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Finding Growth in Subcontracting and Teaming
4/14/2016 12:50:14 PM

Sometimes new, emerging, and/or established businesses find it difficult to compete for large contracts or gain additional business due to many factors, including:  lack of staffing resources; inexperience in the market; and, inability to finance large products.  As such, business may find it advantageous to combine its services with that of another business or group of businesses to increase its competitive advantage.  This is called Teaming

 

What is Teaming?

Teaming or a Teaming Agreement is a strategic alliance between separate business entities that come together to work on a particular project.  Teaming agreements assist small businesses in competing with larger competitors for public and private sector opportunities, while also increasing potential revenue and experience.

In a teaming agreement, each member of the team has a specific set of responsibilities in which they will perform if awarded a contract. 

There are many types of teaming agreements, including:  General Partnerships, Joint Ventures, and, the most common type, the traditional prime contractor-subcontractor relationship.  In this type of relationship, the subcontractor has a direct relationship with the Prime Contractor, but not a direct relationship with the agency/company in which work is being performed.  The Prime Contractor is responsible and for performing to contract terms and conditions, and as contract privity with the agency or company. 

Businesses seeking to do business with Prime Contractors must develop a strategy to introduce their company and inspire large companies to award them a subcontract. 

If you are interested in journeying down the subcontractor path, here are the few starting points to get prepared (we will discuss many of these points in detail in later sections):

  • Gain a general knowledge of the government marketplace (both local, state, and federal);
  • Familiarize yourself with applicable government contracting terms and regulations;
  • Identify any areas of the government market where particular insights and look for work areas where you may fulfill a specialty requirement or a niche; 
  • Complete required government registrations and explore government’s various small business preferences programs and become certified;
  •  Register in small business portals, supplier diversity portal of large companies, etc.
  • Connect with government small business specialists, or business development professionals with experience in subcontracting;
  • Create a polished presentation about your company’s capabilities and strengths; and
  • Attend government-sponsored expos, trade shows, and other forums to meet and make contact with individuals and prime contractors. 

 

Pros and Cons of Teaming

Before entering into a teaming arrangement or agreement, a business owner should carefully identify their strategy as well as examine the positives and negatives of establishing a teaming relationship.  There are several key benefits to teaming arrangements for a small a new business.  These benefits include:

  • Ability to maximize complementary skills, resources, and capabilities
  • Reduce risk by pooling capital or sharing risk 
  • Develop direct relationship with larger, established companies

Additionally, entering into a teaming arrangement can assist small companies in the future, as the experience will help fill gaps in past performance and increase competitiveness.  Teaming arrangements also assist in the elimination of barriers, including geographic or economic barriers.

Although entering into a teaming arrangement does have many positive aspects, the relationship can also pose a potential risk for small businesses due to size and affiliation rules.  A teaming arrangement can violate federal government affiliation rules, and set specific set-asides size standards based on industry. 

For example, if two companies entered into a teaming agreement and together exceed the size standards and/or the number of employees as determined by NAICS code, the teamed companies become ineligible to compete for, or receive, a contract award. 

Affiliation is another potential risk for a small business that enters into a teaming arrangement or agreement.  According to the SBA, companies are considered affiliated if “either directly or indirectly, one controls or has the power to control the other, or a third party or parties controls or has the power to control both”.  Control is determined by many weighing many factors, including common ownership, identical business or economic interests, past relationships, or reliance.  If a small business is considered to be affiliated to another, even after the end of the teaming agreement, it is possible that the small business may become ineligible for future awards or contracts based on a past relationship. 

 

Teaming Trends

In the last 15 years, teaming agreements are becoming more common, as more small business are parties in these relationships in federal, state, and private company contracts.  Much of the commonalities of teaming agreements are due to external factors, such as federal/state spending trends, the use of schedules, and large Prime Contractor Goals. 

Examples include:

  •      Declining contract spending makes it crucial for both large and small business to be on the right contracts to be competitive.
  •          In federal contracting, the use of MACs, GWAC, and Schedules account for more than 60% of contracts.  Each requires prime contractors to plan for broad scopes rather than narrowly-defining specifications.
  •          Large prime contractors pursing government-established subcontracting goals present teaming opportunities for small businesses.  It is estimating that the number of subcontracting opportunities available to small businesses is at least equal to the number of prime contractor opportunities available to small businesses. 

 

Factors Used to Qualify and Select Subcontractors

If you do not have a previous relationship with a Prime Contractor, you may find it difficult to find partnership opportunities.  Why?  Research shows that of the top 12 factors used when qualifying and selecting subcontractors, agency relationship and experience is the top factor evaluated. 

Subcontracting Goals are another factor in which subcontractor are qualified and selected.  In federal, state, and private contracts, goals are set based on socioeconomic status, business size, etc. 

Many federal and state contracts have set aside goals specifically for minority or disadvantaged businesses.  Additional subcontracting goals and set asides used for federal and state contracts include:

  •          HUB Zone
  •          Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)
  •          Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB)
  •          Small Business
  •          Small Disadvantaged Business
  •          Women Owned Small Business

 

The Number One Rule

An opportunity to work with a Prime Contractor is a great opportunity, but do not sacrifice yourself, your business, or your reputation for a contract! 

DO NOT sign a contract you don’t understand!

If there are misunderstandings about any aspect of the contract, including payments, timelines, or work requirements, be sure to ask questions and clarify before signing any documents.  

If the contract does not meet your strategic plan or teaming strategy, be prepared to walk away! 

For information on potential subcontracting and teaming opportunities with Diversity Search Group, please contact info@diversitysearchgroup.com.  

In Celebration - Examining Veterans' Unemployment and Career Tools
10/20/2015 3:43:00 PM

First celebrated in 1911 as Armistice Day before subsequent acts in both 1938 and 1954 renamed the holiday, Veterans Day honors American veterans for both their patriotism and sacrifices made in the interest of freedom and the common good.  Currently, there are approximately 20 million military veterans in the United States, representing 9 percent of the civilian population.   As we celebrate the men and women who protect our country at home and aboard, we examine the advantages of hiring veterans; statistics regarding veteran unemployment; and the tools available to veterans seeking employment.   

 

Advantages of Hiring Veterans

Veterans often exhibit the values and characteristics that are in-demand, including:

·         Trust

·         Performance

·         Leadership

·         Strategic Development

·         Commitment 

According to a 2013 article written for ABC News, author Calvin Lawrence, Jr., states that veterans also exhibit an accelerated learning curve, which enables them to learn news and concepts quickly.  Furthermore, by working with individuals of various backgrounds, races, and genders, veterans are also well-versed in diversity and inclusion, and have the ability to work side-by-side with others without conflict. 

 

Veteran Unemployment

Despite the attributes veterans bring to the workforce, many face unemployment at rates the same or higher than the non-veteran civilian population.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the over 20 million veterans of the army forces, 5.2 percent of male veterans and 6.0 percent of female veterans are currently unemployed.  Although the unemployment rate among all veterans is at its lowest rate since 2008, younger veterans (post 9/11) have a higher unemployment rate than that of all veterans and higher than the national average of 5.3 percent.  For younger veterans, their struggle to return to the civilian workforce is twofold:  not only were many veterans discharged during the economic downturn, but many also had no job-seeking experience.  This is especially true for those veterans whom enlisted right after graduating high school. 

 

For veterans, there are a variety of resources available to assist in the job search and employment process.  The Department of Veteran Affairs operates the website, eBenefits, which includes information on resume building, federal employment, and small business entrepreneurship.  Veterans can also use the Military Skills Translation to find out about career options that best use the capabilities, experience, training, and military service.  State governments have also stepped up to provide resources to both young and mature military veterans.  For example, in Ohio, where the unemployment rate among veterans is 3.1 percent, veterans have access to career resources and benefits; licensing, education, and training; and, employment resources via the Ohio Mean Jobs portal. 

 

Veteran Skills Translation and Tools

As mentioned previously, veterans often exhibit the values and characteristics that are in-demand, including strategy development, leadership, and commitment.  Furthermore, the sub-specialties, collateral duties, and specialized training of military veterans are often comparable to civilian employment.  Using the skills translation database available on the Department of Veteran Services website, as well as on Ohio Means Jobs, veterans may select their service, pay grade, and military job title to find comparable civilian employment opportunities.  For example, veterans who worked as Administrative Clerks in the Marines will find that the skills they developed are easily transferable to positions such as Court Reporter, Switchboard Operators, or as Communications Assistants. 

 

Interview Basics

Since the ultimate goal of the interview process is to get hired, veterans should think of the entire interview process as a strategic initiative, whereby potential employment is based not only on stated qualifications, but also your personality, confidence, and communication skills.  Preparing for the interview should not only include research of the employer, but also the creation of a qualifications list and proper organization.  Be sure to include your military experience and any transferable skills on your resume. 

 

Onboarding and Adjustment

Just as there are resources available to veterans seeking employment, there are also resources available to assist veterans in onboarding, training, and finding mentorship.  Research shows that effective onboarding and support networks for new veteran employees not only helps veterans navigate through the workplace, but also positions veterans to be successful, engaged employees.  


Diversity Search Group is committed to assisting well-qualified veterans find employment.  In addition to our job postings, DSG has established relationships and partnerships which allow for the enhancement of career opportunities for both veterans and civilians.  For more information on our available services and current positions, please visit of current Jobs page, or email us. 


Time and Change - Change Management for Transitions at Home
8/21/2015 3:26:21 PM

As summer quickly turns into autumn, I am reminded of the many transitions that occur during this time of year.  Transitions are often difficult, especially if one has not thoroughly assessed the situation or planned properly. 

Managing transition with the workplace, often called change management, is a broad strategy used by management and project management professionals, to ensure that transitions are smooth, thorough, and lasting.    Often, the change management approach involves six objectives:

  • Sponsorship.  Ensuring that senior level management is on board with the changes occurring and engaged in achieving the desired results. 
  • Buy-in.  A commitment or an interest in the changes and an agreement that it is supported. 
  • Involvement.  Who will design and implement the change and who will ensure that the changes are made. 
  • Impact.  An understanding of how the changes will affect people.  
  • Communication.  How to communicate the change in the most effective manner.  
  •  Readiness.  The right training and assistance during all phases of the changes. 

 Although change management or change management strategies have been used in the workplace for nearly half a century and many professionals use change management principles in their work-life, how many use these same principles in their home life?  The principles of change management can be effective tools when managing transitions or changes at home, especially when used in conjunction with budget, schedule, and risk evaluation principles. 

 According to research, effective application of change management can increase the success rate of organizational change to as much as 96%.

During this time of the year, the biggest transition I face in my home life is the new school year.  After months of carefree activities and lenient bedtimes, the end of August signals not only a change in household schedule, but also new responsibilities for both my children and me.  As I wrote in the DSG blog last year, these changes in schedule and responsibility can be stressful for both parents and children, and ultimately effect work-life balance.  For the mental well-being of both children and adults, it is important to not only examine work-life balance, but also find the best ways to make improvements. 

Using change management principles, consider the following steps to assist in the new school year transition:

  1. Create a Change Management Chart.  The Change Management Chart can assist you and the members of your family in identifying what is changing, why it is changing, and who is affected by the change.  Using a chart as a visual reminder can assist you and your family in embracing and utilizing the occurring change, as well as the introduced solution.  
  2. Create an Action Plan.   Based on the change management chart, create an action plan that includes the tasks involved, as well as who will complete each task.  If possible, assign time limits so that the people involved know how long they have to complete the task or the expected end of the project.
  3. Remove Potential BarriersPast experience can assist in helping to identify any barriers that might derail completion of the project.  Identify these barriers and work as a team to come up with a strategy to remove the barrier before implementing the process.   
  4. Assign ResponsibilitiesPlacing responsibility on individuals to remove barriers and complete action steps not only takes the burden off of a single individual, but also assists with buy-in. 
  5. Celebrate achievement and completion.  Take time to celebrate the specific action steps as well as completion of the entire project.  Members of the team should also evaluate the entire project and take note of any specific barriers which occurred during the process.  

Although there are many steps, implementing the change management process can help you achieve the ideal balance and stress-free home life.  For more information about change management, please contact socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com.


Reference:

Marsee, J.  (2002).  10 Steps For Implementing Change.  Retrieved from www.virginia.edu/processsimplication/resources/implementing%20Change.pdf.  

Prosci.  (2014).  Blank Sheet Exercises - Starting the 'Why Change Management' Discussion.  Retrieved from www.change-management.com/tutorial-blank-sheet-exercises.htm.

Thompson, R. (2015).  Change Management - Making Organization Change Happen Effectively.  Retrieved from www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_87.htm.


Shelby Craft is the Social Media and Business Development Manager of Diversity Search Group.  Reach her for comment at socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com.


It's Not Too Late: Reaching Career Success in 2015
4/17/2015 11:20:45 AM

Are you still looking for new employment in 2015?  If you are, you are not alone.  At the beginning of the New Year, you probably made the resolution to find a new job, along with eating healthier, losing weight, and saving money  Unfortunately, sometimes it takes all year to reach the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, and that’s okay!  You have all year to reach the success you desire!

You might be looking for new employment for a myriad of reasons, including:

  • Unhappiness with position or responsibilities;
  • Necessity to make more money; and,
  • Desire to enter a new career path.

Fortunately, the U.S. economy and labor market is showing promise for those seeking employment this year.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of job openings has increased steadily since April 2014, with October 2014 posting a 13-year record high number of job openings.  On the AOL Jobs website, the top 10 companies with open positions and/or hiring have a total of over 24,000 positions in industries such as telecommunications, banking, sales, and healthcare.  Additionally, both large corporations and small businesses are anticipating improved economic conditions, which will not only result in more sales, but also a more competitive job market.

What is your strategy for gaining new employment?  Just like all strategic plans, proper preparation and techniques are needed in order to achieve success.  In our June 2014 blog, we shared a variety of ways to conquer the job search process, including properly formulating your resume and furthering your education.  Below are additional ways that will assist you in not only identifying new employment opportunities, but also avoid common pitfalls that can halt your goals. 

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”  - Malcolm X 

Where to Look for a New Job

There are a variety of mediums that list job postings, including newspapers, periodicals, and websites.  Which medium is best for a job seeker?  It depends on what type of job you are looking for and in what industry.  Below are the top 5 places to find job postings:

  • Job Boards – Career Builder, Zip Recruiter, Monster, Indeed, and Glassdoor.
  • Social Media – LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Company Websites – Many companies do not use job posting sites, and instead opt to only post their open positions on the company careers page.
  • Newspapers - Newspapers are still prime advertising opportunities for locally-owned and small businesses looking for employees. 
  • Networking – Friends, family, and colleagues can be a great source of information and recommendations during the job search process. 

Now you know where to find job opportunities; but what process should you follow to land the job you want?  Below are four strategies to use to reach job satisfaction success. 

Be realistic.  Statistics, no matter how significant, are just numbers.  Therefore, do not expect to work less hard to get the job you want just because of the multitude of job openings in the market.  Companies both large and small are interviewing and hiring candidates based on their qualifications and skills. 

Polish your resume.  Your resume should be formatting in a way to best present yourself in an ideal way for the job you want.  There are a variety of resources available to help you format the perfect resume, as well as websites that show both “bad” and “good” resumes. 

 Consider “temping”.  If you are looking to enter into a new career this New Year, temporary employment might be a great way to “test the waters”.  Despite common misconceptions, temporary jobs are real jobs, often with benefits, such as health insurance, career counseling services, and high-level employment opportunities.  Many temporary services agencies, such as DSG, also offer permanent employment opportunities in addition to temporary and temp-to-hire positions.  

Stay Put – for now.  The best life advice I’ve ever received was from my father, who stated, “Never leave your job unless you’re going to another one”.  Unless you have secured a new job, do not quit your current job or submit your notice.  Additionally, consider making a lateral move in your current company if there is a job opening that matches your career goals.  

Talk to an Expert.  It’s impossible to know everything, especially when searching for a new job.  Many companies and organizations are available to offer job seekers advice on the job search process, as well as guide them in the direction of an ideal field or industry.  At DSG, our Recruiting and Placement Department is a great resource for job seekers, and offers resume review, career identification, and training resources services.  


It’s only April; there is still time to create new opportunities for career success.  Just remember:  Don’t just set the goal, formulate a strategy to obtain the success you desire. 

 


 Shelby R. Craft is the Social Media and Business Development Manager of Diversity Search Group.  She can be reached for comment at socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com.  

Diversity - It's Good for Business
1/28/2015 8:16:56 AM

In 2015, we celebrate the anniversaries of several important historic civil rights events.  These events include:

  • The refusal of Rosa Park to give up her seat to a white passenger, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Greensboro sit-in; 
  • The founding of the Student National Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the murder of Malcolm X; and,
  • The passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as Executive Order 11246.

Furthermore issues of civil rights, diversity, and equal opportunity are ever-present in the media, as organizations and corporations address disparities in hiring, treatment, and protection.  Some are calling 2015 the year of diversity, as events in 2014 which sparked controversy and outrage, are encouraging leaders to make significant changes. 

As a minority and woman-owned business, DSG has always made diversity a top business priority. 

Why? 

Since the inception of the corporation in 2005, DSG has always understood the benefits that an inclusive, diverse workforce offers to not only its clients, but to its employees as well.  Therefore, DSG strives to build a workforce that encompasses many different nationalities, physical abilities, competencies, military experience, and perspectives.  Diversity is not just great for business…it allows DSG to maximize potential and offer a wider variety of experienced professionals from all facets of society.  

Unfortunately, many businesses have not embraced diversity and inclusion as an important practice for the health and well-being of their businesses.  Therefore, these businesses are struggling to now increase the number of minority applicants and employees.  For example, the Los Angeles Fire Department is studying ways to overhaul its recruiting practices to employ more females and minorities; Google is creating programs to encourage more females to apply for technology positions; and the NFL is continually striving to hire more African Americans for coaching positions.   Although each of these businesses and organizations are taking a step in the right directions, there is still much work to be done to fully eradicate inequalities.

Not only is workplace diversity a positive step in diminishing disparity throughout society, it also increases a company’s competitive advantage within an industry.  But how can a company implement a diversity program that is successful?  Consider the following suggestions:

  •  Make diversity part of your brand model.  If you plan to advertise your company as  diverse, then show your company as “diverse” in every aspect of your business practices – from messaging to the pictures on your website, and even in the business associations.  Interweaving diversity into your business model will not only strengthen your brand, but also clearly display your mission, vision, and values to customers and clients. 
  •  Connect with diverse organizations.  As a diverse organization or business, you should strategically connect with organizations and associations that have similar views about diversity and inclusion.  Not only will networking with other diverse organizations strengthen your pool of possible future candidates, but it will also show your business’s dedicated to diversity and inclusion. 
  • Never focus on one type of diversity.  Diversity is not an exclusive concept, but an inclusive representation of a variety of different factors of the human condition.  Therefore, your focus should include all types of diversity, and not on just race, gender, religion, etc. 
  • Contact Diversity Search Group for a Cultural Assessment.  An Assessment can aid your organization in recruiting diverse executive-level talent and will help to align culture with strategy in succession planning.

Diversity is not only an excellent business practice, but also a benefit to clients, employees, and society.  Therefore, it is the hope of DSG that 2015 is seen as the year to undo many of the inequalities that disparities that have existed in the workplace for decades.  For over 10 years, DSG has assisted businesses in not only employing diverse, highly talented individuals, but also training businesses on the issues of diversity and workplace discrimination.  For additional information on the DSG diversity initiative and how we incorporate diversity into our business practices, contact DSG today.   


Shelby Craft is the Social Media & Business Development Manager at Diversity Search Group (DSG).  She can be reached for comment at info@diversitysearchgroup.com.  




Barrier to Entry: Women and Entrepreneurship
12/5/2014 2:54:49 PM

In an article written for Fox Business, Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit, reported that female-owned businesses have not only increased their average yearly earnings by over 54 percent, but female-owned business are also projected to create approximately 5 million new jobs by the year 2016.  In her article, Rohit cites changes in associated business costs, technology, and work-life balance as being some of the reasons why female-owned businesses are so successful in today’s market. 

 Although women have achieved much success as entrepreneurs, many non-entrepreneurial women are experiencing the same perils in the workplace as their mothers and grandmothers.  Women currently hold only 4.6 percent of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies.  

Women only make 77 cents for every dollar that men earn and the median year earnings of women are nearly $10,000 less than that of men.  The number of women who are unemployed long term has increased each year since 2009.  Many women have also not achieved a balance between their work life and home life, as many companies do not offer benefits such as paid time off, extended leave, and flex time.

As more women find success as entrepreneurs, should more women consider starting or opening their own businesses?

In order for women to start their own business, they first must educate themselves on business principles and practices, develop skills, and most importantlyhave the ambition to start their own business.  For many women, they have the ambition, but lack ways to obtain education and skills to turn their ambition into reality.  Although there are resources to assist women in developing ideas into entrepreneurial ventures, finding and obtaining these resources can be time consuming for women who are already juggling full time employment, families, and other activities.

For women experiencing entrepreneurial barriers, how can they find ways to overcome and start working for themselves?

If women are experiencing barriers in achieving their entrepreneurial dreams, there are ways to overcome these barriers, but it is often not without sacrifices.  For Teresa Sherald, CEO and President of Diversity Search Group, one of the major barriers to starting her business was new business development.  Sherald stated, “Competitors had long-term relationships, but necessarily better quality.  Longevity in relationship was valued more than granting access to new businesses.  I had to wait my turn”. Sherald also thought that male domination of the field was also a difficult barrier to overcome.  She overcame that barrier by reinventing her services and connecting with women decision makers and drivers.  Sherald also connected with women entrepreneurs through mentorship opportunities and memberships in various organizations. 

The sacrifices might be tremendous, but the rewards received from starting and owning a business might far outweigh these sacrifices.  Changing the stereotypes concerning female-owned businesses, and inspiring more women to become business owners will be enough of a reward.  And as more women leave traditional employment to become entrepreneurs, changes in technology, cost, and work-life balance will continue to spark more women to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families.

 

Shelby Craft is the Social Media and Business Development Manager at Diversity Search Group (DSG).  She can be reached for comment at socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com
Work-Life Unbalance: How "Back To School" Can Throw Off Your Scale
9/16/2014 10:55:39 AM

As the mother of two school-aged children, August and September are times of great reflection and new beginnings.  Not only do my children start a new school year, but with that new school years comes new expectations and often new familial strategies. The new school year also often a time of great struggle, as I find ways to balance my work and volunteer schedules with the plethora of parent meetings, volunteer activities, and after school practices. 

SDT-2013-03-Modern-Parenthood-19 

SDT-2013-03-Modern-Parenthood-19According to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center, over 50 percent of working women stated that balancing job responsibilities with family responsibilities was very or somewhat difficult, and 52% of all working adults (both men and women) stated that finding work/life balance was either difficult or very difficult.  Work/life balance, which is the ability to prioritize between career and lifestyle, can have significant impact on well-being, and a negative balance can cause both physiological and psychological problems. 


Additionally, adults that are experiencing stress and/or a negative work/life balance are also more likely to have “stressed-out children”.  According to a study by the American Psychological Association, over 80 percent of kids stated that they are most stressed about how much their parents are stressed. Young children and teens that do not have a good school/life balance experience many of the same physiological or psychological problems as their parents, including aggressive behavior, poor grades, and frequent illness. 

 

As mentioned, the beginning of a new school year can be the perfect opportunity to examine your work/life balance, and make improvements as needed.  This will not only decrease the level of stress for both you and your children, but could also improve your home and work environments.  Here are five strategies you can use to accomplish a better balance:

Under-promise. 

Get out of the habit of telling people that you will do something or making promises that you may not keep.  If you don’t think you will be able to accomplish a task, tell the person right away. 

 

Connect to your calendar. 

It doesn't matter if it’s electronic or on paper, make an effort to record your commitments on a calendar.  This will give you a clear view of all your obligations and make schedules flow much smoother.

 

Get over the “Morning of” and “Day of” rush. 

Procrastination is the enemy of proper planning.  Use your calendar and free time to complete tasks beforehand, or you’ll be planning catch up every day.


Have a little more fun. 

No matter how busy your schedule, always try to take some time to complete an activity you enjoy. 

 

“Blah, blah, blah” to someone. 

Connect with someone you can speak to about any issues or problems as this will help to alleviate stress.  This person may be your spouse, best friend, sibling, or a professional. 

 

For more information on creating a better work-life balance, please visit:  http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/protect-health-13/balance-life

 

What is your work-life balance secret?  Share them on our Facebook page or tweet us @DSG_Jobs.

 

Shelby R. Craft is the Social Media & Business Development Manager at Diversity Search Group.  She can be reached for comment at socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com.  

   

Crying at Work - Is it Okay?
7/30/2014 2:24:20 PM
My friends and I recently engaged in a discussion about showing emotion in the workplace.  One of my friends stated that emotion is part of the human experience and that to be emotionless at work would be damaging to the human psyche.  She confessed that not only does she show emotion at work, but she has also cried at work...several times. 

When my friends asked if I had ever cried at work, I confessed that I have, but I also relayed the reason for the emotional outburst, and how I felt absolutely ridiculous afterwards.  Why did I feel ridiculous?  Not only did crying at work make me feel embarrassed, but also very unprofessional.  I have no issue showing emotions to others, but there is something about crying at work that seems abnormal.

In a May 28, 2014 article for Huffington Post, writer Catherine Pearson examined how fifteen female CEOs and leaders from different field and generations felt about a "work cry".  Founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, stated,

     "Senior leaders consistently report that crying detracts from one's executive presence...(crying) is just one of a menu of communication blunders that, in a mere instant can suck the executive presence right out of you."


Other CEOs and leaders interviewed for the article expressed a similar opinion about crying, but stated that they also have cried at work at some point in their careers.  A few of women interviewed also stated that crying is inevitable and how you handle crying and/or what you are crying about is more important than crying itself. 

Crying at work can also be viewed as a form of manipulation.   For example, if you cry after finding out that you did not get a raise or a promotion, not only may your manager view you as unprofessional, but also as a person who cries to get his/her way.  You may never be viewed as "executive material" and will possibly never reach your career goals.

So how do you stop yourself from crying at inappropriate times (like at the workplace)?  When you feel the tears creeping up, breathe, and ask yourself the 4 W's:

  1. WHY am I crying (anger, grief, joy, frustration)?
  2. WHERE am I (at a meeting, in my office, in the bathroom)?
  3. WHO will see see me crying  (a close work-friend, a colleague, a manager)?
  4. WHAT might the reaction be to my tears?
Asking yourself these questions will not only help you to process what is happening, but also may help to stop the tears altogether. 



Have you ever cried at work?  Share your experiences and outcomes on our Facebook page



Shelby Craft is the Social Media and Business Development Coordinator for Diversity Search Group.  She can be reached by email at socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com. 

 

4 Ways to be a “MacGyver” at the Job Search Process
6/30/2014 9:22:51 AM

“You can do anything you want to do, if you put your mind to it”. – Angus MacGyver

Do you remember the television show, MacGyver? As a child, I remember sitting on the sofa with my siblings and my parents, watching Angus MacGyver, played by the finely-coiffed Richard Dean Anderson, solve a bevy of problems in his work for the Phoenix Foundation and the Department of External Services. No matter what the issue or danger facing him, MacGyver was able to solve the unsolvable, often times using only a Swiss Army Knife and common households objects.  In one episode, MacGyver used bamboo, garbage bags, duct tape, a fan, and wheelbarrow tires to make an ultralight plane to escape a group of thugs. Now that’s inventive!

Over seven seasons (1985-1992), America grew to love MacGyver, Anderson, and the too-good-to-be-true inventions.  After the show was cancelled in 1992, it remained a pop culture phenomenon, commonly referenced and parodied on television and movies, music, and commercials. MacGyver is shown in syndication today, and the words MacGyverism and MacGyverize, both defined as a tool, machine, or repair created from simple everyday objects, are now a part of the American lexicon.

But what does the 80’s television show MacGyver have to do with searching for a job? Well, everything of course!

The search for a job can seem like a series of unsolvable mysteries, filled with roadblocks, seedy characters, and landmines at every turn. Before I found employment with Diversity Search Group, my job search felt like a life-and-death situation, as being unemployed makes it difficult to pay rent and bills, or eat. I oftentimes felt like giving up, but knew that I had to find employment not only for financial reasons, but for emotional reasons as well. I also knew that in order to succeed in today’s job market, I would have to get inventive, and find ways to make myself more marketable as a potential employee.

To find a job that is not only enjoyable, but also rewarding and life-sustaining, you may have to pull your own MacGyver; that is, improvise, and use your knowledge, surroundings, connections, and sheer wit to succeed. Below are four (4) ways to be a MacGyver at the job search process.

The Human Factor (Season 2)

Looking for a job in today’s job market is highly technical, with most interactions occurring on internet sites, rather than with real human beings. Yes, a human MAY view your resume and/or application after it is submitted into their HR system, but there is a possibility that your paperwork may never go any further than the database. Many companies, both large and small, are using Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS, to scan resumes for user-defined keywords or buzzwords as a way to “weed out” individuals that do not have the proper skills or experience for a position. The software also has the capability to prevent those who “keyword bomb” from making it into the hands of an HR recruiters as well.

So how does one get their resume into human hands? One way is to use the right keywords on your resume, based on the job in which you are applying. Finding the right keywords may require pulling keywords from the job description and searching for similar jobs/keywords online. Also, consider using more descriptive words on your resume, switching formats from an experience-based resume to an accomplishment-based resume, and customizing your resume for each position in which you apply. NETability President, Susan P. Joyce, recently wrote an article for Forbes with additional resume tips. Check it out at for more tips on how to make your resume stand out.

A slightly riskier way to ensure that your resume is seen by a human is to hand deliver the resume to your prospective employer. Although this is not always possible due to security concerns or company request, hand delivery is a great way to create a connection between a piece of paper and the person that paper represents. Hand delivery could also be used as the second step of the application process, after you have applied via the proper channel (i.e., job board, company website). If you do have an opportunity to hand in your resume, make sure that you are dressed properly, do not waste the individual's time with conversation, and say thank you. Remember: the first impression is almost always a lasting impression.

Back from the Dead (Season 3)

One of my closest friends has been unemployed for almost a year. She was forced to leave her position as a marketing coordinator after family medical issues made it difficult for her to work full time. Once she was able to reenter the job market, she applied for every position she believed she was qualified for, as well as positions in which she was over-qualified. Although she received several interviews, none of the interviews progressed into full time employment. Conversely, many of the inquiries and application she submitted online were not acknowledge by an HR department, an email, or a “sorry, you weren’t qualified” letter. As the one year anniversary of her unemployment nears, she often describes her situation as a slow-death with no known cure.

Did you know that some employers are less likely to hire you if you are unemployed? Although it is considered highly unethical or questionable by many HR organizations, some states, and the EEOC, some employers are disqualifying individuals that are not currently employed. A few of the reasons given by companies as to why they only hire the currently employed include proven reliability and value; quicker adjustment times; and fresher job skills. This is an exacting blow to those who have experienced long-term unemployment, who are often facing other challenges, including financial hardships and emotional distress.

If you are unemployed and looking for work, try to keep your skills and experience as up to date as possible. Consider volunteer work at a local non-profit, church, or community group. Take free seminars, workshops, or classes. You may also want to consider signing up with a temporary services agency to help you find short-term employment. Many of these agencies also have online trainings that could be of benefit during both short term and long term employment.

Unfinished Business (Season 4)

Life often gets in the way of goals we have for ourselves and our future. For me, life took me off the path of finishing my bachelor’s degree and onto the path of full time work.  I did  find myself back on the path to obtain  a Bachelor’s degree and  a MBA, both getting back on and staying on the path was often difficult due to other commitments. But I knew I had to finish my degree for not only personal reasons, but also for professional and financial reasons.

Did you know that individuals who earn a bachelor’s degree or associates degree earn more than their counterparts with only a high school diploma? According to a recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, those with a bachelor’s degree earn approximately $1.2 million more in a lifetime than high school graduates, while those with an associate’s degree earned $325,000 more. Those with a higher education degree are also more likely to earn more money at any position, whether the position uses their degree or not.

Higher education is a huge expense, especially if you are unemployed (or underemployed); but earning that degree could be a gateway to more opportunities, higher wages, and career fulfillment. If you left school due to life (like me), consider taking a few classes to help re-acclimate yourself to higher education before jumping into a full load of courses. If you are worried about paying for school, consider a grant or a loan. Both federal and state governments offer grants and loans for higher education, and many non-profit organizations and foundations sponsor scholarship opportunities. If you have never taken a college-level course, consider asking permission to “sit in” on a course or ask your college counselor for resource suggestions, such as tutoring, and study and support groups.

Honest Abe (Season 7)

Lying (or elaborating) on a resume is ethically abhorrent, but many people choose to lie to increase their chances of getting the job they want. Furthermore, some continue to lie after being hired. Take former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, who lied about his education for three months before resigning in May 2012. More recently, a background check conducted by South Florida University found that their basketball coach-to-be, Steve Masiello, had not received the degree as listed on his resume.  Education is not the only lie that job seekers add to their resumes. According to Monster, other common resume lies are employment dates, job titles, and technical skills.

Although it may be tempting to lie on your resume, often the lie will have negative consequence. How do you think your manager would respond if you don’t possess a skill that was listed on your resume? You may be reprimanded and asked to go through training, or you may be terminated; it all depends on company policy. Best practice is to not lie, elaborate, or stretch the truth on your resume, and deal with your skills and experience as truthfully as possible, even if they are inadequate for the position you want. If you are feeling that you are at a disadvantage because of your lackluster employment history, talk to a career counselor about truthful ways to beef up your resume. He or she may suggest different options, including a different resume format, a longer cover letter, or asset building activities (see “Back from the Dead”).


Finding a job can be a difficult task, but improvising, and using your knowledge, resources, and connections can help you find success. Much like an episode of MacGyver, sometimes the most difficult tasks can be solved with the simplest objects!

What MacGyverism have you used during the job search process? Post it on our Facebook page or tweet us @DSG_Jobs.


Shelby R. Craft is the Social Media & Business Development Manager at Diversity Search Group. She can be reached for comment at socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com.

MacGyver is solely owned by Henry Winkler/John Rich Productions and Paramount Television.

Failure to Communicate: Four Common Mistakes to Avoid During your Job Search
6/17/2014 10:27:08 AM

Are you a new college graduate looking to jump into a new career?  Or are you a seasoned veteran looking for a career change?  No matter where you are in your career life cycle, what you say: whether in person, on a resume, or online, can have a significant impact on your job search. 

 

Here are 4 communication fails that might affect your job search:

 

You over-shared on Facebook and Twitter.  Most of us have had that moment where we have taken to social media to express our opinions, whether it be about the election, our family, or a reality television series.  Unfortunately, those opinions, which are view-able to the world, might be used by the Human Resources Department in determining if you are a good fit for their organization.  Although a recent study suggests that only 6 percent of employers use social media as a determining factor in employment, having highly controversial, negative, or questionable posts on your Facebook or Twitter accounts is still not a “good look” for you when searching for a new job.

 

You did not get a second opinion on your resume.  Sometimes it is difficult to see flaws, especially if it is something that you have created.  Case in point – your resume, which could be filled with various spelling or typographical errors.  These errors might be unseen by you, but are pretty apparent to others.  Get a friend or family member with grammar sense to read your resume and critique it before sending it to a potential employer or posting the resume to a job board.  If you cannot find anyone to help you, convert your resume to a PDF use the Read Out Loud feature in Adobe Reader to listen for grammar mistakes.

 

You don’t know how to talk about yourself.  The job search process is all about telling a potential employer how you will benefit their company.  In order to convey your experience and your benefit, you have to be able to talk about yourself without sounding self-absorbed, smug, or like a braggart.  If this is difficult for you, consider using a family member, a mirror, or a perfect stranger to start a “me” conversation.  Practiced over time, this conversation will help you to better answer the dreaded Tell me About Yourself question during a job interview. 

 

You have no idea what kind of career you want.  Being able to communicate what kind of career you want now or in the future can significantly impact your current job search.  As you probably will not work at the same company or in the same position your whole career, making a verbal or written commitment to what you want to be can help guide your search in the right direction.  Remember when you were little and you had that to tell your class what you wanted to be when you grew up?  Type your dream job title into a job search engine and view the search results, including the job descriptions, skills, experience, and education.  If you believe you are qualified, apply for it!  If you are not qualified, having the information will help you to determine what you need to do to be qualified for the position in the future.    

 

In today’s job market, it’s all about making yourself stand out from the crowd and using the right tools to assist you in your job search.   By avoiding this 4 communication fails, you are well on your way to achieving the career you want and deserve. 

 

What communication fails have you experienced in your job search?  Post them to our Facebook page or send them to us on Twitter @DSG_Jobs.

Shelby R. Craft is the Business Development and Social Media Manager at Diversity Search Group.  She can be reached at socialmedia@diversitysearchgroup.com. 

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