Learn the Fundamentals of Evaluation and Metaevaluation

To the uninitiated, terms like evaluation and metaevaluation might feel intimidating. But the truth is, informal evaluations are already part of your life. “We conduct evaluations every day when deciding what clothes to wear or what type of breakfast to eat,” explains Dr. Liliana Rodríguez-Campos (who prefers to be addressed as Liliana), an internationally renowned expert in this field and the director of USF’s graduate certification in evaluation. When you become a professional evaluator, you learn how to formalize the process to ensure your evaluation is credible and data driven.

7 Current Project Management Trends to Keep You Ahead

Project managers tend to be highly organized, structured thinkers, which is another way of saying that project management is not a field known for its creativity and flexibility. However, the worldwide upheaval of the last two years has influenced the best project managers to embrace change in technology, strategy, tools, relationships, and processes, transforming the set-in-its-ways PM domain. Check out 7 current project management trends to keep you ahead of your less resilient competition.

Trades and Apprenticeships as Proven Career Pathways

In my last few blog entries I’ve offered some perspectives regarding routes into the workforce in hopes of sustaining a long, successful career. Access through a four-year college degree and certificate-based programming have already been explored. As a society, though, it’s rather important we understand there are multiple avenues to professional achievement. The notion that traditional higher education is the only way to fulfillment is untrue. I’ll finish up the series by presenting a case for trades and their corresponding apprenticeship models.

How to Create an Employee Wellness Program That Actually Works

The American workforce is struggling. Take a look at these numbers: 

6 Ergonomic Tips for Working from Home

By now, it’s clear that the Work from Home movement is here to stay. “The pandemic has started a revolution in how we work, and our research shows working from home can make firms more productive and employees happier,” explains a Stanford University economist in this CNN article. Even as more workers return to the office, hybrid schedules — which allow employees to work a few days a week from home — will remain common. Of full-time U.S. workers who can do their jobs remotely, 41 percent work a hybrid schedule.

Paralegal Skills for Students Pursuing a Legal Career

In many ways, paralegals are the backbone of law offices. They provide crucial support to lawyers through a variety of duties. From interviewing clients to drafting legal documents, paralegals require many soft and hard skills to be successful.

If you are pursuing a paralegal career, here are the top skills you must cultivate to succeed.


Why Engineers Should Upskill Their Emotional Intelligence

You’ve worked hard to launch your engineering career. But in order to do your best work — and rise to the top – it’s time to develop your emotional intelligence. Although “emotional intelligence” (EQ) may sound touchy-feely, it’s actually a data driven set of competencies that are vital to both personal and professional success. Take a look at some of these numbers: 

How Do You Create a Winning Corporate Culture?

Have you ever heard the phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast?” There’s a reason why this expression has been long-standing in the business world. Having a winning corporate culture can make or break organizational success.


In this article, we’ll unpack what comprises corporate culture and the steps to create a winning corporate culture.

Why Engineers Should Develop Project Management Skills

Have you ever considered all the moving parts it takes for a project to be successfully completed?


Engineering teams rely on strong leadership, communication, and management to ensure projects are completely on schedule and within budget. Developing project management skills is essential for engineers who want to skillfully lead successful projects, become more efficient, and add value to their organization.


Traditional College Degree Still Opens Career Doors

Most US adults end up working 40-plus years. That’s a long time, which means it’s critical to navigate a course for a fulfilling career. At USF, we like to talk about our Lifetime Learning Affinity Model and its benefits—academic, professional, and personal—for the duration of an individual’s life. Here, I’d like to specifically speak to its potential application for those with a traditional college degree or those who wish to pursue one. In future blog entries, I’ll address two other routes for careers, programs for “new collar” work, as well as manual trades.

8 Common Misconceptions About Business Process Improvement

For many businesses, the idea of improving processes and becoming more efficient is an appealing goal. While most professionals would agree that process improvement should be a priority for their business, there are a few common misconceptions surrounding the concept of business process improvement, or BPI, and how to implement it.


Let's explore what business process improvement is, how it can positively impact your business and common misunderstandings that you might have about BPI.

Quality Youth Experiences for a Bright Future

If you’re the parent of school-aged children it’s not too early to begin planning their summer schedule now. Wait, I know what you’re thinking! Didn’t we ring in 2023 only a few weeks ago? The end of the school year is only a handful of months away…and that means youth summer camps are just around the corner! I want to highlight the front end of the lifelong affinity education model, where individuals are geared to educational opportunities at virtually every phase of the lifecycle from a centralized institution such as the University of South Florida.

Why Great Managers Listen to Employee Feedback

In a post-COVID world, companies are struggling to keep their employees engaged and their turnover levels within reason. However, according to Gartner, many employers are forecasted to contend with a 50-75% higher turnover rate when compared with recent years.


Managers are being tasked with not only driving results but attracting and retaining talented individuals for their teams. One of the best ways managers can drive growth for their company and satisfaction for their employees is listening and actively seeking feedback

Tips for Starting a New Job

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. Those first few days can feel like a blur, from adjusting to your new responsibilities to remembering everyone’s names.


Here’s are new job tips for every step of the process to make sure you’re set up for success when embarking on a new position.

13 Team-Building Exercises Your Staff Will Actually Enjoy

Whether your team is in-person, remote, or some combination of the two, team-building exercises are a critical HR technique for creating and maintaining an effective team. 

However, team building sometimes can get a bad rep. The very mention of it may inspire eye-rolling and groans.

So, make sure your team-building efforts are effective and enjoyable for everyone with these tips and activities.


Much to Be Thankful For

I love Thanksgiving! Isn’t it awesome that our nation designates a day for us to collectively count our blessings? And the traditions that come with it—turkey and trimmings, football, and a nice nap on the couch (I’m not the only one, am I?)—are more than okay with me. In the spirit of the season, I find myself reflecting on the people and events for which I’m grateful. In many ways, 2022 felt more normal—a return to pre-pandemic conditions. I'm so thankful for the invaluable opportunity I had to reconnect with my heritage. 

How to Prepare for a Video Interview

Video interviews have become a standard part of the hiring process for remote and in-office businesses alike.


If putting your best foot forward on camera makes you nervous, you’re not alone! To ensure you’re poised for success, here’s everything you need to know about preparing for a video interview.

Making Employee Engagement a Priority

It’s no secret that Tampa Bay has become a destination for relocating technology firms and investors. Favorable tax structures and pro-business policies are attracting these companies along with skilled employees. The region is a blossoming tech hub. And this is a boon for our area—especially in this post-pandemic environment. Regardless of the work sector, companies have had to take a long, hard look in the mirror to reassess what it takes to remain competitive—and successful—in a decidedly altered landscape.

Is Online Testing Here to Stay?

The shift to remote learning, fueled by the pandemic, isn’t going away. With it, online testing has become more prevalent. Most admissions tests have transitioned to offering online testing options.

Test Prep Provides Tools for Success

It’s back to school! Here at the University of South Florida, the fall semester is already in full swing. I had the privilege of attending the recent Town Hall gathering at the Tampa campus. There, our leadership team presented some very compelling data. USF has just welcomed its largest-ever and best-qualified class of first-year students. Sixty-five thousand applications were received—an increase of 15% from last year. The average SAT score of applicants? An impressive 1309. Our new students have arrived prepared to succeed.

Project Management for Beginners

From kids’ birthday parties to home renovations, everyone has managed a project at some point in their personal lives. And chances are, you’ve managed a project or two at work, even if project manager isn’t in your job title. Do you enjoy the responsibilities and want to make a career out of it? If so, our project management for beginners guide can help you enter this burgeoning field or take on new tasks in your current role.

The Value of Higher Education for Career Growth

In the not-so-distant past, college was seen as an unassailable path to landing a good job – a golden ticket to higher salaries, future promotions, and a middle- to upper-class lifestyle. However, an increasing number of Americans are calling into question the value of higher education at all levels. Is it worth the cost? Does it guarantee job offers? Will career growth stall without it?


There isn’t one surefire way to climb the career ladder successfully, and serious issues including stagnant wages, high costs, and student loan debt are fueling the national reckoning with college. But the evidence is clear: Higher education and continuing education still provide an excellent return on investment for most students.

Why Customer Value Is the Ultimate Goal of Process Improvement

I have had the opportunity to work in the continuous improvement field for approximately 15 years. There have been some changes in the field: new theories, different ideas about how to improve processes, etc. However, one thing that hasn’t changed — the recognition that the primary goal of any continuous improvement effort should be to bring value to the customer.

Retire from Work? Yes! Retire from Learning and Developing? Never!

Introducing OLLI!

Those of you familiar with my blog entries know I frequently beat the drum for lifelong learning, usually to promote professional training that leads to career and workforce development. This time I will call your attention to the importance of education and progress when the job-related phase of life has ended and, in doing so, highlight the important work of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at USF. As one of 125 national OLLI units, the USF division offers quality, budget-friendly, non-credit programming to Tampa Bay’s 50+ demographic.

4 Skills New Managers Should Master

Being promoted to management can be a thrilling experience. It’s a vote of confidence in your abilities and can be a testament to the work you’ve done for the company. Along with the promotion, though, should come a shift in mindset about your approach to work.

The High Priority of Project Management

What do a dinner party, family vacation, and new advertising campaign have in common? They’re all examples of projects. And while those endeavors have very different purposes, similar applications can be applied to define, prepare for, and see each one through—successfully! There’s a pretty good chance you’ve already served in the role of project manager but didn’t stop to think of yourself as one. Even if you don’t have the official title, you’ve likely supervised any number of temporary, multi-stepped tasks. Am I right?

How to Choose a Test Prep Course

Whether you’re preparing for college admission, entry into a graduate program, or a professional certification, the required test can literally alter the course of your future. With so much on the line, it’s no surprise that you have a dizzying number of options to help you prepare for your exam.

How EdTech Tools Can Help Deliver Personalized Learning Experiences

The range of reading abilities in a first-grade classroom can run the gamut; some students devour lengthy chapter books with ease, while others struggle to decode consonant-vowel-consonant words. For this reason, teachers have long employed differentiated instruction to meet students where they are and keep them engaged.


The pandemic, with its varied student experiences, has only heightened the need for a more tailored approach. Indeed, while distance learning foregrounded edtech in conversations about education, the growing push for more targeted teaching is keeping it there. Read on to find out how edtech tools can help deliver personalized learning experiences.


Can Workplace Conflict Support Process Improvement?

What good can come out of office squabbles, customer backlash, and hurt feelings? Plenty, it turns out. Those internal issues are signaling something in your company’s processes and procedures that are inefficient or broken. Once you’ve identified those areas for growth, you can then apply process improvement principles to turn things around.


Career Path: Getting Ahead of the Curve with Lifelong Affinity Education

In my last blog entry, I conveyed my vision for a lifelong affinity education model—one where institutes of higher learning serve as local hubs, offering a range of programming to engage populations at virtually every phase of the life cycle. At the University of South Florida, there is already infrastructure toward this end—even as there is unlimited potential for future development. In the Information Age, such a concept is a benefit to society. We want you to find something compelling here—whether your age is five or 85.


What is Collaborative Leadership, and How Can It Improve Your Workplace?

With apologies to Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin’. Millennials and Gen Z now make up more than half the U.S. workforce, and by 2030, all members of the Baby Boom generation will have reached retirement age. Among the many changes ushered in by this generational shift is a move toward collaborative leadership styles instead of top-down management – and it’s transforming the culture of work.


The Model of Lifelong Learning

Embedded within my position as director of University of South Florida’s Corporate Training and Professional Education is a broader, encompassing philosophy that advocates for ongoing learning. My vision is one where institutes of higher learning become the go-to hubs of a lifelong affinity education model. This becomes critical as fields of knowledge rapidly increase due to the exponential growth of technological capacity and its access.

Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Jump on in 2022

No matter what new digital marketing trends and tools you may have heard about, content is still king. But the way companies are creating, using, and testing the effectiveness of their digital assets continues to undergo big changes.


From the digital marketing channels used to methods for building relationships with prospective customers, content marketing today is evolving to satisfy new consumer shopping habits and expectations. If you want to keep pace, our top 5 digital marketing trends for 2022 highlight some of the best ways to connect with your consumers and drive results.


9 Ways to Reframe Negative Thinking into a Positive Outlook

If your doomscrolling habit or a challenging work life has you on negative autopilot, it’s time to shift your default mode back to the bright side. How do you switch from gloom to glory? Simple: practice. Ready to do a fun and easy run-through of nine ways to reframe negative thinking into a positive outlook? Let’s chase that spot of sunshine!


How Can You Improve Employee Retention During the Great Resignation?

Call it the Big Quit, the Worker Reshuffle, or the Great Reset, we are in the middle of a seismic change in the workforce that’s giving employers ample reasons to be anxious. More than 4 million Americans quit their jobs every month in the last half of 2021, a record-setting walkout rate, with additional waves of massive voluntary turnover expected for the months to come. If you’re an employer, the question is clear: How can you improve employee retention during the Great Resignation?

7 Ways to Pave Your Human Resources Career Path

To reach the types of human resources roles you want, it helps to evaluate alternate routes and professional skills that will get you there. And don’t forget to consider some valuable shortcuts – such as certifications and industry connections. If you’re ready to hit the gas as an HR professional, start by exploring seven ways to pave your human resources career path. Let’s go!

Every Trick for LSAT Success

The LSAT has a reputation for being a kingmaker or dealbreaker for law school applicants. A high score proves to law schools that you have the intellectual firepower for the study and practice of law. A so-so score could put you at the back of the admissions line. To improve your competitive chances as law school applications reach a 10-year high, make a study and test-taking plan to maximize every trick for LSAT success.


How to Finance Your Master's Degree or Continuing Education

Don’t assume grad school or continuing education is out of reach for your budget. Paying for your post-grad or professional courses can be a challenge, but it’s completely doable. Put a little research, creative problem solving, and our easy tips into the task, and you’ll figure out how to finance your master’s degree or continuing education.


FTCE Prep: Ace Your Florida Teacher Certification Exam

If you’re interested in shaping lives as an educator, you have a straightforward path to becoming a Florida teacher. Along with holding a bachelor's degree from an accredited or approved institution, you just need to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) or Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FELE) to teach in all public schools and many private ones. Even if you don’t plan to take a position that requires you to lecture from the front of a classroom, all educators must pass the appropriate exam. This includes classroom teachers, administrators, college counselors, media specialists, and other support professionals.

Improving Corporate Training | Preventing Failure

It has never been more urgent for your company to offer effective training programs to expand workforce skills. But the need for training does not automatically mean your company knows the formula for reskilling and upskilling staff. If you struggle with the timing, goals, and delivery mode for courses and wrestle with justifying the cost to your bosses, there are simple solutions for improving corporate training and preventing the failure of skills development programs.

What Is Phishing and How Can You Protect Yourself?

Ever receive an email from a company that sets your internal warning system on high alert? Maybe the sender’s email address is irregular, or they’re threatening to cancel your account, or the email is riddled with spelling errors. Those alarm bells aren’t paranoia – chances are, you’ve been targeted in a phishing attack, one of today’s most common cybercrimes. Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself from phishing.

Thankful at Every Level

Another calendar year heads into the home stretch. Before you know it, 2022 will be here. At the present, though, my thoughts turn to the Thanksgiving season—and the significance of its commemoration. As Director of USF Corporate Training and Professional Education, I continue to live out a dream. I am privileged to hold a position that allows me to pursue my career passion for lifelong learning and workforce development. I would like to recognize a collection of people that, throughout the year, works diligently toward our office’s mission.    

Online Legal Research Resources: Enrich Your Legal Career

Effective legal research is a process. You need to identify the legal issue, find laws to support your argument, and confirm that your primary and secondary sources are still relevant. To accomplish this as a legal professional of a high standard, you require outstanding research tools. Fortunately, you can choose from a wide range of free and subscription-based online legal research resources to enrich your legal career. Let’s explore some of the most useful ones available.

Lean Six Sigma Certification: Is It Worth It?

More and more organizations are committing themselves to process and continuous improvement. As this trend gains ground, you’re probably wondering if it makes sense to pursue Lean Six Sigma certification. It takes time and focus to earn a Yellow Belt, Green Belt, or Black Belt, so will this process improvement training pay off for your career and for your company? Will it really improve efficiency? And what about Lean Six Sigma certification: Is it worth it?

Corporate Partnerships That Go the Distance

As a board member of the National Council for Continuing Education & Training, I recently had the privilege to sit for an interview with The EvoLLLution, a publication devoted to advancing higher education. I offered a philosophical track that continuing education units can take to establish long-term training agreements. I would like to summarize the interview to offer a peek into the mindset of USF Corporate Training and Professional Education as we form corporate partnerships to upskill and reskill the modern workforce.

Learning from Failure: How to Overcome Leadership Challenges

As a workplace leader, you’re called on for more than just spearheading projects and assigning tasks. Your employees lean on you to foster a positive, structured workplace that promotes productivity and success. Unfortunately, building a healthy workplace presents some of the greatest, most complex leadership challenges you may face. If you’re like most leaders today, you’ve had your fair share of struggles and failures.


My Turn as a Mentor

I recently received a letter from a former associate. In it, she expressed immense gratitude for my role in both her professional and personal development. She said that I helped her to identify her strengths, which allowed her to confidently advance in, what remains, a successful career. In conclusion, she added, I had been a gracious mentor and would always be considered a friend. Suffice to say, I was touched. To be acknowledged in such a way — to realize the positive impact you can have on someone — is incredibly rewarding.


Best Jobs if You Like Supporting Customers

Customer service is an industry as broad as the Mississippi River – a catch-all for positions that encompass everything from call center representatives to flight attendants to patient care coordinators. Despite the seemingly disparate array of jobs available, at their heart, they all have one thing in common: ensuring customer satisfaction. If you like supporting customers, here are some of the top jobs you may want to consider.

Tips for Sleeping Better Before an Exam

If you have an important upcoming exam, the stress and anxiety leading to the big day may not just impact you mentally. It also can impact you physically. Excessive sweating, feelings of nausea, a racing heart, and trouble breathing are common signs of test anxiety, but that’s not all. Poor sleep is another side effect of stress that can hurt your test score.

Benefits of PMP Certification on Your Career

More than a million project management professionals across the globe have earned the prestigious PMP certification, making it the most widely recognized (and sought-after) credential in the industry. It can be a time-consuming process to prepare for the rigorous exam, but the rewards of passing it are significant. From earning a higher salary to scoring the most challenging projects, here are the benefits of PMP certification that make it a worthwhile investment in your career.

Ways to Stay Up to Date with Digital Marketing Trends

If only digital marketing could be as simple as collecting “likes.” Year after year, it gets more complicated and more competitive. Even for professional marketers who are paid to deliver digital marketing results every day, keeping up with changes in algorithms, page ranking factors, and everything else search engines expect can be overwhelming. How can you help your content rise to the top and elevate your company’s promotional game? Seek out expert advice and follow the most effective ways to stay up to date with digital marketing trends.

Continuing Education in Times of Change

As Executive Director of USF Corporate Training and Professional Education, I customarily use this blog space to offer my take on leadership in the workforce. This time around, I’d like to speak to my recent interview with The EvoLLLution, an online newspaper devoted to the advancement of higher education. The conversation took place shortly after my appointment as a board member to the National Council for Continuing Education & Training (NCCET). I was grateful for the opportunity to speak candidly about topics that are very important to me.

The Best Apps for K-12 Teachers

Across the world, the pandemic dramatically transformed education this past year, as schools shuttered and students and teachers alike logged into virtual classrooms. While this upcoming school year will bring a return to in-person learning across the U.S., the digital classroom is here to stay. The tools teachers mastered for distance learning can also help boost student engagement, sharpen assessment, and help with classroom organization and equity. Here’s a look at some of the best apps for K-12 teachers.

The Importance of Learning Spanish for Business

¿Hablas español? Mastering the basics of the Spanish language provides you with a valuable tool for commerce and cultural connection. It is the official language of 20 countries. But it is by no means a “foreign” language. There are more people who speak Spanish in the U.S. than in Spain. Keep reading for some additional facts illustrating the importance of learning Spanish for business.

Online Lean Six Sigma and Process Improvement Resources

While the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down, there are a few positive aspects of this long, strange year that are likely to stick around. Chief among them are remote work, online training, and online resources, particularly in the process improvement arena. If you’re ready to upskill and explore new developments in the field, check out some of our favorite online Lean Six Sigma and process improvement resources.

Types of Corporate Training Programs

If your company is one of the 83% of organizations planning or already offering corporate training programs this year, your participation could put you on the pathway to advancement. You’ll gain new competencies and a competitive advantage for promotions. But how do you determine which professional development course and structure will be the best fit for your career? Compare traditional and emerging types of corporate training programs that can help you build the skills you need for the workplace of the future.

Letter From the Director: Recharge With a Summer Vacation

I love summer! There’s the feel of beach sand between your toes. There’s the smell of burgers on the grill. There’s the chorus of oohs and aahs during a fireworks display. And, lest I forget, it’s when baseball season kicks into high gear! With schools on break, sunny weather, and numberless options for fun, summer is the quintessential season for a vacation. This means it may be an opportunity to step away from your work for some needed relaxation.

Gen Z in the Workplace: Transforming the Workforce

The oldest members of Gen Z, known colloquially as Zoomers, have already entered the workplace. Over the next decade, 60 million members will follow suit, transforming the workforce with their values, expectations, and goals. Read on to understand the shifts that lie ahead with Gen Z in the workplace and get out in front of the changes.

5 Tips for Paralegals to Improve Client Communication

As the liaison between counsel and client, paralegals are called on to handle complex and sensitive exchanges of information. Communicating with your law firm’s clients requires skills in translating legalese, managing documents, keeping track of critical dates, and imparting a level of emotional support. Our 5 tips for paralegals to improve client communication can help you fine-tune your interactions at every stage of the client experience.

Six Tips for Improving Employee Retention

With hiring in expansion mode in every sector, managers are preparing for an all-out battle for talent. How do you lower your risk of losing top staffers to the competition? Activate a plan to cut company turnover with our six tips for improving employee retention.

How to Overcome Test Anxiety

No matter what type of exam you’re facing, it’s normal to experience fear and stress beforehand. You may have trouble sleeping the night before or a decreased appetite. However, if you have a history of letting your nerves get the better of you to the extent that it hurts your score, it’s time to learn some tips on how to overcome test anxiety.

A Message to Graduates: Your Learning Has Just Commenced

Congratulations to the Class of 2021! The University of South Florida, as well as many other institutions of higher education, held its spring commencement earlier this month. Graduation day is always a noteworthy, celebratory occasion—especially as in-person ceremonies resumed this year. It’s a time for a lot of hugs, speeches, snapping cameras, and flying mortarboards. It’s also a time to appreciate a momentous achievement that signals a major life transition from full-time student to full-time professional.

Easy Ways to Earn PDUs for PMP Recertification

Congratulations! You’ve passed your PMP exam and you’re officially a certified Project Management Professional. You should celebrate this accomplishment and all the hours that went into it. Once you’re done celebrating, ensure that you don’t have to study for this test again by preparing for your PMP recertification.

Benefits of PMP Certification vs Alternate Certifications

The Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is the preeminent professional credential for project managers. That’s a bold statement to open this article with, but I’m hoping it’s compelling enough to make you keep reading. It’s not just the complexity of the test, the vast body of knowledge, or the exclusivity that makes it such a special credential. After all, there are more than 1 million PMP® certification holders worldwide. So, why should you consider joining this group and taking advantage of the benefits of PMP certification? Well, for starters, you should understand your alternatives.

Remote Hiring and Onboarding Now in Play

In continuing upon the theme of employee engagement from my last few blog entries, I will offer a perspective around remote hiring and onboarding. I’m prompted by the peculiar circumstances many of us find ourselves in. While the economy recovers and—as a result—hiring numbers increase, social-distancing efforts remain in place in many work settings to mitigate the pandemic’s infection rate. Large numbers of employees—used to the usual Monday-Friday office routine—operate, for now, from home.

Top 5 Traits of Effective Business Analysts

Business analysts may well be the unsung superheroes of every project. They work to understand organizations thoroughly and then figure out how to make them better. In other words, they can take companies from where they are to where they want to be. Whether you’re considering a career as a business analyst, looking to take your skills to the next level, or wondering how to identify first-rate talent for your company, read on to learn more about the top five traits of effective business analysts.


5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Changing Careers

If you feel stuck in a dead-end job you despise, it’s natural to have an overwhelming desire to get out. The mistake too many people make is making a career leap without looking to see where they’ll land first. Before hopping the fence to greener pastures, there are five questions to ask yourself when changing careers.

Strategies to Prepare for Test Day

The pandemic has added a whole new set of concerns when preparing for college and graduate school admission tests. If you’re getting ready to take an exam, having solid strategies for tests is more important than ever. From scheduling to delivery format to availability, the past year has thrown many changes your way that have probably made a stressful time even more difficult.

Employee Engagement—Getting It Right From the Start

There’s an old golf adage that says you don’t win a tournament on the first day but you can lose it. The first point implies a good opening round doesn’t guarantee a player’s success for the remaining ones; the second that a less-than-auspicious opening will prove difficult to overcome. My last blog entry dealt with a leader’s ability to personally connect as a key to employee engagement. It occurred to me, though—backtracking to the importance of the onboarding process would be an appropriate prequel of sorts.

Continuous Process Improvement: Why Your Business Needs It

When you’re juggling a million daily tasks, it’s tempting to think continuous process improvement in business is a nice-to-have goal instead of essential work. Here’s why you need to put it on the front burner according to business titan Bill Gates: “A lousy process will consume ten times as many hours as the work itself requires.” Be like Bill. Explore how a commitment to process improvement can actually save time, reduce costs, improve quality, and more – even if you’re not gunning to be the next Microsoft.

Managers Guide: How to Help a Grieving Employee

One of the greatest challenges you’ll face as a manager is how to help a grieving employee. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only added several more wrinkles to this already difficult situation. Individuals who lost family members due to the coronavirus may not have been by their relative’s side as they passed away. Funerals and family events meant to provide closure have often been delayed. Typical activities and ways to cope with loss, such as surrounding oneself with friends and getting out, are discouraged in the current health crisis.

6 Paralegal Jobs That Aren't in Law Firms

If you’re considering a career as a paralegal, chances are you’ve envisioned your days racking up billable hours and case wins in a successful law firm (à la Rachel Zane on the legal TV drama, Suits). It’s a popular stereotype, but you should know that it’s not your only option. There are many types of paralegal jobs available in a growing list of industries, including health care, real estate, government, and more.

What to Do When You're Bored With Your Job

Does the thought of clocking in for work stir up about as much excitement as a trip to the DMV? Figuring out what to do when you’re bored with your job can be difficult, particularly when you’ve spent years working to get to your current position. During a time when so many people have lost their jobs, you may feel additional pressure to stay in a role you’ve come to despise.

Employee Engagement Past and Present: More in Common Than Different

“Any plans this weekend?” “That was some game last night!” The concept of “water-cooler talk” serves a beneficial purpose. Of course, I’m speaking of those friendly, non-job-related conversations that spring up at work. Some of my most-treasured memories have been impromptu talks with co-workers in the hallway—or in the break room as I waited for my food to come out of the microwave. These types of experiences go a long way toward employee engagement—an important benchmark for a leader to fulfill.

How to Get the Job Virtually

With all the pandemic upheavals over the past year, hiring was not spared. Among the most notable changes in employment recently was the rapid transition to a virtual environment, and not just for current employees. If you’ve hit the job market lately or are considering it, you’ve probably noticed that at least part of the hiring process includes an online interview component. With this change comes some uncertainty, but also opportunities to shine. Keep reading to find out how to get the job virtually.

Top 5 K-12 Cybersecurity Threats Schools Are Facing

In the digital age, no organization is immune to cybersecurity threats, but K-12 schools can be especially vulnerable. Incidents were already on the rise prior to the start of the pandemic, and the rapid transition to online learning last spring markedly increased opportunities for mischief. The good news? There are plenty of ways to protect students, staff and systems. We’ll explore the top 5 K-12 cybersecurity threats schools are facing, why they’re occurring, and what can be done to stop attacks in their tracks.


Continuing Education as an Investment in Yourself

The belief that our days in the classroom come to a close following high school, trade school, or college is, undoubtedly, a thing of the past. Here’s what Peter Drucker, the managerial expert whose ideas helped shape modern business concepts, said: “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change.” And because change is certain, it’s necessary to instill a mindset of perpetual learning—seeing it as an open-ended process—to capably adapt as your career goes forward.

5 Skills of Successful Project Managers

Whether you chose project management early on or fell into the role later in your career, organization, time management, and planning likely come naturally to you. It’s why you’re a project manager, after all. But shepherding projects across the finish line in today’s ever-evolving business landscape requires more than just traditional competencies. To take your effectiveness to the next level, make sure you’ve honed these 5 skills of successful project managers.

How to Recruit Gen Z Employees

Now that millennials are mid-career and you’ve finally figured out how they think, it’s time to focus on the next generational wave: Gen Z. The oldest members of this cohort are already working, and 60 million more will be entering the workforce in the next decade. Are you ready for them? We’ll show you how to recruit Gen Z employees by helping you understand who they are, what they value, and what they want from a job.

Essential Skills and Training Needed to Grow Your Career

With the current economic downturn, the job market has never been more competitive. According to a Pew Research article, 25 percent of adults in the U.S. say they or someone in their household lost their job. In these difficult times, companies are being more cautious with their hiring than ever. Give yourself the edge you need to stand out among competing applicants by showing that you possess all the right skills for career growth.

Is Human Resources the Right Career for You?

If you’re an extrovert who thrives on working with others, there are plenty of reasons to consider a human resources career. HR is a high-touch field, and practitioners interact with people from all walks of life from sun up to sun down. But it takes more than just people skills to succeed in an HR role. Is human resources the right career for you? Read on to explore whether the field is a good fit for your innate skills and personality.

Resilience in 2021, Resilience Always

If you’re familiar with the plot of Homer’s epic The Odyssey, you know its protagonist, Odysseus, is a compelling character. Enduring storms, monsters, and other formidable obstacles, he manages to steer himself and his fleet back home to Ithaca after the Greek victory in the Trojan War. His successful return isn’t possible without a number of shrewd dealings and fortunate interventions. The perilous voyage takes 10 years to complete! Odysseus is nothing if not resilient.

What You Need to Know About Online Standardized Testing

This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many college admissions offices are waiving the need for standardized test scores. However, plenty of schools still require an official score report before they will review your application for undergraduate or graduate admission (USF is one of them). Online exams can be a safe way to fulfill this requirement. If you’re not familiar with this option, here’s what you need to know about online standardized testing.

How Online Marketing Courses Can Boost Your Business

Over the last decade, digital marketing has steadily increased its share of marketing budgets. Once a novelty, activities like building SEO-optimized websites, creating effective social media ads, and developing email campaigns are no longer “nice-to-have” or “maybe-some-day” strategies – they’re critical to the survival of your company. Read on to see how online marketing courses can boost your business and ensure you stay competitive in the marketplace.

5 Tips for Remote Depositions

The COVID-19 pandemic may have sent many industries into a screeching halt, but not the legal profession. In these times of health uncertainty, the judicial system has had to find ways to ensure the wheels of justice still turn. Like other industries, law has incorporated the use of remote services to perform necessary functions, and this includes depositions.

A Reminder to Be Thankful—Even in 2020!

In composing this year’s annual Thanksgiving blog, I’ve been reflecting upon the historic events of the past 11 months. Mutually, our country has gone through the wringer. Spring brought the ongoing pandemic along with many life-altering modifications. Then, summer saw social divisions resurface and escalate. And fall culminated in a contentious election season. Emotions have been running high. Despite its challenging nature, however, 2020 has reminded me of the blessings I’m thankful for.

Managing Online Corporate Training

Whether your boss is requiring you to take online training courses or you’re voluntarily trying to expand your skill set, finding time for professional development can be a challenge. Between juggling a stressful job, family obligations, and social demands, it can seem impossible. Something has to give, right? Not necessarily. With just a few tips, we’ll have you managing online corporate training without dropping any of the balls you have in the air.

Why Every Teacher Needs an EdTech Strategy

Even as more and more students return to in-class education, it’s clear that online and tech-enabled learning is here to stay. The convenience, safety, and accessibility make it a highly valuable method of reaching students no matter where they are. For those who want to be prepared and increase their skill level as an educator in today’s shifting learning environment, it’s easy to see why every teacher needs an edtech strategy.

How to Use Social Media Marketing to Grow Your Business

From watching goofy dog videos on YouTube to catching up with far-flung friends on Facebook to sharing family vacation snaps on Instagram, social media has become thoroughly ingrained in our daily lives. Yet many business owners haven’t made the leap from engaging personally to profiting from it professionally. Are you one of them? Fear not. We’ll show you how to use social media marketing to grow your business.

3 Common Obstacles to Business Process Improvement

Business process improvement sounds like such an elegant, straightforward concept: You simply identify, analyze, and improve current business processes to strengthen performance, hit best-practice standards, and boost the end-user experience. When you’re done, you’ll enjoy higher productivity and efficiency while cutting down on errors and waste. What could go wrong?

Leaders Act the Part

My favorite actor is Academy Award winner Russell Crowe. He’s performed marvelously in a variety of roles in memorable movies such as Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, and L.A. Confidential. Like many of the greats of the profession, Crowe brings a plausibility to his craft that makes you forget—for a few hours, anyway—he’s acting the part of his character. But “acting the part” isn’t only for those who tread the boards. Behaving in a way proper to a particular role or given situation is appropriate for anyone in a position of responsibility.

Six Tips for Remote Project Management

If you’re a traditional project manager who recently joined the army of newly remote workers, trying to shepherd projects to completion can feel disorienting. In-person meetings where you can observe body language? Gone. Dropping by a colleague’s cubicle for an impromptu status check? Kaput. Taking the team out to lunch to celebrate a milestone? Not happening.

Benefits of Microsoft Certifications

If you’re in the technology field, Microsoft certifications are an omnipresent part of the professional landscape. Some employers swear by them. Others, not so much. At the end of the day, are they worth it? The short answer is: Yes. In spite of the love-hate relationship, there are many benefits of Microsoft certifications for both employees and employers.

Anticipate, Prepare, and Decide

The best leaders constantly strive for peak performance and efficiency. But those ideals are usually held under the premise of “normal” circumstances. What happens when things go sideways? I’m reminded of this gem from Maj. Richard Winters: Anticipate problems and prepare to overcome obstacles. Don’t wait until you get to the top of the ridge and then make up your mind. In the last six months, this principle became particularly meaningful for USF Corporate Training and Professional Education. A new way to conduct business was in order.

Pros and Cons of Employees Working from Home

Data show that 36 percent to 56 percent of Americans can work from home and that about 80 percent want to work from home all or some of the time. A majority of managers and executives, conversely, have been leery of transitioning to remote work. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic having pushed about two-thirds of the U.S. workforce into the virtual workspace, it seems like a good time to weigh the pros and cons of employees working from home.

Tips for Managing Virtual Teams Successfully

The coronavirus pandemic has left millions of well-trained managers the world over wondering if the rules of leadership designed for a collective workplace still apply. Like the times we live in, the answer is not straightforward. Some things about managing personnel remain the same, but many new challenges, both operational and emotional, have erupted in the work-from-home ecosystem. If you’re an executive or boss in charge of off-site employees, we invite you to embrace the conversion to distance-leading with our tips for managing virtual teams successfully.

Leaders Earn the Respect of Their Teams, Part II

The key to a successful leader is to earn respect—not because of rank or position, but because you are a leader of character. I used this precept from U.S. Army Major Richard Winters’ memoirs as a jumping-off point to write last month on the importance of leaders earning the respect of their people. In summary, I noted three particular behaviors leaders should either avoid or exhibit. First, leaders do not seek credit when their teams succeed. Second, leaders are accountable for their team’s function. Lastly, leaders should be able to deliver difficult news.

What Is Process Improvement in Business, and How Can It Help?

“If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.” That’s attributed to Albert Einstein, arguably the world’s greatest physicist to date and inarguably a genius who clearly had the mindset of a process improvement manager. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what process improvement managers do for businesses, which brings us to the questions du jour: What is process improvement in business, and how can it help?

Choosing the Right Leadership Styles in Management

To be an effective leader, you must possess a management approach that aligns with your own personality, your team, and your organizational objectives. Whether you’re hiring for a top position or gunning for one yourself, it’s important to understand common leadership styles, how they affect day-to-day management of your organization, and what you can do to make the most of your attributes today to develop into a stronger leader tomorrow.  Follow this article to learn more about choosing the right leadership styles in management.

Why Now Is the Time for Upskilling and Reskilling

Want to know why now is the time for upskilling and reskilling? It’s because businesses are facing a syzygy of megatrends, a global pandemic, and the capacity for exponential change in, arguably, the post-digital age. (It’s arguable because the “experts” disagree on whether it has begun.) More simply put: The digital and historical stars have aligned.


How to Get into Digital Marketing Without a Degree

Are you a social media maven who lives for likes, comments, and follows? Do you dream of getting paid to spend the day on Facebook and Instagram? Do you possess both an analytical mind AND creative flair? You could be a natural for a career in digital marketing! Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a career change, we’ll show you how to get into digital marketing without a degree.

7 Professional Development Lessons from Twilight

With the Aug. 4 release of Midnight Sun — Stephenie Meyer’s latest installment in the Twilight series — we’re ready to revisit the enchanted world of Bella and Edward. Vampires, werewolves, and rain-soaked redwoods are the perfect escape from daily life during COVID-19. But this fantasy series also offers real-world lessons for career development. Go ahead and enjoy the supernatural world of Forks, Washington, then come back here for these 7 professional development lessons from Twilight. 

8 Study Tips to Pass the Microsoft Certification Exam

Think that using Microsoft applications from sunup to sundown means passing your certification exam is a sure thing? Even if you work on Microsoft platforms on a daily, professional basis, it would be almost impossible for you to know every function, every task the test will cover. That’s why it’s important to take test-prep seriously and use these 8 study tips to pass the Microsoft certification exam.

Leaders Earn the Respect of Their Teams

Respect. Aretha Franklin famously asked for it in song. Rodney Dangerfield went to hilarious lengths to claim he got none. Actually, respect is a big deal. If you’re a manager in any workplace, respect from your team signifies its trust in you. As one of my aforementioned role models, U.S Army Major Richard Winters, wrote in his memoirs, “The key to a successful leader is to earn respect—not because of rank or position, but because you are a leader of character.” Here are some of my thoughts on earning your team’s respect through leadership.

Professional Development Lessons from 'Hamilton'

Do you find yourself bursting into song about your ambitions? Are you passionately smashin’ every expectation? Are you ready to rise up and achieve your professional goals? We thought so. Now that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton is available to stream on Disney+, we’re all feeling inspired by America’s coolest founding father. Cue up your favorite songs from the Broadway hit, and get ready for these 8 professional development lessons from Hamilton. 

Qualities of a Good Project Manager

You wear so many hats in your organization, you’re starting to look like an Alice in Wonderland character. Now, a new one has been placed on your head: project manager. You may feel the urge to go mad and start hosting nonsensical tea parties. Stay calm. We’ll help you take the reins on this important task and steer it to success. With a little practice, you can harness the top four qualities of a good project manager.

How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

PayScale is a software and data company that “helps employers manage employee compensation and employees understand their worth in the job market,” and it has this to say about negotiating for a higher salary: For people with a master’s degree or better, not making the push for better pay means leaving up to $1.5 million in earnings on the table over the course of a lifetime. Not a bad payoff for having the difficult conversations. Fairness, self-worth, and overall economic benefits such as juicing the gross domestic product are other reasons why you should have the tough talks, but for now we’ll stick with the how, as in how to negotiate a higher salary.

6 Tips for Interviewing and Hiring Remotely

 Your company has gone completely virtual, and who knows if they’ll revert to the old normal even when the pandemic ends. If you’re hiring, you can adapt your recruiting process and adjust your HR priorities with these 6 tips for interviewing and hiring remotely.

How Time Management Drives Process Improvement

You want your team to be as productive as possible, and that means reducing waste. What do we waste a lot of? Time. Most organizations lose time to everything from inefficient meetings to outdated processes. But if you know how to wisely allocate your team’s time, you’ll be better prepared to meet deadlines, increase productivity, and attract top employees. Let’s take a closer look at how time management drives business process improvement.

How to Build and Improve Your Resilience

MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius Grant”) recipient Angela Lee Duckworth was a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. who quit at age 27 to teach seventh-grade math, earned a doctorate in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and began teaching there, focusing on grit and self-control, “which predict success both academically and professionally.” In math teacher terms, Duckworth + business/teaching acumen + Ph.D. = grit theory. In short, grit (aka perseverance) trumps IQ. You can’t dramatically elevate IQ, but you can boost your grit quotient. It all adds up to this: You can learn how to build and improve your resilience and succeed in your career.

Teamwork: Contribute Together, Win Together

As a country, we continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic and, in more-recent events, listen to voices calling for civil justice. Both are topics of immense, historic importance and deserving of our attention. I would also remind my audience that this month marked the 76th anniversary of D-Day, when the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to undertake one of the most pivotal military campaigns of World War II. That massive operation required teamwork—thousands of personnel carrying out roles to help save the world.

How to Learn and Memorize Faster

Conventional wisdom says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any skill. Such deliberate care in learning new things is admirable, but you’re scheduled to sit for the SAT nine Saturdays from now and, come on, you also have a life. If you need to shorten the learning curve for your weaker test subjects, simply adapt clever techniques from memory champions and adopt their brain-boosting habits so you can learn and memorize faster.

Understanding Personality Types: Communicating Effectively in the Workplace

“We all bring our lives to the workplace,” said Kathy Barnes, the associate director and operations manager of USF’s Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education. Understanding employees as individuals – each with unique personalities, strengths, and life experiences – is an essential leadership skill. Let’s take a closer look at how leaders can take steps toward understanding personality types and communicating effectively in the workplace. 

Can You Take the SAT and ACT Online at Home?

The coronavirus pandemic changed the way we get an education. COVID-19 shifted virtually all students online. Brick-and-mortar school schedules became guesswork, and standardized testing got iffy. High school students trying to finish the college application process without the benefit of SAT and/or ACT scores began grappling with what-ifs. What if, for instance, the pandemic closes your test site? Could you take the SAT and ACT online at home? There are two short answers: No on the SAT. Maybe on the ACT.

How to Become a Freelance Project Manager

If you’re a project manager, or planning to become one, chances are your future employment will include independent contract work. According to a study published in January 2020 by Business Talent Group, project management is the top gig-worker skill employers are seeking. Here’s why now is a great time to move into independent contract work and get in on the outsourcing boom to become a freelance project manager

Cyber Security Basics for Remote Workers

You already know that your new work-from-home life demands a new skill set: Managing Zoom meetings, staying productive even when the cat crawls onto your lap, and hiding your office snacks from your toddler. But did you know that cybersecurity skills are key to WFH success? Now that you are working remotely, your company’s data is vulnerable in new ways, and it’s crucial that you know how to protect it. Luckily, you don’t have to be tech gods like Lisbeth Salander or Mr. Robot to know how to defend against cyber threats. By changing a few simple habits, you can master these cybersecurity basics for remote workers. 

Top 4 Reasons Test Prep Courses Are Worth the Investment

Are your top college picks standardized test-optional? Did you take the necessary standardized test(s) and score within your picks’ target range? Are you disciplined, self-motivated, and test savvy enough to go it alone? If you answered yes to one or more of those scenarios, forget the formal test prep. If not, give it some serious thought, and consider our top four reasons test prep courses are worth the investment.

Essential Books to Improve Leadership Skills this Summer

The most successful people in the world have one thing in common: They read. Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama are all voracious readers, and it’s a good time for you to become one too. The long days of summer offer big blocks of reading time (poolside, perhaps?) and bookstores, libraries, and digital platforms are brimming with titles to inspire and empower you. If you’re ready to jumpstart your reading habit and your career, check out these essential books to improve your leadership skills this summer.

How to Ensure LGBT Plus Diversity in Your Workplace

If you want to be a true ally to LGBTQ+ colleagues, we can help you go beyond rainbow Zoom backgrounds, Pride parade attendance, and sparkly Taylor Swift anthems. Supporting team members of all gender identities and sexual orientations means taking active steps towards a more diverse and inclusive work environment. From strategic recruitment efforts to workplace training, here are a few simple ways to ensure LGBTQ+ diversity in your workplace.

Connecting With Your People Outside of Work Roles

Not long after our office began working exclusively from home 11 weeks ago, we initiated a weekly “coffee” video chat for the purpose of connecting socially with one another. The only hard-and-fast rule of the meeting is no one is allowed to talk shop. For example, we’ve described our first cars, named favorite vacation spots, and exchanged Netflix suggestions. It’s also been an opportunity to share our experiences, both positive and negative, of spending so much time cloistered in our homes.

Cybersecurity Tips Essential for Remote Workers During the Pandemic

Jack Nilles’ Twitter account identifies him as “a former ‘rocket scientist’ spacecraft designer turned applied futurist, father of telecommuting and author….” The book that helped earn him the “father of telecommuting” title is “Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff: Options for Tomorrow,” published in 1976. Nilles long has held that one of the primary hurdles to working remotely is security. With COVID-19 exponentially increasing telecommuting, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know this is a good time to explore cybersecurity tips essential for remote workers during the pandemic.

Project Management Jobs and Career Opportunities

Are you considering a career in project management, but think you’re limited to roles in tech, engineering, or construction? While those three industries have been the foundational fields for project managers, you’ll find your career options are wide open now, with challenging roles for generalists and specialists in creative, governmental, and science-based industries. You never know where you might find project management jobs and career opportunities, so let’s job-hunt!

6 Ways to Improve Employee Wellness for Productivity

As a leader in your organization, you’re faced with a tough challenge. How can you maintain productivity (and profitability) when workers are chronically stressed due to COVID-19? The answer is simple: Take care of your employees’ emotional and mental well-being. Read on to learn six ways to improve employee wellness for productivity during the coronavirus crisis. 

5 Meditation Techniques to Stay Mindful on Exam Day

Exam day success will depend on what you bring to the moment and your ability to be fully in that moment, or mindful, when the proctor says begin. “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” says Mindful.org. So, here’s the plan, arrive on test day with the knowledge and tools you need to ace the exam. Need more? Here’s something for that toolkit, something that will help now and during the test: 5 meditation techniques to stay mindful on exam day.

5 Reasons Why You Should Offer Health Insurance for Employees

If this article had a moral, it would be that giving your employees health insurance coverage is the right thing to do and, ultimately, beneficial for all concerned parties. It’s kind of like A Christmas Carol in that Ebenezer Scrooge opening his heart was a good thing for him that ultimately saved Tiny Tim. There’s no moral here, though, just 5 reasons you should offer health insurance for employees.

10 Tips to Help You Study for the LSAT

You’ve always dreamed of going to law school, so preparing for the LSAT is incredibly important to your future. Unlike college finals or other standardized tests, the LSAT is not a knowledge examination; it is a skills-based test. The only way to prepare for it is with dedicated practice over a long period of time. It sounds daunting, but you can make test prep a whole lot easier on yourself with 10 tips to help you study for the LSAT.

Leadership During Crisis

Growing up in Tarpon Springs, Florida, I would hear stories about the sponge boat crews working the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. Out on the water—sometimes for weeks at a time—the best crews were able to navigate daunting challenges: equipment failures, illness, and stormy weather, to name but a few. Skilled leadership was necessary. “A good captain is not made from calm seas,” one veteran sponger liked to say. And with the “rough seas” we’re having as of late, that old sailing adage has been on my mind.

9 Tips for Optimizing Your Social Profiles for Employment

Job hunters, we know it’s tough out there. Unemployment has soared to record levels, which is scary enough. On top of that, your typical means of networking (in-person events, career fairs) are no longer an option. Social distancing is crucial to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But it’s awfully hard to impress recruiters when you’re confined to your house. Or is it? 

You Lost Your Job. Now What?

The sudden loss of a job is a body blow, but life and financial obligations don’t stop because you’re unemployed. How do you respond while still reeling from the impact? Simple. Be indomitable. The Online Etymology Dictionary says “indomitable” means “unyielding, persistent, resolute.” Per this blog and per your finances and employment, the “what” – “You lost your job. Now what?” – is to be unyielding, persistent, and resolute in bringing clarity to your circumstances and maximizing the return on your job-hunting skills, strategy, and tactics.

Is Agile Project Management the Business Solution You Need?

What’s in a word? “Agile,” for instance? Lexico.com, an online dictionary/language tool, says “agile” means the ability “to move quickly and easily” and/or “to think and understand quickly.” In business, “Agile” is a proper noun that’s an approach to project management; or, per Lexico.com, “relating to or denoting a method of project management … characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.” Suffice it to say that Agile is a process or philosophy defined by agility. If you’re thinking about going Agile, the foundational question is whether Agile project management is the business solution you need.

9 Tips to Help Employees Working From Home (Without Distraction)

Working remotely? Even if you’re new to telecommuting or only did it occasionally before the coronavirus locked down your work life, you’ve probably already discovered how fascinating your laundry, the cat, Reddit, and that small thread dangling from your bedroom curtains can be when you’re supposed to be working. Follow our nine tips to help employees working from home (without distraction) and get your focus back!

Why Process Improvement Depends on Creative Thinking

If your organization has made great strides in its improvement program, but you’re still not delivering that string of innovations you expected, maybe your approach to Lean Six Sigma is missing a secret element – creativity. For even a black-and-white problem there could be a kaleidoscope of possible solutions. That’s why process improvement depends on creative thinking. Let’s look at how unleashing your imagination within the well-defined methods of quality improvement can help you achieve high-return breakthroughs.  

Our Wellness Challenge: 30 Ways to Reduce Stress This Month

It’s been a rough month. You may be transitioning to remote work due to concerns about COVID-19. You may be juggling deadlines and home-from-school kids. You’re definitely scrolling through scary headlines. You are (hopefully) practicing social distancing, which means you can’t go to your favorite gym or local coffee shop to destress after a long day of work. How do you keep calm? We’re here to help. Dive into our wellness challenge: 30 ways to reduce stress this month.

Three Process Improvement Techniques to Boost Work Efficiency

When American business titan Jack Welch died March 1, 2020, it signaled a milestone moment to reevaluate the innovations that earned Welch Fortune magazine’s “Manager of the Century” title. Perhaps his most enduring legacy will be his early adoption of Lean Six Sigma Principles. If you’re ready to learn more about titan-worthy streamlining methods that you can apply to your own enterprise, explore three process improvement techniques to boost work efficiency and produce real results where you work.

Movement, Mindfulness, and Motivation: How to Increase Employee Productivity

Building a more engaged, high-results staff could require a shift in traditional ideas about where, when, and how the workday should unfold. To help your team achieve improved outcomes and have less stress doing it, focus on three almost effortless improvements to the modern workplace: Movement, mindfulness, and motivation are how you can increase employee productivity and enhance your team’s everyday experience at work.

Letter From the Director: Thoughts on the Covid-19 Outbreak

The current Covid-19 pandemic has forcefully come to the forefront of the nation’s psyche in relatively little time, rapidly—and radically—altering the rhythm of our lives. In less than two weeks, our work, school, and social schedules have been turned upside-down. Terms that were unheard of such as “social distancing” and “shelter in place” are now on everyone’s lips. Many of us are now living with the reality of remote work and school. My office’s function has now moved entirely to an online format. Everyone is making significant adjustments.  

Test Prep Tips That Won’t Fail You

A Google search for the subject “dream about not being prepared for a test” auto-filled the search field with the whole term once this was typed: “Dream about no….” So yes, the I’m-not-prepared dream is a thing. It’s enough of a thing, in fact, to generate lots of newspaper and magazine articles every year. To avoid the nightmare of not being prepared for that important exam, be it a calculus test or the SAT, check out these test prep tips that won’t fail you.

10 Tips for More Productive Meetings

How many corporate meetings does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Cue Dilbert, and realize it’s not funny that there are countless potential endings for that joke, most of them riffing on wasted time. We meet to focus skills, talents, and minds on things that bring success. In short, meetings are the heart of corporate communication, so a business that can’t hold productive meetings is akin to a standup comic who can’t write jokes. OK. No more punchlines today, just 10 tips for more productive meetings.

How to Fight Employee Turnover by Showing Appreciation

It’s great when the bottom line and golden rule line up. For example, keeping good employees happy is cost-effective, and churn is costly. In fact, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) estimates that on average, losing a salaried employee costs a company the equivalent of up to nine months of that worker’s salary. One do-unto-others tactic that is golden for your bottom line is fighting employee turnover by showing appreciation.

Are Cool Places to Work (with Wine, Yoga & Table Tennis) Changing Corporate Culture?

When your team meeting takes place around the foosball table or your office features a meditation studio for midday re-centering, there can be no question that the workplace is transforming into a more creative, active, human-focused environment. But what’s the business advantage of converting your office into an anti-office, part-time pool hall, part-time tasting room? Are cool places to work (with wine, yoga, and table tennis) really changing corporate culture? The answer might surprise you.

6 Leadership Lessons from Children’s Literature

Think back to your favorite childhood book. Maybe you cavorted with wild things. Maybe you befriended a bear of very little brain. Or maybe you listened to the wise words of the Lorax. The characters in your beloved picture books helped shape who you are today. But if you’re like most of us, those stories are now gathering dust in your parents’ basement. It’s time to change that.

Can You Become a Paralegal with No Job Experience?

ZipRecruiter, an online employment forum/marketplace for potential hirees and hirers, says one road to a job as a paralegal features these mileposts: Do an American Bar Association-sanctioned paralegal certification program. Get guidance from someone in the legal field. Join a networking group(s) to build contacts. Find an entry-level position at a law firm, be it legal secretary or file clerk. And apply for an opening there or elsewhere once you’ve proved yourself. So, can you become a paralegal with no job experience as a paralegal? The short answer is yes and no. Keep reading for the long answer.

Take Control of Your Career

Part One: Learning When to Pivot

Playing organized basketball as a young boy, I discovered the importance of pivoting. When defensive pressure forces the player dribbling the ball to stop the advance up the court, that player can ‘pivot’ by keeping one foot stationary while the other can move. This allows the ball-handler an opportunity to reposition, to determine whether a pass to a teammate or taking a shot is the best option. Sometimes, a well-executed pivot can be the catalyst for a great, but unexpected, play.

Office Design Tips for the Ideal Work Environment

Can a coat of paint in the break room inspire breakthroughs for sales? Can a row of sleek new desks motivate marketing to a metrics-smashing rash of creativity? Research suggests yes. Smart workplace design can do wonders for innovation, productivity, and employee morale. If you’re ready to learn how sprucing up your office can transform your whole team’s output and outlook, follow the experts’ office design tips for the ideal work environment.

How Developing Your Emotional Intelligence Supports Career Advancement

Your emotional quotient, or EQ, is unquestionably influenced by genetics and your personality, but it is in no way limited by them. Your EQ is a learnable, measurable set of skills you can improve for the benefit of your well-being and relationships. Practicing EQ-building skills is how developing your emotional intelligence can support your career advancement, too, by boosting your self-awareness, self-management, and people skills for a happier, more productive work life.

Top 5 Tips for PMP® Exam Prep

When you’re in Rome and need directions, ask a Roman. If you’re taking the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam and want directions on how to prepare to earn the prestigious and lucrative designation, look to the Project Management Institute (PMI) for a simple and productive road map. That’s why PMI, the not-for-profit organization that developed the certification exam, is the source for our top 5 tips for PMP exam prep.

New ACT Test Changes Can Boost Students' Scores

High school students preparing for standardized college admission tests, we have exciting news: The ACT is making important updates to its exam that can save you time, money, and anxiety. Best news of all: The new ACT test changes can boost students’ scores. If you’re ready to make the most of the new ACT to achieve your best exam results, read on!

Housekeeping Secrets for a Cleaner Hotel and Repeat Guests

Something guaranteed to give hoteliers a heebie and several jeebies is seeing their brand featured in a horror story under a headline such as “Confessions of a Hotel Housekeeper.” First there’s the pride factor. No one wants to be tied to a brand name that cues bedbug stories, tales of stomach-churning filth, or customer service failures; then there’s the bottom line. Study after study finds cleanliness concerns at the top of the list of guest-identified issues that can sour them on a hotel brand. With that in mind, we’ve turned to insiders in our search for housekeeping secrets for a cleaner hotel and repeat guests.

Resolve to Learn, Grow, and Improve

What’s your take on New Year’s resolutions? Do you find them a) helpful, b) useless, or c) a harmless annual ritual? Wherever you fall on the question, millions of people determine that some life aspect requires improvement and the time for action will take place when the calendar flips to January. You’re familiar with some of the popular ones: to exercise regularly, pay off debt, get organized, and to make more time for family and friends. New year, new you—right? 

How to Find Job Openings with Social Media

If you’re job searching, we’ve got good news: Employers are waging a war for talent, which means the odds are in your favor. A savvy social media strategy can help you land that dream position. From reading our other posts, you already know how to use your online presence to leverage your career and network with professionals. Now we’ll show you how to find job openings with social media. 

The Best Apps and Resources for Business Professionals

Does technology slice through your workplace like a double-edged sword? On the one side, it makes your job so much easier. On the other side, keeping up with the latest apps, gadgets, software, and networking options cuts into your schedule so relentlessly, it’s almost a second full-time job. To gain the benefits of tech without being overwhelmed by the innovations flooding the marketplace, we’ve curated a list of the best apps and resources for business professionals. These tried-and-true recommendations for your android or iPhone will sharpen your everyday operations, from payroll to office party invitations, no matter where business takes you. Ready to get scrolling? 

How to Motivate Employees with Positive Reinforcement

So, your product is in high demand, your business model is an impressive production and delivery system for said product, your business processes and the workforce they guide are the envy of your competitors, and it’s all managed by people whose leadership record and potential are stellar. How do you build on that? Simple. With an eye toward keeping the arc of success curving up, you oversee smart investments of time and resources in your most valuable intangible asset, people. One proven approach to getting tangible results from investing in your people: Learn how to motivate employees with positive reinforcement.

6 Tips for Process Improvement: Applying Lean Six Sigma at Work

Lean Six Sigma is among the most popular management strategies used by businesses worldwide, improving performance by blending the methodologies of LEAN and Six Sigma. If you’re not sure, though, how this synergized approach can help your organization reduce complexity and eliminate waste, explore our 6 tips for process improvement and begin applying game-changing Lean Six Sigma principles at your workplace to optimize value, quality, and efficiency.

2 Ways to Tell It's Time for a Career Change

There are myriad reasons for career adjustments, and we’ll go deeper on that in a bit. Job satisfaction is so important that we’re going to cut to the chase. Actually, we’re starting with the capture, so to speak. At your workday’s end, there are 2 ways to tell it’s time for a career change: You are unhappy at work, and it has nothing to do with where you work or those you work for or with.

GRE Test Prep During Winter Break

It’s beginning to look a lot like GRE test-prep season. With a long, luxurious holiday break of two weeks or more coming on quickly, you finally have time to get serious about studying for the Graduate Record Examination – your entrance exam for graduate school. In just a few hours a day, you can really get the GRE ball rolling: identifying your weak spots, familiarizing yourself with the question types, and registering for a quality test-prep course. So, if you’re thinking about taking on GRE test prep during winter break, take our useful advice first, and then get set to ace that exam.

A Game-Changing Tip for Dealing with Difficult Customers

Somewhere between “buyer beware” and “the customer is never wrong” is the sweet spot of customer service where you concede that the people you serve are never wrong but gently allow that they are not always right. Whether you are serving a hotel guest or working with a team to serve a particularly particular business client, mutual satisfaction is the goal, with one caveat: Your customer’s happiness is the source of your satisfaction, and your satisfaction is defined by your company’s success, which depends on your customer’s happiness. Yes, it’s quite circular. You protect your company’s interests by making your clients’ legitimate demands paramount, which is much, much easier said than done. To that end, we share a game-changing tip for dealing with difficult customers.

Benefits of Becoming a Paralegal

You may already know that the paralegal profession offers you the opportunity for a challenging and well-respected career, but there are additional advantages to the field you may not have considered. If you’re contemplating a career change or you’re seeking a promotion within the legal field, now is a good time to weigh the many personal and professional benefits of becoming a paralegal.

5 Proven Employee Motivation Strategies

A motivated employee is more engaged, and an engaged employee is more productive. Gallup calculations on the U.S. workplace indicate 34 percent of workers are engaged (a survey high), 13 percent are “actively disengaged” (a new low – in a good way), and that engagement is a key driver of positive business outcomes. Ready to engage? Explore our 5 proven employee motivation strategies.

2019 Retrospective: Learning to Be Grateful

With Thanksgiving approaching, I’d like to share how grateful I am for the 2019 journey of USF Corporate Training and Professional Education. If you’ve previously read this blog, you know I sometimes draw from the well of sports for inspiration. (Spoiler alert: I’m about to do it again!) What follows is how our office borrowed a storied basketball team’s 36-year-old rallying cry to help us press on when faced with extraordinary circumstances.

Evaluating (and Diminishing) Risks in HR

All organizations, no matter how different they seem, have one thing in common: risk. And if you’re a human resources professional, risk management is part of your job. Whether you work at Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. or Jurassic Park, you’ve got to tackle potential pitfalls – before Michael Scott opens his mouth or the T. rex eats the customers. Where do you start? Keep reading to learn how to evaluate and diminish HR risks for your organization.

How to Deliver 5-Star Customer Service: Tips for Hospitality Leaders

Consultant, public speaker, and author Micah Solomon has a lot of tips for hospitality leaders on how to deliver 5-star customer service, more than enough to fill a book titled The Heart of Hospitality. The most important tips in that book focus on people (your team and your customers) and process (how you inspire your team and impress your customers). At day’s end, though, it’s all about the wow.

6 Tips for Delegating Effectively in Project Management

When you’re a project manager, your first task is to give up the notion that you can take on and take credit for every project that crosses your desk. Your goal is to gain authority and efficiency, perhaps counterintuitively, by becoming less caught up in the day-to-day. In short, you must become a master of delegation. If letting go feels like giving in, think through these 6 essential tips for delegating effectively in project management and you’ll be on your way to helping your team take the reins and get more projects across the finish line.

10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Hospitality Professionals

People in the hospitality profession trying to boost business through social media but without an understanding of how to use those tools might as well be carpenters trying to drive nails with the handles of their hammers. There’s a lot to learn about digital platforms and how to use them, so let’s begin with 10 social media marketing tips for hospitality professionals.

5 Reasons Strong Legal Writing Is Important for Paralegals

Almost all legal work depends upon the written word, so paralegals must know how to draft flawless and persuasive submissions to the court, emails to clients, internal memorandums, wills, resolutions, contracts, and other legal filings. Your writing tasks will be varied, but each document will be critical to the success of your cases and to your firm's communications. If you’re considering a career as a paralegal, you should know the top 5 reasons strong legal writing is important for paralegals.

Creating a Culture of Excellence (Part 2)

Last month I began an installment of the Essentials of Modern Leadership series by speaking about the importance of culture in the workplace. It was predicated upon how lasting success comes through leadership’s pursuit of excellence by adherence to guiding principles and the critical element of buy-in from the team. I’ll now elaborate further with three concluding strategies that, as I’ve found from experience, play key roles in creating a culture of excellence.     

5 Leadership Lessons from Harry Potter

You need some advice. Go ahead – say the password, “Sherbet lemon.” See how the stone gargoyle hops aside, revealing that spiral staircase? You’ll find the headmaster’s office at the top. Inside, it’s warm and comforting: Fawkes the phoenix is perched in his corner, the Sorting Hat is right where it should be, and the most powerful wizard in the world is behind his claw-footed desk. This is where Dumbledore lives. And you don’t need to be a Hogwarts student to benefit from his wisdom.

Core Principles of Business Process Improvement

The core principles of business process improvement (BPI) are not numbered, etched in stone, and universally accepted as the top 20 or 10 or five BPI commandments. There are, though, countless lists of rules or guidelines deemed most important. Using a sampling of those lists and a Venn diagram concept, we found six core principles of business process improvement.

What Does a Leader Look Like? Identifying Real Leadership Qualities

If you’re reading this post about leadership qualities, you already possess one of the key traits of a leader, which is introspection. Your curiosity about the topic indicates a self-awareness to reflect on your personality, choices, and motivations, and compare them to the ideal. But that’s just one essential characteristic. What are the others? What does a leader look like? Identifying real leadership qualities is more complex than compiling a simple Top 10 list; it’s a subtle but balanced interweaving of hard and soft power traits, meshed with technical skills flexible enough to meet the demands of the marketplace of the future.

10 Key Hospitality Management Leadership Qualities

For leaders in businesses whose lifeblood is immediate consumer satisfaction, success hinges on accurately assessing customer needs and motivations. Nowhere is that more evident than in the hospitality industry, where the essence of success is understanding and satisfying a diverse array of people whose ideas of satisfaction range from stereotypical to peculiar. It follows that interpersonal skills dominate our list of 10 key hospitality management leadership qualities.

How to Communicate Better: A Guide for HR Professionals

Speaking at a conference, SHRM-Senior Certified Professional Jennifer Currence defined what she called the three components of communication: self-awareness, listening, and speaking. Her thoughts and a synopsis of a SHRM toolkit/treatise titled “Managing Organizational Communication” are the essence of our guide for HR professionals on how to communicate better.

Creating a Culture of Excellence (Part 1)

My family and friends know me to be an avid student of military history. Over the years, I’ve read countless works on the world’s major battles—from periods of antiquity through the modern era. Mind you, my interest in the subject isn’t to romanticize war. Rather, it’s spurred by a desire to better understand the prevailing conditions leading to a conflict and the geopolitical ramifications of its aftermath. A collateral benefit of my reading is I’ve learned the stories of exceptional figures that emerged from that realm.    

How to Choose the Right Business Process Improvement Methodology

Improving your competitive advantage is always your top business priority. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to focus on the quality of your organization’s processes. But with so many competing claims about process improvement methodologies, you may be unclear about which one will have the most impact. Let’s evaluate which approach will work best for you by narrowing down how to choose the right business process improvement methodology for your goals.

9 Leadership Lessons from Game of Thrones

The world of Game of Thrones is a lot like the workplace, except with more dragons. Just like our Westerosi heroes, you want to advance in your career — maybe not all the way to the Iron Throne, but far enough that you get one of those World’s Best Boss mugs. Which is basically the same thing, except you can enjoy drinking coffee out of your mug while whoever sits on the Iron Throne has to deal with a thousand swords poking into their back. Seriously, you think your office chair is bad?

What You Can Expect as a Paralegal

You’d like to advance your career, and you think becoming a paralegal might be the way to do it. It’s a fast-growing field that offers challenging legal work for go-getters and problem-solvers like you — and the certification process is much faster than for a law degree. Got questions? Read on to know what you can expect as a paralegal.

Top 5 Reasons You Should Earn a SHRM Certification

Training for and achieving a professional certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is an invaluable tool as you build or expand your human resources career. SHRM certification is a distinction that indicates to your employer you have achieved a high level of HR knowledge and skills, as well as an understanding of the strategic importance of HR to your organization’s success. When your résumé features those SHRM letters, followed by CP and/or SCP, you’re sending the message that you’re serious about your HR career. Earning a SHRM credential does require time and focus. If you’re not sure about making the commitment right now, consider our ranking of the lucrative, career-changing, and personally empowering top 5 reasons you should earn a SHRM certification. 

How Your SAT and ACT Scores Affect College Admissions

Unless you are applying for admission to a community college, a flexible or test-optional school, an art school, or a trade or technical school, SAT and ACT scores probably will affect your chances of being admitted to college. Calculating how your SAT and ACT scores affect college admissions depends on the college in the equation.

5 Reasons to Become a Project Manager

Your first informal role as a project manager can often happen organically on the job, when your boss notices your technical and organizational skills and asks you to run a project. Maybe you’ve been successful coordinating a one-off assignment to manage a product launch or a sales conference. Perhaps you merely have a hunch you’d be good at it given half a chance. Or it’s possible you have become your team’s de facto handler to guide complicated plans to completion — all great starting points for a project manager. But if you have not yet seriously evaluated the career benefits of formalizing your role through training and certification, this is a very good time to consider the top 5 reasons to become a project manager.

Keeping Good Employees Takes Thought and Effort

Think of the excitement you felt when you made that perfect hire. There was the outstanding résumé, the impressive interview. You felt, almost immediately, that this individual is a perfect fit for the position, and you were right. The first few years proved the decision was a good one. Now there’s another important matter to be addressed: You want this employee for the long haul. As a hiring manager or a business owner, don’t just assume they’ll stay. Keeping good employees takes thought and effort.

The Best Negotiators Don’t Trade Integrity for a Good Deal

Throughout life, there are countless scenarios where good negotiating skills are useful. Maybe it’s time to renew a valued customer’s contract with your corporation. Perhaps you’d like to speak to the boss about that well-deserved raise. Or maybe the cable company has hiked its fee and you’ll be giving them a call to see whether you have any recourse. It really doesn’t matter who you are or what you do for a living, there will be times that call for negotiation. Embrace the challenge and try for a win, but never forget that the best negotiators don’t trade integrity for a good deal.

Job Security in an Automated Age

One of my all-time favorite television commercials is the Monster “When I Grow Up” spot that debuted during Super Bowl XXXIII. The ad was effective because it depicted the very opposite of what we aspire to during our formative years. Children in the ad speak as jaded adults with less-than-optimistic expectations for their work futures. Toward its end, the ad poignantly asks, “What did you want to be?” It offers hope, though, in its final frame: “There’s a better job out there.” The ad ran in 1999, but it’s even more relevant now because of the growing challenges of job security in an automated age.

Building the Perfect Team

Part 5 in a Series on Essentials of Modern Leadership

The previous installment in this series on the essentials of modern leadership, “Playing the Cards You’re Dealt,” is based on a manager’s ability to keenly assess inherited personnel and procedures while moving toward maximum productivity. Let’s now envision a situation where you’re assembling a staff from scratch. You “hold all the cards” and can recruit employees who will best fulfill your workplace objectives. How do you go about building the perfect team?

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt

Part 4 in a Series on Essentials of Modern Leadership

I’m not the world’s most avid card player, but I enjoy a few games every now and then. Because of the limitless variability, card games give my noggin a good workout, and I like that. Though luck plays a role, winning consistently requires an aptitude for assessing randomly distributed sets of cards and strategizing accordingly. Do it right, and even when the cards you receive aren’t ideal, a win is possible. It’s up to you, though, to determine the best possible actions when playing the cards you’re dealt.

Trust Is the Foundation of Leadership

Part 3 in a Series on Essentials of Modern Leadership

The late motivational speaker Stephen Covey once said, “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” For those of us in positions of leadership, gaining the trust of our people is a fundamental component of a healthy workplace environment. When managers establish this type of confidence, emotional security and job satisfaction can increase exponentially. Trust is the foundation of effective leadership, and it isn’t developed overnight. It comes through conscious behavior consistently exhibited.

Knowing Your People Enables Leadership

Part 2 in a Series on Essentials of Modern Leadership

Shortly after his New York Giants defeated the heavily favored Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV, NFL coaching legend Bill Parcells was asked, “How did you do that?” Indeed, not many people had given the Giants a chance. “I have to be a master motivator,” he responded. “I treat everyone fairly; I don’t treat them the same.” Parcells understood that a team is made up of individuals of differing personalities and talents and that a one-size-fits-all management style isn’t the way to build a championship team. The coach’s secret: Knowing your people is the heart of leadership.

Self-Awareness Drives Good Leadership

Part 1 in a Series on Essentials of Modern Leadership

Benjamin Franklin, one of the more extraordinarily versatile and prolific figures of our great country, wrote this for the 1750 publication of his Poor Richard’s Almanack: “There are three Things extreamly hard: Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.”