Blog

Along with the pandemic came a huge shift in the job industry, forcing many companies to make cuts and reevaluate their needs to survive the year ahead. Most noticeably, the hospitality industry lost millions in revenue and suffered a 23% drop in employment, but the massive dip in economic spending affected businesses in every sector. The tech industry lost thousands of jobs as well. 

The lockdowns, social distancing, and overall decrease of in-person interactions has forced us all to come to terms with the truth: life is getting more and more digital. With that in mind, there may be good news: according to a survey by industry association CompTIA, even as the US as a whole lost 140,000 jobs in December 2020, the tech industry showed a growth of 391,000 positions, about 44% of which were IT staff, software developers, and IT project managers. (link) Seeing a strong increase in remote working and digital communication can only mean one thing: IT and tech jobs will see stronger growth than almost any other industry in 2021. 

So what tech industry jobs will be in high demand this year?

Software Developer

Ranked #2 in U.S. News Best 100 Jobs for 2021, a software developer will have their pick from an estimated 316,000 new positions this year. Whether it's creating an app to program your home, fixing bugs in existing software, or perfecting the operating systems of the future, their analytical thinking and problem solving skills will be in high demand.

Information Security Analyst

With digital information needs on the rise, cybersecurity becomes more of a concern. Information Security Analysts establish effective protection systems for company networks and sensitive user data.

Data Scientist

Companies are collecting vast amounts of information every day, utilizing data to shape their product offerings, goals, and businesses. A data scientist is critical in gathering, refining, and analyzing this information to determine actionable insights with which decisions can be made. 

Web Developer

It's no surprise that global e-commerce sales are expected to hit $5 trillion in 2021, and with brands forced to adapt to a shift in shopping and browsing habits, companies will be scrambling to polish up their digital presence. Enter: the web developer. Responsible for building and maintaining websites, and as part of a rich network of creative tech freelancers, web developers will be called on by all sorts of companies to improve their digital presence, from small businesses lacking the infrastructure to sell online, to larger brands that need to reach new customers. 

Posted: 1/27/2021 4:45:30 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


For most people, the resume is the gate-opener to a new position. Hiring managers filter through piles of applicants, selecting resumes with key terms and applicants with certain credentials. Most often, a gap on a resume is an obvious indicator of job loss, but if the time period is longer than a couple months, it can raise more of a red flag to a potential employer. 

In a normal year, a gap on a resume demands some sort of explanation that suggests an investment in personal or professional growth, or a dedication to a job search (a full time job in itself, right?). But what about the year of Absolute Unpredictability and Unforeseen Circumstances? 
Our answer: employers will be more forgiving, but you'll still need some reasonable explanations. We have some ideas on how best to deal with it.

1) Address it in a cover letter.

Don't focus too much on the minutia of the situation, but a quick acknowledgement of a gap can leave an impression of transparency and honesty, qualities both highly valued in an employee. Layed off due to COVID-19? The timing alone will likely indicate the reason your employment ended, but you can provide a simple mention so a hiring manager clearly understands. "Company downsized," or "position was eliminated" are great phrases to explain that your job loss was unrelated to your performance.

2) Put an end date on your employment.

You might think leaving a "-to present" as an end date for the latest position on your resume is the easiest way to avoid addressing a resume gap, but as they say, "(dis)honesty is (not) the best policy" (They say that, right?). References, googling, etc might reveal your untruth and leave you in a less than favorable light with an employer. 

3) Be honest.

If your children now require homeschooling, say so. If you were caring for a sick relative, say so. If you were navigating an overloaded job search market, while balancing child care, home schooling, COVID testing, grocery shopping, all while being masked and without hardly leaving your home ever? ... Still say so, but maybe in a somewhat condensed version. 

Employers understand the merging of personal and professional selves in today's climate and are much more interested in hearing that you've been volunteering to sew masks or drop off food for front line workers, or mastering 4th grade math with your daughter than trying to believe you've only been applying for jobs 8 hours a day for the last two months.

You can be playful with how you mention this on a resume, giving yourself an important title and indicating actual professional skills that apply. Say something like "Homeschool Teacher. Managed educational projects and food intake for small internal team of two. Collaborated with educators, analyzed results and strategized on future endeavors." Find a way to see the applications for professional growth in this phase, even if seems very distant from your career.

4) Say SOMEthing about professional development.

Even if you're balancing the world on your shoulders during this pandemic, attend a handful of free webinars so you can claim to be working on your career in some capacity. Taking an online course even one hour a week allows you to say you haven't been neglecting your professional self (and also, allows you to actually not neglect your professional self). 

Spending some time reframing your time away from a job can be a challenge, but investing some thought into its relevance in your professional life can be beneficial for your future. Including an explanation of a gap on your resume is a valuable action to take when applying for a new job. Trust us, employers are understanding during this time. 

Posted: 1/4/2021 9:18:41 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Aaaah, the virtual interview. In the past? An honor held for cross-country hires and early round interviews. Currently? The norm.

Job seekers are brushing up on their onscreen conversational skills and perfecting their Zoom smiles, but hiring managers should also prepare to utilize this potentially unfamiliar format. For employers, it can be difficult to recalibrate your in-person evaluation skills for a socially distant format, sans handshakes and body language.

Virtual Interview Tips for Attracting and Identifying Top Candidates

With increased efforts to keep workplaces safe and healthy, it doesn't look like in-person interviews will be returning anytime soon. Polish up your interrogat– erm, interview skills, and prepare to shift your thinking a bit to adjust to this increasingly common platform.

Your Appearance Matters Too

The focus is usually on candidates professional appearance and chosen background, but don't forget: you're trying to sell them on your company at the same time! Without the ability to walk around and see your workplace, there's an incentive to differentiate yourself from the handful of other white-walled interviews your favorite candidate may have lined up. Choose a location with decent lighting and don't be afraid to stray from a blank wall.

Test Your Tech

Make sure your platform is working properly and camera and video quality is decent. Even if you've used them recently, be sure all connections are solid as unexpected problems can arise without notice. Also, have the candidate's contact information handy in case of a delay or a break in your meeting.

Lighten the Mood

Many people find a video chat to be more awkward than an in-person meeting. Staring at a screen isn't always the easiest way to warm up to someone, so do you both a favor and try to get your interviewee to loosen up a bit. Whether it's asking about their weekend or talking about your own day a little bit, some small talk will get things on a more comfortable path.

Convey Your Company Culture

Without an in-office visit, a candidate has no way of knowing what it's like to work with you, or who they'll be working with. A great way to convey this via vide chat is to either have a member of your team jump on the call or arrange a separate one. You can also make a point to describe how a typical workday goes, what your team is like, or if you're in your office (socially-distanced, of course) and on a laptop, take them on a tour.

Pay Attention to Body Language

Limiting your view of a candidate to a screen can help highlight revealing mannerisms. If the candidate isn't maintaining eye contact or is shifting in their seat, they may be nervous. Good posture indicates self confidence and leaning into the camera means they are engaged in the conversation. Body language will inform your overall impression of a candidate, so be alert.

The virtual interview will likely be an important skill for your toolbox in the future. Make sure your company stays ahead of the game and masters the skills needed to identify and attract top candidates with these tips for a great virtual interview.

Posted: 10/28/2020 1:12:35 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


The last six months have been a roller coaster, full of changing rules, fluctuating attitudes, and a desire to “get back to work,” adjacent to a need for maintaining distance and safety.

In the U.S., the only entity as heavily affected by this pandemic as the American business is the American household. Changing work habits and an uncertain economy aside, thousands of employed parents are also adjusting to their children's new school platforms: virtual learning and "blended" school days. Their daily lives have changed drastically, and any acknowledgement and accommodation from management will go a long way.

Working with Parents of Children Who Are Learning Virtually

Be flexible

Offer parents the ability to accommodate changing family schedules, allowing them to shift work hours if needed. Doing so eases some stress and also cements your reputation as a supportive and understanding employer. What does lower stress translate to? Higher productivity! So, it's a win-win.

Set communication expectations

Be clear about how much contact and communication you need from employees who are managing workloads alongside their family's virtual learning. Determine if management needs to be notified when employees are attending to their children during work hours, and if a schedule needs to be set ahead of time or not.

Remove the excess

Skim the fat from their workload and remove any unnecessary meetings – paring down to just the essentials ensures their work hours are spent efficiently.

Be clear from the start

No employee should have to guess what is or is not acceptable within this "new normal" of balancing children's virtual learning schedules and their own work schedules. Be clear on your expectations as early as possible. Let your entire team know you are understanding of small interruptions in meetings, or that you are willing to be flexible on specific hours worked. If meetings become a challenge to attend, suggest a buddy system, so your team can check in with coworkers to report on the items discussed in a missed meeting.

It's also important for non-parents on your team to understand that a less-than-ideal situation can be made better with some compassion and understanding. No one will be expected to work more or less, but you're all in this together.

The working parents that are a part of your organization are facing extreme struggles, juggling working from home, keeping themselves and their families healthy, all while ensuring their children's education continues even when schools range from completely closed to merely partially open. Daily routines are all out of whack, continuing to provide constant sources of stress to an already hectic time. Doing your best as an employer to accommodate the challenges this year has brought to everyone, especially working parents, will result in a strong and satisfied team. 

Posted: 10/2/2020 1:10:58 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


2020 has been a year of weird ups, and even weirder downs. Businesses have adapted to the roller coaster of economic activity, changing their systems and adjusting their staff, leaving many of us in a weird state of limbo. Furloughs, layoffs, working from home, and home schooling mean we could emerge on the other side of this pandemic with an entirely new set of personal and professional needs.

Without a clear path to success in the future, and without the security to drop a handful of money on professional development, what are we to do?

 
online-learning-coputer-screen
 
Enter: inexpensive/free online learning. You can shape your skills with a flexible schedule while we're living in this time of transition. Use online courses to invigorate your skillset, OR just to incorporate some stability and learning into your everyday chaos. If you're looking for something new at the end of this, dip your toe into a different subject and see if it piques your interest. Or take it more seriously and come out with a certificate. There are a TON of options – we're just here to direct you to the right one.
 

EdX

Legitimate institutions (Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, Georgetown, and 140 more) offer almost 3000 courses in a wide range of subjects, with an even wider range of costs. Free courses sit alongside MicroMasters programs (a fraction of the time and cost of a full Masters Program), and full Masters programs.
 
Some of its most popular courses: Intro to Computer Science, Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel
 

Codecademy

As you might guess from its name, Codecademy is chock full of courses on.. drumroll please.. coding! Web design, game development, data science – you name it, they have courses on it. A free model or a monthly plan, you'll be able to dabble in different programming languages while
 

Skillshare

The platform for the creative soul, a Skillshare visit gets you access to thousands of free classes, with even more if you decide on an annual membership. Classes from industry professionals run rampant on Skillshare, and students love the ability to work at your own pace while also contributing to class discussions and critique.
 

LinkedIn Learning

Over 16,000 free and paid courses run the gamut from professional development to program-specific. A perk of LinkedIn Learning is that suggestions are tailored for your resume, so if you've listed certain skills in your profile, it will steer you toward courses to develop those in particular, or even other skills common among your coworkers.
 

Google Analytics Academy

While it's specifically geared toward Google Analytics, these classes take you deep into its capabilities. Experience with tracking business performance over time and understanding data collection and analysis is applicable to any job, so it's a worthy investment (of time, no money needed!).
 

Udemy

With courses as low as $9.99, it's easy to find something that works for your needs. You'll see courses on Adobe programs from novice to expert, a large collection of design classes, as well as courses in business areas like marketing and finance/accounting. Downloadable resources and certificates of completion mean you have something to show for it.

 
 
These 6 sites are excellent places to begin expanding and developing your professional skills. Make this transitional time a period of growth with classes and courses that fit into your life and won't cost much. Consider it an opportunity to try something out and see if it might be an area of interest. Or, work on growing your talent in a program or subcategory in which you're already proficient. Your career will benefit greatly!

Posted: 8/21/2020 3:26:50 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments