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Enterprise security necessitates the people’s side of change more than just technology investments

Enterprise security necessitates the people’s side of change more than just technology investments

In the enterprise world, security is a big issue. And it always will be. Executives of these enterprises still believe that the best solution for this problem is just to hire security farms and leave the rest up to those companies.Ignoring other aspects, executives overlook the actual importance of security awareness. Security Awareness: Best Tool for Enterprise Security Preserving security is the priority for any enterprise. Security is connected to every part of a successful company along with different operations. Absence of protection in an organization would only lead to uncertain situations

This is not uncommon in any team. Lack of security awareness creates a lot of internal mistrust and selfish acts.
Any organization that only believe in moving forward without the necessity of improvisation is sure to fail. The size of an enterprise is irrespective in this matter.
On the other hand, depending on the security people and their modern technology, executives think they remain secured enough.This is where people stand in the wrong. Better technology doesn’t necessarily mean better security. It mostly depends on the people who form the enterprise. Workers tend to create the security loopholes in the first place.
With their poor choices, they always put the enterprise at risk. There are many reasons for it, such as,

• Employees working in the industry, don’t think about their responsibilities. Employees remain dependent on technologies rather than being self-aware.
• Executives tend to discourage them from taking any liability for any adverse choices. So, with this, employees are purged from controlling the overall security.
• Lack of communication with the employees makes them less considerate about the safety.
• Not enabling their improvising skills, enterprises create less efficient employees.
• Robotic work environment makes the employees feel disconnected with the overall workplace.

Only Executives Are Not At Fault

Blaming only the executives here is not the solution. If executives start understanding the whole situation and approach it in a better way, this problem will die at the root.
Change the Enterprise System
Since technologies are not the only fact for security purpose, there must be some changes also in employees’ role which will ensure more strict security of the enterprise. Some of the changes are given here:
1. Security training is a must for all the IT and security employees. Companies should provide proper training about the security system and software to all those members who directly work for the security system.
2. Executives must encourage their employees using a reward giving system by the performance of the employees.
3. Companies should keep a back up of all the data as for technology awareness. Besides, these enterprises also should increase the employee awareness. The employees must know how necessary for them to maintain the security of the company is.
4. The corporations should include some policies about using the office devices such as laptops.
The most important change should be the change of the environment of the working place. Employees deserve friendly working environment with the colleagues and even with the seniors.

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Is 3D Printing the Next Big Thing in Manufacturing?

Is 3D Printing the Next Big Thing in Manufacturing?
– An Industrial Revolution Yet to Come

The art of prototyping and design simulations revolutionized the manufacturing segment. And since the manufacturing industry serves pretty much every single industry vertical, the ability to design, simulate and efficiently prototype has the potential to make a global impact. However, the technology also faces a range of challenges that it must overcome first before taking over the manufacturing industry vertical by storm.
Consider the devices that were not developed before 3D printing. Prosthetics and organs are unique for every individual patient. Real-world physical design prototypes of aircraft parts. The possibilities are endless. And although one could argue that the art of prototyping has always been present, the sheer speed and effectiveness to design prototypes have never been accessible before.

In fact, 3D printing has often been compared to the next great industrial revolution along the lines of Henry Ford’s early 1900’s car manufacturing. It is the standardization and efficiency that drives industrial success – and when you add innovation to the mix, the result is often nothing short of revolutionizing. The principle of mass production inherently depends upon rapid prototyping and testing. At the current pace of research and iterative development, organizations cannot wait to test the latest models for improved results. 3D printing lets these agencies perform quick iterative developments and realize the changes in physical form, faster than ever before.
Another critical proposition that comes with embracing the 3D printing technology is the ability to reduce or possibly eliminate waste – in material as well as the process. In the world of economies of scale, any defectively manufactured product will potentially be discarded to maintain the desired quality standards. With the 3D printing technology, however, allows manufacturing companies to make without necessitating standard molds. 3D printing can work as personalized molds that mass produce for a growing range of diverse customer base instead of the one size fits all manufacturing concept applied to bulk manufacturing.
However, 3D technology for large-scale manufacturing is still a thing for the future and not quite ready for present-day industry standards. The technology has every potential to outsmart and replace traditional batch processing and manufacturing practices, but the cost and quality remain a challenge for mass production with 3D printing technologies. The technology can, however, efficiently revolutionize industries that focus on bringing low production quantities at speed and bespoke design features. For instance, customizing a phone cover with your name is not only possible but viable only with 3D scanning and printing technologies.
Perhaps the most exciting concept arrives in the form of digital manufacturing, where customizations go up a notch and into the control of consumers themselves. Imagine customers ordering bespoke designs to manufacturing companies and receiving unique products. When the manufacturing industry adapts to the technology and overcomes the cost challenges associated with the mass manufacturing with 3D printing technologies, the impact will resonate across all verticals. Mainly the everyday products such as shoes and clothes, among others.

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Are We Living in a Tech Bubble?

Are We Living in a Tech Bubble?

It is evident that with the introduction of cell phones, the internet, Blockchain, and many other technological developments that the world is becoming increasingly more reliant on individuals who know their way around it. Due to the state of our world and its tech progress, computer science majors are becoming more and more vital as the years go by. But is society merely living in a tech bubble that can burst at any moment? The short answer is, no. To further elaborate on this, it is crucial to explore the opportunities that modern technology provides us with as well as the issues it helps remedy.

The Tech Bubble

Currently, seven of the worlds ten highest net worth companies are involved in the technology industry. Which is no surprise since stock prices relating to the tech industry have seen explosive growth. There is a possibility that most of the worlds cumulative earnings are directly correlated with the worlds tech industry. This, of course, makes any major related to the tech sector quite appealing.

Many startups are popping up on a regular basis that is pursuing perspective IT projects that are not only innovative but help solve real-world issues and push societies forward. Take the Blockchain for example, or prospective startups like ZenCash or ChainLink that are providing innovative solutions for everyday problems. A lot of the earnings of the world are correlated with the worlds tech industry, and Apple is making strides towards becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar tech company.

Business owners and users are becoming more and more focused on how technology can help them improve their day to day operations. With more demand turning towards technology, it’s no surprise that computer science majors are one of the most sought after in the current modern professional industry.

The Issues

Despite being prosperous, the tech industry has its barrel of issues. There are many tech startups that pop up, devote a lot of attention to marketing, yet after investors devote their assets, they get nothing in return. Why? Because many tech paths have led to nothing but disappointment. Though, it must be noted that the tech industry has just started to pick itself up and turn its gears into hyperdrive. For example, many organizations are willing to adopt Blockchain technology. However, a variety of security and technical issues arise during the process. Though, it’s quite fortunate that there are CS professionals out there that are ready to face the rising challenges of today’s developing tech industry.

The Future

However, are we too reliant on the technology that encircles our entire lives? The answer is quite simple. No, although there may be ridiculous projects towards which funds are diverted. The truth of the matter is that, despite it seeming like there is a tech bubble present in our society, due to the vast amount of new tech startups appearing everywhere and gathering massive amounts of funds through crowdsourcing. The truth of the matter is that there is no tech bubble. Today’s society is just more tech-friendly and more accepting of new developments that ease everyday life. So, individuals looking to hop into the computer science sector or pursue this industry with academic interest will surely not be wrong in their decision.

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Are We Racing Toward AI Singularity?

Are We Racing Toward AI Singularity?

A message for prospective job seekers and employers.

With the quick progression of technology in the past 50 years, many are asking the question about AI singularity. Essentially, AI singularity is the invention of artificial superintelligence that surpasses human intelligence. In this hypothesis, a computer with artificial intelligence would maintain self-improvement cycles leading to an accelerated change in technology. Artificial intelligence now is much more benign. Most AI programs can only accomplish one function at a time such as facial recognition or translating foreign languages. Although AI is far from the singularity, many employers already see changes in the business environment.

Consider Otto, an American truck company experimenting with autonomous vehicles. They use AI to function as the brain of their self-driving technologies to collect and process data in their environment and make specific actions. Otto made its first automated delivery in late 2016 with a 120-mile route between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Otto and Softbank are not the only two companies utilizing AI, as many other organizations use it to find patterns and process data. This brings up the question, what does this mean for prospective job seeker and employers?

For employers, this might change the nature of assessing candidates. Companies would be able to attain a large amount of unemployment data, analyze it, and make an informed decision in a matter of seconds. These new screening systems could also change the process of finding candidates. Recruiters will use new tools to analyze on-paper candidates before interviews. While AI may ensure better screening and candidate fit, it will be difficult to process human emotion during an interview. This solidifies humans as the dominant role in the hiring process.

Potential job candidates should also consider a world-leading towards the idea of AI singularity. Prospective job seekers will see changes in professions on how they were previously performed. This means adaptability is the key to success. Some occupations will be discontinued entirely. Although this may be real, new jobs that require more complex knowledge tend to replace older ones. For example, before computers, telephone operators were used. Since the rise of technology, this job has ceased to exist. According to a study by AT&T, many of the telephone operators found jobs as typists or transcriptionists. Just as computers created more jobs, artificial intelligence will sprout new industries for job seekers to go into. Being able to readjust to technologically is another key to success.

Beyond this, technical knowledge will be extremely important in the job market. To maximize chances for success, one may consider evolving and learning alongside technology. This will better prepare one for jobs that will use AI and automation. For example, positions such as maintenance technicians and IT are in high demand in the current market. Although these positions may be not relevant with AI singularity, similar jobs will be needed to fill such as machine learning technician.

Just because technology is advancing does not mean all hope is lost. Many industries will adapt to artificial intelligence, and new industries will be created. This produces many opportunities for both employers and potential job seekers. The most successful are going to be those who embraced the change and used technology to its full advantage.

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Balance Your Mind-Body Connection For Workplace Productivity

The mind-body context refers to the interconnectedness of both mind and body and how they play an immense role in productivity. Neglecting one of the two can lead to a sluggish feeling and becomes an essential aspect in the workplace as it can have considerable effects on job performance. Managing these correctly through simple tasks can better increase one’s quality of life.

The mind affects concentration, the process of accomplishing tasks, and the capability of completing goals. Additionally, the mentality of the job is essential. Having negative thoughts about the role and coworkers can create mental tension. This may also include doubting one’s ability, settling for less, and general self-doubt leading to losses of concentration or deep depression. A recent study shows that 20% of Millennials sought advice in the workplace for depression. Psychologists have found that contrary thoughts on work can cause the brain to focus on general life negativity including fears, anger, and stress.

The body plays another significant role in productivity. Muscles can become tense from sitting for long periods of time creating cramps and possible fidgeting. Beyond this, little sleep can create general exhaustion leading to loss of focus during the workday. This is one of the largest problems employees face today. Gallup shows that 40% of US workers get less than the recommended amount of sleep which creates a loss of productivity. Beyond sleep and muscle fatigue, the body needs nutrition. It is recommended to eat smaller, more frequent meals to have a consistent glucose level throughout the workday.

Fitness plays another significant role as it affects both the mind and the body. Exercising has many benefits including improving sleep, reducing stress, and making people feel energized. This directly affects the other two connections. Additionally, exercise slows neural degeneration. The Journal of Applied Physiology found that mandatory treadmill running stimulates precursor cells to increase production of critical brain cells. This overall can helps one to feel more astute in the workplace.

With all this in mind, there are easy ways to manage the mind-body connection and fitness.

Here are just a couple ways:

Meditation can create a short mental break to refresh the mind before continuing with challenging tasks. In some cases, clearing the mind before significant events can help cope with anxiety and stress.

Accomplish mentally challenging tasks before easy ones. Because easier tasks take less mental process, they can be accomplished towards the end of the day. This creates better, more efficient outcomes for complex assignments.

Stretching the body can help with feeling jittery or general muscle cramps. Doing so every couple of hours can better increase productivity.

Have small, healthy snacks in the work area. Like previously mentioned, this can help stabilize glucose levels which, in turn, helps with mental focus.

Create a workout routine. Slowly integrating exercise can help lead to a healthier lifestyle. Scheduling times in the morning or after work can better create the feeling of consistency.

Of course, these are not the only tasks to help find balance. Setting personal goals is the best way to be more successful. Accomplishing balance can better increase workplace productivity and lead to a healthier lifestyle.

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Hiring Great Leaders for your Business – Look for These Traits.

Hiring Great Leaders for your Business – Look for These Traits.

Recruitment is always a difficult task, especially when you’re looking to hire management. If you pass up loyal staff to hire outside of the company, you may inadvertently create conflict and damage morale. No one wants that, least of all you! Making the correct decision is essential to your enterprise’s growth strategy, but how do you decide? What traits do you look for?

When possible, hire from within

Promoting leadership from within the company’s ranks is almost always ideal. Existing employees know the strengths and weaknesses of their co-workers, they know the ins and outs of your business and its products, and they are already situated and comfortable in the office culture. While the pedigree of an outside candidate’s resume might appeal to you, remember that you’re looking for potential over performance.

Innovation

The first and most important role of leadership is to anticipate industry changes and act on them before they become standard. The best leaders are never satisfied and always push to improve your company’s products and services, and often the candidate with the most experience is also the one most set in their ways. Identify employees who show an aptitude for getting things done even when complications arise. Their problem-solving, proactive, self-sufficient nature highlights them as a person of interest, but how do you know if they can be responsible?

Accountability

Vital to your decision-making process is finding a candidate who doesn’t shy away from failure—they embrace it. While failure might represent a cost to your enterprise, employees who take responsibility for their actions and seek to improve are precisely the kind of life-long learner you want in a leadership position. Avoid individuals who shift blame or change the subject whenever the conversation turns to their moment of weakness. Thomas Edison famously failed a thousand times to create the light bulb. Rather than make excuses, he pushed forward and refused to let failure stop him from succeeding, because in the end—he only needed to get it right once to revolutionize the industry.

Multitasking

Once you’ve made a short list of prospects, give each of the additional responsibilities and gauge their response and timeliness. Keep in mind that these new tasks should fall outside their job description, but avoid burdening employees that are already overworked as this will skew the results of this test. Individuals prime for leadership will attack their new tasks with enthusiasm and a desire to prove themselves worthy of the attention you’ve given them rather than resentful of the additional workload. They know that the more you rely on them, the more they benefit when bonus time comes around.

Communication

A great leader can get their message across quickly and efficiently, even if it isn’t a popular one. Clear, concise explanation and emotional intelligence are critical aspects of the attuned, empathic leader. Equally important is their ability to listen rather than dominate every conversation, because no one is right all the time. Communication is a two-way street, and the ideal leader is someone who takes criticism well, takes the time to bond with co-workers and build professional relationships with them. A leader also recognizes that the team has to come first and that it is they who make the leader strong rather than the other way around.

If you spot these traits in your staff, start grooming them for leadership positions as soon as possible. It is a time-consuming effort that requires sensitivity and patience, but you’ll reap the long-term benefits.

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The Growing Impact of Blockchain, and Why It’s Important

The Growing Impact of Blockchain, and Why It’s Important

When the world was first introduced to the Bitcoin back in 2008, a new era of digital technology sprung up that would change the lives of many and the world as we know it. Though, the direct impact of Blockchain technology may be difficult for many to notice in their everyday lives. The tech’s presence is there. Though the idea of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain’s has been thrown around for years, it was not until 2008 that the plans started becoming accepted by the masses.

What is the Blockchain?

Before diving in and discussing the growing impact of the Blockchain and why everyone should be in the “know,” readers should understand what the Blockchain is precise. Mostly, the Blockchain is a digital ledger, similar to accounting ledgers, the main differences being that it is decentralized, anonymous, and can function on millions of devices at the same time as long as users have internet access. Whereas, regular accounting ledgers store information about financial transactions. The Blockchain goes much deeper than that. Information about money, sports, real estate, votes, and even intellectual property can be integrated with and recorded on the Blockchain. All of the data on the Blockchain is protected by cryptographic principles and extremely complicated mathematical algorithms that are constantly improving and becoming more secure in unison with tech developments.

Industries it impacts

A lot of the talk surrounding Blockchain technology stems from the fact that it practically eliminates the need for middlemen and third parties. Due to transactions being carried out in a trustless manner, there is no requirement of intermediaries like banks, notaries, etc. The Blockchain can in reality, drastically change the financial service industry by eliminating high costs, complex bureaucracy, and the need for regulatory bodies to get involved. However, as research into this field continues, the benefits of the Blockchain don’t just cover the financial sector, but spill over to various other business, government, societal, and other sectors.

Current and foreseeable benefits

Blockchain technology can reduce a lot of transaction costs that businesses and individual experience. However, Blockchain technology was but the gateway for many other highly impactful technological developments. Such as the Ethereum Blockchain, Smart Contracts, and ICO’s. Smart contracts are programs that are automated, function on an “if”- “then” basis, and self-execute themselves based on predetermined conditions being met and verified. These smart contracts can cause costs associated with renting, contracting, making payments, and dealing with real estate properties to absolutely plummet, while the efficiency and speed of executing such actions improve. For example, a music artist could generate a smart contract and distribute creative content directly through the contract, without having to go through record producers, labels, and intermediaries to get their product out to the masses. This, of course, eliminates the need for royalties and excess fees that artists have commonly been encumbered by. Blockchain technology has the power to solve the issue of intellectual property in our increasingly digitalized time.

Issues solved

Since the introduction of the world-wide-web and the internet, piracy has been a constant issue for many content creators and intellectual property. Movie makers, graphic designers, writers, and artists have had their content was taken and pirated out through torrent based platforms. Allowing internet users to gain access to such content for free. This has created a lot of financial, trust, and security issues. However, services that utilize Blockchain technology to quell piracy issues have been popping up. Currently, artists have a few options for liking their work to digital registries and distributing them via the Blockchain, while retaining their rights, financial compensation, and solving the double-spend issue.
Companies like Uber, Spotify, Gett, and Netflix are aggregators. They provide a platform through which other users can offer their services while paying a service fee to these aggregators. However, the Blockchain and smart contracts allow individuals to deliver their services to the masses while retaining value for themselves. Soon, anyone will be able to launch their transportation services via a smart contract and have their business data integrated with the Blockchain. Imagine being an Uber driver, but as opposed to working under Ubers logo, you would work entirely for yourself, under your decisions, while enjoying unsolicited earnings for the services you provide.
Professional firms can draw benefits from the Blockchain while alleviating themselves from commonly experienced headaches. For example, shipment payments can be fully automated through the use of smart contracts. Packages can even be embedded with GPS functionality, and transportation payments and locations could be automatically distributed and recorded via the Blockchain. The fact that all of the data stored through smart contracts and the Blockchain is immutable, unchangeable, and irreversible provides for an extraordinarily secure way through which financial institutions can store their data for practically any application or use.

Everything will only get better.

Despite already cutting costs significantly and reducing a lot of hassles that individuals are encumbered by when conducting their day to day deeds, Blockchain technology will inevitably continue to develop at a progressive rate. Many cryptocurrencies provide for a great store of wealth through which investors can experience phenomenal gains. Smart contracts shave away the need for third parties. Large, multinational organizations are already trying to figure out how they can adopt Blockchain technology to simplify their business process. The price of a Bitcoin recently rippled through the $6,000 limit, with more and more people turning their attention towards the crypto industry and its benefits. Though, society can not predict where this technology is headed in the near future. The Blockchain will become increasingly more important in societies everyday lives. With governments such as Russia, China, Korea, and The United States already figuring out how to work with the Blockchain to open their citizens to its benefits. One thing is for certain though: Blockchain is here to stay, and the next age of workforce and enterprise industry will experience invaluable propositions by embracing the technology.

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Is Gamification the Solution to Productivity Woes

Is Gamification the Solution to Productivity Woes at the Workplace?

Gamification, an industry that has been around before 2003 but only gained a lot of traction recently. However, what is gamification? Do we need it and how does it benefit ones overall professional productivity? Essentially, gamification is a design process that takes into account the behavior of human beings and their efficiency instead of taking a look at the effectiveness of the entire system as a whole. Imagine a factory, that follows a standard protocol that is designed to complete the tasks at hand as efficiently and quickly as possible. The biggest issue with systems that are designed like this is that they very rarely take into account the fact that workers are human beings at the core level, and have emotions, insecurities, and reasons as to why they want to get things done and why not. Gamification goes much deeper than just assigning points and badges to workers. Let’s take a look at some of the productivity benefits that can be derived from adopting gamification in the workplace.

Boost Employee Morale

Before we dive into the benefits that can be drawn from gamification, let’s discuss the principles and critical mechanics that build up the gamification philosophy. Which are: goals, badges, leveling up, onboarding, competition, collaboration, community, points, goals, transparency, fast feedback. While we won’t discuss each mechanic in detail, it is important to note that for gamification to properly work, employee participation must be voluntary. However, employees that adopted a gamification philosophy are less likely to leave, more likely to put out more effort, and perform better, leading to improved happiness and profitability within an organization. The accumulation of stats, points, rewards, and etc. help keep employees more motivated and engaged in the workplace.

Encourages Learning

By introducing gamification to an organizations workspace, employees and relevant parties will have to quickly become familiar with the latest technology out there that can be used in their professional fields. However, in an engaging and fun way. Combining this exposure with point and reward systems commonly used in gamification processes, individuals are sure to become much more productive in the workplace and more creative as well.

Encourages friendly competition and reduces stress

The point and reward system that is commonly used in many gamified business structures promotes a competitive yet friendly culture. Employees become motivated by the recognition they receive through these rewards, which acts as a driver for better performance and results. This also encourages collaboration between teams and a company as a whole. Deloitte has used gamification principles to improve the partnership between their worldwide consultants significantly.

Improves Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing

All quality sales representatives are naturally competitive. However, occasionally, sales personnel may be left without a reward after spending a significant amount of time tackling leads, cold calling, and trying to get their foot in the door. Though, rejections are statistically just as vital as successes. The principles of gamification encourage management to reward compliant and hardworking individuals. Additionally, gamification creates an excellent system for monitoring performance, holding peer reviews, and recognizing employee achievements by the human resource department. Hiring processes are also improved as recruits tend to feel engaged and interested in a corporate culture that has adopted gamification. Employees who work in a gamified environment show greater social advocacy towards their professions and organizations. Gamification can automate and boost natural marketing to a great extent.

Which companies have seen great success with gamification?

Samsung is a company with strong brand advocacy that prides itself on its ability to create value, and user accepted content. Samsung launched a loyalty program known as the Samsung Nation. The Samsung loyalty program allows users to participate in sweepstakes, answer questions, watch videos, and become engaged with the organization. For their efforts, users are rewarded with cool badges and achievements. After implementing the loyalty program, Samsung saw a massive increase in site visitors, comments, and great product reviews.

Google decided to make some effort towards improving employee travel expense submissions on time. Instead of just sending out email warnings, Google decided to gamify the submission process totally. The company offered employees the possibility of either getting paid out based on the amount of travel allowance that was unspent, saving it for a future trip, or even donating their allowances to a charity of choice. Following this gamification process, Google’s travel allowance compliant rate shot up to 100%.

Microsoft is continually facing the issue of language localization in its product line up. However, it is quite challenging to ensure that all of their translations are entirely accurate and make sense to native speakers. How did they gamify this process? By creating a language game, which allowed its employees to view translation screens on their devices and make sure that the translations were accurate. Microsoft’s game attracted over 4,000 users who were able to verify over 500,000 screens and provide sensible language corrections for the company and its users base.

Do we need more gamification?

Gamification allows employers to compensate and motivate employees without changing all of the aspects of a professional environment that most employees have grown fond of. Employers all over the world are turning their attention towards gamification to make their work environment more productive, fun, engaging, and enjoyable for all people involved in the process. Even small and simple things such as leaderboards, point systems have been shown to improve significantly overall productivity, competitiveness, and teamwork. But is gamification only a good fit for companies that are in some way directly related to the tech industry? The answer to that is no. Regardless of the industry in which it is employed, the world needs more gamification. When gamification is well designed and introduced to the workspace – everyone benefits from it, going from salespeople to engineers, marketers, managers, and accountants. A well-designed gamification system can significantly improve overall productivity, happiness, and efficiency. Therefore, well-designed gamification is an answer to common workspace woes.

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Advice for fresh graduates to get hired and improve their resume

Advice for fresh graduates to get hired and improve their resume

Employers are eager to scoop up the latest graduates in technology and other fields, but with government student-loan forgiveness programs and mid-life career changes, there are more and more graduates each year according to the “National Association of Colleges” and the competition is intense. How do you stand out from the crowd, especially if you’re younger and inexperienced?

Show, Don’t Tell

While you should always flesh out your resume with concise examples of all your accomplishments, remember that you’ll still make a better impression if you demonstrate ability rather than talk about it. Positive energy, an eagerness to learn, and a hunger for opportunity are all things employers are looking for in the interview room. Just be yourself and make sure that your bodily functions are met. Get some sleep, eat something, and bear in mind that food and mood go together. Exercise never hurts either, and anything that boosts your confidence will impact your ability to show your strength.

If you’ve got the pedigree, show it off

Anything that impresses your potential boss is good news for you, just don’t be cocky about it. Remember that classroom experience is rarely as valuable as on-the-job training, but your goal is to stand out. If you have a double major, know a second language, or studied at a prestigious university, use what you’ve got for maximum benefit even if those skills don’t relate to the job you’re applying for. You never know when one of your side activities might pleasantly surprise your employer and open up new avenues of advancement that you may not be aware of.

Contribute

Just as with show, don’t tell, the best way to stand out from the crowd is to do some extra credit. Maybe it’s a proposal you’ve worked up, a sample program, some research, or a fresh idea you think might be valuable—whatever it is, show that you will go above and beyond the call of duty and make sure that your pitch goes outside your job description.

Do a SWOT Analysis

A Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats analysis is a great way to talk about or visualize your relative value to a company by calling attention to what you offer while minimizing the risks involved. In short, it’s just proper business procedure, and every boss will appreciate your effort to communicate with them on a level they can understand—the bottom line.

Focus on opportunity rather than compensation

If you’re applying for your first job, chances are you’re not going to be offered a great comp package. Don’t fret about that, just focus on what you can do to grow with the company and what they can provide you with to reward your loyalty. This is especially true if you’re aiming for a leadership position, and you should always focus on how you can innovate to help the company and your co-workers move forward. Of course, there is never any guarantee that you’ll be rewarded or that someone higher up the chain won’t take credit for your work. What is guaranteed is that if you don’t bring your A-game to the table every day, you are destined to take a back seat to someone else who does.

Be Humble

The worst form of self-sabotage is false confidence, and bosses simply don’t have time for it. Be confident, yes, but do so with just cause and don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong or when you simply don’t know the answer to a question. Focus on how you can improve your performance and let others praise your work.

While pursuing your unique strategy to stand out, remember the classic holy trinity of salesmanship: get them to know, like, and trust you. Show them who you are, be friendly, courteous, and above all truthful.

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What Are the Symptoms of a Toxic Company Culture?

What Are the Symptoms of a Toxic Company Culture?

Whether it’s an oppressive atmosphere or office politics, no one likes a toxic company culture. Worse, most choose to ignore the problem rather than raise concerns due to fear or intimidation. Over time, a toxic environment can weaken the bonds between co-workers and grind productivity to a halt. So, as a leader in your enterprise, how do you know if your company culture is toxic if employees don’t speak up?

Toxicity rolls downhill

It all starts with the examples and expectations set by management. Fear spreads like wildfire, and if a CEO is nervous about missing a project deadline or threatening underlings, his negative energy rolls downhill and can impact the entire company even if there is no actual problem. It’s no surprise that what most leaders are afraid of is looking weak or incompetent, so remember: a little humility buys you a lot of goodwill with your subordinates.

It’s the little things.

If you ever notice the quiet when you step into the office and the only ambient sound is the ringing of an unanswered phone—chances are you’ve got a problem. Sure, people are formal when you visit with them, but you can’t help noticing the distinct lack of camaraderie. Sometimes, it’s not even a problem with the office but instead the exterior stresses of everyday life. Though

 

everyone should leave their personal problems at home and act professionally in the workplace, we are all human, and sometimes we just can’t escape that cloud hanging over our heads. The last thing anyone needs in such a situation is more stress, so take the lead and make sure your employees know you care. Whether it’s a smile, a joke, some free food or a friendly compliment, a little kindness can brighten everyone’s day.

Communication

A thriving office culture sees an explosion of fresh ideas, spit-balling, and fearless putting-yourself-out-there for debate. If your employees only speak when spoken to, it’s probably because they’ve been trained to bite their tongue. They feel their ideas are not respected, and rather than get chewed out, reprimanded, or made fun of; they prefer to let you do all the talking and simply nod and smile as if they agree. Don’t be that boss. If you’re unsure of what to do, skip the bluster and just ask for some fresh ideas—and when your staff obliges you, treat them with respect they deserve even if their ideas are underwhelming.

By the book

Another obvious sign of toxicity is a strict adherence to rules (especially the arbitrary kind) instead of situational judgment. Rules, as they say, are made to be broken. If your staff are penalized and called out for every minor infraction it will discourage out-of-the-box thinking and stifle innovation. Naturally, enforcement of law and common-sense should always come first on hot-button issues such as sexual harassment or discrimination, but make sure that the punishment fits the crime and always encourage your staff to embrace failure and rise above it.

More punishment than reward

One of the more common problems in office cultures, especially when everyone is stressed out by deadlines, is to focus on everything that employees do wrong rather than what they do right. It’sonly human nature to remember and notice that which is abnormal, disgusting, unusual, frustrating, and so on. We fixate on it and can’t help but call attention to it, especially when a co-worker makes a mistake that you must then take responsibility. This isn’t to say that you should just ignore all errors or that you should hand out participation awards to everyone regardless of the competency of their work—just make sure that you spend at least as much time complimenting your staff for their merits as you do criticize them for their mistakes.

Secrets

Maybe you looked the other way when you noticed something inappropriate, or perhaps everyone just ignores company newsletters, and the office grapevine is the only way information gets around. Whatever the reason for this toxic brew, it’s always better to be open and honest with your co-workers and weed out corrosive or judgmental staff who are just incompatible. Of course, you’ll never be able to stop gossip, and you shouldn’t try to, but make sure that truth is respected and rewarded in your office—even when it hurts.

In summary, a toxic culture is usually the product of one or more subtle problems that merely go unchecked for an extended period. Like a leaky pipe, eventually the corrosion and rust will eat away at it until it bursts—and then it’s just too late to fix.

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