All posts by Jamie Ruden

How to Reverse Job Search

By: Harleen Ghuman ‘22

Finding a job that is suitable for you is an already difficult process.  But let’s say you have had an eye on a career opportunity, whether it be an internship or an entry full-time. After reviewing the qualifications and researching what qualities they are looking for in a potential candidate, you find yourself in a situation where you may not qualify for the job opportunity, due to not meeting their pre-set expectations. By reverse job-searching, you can attract your opportune employer through the lens they want to see you through.  

 

What Exactly is a Reverse Job Search?

A traditional job search revolves around finding a job opportunity that you qualify for and see fit. Reverse job search is the opposite and requires planning ahead of time (ideally you start this process as early as possible). The reverse job search allows you to take time to build the skills required for future work by using the job description of your dreams as a checklist. This way, you’re checking off the items the employer desires and will view you as the most qualified candidate.

 

A reverse job search is about working towards those qualifications through internships, student organizations, volunteer opportunities to align your qualifications to that of the job posting’s requirement. If you find yourself in a position where the job opportunity you aspire to achieve has requirements that you find yourself not qualified for, then you can find other opportunities to obtain those qualifications (likely 1-3 qualifications from the dream job list) to be the most suitable candidate for the job. Oftentimes, the reverse job search technique is compared to being your own marketing manager in building your “brand.”

 

How Do I Reverse Job Search?

Reverse Job Search can be confusing to understand. It is all about aligning your qualifications with the company’s set qualifications they included for the job opportunity you are striving for. If you find that you do not check off an asset on that list, whether it be a coding skill like Python or knowledge in the financial markets, then you would work towards obtaining those skills. 

 

For example, you could attend a virtual coding academy or self-learn coding and develop an at-home project. You can also complete a certification course to prove your existence of knowledge in certain topic areas, like the financial markets, respective to the example provided. There are countless ways and techniques in which you can achieve these qualifications. A great tool is LinkedIn learning! They developed a partnership with the New York Public Library where you’re able to obtain badges and certifications with the simple entry of your Library ID for FREE. To learn more, click here.

 

Often times, you can apply the experience you already have and have it align with the requirements they have listed. At the end of the day, it does not matter where you apply the skill, but rather how you have applied such skill. To learn more tips about matching your qualifications to a job opportunity, visit this website for more information! Tip: You’re allowed to have more than one resume!

 

Outline the Steps

It may be helpful to write out and outline the steps. Listing everything out onto a spreadsheet will not only keep things organized, but you can compare your findings and keep track of your progress. To start you off, we have created a template to get you started and visualize more clearly the process of a reverse job search. An example has been provided to show how you can customize your input and fill in the corresponding sections.  

 

Finding a job is all about how you present yourself to the employer. You do not have to go out of your way to make sure you are the cookie-cutter employee companies are looking for. Utilize what you know and the skills you possess and apply it to their job description. It is helpful to gain experience, but remember to not change your entire professional profile to appeal to one job opportunity. Good luck with the job search!

 

Great resources to follow up:

 

Our template in case you missed it, click here.

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Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

Personal Branding: “Should I Make A Website?”

By: Samantha Fang ’23

If you are a good writer and want to share your insights into an industry or have an artistic background, you might want to think about creating a personal website or shareable online portfolio. Personal websites can also be utilized as a blog to showcase your writing skills and knowledge of the field you’re interested in. See below for some dos and don’ts when it comes to personal branding!

 

Personal Branding Dos

 

Brief Introduction / About Me

 

On your personal website, it is important that you dedicate a small section to self-introduction. Visitors of your site want to learn more about you so be sure to keep this section updated and relevant. Your “About Me” section should focus on who you are, what you do, how you got to where you are, and what your future plans and goals are. Expanding on your elevator pitch is a great start to writing this section! If you have never written an elevator pitch before, check out this post from our Student Career blog

 

Here are some questions to help get you started (adopted from the Balance Careers):

  • What are you currently doing (in regard to your career) and how did you get there? How does your background make you unique?
  • In terms of the work you do, what aspects are you most passionate about and why? Share what you love most about your work.
  • What do you consider some of your biggest professional and personal accomplishments? How did your attributes contribute to those accomplishments? Be as specific as you can.
  • What are you looking for right now? If you’re job seeking, considering a career change or looking to take on projects or gigs, mention it in your statement. Include your email address in the last sentence, so it’s easy to get in touch with you.

Check out the full About Me page guide on their website! 

 

Examples of Your Best Work

 

Since your personal website can act as a shareable online portfolio, be sure to feature your best work and projects! If any of your work has won awards or received special recognition, definitely make a note of it on your site. If any of your work is located off your site, such as on Github, make sure to link to it so visitors can easily find your work. Any article features, interviews you have done, and contributions to websites and blogs should definitely be showcased as well if you feel they are relevant to your professional goals and career! 

 

Blog Section (If Applicable)

 

You could also utilize your personal website as a blog, which is an excellent way to showcase your industry knowledge. Great topics to write about are notable new developments in your field, passion projects outside of your current work, professional accomplishments and career goals!

Contact Information

 

With a great personal website, visitors will likely want to reach out and connect with you! Always include a section on your site with contact information so they know where to find you. This section could include a professional email address, your LinkedIn profile, or a contact form. Remember to only include an email you check often and/or a contact form that you will regularly keep up with.

 

Keep Your Website Updated

 

If you are consistently sharing your website on your professional profiles or to new connections, make sure you are updating your website regularly to reflect new posts, accomplishments, and projects!

 

Personal Branding Don’ts

 

Don’t Fill Your Site With Blocks of Text

 

 

Filling your site with huge blocks of text will likely turn visitors away! Your website should be engaging and easy to read. Within a couple minutes of looking around your site, visitors should be able to get a good sense of who you are and what you have accomplished so far! The last thing you want is visitors feeling overwhelmed or struggling to locate your work once they have found your site. 

 

Try and find other sites you admire and write down what they do and use that as inspiration.

 

Don’t Include Everything You’ve Ever Worked On

 

Be strategic about what projects you choose to display on your site. Only include your best work and the projects that really showcase your skill sets! 

Don’t Link To Personal Social Media Accounts

 

 

Linking to a personal social media account will likely be seen as unprofessional and a form of oversharing. Unless these are business accounts or ones that further showcase your work, refrain from linking to them! (other than LinkedIn)

 

Eportfolios@Macaulay

At Macaulay, we encourage you to use ePortfolios to create your site! Please see here for more information on how to use this platform. You can find guidelines for use and FAQs here!

 

Other Ways To Build A Professional Online Presence 

If you do not want to create a personal website or if this does not really apply to your specific field, you can build your online professional presence through LinkedIn and other platforms as well. Check out this guide from The Balance Career about this! 

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Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

 

When Should You Start Interning?

By: Anne Hwang ’23

As the fall semester begins remotely, you might find yourself receiving emails one after another, encouraging you to apply for internships. While many internship opportunities may seem intriguing, it’s important to evaluate your situation to see whether or not you are ready to begin interning. 

 

Freshman Year

Starting your first year of college can be very intimidating. Not only are you in a completely new environment, but your class structures and schedules are different every day. So while you may be very eager to learn and participate in both student life and internships, it’s important to recognize that you need some time to settle in and get used to this new college life. As a freshman, it is highly recommended that you focus your first semesters on adjusting to the classes and joining any clubs or student activities. After you feel more comfortable with your schedule, you should then consider looking into internships of your interest. 

 

Summer Internships

Interning in the summer can be a great way for students to build experiences without having to worry about the workload from classes. A summer internship also offers more flexibility, as you have the option of applying for both part-time and full-time internships.

Before applying for a summer internship, check your summer schedule to ensure you have amble time to partake in the internship (don’t forget commuting!) Once you’re ready, you can begin applying for internships! Just keep in mind that summer positions are often very competitive, and some companies begin accepting applications as early as September for the following summer, so keep an eye out for those deadlines! (Macaulay’s Career Development sends emails curated just for you, so be sure to open those!)

 

Fall/Winter/Spring Internship

Aside from summer internships, there are also ample opportunities for students to intern during the school year. However, fall, winter or spring internships during the academic year are a bit trickier, as you now have to balance your academic coursework.

Before applying for a fall, winter, or spring internship, you should evaluate your class schedule and course load. Depending on the number of credits you have applied for and the type of classes you have enrolled in, your schedule may already be extremely packed. Additionally, the internship position may also require you to travel, which means you will also have to take into account travel time. You don’t want to put in only half of your effort in an internship or schoolwork. 

While many honor students often have the habit of taking on multiple things at once, overloading yourself during the academic year could potentially lead to more stress and negative outcomes. Therefore, it is best to pursue an internship during the academic year only if you feel confident in managing your time and balancing your coursework and internship.    

 

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Lastly, keep in mind that you may not always feel so certain about whether or not you are ready for an internship. You may also feel indecisive about whether you should pick a fall, winter, spring or summer internship. However, there’s no need to fret! You can always speak with your Macaulay advisor or the Career and Development Team for guidance and tips on how to approach applying for an internship!

 

Additional Resources:

 

Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

The Importance of Timing in Your Job/Internship Search: 3 Key Factors To Keep In Mind

By: Samantha Fang ‘23

 

Finding the perfect job or internship opportunity is just half the battle. How can you ensure that you beat the competition and increase your chances of getting contacted for an interview when you apply? One of the biggest factors in this is timing. Timing is crucial in the job search process as it can impact whether or not your application is considered. See below for 3 key factors to keep in mind when planning your applications!

 

Type of Opportunity

You must consider the type of opportunity you are applying for because that will impact the time of year you should be submitting your applications for them. The application and interview process for summer internships, for example, might extend for a couple months from fall into the winter. Be on the lookout for deadlines!


Questions To Consider: 

  1. Is the opportunity an internship, a part-time or full-time job, a fellowship, or a scholarship? 
  2. If applicable, which semester: Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer? 

What is the specific industry you are looking into? Check out this document for a detailed look into recruiting timelines by industry!

 

Time of Day or Day of Week

Did you know that the time of day or day of the week you submit your job application can affect your chances of securing an opportunity?

Some studies have found that your hiring chances and likelihood of being called back for an interview are higher when you apply in the morning on Monday or Tuesday. Applying within the first week of a job being posted is beneficial as well! If possible, try to avoid applying for job opportunities late in the evening or on weekends. 

 

Company Circumstances

Do your research on companies that you want to work for. Stay up to date with any key milestones or additional funding at the company which can result in hiring waves. Did they just open a new department or division? Did they recently launch a new initiative which may require additional staff? If so, this just might be the perfect time for you to look into any new opportunities they may be offering! Check out their LinkedIn page to learn about recent updates.

 

 

Bonus Tips!!

  1. If applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, it never hurts to apply earlier. After all, that is when there are more spots left to fill!
  2. With so many people applying for the same positions, it would be expected that recruiters’ inboxes are flooded. A good subject line can be critical in ensuring your job application will be read and noticed by recruiters!
  3. Having an inside contact at the specific company you are applying for can be a helpful way of getting your name out there. They can put in a good word for you and let you know when the best time might be to submit your application!

 

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Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

 

A Mini Guide For Writing Effective Emails

By: Samantha Fang ‘23

 

Successfully communicating through email is a critical skill in college and in your career. In the following mini guide, you will learn how to write effective and professional emails. Learn about when email communication is appropriate, email etiquette, all the different parts of an email, ways to make sure your emails get read, and more!

 

Before Writing An Email

Before writing and sending out your email, be sure to think about whether or not email is the best form of communication to use. Would a phone-call be more effective? Are you sending over confidential information? If so, email might not be appropriate. You can check out this handout from the University of North Carolina’s Writing Center for more information on this! 

 

Before writing your email, it is helpful to read up on email etiquette. See the articles below: 

 

Subject Line

Your email subject line could determine whether your message gets lost in your recipient’s inbox or actually gets read. It could make or break an email, especially if you are cold-emailing a new connection. The last thing you want is for them to overlook your message, think it is spam, or delete it without even opening it! Your email subject line should convey the main point of your email message. Be specific. If the email is about something time-sensitive, it might be helpful to include a date or deadline in the subject line too. 

Applying for a job through email? Check out this article which includes helpful tips and examples for writing email subject lines for job applications and resumes!

 

Recipients

When entering recipients, be sure to use their preferred email address. For example, if you are emailing a professor, use their institutional email address. Depending on the type of email you send out, you might want to utilize the bcc (blind carbon copy) and/or cc (carbon copy) functions. These functions allow you to send copies of the email message to other recipients by adding them to the email thread. For example, you might want to cc your project manager and/or other team members in an email you send out to a client so that they are all in the loop with any updates or changes to the project. 

 

Keep in mind that all recipients will be able to see the email addresses of those in the To: and cc: fields. You can use the bcc function to send a copy of the email to recipients whose email addresses you don’t want to be visible to the other recipients in the To: and/or cc: fields. However, these bcc’ed recipients’ addresses can still be visible later on if they choose to “reply all.” You can find more information about using the bcc and cc functions in this article!

 

Greeting

Always start off your emails with some type of opening or greeting. When in doubt about how to address someone, it never hurts to be more formal. You can always adjust accordingly based on how they respond to your initial email. You can find some great examples in the image above. For more tips on choosing the appropriate email greeting, check out this article! If you are emailing someone for the first time, this article offers advice on how to introduce yourself. 

 

Email Body

When working on the body of your email, think about why you are sending this email in the first place. What do you want to accomplish? For example: Are you requesting a recommendation letter from your professor? Are you sending a reminder to your team about an upcoming meeting? Are you seeking feedback on a project from your supervisor? 

 

Always keep the email to one content area. The message should be targeted and concise. For example, if you are following up with a colleague after a team meeting, do not add in additional information or questions about a separate unrelated project to the end of the email. It is easier to lose track of information this way because it will be harder to search for later on. This can be the case especially if it wasn’t the email’s intended purpose as indicated in the original subject line. 

 

Remember that you are aiming for easy readability. Be sure to use a legible and appropriate font and font size. In terms of formatting the content, bullet points can make it easier to highlight main ideas and communicate information more efficiently. Small paragraphs are also helpful in separating out your key points. If you are including any attachments or important links, be sure to highlight that in some way so they are not overlooked. Ending your email with an action item, if applicable, can be helpful if you want your recipient to know what their next steps should be. 

 

Check out The Balance Careers and Indeed for some great sample emails!

 

How to Best Sign Off

Be sure to close off your emails appropriately as well. When choosing the best closing to use, it is helpful to consider the content of your email and your relationship to the recipient(s). Frequent email sign-offs can be found in the image above! Instead of just closing with your name, you can choose to add a professional email signature and include additional contact information. Check out the following links for more information about closing your emails professionally: 

 

Before Sending

Before sending out your email, always proofread it! Check that you have cc’ed and/or bcc’ed any applicable recipients and that you have included any relevant attachments or links. The time of day you send out your email can also impact whether or not it gets read, so keep that in mind before clicking send. Try to send all your emails during business hours. A good tip is to utilize the “Schedule Send” feature if you would like your email to be sent out at a later specified time. For example, if you draft an email late in the evening, you can have it scheduled to be sent out early the next morning. 

 

Further Reading:

 

Related Career Development Blog Posts:

  1. How to Reach out to Your Contacts
  2. Networking Is (not) Scary
  3. Tips For Writing Professional Thank You Notes
  4. How to Get Recommendation Letters

 

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Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

CV vs. Resume: 3 Main Differences

By: Samantha Fang ‘23

 

What is the difference between a CV (Curriculum Vitae) and a resume? Which one should I have, and when do I use which? Hopefully, this blog post will help clarify any questions you might have about the purpose and use of these two documents. See below for the three main differences between a CV and a resume. You will also find resources for further information!

 

Content

A resume is a document summarizing your career skills, education, work experiences, and extracurricular activities. The document is highly customizable and should be modified to fit the position or program you are applying for. Resumes do not have to be chronological. Instead, you can shuffle around elements on your resume depending on their relevance to highlight certain experiences.

A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is an in-depth look into a working academic or research career. It has a clear chronological order under each section and includes education, teaching and/or research experiences, publications, awards, fellowships and grants, professional affiliations, and other relevant achievements. CVs are edited as your list of achievements grows. Check out The Balance Career’s posts on CVs here!

 

Length

Resumes are very concise. They are typically one page in length (sometimes two in certain cases). CVs are typically two or more pages and are much more detailed than resumes. CVs can be very lengthy for higher level candidates who have amassed many publications and achievements.

 

When To Use Each

Resumes are the most common document used when applying for jobs. CVs are typically required for roles in research and academia and when applying for advanced degrees. You should prepare both a resume and a CV if you plan to apply for both industry positions and academic/research positions. Jobs abroad may also request for a CV.


Additional Resources:

 

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Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

Why I use Notion | The Ultimate Digital Planner

By: Mahir Sadad ‘23

College can be stressful, enlightening, and amazing all at the same time. If you’re like me, we’re always caught in the frenzy of balancing between classes, clubs, and finding opportunities to expand our horizons. I used to swear by a paper planner. If I were to lose anything, it better not be my planner. 

 

However, paper planners have their limits:

  • Can get wet or damaged with no backup
  • Surprisingly overpriced ($25-$30 for a notebook?!)
  • No easy way to move things around
  • Sometimes the pages or layouts aren’t useful
  • Added clutter and weight

 

I wanted the all-in-one experience, and freedom of a planner, but also the ease and accessibility of digital. In my search I tried a lot of combinations, Google Calendar, Keep, Notes on my phone and Calendar apps that come with our Mac computers. However, I still wished for an all-in-one solution. That’s when I stumbled across an app called Notion in an email from an advisor. 

 

 

First impressions of Notion are that it’s very minimal and clean, there is a dark mode option available, and the app’s settings and controls are simple and easy to find. It’s organized into pages, and like an endless matryoshka doll, more pages can be stuffed within pages. It’s also available on Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android, so your information can be synced across multiple devices.

 

Just click on the “+” and open up a page, and it gives you suggestions on what can be done with the page. Type “/” and you get a list of options. Unsure where to start? Notion’s website has hundreds of templates, from class notebooks to an engineering wiki to get you going. It’s one of the most modular apps I’ve ever found, it can be endlessly customized to your liking. Information is organized in blocks, so just click on a chunk and move it wherever you want. 

 

 

The 3 biggest features I love about Notion are the ability to embed literally anything, plethora of databases, and it’s unobtrusive design. I’ll explain each feature in detail below. 

 

Embed: 

Within any notion page, you can insert links from websites, add PDFs, images and other documents. In short, if there is a link, it can be embedded. I use embed features to link in Khan Academy videos into my notes, so if I don’t get a concept, an explanation it is right there. If your Notion setup becomes elaborate, the breadcrumbs feature allows you to pinpoint locations of pages. 

 

Databases:

This is a very extensive feature of Notion. Basically, There are 5 major types of databases you can create inside Notion:

  • List
  • Gallery
  • Table
  • Board
  • Calendar

 

You can add properties to categorize your information. For example, in my reading list, I edited the property for the status column with tags I like. Lists and tables are just like Excel or Google Sheets files. I’m using a list database right now to research and organize internships. Boards and Calendars are great if you want to organize a lot of visual info, you can even schedule reminders within them. The best part is you can change your database seamlessly into all the 5 types with a click of a button.

 

 

Design: 

While this is more of a personal preference, I prefer the uncluttered design, you can add personal touches via a page banner and emojis. No silly extras, it just works. I have noticed zero lag when starting the app, even if I have huge info-packed pages of notes. For me, the cleanliness of my notion pages just can’t be beat. 

The best tools are the ones that let you just pick it up and get to work. While Notion tales a while to get used to, I found it to be an invaluable asset, especially as schedules will only get busier. Take a week of this quarantine to try it out, see if you like it. While Notion has a subscription-based model, it’s completely free with a .edu email, so make sure to use your Macaulay emails at registration. Their YouTube channel also has some helpful tutorials. 

Good luck!


Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

How To Engage In Productive Conversations About Race And Privilege At Work

By: Samantha Fang ‘23

 

“Creating purposeful dialogue on race helps us to be better equipped in fighting injustices. Systematic change is necessary in creating the equality that marginalized communities deserve, and educated conversations can be the first steps to making that change.”  — Dwight Smith, Net Impact

 

While conversations about race and privilege can be challenging, they are not only necessary in your daily life, but also in the workplace. These difficult conversations are stepping stones to creating a more inclusive and welcoming work environment and puts pressure on companies to seriously address the internal structures and culture which may be perpetuating racial bias. You can find our blog post on ways to tell if a potential employer values diversity and inclusion here

 

Why is it so difficult to discuss race and privilege?

“The reason why these conversations are so difficult is because they are deeply emotional. Deep inside everybody, there’s an internal scale of justice. Everybody has a deep belief of what’s right and wrong. When that’s out of balance, it hurts us deeply.” —  Kwame Christian as quoted on CNBC Make it

 

Conversations about racial injustice often involve bringing up experiences and events that may be very traumatic and painful. Differences in viewpoints and experiences can also add tension. For some, it can be hard to face what they need to unlearn or to confront their own privilege. For others, these conversations can be intimidating. Many fear they will say the wrong thing or aren’t educated enough to speak out or engage in conversation about these topics and as a result, choose not to. However, these conversations are crucial steps to understanding and addressing the injustices faced by our colleagues. They help us figure out how we can work together to create change. 

 

See below for tips on how to make these conversations thoughtful, productive, and respectful. You will also find resources for further reading at the very end!

 

6 Tips for Engaging In Productive Conversations About Race And Privilege At Work

 

Do your research and prepare beforehand

“In order for a white person or non-black person of color to be an ally and thoughtfully engage in discussions about race, it’s crucial they do their own work to understand the privilege that shapes their world view, and educate themselves on the things they need to personally learn and unlearn in order to be a better advocate.” — Jennifer Liu, CNBC Make it

 

Before engaging in these conversations, put in the work to educate yourself first! While education is an ongoing process, it is helpful to go into these conversations with at least some knowledge and understanding. There are so many great resources being shared online through social media and other outlets. If you are feeling overwhelmed, this list from Paradigm is a good starting point. 

 

“It’s easy to feel disconnected from this history when you feel as though it has no direct tie to your reality. It’s interesting that even for me – as an Ethiopian – there was a time when I didn’t truly connect with this history of slavery and racism. I’ve realized that, at the end of the day, a love for humanity means a respect and honor for all pain and a oneness of purpose toward dismantling ignorance and pursuing justice. The moment you are here in the U.S., your reality is connected to a racial construct.”

— Yodit Kifle as quoted on Net Impact

 

Acknowledge your own preconceptions, biases, and privilege. Recognize the ways in which you have consciously and unconsciously benefited from systems that are hurting others. Learn about how historical events and movements are connected to and still shaping society today. 

 

State your intentions and goals for the conversation

“It’s easy to look outward instead of inward and talk about racial injustice in a broad way and not about challenges the organization has had about hiring, promotion, and culture.” — Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work

 

Setting a clear goal and intention for conversations about race and privilege at work is key in figuring out the size of the conversation, who should be taking part in them, and what you are trying to accomplish. For example, according to Quartz at Work, “the goal might be … to invite employees to share their personal experiences and anecdotes about how bias manifests at their organization, or to revisit hiring procedures in order to weed out practices that invite or perpetuate bias.” It is important to direct these conversations back to company practices and culture. Possible questions to address include: 

  • Are there diversity & inclusion programs and diversity hiring initiatives at the company right now? 
  • Have they been effective? 
  • Does the company actively work to create an inclusive work environment? 
  • What needs to change? 

 

Closely and honestly examine together how the company can do better going forward. 

 

Acknowledge the difficulty and weight of these conversations

A good way to begin these difficult conversations is acknowledging the weight of them. This also helps to create a safer and more respectful space for colleagues to share their emotions and thoughts on these topics. As Kwame Christian shares with CNBC Make It, “a good place to start a difficult conversation is to acknowledge its difficulty and validate the other person’s feelings, whether it’s shock, sadness, anger, confusion or shared discomfort.” Even after you begin asking questions and learning about your colleagues’ viewpoints and experiences, continue to be mindful of how you are conversing with them. 

 

Check out the following infographics from Catalyst which offer insight on how to engage respectfully in tough conversations and connect in a meaningful way:

 

 

Engage in dialogue not debate

CREDIT: @holidayphillips on Instagram

 

Approach conversations about race and privilege with compassion, empathy, and an open mind. 

 

“Personal experience can’t possibly give the complete view of such complex issues. The history of racism extends far beyond individuals; it encompasses years and years of both individual and community experience. It is important to recognize and acknowledge the validity and reality of other experiences.”  — Dwight Smith, Net Impact

 

A key aspect of productive dialogue is the acknowledgement and respect for different viewpoints and experiences as well as the willingness to critique our own views and beliefs. The goal is to find common ground and understanding as well as to broaden our own perspectives. You can find a helpful breakdown of the differences between discussion, debate, and dialogue here!

 

Another important aspect of having an open and productive dialogue about racial injustice is confronting your privilege. As described in this post from the University of Michigan, “Privilege, simply put, is societally granted, unearned advantages accorded to some people and not others.” Hence, privilege is directly connected to and impacts many aspects of our lives, such as the accessibility of education and professional opportunities. Acknowledging one’s privilege can come with feelings of discomfort, guilt, and even shame. It can also cause people to get defensive. These are some of the main reasons why conversations about privilege can be so difficult. 

 

It is important to remember that privilege and oppression are not mutually exclusive and that conversations about privilege are not meant to be attacks on your character nor are they meant to belittle or invalidate your experiences. Instead, these conversations are opportunities for you to confront your privilege, recognize how it has given you advantages and/or access to opportunities throughout your life that you had not thought about before, and learn about the ways in which you can use this privilege to help others and make a difference.

 

“This acknowledgement of privilege should invoke a willingness to listen, to be educated, and to understand how you can use this privilege for the betterment of others.” — Dwight Smith, Net Impact

 

Be willing to admit you do not have all the answers

“It is not enough to recognize and remain complacent in this state of unknowing; allow this to be a catalyst for an active effort to become informed. … It is important to seek out answers to questions that you don’t know, and be willing to be educated on topics that you are uninformed about.” — Dwight Smith, Net Impact

 

The fear of being wrong or not knowing enough can prevent us from taking part in conversations about race and privilege, but it shouldn’t. You should absolutely do your part in educating yourself before and after these conversations, but the point is that you should come into conversations like these willing to embrace the discomfort of not knowing and of being wrong. True growth lies outside your comfort zone. Be open to learning something new and to understanding a concept, experience, or event from another perspective. Actively listen and ask questions.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” — Maya Angelou 

Reflect and commit to change

“It is not enough to merely hear or read about race; it is important to make an effort to apply these changes to your mindset and actions.” — Dwight Smith, Net Impact

After the conversation, be sure to take some time to reflect. 

Sample Questions To Think About: 

  • What are you taking away from this conversation?
  • How do your thoughts and experiences compare with your colleagues’ thoughts and experiences? 
  • What race-based biases have you discovered you unconsciously hold that you’d like to work on deconstructing? 
  • How can you do better going forward? What are your next steps? 

Change doesn’t come easily, and active work must be done in order to make a lasting positive impact. Keep yourself accountable, and continue learning about how you can contribute and make a difference at work and in your everyday life. 

“The best things in life are on the other side of a difficult conversation. If we can have the conversation in a better way, we can make meaningful change in the world around us.” —  Kwame Christian as quoted on CNBC Make it

 

Don’t know where to start? This Race and Privilege Conversation Pack from We’re Not Really Strangers can act as a great starting point for approaching conversations about race and privilege at work and in your daily life. Feel free to share this blog post as a way to spark conversations as well! 

 

Additional Resources To Check Out:

 

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Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

 

Does Your Potential Employer Value Diversity And Inclusion?

By: Samantha Fang ‘23

 

We all want to feel like we belong at our workplaces. We want to feel appreciated and valued by our employers. Whether you are looking for an internship or a job, you want to make sure that the company you end up working for is dedicated to creating an inclusive workplace. Studies have found that diverse workplaces are conducive to higher creativity, productivity, and profitability just to name a few! Nowadays, many companies will promote on their site and job postings that they are committed to diversity and inclusion, but how can we tell that a potential employer truly values this and are actively taking steps to improve their company in this respect?

 

 

Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion In The Workplace

There are countless reasons why diversity and inclusion are beneficial in the workforce. Diverse workplaces are conducive to greater creativity and innovation. It is also helpful for improving employee retention rates, building community at work, and increasing employee engagement. Having a range of viewpoints and opinions is invaluable when it comes to informing company decisions as a whole. Afterall, having a diverse staff gives companies a better understanding of their customers and/or clients as their team will be more representative of the audience they serve everyday.

Be sure to check out the following articles, which include associated statistics on this topic:

 

 

5 Ways To Tell If A Potential Employer Values Diversity And Inclusion

 

 

Company Website 

One of the first places you can check is the company website. Who do they choose to advertise and feature on their site? While this typically does not provide the full picture, it is a good place to start and offers a more general sense of the company’s sensitivity to representation on their site and for their brand. You should also look at the company’s Core Values page if they have one as well as their Careers page. Lastly, be sure to check if they have a designated Diversity and Inclusion page. Do they have any diversity hiring initiatives or designated D&I programs? Do they offer any statistics that illustrate their commitment to these initiatives or that these programs have been effective in the company? Do they have any posts that outline ways they work to create an inclusive environment for their employees?

 

Company Board/Leadership Team and Employee Demographics

Is the company transparent about their workforce data? Do they provide any demographics on their site? Do they disclose any statistics? Look at their board and leadership team pages. How many underrepresented groups are on these teams and in the company as a whole? This again might not give the full picture, especially if the company discloses very limited information in regards to this, but it will give you a general sense of the environment at the company in terms of diversity.

 

Job Posting Language

When applying for jobs, always scrutinize the posting description. The wording itself can reveal a lot about how the company views potential employees and what they value when looking for new additions to their team. Examine the language used. Is it gender-neutral? Is there terminology that is off-putting or that convey stereotypes? Does the posting seem to appeal to one particular demographic? Are there any inclusive benefits that are highlighted? Does the company emphasize their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the job posting? 

 

Employee Review Sites

Another way you can gauge the environment at a company is by learning about past or current employees’ experiences. Read about and listen to what they have to say about working at the company. You can check on review sites such as Glassdoor & Indeed, but keep in mind that you should always take these reviews with a grain of salt. Some companies might offer incentives to employees who write good reviews or find ways to manipulate the ratings. You can check out this post on LinkedIn that outlines some reasons why you can’t always trust Glassdoor reviews. That being said, it may be even more helpful if you already know someone working at the company. Use this opportunity to reach out to your connections to learn about their experiences.

 

Interview Process

 

Diversity and inclusion can also play a role in the interview process! According to Muse,“start by considering your interview panel and the range of people with whom you interact during the process. While it’s tough for any company to evenly support diversity within every function, if every single interviewer looks, thinks, and talks the same, it doesn’t bode well for the organization’s self-awareness around diversity and inclusion.”

 

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer directly about diversity and inclusion if this is something that is important to you. 

 

Sample Questions adapted from The Balance Careers

  • I see diversity is listed in the company’s values. Can you share some examples of how you promote it? 
  • How is diversity shown to be an important value at this company?
  • Does the company offer managers training on diversity, equity, and inclusion?
  • What does the company do to help ensure inclusion? 


You can also ask about success stories from underrepresented groups. Here is a great sample question from Muse: “What type of people at your company get promoted and how are they celebrated?”

Additional Resources to Check Out:

 

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Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.

 

How to Make the Most of Your Remote Summer 2020

By: Harleen Ghuman ‘22

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many, if not all, of us are forced to spend our Summer 2020 at home. In fact, some may even find themselves in a situation where an internship was postponed or canceled. The circumstances of being remote should not discourage you from productivity, but rather encourage you to take advantage of the situation and embark on unique opportunities that you find beneficial from a professional standpoint. 

 

Here are some ways you can make the most of your remote summer:

 

Professional Skills and Certifications

 

Now is a great time to hone your skills and prove to recruiters that you are well-versed in the functions and skills within your internships. Figure out what skills you want to learn, found is important to know in the career/industry you’re pursuing. From there, research any certification courses you can take online. Once you have successfully completed the course, you can confidently say you are well prepared in that skill. 

 

Lynda, now LinkedIn learning, offers many certification programs that follow the in-demand skills many employers are looking for. Once completed, you can simply add it to your resume and LinkedIn profile via a badge. This is a great way to expand your professional profile and widen your knowledge. The service is currently offering a free trial for one month. However, if you have an account with the New York Public Library, the service is free!

 

Write a blog

This shows recruiters your passion in whatever industry you are pursuing and your writing skills. Additionally, your communication skills will develop and improve further. All of this will help you in the future as it will allow you to become more familiar with your field of choice. 

 

Look for Virtual Internships and Networking

It may seem like an obvious suggestion but there are more  companies each day that are offering remote work. Many companies and organizations recognize the demand for such experience and have turned to offer internships specifically designed and catered to be adaptable to the current situation. Be on the lookout for these openings. To help you out, here’s a comprehensive list of places that are hiring or have hiring freezes.

 

Take this chance to network! Reach out to professionals you have come in contact with or organizations that you share an interest in. It doesn’t hurt to reach out and ask if they have any opportunities or projects they would like to recruit for. Networking like this can allow you to develop a micro-internship experience. Read one of our previous blogs, “Networking is (Not) Scary” to learn more about networking! 

 

Volunteer

While you still want to be careful being outdoors, you can still be a part of a community in which you feel a part of or share the same beliefs and values. By doing so, you can build skills and increase your network while making a difference in the community. 

 

How? You can offer to improve an organization’s website, build a social media campaign, or start fundraising. You can also start your own project and gather a group of people to embark on your own volunteering project. The ideas here are endless. Visit our Catchafire blog as a way to obtain volunteer opportunities through a site.  

 

Final Notes

Everyone is handling the current situation differently and will take on projects that best fits their situation. Discover what you are capable of doing during this time. Showcasing determination and dedication is a great display of productivity. However, the most important takeaway here is to take care of yourself. Use this extra time to relax and recharge. Relinquish the meaning of summer, even if you are limited to outdoor activities. We are going through unprecedented times and it is important to put yourself first. Stay safe!

 

Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.