About Claire Topalian

Claire Topalian is a writer, non-profit Communications professional, and advocate for diversity in business. She currently leads Communications and the Startup Women initiative at UP Global, an international non-profit that builds startup communities through educational programs and events. You can follow her on Twitter @clairetopalian.

Tips for Earning a Promotion or Raise in 2015

CalendarAs 2014 winds down, many individuals will begin to approach their careers with a fresh perspective. Goal-setting for the New Year is one way to set a game plan and create a manageable timeline for your “career resolutions.” Below are a few tips that will help you work towards your resolution – whether that’s a new, exciting role or a financial promotion – in 2015.
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How Company Culture Can Attract & Retain Your Best Talent

Warehouse Workers SmilingCEOs like Tony Hseih of Zappos or Gary Kelly of Southwest Airlines understand that a strong culture is key to building the best possible team. Part of building a strong culture comes from understanding how companies are moving in new directions in terms of how they work on a daily basis, and as always, it involves learning from your employees and understanding their needs and attitudes. There are a few major areas to focus on when building a company culture:

If you’re in a leadership role, touch base with your strongest employees often.

For companies that are smaller or are beginning to scale, it is especially critical to keep your most loyal and talented team members engaged. Show them that you value their input when it comes to important decisions around strategy, hiring, and other areas – and be sure to schedule coffee meetings our brief syncs that prove you’re invested in them personally and professionally. Losing engagement from key team members often results in the loss of more than one employee.
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Why You Should Have a Staff Holiday Party


Image courtesy of m_bartosch at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

During the busy holiday season, putting together yet another event or party can seem like an unwelcome chore. Companies that organize a holiday party, though, will be glad they did – here’s why:

Build relationships

Work functions with an emphasis on fun and socializing seem like an HR nightmare to some – but when conducted properly, they can have a lasting return on investment. Company culture benefits significantly from activities like a holiday party, and it provides a rare opportunity, especially for larger companies, to let employees from different departments and teams get to know one another. For some companies, the end-of-year party is one of the only occasions when everyone is able to get together and meet new faces. This type of low-key socializing is optimal for cross-departmental collaboration and is helpful as employers strive to build a cohesive team within a larger company.
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Unemployed Around The Holidays? How To Deal With Family Concerns

close-up-of-hand-completing-job-applicationBetween family gatherings, gift-giving, cooking for larger groups, traveling, and winding down the year, the holidays are typically a stressful time for most families. The added stress of finding oneself in “job-limbo” or dealing with the recent loss of a job can be especially overwhelming during the holiday season. Inevitably, you will field numerous questions from family and friends about your current job (or lack thereof), the expenses associated with the holidays can become more difficult to bear, and you may find it difficult to enjoy any of the celebrations while distracted by the challenges of unemployment. Most likely, it won’t be possible to land your next position at a company until after the holidays – and if seasonal work is out of the question as well, it’s important to plan ahead for how you will approach the holiday season, making the most of the time of year for yourself and for your family. Here are a few tips to get you through the holidays smoothly and prepare for your next chapter once they are over:
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How to Get a Holiday Job

seasonal-workerSeasonal hiring presents a great opportunity for many people to pick up more work, make extra money, or even embark on what could become a new career once the holidays wind down. Whether you’re looking to make extra money over the holidays or hoping to get your foot in the door at a larger company, the holidays rely on a notable influx in the temporary workforce, one that many job seekers should take advantage of.

Supply and demand

Seasonal jobs in particular operate closely alongside the known rule of “supply and demand.” The stronger the forecast is for consumer spending, the more seasonal jobs may be available. This year, falling gas prices alone hint at a bigger consumer spending push throughout the holidays. Additionally, Kohl’s department stores expect to hire about 67,000 seasonal hires – up from 53,000 last year – and Walmart announced a seasonal hire estimate of 60,000, which is 5,000 more than last year. Paying attention to consumer reports or industry trends can help narrow a search, but in general, it’s easiest to keep in mind that seasonal hiring occurs around the holidays – and that means retail. Other industries include shipping and handling services, warehouse services, and the middle to high-scale restaurant scene. Companies that transcend multiple categories, like Amazon, are also a safe bet – as they are retailers who will undoubtedly hire plenty of seasonal help in warehouse fulfillment and delivery logistics.
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You did WHAT? 4 Daring Tactics Job Seekers Used to Get Hired

Recruitment or Employment Issues Chalk DrawingGetting noticed in the search for an ideal job can be challenging, so it’s no surprise that candidates have employed creative (and sometimes risky) tactics in their attempts to stand out.

Among the successful attempts, one job seeker contracted a billboard outside of an employer’s office, another candidate crafted a cover letter that read like a formal invitation for her hire rather than a request, and one candidate actually performed a song about why he was the best person for the job. Below are four other individuals who each took a unique approach that suited their professional and personal backgrounds:

An interactive video resume

Greame Anthony decided to showcase his PR and Marketing background – literally – by creating an interactive video resume with links to more information about his background. Anthony ended up receiving multiple job offers and then chose to continue doing freelance work instead.
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