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.

Why You Should Have a Staff Holiday Party

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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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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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Beyond the Resume: How To Present Yourself In The Digital World

digitalLike nearly every facet of society, today’s job market has undeniably been influenced by technology and social media. Not long ago, presenting oneself to a potential employer was a matter of having a polished resume, a strong network, and experience to speak to. Today, applicants and job seekers must work with a number of other elements that can either hinder or help their job search process. These newer platforms and methods of representation should be kept up to date and should reflect positively on your background and character. Here are a few tips for presenting yourself in the digital world that go beyond the resume.

In general, it is best to completely avoid “linear” representation and approach the abundance of digital platforms as an opportunity – looking for ways to represent yourself to potential employers on these platforms. In the least, make sure that your social presence doesn’t cost you a job opportunity! A few easy things to do to update your digital presence include:
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How You Ask One Question Could Determine If You Get A Raise

149319986_75Recently, a Wells Fargo employee sent an email to the CEO of Wells Fargo (which he estimates has over 300,000 employees) asking for a $10,000 raise for himself – and all 300,000 of his colleagues, most of whom were copied on the email. While this email is unique in that it indirectly takes on the form of a group demand for a raise, it still follows the most common dialogue used when employees negotiate salary: “can I have a raise?”.

Inevitably, most people approach their boss or manager and ask, “can I have a raise?” in some combination of words and sentiments. It’s often encouraged that employees make a case and speak up if they believe they deserve a raise. Due to the ask-receive format of this request, it’s not too surprising that this question is rarely met with a clear “yes.” However, one simple tweak that you can make when asking for a raise will almost always lead to a raise and align your work with your boss’ expectations.
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Using the “Myers-Briggs” Assessment to Understand your Co-Workers and Employees

iStock_000030444460LargeMany different personalities show up at work every day. These distinctions between people and the way they work can present huge challenges if they go misunderstood. Using the Myers-Briggs assessment, you can reach a new level of understanding about your employees, the way they work and lead, as well as the way that your personality impacts your professional self.

The Myers-Briggs test is a series of personality profiles based on the work of Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, “who developed their theory of personality type using psychologist Carl Jung’s text Psychological Types.” The sixteen personality types are based on four areas, each area with a “pair” of tendencies. Every person has a preference between the two tendencies. “These pairs include extraversion and introversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving.” These characteristics are labeled E/I, S/N, T/F, and J/P.
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