12 Soft Skills You Need to Thrive in Today’s Workplace  

In today’s workplace, possessing technical skills alone is insufficient to excel in your career. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates with diverse soft skills that complement their technical expertise.

In this article, we will explore 12 essential soft skills you need to thrive in today’s workplace.

What Are Soft Skills and Hard Skills? 

Soft skills are personal attributes and abilities that enable individuals to interact effectively and professionally with others. They are essential for building strong work relationships, fostering teamwork, and adapting to the dynamic nature of modern businesses. These are transferrable skills like teamwork, leadership, compliance, ability to work on deadlines, communication and so on.

On the other hand, hard skills are technical know-how or skills required to accomplish tasks. Usually, people learn these skills through education, experience, and observation of those who already have the skills. Unlike soft skills, these skills are not easily transferable since not every function and industry require the same set of skills to operate. These skills are IT knowledge with specific IT expertise, accounting and finance, project management and operational know-how in specific industries, engineering and architecture.

Do Employers Seek Soft Skills as Much as Hard or Technical Skills? 

According to a survey by LinkedIn, 92 percent of HR professionals and hiring managers believe that having strong soft skills is crucial for candidates. In fact, these soft skills could be the deciding factor in hiring the right candidate. This survey found that 89 percent of hiring managers think that candidates with weak, soft skills are more likely to turn out to be “bad hires.”1

Unlike technical or hard skills, which are specific and job-related, soft skills are transferable and can be applied across different roles and industries. By continuously developing these skills, you can differentiate yourself from the competition, build strong relationships, and be more likely to get promoted.

Soft skills are not static; they can be cultivated and refined over time, making them a valuable investment in your personal and professional development.

Top 12 In-demand Soft Skills in the Workplace Today 

The modern workplace demands more than technical skills and qualifications. Soft skills play a critical role in shaping successful careers and thriving in the dynamic business landscape. As the job market evolves, employers seek to have employees who possess the following skills on their team:

1. Communication Skills

Arguably the most crucial soft skill in any workplace is effective communication. This skill goes beyond simply conveying information; it involves actively listening, understanding others’ perspectives, and expressing ideas clearly and professionally. Communication skills enable you to collaborate with colleagues, managers, and clients. It also helps prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.

In today’s digital age, communication occurs through various channels like email, instant messaging, video calls, and social media. Adeptly navigating these platforms and understanding the nuances of written and verbal communication is essential.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and those of others. High EI is associated with empathy, self-awareness, adaptability, and strong interpersonal skills. Being emotionally intelligent allows you to handle workplace challenges with composure, build empathy toward colleagues, and effectively manage conflicts.

3. Adaptability and Flexibility

In a rapidly changing work landscape, being adaptable and flexible is vital for staying relevant and successful. Industries are constantly evolving due to technological advancements, market fluctuations, and global events. Individuals who can embrace change and quickly adjust their approach to new situations are highly valued by employers.

Adaptability allows you to take on new challenges, learn new skills, and thrive in uncertain environments. Additionally, showcasing a positive attitude towards change inspires confidence in your ability to lead and navigate others through transformations.

4. Time Management

Time is a precious resource, and effective time management is crucial for maintaining productivity and achieving goals. Employees who prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and avoid procrastination are more likely to excel in their roles.

With numerous responsibilities and deadlines in a modern workplace, time management ensures that you can meet commitments efficiently without feeling overwhelmed. It also demonstrates your reliability and professionalism, leaving a positive impression on your colleagues and supervisors.

5. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Critical thinking involves analyzing information objectively and making informed decisions based on evidence and logic. Employees with strong critical thinking skills can assess complex situations, identify potential challenges, and devise innovative solutions.

Problem-solving goes hand-in-hand with critical thinking. It involves finding resolutions to challenges that arise. Being a proactive problem solver allows you to contribute to your team and positively impact the organization’s overall success.

6. Teamwork and Collaboration

In today’s interconnected world, teamwork and collaboration have become integral to workplace success. Whether working on a project with colleagues from different departments or collaborating remotely with team members in different time zones, the ability to work cohesively as part of a team is highly valued.

Effective teamwork involves active communication, respect for diverse perspectives, and a willingness to share responsibilities and credit for success.

7. Leadership and Influence

Leadership is not limited to managerial positions; it can be demonstrated at any level of an organization. Good leaders inspire and influence others positively, guiding their teams toward achieving shared objectives.

Strong leadership involves effective communication, setting clear goals, providing feedback, and leading by example. Cultivating leadership skills showcases  your ability to motivate and mentor others.

8. Conflict Resolution

Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, but effective conflict resolution can prevent escalation and maintain a professional atmosphere. Employees who can handle conflicts constructively, listen to all parties and work to find solutions that satisfy everyone involved. Conflict resolution skills contribute to better team dynamics and help organizations navigate challenging situations while minimizing disruptions.

9. Networking and Relationship Building

Networking allows you to gain new perspectives, opportunities, and industry insights. It can also lead to potential collaborations or future career advancements.

Active networking involves attending industry events, engaging with peers online and offline, and maintaining genuine connections. Building relationships opens doors to exciting prospects and strengthens your professional reputation.

10. Resilience

The modern workplace can be demanding and challenging, leading to stressful situations and setbacks. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and maintain a positive outlook.

Resilient individuals can cope with failures, learn from their mistakes, and keep projects on track . Demonstrating resilience shows your ability to handle pressure and inspires confidence in your colleagues and leaders.

11. Positive Attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude can impact your workplace experience and productivity. It allows you to stay optimistic and see obstacles as opportunities for growth. A positive attitude doesn’t only boost your energy but also influences and motivates those around you.

12. Accountability and Responsibility

Taking ownership of one’s actions and being accountable for outcomes is a sign of a reliable and trustworthy employee. Individuals who demonstrate responsibility can be counted on to meet deadlines, admit mistakes, and take corrective action when needed. Accountability fosters a culture of integrity and reliability, earning the respect and trust of colleagues and superiors alike.


At Peak Performers, we believe that every individual possesses unique talents and abilities that can contribute to a thriving workplace. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to support you throughout your job search, providing personalized guidance and matching you with employers who prioritize diversity and embrace the value of your soft skills.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your career, our inclusive approach to talent acquisition ensures that your abilities and strengths are recognized and celebrated. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.


1. “LinkedIn Releases 2019 Global Talent Trends Report” LinkedIn Pressroom, 28 January 2019, https://news.linkedin.com/2019/January/linkedin-releases-2019-global-talent-trends-report

Networking in 2023: Offline and Online Relationships Matter 

In today’s interconnected professional landscape, the power of networking cannot be underestimated. It has become a vital skill that can open doors, foster collaborations, and propel career growth.

However, successful networking goes beyond merely exchanging business cards at events. It hinges on building meaningful relationships that stand the test of time and serves as a foundation for professional success.

In this article, we provide practical and effective networking tips that can help you establish genuine connections, expand your network, and unlock exciting opportunities that can propel your career to new heights.

What Is Networking and Why Is It So Important? 

Networking is the process of creating and nurturing relationships with other professionals and individuals in your field of interest or industry. It involves actively engaging with others, whether in person or online, to build a mutually beneficial connection. And it is important for several reasons:

1. Opportunities

According to Zippa, Networking has been instrumental in securing the current employment of approximately 70% of individuals.¹

Networking helps professionals to expand their opportunities for career growth, job prospects, and business ventures. Connecting with a diverse range of individuals increases your chances of learning about new job openings, projects, collaborations, and partnerships.

 2. Knowledge and Learning

Networking allows professionals to gain valuable insights, knowledge, and expertise from others in their field. Imagine engaging in conversations, attending industry events, or participating in professional groups. These activities can expose you to new ideas, industry trends, and best practices.

 3. Collaboration and Support

Networking provides a platform for collaboration and support. You can find potential mentors, advisors, and partners who can guide you, share their experiences, and support your professional journey. Building a solid network can lead to mutually beneficial relationships where professionals help and support each other.

 4. Reputation and Visibility

Networking helps professionals build their reputation and increase their visibility within their industry. When you actively engage with others and contribute to discussions, you become known for your expertise and thought leadership. This can lead to increased recognition, career advancements, and opportunities for speaking engagements or thought leadership positions.

How Can You Start Networking? 

Starting networking can seem daunting, but with a strategic approach and some key steps, you can begin building your professional network. Here are some networking tips to help you get started:

1. Define your goals.

Clarify what you want to achieve through networking. Setting clear goals will guide your networking efforts. Are you seeking:

  • Career opportunities
  • Mentorship
  • Industry knowledge
  • Specific connections


2. Leverage existing contacts.

Start by reaching out to your current contacts, such as colleagues, classmates, friends, or family members. Inform them about your professional interests and ask if they can introduce you to individuals in your target industry or connect you with relevant networking events or groups.

3. Attend industry events.

Participate in conferences, workshops, seminars, and job fairs related to your field. These events offer excellent opportunities to meet professionals, exchange ideas, and expand your knowledge. Be proactive in engaging with others, ask questions, and collect contact information for follow-up.

4. Utilize online platforms.

Leverage social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, and professional forums to connect with professionals in your field. Consistency is key on social media. Share content regularly, engage with others’ posts, and stay active within your network. You can do this by creating a compelling and professional online presence and joining relevant groups.

  • Comment on posts or ask thoughtful questions.
  • Share relevant insights related to your industry or area of expertise.
  • Keep an eye out for virtual events, webinars, or live streams.
  • Use direct messages to initiate more personalized conversations.
  • Ask for advice and explore collaboration opportunities.
  • Ask connections do to a virtual coffee to deepen the relationship.


By being consistent and active, you increase your visibility, stay on others’ radars, and create opportunities for networking and collaboration.

5. Seek mentorship.

Mentors can provide valuable guidance and support in your professional journey. Look for experienced professionals in your field who can offer knowledge and advice. Approach them respectfully, explaining your interest in their expertise, and request their mentorship or occasional guidance.

6. Offer assistance and value.

Networking is a two-way street. It’s not just about what you can get but also about what you can offer. Be proactive in offering assistance by sharing relevant resources or providing support to others in your network. Actively listen to their needs and find ways to contribute value.

Building a reputation as a helpful and resourceful professional can strengthen your network.

What Skills Do You Need to Network? 

Networking requires a combination of interpersonal, communication, and relationship-building skills. Here are some essential skills that can enhance your networking abilities:

1. Communication and Active Listening Skills

Develop strong verbal and written communication skills to articulate your thoughts clearly, actively listen to others, and engage in meaningful conversations. Be concise, confident, and adaptable in your communication style.

2. Relationship Building

Networking is about establishing and nurturing relationships. Develop relationship-building skills, including empathy, trustworthiness, and the ability to connect with people on a personal level. Show genuine interest in others, remember details about them, and find common ground to build rapport.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence involves understanding and managing your emotions and being aware of others’ emotions. It helps you navigate social interactions, read non-verbal cues, and respond appropriately.

4. Personal Branding

Presenting yourself professionally and authentically is crucial in networking. Develop a strong personal brand that reflects your skills, expertise, and values. Maintain a positive online presence, including a well-crafted LinkedIn profile and a professional website if applicable. Use these platforms to consistently communicate your value proposition and unique strengths.

5. Networking Etiquette

Respect others’ time, be courteous, and adhere to professional standards. Be mindful of cultural differences and adapt your approach accordingly. Networking events often have specific norms and expectations, so familiarize yourself with appropriate behavior in different contexts.

How Can I Network as an Introvert? 

Networking isn’t solely about extroverted socializing. It’s about building relationships, sharing knowledge, and creating mutually beneficial connections.

While extroverts are often inclined to meet people, this is not the same for introverts, who may not naturally gravitate toward social connections. Here are some strategies to help you navigate networking as an introvert:

1. Focus On Quality Over Quantity

Instead of trying to meet a large number of people, prioritize building deeper connections with a few individuals. Seek out smaller networking events or one-on-one meetings where you can engage in more meaningful conversations.

Quality connections can significantly impact your professional growth more than a vast network of superficial contacts.

2. Prepare and Research

Before attending an event or meeting, research the attendees and prepare an elevator pitch. Having some background knowledge or specific topics to discuss can boost your confidence and make conversations flow smoothly.

3. Find Common Interests

Look for shared interests or common ground when engaging in conversations. This can serve as a starting point and help you connect with others on a deeper level. Introverts often thrive in conversations that revolve around specific topics of interest rather than engaging in small talk.

4. Volunteer or Join Committees

Engaging in activities where you can contribute and work alongside others can effectively build meaningful connections. Consider volunteering for industry-related events or joining committees or task forces within professional associations. Working together on a common goal allows for more organic and profound networking opportunities.

5. Network One-On-One

If big events or group settings are intimidating, focus on establishing individual connections. Reach out to professionals you admire or want to learn from and request a one-on-one meeting or informational interview. These one-on-one interactions can be less overwhelming for introverts and provide a platform for more in-depth conversations.

How to Follow Up With a Contact After Networking 

Effective networking doesn’t end after the initial interaction. It requires following up with contacts, expressing gratitude, and nurturing relationships over time. Here are six networking tips to help you boost and solidify the relationship you’ve made:

1. Keep Connecting

Reference specific points discussed, any common interests or shared experiences, and express your appreciation for the conversation.

Start your follow-up message by expressing gratitude for the person’s time, insights, or any specific help they provided during your conversation. Show sincere appreciation for their willingness to engage with you and share their expertise.

2. Don’t Wait Up

Aim to follow up within a few days of the initial interaction while the conversation and context are still fresh in both parties’ minds.

3. Get Back to the Conversation

Briefly recap the key points or takeaways from your conversation to refresh their memory. This reinforces the value of your discussion and shows you were actively listening. If you discussed any action items or follow-up tasks during your conversation, remind them and express your intention to follow through.

4. Give More Input

Offer something of value to the contact as a way to contribute and continue the relationship. This can be sharing an article, resource, or relevant information that aligns with their interests or needs. Providing value demonstrates your willingness to be helpful and fosters reciprocity in the relationship.

5. Suggest Reconnection

Propose potential next steps or future engagements to keep the connection alive. This shows your proactive approach and enthusiasm for maintaining the relationship.

It could be suggesting a meeting or call to explore collaboration opportunities, offering to introduce them to someone in your network who may benefit them, or mentioning upcoming industry events where you may cross paths again.

6. Keep the Lines Open

Stay in touch periodically by reaching out to them and checking in to see how they’re doing. You can also share relevant updates, articles, or other resources. Cultivating the relationship over time is pivotal in developing a strong professional network.


If you’re seeking the next employment opportunity, Peak Performers can help you discover several jobs you might love. Especially for people with disabilities, we work passionately to connect qualified candidates with the right employers.

We believe that with the right network, skills, and determination, you’ll have everything you need to pursue your dreams. Contact us today  to learn more about us and how we can help you!


1. Flynn, Jack. “25+ Important Networking Statistics [2023]: The Power of Connections in the Workplace” Zippia, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.zippia.com/advice/networking-statistics/.

The Employed Job Seeker’s Dilemma: Can You Reach Out to a Recruiter?  

The question of whether it is acceptable to engage with recruiters while currently employed is something that most professionals ponder. It’s a topic that often stirs up mixed emotions, as it makes you weigh the potential benefits against the perceived risks.

However, embracing the idea of maintaining a conversation with recruiters while employed can be advantageous in many ways. So, going back to the question, the answer is a solid yes. But before that, let’s see what recruiters actually do.

Who is a Recruiter? 

You probably know what most recruiters do; hire new employees. They connect job seekers to companies with employment opportunities. But it goes beyond that.

Their primary role is to link candidates with the company they want to join by aligning the company’s job requirements, values, mission, and vision with the candidate’s skills and experiences. They typically work closely with hiring managers and human resource departments to understand the organization’s specific needs and develop strategies to attract suitable candidates.

They source, screen, and select potential candidates through various methods, like job postings, networking, and direct outreach, to identify potential candidates. Then they evaluate their qualifications, skills, and fit for the position through interviews, assessments, and reference checks.

It’s a long process, but ultimately, recruiters, or what we call “talent placement specialists” or “talent sourcing specialists” here at Peak Performers, act as a bridge between candidates and employers, ensuring a smooth and efficient recruitment experience for both parties involved.

Is It Okay to Reach Out to Recruiters While You’re Employed? 

As we’ve already revealed, yes (of course!), it’s generally acceptable to talk to recruiters while you are currently employed.

In fact, it can be beneficial to explore job opportunities and engage in conversations with recruiters even if you are not actively looking for a new job. Here are a few reasons why it can be a good idea:

1. Access to professional networks.

Recruiters typically have extensive networks of professionals within various industries. By connecting with them, you can expand your network and gain access to a broader community of professionals. This can open doors to new connections, mentors, and potential collaborations, which can positively impact your career growth and opportunities.

2. Staying informed about the job market.

Engaging with recruiters doesn’t necessarily mean you are actively looking for a new job. It simply means that you are proactively gathering information, exploring options, and staying aware of the opportunities that may arise. Recruiters are well-connected people who constantly interact with candidates and employers.

They are on top of anything new in the job market, and they can provide valuable insights into the changing demands of employers, emerging job roles, in-demand technologies, or specialized areas of expertise that may be relevant to your career trajectory.

They can also offer insights into which industries are expanding, which organizations are hiring, or which companies are looking to introduce new products or services. This information can help you identify potential growth areas to plan your career accordingly.

3. Exploring potential career options.

Engaging with recruiters can also give you a broader perspective on your career trajectory. By exploring different career options, you can assess whether there are opportunities for advancement or new challenges that may be more fulfilling and rewarding. It can help you identify potential career paths you may have overlooked and expand your understanding of the possibilities beyond your current position.

Recruiters can provide firsthand information about the skills and experiences that are in demand for different roles, helping you assess whether you possess the necessary qualifications or if there are areas you need to develop further. This knowledge can help you make strategic decisions about whether to adapt with an evolving industry or acquire new skills and transition to a different field.

4. Increased bargaining power.

Recruiters have insights into salary ranges, benefits, and other incentives companies provide to attract suitable candidates. Engaging with them gives you a better understanding of your market value and the compensation packages being offered in your industry.

With this information, you can position yourself as a more informed and competitive professional when it comes to negotiations within your current organization or when you begin an active search for new opportunities.

5. Building a support network.

Recruiters can act as mentors or advisors who can provide valuable guidance on various aspects of your career. They may offer feedback on your resume, interview tips, or suggestions for improving your professional profile. By leveraging their expertise and experience, you can enhance your job search strategies, refine your presentation skills, and improve your chances of securing desirable job opportunities.

6. Building your brand.

Engaging with recruiters can also lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations. When recruiters have a positive impression of you and your professional brand, they may share their experiences with others, including potential employers. This can help build a positive reputation and increase your chances of being considered for desirable job opportunities.

How to Reach Out to a Recruiter 

If you’re planning on messaging recruiters but not sure how to do it, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

1. Identify the right recruiter.

Research and identify recruiters who specialize in your industry or the type of job you’re seeking. You can find recruiters through online job boards, professional networking platforms (such as LinkedIn), or by asking for referrals from colleagues or industry contacts.

2. Craft a personalized message.

Once you have identified a recruiter you want to reach out to, write a personalized message to grab their attention. Start by introducing yourself, mentioning any mutual connections or shared interests, and expressing your interest in their expertise. Clearly state your career goals and highlight any relevant qualifications or experiences. Be concise, professional, and proofread your message before sending it.

3. Utilize online platforms.

If you’re reaching out to a recruiter on a professional networking platform like LinkedIn, you can use the platform’s messaging feature to send a personalized connection request or direct LinkedIn message. Customize your message to demonstrate why you’re interested in connecting with them specifically and how you can add value.

4. Attend job fairs and networking events.

Job fairs and industry-specific events provide opportunities to meet recruiters in person. Prepare a concise elevator pitch highlighting your skills and career goals, and engage in meaningful conversations. Collect business cards or contact information to follow up afterward.

5. Follow-up.

If you don’t receive an immediate response, follow up politely after a reasonable amount of time (typically a week or two). This shows your continued interest and professionalism. However, avoid being too pushy or sending multiple follow-up messages.

Remember, recruiters are often busy with numerous inquiries, and building relationships may take time. Keep building your network, stay proactive, and be persistent in your efforts.


Peak Performers is here to fulfill your passive or active job-searching needs. We specialize in matching candidates, especially people with disabilities, with fulfilling and rewarding positions. We believe in the power of DEI and work tirelessly to connect professionals like you with employers who appreciate your unique skills and perspectives.

Whether you’re looking for accounting, clerical, IT, or engineering jobs, our hiring process can connect you with opportunities that offer safe working conditions, comprehensive benefits, and competitive wages.

Contact us  today, and let us help you discover a career opportunity that aligns with your aspirations.

Improve Your Job Search Online, Look Beyond Job Titles!  

Looking for a job in today’s digital age has become easier—no more sifting through countless job ads in newspapers and magazines or visiting company locations just to send physical resume copies.  

However, it’s not exactly a walk in the park. A simple search online can result in hundreds of job openings and listings. Then there are different job search platforms, direct company applications, and staffing agencies. How will you know which of these opportunities would lead you to the career you strive for?  

Relying only on a job title can be misleading in many ways. So, how exactly can you find the right position? You need to look beyond job titles! 

Pitfalls of Relying Solely on Titles 

Using the job title you want as a keyword when searching online can still generate the positions you’re looking for. You may still find opportunities that pique your interest or those that follow your planned career path. 

But unfortunately, you can experience significant pitfalls that can negatively affect your job search. This can be very troubling since the more time spent searching for a job, the more money you waste.  

1. Similar job titles have varying details.

When looking at job boards, some listings may have the exact same job titles but different job descriptions and requirements. You need to understand that the industry and organization greatly affect the other details of the job requirements. Job titles for one team can have a completely different description in another organization. 

For example, the responsibilities and benefits of working as an accountant in a financial institution far outweigh those of working as an accountant in a restaurant. Then there are different focuses like loans, management, and taxation aside from the usual jobs of accountants. Each of these requires different specializations and experiences that you may or may not qualify for.  

2. Misleading usage of buzzwords.

Employers usually use buzzwords to generate more engagement with their job openings. This can be a problem when companies use buzzwords that aren’t directly related to the positions they’re filling. 

This can create confusion and disappointment for candidates who base their job search only on job titles. Instead of receiving the responsibilities they expected, they would be met with expectations misaligned with their position. 

Remember the last time you visited a job search website? There may have been other positions that popped up even though you’re specifically looking for an engineering role. This may have been caused by some of those job openings using the wrong buzzwords.  

Read More: A Better Way to Online Job Search 

Improving Online Job Search 

A strict focus on job titles can restrict your chances of accomplishing your goals. Since job titles, descriptions, and responsibilities for a position can vary per company, it can be hard finding the job that fits your goals perfectly. 

It’s best for you to move away from titles and refine your research by considering the following questions to maximize the opportunities available in the job market. Here are some questions you can ask yourself that can help improve your search online. 

Read More: 2023 Job Seeking Advice 

1. Who do you want to interact with all day?

No person is an island. As a candidate, this suggests that interacting with others will always be a part of your responsibility, no matter what company you join or what position you choose to fill. To be able to refine your job search, first, you need to identify the basics of the job you want. Start with the people who will surround you daily. 

  • Who do I want as officemates? 
  • What profession do I want my team members to have? 
  • Who are the customers I want to work with? 
  • What will my customers mainly need help with? 
  • What is my preference about the educational level and lifestyle of the new people I’ll meet every day? 

According to an article published in the International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science, 31 percent of employee retention is based on the environment within the office. 1 And one of the main factors that affect an office environment is the people within it. 

2. What do you want to do?

Think critically and create a detailed answer. Imagining yourself simply as an auditor is the same as restricting yourself to specific job titles. Focus more on the activities you would want to do once employed. 

  • Would you like to focus on analyzing research data?  
  • Do you see yourself interacting with customers about their financial standing? 
  • Do you prefer being at the desk all day with limited customer interaction? 
  • Would you like to lead people in finishing projects or help them improve their skills? 

Searching for the job you want is more about knowing the skills you prefer to utilize. In this way, you remain open to all opportunities that match the type of work you want. 

3. Where do you want to work?

Let’s say you see yourself helping customers in the field of finance. The venue where you want to work can help broaden the opportunities you consider for your next job. 

  • Can you imagine yourself in a bank setting, or are you aiming for an office inside a company?  
  • Which setting related to your industry do you find the most exciting? 

When answering this question, consider your previous answers as well. Remember that nothing is too specific since you’re simply identifying your preferences for the job you want. Try to make your responses similar to the ones below: 

  • I want to be an engineer for an organization focusing on buildings. 
  • I want to work near my home as a program specialist for a local business. 
  • I need an office that is near specific establishments like gym, hospital, or a shopping center. 

4. Why are those your preferences?

Knowing who you want to work with, what you want to do, and where you want to do it won’t be of any use to your job search if you don’t take the time to ask the reason why you want it. Take your answers and wonder about your motivations behind them.  


  • Why do I need to work with financial experts like me?  
  • Will my performance at work be different if I work with people who aren’t experts in the field?  
  • What am I hoping to gain from working with them? 


  • Why is that the type of work I want to do?  
  • Am I more interested in the marketing job than in another field of focus?  
  • What’s the reason behind my interest in specific activities?  
  • Do I like doing them because they’re the easiest or the hardest tasks to finish? 


  • Why do I need to work near these places? 
  • Does that factor affect my productivity or efficiency?  
  • What motivates me to choose specific settings more than others? 

Your Answers Are Your Valuable Tools 

Your responses to the questions above will serve as your best tool for refining your job search. Instead of looking at job titles, focus on the aspects you consider a must-have. Simply asking yourself about your preferences narrows down your search and gives you a better chance of having a fulfilled career.  

Remember: be open to different opportunities and consider other jobs that may not fully satisfy your needs while still being critical of the aspects you hold important. 


Here at Peak Performers, we value your capabilities. We believe that you deserve meaningful employment that fully utilizes the skills and talents you offer. Our expertise helps us find the right fit for your preferences, and we strive to connect the perfect employee-employer match.  

Contact us today to start your career journey! 

‘Ally’ Is a Verb: 8 Ways to Practice Allyship at Work 

Fostering a company culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion has become essential for organizations and their employees. While diversity initiatives play a vital role in creating a more inclusive environment, what truly shapes workplace allyship is the collective actions and behaviors of every individual at work.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the workforce, this article can guide you on how you can actively practice Allyship at work. By embracing these strategies, you can contribute to a more equitable and harmonious workplace where everyone feels valued and supported.

What is Allyship at Work? 

Allyship at work is the active and intentional support demonstrated by individuals within an organization to promote inclusion, equity, and fair treatment for marginalized or underrepresented colleagues. This goes beyond being a passive bystander or having good intentions.

Allyship requires deliberate actions to challenge and dismantle discriminatory practices, promote equal opportunities, amplify marginalized voices, and create a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

What Brought About This Conversation? 

The concept of Allyship originates from social justice movements and activism such as the Back Lives Matter movement. It is often associated with the civil rights movements in the United States, where individuals from different backgrounds joined forces to fight against racial discrimination and segregation.

Over time, the concept expanded beyond racial justice and encompassed other forms of oppression, such as:

  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Disability
  • Age

It became a broader framework for individuals who recognize their privilege and use it to advocate for and support marginalized communities. While Allyship has gained prominence in recent years, it is essential to note that marginalized communities have long relied on allies to help amplify their voices and effect change.

The term “allyship” itself may have become more widely used and discussed, but the underlying principles of solidarity and advocacy have been central to social justice movements throughout history.

How to Practice Effective Allyship at Work 

Allyship emerged as a way to address systemic inequalities and promote solidarity among marginalized groups. Here are a few things you can apply to practice Allyship in the workplace.

1. Educate Yourself

Seek knowledge about marginalized communities, their experiences, challenges, and perspectives. This includes understanding the historical context, social structures, and systemic inequalities contributing to oppression.

You can read books, articles, and online resources written by authors from diverse backgrounds to gain multiple perspectives. Depending on preferences, you can also consider sources like:

  • Watching Documentaries
  • Attending Seminars
  • Listening to personal stories
  • Following thought leaders
  • Participating in panel discussions or affinity group meetings

Pay attention to narratives that challenge stereotypes and be open to new perspectives. You may have to examine your own perceptions, assumptions, and circumstances so that you can better understand different views. Being open to learning new beliefs and re-evaluating yours is the beginning of fostering a more inclusive mindset.

2. Listen and Amplify

Focus on listening to the experiences of marginalized individuals. Recognize that as an Ally, you may need to step back and allow their voices to be at the forefront. Avoiding dominating conversations and actively encouraging them to speak up is a great start.

When engaging in conversations about diversity and inclusion, consider other perspectives rather than centering the discussion around your own experiences and actions.

In collaborative projects, seek their input, involve them in decision-making, and ensure their perspectives are considered.

3. Use Inclusive Language

Inclusive language includes using gender-neutral terms, person-first language, and avoiding stereotypical assumptions. Creating an inclusive work culture starts with you.


If you’re unsure about someone’s pronouns, politely ask or use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them until you receive clarification. Be mindful of using gendered language that assumes everyone fits into binary gender categories. Instead, use gender-neutral terms whenever possible.

For example, use “they” instead of “he” or “she” when referring to a person of unknown gender or when discussing a hypothetical scenario.

Person-First Language 

When discussing disability or health conditions, use person-first language that emphasizes the individual rather than defining them by their condition, recognizing their humanity before their disability. You can say “person who uses a wheelchair” instead of “disabled person.”

When addressing people with disabilities, it’s best to communicate with them about their preferences.

Avoid Stereotypes and Assumptions 

Be cautious of making assumptions or generalizations based on someone’s race, ethnicity, gender, or any other characteristic. When uncertain, ask individuals or use widely accepted terms that communities use to self-identify. Try to avoid perpetuating stereotypes or making sweeping statements such as:

  • People from that country are all rude.
  • Immigrants steal jobs and burden the economy.

Alternatively, it’s better to avoid making assumptions and stereotypes altogether. Everyone is unique, and we should acknowledge that there are differences in every community, place, ethnicity, gender, and age.

Be Mindful of Microaggressions 

Microaggressions are subtle, often unintentional, actions or comments that belittle others.

For example, telling a woman, “You’re too emotional,” implies that her feelings are invalid or excessive. Or saying to a person with a disability, “You’re so brave/inspiring,” perpetuates the notion that disability equates to bravery or inspiration. Eventually, this kind of thinking fails to recognize the qualities and achievements people with disabilities prefer to be recognized of.

As much as you can, avoid microaggressions, such as making assumptions about someone’s cultural background, questioning their abilities based on stereotypes, or invalidating their experiences.

Use Inclusive Terms 

Choose inclusive terms that encompass a diverse range of identities. For example, use “partner” instead of assuming someone’s marital status or “parent” instead of assuming gender or family structure.

Language and terminology evolve over time. Stay open to learning and adapting your language usage based on new information and feedback.

4. Challenge Bias and Microaggressions

You can’t control what everyone does, but you can use your influence to improve the situation. If you witness microaggression or biased comments, speak up and address them respectfully. This may require you to intervene in conversations, advocate for fairness, or report incidents through appropriate channels.

Consider challenging biased statements or engaging in thoughtful questioning to encourage individuals to reflect on their microaggressions or biases. For example, you can ask:

  • Have you considered the impact of your words on others?
  • What led you to believe that stereotype?

Most importantly, model inclusive behavior and language in your interactions. Treat others with respect, value diverse perspectives, and actively challenge your own biases. By being an example of Allyship, you inspire others to follow suit and contribute to a more inclusive workplace culture.

5. Support Affinity Groups and Initiatives

Find out if affinity groups or employee resource groups (ERGs) exist in your workplace. These are voluntary, employee-led communities that bring together individuals who share a common identity or experience.

  • Reach out to these groups and express your interest in supporting their initiatives.
  • Engage and learn more about the group’s experiences, challenges, and achievements.
  • Actively listen and offer your support when appropriate.

If you have specific skills or expertise that can benefit the group, offer your assistance respectfully and collaboratively. Recognize that the group’s autonomy and leadership should be respected, and your role is to support and uplift their initiatives.

6. Use Your Privilege to Advocate

Privilege can manifest in various ways, such as based on race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or ability. Reflect on how your privilege may afford you certain advantages or opportunities others may not have.

You can take on the role of an educator by engaging in conversations and raising awareness about privilege, bias, and social justice. Speak up in meetings, write letters, or join advocacy groups to support initiatives that address systemic barriers and create more equitable structures.

7. Support and Respect Boundaries

Respect the boundaries and comfort levels of marginalized colleagues. Understand that their experiences may differ from your own, and avoid pressuring them to educate you or share personal stories unless they willingly choose to do so.

8. Reflect and Learn from Mistakes

Allyship is a continuous learning process, and it’s essential to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes. Be open to feedback, reflect on your actions, and commit to personal growth and improvement.


Peak Performers is your Ally, and we firmly believe that disability should never be a barrier. By recruiting professionals from a diverse talent pool, you can create a more inclusive workforce.

Whether you need a temporary solution, direct hire, or executive search, our services cover a wide range of industries, including engineering, administrative, technology, finance, legal, government, nonprofit, and office roles.

Contact us now to learn more about how we can assist you in building a diverse workforce.

Virtual Interviews: Essential Tips and Tricks for Jobseekers

Video interviews have become commonplace in this era of remote work and virtual communication. If you’ve recently received an email inviting you to a virtual interview for your dream job, the anxiety of navigating the process may be overwhelming. However, by learning effective strategies for approaching these interviews, you can increase your chances of receiving the job offer. In this article, we discuss detailed tips that can help you excel in virtual interviews and make a lasting impression on prospective employers.

7 Powerful Virtual Interview Hacks That Works 

Here are some virtual interview tips to help you land your next virtual job:

1. Familiarize yourself with the interview platform.

Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype are top choices for virtual meetings. Take the time to explore and understand the features and functionalities of the specific platform you’ll be using. First, ensure that you have the necessary software or app installed on your device. Once the platform is installed, it takes some time to navigate through its interface.

Familiarize yourself with the various buttons, icons, and menus. Locate essential features such as mute/unmute, start/stop video, screen sharing, and chat functions. Keep files such as portfolio samples in your desktop or home folder to make it easier to share on your screen later.

Some platforms also offer a live transcription or live captioning option, wherein the platform AI captures the words spoken in the meeting and shows the words on the screen as a subtitle.

Consider exploring additional features that might be useful during the interview process. For example, some platforms offer virtual backgrounds that allow you to hide your actual surroundings and present a professional backdrop. If you would like to use such features during your interview, learn how to use them beforehand, but don’t forget about the other simple settings. Test the camera and audio settings to check that they’re working perfectly.

2. Prepare your virtual interview space.

When preparing for virtual interviews, it’s important to create a professional environment that reflects your seriousness and dedication. Here’s what you can do to prove this:

Choose a clean and clutter-free area. 

Ensure to clear out everything that may seem distracting.

Ensure proper lighting. 

Position yourself facing a natural light source, such as a window, or use artificial lighting to illuminate your face evenly. Avoid having bright lights behind you, as this can create a silhouette effect and make it harder for the interviewer to see you.

Select a neutral and non-distracting background. 

A plain wall or a neatly arranged bookshelf can work well. Avoid backgrounds that may draw attention away from you or appear unprofessional. Virtual backgrounds can be an option but choose them wisely, opting for subtle and appropriate designs.

Minimize noise and disruptions. 

Inform family members or roommates in advance about the interview and ask them to keep their noise to a minimum. If necessary, close windows to reduce outside noise, and turn off any devices that may cause interruptions.

Dress professionally. 

Even though it’s an online interview, consider appearing tidy. Starting with your hair, try to keep things professional.

Test your camera position. 

Adjust the camera angle to ensure it frames your face properly. Also, consider positioning the camera at eye level or slightly above to avoid an unflattering or awkward perspective.

3. Practice your answers.

If you want to feel more confident and articulate during your interview, consider practicing your answers. This is especially useful when it’s your first or you haven’t done so many interviews in the past.

Research common interview questions. 

While you can’t exactly know what the interviewer may ask, you can boost your confidence level by researching common questions related to the job position and industry. Look for questions that often come up in interviews, such as questions about your strengths, weaknesses, experiences, and your interest in the company. Prepare answers for these questions based on your skills, experiences, and achievements.

Structure your responses. 

Follow a structure that starts with providing a concise and clear introduction to your relevant experience or qualifications. Then, delve into specific examples or anecdotes to support your points. Finally, conclude your response by summarizing the key takeaways or lessons learned from the experience.

Practice with a mock interview. 

Enlist the help of a friend, family member, or mentor to conduct a mock interview. Ask them to act as the interviewer and provide feedback on your responses. Use video conferencing software to simulate a virtual interview environment, allowing you to practice adjusting to the virtual setting.

Focus on storytelling and examples. 

When answering questions, try to incorporate specific examples from your previous job or educational experience. This helps to make your responses more engaging and memorable. You may use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to provide a context for the interviewer.

Practice articulating your answers concisely. 

Practice delivering your answers within a reasonable time frame, typically 1-2 minutes per response. However, be mindful of rambling or going off on tangents.

4. Research the company.

By thoroughly researching the company, you’ll be able to demonstrate your knowledge, enthusiasm, and alignment with their values during the interview. This preparation also allows you to engage in meaningful conversations and stand out as a well-informed candidate.

Explore the company’s website. 

Take the time to explore different sections, such as the About Us page, mission statement, and values. Pay attention to their products or services, target market, and any recent news or press releases. Familiarize yourself with the company’s history, achievements, and future goals.

Research recent news and industry trends. 

Stay updated on recent news and developments related to the company and the industry it operates. Look for any press releases, announcements, or articles that highlight the company’s accomplishments, challenges, or plans.

Check the company’s social media presence. 

Visit the company’s social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Pay attention to their posts, articles, and engagement with their audience. This can provide additional insights into the company’s culture, recent projects, and community involvement.

Research about the interviewer. 

If you have information about the interviewer, take some time to research their background and professional experience. It may also work in your favor to know beforehand if there will be more than one interviewer. Look for their LinkedIn profiles or any published articles or interviews they may have done. This knowledge can help you establish a connection or find common ground during the interview.

5. Prepare to ask questions.

Based on your research about the company and job requirements, prepare thoughtful and specific questions to ask the interviewer. This shows you’ve done your homework and demonstrates your genuine interest in the company and the vacant role.

Ask about recent projects, company culture, growth opportunities, or any initiatives you came across during your research. If not available on their pages, you can also ask about the company’s policies and assistive technology and structures in the office to assist people with disabilities. However, avoid putting questions about salary and benefits on the frontline. Some companies often do not advertise the salary on job post for various reasons.

While it’s important to understand the compensation package and benefits, it’s generally recommended to avoid asking about these during the initial interview. Save these questions for later stages of the hiring process, such as during salary negotiations or when an offer is extended.

You can further inquire about the timeline for the recruitment process and what the next steps would be after the interview to demonstrate your eagerness to move forward.

6. Use non-verbal cues to show your interest.

During a virtual interview, body language plays a significant role in how you come across the interviewer. To practice and enhance your non-verbal communication skills:

Even when you’re being interviewed from a screen, a nervous posture can still be perceived. Maintain an open and upright posture throughout the interview.

Make eye contact. 

Look directly into the camera to create the illusion of eye contact with the interviewer. They may also catch it if you are reading from a phone screen or paper. This can make or break their impression of your attentiveness and interest in the conversation.

Show enthusiasm. 

Be mindful of your expressions, as they can influence how you come across to the interviewer. Remember to express your emotions genuinely and express enthusiasm during the interview. A warm and positive facial expression helps establish a connection with the interviewer and conveys your interest in the role.

Pay attention to your voice. 

The tone of voice is an important aspect of non-verbal communication. Aside from your visuals on screen, your voice and volume will have a strong impact on your interview. Enunciate your words and vary your tone to avoid sounding monotonous. Use appropriate volume for your mic and pace to ensure your thoughts are easily understood.

Demonstrate active listening. 

Non-verbal cues such as nodding your head and maintaining an engaged facial expression can indicate active listening. Show that you are attentively listening to the interviewer’s questions and comments at all times.

7. Be punctual and ensure connectivity.

Treat virtual interviews with the same level of professionalism as in-person interviews. Aim to be punctual and log in to the interview platform at least five minutes early before the scheduled time. This demonstrates respect for the interviewer’s time and shows your reliability.

A slow or unreliable internet connection can disrupt the flow of the interview and hinder effective communication. Before the interview, test your internet connection to ensure it is stable and reliable. You can run a speed test or try video calling a friend to confirm that your connection is strong and can support a smooth video call. It might also be helpful to close unnecessary applications or browser tabs on your computer to optimize performance.

Read more: Preparing for your interview at Peak Performers


Sometimes, finding an accessible job platform may seem like a daunting task. This is why Peak Performers is here to help! Find the company and role that matches your skills and interests best.

We’re committed to helping professionals with disabilities find employment in equal-opportunity work environments. Contact us today to find a job you’ll love.

Free Training and Learning with Metrix

Announcing Partnership with Metrix Learning

Peak Performers is proud to announce a new partnership program with Metrix Learning and Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

Through this program, current employees, as well as job seekers who connect to Peak Performers, are invited to gain free training and and certification preperation through Metrix’s platform.

Metrix Highlights:

  • Pick from 100s of courses and career tracks to help you improve your skills or learn new ones
  • Learning incorporates push reminders, quizzes, reading, and videos for an interactive learning experience
  • Training is on-line and self-guided taken completely at one’s own pace
  • Signing up is easy and it’s free

Ready to get started?

Visit this link and complete the form. Don’t forget to select “Peak Performers” when selecting “Referred By.”

Note: if you’re outside of the Austin-area, you still may be eligible to enroll. Contact info@peakperformers.org to get more information.

What happens next?

After completing a form, you will be redirected to the home page to get started learning right away. Pick from 100s of different individual courses or choose a pathway with curated course recommendations.

Learning is all online and self-guided. You can use this as an opportunity to gain additional skills or explore whether a career focus might be right for you. Watch the video to learn more about how to navigate the platform and select pathways, courses, and certifications that are right for you.



Remote work drawbacks

Considering the drawbacks of remote work

Is remote work good for my career?

I’ve worked remotely before so I get it: rolling out of bed right before work, looking out your kitchen window at the sunrise while you check email and sip coffee, taking a neighborhood walk to break up the work day—it’s pretty nice. For many other people, such as those with kids or those with certain disabilities, this can be a godsend allowing them to have a schedule that actually works for them or a work environment where they’re comfortable and productive.

For these reasons, I think that remote work will always have a place, as it should. But I think it’s still relatively new and it’s important to point out some of the drawbacks. Also, if you’re considering remote work for the first time, be sure to check out our article here.

Remote work downsides:

1) The jobs are highly competitive to attain.

According to Google, there are twice as many people looking for “remote jobs” as there are people looking for “jobs.” This is pretty consistent with the job seekers I meet. They often ask about remote work and then only reluctantly agree to consider on-site jobs or hybrid roles. Also, its estimated by Zippia that only 15% of jobs are work from home. So, if you are only considering remote jobs, realize that you will be competing against WAY more people for way fewer jobs.

2) Remote workers may be more likely to get laid off.

In a survey of 3000 managers by beautiful.ai, 60% agree that remote workers are more likely to be laid off first (only 20% said this is unlikely). Laying off people is hard—but perhaps these conversations are made a little easier when the person is not sitting across the table from you? Perhaps its made a little easier when you don’t have lunch with them in the break room every day? 

3) You may be less likely to get promoted.

Face time matters for your work life: a lot of interpersonal relationships develop in the workplace and its easier for your manager to see the great work that you do when they can see it in person. That’s not to say you can’t get promoted but that it might be harder to develop rapport with your bosses and colleagues. Also, you might have to be more deliberate about demonstrating your hard work. This trend has been called by Fast Company the “Zoom ceiling” after their study found remote workers less likely to get promoted.

4) Your boss probably likes the office.

Odd are, your boss probably enjoys working on-site and got to where they are from going into the office. For many people, their work life dominates their social life. You may be able to tout evidence of remote worker productivity, of which there’s plenty of recent discussion, but that alone won’t overcome their natural preference. After all, when you work remotely, they now have to spend a large portion of their week talking you on on video chat.

5) It can be lonely.

I can personally say that I prefer working remotely on days where I need to deeply focus on a project. However, I nearly always find myself working through lunch, rarely take that afternoon walk, and at the end of the day I’m longing to talk to someone in person, to collaborate, and I find myself eager for validation on my work product. Some of my remote coworkers describe how they’ll go out to eat dinner at a restaurant, even alone, just to be around other people. 


We’re all going to have different experiences working remotely. My boss and many of my colleagues work remotely. Many of them HAVE been successfully promoted. I’ve worked remotely as well as in a hybrid environment. There can be some incredible advantages to remote work, but it’s also important to evaluate some of these drawbacks too.

2023 Job Seeking Advice

Find a job in 2023

Top job seeking advice from Peak Performers

It’s that time of the year: time for merriment, cookies, holiday wishes, and even New Years resolutions. Top of many people’s lists are finding a job or finding a better job. Are you looking to find a job in 2023?

What are our job seeking tips for 2023?

Recession planning

Job seeking will be harder in 2023 than it was in 2022 due to a likely economic downturn (one that is probably already upon us). However, talent is still exceedingly hard to come by due to the number of people who left the workforce during the pandemic so as a job seeker the wind is still at your back. My best advice is this: do not procrastinate because more and more layoffs are happening. If you need a job, start applying for a new one as soon as possible. I have more recession planning tips here.

Network, network, network

75% of all jobs are gained by who you know. While Indeed and Ziprecruiter get the hiring limelight, most jobs are still acquired through shaking hands and making friends. So now is a great time to get on LinkedIn and build your personal brand. Now is a great time to join a job club, such as LaunchPad Job Club. Check out more about why networking is important.

Success is (partly) about showing up

In a recent Business Insider Article from 2021, they report that in retail and food industries 90% of people scheduled for interviews don’t show up. In the professional sector, people are much more likely to show up but ghosting is still a major problem felt by all employers. So stick to the basics: answer your phone when it rings, respond to employer emails, show up to your scheduled interview, and write a nice thank you letter after your interview. 

Remote work, pretty please?

Did you know that on Google the number of people looking for “remote jobs” is double that of the people just looking for “jobs?” Remote work continues to be in vogue and is a valuable accommodation for many people with disabilities as well as those with familial obligations that keep them home. However, just realize that you’ll be competing against more people than ever before for those precious remote jobs. Odds are your boss actually likes working in the office and may want you there too—in fact some companies are enacting policies to NOT promote remote workers. Consider going back into the office or at least consider a hybrid work environment.

Seek out less visible companies.

We live in a rich-get-richer attention economy. Large, well known brands will get 100s of applications to 1 received at a small/medium sized business that does not have brand name recognition. It’s always been hard to get into these companies but, since many of them are implementing hiring freezes or laying people off, it’s harder than ever before. Drive around your city and write down the names of companies that are unfamiliar to you. Read local business publications to build a list of lesser-known companies. Consider new strategies for seeking out and applying for jobs. 

Peak Performers can help you find a job

Are you ready to find a new job or a better job? Peak Performers is actively hiring!

Employment after being an entrepreneur

How do I put my start-up business on my resume?

Running your own business is hard and you have to wear many hats. I’ve been there with a failed venture called “Mr. Good Name” back in my 20s that I started with a buddy of mine. It provided online reputation management services to small businesses in Ohio.

Being an entrepreneur teaches you a lot of skills you wouldn’t normally be exposed to; however, it doesn’t always translate well to a traditional resume and some employers may be reluctant to hire you. 

Tips for translating your resume:

What do you call yourself?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is adding the title “CEO” if you were a one-person show. Yes, you were the CEO but a CEO’s resume looks really different than that of most people. Some recruiters might be concerned that you’re either arrogant or that you’re over-qualified for their position. Unless you actually had a significant amount of staff reporting to you and are actively seeking another CEO role, I would avoid lofty titles. I prefer simply “business owner/founder.”

Tailor your skills to the job.

If you’re a one-person show, you likely were the head of marketing, accounting, customer service, and sales. You did it all! Look at the kinds of roles you’re applying for and cherry pick specific experiences and skills to include. You won’t be able to include all of your experience and that’s ok.

Addressing failure.

If you’re applying for a job after running your own business, it’s probably because your business didn’t work out. In my own case, my business partner and I knocked on over a thousand doors and had a direct mail marketing campaign, but ultimately we launched the business in a recession and there was not enough market demand for online reputation management services. Am I ashamed of this? No. But culturally we tend to look down on failure without context—so provide that context. Use the experience to tell a story during the interview of what you tried and what you learned and then employers will be more understanding.

Tout your success.

If you had any success with your start-up, you probably had to work HARD for it. So include the story of your business as well as growth it achieved.

Signal that you work well with and for others.

Here’s the big one: many people start their own business because they have trouble getting a job in the first place, can’t keep a job, or have trouble working with/for other people. So, they try to do their own thing. HR wants to be assured that you will stick around after they go to all the trouble to hire. During the interview, address these concerns as directly as possible and be ready to demonstrate that you are a team player who can report to others.

What if I’m still doing it?

If you are still working at your start-up, be aware that potential employers might be concerned by this. Employers are concerned that 1) your attention will be divided 2) you’ll jump ship the moment business picks up or 3) you’ll use this job to steal customers or business secrets. It might be worthwhile to consider shuttering your business or keep it up only as a lightweight consulting gig.

Layoff FAQs and Planning

Planning for layoffs and frequently asked questions

Are layoffs coming in 2023?

Right now, the long-forecasted recession seems to be more imminent than ever. Some economists are predicting more layoffs in the near future.

Why are layoffs happening?

High tech companies sometimes act as the canary in the economic coal mine. High tech companies currently are struggling with access to cheap borrowing and venture capital. Furthermore, consumer spending has backed off. Other high tech companies are cutting back their workforce in anticipation of a coming recession.

Layoffs happen when companies need to cut down expenses. Often, employees are the most expensive part of most businesses and so they’re often the first element to be impacted when recessions happen or business slows down.

What should I do if I’m at risk of getting laid off?

  1. Work on your resume now. It can be hard to re-construct your work experience after you’re no longer with a company. When exactly did you do that project and what percentage impact did it have on the bottom line? Take the time while you’re still employed to get all the information about your current job that you may need to market yourself for your next job.
  2. Build your network. 75% of all jobs are found via referral. It’s all about who you know! Layoffs are a universally traumatic time period, for the people that leave and those who stay. If you are axed, know who you can reach out to for help finding another job and who will be your reference. Also keep in mind that often you can go to work for your competitors (provided there’s not a non-compete in place) or even your customers. Make sure to get personal contact information for people who will be allies in your upcoming job search.
  3. Get on LinkedIn. I often joke that only three kinds of people active on LinkedIn: recruiters, sales people, and job seekers. If you get on LinkedIn and start interacting with people and building your personal brand with insightful posts, you send a strong signal that you are available to work.
  4. Start applying. While you’re updating your resume and solidifying your network, you might as well apply for a couple jobs. You can take a couple of interviews and who knows…maybe you’ll find a great company to work for? Even if you don’t find a job right now, this will help you exercise these skills and get a feel for what the job market is like right now.
  5. Save some money for a rainy day. I’m not a financial counselor, but I will point out that many job seekers feel like they have to say “yes” to the first thing that comes along because they need a paycheck ASAP. If possible, try to save some money to ride out a period of job loss so that you can find the right opportunity and not just an opportunity. Similarly, you can start researching COBRA health insurance options (or other marketplace options) so you’re not left without insurance.
  6. Imagine the worst, hope for the best. While it’s not fun to imagine getting laid off, doing so can help emotionally prepare you for the worst case scenario. Doing this emotional preparation allows you to respond better in the moment and to hit the ground running if it does happen. Job loss often comes with grief and this can help you process your grief faster so it doesn’t get in the way of your new job search.

Who gets laid off first?

Layoffs often affect many people and companies all do it a little differently. Here’s some of the most frequently targeted groups of people:

  • Mid-level managers. Often, companies will seek to downsize by cutting out management. If you are a mid-level manager overseeing a small team, you may be at higher risk if your company were to merge these smaller teams.
  • Less tenured employees. Sometimes there will be a feeling of “last in, first out.” If you were recently hired you may be at higher risk.
  • Higher paid employees. Employees who have been around longer and are paid relatively higher than their peers doing similar work might also be at higher risk of lay-offs.
  • Lower performing employees. Sometimes companies will target specific employees based on performance reviews.

Who can help if I get laid off?

Peak Performers is happy to! Please browse our jobs here! Also be sure to reach out to your local workforce development center and your personal network.

Additionally, make sure to check out our local resources list. Remember, you’re not in this alone.

Artificial intelligence and the work world

Insights into the new world of work

Is artificial intelligence coming for my job?

If your job is repetitive and requires minimal independent decision making, the short answer is yes.

Yes, artificial intelligence, robots, and engineers behind these innovations are coming for your job. 

So, you should take this time to upskill. With the changing economy, it is no longer a viable excuse to say you “don’t like computers” and therefore won’t use them. Furthermore, as a society we should pour resources and training dollars to ensure that no-one who wants to gain additional skills is shut out of a job in the future because they can’t afford it or don’t have access to the technology.

The future of work

What becomes a more interesting question is: 

“What will the future of work look like when we work alongside artificial intelligence?”

In the world of chess, there is not a grandmaster alive who can beat a well coded 99 cent phone app. Computers have come a long way.

And yet it’s important to recognize that computers think and excel at different kinds of tasks than we do. A computer beats grandmasters because they are able to “see into the future” more possible moves ahead and calculate the optimal play in every possibility. They win the war of attrition by consistently making moves that are just a little bit better based on hundreds of thousands of calculations.

However, the moment that you change the rules, the algorithm becomes inoperable. Let’s say that we set up the board randomly or add a new piece that moves differently from the others. The value of humans is that they have flexible, malleable thinking and can make independent decisions without having to relearn the entire game.

Currently, the world’s leading grandmasters (who can beat other humans) are the people who religiously consult computers for optimal plays in practice and then are able to blend this with flexible, independent decision making when playing others. However, it’s also important to note that if you can download an app on your phone and have access to basically the same resources. Novice human players today are vastly better than they were a decade ago.

So how will AI impact your job?

All of our industries are seeing an infusion of AI. For recruiters, we are learning the ways of an applicant tracking system. Similar to a chess program, it’s able to quickly find candidates and also recall past interactions with those people. 

What it lacks is also important to note: the ability to read between the lines on a person’s resume, the ability be creative and see other possible jobs for which they might fit, the ability to have a conversation. Hiring humans is complicated and requires other humans and will for the foreseeable future. 

Even basic communication skills, such as responding to an email, is very difficult for a computer to do well. Language is complicated and built on very complicated and ever-changing rules. However, you can gain a lot from turning on spell check before you reply to the email.

The bottom line: learn to work with computers. They are a tool, not some scary overlord. The most successful workers in the future will be those who can learn to adopt and utilize these new tools.

Are you ready to upskill?

Peak Performers can help you find a new career. If you don’t have many computer skills, check out Workforce Solutions to learn about the free and subsidized programs they have. You can learn in-person with Austin Community College or online with Metrix and IBM SkillsBuild.