-occupant, gender-neutral restrooms provide increased privacy for all individuals. If an employer maintains multi-occupant restrooms with stalls, it may want to consider additional privacy measures such as stall doors and dividers. An employee who is uncomfortable with an LGBTQ+ individual using a particular restroom should be permitted to use another facility.

When it comes to accommodation requests relating to dress codes, allow an individual to dress consistently with their gender identity, as long as the individual looks professional and appropriate for the particular workplace and position. This also applies to policies related to uniforms, grooming, jewelry and makeup.

Handle a transgender employee’s name change using the same policies and procedures for other employee name changes (e.g., after marriage or divorce). Also find out their preferred pronouns and then use them. Make sure all managers, supervisors and colleagues do the same.

Support Transitioning Employees

While the Supreme Court recognized that its decision does not provide employers with guidance on issues surrounding sex-specific changing facilities and restrooms, employers can still strive to be sensitive to transgender employees who are transitioning and/or undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Processes around how an employee can make a name change, update employee records, resolve conflicts over restroom use, comply with the dress code, or request a change in duties or responsibilities, a potential transfer and other accommodations that an employee may need while they are transitioning should be discussed and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Keep all discussions private and confidential, to the extent possible, but also work through with the employee how and when they want co-workers and third parties to be advised of the change.

Also, be aware of any state or local laws that may impact the employer’s decision. For example, in New York City, employers may not require an individual to use a single-occupancy restroom or other facility. However, employers can accommodate requests to use single-occupancy restrooms and can provide single-occupancy restrooms and private space within multi-user facilities for anyone who has privacy concerns.

Review Recruiting and Hiring Practices

LGBTQ+ individuals should be treated fairly in all aspects of employment including recruiting and hiring.

Recruitment practices should aim to attract applicants from as wide a talent pool as possible. Inclusive recruitment practices include:

  • Stating the employer’s adherence to anti-discrimination laws in job postings. An employer could even consider listing the specific grounds on which it will not discriminate;
  • Recruiting from broad-reaching sources (e.g., post job ads on general job boards) and targeting under-represented groups (e.g., provide job ads to LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to post on their website); and
  • If using an employment agency or external recruiter, clearly explaining the employer’s stance on discrimination.

Hiring decisions should be based on merit, skills and qualifications. Ensure interviewers do not talk about personal matters, especially ones that could lead an applicant to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity or other protected characteristic (e.g., asking about family status, assuming a male candidate’s spouse is a woman).

Any background checks or reference checks that require applicants to provide a prior name could expose a transgender applicant. Such information should be kept confidential and not shared with the hiring decision-makers.

Job Fairs Are Back! Here’s How To Get the Most Out Of Them

In-person job fairs are one of the many things that haven’t happened much in the past 2 years, thanks to COVID.  2022 marks the return of one of the largest job fairs in the Lehigh Valley:  The Morning Call Career Fair.

Attending a job fair can be an excellent way to get your job search started, or to re-energize a search that may feel stalled. It’s a great chance to get in front of many employers in a single day and see what companies are hiring. But in order to make the most of a job fair, it’s important to be prepared.

1) Research. Find out what companies will be there. Most job fairs include a list of employers in advertisements for the event. Visit the websites of those companies to check out current job openings. If there are opportunities you are interested in, take a minute to learn more about the company. Then when you speak with a recruiter at the job fair, you are able to talk about a specific opening or about their company’s business and really stand out from the crowd.

2) Prepare.  This is the one time you won’t be able to customize your resume. Since you will be presenting it to multiple employers for various opportunities, make your objective specific to the way you’d like your skills to be used and to the type of work environment you prefer. For this occasion, this is better than trying to specify a position or an industry.

3) Practice.  Do you have your 30-second commercial ready? This is one tool you absolutely must have ready for a job fair. Prepare it and practice it. A job fair is a great opportunity to end your commercial with a question; this will help you start a dialogue with the recruiter.

4) Attire.   Going to a job fair is a lot like going to a bunch of mini-interviews, so dress as you would for an interview. Often the setting for a job fair is casual, but don’t dress for the venue.  Workplace dress codes also have become much more casual in the past 2 years, so a full business suit may not be necessary, but it is still important to dress to make a great first impression.

5) Prioritize.  Rather than start at one end of the job fair and visit every single booth, determine your game plan before you arrive. Because you’ve done your research, you will know the employers you are most interested in visiting. Start with those. If the recruiters are tied up with a line of people waiting, it may be best to stop back. For some very popular employers, there may be no downtime for the recruiters, and waiting in line may be your only option.

6) Respect.   At a busy job fair, you need to be respectful of the recruiter’s time. If there are a large number of job seekers, you may not get a chance to do much more than introduce yourself and drop off your resume. Don’t monopolize a recruiter’s time with excessive explanations about your work history or with multiple questions about their openings. You want to be remembered but not as the person who talked excessively.

7) Follow-up.   Get business cards and contact information for the companies you are interested in and follow up with them. A short, hand-written thank you note reconfirming your interest in the company or in a particular opening is a simple way to give a recruiter a reason to pull your resume out of the stack they have from the job fair.

Don’t be intimidated by long lines at job fairs or by the volume of resumes you see stacked on a recruiter’s table. If you play your cards right, you’ll be on the “first call back pile” and a new employment opportunity may find its way to you.

Planing on attending The Morning Call Career Fair on May 3rd?  Be sure to stop by and say hello to the Allied team!  

 

Why Sleep is Sacred for Productivity and Relationships

An exhausted or tired businessman is sleeping on a keyboard in the office.

Sleep is essential to our productivity, well-being, and relationships. Science proves it, and most of us know it. However, with jam-packed schedules and the ability to work and connect anytime, anywhere, sleep gets put on the back burner, reserved for “when we’re dead”. But poor sleep may be affecting your relationships, productivity, and life more than you know. Below are a few eye-opening facts that may prompt a little more eye closing for all of us. Sleep deficiency:

  • Decreases your desire to build relationships: A powerful study shows that when you are sleep-deprived, you are less likely to want to interact with others and others are less likely to want to interact with you. According to the research, sleep-deprived people did not have as much activity in the areas of the brain that would otherwise encourage social interactions, and instead, viewed others as a threat. Conversely, a night of good sleep increased participants’ desire to connect with people and made them more socially desirable to others.
  • Increases your risk of getting sick. A weaker immune system means you’re more susceptible to viruses and other diseases, and it will take you longer to recover.
  • Impacts your cognitive performance.  Sleep deprivation interferes with your ability to learn new information and increases your risk of making mistakes. Some estimates show that as a whole, the US economy loses as much as $411 billion and 1.2 million working days a year because of lower productivity and sick days due to sleep deprivation.

With overwhelming evidence about how important sleep is, why is it that over a third of Americans are still not getting as much sleep as they need? Unfortunately, it’s just not a priority. While most people know sleep is important, the majority of Americans prioritize other activities such as work and fitness over sleep and confess to not planning time to get enough sleep. In addition to not prioritizing sleep, some people still associate sleeping with being lazy or indulgent, which is a misconception that many scientists, business leaders, and professional athletes are starting to be more vocal about correcting.

Regardless of the demands on your time, you can make some simple adjustments to improve your sleep.

  • Put away all devices one hour before you sleepBlue light from screens can affect your body’s ability to follow its circadian rhythm and can prevent sleep. While it is the norm to check emails and our phones for messages at all hours, doing so before bed can prevent you from getting the sleep you need to be productive the next day. Agreeing on contactable hours within your team or with coworkers is a good way to set boundaries and decrease the likelihood you will receive messages that may tempt you to check your devices before bed.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning“Anchoring” your circadian rhythm to darkness and light at regular times will help improve your sleep quality and create good sleep habits. Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine before you sleep. Alcohol interferes with your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and causes disruptions in your sleep. Caffeine also prevents healthy sleep since it is a stimulant and can stay in your body for long periods of time (even hours after you have had your cup of coffee). If you suffer from anxiety or stress, then meditation and journaling before bed are tools that can help calm the nervous system and prevent sleeplessness.
  • Keep a sleep journal. There are plenty of apps and devices available to help you track your sleep. You can also just keep an old-fashioned paper journal with the time you went to bed, woke up, and the number of hours slept. Do it for a couple of weeks and take note of how you feel, interact with others, and perform your everyday tasks.

While awareness of the importance of sleep is growing, many of us are still holding on to that “hustle mentality”, which prioritizes everything over sleep – much to the detriment of our performance, relationships, and mental and physical health. Sleep is not just about you, it affects the way you give, serve, and connect with others. Your well-rested self is your best self and isn’t that the person you want living your life?

 

Looking for a new or unique schedule?  Check out our available jobs and apply today!

 

3 Essentials for an Exceptional First Impression

You’ve heard it before: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Research shows we make judgments about someone’s trustworthiness in seconds. What’s more, our first impressions are unlikely to change – even if we see conflicting evidence that suggests they’re wrong!

first impression

The takeaway? First impressions are very important, and shouldn’t be left to chance. With a little education and practice,  you can increase your chances of making an exceptional first impression. In addition to nailing the basics, like maintaining eye contact and having a firm handshake, there are other simple actions you can practice to make a memorable first impression:

  1. Listen actively. One way to establish an immediate sense of trust and connection is through active listening.  Active listening occurs when you are fully immersed in what the other person is saying, as opposed to thinking of the next thing you’re going to say or selectively listening for what you want to hear. The key is to be authentic. It is obvious to the other person if you are not taking a genuine interest in them or the subject, so only ask a question if you genuinely want to know the answer and avoid giving in to distractions. Use body language as well. Making eye contact and smiling builds trust and indicates you are fully present in the conversation. Active listening may sound simple, but can be very difficult when you are nervous and thinking about what you are going to say or ask next. Practice active listening in advance and take deep breaths to clear your mind before the meeting.
  2. Ask meaningful follow-up questions. If you are actively listening to someone, it is easier for you to think of follow-up questions based on your curiosity about the topic, or to clarify their message. In case the conversation comes to a lull, have questions prepared based on your research of the person. Preparing questions that go deeper than a typical, surface-level conversation makes the interaction memorable. Keep your questions open-ended and let them do the talking. Research has found that when people talk about themselves, it produces pleasurable feelings and stimulation in the brain, which will leave them with a positive impression of you!
  3. Book your next meeting in person. Clarifying the next step and your next meeting time demonstrates you are reliable and committed to developing the relationship. If possible, continue to have in-person meetings, since 93% of communication effectiveness depends on nonverbal cues, which are best assessed in person rather than through video conferencing or over the phone. Also, in-person meetings result in more small talk, which is an innate part of social bonding and establishes trust.

First impressions are developed quickly and are long-lasting, so you need to make them count! When you’ve made a positive first impression, getting your next meeting is much easier.  Whether or not these actions come naturally to you, it’s a good idea to practice them with people you already know and trust. When you’re meeting someone you really want to impress, your nerves can get the better of you and reduce your ability to listen and ask thoughtful questions. The more you practice, the more likely you’ll be able to do it in stressful situations. These simple, but essential tips will improve your first impressions greatly and can have a huge impact on your business and personal relationships.

Be sure to check our blog often for more tips for success at work.  Ready to make a great first impression at a new gig?  Check out our available jobs and apply today!

Use Your Strengths to Improve Your Relationships

What are your strengths?

Hundreds of self-directed tests and assessments have been created to help people figure this out. It’s one of the most commonly asked interview questions, and many companies aspire to build a “strengths-based” culture, which encourages employees to discover and develop their strengths.

Studies continuously show that focusing on your strengths leads to higher levels of engagement and better performance. When you focus on using your strengths, rather than improving or “fixing” your weaknesses,  your confidence and self-awareness increases.

Conversely, when you are focused on your weaknesses, you are more likely to have lower levels of confidence and be more stressed, which can negatively impact self-esteem and your ability to have healthy relationships.

Discovering Your Strengths

You may have an idea of your strengths based on past performance reviews, feedback from others, and by looking at your past successes. These can be helpful, but they are contextual and subjective. Here are a few tools for helping you discover your strengths:

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been used consistently in organizations over the past 40 years to help people become more aware of how they judge and perceive situations and others. For example, are you more externally focused (extroverted) or internally-focused (introverted)? Do you look to logic for decision-making (thinking), or do you consider how you or others feel first when making a decision (feeling)? Through a questionnaire, you are assessed across four main dichotomies and given your personality type. For a fee, you can take the test and receive personalized courses and guides about how to make the most of your strengths. Because this test has been used for so long, it has been refined and validated by many professionals. There are endless resources available based on the test that help you leverage your personality type and strengths in both a personal and professional context.
  • For an assessment about your character strengths, the VIA institute offers a free character test for you to identify whether things like teamwork, gratitude, and curiosity come more naturally to you than other character traits. These not only give you insights into your own strengths, it also helps you recognize strengths in others, which can improve your relationships and the gratitude you feel towards others in your professional and personal life.
  • The DISC Assessment Test is a free psychologically-based assessment test that is commonly used for teams and motivational purposes. Based on your answers, you are placed into one of four different personality types: dominant, influence, steadiness, and compliant. Although you’ll likely exhibit one type more than the others, you may demonstrate the other personality types in varying degrees.  Because this test is widely used, there are many free resources that help explain the implications of your result and help you understand the traits of the other personality types as well.

An important thing to remember is that there are advantages of all of the personality types, character traits, and categories that these tests diagnose, and one type or category is not “bad” or better than another. Also, while these tests are a great start to helping you determine your strengths, they have their limitations. It is impossible to capture the full essence of someone through online tests and questionnaires. To make sure you’re not missing anything important that such assessments did not detect, ask your friends and colleagues about your strengths and competencies as well.

Choosing a Career Based On Your Strengths

Knowing your strengths also allows you to choose opportunities for which you are well-suited. For instance, if creativity is a strength, choosing an R&D position rather than a sales or administrative position might be a better fit for you. Similarly, if you shine in client-facing tasks, choosing a client representative role over a position that is more focused on research and analysis will help you hone your strengths and increase your likelihood of success in that role.

In addition, being aware of your strengths can help you determine the value you can add to a team or a group, as well as identify the types of people with whom you work best. For example, if you are very detail-oriented, then you might add a lot of value to the team by taking note of the action items from each meeting and holding people accountable. If you have this trait, you would work well with someone who is more big-picture focused, since they will complement your detail-oriented approach by keeping the overall project or purpose of the task in mind.

Using Your Strengths To Build Positive Relationships

Authentic relationships are the key to unlocking your true potential. Understanding your strengths and recognizing others’ strengths will help you find and build positive professional relationships that will be mutually beneficial. The Enneagram Test is a tool commonly used in the workplace to help improve team dynamics and business relationships. It measures your personality across 9 personality types, giving you a better understanding of your tendencies, stressors, fears, and strengths. It helps you understand how you interact with others and how others will interact with you based on their personalities. The better you understand your strengths and how to use them, the more you’ll be able to bring to a relationship.

For example, if one of your personality strengths is making people feel connected and comfortable, help your contacts connect with others and start conversations. If you’re task-oriented, use that strength to stay in touch with your contacts on a regular basis or help them accomplish a task they’ve mentioned to you.

Using your strengths in relationships will likely feel natural to you in situations or relationships in which you feel comfortable. It may take a little more effort and practice when you’re feeling vulnerable, but that’s when focusing on using your strengths, rather than worrying about your weaknesses, will help you build and develop relationships that create opportunities.

Using Your Strengths To Serve Others

Understanding your strengths and confidently using them will allow you to serve others in meaningful ways. Serving others increases your sense of purpose, which leads to greater happiness. Conversely, knowing your strengths also enables you to set boundaries and say “no” to projects, requests, or relationships that aren’t a fit. Focusing on how you can use your strengths to best serve others, rather than how you can please others, will enable you to thrive in your relationships and career.

Going through the process of discovering your strengths and the best ways to use them will also improve your ability to help others discover and use their strengths successfully. Bringing out strengths in others is a highly desirable leadership skill, one that will serve you well in business, relationships and your career.

Key Takeaways

  • Focusing on your developing strengths rather than “fixing” your weaknesses will help you build a successful career and positive relationships.
  • Use the available personality tests and assessments to get an idea of your strengths, weaknesses, and relational style. However, recognize that automated test results don’t fully define you. Ask trusted friends or colleagues to share their feedback and do some self-reflecting to fully understand your strengths.
  • Knowing your strengths and using them to serve others is the best way to build authentic relationships, feel a sense of purpose, and thrive in your career.

How are you using your strengths to serve others in your career and relationships? Write down a few ways you are or want to and let them guide you!

 

Looking for a new opportunity to tap into your strengths?  Check out all of our available positions and apply today!

 

Daily Habits of Your Lucky Friends

You probably have friends who come to mind when you think of lucky. They happen upon tickets to the most in-demand events, get invited on really great trips, skip lines, succeed in their careers, and stumble into one awesome experience after another.

While these events seem to occur randomly and with very little effort, research shows that lucky people have similar habits and beliefs. London-based author, physician, and mind coach Stephen Simpson says that luck is actually something that can be learned and increased. How are your lucky friends attracting all their good fortune?

  1. They go out of their way to meet people. As Max Gunther writes in his book How to Get Lucky, “Luck flows along linked chains of people until it hits targets.” A lot of what we consider luck is really just opportunities landing at our feet. Those opportunities flow through people. The more people you know, the more opportunities are presented.
  2. They say “yes”. Lucky people say “yes” to offers that come their way, even if it’s not something they originally planned. This flexibility allows them to experience more, meet more people, and parlay those experiences into more opportunities. While it’s important to have a plan, it’s just as important to let yourself deviate from your plan to explore ideas or opportunities that interest you.
  3. They trust their gut. Simpson, who works with professional poker players, says the lucky players listen to their gut feelings. “Intuition, like any other skill, can be improved with practice,” he says. Becoming more in touch with your inner voice, and developing the ability to read people and understand unspoken social cues can improve your intuition. “The next step is trusting your intuition and acting on it,” Simpson says.
  4. They stay positive. Lucky people aren’t lucky all the time. Everyone faces adversity and experiences failure, but you won’t find your lucky friends ruminating over a bad break. People who appear lucky take hardships and turn them into something positive. They learn from their mistakes and use them to make their next experience better.
  5. They give. Lucky people are givers. This has nothing to do with karma and everything to do with making a lasting impression. Lucky people don’t just meet more people, they connect better, and maintain relationships. They know a lot of people, but more importantly, a lot of people know them. When you meet new people, focusing on what you can give to them, rather than what you can get from them is the best way to build genuine relationships and make a lasting impression. Give your time, give your full attention, and look for ways to add value to your new relationship. At first, you may have to make a conscious effort to make giving your focus, but eventually, it becomes second nature — as it is for many lucky people.
  6. They think outside the box. Lucky people are creative thinkers. In 1975, Gary Dahl invented the pet rock. The fad lasted six months, but it was enough to make Dahl a millionaire. It’s one of those ideas that makes you think, “Why didn’t I come up with that?” His success could be attributed to luck, but really he saw an opportunity to solve a problem. Dahl came up with his brilliant idea when he was at a bar in Los Gatos, CA with some friends, and they were complaining about how they had to walk, feed, groom and clean up after their pets. His out-of-the-box thinking about how to solve pet problems changed his life. Your lucky friends, who experience success in business, probably have the same ability to look at a problem from a different vantage point and come up with a creative solution.

This post is not to say that everyone is dealt the same hand in life and all luck is created. Many people have innate privilege or fortunate circumstances that contribute to their luck or success. But what you make of the hand you were dealt is up to you. What do your lucky friends do? They leverage it into opportunities.

There are plenty of opportunities over on our Job Board!  Check out all of our current openings and apply today!

 

Phony Job Ads and How to Spot Them

Source:  SHRM

Job ad scams are on the rise. According to the FBI, more than 16,000 Americans reported employment scams in 2020. Some are easy to spot. Others are quite sophisticated.

Fake employment postings often promise thousands of dollars in earnings for little or no work. In some cases, it is a re-shipping scam: The individual targeted is tasked with receiving packages at home and forwarding them. In other cases, the scam involves paying a fee or sending something of monetary value. The many people currently unemployed or working from home have become a big target for these kinds of ruses.

“Be very wary of work-from-home online job ads/postings,” said Brian Gant, assistant professor of cybersecurity at Maryville University in St. Louis. Gant has almost two decades of experience working in the private and public sectors, including for the FBI and the Secret Service. “If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.”

Unfortunately, even bona fide jobs sites are being abused by cybercriminals.

“Fake job ads are popping up on websites like Indeed that are convincing [and] well-written, and some [criminals] go as far as performing interviews with unsuspecting candidates,” said Chris Ray, an analyst at IT research and analysis firm GigaOm in San Francisco. “The goal is usually to purloin confidential data such as Social Security numbers and bank details.”

The people creating these fake job ads generally bait individuals with unrealistically high salaries and promises of large chunks of equity. On occasion, targets of scams are even told that they are hired after just a few minutes on a call.

“Hiring organizations should occasionally Google their name in combination with popular hiring terms to attempt to identify and take down fraudulent job ads on popular hiring sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed and Glassdoor,” Ray said.

Attacks on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s popularity as a recruiting tool has put it in cybercriminals’ crosshairs.

“An e-mail with a job offering can be the perfect way to lure someone into downloading malicious files, such as one masquerading as a job description, or spoofed LinkedIn messages,” said Karen Krivaa, chief marketing officer of Perception Point, a cybersecurity firm in Tel Aviv, Israel.

A common example is a LinkedIn connection e-mail bearing a message about a potential job or stating that the individual targeted appeared in specific searches. When the individual clicks Accept Invitation or See All Searches, he or she is routed to an illegitimate LinkedIn website that immediately asks for login credentials.

Protecting Yourself

Here are two ways organizations and job seekers can protect themselves from sophisticated online job scams:

  • Don’t agree to send funds back as a portion of a larger check received.
  • Do contact someone familiar with the job or industry to ask their thoughts about the job posting. Those entrenched in the industry usually know all the players.

The trickery doesn’t necessarily require money to change hands or goods to be forwarded. In some cases, the fake job posts are simply phishing and social engineering ploys. All they want you to do is engage someone via chat boxes and e-mails and be lured into clicking on malicious links or attachments.

“Ninety-eight percent of cyberattacks rely on social engineering, which is the manipulation of people into performing actions such as clicking on a file or divulging confidential information,” Krivaa said.

But there are always subtle hints or glaring errors indicating it is a scam. Compare the sender URL, display name and actual e-mail address used. Common tricks are to have a plausible display name disguising a strange e-mail address or outdated domain name. URLs also may appear valid, yet a closer inspection shows an added character or slight alteration in the organization’s name (e.g., company.com could be changed to company-jobs.com).

Grammatical errors or typos in the e-mail or overly formal or clumsy English can also be clues. Calls-to-action for a limited time are sometimes used to inject urgency as part of a cyberswindle.

Krivaa said further warning signs include broken links on the fake website, out-of-date website certificates or a brand-new certificate issue date. The FBI and the Federal Trade Commission, too, offer plenty of pointers and tips in recent alerts and posts on this topic.

Technology Tools

Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence tools are available to help organizations find and eradicate fake job posts and e-mails. For example, e-mail security and protection solutions from companies such as Perception Point scan messages, URLs and files to identify malicious content and intercept dangerous e-mails before they reach users’ inboxes.

They achieve this via:

  • Image recognition algorithms that validate the website.
  • URL reputation engines that monitor traffic for phishing attempts.
  • Threat intelligence scans of URLs and files outside the organization, searching for signs of potential or current attacks.
  • Dynamic scanning to rapidly identify malicious files.
  • Anti-evasion capabilities to unpack embedded content in the e-mail and properly scan it.

“The ability to easily check any suspicious e-mail or file improves the security posture of the organization,” Krivaa said. “It is also wise to leverage an incident response service to monitor, analyze and report on e-mail security incidents; provide rapid alerts and analysis of malicious attempts; and optimize the security system’s engines.”

 

Looking for REAL jobs?  Check out Allied’s open positions and connect to a *live* recruiter!  Find out why we have been Lehigh Valley’s leading staffing agency for over 37 years!

How to Keep the Job Search Moving Forward—Even if Recruiters Ignore You

Source:  The Wall Street Journal

 

Career coaches say these interviewing and résumé tips can help you stand out and land a new role.

There are more than 10 million job openings in the U.S., so why do so many job seekers remain frustrated by hiring managers who ignore them and online application portals that delete them?

There are a lot of jobs out there, but a lot of rejection, too. It’s easier than ever to apply for roles, so companies are swamped, leaving applicants—even ones who have been courted by recruiters—either facing a void or never hearing back again. Hiring experts at Tuesday’s WSJ Jobs Summit said candidates can take steps to build relationships with the humans overseeing the hiring process—and bounce back faster when they are rejected.

“Job searching’s probably not easy for anybody,” said Brie Reynolds, a career coach and career-development manager at FlexJobs, an online site that lists flexible and remote job opportunities. “There’s always a confidence piece there that you want to make sure you’re building up.”

Here are more tips from career coaches.

You’re going to be ignored. Persist anyway.

Maintain reasonable expectations, and don’t expect a reaction from every hiring manager you reach out to, said Christine Cruzvergara, chief education strategy officer at Handshake, a careers site for college students and recent grads.

“Sometimes you might not be the right candidate at that certain time,” she said.

Knowing when to follow up after applying or interviewing for a job can be one of the toughest challenges for applicants—especially if early conversations seemed promising and now you have been left hanging.

“Organizations deeply appreciate persistence, as long as your persistence is generous,” said Keith Ferrazzi, an executive coach and author of “Leading Without Authority.” Sending a flurry of check-in emails is usually a bad idea, he added, but asking thoughtful follow-up questions by email and volunteering your knowledge to a potential boss can be a winning strategy.

“If your persistence is, ‘What about me? What about me? What about me?’ That’s not generous,” he said. “If your persistence is, ‘I’ve been thinking about your company, I’ve been researching a little bit more about your company, I’ve had a few ideas about the conversation we had,’ those are generous acts of reaching out.”

Motivated job seekers should ask if there is anything they can do during the hiring process to demonstrate to the employer that they are right for the role, Mr. Ferrazzi said, and then follow up to prove it.

“Ask the person interviewing, ‘Is there anything you are curious about relative to my ability to perform this job that I can do between now and the next call that could show you how I can perform?’” he said. “Actually start the work.”

Nontraditional methods of communication can sometimes yield a surprise reaction, said Keith Wolf, chief executive of ResumeSpice, an executive and professional résumé-writing service. He advises reaching out to people you are eager to connect with on Twitter or Instagram instead of simply sending an email.

“Twitter—you can have a conversation with someone who will never return your email,” he said.

Don’t worry about beating the bots.

People become obsessed with outsmarting résumé-reading applicant-tracking systems that most companies use to sort through candidates. It is a better bet to focus on the information and keywords provided in a job description and incorporate them into your résumé, Mr. Wolf said.

“It’s almost like you’ve been given the answers to the test,” he said, adding that the skills and demonstrated experience spelled out in a job posting should be reflected in a résumé.

Mr. Wolf recommends using logical headers—such as experience, education and skills—and ditching fancy formats and fonts. “Anything you think is going to get a human’s attention to really stand out can hurt you when it comes to an applicant-tracking system, and they won’t allow your résumé to be read,” he said. “Simple is better.”

Another tip: Eliminate the objective statement. Those few sentences at the top of a résumé, summarizing skills and the type of role a person is seeking, only makes it easier for recruiters to disqualify anybody who is not an exact match, Mr. Wolf said.

“It’s a great excuse just to take you out of the pack,” he said.

Another common mistake is using valuable résumé real estate to describe your companies instead of your work, said Ashley Watkins, a job-search coach at Write Step Resumes LLC. While it is tempting for job seekers who have worked for startups or small businesses to detail what their prior employers have done, a résumé should be all about you, she added.

“If I want to know about the company, I can Google them, as a recruiter,” Ms. Watkins said. “The résumé is about you and the value that you offer, not your company.”

 

 

If you want to avoid the bots and have a conversation with a real, live recruiter, contact Allied today!  We don’t use algorithms.  We make genuine connections with job seekers and work closely with you to find positions that fit. Apply today and see the difference we can make in your job search! 

 

Why it’s never too late to make a career pivot or learn a new skill

Source:  Fast Company

Taking on a new career direction or passion can help establish a sense of connection and achievement while remaining safe.

My friend recently confided in me, “I hate my job.”

“Why don’t you try a new field?” I asked. She responded she was too far into her thirties to make a career pivot. This answer saddened me, because it was far from the truth.

No matter what your age is, it is possible to make a career transition that can lead to a happier and more fulfilled you. Throughout my twenties, I’ve switched jobs dozens of times, started multiple businesses, and pursued numerous passion projects. Along the way, I’ve failed, and failed hard.

Nevertheless, from these failures, I’ve been able to correct my career path and eventually land on the fulfilling work I do now. Now, heading into my thirties, I’m working as a ​business owner​, a ​product designer​, and a ​songwriter​—pursuits I couldn’t have been further from over a decade ago.

If you’ve been feeling stuck at home during this time of shelter-in-place and lack of social connection, learning a new skill could be just what you need to get out of your rut. Here are four reasons you may be overwhelmed, as well as how to overcome them.

YOU’RE SCARED OF FAILURE

You might be putting off trying a new skill because you are afraid of failure. You can find solace in recognizing that everyone is afraid. We may be afraid people will judge us. We may fear our work isn’t good enough. And we shrink away from the idea of falling on our faces.

To overcome this fear of failure, it’s important to first of all surround yourself with a caring network of nonjudgmental friends and supporters. Over the years, I’ve moved away from friendships that were based on criticizing my work and demeaning my efforts.

It was painful to let those relationships go, but I’ve found myself today with a supportive group who encourages me that I can do it, no matter the endeavor.

Another way to get over your fear of failure is to fail, and fail often. I’ve made so many mistakes and flops that at this point it doesn’t affect me much when I fail. Whether it’s a new product design no one likes, or a song that gets only a few streams.

I’ve learned to keep creating, since success truly is a numbers game. I like to call it the 99/100 rule: For every 100 ideas you have, 99 of them will most likely go nowhere. For every 100 emails you send, no one will answer you on most of them. That’s why it’s important to keep ideating daily on whatever your craft may be.

A friend and I once played a game where we raced to see who could get 20 rejection emails first. A helpful trick: Making rejection more fun can make the process of putting yourself out there easier.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START

Last January, I had no idea how to make music but took to Google to learn how to do it. First, I start by opening a blank document and begin pouring my feelings onto the page. Then I rearrange what I’m feeling into song form.

Using talent on ​Fiverr​, I then find musicians who can make my songs a reality. Since then, I’ve written over 50 songs. Now, a few of my songs are being considered for TV and movie placement—which is a testament to the fact that you can get started in a new field at any age. If you want to get started in a new field or learn a new hobby, start typing every single question you have into Google. You’ll fall down a rabbit hole of articles, videos, and podcasts that you can learn from.

A simple way to get started is to utilize your own social network. Create a post that reads “I’m looking to get into X. Does anyone have a friend or colleagues I could speak with?” For me, this tactic has resulted in success for any question I might be stuck on.

YOU’RE IN NEED OF MOTIVATION

If this headline makes you feel uneasy, it may be true.

But don’t worry—a lack of motivation is something many people struggle with.

Over the years I’ve dabbled in an array of hobbies and passive income streams that never took flight. Last year, I bought a guitar and a keyboard and have only learned to play half of “Jingle Bells” (I’m open for holiday party gigs now!). I started to learn Greek and Turkish and then stopped at the drop of the hat. I can make excuses and say they weren’t my true passions, but it’s really because I didn’t commit to putting in the work. Recently a friend said, “Why don’t you learn to play your own songs on piano?” and it re-upped my motivation to give piano another attempt.

“Create motivation. Identify new skills that are adjacent to your current abilities,” says designer-turned-photographer​ Pamela Sisson. “Create a routine and focus on the process rather than the end result. As you move closer to the finish line, the exciting feeling of achievement will motivate you more and more.”

To get another boost of motivation on a lost start, find people who are excelling in the areas you want to pursue and find motivation in their work. Start watching YouTube tutorials or watch free Udemy courses to get you started.

For instance, if you want to be a painter, change your Instagram feed to only follow artists you admire. If your dream is to be an architect, turn your Netflix queue into architectural documentaries.

YOU’RE NEEDING TO DIVE DEEPER

The way I always learn new skills is to jump in headfirst and learn as I go from experts. When I was learning about design, I filled my Instagram feed with dozens of designers I looked up to. I would read their tips and learn from their experiences to help me navigate a new field. When I was learning to make music, I filled my calendar with conferences and events to network and meet like-minded artists I could learn from.

This tactic can work for learning just about any skill. If you’re trying to learn a language, surround yourself with new friends who are fluent. If you’re trying to transition from a lawyer to a bakery owner, fill your video queue with baking tutorials and practice one per day. If you’re an aspiring songwriter like I was, fill your Spotify with bands you admire and learn about their process and lyrical styles.

“I have a YouTube channel, but COVID-19 caused depleted motivation,” explains Jennifer Matthews, content creator. “I took a 3-month hiatus from shooting and editing videos. I started passively looking on LinkedIn to find freelance jobs and see what was out there. I ended connecting with a VP of digital content about video producing and editing opportunities to keep my video production skills sharp.”

Matthews describes how this process led her to the birth of a new project. “What started as me doing a few video production jobs here and there, [led] to helping launch one of their weekly Facebook LIVE shows.”

Today is the perfect day to take the plunge headfirst into a new hobby or skill. You might find that these new pursuits can change the course of your life for the better.

Working with a staffing agency is a great first step in your career pivot!  Allied can help you build your skills (and resume!) and introduce you to the leading employers in the Lehigh Valley.  Search our available jobs and apply today!

How Finding a Job Will be Different in 2021

Source:  Fast Company

2021 may bring some normalcy back to the workplace, but some changes are going to stick. Here’s what you need to know.

 

 

 

Whether you’ve been unemployed and looking for a job through the pandemic or are planning to leave your current role in 2021, it’s no secret that hiring has changed in many ways. From remote onboarding to a shift in where we network and look for job opportunities, there have been fundamental changes in how we get our next gigs. And even as the promise of vaccines and immunity give us a glimpse into a future where we’ll be back in the office again, some things are here to stay.

“During the eight months of the pandemic, we basically saw a lot of rules around how work gets done, be broken, or fall by the wayside,” says Erica Volini, global human capital leader at Deloitte. “People worked in radically different ways, whether that’s crossing functional silos, whether that’s teaming, whether that’s working in different industries in different sectors, assuming new roles very quickly.” And once you change the way you work, it can be tough to go back to the old way of doing things, especially if the new way works.

As the pandemic era gives way to a hybrid approach to work, the way we look for jobs will remain changed too. Here’s what job hunters can likely expect in the “next normal” in 2021:

INTERNAL TALENT MARKETPLACES WILL GROW IN IMPORTANCE

“One of the biggest trends that we are going to see in a post-pandemic world is a heavy focus on people looking for new jobs within their organization,” Volini says. Organizations will be looking internally first, sometimes on sophisticated, technology-enabled platforms, to find the right mix of skills and capabilities, she says. These marketplaces can also track employee development.

According to a recent Deloitte report, this approach helps organizations apply the talent they already have more effectively. Eventually, such marketplaces are expected to evolve into a place where employees can find stretch roles, gig assignments, mentors, and other opportunities to develop their skills. Such internal focus means that employees will need to become more adept at navigating these systems, including ensuring that their skills, training, and goals are up-to-date, to find their next roles.

YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE WILL MATTER MORE

With remote connections still the primary way candidates connect with recruiters and hiring managers, they need to be diligent about their digital presence. Companies will increasingly find candidates through the content they develop online, says Abakar Saidov, CEO and cofounder of HR technology firm Beamery.

Hari Kolam, CEO of Findem, an HR platform that helps companies find candidates and manage their workforce, agrees. Candidates need to “move the focus from their résumés and place it more on developing their digital footprints to get noticed,” he says.

Clean up your social accounts, curate or create relevant content, and develop content—such as a blog post, introductory video, or contributed piece—that will demonstrate your thought leadership and give you an edge, he says. “Sure, a résumé is a nice-to-have and required for some applications, but it’ll just be table stakes in the 2021 job market and not enough to outshine a competitor,” he says.

EMPLOYERS WILL SEARCH FOR CAPABILITIES

As previously reported in Fast Company, Gartner data found one-third of the skills listed in an average 2017 job posting would not be relevant by 2021. As roles are reimagined, and companies need employees with skills such as problem-solving and adaptability, those skills should be evident on your résumé and in any content you create, Volini says.

“We’re starting to see technology that can actually then tell you, based on your capabilities, here are all the different types of jobs that you might be equipped for within the organization. Here are the multiple different career paths that you can start to take. And, so it starts to open up a brand new dialogue,” she says.

As more companies recognize the importance of internal mobility, she predicts there will be a shift in culture that emphasizes managers’ responsibility to develop talented employees, rather than wanting to hold onto them for their teams. That’s going to help employees have more frank conversations with managers about their goals and development.

GEOGRAPHIC OPTIONS WILL INCREASE

With so many remote opportunities opening up, geography is becoming less of a factor in where you’ll look for a job, says Amelia Ransom, senior director of diversity and engagement at tax compliance software firm Avalara and former talent director at Nordstrom.

So, while you may not have considered a company in New York or California because you would need to relocate, now that remote work is so prevalent and, for many companies, permanent, you can expand your geographic parameters. “Job seekers will now be looking for companies that have increased flexibility to accommodate different work hours, time zones, and in-person requirements as they are looking for the right position,” she says.

UPPING YOUR PRODUCTION GAME MATTERS

As videoconferencing has become such an important part of work for many, expectations around production quality are shifting, Kolam says. “When you have high-quality sound and lighting, as well as a better-than-decent headset to block out distractions, you’re set up for success for video interviews and interactions with prospective employers,” he says. Creating a mini-production center to ensure your audio and video are both high-quality can help set you apart, he says.

It also helps for job seekers to have a tracking system and a personal CRM, “anything from an Excel document to an Airtable that can help them organize their job search and keep track of job openings, job descriptions, company overviews, and follow-up timelines,” he adds.

ONLINE NETWORKING WILL CONTINUE TO GROW

Kolam says that online professional groups and job-search groups where people provide job leads, advice, and opportunities to peers have surged and will remain popular. The ease of connecting through social media or getting together for coffee over a video chat versus getting together in person will make it an ongoing tool for people who want to be time-efficient, keep in touch with contacts, and form communities.

You can find various special-interest and regional online networking opportunities on sites such as Eventbrite and Meetup. Check LinkedIn and Facebook for industry-, region-, and interest-specific online networking groups. Some organizations, such as local Chambers of Commerce and business groups, also host online networking opportunities.

IT MAY BE HARDER TO FIND THE RIGHT FIT

A key area that will be tougher for job seekers is determining whether the firm’s culture is a good fit for you, says business psychologist Matt Kerzner, director at the Center for Individual and Organizational Performance at advisory and accounting firm EisnerAmper. In other words, you can get a feel for the place by walking around, seeing the people, looking at the break room, etc. “We don’t have that right now, in today’s environment, and that gets really tricky.”

People could soon realize they’ve made a big mistake when they get a dose of the company’s culture. So, job seekers will have to become better sleuths, using social media, networking, and insightful questions to get a true sense of the company’s culture.

For many companies, shifts to remote work and new demands on most employees have changed what we took for granted about the job-search process. Like so many other work-life areas, adaptability to the new norms and willingness to explore new ways of working will be valuable assets to help you succeed.

Let Allied help you explore new ways of working!  Check out our available jobs and apply today