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COBRA Model Notices Issued by Department of Labor

By Lisa Calick, Director, HR Advisory The Department of Labor has now released model notices as well as additional guidance regarding the COBRA premium subsidies provided under the American Rescue Plan Act.  You can review our recent blog for background on the original Act. The model notices and election forms can be found on the Department of Labor website, and are summarized below. These notices can be used to help employers satisfy the new notice requirements under...

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FFCRA Update – Tax Credits Extended to September 30

By Lisa Calick, Director, HR Advisory American Rescue Plan New Extensions One of the provisions of the recently passed American Rescue Plan covers paid sick and family leave, as originally provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  While the requirement to provide leave under FFCRA expired December 31, 2020, the rescue package extends the tax credits until September 30, 2021 for employers who voluntarily continue to provide paid leave under the same...

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New York State Paid Leave for COVID Vaccine

By Lisa Calick, Director, HR Advisory New York State employers will now be required to provide paid leave to employees who receive the COVID vaccine.  The recently passed legislation, already signed into law by Governor Cuomo, takes effect immediately and ends December 31, 2022. The new law requires all employers in New York State to provide their workers with a “sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours”, for each injection.  Employees must be paid their regular...

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American Rescue Plan: Free COBRA Coverage

By Lisa Calick, Director, HR Advisory The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), now signed by President Biden, includes important changes which employers need to be aware of regarding COBRA coverage for certain eligible employees and their dependents.  It provides up to 6 months of free COBRA coverage for Assistance Eligible Individuals, a special COBRA enrollment window, and new notice obligations. Premium Subsidy for Assistance Eligible Individuals One of the major provisions...

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Using Form 941 For FFCRA Tax Credits

By Lisa Calick, Director of HR Advisory Services, and Laura Melville, Manager, Outsourced Payroll  This guide is to be a helpful resource to guide you through how to properly prepare your 4th quarter Form 941 should you have any paid sick or family leave wages under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for which you are claiming refundable tax credits. For further information on the details of this Act, read this blog. Earlier this year, the IRS had updated Form 941 to allow...

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Payroll/HR End of Year – What You Need To Know

by Lisa Calick, Director of HR Advisory Services It has been quite a year, and most of us are glad to see 2020 come to an end.  Businesses have had to pivot pretty quickly in a number of areas due to the pandemic this year.  Before we ring in the new year, it is important to note the following changes, many of which result from the stimulus relief bill passed by Congress. While this bill is not yet law, employers should be aware of the provisions that may be applicable to them if...

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Managing People, Pandemic-style: A Q&A with Wiss’s Director of People Operations Amanda Dominguez

Series introduction: In this four-part Q&A series, Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Lisa Calick speaks with experts from Wiss to learn about the challenges that clients face due to the changes in work arrangements and culture as a result of the pandemic. As a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), I spend my days giving human resources advice to Wiss clients, helping them with everything from benefits inquiries to staying in compliance with employment laws....

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What Can the Pandemic Teach Us About Recruiting?

Series introduction: In this four-part Q&A series, Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Lisa Calick speaks with experts from Wiss to learn about the challenges that clients face due to the changes in work arrangements and culture as a result of the pandemic. A Q&A with Wiss’s Practice Leader for Recruiting, Kevin Kurtz As a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), I spend my days giving human resources advice to Wiss clients, helping them with everything from...

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HR Alert: New Jersey Executive Order

By Lisa Calick This week, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order that establishes mandatory health and safety standards in an effort to protect workers across all industries in New Jersey during the pandemic. The Executive Order requires both private and public sector employers to follow health and safety protocols for their in-office employees effective November 5, 2020. These new standards include the following health and safety protocols: Health screening of all employees...

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New York State Paid Sick Leave Law

By Lisa Calick All New York State employers will soon need to abide by a new paid sick leave law, which takes effect on September 30, 2020.  Whereas local jurisdictions such as New York City and Westchester County have existing paid sick leave laws in effect, there was previously no statewide mandate. The amount of sick time provided will vary based on the employer’s size and net income from the previous tax year: Employers with 4 or fewer employees, and a net income of $1 million...

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FFCRA Paid Leave Update: Return to School

By Lisa Calick On August 27, 2020, the United States Department of Labor issued new guidance in the form of three additional FAQs to define when a school is considered closed for purposes of leave entitlements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The additional guidance covers three scenarios: Hybrid Learning When the school operates through hybrid learning, students attend in-person on certain days and through remote learning on other days.  In these situations, the...

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HR Compliance Checklist

By Lisa Calick Regardless of a company’s size, it is important to make sure that its policies and practices comply with employment laws that exist at the Federal, State, and Local levels.  Doing so will help to minimize liability and risk. Below are some key areas that a company should pay close attention to. Hiring and Onboarding Have job descriptions and job postings been reviewed to ensure they are current and contain accurate information? If employment applications are used,...

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act Paid Leave Update: Summer Childcare

By Lisa Calick With the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) earlier this year, employers have been addressing their obligations to provide employees with paid leave for various COVID-19 related reasons, including leave for employees who are not able to work or telework due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed as a result of the pandemic. Now that the school year has ended, it is important for employers to understand that...

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HR Alert:  New Jersey Issues Poster Regarding Employee Misclassification

By Lisa Calick A new mandatory poster has been made available for New Jersey businesses.  Earlier in the year, Governor Murphy signed into legislation new laws intended to combat worker misclassification.  Part of that package included a requirement for companies to conspicuously post a notice, which has now been released.  While the notice is to be placed at the worksite, there has been no guidance on how to handle that process in our current environment with so many companies operating...

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By Lisa Calick I’ve been forced to furlough my employees due to a slowdown in business operations.  Are they still eligible for the leave entitlements as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act? Unfortunately no.  If you have furloughed your employees because there is not enough work for them, they are not entitled to take paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the Act.  They may, however, be eligible for unemployment benefits through your State. Many...

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New Jersey’s Amended Family Leave and Temporary Disability Laws

By Lisa Calick In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on April 14, Governor Murphy recently signed into law new amendments to the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) and New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law (NJTDBL) to provide additional coverage for employees whose need for leave relates to an epidemic of a communicable disease, known or suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or efforts to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. The NJFLA had previously...

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Workforce Reduction Considerations: Layoff vs Furlough

By Lisa Calick Many businesses are struggling to manage their workforces in the current climate.  While recently passed economic stimulus packages have provided incentives for companies to retain their employees, in many cases companies have had significant business interruptions and still may be forced to consider letting some employees go.  Business owners may be considering layoffs or furloughs, but may not understand the difference. A layoff is a separation from payroll and may...

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By Lisa Calick President Trump has now signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, providing emergency economic relief and support to American workers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Act applies to businesses with less than 500 employees and will take effect on April 2, 2020. There are two main aspects of the Act as outlined below: Emergency Paid Sick Leave This portion of the Act allows eligible employees to take two weeks of paid sick leave in...

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Coronavirus Relief Update for Employers in New York and New Jersey

By Lisa Calick Like many of you, we have been working to keep up with current news regarding information for businesses and their employees. The speed at which there are changes and announcements at the federal and state levels is rapid, and our goal is always to relay that information. Federal, state and local governments are working to develop financial aid packages to help businesses that are struggling as a result of the pandemic.  As companies struggle with how to continue their...

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Employer Concerns in the Wake of the Coronavirus

by Lisa Calick The Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind, and while news channels continue to report on the speed in which the virus is spreading, fear and panic has started to set in.  Employers should take proactive steps to not only communicate to their employees, but to also develop contingency plans should an outbreak disrupt their normal business operations.  Your employees want to know that you care about their safety and have a plan in place, so if your business has not yet started...

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New Jersey’s Changing Laws Regarding Independent Contractors

by Lisa Calick, SPHR New Jersey continues down the path of strengthening employee rights in the workplace, with recent legislation designed to help and protect workers. Last month Governor Murphy signed several bills into law to combat worker misclassification.   Below is a summary of newly enacted laws which New Jersey businesses should pay close attention to: Penalties for Misclassification New Jersey employers that misclassify workers as independent contractors may be liable for...

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New HRA Option for Businesses Beginning January 1, 2020

by Lisa Calick, SPHR Businesses that have struggled with wanting to provide an alternative to a group health plan for their employees will now have a new option to consider with an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), which will be available beginning January 1, 2020.  This benefit allows employers to reimburse employees tax-free for health insurance coverage bought on the individual market, thus allowing companies to provide benefits without having to offer...

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NJ Employment Law Update: Salary History Ban

In yet another step toward strengthening equal pay protections among workers, New Jersey joins the list of states that will now prohibit companies from asking prospective employees about their salary history. The new law, which will take effect in January 2020, makes it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant’s salary, commission or benefits history during the hiring process.  Companies may only consider this information if voluntarily offered by the applicant without coercion,...

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Today’s Software Solutions Vastly Improve HR Staff Productivity

Updated 7/30/2019. I recently visited a client company with over 750 employees. The HR staff kept track of vacations on a spreadsheet. Anyone considering taking time off would first call up some poor overworked HR rep and see how many days they had remaining. That rep would have to then manually update the remaining totals. I have to imagine that was pretty much how that staffer spent his or her summer months at work. This same company had a total of about ten spreadsheets keeping...

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4 Ways to Onboard Your Employees the Right Way

By Lisa Calick The onboarding process is your company’s first involved interaction with your new employees. Waiting until they walk in the door on the first day can be too late. An effective onboarding process begins from the moment your candidates accept the job. You’ll want to show them they made the right decision and be able to make the most of the new job from day one. Here are four ways to get their career journey at your company off to the best possible start. Begin early. Plan...

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How a Mentorship Might Advance Your Career

By Kevin Kurtz Updated 7/29/2019 You’ve graduated from college with a degree that should give you a good starting point to a gratifying career. But you don’t actually have that job yet. Do you know which career positions to pursue? Large employer or small? Relocate or stay local? From point of graduation forward, it can be beneficial to have the insight and advice of someone older who’s been where you hope to go. Someone who has navigated the obstacles and blind alleys you’re about...

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Recruiting for Millennials

By Kelsey Silverstein Developing a recruitment strategy that targets millennials is no longer a future concern. It is a present-day prerequisite to obtain top talent. In order to attractively advertise your company to these young professionals, we first need to define them. So, who are Millennials? Millennials are a cohort that range from ages 23-38. In 2017, Pew Research Center found that 56 million Millennials were either working or actively seeking employment, surpassing Gen-Xers....

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HR ALERT: NJ Paid Family Leave

Governor Murphy has yet again signed a bill into law providing New Jersey employees with greater benefits. This new law expands the already existing paid family leave program in New Jersey, which has been in place since 2009. The existing program has provided paid leave to workers for up to six weeks, at a benefit equal to two-thirds of their pay, with a maximum benefit of $650 per week. Under this new law, which takes effect July 1, 2020, employees will be able to take 12 weeks...

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HR ALERT: NJ Minimum Wage Increase

Updated February 4, 2019 Governor Murphy has now signed the bill raising the minimum wage in New Jersey, something we have started to see in other states.  The state’s legislature had only passed the bill last week, but Governor Murphy quickly signed it, having been a strong advocate for this change. The new law will raise the minimum wage in increments.  The first increase is set for July 1, 2019 when it rises to $10 an hour for most workers, with future increases each year in January...

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New Jersey Employers Subject To New Paid Sick Leave law

By Lisa Calick, SPHR New Jersey employers will soon be faced with new requirements to provide paid sick leave to all employees.  Signed into law by Governor Murphy earlier this year, the new requirements will take effect on October 29th. As stated in an earlier blog, this mandate applies to businesses of all sizes and requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees, including part-time, temporary and seasonal employees.  Businesses that do not currently...

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HR ALERT: NYC Faces New Sexual Harassment Responsibilities

New York City and New York State employers need to be aware of upcoming responsibilities resulting from the passage of anti-sexual harassment laws earlier this year. The most immediate change goes into effect on September 6, 2018 when New York City employers will need to comply with the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.  As of that date, all employers will be required to post the required anti-sexual harassment notice in the workplace and provide this information to employees at...

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Governor Murphy Signs Statewide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Bill

By Lisa Calick, SPHR Governor Murphy has signed a Paid Sick Leave Law, which will now require New Jersey employers of all sizes to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees each year.  Several municipalities already have existing ordinances requiring similar leave, however this new act will preempt those individual ordinances and provide a uniform benefit requirement statewide.  The new law will take effect 180 days from the date signed, and will cover employers of all...

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NJ Lawmakers Pass Equal Pay Act: What It Means For Your Business

By Lisa Calick, SPHR New Jersey lawmakers have overwhelmingly passed the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, a comprehensive pay equity law that significantly strengthens employer requirements to provide equal pay for similar employment without regard to gender or other protected characteristics.  Governor Phil Murphy, a strong proponent of equal pay, has stated he will sign the legislation, which would take effect on July 1, 2018.  Once signed, New Jersey would have one of the broadest...

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The Importance of Finding a Mentor

By Andrea Saenz Many people have set a goal, perhaps in the form of a New Year’s resolution that, for one reason or another, has gone unmet. Perhaps you’ve started a diet, only to be drawn back to the allure of chocolate. Or you’ve joined a gym one month, and found your running shoes collecting dust the next. While it is one thing to be motivated toward a desire or project at the start, it is quite another to see that project through to completion. That’s why, in your work life,...

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The Importance of Cultivating Relationships at Work

By Lisa Calick Just as maintaining solid relationships among family and friends is vital to a sense of well-being in our personal lives, building relationships is also critical for success in the workplace. A LinkedIn study revealed that 46 percent of professionals around the world believe that their friendships at work play an important role in their overall happiness. These bonds are particularly significant to millennials, who are more likely than older generations to share highly...

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Ignite Passion and Inspire Others: Becoming a Transformational Leader

By Andrea Saenz Being a leader often comes with great responsibilities and rather high expectations to maintain. We are often our own worst critics, as we feel an arduous pressure to perform. But, what we fail to do at times, is to take a moment to pause and reflect—look introspectively and ask ourselves, “Why am I in a position of leadership? What can I bring to the table? What are some short and long-term goals that I would like to see accomplished in my own personal growth as...

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Why Leaders Need to Create a Compelling Vision

By Wiss Associate When it comes to the corporate environment, leadership vision should be far-sighted. It requires the ability to see beyond the day-to-day realities of business to determine where the company is intent on going, then finding an effective way to share that image with your team. Beyond the day-to-day All businesses can get caught up in daily operations. There are client needs to be met, supplies to be ordered, bills to pay and new relationships to build and defend....

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The Internship Experience: A Peek Inside the Lives of Four Wiss Tax Interns

By Danielle Patton, former Marketing intern For many young professionals, an internship cements the foundation for a prosperous business career. When immersed in this unparalleled experience, an internship can offer tremendous knowledge from beyond the lecture hall: evolving your academic ambitions, strengthening your network, and assisting you in acquiring valuable tools that can be used throughout your profession. But when undertaking this occupation, what can a young professional...

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Maintain Positivity When Giving Employees Negative Feedback

By Kimberly Bustamante In a classic psychology experiment, teachers were told that their students had taken an aptitude test from Harvard that would predict which students would be high achievers in coming years. The researchers did not put into place any special treatment or academic program for these students, they just told the teachers these children had been tested and found gifted. What the teachers didn’t realize is that these tests were actually fake. The “gifted”...

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How to Foster Employee Motivation and Engagement

Intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of employee motivation and how they shape employee engagement By Wiss Associate “Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” -Timothy R. Clark When you think about the most passionate people you work with, who comes to mind? Employees who seek to continually learn new things? Drive innovation? Take on additional responsibilities? These are your most engaged workers. They drive the organization forward and...

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Pursuing Top Talent in the Digital Era

By Lisa Calick Remember what recruiting talent was like during the Great Recession? In 2008 and 2009, hiring topnotch professionals involved little more than spreading the word among your staff and waiting for choice candidates to roll in. Fast-forward several years, and recruiting young, bright employees is markedly more difficult. The job market has rebounded over the last five years, recruitment tools have evolved and younger job candidates are using new media to access job information....

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Acing your CPA Exam (with Help from a few Professionals)

By Carson Bigsby, Connor Doyle and Erin Silkowski Strategies to help you prepare for test day As three accounting professionals who have recently passed the CPA exam, we understand the stress that comes with preparing for the test. You may be struggling to balance studying with a job and your personal life, putting in long days and late nights as you count down to test day. Here are some planning strategies we learned as we studied and prepared for the exam that can make this prep...

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Accommodating the Millennial Mindset and Bridging the Gap

By Wiss Associate If you’ve been working for quite a while, you know how things went when it came to accommodating new generations in the workplace. The newbies watched and learned from their wise elders, creating informal mentorships. Recent college grads paid their dues and worked their way through the ranks before gaining more authority. That’s how things have worked since … well, forever. And then came the digital age, and the balance of power tilted.   These are millennial times A...

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What’s Your Brand?

By Wiss Associate Personal Branding is the process of developing a “mark” that is created around your personal name or your career. You use this “mark” to express and communicate your skills, personality and values with the end goal being that the personal brand you develop will build your reputation and help you to grow your network in a way that interests others. They will then seek you out for your knowledge and expertise. Below are some guidelines you should follow when developing...

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Inside the Life of an Intern

We can’t believe it’s already time for our summer interns to go back to school. We really enjoyed having them around and wish them the best of luck in the upcoming school year! Here are some of the highlights of their experiences: What was it like interning in a mid-sized firm? “Working for a mid-sized firm allows for an intern to get the opportunity to work on various types of clients and audits.  I found it extremely interesting to experience how different the clients were and...

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How to Get Off on the Right Foot – Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

By Wiss Associate What is it? An Elevator pitch is a quick (30 – 60 second), clear message about you. Why is it called an Elevator Pitch? It should be short enough to share with anyone, anywhere, at any time- even in a short elevator ride, which would be about 30 seconds (Oohhhh). It tells a recruiter a bit about who you are, what your experience is and what you’re looking for. Why do you need it? It will be very handy to use in a number of situations in order to make a powerful...

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How to Assimilate Millennial Employees into your Workplace Culture

By Wiss Associate This year, the 34-and-under generation will surpass baby boomers as the largest slice of the U.S. population — and they are a steadily growing segment of the business startup class. As their influence expands in entrepreneurial America, it becomes important to understand how they differ from the boomers and Generation X workers who preceded them. Studies have shown that millennials want to think of their work lives as furthering a purpose, not just bringing home...

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How to Have a Successful Internship

By Wiss Associate For many of you college students, your summer internships are starting soon or have already started. For those who have internships, it may be your first time working in a corporate environment. Being nervous is understandable, but you should also be excited! This is a great opportunity for you to leave a good impression on your employers, grow your network, and maybe even walk away with a job offer! Here are some tips so you can make the most out of your internship. Have...

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Resume Pointers

By Wiss Associate We all want a chance to interview and show what we are made of. But first, we have to make a good impression. Here are some Resume tips to help you get that interview! Keep it direct: You don’t have to make your resume extremely detailed. Think of it as a tool for getting your foot in the door, you will have time to elaborate when you have your interview. Don’t worry about including your objective, the employer should be able to figure out what your objective is...

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Why Diversity Matters and How you can Achieve It

By Lori Graham The American business world is being challenged to diversify its talent pool to better reflect the changing face of America. To some extent, businesses are already making headway in this effort. Today, about 60 percent of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree are female. While women are still relatively rare in positions of corporate leadership, the glass ceiling is starting to shatter, and progress will continue to be made as this current group gains traction...

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Interviewing to Your Full Potential

By Wiss Associate Here’s a quick guide on how to succeed in your next interview! Interview Prep: A great interview starts with preparation. Research the company, find out what they do and find out what their culture is like to see if it’s a good fit. They will ask you what you know about their company during the interview. You can’t prepare for every single question that will be asked but there are a lot of similar questions that companies generally ask and you can prepare for...

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