Returning To The Office: A Survival Guide

It’s hard to imagine. After nearly 16 months of remote work, and all the logistical and emotional baggage that came with propelling yourself and your family through the global pandemic, it’s time to return to an office that you haven’t seen since March 2020.  

But everything feels different now. You feel different now. It’s uncomfortable to think about being surrounded by people all day-even people you know, like, and trust. The thought of sharing spaces with others is hard to stomach after more than a year of hand-washing, mask-wearing and worrying.  

How do you get comfortable with this? How do you get your mind around your upcoming return to the office?  See our tips below.

Consider what you need.

Many of us are more vigilant about germs now; for over a year, we’ve had to be. For much of that time, we didn’t fully know which risks were most pressing. We nervously washed our produce and sanitized surfaces as experts learned more about the virus and how COVID-19 spreads. It was a scary, stressful time. 

So now, we’re going back to closed quarters with our co-workers. If the thought of shared restrooms, communal refrigerators, and coffee pots stir your anxiety, you are certainly not alone.

Your company, likely, has regulations around some of these anxiety producers. Learn everything you can about that protocol before you return. Pose all your questions to your management team and your HR partners. Make sure you understand the expectations. Secure your supplies.  

Think about what you need to feel comfortable in a shared workspace. Maybe bringing disinfectant spray or wipes, for example, will make you feel comfortable using communal spaces like restrooms. Ask your HR partners if this is acceptable. Maybe you need to wipe down your desk and keyboard each night to feel safe and secure. Consider what feels right to you and secure the information and supplies you need as you think through your return logistics.  

Dr. Mark Allen, author and lecturer in talent management, corporate universities, and human resources at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School points out: “Things will be different. The environment will be different (possible plexiglass, temperature checks, etc.). The work will be different (some people are still working from home, with hybrid meetings, etc.). The social aspects of work will be different (fewer people in the office each day, no birthday parties, etc.). Change is difficult under the best of circumstances, and these aren’t the best of circumstances. Our responses to change are always emotional, and we (and our bosses) need to remember that.”

Know your boundaries.  

As you talk with your human resources partners, see what support and resources are being made available to staff, and honestly explore what you need. Trust your gut. If you are not comfortable, if this genuinely does not feel right or doable to you, listen to that. You have to be comfortable at work to be able to concentrate and to find your fit there.

A recent Glassdoor survey conducted online by The Harris Poll reveals that 7 in 10 (70%) U.S. employees who are currently working from home due to COVID-19 believe that workers should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to return to the office. And even after offices reopen, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) say they would prefer to continue working from home at least part of the time. 

You matter more than your job. If this experience has led you to conclude that you need to be a remote worker for a while, pursue that, either via your HR team or by finding an arrangement that serves you better.

“COVID-19 has triggered a new wave of employee expectations, from incentives to get a vaccine to more flexible work options, even after it’s safe to return to the office,” says Carina Cortez, Glassdoor’s Chief People Officer. “Employers must take employee feedback into account to determine what is best for their workforce, including how to best support employees who plan to get the vaccine, and employees who do not.”

This means recognizing that the return to the workplace may not be a fit for you. If that’s the case, do what is available to you to change your situation so that you can find one that better suits you.

If your workplace requires staff to be onsite but doesn’t require vaccinations, and if that feels unsafe to you, then your professional culture is no longer a fit for you. Likewise, if your employer requires staff to get vaccinated and you’re uncomfortable with that, you’ve lost fit in your professional culture. The pandemic has cued plenty of cultural changes. Recognizing and owning which ones are suitable for you is an important part of getting acclimated to the post-covid workplace. 

Support safety protocol.

If you decide to work in your office full or part-time, it’s your professional responsibility to support your employer’s safety protocol. “Be prepared for new requirements. Possible temperature checks, mandatory masks, social distancing. Don’t be resistant to these requirements even if you disagree with them. They are in place for your safety and the safety of your co-workers.” Dr. Allen shares. Workplace culture matters, especially now. Pull together with your team to make this work.

Dr. Allen offers this reminder: “I recently saw someone arguing with a security guard who was politely asking him to put his mask back on. This was in Los Angeles County, where masks are still mandatory indoors. There’s no point in arguing with the guard–he didn’t make the rules. Let’s all be prepared to accept whatever restrictions are in place–we’ve lasted this long under Covid rules–let’s accept that it might be just a little bit longer.”

If you want to offer feedback about the protocol, find the right way to do so. Learn who on the HR team is the right person to share that with; show your concern by offering help, suggestions, support. If you feel like you need to vent, do that work with your mental health professional, who can help you neutralize your feelings and manage them productively.  

Recognize that this is a challenging time organization-wide. Sharing suggestions are likely to be appreciated, as is patience, kindness, and empathy. We’re not yet done with the pandemic. It remains a hard time.

Get support.

Think about what you need. We’ve just weathered a global pandemic. None of us have ever been through anything like this. Find the help and support you need as you sort it out. Whether you’re feeling excited or hesitant about your return to the office, it may be helpful to find a coach, therapist, or counselor to help you get your mind around this transition. It’s a big change.

Our feelings about the pandemic tend to run deep. Many of us had to shoulder trauma that we haven’t fully processed as we saw family members suffering from COVID-19, and as we tried to cobble together emergency plans to protect the children and the seniors we care for in case we got sick. It can be surprising how the trauma resurfaces unexpectedly.

Take this opportunity to get the care that you need so that you can feel well-supported as you return to the office. You deserve mental health care that sustains you from within. Make that a priority as you contemplate this transition. You deserve it.  

Keep in mind that the leaders and managers guiding us through the transition back into the workplace have also never been through this kind of change. Examining your feelings, being able to understand and articulate them is especially helpful during transitional times.

Have realistic expectations

Whether you are excited or apprehensive about your return to work, recognize that things stand to be different. Prepare for that. Dr. Allen points out: “Things won’t be like the Beforetimes. We are not going back to what life was like in February of 2020. We need to adjust to the fact that things will be different. And let’s not talk about The New Normal. That’s a myth. When we first go back, there will still be some Covid restrictions. Those will ease, and things will change again. There won’t be a Normal.”

We’ve been through a global pandemic. Many of us didn’t fully realize that something like this could happen. Take it slow as you get your mind around how to move forward. While it feels good to see our lives starting to look more normal, we’re different people now. We have to be kinder to ourselves and our coworkers.

“The best thing we can offer our employees is flexibility. Let those who want to work from home for a few days do it if possible. If people need flexible schedules, let them have it. We’ve all been through a lot–let’s do what we can to ease people back into the workplace.”  Dr. Allen advises.

Best wishes with your transition. We’re all rooting for you.

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Should You Talk About Vaccination Status with Your Coworkers?

For some, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is a badge of honor — something they will literally wear on their sleeves. For others, however, a Covid-19 vaccine is something they won’t get unless they have to — for example, if vaccination is required by their employers, or to travel.

A recent survey by Glassdoor found that 70 percent of U.S. employees currently working from home because of the pandemic think that workers should be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine to return to the office. And while some workplaces are moving toward making them a requirement, it’s too soon to tell how many ultimately will. In the meantime, workers will have to navigate the murky waters of whether or not to offer up their vaccination status to colleagues.

Covid-19 vaccination can be a tricky subject to navigate and one packed with potential pitfalls. Sharing any health information at the office “can polarize relationships and the career-savvy professional will understand that others may not value his or her perspective,” says Maureen Farmer, CEO, and founder of Westgate Executive Branding & Career Consulting. Plus,

“It can become political, and navigating politics is a skill not everyone has,” Farmer explains. 

While you might be tempted to share that you got a shot — or why you’re avoiding a jab — with your coworkers, experts urge caution before divulging your vaccination status with colleagues. Before you offer up your vaccination status at work, there are several things you should consider, experts say. Here’s what to weigh before bringing up your COVID-19 vaccine status with your coworkers. 

Consider your company’s culture and your coworkers’ expectations.

Every company has its own unique company culture surrounding self-disclosure — including how common it is for employees to discuss personal information. “Some workgroups seem to share lots of personal details, while others do not,” says Carolyn Goerner, clinical professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Before you share, think: Is your workplace one in which colleagues often divulge these details? Does your company actively promote such discussions, or does it discourage such discourse?

“It isn’t realistic to expect culturally-bound behaviors to change overnight — and it is often the case that people react negatively to swift and unexpected violations of their expectations of how their co-workers will behave,” says Goerner. Evaluate your company’s culture before sharing, and consider what, if any, consequences there may be for sharing within its unique environment.

Consider why you want to share your vaccination status.

Getting vaccinated can be a personal decision, says career coach Hallie Crawford. Some people couldn’t wait to receive their Covid-19 vaccines, while others have fears and concerns that have kept them from getting inoculated so far. Crawford encourages you to think critically about why you want to share your vaccination status with coworkers — and what could happen if you do.

And Farmer agrees: “I would question an employee’s motivation to share their vaccination status at work. Most professionals do not share personal health-related information randomly at work unless it’s with a trusted colleague or friend. What are the benefits of sharing? What are the risks of sharing this very personal information with others who may not have a vested interest in us?”

Before you divulge your vaccination status, “Ask yourself if you want to share information or if you want to push your personal views on your coworkers,” Crawford advises. She points out that the latter reason can turn a casual conversation into a heated argument that can feel like a personal attack: “Keep in mind that some people are unable to be vaccinated due to underlying health issues or allergies that you may be unaware of,” Crawford says, “while others may have lost a loved one to Covid-19,” and because of that, could “feel strongly about being vaccinated.” 

Of course, sharing your vaccination status can also be a way of easing coworkers’ minds about returning to the office. “Many professionals are feeling uneasy about going back to the office so that you may consider sharing your vaccination status with your immediate team and coworkers you will be in close contact with to discuss how you might interact with each other when you are back in the office,” she says, adding you should try to “be respectful of everyone’s decisions.”

Realize that you may be asked — and be prepared with a response.

Even if you haven’t given much thought to sharing your vaccination status with coworkers, they may have — and may ask you whether you’ve been vaccinated. “This can quickly turn into a heated topic, so if you decide to share your vaccination status, do so with caution, Crawford says.

But having an answer prepared can help minimize any potential conflicts. For example, Goerner says that “simply matter-of-factly sharing the

information,” the “same way you’d tell someone you got a flu shot,” can be one way to keep the conversation from getting contentious.

“Ideally, avoid the appearance of ‘I think I’m better than you because I’m vaccinated,’ which can cause excessive conflict,” she says. Treat it as a factual question rather than a value-laden one.”

Farmer says you may also want to acknowledge in your response that it can be a sensitive topic — whether or not you choose to divulge your vaccination status. If you opt to share, she suggests saying, “I realize this can be a sensitive topic. I want you to know I’ve received the COVID19 vaccination because I want my colleagues to feel safe working with me.” And if you prefer to keep your vaccination status to yourself, you might say, “I appreciate you asking me about my vaccination status. Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable discussing it. I hope you understand.”

It may be a requirement to share your vaccination status at your office.

You may think that your manager or organization can’t ask about your vaccination status. But the fact is, they can: HIPPA laws apply only to medical professionals, which means that your higher-ups can request — or even require — that you provide your vaccination status to them.

“As restrictions continue to ease and as more people are fully vaccinated, employers will start to ask more about vaccination statuses and may require that you submit your vaccine status to the human resources department” says Crawford. It may be a choice on your company’s part, or it maybe under an obligation to ask your vaccination status based on state directives says, Farmer.

If your employer asks you, you will have to provide your vaccination status — or face potential consequences, from disciplinary action, such as suspension, to potential termination.

A recent survey of 957 U.S. businesses found that 65 percent plan to offer employees incentives to get vaccinated, and 63 percent will require proof of vaccination. For those employees who declined to get a shot or share their vaccination status, 42 percent of businesses said those workers would not be allowed to return to the physical work environment, such as the office — and 35% percent said some disciplinary actions are on the table, including possible termination.

“Employees have a fiduciary duty to their employers,” Farmer says, “and following appropriate policies is expected.” What’s more, “contravention of employer policies may be grounds for dismissal, so it’s important that employees are well informed of their obligations,” she adds.

To help ease the process, managers should share their reasons for requesting vaccination status from their employees, says Goerner. “People are generally more responsive to requests if they understand the bona fide business reason behind the question,” she explains. “If that information is necessary to establish company safety procedures, work schedules, and so on, then say so.”

She adds that “If it appears that managers are asking out of curiosity — or to extend personal judgment — the request will be met with more suspicion and hesitation” and less cooperation.

Of course, your employer may also eventually require vaccination as a condition of working there. The same recent survey found that nearly half — about 44 percent — of the employer’s polled plan required that all employees get vaccinated before returning to the office. Another 31 percent will encourage vaccinations, and 14 percent will require some, though not all, employees to get vaccinated.

If you have a health condition that prevents you from getting vaccinated or are otherwise exempt from vaccination, these conditions may not apply to you. “Employers will surely be thinking about special considerations for those who for health or religious reasons do not get vaccinated,” Crawford says. But even so, you should be prepared to discuss your vaccination status with your employer and understand that you may have to provide proof of why you should be exempted. 

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9 Ways To Be An Ally And Advocate For Your LGBTQ+ Colleagues

The LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination in their personal lives and the workplace — from microaggressions, such as being misgendered or incorrectly identifying a romantic partner, to outright harassment and discrimination, such as being left out of insurance plans or even fired. 

And that makes having allies and advocates in the office very important to the LGBTQ+ community. Both allies and advocates are important to LGBTQ+ employees “who may feel their voices are not being heard,” or who face more overt forms of discrimination in the office, says Heidi Duss, a gender equity and LGBTQ+ inclusion consultant and founder of Culturescape Consulting.

You don’t have to be LGBTQ+ yourself to be an ally: In fact, “an LGBTQ+ advocate who does not identify as LGBTQ+ often has more power than someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ to bring about change in an organization, because managers and co-workers may assume that their advocacy isn’t ‘personal,’” explains Heath Fogg Davis, the director of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at Temple University and author of Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?

Heather Hansen, a self-advocacy expert and the author of Advocate to Win agrees, and offers  this comparison: “Just like men are often the best advocates for women,” she says, “straight people are often the best advocates for LGBTQ+ community members” and coworkers.

Allies and advocates are friends, listeners, and supporters, Duss says. Specifically, “advocates can speak up when they witness hurtful language” in the office, says Emily Frank, owner of Career Catalyst, “and can draw other colleagues’ attention to their unconscious biases.”

Here are nine ways to be an ally and advocate for your LGBTQ+ colleagues at work.

Educate yourself on the meaning of LGBTQ+.

“To be able to advocate for a marginalized group, you first have to educate yourself on the terminology used to describe the group,” says Davis. For example, you can research “what do the letters mean? Which letters have been added and dropped over time, and why? How has the definition of ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ changed and evolved, and why? And what are some of the tensions between the groups flagged here?” he says. That educational foundation is important: “To advocate on behalf of LGBTQ+ coworkers can mean a lot of things, but in general, I think it means being aware of how bias against LGBTQ+ people manifests and speaking up in ways that can bring about positive change for us and the organization,” he says.

Make your own pronouns apparent.

Pronouns — she, he, they, etc. — help us identify ourselves. And by publicly using your own pronouns, you can normalize their use and help create a culture of acceptance and inclusion.

One easy way to display your pronouns is in your email signature, which “can help establish an organizational norm that it isn’t only trans and non-binary people who share their pronouns,” explains Davis. While this practice sends a positive message to trans and non-binary coworkers, it is also beneficial in email exchanges with people who have androgynous names, such as Taylor and Bailey. It lets people know which pronouns to use in their emails.”

You can also add pronouns next to your name in a Zoom the meeting, suggests Bridget Sampson, CEO of Sampson Coaching and Consulting. “This lets people gender diverse know you are aware of and respect the need to clarify pronouns, including for cisgender people,” she explains.

Be a good listener.

“So many of my clients think advocating is speaking and presenting,” says Hansen. And while that is part of being a good ally, “listening and receiving comes first.” Hansen encourages you to ask LGBTQ+ what they need: “What do they want you to advocate for? How can you be a better advocate for them? What is a win for them?” she asks. “Then listen to the answers, with your mind and heart open.” Whatever you do, please don’t assume you know their needs. “When we assume we know what people want, we are often wrong, and we can make things worse,” Hansen says.

And be open to feedback from your LGBTQ+ coworkers: “You’re likely not an expert,” Frank says, “so when you get new information or suggestions, adopt them, and keep learning.” Frank points to her own experience as an example: A transgender client recently advised her that she didn’t have a spot on her intake form for a person’s legal versus preferred name, “so I changed the document accordingly, with thanks to my client for pointing out something that, in hindsight, seemed obvious,” Frank explains.

Use inclusive language and imagery in your communications. 

When sending communications to coworkers, use language that includes all people rather than language that can create division. For example, don’t send emails that mention gender — like an email inviting “the guys” for a happy hour. And, “if you write a newsletter, make sure the pictures you share on it include examples of same-sex couples and people in a variety of dress,” says Frank. “Visibility is important, and visual images are an easy way to show your support.”

Ask questions when you’re unsure.

When something isn’t clear to you, it’s OK to ask questions. For example, “if a coworker’s gender appearance changes and you are unsure of which pronouns to use, you can simply ask the person, ‘What pronouns do you use?’” says Davis. But don’t be invasive: “Your role is that of a coworker, not a close friend with whom it might be appropriate to ask more questions,” he adds.

Questions that veer into the too-personal territory — without a clear invitation from your LGBTQ+ coworker to do so — can require “a lot of emotional labor” for them to address, says Sampson. “It may be difficult and unpleasant to discuss traumatic experiences such as being rejected by one’s family or going through medical transition,” she says. “Please respect people’s privacy.”

If you see something, say something. 

If you witness microaggressions at work, speak up. For example, “if your coworker continues to use an incorrect pronoun for someone else, keep correcting that person,” says Frank, who suggests you say something such as, “remember, [the coworkers] uses ‘they/them pronouns.”

It’s important to speak up: “Keeping your coworkers aware of these points behind the scenes will remind them to use supportive language to and with your LGBTQ+ colleagues,” she says. “You are also signaling you’re not letting them get away with microaggressions behind closed doors.”

However, Frank shares a caveat: Don’t speak for your LGBTQ+ coworker. “It’s more beneficial to support your coworkers than to speak for them when they’re right there since speaking on their behalf implies that they aren’t capable,” she explains.

When you hear derogatory comments — even subtle ones — about LGBTQ+ people at work say something, encourages Sampson. “Make it clear that you don’t agree, don’t approve, and that comments of that nature at work could be hurtful to members of the community,” she says.

And when an LGBTQ+ coworker says that they have been discriminated against, “believe them,” says Sampson. And more than that, lend your support and “investigate in any way you can,” she says, which can include helping them to bring “their complaints to the powers that be.”

Be visible at advocacy events.

Frank suggests that you attend events that support and uplift LGBTQ+ people outside of the office, such as Pride parades. Here’s why: “If you are straight and cis[gender], being visible at these events chips away at the old stigmas attached to LGBTQ+ status and demonstrates to your colleagues that you aren’t afraid to be associated with those people,” Frank explains.

Change the language you use.

When you engage in a casual or personal conversation with coworkers, take care to use inclusive language. For example, “when you ask about others’ lives, say ‘spouse’ or ‘partner’ so that you show you are not assuming that partners are the opposite sex,” Sampson says. “In other words, I wouldn’t ask, ‘What does your husband like to do for fun?’ if I’m speaking to a woman who I know is married because she may be married to a woman or nonbinary person.”

“If someone shares information about their sexuality or gender identity with you, don’t assume they are fine with you telling others,” Davis says. “Your intentions may be good. You want to let others know that [your coworker] has a husband or that [another coworker] is bisexual, thinking that this will make it easier for [them] to fit in. But it is always important to ask whether the person is comfortable with you doing so,” because if not, you could do more harm than good.

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How To Talk About COVID-19 In Job Interviews

It’s exciting to feel like we’re turning a corner with the pandemic! Summer looks like it’s back on track: restaurants packed with happy diners, gyms buzzing with athletes, and farmers’ markets alive with shoppers.

Job seekers are gearing up for a frenzy as well. The Society of Human Resource Manager’s (SHRM) Roy Mauer, refers to a “Turnover Tsunami,” explaining: “More than half of employees surveyed in North America planned to look for a new job in 2021.”  Likewise, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index notes that 40 percent of the global workforce is contemplating a job search this year.

If you plan to join the hunt shortly, it’s important to consider how supporting your employer through the pandemic has impacted your professional experience and how it has grown your skills. What did you learn while you powered through the pandemic? How did it make you a stronger, more resilient employee? How has the experience enhanced your professional skills?

It was a challenge to meet the demands that the pandemic heaped on workers from multiple directions. It takes debriefing, reflection, and soul searching to figure out what we learned and how we changed because of what we weathered. Here’s what to consider as you prepare for your post-pandemic interviews.

Check in with yourself.

Before you update your resume, revise your Glassdoor profile, and start searching for your ideal role; take some time to check in with yourself.  Before you gear up your reinvention, take a long pause.

Think about what you’ve been through during the last 15 months. What did your best day of the pandemic look like, and what made it so great? What did your hardest day of the pandemic look like-what made it so difficult?

Recognize, before you set your sights on the project of a job search, that we’ve been through a national trauma. We’ve all had to stretch our skills, patience, creativity, optimism, and resources to make this work. This is a hard experience to go through, but it grows us in important ways. Think about those. Give language to those.

Reclaim your center of gravity. Be honest with yourself about what you’ve learned, where you were challenged, and how you rose to the occasion. Get the help you need as you make sense of your experiences. Meet with a life coach, career coach, or therapist. Find clarity before starting your search, and use that to fuel your next chapter.   

Emphasize “soft skills” you honed.

These deserve a better moniker because “soft” doesn’t describe these capabilities. The only thing soft about these skills is that they stand in opposition to their counterparts; marketing, presentation, design, and project management are considered “hard skills.”  

Soft skills can be innate capabilities. They can also be learned and enhanced. They have been much discussed in recent years because these skills give human job candidates an edge over their AI competition.  Some soft skills include

  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Agility
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation
  • Work ethic
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving

Many employees likely found that the pandemic was a crash course in soft skills development and enhancement. Some employees, for example, who were not in leadership roles before working remotely, may have found themselves stepping up and helping their teammates rise to the occasion.

Maybe you were among them. If you found yourself helping colleagues find their remote-work sea legs, or you helped fill communication gaps, these leadership skills are definitely worth mentioning in your next job interview.  Perhaps you recognized your own skills gaps and upskilled to meet the moment. The efforts you made to rise to the pandemic’s challenges are likewise important to discuss during your post-pandemic interviews.

Agility, flexibility, and resilience are also key soft skills. Many employees leaned on these heavily as they adjusted to the demands of the pandemic workload. “The global pandemic was the world’s biggest experiment in remote work, and it definitely has changed the way both employers and employees view work and the workplace. And, these views will likely continue to change as we all adjust to the post-pandemic workplace, which will likely be different than what existed before.” Explains Lori B. Rassas, HR Consultant, executive coach, and author of It’s About You Too: How To Manage Employee Resistance to Your Diversity Initiatives and Improve Workplace Culture and Profitability.  

Showing your potential employers that you are flexible and you know how to manage a crisis is impressive deftly. “[I]ndividuals seeking new roles should be certain to let prospective employers know that they are adaptable and understand the need to remain flexible as new policies and procedures are established. The reality is that most employers do not yet know what their future workforce will look like.” Rassas explains.

Make the case You can help prospective employers shape a future that is still emerging for them, just as you did during the pandemic. Look at the results you were able to achieve thanks to your soft skills. Then come to your post-pandemic interviews ready to discuss those skills and that data.

Discuss new hard skills you learned.

Maybe you had to greet customers, clients, or students. Perhaps your role was taking temperatures and ensuring that all guests, students, and participants followed protocol. Maybe you had to learn a new app or program to cover for a colleague who was taxed with another dimension of service. Perhaps Zoom was new to you, and now you’re using it to teach daily classes or facilitate meetings or workshops.

Whatever new skills you had to adapt to make operations run smoothly, those are important to mention during future interviews. You rose to the occasion. You made it work. You did all of this on the fly, and you learned about yourself, your skills, and your talents along the way.

Kyle Elliott, founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com points out: “Employers are looking for candidates who can join their company and hit the ground running. Be ready to share a recent example of when you displayed your adaptability. If your current employer quickly shifted from in-person work to telecommuting, for example, you may consider sharing how you supported your team and customers in swiftly shifting gears.”

As you share these examples, make sure to mention any new hard skills that you learned or refined, which positioned you to take on new work.

Stay positive.

It’s revealing to navigate a crisis with an employer.  What do you learn about your employer and your colleagues by experiencing the pandemic together? Was the experience positive, negative, or a mix of both?

Why have you decided to search for a new role now? Mauer’s piece points to factors like disengagement, burnout, and the need for greater advancement opportunities, enhanced compensation, and increased benefits. Some common reasons that employees are looking for new opportunities. His article also points out that the pandemic delayed searches that employees likely would have launched if the pandemic had not disrupted their plans.

Whatever reasons you have for the timing of your search, it’s important to think about why you’re targeting a new role before you hit the interview circuit. This is always a delicate narrative to shape. You want to highlight any skills or leadership growth that you experienced while navigating the challenges that came with the pandemic.

While It may be true that your employer did not handle the pandemic well. Perhaps you and your colleagues were not managed or supported well enough, or isolation set in while your team worked remotely. Maybe your work on a team that was designated “essential,” and you had to remain on-site, where you did not feel that the team was well-enough protected from Covid. While these may have been negatives, they may have led to growth opportunities for you. The trick is to find a way to talk about the growth without speaking negatively of your former employer, which doesn’t reflect well on you during an interview. 

It’s healthy to do that emotional work and to decompress from your experience. You have room to reflect on where you think that your employer might have made different choices. But do that work outside of the interview situation.

Elliott offers this advice: “avoid the mistake of focusing on the negative aspects of the pandemic. Employers are seeking employees who are willing to roll up their sleeves during these unprecedented times. Demonstrate a willingness to remain flexible, open to change, and positive”.  Get whatever support you need as you let go of the trauma and put that into perspective. Then find a tidy and genuine answer about why you’re job searching.

You’ve got this!

Surviving and succeeding through a global pandemic is no small feat. While it felt exhausting and unrelenting, it can also build strength, skills, and focus. Make sure to acknowledge the rewards you’ve earned for weathering these challenges and emphasize them as you advance in your career. You’ve earned them.

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Can Anybody Have A Career Sponsor Or Is It Only For Specific Roles?

Since our school days, we’ve been steered towards mentors who help us grow our ambitions, achieve our goals, and advance as professionals. But career sponsors could be even more important when it comes to the concrete measure that signifies advancement: stretch assignments, promotions, and raises. Having a sponsor, a career champion, can be a game-changer, especially for minority professionals. 

For as vital as sponsors are when it comes to career advancement, it seems like we hear less about them than we do about mentors. Can anybody have a career sponsor, or is this just for specific jobs? Here’s what you need to know. 

A professional symbiosis.  

Most of us have either had a mentor or served as one. Mentors are advisors. They help mentees shape their ambitions and plans. Mentors are qualified to serve in this capacity because they are experienced experts. They have relevant professional experience to offer. Mentors don’t have to work at the same company or even in the same industry as those they mentor. They are sages, coaches, and counselors. We need them, but we need them differently than we need career sponsors. 

Sponsors are senior colleagues. When they notice a junior co-worker’s talent, they take a special interest in developing and advancing that protégés’ career.  Sponsors use their connections to help their protégés succeed, advocating for their protégés and helping them to earn raises and promotions. Advancing a talented, emerging professional helps sponsors too. It grows their reputation and leadership skills while advancing the protégé’s career ambitions. It’s a symbiotic relationship rooted in action that furthers both sides’ reputations and aspirations.

The value sponsorships add.  

Career sponsorships are an important part of advancement. Payscale’s Teresa Perez points out that nearly 57 percent of employees have career sponsors. Employees who have sponsors tend to be better paid. Perez refers to this as “the Sponsorship Premium,” noting that professionals with sponsors earn nearly 12 percent more than their unsponsored peers.  

Professionals who hold higher positions tend to benefit from more internal advocacy.  Perez explains: “When we look at the data by job level, those higher up the corporate ladder tend to have higher rates of sponsorship. Fifty-five percent of individual contributors (i.e., those who do not manage others) say they have a sponsor. Each step up the organizational ladder sees an increase in sponsorship: 59.2 percent of managers, 63.1 percent of directors, and 65.5 percent of executives say they have a workplace sponsor.”

In addition to increased compensation, other perks like stretch assignments are some benefits that can come from being sponsored by a senior colleague. George Santos, Director of Talent Delivery and Head of Marketing at 180 Engineering, explains the impact a sponsor’s endorsement can have: “Since they themselves are usually respected members of the company or notable industry figures, their willingness to recommend you goes a long way. They can also help you get access to training that will help advance your career.” 

Does my company have sponsorship opportunities? 

Santos points out that sponsorships tend to be associated with senior roles at larger companies. However, a personal endorsement is a powerful mechanism for advancing smaller operations, too, though, perhaps, in less formal ways. Santos explains: “candidates sometimes have career sponsors without even realizing it. Personally, I’ve spoken to many employees who ended up landing a promotion thanks to a recommendation from a senior colleague who they may not have even been aware was fighting for them. That being said, career sponsors do play a significant role in how many contemporary businesses decide who to promote.” 

Likewise, Santos points out that large companies are not the only ones using internal employee assessments to make promotion and advancement decisions: “Small and medium-sized enterprises are also frequently home to similar dynamics wherein sponsors advocate for their replacement or convince executives to invest in an employee’s training. Even self-employed workers can land clients and get access to funding thanks to career sponsors who give credibility to their work.”  

Santos points out that more industries, too, are inviting sponsorship opportunities: “Increasingly, we see the concept of career sponsorship extend beyond the business and tech world and into a plurality of other industries such as education, politics, media, and many other jobs as well.” 

Creating quality opportunities for diverse professionals. 

In their upcoming book, The Business of Race, authors Margaret H. Greenberg and Gina Greenlee explain: “Sponsorships are one of many practical approaches to advance a company’s diversity goals in a systemized way. How? Executive teams at most large companies conduct a Talent Review Meeting at least annually. This is an opportunity for executives to identify professionals from under-represented groups, such as women and people of color, who can grow with the company. Then they are paired with an executive sponsor.”   

Creating this system and facilitating these relationships can have key bi-products for companies. It can help them address and reduce racial and gender pay gaps. It can also help a company create a leadership pipeline among diverse team members. Finally, it stands to bolster retention by creating a sense of belonging among diverse staff members. 

In a recent interview with Harvard Business Review, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist and founder of Coqual emphasizes that it’s important for senior professionals to maintain a diverse portfolio of protégés. Hewlett explains: “So it’s about identifying. It’s about including. . . difference matters, and it’s precious.” 

 Santos points out that sponsorship is a way for leaders to engage mindful minority professionals. He explains: “Unfortunately, minority job candidates are often still disadvantaged in comparison to their peers, as they are often not given their due access to promotions and training opportunities. Career sponsors help rectify this imbalance by calling attention to candidates who deserve to be recognized for their knowledge, hard work, and talent. They can help minority job candidates avoid being overlooked due to ignorance and prejudice, and promote a workforce where diversity is better represented in senior positions.”  

How to find a sponsor. 

A sponsorship relationship is built over time. It’s built on confidence and trust. Santos explains: “There is a lot at stake when it comes to promoting someone to a senior position. As a result, managers and business owners are often cautious about doing so. Career sponsors are people who leverage their own reputation by vouching for your strengths and recommending you as a candidate for career opportunities and promotions. They are important because they advocate for you on your behalf and help mitigate any potential concerns management might have about hiring or promoting you.” 

While mentorships are ubiquitous, sponsorship relationships tend to happen by invitation and can therefore be more subtle to pursue. Many companies have mentoring programs that are easy to find and target. Finding a relationship with a sponsor, however, can require a different approach. 

Hewlett explains that sponsorships “often happens fairly organically because the younger person has to display a great deal of value. And oftentimes, the senior person is looking for a value add, you know, a skill or an experience in the younger person that they don’t have themselves, that allows the older person to expand their own scope and span. So it’s very reciprocal. There’s some risk in it. And it’s really about progression for both of the individuals.” 

It can be challenging to engineer an organic relationship. Your colleagues stand to be willing to sponsor you if they have confidence in your skills and abilities. Santos explains: “Career sponsorship is tricky because it is not something you can go out and find. The process has to start with your own performance. You need to build your list of achievements and talents so that people are willing to put their own reputations on the line to fight for you behind closed doors. Unless you already have a pre-existing relationship with senior figures at a company, career sponsors have to notice you.” 

Other than doing stellar work, Santos recommends taking these steps: “What you can do, however, is increase your chances of being noticed through your work and achievements, as well as by promoting your visibility by taking any opportunities that will allow you to showcase the factors that make you a unique and talented individual. By being transparent in your career goals, you can further your chances of being noticed as well. Finally, you can target your efforts at likely career sponsors by making an effort to recognize senior figures at a company that seems to have a lot of social capital. From there, you should make an effort to form relationships with them based on shared interests and your passion for the job.” 

Greenberg and Greenlee add: “For professionals seeking a career sponsor, start by identifying a mentor. He or she may know more about the sponsorship process at your company. They may also be able to broker a relationship with a potential sponsor. Bottom line? Prove your value first by meeting or exceeding job expectations and then be proactive and make your career aspirations known.” 

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9 Ways to Create Belonging for Remote Employees

A sense of belonging, experts say, is a shared feeling that permeates through a company’s culture — that each employee is a part of a team with a common mission and backed by a strong support system. It’s easy to spot belonging in a workplace, according to Porschia Parker-Griffin, founder and CEO of Fly High Coaching: Just look for workers who collaborate together and feel valued.

Or, as leadership expert Magalie René explains, “belonging is smack in the middle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s the foundation upon which self-esteem and purpose rest. In its absence, the workplace becomes a job of ‘get through the day’ instead of a chance to contribute ideas.”

But belonging is more than a feel-good opportunity for employees. It has a payoff for companies, too. “If people feel like they belong in their workplace, then that suggests their values and their goals align with the overall company ethos,” says Akhila Satish, CEO of Meseekna. “And that means they’re not only working to get a paycheck, but also to further your company’s goals.”

Employees who feel as if they belong within their companies help those businesses myriad ways: They contribute to a positive culture through enthusiasm for their jobs and the company; increase employee engagement and reduce company turnover; and increase productivity and revenue.

Employees that feel a sense of belonging also “work harder, and put in more time and effort to do their job,” says Parker-Griffin. On the flip side, “when people don’t experience a sense of belonging, they naturally do what’s expected — and not much more,” says René. “There’s also less incentive to connect on a personal level. The best companies are made up of individuals who feel personally connected to, and even in some way responsible, for the organization’s success.”

And a sense of belonging can be especially important for remote workers.

A real lack of in-person interaction can lead many remote workers to feel separated — in more than a literal sense — from their teams and workplaces, says Parker-Griffin. And “a sense of belonging is the difference between being a value-added team member” and not, René says.

For many out-of-office employees, “their managers won’t be around to monitor their work ethic as closely,” says Satish. They “need to be really passionate about the company in order for them to keep up their productivity and effort,” she says, and positively contribute to the organization.

That’s just one reason why “companies with remote workers should take extra steps to create a sense of comradery and team spirit,” says Parker-Griffin. If they do, their remote employees can “remain engaged with their colleagues and in their role,” and contribute positively to company.

Now that you know what a sense of belonging can do for your organization and how important it is for remote workers to feel it, here are nine ways to create belonging for remote employees.

1. Give remote workers plenty of opportunities to contribute.

Remote employees can feel disconnected from their teams and — when it comes to meetings — a few steps (or miles) away from the planning process. So, “managers should give their team members an opportunity to contribute to the agenda of team meetings ahead of time,” René says. By allowing remote workers to add to a meeting’s agenda, you single to them that they are key members of your team, she says. It can also “mitigate any discomfort people may have in sharing in a group setting and supports them in overcoming communications challenges,” René adds.

You can promote collaboration outside of meetings, too. For example, you can encourage your staff to spend time talking outside of official meetings to talk about projects, says Parker-Griffin. “This allows remote employees to engage with other team members more frequently,” she says.

2. Schedule routine meetings for “virtual” facetime.

Parker-Griffin suggests scheduling meetings with remote employees weekly, either by Zoom or phone. “Creating a regular group or one-on-one meeting with a remote employee can really help them feel included and supported at work,” she says. “The visual component of being on camera can increase connection, but if that isn’t possible, a phone call is another alternative.” If you have a small team, she also suggests taking the time for one-on-one meetings. These get-togethers can “enhance belonging by showing that you care enough to invest your time with them,” she says.

3. Start team meetings with networking opportunities.

To create a sense of belonging among your employees — especially for those logging in from a distance — René says it’s important to give your team a chance to network whenever they meet, even virtually. She recommends starting each meeting with a five to 10-minute fun networking opportunity, perhaps using prompts to spur conversation and connection. “The prompts can create opportunities for individuals at different levels and from different backgrounds to learn about one another and connect,” she explains. And for remote workers, “this is an ideal way to create or replace the water cooler moments that are becoming less common with virtual work.”

4. Be transparent in how and why your company makes its decisions. 

Big company decisions such as bringing on a new team member or client — or letting employees go — can “sometimes make more of an impact on your employees than you realize, especially when they’re not in the office with you watching your decision-making process,” says Satish. Being transparent about why things are happening, however, can have the opposite effect: It can make remote employees feel like they’re an integral part of the team. So, “make sure to always make your team feel like they understand why you made a decision,” says Satish, “and make yourself accessible for questions or feedback. And when in doubt, be overly-communicative.”

5. Conduct regular “temperature checks” with remote workers.

When communicating with remote workers, consider asking your them, “How are you feeling?” instead of “jumping directly into an update on deliverables,” says René. But taking a moment to ask employees about their emotional health, they will likely feel a sense of belonging. “People experience belonging when they are heard,” she explains. “You don’t need to have a solution or response. The question alone offers an opportunity for a team member to share,” and it’s that opportunity that makes people feel cared for. Plus, “vulnerability creates connection,” she says. “Virtual work requires more effort to build a strong working relationship. This is a great way to cultivate it.”

6. Recognize your remote employees’ efforts.

Parker-Griffin recommends that companies “prioritize recognition of your teams.” Here’s how: “When you see something positive happening, take a moment to send an email to your group and highlight the remote team members who are doing a good job,” she says. “This gives them visibility among others who they don’t see and can go a long way in helping them feel that they belong.” If you want to take things a step further, you can share your appreciation in other ways, she says, such as sending remote workers gift cards or company-branded promotional materials such as a notebook or pens to “give them a physical representation of your acknowledgement.”

7. Make your expectations of remote workers clear — and practice what you preach.

“It’s especially important with remote workers to make sure you’re making your expectations abundantly clear and following them yourself,” says Satish. Why? Because if you’re “telling your employees to do one thing but dropping the ball yourself, you’re going to start making those employees believe that your beliefs actually don’t line up with your behaviors,” she says, and that can lead to them feeling disconnected from your teams a whole. “For example, if you’re always telling them to be online at 9 a.m. but you don’t respond to emails until 10, then you might be sending them the wrong message,” she says. “That could lead to resentment from your team in the long run, so make sure your asks are standards you’ll be able to uphold yourself.”

8. Host virtual happy hours to foster connection.

Every once in a while, ask your team to join a virtual happy hour on Zoom or another online platform, suggests Parker-Griffin. “As a leader, you can set the parameters,” she says, but a nice idea is shipping your team snacks and drinks to enjoy during their time together. “A gathering like this facilitates discussion about topics other than work, and builds relationships,” she says.

9. Take time to recognize things that may be affecting your workers.

René recommends that you “take an intersectional approach to leadership by acknowledging any particularly traumatic public events occurring that affect the marginalized members of your team.” Here’s how: mention the event, then say, “Please let me know how I or human resources can be of support,” she says. If this feels a tad too personal, René urges you to reconsider: “Ignoring traumatic public events is the quickest way to make someone feel invisible,” she warns. “This is especially true when working with members of the BIPOC community.”

She adds that “compassionate leaders make those around them feel seen. People who experience being seen are more likely to feel they belong.” Plus, “remote workers are often navigating the personal and professional simultaneously, particularly when working from home,” she says. 

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How To Honor Asian Heritage Month And Further Your Awareness And Advocacy

Asian and Pacific American Heritage (APAH) Month offers an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the multitudes of Asian history and culture. According to the Library of Congress: “The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.”

Dr. Joliana Yee, Assistant Dean, Yale College, and Director, Asian American Cultural Center, explains that honoring APAH Month in the workplace “is an important way of letting Asian-identifying employees know that their heritage is seen as a valuable and important part of workplace culture. It also provides an opportunity for employees who do not identify as Asian to learn more about the histories, cultures, and social experiences of their Asian-identifying colleagues, neighbors, and community members living in the U.S.”

Garnering this deeper understanding feels especially important this year. According to the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community were up nearly 150 percent across the country in 2020. The AAPI community has experienced 6,603 hate incidents against them from March 19, 2020, to March 31, 2021, according to Stop AAPI Hate’s national report. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there has also been a 164% increase in hate crimes against the AAPI community in 2021 alone.

“In the midst of so much loss and violence against Asians, it is more necessary than ever to celebrate the rich history and cultural heritage found within the Asian diaspora because joy is resistance.” Shares Dr. Yee.

Each May, we have the opportunity to show our AAPI pride and to deepen our awareness so that we can be well-versed allies to our AAPI colleagues, friends, and family members. Here are five ways to honor APAH Month in our hearts, minds, and workplaces this May.  

1. Creating workplace cultures of belonging.  

Workplace culture matters. We can’t do our best work unless we feel safe, comfortable, included, and valued. Dr. Yee explains how recognizing awareness events at work enhances culture: “It allows employees to know that they can bring all aspects of their identity to the workplace and not have it be deemed ‘unprofessional.’ When employees can be more fully themselves in the workplace, they will likely be more fulfilled, build meaningful relationships with colleagues, and a sense of community.” 

Inviting educational opportunities for employees makes for a dynamic culture; that’s good for employees, and it’s good for business. It gives us the chance to forge a deeper understanding of ourselves, our colleagues, and the clients and customers we serve.   

Dr. Desai points out: “In professional settings, by celebrating diversity, you are sending a message that this is a value that is good for the company. Studies show that diversity of approaches and thought, coming from a diversity of backgrounds is actually beneficial both for work culture, but also for good results.”

2. Fostering belonging.  

An initiative that has worked well at Glassdoor is the Glassdoor Asian Impact Network (GAIN), our newest Pan Asian Employee Resource Group (ERG). GAIN’s mission is to celebrate and support our Pan Asian multiculturalism and cultivate a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace. We aim to elevate Glassdoor’s Asian community’s voices and empower our members in business decisions, product development, recruiting, and workplace culture. Additionally, we strive to foster professional development, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for our members.

We want to create a world where everyone has an inclusive and equitable place at the table, along with employers, to develop a safe and diverse workplace for all.  We know our collective voices are more influential together, so we aim to share awareness about intersectionality and allyship for all communities with our ERG program. 

3. Learning to listen.   

This has been a frightening, dangerous time for the AAPI community. Like their colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family members, we can help make the workplace, neighborhood, and community safer and more harmonious by listening, learning, and trying to understand what that experience feels like to be true advocates and allies.  

May’s awareness events can aid us in this work. Dr. Yee points out: “It is also an opportunity to bring awareness to the fact that the violence and abuses against Asians that we are witnessing in the U.S. today is not something recent nor will it be resolved by bolstering systems of policing.”  

Dr. Desai explains: “One of the biggest challenges Asian Americans face is that they are often seen as ‘Asian,’ not American enough. This year, it is proven that the violence against Asian Americans has grown by 150%, especially in big cities. This year, we need to recognize that despite the myth of a model minority, Asian Americans suffer prejudices, but often in silence. It is high time that we recognize the perception of ‘otherness’ faced by many Asian Americans of diverse backgrounds and a variety of histories in this country.”

It’s important to hear the voices from the community that we are honoring with our awareness. That is truly the purpose of any awareness event. 

Dr. Desai suggests: “You can begin with one step at a time. Learning about others who are different from you and learn to see the world from their perspective. Avoid making judgments and create a sense of empathy. Hear different stories. . . Avoid keeping your circle so small that you don’t ever hear different points of view.”    

4. Plan workplace events to celebrate.

Planning events to honor APAH month is worthy, important work. Finding the right team and approach is vital to the success of awareness programming. Christopher K. Lee, Founder and Career Consultant with PurposeRedeemed, advises: “Have Asian American and Pacific Islander professionals share their voices. Don’t speak on their behalf. This seems obvious but is often overlooked. Along with this, don’t make them feel tokenized like this is the one time a year your business wants to hear from them.” 

Dr. Yee recommends this approach, which can safeguard staff against tokenization: “Don’t place the burden of observing heritage months on a handful of employees who identify as such. If you’re inviting employees to volunteer their time, institutionalize measures to meaningfully recognize their contributions to your organization in their annual performance review to ensure they are not doing uncompensated labor at the expense of their own wellbeing.”   

Lee adds another important point to keep in mind: “Don’t treat Asian Americans or AAPI as one homogenous group. We are not. Most people see themselves first as Vietnamese or Korean or Indian or so on – not as AAPI or Asian American. The experiences each of these groups have historically faced are very different. So be cognizant of that when speaking of the Asian American experience or making blanket statements.”

Finally, use this awareness opportunity to bolster ongoing efforts rather than making it feel like an annual pop-up interest. This ongoing support stands to make employees feel recognized, included, and safe in their professional culture. Dr. Yee recommends: “Redirect resources towards, and spotlight grassroots organizations in your local communities who are doing critical work in supporting the needs of Asian communities in the U.S. Do not relegate these efforts to one month in the year and look at these issues of racial violence as interconnected so that advocacy efforts are not counterproductive to the well-being of other marginalized communities.”

5. Stand together at home. 

APAH heritage month is an invitation to speak to the reality of what the AAPI community is experiencing, what our country is experiencing.  

Dr. Desai shares: “Let’s recognize first and foremost that the work of building a perfect union of this country is not yet done and continues to require focused attention. This means that no matter where we are and who we are, we need to call out social injustices no matter who suffers. As we saw in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, people of all ages and all colors and ethnic backgrounds showed to protest and demand justice. This needs to be not a one-time occurrence but an ongoing effort. This is not just to fulfill the potential of America, but also to make it a beacon for others in the world. . . Let’s put this idea of global belonging in practice by starting at home.”

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5 Expert-Approved Tips To Speed Up Your Job Search

It’s understandable to feel urgent and restless when you’re searching for a new job, but don’t let that hunger drive your strategy. Job seeking can feel like an emotional project, but it’s mostly a logistical one.

Position yourself for success by creating systems that streamline the undertaking so that you can get to the good part: loving your job and doing it with aplomb and rigor. Here are four ways to speed your job search, according to the experts.

1. Know what you want. 

Sarah Stoddard, Glassdoor Career Expert recommends an informed approach, starting with self-reflection. Stoddard advises: “Absolutely, do your research on the company that you’re interested in working for. Understand the role you’re applying for, and get a sense of what you love to do at work. That can help guide you to the types of companies and to the jobs that you might be the best fit for.”

Use self-assessment to drive your ambition. Stoddard explains: “Oftentimes people open up a site like Glassdoor and they search for a job title that they’ve heard of or that they’ve held before. But I’ve found that if you start by taking a pulse of what skills you have that you’ve excelled in, the experience you have to offer, and the areas of your career that you’d like to explore even further. By doing your own self-reflection of that-what you’re looking for, that can broaden your horizons in terms of the types of jobs that you apply for.”

Stoddard points out that job seekers can use this “thoughtful, informed” approach by answering these questions: What are the skills that I have that I’m really good at? Where do I excel? She recommends listing both hard and soft skills as you clarify what your next fitting role may look like.

Mikaela Kiner, Founder/CEO at Reverb, recommends: “Identify the kind of company you’re interested in – where you like the culture and feel like you’ll be successful. For example, you may look at lists like Best Places to Work, fastest-growing startups, or best companies for working moms. Do that first, then hit the job boards. It helps to hone in on certain criteria so you don’t find yourself applying for every job that might be a match. A little focus can save lots of time in the long run.”  

2. Customize materials.  

Make sure that your materials are revised and streamlined for success. That means that your resume can deftly handle the ATS tracking system.  Amanda Augustine, the career advice expert for TopResume, explains: “ATS stands for applicant tracking system. In short, an ATS is a piece of software used by employers to scan and rank the online job applications they receive for their open positions.”

A key, when it comes to “beating the bots,” and making your materials stand out is to customize each submission. Biron Clark, founder of Career Sidekick explains: “When a hiring manager or recruiter reads your resume, they’re thinking, ‘Does this person have the skills and experience needed to step into this role and succeed?’ They’re comparing your background to the specific job posting. So as a job seeker, you can speed up your job search and get more interviews if you write and edit your resume with the job description in front of you. Add skills and experience that best fit the role, reorder content to show your most relevant skills first, and consider removing content that’s not relevant.”

Those who receive your materials will not make connections for you: “oh, if she’s worked as a writer, she probably has great editing skills.” You have to make your case and demonstrate why you’re a fit for each role for which you submit a resume.

Stoddard adds: “If you’ve done self-reflection and research, then when it’s time to hit ‘apply’ on a job, and you’re preparing your resume and your cover letter for those, you have even more info about what the company is looking for…you know what skills and what value you’re going to offer to the employer that you can put into your application and that will help you stand out. . . doing as much as you can to personalize your resume and cover letter will put you in the best position.”

Don’t worry about making your resume a comprehensive timeline of your professional work history. Kiner advises: “People often try to cram too much into a resume and feel anxious if they can’t fit in every single job, experience, and skill. What is the purpose of a resume? It’s to share enough information that the company wants to learn more about you. If you view your resume through that lens, you can focus on the information that really matters by including whatever is relevant and demonstrates your ability/qualifications to perform the role. Once you get an interview, you’ll have the opportunity to tell your full story.” 

3. Network like you mean it.  

Your reach is bigger than you know, because of your network. Stoddard points out: “It’s so vital to building your network . . . even if you’re in a job and you’re not looking for a new opportunity, it’s good to keep getting out there.” Networking is part of passive job-seeking that you can build continually.

Clark adds: “Having a strong network can speed up your job search more than any other single factor, but it only works if you build relationships instead of taking a transactional approach. Networking is most effective when you treat it as an ongoing process, not an activity for when you need immediate assistance. Many job seekers tell me that they’re not getting responses to their networking messages, and it’s almost always because they haven’t built relationships until the moment they have a big favor to ask.”

Your network is helpful when you’re job seeking, but it’s valuable for a host of other reasons too. It gives you the chance to learn about what other professionals are thinking, reading, and navigating. Clark recommends: “So instead of only asking for favors, try to help others, too. Facilitate connections between people in your network who would benefit from knowing each other. Keep in touch with each person in your network by talking at least a few times per year. If you build relationships on an ongoing basis, your network will be far more likely to respond when you do need help.”

Kiner adds: “When you define your network, think broad. I frequently hear people say, ‘I see a perfect job posting, but I don’t know anyone at that company.’ Your most useful network is often one step removed, so don’t ask who you know, but who you’re connected to and who they know. Using your network to get an introduction is one of the best ways to apply. We all do it, so don’t feel bad about asking for an introduction. No doubt you’ll be able to pay it forward.” Kiner shares.  

4. Use the right tools.

Finding a new job is a research project; these Glassdoor tools focus and streamline your search.   

Know your worthGet real-time data so that you know if you’re currently being paid fairly. Learn more about pay standards in your industry and region. This gives you the information you need to negotiate

a competitive salary confidently.  In 2016, Glassdoor found that 59 percent of job candidates accepted offers without negotiating their salaries. By 2019, that number dropped to 40 percent of job seekers who did not attempt to negotiate a better deal for themselves. Keep it up, job seekers!

Company compare feature– This tool pulls data from company profiles and compares them side by side. That way, you don’t have to filter between the two; instead, just use this easy-to-use tool to compare companies fast and efficiently. Easily compare:

·   Overall company rating

·   Career opportunities

·   Compensation & benefits

·   Work-life balance

·   Senior management

·   Culture & values

Streamline your search with the company compare feature.

Job alerts help you target fitting roles. Experiment with the robust filters that designate criteria like company size, remote status, pay range, industry, etc. These will help you target a fitting role. Stoddard explains: “There’s a lot of hidden filters in the job search panel.” There’s the tremendous capacity to create a targeted search that gets you the output you need.

5. Find your fit.

Don’t stop searching until you find your fit. Clark points out: “I see many job seekers get excited after a great interview and stop applying to other positions. Then, if the job offer falls through, they’re back at the beginning of the process with no momentum or active conversations. So if you want to get hired as quickly as possible, don’t get your hopes up about any single employer until you know the job offer is yours. It’s better to receive multiple job offers and have to decline some than wait for one job offer and have it fall through.”

Search company reviews and find your fit. You deserve a job that fits your life.   

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Should You Leave A Safe Job You Don’t Love During The Pandemic? (Hint, Yes!)

We’re beginning to emerge collectively from a difficult time as we’ve weathered the many effects of COVID-19. Recently, there have been some hopeful indicators that life may soon return to something resembling normal. Economic indicators are also hopeful. In his March update, Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao asserts: “March’s jobs report is the most optimistic since the pandemic began. The end of the pandemic appears to be in sight as vaccine distribution accelerates, and the economic recovery looks like it’s champing at the bit.”   

Living through difficult and demanding times can grow us in ways that we didn’t expect. It can build new muscles, skills, and perspectives. It can refine our focus, enabling us to see ourselves more clearly. It can make us realize that our time here on earth is too precious to spend doing a job that doesn’t truly suit us and that we don’t love.

If you have a job that is safe and comfortable, but that you’ve outgrown, that you find boring or unfulfilling, you may be wondering: does safety constitute fit? Should I give up this comfortable job and risk finding something that excites and challenges me?

Yes! We think that you deserve a job that deeply suits you. There’s nothing like the thrill of fit; here’s what you need to know to secure it for yourself.   

Before you can decide what you’re looking for in a new role, clarify how you feel about your current position. Decide what’s working for you and identify where you crave change. Have you outgrown your current role? Is there room for you to grow with your current employer? How do you feel about your current supervisor and your team? What kind of options do you have at your job? Is there a position or another team there that you’ve considered?

Think about your job prospects as an exercise, without worrying about the usual roadblocks. What would you explore professionally if you had the opportunity? Take our quiz: What Job Best Fits Your Life? It can give you a starting point as you contemplate what qualities you’re looking for in a suitable role.

We may be inclined to stay in comfortable but ill-fitting jobs for many reasons. Perhaps our ambitions aren’t well enough defined. We know what we like to do, but how does that translate into a job? Perhaps the job search seems too daunting; we’re not sure our tech skills are refined enough to manage a search or we’re worried about the project of writing a resume or selling our skills through the interview process.   

Matthew Warzel, President of MJW Careers, advises: “Have a vision of your dream job. Think of your job drivers. What’s important to you? Time, money, benefits, 401(k)s, location, product offerings, company image, culture, values, progressive versus traditional setting, remote versus on-location, passionate project opportunities, etc. Each is different for each person. What motivates you? What’s your passion? What can you do that will make you happy in 2 weeks, 3 months, a year?”

Job searching starts with soul searching. Defining and targeting what you truly want fuels the process.  

Experiment. 

As you think about what fit means to you, know that you may not have the answers right away. What you’re looking for might have changed during the pandemic. Because your already have a job, you have the time to be reflective about your reinvention.

Warzel recommends a full-body approach to the quest: “Be specific in what you want, clarify it, write it down, consume knowledge of it, live it. Recruiters cannot help you if you nor they know what you want to do. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job. The key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer.”

Be patient as you work through tabulating where you are professionally and deciding where you’d like to take that. Keep building as you contemplate your next move.

Warzel advises: “The challenge is that most are unsure of how their skills are exchangeable to other duties. If you’re an accomplished professional, it’s best to use actual methodologies, processes, skills, or technologies relating directly to the open job description and your experience. These are good ideas for those greener candidates. Also, opt for free experiential learning like internships. Work freelance projects for friends, neighbors, etc., and continuously build your portfolio, skills, and competencies… maybe even parlay that into a side hustle as part of the gig economy.”

Study the job you’re targeting. 

If you’ve found a new dimension of your professional skill set, you may even consider refining it further via professional training. Warzel recommends: “Enroll in continuing education courses, there’s plenty of free ones out there like Udemy or Coursera, and even some Ivy schools are offering free digital learning programs. Track all these wonderful things you learn. When you seek out academic programs, find ones that can help train and prepare you for your new role while you’re in limbo.”

Keep in mind, that you want to both upskill yourself and refine your understanding of the industry. Warzel summarizes: “Your goal is to understand the role and industry inside and out so eventually you can become the subject matter expert. Find some new career job openings and the minimal qualifications in each, identify the possible credentials you may need to better position yourself in this new role, and find online institutions that you can acquire these credentials, and list them onto your resume. Also, find membership groups and industry networking opportunities…this is a wonderful place to gather knowledge from industry pros who can help explain the nuances of your new role.”

A worthy hunt.

Warzel grants that the job search game is slightly different than it was pre-covid. The difference he sees: “More talent. And more solid talent at that. Lots of highly successful or proficient people are trying to find their next career so they can continue on with their career journey.”

Warzel’s advice: “Do not get discouraged. Sometimes it takes creativity, maybe some guerilla job hunting tactics or a network to move ahead of the others.” Be creative, confident, and committed to your search.

And then nail the basics. “You must play the resume game correctly. There is a 7-second eye test that exists, so when you’re ready, make sure your resume is up to snuff in terms of content, layout, format, ATS-compliance and overall messaging. Again, keep your head up, if you make enough waves, someone will notice. Tap your network, comment on decision-makers at companies you want to work for and are in your business unit. Reach out to recruiters. Build rapport.” Warzel advises.

A hopeful future.

Finding a job that truly suits you is worth your effort. Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor Chief Economist and Director of Research, assures: “These are challenging times. Yet, we at Glassdoor remain optimistic about the future of work and hiring. America’s entrepreneurial culture has proven to be resilient, adaptable, and innovative in the face of many economic and social crises of the past.”  

Search company reviews and find your fit. You deserve it, and you’ve got this.

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25 Highest Paying Internships For 2021

While COVID-19 slowed hiring across the country for much of the past 13 months, many companies are still actively searching for eager college graduates and entry-level employees to fill a range of internship roles. And some of these roles pay top dollar. Our Economic Research team pulled together a list of the 25 Highest Paying Internships for 2021, identifying companies with the highest monthly median base pay for interns as reported by the U.S.-based interns on Glassdoor during the pandemic (between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021). 

Millions of Americans are still out of work because of COVID-19, but this summer, some interns will be earning over $8,000 per month — that’s $96,000 per year. Over half of the top companies paying their interns generously are in tech (16 companies), with six companies in finance and two in the energy industry. The company with the highest monthly pay for interns is NVIDIA ($8,811), a computer hardware and software company that also ranked second among Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work in 2021.

“The past year presented unique challenges for college students and recent graduates trying to gain valuable internship experience, with many employers making the difficult decision to pause hiring or even cut internships,” said Amanda Stansell, Glassdoor economic data scientist. “Fortunately, the labor market is seeing signs of recovery, presenting opportunities for workers early in their careers to not only find internships at top companies but also earn a hefty paycheck, especially in those industries where it’s notoriously difficult to hire, like tech and finance. Internship programs are critical tools for employers to fill their early talent pipelines and, in this age of remote work, many are willing to pay top dollar for interns, no matter where they are based.”

If you’re on the hunt for your next internship that also pays well, check out the companies with the 25 Highest Paying Internships for 2021:

1. NVIDIA

Median Monthly Pay: $8,811

Locations: Santa Clara, CA, Austin, TX & more. 

See open internships 

2. Facebook

Median Monthly Pay: $8,023

Locations: Remote

See open internships 

3. LinkedIn

Median Monthly Pay: $8,009

Locations: San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC & more. 

See open internships 

4. Amazon

Median Monthly Pay: $7,954

Locations: Seattle, WA, New York, NY, Sunnyvale, CA & more. 

See open internships 

5. Salesforce 

Median Monthly Pay: $7,710

Locations: San Francisco, CA, Dallas, TX, Palo Alto, CA & more.

See open internships 

6. Capital One

Median Monthly Pay: $7,530

Locations: Tampa, FL, McLean, VA & more. 

See open internships 

7. Microsoft 

Median Monthly Pay: $7,366

Locations: Redmond, WA, Sunnyvale, CA & more. 

See open internships 

8. Uber

Median Monthly Pay: $7,353

Locations: San Francisco, CA & more 

See open internships 

9. Google

Median Monthly Pay: $7,129

Locations: Ann Arbor, MI, Atlanta, GA, Mountain View, CA & more.

See open internships 

10. ExxonMobil 

Median Monthly Pay: $7,018

Locations: Northville, MI, Little Falls, NY & more. 

See open internships

11. Apple

Median Monthly Pay: $6,917

Locations: Cleveland, OH & more. 

See open internships 

12. Intuit

Median Monthly Pay: $6,749

Locations: Mountain View, CA, San Diego, CA & more. 

See open internships 

13. BlackRock

Median Monthly Pay: $6,684

Locations: New York, NY, Atlanta, GA & more. 

See open internships 

14. American Express 

Median Monthly Pay: $6,622

Locations: New York, NY, Phoenix, AZ & more. 

See open internships 

15. VMware

Median Monthly Pay: $6,463

Locations: Palo Alto, CA, San Francisco, CA & more. 

See open internships 

16. PayPal

Median Monthly Pay: $6,359

Locations: Phoenix, AZ, San Jose, CA, Chicago, IL

See open internships 

17. Qualcomm

Median Monthly Pay: $6,355

Locations: Boulder, CO, Austin, TX, Boxborough, MA & more. 

See open internships 

18. JP Morgan

Median Monthly Pay: $6,250

Locations: New York, NY & more. 

See open internships 

19. Citi

Median Monthly Pay: $6,043

Locations: Irving, TX & more. 

See open internships 

20. Goldman Sachs

Median Monthly Pay: $6,008

Locations: Burlington, VT, New York, NY & more. 

See open internships 

21. MathWorks

Median Monthly Pay: $5,905

Locations: Natick, MA & more. 

See open internships 

22. Adobe

Median Monthly Pay: $5,875

Locations: Lehi, UT, San Francisco, CA & more. 

See open internships 

23. Marathon Petroleum

Median Monthly Pay: $5,512

Locations: Washington, DC, Findlay, OH & more. 

See open internships 

24. Tesla *Hiring Surge* 

Median Monthly Pay: $5,348

Locations: Hawthorne, CA, Fremont, CA & more.

See open internships 

25. Cisco Systems 

Median Monthly Pay: $5,347

Locations: San Jose, CA, Richardson, TX & more. 

See open internships 

Methodology: Glassdoor’s Highest Paying Internships for 2021 report identifies companies with the highest median monthly pay for internships as reported by U.S.-based interns on Glassdoor over the time period 3/01/20 – 2/28/21. To be considered, companies with internship programs must have received at least 30 salary reports in U.S. dollars by U.S-based interns during the timeframe. In cases where companies have the same median monthly pay, the company with the greater number of salary reports receives higher rank.

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