April 06, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Name: Eric Leger
City/state: Austin, Texas
Current profession: Vice President – National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac
Years with current company: 15
College/University attended: Lubbock Christian University
Recent college grads seeking opportunities to set their own schedule, earn unlimited income, and develop professional skills that last a lifetime, can do so by pursuing commission-based sales jobs.
But it’s not easy for recent college grads to see the potential of a commission-based sales opportunity, especially when there are bills to pay, they have limited sales experience, and are afraid to take risks. Because in effect, a commission-based sales career is a risk. However, it’s a risk that comes with rewards that are not potentially offered through a traditional salaried, full-time job.
“Commission-based sales opportunities are attractive for outgoing, motivated, competitive people who want a high degree of autonomy,” said Steven Rothberg, Founder of College Recruiter. “With risk comes greater reward, so if you perform well then you should make more money than a salaried employee doing similar work.”
That’s what Eric Leger of Austin, Texas learned. Leger, like many new to sales, was once apprehensive about giving up the security of a bi-weekly paycheck provided through his career as a teacher and a coach. But he was also frustrated by the limited ability to earn more money to help support a family of five, as well as a lack of work-life balance, and reward for success.
But that was 15 years ago, and now, Leger knows that his decision to switch to a commission-based sales opportunity was the best career move he ever made. Leger, who started out in field sales, moved up the company ladder and is now the Vice President of National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover.
“First of all, I quickly learned that working in sales is an honorable profession,” said Leger. “I admit, going to work in a 100 percent commission role was a little bit intimidating, and as someone who was the breadwinner for a family of five, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into.”
But Leger, like all Aflac field sales reps do when they start out, went through a dedicated 13-week training session, and through support and mentorship from local and regional sales directors, continuing education and training, found success as an independent contractor working in a 100-percent commission-based sales position.
“For the first time in my life, I truly felt I was getting paid what I was worth,” said Leger. “I also enjoyed the opportunity to get out in the field, meet other business owners, and present our product to them, because I truly believed it added value to the businesses and clients we serve.”
Finding the right product can make or break a commission-based sales career.
“If you’re good at sales and selling a product that is desired by the marketplace, you can make really good money,” said Rothberg.
Leger agrees, noting that he was motivated by Aflac’s strong reputation, and for the opportunity to work with business owners to sell a product that provided security to the many diverse business owners and clients.
“Recent college graduates need to know choosing what product or service one sells plays a major role in job satisfaction and success,” he says. “The bottom line is, you have to be passionate about the product, and aligned with the right brand, and a brand that is in-demand,” says Leger.
Recent college grads don’t need a previous sales background to succeed in commission sales jobs. So that means someone with a liberal arts degree, communications degree, business degree, marketing degree, or even a degree in education like Leger, can succeed with the right training and soft skills.
These are the key soft skills sales professionals need to have or develop for success, says Leger:
- Grit and resiliency
- Strong work ethic
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Drive to work for themselves
A typical day in a commission-based sales job involves prospecting, presenting and following up with clients through email, phone and face-to-face meetings. Depending on the company or role, there could be face-to-face team or individual sales meetings, or weekly sales conference calls. A good commission-based sales opportunity will provide support, coaching, ongoing training, and teach the art of selling. And handling rejection.
“You have to realize that rejection or saying no is not personal, it’s just part of business,” says Leger.
Many entry-level sales jobs require employees to work on-site. Other commission-based sales job, like Aflac, hire independent contractors who can work from wherever they want, including their own home, or through a local or regional office if it fits. The flexibility, upward mobility, income potential, and ability to operate like a small business owner through a career in sales can be an attractive career opportunity for the right person.
“A career in sales is extremely exciting,” says Leger. “It’s one of the only true opportunities to truly earn what one is worth, and many recent college grads are attracted to the opportunities because of the mobility and flexibility. Learning the art of selling teaches skills that transfer to any industry, so it’s a great way to launch a career.”
Want more information on how to succeed in a career in sales? Stay connected to College Recruiter for more advice and tips like this. Start by registering with College Recruiter to have job alerts emailed to you. Then visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Eric Leger is Vice President, National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover. Leger was a former teacher and coach who, 15 years ago, switched careers and started in a commission-based field sales rep role for Aflac. Leger is currently responsible for recruiting, training and leadership development of Aflac’s U.S. sales force.
February 16, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Robin Rectenwald has a full-time job working for WordWrite Communications a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public relations firm, that she absolutely loves. But that hasn’t stopped her from finding unique side jobs to help pay off her student loan debt. Rectenwald graduated from Duquesne University in 2012 with 20 different student loans and $100,000 in loan debt. Now, in 2017, she only has five loans left, and is quickly whittling down the amount she owes.
Before landing her first full-time job in 2012, Rectenwald worked part-time as a customer service representative at Gateway Clipper Fleet, a Pittsburgh sightseeing organization. She worked in the ticket and sales office, where she learned about marketing, sales and customer service – all valuable skills in her current role – and for any future opportunities. She worked for Gateway Clipper Fleet for four years, using that money to make extra payments towards her school loans. Rectenwald recently switched to a new part-time job as a customer care representative at ShowClix, a ticketing software company. For this job, she works from the comforts of her own home answering phones and responding to emails from customers looking to buy tickets to international events.
“Even though I’ve grown as a professional in the PR field and have had a number of promotions that increased my salary since starting out as an entry-level professional, I continue to work a part-time job because I’m trying to save as much money as possible,” says Rectenwald. “With this part-time income, I’ve been able to pay off several student loans and I’m currently using this extra money to pay tuition out-of-pocket for grad school.”
Rectenwald takes these part-time jobs seriously, and puts in maximum effort – something her managers have noticed. She was offered a full-time job in the marketing department at Gateway Clipper Fleet, and is writing a crisis communication plan for ShowClix as part of her grad school program.
“These part-time jobs have not only expanded my network and presented additional career opportunities, it has also given me a unique perspective on marketing and communication strategies.”
And it’s also helped her greatly reduce her student loan debt, and time it would take to pay the loans back.
That’s what Eric Hian-Cheong is also trying to accomplish. He works full-time for a public relations firm in McLean, Virginia, but also has two, unique part-time jobs. He makes $11 an hour as a part-time rock climbing instructor at a local fitness center, and also works as a second shooter/assistant to a local wedding photographer.
“Why limit yourself to just one other part-time job?” said Hian-Cheong.
He works up to 8 hours a weekend, and nets up to $400 a month as a rock climbing instructor – which is right around what he pays each month for his student loans. That job also provides a free gym membership – saving him another $95 a month in gym membership fees.
These jobs have helped Hian-Cheong improve his self-confidence, he says, and also provides an incredible social life outside of the 9-to-5 job.
“I have several friends whose social lives revolve around their 9-to-5, which can get a little unhealthy at times,” says Hian-Cheong.
It’s also helped him network and communicate with a wide variety, and diverse group of people, helping him develop communication, interpersonal, critical thinking, and speaking skills, as he must provide instructions, detail, and clarity, when instructing individuals and a class.
Rectenwald and Hian-Cheong are among the many recent college grads supplementing their income, and paying off student debt with the help of a unique side job. What are some other unique part-time job opportunities one can pursue to help make extra cash to pay off student loans? Consider some of these options:
January 24, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Becoming a manager provides great on-the-job training opportunities for the recent college grad or entry-level employee. It not only provides opportunities to grow as a leader, but also as a professional. In fact, many managers – years down the road – realize that the hidden skills they developed as an entry-level manager helped them grow professionally, more than they ever realized.
How so? Becoming a manager – a good manager that is, forces individuals to learn how to see things differently, act differently, and grow as a professional, differently than they may have if they weren’t in a leadership position early in their career.
Here are five of those hidden skill sets good entry-level managers develop that prove beneficial as they advance in their career, from Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Experience at Ceridian, a human capital management firm:
- Active Listening: Active listening is a beneficial skill that should be developed early on in ones’ career. It means taking a step back and really focusing in on what your employees have to say. By doing so, you will hear and learn about situations or issues at work or beyond that may be affecting your employees. This is information that you may otherwise miss if you didn’t take the time to actively listen.
- Ability to recognize non-verbal cues: Developing the ability to read non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or posture is an important skill when it comes to managing people and solving issues. Why? Because sometimes what people say is not entirely what they mean. Alongside listening, non-verbal cues provide insight into potential issues that may need further discussion and solving. Also, as a manager, you need to become more self-aware of any non-verbal cues that you may be expressing. This type of self-awareness will help you gain more control over your message delivery when giving feedback.
- The ability to adapt and change: Another valuable skill to hone in on is being able to change your leadership style to meet the needs of the situation. Even as a manager, you yourself will report to someone. Your style of leadership around those who you report to may need to be different from the style you display around your direct reports. In some cases, you need to be supportive of the individual employee as their leader and in others, you need to put the company’s mandate first. You’ll quickly learn, as a manager, how to work with different personalities, leaderships styles (including your own and your boss’ leadership styles), and the many quirks, challenges, and perspective each individual brings to the workplace.
- The art of recognition: The art of recognition is a skill that every leader should have when it comes to motivating employees. Remembering to say thank you goes a long way. If you take the time to recognize the work that employees are doing, it makes them feel valued. They will respect you further and you will be seen as that leader who is supportive – someone who people will want to work with, for a long time.
- You are a role model: Lastly – and this is not so much a skill, but an important value that both new and seasoned managers should uphold – remember, that you are a role model. That means regularly doing the right thing even when you think no one is watching or paying attention. Leadership is nothing, without integrity.
Being a manager is hard work – not everyone can do it. But you are in that role, and have a great opportunity to develop hidden skill sets as a young professional. So take advantage of both on-the-job, and formal training programs to become the best manager one can be.
“You will want to be sure that you have up-to-date skills in the areas of leadership, change management and the technical aspects of your role,” says Shirley Weis, former Chief Administrative Officer for Mayo Clinic, where her work involved overseeing 60,000 employees and $9 billion in revenues. Weis recently published the book Playing to Win in Business, an Amazon bestseller. “Formal training will help you feel more comfortable in your new position and give you the confidence to become an expert in your field.”
To continue to develop these skills now, and throughout one’s career, focus on cross-training opportunities and finding a mentor, says Nancy Saperstone, Senior HR Business Partner with Insight Performance, recognized as a national industry leader in human resources, providing proven and cost-effective HR solutions.
“Learn other sides of the business,” says Saperstone. “Don’t just stay in your silo’d responsibilities. The more you can understand the business, where your group fits in and how it impacts the rest of the company, the more you can contribute.”
As a new manager, you will want to get to know other managers in your organization. They are now your peers, so set up a time to meet each one individually and get to know about the challenges they are facing as well as ask for advice about how you can learn the new rules of the management game, says Weis.
Finally, find someone in the business that can be a mentor, says Saperstone. At the same time, be a mentor to someone more junior than you.
“Not only will you help them grow, but it’s always good to get a different perspective from someone else,” says Saperstone.
Becoming a manager provides all sorts of new career growth opportunities. Developing skill sets such as these not only will help young professionals now, but as they advance in their career. Take advantage of these opportunities now to reap the rewards later.
January 17, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Some employees, ready or not, are promoted into management roles as a reward for succeeding in their previous job. Others, through education and professional training, get hired into management roles. No matter one’s road to a management job, there is no one-size-fits-all guide that determines when one is really ready to be a manager.
But whether one is a first-time manager, new manager, or seeking a career in management, there are certain skills, traits, and attributes that all good managers have. Mastering these traits can help all managers succeed in a leadership role. Here are seven traits managers must master to successfully prove they are ready to move into a management role:
1. Be willing to change: Many new managers get promoted because they are good at doing a job, says Heggen. Realize that what worked as an individual contributor won’t necessarily work now. “New managers need to understand their own tendencies and learn when they need to change their management style based on the person and the situation,” says Heggen. Adjust and adapt based on individual and team characteristics.
2. Understand mistakes will happen: Mistakes will happen and that’s okay, says Karen Young, the award-winning founder and President of HR Resolutions, a full-service human resources management company. “What’s important is how the mistake is handled,” says Young. “Are you prepared to accept ownership of your mistake? Are you prepared to go to your boss and say this happened, caused by you or your staff member, and this is how we are addressing it? It’s important to create a safe environment for your employees – one in which they feel comfortable coming to you with mistakes.”
3. Conflict identification and resolution: The ability to identify and head off conflict is an important trait new managers need to develop, says Liz Sophia, Senior VP of Marketing for Hodges-Mace, an employee benefits technology and communications company. “New managers tend to shy away from conflict and are more passive aggressive in dealing with employee issues,” says Sophia. A good manager will identify issues upfront and work quickly to resolve them. Conflict resolution is best done in person when available. If not, via phone. Don’t use email or text to solve issues/problems.
4. Hold employees accountable: A manager must hold employees accountable, says Young. That means team members must understand expectations, and follow through on those expectations. As a manager, you’ll have to correct mistakes along the way. When doing so, remember to praise publicly, and constructively criticize privately. “Fixing another’s mistakes is often easier and quicker if you do it, but you, as the manager, have accomplished nothing by doing that,” says Young. Learn how to manage without cramping the style of team members.
5. Learn how to manage up: Managing up is a manner in which a manager works with their boss to effectively get the training, support and resources needed for the position and department. For example, if you want to add a full-time employee into the department, do not go and say “we’re sooooo busy, everyone’s stressed, no one can get their job done.” That’s what the whiny manager does, says Young. Instead, back up requests with proof. Saying something like: “if we added an additional employee, we would save $X.XX in overtime, employee A would be able to begin to make outbound calls to generate more business; employee B would be available then to assist me with Project C.” Always make a business case.
6. Lead by example: You have to be willing to lead by example, says Sophia. If there is no policy around working from home, yet you tend to work from home yourself, it sets the wrong tone for your employees. If you overreact and treat other team members poorly, others may follow that lead. You also have to be mature enough to handle confidential information and not leak it or use it to strengthen your position. Managers set the tone and positive attitude/image of the team/department. Don’t portray negativity or hostility.
7. Strong communication skills: This seems like a no-brainer, but just because one is a manager doesn’t mean they are a skilled communicator. “Knowing how to communicate with different audiences is key,” says Sophia. Communication also includes, tone, body language and non-verbal communication cues. Understand how these affect people’s view of how you are communicating with them. A smile can ease tension, and make one feel more relaxed. A frown, or scowl, can intimidate. These non-verbal cues can change the message greatly.
Mastering these additional skills are also key to proving one is ready to become a manager, says Sophia:
- Be humble and accept input from others.
- Be willing to admit your mistakes, but learn from them and don’t repeat.
- Give your team and peers proper credit for their ideas/contributions. A simple hand-written thank you note goes a long way.
- Know that you don’t have to be perfect in all areas, but make sure that you have folks on your team who compliment your weaknesses.
- Acknowledge your areas for opportunity/growth and nurture them – invest in yourself professionally.
Becoming a good manager takes time, practice, and the ability to continually learn and adapt. Mastering these seven traits is a good start for the aspiring, or newly hired manager wondering if they are ready to manage.
January 12, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
Dear Matt: I really like my current job and company. But what I like most is the team I work with. We are all close and get along well. We are also good friends outside of work, and do a lot socially. However, I recently received a promotion, and am now the manager of these co-workers who are also my friends. I went from being part of the team, to leading the team. And now, I have to conduct weekly meetings with them, performance reviews, approve their days off, and face the fact I also suddenly know their salaries. It’s created an awkward situation for me in and outside of work. Do you have any tips for a new manager who is now also managing friends?
Matt: It’s exciting to be promoted, but when you’re now supervising former peers that are also friends, there’s an added complexity to the situation. Here’s how to handle both the professional and personal relationships when you suddenly find yourself managing your friends:
1. Schedule group and individual meetings
To address these changes and challenges, schedule a group meeting, and one-on-one individual meetings with your team, says Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant who provides management training for first-time managers, small business owners, and corporate clients.
Set guidelines and expectations from the start.
“Be prepared for these discussions – do not wing the meetings, as it will look like you’re not taking your new job as supervisor seriously,” says Vernon. “Use the group meeting to set the tone for future meetings and general ground rules for attendance and participation.”
Analyze what was and wasn’t working under the previous supervisor, and decide what to keep and what to tweak. “Don’t bash the previous supervisor, just introduce the enhancements as part of your style,” says Vernon.
Then schedule a one-on-one meeting with direct reports. This is the most important step in this new relationship.
“This helps establish your new supervisory relationship with each individual,” says Vernon. “Some of your former peers may be thrilled that you got this new position – others may not.”
So approach each discussion, taking into consideration each person’s feelings.
Sample one-on-one discussion items may include:
- How you plan to supervise – pointing out where you can be hands off and where you may need to be more hands on.
- How often you want to meet.
- The best ways to communicate with you (in person, email, text).
- The strengths you recognize in the individual and how you want to best utilize those strengths.
“The first discussion is not the time to point out the individuals’ weaknesses and how you want to see them improve,” says Vernon. “This meeting is to set the stage for a successful partnering with each person considering your new role.”
2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Chances are, your friends are truly happy for you and will be supportive and understanding that you have this new role. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes for fear of disappointing friends, says B. Max Dubroff, an HR Consultant at Einfluss, LLC, an HR advisory firm, in Albuquerque, NM. Dubroff has led teams from 2 to 570 people in a wide variety of industries throughout his career, leading those businesses to many best of workplace lists.
“The promotion is a sign of confidence that you can learn to manage and lead well,” says Dubroff. “All manager-leaders make mistakes and are imperfect; the ones who hide their errors or feign perfection are less effective as leaders because they miss out on the lessons of leadership. Manager-leaders who show integrity and embrace their errors will earn credibility, their network of friends will provide feedback and perspective, and their progress will be even greater. Capitalize on the open communication, because in the long run that is what is going to be more important.”
The promotion is also a sign that any awkwardness is your challenge to solve. Tap into the experience of your boss and fellow managers, but in the end, solve it yourself. Also, if you find yourself saying or doing things that you would not respect about your own boss, don’t say/do them; they undermine your integrity.
3. Transitioning from friend to boss
The elephant in the room, of course, is how you handle transitioning from friend to boss. Some people can handle this dual role effectively and others cannot. That goes both ways – from the boss and the employee perspective. So it’s important to discuss this reality with each employee up front and early on.
“Discuss the importance of maintaining a solid relationship with the person along with the recognition that you cannot show favoritism for your friends – that you will be treating everyone as equally as possible,” says Vernon.
Set ground rules for not discussing co-workers or work after hours, during work. Vernon also recommends discussing confidentiality.
“It’s likely you have confidential and/or personal information about your friends that shouldn’t be considered from a boss-employee perspective and the same applies to what private information they have about you,” says Vernon. “These can be difficult discussions, but it’s vital to set communication standards, personal/professional boundaries, and to recognize that while at work, you’re committed to taking your leadership responsibilities seriously.”
4. How to address the relationship in social situations
But even though becoming a supervisor of colleagues who were formally peers does present a somewhat awkward social scenario, it doesn’t mean friendships and social relationships have to end, says Elliot D. Lasson, Professor of the Practice and I/O Psychology Graduate Program Director at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County at Shady Grove. In fact, aside from the one-on-one conversations to be open about the changing relationship, Lasson suggests maintaining the same type of social relationship off of the job.
“If socialized together off the clock before the promotion, there is no reason why that should not continue,” says Lasson.
His reason is simple.
“Life and transitions happen,” he says. “The same way that you would include someone who has retired or left for another company beforehand, you should continue to maintain those same social circles. Part of professional maturity is to adapt to new roles and reporting relationships. If there is any anticipated anxiety about the modified role, that should probably be preemptively broached during the one-one-one meeting by the supervisor.”
There could be another added benefit: Your friends may work harder for you because they respect you outside of work. Now you just have to earn their respect as a manager. They also be more willing to bring up issues, concerns, or ideas – positive and negative – because they feel a closer connection to you.
5. Understand things will change
Keep in mind though, that despite attempts to salvage personal and professional relationships, managers must ultimately realize that some personal relationships fall apart when one person is now the supervisor. Whether or not that occurs is unique to each relationship.
Through it all, make sure that you’re consistent in how you interact, oversee, communicate with, and lead all your employees.
“As a manager-leader, you have a responsibility to manage any perceptions of favoritism to the best of your ability,” says Dubroff. “The tough part about this is others may attribute favoritism, even if you know facts that demonstrate otherwise. Since your facts are not going to change their perceptions, the only control you have is through your actions.”
“Everyone is watching to see how you begin your supervisory position and whether they can trust you in that role – to do your job well, be their voice for upper management and treat employees fairly and equitably,” says Vernon.
About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.
January 10, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
For many first-time managers, it can be hard to gain professional respect from a more experienced management team and other senior leaders. It can be discouraging to attend leadership meetings, training, or be involved in the decision-making process and feel like you don’t have a voice. Managing from the middle well, however, can indeed build trust with top leaders.
Gaining trust as a manager can take time, but it doesn’t mean new managers need to wait, or feel like they have to gain approval from more experienced leaders to start building trust, and credibility within an organization. While the first goal should be to lead your new team and be the best manager you can be, it’s never too early to focus on how to become a manager who can influence others within the organization.
To gain that trust, respect, and a strong reputation, start by being accountable, says Greg Bustin, author of Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture. Bustin has dedicated his career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of companies on this crucial topic of accountability. During the last six years, he has interviewed and surveyed more than 5,000 executives around the world – from companies that include, but are not limited to, Marriott, Container Store, Ernst & Young, Sony, Herman Miller, Nucor, and Southwest Airlines – to understand how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust, and fulfillment.
“Lack of accountability is the single greatest obstacle facing even the most experienced leaders,” says Bustin. “It saps morale, drains profits, and disenfranchises employees—and can shift your team into crisis mode on a daily basis.”
Bustin also created the highly popular best and worst in workplace accountability survey, and offers these five tips for new managers looking to make an organization-wide impact while managing from the middle:
January 04, 2017 by Anna Peters
“Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager—so far fewer end up on the path to leadership—and are less likely to be hired into more senior positions.”
That ton of bricks comes from the Women in the Workplace report, released last fall by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company. What is getting in women’s ways? Does bias against women managers tell the whole tale? Or is something else going on?
That women fall behind so early in their careers should be a wake-up call to female college students. Seniors, who will be entering the workplace soon, should especially take notice. For years, young women have made up more than half of the college student population (and as high as 60% at private schools). The Pew Research Center reports that 71% of recent female high school grads turn their ambition to college. Compare that to 61% of recent male high school grads. Once they’re in college, women continue to outperform men. They earn better grades and graduate with more honors than men. It would be easy for today’s driven, hard-working young women to believe that inequality is something only their mothers had to deal with. Unfortunately, the real world is different than college.
“There are multiple factors that contribute to entry-level women being behind men at first chance of promotion,” says Simma Lieberman at The Inclusionist.
Many women need a boost in confidence
“Many women have internalized messages from media and have bought into other people’s bias about women’s abilities and careers,” says Lieberman. “They have not learned to negotiate or ask for what they want. I’m still surprised by how many women still believe that by working “hard” they will be discovered, that it’s not okay to promote yourself to managers, and they have to “wait their turn” to get promoted.”
You can’t take rejection personally
If an employer hires someone else, women need to stop seeing this rejection as personal and permanent. Liebrman continues, “Women need to learn how to separate getting turned down for a promotion or not being chosen for a project, from other parts of their life. There is a tendency to give up after one try which holds them back, rather than find out why they didn’t get a promotion and to let that cloud their ambitions and settle.”
Bias still exists
Women in the Workplace finds real biases out there. Women may need to work on their negotiation skills, but that doesn’t explain the whole pay gap. The report finds that “Women who negotiate for a promotion or compensation increase are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are ‘bossy,’ ‘too aggressive,’ or ‘intimidating.'” Our implicit biases persuade us to believe that men are more suited for leadership. That first promotion to manager is just the beginning. The STEM fields are especially male-dominated, which can make it particularly challenging for women to be taken seriously.
It’s hard to blame young women who ask why they should be the ones to change. Lieberman advises women to be “flexible and develop tools to show their talent and be recognized. Lack of confidence is not a trait that should be continued.” Women who want to become managers should be aware of how the cards are stacked, seek advice from senior women, and keep working hard.
January 03, 2017 by Matt Krumrie
To become a manager, one must show an employer they possess a wide variety of skills. Leadership skills are crucial. So is the ability to communicate, handle adversity, and deal with diverse personalities and skill sets.
A first-time manager must also develop strong critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills to be successful, says Sylvia R.J. Scott, Founder of Girls’ C.E.O. Connection™ (Girl’s Creating Enterprising Organizations), a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to engaging and equipping high school girls as entrepreneurs. They also must show the company can trust them, which is why they were hired as a manager.
“A manager is the one with the ability to plan, direct and coordinate the operations of a business, division, department or operations,” says Scott. “To be a first-time manager as a recent graduate shows the company trusts the person and believes in his or hers capabilities and ability to help grow the company.”
In February Scott is speaking to a group of college women, primarily seniors, at the University of Colorado, about what it takes for first-time managers to succeed. She will focus on these eight skills, traits and attributes of a successful first-time manager:
- Know and understand your company culture.
- Know the parameters of your particular position. That includes how much leeway you have on decision making.
- Ask questions and get clarity even if you think you understand. As a manager you don’t have time for you and/or your staff to make mistakes.
- Expect the best-not perfection from your staff. Praise them when it is appropriate. If there are issues face them immediately.
- Learn each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Play on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
- Control your emotions, tongue, and actions. Avoid gossip, even after hours or with colleagues. Take a break if someone is pushing your buttons. Watch the tone of your emails when responding to challenges, and watch the tone of your voice.
- Always use proper English, grammar and spelling when writing any type of communication, even an email. They need to be as clearly written as any other business communication.
- Find a mentor within the company and then one outside your company that knows the ropes of being a manager and what is needed to excel.
December 27, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
As 2016 comes to a close many college students have now handed in their final paper, taken the last exam of their collegiate careers and entered the job market. But according to a study of 503 entry-level job seekers by national career matchmaking firm GradStaff, recent college grads seem largely unaware of career opportunities and unsure of how to apply their skills in the workforce. So what strategies can December college grads put into action now to create results that land a job? Start by following these 10 strategies for success.
1. Develop a strong value proposition: Start by developing a strong value proposition and identifying those important soft and transferrable skills, says Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff, a company that serves as a career matchmaker for recent college graduates, and companies that are looking to fill entry-level jobs.
“These soft skills – such as critical thinking, effective communication, time management and leadership – are in high demand among prospective employers,” says LaBombard. “Grads should consider how and where they’ve applied these skills during college, whether in classes or extracurricular activities, or in non-professional jobs, including restaurant and retail service positions.”
2. Sell what you want to do next: Next, be prepared to talk about what it is you want to do now that you are graduated. Everyone that you know, run into, or talk to, is going to congratulate you on graduating, then ask “what’s next?” or “what do you want to do now?” The “I’ll take anything” approach is not a good option, says Kathleen I. Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development at The College of William & Mary, and President, National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Case in point, if you tell someone you’ll take anything, it’s hard for that person to find “anything.”
“If you tell someone you’re interested in arts management, accounting, psychology, now you’ve given that person an area to focus on and they can start thinking of contacts in their networks,” says Powell.
3. Casual conversations can lead to opportunities: Don’t blow off those casual conversations with friends, family members – that wacky uncle just may be well-connected in an industry where you want to work and be able to point you to a job opening, a mentor, or someone with whom you can set up an informational interview. Members of your church, social networks, parents of high school friends, relatives of your significant other, when they ask “what’s next” they are generally interested – so be prepared to effectively sell your excitement of what you want to do next. That’s the only way they can possibly help you, by knowing what you truly want to do.
4. Network, network, network: Because, it really is about networking. Recent ADP employment reports show the bulk of all new job growth – often as much as 70-80 percent in a given month – is driven by small and mid-sized businesses. “These companies often don’t have the resources to recruit on campus, and tend to rely on referrals from employees, clients, vendors and other partners to identify candidates,” says LaBombard. “As a result, personal networking is critical. All entry-level job seekers should seize opportunities to ask parents, teachers, friends, clergy and even former employers for connections in industries of interest, and they should continue engaging with professional associations, alumni groups and others for face-to-face networking opportunities.”
LaBombard offers these additional tips:
December 15, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
Looking for unique ways to add skills and complete classes to advance your career? Then consider completing a Massive Open Online Couse. Also known as a MOOC.
According to Techtarget.com, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), are “free Web-based distance learning programs designed for the participation of large numbers of geographically dispersed students. A MOOC may be patterned on a college or university course or may be less structured. Although MOOCs don’t always offer academic credits, they provide education that may enable certification, employment or further studies.”
Why should recent college grad consider completing a Massive Open Online Courses?
Because lifelong learning is essential to career success, and that’s exactly what Massive Open Online Courses provide. Through a MOOC, college students, recent college grads, and adult learners are able to take free classes to improve their foreign language skills, add additional tech/software skills, and/or learn about machine learning or artificial intelligence. Students can complete a MOOC to complement their current major or area of study, to learn how to start their own business, or to add critical skills to a resume. There is no limit to the course topic a MOOC can cover, and there is no limit to the location of the students completing a MOOC. As MOOCs evolve, the completion of these courses are becoming more respected by employers, and some MOOC programs offer, for a small fee, certifications and badges upon completion, which bolster the credibility of these courses.
“Taking courses online can open doors to opportunities you never thought of,” said Gelena Sachs, Director of People Operations for Udemy, the world’s largest destination for online courses. “Finding a full-time job that aligns with a major or degree, right out of college, can be the ultimate challenge for many grads. Online learning allows job seekers to further expand their skills and broaden the landscape of opportunities.”
One Udemy student, Alexa, moved to New York after graduating to pursue her dream job of working in an art gallery, but had to take another job in the meantime to pay the bills. She took courses through Udemy to learn about marketing and transformed the job she thought she’d settled for into a different kind of opportunity she never knew she wanted.
Here’s another example: Social media continues to transform industries, while the tools themselves continue to evolve. Social media careers are hot, and constantly evolving. According to Altimeter’s recent Social Business Survey, 41% of enterprise marketing teams say ‘social education and training to build new skills’ is a top priority. To meet this growing demand from employers, Hootsuite Academy offers online video-based training on social media skills and strategy at a great post-graduation price point: Free.
“Even with a diploma in hand, graduates should never stop honing their skills,” says Cameron Ugernac, Senior Director of Community and Education, Hootsuite, a leading social media management platform.