5 Tips for Communicating at Work

5 tips for communicating at workNo matter what the industry, communication is arguably one of the most important business skills. But most companies do not offer training around how to communicate more effectively with co-workers and clients. Here are just a few tips that may help you become a more effective communicator.

Ryan Judy5 Tips for Communicating at Work

UDig Raleigh Spotlight: Transitioning to the Triangle

RVAtoRaleighA few months ago I received an opportunity to move down to The Triangle to run UDig’s recruiting operations here. It has been quite a whirlwind since then. In the span of about 3 months I sold my house in Richmond, bought a house in Raleigh, packed up everything I owned, loaded a box truck and headed south about 180 miles.

As a recent transplant from our corporate office in Richmond I am quickly learning there are quite a few differences between Richmond and Raleigh from both a city/layout standpoint as well as from a market standpoint. At first glance the most obvious difference is how spread out the Raleigh-Durham area is compared to Richmond. Richmond is an old city and much more packed in from a space standpoint. The Triangle area has several distinct communities (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary) with different identities. I am still learning the lay of the land down here but the location of our UDig Office seems to be very centrally located with quick access to just about anywhere.

From a technology standpoint the markets could not be more different. Richmond has historically been dominated by the Financial Services and Legal Industries with major companies such as Capital One, Wells Fargo and SunTrust having a major presence. The Triangle has the vastness of RTP and a predominance of Biotechnology and software development. Technology actually seems to be a main driver of business rather than a supporting function. Fortune 500 companies like Quintiles, Cisco, NetApp and SAS reign supreme. One reason these companies decided to set up shop here is the fact that three major universities are situated in the area. The likes of NC State, Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill can quickly help fill the ranks with a well-educated workforce eager for experience. As Raleigh is one of the fastest growing cities in the country more and more highly skilled technology workers are moving here daily. This is a recipe for explosive growth and lots of opportunities.

UDig is very excited about the future here in the triangle and will be greatly ramping up our presence here. Keep an eye out for us at local networking events and meet ups. If you find yourself curious about the market feel free to give me a call here at our office as I am always up for conversation. Cheers to growth in the Triangle in 2015!

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Rob BrinkleyUDig Raleigh Spotlight: Transitioning to the Triangle

The Unemployment Funk

Getting UnStuckEver been unemployed for a long period of time? If so, you know all about the unemployment funk and just how hard it is to find a way to get back on the right track.  First, know that all of the blame for being unemployed doesn’t rely completely on you.  New technology and the state of the economy have changed the landscape of work. There are new standards for both employers and job seekers.

One of the main reasons people remain unemployed for a long period of time is simply, employers and recruiters alike are hesitant to work with someone who has a long gap in their work history. Why? They are stuck in the mindset that if someone was talented enough, they would have found a new role. They have automatically rejected people who currently do not have a position and only actively recruit currently employed people.

How do I get unstuck? No need to fear, there are a couple of helpful tips to improve your attractiveness to potential employers.

  1. Leverage LinkedIn. Keep your LinkedIn up-to-date and have a clear, professional picture.  Professional is the key word!  Stay away from “selfies” or informal family photos. Check out our recent blog post – 5 minute LinkedIn Check-up for tips.
  2. Better Yourself. Do something, anything, with your spare time.  Be ready to have a strong answer to what you have been doing with your time off.  Try improving your skills by volunteering in your field or something related to it, or take courses in your field.   Take every opportunity to network.  So much to success in today’s job search is about having a connection to the role. Having just one person speak up and recommend you can mean the difference between no response and an interview.
  3. Be Active. Another common reason for the unemployment blues is lack of effort.  Some people think the job is coming to them, or they have never had to worry about finding something new.  With todays’ competitive market, it is tough out there.  You have to be as active, but truthful, on as many places you can.  This includes Dice, Monster, LinkedIn, and even Facebook.  Dice and Monster are two great ways to let recruiters and employers know that you are actively looking.  Ensure you are not misrepresenting yourself (no one will hire a liar) and post your resume. When you do, you will almost certainly get a call from a recruiter somewhere.  LinkedIn and Facebook are two ways to let your extended network know that you are looking.  What better way to network than to let your “connections” and “friends” know you need something new, and fast.
  4. Apply! Lastly, just go for it! Get out there and be active.  If you see a job posting you would fit 75% for, apply! The worse they can say is no.  I hate when people told me they didn’t apply because they had 5 of the 7 years of experience the position listed.  GO FOR NO!

Good luck in your job search and getting out of the unemployment funk.  Stay active, network at every opportunity, and update your information to show, even though you’re not working, that you are working to better yourself and career.Lantor_Sam_resized

 

Sam LantorThe Unemployment Funk

The Continued Rise of Consultants in the Workforce

The Rise of Consultants In the Workforce2015 is predicted to be a great year for IT professionals.  The unemployment rate is continuing to drop for IT workers and pay is increasing.  Competition in the technology world continues to increase and therefore companies are forced to keep up by raising pay rates.  This also means that there are more opportunities to work with different companies and on exciting, new technologies.

There has also been an increase in consulting work over the past few years, and that trend is expected to continue.  There seems to be a continual shift and increased focus from traditional, full-time employment to consulting and contracting positions, especially in the IT world.  The consulting workforce is currently around a $1 billion global market, but is projected to be $5 billion over the next 5 years.  In 2014, around 50 percent of employers reported that they hired temporary workers, which is up from 40 percent the year prior.

While contracts exist among various jobs, consulting in the technology world is extremely prevalent.  As a strong IT professional there are certainly benefits in seeking a consultant gig rather than a full-time position. The biggest advantage is typically a higher wage per hour than a full-time employee salary.  Consultant positions allow liberty for the consultant to receive more versatile experience with different companies and technology portfolios.  Having the ability to move from project to project every few years or even months is a very attractive model for many candidates in the work force.

For employers, there are also many benefits to bringing on board a consultant or freelance workforce.  In IT, there are often hard-to-find or very niche skill sets.  The expertise the employer is looking for is often more easily found in the consulting world.  Having the ability to find the desired specialization without having to pay for a long time/ full- time employee supports many business models.  Temporary consultants also allow employers to have flexibility in their workforce, so that as the market demand changes, companies can easily scale up or down as needed.

Some candidates seeking employment are afraid of the perceived uncertainty, or perhaps the lack of job security of consulting positions.  However, there are no guarantees even with a full time position.  As the technology world continues to increase leveraging consultants, why not take advantage of the perks that come along with these positions?

Currence_Joanna_with border

Joanna CurrenceThe Continued Rise of Consultants in the Workforce

Life at UDig an interview with Director of Marketing, Amy Thompson

Life at UDig_Thompson2015 promises to be an exciting year at UDig!  As Andy mentioned in his recent blog post, we are evolving our organization to allow us to continue to develop the best consultants to be better partners to our clients.    We have aggressive plans for the months ahead, so make sure you are following us on LinkedIn and Facebook to stay up to date.

If you’ve been following UDig for a while, one change you may have already noticed is that we are getting more social.  This trend will continue in 2015 as we update our website, refresh the Blog and connect more  frequently.

We are getting started today by introducing our new series, Life at UDig.  In these posts, we will talk with UDig employees to learn why they Do What They Dig.  Our first interview is with our new Director of  Marketing, Amy Thompson.

Amy ThompsonLife at UDig an interview with Director of Marketing, Amy Thompson

The Future of Cloud Services

cloud servicesThough there are many Cloud services available today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to dominate the market. Within the past few years there has been a huge increase in competing services that offer a variety of features in order to attract buyers.  However, AWS has still managed to come out ahead of them. Why?

One of the biggest, most obvious, reasons for AWS market dominance is the impact of the Amazon global footprint. Everyone, both technical and non-technical, knows Amazon is continually advancing new technology and deploying constant “futuristic” products (such as the latest drone package-delivery prototype). Over the past few years Amazon has become known for their superior technology and efficient products, so small and large companies trust Amazon as a reliable source.

Connor TromblyThe Future of Cloud Services

Get Paid

Get paid stickerJust recently, I came across an interesting article titled “Which Programming Languages Pay the Best” written by Nick Kolakowski.  After reading the article I thought it would be a nice continuation of my previous blog posts about technologies that are in high demand.   It was interesting to see from their data what jobs are in high demand and how salaries correlate.   Kolakowski explains how Python, Objective-C, and Ruby on Rails are paying the highest.   However, based on the jobs we see, jenyou could also argue other languages like Java and .Net are also paying the same or more than those languages.  I believe the salary quotes in the article will vary depending on where you live and work as well as your level of experience.  I primarily focus on job openings in the Washington, D.C. metro area and I see Java, .Net, RoR, Python jobs paying well into the $120K-$150K annually range.

Greg ValentineGet Paid

What are you looking for in a leader?

LeadershipA client in the logistics and trade industry recently tasked us to help them identify a high performing Technical Project Manager to join their team. One quality the hiring manager mentioned and also included in the job description was she wanted a Project Manager to embody servant leadership. The concept of servant leadership has been around for a very long time, yet it is the first time I’ve seen it in a job description.

What is Servant Leadership? Robert Greenleaf provides a modern interpretation of what Servant Leadership is in a 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.”  He is quoted as saying:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

A servant leader is someone who isn’t power hungry; rather, they share power with the team. A leader who leads by example can be viewed as a servant leader. Greenleaf goes onto outline 10 principles of Servant Leadership:

1.       Listening – The servant-leader is a skillful listener, who listens to both what is being said, and what is not said, and sums up the will of the team.

2.       Empathy – Even if the performance is below par, you might reject the behavior and performance of your team, without rejecting them as people.

3.       Healing – The servant-leader is able to bring the team together in the wake of times of conflict or change, whether that is from outside or from within.

4.       Awareness – Of themselves, others, and what is going on around them and the team.

5.       Persuasion – Seeking to persuade by convincing others of the merits of a course of action, rather than coercing through the exercise of authority.

6.       Foresight – Using the intuition of lessons learned from yesterday to the problems of today and those yet to arise tomorrow.

7.       Conceptualization – Balancing the need to be focused on what is happening today, with the ability to provide a sense of mission and vision for tomorrow.

8.       Stewardship – Recognizing a sense of responsibility for the team, the organization, and also to the wider society.

9.       Commitment to the growth of people – A focus on developing people in terms of their personal and professional development and acknowledging the potential for their future growth.

10.   Building Community – Bringing together and developing a sense of belonging and common purpose within organizations, both large and small.

As you contemplate your next opportunity, consider these leadership characteristics and what you are searching for in your next manager.  Also, how do you demonstrate these behaviors?  Even if you do not directly manage others you lead in your interactions.  How would your co-workers define your leadership style?  Understanding your style and the style you desire in a leader will better equip you to have more effective conversations when the topic of leadership comes up in an interview process.

-Wahid Osmani, UDig Delivery Manager

Wahid OsmaniWhat are you looking for in a leader?

Giving Thanks

thanksgiving2014This week marks the great tradition of Thanksgiving in America.  The turkey, the family gathering, and, of course, football!

Since founding UDig, I’ve spent the last 13 thanksgivings as most business owners do – reflecting on how our business has grown, worrying about the future and, most importantly, being thankful for all this business has brought to our lives.

As I reflect on 2014, I’m so encouraged by our progress and excited for our future.  Our relationships with our clients continue to expand, allowing us to hire more consultants who deliver on challenging and exciting projects.  Through our consultants, we are deeply impacting our clients’ businesses and helping them achieve success.  Our clients span global industries including healthcare, financial services, energy, retail, government and software services.  And, we’ve built a national footprint, hiring consultants all across the country.

Thank you to each of our UDig consultants who work hard each day solving our client’s problems, transforming businesses and helping them capitalize on opportunities.

Thank you to our clients for continuing to put your trust in us to deliver the solutions you need.

Thank you to the UDig team for being passionate about our business and for loving to help people do what they dig!

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends!  And, Go Cowboys!

Andy

Andy FrankGiving Thanks

7 Key Steps to Building a Billion-Dollar Team

number_7Stanford recently held a 2-week series on how to build a great company culture.  Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, and Ben Silbermann, Pinterest CEO, were two of the guest speakers.  Chesky asserts that if you have an amazing product, but you can’t build a great company, then your product doesn’t matter…it will not endure.

I found these lectures simply brilliant! Throughout the series, they discussed how to build an empire with 7 key pieces of advice that I believe hiring managers should consider and job seekers should look for in prospective employers:

1.       Don’t mess up the culture.  This stems from PayPal founder Peter Thiel, after Chesky asked him for a single piece of advice.  No one should underestimate how hard it is to create a work place of devoted and passionate workers.  Building teams often gets put on the backburner, when startups are focusing so hard on product and innovation. Find the culture you’re striving for and make it a point to keep it that way.

2.       Have a clear sense of values and a clear mission.  This should also coincide with doing something unique and truly special.  Avoid the values most companies have, over-used words like integrity, innovative, etc.  Identify your core values before even starting to hire.  Chesky reiterates that you want diversity in the work place.  However, the one thing that should not be diverse, are the values of the employees. Make sure it is obvious to all outsiders what your company’s mission is all about.  Champion that mission!

3.       Constantly raise the bar: every person should hire a person better than the previous. Rather than dilute the quality as the company grows, make sure new hires are setting the bar higher.  It’s okay to be intimidated by new talent. This forces current employees to step up their game.  Chesky says, “If you want your company to live on, think about this as if you were a parent.  You want your child to endure, when you are no longer around, just as you want your company to continue to live on without you.“

4.       Ask world-class employees or competitors that you admire, what traits do they look for?   Silbermann mentions the importance of an upfront hiring strategy. Don’t wait until you’re hiring to discover what you’re truly looking for. Ask around for referrals, find the best people to seek advice from and pick their brain on where to find talent.  In many situations, very strong talent keeps the company of other very strong talent. In other words, as we say at UDig, good people know good people!

5.       Look for creative and ever curious people.  The best employees are willing to take risks.  Employers must create an environment for safe risk-taking and support those opportunities.  By taking risks, employees can build something bigger than themselves.  Strive to hire someone who will build something great and will not be arrogant about the outcome.

6.       Don’t discount how important it is to get to know the person as a person.  From there, you will then recognize their aspirations. What’s their working style? How do they like to be recognized?  Not only does this demonstrate that you care about the person as an individual, but you also collectively can gauge what their goals are.  Make sure to invest your time into each individual worker and make them feel comfortable on the team.  Strengths may never come out in an employee until you spend time to point out what they are.

7.       Only hire people that use your product religiously. This obviously applies differently for every company dependent upon their “product.”  Silbermann makes the point that not all teams should be heads down product junkies.  However, if you aren’t passionate about what the company does, then you probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.

When I listened to their lectures, I immediately correlated these 7 tips to our culture and team here at UDig.  It is truly our mission to have such a passionate and loyal group, who works closely together and collaboratively.  When you come to UDig, you can feel the shared core values and levels of service we stand to uphold.  We know exactly what type of employee we want to join our team, and are constantly looking to raise the bar.

Whether you are looking for your next opportunity or looking for new talent to join your team, I recommend you consider these 7 principles!  You can watch the full lecture by clicking here.

 

-Joanna Currence, UDig Business Development Manager

Joanna Currence7 Key Steps to Building a Billion-Dollar Team