CAREEREALISM Career Advice & Job Search Magazine Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:59:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This is weekly program whether career expert J.T. O'Donnell reviews skills and techniques needed to succeed in your career. She also answers question live from our views. Tune in Tuesdays at 1pm ET on to join our weekly Career Q&A! CAREEREALISM clean CAREEREALISM (CAREEREALISM) Career Q&A with J.T. O'Donnell CAREEREALISM 11 Top Traits For Employees At CAREEREALISM Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:59:00 +0000 Trend setting, Independent thinking, and creativity are just a few of the 11 top traits for employees at CAREEREALISM excel in.

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Good Companies Vs. Great Companies

Good companies have a set of 4-5 traits they expect their employees to have to be part of their team. Great companies will have the same, but each employee will excel in one or more of those areas. Trend setting, Independent thinking, and creativity are just a few of the 11 top traits for employees at CAREEREALISM to excel in.

Independent Thinkers Consider Multiple Perspectives, Including Unpopular Ones

We have multi-faceted people that consider all sides of the issue. We have the type of person that is not afraid to challenge the status quo, because some of the best ideas come from making no assumptions. Make sure it is only worthy reasons that you are discrediting something, and not just speculation.

Smart Workers Make the Biggest Impact

We love Smart workers here at CAREEREALISM. Most people think if you put in 10 hours a day that you are considered a “hard worker.” What if the 10 hours you put in a day are filled with two hours of fluff? At that point you are only proving to the employer that you are getting paid two hours a day of time and a half to do nothing, and you will most likely be on the chopping block when push comes to shove.

So, what is the solution to this? You need to be a Smart worker. You need to be able to come in to work for eight hours a day and produce eight hours of work. If you can fit more work than that in an eight hour day, then you have just proven to your employer why you were the best candidate for the position! Go you!

Trend Setters Discover the Next Big Thing

As Leo DiCaprio said while playing stock market mogul Jordan Belfort, in The Wolf of Wall Street, “This…this ability, this…this gift that Steve has, it goes beyond just spotting the hottest shoe trends. Steve’s power is that he creates trends, you understand?”

Here at CAREEREALISM, we don’t want people being able to spot the hottest trends, we want leaders who can CREATE the hottest trends!

Efficiency Nerds Make Sure We’re Getting a Great Bang For Our Buck

ANALYTICS!! UTM codes, campaigns and general performance metrics make decision making easier. In a generation where everything can be traced and turned into a statistic, it is crucial to have your efficiency nerd to see which campaigns are helping your company thrive and which ones are holding you back. An efficiency nerd will be the answer to all of your analytics problems! Invest in one!

Creative Minds Solve the Tough Problems

Every company has critical thinkers, big-picture people, and detail-oriented people. What happens when all three of those thinkers cannot reach out to a mass audience in a way that is eye-capturing and intriguing? That is when creative minds come into play. It is important to have creative minds in the office in order to create that content that you just can’t seem to take your eyes off of, no matter how hard you try.

Computer Whizzes Save Us From Technology

It is 2014. Technology is a necessity. Sometimes it seems like there are Technology Gods that just want to make your life difficult and test your patience. Buying technology is expensive enough, but fixing “broken” technology takes the cake on price. It is a great idea to have your very own “Geek Squad” in the office to fix any issues that may occur to save yourself time, money, and hassle!

Organized Workers Dominate Our Projects

Files upon files upon files abound in our office. Fast, efficient, smart workers are developed through being organized. Not only does being organized make the workplace less cluttered, but it lowers stress levels when you know where everything is and you never have to look hard for that important document.

Big Picture Ponderers Guide Us

To build a business, you must think of the big picture. If you have the tendency to look at something small and automatically think huge, then CAREEREALISM is right for you. Our founder, J.T. O’Donnell, will take any idea we give her and turn it from an airless balloon to a hot air balloon soaring over every other product similar to it on the market.

Small Detail Enthusiasts Separate Us From the Pack

With every big picture ponderer, you must have a small detail enthusiast right by their side. A small detail enthusiast will scour every aspect of an idea and think of every single possible option to add to it in order to make it the best it can be.

Quick Thinkers Get Inspired By Challenges (Not Discouraged)

Think on your feet! Quick thinkers who are not afraid to express their ideas will thrive in business. Here’s a scenario for you: you’re in a meeting where a high profile client is getting tossed ideas and none of them are working. You, being able to think on your feet, quickly adapt a similar idea into something the client loves. BOOM! The client is happy and you just got a raise.

Versatility: Employees Who Can Change Their Approach When Necessary

When the going gets tough, do you grow bitter and cold? Or, do you adapt and change your approach for the better? Versatility is crucial in today’s workplace. If you cannot prove your versatility– adapting to any task at hand– then you will be replaced by someone who can! Be the very best you can with any topic. Do your research and kill it!

Share Your Thoughts!

There it is! Now it’s time to develop your strengths as a job seeker. Which trait do you feel most accurately represents you as a worker? Write it in the comments section. We would love to hear your feedback! As always thank you for reading!

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How Your Avatar Can Impact Your Job Search Plans Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:55:02 +0000 Consider these tips below to help you select the appropriate avatar, as well as tips on what’s not appropriate to help with your job search plans.

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Even if you’ve only submitted your resume for review, employers are also checking out your presence online.

Related: 5 Reasons Your LinkedIn Photo Is Terrible

Social media like your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profile, as well as any links you may have included to your blog or website are serving as a first point of connection with the employer. And the first thing they see is your avatar, or photo, that’s associated with your online presence.

Given this, you want the first impression to be a good one.

4 Tips For Choosing An Appropriate Avatar

Consider these tips below to help you select the appropriate avatar, as well as tips on what’s not appropriate to help with your job search plans:

1. Put A Face To Your Name

The best connection you can make with your avatar is putting a face to your name. Include a headshot that clearly shows your eyes with a pleasant smile to your face. The eye contact will help form a more immediate connection with the viewer, so avoid headshots with you looking away.

2. Make Sure It’s Up To Date

Use a photo that is current and represents you the way you are now; not 10 years ago. Again, it’s about making a connection right away and if what you show makes you unrecognizable for an in-person meeting, it can throw whatever connection made off.

3. Be Aware Of Your Background

Avoid a background that can be a distraction from you in the photo. Stick with a plain background that is uncluttered. But, if you’re work is in the field of nature preservation, then a photo of you with a background of trees may work more appropriately.

4. Things To Avoid

Take the time to have your photo properly taken. Selfies and photos snapped from your webcam can come off as unprofessional. Remember the focus is on you, so don’t add props when taking the photo. Also don’t include other individuals with you in the photo.

Having the right avatar with your online presence can mean making a deeper connection faster with contacts in your job search.

Want to work with the #1 Rated Resume Writing Service in 2013 & 2014?

If you want to cut your job search time and make sure your resume is noticed, then check out our Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call me at 800.909.0109 for more information.

Related Posts

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Don Goodman

About the author

Don Goodman is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist. He has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Get a free career assessment from Don here. Check out his CAREEREALISM Expert Profile here!



Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.


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3-Step ‘Big-Fish’ Approach Practically Guarantees Career Success Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:35:38 +0000 Imagine getting your post-secondary degree and being presented with a multitude of job offers… within the next week! Related: 4 C’s To Career Success You’re overwhelmed and excited at the same time; the world is your oyster! There’s no trace of fear, no worrying about paying your loans or making your way in the world.... Continue reading

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Imagine getting your post-secondary degree and being presented with a multitude of job offers… within the next week!

Related: 4 C’s To Career Success

You’re overwhelmed and excited at the same time; the world is your oyster!

There’s no trace of fear, no worrying about paying your loans or making your way in the world.

You have guaranteed your success in life, and you’re going to be great.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

Well, years ago when people with college degrees were the BIG fish in a small pond, that may have been a graduating student’s reality.

But for those of us in the first stage of our career TODAY, we know this is just a dream.

Because today, having a college degree is the norm. It’s the new standard for entry-level jobs, and (if you’re lucky) you’ll be able to pay all your bills each month with your first job out of college.

Nowadays, things are different. There’s more competition than ever, and the best companies out there can take their pick from an ocean full of qualified, normal sized fish.

This Doesn’t Have To Be You

I want to give you something.

See, there’s a simple, proven way to create your own pond – where you’re the big fish once again – and then attract the dream employers you want to catch you.

No need to compete.

No need to worry about getting a job or paying the bills.

3 Steps To Being A “Big Fish” And Getting Your Dream Job

And that’s what I’m going to give you in this article – a way to do things different, so you stand out in a unique way that attracts the people and opportunities you want, and practically guarantees your success.

(There’s also a great free resource at the bottom that’ll help you take the next step.)

1. Take Charge Of Your Education

One of the most important moments in my life was when I was sitting at a conference listening to a millionaire on stage talking about his keys to success…

And I’ll never forget what he said:

He spent more than $10k/yr on his education… outside of post-secondary school!

He had his bachelor’s degree and was probably in his 40’s – and he was still spending a HUGE amount on growing and developing himself.

He spent more than $10k a year on coaching, seminars, conferences, books, and courses created by people he looked up to who were getting and doing what he wanted to get and do.

It was that simple, he said.

I’ve taken this to heart, and you should too. If you want to practically guarantee your success, get your dream job, and create the life of your dreams – never stop investing in yourself.

2. Get A Mentor

A few years ago I was fortunate to build relationships with a few key people who would become my mentors…

And I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without them.

They helped me launch my career, and opened doors that I didn’t know where even there.

They gave me the confidence to chase my dreams…

And the tools to get there.

So if you have big dreams, but you’re not sure how to get there – then find someone who has done what you want to do, and find a way to get them to mentor you.

Most people are more than willing to help the next generation succeed – because they had mentors along the way as well.

3. Follow The Great Ones

Here’s a small tidbit of wisdom that could change your life:

You don’t have to figure everything out yourself. Many have come before you, and many more will come afterwards… all you have to do is follow the path laid before you by the Great Ones, the leaders in your field – those who have done what you want to do.

If you’re a bit stubborn, like I once was, then you’ll find this truth to be relieving. Like a weight lifted from your shoulders.

I accepted it years ago by finding a mentor and following his formula, and it led to me getting my dream job – and now, a few years later… I’m helping others follow his formula to get their dream jobs as well.

So, wherever you are in life and whatever your dreams are – take charge of your education, find a mentor, and follow the Great Ones, and you’ll practically guarantee your success.

And if you need a little help getting started, you can check out the free video I put together along with my mentor. In it, I share three practical tips you can apply today to find and get your dream job.

Related Posts

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Ryan Niessen

About the author

Ryan Niessen is a co-creator of The Gateway Method: a simple, proven way to gain inside access to the world’s best employers and get your dream job. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.


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6 Things You Need To Know About Onboarding Millennials Tue, 29 Jul 2014 04:55:51 +0000 It's important to understand your employees function, especially during the onboarding process. Here's what you should know about onboarding millennials.

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It’s important to understand how your employees function, especially during the onboarding process.

Related: Gen Y: What Sort Of Company Do You Want To Work For?

6 Things You Need To Know About Onboarding Millennials

In this special presentation (below), you will learn the following:

  1. The difference between hiring a baby boomer vs. a millennial
  2. Whether or not turnover is an issue with millennials
  3. Some of the challenges with onboarding millennials
  4. The kind of office environment millennials want
  5. The importance of employee engagement with millennials
  6. How millennials are reshaping workplace culture

What has your experience been with onboarding millennials? Do you find it easier or harder than working with baby boomers? Please tell us in the comment section below!

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What To Say When Following Up On Your Resume Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:43:39 +0000 Don't miss out on the opportunity to WOW an employer because you didn't follow up. Here's what to say when following up on your resume or job application.

The post What To Say When Following Up On Your Resume appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

What should you say when following up on your resume?

Related: How Much Follow Up Is Too Much?

Many job seekers miss out on the opportunity to WOW an employer because they don’t follow up on each and every resume submission.

Benefits Of Following Up On Your Resume

Following up on every resume or application has the following benefits:

Ensures your resume was received

Just because you sent it doesn’t mean it was received on the other end. Don’t trust the web program, Internet site, referral service, fax, email, or even the trusty USPS. Follow up, first and foremost, to be sure that your important information arrived.

Confirms the right person received

Try to find out who is reviewing the applications or resumes and make sure he or she received it. Personalizing your resume and cover letter information is not going to do you much good if they end up on someone else’s desk (more likely their trash can or shredder).

Gives you the opportunity to obtain additional information

By going to the trouble of making sure the appropriate person has received your documents, you will obtain more information that you can use to your benefit, including:

  1. Hiring contact name
  2. Interview timeline
  3. Maybe even schedule an interview

Illustrates your organization skills

Even before the interview, the employer will see that you are organized enough to keep track of your applications and submissions, and plan accordingly. Further, you can be relied upon. Employers in all industries value these qualities.

Highlights your follow up skills

Following up speaks to your dedication and, again, reliability. If you follow up on your application, you could likely be relied upon to follow up on delegated tasks or requests that are outsourced. You are someone who can get the job done.

Demonstrates you want the job

Mind boggling, but true: Employers actually tell me that they cannot find anyone who wants to work. Really work. If you are not just going through the motions to satisfy a third party (unemployment, spouse, society…), follow up on every job application to show that interest.

Shows your perseverance

What is perseverance? Here are some synonyms – every employer would find them a positive attribute:

  1. Determination
  2. Diligence
  3. Doggedness
  4. Grit
  5. Resolution

Okay, so maybe I am preaching to the choir and you agree that following up on your resume is a good idea. Maybe you just don’t know what to say?

What To Say When Following Up On Your Resume

Start with a script to practice and refer to (use your own words):

Hi, My name is ____. I wanted to make sure that my resume for the _________ position was received. (Smile, it is important to try to forge a relationship with the receptionist, who may be the only person willing to help you right now. Jot down her name and use it). Can you transfer me to the hiring manager or their admin (receptionist name); this is a perfect opportunity for me?

Ideally, you will be transferred to someone whom you can repeat the above with and add:

What is the timeline for interviewing, if I may ask? Is there any way I can go ahead and get on the schedule – this job is a perfect match for me!

If not, then ask if there is anyone you can follow up with and what way they like to communicate. See if the receptionist is willing to check while you hold. Do what you can to obtain any information so that you can use it to connect or research on LinkedIn, or get in the door some other way.

If all else fails you can always submit a resume with a follow up note via email, fax, or the USPS…. Good luck!

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7 Ways To Sniff Out The REAL Company Culture Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:36:55 +0000 How do you know what it’s really like to work somewhere? Here are some ideas to help you identify the real company culture before you accept a position.

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You read the job description and get so excited. It is exactly what you want in your next career step. You talk with the recruiter and everything seems aligned. You prepare for the interview, you ask good questions and you get good answers, you think you got this nailed. It is as good as it seems, then you start and, a month later, you realize that it isn’t what you thought it was and you feel trapped.

Related: 3 Sneaky Ways To Research A Company

You can’t quit after a few months because you don’t want to be a job hopper. You regret your decision and wish you had done things differently. So, how do you know what it’s really like to work somewhere? Here are some ideas to help you identify the real company culture before you accept a position.

1. Ask a LOT of questions

I’ve said it before and I will say it again; ask a lot of questions! Ask scenario-based questions about career paths and culture and then you need to be sure that the interviewer can back it up. Ask them to tell you stories about top performers at the company and why the company considers them a top performer. Ask about what characteristics are rewarded and revered in the company. But be sure you ask!

2. Listen to the answers & probe

Asking is simply the first part of the equation, because then you need to listen and trust your gut. Does the answer seem genuine? Do they have no stories to back up their claims? Do they seem like authentic stories? And finally, do you think these answers and stories are aligned with what you want? If the answer is maybe, probe deeper with the interviewer. If you don’t get anywhere after you attempt to probe a bit, and it remains a maybe… then it’s a no. Maybe is a “no” because you cannot afford maybe.

3. Study current and former employees

Take some time on LinkedIn. Study the company page and the people who are working for the company. Are they frequently promoted? Do they demonstrate a career path? DO they quit and come back? This can tell you a lot about the company culture and can also inform the awesome questions you have to ask.

4. Connect with current employees

Use your network to talk with people who already work there. Ask them the good, the bad and the ugly. These conversations can help you shape an understanding of the company culture from an insider’s point of view. Ask them questions about what’s important to you when you join a new company.

5. Connect with former employees

Similar to the idea above, talking to former employees is equally important. These people can tell you why they left and if they would ever consider going back. The information you learn from former employees should also inform your questions. Keep in mind, companies do change and the reason this person left may no longer be an issue. So, be sure that you are mindful of that as well.

6. Read reviews, but don’t ONLY read reviews

Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are awesome to get some insights, but I always caution that these sites can sometimes cloud your point of view. Keep in mind; people who write anonymous reviews of things are often either horribly disgruntled or shilling. If you want to read reviews, read the ones that are middle of the road. Don’t read 5-stars and 1-star. Read 3-star reviews and then either ask your network to validate or just take it with a grain of salt.

7. Follow them on social to see how they respond

Social media has forced brands to more openly communicate with candidates and customers. Some companies do an amazing job of telling you about the culture on their social media channels. Others don’t. The companies who do not share a lot about their culture, you should study how do they treat their candidates and customers. You can use this information to see what it might be like at a company, and to see what is important to the brand before you join it.

Changing jobs is a big decision. Figuring out your fit is so important so that you don’t end up filled with dread and regret or the dreaded “job hopper” label. Carefully considering a company’s culture is critical in your career because getting it wrong is too costly.

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5 Tips For Building Your Brand On LinkedIn Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:14:38 +0000 Personal branding helps you stand out. On LinkedIn, this means building a “Brand You” platform. Here are some tips for building your brand on LinkedIn.

The post 5 Tips For Building Your Brand On LinkedIn appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

There are more than 300 million LinkedIn users in over 200 countries. How can you possibly stand out in a crowd that large? The answer lies in your personal brand. Who are you and what do you stand for? What have you achieved throughout your career? By building a stronger LinkedIn brand you can attract more attention from recruiters and open the door to more career possibilities.

Related: 10-Minute LinkedIn Makeover

Personal branding as a concept was first described by author and management expert Tom Peters who said, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

The Personal Branding Wiki defines branding as “the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.”

5 Tips For Building Your Brand On LinkedIn

Branding matters because it helps you to differentiate yourself. On LinkedIn, this means building a “Brand You” platform. Here are some tips for building your brand on LinkedIn:

1. Choose your brand focus

The key place to highlight your career targets is your LinkedIn headline. At a minimum, yours should contain your target title(s), industry(ies), #1 geographic preference, and skill keywords. Since you only have 120 characters to work with, you will have to keep your headline brief. Here are a couple of examples that show different ways to achieve this goal.

Headline sample #1 (117 characters): Senior Operations Executive/CEO in Chicago Electronics Manufacturing Sector | Excel at Lean Six Sigma Transformations

Headline sample #2 (120 characters): Saved >$750M & positioned >$3.5B in bio-tech sales | Healthcare IT Exec | CIO/CISO/CTO | Open to US or global relocation

There are several important things to note about these examples:

  • Non-critical words are omitted to make every syllable count.
  • A divider is used in place of a semi-colon to increase readability.
  • Title abbreviations and other keywords make up 98% of their content.
  • The first example summarizes the candidates career targets and key skills while the second emphasizes achievements.
  • These kinds of headlines are easily used by those who are job searching overtly. If you’re in a covert search, you may need to tone down or eliminate one or more elements to achieve the level of self-marketing you’re most comfortable with.

2. Prove your UVP

If your claim to fame is generating sales, then your LinkedIn profile needs to prove your abilities to do so. Use your summary to deliver that proof through mini achievement statements or by structuring your whole summary as one or more CAR stories (Challenge – Actions – Results). Utilize personality adjectives, quotes, awards, career credentials/pedigree, or thought leadership to make your case. You might want to check out these summary mini-templates for more help in this area.

  • Use personal adjectives sparingly and choose them very carefully. All you need is one to three great descriptors, which should of course be the most relevant characteristics you possess in relation to your targeted career(s).
  • Don’t repeat LinkedIn testimonials, but do consider adding additional quotes about your background and capabilities. You can draw these from emails, verbal expressions, thank you letters, letters of recommendation, or performance evaluations. Giving insight into how others think about you helps communicate your brand.
  • If possess key degrees or certifications that are relevant to your career goal(s), note them in your summary. Or, if you have experience working for industry-leading companies in your field, make mention of those experiences.
  • If you are a current or emerging thought leader in your industry with some combination of speaking, training, honors/awards, or publications to your name, it is vital to highlight this briefly in your summary.

3. Infuse your profile with keywords

By now you have hopefully heard how important keywords are to an effective and brand-driven LinkedIn profile. Because the LinkedIn search algorithm sources keywords from different locations in your profile, it’s important to include them throughout:

  • Headline: I’ve already noted this so I won’t belabor the point, but it is imperative to include industry-relevant keywords in your headline.
  • Summary: Likewise, they must be used throughout your profile. You will often also see folks adding a Skills or Specialties “section” in their profile, which is another great way to boost your profile’s keywords.
  • Position Titles: LinkedIn allows you to use up to 98 characters in your title spaces so this is a legitimate way to sneak in still more keywords. Adding a short list of key skills used in the role after your title would be a great strategy.
  • Position Descriptions: In addition to or instead of weaving keywords into your position titles, you can also insert them as a list within your job descriptions. LinkedIn allows you 2000 characters per position, so this should be plenty of space to incorporate multiple keywords per role.
  • Skills & Endorsements: This skills section is one of the most critical keyword pieces of real estate on LinkedIn. Hence it’s vital that you identify 50 keywords encompassing your target industry(ies) and insert them in this section. Make sure you move the most relevant keywords toward the top of your list to cultivate endorsements. And also make sure you use alternative phrasing for your most critical keywords. If you excel at relationship management, for example, try including stakeholder management in your list as well, so regardless of which term is used your profile will rank higher.
  • Additional Sections: Don’t overlook additional keyword placement in the extra sections LinkedIn allows you to add to your profile. If you just finished an MBA, for example, why not list some of your courses? This will embed more keywords for you. Listing recent professional development coursework and associations also helps.

4. Request brand-focused testimonials

Did you know that LinkedIn identifies the keywords used in the testimonials others have written about you and counts them toward the total that helps rank your profile in searches? When soliciting testimonials from current and former managers, colleagues, clients, and peers, you’ll find it helps if you gently direct their testimonial toward select keywords.

If you worked on a project with a colleague, for example, ask them to focus their testimonial on your project management skills. Not only will this boost your LinkedIn keyword count, it will also make your testimonial more insightful for your profile readers.

5. Share brand-driven status/group updates

One of the most powerful ways to bolster your LinkedIn brand is to share regular updates or resources via the status update or Group discussion forums, yet only .4% of users ever share, say, a blog post they enjoyed. Sharing updates and prompting or participating in Group discussions helps broadcast your brand throughout the greater LinkedIn community if you use them wisely. Considering that sharing such resources gently reminds your network about your brand and your capabilities without overtly hitting them over the head with your expertise, how can you afford not to do so?

It’s important to stand out on LinkedIn, but it’s even more important to stand out for the right reasons – ideally for your history of achievements and measurable impacts to date. And if you’re worried that you shouldn’t do so because it appears that hardly anyone else is, remember that in today’s strained economy you must stand out to get invited in for interviews. Besides, why follow the crowd when you can lead and get rewarded for your brand in the process?

Related Posts

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7 Ways To Meet New People (And Have Fun Doing It) Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:10:08 +0000 It can be hard to meet new people, but it can be done! Stop making excuses. Check out these fun ways to expand your social and professional network.

The post 7 Ways To Meet New People (And Have Fun Doing It) appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

It can be hard to meet new people. You might not think you have the time, patience, or social confidence to go out and build your network on a whim. Who does?

Related: 5 Reasons You Should Network With People Who AREN’T In Your Industry

Don’t let negative self-talk bring you down and stop making excuses for not going out and meeting new friends and/or professional contacts. You can do it (and have fun doing it, too)!

7 Ways To Meet New People

So, where can you meet new people? Here are some ideas for ways to meet new people:

1. While You’re Practicing Your Presenting Skills

Toastmasters is a great program, especially if you want to meet others. The group brings together a diverse group of individuals with the same goal: to improve their speaking skills. Although it may sound intimidating to practice your public speaking skills to a room of random people, the groups are typically very understanding friendly. Remember, even the best speakers probably had a shaky start, otherwise they wouldn’t have joined.

Make an effort to go to the meetings and learn about the people in the group – you never know who will be a valuable contact in the future!

2. While You’re Competing

If you love competition, join a sports club or league! It’s easier for some people to connect with others while in a team setting. This is a fun way to meet new people, play new sports, and learn how to work on a team.

3. While You’re Sipping A Brew

Whether you enjoy a fancy cocktail or you’re content with a beer, there are plenty of opportunities for networking. Events that surround drinking are fun because people are typically laid-back and more willing to socialize.

Here are some ideas for events to look out for:

  • Local beer tours
  • Booze cruises
  • Bar crawls
  • Beer and wine tastings
  • Cocktail parties

4. While You’re Breaking A Sweat

Okay, I never really understood why people tried to meet others at the gym. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is talk to someone when I’m on the treadmill, jamming out to Katy Perry, and sweating like it’s my job!

…But that’s just me.

Instead, join a fitness class. It’s more of a social setting and the classes are usually pretty fun and diverse.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Zumba
  • CrossFit

Of course, there are a ton of other awesome classes out there, so check your local fitness clubs!

5. While You’re Helping Out

Volunteering in your community is a great way to meet new friends and professional contacts. You could do anything from event planning to building houses. Check out what volunteer opportunities are available in your area by going online or scouting out the bulletin boards around town!

6. While You’re Learning

What are you interested in? What do you want to learn more about? Whether it’s on social media or pottery, try taking a class. Check out what classes and workshops are being offered in your area. This is a great way to meet new people with similar interests as you! (Cool idea: paint along classes. These classes are gaining popularity – you learn to paint while sipping an alcoholic beverage!)

7. While You’re Exploring

What’s happening in your area? Is there a chili cook-off this weekend? Is a local band playing at your favorite bar? Is there an art show? Does your local park have picnics, festivals, or outdoor plays? Find out what’s going on in your town and go check it out. Then, talk to people working, volunteering, or attending the event to learn more about it!

How To Find Events And Groups

So, now you know where to meet people, but how do you find out where to find these groups, events? Well, in addition to talking with your existing network about the local happenings, try these ideas:

Meetup.Com is a huge network that helps local groups come together, face-to-face. It’s a great tool for anyone looking to meet new people or try new things.

Here are just a few of the many types of groups that you can find on Meetup:

  • Professional groups
  • Recreational sports
  • Hobby clubs
  • Social outings

Want to start a book club in your area? Meetup makes it easy to do that, too! Not only can you find awesome, local groups with the click of a button, but you can also organize your own group.

Local Bulletin Boards

While you’re at the supermarket or post office, be sure to take five minutes to check out the bulletin board. You’ll find things like brochures, business cards, and flyers from local groups, businesses, and events. There’s probably something you’d be interested in doing and/or learning more about!

Twitter & Facebook

Like or follow local social media accounts to see what’s happening in your area. This is a great way to get information on local happenings.

Here are some types of accounts to start following:

  • The local paper
  • The chamber of commerce
  • Local organizations, groups, and businesses

Groupon & Living Social

These coupon sites offer awesome deals on local outings, events, lessons, memberships, hotels, and bars and restaurants. You can find great deals on things like horseback riding lessons, fitness memberships, and local outings or events.

(This summer, I got coupons for a parasailing trip, a Boston harbor cruise, and tons of local restaurants!)

Even if you don’t end up getting the coupon, you can still get awesome outing ideas from these websites!

What are your favorite ways to meet new people? Tell us in the comments below!

Want to become a master networker? Try Mingle!

Do you want to be a better networker? Check out our Mingle virtual networking events! They’re free, easy, and fun! To learn more about Mingle events, please click here. Click the button below to register for our next event.




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5 Ways To Say ‘No’ Effectively Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:50:17 +0000 Saying "no" in a way that is respectful but firm is a key skill you can develop - It's also an art. Here are five ways to say "no" effectively.

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We all get bombarded with requests and demands for our attention and our time. Learning to say “No” in a way that is respectful but firm is a key skill you can develop to handle those requests you simply do not have time for (or the knowledge to do effectively).

Related: 4 Tips For Becoming The Co-Worker Everyone Loves

I recently re-read the book, The Power of a Positive No, written by William Ury. His book offers great advice and tips for how to say “No” with grace and effect. In his book, William offers the following specific phrases you can use to say “No” to the demands of others in a manner that is appreciative and flows naturally and sincerely:

“No” Or “No Thanks.”

Directness has its place, but it can also be expressed gracefully. Adding the word “thanks” to your “no” shows respect and care for the relationship.

“I Have A Policy.”

Examples include, “I have a policy to never lend money to friends or family members,” or, “I have a policy to never make significant purchases without first speaking to my wife (or husband, or partner).”

“I Have Plans.”

A great concrete everyday phrase that can affirm your interests as well as you power without spoiling your relationship is, “I already have plans,” or, “I have another event I’ve committed to that evening.”

“Not Now.”

Maybe another time. This softens the blow of a “No” and leaves the door open to a future request. “Not now” should only be used in those cases where there does exist a real possibility for addressing the others’ needs in the future.

“I Prefer To Decline Rather Than Do A Poor Job.”

When you decline rather than do a poor job, you are not only affirming your own interests but also paying attention to the relationship. You would both be worse off, and so would your relationship, if you say “Yes” and then a job that turns out to be much less than satisfactory.

Know your limits and acknowledge them freely. Spend your time doing what you do well and what is truly best for you. Both you and the other will be better off in the long run.

Related Posts

3 Steps To Genuine Productivity At Work
5 Tips For Dealing With An Annoying Co-Worker
3 Tips For Multitasking Smarter, Not Harder


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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5 Conversations You Must Have With A New Boss Sun, 27 Jul 2014 05:23:06 +0000 Congratulations! You're starting a new job. It’s an exciting time, but also an uncertain time. Building a relationship with your new boss is crucial.

The post 5 Conversations You Must Have With A New Boss appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Congratulations! You’re starting a new job. It’s an exciting time, sure, but also an uncertain time. There are so many questions: Will my responsibilities match the job description? Will I mesh with the new team?  Will they recognize my prior experience?  Will I be successful in my new role?

Related: 4 Phrases Your Boss LOVES To Hear

These are questions that time and on-the-job experience will answer, right?

Sure… to an extent.

While time and “just jumping in” with the team will ease some of those new-hire insecurities, the key element to beginning a new role is building a solid relationship with your manager.  Regardless of the “rockstar” status you possess in your industry or with a previous job, your prestigious degree, or even the years of experience that fill your resume, your manager is the gateway to success in your new role.

Some managers are better than others at nurturing a new employee. Right now, you’re probably thinking of a time when you started a new job, and your direct supervisor was, for all intents and purposes, non-existent.

Sidenote: If you are a manager and this describes you, take this bit of tough-love advice: Your employees deserve better than that. They need you. Be the manager you would want to work for.  Take a moment to ponder that.

Building a relationship with your new manager isn’t complicated. It must be intentional, genuine, and built on a foundation of respect. As a new employee, ideally you should be spending some time with your manager every day for the first couple of weeks, even if only for a brief check-in. These meetings are ideal opportunities to jump-start the dialogue.  Here are five simple conversations you need to have with your boss when you start a new role:

1. Why Me?

Naturally, you were the most qualified among the applicants, right? Chances are, more went into the decision than simply your thoughtful interview answers, dazzling wit, and well-tailored suit. The hiring manager saw something in you that s/he felt would add value to the team. Find out why you were chosen, and spend each day proving that value.

2. How Can I learn?

Onboarding does not end with New Employee Orientation. Orientation is an event. Onboarding is a process – a learning process that should embrace a new employee in three ways:

  • Welcome the new employee to the COMPANY
  • Acquaint the new employee with the TEAM
  • Immerse the new employee into the ROLE

Like any new job, there is so much to learn about the company you’ve just joined, the team you are now a part of, and the role that you will be filling. Your manager should provide guidance, resources, and an opportunity to learn. With your manager, create a learning plan that will integrate you into your new role.

3. What’s The Plan?

Chances are your manager had a plan in place prior to your arrival. Spend time with your manager discussing this plan. Seek out opportunities to secure quick wins that will propel your credibility, but also create long-term, measurable goals that will impact the team and company. Ask your manager what your departmental and organizational objectives are, and ensure that your personal goals are clearly aligned.

4. I Need Your Feedback, And You Need Mine

Transparency is a key element to any successful relationship. Asking your manager for feedback and guidance will strengthen your alliance, and help ensure that you are meeting (and hopefully exceeding) expectations. While receiving feedback is important, so is providing feedback to your manager. This transparency breeds trust between an employee and manager. Remember, ask permission to provide feedback to your manager, and keep it respectful and relevant.

5. Be My Champion, And I’ll Be Yours

One of the greatest things an employee can do is to make his/her manager look good. To make that manager’s job a bit easier. And, of course, to give that manager something to brag about. What are you doing to support your manager? What are his goals for his own role – or for his future path within the organization? How can you help him be successful? Demonstrating a little selfless benevolence can go a long way to securing your own success.

Five simple conversations. Five opportunities to clarify expectations and build a solid partnership from the beginning. Take the time to get to know your manager, and help him/her affirm his/her decision that you are the right person for the job.

You are, after all.

Related Posts

New Boss, New Career Opportunities
4 Tips For Connecting With A New Boss
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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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