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.

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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What Will Happen to the Workforce When the Baby Boomers Retire?

FAN9015298With the STEM skills gap being an ongoing topic of discussion and concern for employers and employees alike, little attention has been given to the issue of another type of skills gap: the vocational skills gap. This gap will inevitably spike in the next 10-15 years as a result of the baby boomer workforce generation retiring in larger numbers. As Millennials and younger generations begin to take hold of the majority of today’s workforce, the STEM skills gap won’t account for the only growing void in skill sets. Our infographic provides insight on which skilled trade jobs will feel the most impact from baby boomer retirement and how to ensure these gaps are filled.

As of July 2014, there are a recorded 6,041,000 construction jobs in the U.S., 12,160,000 jobs in manufacturing, and as of 2013, there were 258,630 U.S. jobs in mechanical engineering. These positions spiked as the United States first began to develop into the nation it is today, and the majority of these jobs today are filled by members of the Baby Boomer generation. Today, the majority of Millennials seek out jobs in health, business, media, and science and technology. This tendency for younger generations to seek out non-labor careers is one that isn’t expected to decline. With this evidence, the labor industries will inevitably face a large skills gap in the potentially near future. As Baby Boomers begin to retire more rapidly and younger generations continue to seek out jobs that are unrelated to labor-intensive work, the question remains: who will replace these employees?
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Taking On the Job Hunt Like a Fantasy Football Draft

football-players-feet-and-helmetsWith fantasy football drafts in full gear, it’s easy to see a few parallels between the research-based, tactical processes of drafting a great team and landing a dream job. Below are a few tips to maximize your job search that also translate into tactics for fantasy football.

Organize your leads and look to eliminate risk

For those putting together fantasy football teams, it is wise to avoid big risks and unpredictable behaviors and players. Similarly, when researching and setting a plan for your job hunt, be sure to organize your job prospects into categories – making sure that a certain amount of your options are considered “low-risk.” Include prospects for an impressive, big-name company, but don’t commit to this end when it comes to the job search. Ultimately, knowing your strengths and the ideal job for you should eliminate most risk. If you are truly seeking the job you want most and would be the best fit, you shouldn’t find yourself risking too much in the process – or it might be time to re-evaluate.
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How To Recognize and Reward 5 Different Leadership Styles

Leadership-StylesWhile it is often easier to notice the work and input contributed by an extrovert in the workplace, an important attribute of successful management is the ability to recognize and reward different work and leadership styles. Below are a few work and leadership styles to pay attention to in your own workplace. Developing a holistic perspective for the different types of employees within your company is an effective way to tap into your emotional intelligence as a leader and help each of your employees grow.


Sometimes, those working hardest are the ones “behind the scenes,” and an attentive manager will be able to notice their contributions whether or not the employee draws attention to their work or ideas. Tap into the thought process of introverted employees by asking them direct questions in meetings or at other decision-making opportunities – but don’t put too much pressure on them to answer quickly. Introverts often have ample input and ideas to offer, but they do tend to avoid direct confrontation or spontaneous pressure if they can.
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