Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

After fully completing the public profile, the next step is to land on the first page of search engine results. LinkedIn already optimized profiles to land on the first page due to a strong web ranking, so use their resources to make the profile visible.

A profile with a photo is 14x more likely to get views than profiles without a photo. The correct photo to use is a professional photo of you in business clothes. Don’t upload a photo that the boss will find offensive or vulgar.

Use the background image section as a marketing tool. The background photo above the profile photo is a space to add visual personality. Instead of a generic photo, add a company logo, a slogan, or market an upcoming project (a book, a movie, an event, etc) to increase engagement and visibility.

Is the URL unique? The generic LinkedIn URL starts with https://www.linkedin.com/in/your-name-123456j89. A unique URL looks like https://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. Personalize the generic URL link to a name you can brand. Examples include birth name, a company name, or a slogan.

Endorsements raise search engine results, yet the profile won’t allow self-endorsements. To gain endorsements, fill out the skills section and let the connections do the rest.

Interact in group discussions. Participation is mandatory to make joining a group matter. Active profiles attract other LinkedIn profiles to view the page, increasing engagement and exposure. Increased visibility increases rank in search engine.

Add relatable keywords in the profile. The information in the headline, the summary, the job descriptions, and the education section won’t raise the profile. Nonetheless, adding a keyword to each section will increase exposure when someone searches for it. Take those keywords and add it to each section.

Add media to the profile. Media makes a profile 3-dimensional with concrete proof about your online resume. Upload video, audio, web links, photos, and documents to the correct profile section. Available sections include work history, education, and summary sections.

Add bullets, numbers, and symbols. Generic summary, education, project, and work history section contain paragraph text after paragraph text. Make text lively by adding bullet points and numbered lists. Arrows, stars, trademark, and copyright symbols make the profile pop.

These suggestions will cause an uptick in search engine visibility. As more people see it, the ranking rises. Continue to keep the profile updated while remaining active in group discussions.

Resume Writing Tips to Help You Stand Out

Resume Writing Tips to Help You Stand Out

In today’s highly competitive job market, it’s imperative that a resume stand out in order to move forward in the job application process. Consider the following five tips for creating a resume that gets noticed:

Use bullet points intelligently. Limit bullet points to three per each job listed in the past employment section of the resume. Using too many bullet points can overwhelm the reader and cause important information to be overlooked. List only the most relevant information as bullet points.

Present a strong personal brand. Branding is about rising above the noise and being noticed. Craft a personal brand statement and include it at the beginning of the resume. The personal brand statement should be no longer than five sentences and should communicate an applicant’s personality, mission and unique qualities. Choose a branding color and incorporate it sparingly throughout the resume. For example, use a branding color as a line divider between various sections of the resume.

Use keywords. Many businesses look for certain keywords in an applicant’s resume. Include industry buzzwords or key terms throughout the resume to help attract the attention of the reader. Be careful not to overdo it, which can make the resume seem forced or unnatural. To determine possible important keywords, do a Google search of the industry and look for commonly used terms.

Check for errors. While this may seem like common sense, typos and grammatical errors are common resume writing issues. Presenting an error-free resume shows attention to detail and implied intelligence. After completing the resume, step away for some time and then re-read it to check for mistakes. Have another person read the resume and check for errors, as well. Careful proofreading is key.

Keep it modern. Stay away from overly decorative fonts. Present the content in a clean and easy to read format. Opt for non-serif fonts and use black text against a light background, most commonly white. Use spacing and margins that allow the text to appear non-crowded and organized. Too little whitespace can make the reader feel anxious, giving a bad impression.

Follow these resume-writing tips to author a resume that captures the interviewer’s attention. A resume is often the first impression an interviewer receives about an applicant, so make a powerful first impression with a unique resume.

Top 5 Business Books for 2017

Looking to succeed in business in the new year? Check out our list of the five top business books for 2017:

1. Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It by Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg

This concise recounting of the Amazon success story offers plenty of insight into the world of business, and how one can apply the company’s strategies to their own business in an ever-changing marketplace.

2. Entrepreneurial You by Dorie Clark

An important read for anyone looking to set out on their own business venture, Entrepreneurial You offers a guide to capitalizing on personal expertise, complete with fully implementable strategies to help people become their own boss. This is the perfect read for anyone looking to take a business from a concept to a reality.

3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

An absolute classic in both business and interpersonal relations, this book gives the reader a road map of how to understand people, and win their affection. Persuasion is a major theme in Carnegie’s model for business, and there simply is not another book brimming with as much useful information when it comes to business relations, whether it be with a customer, boss, or coworker.

4. Top of Mind by John Hall

One of the biggest problems facing new businesses is finding a way to separate themselves from the opposition in a crowded marketplace. Top of Mind shows companies how to do just that, using powerful content marketing strategies to show how to win customers, and put a business in front of its competitors in the mind of the consumer.

5. The Potential Principle by Mark Sandborn

A key to success in business is to always be reaching new heights, and expanding a business’ potential. As the saying goes, if you’re not improving, you’re falling behind. This is more true than ever in today’s rapid marketplace, and Sandburg’s book is a great guide to continually expanding a company’s potential and horizons.

Each one of these books has ideas and strategies that can be implemented immediately into a new or existing business. They offer wisdom on how to improve or expand a business, how to interact with clients, and how to emulate other companies’ success, which makes them the five best business books for 2017.

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Why Who You Hire Matters

Hiring the right person for a position is critical for business success. Bad employees will likely result in bad business, and good employees result in good business. Seems simple, right? However, successfully gaining new employees is hard to figure out.

 

Why It’s Important

Time is money, and the hiring process takes time. Conducting phone calls, interviews and evaluations all take time, which costs a company money. Rushing the hiring process does save money when thinking about how long it may take to find the right candidate. However, this will not lead to long-term success. When you account for training and hiring costs, it makes more sense to wait to hire an employee until you find the right one. It is better for business to wait, instead of quickly bringing on an employee to fill a spot. In the long run, if the new hire is not a good fit, then the company wasted both hiring and training costs just to be short staffed once again. This is why hiring the right employees is crucial to an organization.

Improve Hiring Process

Write Better Job Descriptions: The way a company presents an open position can either encourage or deter the right employee to apply. The Wall Street Journal found that firms who write descriptions with lists of responsibilities and requirements alienate qualified employees. Instead, it’s recommended to focus on what the company can do for potential employees.

Improve Interviews: This can include many aspects, including getting other employees involved, challenging the potential hire and taking them on a tour. Depending what the position entails, the interviewer may or may not work daily with the new employee so it is important to get the opinions of those who will be directly working with the new employee. Additionally, an interview that tests and challenges the interviewee will help determine if they are an excellent fit for the job. Lastly, taking them on a tour will allow you to see how the new hire will interact with the rest of the company.

Look at Your Reviews: Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are full of company information, including interview reviews. These sites can benefit an organization’s hiring process in many ways. Not only does this allow you to see what interviewees think about you, but it also offers a way to interact with company reviews. According to Glassdoor, 69 percent of people said they are likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages, responds to reviews, updates the company’s profile, and shares news on the company’s culture and work environment.

 

If you want a successful company, then you absolutely need to consider who you are hiring. It’s difficult to figure out who’s right and who’s not. The hiring process is essential to success and continually improving how you hire employees will help lead to long-term success.

 

3 Smart Tips For Starting A Small Business In 2018

As 2018 fast approaches, there are no doubt many people who have decided this will be the year they pursue their dream of starting a small business. However, to make sure their venture is a successful one, there are a variety of factors that come into play. Whether it’s exploring the many legalities that go into planning a business or ensuring they make financial decisions that will get their business off to a good start, potential entrepreneurs often learn quickly they need a solid business plan before ever opening their doors to customers. If this sounds like you, here are three smart tips that will ensure you make none of the mistakes of countless past entrepreneurs who had big dreams that never materialized.

Do Your Market Research

Even if you have an idea that you’re sure is worth a million dollars, that doesn’t necessarily mean automatic success. To make sure you’re on the right track, make sure you conduct thorough market research before investing your money and your time. To get the best results from your research, gather ideas and feedback from potential customers as well as existing business owners. By doing so, you’ll get honest answers to tough questions, which can help lead you to future success.

Finalize Funding

Once you’ve gathered enough information to feel certain your business idea will work, it’s time to secure funding to get your business rolling. Depending on your circumstances, there are a variety of sources you can turn to for the money you’ll need. For some people, they tap into their life savings, banking that their idea will be worth the investment. Others choose to rely on family and friends, while some entrepreneurs look to banks for traditional loans or head to the Small Business Administration to secure an SBA loan.

Pick a Good Location

Arguably one of the most important decision you’ll make, picking a location can make or break your business. For example, if you’re opening a restaurant, make sure you not only have high visibility, but also plenty of room for customers to park. By carefully thinking through your choice of a location, chances are you’ll have the best opportunity to see your business succeed.

While starting a small business requires careful planning, adequate financing, and plenty of faith in your abilities, it’s clear that by using these three tips in 2018, you’ll be well on your way to entrepreneurial success in whatever venture you choose.

5 Steps to Help You Make the Switch to Entrepreneurship

If you have your sights set on becoming an entrepreneur, you may feel a little lost in terms of how to get started with taking the jump; here are 5 steps to help you make the switch to entrepreneurship.

  1. Establish Goals (Be Specific)

Do you want to be a large corporation or a small local business? Do you want to offer products online or do you want an actual brick-and-mortar store? These are questions you need to be asking yourself before you take the leap into entrepreneurship. Figure out what your business concept will need to succeed and build yourself a solid plan of how to get there. You need a goal of where you want to take your business, and a plan of action to get there.

  1. Learn From Your 9-5

While you’re looking to leave your current job in pursuit of creating your own, there is still a lot of valuable information that you can glean before you leave. Consider common problems that the business encounters and why the issues persists to help you avoid them in the future, and observe how various operations unfold. Seeing a business in operation can help you figure out how you want yours to run. 

  1. Build Your Clientele

In order for your business to prosper, you’ll need clients. Research the products that your ideal clients are purchasing and see what the reviews for those products are. You may also consider taking on free clients in exchange for testimonials for your website. This will make you seem more credible to future clients and the “free” clients can also be converted to paying customers if they love your products and services.

  1. Learn as Much as Possible

Learn as much as you can about business and your specific niche and never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or hire a coach or consultant. Study business management because no matter what your specific field is, none of your efforts will be successful if you don’t know the basics for running a business.

  1. Self-Care

Starting and running your business takes a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears. To ensure you can continue this venture long term you need to establish a routine of healthy self-care habits. Make sure you’re getting 8 hours of sleep each night, exercising for at least 20 minutes a day, doing a fun or creative activity each day, and spending time with loved ones. Learn to “rest”, not “quit”, and schedule time off for yourself to relax and recharge.

 

Are You Hardwired for Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a highly beneficial characteristic to possess, but like many innate character and personality traits, it’s something that can be difficult to teach, and even trickier to learn. Entrepreneurship is a set of skills that work in conjunction with one another to craft the mindset and personality necessary to succeed in business. Take a look at some of the key traits that entrepreneurs possess.

Openness

As an entrepreneur, you need to be open-minded in order to succeed. Practices and ideas change so rapidly, and if you close yourself off from the new things coming your way, you’re only going to stunt your own growth as an entrepreneur and hold yourself back from actively competing with your rivals. Alongside openness comes curiosity; as an entrepreneur, your desire for growth and the need to unearth the unknown should be among your top priorities. Being open is the only way that you can continue you build and grow your business.

Ambition

An ambitious entrepreneur is often someone with what we call a “Type A” personality — they are not afraid of asserting themselves or taking charge to get the job done and are hard-wired as go-getters. Entrepreneurs need to be ambitious because, at the end of the day, they’re in charge of decision making for the whole operation. They have the final say and make the call on every decision that needs to be made unless they delegate the task to someone else, so being ambitious is crucial to completing every task that needs to be done. These entrepreneurs achieve success not through dumb luck or chance but through discipline, perseverance, and determination. Their organizational abilities, insights, and drive to build and to do pushes these entrepreneurs towards achieving their goals.

Extraversion

In life, there are introverts and extroverts, and when it comes to entrepreneurship, being an extrovert is certainly an advantage, arguably essential. Entrepreneurs thrive in social situations, and being an entrepreneur is all about meeting new people, working on new partnerships, and building new relationships. Where introverts need to recharge in solitude, entrepreneurs are reenergized by being around others and socializing.

Interviewing Tips to Land the Job

After all those applications, you finally have an interview. Congratulations! Here are some tips on how to nail the interview and land the job.

Research the Company

Go to their website, read the “About Us” section, learn how they compare to others in their industry, find out everything you can about this company. If you know who you will be meeting with, look them up, too! The more you know about the company, the better you’ll be able to answer questions and impress the person conducting the interview.

Practice & Prepare

Grab a friend to practice some typical interview questions. These questions are often resume-based or behavioral/situational. Remember to highlight your strengths during the interview. Think of some concrete examples when you displayed these strengths in a previous position. Answers like this will provide evidence of your success which will prove to your interviewer your level of candidacy.

Prepare a list of questions for you to ask at the end of your interview as well. Interviewing is a two-way street. The ones conducting the interviews ask their questions to see if you will be a good fit with their company. You should be asking questions as well to see if this company is a good fit for you! Do not ask questions that can be easily found by researching the company. The questions you ask should have more to do with company culture, day-to-day responsibilities of the roll you’re applying for, and how you compare against other candidates. You can find a great list of questions in this Forbes article.

There are a few other items you should prepare for your interview ahead of time. Print out extra copies of your resume, printed on paper of good quality, as well as a list of your references. During the interview, you should be taking notes. Use a professional binder with a notepad and don’t forget to pack a pen! If it pertains to the job, get together a portfolio showcasing your work.

Dress Up and Show Up… On Time!

No matter the type of job you’re applying for, you’re going to want to create a good first impression. Dress to impress. It’s also extremely important to be on time for your interview. A good rule of thumb is to arrive 10 minutes early. Give yourself some extra travel time as well so you aren’t scrambling to find a parking spot or find the visitor entrance to the building. Some additional tips: remember to silence your phone (or better yet, leave it in the car), don’t chew gum, and don’t bring a cup of coffee.

During the Interview: Listen and Remain Calm

As previously mentioned, you’re interviewing this company just as much as they are interviewing you. Break up the monotonous Q&A tone and make it more conversational. Listen to the questions they are asking you and take a moment to gather your thoughts before providing an answer. Body language is important in an interview, too. Be cognizant of your posture, restrain from fidgeting, and make eye contact with a smile. Keep in mind to give off a sense of confidence, but not arrogance.

Follow Up

Once you get home, craft a thank you note to those you interviewed with. Most of the time, an email will suffice. This thank you note gives you the opportunity to reiterate the skills you have that will make you a success in this position and your enthusiasm for the job.

The Necessity of Professionalism

No matter what industry you work in or who you engage with on a professional level, in today’s world it’s crucial that you possess this one important trait: professionalism. Many people hear the word “professionalism” and think of workers who remove any pretense of individuality under the guise of acting more professional; however, professionalism is simply a set of qualities embodied by a person who behaves in a professional manner in a professional setting. This includes everything from refraining from office gossip to taking ownership for one’s own mistakes. In today’s workplace, professionalism is a necessary trait for all employees to possess as they work together to achieve company goals; here’s why:

Professionalism Helps Maintain Responsibility for One’s Actions

This holds especially true if you’re working in a business where you regularly interact with your customers. Professionalism dictates some best practices for engaging with others in a professional setting and helps to ensure that you best represent of your company. If you’re working directly with customers or clients, you will be held accountable for your behavior, and thus treating a client poorly will reflect poorly upon you, as well as the company as a whole.

Professionalism Allows for Clear Boundaries

Even if you work in a relaxed setting where employees get along and are encouraged to interact with one another, there are still clear cut things that are and are not appropriate to discuss in a work environment. While professionalism dictates proper interaction guidelines when it comes to clients and customers, it also comes into play for interpersonal office relationships as well. By setting up these boundaries, you can help mitigate any conflicts that might arise due to inappropriate interactions and can make the work environment better overall.

Professionalism Promotes Respect

In an environment where professional boundaries and courtesies are not promoted and encouraged, things can quickly spiral out of control. Professionalism allows you not only to demonstrate respect for your coworkers and those in management but also shows the respect that you have for the company in general. It reduces inter office gossip and generally promotes a more cohesive workplace because of the respectful environment. It can also speak a lot for how you do business; if you’re working with a particularly rude or inappropriate client and still offer top notch support, it shows just how professionally you conduct business.

Making Public Speaking Come Naturally

microphone public speakingPublic speaking can be pretty nerve-wracking.  Some people can do it, but it doesn’t come easy to everybody.  In fact, there are plenty of people who are terrified of it.  But there are some tips that you can take to overcome that fear.  Here are a few, taken from blogger and manager Mohamad Zaki:  

It’s okay that you’re nervous: If you admit to the audience that you’re a bit nervous speaking to them, not only will they be more forgiving if you act nervous later on, but they’ll also like you more.  The best way to do this is through a joke.  

Redefine the audience: Generally speaking, this means changing how you view them.  Rather than lecturers evaluating you, they could be long-lost friends you haven’t seen in years.  This lets you maintain eye contact with them as you try to figure out where you’ve seen them before.  This will make you look a lot more friendly.  

Visual aids: No matter how descriptive you are, there are some things that visual aids can do that you simply can’t.  Not only do visual aids enhance your performance, but they also take the pressure off of you.  

Intentionally make mistakes: Did you know that George W. Bush would intentionally write stumbles in his speeches?  It helped make him look more approachable.  The idea behind this is to gain control of the audience by interacting with them.  If you make a mistake, and then can turn it into a joke, that doesn’t take away from your presentation, but rather enhance it.

Speak to one person at a time: Even if you’re terrified of public speaking, you could be great at talking one-on-one.  To overcome this, simply speak to one person at a time.  When somebody asks a question, change your focus just to them, and answer the question as if you’re talking over a beer.

Get personal: When you speak or give a presentation, try to offer your personal thoughts on the issue.  But make it look like these ideas are “just in” while you’re presenting, which will differentiate your presentation.

Play around: Have fun with the crowd.  Try new ways to play with them and their emotions, so that you can give the best possible presentation.  You’ll often yield some pretty interesting results.