Upskilling, Reskilling, or Replacing: What’s the best option in HR management?

Replacing, upskilling, and reskilling are all hiring trends in response to job vacancies within an organization. Additionally, upskilling employees can offer high-performers a path to company advancement.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling refers to training and development programs offered to an employee to improve their current skill sets. Reskilling is similar– instead of providing training on skills relevant to their current role, reskilling is training on an entirely new skill set. This type of training is best for hard-working employees who may be suitable for a position in the company that is different from their current one. Upskilling and reskilling are intelligent tactics to improve an employee’s standing in the company, but they only work if the employee is willing to put in the effort. Additionally, upskilling employees show them the company is willing to invest in them, demonstrating their value.

If an employee isn’t meeting job expectations due to a lack of effort, it’s time to consider replacing them. It’s only worthwhile investing in training and development programs for employees who will take advantage of the opportunity to better their skill set. However, sometimes, employees come across as lacking effort when they feel defeated because they lack the skills they need. Upskilling and reskilling in these scenarios do work– it will involve a few serious conversations with the employee and their supervisors to make this decision.

Sometimes, upskilling employees is relevant when considering rehiring or promoting current employees. Rehiring may be a good fit if:

  • The former employee left the company voluntarily because of a temporary life condition (moving, marriage, pregnancy) that will no longer be a barrier to their work at the company;
  • The former employee expresses pleasure and hope at the idea of being able to return;
  • The former employee has gained valuable experience in other related vocational areas before applying to return;
  • The current team will welcome the former employee back with open arms.

Upskilling and reskilling a rehired employee is especially helpful when the employee wants to return to a new or slightly different role.

Determining whether to fill a role internally or externally

When determining whether to upskill a current employee, rehire a previous employee, or hire from the outside, evaluating the organization’s current goals is essential. Is your company undergoing an evolution or revolution? In other words, is your company trying to change progressively or make a more radical or comprehensive

change? Unless the open position requires particular experience or skills, offering upskilling and reskilling to current employees is more effective than hiring new employees.

Why is upskilling employees more effective?

The answer is simple: it displays loyalty to the organization’s employees. Investing in your good employees makes them more likely to invest in the company. Plus, rehiring or upskilling fills an open position with someone who already understands the mechanisms and culture of the company, allowing for quicker integration into the new role. This creates a positive feedback loop that cultivates a healthy and positive company culture. Often, people can get bored in their roles, leading them to seek new responsibilities, professional development, and more ownership of tasks. Upskilling and reskilling promote a positive working environment.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between upskilling employees, rehiring, or hiring someone brand new, there are a few factors to consider. For example, your current staff must be willing or able to commit to upskilling. If they are not excited about it or not technically able to grow into new roles, it would be necessary to hire externally. 

Sometimes, this is where rehiring is especially beneficial: they may be more willing or able to return to a new role, but they also already understand the company culture. They are also likely to view upskilling and reskilling opportunities as a show of loyalty. Just be sure that the official job offer is clear on whether the previous time at the company will be honored, whether this will count as a new term, and what that decision means for employee benefit waiting periods and tenured employee perks. Like new hires, rehires should receive clear offer letters and job descriptions.

You should also determine the ability of the organization itself to provide adequate training for upskilling employees. Can the training be conducted entirely in-house? If not, do you want to send employees elsewhere for upskilling and reskilling, or

bring in a consultant in the field of expertise?. Finding innovative people excited about creating something new is vital to a successful evolution.

Assessing the right approach

Again, it’s essential to determine whether this is an evolution or revolution for the organization. For example, if your company is preparing to pivot into a non-adjacent market or radically changing the company culture, bringing in outside talent is the better choice. When making a revolution, you want to act quickly and efficiently, and hiring externally fits that bill. However, if your organization is evolving and growing into an adjacent space, rehiring, upskilling, and reskilling will be more effective.

Logistically, there are benefits to rehiring and offering internal promotions or role changes. Rehires and current employees won’t require as much training before starting handling their new role. Onboarding is often much more straightforward with rehires than with new hires. Rehires are already familiar with the company’s culture and policies, meaning training can focus on upskilling employees. Rehires and current employees may also have strong relationships with many coworkers and be ready to get to work. Upskilling or reskilling also delivers a positive message: the employer is generous, people-oriented, and focused more on the future than the past.

Upskilling and reskilling also make for innovative retention strategies, especially regarding rehires. Ceridian’s survey of 850,000 employee records found that “boomerang” employees,” or rehires, had a turnover rate of 35% as compared to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which found a 57% average overall; in their findings, rehires were almost twice as likely to stay through their first three years back.

It’s critical to take a holistic approach to rehiring and upskilling. Employees retaining negative feelings toward the company or any current employees who left on bad terms should be replaced entirely. Regardless of the quality of a company’s upskilling and reskilling programs, a positive attitude toward the company and its job is vital to employees’ success. Upskilling employees only benefit the company if the employee is eager to learn.

How to replace an employee

Suppose your company determines no employees are willing or technically able to grow into a new role or that the ultimate goal is a revolution that requires utterly new talent. In that case, it’s better to hire externally. However, recruiting a hard worker suited for the position can be difficult. You must ensure the new hire is a good fit for the company culture, which can influence the speed of adapting to the change. Yet, if upskilling and reskilling genuinely aren’t a good option, one of the best ways to replace an employee is to hire a temporary worker via a staffing agency like Whitman Associates

In a temp-to-perm position, you can see how potential employees perform before committing to them. This includes reviews of their performance, culture fit, and excitement for the company’s mission. By partnering with a staffing agency, you can find the best replacement for your business while cutting down time and effort in finding qualified candidates for the role. 

The benefits of temporary staffing don’t end there; you could also invest in upskilling and reskilling another current employee for the role while a temporary worker fills in for a few months. Complete a staffing request form to get started hiring with Whitman Associates.

Setting self-improvement goals for work

Almost 40% of Americans claim to have set New Year’s Resolutions this year, according to one poll, yet only 3% have written goals for self-development. There are plenty of ways that goal-setting can impact our lives, but self-improvement goals for work are one of the most neglected categories. If you’re curious about why self-development is important at work, take a look at this guide.

Why self-development is important at work: cultivating a work-life balance

Before we get into the details of setting and evaluating self-improvement goals for work, here’s a little piece of why self-development is important at work. Put simply, work self-development is a critical aspect of cultivating a work-life balance. 

There are times when work becomes our primary objective and it may at times get in the way of an ideal work-life balance. In general, though, when we have a mindset focused on self-development, it’s easier to determine if adjustments should be made to maintain the balance. Active progress on self-improvement goals for work promotes a healthier lifestyle that helps ensure our work and other aspects of our life are in check with each other. 

a blank to-do list ready to fill in

Start small and break your goals into achievable tasks

Self-improvement feels like a lofty task, but the good news is that you can work at your own speed. Setting self-improvement goals for work is more of a constant resolution than a one-time goal: you can always strive towards self-improvement. Rather than getting overwhelmed with all the aspects of why self-development is important at work, break down the nebulous idea into tangible, achievable goals that you can measure and apply more easily. 

If your self-improvement goal is to “learn new things,” for example, that’s very broad and hard to measure. However, if you try to “write down one new thing I learned at work every day,” that’s both easy to measure and simple to apply. “Taking initiative” sounds great as a goal at work, but it’s a lot easier to keep a goal that calls for specific actions, like “offering assistance” or “asking for more responsibilities on a project.” The most effective self-improvement goals for work are the ones with built-in room to grow. 

a woman’s hands typing on a laptop

Work towards career aspirations

While it may be tempting to judge your success based on the progress or skill sets of others around you, we must strive to set self-improvement goals for work that are appropriate for each of us personally – and that includes acknowledging that the right goals for you may look very different than the ideal ones for your coworker. Self-honesty is a critical aspect of self-improvement. It is also crucial to have goals that will guide you toward your career aspirations.

Many people who find themselves in a temporary job miss the opportunity to use that position to grow and develop for the next step in their career. It can be extremely powerful to choose goals that intentionally prioritize where you want to go. For example, if you want to be a partner in a law firm, there are tangible steps to take such as going to law school and applying for positions, but there are also other practical skills you can improve while at your current position. Focus on soft skills such as cooperating with a team or sharpening your research abilities. 

It helps to set goals by first focusing on your career aspirations, and then considering what smaller steps can help you get there. This means that you intentionally create your goals from big to small. In other words, look at the big picture and then dive into specifics. Similar to how it is important to engage in both long-term and short-term planning in our daily lives, we must define both big and small goals in the workplace. Self-improvement goals for work can vary from person to person based on many different factors. However, there are some common aspects to consider, including time management, emotional intelligence, active listening and a growth mindset. There may be certain attributes that will be specific or especially important to your career, such as a specialty in a skill-based profession.

Don’t be afraid to switch it up

When it comes to self-improvement goals for work, practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to tweak your goals based on your prior experiences. It’s important not just to measure progress towards meeting your goals, but also to evaluate the end result in terms of practical gains in the workplace. A goal to “improve your public speaking skills” may seem great. However, when evaluating the practical benefits of your efforts towards achieving that goal, you may recognize that you actually first need a goal to “learn to communicate clearly when presenting ideas to the team.” Your goals will be most effective when you carefully consider not just how you’re doing with them, but how they are working for you.

4 Qualities of a Good Worker

In today’s competitive job market, standing out as a potential candidate requires more than just the right qualifications. While experience and skills are essential, certain qualities of a good employee can make a significant difference in your professional journey. Whether crafting your resume or preparing for a job interview, highlighting your unique qualities with examples of positive results will give you a clear advantage over the competition. When describing the responsibilities from your previous positions, make sure you include evidence of your most marketable traits. Additionally, if you are a hiring manager, consider these four qualities of a good worker to look out for while identifying exceptional candidates for your team.

1. Initiative – Going Beyond Expectations

One valuable quality of a good employee is the willingness to take initiative and go beyond the defined scope of their role. While competence in completing assignments is crucial, employers seek individuals who proactively contribute and exceed expectations. Demonstrate instances where you have led projects and contributed innovative ideas and solutions. Emphasize your passion for a specific project or role and explain how you went above and beyond to show your sense of initiative, especially if the new role you’re seeking is directly related to that passion. This desirable quality of a good worker will immediately set you apart from the competition.

2. Prioritization – Efficiently Managing Responsibilities

The ability to prioritize responsibilities effectively sets outstanding employees apart from others. An employer seeks individuals who can balance multiple priorities and recognize the most critical and time-sensitive tasks. Being able to share examples of how you have efficiently prioritized your workload and delivered measurable results demonstrates qualities indicative of a good employee.

A woman smiling in front of a white board with flow charts

3. Communication – The Key to Professional Success

Strong communication skills are universally valuable in any career. Speaking professionally, clearly, and politely significantly enhances your professional image. Additionally, proficient writing skills are equally essential qualities of a good worker. Highlight your ability to convey ideas clearly and provide instructions effectively, as these traits are highly sought after by employers while they are reviewing resumes. Additionally, consider the times you’ve experienced miscommunications at work and the solutions you found to avoid them moving forward. Nobody is perfect, but employees who can learn from their experiences to become even better can make the most attractive hires.

Three people sitting in front of a table laughing together

4. Reliability – A Pillar of Trust

Employers seek employees they can rely on when needed the most. Punctuality and a solid attendance record exemplify the qualities of a good worker. When an employer needs extra help, a trustworthy team member takes the initiative to assist when and where the situation demands it, without waiting for explicit instructions.

By emphasizing these four critical qualities of a good employee on your resume and during interviews, you will stand out and leave a lasting impression on prospective employers. Take a moment to reflect on your experiences and identify areas where you can further enhance your initiative, prioritization, communication, or reliability. Which aspects can you self-identify that need improvement? For expert hiring or job hunting assistance, connect with our recruiting team at Whitman Associates to get started today. We’re eager to help you demonstrate the  qualities that make you a good worker.

About Whitman Associates

With over fifty years of experience providing expert staffing services to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Whitman Associates proudly offers personalized employment services to our community of talented candidates. Our staffing professionals offer coaching and development to set you up for success during interviews and throughout your career. With unique opportunities to learn via temporary and temp-to-hire positions, you can tailor your resume to reflect your long-term goals.

Navigating the lively, ever-changing professional landscape of the greater D.C. area can be overwhelming. Instead of braving it alone, work with Whitman Associates for guidance on qualities you should highlight as  a good worker. We will provide unwavering support throughout your entire job search process, from updating your resume to making a great impression by demonstrating the qualities of a good employee in your new role.

Our office is conveniently located in downtown Washington, D.C., making us easily accessible via Metro from the Farragut North or Farragut West stations. Email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com so we can get a better idea of who you are and your professional experience. Use your resume to show us your personal qualities of a good worker.

Requesting Time Off From Work

PTO (paid time off) days are a perk most companies offer , but be strategic on how you use your time and how you ask. When requesting time off from work, be aware of your supervisor and coworkers schedules, and keep in mind how it impacts your responsibilities when someone else is out on vacation. Being upfront and conscientious about requesting time off ensures that you and your colleagues are able to be comfortable with the time taken away from the office. Check out our top tips for what to do and what not to do when requesting time off from work.

Vacation beach with palm trees

1. Give Notice

Give your employer plenty of notice before taking time off. How much notice to give for PTO? That’s going to depend on your workplace, but a good rule of thumb is a minimum of 2 weeks notice if you’re taking 1-2 days and a minimum of 1-2 months for 3+ days. If you try to request off without much notice, chances are your request will be declined.

2. Request in writing

Speak with your manager first any time you are interested in taking time off. One you’ve had that conversation, be sure to formally submit your time-off request in writing or via email – a verbal request can easily be forgotten. At some organizations, employees can request time off via their payroll portal (ie. ADP or Paycom). Follow the protocols of your organization, but be sure to keep a copy of your approval in writing.

3. Be considerate of your coworkers

Try to plan your vacations, trips, etc. taking into account your supervisors and coworkers’ schedules to avoid taking time off at the same time as the rest of the office. No one wants to be at the office holding down the fort when multiple people are out on vacation. If at all possible, try not to overlap your vacations with those of your coworkers.

Another great way to make your time away go smoothly when requesting time off work is to provide a plan for how your responsibilities can be covered. Helping set your colleagues up for success while you’re away will make everyone’s lives easier and will give you the confidence that your work is being handled appropriately.

4. Medical appointments

Try to schedule any doctor’s appointments, etc. during your lunch break, or at the beginning or end of the day, so that you don’t need to miss much work. No one wants to use their precious vacation time for appointments if you can help it.

5. Sick time

If your sick days are separate from your PTO days, try to save your sick days for when you are actually sick – you never know when/if you will need them. If you have all of your PTO days combined, try to reserve a couple in case you get sick, so you won’t have to take leave without pay.

packing for vacation

6. When starting a new job

Don’t request a lot of time off within the first 3 months of a new job. If you have previously planned trips that fall within that time span, let your employer know when you are going over your offer. Also, it’s a good idea to review the company’s PTO policy since some companies have a waiting period before benefits such as PTO kick in.

7. Holidays

Don’t assume that you have all federal holidays off. Review the PTO policy and clarify which holidays are observed, and which are not. All companies are different and outside of the federal government, companies observe different holidays.

Below are some examples of an in person and emailed time off request.

Time off request conversation example:

Hi [Supervisor], would you have a moment to discuss a time off request? I have [number] PTO days, and am hoping to take [number] of days off for [reason for request] in [month]. Let me know what might be a good time to discuss this further and to get something on the calendar. Thank you.

Time off request email example:

Hi [Supervisor],

As previously discussed, I would like to request to use my PTO to take off from [Date] through [Date].
I have prepared some notes regarding any active projects, and would be happy to go through them with the team in preparation for my departure.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to ensure everything is covered in my absence.
Sincerely,
[Name]

Make Sure Your Employees Dress For Success

Man in business suit buttoning jacket

As the world finally gets some breathing room following the pandemic, many businesses are struggling to re-establish office routines. Whether it’s redistributing workloads due to staff shortages or setting policies for remote work, there are ample new or revamped workplace expectations that must be addressed to ensure a well-running business. 

One common issue employers are struggling with is the employee dress code. Regardless of what type of business you run, your workplace needs to have a strong policy in place for employee attire. 

Why? Studies show that employees gain more respect from both their customers and their peers when they are dressed in an appropriate manner. Thus, it pays to make sure that your employees are appropriately dressed for your business needs.

Read on to find useful tips and tricks to make sure your dress code is appropriate and successful. Also, you can jump ahead to see our sample dress code reminder email to employees

Find the right fit

An appropriate employee dress code doesn’t have to mean formal business attire. Rather, it requires clothing that is appropriate for the type of business being conducted. If you are an attorney meeting with business clients or making a court appearance, a suit is appropriate (and, in some courts, it’s mandatory).

Even in a more casual environment, a dress code is a must. Take the retail store for example. Virtually all stores have some sort of dress code for employees. For some, like a retail clothing store, the attire likely matches the type of clothes being sold. It’s entirely appropriate for a men’s high-end suit shop to require its employees to also wear suits to work every day. However, a casual clothing store may require employees to simply wear jeans and a button-down shirt. 

For many businesses, the most practical option is a uniform. Whether the uniform is provided by the employer or simply dictated by guidelines depends on the specific needs of the business. An upscale restaurant may require all employees to wear black pants and a solid color shirt, but not be exacting about the style as long as they match the atmosphere of the venue; whereas a ski resort may provide shirts, hats, gloves, and ski jackets with the resort emblem on them so that employees are easily recognizable. For some businesses, aprons or t-shirts with business logos may be the most appropriate employee dress code option. Regardless of the specifics, dress codes involving uniforms mean customers will have an easy time identifying employees when needed. 

Coffee barista wearing apron while arranging cups

Other businesses may have a more strict employee dress code on most days, but allow more casual attire under certain circumstances. For example, casual Fridays are popular among many businesses as a way of allowing their employees to unwind at the end of the work week. Companies where employees seldom have client interactions may permit a business casual dress code and require more formal attire only during client interactions or special presentations. Regardless of how you structure your dress code, just make sure that it is appropriate for your business.

Ease into it

Before you send a dress code reminder email to employees, you need to have an established dress code. If you haven’t previously had a strict or well-established dress code, don’t simply announce it one day and expect it to be immediately followed. Rather, take steps to ensure employee buy-in. Conduct a survey to gauge employee feelings regarding the implementation of a dress code. Be sure to ask questions that highlight potential reasons for establishing a dress code. For example, inquire whether employees have ever been asked, “Do you work here?” and how often. Or ask if employees see the financial benefit in being provided with a uniform that they don’t have to purchase. By phrasing questions in this manner, you’re giving them the opportunity to see the benefit of a dress code, as opposed to focusing on the potential burden.

Another important step is to announce your new dress code and ease into implementing it, especially if you are going from a casual environment to one requiring more formal attire. Your employees will need time to build an appropriate work wardrobe. Consider creating a trial period when the code is in effect but there are no consequences for failing to adhere to the specifics. This allows time for employees to familiarize themselves with the code specifics and gives them time to purchase new clothes, if necessary. It also forgives potential forgetfulness for tenured employees who are used to the old dress code. Once employees have had the opportunity to get used to the code, you can make it mandatory going forward.

The devil is in the details

Make sure your dress code is clear and unambiguous. To do this, give a written policy to all employees, and require them to sign an acknowledgment that they have received and understand the policy. And make sure it is always available in the same location at your office. Once they understand the policy, it’s reasonable to occasionally send a dress code reminder email to your employees.

Ensure your policy contains sufficient detail through the use of examples. Don’t simply state that your policy is “business casual.” Give specifics of what “business casual” means. Likewise, give examples of what is not appropriate as well. Include an FAQ section that you update regularly as questions arise. It is entirely likely that if one employee has a question about the dress code, others do as well. 

Communication is key

Just a Reminder  During business hours, Whitman Associates employees are expected to be dressed and groomed in a professional and businesslike manner to reflect our Washington, D.C. location. Furthermore, studies show that employees gain more respect when they are dressed in a professional manner.  We need to keep in mind what is appropriate for Business Casual when your particular assignment permits Business Casual. Business Casual wear is NOT the same attire one would wear for the weekend or at home.

Consider having a meeting to go over expectations and allow questions. During the meeting, explain the dress code in detail, and make sure your employees fully understand the reason for its implementation. Also, clearly articulate the consequences for failing to adhere to the policy. 

A successful dress code policy will require periodic reminders of what your code entails, why it’s important, and how to address questions your employees may have. Send out a quarterly email dress code reminder to all employees, and consider some sort of reward system for employees who consistently follow the code, even if it’s nothing more than a simple email thank-you note.

Here’s an example of a clear and concise reminder email: 

Just a Reminder

During business hours, Whitman Associates employees are expected to be dressed and groomed in a professional and businesslike manner to reflect our Washington, D.C. location. Furthermore, studies show that employees gain more respect when they are dressed in a professional manner.

We need to keep in mind what is appropriate for Business Casual when your particular assignment permits Business Casual. Business Casual wear is NOT the same attire one would wear for the weekend or at home.

Examples of appropriate Business Casual attire:

Slacks, i.e. khakis, dockers and similar slacks

Button-up or polo shirts

Blouses

Dress shoes (not flip flops, athletic shoes, etc.) 

Examples of inappropriate Business Casual attire:

Jeans Shorts

Leggings

Tattered, tight, skimpy or revealing clothing

Tank tops, halter tops, midriff shirts

Athletic shoes

Loose footwear, i.e. sandals, flip flops, etc.

Any questions about attire should be discussed directly with Whitman Associates. Remember, you will be treated with more respect when you are appropriately dressed. As always, thanks for your cooperation and help in this matter.

With a little planning and strategic implementation, your dress code will be a success for your employees and your bottom line!

Creating Your Ideal Work Environment

Most professionals who work full-time office jobs spend the majority of their week sitting at a desk or in a cubicle. For this reason, it’s important to have an organized work space that encourages good habits and helps you maintain a positive attitude.

This can be even more important with the rise of remote and hybrid work. The ideal work environment can be difficult to achieve if your “home office” is a corner of your dining table. Regardless of where you work, creating a clean, organized work space benefits both your productivity and your mood. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for creating your ideal work environment.

woman working home office

1. Stay Organized

A disorganized mess on your desk can lead your thoughts to also be disorganized. Having an organized workspace can help you keep your mind organized.

2. Keep a pen and paper handy

You never know when you might have to jot down a few notes, so make sure you always have a pen and piece of paper readily available.

3. Post some motivation on your wall

Remind yourself why you are working so hard. Posting a picture of your dream vacation location or some other goal that you are working towards.

4. Leave a stack of your business cards out

This won’t apply to everyone, but if you work on-site this is always a good rule of thumb. You never know when the new boss might swing by your desk or when a client might come visit, so always have your business cards the ready.

5. Stay Inspired

There are lots of different ways to stay inspired at work. For some folks, achieving work goals can be inspiring. For others, it could be pictures of a favorite place, an inspirational quote or message that you keep in your work space to help you maintain your positive attitude. If you don’t always work in the same place, be sure to personalize your desktop background so you can stay inspired wherever you’re working that day.

6. Avoid distractions

While a stress ball is okay to have in your desk drawer, try to avoid having too many little toys or other distractions around. Even the smallest of distractions can end up sucking up too much of your time. Another distraction to be wary of is your cell phone, it’s all too easy to check a notification, and end up scrolling. To keep yourself organized within your work space, consider putting notifications on do not disturb so you won’t be tempted during your workday.

7. Surround yourself with familiar faces

Put up a few pictures of your friends, family, or pets. Smiling faces will be guaranteed to boost your mood during a long day in the office.

Organized desk with notepad and plant

8. Include some nature

Keeping flowers or a small plant on your desk can help to connect you with nature while you are cooped up in your office all day. Also there are studies showing that plants can help boost your mood by releasing oxygen and can absorb toxins in the air. What better way to achieve an ideal work environment than to actually feel happier at work!

We hope these tips help you set up your ideal work environment whether you’re in an office cubicle, a coworking space or your home office!

4 Ways to Learn QuickBooks Online

Looking for a job in accounting? Then you’re probably going to need QuickBooks. Whether you’re already well-versed in accounting or you’re just starting out, it makes sense to know how to use the most popular bookkeeping software. The good news is that you can learn QuickBooks bookkeeping online—without needing a specialized degree.

Tax withholding form and a coffee cup

Why is QuickBooks Important?

Before jumping into the details of how to learn QuickBooks online, it’s important to recognize why it’s advantageous to do so. The numbers tell the story: QuickBooks has 30 years of experience at the top of the industry with millions of businesses relying on the software. When you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping, you’re plugging into a massive network of accountants, small businesses, and individuals. 

Demonstrating a good understanding of QuickBooks is likely both the easiest and the best way to establish yourself as a knowledgeable prospective or current accountant. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get work as an accountant, but don’t know how to use QuickBooks, your job-seeking experience may be a long road. Now that you understand why QuickBooks is important, let’s go over four principles for how to learn QuickBooks online.

#1: Do Your Own Accounting with QuickBooks

The fastest way to learn QuickBooks is to use it! Explore the different functionalities of this important online tool with your own accounting needs. You can use QuickBooks to organize, prepare, and file your own personal tax returns. Especially if you do some odd jobs or freelance work on the side, you can discover many of the intuitive and useful features of QuickBooks on your own.

QuickBooks offers a free trial online, so even if you don’t plan to use it long-term for your personal accounting, you can give yourself a quick crash course. Practice makes perfect, and it’s best to jump in as soon as possible.

#2: Use the Provided Help Resources

Another great way to learn QuickBooks is to use the resources available directly from the source. Intuit, the parent company for QuickBooks, provides a variety of help resources that are accessible for you as a prospective or active user of the software. Inuit recognizes that many people look for how to learn QuickBooks online, so they provide that service as information that is easy to find. 

All QuickBooks online plans include a network of dedicated support, with expert agents that can help. QuickBooks Online for accountants includes advisory training with self-paced lessons. You’ll find plenty of help in a huge library of resources and webinars.

#3: Follow Online Tutorials

Intuit’s bookkeeping resources are great, but you may also find it helpful to get outside support. There are a variety of free or low-cost online tutorials available covering everything from basic onboarding to advanced nuances of QuickBooks. You can find the right fit for you with some quick Internet searches. Check out options like Udemy, Simon Sez IT, Fit Small Business, and more. You may prefer a service that walks you through step by step or one that provides you with learning you can complete on an as-needed basis at your own pace.

There are plenty of online tutorials and guides covering how to learn QuickBooks that do have a higher cost attached, which you are welcome to pursue if you find that level of support necessary. However, with so many resources available that have no or only a small cost, make sure you really need the extra layer before committing to the higher price tag.

#4: Watch Example Videos 

Not everyone learns best by reading. Especially if you’re having trouble understanding a help article, you can search on YouTube to likely find an explainer. Hector Garcia and BookkeepingMaster are two of the most popular and well-recognized YouTube channel sources for this type of service.

Seeing people use QuickBooks in action is a valuable exercise for you to engage in as you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping. Watching the specific tactics used to get through a challenge will help you apply not just those strategies but also that type of thinking to your own bookkeeping practices. Soon, someone will ask you how to learn QuickBooks!

Man using a calculator

Get Started with Whitman Associates

Of course, the whole reason you learn QuickBooks is to land a job. You don’t have to have Quickbooks mastered to jumpstart your work in accounting or an accounting-related field. Find temp opportunities that will get your foot in the door. Send your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com for the next step in your career journey.

Professional Networking on Social Media

Is Your Personal Account Really Separate from Your Professional Life?

It’s no secret that we live in the digital age. Well over half of the global population has a presence on social media, but many people believe that using social media professionally is totally separate from scrolling through your personal feed at home. For serious job seekers, though, social media for professional networking intersects with personal usage all the time.

A phone screen showing a few social media apps

Searchable Social Media Presence(s)

Even when you have your personal account set to private, certain pieces of data are still viewable. This includes your profile picture, how many posts you have, and how many accounts you follow. You—and potential employers—can tell a lot from a simple search.

In an article well before the pandemic, Forbes explained that “social media is a key player in the job search process today,” and “more than a third of all employers utilize these sites in their hiring process.” We can expect percentages to be much higher now, as employers and job seekers alike have grown more used to conducting business online and using social media professionally. The application of social media for professional networking is a common, even expected, facet of the workforce.

Employers commonly browse the social media of prospective employees, evaluating character and personality. This includes aspects such as whether the job seeker:

  • Maintains a standard of professionalism, including politeness and respect. For instance, a hiring manager may rule out a candidate if they see them make derogatory comments on Twitter. It’s best to always keep in mind that your social media is for professional networking, even when you think it’s a personal rant.
  • Seems like a good fit for the company culture. Companies often use social media as a tool for evaluating candidates’ behavior and preferences.
  • Has the qualifications appropriate for the position. Resume truth distortion is usually easy to spot through a quick social media search. Your presence on social media typically represents your actual employment and education history.
  • Demonstrates a genuine interest in and passion for their field. For example, a publishing company looking to hire a new marketing specialist will probably love seeing a candidate who has a clearly cultivated presence on Instagram where they review books.
A smiling woman seated at a table holding a notebook

Be The Best Version of Yourself

When considering your personal and professional social media, it’s most important to still be yourself online. When you try too hard to use social media professionally, perhaps liking every post from your dream employer, you may end up coming across as inauthentic.
Posting personal updates and pictures shows off your personality, but it’s best to consider a broad audience. The “Grandma Rule” is a good principle. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, don’t post it. Even if you have separate accounts, you probably have friends and family members following your professional account, or colleagues and classmates following your personal account. It’s best to assume that your coworkers will see your posts to err on the side of safety and professionalism.

The Connectivity of Social Media

It’s called social media for a reason. It’s fun to browse on TikTok or scroll through an Instagram feed, but even these platforms aren’t just or primarily for entertainment: social media is for professional networking. While LinkedIn is traditionally associated with networking, there are so many other ways to connect with peers, past employment sources, prospective colleagues and employers, and more. Connections across various social media presences often bridge the gap between personal and professional. Now, more than ever, we discover networking opportunities through our personal social media. 

Smart job seekers will maintain an active presence on social media, cultivating their participation to be both authentic and impressive. You can be the one to link others to prospective opportunities, like connecting a colleague with your own personal contacts, and see the same energy and benefit come back around to you. Through social media, you can make connections with people you would never otherwise know. There’s a potential opportunity for you to find your dream job through social media connections.

Use Social Media to Your Career Advantage

In conclusion, seeing your personal and professional social media presences as totally separate will not serve you well. Professional behavior matters everywhere. When you understand the intersection of personal and professional social media, you can use your presence on these platforms to your career advantage. Professional networking on social media is generally expected now, so don’t be afraid to try it.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, let Whitman Associates help you. We have contacts we would love to share with you. Simply email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com to get started.

Advice for Remote Interviews

If you are actively interviewing for jobs, part of the process is being prepared for remote interviews as well as in-person interviews. With online interviews being commonplace since 2020, there is no longer an excuse for not knowing how various web conferencing platforms work. It is your responsibility to be able to utilize the client’s chosen app for an online interview and have it functional ahead of time. The company you’re applying to most likely has a specific one they use for all their internal and external collaboration.

There are lots of different applications for online interviews; some major ones include Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, and Skype. You do not need to create an account for each of these apps as you will receive an invite provided by the company holding the interview.

Online interview app icons

Whitman Associates will assist any of our candidates with a trial run of the client’s application platform so that you may prepare the collaboration tools in advance. We want our candidates to focus on the interview when the time comes and not be frustrated by the tools. There are a myriad of video chat interview tips that exist online on preparing for phone and remote interviews, but here are some key points:

Choose the right environment for your remote interview

Your background on an online interview is important. Bright lights from windows behind you can cause video of your face to be dark. You certainly don’t want the background to showcase clutter, or personal spaces such as your bed or bathroom. It is best to sit in front of a blank wall or wall with minimal graphic distractions. You don’t need a fancy ring light, but you may need to turn on a light somewhere else in the room to insure your face is well lit.

The audio is critically important. Many people will tolerate bad video to a certain extent, but clipping audio and background noises make it impossible for you to convey important responses. You need to make sure the environment is free from background noises (mowers, air conditioners, bathroom showers, construction, etc.). Find a quiet room where the background noise is minimal. Having background noises will distract from your responses does not make a good impression.

Pick the best device for an online interview

Man and woman on video interview

The device you use for your online interview is very important. It is best to use a device with all the tools integrated such as a laptop, tablet, or phone. If you are using a desktop, you need to make sure all the external components work well together and within the application you are going to be using. A critical video chat interview tip to keep in mind is that your device may need to download a plugin or grant permissions to the application in order to interact with the microphone, video, and speakers.

The integrated microphone of a laptop, tablet, or phone may be sufficient; however, it is best to use a Bluetooth or wired headset. This will allow your voice to be clear, enable your hands to be free, and allow the camera to be placed at a distance from your face.

It is important to set the phone, tablet, or laptop down on a fixed surface such that it is not moving. It is incredibly distracting during remote interviews for the camera to be wobbling and not stationary while you’re trying to explain how you can contribute to the success of the organization.

If you need reference material (your resume, notes, or the company’s website), make sure this material is positioned directly above or below the camera. The client is interested in making eye contact and trying to get to know you as much as they can via video interview.

When taking notes, place your notepad directly below the camera so that the client can see that you are writing information down. It’s best to avoid typing your notes during your interview as the keyboard noise can be distracting and may lead the interviewer to think you’re doing something other than listening to their pitch – they are trying to convey how great their company is.

Be prepared!

There are many guides available describing how to prepare for an interview. A phone call, video chat, or remote interview is just as important as an in-person interview. In fact, it is more difficult to convey body language and capture voice inflections that might indicate your excitement for working with the company. Your goal is to make the next step or interview happen and to get that job offer.

WMATA Metro Commuter Tips

If you are one of the thousands who commutes via Washington D.C. public transportation, learn how to make your commute easier, safer, and all around more enjoyable by following the tips below:

dc metro station

1. Stand right, walk left

This rule of thumb applies to riding the escalators. If you are standing, stand to the right, this leaves the left side open for walking passengers to pass by you unobstructed.

2. Load your SmartTrip Card onto your phone

Don’t worry about keeping track of your WMATA metro card, just tap your phone for metro or bus fare!

3. If you’re using a physical SmartTrip, keep it handy

While you want to keep your SmartTrip card somewhere safe, you also want to have it easily accessible so that you don’t have to hunt through your entire purse or wallet to find it when exiting the metro.

4. Wear comfortable shoes

Commuting via Washington D.C. public transportation typically means that you will have to do a bit of walking to get to and from the station, so wear comfortable shoes and bring your work shoes in a separate bag if necessary.

5. Be considerate of priority seating

On both WMATA metro and buses there are seats reserved for the elderly, disabled, or pregnant. Be a conscientious commuter and be sure to free up those seats if someone needs them.

6. Hold onto your bags at all times

Holding onto your bags will not only protect you from theft, but it’s also considerate for other passengers to keep your bags off the floor and seats.

7. Report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags

WMATA Metro police request that passengers report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags they notice to a uniformed metro worker or police officer. This action will help keep you and other riders safe while on the metro.

8. Plan your trips ahead of time

If you are a daily commuter, you probably know what time your train arrives every morning, but it’s always a good idea to check for any delays or alerts before you leave the house to avoid any interruptions to your routine.