Improve your LinkedIn Presence Today

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While LinkedIn may not be the most popular or enjoyable social network to go on, it is absolutely vital that you do not underestimate its importance, especially when it comes to connecting with industry professionals, furthering your career, or expanding your network. With more than 400 million members, LinkedIn has become one of the fastest growing social media platforms for professional and career networking. The potential that this site has for both young professionals and seasoned veterans is something bigger than imaginable. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn allows their users to network and connect with some of the top-level companies and talent in the world. Because of this simple reason alone, it is absolutely vital that you, regardless of your work status, optimize your LinkedIn account in the best possible way.

So how do you do this? How can I shape my LinkedIn account to increase my chances for networking>

Before I discuss any beneficial professional tips in optimizing and branding your LinkedIn profile, let’s start off by understanding LinkedIn holistically. LinkedIn, like many social media properties, is considered to be a Web2.0 social media-networking site that allows its daily user to professionally brand and market themselves in the most efficient and effective way possible. Think of this like other various popular social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. The only difference between LinkedIn and other social media sites is that this site is tailored primarily for professional networking and career-related content.

Because of this concept, LinkedIn has, and is continuing to grow each and every day amassing millions of users and countless daily visitors. While there are other sites similar to LinkedIn, none of them can content to the ever-growing active presence that this site contributes for its users day after day. One of the best things about the site is that it, first and foremost, allows you to connect with professionals. No matter where you are in your professional career, networking will always be skill that you will do to the day you retire. LinkedIn is a great platform for this. It allows their users to actively interact and connect with professionals and like-minded individuals within their industries. Not only do you connect, but you also showcase your academic and professional background. One of the best things about your LinkedIn account is that, unlike Facebook, you are able to promote your personal and professional achievements. While some sites may see this as boasting, LinkedIn sees this as viable content that helps shapes your professional niches and your professional trajectory. Now the last great thing about LinkedIn is its overall ability to help get you hired. If you are looking for a career, LinkedIn remains to be one of the premium places online in finding and landing a job. While other competitors like Monster.com or Indeed.com do provide a similar platform, many cannot rival the user-friendly interface and reputation that LinkedIn has built within these past few years.

Now, beyond the basics and fundamental knowledge of LinkedIn, you need to ask yourself that one important question: Have you optimized your LinkedIn account for professional viewers and future employers? For many users, the answer is either ‘I do not know’ or simply ‘no.’ While many of you guys may be shooting yourself in the foot, do not worry. The sad reality is that thousands, maybe even millions, of LinkedIn users are unaware of how to best optimize their professional profiles. To help with this, you need to start thinking of your LinkedIn account as your curriculum vitae, but without the necessary restrictions of a one-page limit. Bringing in that perspective will allow you to develop and alter all of the necessary tweaks needed to enhance your professional online presence.

To help with this, I have provided ‘eight’ vital tips you can utilize to improve your LinkedIn account today. While this may take time, the amount of effort and work you will invest on your online campaign can greatly increase your chances in landing that perfect job for your future.

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1. Know your Professional Theme

When creating your LinkedIn account, you want to go into it with a specific perspective. For some people, they want to be perceived as a professional sport expert. For others, they want to be viewed as a finance-extraordinaire. Whatever is the case, make sure you go into your profile with that idea in mind. This will allow you to cut out any unnecessary jobs or extracurricular activities and add any vital professional content that can benefit your image.

2. Create a Strong and Informative Bio

Unlike your resume, your LinkedIn account provides various features to showcase your personal and professional background. To optimize your account, make sure you fill out the ‘Summary’ section for your profile. This is usually the first thing visitors and future employers see when they visit your profile. To fully optimize this, make sure you include a 1000-plus-word biography on your personal, academic, and professional career. Be sure to highlight any professional achievements and accolades you have amassed throughout your career. In addition, provide some personal information about yourself. Be cautious though. You do not want to dive in to depth with this. To help benefit your campaign, include a two-sentence description that sums up your personal interest. It can be something like: “John Smith; fly fishing enthusiast, soccer player, and world traveler.

3. Expand and Quantify your Work Experience

One of the biggest mistakes many professionals make on their LinkedIn account is that they will list rather than describe. As much as you want to ‘list’ every work experience option possible, you may get more bang-for-your-buck to expand and describe your work responsibilities, duties, and achievements for each particular position. One huge tip you can do to optimize your account and get it noticed by future employers is to quantify your work descriptions. For example, rather than saying: “I managed a large group of professional individuals,” say something along the lines of this: “Managed and cultivated a group of 200 professional individuals.” Having that detail quantified allows your achievements and job responsibilities to stand out and represent you as a stronger candidate for future employers and visitors.

4. Include References and Work Samples

Similar to job applications, you want to make sure visitors are accessible to professional references and work samples. To do this, ask a former employer or mentor to write you a positive professional reference on your LinkedIn account. To enhance it, or specialize it, go back to your theme and ask yourself what you are looking to highlight. If you are looking to highlight your leadership and management skills, ask them to write a reference for that. If you are looking to highlight a professional project, ask them to highlight that achievement. Whatever is the case, make sure your references stays aligned to the overall theme of your account.

5. Skills Section and Endorsement

To highlight your skills within your professional niche and field, make sure you fill out your skills section to the best of your abilities. Just like your work experience, you want to be as specific as possible. In addition, try and get endorsed through your other LinkedIn friends. The more endorse you are, the better.

6. Customize your LinkedIn URL

One common mistake many LinkedIn account users do not do is that they forget to customize their LinkedIn URL. When creating an account, the URL associated with your profile will end with a combination of numbers and letters. To make this more personalized, make sure you change it to your full name. To do this, go to the settings page and change the URL to your name. To learn more, please follow the directions here.

7. Increase your Network

For any LinkedIn account, make sure you continue to increase your LinkedIn account each and every time you sign on. Many people do not realize this, but your overall social media presence and ranking can be dictated by your connections alone. To expand on your connections, start off by connecting with friends and work colleagues. From there, tap into your other resources such as your alma mater, interest groups, organizations, or former/current jobs.

8. Add other Links

While this may seem minimal, enhancing your links, especially with your sites and social media properties, can help change your overall search engine rankings. To do this, be sure to add your sites and your social media properties on your LinkedIn profile page. While it maybe limited, you want to make sure you are utilizing every resources they are giving you to shape your online presence.

Resume Tips: How to Best Advance your Career on Paper

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No matter what field you are working in, the first key in unlocking that dream job all comes down to how you brand and market yourself on your resume. For many people, this process becomes quite meticulous and downright frustrating. But fear not! Below, you will find some of the best resume tips that can help convey your professional experience, skills, and goals for your future job.

Let’s start off by understand the overall purpose of a resume. For hiring managers, they cannot afford to waste their precious time trying to figure out your work skills and your overall career goals. This is where your resume comes in hand. Your resume, or curriculum vitae, provides a holistic summary of your skills, abilities, and overall accomplishments. Think of this as a snapshot of your professional life. It’s intent is to capture and emphasize interesting events that can help you secure that much needed interview.

Now, let’s get into the good part! When a future employer reviews a candidate, they want access to their professional skills, achievements, and future goals. Many people try to provide a quick blurb of this through an Objective section in their resume. While it is important for your resume to include a clear career goal, you do not have to convey this with this section. Instead, many hiring managers can look for this through a Personal Statement and match it up with your Work Experience section. For most jobs, an optional personal statement section will be added for your application. While it is not required, make sure you are able to write a strong subjective essay that highlights your work experiences and intended interest for the job and the company. To learn more about how to write a personal statement, you can check out this website here.

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When writing your Work Experience section, begin by having an overall theme to for your resume. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes many people overlook. Your work experience is something that can go on for days. Rather than listing out each and every job you did since high school, try highlighting specific jobs that are tailored specifically for your future employers. For example, if you are looking into the field of education, make sure you provide roles that showcase your skillset and knowledge with teaching and leadership. If you are looking for something more into the banking or finance sector, try pinpointing experiences that highlight your fundamental knowledge such as internships or shadowing positions. Be cognizant of what you put on your resume. This can be the make or break point for your future career.

For the actual job description, you want to make sure you are descriptive and meaningful in highlighting your skills. To do this, think of a list of adjectives that represent you professionally (for example: leadership). Use those descriptors as guides in how you frame what you have done for that position. In addition, be sure to highlight any achievements. One mistake many applicants do is that, for these achievements and descriptions, they oftentimes use broad and vague language. When a hiring manager is looking at your resume, they do not want to see that you ‘brought in a lot of money’ in to your firm. Instead, they want to see numbers. In your resume, be sure to quantify your job description as much as possible. If you brought in $4 million dollars into the company, make sure you say that! This will give your future employer a better idea of both your work ethics and goals for their company.

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Moving beyond the Work Experience, make sure you highlight both your Educational Background and additional Extracurricular Activities. Similar to your work experience, try and quantify each section as much as possible. In addition, be very aware of how you can translate those positions (for the extracurricular activities section) as an asset for your work ethics. Go back to those adjectives. Think about your resume’s them and how you want to be perceived. Many hiring managers love to see leaders and overachievers that go above their job description. Show them this through these two sections.

Last but not least, try and humanize your resume by adding a short and brief personal interest section. Try and stick to one line. This can be something like: “Outdoor Enthusiast – Avid fly-fisherman, endurance cyclist, sea-kayaker, nature photographer, lover of all charitable 5K runs.” These quick descriptions give your hiring managers a better idea of your own interest and whether or not they relate to that of the company.

How to Build Inspiration at the Workplace

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When it comes to success, inspiration becomes the sole intrinsic motivator that forces people to get up early within the day. It is the confidence that compels us to do the impossible. And most importantly, it is the reason that drives us to work hard and sacrifice each and every day.

For many business professionals, it can sometimes be difficult to keep that inspiration day-in and day-out. Oftentimes, we lose sight of the overall ‘bigger picture,’ because of minuscule daily task and weekly objectives. But when you find yourself lacking motivation, you need to make a change. Any type of deprivation within your professional work is the red flag for you reflect and internalize who you are and where you need to be both personally and professionally. If it seems that you are one of those individuals who have seemed to have loss that professional drive and fire, take a look at some of these helpful tips below. These tips will help guide you in where you need to be so that you can reignite that inspiration back in the workplace.

Put it on Paper

This can be done in a variety of ways: creating a list, writing pros & cons, or writing a journal-like essay. Regardless of what you choose, brainstorming and putting things on paper is the perfect way to reignite that flame. Usually the best way to do this is to evaluate your overall status at the work place. Then jot down some personal and professional goals and how you are going to get there. Most of the time, people forget why they started a task or project. By brainstorming, you are able to internalize your thoughts in a more positive and beneficial manner.

Gain a Different Perspective

While internal reflection plays a major role in building inspiration, talking and listening to another person can be absolutely beneficial in easing your mind. This can be from a fellow co-worker, friend, or family member. Many times, people can get lost in their thoughts, even through internal reflection. To prevent this from happening, consoling to another person can help put things into a fresh new perspective.

Learn from your Competitors

Yes, it is a dog-eat-dog world out there. But that does not mean that it cannot work in your favor. If you are struggling professionally, try looking to your peers and your competitors and what they are doing differently. At times, this can be difficult because you do not necessarily want to compare and contrast yourself against those at the work place. But to gain an insight at what they do differently can help shape you professionally.

Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

One of the biggest part of self-reflection is asking these hard-hitting thought-provoking questions. This will allow you to evaluate any mishaps and weaknesses that you can refine later on down the line. Make sure these questions push upon your strengths, weaknesses, and overarching goals. In addition, make sure you leverage these answers to help improve yourself within your field.

Three Retirement Plans You May Have Not Considered

Portrait Of Grandparents Reading To Grandchildren On SofaWhen it comes to retirement planning, many people out there look at this as an opportunity for vacation and time off. While they are not far behind, many people in the United States need to look beyond the scope of their lives and affect and impact that they can have on others. That being said, to live well in retirement, you can no longer rely solely on a company pension plan or Social Security. Instead, you need to depend on how skillfully you plan and invest and whether you can make optimal use on tax-advantaged saving plans such as a 401K or IRA. As you skillfully plan, start thinking of expenses beyond the vacation spots or hobbies you had fantasized for your future. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you are financially secure. For that to happen you need to be cognizant of the other expenses that could come your way.

Health Expenses

At a specific age, your body will tell you when things are enough. This can often times lead to various surgeries, hospital test, and overnight stays. One thing to keep in mind is that these hospital bills are not cheap. Because of this, you want to be aware of the actual expenses that you may endure during your retirement. By preplanning the worst-case scenario situations, you will be able to truly enter your retirement without any financial concerns.

Long-Term

No one wants to think about the struggling with debilitating illnesses or injuries, but with people over the age of 65, some sort of long-term care can be their only way of stay health, active, and alive. Any absence of planning for this preventative expense is likely a gamble at a person’s overall retirement fund. Similar to health expenses, start thinking of long-term care as an option for your retirement. Discuss with your advisor the specific amount you should be investing for this type of care. In addition, try doing your own specific research. Look at both individual care and retirement homes and the cost of living for both.

Children and Grandchildren

How many times have you gone for a visit to your grandparents’ house and had your children leave with a ten-dollar bill in their hand? Like it or not, grandparents have often proven to be the indispensable caregivers for their grandchildren. Because of that cycle, you need to make sure that you have a lump sum for those leisure and family expenses. Remember, as a retired individual, you will not have an income coming in every week to balance out those expenses. Be aware of the amount you will be spending on those specific visits and try and save more, especially a year or two before retirement.

Networking at its Finest

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Regardless of your industry, networking will become one of the most important tasks you will do each and every single day. Networking, but definition is a socio-economic business activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. To put it in layman terms, it is simply a way for you to connect with a variety of different people from the either the same or different industry or field. While this type of work does take time, the benefits are exponential.

When you are expanding your network, you will often find that this is a very behind the scenes type of task. Connecting with people through a variety of business ventures or events allows you to bridge relationships for you to leverage individually or as a company as a whole. In reality, you never know where these connections can lead you. The best thing to do is to continue creating stronger relationships because at the end of the day, you never know where these connections can take you.

So how does it work? How do you network with professionals? What are the best ways to network for partners, sponsors, and collaborators?

There are a variety of ways to go about this. The most important thing you need to know is that you have to go into each meeting or event to establish that partnership or service. It is that shark-like mentality that will benefit your endeavors and push your professional profile to where it needs to be.

Connect with Your Field or Niche

Networking through a specific field or niche is one of your strongest connections you can immediately make. Whether you do this through LinkedIn, in-person, Facebook, your alma mater events, or through various interest groups, connecting with individuals who have already established themselves in the field can benefit you greatly. The best possible thing you can do in those situations is to ask and share interest. If you are a novice in the field and would like to know more about how to further develop your skills and abilities, be sure to ask questions and pick those experts advice. If, however, you are an expert in the field, establish a connection for future potential partnerships or mentorships. At the end of the day, these connections are something that can be leveraged in the most meaningful way.

Connect Through Mutual Friends or Partners

Especially if you are seeking professional advice, finding those second connections that you can quickly contact can be a huge benefit on your end. Connecting through mutual friends is probably one of the easiest networking you can do for your professional career and business. Having that automatic channel to make that interaction is something you need to leverage and utilize if it is there. Keep in mind that the person you are talking to is still a stranger to you and your business. Make sure that when you talk to them, you are professional and considerate. Provide them a deeper understanding of your objectives, goals, and questions they can assist you with.

Be Goal Oriented

The best networkers are not those with the best profiles. Rather they are the individuals who are incredibly confident, personable, and driven for each and every interaction. When you go into a meeting or an event, be aware of the people around you. Know their backgrounds, histories, and your own personal goals. See how you can translate your goals in the best possible way. If your goal is to gain more information about a specific field, make sure you are walking into that event with that goal in mind. If you are looking to expand sales or create a team, know how to approach individuals and provide a group with the overall facts and logistics of your company. Remember, each conversation is an opportunity. Make the best of it. Do not think of this as a simple meet and greet. Leverage your ideas throughout the conversation by educating and promoting your services and background. Then follow up with how they can attribute to that success.

Be the Showman

Much of networking starts with your personality. At the end of the day, your goal is to be memorable. No matter who you are or what you do, achieving that goal will be a huge win. So how do you do it? How can you be memorable? The best way to be memorable starts off with confidence. It is incredibly difficult to work with an individual who is timid or shy. When you talk to people, be confident in every which way. Make sure you body language represents that too. In addition, be knowledgeable. Knowing yourself, your goals, your visions, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your contribution to your organizations and companies is something people want to hear. Show them that you are an asset. Last but not least, be personable. Make sure you are listening to what they are saying and connect and respond to it.

How to Effectively Communicate as a Manager or Supervisor

communicating-effectivelyNo matter what field you are in, communication is the key to success. Communication, by definition, is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another. Although this is a simple definition, people tend to have a hard time talking with one another. But why is that? Why is it so difficult to communicate for a specific task? There are many factors that play a role why certain things can be lost in translation. For the work place, your mentality and success rely purely on the idea of what your goal is for the overall conversation. To improve at your business, whether you are working with another employee or a client, you have to improve on your communication.

Within the business sector, communication is incredibly vital for day-to-day operations.  To truly improve the efficiency and productivity with your employees, managers and supervisors need to be clear and precise when talking, delegating or presenting ideas to others. Below, you will find helpful tips and various guidelines in how to improve your communication skills in the business world. Following these helpful tips will allow you to leverage productivity and delegate your standards for a strong, positive, and cohesive work environment.

Be Detailed and Comprehensive When Talking

When directing your instructions to your employees, make sure that you break down every piece of information that you are looking for him or her to accomplish and execute. Do not be afraid in going in detail. The biggest mistake employees make is that they are unclear at the expectation or standard you are looking for a specific task. Providing this information will clarify any misunderstanding and provide a greater concept for future task at hand. Two things you want to watch out for, 1. Going off on a tangent and 2. Understand the perspective of your employee. For the first, the biggest mistake managers and supervisors make is that they tend to get lost in their own thoughts. When you are talking to your employee, be sure to stick with a goal in mind. For the latter, understanding the perspective of your employee is seen as a sign of respect. If you know that this is a particular task that said employee has done before, make sure you are quick and to the point. If this is their first time, be sure to explain in detail. Having this awareness will save you future headaches and better prepare productivity in the long run.

Know Your Goals Before Jumping into a Conversation

Whenever you are talking, whether that is one-on-one or publicly at a meeting, you want to make sure that there is a point or overall goal for your speech. This is especially important if you are looking to improve the productivity between co-workers and clients. Remember, setting and reaching your goals is the theme of every manager’s day. Anything else can otherwise compromise the productivity of your goal. One thing supervisors often find themselves in is that they tend to ramble on various different tangents. To prevent you from doing this, know and internalize your goal and purpose for the conversation. If the one-on-one is meant to work on weaknesses, make sure you are well aware of the weaknesses. If the presentation and meeting is about the financial quarter, make sure you focus on the financial quarter.

Email Etiquettes

When communicating online, especially through email, try and leverage the subject line to the best of your abilities. As stated above, be direct and to the point. Often times, employees tend to delete any unwanted or unknown emails. By utilizing the subject line with a quick and direct sentence, primarily about the topic, employees will be more inclined and engaged in opening said mail.

Furthermore, in the actual email, make sure you are clear and precise about the information. Too long of an email or too wordy of an email can often confuse and complicate your overall intentions. The best way to prevent this from happening is to space things out in various paragraphs.

Be Available and Accessible for Any Questions

Throughout the workday, you will find a variety of problems or misunderstandings from your employees that can be easily resolved from a two-minute conversation. Being easily available to your employees will often times play a huge factor in whether or not you are able to reach your daily goals. One big problem you need to look out for is that sometimes people feel intimidated or apprehensive to reach out to management because they are uncomfortable asking for help. To prevent this from happening, try reach out to your employees and ask them if they need any assistants in any various projects or overall operations. Doing so will allow you to establish that positive work environment that can greatly pick up morale and boost productivity.