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Even the Best Cover Letter Isn’t As Good As a Two Minute Conversation

February 26, 2015 It’s a familiar online job search story. You find a dream position, agonize endlessly over a perfect cover letter, attach it to your resume, then hear nothing back. Sheer volume and a preference for referrals are part of the story. But people also overestimate their writing, and underestimate how effective...

The Architectural Theory That’s Killing Personal Space at Work

February 24, 2015 The mass adoption of the open office killed off walls for most workers, and even the cubicle. Now, its evolution is shrinking employees’ desks. One reason, unsurprisingly, is to save on rent in expensive markets by packing more people into smaller spaces, according to The New York Times (paywall). But...

The Salary Increase You Can Expect From a Graduate Degree, By Major

February 24, 2015 In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, things were truly dicey for America’s freshly minted college graduates. Many had a tough time finding employment of any kind, let alone in their chosen field of study. A few years makes a big difference, though. Unemployment is falling for recent US...

How to Influence Your Manager When You’re Never Both in the Same Office

February 16, 2015 Scott Berkun started his career and spent nearly a decade at Microsoft. He rose to become a lead program manager, running a team that worked on Internet Explorer. But in 2010, he was offered a job at Automattic, the company behind the blogging platform WordPress.com. The job, he wrote in...

Where Top Tech Companies Recruit From

February 13, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It’s a pretty tight labor market for tech talent, especially in Silicon Valley. According to a Brookings Institution analysis, it takes longer fill a computer science job there than almost anywhere else in the US, and it costs by far the most. The combination of talent scarcity and ample demand...

No One Ever Really Fits a Job Description, So Let Applicants Write Their Own

February 13, 2015 As anyone who has been on the job market knows, reading the flat, convoluted prose of corporate job listings can be an intimidating and demoralizing experience. Postings often don’t describe an organization’s actual needs, but rather a generically perfect candidate—one that companies don’t actually expect to find. That’s why some...

The Case For Intense Background Checks For Hires

February 6, 2015 Carson Block is a skeptical man. He has made a name (and a good deal of money) finding fraud. Muddy Waters, where he’s director of research, takes short positions in obscure Chinese companies, then publicly releases huge and meticulous research reports of accounting irregularities. One of his most famous takedowns...

The Incredibly Simple Trick to Effective Work Email

January 28, 2015 Let’s face it. In-person workplace communication is fading with the growth of chat programs and remote work environments. That means more and more of our efforts to influence our co-workers and bosses is done virtually. Here’s a simple, quick way to do it a little bit better that was spotlighted...

A Compelling Case for Bringing Back Private Offices at Work

January 22, 2015 The cushy private offices, complete with couch and bar, that Don Draper and his ilk enjoyed would be unthinkable in most companies today. The workplace has seen a years-long trend of shrinking personal space—driven, if you believe the companies doing it, by a desire for increased collaboration in an open...

The Management Cliché You Really Can’t Afford to Ignore

January 12, 2015 One of the most consistent pieces of advice given to managers is an incredibly simple one. Provide good, frequent, feedback. It helps make sure a worker is constantly improving, feels cared about, and doesn’t feel disconnected. Yet insufficient or bad feedback is a common complaint of employees, often rated as...