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  • 4 Surprising Paybacks You Get from Being a Mentor

    At first glance, mentorship seems a bit of a one-way street.  With a closer look, it becomes clear that there are some surprising benefits for the mentor, as well as the mentee.  Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates NYC, discovered four unexpected paybacks that will encourage you to consider mentorship yourself.

    1.      The satisfaction of watching someone evolve

    Looking back at their own experiences and evolution, many of the best in the tech industry grew up being a mentee.  For those who were mentored most of their lives, it's only natural to want to give back in the same way.  But as simple as mentoring sounds, there is a right and wrong way to go about it.  The correct way is to be as open and able to share as much as your mentee is sharing with you, and to talk an honest journey together.  Their success is theirs; however, the pride of seeing your mentee grow from the person you first took under your wing into an accomplished professional is yours to share.

        2.      Knowing in a small way you were a part of someone’s success

        There are only a few things money can buy in life, but being able to see firsthand - and knowing that in a small way you facilitated someone’s success - is certainly not one of them.  It priceless.  Mentoring provides an amazing feeling that hits you at the core of your heart and there is no other feeling like it.

    3.      A deep look into your own faults and weaknesses

    When you are mentoring someone, it allows you to discover the obstacles in your own game and what you can do to improve on yourself. Talking to someone about what they are doing or what they are going through also allows you to look at it from a different perspective.  You might approach a similar situation in a new light.  Furthermore, it gives you a chance to communicate a different learning experience in the future.

    4.      You learn what makes you uncomfortable

    A mentor is essentially a mirror of your own reflection and you learn what makes you feel good and what makes you frustrated in life.  If you are approaching mentorship in the right way, you should be sharing equally in the benefits of the relationship, just as your mentee is.

    Mentoring someone not only makes a difference in someone's life, but takes you on your own journey of self-discovery.  Take the time to mentor someone and you'll be surprised with what you learn about them as well as yourself.

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    About the Author:

    Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates New York, is a serial mentor for you professionals in business.  When she signed up for a job in the tech industry, she wanted to experience what it was like from the other side: to mentor.  Since mentoring her first mentee, Sam has continued to be a mentor throughout her time at Workbridge Associates.  She says that watching someone's growth and success will never get old and she continues to learn more about herself every day.

  • 4 Obstacles Women - And Young Professionals - In Tech Face & How To Overcome Them

    With under 17% of technical positions in the US filled by women, its easy for the female technologist to feel as if they're at a disadvantage.  While it is obvious that many women are making great strides and contributing to the technical world, there are many obstacles that women in tech, and simularily young professionals - face and need help overcoming. Here's a few key roadblocks that could keep you from being successful, and how to get around them:

    1. Not being taken seriously – Many women feel like they aren’t given the same respect as their male counterparts in the workplace.  Whether in a meeting or interview, sometimes its easy to not believe that the young woman in a designer dress and neatly plated hair is capable of coding an algorithm designed to compute the trajectory route of the east coast's next hurricane or create the next social media fad.

    How to overcome: Let your resume and experience speak for yourself.  While the world may never stop judging a book by its cover or a woman by their stature, no one can argue with experience and accomplishments.  Take yourself seriously, and don't let prejudiced opinions control your confidence

    2. Male-Dominated Management: It’s easy to feel intimidated or underrepresented when the majority of the managers you come across are of the opposite gender.  With only 23% of technical positions managed by females, the numbers speak for themselves.

    How to overcome: Strive to break this statistic; instead of feeling defeated by it, become determined to rise to your full potential.  Study characteristics of good leaders: honesty, listening skills, empathy – and exhibit them.  In most cases, managers aren't promoted based off of their gender, but the leadership qualities one possesses.  Show your managers your worth by putting in the hours, sharing your ideas, and showing your determination for your team to succeed.

    3. Technical Knowledge:  The number of females with technical degrees is decreasing. Many female technologists find that they never dreamt of a career in tech, yet found themselves pursuing a tech career.  With so few women obtaining technical degrees, how can the amount of women in tech increase?

    How to Overcome: More so than other fields of study, technology is always changing.  Self taught coders saturate the market and their knowledge is just as extensive as those who graduated 10 years ago with technical degrees.

    Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO of Monetate, looks back on her entrance into the tech world, saying, “I started in tech accidentally. After graduating I took a job as a secretary for a VP of Sales for a company that turned out to be a Silicon Valley startup, though in the mid-80s none of us knew what those were. I was soon doing a bit of everything, including some programming in their proprietary scripting language, though we didn’t call it that then.  I loved the company, but still wasn’t sure I wanted to be in business, much less in tech. Nonetheless, here I am 30 years later, in my fifth tech startup.”  Without formal technical schooling, Lucinda has accomplished more than many IT graduates can say and has even been awarded Eastern Technology Council’s Enterprise Award for CEO of the Year, all with a Psychology degree.

    Make it a point to constantly learn, ask questions, and inquire.   As more and more technologists rely on their hands on knowledge, degrees in the technical world will become more and more obsolete and your path into a tech career can be as unique as you are.  

    4. Always feeling the need to talk about being a woman in tech – Women in technology need to stick together, right?  Why do women in tech always need to talk about the fact that they are women in tech?  Why do we need more female technologists?

    How to Overcome: Many women feel the need to defend their roles and career successes and praise others', specifically because of their gender – but know you don’t need to.  Instead of focusing on increasing the number of women in tech, focus on diversification as a whole. 

    On increasing the number of women in tech, Cassy Rowe, head of UX/Design at Scoop takes a less voiced stance. “To be candid, I don't necessarily try/target/push for more of any particular gender/race/etc purely because of their gender/race/etc. I frame the conversation differently. I don't see that we need more women in tech purely because we need more women, but I do see that we have a lack of women.”  Instead of pointing out our differences, focus on what makes us all the same: a passion for technology.

    No matter how many more young (female) technologists strive to be the next award winning CTO or UX/UI designer it is still going to be awhile until the statistics fall in their favor.  Until then, continue to make strides, innovate & be more than just a woman in tech.

  • 5 Ways You Know You Found the Right Job

    How do you know when you’ve found “The One” in your career? When you’re looking for “the one” you have a checklist of things you want in a significant other. There are certain things you can compromise on, and those you need fulfilled to be happy. Like finding that perfect person, finding the right job has its own checklist as well. Have no fear, we’ve got 5 top areas that most tech professionals can match their desires up with in order know it’s the right offer and the right company:

    1. Personal Goals

    Even before you start your job search, sit down to think about your personal goals, values and what makes you happy. Once you access that, start looking for jobs and going on interviews, stop and ask yourself, “Does this company align with my values and goals?” It’s easy to get caught up in the red carpet treatment. When companies want to woo you, they’ll offer you all the good things: free lunches, dinners, drinks, etc. The celebrity treatment will eventually fade away, so don’t get caught up in all the flashy things. The right job will be lined up with your values and goals, which will make you happier in the long-run.

    Don’t get stuck in a job you don’t love. Contact us here to find one you do.

    2. Innovation

    Innovative companies will have new ideas they want to implement, or aggressive updates on current product offerings for continuous improvement.  You should feel excited about the project you’re going to be on, the new technologies you’ll be working with, and all the things you’re going to learn.  You probably don’t want to be a part of a stagnant company with an existing product that they do nothing but maintain; these aren’t going to be the type of companies that can adapt to a constantly changing environment.

    3. Mission and Outlook

    When you find the perfect person you often envision your life with them five or maybe ten years down the road. It’s the same with a job. You have to envision what the next few years will look like with this company. How are their stocks looking? (Or maybe they’re a startup and not publicly traded.) How much funding do they receive? All these questions can help you anticipate how the company will look in five or ten years. You want to make sure the company you’re working for is in a market where they can expand their product and grow. The right job will have a good outlook for you in the next few years, without worrying about the company heading in a different, more volatile direction. 

    4. Company Culture

    Seeing how your significant other interacts with family and friends can provide a window into whether it will be a lasting relationship. Similarly, knowing how a company treats their employees will give insight into what your office life will be like on a day-today basis. Furthermore, how people communicate and work together is crucial, since that’s the atmosphere you’ll ultimately need to communicate in and work with. Take a look at the environment and how the office is laid out; it can be a big factor in finding a place that not only fits your personality but your needs and desires as well. Do you need a collaborative, open workspace or a quiet, secluded area to concentrate? Another aspect to look for? Humility: a company with little ego is less likely to put their egos before the employees. The right job will allow you to voice your own opinions when needed.

    Want a company that treasures work life balance? Check out these job listings.

    5. Work-Life Balance

    Balance is everything in life. There’s work life and then there is life outside of work. The right company will give you the best of both worlds: the ability to live the life you want and be able to do the work you love. Sometimes those two can be one and the same. Many companies, especially tech companies or startups, require a lot of around the clock work, and that might be your cup of tea. Either way, the right job will align with how you want to live your life.

    Bonus key area, if you still don't know if it's the one? Growth.

    Finding the one – the job or love of your life – can have the same goal at the end of the day: both make you want to be a better person. The right job will enable you to grow professionally and personally.  You should be able to climb the corporate ladder, and not feel stuck in a bad relationship with your company. Growing and learning is important, so you should be able to find ways throughout your job experience to continuously evolve.

    Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you’ll love:

  • 6 Technical Interview Tests To Be Ready For

    All but the final hurdle between a software engineer and an offer, the technical interview is important to ace for everyone from first-time job seekers all the way to lead developers that can code in their sleep. Practice (and preparation) makes perfect, though, so here are 6 tips to how to get past the technical interview to negotiating the offer you deserve:

    Work with Workbridge to find a job worth interviewing at. 

    1. Be Ready to Whiteboard: This is generally a go-to interview tactic for tech companies to evaluate engineers during the interview process. It’s always smart to practice solving technical questions on a white board to see how your brain operates/critically thinks when not in front of the computer.

    2. Be Ready for Core Principles and Basics: Always make sure to brush up on any programming languages that may be rusty. Expect to be asked questions ranging from the fundamentals of certain languages to some higher-level concepts. For example, if you are interviewing for a PHP job, it is helpful to brush up on the fundamentals of the LAMP Stack and the MySQL Database.

    3. Be Ready With Code Samples: It’s always a good idea to bring code samples and github profiles with you to the interview. Companies are looking for writing ability and the ability to communicate technical thoughts through code documentation.  

    4. Be Ready With Questions: An important part of the process is to ask questions about the role to show that you are interested and engaged. Make sure to prepare 2-3 questions to ask at the end of the interview that show genuine interest and thought.

    Does the interview rarely go well for you? Contact us to get tips and work with a recruiter who can help you avoid common pitfalls.

    5. Be Prepared to Close Strongly: Once the testing is over, that doesn't mean the interview is. Maintain a professional image and don't let the end of the interview fall flat like a bad ending to a great movie. Be enthusiastic and summarize why you're the best for the role.

    6. Be Ready for Follow-Up: Sending a thank you note is always a good thing to do when you finish any interview process with a company, but it's easy to forget while focusing on the tech. You want the company and the people you met with to remember you for the right reasons. Always address why you would be a good fit for the role and bring it back to the job description and what was covered in the interview.

    If you do all of these things, the odds of you getting a final-round interview, or better yet a job offer, will increase significantly. So always remember, preparation is the key to success in landing your dream job. 

    Related career advice you may be interested in:

  • Advice For a $1.5B Lottery Winner: Don't Quit Your Job

    A $1.5 billion jackpot on the lottery is attractive enough to bring Canadians across the border, create wrap-around-the-store lines and inspire lottery parties centered on the drawing. While it’s easy to get pulled into the thrill of winning the world’s largest lottery and being free to travel the world, don’t quit your job if you win the lottery.

    Here are 6 great reasons not to leave your current gig (or a reason to find one), even if you score $1.5B in the lottery:

    1. For the six months directly after you win, you shouldn’t make any drastic changes. Instead, set aside a small (celebratory, perhaps?) amount of money, and make a plan. It will give you time to set a budget, consider any investments and let the buzz die down.

    2. It’s easier to say no if you seem like your normal self. Once the cat is out of the bag you’re rolling in it, friends and family will come out of the woodwork offering ”great investment opportunities” and calling in favors you never recalled using. Before telling your friends, in fact, Mark Cuban told The Dallas Morning News that a tax attorney should be your first call when you win, and you should consult him before you say yes to anyone.

    3. Just quitting your job won’t mean immediate happiness. “If you weren’t happy yesterday you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness,” said Mark Cuban to the Dallas Morning News. “If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.”

    If you’re a tech professional unhappy with your current job, contact the local Workbridge Associates for career advice.

    4. You might not be quite as rich as you thought you’d be. You won’t be a billionaire right away, unless you get a lump sum instead of annuities. However, if you get a lump sum you won’t be a billionaire at all, since even pre-tax, the lump sum is under $1 billion according to Money. With annuities, you get a set amount each year so a lavish lifestyle unregulated by career might bankrupt you until the next year.

    5. On that note, you might need your job’s income. "Seventy percent of people who land a big windfall, lose it within several years," said this NBC News article. Many winners don’t plan a budget and overestimate what their lifestyle should be.

    6. Your career is about more than money. While we all need to pay the bills, a fulfilling career is about more than just the dollar signs. For some it’s about passion, for some it’s about making a difference and yet others truly love what they do. If you love your current job, there’s no reason to leave it behind. If your career is on the right trajectory, instead use this opportunity to augment what you’re already excelling at.

    If you aren’t happy with your job, don’t wait for the lottery to change your life. Here’s why you should start looking for a new job before you NEED to.

  • Questions You Need To Ask Before Accepting A Contract Position

    Contracting can be a great opportunity to land your next job, fast track your career, and even give yourself a bit of a raise. When job seekers start a new contract position after switching from a full-time role, it's usually amazes them how quickly the process moves.  “Wow… that was fast,” is a common response - but don't move so fast that you forget to ask yourself some important questions first. 

    While you consider the questions below, bear in mind that those who are critical of contract positions may unwittingly provide false information about these types of positions - anything but a full-time job lacks benefits and stability are among common misconceptions. Workbridge Associates actually offers a health care insurance package and PTO, which is a growing trend in companies that hire contractors. A contract role can be an easy and flexible way to gain employment in a fast-moving IT industry. Have kids? Imagine not being tied to a 9-5 schedule. Trying to get your foot in the door with a large company you already applied to in the past? An alternative path to the inside could be through contracting. 

    You can find a contract or contract-to-hire position on our job board here.

    Be sure to have the answers to these important questions from the company, recruiter, or just yourself before committing:

    How long is the contract?

    Know how long you’ll be working on this contract. That way, you’ll know when you need to start thinking about the next contract or the next steps to converting full-time. Contract lengths can run anything from 4 weeks all the way to, well, forever. 

    Is this for a project that has been secured?

    Find out if the business is already won by the contracting company because sometimes firms like to start the interview process BEFORE being awarded the business and have the ability to put contractors on. You certainly don’t want to turn down other offers you had when the job you accepted technically doesn’t exist yet. A simple way of asking is: “If I accept the offer, how soon can I start?” The answer you’re looking for should be a something like immediately, on Monday, or right after your two week notice.

    Am I going to be hired as a W-2 employee or as 1099?

    The main differences come down to taxes. As a W-2 employee, you will receive pay checks with tax withholding already taken, and you’ll receive an IRS W-2 from your employer in January of the following year. If you are hired as a 1099 contractor, you’ll get full pay with no tax deductions, but you are also responsible for paying your own taxes come April 15th of the following year.

    It’s tempting to opt for a 1099 since your pay checks are bigger, but that smile quickly goes away when you realize you not only have to calculate how much you owe at the end of the year, but in fact you OWE MORE! You get tagged with self-employment tax which is another 13-14% of your income on top of the taxes you already pay.  As a perk, however, you can write off multiple expenses for your work as well (transportation, computers, phone service, etc.) Think about these points before deciding which is better for you. 

    What happens when the contract ends?

    It’s important to know what your options are. Some staffing companies have other projects they will have needs for, and it’s good to know if you might qualify for those. The benefit of using a technology-specific staffing firm is that a great majority of their other clients will have needs that match your skill set so that when you’re done with the current contract, you increase your chances of landing another quickly with minimal downtime.

    What is the realistic time-frame of converting temp-to-hire? 

    If the job is a contract-to-hire position, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of when you might be converting to full-time status. This sets the expectations on both sides, and ensures that you and your potential employer are on the same page. Typically the timeline can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months. If you find yourself in the eigth month with no talk of conversion, it’s time to revisit the conversation with your hiring manager.

    What salary should I expect when I accept a full-time offer following my contract role?

    Most people get a bit nervous when talking about salary and compensation, but it's important to be aware of what the potential salary would look like if you convert to full-time. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation to have now, it’ll save you a headache down the road. You don’t want to find yourself having worked 4 months into a contract only to find that the salary they are thinking isn't close to what you were expecting. Of course, it’s important to be realistic as well. If you are a W-2 employee getting paid $45/hour, you should be considering a base salary of around $90,000 (inclusive of benefits and such).

    Have more questions about being a contractor? Ask a Workbridge representative near you.

    For a first-timer, a contract position can look intimidating. Don’t let that stop you from considering the opportunity and asking the essential questions before coming to a decision. Working with a recruiter can take some of the uncertainty out of the equation if you're unsure, but it comes down to getting all the answers you need in order to make the right decision.

  • 6 Ways You Can Spruce Up Your Resume This Holiday Season

    Whether you’re looking for a career change in the New Year or simply wanting to add that new skill you learned in 2015, the Holidays are the perfect time to update that dusty, outdated resume you haven’t touched in a while.

    A new year means a fresh start, and for a lot of companies, it means new roles to fill. So if you’re looking for new job opportunities, it is important to spruce up that resume so you can stand out from all those other applicants. Even if you’re not seeking a new career path, improving your resume or C/V can help you set new goals for the new year, look back on past accomplishments, identify skills you may want to brush up on and can even prepare you for when you do decide to make that big career move.

    Let us help you get to the next step in your career. Contact your local Workbridge office

    Either way, here are 6 simple, easy tips to spruce up your resume over the Holidays:

    1. New Year = New Look

    Updating your resume and renewing its appearance will give you a rejuvenated sense of confidence and a fresh start to the New Year. If your resume has had the same layout for 4-5 years, it is time to give it a more modern look. It can still have a conventional format, but it should be done in a more contemporary style. Employers notice unique resume designs, so try to make yours stand out as much as possible.

    2. Tailor versions of your resume

    When developing your resume, be sure to tailor separate versions to fit each career field or job position you are applying for. Employers may spend only about 30 seconds scanning your resume to determine whether your background and skills match their requirements. An effective resume will convince an employer that you have the skillsets and qualifications for the job you are applying for.

    3. Optimize your keywords

    Use the same keywords from the job that you are applying in the employment sections of your resume and in any online profiles to improve keyword optimization. For example, if your current title is “Business Systems Analyst” but the job title you are applying for is listed as “IT Supervisor” - and it has essentially the same requirements - then consider listing your position on your resume/profile as “Business Systems Analyst (IT Supervisor)” to help clarify what you are pursuing in the eyes of the hiring manager. Another example would be to take keywords from the job ad and replace existing ones in your skills/qualifications and even profile sections with them to match more closely with the position requirements. For instance, if you have “excellent communication skills” listed on your resume but the job ad has “superior communication skills” listed as a requirement, consider changing it to the word “superior” in order to help with the keyword optimization of your target role.

    4. List your most notable achievements for the year. 

    Review your past year’s accomplishments and make a detailed list of the challenges that you have experienced, the steps you took to overcome those challenges, and summarize your successful accomplishments. Spotlight as many achievements on your resume to help you land that interview you have been waiting for. This will also help you be better prepared in the interview when answering those tough questions.

    5. Create a killer "Summary of Qualifications"

    For your prospective employer, a Summary of Qualifications can influence your chance of being called in for an interview. Functioning as an intriguing film trailer or the summary found at the back of an alluring book, this key function of the resume section is to impress employers and entice interest about your possible talent. It is essential that your Summary of Qualifications appears within the top section your self-marketing document and your list should be no longer than 3-5 key points. First, brainstorm your skills, experiences and abilities. Treat this like a creative writing exercise, where you can refine and limit your summary later. Next, review and critique your summary on an ongoing basis. Is it targeted? Specific? Have a friend or family member provide you with feedback. Lastly, compare your summary of qualifications with your listed work experience. Your summary should accurately showcase what you have done as well as your competencies.

    6. Always look ahead and stay relevant.

    Write your resume and social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, to be forward-looking documents that showcase how your accomplishments are not only in alignment with your own future goals but the results desired by a prospective employer. Do not include every job you have had in the past. If your employment history is not related to the job you are applying for, then remove it. You also want to remove any work experience that is outdated 15 or plus years, and ensure that you list achievements that are relevant to the role you are applying for. A full-stack hiring manager will not care that you won that national golf championship in 2010, no matter how proud you are of it. Your resume and profile should promote your career goals while your skills and experiences should help you get that desirable job and add value to the next company that will hire you.

    The Workbridge Associates team wishes you a Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year! If you feel like your resume needs some sprucing up and you want a fresh start but you don’t know where to start, please reach out to us - we’d love to help!

  • 7 Underestimated Perks To Be Thankful For This Holiday Season

    Game rooms. Unlimited vacation time. Free yoga classes. One year of maternity OR paternity leave. Tech companies these days are offering some phenomenal employee benefits, but not every company can afford to offer such lavish options. Sometimes it’s the simple things at a job we love that we need to appreciate. It’s easy to get swept away in the daily grind of a work day, so here is a list of little perks around the office that are worth being thankful for as you enter 2016.

    Location

    Location, Location, Location. Chances are you probably don’t live right next door to your work, so instead of sitting in traffic right at closing time or riding the rush hour train, why not go for a walk and see what’s around? You’d be surprised how many people work in an area they never take the time to explore. Maybe you’ll find a new happy hour or a restaurant you would have never found otherwise.

    Social Coworkers

    Speaking of happy hour, they say that an office that drinks together, succeeds together. They don’t actually say that, but a Gallup study shows that employees with a best friend at work are 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. So if you have coworkers who enjoy being social after a long, hard week, it could make you much happier and productive in the long run.

    Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

    Nothing gets you through the end of the day 2:45 like a good afternoon snack. According to USA Today, a study by PeaPod shows that while “56%,of full-time employees are "extremely" or "very" happy with their current job, that number jumps to 67% among those who have access to free food.” If your office provides healthy snacks like green tea, fruit, or vegetables it can make you feel better as well. 

    Parking

    Nothing like a nice secure place to put your car every day. No need to worry about meters, street cleaning, or struggling with a tight parallel parking job! Sometimes, depending on the area, you can even park your car there on the weekend and see a show or eat at your favorite restaurants.

    Mail Access

    Who has time to wander the streets looking for a blue box? Even with apps and maps, it can be so confusing! Not to mention, who can keep track of all those pick-up times. The fact that you can get mail delivered to work is great, even better when they pick up in your building…It’s especially nice this season, because you’ll need someone to sign for all of those packages you’ll be getting after Cyber Monday!

    Birthdays

    Depending on the size of the office, you’re probably going to eat cake every couple of months. Cookies may get delivered every few weeks. Maybe you’ll get to prank someone by taping balloons all over their workspace, or wrapping everything in gift wrap. It’s all fun and games…until it’s your birthday.

    That View

    Even if your personal workspace doesn’t have a window, there’s probably one a couple floors up. It’s always a good for the mind and body to watch the sunset. Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the little things in life.

    At Workbridge Associates, we sincerely hope that you have many things to be thankful for this holiday season and wish you well into the new year. If your job isn't one of the things you're appreciative of this season, let us help you find one to put on your list to be thankful for next year.

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