Express Yourself in Your LinkedIn Photo, As Long as It Fits Industry Norms, That Is…

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By this point, most of us are familiar with LinkedIn. The social media site for professional networking has become a staple of the recruiting world. Job seekers use it to connect with opportunities, and recruiters and hiring managers use it to scope out leads. Every part of an applicant’s LinkedIn profile says something about them — even the profile photo.

Be certain that if you are looking for a job, someone is scrutinizing your photo and making judgments about you, according to recent research from marketing firm Digital Third Coast in collaboration with JDP. The research explored 2,000 LinkedIn profiles to discover the best and worst that job seekers have to offer.

“We measured the technical execution of LinkedIn profile photos — based on lighting, framing, and resolution — across 11 industries, so our primary findings amounted to which industries performed better or worse,” explains Andy Kerns, creative director for Digital Third Coast.

According to the research, real estate, HR, and marketing/advertising had the best profile photos, whereas education, government, and retail had the worst. The research also found that healthcare and government workers were least likely to upload profile photos, a fact that “indicates either a need for privacy or a lack of emphasis put on physical presentation in those fields,” in Kerns’ view.

While a study focusing on the art of LinkedIn profile photos might seem a little niche, your profile photo is ultimately an important tool in your arsenal during a job hunt.

“By reviewing our data alongside an open LinkedIn search window, people can quickly identify missteps to avoid and feel confident in other stylistic choices — perhaps a black and white photo with no smile — especially if it jives with their industry of interest,” Kerns says.

What Your Profile Photo Says About You

Rather than snapping a quick bathroom-mirror selfie to slap on your profile, take the time to do a little research. Find out what will impress recruiters, hiring managers, and coworkers in your target industry.

“When it comes to strategically styling a LinkedIn profile in pursuit of a new job and selecting a photo, we recommend that people look the part,” Kerns says. “That means take cues from other people in the same industry, in the same types of positions you’re pursuing, and particularly those in leadership positions. Like it or not, personal style can be a language of its own within certain industries, and it makes an impression.”

People who fail to post photos that reflect the norms of their industries risk implying that they, as employees, will also fail to fit in if hired.

“It’s not ideal — people should feel free to express themselves — but in a modern job hunt, you’ve got to be strategic,” Kerns adds.

Your Online Brand Is Bigger Than LinkedIn

You leave a digital footprint behind you everywhere you go. If you’re in the midst of a job search, make sure you limit public access to private social media pages. Similarly, make sure any publicly visible photos won’t give a negative impression to anyone who might be looking into your online presence.

“We recommend curating your online brand on social media, personal websites, company sites, and across the many other places your name and behavior or beliefs can be expressed,” Kerns says. “Whether you run a 5K, comment on a restaurant, or make a political donation, there are all kinds of ways you can be projected online outside normal channels. Seasoned professionals make sure they put forth a thoughtful public persona that aligns with their professional interests. At the very least, be ready to answer for anything distasteful.”

Even the gainfully employed should be at least marginally aware of how they project themselves online. If you think you’re safe just because you’ve already got a job, consider all of the viral video stars who have been fired by their employers for unethical behavior in recent years.

“In many industries, careful curation is not just suggested, it’s mandatory,” Kerns says.  “And even when it’s just suggested, we encourage people to think about the broad reach of their work and who might be tempted to judge something in a way that could impact your professional interests.”

The 6 Best Careers for Introverts

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The modern workplace holds many challenges for introverts. The noise and distractions of open-plan offices are not conducive to an introvert’s best work, and collaborative porjects are often prioritized above individual efforts.

In the right roles, however, introverts can really thrive. Here are six careers where introverts can use their gift for calm, focused effort to its fullest:

1. The Legal Profession

When you think of the legal field, you might immediately imagine an extraverted lawyer confidently declaiming aloud in front of a courtroom. In reality, as many as 60 percent of lawyers may be introverts.

It makes sense when you start to think about it. The nitty-gritty of legal work involves a lot of preparation and strategizing. Lawyers spend the majority of their time researching, writing, and preparing strong arguments for cases. Introverts are particularly well suited for such long stretches of solo work.

2. Creative Work

The digital age is fueled by content of all forms, from videos and photos to blogs and articles. There are a wealth of jobs and freelance assignments available for videographers, photographers, and writers, all of whom do the majority of work on their own.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts can also be social media influencers and vloggers — as long as they can control the amount of interaction they have with their audiences and recharge when needed.

3. Research Work

Extraverts might struggle with being shut in a room or lab for hours, poring over results and writing reports. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to enjoy their own company and concentrating on specialized tasks. Any research role in any field, from medical to academia to industry analysis, is perfect for introverted employees.

In some research roles, you may have to present your findings regularly to a group. Introverts can become good public speakers, but it may require some practice. If you decide to take a research role that involves public speaking, be sure to always give yourself time to prepare and rehearse ahead of your presentation.

4. The Tech Industry

The tech industry is often associated with the image of a programmer sitting alone at a task, typing away. Because they require long periods of working alone, many tech roles are good for introverts, from system administration and software engineering to data analysis, data science, and web development. As an added bonus, jobs in this field also tend to pay well.

5. Social Media Management

With the word “social” in its title, you’d be forgiven for thinking this isn’t a good field for introverts. However, the majority of social media management involves behind-the-scenes work creating content, responding to comments, and answering questions.

Introverts are good listeners, which makes them good at developing content that appeals to audiences. They also tend to think carefully before they speak, allowing them to keep a cool head during PR crises.

6. Running a Business

Running your own freelance business involves a lot of individual work. It also offers a lot of autonomy and flexibility, which can appeal to introverts in particular. Skills like coding, writing, carpentry, and plumbing all lend themselves to self-employment, if that is a road you are interested in taking.

Believe it or not, introverts can also be successful CEOs. In fact, one study found the highest-performing CEOs tend to be more introverted. Strong leaders are reliable, thoughtful, and consistent in their actions — which just so happen to be three of an introvert’s biggest strengths. Additionally, because introverts are good listeners, they are more likely to solicit and value ideas from their employees. This leads to both more innovation and more engaged workers, which are critical for business success today.

Ultimately, there’s no single “best” role for introverts, because a career involves a lot more than just a job. Your happiness hinges on your colleagues, your manager, the company culture, your work style, and even where you work.

So, if you’re an introvert looking for the right career, take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, plus the kind of work you enjoy and the environment you’re most comfortable working in. Even if you find a role you love, it isn’t going to be suitable if you have to collaborate with a lot of people or work in an open-plan office.

Izaak Crook is the content marketing manager at AppInstitute.

4 Reasons Your Resume Is Being Ignored

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Have you spent hours upon hours writing what you thought was the perfect resume, only for it to be consistently ignored by hiring managers?

The job market is highly competitive, and your resume is up against tens or hundreds of others every time you apply for a job. Before sending your resume out to another role, address these common weaknesses that may be holding you back:

1. Your Cover Letter Isn’t Strong Enough

Many people spend days crafting their resumes, only to ruin their chances with a thoughtless, tossed-off cover letter.

Your cover letter and your resume are a team. They need to be equally great if you are to land an interview. Spend some time crafting an original, inspiring, and tailored cover letter for each application. Your cover letter should detail why you’re interested in the role and sum up why you’re the right candidate for the job. It should also speak specifically to the company you’re applying to. Yes, that does mean you need to alter it for every role.

2. Your Resume Profile Isn’t Tailored

If you are using the same resume profile for every application, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Busy recruiters and hiring managers have piles of resumes to get through each and every day. At best, yours will get a quick skim before they decide whether or not to toss it. Your resume profile is your best shot at catching someone’s attention and showing them the value you bring to the table.

Your profile should be a short, snappy, persuasive paragraph that summarizes your key skills, results, and experiences. The goal is to entice the recruiter or hiring manager to keep reading.

Like a cover letter, your resume profile should also be tailored to each role. Make a note of keywords and specific skills highlighted in the job description, and then deploy those keywords and skills in your resume profile. This makes it clear you’re a good candidate for the role.

3. Your Resume Is Difficult to Read

You could be the perfect candidate for the job, but if the layout of your resume is off, you’re unlikely to be called for interview. Simply put, the easier your resume is to navigate, the more likely a recruiter is to actually read it.

Spend some time thinking about how your resume actually looks. Use a clear, simple font, and break sections up with white space. Bullet-pointed lists make the text easy to digest, while bold text is a great way to highlight important skills and results relevant to the job.

Always remember to include a resume profile and core skills section. This ensures recruiters will see your value, even if they only scan your resume for 30 seconds.

One final tip: If you are submitting your resume digitally, save it as a PDF to avoid any inadvertent formatting blunders.

4. Your Resume Doesn’t Prove Your Impact

Recruiters aren’t all that interested in the day-to-day duties of your previous roles. They’re more impressed by the impact you made on your former employers.

When it comes to your work history, you have to do more than just state what each position involved. Include facts, figures, and metrics that prove your were an asset to your company. For example, don’t just say you were involved in client acquisition. Instead, state how many new clients you brought to the company during your tenure. Instead of mentioning you were involved in sales, detail how much revenue you earned for the company.

Whether it’s costs cut, time saved, problems solved, revenue generated, or awards received, your resume must include some hard evidence of your value. Quantifying your achievements helps back up everything you say about yourself. A recruiter or hiring manager won’t believe you unless you give them a good reason to.

Andrew Fennell is the founder of UK-based CV-writing advice website StandOut CV.

Connecticut’s Pay Equity Law Prohibits Salary History Inquiries

By Kelly M. Cardin © Ogletree DeakinsJanuary 7, 2019
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As of Jan. 1, Connecticut employers are prohibited from inquiring about prospective employees’ wage or salary histories. Connecticut’s new pay equity law is intended to promote equality in pay and close the wage gap.

Under the new law, employers—defined as entities having one or more employees—are also prohibited from using a third party to inquire about any applicant’s wage or salary history. Employers may still inquire about the components of an applicant’s compensation structure—for example, retirement benefits or stock option plans—but they may not inquire about the value of any individual component.

Nothing in the law prevents an employer from verifying salary information if a prospective employee voluntarily discloses such information. Additionally, the law does not apply where a federal or state law “specifically authorizes disclosure or verification of salary history” in the employment context.

A private right of action exists for violations of the law, and a prospective employee can potentially recover compensatory damages, attorney fees and costs, and punitive damages. A two-year statute of limitations applies.

Review Policies and Practices

In light of this new law, Connecticut employers should revise their employment applications to remove any requests for candidates’ salary histories. Employers that have hiring policies and/or hiring scripts should revise these documents to remove any questions about salary histories.

Further, employers may want to affirmatively state that it is the employer’s policy not to make such inquiries. Connecticut employers may also want to ensure that any employees involved in interviewing candidates are trained on the new law and understand that they should not be asking about salary history information.

Finally, employers may want to verify that any third parties they are using to help screen candidates are aware of and in compliance with the new law.

Kelly M. Cardin is an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Stamford, Conn. © 2019 Ogletree Deakins. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. 

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Internships Work

UAPB’s International Students Gain Employment, Job Experience at Internships

Will Hehemann School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

International Students Group

Each semester, around 50 students from other countries study at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), Dr. Pamela Moore, associate dean for global engagement, Office of International Programs and Studies (OIPS) at UAPB, said. Thanks to a collaborative initiative between OIPS and the UAPB Office of Career Services, international students studying at UAPB are able to earn money and gain practical work experience at internships throughout the U.S.

Dr. Moore said the ongoing collaboration aims to help international students find meaningful paid internships to both offset the costs of tuition and to allow the students gain work experience related to their field of study.

“Because the vast majority of international students are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid, those interested in studying at UAPB typically focus on mobilizing financial resources through scholarships, fellowships, graduate assistantships and personal or family savings to meet the initial costs of enrollment,” she said. “In the past, after enrolling at UAPB, international students had limited opportunities to learn about employment opportunities they could legally pursue once in the U.S.”

In the past year, 11 international students at UAPB have interviewed for and gained internships at private companies and educational institutions across the U.S. in fields including medicine, informational technology and computer science.

Tracy Knowlton, assistant director for Cooperative Education and Internships at UAPB, said it is important for all UAPB students to have an internship experience because it increases their marketability for future employment.

“An internship allows a student to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice,” she said. “If a student starts an internship early enough during their college career, they have the chance to gain experience in a variety of areas within their degree field to see what lines up best with their career goals. The student not only stands to gain on-hand experience in their chosen career field, but also might receive a permanent job offer upon graduation.”

While the financial benefits of summer internships are a big incentive for UAPB’s international students, these experiences also help them to learn more about U.S. society in general, sharpen their short-term and long-term career goals and build confidence in their ability to exercise leadership and demonstrate effective teamwork in professional settings, Dr. Moore said.

During international student recruitment and outreach sessions in the countries of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, Dr. Muthusamy Manoharan, interim dean/director of the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, highlighted the school’s new apprenticeship program, which is available to both U.S. and international students as campus-based employment. He explained that employment opportunities allowed by immigration regulations can help students substantially defray the costs of matriculation at a U.S. university. In some cases, the income a student earns in the U.S. can be equal to or more than a year’s salary in some developing countries.

“Five international students who interned at different locations during the summer 2018 semester recently shared details of their internship experiences,” Dr. Moore said. “It is my hope that their success stories will inspire other international students at UAPB to follow in their footsteps.”

Clement Nana Agyemang – University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

CA Photo 2Clement Nana Agyemang, a junior major of chemistry/biochemistry from Kumasi, Ghana, was a member of the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Summer Student Mentored Research Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). His internship responsibilities included performing assays in the laboratory, reviewing scientific literature, attending weekly seminars and presenting research publicly.

During his internship, Agyemang learned to use SAS, a software suite commonly used to manage data. In addition to learning about data analysis and interpretation, he also learned about applying to graduate school, presenting research and skills related to writing scientific papers.

“I loved everything about my internship,” he said. “I had a great mentor who guided me throughout the program. I also loved the weekly seminars, which taught me much about graduate and medical school.”

Agyemang said the internship provided great opportunities to meet new colleagues in biochemistry and related fields. He attended a seminar at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Research Institute, where he met specialists in the field of cancer, as well as medical school residents.

“The internship at UAMS allowed me to translate the things I have learned at UAPB into practice,” he said. “I had the chance to perform hands-on experiments and apply classroom knowledge to work in the field.”

Agyemang said his education at UAPB has given him the chance to experience the broader world. The university has a friendly atmosphere, conducive environment for studying and faculty willing to help individuals achieve their academic goals, he said.

Shamara Lawrence – State University of New York Upstate Medical University

For her internship, Shamara Lawrence, a junior biochemistry major from Portland, SL Photo 1Jamaica, conducted biomedical research for the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University. She assisted in a project related to the treatment of diet-induced obesity.

“Thanks to my internship, I learned a lot about the research environment,” she said. “I developed important transferable skills that will be useful in my career as a researcher, such as the western blot analytical technique, flow cytometry analysis and animal surgery. The program also organized seminars in which we learned how to prepare for graduate school.”

Lawrence appreciated having the chance to work with a patient mentor who had a lot of experience training students, as well as a principal investigator who took an interest in Lawrence’s summer project. The most challenging part of the experience was learning new protocols, as it takes time to master any new skill in the laboratory, she said.

After she graduates from UAPB, Lawrence plans to earn her doctorate degree in biomedicine. Since the field of study is competitive and requires research experience, she feels her internship at SUNY will help her get a head start as she starts to apply for degree programs.

“I want to encourage other international students to pursue their undergraduate studies at UAPB, and I would favorably try to gear them towards the Department of Chemistry and Physics,” Lawrence said. “The faculty and staff offer phenomenal support, and they are very invested in preparing competent, well-rounded individuals for the workforce.”

Marcel Nwaukwa – University of California, Los Angeles

MN Photo 1Marcel Nwaukwa, a junior major of computer science from Nigeria, participated in an internship on principles of bioinformatics at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The project focused on single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), variations that occur in individuals’ DNA sequences. Nwaukwa was responsible for calculating the weight of an SNP through frequency and pathway.

“I liked that I was able to learn new concepts related to bioinformatics,” he said. “Learning programming languages at UAPB really helped me in the programming portion of the research I conducted during the internship.”

Nwaukwa said other international students should consider enrolling at UAPB because the university equips students to achieve their academic aspirations.

Sireta Roach – International Business Machines Corporation

Sireta Roach, a graduate student of computer science from Kingston, Jamaica, worked in Sireta Roacha collaborative environment to understand technical requirements, design, code and test innovative applications at the International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation’s campus in Austin, Texas. During her internship as a software developer specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning, she was a member of a team responsible for creating products with high performance, security, quality and stability.

Throughout her internship, Roach gained experience using a variety of relational databases, operating systems and user interface frameworks.

“At IBM, I was able to learn the company’s design thinking approach and adapt to the platforms that are used for software development,” she said. “In this area, I was able to explore the Watson Discovery Service, which is basically a search engine utilized to provide sentiment analysis on both pre-enriched and private collection data.”

Roach learned about model training, the machine learning technique used to create algorithms that are able to make predictions and decisions based on data. She said she was also able to enhance her organizational, time-management, presentation and public speaking skills.

Roach said she enjoyed the diversity of IBM’s workforce and her manager’s efforts to make her feel comfortable in a new work environment. She also appreciated the chance to work on an intern-driven project, in which team members shared innovative ideas to find solutions to complex problems.

“The internship has given me the practical experience directly related to what I learned in the classroom at UAPB,” she said. “I was able to utilize my knowledge gained in the classroom and apply it in a practical way. Skills I learned from UAPB courses on advanced database systems, programming concepts and software engineering were particularly useful throughout this internship.”

Sadiq Haruna – Universityof Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Sadiq HarunaFor his internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Sadiq Haruna, a junior major of computer science from Kumasi, Ghana, was responsible for writing codes and generating scientific models based on data within the National Readmission Database.

“I had the opportunity to learn to use the Python programming language, which allowed me to generate scripts for the data,” Haruna said. “Weekly team meetings were a great learning experience. I learned about teamwork and collaboration, and I was able to polish my communication skills.”

Throughout the internship, Haruna gave presentations to develop his public speaking skills. He also wrote a scientific paper that was published in a journal.

“I really enjoyed the relationship I developed with my mentors,” he said. “They were very helpful and resourceful. My biggest challenge was not asking for assistance from mentors in a timely manner. I learned that trying to find solutions on one’s own isn’t always helpful when working in a team.”

Haruna said the internship allowed him to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations.

“I realized that in the field, everything we learn in the classroom is of use,” he said. Even concepts from courses that might initially seem irrelevant to your academic major prove to be relevant.”

Haruna said his education at UAPB has helped develop him into a well-rounded individual. Not only does he feel he is receiving a quality education, but he is also learning important lessons about personal development and leadership.

“Faculty and staff at UAPB are incredible,” he said. “Anytime I reach a roadblock, I simply knock on a door and someone is willing to offer help. I love being a part of the pride.”