How to Answer “So, Tell Me About Yourself”

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Women-job-interview

So, the first question you’re probably going to get in an interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” This is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to go bullet by bullet through your resume.

Instead, it’s probably your first and best chance to pitch the hiring manager on why you’re the right one for the job.

A formula The Editor at The Muse likes is called the Present-Past-Future formula. So, first you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, segue into the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.

Below is an example:

If someone asked, “tell me about yourself,” you could say:

“Well, I’m currently an account executive at Smith, where I handle our top performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national healthcare brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Metro Health Center.”

Remember throughout your answer to focus on the experiences and skills that are going to be most relevant for the hiring manager when they’re thinking about this particular position and this company. And ultimately, don’t be afraid to relax a little bit, tell stories and anecdotes—the hiring manager already has your resume, so they also want to know a little more about you.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter From Scratch in 30 Minutes

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You know enough to regularly update you resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process.The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)

Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points

Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)

So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.

Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?

Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.

Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples

OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.

Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.

If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.

Continue onto Muse to read the complete article.

2019 Hot Jobs

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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers are revolutionizing the STEM field. If your New Years goals include a career in this field, or educational studies to advance your career, check out these hot jobs for 2019!

Software Developer

Annual Wage: $101,790

Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Computer Systems Administrator

Annual Wage: $81,100

Employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks, wide area networks, network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Petroleum Engineer

Annual Wage: $132,280

Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.

Architect

Annual Wage: $78,470

Employment of architects is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Cartographer

Annual Wage: $63,990

Employment of cartographers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Cartographers collect, measure, and interpret geographic information to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, emergency response, and other purposes.

Source: bls.gov

The Unspoken Rules of Job Searching in January

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Job search

I don’t have to tell you that January is quite the kick-starting month. Exhibit A: Have you noticed how packed your gym suddenly gets every January due to fitness-related resolutions?

But it’s also a big time of year for careers. See, plenty of us have just spent the holidays reevaluating our goals (and having to talk about said goals with judging family members). As a result, we enter January feeling motivated to make a change—whether it’s to go after a new job, a new company, or a new field completely.

But before setting the wheels in motion, it’s important to understand exactly what to expect from a job search this month. Here’s what the experts say:

Mid-January Is Your Best Bet for Applying

Why? As HR executive and Muse career coach Angela Smith points out, most people will still be recovering from the holiday break that first week.

“Companies might be kick-starting their annual hiring plans in early January,” she says, so once those processes start to pick up your best bet is to apply toward the middle of the month to ensure your application doesn’t get lost in a sea of unopened holiday mail.

Hiring Is a Big Priority in January

“In sales the end of the quarter is when people don’t take time off. In recruiting people tend to not take time off in the beginning of the year because that’s the busiest time,” says Smith.

The reasons why are several-fold, she explains. The new quarter brings new budgeting plans, which can mean more money to hire more people. It also brings new sales forecasts or company-wide goals, which can indicate where a company might be focusing their recruiting efforts and which teams they’re looking to build out. “Companies might be kick-starting their annual hiring plans in early January,” she says.

That said, Smith warns that this doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more jobs available in January than other times of the year.

…But There’s Also More Competition

January tends to bring an influx of eager job seekers, leading to more competition for job openings.

To state the obvious, “there will be a higher volume of people applying for jobs in January as more people wait until the holidays are over to begin looking for a possible change,” says Jamie Cole, Senior Account Manager at Merritt Staffing, a full-service recruiting agency.

Besides the #NewYearNewYou energy, folks may have a financial incentive to wait until January to job hunt. As Cole notes, companies often have a policy where bonuses aren’t distributed until the end of the year, and “people ideally do not like leaving money on the table with their last employer.”

…And the Process May Be Slower

While hiring in January may be more aggressive, it may also be a more drawn-out process.

Besides new budgets, January could also indicate other internal changes for companies: “I’ve worked with companies that have implemented a new ATS [applicant tracking system] in the new calendar year, so they’re testing out new systems or processes,” says Smith, which could mean delays in getting recruiting off the ground.

And, says Cole, you have to “be aware that not every company may have a finalized budget in place for the year…and this may cause a delay in hiring decisions.”

However, she notes, this could also be a positive: Since they haven’t yet filled those roles, you have a shot at locking them down if you apply in January.

The bigger reason why the process tends to slow down in January is because there’s no real rush. Simply put, “[employers] take their time because they have the time and the money” to do so, says Smith. “Pace yourself, and don’t expect super quick responses or a super quick process,” she adds.

What Does This All Mean?

The short answer? Treat your job search in January like you would any other month.

Keep in mind how your application will get through an ATS. Tailor your cover letter and resume. Network to get a leg-up at a specific company. Follow up to keep yourself on someone’s radar.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2019

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women-computer-science

Resumes get a bad rap. We write them begrudgingly, usually during periods of transition, or tumult. We fiddle with phrasing and format, agonizing over how to craft our qualifications into the best resume possible. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

For smart job seekers, resumes are an opportunity — to make a case for their candidacy, to get the salary they’ve earned, and to convince any hiring manager she would be crazy not to hire them.

Yahoo MONEY teamed up with Dana Leavy-Detrick, founder of Brooklyn Resume Studio, to help you become one of those job seekers. Here’s how to write the perfect resume — and a free resume template that you can download and use for your next job interview.

Resume sample-Yahoo MONEY

(Resume design courtesy of Dana Leavy-Detrick; click here for a free downloadable template)

[1] The Best Resume Format

When it comes to resume format and design, opt for a clean layout. A recent study from the job site Ladders found that resumes with so-called F-pattern and E-pattern layouts, which mimic how our eyes tend to scan web pages, hold a recruiter’s attention for longer than those aligned down the center, or from right to left.

There is no one specific “best” font for resumes. You should use the same font style throughout, Leavy-Detrick says, but play with different weights and sizes to draw a recruiter’s eye to key parts of your resume. Sans serif fonts usually work best — Franklin Gothic, Calibri, and Avenir (the last of which we used for the attached template) are three of Leavy-Detrick’s favorites.

[2] Make Your Resume Stand Out

If you’re applying for an investment banking job, a hot-pink resume probably won’t do you any favors. But subtle pops of color, like the orange used here, will work for just about everyone.

“It’s very minimal, and gives a bit of a design element,” Leavy-Detrick says.

If you do use color, “Use it sparingly,” she warns. “Stick to one color, and one color that’s going to print well.”

[3] Add a Skills Section in Your Resume

Lead with the good stuff. The top of your resume should include “critical keywords and a quick snapshot of your core strengths,” Leavy-Detrick says.

Hard skills, tangible attributes that can easily be measured, take precedence here, so highlight them accordingly. If you’re in a tech-driven field, software and programming expertise is what employers want to see on your resume. If you’re in a creative industry, design and communication skills might be your best bet.

[4] Make a Resume That Shows Impact

To prove you’re worth a hiring manager’s time, highlight recent examples of what you bring to the table. Statistics that build upon your skills section are most impactful — bonus points if they show a track record of growth, revenue, and profitability, Leavy-Detrick says.

If you’re drawing a blank, she suggests adding resume skills that can help solve a “problem area” for the company you’re applying to.

“Impact doesn’t always have to be measured by metrics,” she says. “Cultural improvements, special projects, customer growth … anything that showed success can work.”

[5] What to Leave Off a Resume

Be discerning with the content—don’t list salary requirements, use tables or columns, or tick off every job you’ve ever had. The same goes for social media profiles. Unless your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds are relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s probably best to leave those off your resume.

“Only include them if they add value in some way,” Leavy-Detrick says. “If you have zero followers, you may not want to advertise that.”

Continue on to Yahoo MONEY to read the complete article.

6 Ways Employers Recruit With Artificial Intelligence

LinkedIn

Companies hope chatbots and video interviews will improve the recruiting process for everyone.

Most job seekers and human resources managers would agree that the hiring process is flawed.

It’s as if the two groups speak different languages. For example, there’s a disconnect in how HR and job seekers prefer to communicate, and there’s also a gap between how employers present job requirements and the skills job seekers include on their resumes. Applicant tracking systems seem to arbitrarily weed out candidates or, worse, lose them in a black hole. Employers say they can’t find candidates with the right skills and are eager to fill open jobs.

There isn’t an easy fix for recruiting process problems. But employers want to talk to qualified candidates and workers want to talk to recruiters. This human-to-human connection is still the most important aspect of hiring. As strange as it sounds, technology may actually help more of these conversations happen. Here’s how:

Improved Job Postings

In order to attract the best candidates, HR needs to write a compelling yet accurate job description. The technology exists to assess and analyze job postings based on how well they do. Manually analyzing this data consumes a lot of time, but algorithms can quickly analyze successful job postings and descriptions and make suggestions to improve the wording to address the unique needs of specific candidates. This saves hours and improves the applicant pool. It also better informs potential candidates.

Chatbots

Companies already use artificial intelligence to provide customers with answers at any time. Now HR can use it to provide more information to job seekers when they need it. Chatbots allow applicants to ask questions and get quick automated answers while perusing the company’s website. Do you want to know what the company’s culture is like? Just ask.

Chatbots are also used to pre-screen interested candidates by asking qualifying questions. Be aware that information given to and provided by chatbots is reviewed by HR.

Video Interviews

Once you apply to a job, you may receive a link to a video interview platform before you talk with a recruiter. Recorded video interviews save recruiters time by replacing screening calls. They also provide candidates with an opportunity to prepare answers to questions.

Algorithms review recorded video interviews to evaluate the answers by analyzing facial expressions, word choice, speech rate and vocal tones. If all goes well, candidates move forward for in-person interviews.

Proponents of this kind of evaluation claim it removes human bias while providing recruiters with better-quality candidates in less time. For job seekers, a video interview provides the opportunity to thoughtfully construct your answers and explain your qualifications. During a phone interview, you may not have as much time to plan your responses as thoroughly.

The best advice for a video interview is to make sure you are prepared. Research the company, know about the job and make sure you record in a neutral, professional setting.

Continue onto U.S. News & World Report to read the complete article.

The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity to Business

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cybersecurity

In today’s online age, the number of threats to businesses and their customers increases every day. The largest obstacle in cybersecurity is the perpetual security risk that quickly evolves over short periods of time, leaving businesses with a widening gap in manpower and the resources needed to protect their data.

Almost daily, more information about cyberattacks makes its way into the headlines—for example, in 2017, hackers struck Disney claiming to have the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and threatening its release unless a ransom was paid.

Big Business is not the Only Target

The lion’s share of news coverage often comes from larger companies. In 2013, hackers stole data from up to 40 million credit and debit cards owned by shoppers of Target stores. In September 2014, Home Depot admitted that 56 million payment cards could be at risk due to a cyberattack. These security breaches were constant in the news cycle, but what you’ll rarely see in the news is the fact that 43 percent of cyberattacks target small business, and 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyberattack!

CyberAttacks on Business Lead to Attacks on Customers

From May 2015 to May 2016, 50 percent of small business respondents said that they had data breaches that targeted customer and employee information. As a consumer, consider the amount of data that you share with the companies you do business with. If you make an online purchase, the business is likely to have a record of your email address, your home address, your phone number, and potentially even have your payment information stored.

If hackers are able to access a marketing database, they may only need your email to use phishing techniques to trick you into providing more sensitive information. You may think you’re communicating with a reputable business, but in reality you’re communicating with hackers who are stealing your information. Businesses and consumers should take care to learn more about protecting themselves from cyber threats, and err on the side of caution whenever interacting with a suspicious email or communication.

Growing Threats and a Shortage of Cybersecurity Professionals

Cybercrime damages are expected to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021, while businesses and government institutions are scrambling to protect themselves. By 2019, experts foresee a cybersecurity skills shortage of nearly 1.5 million open jobs. Recognizing the need for skilled professionals in the field, Northcentral University launched the Master of Science in Technology and Innovation Management program, specialized in Cybersecurity. With the cybersecurity field growing, there will be a need for individuals trained to manage threats, along with essential leadership skills needed to manage teams of talented cybersecurity specialists. Learn more about the Cybersecurity degree programs at NCU.

Source: ncu.edu

Taking Engineering to a New Level—Q&A with NASA engineer Adriana Ocampo

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Adriana Ocampo, PhD, is the Science Program Manager at NASA headquarters. Take a look at NASA’s Q&A with the accomplished engineer.

Where are you from?

I was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and I was raised in Argentina. My family and I moved to the United States when I was a teenager. I now live in Washington, DC.

Describe the first time you made a personal connection with outer space.

When I was a little girl, I would go on the roof of my house and look at the stars and wonder how far they were away from me. I would also make “spacecraft” with the pots and pans from my mother’s kitchen. I would dress my doll up as an astronaut, and my dog Taurus was my co-pilot.

How did you end up working in the space program?

As soon as I landed in the USA I asked: “Where is NASA?” After my junior year in high school, and thanks to the Space Exploration Post 509—sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—I was able to first volunteer at JPL and then work there as an employee during the summer. As I started college I continued to work at JPL. I majored in geology at the California State University at Los Angeles, earning a B.S. there in 1983. I then got my Master of Science in planetary geology from California State University, Northridge. I received both my degrees while working full time at JPL as a research scientist. I’m currently finishing my PhD at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Who inspired you?

My parents were my inspiration. They always encouraged me to reach for the stars and instilled in me the knowledge that education was the gateway to making my dreams come true. Space exploration was my passion from a very young age, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. I would dream and design space colonies while sitting atop the roof of my family’s home in Argentina.

What is a Science Program Manager?

Some of my duties include being the New Frontiers lead program executive. New Frontiers includes the Juno mission to Jupiter, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the asteroid sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. I am also the lead Venus scientist responsible for NASA’s collaboration with ESA’s Venus Express mission, JAXA’s Venus Climate Orbit and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), which develops strategic plans and assessments for the exploration of this planet.

Tell us about a favorite moment so far in your career.

A favorite moment would have to be my research that led to the discovery of the Chicxulub impact crater. The impact that formed this crater caused the extinction of more than 50 percent of the Earth’s species, including the dinosaurs. I wrote my master’s and PhD theses on this crater, and I have led six research expeditions to study this amazing event that changed the evolution of life on our planet.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take the same career path as you?

“Dream and never give up.” When thinking about the great adventure that you have ahead, dream and never give up, be persistent and always be true to your heart. Live life with gusto. I would like to share my mnemonic (STARS) with you from the Girl Scouts book “Recipes for Success:”

STARS

Smile: Life is a great adventure
Transcend to triumph over the negative
Aspire to be the best
Resolve to be true to your heart
Success comes to those who never give up on their dreams

Source: NASA

STEM Workforce Facts You Must Know

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Professional Black Woman

Employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations has grown 79 percent since 1990, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million, outpacing overall U.S. job growth.

There’s no single standard for which jobs count as STEM, and this may contribute to a number of misperceptions about who works in STEM and the difference that having a STEM-related degree can make in workers’ pocketbooks.

A new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data takes a broad-based look at the STEM workforce from 1990 to 2016 based on an analysis of adults ages 25 and older working in any of 74 occupations. These include computer, math, engineering, and architecture occupations, physical scientists, life scientists, and health-related occupations, such as healthcare practitioners and technicians, but not healthcare support workers, such as nursing aides and medical assistants.

Here are seven facts about the STEM workforce and STEM training.

STEM workers enjoy a pay advantage compared with non-STEM workers with similar levels of education. Among those with some college education, the typical full-time, year-round STEM worker earns $54,745 while a similarly educated non-STEM worker earns $40,505, or 26 percent less.

And among those with the highest levels of education, STEM workers out-earn their non-STEM counterparts by a similar margin. Non-STEM workers with a master’s degree typically earn 26 percent less than STEM workers with similar education. The median earnings of non-STEM workers with a professional or doctoral degree trail their STEM counterparts by 24 percent.

While STEM workers tend to be highly educated, roughly a third have not completed a bachelor’s or higher-level degree. Thirty-five percent of the STEM workforce does not have a bachelor’s degree. Overall, about three-in-ten STEM workers report having completed an associate degree (15 percent) or have some college education but no degree (14 percent). These workers are more prevalent among healthcare practitioners and technicians, computer workers, and engineers.

Some 36 percent of STEM workers have a bachelor’s degree but no graduate degree. Roughly three-in-ten STEM workers (29 percent) have earned a master’s, doctorate, or professional degree. Life scientists are the most highly educated among STEM workers, with 54 percent, on average, having an advanced degree.

About half of workers with college training in a STEM field are working in a non-STEM job. Among workers ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, one-in-three (33 percent) have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field of study. But only about half (52 percent) of these STEM-trained workers are employed in a STEM occupation.

Among non-STEM occupations, management, business, and finance jobs attract a substantial share of college graduates with STEM training (17 percent), particularly those who majored in engineering. Roughly a quarter (24 percent) of engineering majors are in a managerial, business or finance job.

Overall, among adults with a STEM college major, women are more likely than men to work in a STEM occupation (56 percent vs. 49 percent). This difference is driven mainly by college graduates with a health professions major (such as nursing or pharmacy), most of whom are women.

But 38 percent of women and 53 percent of men with a college major in computers or computer science are employed in a computer occupation. And women with a college degree in engineering are less likely than men who majored in these fields to be working in an engineering job (24 percent vs. 30 percent). These differences in retention within a field of study for women in computer and engineering occupations are in keeping with other studies showing a “leaky pipeline” for women in STEM.

STEM training in college is associated with higher earnings, whether working in a STEM occupation or not. Among college-educated workers employed full-time year-round, the median earnings for those who have a STEM college major are $81,011, compared with $60,828 for other college majors.

The earnings advantage for those with a college major in a STEM field extends to workers outside of STEM occupations. Among all non-STEM workers, those who have a STEM college degree earn, on average, about $71,000; workers with a non-STEM degree working outside of STEM earn roughly $11,000 less annually.

The share of women varies widely across STEM job types. Women are underrepresented in some STEM job clusters, but in others, they match or exceed their share in the U.S. workforce overall.

In fact, women comprise three-quarters of healthcare practitioners and technicians, the largest occupational cluster classified as STEM in this analysis, with 9.0 million workers—6.7 million of whom are women.

And women’s gains since 1990 in the life sciences (up from 34 percent to 47 percent) have brought them roughly on par with their share in the total workforce (47 percent), a milestone reached in math occupations (46 percent) as well.

Women have made significant gains in life and physical sciences, but in other areas, their shares have been stable and in computer jobs it has declined. While there has been significant progress for women’s representation in the life and physical sciences since 1990, the share of women has been roughly stable in several other STEM job clusters.

In engineering, the job cluster in which women have the lowest levels of representation on average, women’s shares have inched up only slightly, from 12 percent in 1990 to 14 percent today.

African American and Hispanic representation in the STEM workforce. Overall, African Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented in the STEM workforce relative to their shares in the U.S. workforce as a whole. But there’s one exception: 11 percent of healthcare practitioners and technicians are black, similar to the share of black people in the total workforce.

Within job clusters, however, the share of African Americans and Hispanics varies widely. For example, 37 percent of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses are either black or Hispanic.

Source: pewresearch.org

Here’s How This Latina Navigated Her Transition From Finance To Tech

LinkedIn

Marlene Arroyo may have started her career in finance, but it was the human aspect of any job that always drew her in. From Dell to her current role as Vice President of People Operations at Liftoff Mobile Inc., a high growth tech company in Silicon Valley, she has made it her career mission to champion employees and embrace how their humanity impacts their jobs.It was knowing what her career mission was at its core that made it possible for her to transition from one career path to the next.

“Philosophically, it became apparent to me that human resources was my calling when, as a finance professional, I’d enjoy spending most of my time dissecting costs associated to SG&A, training, hiring and coaching,” shares Arroyo. “Mechanically, the way I was able to make this transition was by having informational meetings with HR executives, taking evening courses, asking for help and being open about my aspirations to my sponsors. While the art of Human Resources came naturally to me, to differentiate myself, I needed to supercharge the impact I delivered by drawing from my finance experience and ensuring that my strategic recommendation were backed by data.”

Now, she uses her skill-set to help others achieve the kind of growth that she’s constantly challenged herself to work towards.

“My biggest motivation [through this journey] has been my family,” says Arroyo. “I feel incredibly blessed to be the daughter of immigrant parents who instilled in me work ethic and resilience. While my parents still do not completely understand what I do, they know I work hard and they are my biggest fans. Each education milestone and career progression has been theirs as well. Their American Dream lives in me and owning that, keeps me motivated .”

Growing up in the Latinx culture and within her own family unit can explain in part why Arroyo has felt the desire to pay it forward to other generations by way of her career.

Below she shares advice for Latinxs who are searching for advice on how to land their dream job, how to self-care if you’re in the position of constantly pouring into others, and how to make sure you’re learning the most from your current job.

Vivian Nunez: How has your Latinidad influenced your career?

Marlene Arroyo: Passion, humility, honor, perseverance – are all a part of my core values that I hold because of my Latinidad. Knowing that there is a lot more work to be done to help young Latinas see that they, too, can achieve their goals, keeps me in the arena.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

30 brilliant networking conversation starters

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Networking

When it comes to conversation, you’re a natural. You can chat up a storm with just about anyone, you’re a pro at listening, and you love meeting and connecting with new people.

But when it comes to starting that networking conversation? That’s a different story.

This is one of the most common concerns we hear about networking: How do you just walk up to someone you don’t know at an event—and start talking?

Well, it’s a tad easier than it sounds. Fact is, no one’s going to turn you away if you walk up, smile, and say, “I’m so-and-so. Nice to meet you.” In fact, others will probably be relieved that someone else started the conversation!

But, the process is definitely a lot easier when you have a few go-to icebreakers in your back pocket. So, we’ve put together a handy list to refer to before your next event—some of our own lines, a few favorites from our career expert friends, and icebreakers our Twitter and Facebook followers have used, too!

The Classics

When in doubt, just try the basics: asking what someone does, inquiring why he or she is at the event, or even just reaching out your hand and saying hi.

  • 1. “What’s your favorite conversation starter at a networking event?” – Connie B.
  • 2. “So, what do you do?” It gets them talking first and you can think about how to approach the conversation or how you could possibly work together. – @GrowSouthwest
  • 4. “Hi there! I’m Michelle. What are you passionate about?” – Michelle E.
  • 5. “What’s your story?” It always sparks a fascinating and non-generic conversation. – @leslieforman

Location, Location, Location

No matter what, you’ve got at least a couple things in common with every person in the room: the event you’re attending, the place it’s being held at, and the food and drink you’re consuming. Use that to your advantage by striking up conversation about what’s going on around you.

  • 6. If I’m at an event with food, I’ll often use that as a conversation starter, à la “I can’t stop eating these meatballs. Have you tried them?” – @erinaceously
  • 7. “How did you hear about this event?” – @myuliyam
  • 8. “It’s so hot (or cold) in here.” Hey, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but the person will either agree or disagree, and pretty soon you’re talking about weather patterns, your best umbrella, and then your career goals. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
  • 9. “I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of info that’s being firehosed at us today. Is there one nugget of brilliance that’s really resonating with you?” – Alexandra Franzen
  • 10. “What a beautiful venue. Have you been here before?”

The Newsworthy

Another thing you have in common with, well, everyone? What happened in your city or the world today. While you don’t want to start up any hot political debates, some light-hearted headline sharing is a great way to break the ice.

  • 11.“What do you think about [insert topic germane to the event or person here]?” I’m biased: News is a great engagement tool. – @thatsportsgirl
  • 12. “Wow, I just can’t believe all the crazy news headlines today. What a week!”
  • 13. “Any chance you read the news today? I missed it, and I’m dying to know what’s happening with [insert news topic here].”
  • 14. “So, was it a pain for you to get here?” The mode of transportation and location in the city are always on peoples’ minds. There’s bound to be a story about it. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
  • 15. “Did you catch the game last night?” It’s a classic, but it’s a classic for a reason

The Introverts

If you’re an introvert, walking into a room full of unknown people can feel extra intimidating. One of our favorite approaches is to look toward the outskirts of the room and find someone who looks a little lonely. Maybe that woman sitting by herself at the table doesn’t know anyone and is just hoping that someone will come talk to her. Be that person, and try one of these lines.

  • 16. “Man, these networking events can be so crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it’s a little quieter?” – Careerealism
  • 17. “As we’re both here at the (buffet, bar, waiting room), I feel I should introduce myself. I’m [name] from [company].” – @ainegreaney
  • 18. I like to compliment people on their clothes and accessories. I find this approach to be more friendly and less about professionally connecting, especially if you’re at a networking event. I believe both men and women can compliment each other on their choice of attire and use it as a conversation starter! – @MsMeganGrace
  • 19. “Excuse me. Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice! Hi, I’m Andi. Nice to meet you.” – Andrea M.
  • 20. “Man, I hate networking.” If you sense a fellow party-goer has similar misanthropic tendencies, walk up and start a conversation about your mutual distaste. – Jessica Gordon for The Muse
  • Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.