For Better Onboarding That Boosts Retention, Copy the Marine Corps Model


A failure to retain employees causes tremendous expense for a company. Replacing a single worker can cost 6-9 months’ worth of their salary when you factor in advertising, interviewing, and training. Moreover, new employees tend to be less productive and make more errors than seasoned employees simply because they do not have the same amount of experience in the role.

For large companies, high turnover is a burden; for smaller companies, it can be utterly debilitating. Despite this, retention failure is common throughout the US. According to Gallup, more than one third of employees changed jobs between 2014 and 2017, and more than half of employees are looking for new opportunities. Though some of that mobility can be written off as the result of increased economic opportunity, a new trend, employee “ghosting,” speaks directly to how many workers feel about their employers today.

Ghosting is when an employee quits a job without giving any notice. They just don’t show up, leaving the business to deal with the loss. That is a direct refutation of the company’s culture.

The 3 Phases of Effective Onboarding

Conventional wisdom holds you only get one chance to make a first impression. For a company, that first impression is the onboarding experience, during which a new employee learns how the company operates and how well they fit in with the workplace culture. The onboarding experience permanently influences an employee’s outlook on their new job and their desire to stay at that job. When a company’s onboarding process inadequately integrates an employee, it greatly diminishes the company’s chance of retaining that employee.

To make the kind of impression that gets employees excited about staying for the long term, organizations must consider onboarding from a more strategic perspective. By breaking onboarding into three phases — preboarding, onboarding, and follow-up — employers can get new hires off to a strong, successful start that increases the chance of retention.

1. Preboarding

Employee onboarding can begin before the new hire’s first day; this is the phase marked “preboarding.” Preboarding allows a new employee to familiarize themselves with company values, safety codes, and other important policies before they ever sit down at their new desk. This gives the employee a deeper understanding of the company and allows them to arrive more confidently at their first day of work.

Additionally, preboarding is a good time for new hires to complete important paperwork surrounding payroll, benefits, and other necessary items. This paperwork can be tedious and doesn’t really require the employee to be in the office. When the new hire completes paperwork ahead of time, the in-office stage of onboarding can be dedicated to more engaging and more valuable pursuits.

Consider also having an assigned mentor in the new employee’s department reach out during the preboarding phase. That way, the employee maintains some kind of direct connection with the organization in the time leading up to their start date. The mentor can also appraise the new hire’s strengths and opportunities for growth, allowing for the creation of a more tailored training process when the new hire starts their job.

For more expert HR insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

2. Onboarding

The proper onboarding phase takes place during an employee’s first few weeks on the job. Rather than putting all new hires through the same generic experience, companies should collaborate with each employee to create a unique onboarding phase based on the information gathered about the employee during the preboarding stage.

The new hire’s mentor should have taken the time to get to know them during preboarding. They can use this knowledge to pace the new hire’s development and tailor their training and acclimation processes. An essential part of this phase is the development of the new hire’s personal road map. In a frank conversation, the new hire and their superior should lay out what the employee hopes to achieve in the next few years at the company and what the employee needs to do to reach those goals.

Along the way, make time for the new employee to socialize with their coworkers. Far from detracting from the onboarding process, this time has tremendous value. People who have friends at work are more likely to be engaged at work, and higher engagement is correlated with all kinds of gains in employee performance and productivity.

3. Follow-Up

Follow-up is an important part of the onboarding process for the organization and the employee. The organization needs to solicit feedback from the employee regarding which aspects of the onboarding process worked and which need improvement. Meanwhile, the employee needs to follow up with their supervisor regularly to check in on their progress along their personal career road map. These regular check-ins will help retain the employee and steer them toward success.

Break It Down Further: The Marine Corps Model of Onboarding

Onboarding is a missed opportunity for many organizations. About a third of companies have no structured onboarding process, and three-quarters of HR leaders believe their existing onboarding process is not utilized to its full potential.

That is not to place blame on any one individual or department. In an era where employees are consistently told to do more with less, it can be difficult to find the time and resources to create and maintain the kinds of robust onboarding programs that drive new hire success and retention.

Still, a successful onboarding process is worth the cost. An outstanding example of the onboarding process can be seen in how the United States Marine Corps onboards its civilian hires.

The Marine Corps employs more than 35,000 civilians as part of its support staff around the world. When onboarding these employees, the Marine Corps breaks the process into five distinct steps:

  1. Before You Arrive
  2. Your First Day
  3. Your First Week
  4. Your First 90 Days
  5. Your First Year

Each step comes with its own set standards and clear goals. Throughout the process, new hires are guided through every key item, from completing the correct paperwork to navigating building security and gaining access to essential accounts. Crucially, the onboarding program also lays out the continuing education programs available to those who stay for more than year. It should also be noted that the Marine Corps’s onboarding program offers a pathway for reasonable accommodations for workers with a disability — something many organizational onboarding processes lack.

The Marine Corps onboarding process offers a model that can be easily copied and adapted by any company looking to boost its long-term retention rates. Rather than starting from scratch, simply follow the lead of the Marine Corps.

Kevin Johnston is a contractor and technical writer working for the Headquarters Marine Corps Talent Management Oversight Directorate. The views expressed within this article are his own.

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Research Reveals the 5 Things Successful Business Leaders Have in Common


At the helm of nearly every thriving business you will find an effective leader. They’re responsible for steering the ship to prosperous new lands, for rallying the crew to work toward common goals, and for tackling challenges head-on in order to prevail.

While their leadership styles may vary, the most effective leaders all tend to share a few key qualities. A new survey of small and medium-sized business owners by small business insurer Hiscox unearthed some of these commonalities. Check them out below, along with some expert insight from Tom Froggatt, director at recruiting firm Singular Talent.

1. They’re Great Communicators

It takes strong communication skills to lead a workforce to success. Enthusiastic and passionate communication goes a long way, as does knowing when to talk and when to listen.

Employees want a leader who is vocal about their vision for the business and is going to inspire them to reach their goals. Crystal-clear conversational skills are also essential for selling the business’s products or services to clients and customers, as well as for building the positive professional relationships necessary for growth and development.

While qualifications certainly matter, an individual’s character can play a significant role in their success as a leader, according to Froggatt.

“There are some positions that have qualifications as a prerequisite, but most don’t,” he says. “Running a business is about having vision and influencing people — both internally and externally — and neither of those can be learned academically.”

The survey results also supported this theory, with 46 percent of respondents saying they had lots of friends at school, which suggests they had strong interpersonal skills and the ability to forge strong relationships.

2. They’re Confident

Business leaders must have confidence, not only in terms of their interpersonal skills and outward demeanors, but also in their own abilities and the direction of the business. Leaders need to feel empowered enough to put their ideas into action, and they should know the business’s worth when it comes to negotiating deals.

Forty-seven percent of the small and medium-sized business owners surveyed by Hiscox were involved in school performances, perhaps suggesting they had the confidence to stand up in front of an audience at a young age.

“Not all successful people are incredibly smart, or lucky, or talented, but they are, almost uniformly, confident,” says Froggatt. “That doesn’t mean they never have doubts, but that they back themselves to deal with challenges that arise and to find solutions.”

For more expert career insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

3. They’re Creative

The survey also unearthed that many business owners were creative students, with art and design topping the list of their favorite subjects at school. While creativity is often associated with the arts, it can be put into practice in numerous ways in the business world.

No business will grow and develop without innovation, and it takes a creative mind to come up with new ideas that will set the business’s products or services apart from the competition.

Building a successful business is hard work, but keeping up the momentum after many years in the industry is even harder. Sometimes the approaches that worked a decade ago no longer work today, so fresh new strategies and outside-the-box thinking may be required to propel the business forward.

4. They’re Team Players

“What the most successful businesspeople realize at some point in their careers is that leadership isn’t about the leader, it’s about the people they lead,” says Froggatt.

The best leaders understand that business success is a team effort, and they respect the contribution that each and every employee makes. They’re able to cultivate positive relationships throughout the company, and they encourage employees to get involved in decision-making and brainstorming.

The Hiscox survey found this team-player trait was embedded in many business owners from their school days, with 40 percent of respondents saying they were part of a sports team. This early introduction to a team environment could have contributed significantly to the leaders’ abilities to work cooperatively and effectively with others later in their careers.

5. They’re Challengers

The best leaders are go-getters, so an optimistic attitude about challenges is an absolute must. Obstacles will arise — it’s simply the nature of business — but a great leader understands there is no reward without risk. They’re not afraid of challenging the status quo in order to disrupt the market and get the business on the map.

“Successful businesspeople tend to be passionate about the problem they’re solving,” Froggatt says. “If they focus on that, they know the career progression and rewards will follow.”

The Hiscox survey results suggest that business leaders have had a tendency to go above and beyond from a young age. Thirty percent of respondents said they volunteered for school responsibilities, and 36 percent started their first jobs between the ages of 16 and 18, demonstrating an eagerness to get out there and prove themselves in a professional capacity.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the traits that make a successful business leader, and you certainly don’t need to have every single one to flourish. That said, these soft skills are attainable for anyone with the drive and self-awareness to achieve them. At the end of the day, success isn’t necessarily the upshot of an extensive education, but that of a positive attitude, strong relationships, and open-mindedness.

Hannah Waters is a freelance writer from London.

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Get Buy-In From the Boardroom: 6 Ways to Calculate the ROI of an ATS


When looking for the applicant tracking system (ATS) of your dreams, it’s easy to imagine it will make all your hiring headaches disappear. You know it will save you a ton of time and money — but can you prove it?

Numbers have a way of speaking louder than words. Here are some simple formulas to help you calculate the ROI on your ATS and win over your executive team:

1. Cost of an Agency vs. In-House Recruiting

With recruiting fees easily hitting $20,000 per placement, it’s easy to make the case for using an efficient ATS to bring hiring home and save in agency fees.

To understand the numbers, you’ll need the monthly and yearly amounts your company currently spends on recruitment fees. Then, compare those numbers to the cost of your ATS. By just paying a monthly fee on an ATS instead of outsourcing your hires, you could save your company tens of thousands of dollars a year. Internally, you’ll still need people to manage and track applicants, but with your new ATS, you can hire more efficiently without having to create a whole new position to handle the process.

2. Cost of Time Saved Through Automation

Still using messy Excel sheets and email chains? With the formula below, you can see how much time and money you are spending on in-house hiring systems each week.

Start by identifying how many members are on your hiring team, and then determine how many hours per week each person spends on hiring tasks. Next, take that number and multiply it by the hourly rate each person earns:

Number of hours per week x hourly rate = amount per week (pre-ATS)

A smart ATS could easily automate away at least a third of each employee’s workload, reducing the amount of time each employee spends on hiring tasks each week. This can translate to quite a bit of money saved, the amount of which you can determine with a little basic math:

New number of hours per week x hourly rate + cost for ATS = cost per week (post-ATS)

3. Calculating the Value of a Quality Hire

When your entire hiring team is working together in the most efficient way, more time can be spent on finding quality candidates. The best hires can save you money in onboarding and retention costs, and they ultimately have great ROI.

The real question is, how can you support those assertions with hard numbers?

First, if your company has one, check its Securities and Exchange Commission report for the revenue per employee. Multiply that number by 40 percent to get an estimate of the profit margin per hire.

To get the ROI, subtract the cost of the ATS from the additional value of the top-tier employee you hired with it:

  1. Value of quality employee (QE) per year
  2. Annual cost of ATS (ATS)

QE – ATS = variable profit per year, per hire

If you make 20 hires per year, the remaining 19 can be calculated at full QE because the cost of the ATS is set.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

4. Cost of a Bad Hire

So much goes into recruiting and hiring the best talent. Your ATS is one key piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating and executing the types of job descriptions, employer branding, and active and passive sourcing techniques that consistently bring in top talent.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has one of the most conservative estimates when determining the cost of a bad hire. According to the DOL, the price of a bad hire can reach roughly one-third of the employee’s first-year earnings. However, that number can differ based on the rank of the position and the cost of the tools implemented to fill it.

If you use the previous value-based ROI formula to calculate the profit losses of a bad hire, it’s pretty easy to see how one bad hire affects a company.

5. Cost of Recruitment Marketing and Job Advertising

It is a job seeker’s market, and competition is getting steeper by the minute. With social media in the mix, the pressure to be constantly in front of candidates is immense. Using an ATS to build targeted pools of qualified talent can save you thousands in recruitment marketing and job advertising costs.

A larger pool of the best candidates means you can fill open roles faster and with fewer ads posted. On top of that, an ATS allows open positions to be shared quickly and easily on social media, which drives higher-quality references and ultimately saves you money on job ads. The formula below allows you to calculate how much you are spending on advertising for open positions:

  1. Price per job ad (A)
  2. Number of open positions (OP)

A x OP = cost of advertising

If you use an ATS with an awesome reporting feature, you can also see exactly which sources give you the best quality leads, so you can focus your spending more precisely.

6. Cost of Employee Turnover

The best recruiters are all about retention. A standardized system for screening quality candidates can help you lower the cost of employee turnover by hiring more employees who are a better fit.

To determine how much better of a fit, you’ll need two main metrics:

  1. Number of regrettable departures (ND) = number of employees x annual turnover percentage
  2. Average cost of those departures (C) = cost of hiring + cost of onboarding and training + cost of learning and development + cost of time the role went unfilled

ND x C = annual cost of turnover

Using an ATS to bring employee turnover down by just 20 percent would save you immensely. Plus, this would also reduce the hit you take on overall employee engagement and productivity every time a team member leaves.

A good ATS adds value to the business, but a great ATS adds value with proven ROI. Using these formulas should help you convince those iffy executives that a great ATS is worth the investment.

Darren Bounds is the CEO and founder of Breezy HR.

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Your Late Summer Playlist: 10 Career Podcasts to Take in Before Fall


There’s no better time to focus on career development than the quiet summer season, when office distractions are at a minimum.

Unfortunately, we don’t have many warm, slow days left on the calendar. So, if you’ve been doing more relaxing than growing this summer, now is the time to get in some last-minute professional development.

The best (and easiest) way to do this? Take in a few podcasts while you’re jogging, driving, or brushing your teeth. There are a heap of options out there for everyone, from the young professional looking to start a new job in the fall to the longtime employee who wants to renew their passion for their field.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 of the best career-geared shows to dig into:

1. Career Tools

This award-winning weekly podcast dishes up invaluable career guidance, equipping professionals with the tools they need to navigate both the hiring process and the general work experience. Its sister podcast, Manager Tools, is also a must if you’re a director or senior staff member.

2. The School of Greatness

Recommended by The Muse, Forbes, and many others, this career-boosting podcast is aimed at anyone who desires greatness in their jobs, their private business pursuits, and their lives in general. Host Lewis Howes chats with some of the world’s most successful individuals to highlight how their stories can help listeners up their own games.

3. Safe for Work

Any professional in any field is bound to find this podcast valuable. Hosts Liz Dolan and Rico Gagliano talk with experts and callers about workplace quandaries and offer advice that listeners can apply to improve job satisfaction and develop professionally. Episodes cover everything from how to succeed as a new manager to resume solutions for gaps in employment.

4. Side Hustle School

If you’re eager to diversify your income stream and start a new side gig in the fall, this daily podcast is an essential listen. Hosted by Chris Guillebeau, best-selling author of The $100 Startup, the show relays stories about individuals who’ve launched lucrative projects on the side while working regular jobs. It’s a great resource if you’re in need of ideas and encouragement and are keen to learn from others’ experiences.

5. Find Your Dream Job

Mac Prichard’s Find Your Dream Job might be a fairly niche podcast, but it has earned extremely positive reviews from listeners looking to land rewarding work and build meaningful careers. The show teams up with industry experts to produce actionable advice for new graduates, entrepreneurs, seasoned professionals, and anyone else looking to find purpose in their fields.

For more expert career advice, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

6. The Tim Ferriss Show

Any list of top career podcasts would be incomplete without mention of this acclaimed show. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, interviews high achievers from a range of fields to unpack the secrets behind their success. Previous guests include Seth Godin, Brené Brown, and Tony Robbins.

7. CareerCloud Radio

“If you listen to this podcast, you will become a better job seeker. Guaranteed!” reads the description of this notable career advice show, which dates all the way back to 2006. Episodes deliver insight from HR professionals and job search strategists on topics like networking, resume writing, and salary negotiation.

8. How I Built This

Ever wondered how some of the world’s most successful businesses started out? Guy Raz covers the origin stories of companies like Slack, Lonely Planet, and Lyft in this wildly popular interview show. You’ll likely find that listening to others talk enthusiastically about their fields is a great way to renew passion for your own career or get excited about another line of work entirely.

9. Happen to Your Career

If you’re looking to derive more meaning from your work life, you should add this podcast to your playlist immediately. It explores the formula for career happiness and serves up helpful tips on interviewing, job searching, pivoting, and a bunch of other subjects.

10. Being Boss

As its name suggests, this podcast is mainly geared toward entrepreneurs and the self-employed, but there are nuggets of wisdom for those in traditional jobs, too. Join hosts Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon as they contemplate the importance of rest for productivity, explore self-limiting beliefs, discuss the value of continuing education, and more.

LiveCareer has tools that help job seekers build targeted resumes and cover letters, including a free resume builder and extensive collection of cover letter examples.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
Like this article? We also offer tons of free eBooks on career and recruiting topics – check out Get a Better Job the Right Way and Why It Matters Who Does Your Recruiting.

What Happens If You Don’t Fill That Position?


Some positions are hard to fill, like those requiring highly specialized niche skill sets or those prone to significant stress and high turnover. Whatever they look like, chances are your organization has a couple of its own.

In a perfect world, every position would be easy to fill. In a slightly less perfect world, it would be fine to leave these hard-to-fill positions empty until the perfect candidate came along. Unfortunately, we don’t live in either of those worlds. In our world, problems come running as soon as there’s an empty chair in your organization. Let’s take a look at some of those problems:

1. Tension in the Office

When a position goes unfilled, somebody has to pick up the slack. This means more work for everyone in the office, adding stress to the environment and making it harder for anyone to get anything done. Naturally, tempers get shorter and the office becomes a much less pleasant place to be.

If your workers need to pick up the slack for empty positions, their performance will also suffer. It may not happen overnight, but the bigger the workload, the lower the quality of the completed product. Even the best people can only do so much.

You may think your people aren’t like that. They’re professionals. They would never lower their standards or cause trouble because of a heavier workload. Much as I’d like to say you’re right, human beings are human beings. Maybe your team can withstand a heavier workload than usual for a little while, but even the most enthusiastic workers will reach a breaking point. If you don’t fill the position before that point arrives, the organization will suffer.

2. Longer Hours

As we’ve established, empty positions mean somebody has to pick up the slack. When somebody has to pick up the slack, they have to work longer hours to get everything done.

Maybe you’ve been there before yourself. Maybe you’ve had to cancel a night in with your family because you were covering for an empty position or trying to improve a team that wasn’t performing up to par. Maybe you’ve had to miss birthday parties, anniversaries, or other holidays because you were stuck in the office.

You might say this is just part of being a professional. None of us like it very much, but we do what we do because we have to put the good of the organization first. But in a healthy organization, we shouldn’t have to make those unpleasant decisions very often.

There will be occasions when overtime is totally necessary and totally unavoidable, but empty positions are preventable problems. They don’t have to lead to extra stress and more time away from friends and family. You just need to set up a hiring process that actually works.

For more expert HR insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

3. Pressure in the Organization

With short tempers, long hours, and low productivity festering in the organization, something has to give. Performance can’t go on dropping forever. Sooner or later, upper management is going to realize something is going wrong, and they’re going to start looking for the source of the issue.

That means they’re going to figure out that empty positions and bad hiring practices created the problem. They might decide it’s enough to give a warning to the people responsible for filling the position — or they might decide the people responsible for the position in question shouldn’t be part of the company anymore.

Whatever happens, you need to realize that a failure to fill important positions harms the organization as a whole. It harms the people in the organization, and it harms you. It may even be the reason you lose your job.

Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good

One of the crucial components of filling a problem position quickly is defining the duties of the position and the skills a candidate will need to fulfill those duties. This sounds obvious — and it should be obvious — but the fact is most companies aren’t realistic with their hiring goals. They describe the perfect candidate instead of the right candidate, or they never come up with a clear description of the role, so they never know how to recognize the right candidate.

When a company doesn’t know how to recognize the right candidate, the hiring team will drag their feet throughout the interview process. They’ll perform interview after interview, not because they really need to know more about the candidates, but because they want to put off making a decision. I call this “death by interview” because it virtually ensures the best candidates will be gone by the time a decision actually gets made.

The best way to solve death by interview is to set a clear expectation that there will only be a set number of interviews before a hire is made. This prevents decision-makers from waiting around for a perfect candidate who never comes — because the perfect candidate doesn’t exist!

If, even after properly defining your role and the right candidate, you’re still having serious trouble filling positions in a timely manner, you could also consider bringing in some third-party help. Sure, an executive recruiter will cost some money, but the price is still lower than the one you’ll pay when you fail to fill that open position.

Jeffrey Audette is president of VMG Recruiting. Contact Jeff at [email protected].

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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Too Many Passions? 9 Ways to Determine Which One Should Be Your Career


Article by YEC

It can be difficult to find your way when you have a million interests tugging at your soul. They all seem like waiting opportunities, but which one is the right path for you?

When you try to single out just one passion to build a career around, you may feel like you are giving up other key interests. You may also struggle with whether to chose the best possible option of all the ones available or something less fulfilling but more likely to work out.

So, how do you make a decision? To figure that out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for some advice on how to find your calling when you have a wide range of interests competing for your attention. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Focus on What Keeps Coming Back

“Take notice of the interest that keeps coming back most often. For instance, if you’re really interested in painting and playing the guitar but you find yourself reaching for the paintbrush more often, that might be a sign it’s your true calling.” — John Turner, SeedProd LLC

2. Jump In

“The only way to know which passion you should pursue is to try them all. Pick one and go for it. If you don’t enjoy it, move on to the next one. If you find one you like, do the others as side hustles or hobbies. In today’s world, there are plenty of opportunities to dabble in multiple activities.” — Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy

3. Try Month-Long Experiments

“There is no need to find your ‘one true calling’ if you enjoy learning about multiple topics. But if you really want to explore your passions, schedule a month of deep focus on one topic. Meet with people in the industry or role. Read every relevant newsletter and book. Wake up early and work on the topic. After 20 or 30 days of intense study, give yourself permission to double down or drop it.” — Aaron Schwartz, Passport

4. Stay Patient

“Passion isn’t something you can just learn one day. When someone is passionate about something, it happens naturally. If you’re not passionate about any of your interests, you should consider just relaxing and learning more about yourself over time while discovering new interests. Let passion find you.” — David Henzel, LTVPlus

5. Ask Others

“Ask others in your circle what they think you are best at and most enthusiastic about. What do they consider your biggest strengths? Which interest causes your eyes to light up when you talk to them about it? This feedback is valuable when you are not sure yourself.” — Serenity Gibbons, NAACP

6. Do Nothing

“If you’re unsure of your true calling, there’s one surefire way to find it: Take some time to do absolutely nothing — no work, no hobbies, just complete, aimless freedom. Whatever activities or interests seem the most appealing to you in this period of time are probably things you’re passionate about, and it would be smart for you to pursue that path in your professional and/or personal life.” — Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

7. Stay Agile

“If you have not yet discovered your particular niche, focus your career on a wide range of interests. By exploring multiple interests, you will gain more experience and could possibly find your calling during the process. If not, at least you will have a wide range of experiences and be better positioned to remain agile until you find your true passion.” — Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

8. Do Your Research

“If you have many interests but no clear passion, maybe it’s time to dive a little deeper. Take your time to research and experience the full range of your interests. If at any point you think to yourself, ‘I’d rather not do this,’ then it’s probably not your calling. If you’re finding the information fascinating, then focus on that and see how passionate you really feel.” — Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

9. Look Elsewhere

“Sometimes your general interests are simply not meant to be your passion. If you’re not devoted enough to invest full time in one of your interests, perhaps it’s time you start researching other topics and niches in order to find something you are truly passionate about. Some people spend their entire lives looking for something that inspires passion. Don’t give up.” — Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

A version of this article originally appeared on

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
Like this article? We also offer tons of free eBooks on career and recruiting topics – check out Get a Better Job the Right Way and Why It Matters Who Does Your Recruiting.

Is HR Failing to Close the Tech Skills Gap?


The apparent ubiquity of flashy work perks like communal ping-pong tables, kombucha on tap, and unlimited vacation days has many employers worried about outcompeting other organizations to attract, recruit, and retain the workers they want.

However, on-site workout classes and Pizza Fridays aren’t the top drivers bringing in talent. In fact, today’s employees are much more interested in things like opportunities for tech skills development.

And yet, according to Docebo’s “2019 Tech Skills Index” report, many companies are failing to provide essential learning opportunities to their employees. With technology evolving so quickly, workers are depending on their companies more than ever to help them fill their knowledge gaps and grow alongside the business.

One in four working Americans believe they don’t have the necessary tech skill sets to grow in their roles or take on new jobs, according to Docebo’s report. This suggests businesses have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to stepping up and supporting their employees.

In order to close ever-growing technology skills gaps, organizations have to prioritize the development of their people first and foremost. Doing so requires investments in training tools that can prepare employees with the skills they need — both soft and technical — to excel in a rapidly changing workplace.

Training Is a Necessity, Not a Nuisance

The general feeling of underqualification and uncertainty plaguing American workers is caused largely by inadequate on-the-job training. One in five US employees don’t receive any technical training at all, according to Docebo’s report. When workers are lucky enough to receive technology training, it’s not necessarily effective, and 46 percent of US employees regret not receiving more tech training.

We should be clear: The onus here is on the company, not the worker. Employees are the most important core asset of any business in any vertical. A failure to invest in the company’s employees is a failure to invest in the company itself.

Many employers ask, “But what if I train them and they leave?”

The better question is, “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”

Organizations in every vertical are investing in new technology solutions to help grow the business and make it more efficient. However, most employees don’t currently have the skill sets to operate this new technology effectively. Without adequate employee training, a business cannot see a return on these vital technology investments because there simply won’t be enough manpower behind them.

The entire economy is going digital, and tech skills are necessary no matter the industry. Amid these great upheavals, companies need to provide employees with opportunities for growth and reskilling. If companies don’t do so, their best talent will leave for places that do offer such opportunities.

For more expert HR insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

Learning Shouldn’t Be Lonely

Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People acquire knowledge best when among peers, as in a school environment. Unfortunately, many employers approach training in a highly siloed manner, and employees are encouraged to do trainings alone and on their own time.

Knowledge retention and social learning go hand in hand. Moreover, knowledge is not effective if it only lives in one person. Rather than training a single employee in some new skill set, organizations should seek to democratize learning. That means promoting new skills among a wider variety of capable workers, which happens best when employees are able to share new knowledge with less skilled workers and help one another better execute and innovate on behalf of the business.

Organizations should seek to implement social learning opportunities where a company’s internal subject matter experts can share their knowledge and skills with other employees. Allowing employees not only to train themselves but also to share that knowledge with their peers provides a cost-effective way of delivering education that employees are more likely to retain. An employer’s dedication to collaborative learning sets a positive cultural example for employees, who will in turn feel more motivated to explore their own curiosities, thus creating an environment of organic, continuous learning.

Leverage AI to Identify Skills Gaps

Organizations need to offer their employees training opportunities, but those opportunities will only be effective if designed to close the particular skills gaps present in their workforces. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be a key tool that helps businesses identify skills gaps, as well as track employee progress in real time.

Not all employees need the same kinds of training to stay current. For example, when it comes to tech skills adoption, baby boomers tend to need more assistance than millennials. In fact, 47 percent of baby boomers say they are not as tech savvy as their Generation X and millennial counterparts, according to Docebo. In a situation like this, an AI-powered learning platform can help HR pros identify which skills gaps exist in which segments of the workforce, and then address those issues before they worsen.

An AI-powered platform can also make adjustments to individual employees’ training paths based on real-time performance. For example, if the employee is struggle to master a certain skill, the platform could direct them to an off-track course for additional practice. If an employee is not responding well to a certain course format, the platform could adjust learning delivery to better align with that learner’s preferences.

Concerted and supported learning is the best perk a company can offer, both for the employee and the employer alike. Employees are given the tools to grow alongside their employers and remain relevant in the workforce, while the business reaps the benefits of a more effective and innovative workforce. Adequate on-the-job training really is a win-win.

John Coffee is talent acquisition manager at Docebo.

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Bad Buzzwords: 12 Things You Should Stop Writing on Your Resume

angela1. ‘Teamwork’

Stop using “teamwork” and start using “collaboration.” We could benefit from working more closely together even when we’re not on teams, and collaboration is more of a mindset about how to do that. Collaboration is about knowing when to step up and use your skills and when to let someone else do it.

Angela Ruth, Calendar

vladimir2. ‘Fast Learner’

I don’t like it when candidates’ resumes say they are “fast learners.” You might think you are fast, but others might not. Also, people hire you for your skills, not how quickly you can learn. Instead, talk about your love of learning, how you embrace a culture of learning, or how you are a lifelong learner.

Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders, Inc

serenity3. ‘Motivated’

Instead of “motivated” use “results-oriented.” Anyone can say they are motivated, but how many candidates can prove they are results-oriented? A prospective employer wants to see the results you’ve brought other companies, so focus on those.

Serenity Gibbons, NAACP

michael4. ‘Experienced in …’

The one thing I hate is when I see “experienced in,” followed by a laundry list of softwares or skills in the dozens. What I’d rather see is an action like “improved.” Just because you’ve heard of a software or there’s a skill you’ve used one time, that doesn’t mean you are “experienced.” However, demonstrating how you improved using that software or skill speaks volumes.

Michael Averto, ChannelApe

patrick5. ‘Passionate’

Passion is great, but “passionate” is not an accomplishment. You are telling the recruiter you are enthusiastic about a job or skill, but you cannot show that with a few words. You have to prove your passion in person. A better term is some variation on “improving” at a skill to show how much you have grown.

Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

nicole6. ‘Successfully’

“Successfully” is basically a blanket word. On a resume, your success should be quantified and demonstrated in the work you have done. No need to write you “successfully” did something.

Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

john7. ‘Hard Worker’

The experience and accomplishments you add to your resume should showcase that you’re a hard worker, so there’s no need to add “hard worker” to your resume. Plus, most people work hard for the company that hires them, so it’s a bit of a silly quality to point out. Employers want to see what you have done and can do for them, not just an empty promise of being a hard worker.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

blair8. ‘Expert’

“Expert” is used way too often by people who don’t really live up to the word. A better approach is to show your expertise by using words like “created” or “influenced,” as these carry much more weight. For example, if you influenced people, you got them to change their opinions, and that is much more attractive.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

stephanie9. ‘Rock Star’

You’re not the singer of a rock band, so “rock star” should not be used on your resume. People think this phrase helps show potential employers they’re really great at something, or they think it makes them stand out from the crowd. In reality, seeing “rock star” on a resume actually has the opposite effect for me.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

syed10. ‘Jack of All Trades’

As a business owner, I get nervous when I see a potential hire list “jack of all trades” on a resume or cover letter. Generally, this means they have worked in a variety of fields but have never quite found their expertise. Instead of naming yourself a jack of all trades, just list your work experience, and we’ll determine whether we have a position that fits your skill set.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

kalin11. ‘Problem Solver’

Everyone needs to address problems, but “problem solver” is just too vague and doesn’t really tell me anything useful. Instead, talk about the skills that allow you to solve specific types of problems. An example or two is always welcome as well.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

blair12. ‘Thinking Outside the Box’

I don’t like seeing the phrase, “I’m great at thinking outside the box.” Typically, people who are creative thinkers don’t have to announce it. If you find yourself using this phrase, try fleshing out your experience and interests on your resume. Let that information speak for your creativity.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

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8 Tips to Help You Make a Career Change at Any Age


Starting fresh in a new industry is a challenge for many people for a variety of reasons — including, of course, the fact that switching careers often involves at least a temporary reduction in income. After all, you don’t have as much experience in your new field as you did in your previous one, so you can’t expect to command the same salary.

Before making any kind of career change, it’s a good idea to do some financial planning. Start by creating an emergency fund containing roughly 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses. Your emergency fund may need to contain an even larger sum if you anticipate a significant income reduction during your transition. Revisit your budget and identify areas where you can cut expenses to save extra money.

That said, financial adjustments are not the only challenge you’ll face as you navigate a new profession. You also need to convince prospective employers that you’ll thrive in the field even though your experience is limited. Toward that end, thoroughly research your target field. Not only will doing so help you identify any new skills or education you’ll need, but it will also help you acquaint yourself with the terminology of the industry. You’ll need to be able to speak the language to sell yourself to recruiters.

You may also consider starting a side hustle before you make the leap into a new career. A side hustle can be a good way to build up that emergency fund. If your hustle is related to your target field, it can also be a great way to gain experience you can leverage in your job hunt.

Those are all good place to start, but as we all know, career changes are complicated situations. For more advice on preparing for this major shift, check out this infographic from


Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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6 Things Every Side Hustler Should Invest In

money jar

According to a 2017 survey from Bankrate, more than 44 million US adults have a side hustle. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably put some thought into what it would require to take your gig to the next level.

Then again, perhaps you feel hesitant to turn around and spend that money you’ve worked so hard to earn. That’s completely understandable. You’re working more than one job precisely because you want to generate extra income, so the idea of putting that money back into your job may seem counterintuitive, especially if you had a particular savings goal in mind when you started your side hustle.

However, investing in certain side hustle accessories now has the potential to save you time and further boost your income down the line. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to ramp up an established operation, putting down some cash to ensure your business is running as efficiently as possible can be a worthwhile investment.

Here are six things in particular a serious side hustler may want to consider investing in for the good of their business:

1. Invoice and Accounting Services

You can probably manage your side hustle’s accounting in the early days with Excel, but as your business expands, this method will become too time-consuming. You may want to keep your overhead expenses low, especially if you’re running a lean business, but investing in invoice and accounting services can make a world of difference as your side hustle grows.

Tools like QuickBooks Online can take care of much of the work of invoicing and tracking expenses for you. These tools often offer multiple levels of service as well, depending on your needs and budget. For example, you can get started with basic QuickBooks services for just $10 per month. The more you pay, the more tools you’ll get, but even the basic plan offers income and expense tracking, receipt organization, invoicing, and payment acceptance.

2. An Accountant or the Right Tax Prep Software 

Free tax preparation programs such as Credit Karma can do a good job with simple tax returns, but things may get more complicated as your side hustle grows. Investing in some tax prep help is a great way to ensure you’re filing appropriately and getting every tax break for which you qualify.

Services like TurboTax’s Self-Employed option are specifically designed for both personal and business income and expenses, and some of these services offer one-on-one assistance in addition to an online tax preparation platform. Of course, you also have the option to hire an accountant to handle everything for you, if you’d prefer.

Also of note: Tax preparation expenses are deductible for self-employed businesses, so taking advantage of tax prep services offers low risk and high reward.

3. A Premium Business Credit Card

Business credit cards typically offer specific perks that can deliver even the smallest small-business owner a ton of value. These cards may come with a higher annual fee than personal credit cards might, but the benefits they provide may offset the cost.

For example, the American Express Business Gold Card gives you the option to earn additional rewards points on the two categories of purchase where your business spends the most each month (e.g., advertising, software, shipping, etc.) Additional perks, like a free year of G Suite Basic, can also make the higher annual fee more palatable.

Not using a business credit card for business-related transactions could mean you’re leaving money on the table, and that’s something you want to avoid as you grow your side hustle.

For more expert career advice, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

4. Relevant Education and Certifications

You may be pretty darn good at your side hustle already, but is there really nothing left to learn? While you don’t always need to spend money to gain valuable knowledge, paying a little to further your education can positively impact your side hustle.

David Hastings, side hustler and owner of the family products company SoFlo Baby, felt that way after realizing how much he could save by learning digital marketing himself. “Instead of paying $500-1,500 per month, I paid $1,500 for three courses on digital marketing and learned how to do it myself,” he says. “I just didn’t have a budget to hire a digital marketer.”

While the cost of education or training may seem like a lot now, consider what you can earn down the road by expanding your skill set today.

5. Time Management Tools

In today’s hyperconnected world, it’s easy to get distracted, but as a side hustler, you only have so much time outside of your day job. Seizing every free second throughout the day may be the difference between growth and stagnation.

In addition to utilizing free time during commutes, between appointments, or while waiting for the bus or train, you can invest in certain tools to optimize the time you spend in work mode. These can run the gamut from a simple paper planner to G Suite or project management tools like Trello and Harvest — or a combination of all of the above.

Managing your time effectively is one of the best investments you can make. Otherwise, you’ll never feel like you have enough of it.

6. You Financial Future (Even If You Don’t Plan on Retiring)

Regardless of why you started your side hustle, investing today’s earnings for your future self is a no-brainer. A high-yield savings account is a great place to park some cash for the short term, but you need to consider some long-term investments as well. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs), simplified employee pension (SEP) IRAs, and solo 401(k)s all allow side hustlers to save for the future while getting tax breaks in the here and now. Spend some time researching these options to see which ones may be right for you.

Your side hustle may be secondary to your day job, but it still deserves the attention, time, and tools it needs to grow and become more profitable. You work hard for your cash, and investing it in the right tools and services now can help you earn even more of it later on.

Matt Miczulski is an associate writer at FinanceBuzz.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
Like this article? We also offer tons of free eBooks on career and recruiting topics – check out Get a Better Job the Right Way and Why It Matters Who Does Your Recruiting.