Interview Preparation – Retail Industry (ZARA Edition for Entry-Level Job Seekers)

As the retail industry slowly opens back up, more and more job applications are being submitted and students are in dire need of jobs to pay off their student loans and tuition. But also, if you are highly interested in fashion — you may want to consider applying as well.

To give a general idea on how to prepare your job application and interview for the retail industry, this post will focus on one of the brands, ZARA.

Watching the video below will be helpful to those who are interested in learning more about the company before applying. (You can find the original PREZI slides HERE)


Zara’s History

Zara is the richest valued stock in the apparel sector. They have 2,259 stores globally and 21 online stores. In 2019, the leading brand of the Inditex Group was Zara with a global net income of over 19.5 billion euros and almost 600 Zara Home stores in operation around the world.


Zara’s Customers


Understanding Expectations and Various Positions


Preparing For the Interview

Normalize Prioritizing One’s Mental Health

Image via Wall Street Journal

While WFH during the pandemic has been a toll for a staggering number of workers’ mental health, it is important to normalize making our mental health a priority instead of prioritizing our workload. That could come later. Just like how we do not expect elite athletes to perform without rest and recovery. There is no sustainable productivity improvements without addressing well-being. This goes for “connected employees” – those who are heavily engaged and connected to their company, role and colleagues.

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News suggests 5 effective steps to take in the workplace: 1) Establish workplace mental health programs, 2) Encourage mindfulness breaks, 3) Have an open-door policy, 4) Conduct mental health safety training workshops, and 5) Promote health work-life balance.

Companies need to have/implement policies – no checking of email, phone calls or any company business while being away on vacation. The company can wait so we can have the employee back at full capacity upon his/her return from well needed time off.

A Human Resources Director mentioned “I used to be a connected employee. No more – when I am gone on vacation from now on, I will not be taking my cell phone or my laptop. It can wait. If something catastrophic in HR happens, my team knows how to get in touch with me. Short of an employee death or a workplace violence act.”

The trouble during this pandemic is so many people have “worked” during their staycation/vacation. Sadly for many of us, it’s do as we say and not as we do. Poor mental health isn’t sustainable for WFH.

While this pandemic has headed into an economic boom, it could last into 2023. Therefore, right now couldn’t be a better time to start thinking about taking “mental health days” and the mental health’s impact on the human physiology. You cannot perform at your job if your head is operating in a not-so-optimum environment. Mental health days are absolutely real and absolutely necessary. With the way things have changed virtually at every workplace, looking after mental health is equally as important as physical health. It is crucial to have days to unwind and refresh. We are not robots are we are not meant to function 24/7.

Tips on how use your mental health days/breaks wisely:

It is true that when employees take a mental health day, they come back refreshed and more creative. Giving permission for yourself to relax and do something outside of work resets your brain for new thoughts, ideas, and promotes energy.

It seems that unfortunately for minimum wage workers and many essential workers, mental health days do not exist. These workers are spending so much time prioritizing the needs of the community, but they need to prioritize themselves first in order to better provide for the community. We need advocacy for more sick day pay to include mental health for this population. Labor laws must change to acknowledge mental health as a priority — to be inclusive to minimum wage workers as well as other worker segments.
Illness is NOT an opportunity to get caught up or ahead. It is the way our bodies speak to us to indicate something is amiss and requires attention.

In addition, many managers need to remember to encourage their employees to take vacation time. It is also the employee’s responsibility, but during this period of working remotely, it seems like a lot of folks forget to take breaks, and others who do — end up feeling guilty when they see their colleagues not taking vacations or days off. Management needs to keep making it clear that if you are entitled to time off, take it. No ramifications.

It is okay to ask yourself the question, “Am I OK?” everyday. If you cannot say yes to that, then you cannot expect yourself to be able to be productive and be your best self at work. It is okay to let colleagues know as well. To have that support system and to be okay with putting yourself first is so important. It needs to be normalized, as so many workers have that temptation to work from bed.

This is a reminder that we all must set our mental health as a priority everyday. Do not forget the Out of Office message. With so many working from home in this past year, it is imperative to take relief breaks throughout the day. Just as in the workplace, we can push ourselves too long and experience burnout.
More people nowadays, took a pandemic to realize and be more aware, of both the greater need for mental health days, the working de-stigmatization of it, and knowing that we all have days where our minds are tired — and it’s worse for folks with long lasting mental health issues.

We are living in a time where the normalization of mental health is starting to gain traction. Health is holistic. It encompasses not only the physical but the mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial components of individuals.


Below, NetQuote surveyed 1,012 Full-Time American Employees about their mental health.

CNYCA’S COVID-19 Economic Update: NYC job losses proportionately greatest among largest U.S. cities

Disclaimer: Content in this article was obtained from NYC Employment + Training Coalition’s (NYCETC) NYC Workforce Weekly and the Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA) to serve as a resource for job seekers and those who are curious/interested in learning more about the current economy of the workforce.


New York City’s Covid-19 payroll job loss was 13.6 percent over the first year of the pandemic, more than twice the 5.9 percent national job decline and greater than the job losses experienced in the next 14 largest U.S. cities. These data reflect the annual revision to the monthly establishment payroll employment data that was released by the New York State Labor Department on March 11th (see next item below). San Francisco’s 13.2 percent job loss and Los Angeles’ 12.1 percent decline were close behind New York City’s. The next five cities – Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Chicago – were clustered in the -9 to -10 percent range. Four cities among the 15 largest in the country – Riverside (CA), Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix – had smaller job declines than the nation overall.

The New York City metropolitan area had 9.9 million jobs in February 2020, or 6.6 percent of the 151 million national job total. During the pandemic’s first year, the metropolitan area had an 11.2 percent job decline; the rest of the metro area outside of New York City saw jobs fall off by 9.1 percent compared to the city’s 13.6 percent decline. New York City had 3.1 percent of all U.S. payroll employment as of February 2020. 

The Labor Department’s revised payroll employment data also revealed that New York City’s job losses in 2020 were greater than previously reported. In our February 12th report, New York City’s Covid-19 Economy Will Not Snap Back, we wrote that the February-December 2020 payroll job loss was 507,000, a decline of 10.9 percent. The job level for last December has now been revised downward by the Labor Department to show a drop of 575,000 from February, a revised job falloff of 12.3 percent. The annual revisions are based on administrative data compiled in connection with the payment of employer payroll taxes for unemployment insurance purposes. (The employment figures cited here are not adjusted for seasonal effects since pandemic-related impacts have been much greater than the usual pattern of seasonal ups and downs.)

The January employment levels dropped further because there had been some seasonal hiring in November and December that then ended. Even with a moderate 40,000 increase in February employment levels, the February 2020 to February 2021 New York City change shows a drop of 635,000 jobs, or 13.6 percent. The table below shows these 12-month job changes for individual industries grouped into the three categories (Essential, Face-to-Face, and Remote-Working) we feel best reflect the predominant dynamic caused by Covid-19 economic impacts. 

The revised data underscore the now-commonplace observation that the Face-to-Face industries have borne the brunt of the adverse pandemic economic and employment impacts. Led by the steep job losses in leisure and hospitality and the arts and entertainment industry, Face-to-Face industries as a group have seen a 25 percent drop in employment compared to a seven percent decline in the Remote-Working industries and a slight three percent decline in the Essential category. Nearly four out of every five New York City jobs lost over the past year have been in the Face-to-Face industries, where most workers do not get paid if they don’t work and where only a tiny fraction of workers can do their jobs remotely.

The annual employment revision saw a handful of industries with significant downward revisions while a smaller number of industries had upward revisions. Two of the hardest-hit industries had sharp downward revisions: hotel employment was revised down by 44 percent and eating and drinking places had a 12 percent downward revision. On the other hand, the other among the three hardest-hit industries –arts, entertainment, and recreation – had a 44 percent upward revision in its job numbers. However, as the above table shows, this industry still suffered a 51 percent job loss over the past year.

Child care employment was revised down by 21 percent and the revised job levels for temporary employment agencies were 30 percent lower. It had earlier been thought that given its essential role, employment had been fairly stable in grocery stores and drug stores; however, the more definitive administrative data resulted in a 10 percent downward revision in the number of grocery store jobs and a 17 percent negative change in drug store employment. There was a surprising upward revision elsewhere in the retail sector, with clothing store employment revised up by 43 percent. Among upward revisions in the Remote-Working industries, employment in publishing was reported to be 10 percent greater in the revised data, and there were upward revisions of five percent in investment banking, six percent in computer services, and eight percent in management consulting.

The Future is Hybrid

Image via The New Indian Express

Many working parents do attest that being able to work remotely or working from home was very labor-saving. They are able to dedicate time to work as well as be present for any schooling issues that their children are dealing with, on top of not having to deal with the stress of morning traffic. If they had a choice, they would prefer not to return to the office or in other words, the pre-pandemic Monday to Friday, 9-5 world.

However while there are many who praised working remotely/from home, there are many instances where employees miss/crave human interaction. There are some individuals who find that going into the office gets them out of their home. We all know that the thought of solely working from home full time would trigger mental health challenges as well.

Many employees are looking to a hybrid schedule — as it would be a nice middle ground for both companies and employees, especially where technology is available and accessible.

However, there are certain roles that make it impossible to work from home/remotely in the long term. Business domains, meeting clients, sales & marketing, human resources responsibilities, to name a few. Interaction can be hard if the client/candidate refuses to show their face on the Zoom camera, making it hard to make decisions without knowing their facial expressions.
Of course, you may be thinking it is possible through FaceTime but not everyone has an Apple device. Sales people don’t need to be in the office and HR has been working remotely for the past year.
Great, but have you ever thought about doing something and doing something well are two different things? Because it is very challenging to work with new grades in remote setup. Building trust and bonding is missing with the rest especially with new hires.

While it is completely understandable why so many folks desire to continue working remotely due to the convenience — it is functional, but far from optimal not only for the businesses but for all folks. Individuals who will continue to work remotely will find limited opportunities to grow in the firms as being out of sight, out of mind will have a new meaning. The interactions that happen on Zoom will never replace those that happen in a conference room or in the office, we all know that. There is concern for working parents where they will have a lot of time to tend to their kids and taking coffee breaks/bathroom breaks, but at difficult times like these, companies still seek ways to cut out those that they consider unproductive.

What we are seeing is a reflex reaction to the situation imposed upon us. There will always be some folks who perform better with greater flexibility, as well as those who need the structured environment. Just as those who enjoy the comfort of working in pajamas and those who feel more professional and productive in business casual. However, the reality is twofold. We have not yet seen the leveling out, which is a great argument for the hybrid environment. That being said, since adaption and adoption haven’t leveled out, there will be an ebb and flow. This may depend on developing new habits for productivity or even dependent upon what type of project/assignment is being worked on.

Employees are curious on how effective the hybrid model will be, since there will be those who get more face-to-face interactions with leadership may receive a natural competitive advantage for promotions. This raises a question — Will this create a divide? Where folks willing to go into the office, would volunteer to go in 5 days a week as a career development approach and the folks who prefers not to, will shift to companies with their entire workforce being remote?

The skills that we all have in our more traditional ways of working aren’t the same as the skills we need in a more flexible working environment. While many employers favored the positive impact location that independent work has had, they fear not being able to measure output the same (such as effective communication/engagement with internal staff).

A hybrid future is most likely, why? It can provide an excellent alternative for those who need flexibility, but also enjoy coming into the office. Of course many miss the human interaction, but not many miss the 1-2 hours of traffic, budgeting for gas, car repairs, etc. The next crucial step toward building a hybrid work environment will need to be led by leadership, where they empower their workers to have full autonomy over their own schedule. This is how companies will help more workers enjoy the flexibility that they deserve while providing them the support they need to make a successful transition.

Many individuals couldn’t work their ideal roles because employers didn’t offer flexibility. Moving forward, a blended approach is a great way to show flexibility — which empowers employees as there is a shared sense of trust and responsibility when employers allow employees to find a greater balance between work and life.
As work life will change, it opens up our freedom of choice. Some days/weeks, it will be better for our mental and emotional health to either be in the office or to work remotely. This is the best option to keep everyone happy, but also be ready to pivot again if necessary.

There are also pitfalls for hybrid future, meaning there will be less office space needed. As they are consolidating and closing locations in major cities worldwide, commercial real estate investors are showing desperation in demand, bellowing and pleading that there will be a return to the old ways.

What would be interesting, is to see the effect and hopeful reduction in the burnout that could happen when saying you do not have to take a full vacation (working remotely for a few days and not burning out on your Paid Time Off). Time will definitely tell, for those hoping to see the work/life balance become healthier with such flexibility.

College Students Encounter Obstacles of Financial Insecurity

Image via The Balance

Amid the pandemic, college students are encountering food and housing insecurity — one of the main obstacles of graduating on time and succeeding as it hinders their long-term career goals/path.

This poses as a financial crisis to many college students and recent graduates. Once again, Millennials and Gen Z’s are bearing the brunt of those who came before them.

It is not hard to believe that many students have lost financial support from their parents as a result of the pandemic, and that it would lead to food scarcity for them and not being able to pay their full amount of their rent, mortgage or utility bills. They may have lost their own supplementary jobs as well due to the long hiring freeze of many companies since March 2020, although many sectors have been slowly picking back up.

The status of their financial well-being affects between 68-72% of their mental health, leading to anxiety and depression being the highest among college graduates. Entry-level hiring has been almost cut off entirely and even STEM majors are going to have an absolutely degrading experience looking for their first job right out of graduation.

For many college graduates/recent graduates, it seems that this financial crisis leads to no hope for them. And the term “financial crisis” fits this current circumstance as there is a net inflation of tuition for certain college degrees. We are about to hit the fourth wave of the virus, and while things still are not entirely back to normal, the goals that these students set have been energy draining instead of motivating them during this situation.

Graduating from the Class of 2020 is extremely hard as this was the year that led to burnout. Additionally, there were many instances where graduates have shared the same concern about closely giving up on the idea of becoming what they studied for, while endless applying for jobs in their field that led to rejection and being ghosted by the employer.

It is going to be a major crisis for the United States if we turn our backs on an entire generation when graduates are trying to enter the workforce.

So what if you are currently lost? What if the job/career that you are looking for is currently on a hiring freeze or a decline? No vacancies at the moment? You still need to make some kind of income to keep a roof over your head.

  1. You either get creative and start your own side gig/freelance project such as starting a website/blog and get paid for it. Or if you can create your own shampoo product or using your design skills to start your own clothing line online, go for it!
  2. Or you can take a step backwards, and apply for jobs to keep you busy. Even if it isn’t the job that you are looking for, it is still a good chance for you to develop new skills that you can display on your resume.

According to Dorie Clark’s article at Harvard Business Review, he mentions something similar that will probably speak out to the crowd who is going through a tough journey right now.

Dorie states, “Unfortunately, meeting those urgent needs sometimes means that longer-range goals get shunted aside. A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, many professionals have found themselves turning down coveted promotions in order to maintain flexible hours, accepting positions in fields they actually want to leave, or saying yes to jobs they’re overqualified for or unexcited about because they simply need the money.
Those decisions — while painful — may be necessary in the short term. But a temporary departure from your professional goals doesn’t mean that all is lost. It’s essential — and possible, even with a busy day job — to stay focused on your long-term career trajectory, so you can rebound quickly and get back on a path that feels right for you.”

Below, is a survey that illustrates the population that is most vulnerable to food and housing insecurity.

#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic

How Zoom And Other Software Tools Are On The Rise in a Post-Pandemic World

Image via NextPlane
Image via TechJockey

As the world reopens, many companies have learned that online collaboration works at a lower cost. Moving forward, tech darlings such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex can replace certain in-person meetings in which everyone or half the group traveled. In other words, the future will be more of like a hybrid environment. Some meetings could happen on Zoom, while others will remain better off as in-person.

Many current WFH employees have questioned if conferences will offer options of in-person or virtual. More employees will have the opportunity to attend at a lower price or even at no cost if virtual is a choice. However, many have also complained about developing Zoom fatigue due to burnout/companies overusing or improperly using the software.

Some agreed that there should be adoption and continuation of e-signature platforms in the post-pandemic world. Depending upon circumstances, suggested tech darlings will still have a role to play but at the same time, usage will drop off dramatically if folks seek ways to engage face-to-face.

Firms have also invested a lot in work-from-home infrastructure and they see that employee productivity hasn’t suffered. Moreover, company costs are plummeting as there is no longer a need for real estate. NYC is already seeing a huge decline in office space — leading to its devalue of commercial space. If working from home or remote work will continue into the future, this leads to the reason — finances.
Along the same lines, business travel won’t be coming back anytime soon to the levels that it used to be pre-pandemic — due to financial reasons as well.
A Regional Director at a software company stated that in a way, we are all victims of our own success, because if we weren’t able to conduct business using remote tools and our company’s bottom lines were hurting, we’d all be back on the airplanes tomorrow!

The pandemic has ushered in an era that was always technologically viable for the past decade, but culturally not acceptable. Yesterday’s “office” is not what tomorrow’s “office” will be. Remote work and Zoom is here to stay as we move forward.

For many employees currently working remotely, Zoom fatigue is real however they do not have to face nightmare traffic or the fear of being a few minutes late due to a train delay because of a sick passenger. The quality of life that zero-commuting hours have provided is not something that many want to give up.
Productivity has turned out to much higher for certain folks on a Zoom call when they do not have to pay attention to the portion of the meeting that doesn’t apply to them.
In addition, Zoom’s turning on/off camera feature allows folks to gain control over their participation level while yesterday’s “office” meetings did not give them that option.

Let’s put it this way — face-to-face has mostly qualitative benefits. Zoom and other tech darlings have more quantitative benefits as you can put a cost savings on how many less miles you have traveled, how much less utilities are being spent, etc. Many companies that were opposed to remote work are now implementing it as a standard form of work.
Even in the event that the current generation of business leaders usher in the return to offices and lead to a drop off of Zoom and other tech darlings, tomorrow’s business leaders (not to mention — the one’s that are more tech savvy), won’t forget that they could accomplish a lot of their work remotely.
In other words, Zoom and other tech darlings may face a slight drop off in the short-term, but their long-term future is looking bright.

All in all, companies will need to balance cost with profitability. So far, we have mentioned that there are folks with both sides of the spectrum.
There are those who feel that they need to have everybody in a room for brainstorming future projects and can’t get what they need done via Zoom meetings.
Then there are those who say in-person group meetings were a waste of time, and they can get much more done with a quick Zoom meeting where folks can say their part and tune out/leave if there are parts of the meeting that they are not accountable for.
Additionally, while some folks enjoy commuting to work, they will not want to spend wasted hours in traffic, so having a flexible and hybrid schedule kind of option would be beneficial to both parties.

This also leads to a theory that some folks have believed that while there will be some companies that will continue to allow their employees to work remotely, they are hoping that the option will become part of a company’s “benefits” package. This could be part of the new market as many job seekers are seeking remote positions.
Many businesses found Zoom to be a huge asset to them as their customer pool has expanded globally instead of locally, which helped their business grow immensely during the pandemic.
Even if some companies reduce their usage of Zoom, there are families who have adopted that software to stay in touch with loved ones at a distance.

Eventually, a return to workplaces and classrooms will decrease the need for Zoom meetings. However, the pandemic also showed so many companies how to do business with minimal travel travel and office costs — and this learning will continue to drive the market in many ways.

Word of the Day – EVOLVE

The most important thing/word I’ve learned in the workplace this week – Evolve.

Evolve immediately. You may have committed meetings/webinars/workshops to attend but if sometimes important internal meetings can occur last minute. Evolve, you get it done – then you flip back to where you need to be.

Many employees stay at a company where the company believes in their people. Employee retention matters to the company as well. Be at a company where you can grow from within and allows you to continue growing as a person. Be at a company where it feels like you found yourself in, where they can see that your values are aligned with their values/mission. Be at a company that stands for everything that you believe in as well.

For example – your favorite part of your role in the workplace could be engaging with consumers and that can help you develop to who you are today.

When you consider applying for jobs, think about “What does this employer look for in talent?” If you are looking to work directly with consumers – you may want to do more research on that specific company that you want to work for. That company may list their ideal characteristics on the description – to name a few: someone who is friendly, a team player, someone who cares about their customers by delivering the best experience, and being influential to others.

We all know that there is so much going on in the world today, let alone a pandemic that we are still going through. Ask yourself when applying to jobs or the current role you are in (whether you are entry-level, mid-level, management or executive level – “Can I be someone who can bring a positive light to someone else?” Now this question can only be answered by yourself. An employer can coach/train you on the responsibilities for the role, but something that cannot be taught is how you show up. Your punctuality/attendance is always on you. Once you get into work, there can be perks such as employee discounts – and this depends on your performance – which can be a competitive process.

If you are looking to go into leadership roles when it comes to moving up within the brand, knowing what you want – each sector/employer has so many different critical experiences that you get an opportunity and exposure to. For example, let’s say for the retail sector. You could be a sales associate but the merch team or visual team may come in and ask you some questions about, “Hey, what are consumers saying about this product? What is it that they want?”

Sometimes, you get those opportunities to have a conversation – and those are the opportunities that are the meaningful ones because once you share what you know and your insights, that team would not want you – but they NEED you.

Eighty percent of your development and your growth is on you and twenty percent is on your leader because there is a plethora of opportunities within the brand. When you share what you want to do with your manager/supervisor, you get to sit down and have that conversation with them. You need to own your career development, share with your leader what you want and what you are looking for, know where you want to go. Then based on what you want to do, your leader will try to help you get there however, the number one driver of that is going to be YOU.

Always latch onto a mentor at work – someone who is there that is doing the job that you want.

An NYC recruiter from a global retail brand that I work close with once told me, “When someone tells you that you want to be in a role, don’t see that as a threat. But see it as a great thing that someone wants to have the job that you have. As a leader, you do your job well so you can train someone else to do that job well. So when someone tells me that they want to be a recruiter, I say ‘Great, let me show you the basics – this is what we do – obviously we need to get approval from your leadership team/employer.’ We can spend some time to chat and once there is that opportunity to stretch or get that experience, I will share with them possible openings that they can apply to and if they get the job – then they can get that experience and grow from there.”

It can’t just be you knowing what you want, but your leadership team and those mentors that you surround yourself with should know as well.

Re-envisioning the Workforce Development Sector and Labor Market Updates (March 2021)

Please note this data applies to the Greater New York City Metropolitan area and the United States only.

For many workforce development agencies, there are many factors that prevent job seekers from pursuing their dream jobs/careers.

One of the top factors would be the lack of specialized training/certifications in the field that they are looking for. Workforce practitioners have also mentioned that there are young people who need to work and cannot afford the classes, the program hours are increased, they have language barriers, not work ready or do not meet specific qualifications of the training programs.
What can the workforce development agencies do to remove this barrier for job seekers? Part of it comes to strengthening partnerships with other workforce agencies and employers versus building new training programs that are relevant for job seekers. For example to be specific, organizations may want to look into building long-term and patient partnerships (ideally in retail or hospitality) if that is what their demographics are looking for.

The second top factor would be the lack of job specific work experience – and this applies to both what job seekers can offer to the employer, and what employers are looking for in the ideal candidate. Some candidates that workforce agencies work with, may have narrow goals and expectations but not having a plan B. On the other hand, employers want what they want and are not so interested/engaged in what the referral has to say about the candidate. This means the agencies need to have those conversations with the employers up front more, especially when initiating a relationship. It is not a product that workforce agencies are pushing — but more so a relationship and partnership that they want to build. Not all employers see it that way, they see it more as a product. The transactional product versus quality partnership experience problems definitely supplement and overlap.
Also, because of changes caused by this pandemic, we can see retail and hospitality declining (as data is indicated in the later part of the labor market review). For those from the world of NO, it is important to educate employers on what is reality – the unemployment rate.

The third top factor would be educational requirements. This is often the case as certain employers are looking for — let’s say someone in their Accounting department to do some bookkeeping, processing invoices, etc. If your organization offers a training/certification program that caters to job seekers that are looking to land an Accountant/Bookkeeper job right out of completion, chances are 50/50. There are employers that do not consider graduates who do not hold a degree in Accounting, so it can prevent job seekers from obtaining employment with just the certification.

The fourth top factor would be life circumstances — which all of us go through in our lifetime. We are humans. Health concerns (with COVID still around), lack of consistent support system (energy, engagement, inspiration, motivation, stability) and childcare concerns (child remote learning, and taking care of child while parent is working from home) all play a role in this factor.

What changes should be considered when re-envisioning the workforce development sector?

(Suggested from workforce development professionals)

  • More workforce agencies working collaboratively when approaching employers for sustainable business partnerships.
  • Sector-specific training and upskilling programs in deep partnership with businesses.
  • Improve funder relationships and expectations, inaccurate or unrealistic requirements and metrics based on the populations served/sectoral needs.
  • Increase the focus in career exploration with job seekers; training program development and re-programming to meet the future of workforce.
  • Deeper, structural partnerships and consistency between businesses, government, social service and educational institutions.
  • Build house account with employers on a daily basis to better track interviews/screenings while using that tool to evaluate candidates (Deliverables make it difficult to build what we really need for participants).
  • Quantifying the need for bridge programs for jobs that are in high-growth fields.
  • Improve business trust in workforce development providers’ participants.
  • Adjust business expectations for labor market.
  • Reduce organizational competition.

Labor Market Updates/Review

As of March 2021 — the overall NYC Labor Market indicates that in 2019, there were about 4.5 million jobs and by 2025, there will be an uptick to about 4.6 million jobs; which will result in about a 125,000+ gain.


NYC projected growth sectors by occupation, Standard Occupational Classification (SOC)

  • Community and Social Service Occupations
    • Overall 94,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 106,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 12,000+ jobs gain
    • Social and Human Service Assistants: 19,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 21,000+ jobs by 2025
    • Child, Family and School Social Workers: 15,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 13,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in > 1,000+ jobs gain
    • Educational, Guidance and Career Counselors: 11,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 12,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in > 1,000+ jobs gain
    • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors, Community Health Workers, etc.
  • Construction (growth sector by business classification)
    • Overall: 138,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 133,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 5,000+ jobs decline
  • Healthcare Support
    • Overall: 446,000+ to 363,000+ jobs
    • Home Health and Personal Care: 287,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 363,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 124,000+ jobs gain
  • Computer and Mathematical Occupations, including technology
    • Overall: 146,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 170,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 24,000+ jobs gain
    • Software Developers, Analysts and Testers: About 45,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 56,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 11,000+ jobs gain

NYC projected loss sectors by occupation, SOC

  • Food Services
    • Overall: 243,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 300,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 43,000+ jobs decline
    • Fast Food and Counter Workers: 85,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 82,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 3,000+ jobs decline
    • Waiters: 77,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 61,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 16,000+ jobs decline
    • Cooks: 43,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 39,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 4,000+ jobs decline
    • Food Prep Workers: 28,000+ jobs as of 2019 to about 25,000+ jobs; resulting in 3,000+ jobs decline
    • Attendants and Helpers: 21,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 17,000+ jobs; resulting in 4,000+ jobs decline
    • Dishwashers: 15,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 12,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 3,000+ jobs decline
  • Office and Administrative Support (SOC 43)
    • Overall: 638,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 629,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 9,000+ jobs decline
    • Administrative Assistants and Secretaries: 134,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 125,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 9,000+ jobs decline
    • Others: Clerks, Human Resources Administrators, Payroll Assistants, Processors, Typists, etc.
  • Retail
    • Cashiers: 75,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 68,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 6,000+ jobs decline
    • Salespersons: 117,000+ jobs as of 2019 to 103,000+ jobs by 2025; resulting in 14,000+ jobs decline

3 Entry-Level Tips and a Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

Over the past few months, there has been many questions from individuals who are thinking of joining the real estate field. The Head of Business Development at 4 Stories and a Licensed Real Estate Advisor, Leah Azizian has created a short guide and provided 3 entry-level tips for job seekers to consider below.


Leah’s 3 Entry Level Tips

  1. Consider whether you want to join the Residential field or the Commercial field.
    In a nutshell, the Residential route tends to be a lot more emotional based. There’s a lot more hand holding involved, so you’re helping people find their homes. You really need to put yourself in their shoes and understand their current living situation, and it’s a totally different ballpark.
    Commercial, on the other hand, you’re working with investors or you’re generally working with clients who are usually focused on the PRACTICALITY of a space and on the level of return that they will be achieving.
  2. Do a lot of research on the firms and brokerages that you want to join. Keep in mind that when you’re going on those interviews, you are learning from them as much as they are learning from you. So be sure to ask the right questions.
    You really want to be able to understand the level of training that they will be offering, you want to understand the culture of the company, and you want to understand what they will expect from you.
    Sometimes, they expect certain GCIs (Gross Commission Income) to be met, so keep that in mind.
  3. Whether you are a beginner agent or a seasoned agent, you might understand this. Think about whether you want to be an independent agent or if you want to join a team. There’s a lot to learn from both ends.
    Generally, when you are joining a team, you’re really shadowing experienced agents more and you’re helping them more just with the efficiency of their day, but you’re also learning a ton.
    As an independent agent, it’s a lot more hands on and initiative involved. There are a lot more mistakes you’ll likely incur, but there will be a lot more that you will be learning from.
    There are pluses to both, but if you can find a brokerage that incorporates both elements, and where you could lean towards both sides, and join a team that offers both – even better.

Leah’s Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

1. Complete 72 Hours at a NYS Real Estate School – Do some research and look into different real estate schools nearby that you can attend. Schools usually offer in-person classes and online classes. Personally, the difference I experienced was that it was difficult to grasp the information during the online classes. The online instructors placed a lot of information on the slides and it was also not copy & paste-able, so a lot of time was spent typing notes from the slides and it wasn’t clear what was key information. But again, this was just my experience…

2. Take your School & State Exams – The rule of thumb is that the school exam will generally be more difficult than the state. The school does this in order to prep you for the state exam. In New York State, the passing measurement is 70% on the exam.

3. Associate with a Brokerage – Just as in step 1, it’s important that you do your research, interview, and speak to agents at different firms. The way I see it, there are usually two routes that an agent can take:

  • Option 1: Associate as an “Independent Agent” – which means starting off essentially on your own, building and relying on your own network, and taking on all essential tasks solo.
  • Option 2: Join a team that is already established and/or form a partnership with another agent you trust. Joining a team that is already established allows you to lean the ropes of the game and rely on a more developed network and steady cash flow. People tend to underestimate how much activity is involved with being a real estate agent. You are the CEO of your business; you are responsible for all tasks from marketing to creating your newsletter to growing your clientele to answering all emails to attending viewings, pitches, meetings etc. Having a team or forming a partnership with another agent, will allow you to juggle more and be more efficient.

Questions to keep in mind when interviewing with different brokerages, or teams:

1. What is the brokerage’s goals in the next year and 5-10 years? How is the brokerage planning to grow? This will help you get a better understanding of the company mission, and whether there is any potential opportunity for you to be directly involved in the company’s growth (this last part is for the overachievers & ambitious ones out there).

2. If interviewing a specific team, what role do they expect you take on when joining the team? What kind of schedules or systems do they have in place as a team to keep themselves organized and productive? What can you expect to learn most from joining the team?

3. As an independent agent, who will you be reporting to (who is your floor manager)? And, how often will you be touching base with them? 

4. As an independent agent, does the brokerage have any expectations from you as to what to produce in gross sales volume?

5. What resources does the brokerage or team offer to its agents; in terms of agent training, tech support, or marketing? (For new agents, understanding what type of training you can expect will be valuable when choosing a brokerage).

6. Does the brokerage or team supply client leads to its agents?

7. What is the commission split? (It’s important to understand this for leads provided by the firm v. leads closed from an agent’s network)

8. Are there any fees that you will be expected to pay (such as, desk fees, technical support, transactional fees)?


Personal Tip:

I can’t stress enough that if you’re thinking to joining the industry for a quick buck, think again. 

Being in the real estate field requires a lot of patience, hard work and hustle. Believe me when I say that clients will easily recognize if you’re in this to make your commission, or in it to genuinely help in their investment. NY has the most dense population of real estate agents, and it’s so easy to filter out which are in it for the long run and which aren’t.

I also get a lot of questions from people who aspire to be developers, investors, or “flippers”. In this case, I always suggest working for the person who holds the position you desire. If your goal is to become a developer, reach out to a development firm and see what they need help with (as an internship or volunteer work). While it isn’t a bad idea to become a salesperson and understand the buy/sell process, I believe you will learn a lot more in the field that you are specifically looking to be in. 


Hopefully, the tips that Leah has provided were helpful to readers who are considering to enter the field or are intrigued to learn more about the field. If you have any other questions or would like to speak more about what it’s like to be in the field, reach out to Leah at lazizian@lgfairmont.com or connect with Leah on LinkedIn.

The Lantern House | 4 Stories Development

The Head of Business Development at 4 Stories, the Marketing and Consulting Division for New Developments at LG Fairmont, Leah Azizian speaks about The Lantern House, “an exquisite project in West Chelsea that was developed by Related Companies. The Architect on the project was Heatherwick Studio & the Interior Designers (also British Influence) were March and White Design.”

Data used in this video is from MarketProof New Developments

Now what I love about Heatherwick Studios’ vision here is that he was inspired by the big windows in the Victorian homes in the UK. So he wanted to create a project that essentially when you are standing by the windows, you almost feel as if you’re immersed in the city and in the skyline of New York City.

Last week, we spoke about 124 West 16th Street – which is another project in Chelsea that managed to sell out in one year. This week, we’re going to speak about the Lantern House.

Since July of 2020, they’ve managed to put over 40 units into contract. Keep in mind that Chelsea is a neighborhood that’s extremely congested. There is over 750 units available amongst new developments for sale, and over 580 units in just West Chelsea alone. So let’s dive into what makes this project stand out from them all.

Tell me the specs…

The Lantern House is a 2 tower project that’s comprised of 180 units – mostly of one bedrooms and two bedrooms. The one beds are starting at $1.4 million, the 2 bedrooms are starting at right under $2 and a half million, and there’s an average offering price per square foot of right under $2,750.

What’s so awesome about The Lantern House is that the 2 towers actually connect right underneath the High Line, which is an area that’s been seeing a ton of development in the past few years and a lot more to come.

Another awesome feature about The Lantern House is that they offer purchasers the choice between a darker finish and a lighter finish.

Finishing thoughts …

Overall, The Lantern House has a handful of unique qualities that really stands out from them all. The first being the facade. It leads us to question, “Should we be seeing more projects being built with unique facades in the years to come?” and also, “Should buyers have more of a hand in their finishes and more of a choice in what’s going to be installed in their home?”


If you have any questions for Leah regarding New Developments, learning more about the real estate field, or even working in the real estate field, please reach out to her via LinkedIn or lazizian@lgfairmont.com!
LG Fairmont is hiring a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson and if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, then you may be the ideal candidate. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!