CAREEREALISM Career Advice & Job Search Magazine Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:40:26 +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 How To Create An Effective Resume Even If You Were Fired Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:00:17 +0000 People get fired from the job for various reasons. Before you create an effective resume for your next job opportunity, think about the following.

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How can you make an effective resume after getting fired? People get fired from the job for various reasons. However, to a potential new employer it may leave an unfavorable connotation on the candidate.

Related: How To Answer, ‘Have You Ever Been Fired?’

If you find yourself in such a situation, you may have a number of questions concerning how to address the adverse reactions a potential employer may pose. You may have questions, such as:

  • How do I impress an employer given I was fired from my last job?
  • Do I include the job on my resume?
  • How should I answer when asked the reason for departing my previous job?

Understandably, there are many questions on your mind. And yet, there are ways to be truthful in answering the questions your potential new employer may have for you, along with tips to make such a situation feel a little less threatening.

Essentially, before updating your resume for the next job opportunity, think about:

Is The Experience From Your Last Position Relevant?

If there is little to no relevance between the positions, you do not have to showcase it on your resume. The hiring company is primarily interested in relevant experience and skills you can bring to their company. You may be able to break your resume into Relevant Experience and Other Experience sections.

How Long Were You In The Position?

If you were in the position for only a few months, it may not be necessary to mention it on your resume. Determine if the gap of unemployment, should you choose not to include it, would be cause for concern by an employer. In today’s market, it’s not a surprise to see some candidates unemployed for a year before finding a new job.

How Severe Was The Cause For Firing?

Were you laid off due to lack of performance or conditions outside of your control? If the latter, then you should put on the resume the reason such as “Major Downsizing,” “Company Relocated,” or “Management Reorganization” all of which indicate that the termination was not due to your performance.

If the reason you were terminated was due to a minor issue that can be easily explained and seen from your point of view by a potential employer, than including the position on your resume should not be a concern. Be honest with yourself and think through your response to a potential interviewer.

Your answers to the questions above will tell you whether it is appropriate to include the job on your resume. If it is included, consider the following to help you through the application and interview process.

1. Showcase Your Achievements And Accomplishments

Your mission is to get your foot in the door for an interview and to make an outstanding impression. You do not need to bring up that you were laid off from your last job on paper, especially if you were there for a few years. If necessary, you will have the opportunity during an interview to explain further details.

2. Don’t Insult Your Past Employer

Even if you were fired and have bitter feelings toward your former boss or co-workers, this is not the time or place to reveal it. It is seen as unprofessional and leads to questions that focus on negative aspects. So, even if the interviewer wasn’t planning on asking you the reason for leaving, you may have just brought it upon yourself.

3. Don’t Lie About Your Employment

If asked, you need to address the question truthfully, but keep it brief regarding the reason for your departure and move on to more positive points. At least you now have your foot in the door and have a greater advantage to explaining the reason for departure in a more positive light.

You can also use it to your advantage to reinforce points of achievements and accomplishments that may apply for the job. Remember that companies do check references and background information. Any candidate caught lying is grounds for dismissal.

4. Pull Together Your References

Gather people you worked with on the job as references, whether it’s co-workers, clients or vendors. Individuals who worked with you on the job and who can speak positively about your work can help effectively rid any negative connotations associated with being fired. In this instance, it makes sense to include references with your resume, especially written recommendations.

5. Focus On Functionality Rather Than Chronology

This is a last resort option. Functional resumes typically are not used since it lacks detail on dates of employment – information most employers want to know. A functional resume focuses on grouping specific skills and experiences together as the highlight of the resume.

This type of format is also appropriate to use for the career changer and those with gaps in employment history that are due to other pursuits, such as education or family.

Being fired means you have an additional hurdle to overcome to find a new job, but it is not insurmountable. It’s all in the way you handle yourself in addressing the matter if the subject comes up. Remain positive, address any concerns succinctly and honestly and then move on to the more positive highlights.

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

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.

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Networking: The Art Of The Cold Call (Or E-mail) Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:42:36 +0000 Calling someone you don’t know, or even sending an introductory e-mail, can be terrifying for even the best networker. Here are some networking tips.

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When you hear the words “cold call,” you probably associate them with the words “cold sweat.” Calling someone you don’t know, or even sending an introductory e-mail, can be terrifying for even the most expert networker. Of course, a cold call or e-mail isn’t ideal, but it can be necessary.

Related: Top 10 People You Must Have In Your Network To Find A Job

Your goal should always be to explore potential warm connections. When you find that person you’re dying to network with and/or talk to about a potential job, you’ll scour LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and any other resource you can find to locate someone in your network who may be able to introduce you to your target individual. Unfortunately, though six degrees might work when it comes to Kevin Bacon, it’s not always possible to connect yourself directly with the individuals you want to network with.

It’s these times when you’re going to have to take the big leap and do what the sales industry calls “cold calling.” When you only have an e-mail address and/or phone number, and no other connections, it’s up to you to make the best effort possible to catch someone’s attention and get the response you’re hoping for. In the world of technology, though, a cold call isn’t always a cold call. It might be a cold e-mail, a Tweet, or a LinkedIn message. However, there are tactics you can employ in order to ensure your voicemail is returned and to increase the likelihood of your e-mail or social media message receiving a response.

Cold calling is all about being concise and clear while immediately establishing to your target that you are someone she will want to get to know. To keep your call or e-mail script simple, follow the formula G.I.R.L.S.

  • G – Greet Your Target
  • I – Identify Yourself
  • R – Make Your Request
  • L – Link Your Need to Their Work
  • S – Suggest a Next Step

Let’s consider the networking plight of an imaginary woman named Amy Mancini. Amy is currently in sales with a big box retailer, let’s say Target. She’s hoping to transition, though, to a company more focused on cosmetics and beauty as a whole, because she’s found that portion of her job is what excites her most. She’s found the perfect connection at Ulta Beauty in Chicago, Illinois, but unfortunately none of her contacts can help her get in the door. How will she position her ask?

Example A – Voicemail:

Good Morning, Patty. My name is Amy Mancini. I’m interested in learning more about what you do and your work at Ulta, and I would love to meet you for coffee. I have a long history in retail sales with Target Corporation and currently manage relationships with cosmetics companies on behalf of Target. I’m interested learning more about companies focused directly on beauty. You can return my call at 555-555-5555. I’d be happy to meet you for coffee before your workday begins anytime in the next two weeks.

Example B – E-mail:

Subject: Coffee with a Connection in the Beauty Industry?

Ms. Smith,

Good morning! I hope this e-mail finds you well. I’m Amy Mancini, and I’m currently in cosmetics sales with Target Corporation and would like to meet you to learn more about your career path and your work at Ulta. I have a long history in big box retail sales and have recently considered transitioning to working inside a cosmetics company.

Could we schedule a phone call or perhaps a coffee meeting in the next few weeks? I know your expertise in the industry and your experience at Ulta could be incredibly valuable as I begin to make decisions about the types of positions I’m looking for and which companies might be the best fit for me. I have a passion for cosmetics and retail sales, and with so many avenues within the industry, I know the next step for me is to focus my search strategically. Could I suggest meeting for coffee near your office next week? My schedule is flexible and I look forward to meeting you.

Thanks so much!


In these examples, Amy has made her request clear, she’s been both respectful and complimentary to the receiver, and to close, she has made a request that lives appropriately between too vague and too specific. Just remember, G.I.R.L.S. – Greet.Identify.Request.Link.Suggest. – and you’ll never be afraid of a cold contact again.

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The Professional’s 5-Step Guide To Food Etiquette In The Workplace Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:24:22 +0000 Lunchtime is your time to relax and refuel, but are you breaking these very simple rules of food etiquette in the workplace? Find out...

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Your lunch hour is your down time to refuel, relax, and prepare yourself for the final few hours of work. Whether you choose to eat in your office cafeteria, or eat while you work at your desk, there are a few rules of etiquette that can make lunch hour more pleasant for you and your colleagues.

Related: Office Etiquette: Do You Know The Basics?

Some of you may read the title of this article and wonder why food etiquette is important to your career. If this describes you, then you are probably breaking several of these very simple rules of food etiquette in the workplace and didn’t even know it. If that’s the case, read on.

1. Don’t Bring Smelly Food To The Office

So, you went out to a seafood restaurant last night and had the best salmon fettuccine alfredo you’ve ever tasted. Rather than eat it all in one sitting, you decide to take it to work the next day to enjoy for lunch. Around noon, you make your way to the lunch room, place your container in the microwave, and begin to nuke your meal for five minutes.

As you sit and chat with your lunch buddy, you notice a strong, fishy odor wafting through the air. You pull your offending meal from the microwave and proceed to walk to your cubicle because you have so much work to catch up on. You are now sharing your offending meal with everyone within 50 feet of you. Thanks!

There are two major items to think about here. For starters, placing fish or any other kind of seafood in a microwave leaves behind an odor that can take days to disappear. Not only does the smell hang in the air, but other foods that are microwaved after your seafood may pick up a faint fish taste.

The second second item to think about is sharing your smelly food with others at your cubicle. Now they are being forced to sit with the smell of your lunch while they try to get work done. Not cool. Try and stay away from smelly foods like seafood during lunch. If you must have seafood, try eating it cold in a salad or sandwich.

2. Don’t Become The Burned Popcorn Bandit

Aside from seafood, burned popcorn has to be the second worst workplace cafeteria smell. It always happens at about 3pm when people are looking for a quick snack to get them through the last few hours of the workday. How do people even burn popcorn when the directions are written on the bag itself?

If you find that you’ve become the burned popcorn bandit, don’t just walk away. Get rid of the smell to the best of your ability. Try filling a microwave safe bowl with tap water. Next, either juice 1 whole lemon, OR add a heaping tablespoon of baking soda to the bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and set it for five minutes. Finally, wipe down the microwave with a clean sponge. Repeat the steps if necessary.

3. Don’t Leave A Sloppy Mess In The Kitchen

Have you ever seen the phrase, “You mom doesn’t work here!” sprawled on a sign over the kitchen sink in your office? That sign was meant for you — the person that spills coffee on the counter, splatters tomato sauce all over the microwave, and leaves dirty food containers in the sink. Here’s a hint: Everyone hates you.

The rule of etiquette here is rather simple: if you make a mess, kindly clean it up. After all, your mother doesn’t work here.

4. Don’t Leave Food In The Refrigerator For Longer Than A Week

The shared workplace refrigerator can be a scary place. Between the mystery bags of forgotten homemade sandwiches and the moldy jar of mayo that sits on the door, many people would rather avoid the refrigerator altogether than place their food in it.

So, what’s the rule of etiquette on putting food in the refrigerator? Leave your food for no longer than a week. If you really want to be a lunchtime superstar, you may want to go one step further and ask others to remove their old food on Friday afternoon as well.

5. Don’t Pick Through Or Steal Food In The Refrigerator

Have you ever gone to get your lunch and saw that your lunch bag has been messed with? Maybe it’s been haphazardly tossed to the side. Perhaps the tape you wrapped it in looks like someone tried to peel it off. Or worse yet, you go into the refrigerator after a rough morning, and your lunch is GONE. While picking through another person’s food is pretty gross, stealing other people’s food from your workplace refrigerator is downright pathetic.

The workplace rule for step five is rather basic, but needs to be stated as it happens all the time: If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.

While food etiquette in the workplace may not immediately seem as important as getting noticed during meetings or learning how to network, it does say a lot about the kind of person you are. Taking the time to be mindful of others says that you are someone that other people want on their team. So take a few moments to review these five steps and figure out if you have broken any of these simple rules of food etiquette. Your co-workers will thank you for it.

This post was sponsored by 

Culinary Schools strives to teach students the art and science behind the flavors, allowing them to gain the skills required to work in the culinary field. You’ll not only find information about choosing the right culinary school but also find some great articles about hot trends in dining, culinary careers, and even the lives of working chefs.


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Play Your Cards Right To Secure A Dream Interview Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:19:46 +0000 Writing a compelling CV is never an easy task, especially when the potential prize is an interview for a dream job. Check out this infographic for tips!

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Are you worried that your CV is getting lost in the recruiter’s shuffle? Are you dwelling on what you perceive to be a bum deal, rather than playing the hand you’ve been dealt to your advantage?

Related: 8 Common Interview Mistakes That Cost You The Job

Writing a compelling CV is never an easy task, especially when the stakes are high and the potential prize is an interview for a dream job. This handy infographic from Giraffe CVs outlines some common job search conundrums, advising in each case whether you should ‘hold ‘em or fold ‘em’ to secure your dream job.

Follow these simple and proven CV strategies to gain the upper hand in your job search:

1. Organize your hand

Bring clarity to your CV using a strong, logical structure and well-defined sections.

2. Learn to play the hand you’ve been dealt

Don’t overplay negative aspects, even when you feel that the deck has been stacked against you.  Lay your cards on the table candidly – life happens and the recruiter will appreciate your open and honest approach.

3. Never bluff

Bluffing on your CV, purposely omitting important information or, worst of all, lying can lead to a ‘house of cards’ effect.

4. Don’t try to be the ‘Jack of all trades’

A generic CV can position you as a ‘jack of all trades and master of none.’ Target and tailor your CV to suit the requirements of each specific opportunity.

5. Play your cards carefully

Even when you have everything going for you, qualifications, experience, transferable skills, and bags of potential, a bad CV can ruin your probability of securing an interview. As F. Scott Fitzgerald sagely notes, “A great social success is a pretty girl who plays her cards as carefully as if she were plain.”

6. Change suits

Your CV shouldn’t be a static document, it should evolve as your career does, as the market does, as your personal objective does. Don’t be afraid to change your CV to reflect your ‘here and now.’

7. Keep a card up your sleeve

Use just enough detail to reel the recruiter in and entice them to place their bets by offering you that coveted interview.  Too much information risks boring your audience, consider what the recruiter wants and needs to know to make his or her next move.

Play Your Cards Infographic

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This Theory Of Awesomeness Leads To Your Dream Job Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:00:42 +0000 Do you long for more in your career? You're not alone. Find out what the "Theory of Awesomeness" is and how it can lead you to your dream job.

The post This Theory Of Awesomeness Leads To Your Dream Job appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Are you tired of living a mediocre life? Do you know that you’re capable of doing more, but not 100% sure what that is and how to get there? Maybe you’re comfortable with your job, and feel like you should be happy with what you have… After all, other people you know seem happy there.

Related: Getting Your Dream Job: What You Can Learn From Harry Potter

Well, I have good news for you. You’re not the only one feeling that way, and you are capable of more. You just need to apply…

“The Theory of Awesomeness”

I’ll explain this awesome theory in a moment. First, here’s a beautiful infographic breaking it down nicely – check it out, then come back and read on. In this article, I’m going to show you how to use “The Theory of Awesomeness” to get your dream job. I’ll tell you where to find the best companies in the world to work for, and how to get their attention.

Now, the man who created “The Theory of Awesomeness” is actually the CEO and founder of one of the most “awesome” companies out there (shocking… I know).

And he uses it to lead his fun, inspiring team of people from around the world as they make a difference as well as profit… and have a whole lot of fun doing it.


His company, Mindvalley, is part of a new list called the GameChangers 500. This is your first tip – because that list is exactly where you’ll want to start your search for your dream job.

See, companies on the GameChangers 500 list have similar values to Mindvalley – like having fun in the workplace, making happiness a priority, and working on projects that impact the world.

(They even have an annual team retreat to a remote, exotic island for a few days.)

So, let’s dive deeper on this. Here’s…

“The Theory of Awesomeness” In a Nutshell

It’s all about being in Flow.

This isn’t some woo-woo crazy idea; it’s actually the title of a famous book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (don’t even try to pronounce his name) called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

It’s a positive state where you can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of your life – potentially achieving things you never thought possible.

(And no, you don’t have to be a Jedi to do so.)

In fact, think of it being like Bradley Cooper in the movie Limitless. He takes a pill and becomes perfectly clear. All of the answers appear, and he can achieve things he never thought possible, effortlessly.

Now, getting into Flow without the magic pill from Limitless basically comes down to two things:

1. Being Happy in the Now

Practices like meditation, inspirational reading, and starting your day by thinking of a few things you’re grateful for have been proven to increase your happiness and get you into Flow.

Because the truth is, no matter how bad your current situation is, focusing on how terrible it is won’t get you out of it.

However, increasing your happiness right now gives you the energy to envision and pursue a better future, and it frees your mind from the paralyzing negative mental clutter unhappiness creates.

2. Having an Awesome Vision of the Future

Set unrealistic goals based on the things you really want in life – like following your passion, contributing, exploring, and being genuinely happy. Don’t hold back.

And when you’re looking for your dream job – don’t just scan Craiglist and pick the best one in your area. Spend some time creating an awesome, inspiring vision of your future that makes you excited to get up and take the next step closer to it.

Find a company that inspires you – like those on the GameChangers 500 list – get in Flow, and use that energy to get their attention in a unique way.

Hint: Don’t use a traditional resume and cover letter. At the very least – put them online. At best, create a YouTube video, a website or blog, or do something wild and creative like send a hot air balloon to them with a proposal inside (like one guy did to get Richard Branson’s attention).

Then look out, world. You’re going to do something awesome.

And if you’d like some help getting your dream job with an awesome company like this, check out the free video I put together with the founder of the GameChangers 500 list. In it, I share his best tips for getting your dream job with an awesome, GameChanging company.

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4 Outdated Resume Tips You Should Be Avoiding At All Costs Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:47:29 +0000 Not all advice is good advice. What worked a decade ago probably won't work now. Here are some outdated resume tips you should be avoiding at all costs!

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Not all advice is good advice. Here are some outdated resume tips you should be avoiding at all costs!

1. “Your resume should only be one page long.”

Two pages is currently the ideal length for resumes. It allows you enough space to be thorough without the information getting buried among itself. Certain positions in the medical and academic fields require a CV (curriculum vitae), which is typically longer because it includes research, publications, or other items that the position asks for. Two pages is a good length for resumes, though.

Related: The Worst Resume Advice I’ve EVER Heard

2. “You need an Objective Statement.”

When we started learning about writing resumes, our career counselors, parents, and teachers deemed this to be a “must.” But times have changed and the objective statement often ends up being a waste of precious resume space. After all, you only have two pages to gain a prospective employer’s interest and persuade them to pick up the phone to schedule an interview. Your objective when sending your resume to someone or submitting it to an open position is implied in the act itself—you want to be hired for the position you have expressed interest in.

Instead of an objective, use that space to add a customized link to your LinkedIn profile and explain any employment gaps that you may have. Doing this gives the recruiter more information and eliminates the risk of them passing on you because of a concerning gap in your employment history. Some recruiters will call to ask you about them, but some will just move on to the next.

Also, the client could have instructed the recruiters to send the resume to them if the candidate had a legitimate reason to explain the gap (e.g. finishing a degree, taking care of a sick relative, etc.), but not respond to any that are unexplained because of the quantity of resumes they already have to sort through.

The bottom line: You probably won’t know who your resume will get in front of or what instructions the recruiters were given, so it is a good idea to cover your bases.

3. “Include ‘References available upon request’ in your resume.”

As with the objective statement, this is implied and the space could be used for better purposes. So far, I have not come across a candidate who refused to provide references when asked for them.

4. “You need a traditional resume.”

With the fierce competition and wide array of job sites, forums, professional networking sites, and so on, the need to set yourself apart from others has been steadily increasing. As a result, businesses have gotten more social and interested in one’s ability to market themselves. This is evidenced by the emergence of all those “Create your personal brand” advice articles geared toward job seekers and any professionals looking to advance their careers.

The creation of non-traditional resumes reflects this idea as well. Although I do advise keeping the bullet point format because it is easiest to read, you can include narration and even a quote from one of your LinkedIn recommendations to spice up your resume. For instance, I have a quote from my former boss on mine and the feedback I have gotten thus far in interviews is always positive. A few have referred to it when I mentioned my work with him. It is a great credibility-booster and is also the only item that is in color (just the brackets around it), which helps it stand out.

If you are planning to submit your resume directly to a company’s website, have a simply formatted version as well (Times New Roman, no bold or underlining, spaces in lieu of indents, standard bullet points or dashes, no images or text boxes, etc.). Many employers, staffing agencies, and recruitment firms utilize an applicant tracking system (ATS), which will jumble any unrecognized formatting into plain text.

With that said, a resume is not everything you need for success in your search.

There is a discussion on whether LinkedIn profiles and similar websites will phase out the use of resumes entirely. I do not think that will happen any time soon. What I am sure of, is that job seekers need to supplement their resumes with a professional online presence. LinkedIn is the main network for this, but Twitter is also a great place to build a professional presence by tweeting articles and videos about your industry that other people would find useful. Some savvy job seekers have leveraged other social networks to further their careers as well, such as Vine, Instagram, and Pinterest.

However you conduct your job search, don’t get discouraged. Keep moving ahead. I wish you the best on your journey to the next step in your career.

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10 Must-Haves For The Budding Entrepreneur Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:26:08 +0000 Have a great idea? What to start your own business? Here are the 10 components you need to focus on order to succeed as an entrepreneur.

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One of the most common terms in the high-tech world is “serial entrepreneur.” These are the people who just left one venture and, without taking a breath, moved on to their next one. Thanks to the extensive experience and knowledge they have accumulated, they are able to consistently establish start-up companies and sell them for tens – even hundreds – of millions of dollars.

Related: 4 Reasons To Quit Your Job To Be An Entrepreneur

These entrepreneurs have developed a method that proves itself time and again, so they know exactly what to do to establish their next start-up. However, sometimes even serial entrepreneurs fail and are forced to close their companies. That said, this scenario is uncommon compared to entrepreneurs at the outset of their first venture.

In this article, I will review the 10 components you need to focus on in order to succeed as an entrepreneur:

1. The Team

The first and most fundamental element that investors look at is human resources. Take into account that your partnership is no different than a marriage, and these are the people with whom you are going to be spending many hours of your time, so it is highly advisable that you and your partners get along well. It is very important to define roles clearly so that everyone knows their area of responsibility.

2. Intellectual Property

If you and your team are considering registering a patent or other protection for the technology you have developed, don’t hesitate. A patent is your company’s most significant asset. In 20 years time, when the patent expires, there will already be an alternative product or service that’s much more advanced than what you are offering today. Therefore, it is advisable always to stay up to date and have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening around you. If you want to remain relevant, you need to examine how the company fits into the direction the market is taking.

3. Competitive Advantage

First of all, you must perform in-depth market research to determine who your competitors are and what they have to offer. Then, focus on what the company does best and what its added value is for customers. The best way to do this, even before you build your work model, is to go out and talk with as many potential customers as possible, understand what their real needs are and how you can provide them with the service or product they need.

4. Business Model

At the end of the day, you’re in this to make a living. Once you have identified the needs of your potential customers, you need to brainstorm with your whole team and identify the best, most effective way to maximize company profits. Most investors will demand that you demonstrate a source of income that is as stable as possible.

5. Go To Market Plan

After you’ve succeeded in building a sophisticated business model, it’s important to determine ahead of time the strategy you wish to use for capturing the market. How you plan to attract customers to the company? Who are your customers? What market segment you are targeting (developing countries/first-world countries)? What is your strategy for international market penetration? Are there are any regulatory restrictions in certain countries you wish to reach?

6. Clear Milestones

It is very important to set both short- and long-term goals and objectives. Determine the stages of development you’d like to see in the company in the next few months, your top priority at present, and what the company should focus on the near future. At the end of each period, assess whether you met the objectives and goals you had set. Similarly, you should set goals for the more distant future, that is, where you see the company five years from now.

7. Business Plan

You’re probably asking yourself what the difference is between a business plan and a business model. Well, after you’ve managed to raise funds for your venture, what is your next step? It is very important to plan carefully and map out an exact plan of what you are going to do with the money. It is important to prepare this plan before you raise the capital so you can assess the amount you need to raise (sometimes raising an amount that is too high can harm the company, let alone raising an amount that is too low).

8. Experienced Mentors And Consultants

Today, entrepreneurs with no prior experience have a very hard time setting up a successful start-up without the guiding hand of the serial entrepreneurs, whose experience plays a crucial role in acquaintance with the market and prediction of market trends. Therefore, at every step of the way, it is very important to consult with and obtain the guidance of experienced mentors, and build a Board of Directors that is as strong, smart, and experienced as possible.

9. Motivation

The secret to a successful venture is to work in a field that you love. You need to wake up every day with dedication and a relentless passion for your work (the army taught us to be single-minded and driven), and exhibit unbending resolve around your employees and your team. At all times, you should be thinking about how you can improve your company and make it better so that it offers even more value to its customers.

10. Timing

Some say timing is everything. Sometimes there are products that are ahead of their time. A great example of this is the Israeli company “Better Place,” which was a fantastic idea, just ahead of its time. Therefore, you must be as objective as possible and ask yourself whether right now is the right timing to pursue your venture. Of course, a little luck never hurts.

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How To Customize A Cover Letter For A Specific Job Opening Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:14:44 +0000 You found your dream job! How do you make sure that your resume is even seen? The answer: by creating the best cover letter possible. Here's how.

The post How To Customize A Cover Letter For A Specific Job Opening appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

It’s finally happened. After months of searching the job boards, you’ve found the job you have been waiting for. All that’s left is to send in a resume and get that face-to-face interview, and the job could be yours.

Related: 4 Inside Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter

The question now is how do you make sure that your resume gets you chosen? How do you make sure that your resume is even seen? The answer: by creating the best cover letter possible.

Make The Cover Letter Specific To The Position

Recruiters, in more cases than not, spend a little time looking at a cover letter before deciding if they want to go ahead and read the resume. Your cover letter is like a sales page, and you need it to really speak to the person in charge of hiring. You need a cover letter that lets them know that you are the ideal candidate for the position and that you are more than qualified and capable when it comes to handling the job.

So, how do you do it? You tailor the cover letter to the job itself. If the company has mentioned four things they are looking for in the ideal candidate, you make it clear near the beginning that you possess all four qualities or abilities and explain how or why this is true.

Try to match the language the company uses in case they utilize filtering software to select potential candidates. Explain what makes you a great fit for that specific company, and make sure that you have done your research into their brand and into the way they present themselves so that the tone of your cover letter is in line with the general tone of the company itself. If a company is innovative and fun, you want to use different wording than you would for a company branded around professionalism and tradition.

Tailoring your cover letter doesn’t have to be a difficult process, but it should involve some research. Really get to know the brand behind the company you want to work for, and strive to create a resume and cover letter that match that brand. It not only helps you stand out, but it shows the company that you are a good fit for their ideals and their style. Your cover letter is your ticket to the next step in the hiring process—make it count!

Want to know more? Here are three secrets to creating an interview-winning cover letter.

Writing a compelling cover letter not your best strength? That’s OK! We can help use the strategies above and many more to create an interview-winning cover letter for you. Get the cover letter help that you need now.

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6 Ways To Secure A New Job Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:13:59 +0000 The traditional approach to finding a new job has been to look out for advertisements for roles you fancy. Here are a few ways you can secure a new job.

The post 6 Ways To Secure A New Job appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

The traditional approach to finding a new job has been to look out for advertisements for roles you fancy. However, there are other ways you can go about securing that ideal new role.

Related: 10 Ways To Network Your Way To A New Job

Here are a few ways you can secure a new job:

1. Recruitment Agencies

Contact a number of recruitment agencies, ensure they have your resume and other details, explain to them what you are looking for in terms of your next role, and keep in regular contact with them so they know you are still looking.

Ideally, the agencies you register with would be a combination of those that specialize in your business sector and larger agencies who might handle a greater number of vacancies. Agencies that specialize in your business sector can advise you on ways you can make yourself more employable. Some of the best agencies include PrideStaff and UltimateStaffing.

2. Job Websites

A large number of internet job sites and job boards now exist such as Monster, The Muse, and FlexJobs to name just a few. Typically these include lists of vacancies that you can apply for in the traditional manner. However, they also allow you to post your resume and other details so that employers and recruitment agencies can search for suitable candidates.

Get to know the sites that employers and recruitment agencies in your business sector look at, and then post your resume. Pay special attention to job boards in your preferred sector. For example, if you’re into tech, then technology-focused job boards such as Dice should be your go-to site. And don’t forget Craigslist which is always jam-packed with jobs in your area.

3. Personal Websites

Why not take the approach of posting your details on the internet one step further, and make use of a personal website? You may already have such a site; if not you can set up a simple site or blog at very low cost or even free. Use the site to post brief details of your career and your skills, knowledge and experience. Think about keywords you could use on the site. For example, you might want to come near the top of a web search that involves the title of your profession and your location (i.e. ‘financial adviser New York’). Ensure the site includes your contact details.

Sometimes it’s the more intuitive, off-the-cuff strategies that can really cause a stir and make you stand out. Even if you’re applying for a job with a traditional resume, ensure you include a link to your blog to display your passion for the particular sector.

4. Networking Websites

A number of websites focus on building work-based contacts, such as LinkedIn. You can send invitations to people you’d like to become a part of your network and, if they accept your invitation, you can then send messages to them at any time. In addition, you don’t need to keep up-to-date with the career moves of your contacts, as their profile will follow them around from job-to-job. A website of this nature will also allow you to post your resume and other details, and allow other users to search for your profile.

5. Previous Employers

Another approach you can adopt is to ask people you have worked for (or with) in the past whether they know of any opportunities. If you leave an employer, there’s probably a good reason, but a number of people return to a previous employer later in their working lives (the company could be offering an attractive role, or a new role might not have worked out).

Your previous colleagues may have moved on to other roles themselves, and they may be able to assist you in securing employment with their current company. Even if they are not in roles that allow them to make recruitment decisions, they can often provide valuable information to their employer’s human resources department about your skills and abilities – a kind of informal reference.

It pays to keep tabs on where some of your former colleagues work now. Sometimes, an entire business department closes and every employee within that section is made redundant – this happened regularly in the UK financial services sector during the 2000s. In these circumstances, try and get the phone numbers of a few people who held management roles within the department, or try and maintain dialogue with them via a business networking site, or even a general social networking site.

6. Networking

There are a number of ways you could build a network of business contacts. When you are looking for a job, these may then be people you could ask. Simply being part of a network and having people know about your skills and experience could result in an out-of-the-blue job offer! Networks such as BNI are great for mixing with influential, local professionals and you can often visit your nearest group without having to commit to join.

Examples of people who could form part of your network include:

  • Clients – If they use your services, it follows that they trust you and value your skills and knowledge
  • Suppliers – Again, if they are willing to supply you, that could also indicate that they have a favorable impression of you
  • Industry colleagues – Try attending industry events, such as seminars, or getting involved with the appropriate trade association, and get to know people in other companies in your business sector.

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Top 5 Must-Dos When Working Freelance Wed, 23 Apr 2014 05:00:06 +0000 Whether you’re a freelance writer, artist, or photographer, the creative industry is a competitive one. Here are some must-dos for freelancers.

The post Top 5 Must-Dos When Working Freelance appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Freelancers are most common within the creative industry, as a freelancer has the flexibility and independence to be able to take on very versatile and exciting projects. Versatility serves as fuel for creativity.

Related: Resume Problem: How To List Freelance Jobs?

Whether you’re a freelance writer, artist, or photographer, the creative industry is a competitive one, and it’s becoming ever more important to stand out.

5 Must-Dos When Working Freelance

Here are the top five must-dos for freelancers in the creative industry.

1. Create A Brand

While everyone has to sell themselves for a career, a freelancer must sell themselves and their skills on a daily basis. The longer it takes you to get your message across, the more likely you are to lose the potential client’s attention.

Creating your own brand gives you the chance to communicate your skills and what makes you different from your competitors in one clear and easy to understand message.

Be sure to take a look at what your competitors are doing, what people in your industry are talking about to see if your particular skill fills a need, if there are any threats to this industry, where the opportunities lie, and what weaknesses you have which need work. Basically, remember to do a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis before creating your brand.

A brand isn’t just about a good looking logo and an easy to remember catch phrase (although this does help). A lot of research needs to go into the process.

It takes time to build up the awareness of a brand, but you need to work out what you are selling, why you are selling it, and what makes you different from everyone else before focusing on what design your brand should have.

2. Online Presence

Your online activities are a big part of building your brand’s reputation. So, it’s important to make sure what you do online is in sync with your overall branding.

Your website or blog gives you the chance to build your reputation as an industry expert. Don’t just talk about yourself though. See what others are doing, and discuss oncoming trends or industry changes. Adding your expert opinion to an industry update or new trend helps you show off your knowledge of the industry. Once you have given your expert opinion, remember to share your updates via your social media profiles.

Remember to consistently work on your online presence, and provide potential customers with up to date contact information, as well as projects you have worked on or are working on.

3. Engage

Remember to engage with your audience, whether online or offline. If someone asks you a question, even if it’s through your social media or as a comment on your website, be sure to give them an answer as soon as you can, even if it’s just asking them to contact you through a another means (i.e. via telephone), so you can give them a more in-depth response.

You can also engage with people through your work (i.e. as a photographer), you can create a photo book tailored to your online reader’s interests, which they are then likely to buy via your website. Be sure that this project is in line with your brand, though.

For example, if you’re a wildlife photographer, consider creating an annual photo book for your general audience themed on the most ferocious animals you photographed. If you’re concerned about the printing costs of such a project, consider using online publishers with print on demand services.

4. Network

This is relevant for every career path, but it becomes even more relevant for a freelancer, as a contact from a networking event, especially a creative industry networking event has the potential to turn into a long term customer. Search the web for networking events in your local area, as well as in your creative niche, and be prepared when you go.

This means have your business cards on you, as well as some examples of your work via a business book or portfolio. However, only use these tools if the person you are talking to is interested and asks to see these. Networking isn’t about forcing your details on people, but about making a real connection with people. You may discover a like-minded freelancer with whom you can compare notes.

5. Know The Rates

When you charge clients for your services, make sure that you are asking for the going rate. It’s important for you to cover your expenses and make a profit, but make sure you aren’t overselling or even underselling yourself.

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