CAREEREALISM Career Advice & Job Search Magazine Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:47:18 +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 3 Reasons Why You Should Think Like A ‘Business-Of-One’ Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:37:28 +0000 You are responsible for carving out a successful career. Here are three reasons why everyone should think of themselves as a business-of-one.

The post 3 Reasons Why You Should Think Like A ‘Business-Of-One’ appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

This post is part of the Professional Independence Project series.

Despite the doom and gloom of the current job market, you’ll find that a revolution is forming that’s quickly changing the world of work as we know it. Many Millennials have jumped ship in favor of being their own boss, while older generations are learning to build side businesses in tandem with their day jobs.

What do they know that most of us don’t? The economy has changed and we’re no longer handed a job upon graduating college. In fact, a college degree doesn’t do much to set you apart now, and you’re lucky if you can get a job at all. In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released an alarming stat; the average American worker stays at a job less than four and a half years.

You are responsible for creating your own job title and carving out a successful career.

This is why being the CEO of yourself is so important now. You are responsible for creating your own job title and carving out a successful career. We can no longer rely on having a secure job for the next 40 years and applying for Social Security during retirement at age 70. Both of these ideals are completely dead.

Why You Should Think Like A ‘Business-Of-One’

Here are three reasons why everyone should think of themselves as a business-of-one.

1. Building a personal brand.

Whether it’s right now or in the future, you need to have the flexibility to control your income. The harder you work, the more money you can earn, which means that building your personal brand – with a good reputation – is key.

What can a personal brand do for you? Well, a lot actually. For one, it can connect you with influential experts and help you get on the radar of industry experts. This comes in handy if you need to pull some strings to land a job, or if you want to work with big-name companies to become a brand ambassador.

2. Accurately build your reputation.

The Internet isn’t going anywhere, neither are social sites like Twitter or Facebook, so instead of shying away from these public outlets, it’s time to embrace them. You can control what the media says about you, and curate your own perspective.

Media nightmares are a real thing, but you can put out those fires by establishing a personal website, while controlling what comments are shared about you and your business on social media.

When a potential influencer, client, or employer does a search online, they’ll be able to view the accurate information about you, instead of pulling up rumors and other incorrect data. That is a priceless benefit to both you and your family. You can establish a reputation that even your children can lean on and use as a jumping off point.

3. Reaching independence and freedom.

Having the freedom to do what you want and create an unconventional lifestyle is something many of us crave. The only way to achieve this is to become the CEO of your life and create your own dream job.

Career conscious go-getters no longer strive for work-life balance; instead, they strive for a blending of work and life that’s only available through a location independent lifestyle. Most bosses don’t allow work-vacations (called workcations) but if you’re the CEO, you can travel anywhere you want, while taking the work with you.

This kind of freedom not only affects how and when you work, but your financial standing as well. You can have control over your income since you’re not wasting time building some else’s dream. You’re able to branch out into different income streams and diversify how you make a living. This nearly eliminates the possibility of becoming bored and enables you to reach the freedom you’ve been striving for.

Essentially, the reason you should think of yourself as a business-of-one is because you are one! The economy and job market are no longer the same and in order to evolve with the new world of work you have to adapt at becoming the CEO of your life.

Want to take control of your career?

If you want to take control of your career, check out our fall series, the Professional Independence Project. Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing expert advice and insight on how you can build a successful career you love.

Sign up now to get five FREE video tutorials that show you how to market yourself to anyone, anywhere. Start your path the professional independence. Sign up today!

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5 Tips For Reclaiming Your Career & Finding Happiness Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:45:32 +0000 Dread going into work every morning? Wish things just magically changed? It's time to take control. Here are some tips for reclaiming your career!

The post 5 Tips For Reclaiming Your Career & Finding Happiness appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

This post is part of the Professional Independence Project series.

Which one describes your morning more accurately?

a) Waking up excited to head into work and do what you love.

b) Waking up dreading work and seriously considering calling in sick.

If the second scenario sounds more like you, it’s time for a change, don’t you think?

Related: 4 Ways To Take Ownership Of Your Career

Here are five tips for reclaiming your career and finding career happiness:

1. Figure out what the heck is causing the problem.

What is it that you HATE about your job? Why do you DREAD going to work? Is it the work itself or the people you work with? Is it a specific task or a specific individual who makes your life miserable? Once you determine the stressor/misery-causer, you can take steps to fix/eliminate the problem.

2. Manage up!

I’m sure you’ve heard this term before, but what the heck does it mean to “manage up” anyway? Well, it means that you need to step it up a little bit with your work, and go above and beyond what you’re being asked to do.

Managing up will help others recognize your value within the organization, making you an asset. By going the extra mile with your work, you take stress off of your manager/boss, which can help you build a better working relationship with him/her. Remember, your job is to make your boss’s job easier. If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing your job – and you’re not showing your value as an employee.

3. Attend workshops & seminars.

Find some local workshops and seminars that will help you enhance your skills. By attending these events, you not only will learn new, valuable skills, but you will prove that you are willing to take that extra step in order to get ahead.

Figure out what areas you feel you should improve – Do you need better time management skills? Would it help you to learn the HTML basics? Maybe you just want to brush up on your business writing or public speaking skills. There are workshops and seminars for everything!

4. Find a mentor.

It’s always nice to have a little extra guidance and support. Find someone who has extensive experience in your field and ask them if they would mind being your mentor. They can provide valuable insight and contacts that will help you get ahead.

Not sure how to find a mentor? Read this article for some tips!

5. Get out there and meet the RIGHT people!

If you really want to take control of your career, you need the right people in your corner. Are you going out there and meeting the right people? Although networking with people outside of your industry has its benefits, it’s important to have a focused networking strategy that builds a solid network of contacts.

There are several ways to connect with the right contacts. Here are a few:

  • Attend industry-specific events (don’t have to be networking events!)
  • Join industry-specific organizations and clubs
  • Use keywords and hashtags to find potential contacts on Twitter and LinkedIn

Check out an article I wrote on connecting with relevant contacts on Twitter!

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.

Mingle is sponsored by Brazen Careerist. Learn more about Brazen Careerist and its virtual networking technology here.

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Job Seekers: What Should My Email Signature Say? Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:38:30 +0000 Are you making full use of your email signature to brand your candidacy as a job seeker? Here are some ways to use your email signature to your advantage.

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Are you making full use of your email signature to brand your candidacy as a job seeker? With a few tweaks, this simple tool can play a key role in sharing your brand with recruiters, companies, and hiring managers.

Related: Why Communicating Through E-mail Is An Ineffective Job Search Strategy

Because email is a primary form of business and job search communications these days, it is imperative to think about how your signature is marketing you. If you think about LinkedIn as your online brand “portal,” your email signature is one small but important pathway to lead traffic (recruiters and hiring executives) to you.

Every email provider provides a way for you to sign-off at the bottom of your message. Usually available via your email system’s settings page, signature files can always contain plain text and can often contain HTML or images. The typical length for an email signature ranges from four to seven lines. A job seeker’s signature can contain any of the following as appropriate:

  • Name – List your first or full name in a way that matches your resume, LI profile, and employment record. If you normally go by a nickname, be sure to include it.
  • Title – Since it won’t work to alter your title each time you send an email, use one that reflects the broad positioning of your LinkedIn profile. For example, if you’re looking for a CIO role but are open to director- and VP-level roles depending on company size, you might want to use a title such as Senior IT Executive.
  • Career Email Address – Never use your work email address for job search communications. Select a dedicated email you can use not only for your search but for all future career communications, and maintain that address for the balance of your working life. The most professional email provide is generally considered to be Gmail, which offers generous storage, great spam blocking, and many helpful features and apps. By the way, use an email address that includes some version of your name and avoid cutesy extensions that will raise eyebrows.
  • Contact Information – Include one phone number rather than multiples; choose the one that represents the best way to reach you. Make sure the voice mail message is in your voice and is strictly professional.
  • Photo – Some email systems allow you to attach a photo to your signature. If you elect to include one, I suggest using the same one on your LinkedIn profile to reinforce your brand image.
  • Career Targets – Since you’re using this email for job search purposes at least part of the time, it may be appropriate to briefly note your preferred position types, levels, industries, company types, and geographic locations.
  • Links – Embed hotlinks to your LinkedIn profile and any relevant online portfolio, website, or social media accounts you may wish to include. Make sure to use your custom LinkedIn URL rather than your default profile URL.
  • Closing – A courteous close such as “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or whatever word or phrase you are comfortable with.

In your email settings, include a shorter signature on replies and forwards so you don’t annoy your readers with too much detail about yourself. And remember to proofread, proofread, proofread to be sure your signature is perfect.

Although most email systems will allow some simple text, others allow you to construct a signature out of tables or HTML, either of which gives you more extensive formatting options. If you like the simple approach, by all means set your signature up as a list of text with keyboard characters as section separators. Here’s a quick example:


Best regards,



James Tyland, MBA

Senior IT Executive

Career Targets: Software Engineering Firms in the Western & Southwestern US



If you prefer a more elegant email signature, try an app or software such as Wisestamp, BrandMyMail, V-Cards, or EmailSignatureRescue. Here’s a more stylized signature I created in MS Word:

Email Signature Example

Don’t waste your email signature space – use this valuable digital real estate to showcase your brand and your candidacy. And if you’re not currently in or anticipating a job search, check out these seven must-haves you need to manage your career proactively.

Related Posts

5 Email Etiquette Tips For Job Seekers
E-mail Etiquette Matters During Your Career Search
Your Job Search: 5 Tips For A Professional E-mail Address

Cheryl Simpson | Executive Job Search Coach

About the author

A 15-time, award-winning resume writer, Cheryl Lynch Simpson serves mid-career to senior executives as a credentialed resume writer (ACRW), LinkedIn strategist (COPNS), and Get Clear, Get Found, Get Hired (G3) coach. Like her advice? Check out her website, for a complimentary copy of her popular Polish Your Profile LinkedIn presentation, or follow her on Twitter!


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

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The 4 Essential ‘P’s’ Of Your Dream Job Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:32:26 +0000 Life it too short to be unhappy at work. It's time to find career happiness! Here are four essential P's of your dream job and why their important.

The post The 4 Essential ‘P’s’ Of Your Dream Job appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

We’ve all been told that if you choose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. But, how many people actually have the opportunity to work somewhere they love? In a world where we spend the bulk of our waking hours at work, it seems impossible to think that unhappy employees outnumber the happy ones by two to one. This startling statistic makes many of us wonder, what can we change?

QUIZ: Are You Getting Ignored By Your Dream Jobs?

By placing more emphasis on what makes us happy, a dream job is entirely attainable. There are four essential things every professional should look for, in any industry, to find a dream job of their own: the people, the purpose, the product, and the potential.

1. The People

The hours spent at work are seriously more enjoyable when you have awesome co-workers by your side. The most effective teams are made up of people who trust and support one another, collaborate, and succeed together. Not only are you most productive with teammates you can relate to and rely on, but you might just find some of your closest friends. Take a look at some of The Grommet employees, for instance. The staff members of this start-up company have weekend hang-outs and even go on trips together. Marketing Specialist Maggie Schulz described “French Toast Friday” as one of The Grommet’s go-to events. (And frankly, french toast any-day is something I can get behind!)

Maggie Schulz

Maggie Schulz | Photo credit: The Grommet


“They are also the kind of people you want to spend time with even if you aren’t getting paid to.“ -Maggie Schulz, Marketing Specialist, The Grommet




Although the people you work with don’t have to be just like you, if they share your work ethic and interests, you’re bound to enjoy seeing them every day. At The Grommet, Maker Programming Associate Matt DiStefano, says his co-workers are “mission driven, smart, and fun” and that they’re all there for the same reason. Schulz points out that the staff are “the kind of people you want to spend time with, even if you aren’t getting paid to.”

To find co-workers like this, look for what Ryan DeChance, Discovery Manager, calls “good people.” That’s how you will find a place where you “GET to go to work,” as he says. When you enjoy being in the company of your co-workers, you’ll be closer to finding a job you love.

2. The Purpose

If you’ve ever asked yourself at work, ‘Why am I doing this?’, it probably isn’t your dream job. Great jobs give us a sense of pride and accomplishment, and the best ones really let us contribute to the company’s success. By being aligned with your work, there is a motivation to get up and going in the morning, knowing that your work’s purpose has value.

Ryan DeChance

Ryan DeChance | Photo credit: The Grommet


“Every day has a success story.” -Ryan DeChance, Discovery Manager, The Grommet




DeChance explains that, at The Grommet, there is a success story of its emerging products and businesses every day. As a company that launches undiscovered products with a purpose, the staff is “constantly challenged to do things differently,” shares Site Operations Manager, Jennifer Gokhale. Compared to other companies where you might be just another person punching in and out of the timeclock, Mimi Wong, the Sr. Customer Experience Manager, points out that The Grommet is a place where “you have a real opportunity to shape the product and processes involved.” These types of sentiments illustrate the difference between a job you love, and one where you just go through the motions to get paid.

Mimi Wong

Mimi Wong | Photo credit: The Grommet


“I love how passionate everyone is about the mission.” -Mimi Wong, Sr. Customer Experience Manager, The Grommet




When you understand what your values are and what motivates you, you can find a company that shares that understanding. Being aligned with your work will help you feel about your job like DeChance does of his career at The Grommet, “like a hobby I get paid for.”

3. The Product

It’s easy to fall in love with a job when the products are amazing. If you don’t understand the purpose of a product or just plain don’t like it, it’s difficult to imagine a world where you’d enjoy selling it. Not only does this make for a dull day, but also for poor productivity. Standing behind a product will help you stand behind the job, too. Whether you’re providing a service or producing a product, what your company sells impacts your experience at the job.

Matt DiStefano

Matt DiStefano | Photo credit: The Grommet


“We all are here for the same reason: to get the Maker’s [new products] to that next level and to help this company that we all believe in succeed.” -Matt DiStefano, Maker Programming Associate, The Grommet




4. The Potential

When you’re driving and come to a dead-end, you back up and try a different route. The same thing should be true of a job where you don’t see a future. Companies that encourage you to grow professionally will foster better employees and provide you with the potential to do more. A dream job will let you hold on to the people, purpose, and products you signed on for, while having a shot at something bigger. As a professional, you should always look for a job that lets you live up to your potential.

Jennifer Gokhale

Jennifer Gokhale | Photo credit: The Grommet


“It’s the open-ended potential that results in business pivots at a high speed with a flexible team, and it’s why I find it so energizing.” -Jennifer Gokhale, Site Operations Manager, The Grommet




It’s about time we start turning the numbers around and becoming happier employees. Consider the 4 P’s you would love to have in a job, and find the position that offers them!

You can find your dream job!

Is finding a purpose important to you? Do you dream of helping a company grow?

The Grommet is looking for creative, driven professionals to join their team. With high-potential positions to fill, you could find yourself launching the next big thing! Click here to learn more about a career with The Grommet.

Related Posts

3 Reasons No Experience Will Land You That Dream Job
The Intriguing Truth About Your Dream Job
Is It Ever ‘Too Late’ To Get Your Dream Job?


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10 Tips For People Who Hate Networking Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:30:15 +0000 Networking has a bad reputation as a forum for superficial small talk. Do you hate networking? Here are 10 networking tips made for you!

The post 10 Tips For People Who Hate Networking appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Do you associate networking with shameless self-promotion and ‘more = more’? Does that make your stomach turn? Me too!

Related: 18 Easy Conversation Starters For Networking Events

Networking has a bad reputation as a forum for superficial small talk. Yet real networking is about establishing mutually beneficial, lasting connections, one person at a time. And with my modern approach to networking, even you can shine and thrive at a board meeting, convention, or free-floating cocktail party.

The reason so many of us hate networking – and profess to stink at it – is because we’ve been futilely following the wrong rules. Rules that only work for a paltry 15% of the population and require us to be phony – a sure fire way to short circuit.

10 Tips For People Who Hate Networking

Networking for People Who Hate Networking (Berrett-Koehler 2010), which is translated into 11 languages, offers a completely new – and infinitely more effective take – on networking. Networking isn’t about working a room or telling everyone how fabulous you are. Real networking is building meaningful, lasting, mutually beneficial connections one person at a time.

This new and improved definition of networking means being true to you; capitalizing on your strengths, and tossing aside ‘rules’ that don’t match your temperament. The book’s self-assessment identifies your networking style. However, here are a few tidbits designed especially for you:

1. Be True To You

You are better qualified to be you than anyone else. Stamp out networking advice that demands you behave in ways that drain you. Harness natural abilities as networking strengths rather than liabilities. Like to listen, not talk? Do it. Energize alone? Go for it. Prefer one-on-one conversation? Arrange it.

2. Realize Less Is More

Be selective. Go to fewer events and be more focused when attending – rather than dragging your weary self to every business opportunity and showing up like a networking prisoner.

3. Plan Your First Impression

Cognitive scientists say it can take up to 200 times the amount of information to undo a first impression as it takes to make one. Who has that kind of spare time? Not you! Show up with the best version of you, every time. You never know who you are meeting.

4. Volunteer

Many of us dislike networking events because we don’t know what to say to a group of strangers. Free floating through a room is a fast track to free-floating anxiety. What to do? Simple. Volunteer to help out. Voila! You have a purpose and something to talk about. Even better, you position yourself as someone helpful – proving how indispensable you are rather than telling everyone about it.

5. Get In Line

This strategy is brilliant. You walk into a networking event with nowhere to go and no one to glom onto. What’s a desperate networker to do? Get in a queue. Any queue. The longer the better!

Why? A queue gives you a place to put your body and a temporary purpose in the world. There are only two people to talk with – the person in front and person behind you. There is a reward – whatever is given out at the front of the queue. And a natural ending – the front of the queue. Nice meeting you!  Ta-ta!

6. Set Challenging Yet Achievable Networking Goals

Well-formed goals vary by personality. At a networking event, task yourself with meeting one or two people, not a dozen. And follow up (see #10!).

7. Show Don’t Tell

Rather than boring others with a canned advert of how marvelous you are, demonstrate live-time your fabulous self. Be useful and gracious. Greet others with a warm smile and leap at every chance to be helpful.

8. Research

Rather than wandering cavernous expo halls at industry events, do your pre-work. Learn in advance what organizations are of particular interest. Spend more time with fewer people. Impress key targets with your knowledge of who they are and why you are a perfect match.

9. Listen

Ever sense your remarks just shoot off a cliff and crash to the ground? Who needs that kind of pressure? Instead focus on those around you, asking thoughtful questions. Network via a sincere interest in others rather than promoting your fine self.

10. Follow-Up Or Forget About It

If you’re not following up, you’re not networking! We forget half of what we hear within 48 hours. Write personalized follow-up within two days or risk having your brilliant remarks erased permanently from the minds of those you wowed. If you’re not following up, you’re not networking.

Good luck out there! See you at a networking event. I’ll be standing alone by the buffet. Come say hi!

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

5 Quick Tips For More Confident Networking
5 Ways To Break The Ice At Networking Events
Building Your Network: 5 Tips For Shy Networkers

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Where Buzzwords Fit In Your Resume Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:20:20 +0000 Every time buzzwords take over from substantial fact, your resume becomes weaker, until it could apply to any job applicant anywhere.

The post Where Buzzwords Fit In Your Resume appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Where do buzzwords fit into your resume? Read this post to find out!

Related: Optimizing Your Resume With Keywords

Compare these two statements:

  • “Proactive leader of manufacturing teams.”
  • “Achieved a 20% increase in productivity by reorganizing manufacturing teams.”

The first statement uses the buzzword “proactive” but is unsupported by facts.

The second statement would light up the eyes of any manufacturing executive or recruiter.

Every time buzzwords take over from substantial fact, your resume becomes weaker, until it could apply to any job applicant anywhere. But your goal is to stand out, to become the one candidate everyone wants to meet. To achieve, that, you have to throw out the buzzwords and become specific.

Compare these two statements:

  • “Expert in the use of state-of-the-art technology to design fully functional websites.”
  • “Designed corporate website using Joomla for $4 million company.”

The second sentence is three words shorter but a whole lot more impressive. When you avoid buzzwords in your resume, you create room for the facts that will win you your next job.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

Top 100 Most Powerful Resume Words
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Tailoring Your Resume During A Career Transition Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:00:50 +0000 Changing careers can be daunting. Here are some need-to-know tips for tailoring your resume during a career transition... plus other helpful tips!

The post Tailoring Your Resume During A Career Transition appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Changing careers can be daunting. Not only do you have to carefully consider everything in leaving your job behind, but you have to calculate the steps needed in order to progress into an alternative career or industry.

Related: 4 Secrets To Changing Careers In Your 40s

Deciding to change careers is the first step in the process, but alongside the decision come a variety of administrative responsibilities.

(If you are yet to quit your existing job, make sure you check out my video on How To Quit Your Job The Right Way by clicking here.)

In order to apply for new jobs, you will need the relevant documents: a resume, portfolio, and cover letter.

Where To Start?

The first step you will take in tailoring your resume is by linking your past experience with your possible positions in the future. Always keep in mind what the employer is looking for and what they would want to read about you.

This doesn’t mean you have to fabricate the perfect resume, it’s just about anticipating what the employer would like to know about you and your experience.

Even though you might feel your new career path is worlds apart from you previous position, there are still ways in which you can link and combine the skills to make them relevant to what lies ahead.

State Your Objectives

The easiest way to jump the career change hurdle is by being clear and open in your resume and/or cover letter. Don’t try and trick the HR or recruiting into thinking that you have vast experience in a particular field when you don’t.

Make it clear that you are in the midst of a career transition and mention how your past experience alongside your skills and expertise can tie in with the position you are applying for.

Don’t Use Cliches

Don’t fall into the trap of using resume cliches.

For instance, people mentioning that the fact that they are ‘perfectionists’ is a weakness. Or using phrases such as ‘hard-working,’ ‘team-player,’ or ‘hands-on.’ Every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there has used them, and it will only damage the credibility of your resume.

State The Important Facts First

Those hiring new employees don’t necessarily read every word on the resume.

That’s why you need to list your information and facts in a way that is easy to ‘digest’ for your prospective employer. Structure your resume in such a way that all the headings are relevant and the most important facts relating to your new career are listed first.

Make Use Of Action Verbs

Accomplishments that outline your unique contribution are great. If at all possible, use action verbs such as ‘collaborated,’ ‘designed,’ ‘planned,’ ‘developed,’ ‘initiated,’ ‘sold,’ and so on.

Not only will this show that you are influential within a company, but action verbs will show your proactive approach in the working environment.

Work With What You Already Have

If you’ve been in the workforce for quite some time and now you are changing careers, you don’t have to make use of your college resume anymore. Your professional portfolio and resume will now be most relevant.

Some skills are beneficial to any job, for instance, leadership, communication, negotiation, independent learning, management, problem solving, and so on. Just make sure that you do have examples of where you practiced each of these skills and ideas of how you could do so in your future position.

Even if you don’t have experience in the field you are about to enter – you have life experience and alongside a positive attitude and willingness to learn this is vitally important to prospective employers.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Many candidates tend to just make a few small adjustments on their resume, hoping for the best. By not knowing what you are getting yourself into, you might be wasting both your and the company’s time.

Do some research about the ultimate resumes in your new career field. You could even have a chat with someone you know in the industry, especially if it’s a senior, and pick their brains on the current expectations.

The more you know, the better your chances of ultimately representing yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.

Showcase The Natural Progress

Structure your resume in such a way that you don’t come across as a job hopper.

Showcase the natural progress from one industry to another by combining your skills, expertise, and interest in your resume. The best advice would be to find an underlying theme or practice that connects all your different experiences and base your new summary, cover letter, and resume upon this premise.

Your Extensive Knowledge

The best way to convince them of your interest in the industry is by sharing your extensive knowledge even though you might not have first-hand experience.

If it’s in any way possible, show them the numbers! The idea is to back-up your claims of expertise with actual instances where your work has resulted in a positive change within the company. If you were a social media expert, give them the actual numbers of how much your audience increased while you were responsible for those tasks.

If you need to acquire some skills to make yourself more interesting to potential employers, check out this video on how to use the internet for that purpose.

Update Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is important to show your understanding of the position and its requirements. It shows that you’ve done your research and you understand how your experience, interests, and background can possibly tie into the position.

In the case of a career transition, you cover letter will also mention that you are changing careers or entering a different field. Be open about your past, present, and ideal future.

Include Your Online Representation

Online representation could be seen as an add-on to your current resume. These days, companies don’t just stare at a few pieces of paper to get to know you as a possible employee. They do research. As in social media research – on you.

Before applying for a job, ‘Google’ your own name and see what comes up. It’s very interesting and might even tell you more about yourself than you were aware of.

Your online reputation speaks of your most obvious, or well-optimized habits. For instance, if you claim to be a resource within a certain industry but when you search those keywords alongside your name and nothing comes up, this will take away much of your credibility.

At the end of the day, it’s about making your mark both on the print version of your resume as well as your online representation.

Apart from promoting yourself, your expertise and interests on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, you could sign up for online portfolios such as, Contently, and

Your online representation will do the talking, even if you are not sure what to say. Of course, not all companies rely on your online reputation, but having this intact might benefit both the company and your career.

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Alex Simon

About the author

Alex Simon is a career reinvention coach and speaker. Often referred to as “a master at breaking into sexy and exciting careers”, he has promoted world title fights, managed Indy 500 race car drivers, worked for a Wall Street giant, and is the subject of Starsuckers, an award-winning documentary on the pursuit of fame. Check out his website, follow him on Twitter, or add him on LinkedIn!



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

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10 Essential Email Etiquette Tips You Can’t Afford To Ignore Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:26:30 +0000 Ever wonder why people don’t respond to your emails? Re-read your emails to them. Here are some essential email etiquette tips you can't afford to ignore.

The post 10 Essential Email Etiquette Tips You Can’t Afford To Ignore appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Ever wonder why people don’t respond to your emails or why others might appear testy in their responses? If people often ignore your missives, you may need to examine the way you are communicating via email — perhaps the most important communication tool in business today.

Related: Follow Up Tips: What To Do When Your E-mail Goes Unanswered

Certainly, you’ve heard the disaster stories — the trouble that comes back to bite people who, in a snit, have committed words to email they would probably never speak aloud. These messages can get you in hot water in the boardroom as well as the courtroom. Not to mention the Twittersphere, if you’re unlucky enough to have an embarrassing gaffe go viral.

But putting aside the outrageous cases — Here are 10 essential email etiquette tips:

1. Keep It Brief

No one likes to read on and on to get to the point. State your message concisely and simply. If you have a question, get to it quickly.

2. Use The Subject Line

Alert your recipient to what your email is about or you risk being ignored or relegated to the read-later (or never) list. Avoid using alert words, like Urgent, unless the matter really requires urgent attention or you become the boy who cried wolf.

3. Keep Them Few And Targeted

If you blanket someone’s inbox, you’ll soon be ignored. Save up several little matters to send in one email.

On the other hand, if you have a matter that needs immediate attention, don’t bury it inside a laundry list of insignificant issues.

4. Be Punctilious, Not Slapdash

Edit your emails as if they were formal letters. Omit slang and overly familiar language.

5. Watch The Punctuation

Don’t use all caps for emphasis. Use 12 point type and proper punctuation, meaning capitalize the first letter of each sentence and use a period at the end. Then, proofread. (And please don’t use a ridiculous font.)

6. Consider Your CCs And BCCs

Don’t copy people on your email unless they need to see the message. And don’t forget to use the BCC field, particularly for emails sent to large groups. People don’t want their emails shared so widely.

Hide the recipients’ addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) Field.

7. Think Before Hitting ‘Reply All’

Sometimes people are copied on emails out of courtesy, but individual replies don’t need to be copied to everyone. It’s a rookie mistake.

8. Omit Any Silliness: No Emoticons!

If you’re trying to be funny, stop; business emails are not the place for this. Your recipients, frankly, may be in no mood for lightness and mirth.

9. Watch Your Tone

Without the benefit of facial expressions or body language, words are easily misinterpreted. So, keep your sentences simple and declarative. Keep the message focused and don’t go off on tangents.

10. My Personal Pet Peeve

Never add a link without indicating what it is — not in an age of über vigilance over suspicious links that threaten to take us to where thieves lay in wait to steal our identities.

Not only should you not send an unidentified link — never open one either.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Dan Citrenbaum | Expert In Franchise Selection, Due Diligence, Operations, & Training

About the author

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at or at (484) 278-5489.


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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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How To Be More Organized At Work Wed, 22 Oct 2014 05:00:40 +0000 Organization is a pain, but the simple truth of the matter is organized people get more done. Find out how you can be more organized at work.

The post How To Be More Organized At Work appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Organization is a pain, but the simple truth of the matter is organized people get more done. Why? Generally speaking, they have better time management, live with less mess and get in less trouble. If you want to decrease the mistakes you make and stop getting in your own way the only real option is to become organized.

Related: 5 Productivity-Sucking Snags To Avoid At Work

It’s easier said than done certainly, but if you follow a few simple steps you can earn a lasting result – provided you’re ready to commit long term!


Always keep your mind on what’s more important of any two choices. When presented with your options, be sure to pick the one that will benefit your goals in the long run. Don’t let yourself slip into things that appear in front of you and lose sight of what’s important; it can be tempting, particularly if we focus on the ‘right now’ instead of the future. Remember, goals and values will see you through to the end; don’t lose focus for two minutes of mild gratification. If you forsee yourself having trouble with managing your priorities out of the gate, try downloading an on-the-go app like Priority Matrix. It works, really!


Keep the different things in your life separated, whether it’s keeping your professional and personal lives separate, divergent groups of people around you or actual, physical possessions. This can be as esoteric as refusing to discuss certain things with people they don’t concern, or as direct as throwing some of your old possessions into a container system – anything from old furniture to old cars could be messing up your inner peace, introducing subconscious what if’s to your otherwise ordered world.

Sometimes, breaking down attachments will take all of the endurance you have; don’t wait, take all of your old office furniture, legal pads, University assignments (passed or failed) and seek a storage solution, located in one place to visit if you must. Ideally though, everything you no longer need will gather dust and be rarely thought of.

Deal With Things Right Away

Unless you have more important things to be doing (see the prioritize section), solve problems as soon as they crop up. The old staying would be a stitch in time saves nine and tacky though it may sound it’s entirely true. If your house needs cleaning, do it in little steps rather than all at once three months later. Need a job? Start looking right away. Need to confront someone? Do it now. The big problems arise when swear you’ll handle it tomorrow and never do.

Get Rid Of Chaotic Influences

At the end, organization has to be based within, but having chaos all around you isn’t any kind of help. If you take the time to get rid of the difficult crazy or otherwise chaotic influences in your life, be they a friend who’s always getting you into trouble or just a bad habit that’s causing you to trip over your own feet, then you have a much better chance to get what you want if there’s nothing in your way.

Remind Yourself Why

Motivation is a large part of gaining a result. If you know why you’re getting organized, have a goal or a dream that you’re organizing yourself for then it’ll be a lot easier to handle. Whenever things get hard, remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. It helps.

Getting organized is a quick route to results, get the jobs done as quickly as possible and know what you’re doing while it’s happening. Get rid of the things holding you back and build up on the things pushing yourself forward. An organized mind gets what it wants.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Getting Started With A Scalable Ecommerce Business Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:17:54 +0000 The Internet is great. Want to start your own ecommerce business? Here are some things you should know before starting your own online business.

The post Getting Started With A Scalable Ecommerce Business appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Retailing online has seen huge growth in the affiliate sales sector due to the trackable, data-driven nature of online sales. For many popular products there are hundreds of websites and apps that provide product reviews, that feature a link to a retail website. The model is that if a visitor to the review website buys from the retailer, the owner of the review website earns a commission fee on the sale.

Related: 5 Goals To Reach Before Opening Your Own Business

While there are always some ethical concerns that consumers might not be clear about, affiliate programs often encourage transparency in their policies.

A common model for aspiring retailers to follow is:

  1. Launch an affiliate website and earn commissions on sales
  2. Change to a drop-shipping model and earn a higher profit margin than the previous commission percentage
  3. Buy stock of the products you focus on and sell them directly

Looking at this from a high-level view, it’s about risk. There’s no large outlay required for being an affiliate, as you don’t have to order stock. You can launch quickly and without a huge marketing push, grow slowly and profitably. Eventually, the popularity of your service (as a product supplier may see it) will give you clout to negotiate with companies who will ship products for you for a fixed amount. Following this, you may have the necessary financials to order and manage stock to ship yourself (and employ staff to do this).

The main point here is that the affiliate-to-drop-shipper-to-retailer is a model built to scale, purely and simply.

Sourcing Products

Depending on your point of view, the products you sell, and the market you enter, will determine your success. That’s not necessarily true – if you’re looking to sell products in high volume, then you should be building to scale. If you want to sell lower volume, higher value goods then scale, at least in ecommerce terms, might not be so important.

If you’re considering following the affiliate-to-retailer model, a lot of product research would come from the programs you’re involved in. If “Product X” is very popular, then you may be tempted to sell it. If “Niche Y” features many related products whose combined popularity is high it will be an attractive market to enter.

If you’re using offline suppliers of your products, using tools such as Google Trends, Amazon Best Sellers and Ebay Trending Collections will indicate products that are currently popular.

Thinking about scale, your profit margins will largely be determined by your supplier prices – generally there will be price-breaks depending on the amount you order.

Scaling Warehousing And Fulfillment

Fulfillment and storage are a cost. You have to ship items, and you have to store them to start with. Unless you’re living in a space with a lot of room (and a very understanding family), you’ll need some kind of warehousing facility.

A scalable way to tackle this is to use self-storage companies. Self Storage is flexible – you don’t have to buy into a never-ending contract for a huge unit, and you can increase or decrease size as you go. It’s important to think about the type of storage you need – My Storage Pod has an infographic on indoor self storage vs container storage that shows some important things to take into consideration.

Of course, holding stock means spending time booking it and fulfilling it yourself. Using a fulfillment house is another cost, but usually a fixed cost that you can build into your margins, giving you free time while also ensuring a professional service for the most important people in your business – your customers.

Marketplaces Vs. Owned Websites

It’s very tempting to think big and start big, but the key to starting a business you want to scale is to get the processes right and think about market penetration. One of the quickest routes to market is to use a platform that already has a qualified customer base. Online, that can mean becoming a seller on Amazon, Ebay, or (depending on the products ) Etsy. All of these websites have huge numbers of customers looking for all types of products.

Depending on your model and the attributes of the products you wish to sell, these places might be the fastest way to go “from zero to sales.”

The other option, and one that many entrepreneurs looking to sell online take, is to create your own ecommerce store. That’s fine in principle, but it’s never as simple as “build it and they will come” – it’s truer to say “market it correctly” and they will come. These marketplaces have already done the marketing for you – you only have to list products and provide efficient service, whereas with a website you’re taking on a larger amount of work – although this may bring greater returns.

There are so many opportunities in online retailing, and many of them can be tackled with scale in mind.

Hopefully, you can learn from where others have failed – and succeeded – in order to succeed yourself.

This is a guest post.

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