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.

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.

Introverted

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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How to cultivate a strong mentor relationship

Man-and-woman-sitting-next-to-each-otherMentor “matching” goes both ways: a good fit doesn’t mean that it is best only for the mentee; rather, a strong match indicates that both parties are content with the relationship. When approaching someone to be a mentor, you should directly check in and ensure that they can benefit from supporting you in your career. It may seem like a contradiction to the nature of a mentor relationship, but many mentors do benefit from helping up-and-coming professionals.

Traits of a strong mentor

A good mentor is someone who is willing to work for you without doing things for you entirely. They should always provide perspective but never give you the answer without first guiding and/or challenging you to reach it on your own. Here are a few key traits of a strong mentor:
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Best Practices for Writing a Job Description

hands-writing-job-descriptionToday’s job market already faces a daunting skills gap, and when hiring managers and employers are unable to craft a realistic and successful job description, this gap only widens as they fail to attract and align with the talent and skill sets needed to fill the role(s). Employers must do their part in combatting the skills gap – and attaining the best possible talent for their own benefit – by understanding how a strong job description is crafted. Anyone hoping to hire the perfect candidate must master this mundane but critical skill.

The job description must cater to the most prominent needs of the role, maintain a level of realism, and be worded in a way that catches the attention of the right people.
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