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.

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.

How to Stay Cool Under Pressure

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned industry veteran or a novice entrepreneur, there will be times in your career when you encounter stressful situations. You will be required to perform under pressure, and it’s how you respond to this strain that can truly define who you are to other people. If you’re someone who reacts with anger at the slightest provocation, people will learn not to bring negative news to you. If you’re someone who crumples under pressure, you’re not going to make for a very effective leader.

Staying calm and proactive in times of great stress can help you collect your thoughts, process a plan of action, and move forward towards a solution. Here are some tactics you can practice to help you stay cool when the situation starts heating up:

Practice proper breathing.

That statement sounds a bit silly: ‘proper breathing’ is something we must be doing all day every day or else we’d be dead, right? While your breathing is no effective, proper breathing necessitates a bit more conscious thought. Regular breathing is typically shallow, meaning that the diaphragm muscles aren’t being utilized. By inhaling with your stomach using a method called belly breathing — where instead of breathing with your chest you inhale and exhale by pushing out your abdomen — you can relieve tension and help bring yourself to a more calm state. Repeating this exercise a few times during a stressful situation can help to calm your nerves and clear your mind.

If it’s a planned event, rehearse!

The old expression ‘practice makes perfect’ has stuck around so long for a reason: practicing something helps you to be better prepared and perform more effectively. If you’re giving a speech or a presentation that really has you on edge, run through it whenever you have the chance. If you’re prepping for a huge meeting, make sure you go over any points you have and study any material until you understand it thoroughly. The best chance you have for remaining calm in these anxiety-ridden situations is to make sure you’re prepared the best that you can be.

Focus on finding a solution, not on negativity.

If something has gone wrong, the last thing that anyone needs is a round of the blame game. Instead of perseverating on what went wrong and how there’s a problem to be fixed, look instead for solutions and ways that you can improve the situation rather than add to the issue.

How to Ask for a Raise

Navigating your way as you climb the ladder at your job can be tricky. You want to fight for what you feel you deserve so you don’t sell yourself short without pushing too hard or overselling yourself. That can be a difficult rope to walk for those who want to advance in their careers without feeling like they’ve overstepped their boundaries. No, you shouldn’t ask for a raise your second week at the company, but you also should be compensated for tenure if you’ve remained with the company for a long time. If you’ve assessed the situation and truly feel as though you deserve a raise for all the work that you do, here are a few ways you can approach the subject of salary negotiation with your employer.

  • Prepare for the conversation.
    • Conversations about money are always a bit uncomfortable, so the worst thing that you can do is walk into the conversation unprepared and spring the question on your employer. Take the time to prepare before launching into a salary negotiation. You’ll be able to bring more solid points to the table and be able to defend your request.
  • Do not present your request as a complaint.
    • One of the worst things you can do during a salary negotiation is dredge up resentments to back up the fact that you want a raise. Been there for over a year? Gone a while since your last raise? Shouldering some extra work lately? All of that is fine and perfectly valid for wanting a raise, but it’s likely that your employer is already aware of this fact and for one reason or another hasn’t responded the way you’d prefer. Instead, bring to light accomplishments that may not have received a lot of attention or recent successes that you’ve had.
  • Show them the value you bring to the team.
    • If you want to earn more money for doing the same job, or want to undertake more responsibilities for greater pay, you need to make sure that you can actively demonstrate the value you that you provide to the company at large. Have you skillfully handled any difficult clients? Have you successfully increased profit margins for your department? Did you develop a system to streamline productivity and save the company time and money? Highlight the reasons why you feel as though a raise is deserved and help them see what you bring to the table.

Interviewing Pointers

Sometimes the most difficult part of getting your dream job is convincing the employer that you’re the perfect employee for the job. You could have all of the necessary qualifications, excellent experience, and great references, but if you perform poorly in the interview you could negate all of your great qualities. That’s why it’s incredibly important that you take the time to adequately prepare for each job interview that you’re granted. If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look at these pointers that will help you present your best self every time you interview.

  • Dress for the part.
    • First impressions are made within the first seven seconds of meeting someone new. That means that your interviewers will likely have already crafted an idea of who you are before you even have a chance to introduce yourself. That’s why it’s always important that you come to each interview well-dressed and properly groomed so that you can always start off with your best foot forward.
  • Do your research.
    • You should never walk into an interview for any position without adequate knowledge of what the position requires, the goals of the company at large, and how your role will play into helping the company reach said goal. If you’re asked by the interviewer, “Tell us what you know about the company,” and your answer is inadequate at best, the interviewer will see that you came unprepared and will likely not give you a second thought post-interview.
  • Bring strong answers with you.
    • While every interview is different and you never know what the particular questions you’ll be asked are, there are a number of questions that are routinely asked during the interview process. Questions like, “What do you consider to be your greatest strength/weakness?” and “Tell us how you’ve overcome difficult situations” are fairly typical, so be prepared with real answers. Take the time to analyze your greatest professional flaws and consider how you’ve worked on them in the past and how you plan on working on them in the future.
  • Bring strong questions with you.
    • At the end of the interview when they ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” you may be tempted to call it a day and leave on a high note, but don’t overlook the importance of this opportunity. This is your chance to show your already existing knowledge and your eagerness to learn more. Bring along questions like, “Where do you see this position in 5 years?”, “If you could change one thing about this position/department/company, what would you change?”, or “How has this role changed over the past 5 years?” This will show an interest in the company and a desire to grow with the business, indicating that you’re already thinking about a future with the company.