30 May 2013
29 May 2013
In this modern day and age, having a mentor of any kind is a rare thing. However, the importance of having a mentor should not be underestimated, especially when it comes to your career growth. Although the task of finding the right mentor may feel like a difficult one, often times simply asking is enough for someone to feel inclined to help you. What is a Career Mentor? A career mentor is someone with years of experience in the field that you either work within or are interested in, or whose career you admire. This professional will have the experience and know-how to give valuable insight on that industry and will help you advance your career with their guidance and tutelage. Having a mentor means you have someone to turn to when you are unsure of the right steps to take in your career, or which path to go down. It can be comforting to have a mentor you truly connect with, and who genuinely wants you to succeed. In return for this relationship your career mentor will be able to tout their success in developing a protégé. What’s the best way to find a career mentor, you ask? Think about what you want – In order to find a mentor, you will have to first decide the qualities you want in a mentor, and what you’re looking to get out of the relationship. You will also need to think about what you would ideally like to end up doing professionally, if you aren’t doing it already. Make a list of your expectations pertaining to your future mentor. For instance, do you want someone who has a fantastic network of contacts and connections, or would you prefer someone who has grown very quickly in their career without having had much help. Perhaps you are an introvert seeking to develop the communication skills of an extrovert. It is very important to identify your goals when seeking a mentor, and what you hope to gain with the help and advice of this person. Research – Once you decide exactly what kind of mentor you want, begin researching the field for potential mentors. There are often professionals that have already volunteered themselves as mentors who are just waiting to meet people in need of their help. For example, Ed2010.com is a journalism website that has an “Ed Buddy System” where you can sign up to meet with a “60-minute mentor” somewhere in the city. Research whether there are similar mentoring services in place where you live, for the industry you are interested in. Alternately, you can make a list of potential individuals who have not necessarily volunteered their services as mentors just yet, and begin contacting them via email or phone. Politely and formally explain that you are just starting out in the business or looking to start, and that you find their career journey to be particularly inspiring. Then ask if they would be willing to take a look at your resume and give some feedback. If they respond, you can expand the interaction and eventually suggest something informal, like meeting over coffee for a brief conversation. Personality Matters – You want to find someone who you can actually learn from, and that will be made much easier if you actually like the person. Similarly, you also want someone who enjoys being a mentor for you, so you need to make sure that your personalities mix well. You don’t want to find a mentor who is so busy with their own work and life that they barely have time to advise you, or someone whose personality clashes with your own. True career mentors are life-long friends who want to help their protégés in any way they can, and they’re personally invested in the success of their apprentices and want to see them succeed. Gain a mentor and you gain a helping hand from someone with the wisdom and success you hope to one day have. Then, someday, maybe you can pay it forward!
28 May 2013
LinkedIn has sparked a bit of a recruiting revolution. In addition to sifting through piles of resumes and scouring job boards for candidates, recruiters can draw straight from the LinkedIn employee pool—whether the candidate has expressed interest or not. This is great for recruiters when making job placements, and even better for the savvy LinkedIn user. While LinkedIn makes the applicant’s role more passive, it also means that many more qualified applicants are being considered for a given position. However, there’s a lot you can do to make your profile attractive and engaging. Significantly more public and accessible, a LinkedIn profile is like a storefront that evolves with and showcases your brand. Here’s how to catch recruiters’ eyes as they shop around. Consider what you want. What job do you imagine yourself in? How would you like to be seen professionally? Think about the role you are looking for, and tailor your profile to that job. It is better to brand yourself for the job you want rather than the one you have. Why? Recruiters search for specific job titles when looking for applicants. Perfect your elevator pitch. Short enough to recite in an elevator ride, your elevator pitch should be pithy, potent, and express your skills and ambitions—without any hesitation. Your pitch (which belongs in the summary box on your profile) should convey how and why you’re a unique and valuable professional asset. Tell your story… and make it a pleasure to read. Don’t simply rely on a bulleted list of employment experience and accomplishments. Find continuity and cohesion in your professional history, and project your career trajectory into the future by subtly incorporating career goals. Use linking phrases between jobs, for example, “After getting my feet wet as an intern, I moved up to a full time position.” This will help recruiters visualize your past growth and imagine your potential. Don’t forget to include the facts. Unlike on a resume, there’s no need to worry about the length of your LinkedIn profile. While you shouldn’t wax poetic, don’t forget to incorporate actual, tangible achievements. Recruiters may find your profile via searchable keywords, but they’ll stay for an engaging description of a project you participated in. Build good recommendation karma. Every LinkedIn profile can benefit from recommendations. But how to get them? It’s certainly acceptable—if not required—to gently prod your satisfied clients, reminding them of the excellent services you rendered. However, it’s a good idea to sweeten the pot by writing thoughtful recommendations for others. If a client sees that you take the time to write recommendations, they are more likely to write one for you. After all, “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Let people know what you’re up to. Update your profile and status frequently with client wins, new recommendations or endorsements, product launches, and projects you’re involved in. Or, use your status to express interest in a new job or budding field. Actively participate in discussions and join groups. Recruiters look at this type of activity as evidence that you are keeping up to date on LinkedIn. Build connections. Take time to expand your network and keep it up to date. If a potential employer or recruiter sees that someone in their network recommended or endorsed you, it increases your credibility. Remember not to go overboard and add dozens of people in a day—your connections can tell and it seems impersonal. Always write a personalized note when inviting someone to connect. Use keywords. Optimizing your SEO puts you higher on recruiters’ radars. Recruiters often search for specific industry terms, so stud your profile with relevant keywords to increase your visibility. Make sure your settings invite recruiters to contact you. This is essential! Your contact settings should include career opportunities, consulting offers, new ventures, job inquiries, and reference requests. Top it off with a professional photo. Use a picture that is both flattering and appropriate, preferably a professional headshot. As a rule of thumb, choose a photo where you are conservatively dressed—if you wouldn’t wear those clothes to an interview, it probably isn’t a good profile picture. Don’t forget to smile! Keeping your LinkedIn profile accurate and up to date only takes an hour or two here and there. Incorporate it into your daily routine as you would with Twitter or Facebook, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time. After all, a well-kept LinkedIn profile makes recruiters’ jobs easier—and that’s one thing that will definitely catch their attention.
24 May 2013
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has all the tools it needs to compete with major tech cities like San Francisco and New York City in the race to becoming the world’s leading hub of technology: The state is already home to MIT, one of the most prestigious tech schools in the world; the tech industry accounts for 20% of the state’s GDP and is comprised of over 10,000 companies that employ over 180,000 workers; for every 100 tech jobs, another 163 new jobs are being created in MA; and The Boston Globe’s recently released Globe 100 list of top performing public companies revealed that tech firms are the guiding stars of the Massachusetts economy. At this point, it’s all about using these tools strategically. To ensure the State’s tech industry does become a leading center of technology and can compete with other hubs of innovation, like New York and Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to build NYC into an industry leader, there are several projects in Massachusetts with the same goals: to invest in more innovation, promote the local tech industry as a whole, and keep jobs in the state. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a relationship built on collaboration between the Massachusetts legislative, tech, and educational communities, has developed 3 institutes that are each comprised of separate projects and initiatives that aim to give tech students and professionals new opportunities to develop and advance their careers. Here is a selection of unique institutes and initiatives that will be especially beneficial for tech professionals in the Greater Boston Area: Innovation Institute: The Innovation Institute is one umbrella institute that has developed a series of initiatives with a common goal: to increase global competitiveness within key industry clusters of Massachusetts’s Innovation Economy and to identify opportunities to strengthen the state’s innovation system. To do this, members of the institute have established the: Tech Hub Collaborative: This initiative focuses on the state’s growing digital technology sector. To expand this sector, the executive committee has identified and addressed impediments to growth through policy, as well as pursued and launched new projects to advance digital tech in Mass. Thanks to their continuing efforts, professionals who work within digital technology, including, software, hardware, robotics, gaming, e-commerce, mobile technology, health IT, and interactive media can expect to see their field and opportunities grow locally, and won’t have to look elsewhere for career advancement. Research Center Investments: Through the Collaborative’ s University Match Fund, they hope to help research centers develop a capacity “for innovation that helps research outcomes translate into business opportunities.” Today, their investments have already helped connect research and development to business needs in order to support “technological commercialization.” These investments will ultimately help researchers, developers, and technology enterprises convert their research and data into new business ideas and tangible projects, which will in turn create new opportunities for a wide variety of tech professionals. These innovative Boston-based projects will also put both the city and state on the map as an industry leader, which could possibly attract companies from all over the world to set up offices in the Commonwealth, thus creating new opportunities for economic growth. Mass Tech Intern Partnership: Currently, Boston ranks #8 as the destination of Boston area college graduates because students do not feel there are enough opportunities in Boston that a) match their skill-set or b) they have enough experience for. The talent that has been cultivated in-state is taking their skills to cities like San Francisco and New York City; cities that they perceive as having more opportunities for them. This program, launched in mid-March, aims to address the issue by working with tech businesses, start-ups, and universities to directly connect students and recent graduates with paid internship opportunities. Pertaining to their focus, interns can be matched with companies that work in a wide variety of technology sectors. By giving students and graduates the opportunity to fill a real need and gain hands-on experience with top Massachusetts based firms, and by exposing firms to fresh talent, this program intends to bridge the gap between the number of talented tech professionals who are trained in-state and the number that actually stay. To learn more about this program, please visit: http://masstech.org/intern. Mass eHealth Institute: This institute provides health information technology services to healthcare providers and calls on tech professionals to implement these upgrades. As an increasing amount of Affordable Care Act mandates begin to go into effect, specifically provisions for Electronic Medical Records, this institution will increase its efforts to ensure all providers have access to health information technologies. This will not only ensure that the safety, quality, and efficiency of Massachusetts healthcare are all maximized but will also create new opportunities in the healthcare industry for IT professionals looking to develop new skills or diversify their industry experience.
22 May 2013
Most of us know that the job application process has transitioned almost completely online. But there are some surprising ways technology is making the old resume and sit-down interview format look old hat. From utilizing social media to harnessing new technology, modern companies and jobseekers are embracing all the innovations of the internet to make stellar employment connections. Here are four of the newest ways technology is changing the job search. Video Interviews – A recent study has found that 6 out of 10 companies use video interviewing in their hiring process. The growing popularity of video interviewing can be explained by its effectiveness in cutting down on the time it takes to hire candidates. It is more convenient than traditional methods of interviewing, in that working around busy schedules becomes more manageable. Additionally, it is a popular method of conducting first-round interviews as employers can rather quickly gauge a candidate’s relevancy and communication style over the internet without mapping out the time to meet with them. Creative Applications – Creative applications are catching more and more attention, as imaginative jobseekers are creating their own campaigns designed to get the interest of their dream company. Some ways of creating out-of-the-box applications are to make a webpage, write a blog post, or outline a marketing campaign. Companies are particularly attracted to these types of applications because they show imagination and a pioneering spirit. Recruiters know that these applicants have drive and motivation, qualities that are valuable to many companies. Targeted Job Advertisements – Targeted display advertising technologies place job postings in front of a huge amount of job candidates. These ads are automatically distributed to a specific targeted audience across a large number of sites, thus enabling the reach of the posting to include candidates not necessarily actively looking for an open position. The ads reach their intended audience through the use of cookie-based targeting, which identifies behaviors that demonstrate an interest in a specific career. So, if you are a job seeker, don’t automatically write off the job advertisements you see on Facebook. Chances are that they’re not a scam, and you’re being targeted with good reason! Career Apps – There is a burgeoning market for career apps due to their potential to market job postings uniquely to the enormous number of mobile-phone users today. Job search apps help employers reach candidates that are part of the emerging workforce of mobile internet users. Different apps allow users to search for jobs by different criteria, such as location and keyword.
21 May 2013
Many professionals would agree that networking is a major part of a successful job search, but how do you know if you are doing it correctly? Can your networking tactics be harming you rather than helping you? There are a number of ways to ensure that you’re being tactful, considerate, and appreciative when dealing with professional contacts. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of networking to help you build the most productive relationships. Do be tactful and considerate. If you are contacting this person for industry advice or leads on job openings, chances are he or she is in a position you admire and therefore has limited time to begin with. Craft polite emails that respect this fact by keeping them short and to the point. Don’t act entitled. When writing your email, don’t be so brief that you essentially say “Hi, my name is ___. We met at this conference. What can you do to help me?” While it’s important to respect their time, you still want to be reverent and respectful. Do explain why you trust them to help. In most cases, your contacts will be happy to lend you a hand should they feel you are contacting them for the right reason. Communicating that you consider them to be a trusted and experienced professional in your field will humble them and make them more likely to respond favorably. Don’t expect them to do all the work. Be specific. What is it you’re looking for help with? Further show your respect for their time by being direct, though polite, about what it is you are looking for. Provide them with your resume and other relevant documents up front rather than expect them to ask for them or seek you out on LinkedIn. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to help. Do take a hint. If your contact does not respond, follow up once, after a reasonable amount of time. Should he or she still not get back to you, move on. You have done your job by reaching out and being pushy can be seen as presumptuous. Don’t be overzealous. Focus on the quality, not quantity, of your contacts. Sending generic connection requests to people you’ve never met on LinkedIn because you think they might be able to help you in the future can confuse or annoy them. Instead, stick with those you have met or have a connection to through others. Should you send a request to someone on LinkedIn whom you’re connected to through another person, get that other person’s permission to use their name in a personalized message as to why you would like to connect. Do follow up. Should a contact respond to you, even only to say that they unfortunately don’t have much to offer, be grateful and thank them for their time. Keep in touch afterward, especially if he or she was helpful. Even occasionally forwarding a relevant article or something similar of interest can keep you in touch.
16 May 2013
Is your company culture fostering collaboration and the spread of ideas? Employers put a lot of focus on hiring and retention—which are both crucial—but oftentimes, not enough thought is put into how those employees can work together. Years ago, it was common for employers to see water cooler chatter as a productivity sink. Employees were encouraged to maintain brief professional relationships and focus on the tasks at hand. The worry was, while it’s important for colleagues to get along, how much conversation is too much? At what point does it become debilitating to their work? Too much idle chatting was often seen as a mark of a slacking employee, but today, many companies are striving for the opposite: to promote better relationships and collaboration amongst coworkers. Technology has made it easy for most office professionals to reduce their daily interactions with coworkers to a few taps on a keyboard. At work, it can become easy for us to get caught up in our responsibilities and hole ourselves into offices or cubicles and engage in minimal contact with others. In many cases, email has taken the place of inner office communication. Employees now have the majority of tools they need to be efficient in their positions right at their fingertips, and employers usually prefer focused professionals to chatty ones, so doesn’t everyone win? Many would disagree. There are plenty of upsides to employee communication. Many career experts believe that it can “accidentally” facilitate the growth and innovation of new ideas; the word “serendipity,” which is often thought of as somewhat of a happy accident or pleasant surprise, has been used across the industry to describe this idea. The general thought is that, the more opportunities coworkers have to run into one another and strike up conversation, the more likely it will be that new ideas will be shared and cultivated. From strategically laying out their offices to encourage employee run-ins, to planning extravagant social events, many big name companies are taking the serendipity movement seriously. Yahoo even banned working from home in their company earlier this year, claiming that “Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.” While many people heard the news of Yahoo banning their work-from-home program as a step backward—not facilitating flexibility with employees—many industry analysts saw the other side of the story: Yahoo’s goal of enhancing interactions and collaborations among coworkers. With a similar goal in mind, Steve Jobs made a slightly more subtle move toward serendipity by locating the only bathrooms of the Pixar headquarters in the central atrium, thus drawing more isolated employees out into the main bustle of the building. However, there are a number of ways you can encourage serendipitous brainstorming without spending exorbitant sums of money or reorganizing your entire business model. The key is to facilitate natural communication. Requiring employees to attend events they don’t want to or to participate in forced exercises can cause them to resent the efforts and resist involvement. Instead, it could be beneficial to: If your company is divided into several different departments, find ways to structure cross-departmental communication. Having different departments work together on relevant projects can not only enhance relationships among coworkers but can also give their work more well-rounded dimension. Develop ways for employees to interact even when they don’t have time for face-to-face communication. For example, a company intranet and/or message board where people can bounce ideas off each other, stay updated on company news, and introduce themselves is a great way of using the technology that has the tendency to isolate us to a communicative advantage. Like Steve Jobs, think strategically about where things should be located in the office. Is your kitchen or coffee maker in a high-traffic spot that encourages conversation, or is it hidden in a corner? Is there a better place for the water cooler? Where do employees congregate most, and how can you draw the more isolated of the bunch to that spot? Encourage employees to stop into your office if they’d like to speak with you rather than email you, when possible, and do the same with them. This can help develop good interpersonal habits that are more personable and show respect. If you need some inspiration, consider this quote from Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” While productivity is imperative, ensuring that there are chances in the workday for socializing with coworkers—and thus, for the parts to form a more solid whole—helps to boost productivity and even create new opportunities for it. Sometimes stepping out of your department is all you need for the development of a fresh, outside-the-box idea.
15 May 2013
Establishing NY as a Tech Leader: “Made in New York” Creates Jobs, Top Colleges Train Future Leaders
New York’s burgeoning tech economy is getting a major boost as prominent New York Colleges have begun to develop and gather investors for new academic programs focused on steering students towards the technology field. Participating schools have already received generous funding from the City as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s Applied Science NYC Initiative. This initiative, which is aimed at expanding New York’s capacity in applied science in order to increase the probability that the next high growth company is launched in New York, is just one part of Mayor Bloomberg’s final plans as Mayor to establish New York City as the country’s hub of innovation. While Bloomberg’s recently launched Made in New York initiative has encouraged businesses to venture to NY and create new opportunities in the area, the Applied Science NYC Initiative aims to help IT students and professionals learn the skills necessary for filling those positions. Among the many schools participating in these new technology initiatives are some of the nation’s best colleges such as Cornell, Columbia, and NYU. Daniel Huttenlocher, Dean of Cornell Tech, the university’s technology school, strongly believes in the need for these programs. In a recent Daily News article, he explained, “We’re on the dawn of the information economy. We need to educate people locally. Otherwise the jobs will go elsewhere.” Joseph Schott, a Recruiter within our Information Technology division, is optimistic that these programs will give IT students and professionals the tools they need to take advantage of the growing number of opportunities available to them in New York. He believes that “With the support of local and international tech companies and Mayor Bloomberg’s mission, these schools will have the ability to bring the NY tech skills gap to a close and ultimately help New York City establish itself as an industry leader.” If you are interested in continuing your education or learning more about New York City’s changing tech landscape, here are some programs to check out: Cornell Tech: Cornell Tech, which has been hailed a “game changer” for New York’s tech industry by the Mayor himself, is by far the largest program on this list and has generated the most buzz. The sprawling 2 million square foot campus has just been officially approved by the New York City Council and will open in 2017 on Roosevelt Island. What’s unique about Cornell Tech? Its core curriculum has been developed around a unique, New York City centric model, which focuses on NYC’s core industries: media, advertising, healthcare, real estate, and fashion and design. At first glance, companies in these industries may not seem like they have anything in common, but if you take a closer look, you will see they do; they are connected by technology that allows them to engage with consumers, and according to Cornell University, “are motivated to stay and grow right here.” Rather than using the traditional methods of higher learning, Cornell Tech’s program, “will be organized around areas of interdisciplinary research which are also relevant to commercial impact.” Though the campus does not officially open until 2017, Google has been hosting a small inaugural class of 8 in their Chelsea offices. Donations to the school include a $133 million contribution from Qualcomm Chairman, Irwin Davis, and a gift of $350 million from Charles F. Feeney, a billionaire Cornell alumnus. NYU MAGNET: One of NYU’s tech initiatives includes its new Media and Games Network (MAGNET), a school for students studying subjects such as game design, digital media design, computer science, and engineering. The video game institute will offer programs that range from a master’s degree in game design to a doctorate in educational communicative technology, and hopes to better prepare its students for a career in the growing gaming industry. NYU CUSP: NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), a collaboration between NYU, NYU-Polytechnic, other top tier universities, and a group of prominent international tech companies, has already received a significant amount of funding from the city. The programs offered at CUSP are structured around the emerging field of quantitative urbanism. At the school, future Data Scientists will work side by side with city and state agencies and industry partners to collect and analyze big data to address the challenges cities face as they expand. CUSP currently offers an MS in Applied Urban Science and Informatics and an Advanced Certificate in Applied Urban Science and Informatics. Columbia University Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering: Columbia University’s Morningside Campus will be home to the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering and will be comprised of 6 centers: Smart Cities, New Media, Health Analytics, Financial Analytics, Cybersecurity, and Foundations of Data Science. This part-time certification program will allow students to study emerging subsets of data science with industry trailblazers and aims to foster the entrepreneurial spirits of New York’s future leaders. The institute will launch their Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences in the fall, and plans on offering a full-time Master’s program in 2014. To learn more about the 6 centers, please visit: http://idse.columbia.edu/centers-0
14 May 2013
In preparation for 2014, when Obamacare provisions such as expanded Medicaid eligibility and fines for businesses that don’t provide coverage for full-time employees come into effect, hospitals and clinics are shoring up their human resources. With nearly 32 million individuals expected to be newly insured in the next two years, many of whom suffer untreated chronic health conditions, an unprecedented amount of stress will fall on the medical field over the next ten years. Many healthcare facilities are bringing on new staff to prepare for the surge, which means plenty of job opportunities for those in the medical field. The result? There simply aren’t enough doctors to go around. With the demand for health coverage increasing so dramatically, nearly 75% of surveyed facilities turned to other medical professionals like Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to help fill the cracks of the physician shortage in the past 12 months. Facilities are feeling the strain of healthcare reform at different rates, depending on their available staff and resources. However, one thing is clear: the rapidly changing face of healthcare yields potential risks and benefits for all involved, and may be a harbinger of an ideological shift in the way Americans think about healthcare and wellness. Another solution that struggling healthcare facilities have adopted in the face of healthcare reform is to boost their staff with talented, high-level medical practitioners. Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are in very high demand this year, since both can perform standard medical procedures and write prescriptions, freeing up doctors’ schedules for the less routine cases that cross their desks. That makes this a great time to get certified or continue your education. Since hospitals are competing to retain their current medical staff and attract new employees, they will likely improve workplace conditions, for example, by changing employee policies, raising salaries, eradicating mandatory overtime, and allowing for schedule flexibility. Amanda Bleakney, Managing Director of Execu|Search’s Health Services division, has already observed this shortage affect clients in a wide range of locations. She explains, “In rural areas, there are not enough physicians to serve the small amount of patients scattered over sparsely placed communities. Concurrently, in heavily populated urban communities, there are not enough physicians to service the extreme volume of patients. In both situations, we are seeing a trend of hospitals and other healthcare providers hiring physician extenders (NPs or PAs) to increase the amount of patients that a physician can reach for care.” While the adjustment period may be tremulous, healthcare reform could transform the face of the entire industry, and galvanize employee-employer relationships. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, more people than ever are showing interest in medical professions: this year, a record 34,000 first time applicants applied to medical school. Coinciding with this infusion of fresh, young talent, healthcare facilities will have reassessed how much they pay their employees and how much they demand from them, as well as the entire way the country thinks about wellness. Medical professionals like Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants will work to maintain patient health rather than cure a disease—they’ll keep patients out of the more expensive hospital system and specialty clinics by providing preventative care and education about how to live a healthy life. Similarly, with physicians, nurses, and upper-level medical professionals working together on a group of cases, new opportunities for synergy bloom, which may lead to more effective and efficient treatments. While medical professional shortage is a concern, let’s face it—it’s a great time to be a medical professional because your skills are in high demand. For more information please visit: The Association of American Medical Colleges