What to Do If You Are Unemployed

2020 was a difficult year for many Americans, and one of the reasons was the unemployment rate. More than 18 million people have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, back in February. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed Americans is listed as 12.6 million. Still, that figure doesn’t consider workers who have had their hours reduced or been misclassified or undercounted. The actual number is closer to 30 million these days. 

Throughout life, there will always be times of challenge. In addition to hard work and talent, your ability to survive this obstacle will depend on how you accept this temporary situation. Studies have shown that a positive frame of mind and a sense of perspective can help people get through many hardships, including a faster recovery time after an illness or injury. Look at this time in your life as an opportunity to prepare yourself for the next exciting chapter. Psychologists refer to this skill as reframing, which turns your attention to the positive aspects. 

One of the benefits that unemployment offers you is time. That shouldn’t mean to treat it as a vacation. However, if you have worked for many years, it’s perfectly fine to administer self-care and have a little time to relax. Use this period to update your resume and add additional qualifications, as well. Many people leave their credentials dormant for years when employed, so take a careful look and refresh everything, including making changes to any contact information, before stepping into the job market again.

Although your usual routine has been disrupted by unemployment, it’s healthy to maintain a daily schedule. This is both for your mental health and to ease you back into the workforce when the time comes. Have a set wake-up time, ensure you spend your working hours of the day in a specific area that is organized. Prioritize checking emails, eating meals, and preparing to-do lists. Being organized is the key to motivation and productiveness. A great tip is to clean a desk or table and spend the working part of your day cleaning up your resume, increasing your knowledge about your industry, or job-searching. Most importantly, let yourself clock out and go to another room to enjoy your free time. 

This is also a great time in your like to step back and do a self-assessment. This might be an excellent opportunity to pursue a career change. It is also crucial to have an online presence that portrays you as someone future employers would want to hire. Create social media accounts that are professional and use them to connect with a network of like-minded business people. 

This article was originally published at https://michaelharpernorthpalmbeach.com/

What Will Remote Work Look Like in 2021?

2020 became a year for many unprecedented acts, some ignominious and others astonishingly inspiring.  Easily the most common shift for most inhabitants of the U.S.A. was a significant shift in workplace experience.  All non-essential industries spent most of their fiscal year in some kind of isolated work situation where the vast majority of employees were required to work from home.  Some companies had already been experimenting with the notion of at-home workspaces, but never to the scale of entire workforces being kept locked in their residencies.  While multiple vaccines for the novel Coronavirus have been distributed en masse, the process of inoculating a whole nation, let alone a globe, will be a tedious one.  Some companies have already committed to further work from home status in 2021 as a pre-emptive measure.  The continued need for at-home employment provides the chance for continued evolution in remote work as businesses continue to impress upon employees the importance of social distancing and working from home.  Here are two of the trends to look for in 2021 remote work.

Wellness Above All

Easily one of the biggest trends in 2021 will be a heavy focus on employee wellness.  Employee overworking has risen over the last year.  With so many people cooped up at home with few outlets other than work, it is easy to get sucked into email wormholes or attempt to always get ahead on a project.  People are working odd hours and often past their regular working hours.  This stress is unsustainable and many companies are reporting burnout and fatigue with operating systems like Zoom.  Defeating “toxic productivity” is a consequential goal for many companies because the pressure to produce continually is counterproductive in the long run.  Even in work from home situation, there has been an increase in workers taking days off due to increased stress loads.  All this is a glaring signal to business leaders that employees are overtaxed and need to be provided new and different means of break time to allow workers to refresh themselves.

Technological Shifts

Obviously working remotely to this scale even a decade ago seemed like a risky proposition.  But with the increase in videoconferencing availability and the ubiquity of messaging apps, the means to communicate remotely provided many industries with the capacity to keep employees abreast of all necessary information.  Still, these technologies have limitations.  The inability to read body language in text and the lack of togetherness provided by video conferencing can leave people feeling isolated.  The most significant development in this front comes from virtual reality giant Oculus.  Owned by Facebook, Oculus has developed a virtual office space called Infinite Office, which will be providing a life-like experience of operating in an office environment.  These virtual workspaces intrigue industry leaders because it allows for a socially distanced space that can still feel like your around a watercooler which hopefully can replicate some of the feelings and conversations had during interstitial times of the workday.

This article was originally published at https://michaelharper.co/

Ways to Help Your Community in 2021

2020 proved to be a challenging year globally.  Whether you faced unrest and turmoil at a local, state, or national level the chances are to some degree or another your community suffered over the last year.  While we all find ways to cope with our issues, it’s important to remember that we should also be thinking of ways to support those around us as well.  One of the surest ways to lift yourself out of a personal funk is to invest time and energy into supporting your community.  Community support in 2021 is looking like it will take on some very specific shapes and styles.  If you want to engage and help those around you in the new year, check out some of the big trends in community service and philanthropy in 2021.

Helping While Staying Safe

For those with a philanthropic mindset, one of the major challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic has been finding ways to safely dedicate time and energy to helping others.  With the risks of community spread being so high, it’s been difficult to gather in groups to support service based organizations.  Even through the traditional means of showing you care may be off the table, there are still plenty of ways and means to donate.  You could always donate money or goods.  If you’re looking for a more personal donation there’s always a need for plasma and blood donations.  Even basic actions like trying to keep in touch with neighbors and friends can be a small, service-oriented action.  Talk to them about how they are doing, and ask whether you can provide a meal or help a neighbor with yard work. This can be a simple but effective way to scratch your itch to help those around you.

Don’t Let Covid-19 Fatigue Your Care

One of the biggest issues with Covid-19 presently is fatigue around coping with the virus.  People are becoming less and less compliant with basic safety measures necessary to protect themselves and those around them.  While vaccination has begun, it will still be months before the nation is close to a full vaccination.  During this time it’s imperative to still wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, limit your exposure to the outside world as much as possible, and wipe down surfaces in your home regularly.  The simplest community service you can provide right now is being thoughtful about how you interact with your community in the time of a pandemic.  Taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of others.

Homeless Housing Changes

The pandemic shined a particularly harsh light on the issue of homelessness in our country.  Tent cities have started to crop up in parks and parking lots in cities, leading towards attempts to find more sturdy housing.  One of the more intriguing projects taking place currently is an attempt to modify shipping containers into tiny homes.  Los Angeles is recycling these common pieces of garbage into livable, sustainable housing for those struggling to find shelter presently.  A creative solution that is both reusable and replicable, the long term ramifications of this project are still being determined but early returns say this could be a creative solution to a major problem exacerbated by the pandemic. 

This article was originally published at https://michaelharper.org/

How the Job Crisis is Affecting Young Adults

The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent shutdowns in different states caused millions of people to suddenly lose their jobs. Though the stock market has almost fully recovered and many people are back to work, the job crisis is affecting one segment of adults more than others. Young professionals who recently graduated from college are having a difficult time finding work after school.

The Job Crisis and Young Professionals

The Washington Post reported that entry-level job postings dropped by 73 percent in recent months. In the past, these entry-level positions attracted young graduates who used them as a means to gain experience after college. The lack of employment prospects is posing financial hardships that could affect a young professional’s mental health. A June 2020 study by the Center for Disease Control found that anxiety, depression and substance abuse have all increased among this age group since the pandemic began.

What Can Be Done

Recent college grads may not have many job prospects, but the current job crisis does have its perks. Many experts recommend that young professionals move home and try finding a remote position. Moving in with parents can help save money on living costs while looking for a job. Another option is putting off getting a job and attending graduate school. This may be why graduate school applications are up by three percent compared to previous years. Taking courses in a professional skills program can give recent grads an advantage over other applicants; these programs are available across the country and may help graduates stand out.

How Businesses Can Help

Businesses that are looking to hire graduates for entry-level positions should support their employees. Providing stability can help alleviate the anxiety and depression that many are facing. Many states are offering tax incentives and grants to businesses who hire apprentices as a way to stimulate the job market. Businesses should take advantage of this opportunity to help recent grads find work.

Graduating from college should be an exciting time for young professionals as they begin their new life in their chosen career field. Though the pandemic has decreased the number of available jobs, it doesn’t mean that getting a job is impossible. Finding ways to stand out and looking for companies who are hiring entry-level employees are the best ways to secure the right position.

Building a National Brand

The dreams and aspirations of becoming the next national brand and industry giant are one that many strive for. Before setting out to achieve those goals it’s important that the focus is narrowed down to a particular business niche. This is the area of expertise that is being designed to make an impact in the business world. When developing a niche business there is only one single area that is being focused upon. Marketing relevance, building a reputation, and growing a customer base is the smartest place to start. From these building blocks the focus can then shift to expanding to create a national brand.

Market research is a critical component to help discover a niche in which can thrive in the market today. It’s always encouraged to look for gaps where there has not been a niche developed yet. If the opportunity presents itself, dive head first into a new opportunity that no one else has capitalized on yet. There may be an area with unmet needs that present the opportunity to create an innovative product or to address an unsolved problem. This is how successful business niches are first created and then begin to thrive in the industry.

Communication strategies that are implemented can either make or break a niche business. The messages that are being communicated from the brand must resonate with the targeted consumers in order for it to be successful. In order for the the brand to grow national attention and build a consumer base, the expertise in the area that is being communicated must be done correctly. When developing communication strategies it is important to keep in mind that the messages being delivered to potential customers is what the company is being recognized for.

In order to build a national brand, leadership is a key component to building that kind of success. Implementing an effective team of leaders to steer the brand in the right direction is crucial. Finding a team of leaders that is knowledgeable within the niche area being focused upon is an investment that will pay off dividends. With these leaders in place they are able to provide expertise in all areas of the company, to both consumers and fellow employees.

4 Benefits to Volunteering

Nowadays, everyone’s either sprinting to their next work meeting or booking the next flight out for some R&R in a tropical destination. While this work-hard-play-hard system runs well enough that your days are kept busy, it makes for a very spiritually unsatisfying life. Log in some volunteering time to fill those downtimes with meaningful work. Here are four reasons why you should consider volunteering:

Network

Volunteering in your respective professional niche can yield invaluable industry contacts as well as open up better work opportunities. This can be a good strategic move, especially for college students, as it can also lead to internship or job offers after they graduate. For instance, law students can volunteer with a local legal aid program to gain experience working with those types of cases. During the program, you can learn how to prepare pleads, mediations, and court arguments firsthand, invaluable skills that can accelerate your career trajectory.

Travel

While not all charities and non-profit organizations can afford to send their volunteers to trips out of town or overseas, you can find some well-funded organizations that will partially or completely front your traveling costs as a volunteer. Being able to travel while working on a worthwhile cause, whether it’s reforesting the Amazon or cleaning up the Great Barrier Reef, can bring new personal and professional experiences that will help you grow.

Destress

Volunteering brings you closer to others. It’s not just a tool for gaining professional connections. You can make new friends or strengthen existing relationships by volunteering with a friend or family member. Giving back to the less fortunate can also reinvigorate your mental health. Studies show that volunteerism can reduce stress and ward off depression. If nothing else, volunteering can give you a sense of higher purpose that your day-to-day work might not offer.

Learn

Although you’ll have a higher chance of being recruited as a volunteer by an organization if you already possess the skill set and knowledge needed for the job, many of these organizations will be open to teaching and training you for the role. As a result, you acquire a new set of skills and knowledge that you can apply in the future.

In a world driven by consumerism, volunteering is a nice slice of refuge to reconnect with your spiritual self. It’s also a good reset button for those who are physically and mentally exhausted from their normal routine.

4 Tips on How to Negotiate Your Salary

Whether you’re in a job interview or a one-on-one interview with your supervisor to discuss your quarterly performance, negotiating salaries is a very sensitive topic that requires some finessing. Here are four tips on how to negotiate for higher salaries or better benefits.

Determine Your Value

Figure out how much you’re bringing into the company you’re working for. For example, if you are the only person in a 20-man team who is familiar with the main tech stack that your company’s website is running on, then you should leverage that during a negotiation. Another example is if you are consistently the top salesperson in the company. These are all things that connote your professional value in your current employment.

Aim High Enough

You want to aim high when you negotiate your salary, but aiming too high can start off the negotiation on very shaky legs. Too high of an offer can make you seem arrogant or delusional. Research what other professionals with similar skill sets or responsibilities are making and then base your initial ask on that.

Give a Range, Not a Fixed Number

A flat number makes it difficult for either you or your employer to find the right amount that satisfies both parties. A range, on the other hand, gives your employer options as to how to proceed with the negotiation. To get an idea of what numbers you should consider when coming up with a range, use platforms, like Glassdoor or Payscale, to research what numbers are common in the industry.

Avoid Being Emotional

It’s common for people who are inexperienced in negotiating to approach it with the same tenacity or energy as they would a fight or confrontation. Negotiating, however, is simply convincing the other party that what you’re asking is fair. Instead of being emotional, think of the interaction as a sales pitch. Support your demands with facts that you can back up. Cite specifics, such as your major accomplishments in the last quarter or year.

A successful negotiation requires thorough planning, meticulous research, and timing. You’ll want to time your ask for a pay bump in a time when the company is in a favorable financial position. Make it easy for them to see that it’s the smart and fair move by supporting your ask with documents and numbers.

Tricks to Look Smarter Than You Are

We are all living in a parallel universe in which the perception of intelligence trumps intelligence itself. While this might sound like bad news for those that specialize in higher education and remaining ahead of the learning curve, participating in the deception of appearance can actually get others to finally take notice to what they have been missing. On the flip side, those who are lacking in brainpower can successfully sell their illusion of intellect by following these solid tricks to gain some extra IQ points.

Dress For Success

If the smartest person in the room shows up in sweatpants and a wrinkled tee, he will most likely get passed up for the guy in the spiffy suit. Dress in a way that commands the room at all times. Certain occasions call for more casual attire, but when hoping to be taken seriously, avoid stained, ripped, or wrinkled clothing, only wear jeans that can be offset by a collared shirt or sweater, and be careful not to reveal too much skin. And for a few extra points, toss on a pair of full-framed eyeglasses.

Use Proper Language

Not everyone has a wide vocabulary, but that secret can remain concealed as long as they choose the words that they do know wisely. This means doing away with slang and avoiding unnecessary fillers. And while the freedom to use profanity is one of the best things about adulthood, if a person curses a lot, they will inevitably offend others and ruin their chances of looking smarter.

Control All Body Movements

Nervous ticks are a huge no-no when trying to impress the crowd. Be cautious of any fidgeting, nail biting, hair fondling, or unnecessary shifting. All of these things scream self doubt. Practice keeping it cool, narrowing gestures down to the occasional head nod and a personable grin. And of course, eye contact is the most important part. Looking directly into a person’s eyes is not only a manageable way to show good people skills, but it also displays confidence, engagement, and comprehension.

The funny thing is, most people aren’t as smart as they seem, including those in supervisory roles and the charming souls that always manage to convince the masses to eat from the palms of their hands. But as questionable as it may be, this fact of life gives everyone the advantage of excelling without having to go through the mills.

Tips for Your Resume Makeover

Today’s world has changed significantly as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs and businesses have adjusted their workforce to includes fewer people, leaving many people wondering how to land themselves a new job. This is a time when businesses are receiving large numbers of applications and applicants’ resumes are being even more critically looked at because of it. If you haven’t given your resume a makeover recently, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Make Sure You Have an Opening Statement

Your resume should not just be a list of your previous experience. Although this information does provide insight into what you are capable of, it doesn’t show who you are or what you enjoy doing professionally. Making a statement about yourself and what you seek to get out of this new job will show employers your passion and help them connect with you more memorably. If changing fields, make sure this statement reflects your versatile nature and desire to learn new things.

Focus on Your Accomplishments

Employers are not necessarily interested in which tasks you completed at a previous job. They want to know what you worked to accomplish and what your achievements are. When outlining your experience on your resume, include specific keywords that reflect which new skills you learned, what kind of results you helped produce, and which accomplishments you feel would make you more marketable to the next employer.

Keep the Length Short

If you currently have a three-page resume, find ways to reduce the page count. As employers are receiving more and more resumes on their desks, they are less likely to read through a three-page resume. Stick to one or two pages if you can. This may require you to condense some sections of your resume or even remove portions completely.

Even though getting a new job these days is more difficult than ever, there are still things you can do to make yourself marketable. Having an updated resume outlining your accomplishments at each job, focusing on simpler, more concise words, and ensuring you have an eye-catching opening statement is important to focus on. Employers are sifting through hundreds of resumes, so yours will need to be memorable right from the top of the page.

Three Habits to Cultivate For Success

Successful people have taken different paths to get to where they are today. However, what this group of people shares is the habits they perform without fail every day. These habits come to successful people, like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, and Dr. Jane Goodall, as second nature, an automatic reflex, or an itch that they just can’t ignore. Here are five habits to cultivate if you want to be successful:

 

Waking Up Early

 

There is a ton of scientific evidence backing up the claim that waking up early can lead to a more productive day, which in the long run can lead to a more successful life. Waking up early is a habit of many successful people, ranging from Navy SEALS to CEOs of well-known companies. Immediately after waking up, the mind is still in a sleep-induced state of inertia where the brain is foggy and slow. This state can last for up to four hours. Waking up early gives you more time to clear out the brain fog before you start working or studying.

 

Read a Book, or 50 Books

 

In an interview, Bill Gates says he reads up to 50 books a year. That’s almost 1 book per week. In a survey among the wealthy demographic conducted by Tom Corley, an accountant and financial planner, close to 90 percent of participants said that they allotted at least half an hour each day to read a book as part of their self-care routine. Most successful people don’t read for entertainment, either. They read self-help books, tutorials, historical accounts, and autobiographies of other successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

 

Surround Yourself With the Right People

 

The adage “You are the average of the five friends you keep” rings true for successful people. They are very careful of who they surround themselves with. If your friends are only interested in having fun, bar-hopping every weekend, or binge-watching the latest TV series, then you won’t be inspired or motivated to do anything else. Find like-minded individuals who will challenge the way you think of problems and nurture your ideas.

 

If you want to reap the benefits of these successful habits, you’ll need to be consistent and use them every day. Incorporate more healthy and productive habits into your lifestyle as you become more comfortable and consistent with the three listed above.