4 Traits Needed to be a Great Leader in 2017

February 14, 2017

By Dan Charney, President

Day by day, the workforce evolves due to economical, technological, and societal changes. With the constant workforce transformation is a constant need for leaders to strive for quality management tactics. Common important traits for a leader to have are confidence, transparency, and innovation, among others. However, 2017 is a new year, with new challenges, and leaders should take note of these 4 key traits and skills that will make them successful and benefit their employees this year.

1. Decisiveness
On a regular basis, leaders are put into situations where they are expected to make tough decisions that can impact the entire company. In addition, they are responsible for communicating their decisions to employees and others. To be successful, a great leader is able to make quick decisions by balancing emotions and logic. When it comes to information processing and decision making, leaders are able to use both sides of the brain; left being the logic center responsible for reasoning and analysis, and right being the emotional center responsible for creativity and intuition. With the fast pace of the business world, leaders and top executives have to implement balanced decision making without hesitation and without wasting time.

2. Focus
In 2017, technology continues to expand and grow at a fast rate with big data, cybersecurity, and IoT being at the forefront of not only the tech industries, but also manufacturing, healthcare, banking, and more. With this growth, leaders need to be able to adapt to changes, but also know their core business and stick to it. Changes and challenges can cause leaders and executives to lose focus and lose sight of their mission which can ultimately result in a loss of profits. It is important for leaders to stay organized and stay on track with established strategies, plans, and goals, while also keeping employees and other leaders in the company focused for the business to be successful no matter what changes the business world could be experiencing.

3. Communication Skills
Having exceptional communication skills is common for leaders, but especially important in today’s day and age. There are four different generations with a prominent presence in the workforce today. Furthermore, today’s leaders fall into many of these generational categories. This makes it so important for leaders to be able to clearly communicate strategy, goals, give and receive feedback, and motivate employees no matter if they are dealing with Baby Boomers, Generation X, or Millennials. While many of these generations have stereotypes stamped onto them that may or may not be true, it is extremely important for leaders to pay attention to what communication methods are the clearest and most concise for employees and the team.

4. Insightfulness and Innovation
The 2017 workforce has been highlighting a key factor in what is most valuable to them in a job: company culture. A recent poll by Hunt Scanlon Media shows that 73% of respondents say culture is the most important workplace consideration at their organization, with 42% responding that culture is a leadership priority driven from the top down. As leaders, it is extremely important to be insightful and innovative in creating a great company culture. Top executives can improve the quality of their workplace environment and culture by simply having a clear understanding of what employees want, and creatively implementing perks. This will help to not only retain current employees, but attract new talent as well.

Effective leadership takes time and experience, but with practice, leaders can polish these traits and benefit themselves, and their employees. What other leadership traits do you think are crucial for top executives to have in 2017?

6 Tech Jobs Expected to Grow Like Crazy in 2017

According to Business Insider, the following IT jobs are expected to have high-growth in 2017:

#6
Network and computer systems administrator: growing by 8%
While companies are buying less computers due to the Cloud, the demand for these professionals has not diminished.
Average Salary: $77,810

#5
Data Scientist: growing by 16%
Due to big data, demand for this skill isn’t going away anytime soon.
Average Salary: $128,240

#4
Software Engineer: growing by 17%
High-tech companies to everyday organizations need custom software to serve their own customers and employees.
Average Salary: $100,690

#3
Information Security Analyst: growing by 18%
There’s a rising demand for people who know how to keep data safe and secure.
Average Salary; $90,120

#2
Computer Systems Analyst: growing by 21%
There’s a need for someone to troubleshoot problems when things go wrong, aka the Systems Analyst.
Average Salary: $85,800

#1
Web developer: growing by 27%
While their salaries my not reflect it, Web developers are always in high-demand.
Average Salary: $64,970

5 of the Biggest Resume Mistakes

The quickest way for your resume to get thrown out is to submit it with mistakes. Beyond the obvious grammatical and spelling that will cause your resume to immediately be rejected, there are 5 other BIG mistakes to be aware of and stay away from:

1) Not including keywords that match the job. Your resume must show that you are qualified for the job, so include keywords on your resume to refer to the specific position. You have very little time to grab a hiring manager’s attention so don’t send a generic resume. You will be lost in the pile.

2) Focusing on the wrong thing. Candidates often explain their responsibilities but forget to include results. Set yourself apart from the pack by highlighting specific accomplishments. The more quantitative, the better. In fact, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.

3) Being too modest. Don’t forget to include any awards or recognition you’ve received such as “President’s Club Member” for being over quota by 25%. Also include any community service awards you received. Hiring managers look favorable upon people who not only work hard at the office but make a difference in the community as well.

4) Leaving unanswered red flags. Candidates usually wait until the first interview before addressing any gaps that may be on their resume. Big mistake. Most candidates won’t even make it to a first interview if the issues are not explained on their resume, cover letter or even LinkedIn profile. So if you moved around a lot in your career, it would be to your benefit to explain the reasons for your movement.

5) Writing too much. When writing your resume be as succinct and concise as possible. Keep your resume to 1 or 2 pages max. Bullet points and short paragraphs enhance readability. Limit your resume to the last 10 – 15 years of work experience. You don’t need to include everything you ever did.

If you have any stories about resume blunders, please share or comment below.

Building Rapport in Job Interviews

January 5, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

A new year brings new opportunities to make positive first impressions, whether it’s with new clients, networking connections, or with job interviewers. Especially in job interviews, hiring managers are looking for a certain skillset, but research is showing that building rapport is becoming increasingly as important. This could be described as communication that develops trust, chemistry, and establishes good relationships.

In a recent study led by Brian W. Swider, Georgia Institute of Technology, 163 mock interviewers were rated by competency after introductory small talk with an interviewer. The study showed that those who sparked a sense of trust with the interviewer received higher overall scores than those who did just as well on the interview, but did not build the same chemistry as the others (Wall Street Journal).
Although interviews can be nerve-wracking, it is important for candidates to show personality and try to build chemistry with the interviewer. Here are 3 tips to building rapport during an interview:

1. First and foremost, remember basic interview etiquette. Make sure that your appearance is appropriate for your interview and the job itself with how you dress and accessorize. Aside from dress, be aware of your body language and what you might be communicating with it. Make eye contact, smile, and avoid sitting with legs and arms crossed. Additionally, be polite and genuine when answering interview questions.

2. Find common ground with the interviewer. Making small talk is the key to building rapport, especially by finding shared experiences the two of you have in common. This can be done by actively listening to the interviewer, or simply paying attention to your surroundings. For example, you may walk into your interviewer’s office and notice that you are a fan of the same sports team, which immediately gives you a way to make a connection with him or her. Take note to analyze the situation first and be certain that the hiring manager is open to small talk to avoid coming off as too familiar and casual.

3. Show your personality. Interviews are chances to show off your personality that may not be obvious on your cover letter or resume. Being prepared to discuss your experience with real-life examples of work related other activities you are involved in. Remember to be yourself in your interview no matter how nervous you might be, and have a sense of humor. It is important to showcase the qualities that will give the interviewer a sense of how it might be to work with you.

Building rapport is a useful skillset to have not only for interviews, but also a variety of professions. What strategies have you used to build rapport during interviews?

Advantages & Disadvantages of Working Remotely

December 14, 2016

In 2015, it was estimated that almost 45% of US employees worked remotely, mostly from home.  By 2020, it is estimated that about 50% of the workforce will be working remotely. Cloud services, mobile platforms and videoconferencing have made remote work possible and very acceptable to both employees and employers.

Many industries are making it known that they are friendly to telecommuting including IT, HR/Recruiting, Education, Accounting, Health, Law, Marketing, Nonprofit, News/Media, Sports, and Travel. In addition, the site FlexJobs.com was created to help those seeking telecommuting opportunities connect with companies and jobs that offer remote work, flexible schedules, part-time hours and freelance assignments.

However, with everything, there are pros and cons. So before you make the change from working in an office to working at home or from another location, you might want to first consider these advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

Work from anywhere and anytime. No longer are you limited by a geographic location or a clock. Thanks to telecommuting, employees are now able to work from pretty much anywhere at any time of day. The traditional 9-5 working day no longer applies.

No daily commute. Most people don’t enjoy their daily trek into an office. Working remote allows you to avoid a lengthy commute by car, train, or bus which enables you to start your workday earlier and calmer.

Flexibility. You would be in charge of your own schedule and possibly more efficient. Working from home and the flexibility it offers, may also suit your family life.  You would have the freedom to run errands, take the kids to school, attend school or sports functions, etc. as long as you get the job done and meet any pre-established deadlines.

Less costly.  Working from a remote location or from home, means you save money on transportation costs, eating lunch out, and purchasing a business wardrobe. Unless you do video conferencing, you can wear informal clothes and no longer need to budget for that work wardrobe.

Better health.  Remote workers say they have more time to incorporate physical exercise into their day.  In addition, they are not exposed to sick co-workers. On the flip side, if you’re the sick person, staying home allows you to take care of yourself while still being productive.

Less interruptions.  Working remotely allows you to focus on the job at hand without the distractions of socializing and office chatter.  You have the ability to get into the zone and buckle down to complete your assignment.

Disadvantages

Need for high self-discipline. It takes a lot of dedication and self-control to work at home and not succumb to distractions. It’s easy to lose motivation and focus which are pitfalls to your success. Therefore, it’s important to be intentional about how you’re using your time. You need to structure your environment in such a way that keeps you engaged.

Lack of workplace social life. You can easily interact with co-workers and clients via technology but it’s not the same as face-to-face meetings, lunching together or just everyday banter. Remote workers often feel isolated.  To counteract isolation, try going into the office now and then or schedule lunch dates with bosses and colleagues.

Overlooked for promotions. There’s a danger of being overlooked for promotions or career development opportunities when working remotely. Those visible employees in the office who are aggressively campaigning for the position will probably have the edge. You can try and counter with regular visits to the office and open lines of communication. You need to express your interest in the upward mobility you want.

Total dependency on technology.  As a remote worker, you have to rely on email, smart phones, laptop, etc. to stay in contact with the office and clients. You are totally dependent on the right technology to be in business. It’s also up to you to keep up with technology that evolves so rapidly.

Blurred lines. You would think that working remote would allow you to enjoy more of a work/life balance but actually it doesn’t.  When you don’t have a clear separation of workplace and home space, they can blend together. You might not be able to just switch-off from work and find yourself constantly checking your smart phone and emails.

There’s no doubt that remote work is on the rise. It’s easier than ever to stay connected in our era of email and smart phones and many employees believe it increases their quality of life.

Please let us know if you work remotely and if there are any other advantages or disadvantages than listed. You may comment below.