Posted on

Personal Branding: How to Build Your Brand in 4 Simple Steps

Personal Branding

Personal Branding

When you think of personal branding, superstars come to mind—icons such as Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Kim Kardashian, and Ellen DeGeneres.

With such giants in the public sphere, it’s easy to forget that personal branding doesn’t always result in national news coverage, a multi-million-dollar TV show, or a personal clothing line. Sometimes, the result can be getting a new contract for your freelance work, collaborating with an influencer in your field, or standing out to a potential employer.

Perhaps not as sexy, but still important.

The following four steps will help you begin to develop yourself into a brand, with the goal of getting you to the point where potential customers and employers immediately associate your name with your service and/or product.

Step 1: Envision yourself as a brand.

The first step to building a personal brand is to think of yourself as a brand. No, this doesn’t mean you’re some lifeless product; this simply means you must think about how you can market your skills, services, and/or products to others, using your own name.

Ask yourself what your area of expertise is (or what you want your name to be associated with), and consider what you have to offer that others are willing to pay for, either as a customer or as an employer.

Be specific here, and don’t worry about limiting yourself to just one area. Marketing expert Jayson Demers firmly believes in the value of deciding on a specific niche within your field. Although you’ll have a smaller audience, it will be a much more valuable audience: “Specificity is a trade of volume for significance.” In other words, quality is better than quantity.

Step 2: Build an online presence.

As soon as you’ve defined your niche, you need to create an online presence. A good place to start is by googling your name. Do you appear in the search results? Are the results positive? What is the nature of the top results—are they your social media accounts, customer reviews, or your work? Assess your immediate online visibility, and build on it using the steps below.

As you move forward with developing your personal brand, google yourself regularly (or set up a Google Alert) to monitor your presence. It’s also worth noting that, if your name is John Smith, you may want to use a middle initial to make your name stand out.

To boost your visibility, consider buying a domain name; typically, it will look something like www.FirstnameLastname.com. Depending on the site you use for your purchase, the domain may only cost a few dollars each year. Buying a domain that includes your name will greatly increase the control you have over what people see when they google you. If you’re not convinced, check out Harry Guinness’s breakdown of the importance of owning your own domain.

Adding a social media presence will also help build your online presence. You can link to your accounts on your website, and since so many people use social media, it can be an effective alternative method to reaching and communicating with people.

However, remember that this requires you to be professional with your social media accounts. Keep your presence professional and avoid posting inappropriate content.

Another step you can take to boost your online presence is writing articles that are related to your specialty. Publishing these articles online (whether through a blog hosted on your website or a third-party publisher) will increase your internet footprint and position you as an expert in your field. Offering your opinion and expertise for free will signal to others that you are passionate and knowledgeable about your field.

Step 3: Learn, learn, and keep learning.

The third step is to continue developing your skills. Think you know everything there is to know about your profession? You’re (probably) wrong. Industries are constantly changing, and you need to stay as up to date as possible, considering that your presence is competing with the entire online world.

Take courses online or at a local college or university to continue developing your expertise and to learn from other experts. The upside to this is that tuition fees are often tax deductible!

Join associations that represent your profession. Often, associations will offer workshops or seminars, which will give you another expert’s perspective and experience in your industry. With your experience, perhaps you can consider leading a seminar yourself, which will further build your personal brand as a leader in your profession.

Follow bloggers and writers who give their opinions and updates on current trends; engage with them on their websites and social media.

Taking these steps, quite fortunately, gives you a head start on the next step.

Step 4: Make friends and network.

The downside to focusing on building your website and social media accounts is that people need to somehow find or be shown them. Networking brings you into direct contact with other experts and potential employers in a face-to-face setting. Real-world networking makes a great companion to your online presence because if no one in your field recognizes your name, your online content won’t carry as much weight.

Here is where you can benefit from being in contact with professors, classmates, colleagues, and fellow members of your profession’s association. These people might have special insights on current or future trends in your field, and they might be acquainted with potential employers or clients. Either way, by establishing connections and introducing yourself to others, you’re building your reputation by word of mouth.

Conclusion

These four steps are probably enough homework to keep you busy for a while. If you can see yourself as a brand, build an online presence, expand your knowledge, and network, you will have made an excellent start on developing your own personal brand.

Image source: Snufkin/pexels.com

How to Write a Resume

Posted on

10 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Professional Network

A professional network.

Professional Network

Are you a budding professional? Or are you changing careers, hoping to break into that new hierarchy of skilled personnel?

Even if you’re a shy person who shudders slightly at the word networking, you have to admit it’s an essential part of our job-seeking culture. After all, it’s not what you know but who you know.

How can you enter this labyrinth of strange names and faces, trying to make connections with people you’ve admired from a distance but never had the opportunity (or courage) to meet? The answer lies in our technological society’s way of staying connected: social media.

Building a strong online presence can be just as important as interacting with people face to face, and a well-worded tweet to the right person can be just as effective as an in-person meeting.

One thing I’ve learned about networking is that it’s not about using people to fuel one’s ambitions; it’s about appreciating people through meaningful relationships. Many people have the wrong idea about how to network, believing they must hound complete strangers whom they have targeted as the most likely to give them a leg up in their career.

However, true networking is not self-interested, but community-minded. The following 10 tips will help you use social media to network effectively and in a way that benefits both you and your connections.

Networking Tips for Social Media Beginners

1. Start with your existing connections.

Most of us have accumulated phone, email, and Facebook contacts from colleagues, friends, and acquaintances we know in person. It’s a great place to start to reach out to the people you already know to make sure you have added them on other social networks, such as LinkedIn, and to make sure you have the correct information about them. These contacts form the epicenter of your network.

TIP: Import existing contacts to LinkedIn and Facebook from your online address book, or ask your friends, teachers, and colleagues for their email addresses. You can also join school groups, volunteer organizations, or associations on both these sites.

2. Reach out to your fellow social media users.

Once you feel confident with your founding network members, you can move to other applications. Reach out to people you’ve interacted with online in meaningful ways. Maybe you’re an avid reader of a blog or a dedicated follower of a fellow professional on Twitter. Look for spirited discussions on Facebook or other online forums. If you value this individual’s input or share their ideals, maybe you’ll be able to work with them or recommend a connection with another contact one day.

TIP: Start a conversation on Twitter to network with a professional. Stay polite, express genuine interest in that person, and support them before you share your personal goals.

3. Figure out where you want to be and whom you want to be like.

Sometimes learning how to network is a journey of self-discovery. But why not learn from the best? Plus, people often like to share their wisdom and help those who are just starting out. By researching people who hold interesting positions or people you admire in your field, you can start to plan the next phase of your networking—and of your own career.

TIP: Use the Company Search feature on LinkedIn to find out which companies employ the members of your network and when these companies are hiring. You can also use the Advanced Search function to find professionals and career opportunities in your field.

4. Build your online presence.

Completing your LinkedIn or Facebook profile is like wearing a complete outfit to an interview: the more coordinated and put-together you are, the better the first impression. Let your experiences, personal preferences, activities, and interests express your identity on social networks, and don’t limit yourself to just one platform. Start a blog. Write a review. Check your email (yes, and I mean frequently!). By being active on social media, you’ll give your friends and followers a better opportunity to learn about you and interact with you, allowing your network to grow in quality and in numbers.

TIP: Write an article on your blog, and include quotes from experts about a topic that interests you. In doing so, you’ll give those experts more exposure and establish a basis for building a new relationship with them. Don’t have a blog yet? Take a look at one of these popular blogging sites to get started!

5. Look for shared interests and things in common.cheese

What is your passion? Do you have a hobby, or are you part of a nerd group on Facebook? Believe it or not, your weird passion for the history of cheese making might actually pay off in your job search. Just as people converse more easily about subjects that interest them, you’ll find that your professional network will really open up when you share common interests.

TIP: Facebook Groups are a great way to network based on shared interests: you can share files, create events, and start polls about any topic you want and with whomever you want.

Social Media Tips for Networking like a Pro

If you are already familiar with networking or if you’ve already landed that dream job, there’s still more you can do to improve your professional network.

6. Join professional networks.

Once you’ve found your career niche, you can find a “version” of LinkedIn tailored to your own profession. For instance, academia.edu allows academics to share research papers with colleagues, and zerply.com connects talented film industry professionals with upcoming artistic projects. But don’t just stop at joining in—you should actively coordinate groups within your existing networks to keep your connections (old and new) alive.

TIP: Starting a LinkedIn Group is a way to form meaningful connections with smaller collections of people in common industries. They’re good places to connect with influencers in your field, allowing you to share content, ask questions, give answers, and make contacts.

7. Formality is good, but personality is better.

Remember the awkward icebreaker games they made you play on the first day of school? “Tell us your name, your favorite color, and one interesting fact about yourself!” If you were one of the outgoing ones who said, “I can do a perfect impression of a peacock!” (and then proceed to make said sound), chances are people remembered your name. Confidence always makes an impression on others, and part of that confidence involves reminding your network how they know you.

TIP: Send a friendly note reminding your colleague where you met, through whom you met, or what organization you have in common. LinkedIn prompts you to do this upon adding a connection, but make sure you take the initiative when connecting elsewhere. Sharing details about yourself can make you interesting and, above all, identifiable.

8. Practice the golden rule: help others in your network.LinkedIn

Building your professional network doesn’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) be all about you. Maybe you recently got an entry-level job in your field, and you see a position that one of your grad school friends could fill easily. Recommending that friend for the position can benefit your company, which gets a competent worker, as well as your friend, who gets a leg up in the industry—and it also helps you. Others will remember your thoughtfulness. Being part of a community means supporting others and receiving support in return.

TIP: Post job links, career fairs, and other professional events to your contacts in that field. Endorse the skills of former and current co-workers on LinkedIn, as this will provide them with value and make them more likely to reciprocate.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Reaching out to others for help might seem scary, but the worst anyone can say to you is “No.” Besides, professional development is all about cooperating with others, sharing your strengths, and allowing others to help you in your areas of weakness.

TIP: Instead of asking a complete stranger for a job straight away (why should they help?), ask for advice or request an informational interview from a fellow professional in a courteous, friendly manner. How (and when) you ask is just as important as what you ask.

10. Use online tools to build more face-to-face connections.

Remember the days when communication meant walking up to someone, writing them a letter, or dialing their phone number? (Okay, maybe you don’t.) Previous generations had to learn effective communication by non-digital means, but you still need interpersonal finesse when communicating online. For example, people in the business world don’t respond well to an email addressed “To Whom It May Concern” because it seems impersonal, communicating that you didn’t care enough to research the recipient of your message (even if your true intention is simply to be respectful).

The goal is to be both respectful and warm, and this can be done by taking the time to read about your connections and interact with them on a personal level. Once you’ve established a cordial online relationship, you can make your relationship even more personal with phone calls, notes, and even meetings.

TIP: Use meetup.com to arrange face-to-face meetings with professionals from your local area, or simply send a friendly email to an existing acquaintance in your network.

Other Great Social Media Networking Resources

  • Just starting your career search and want to make an impression? Try Inklyo’s How to Write a Resume course to learn how to create an attractive, professional resume.
  • Maybe you want to tailor your job search to a particular profession. Join beyond.com to find jobs from multiple streams.
  • Are you a local business owner? Try localsnetworking.com to meet other professionals in your area.
  • There are even sites for emerging innovators, such as angel.co and makerbase.co, which help you find the funding you need to get started in your field.

Ask Not What Your Professional Network Can Do For You…

Now you’re ready to harness the power of social media for your professional network. Remember, though, that these 10 tips are not about climbing to the top of the professional ladder at the expense of others—they are about connecting with others in a community-minded way. Whatever you do, wherever you go in life, it’s your relationships that matter, and showing consistent politeness and consideration toward others will be more important in the end than simply “getting ahead.”

Image Source: Daria Shevtsova/Unsplash.com, Jakub Rostkowski/Stocksnap.io, Freestocks.org/Stocksnap.io

How to Write a Resume

Posted on

How to Get a Scholarship Using Facebook

How to Get a Scholarship

Scholarship Aid College Education Loan Money ConceptYou’ve been accepted to university. You’ve already envisioned the posters you’ll hang up in your dorm room; your iPod is stocked with a mix of Dave Matthews Band and EDM tunes; you’ve cleaned Costco out of its entire supply of Red Bull and ramen noodles—and then the tuition bill comes. Cue the flood of questions about how to get a scholarship.

Your guidance counselor hands you a stack of scholarship application forms, and you groan. With so many people applying for the same treasure troves of shining financial aid, what chance do you have?

What can you do to give your application that extra advantage, so you can breeze into university with enough change in your pocket to order your first 3 a.m. pad thai?

The answer is right in front of you. In fact, you’ve been clicking over to it while reading this very article (for shame!). You’ve got carpal tunnel from frantically “liking” your friends’ posts left and right. Oh yes, you’ve got it. The answer is Facebook.

The truth is that scholarship reviewers are now going beyond applications and transcripts to determine who is best suited for financial assistance. Facebook is an easy and effective way to get an inside view of the applicant’s public image and whether he or she displays the values and qualities desired by a particular fund or institution.

Think of it as your first interview; your Facebook profile is your chance to show your reviewer a bit about who you are as a person, what you’re passionate about, and how well you fit what the reviewer is looking for. Follow these three steps to transform your Facebook account into a scholarship magnet.

Step 1: Purge.

We’ve all heard the cautionary tales—restaurant servers being fired for posting pictures of customers and commenting profanely on their rude behavior; teachers being dismissed for photos (even private ones!) that depict them drinking; a nun was even kicked out of a convent for spending too much time on Facebook! As a general rule, inappropriate material, such as party photos, insensitive comments, offensive language, and even just a generally negative attitude, won’t look good to a potential scholarship evaluation team.

Don’t forget that, even if your recent posts and photos are the picture of wholesomeness, viewers can access your shared content from years ago with just one click.

The solution? Delete. You may look incredible in that keg-stand photo (doubtful), and that rant about your teacher may have some of the cleverest wording ever known to the literary world, but get rid of them. They’re not worth missing out on that scholarship.

What might seem harmless could also taint someone’s idea of you:

  • Applying to a liberal organization but your favorite book is The Fountainhead? Something doesn’t quite add up.
  • Trying for a prestigious scholarship but all your “liked” movies are of the Jackass variety? You’ll need more luck than Johnny Knoxville did when he faced that charging bull while blindfolded.

In all your posts, strive to present a consistent, positive, and professional public image, and you can’t go wrong!

Step 2: Streamline.

Research what personal qualities and experiences are asked for in this scholarship. Use Facebook’s extra features to your advantage: “like” relevant pages or even books and movies that show up in the left bar.

Are you applying for a scholarship from a particular institution or organization? Find their Facebook page and “like” it.

Upload photos or other proof of your activities that reflect the kind of extracurriculars or skills that the scholarship looks for.

Step 3: Engage in positive activity.

Now that you’ve removed all negative content and have updated your page to reflect the kind of person that scholarship committees are seeking, it’s time to establish a positive online presence. Your reviewers will want to see that you’re active in your community and have a continued presence in your fields of interest. Regularly post positive content that lets your personality sparkle.

This is your chance to make yourself memorable, so use it!

Rather than trying to hide your Facebook account (like these students who adopted names like Samwise Gams, FunkMaster Floikes, and Lizzie McGuire on their social media accounts), let it work for you. It might just be what your scholarship application needs to stand out from the stack.

The final thing you must be aware of when using Facebook to help you get a scholarship is the quality of your posts. If grammar and spelling are not your forte, it might not be a bad idea to have a friend or a proofreading company look over your social media posts before you send them. This will give reviewers extra assurance that you care about details and how you are perceived.

Posted on

You’re Hired: Freelance Writing and Editing Jobs

EditingCamp.com explains all you need to know about freelance writing and editing jobs.

All you need to know about freelance writing and editing jobs

EditingCamp.com explains all you need to know about freelance writing and editing jobs.One of the most appealing qualities of the writing profession is the ability to work from anywhere in the world. With advances in technology, it is now possible to read material written or edited by individuals from across the globe. Another tempting aspect of a career in writing or editing is the opportunity to work on a freelance basis, setting your own hours and employing yourself. In fact, according to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report, nearly half of all freelancers across North America operate in the field of content writing.

However, freelance work is not all fun and games. It requires dedication, discipline, and motivation to tackle an assignment through your own initiative. As well, freelancers often have other full-time careers, depending on the amount of freelance work available.

But what do freelance writing and editing jobs entail, and what are the differences between the two?

Becoming a freelance writer or editor

To begin a career in the writing or editing industry, freelance or not, an education is likely required. Often, freelancers in the field will possess a university degree specializing in English or linguistics. Other freelancers have similar backgrounds, with degrees in such disciplines as journalism, communications, or marketing. You must have a strong grasp of the mechanics of English and the skills required to communicate effectively.

Important traits for the field include clarity in writing, good judgment, initiative, and leadership. It takes more than articulation to thrive in this line of work. Writing and editing require unique personality characteristics, particularly creativity, which is not always needed in other industries but is critical to success in this field.

What to expect

Freelance writing and editing jobs are not for everyone. While creating your own schedule may sound easy, freelancing requires you to take on additional roles. For example, freelance writers and editors also become accountants during tax season. Without a personal payroll department, this responsibility falls on the employer: you. You will need to maintain detailed records and develop a good knowledge of tax laws and the deductions for which you qualify.

Despite the added accountability, freelance writing and editing jobs can be very rewarding. Another benefit of freelance work is the chance to write your own contracts and set your own rates. Keeping an up-to-date portfolio of your best work will show employers that you are knowledgeable, professional, in demand, and capable of setting your own working parameters.

There are some drawbacks to freelance writing and editing jobs, including financial insecurity. Steady work is not always guaranteed. There may be times when you are behind on bills and times when you can’t plan that dream vacation. In the freelance industry, situations can change quickly and without warning.

Most important, when taking on freelance writing or editing jobs, stay passionate and involved in your field. Otherwise, your drive may dwindle, and you may struggle in your work. Keep yourself informed about changes in the industry, and never end your educational journey in your discipline. Constant learning will keep you engaged and prevent burnout on the job.

What’s the difference?

Freelance writing and editing jobs might sound similar, but the nature of the work differs greatly. Freelance writers, for example, are not necessarily limited to the opportunities that appear on job boards and freelance sites. Writers can create pieces out of thin air and sell their work to publishers, producers, or businesses, even when they might not be looking for such material. They can closely watch the market and anticipate what material will sell, which means the freelance writer takes on a much more sales-focused role than an editor does. For the freelance editor, market demand, when low, can be limiting; if no one requires editing services, your workload may suffer.

While the two positions are different, freelance writing and editing jobs do share some similarities. Often, while working on a piece, a freelance editor may take on the role of a writer in revising unclear wording or replacing awkward phrasing. Writers, however, can certainly edit their work, but as the old adage goes, two pairs of eyes are better than one.

Freelance writing and editing jobs are both in demand at companies that employ medical and scientific professionals, as they tend to avoid the softer arts of writing and communication. In addition, with the expansion of English as a second language programs, editors can find ample work handling papers, essays, and documents from ESL learners.

Finding freelance writing and editing jobs

Taking the plunge into the freelancing world can be daunting. It is always useful to look to others who have made the same career choice. How did they overcome the obstacles? What were the biggest challenges? How can you avoid making common mistakes? The Internet, and even blogs, can be particularly useful as resources when you’re looking to follow the lead of others. In the end, though, becoming a freelance writer or editor is as simple as changing your job title on your LinkedIn profile. Getting the word out about your expertise? Now, that’s another article.

Image source: Mila Supinskaya/Shutterstock.com

Posted on

The Ultimate Resume Checklist

What to Include in a Resume

The Ultimate Resume ChecklistIf you’re reading this article, then you’re probably also in the process of applying for a job. In that case, you’ve found the right place! Here at Inklyo, we know that even the mere thought of creating your resume can be daunting, so we’re here to help. Resumes do take time and patience, but if you’re equipped with the right tools and resources, you’ll have no trouble breezing through the resume writing process . . . and who knows, you might even have fun along the way! This resume checklist will discuss what to include in a resume and will focus on the following topics:

  • Sections (or headings) to include
  • Information to omit
  • Design elements
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Additional tips to make your resume stand out and help land you that dream job

The Resume Checklist

Feel free to read this checklist as you’d like—from beginning to end, or just the sections that pertain most to your resume writing needs. You could also skip ahead to the point-form infographic if you’re looking for a quick guide to use when reviewing a resume that has already been written. We do, however, suggest reading through the tips to the end—you’ll find some great advice that will really take your resume, and resume writing skills, up a notch!

What to Include

✓ Contact information. Full name, address (street name and number, city, state, and zip code), phone number (home or cell; choose the one you use most often so it’s easier to reach you), email address (keep it professional), and a link to your LinkedIn profile (if you have an account; optional). Depending on your industry, you can also include a link to your professional website (if you have one) or a portfolio of your work.

 Summary. A few brief but comprehensive sentences at the top of your resume highlighting how your skills and accomplishments will benefit the company you are applying to. Try to match this information with the qualifications outlined in the job description.

Relevant knowledge and skills. A concise bulleted list of your knowledge, skills, and attributes that apply to the position at hand.

Work experience. A comprehensive summary of your work history from the past 10 to 15 years. These must be listed in reverse chronological order, which means listing the newest positions first. For each job, include the company name, your position, the dates you worked there (months and years), and a few bulleted points outlining your duties and accomplishments in your role.

Education. Also list your education in reverse chronological order. Unless you’re in high school, it is not necessary to include your secondary education. Rather, focus on your post-secondary education (university and/or college).

Volunteer experience (optional). List any volunteer positions you have held, especially if they’re relevant to the job you’re applying to.

  Industry-specific extras (optional; list each under its own heading). Licenses and Certifications, Publications, Professional Affiliations, Professional Memberships, Awards and Recognition, Portfolio

What to Omit

Non-job-related social media profiles. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

A “Career Objective” section. Instead, write a summary that explains why you’re qualified for the position and what makes you the best candidate.

A “References” or a “References Available upon Request” section. If a potential employer needs references from you, they will contact you.

Pictures, tables, graphs, or charts. They are unnecessary and will cause confusion for both readers and applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Gender, age, or marital status. These personal details are not necessary to include, as employers are not allowed to make decisions based on an applicant’s status.

A photo of yourself. Save this for your LinkedIn profile, and make sure it’s professional looking.

Fraud, padding, and exaggeration. Don’t lie!

Clichéd words. Avoid words such as try, love, seasoned, experienced, creative, and innovative. Many of these words are vague, over-used, or have lost their strength. Focus on showing your skills rather than telling about them.

Design Elements

Document type. Unless the employer asks for a specific format, prepare your resume as a Word document (.doc or .docx). Word documents, as opposed to PDF or other file types, are the most common and are, therefore, the easiest to be emailed/attached, opened, and read.

Format. Write your work experience and education in reverse chronological order. This means listing your positions from the newest to the oldest.

White space (or negative space). This refers to margins (the areas between the main content and the edges of the page), gutters (the vertical space between columns), and the spaces between lines of type and graphics or figures. Having a balance between white space and content will keep your resume from looking cluttered while drawing the reader’s eye to certain sections.

Font style, size, and color. Use a font that is easy for both ATS and a real person to recognize: Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, Lucida, Tahoma, or Trebuchet—these fonts were designed for the web. The font size should be between 10 and 12 point, and the color should be consistent throughout (black).

Margins. Use 1-inch margins all the way around your resume. This will ensure that no information gets cut off if a paper copy is printed and that no information will be lost to ATS if it falls outside the margin.

Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation

Attention to detail. Spelling and grammar are important indicators of a candidate’s attention to detail; they highlight defects rather than spotlighting qualities. It is nearly impossible to recover from spelling errors on your resume.

Action words. Use words that convey action, such as advised, examined, oversaw, prepared, resolved, and compiled.

Consistency. Be consistent with your punctuation throughout. This includes putting periods at the end of complete sentences, using only single or only double quotation marks, using the serial comma, and using only straight or only curly quotes.

Acronyms. Always make sure to spell out any acronyms in full upon their first use.

Editing. Make sure to take the time to thoroughly edit and proofread your resume. Even the smallest spelling mistake can have a disastrous effect, so pay extra attention when reading through your resume. You may even want to use a professional editing service such as Scribendi.com to have an extra set of professional, discerning eyes catch any errors you may have missed. Editing is crucial for two reasons: 1) ATS software will miss important keywords and phrases if they’re spelled incorrectly, making your resume more likely to get rejected and 2) A hiring manager who sees mistakes in your resume won’t take you seriously and will think you are lazy, which also makes it more likely for your resume to get rejected.

Punctuation. Make sure to use punctuation marks properly. Know the difference between a hyphen (-), an en dash (–), and an em (—) dash; when and how to use a semicolon (;); how to properly use a comma (,); and how a period (.) should be placed at the end of each complete sentence.

Capitalization. Capitalize words correctly. Do capitalize names; proper nouns; names of cities, states/provinces, and countries; languages; company names; brand names; and months. Do not capitalize job titles (unless they come before a name); college/university majors; important-sounding career words that aren’t proper nouns; seasons; or directions.

Bonus Tips for an Outstanding Resume

Customization. Tailor your resume specifically to each job that you apply for. This means incorporating words and phrases from the job description—as they apply to your skills and experience—directly into your resume. Try to put most of these words and phrases in the top-third of the first page of your resume.

Template. Stay current and use a modern and professional resume format, but avoid using a template. A template will make your resume look too generic, and it won’t stand out to a potential employer.

Pronouns. Don’t use third- or first-person pronouns. For example, instead of saying “Annie prepares” or “I prepare,” just say “Prepare.”

Email address. Make sure your email address is professional and appropriate, and avoid using a nickname. Think john.smith@email.com as opposed to crazyjohnny27@email.com.

Metrics: Include performance metrics to show exactly how you helped the company. This could mean percentages, dollars, percentages, or time frames.

Keywords. Include industry keywords in your resume, but not too many.

Cover letter. Supplement your resume with a cover letter, especially if the job description calls for one. If you don’t include this important document when it’s asked for, it’s highly unlikely that the hiring manager will even look at—let alone consider—your resume, regardless of how qualified you are for the position.

Quick Reference: Resume Sections

If you’re a bit unsure about how to structure your resume to include all the required information, here’s a tool you can use to guide you. This isn’t the only way to structure a resume, but it’s a great starting point from which you can expand and personalize as much as you want.

Resume Section

Where Is It?

What Does it Tell the Reader?

Main Header (Name and Contact Information)Very top of first pageTells the reader your preferred name and the best ways to contact you
SummaryTop of first page, under main headerExplains why you’re qualified and sums up why you’d be the best candidate for the job
Knowledge and SkillsTop third of first page, beneath SummaryTells the reader how your knowledge and skills match those required by the position
Work ExperienceMiddle of first page, beneath Knowledge and SkillsExplains how your professional achievements could benefit the company you’re applying to
EducationBeneath Work ExperienceShows the reader whether you meet the educational   requirements for the position
Other InformationBeneath EducationShows how your other assets would be beneficial to the role being applied to. Examples include volunteer work, additional honors or completed courses, etc.

Infographic

If you’re looking for a quick reference to use when writing or revising your resume, the following infographic provides a point-form version of this article. Go over this checklist before sending your resume out to potential employers.

Resume Checklist Infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

Conclusion

So there you have it—the ULTIMATE resume checklist. Comprehensive? Yes. Helpful? We hope so! Now that you’ve read through the resume tips outlined above, you should be confident in creating an outstanding resume that’s up to date, modern, and exactly what your potential employer wants to read. You now know exactly what to include in your resume and what to avoid, how your resume should be designed and formatted, and how to put it all together. But before you send it off, make sure to edit, edit, edit! Using an editing service like Scribendi.com will ensure your resume is error free so that you land that dream job.

Take these tips, apply them, and share them with your friends! There’s nothing better than that sense of accomplishment you feel after completing something you worked really hard on, and that’s what we want to help you achieve. Best of luck!

How to Write a Resume

Image sources: Unsplash/Pixabay.com, Ian Prince/StockSnap.io

Posted on

How to Perform a Social Media Cleanup Before a Job Search

How to Perform a Social Media Cleanup Before a Job Search

How to Perform a Social Media Cleanup Before a Job SearchPerforming a social media cleanup has become an important part of the job search process. Whether you realize it or not, what you post online becomes part of your personal brand, and those pictures from that one summer camping trip you barely remember from your early 20s can come back to haunt you. Potential employers can and do check job candidates’ personal social media accounts, making social media etiquette an important factor to keep in mind. How you are portrayed online can affect an employer’s impression of you before you even meet face-to-face.

To begin a social media cleanup, run a Google search on yourself to see what a potential employer might find. It is likely that your various social media accounts will appear, which employers will look at to gain more insight into your personality, opinions, and lifestyle. This is where understanding how to present yourself professionally via personal branding and social media etiquette is important. Note: if you aren’t willing to change your online habits, consider changing your privacy settings to hide your activity.

Twitter

What to remove

Everyone needs to rant sometimes, and Twitter has become an outlet for many peoples’ pet peeves, strong opinions, and personal views. A well-worded tweet reflecting on a trending news story is one thing, but if an employer finds a Twitter account filled with complaints about work and coworkers, or repeated tweets to other companies in attempts to get free stuff, it might make the employer second-guess whether you’re a fit with the company. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re presenting a good impression of yourself, and while the occasional cat meme is harmless enough, keep the vulgar language or pictures to a minimum.

How to remove a tweet

  1. Sign in to Twitter.
  2. Click on your profile.
  3. Choose the tweet you wish to delete, and select the ellipsis (“…”) at the bottom of the tweet itself to view more options.
  4. Select “Delete Tweet,” and confirm that you wish to delete it.

How to Delete a Tweet from Twitter.

Personal branding

Personal branding on Twitter is easy because of the simplicity of the Twitter profile. Make sure you provide a professional profile picture that reflects you, your business, and your niche. For example, if you’re a hobby photographer, make sure your profile picture showcases your photography style. Your profile bio is limited to 160 characters, but you should remember to include the most relevant keywords associated with your personal brand or niche.

Take your time writing your bio, and make it interesting by being authentic and true to your lifestyle. You can also include hashtags in your bio that directly connect to aspects of your brand. Be sure to include your website address or link to another social media account. If an employer finds a well-presented Twitter profile highlighting your accomplishments and talents, the employer is more likely to gain a good first impression of your value as an employee.

Facebook

What to remove

Facebook can be especially problematic because so many people have used the social network for years, and it is possible to be tagged in posts and pictures that you may not have written or posted. Social etiquette has changed over the years, depending on what stage of life you were in when you began using social media. For many millennials who opened their first Facebook account nearly a decade ago, this makes a social media cleanup essential.

It may be a good idea to remove or hide any questionable pictures from your college or university days. (You know—the ones that feature beer bottles and strange outfits.) It’s also a good idea to scan your status updates, shares, and posts to remove anything too extreme; you want to make sure your rant about ignorant people or that post including a video of Kim Kardashian selfies isn’t the first thing a potential employer sees. On Facebook, much of this information can also be hidden instead of deleted.

How to remove or hide pictures and posts

Photo Albums

  1. Log in to your Facebook account, and go to your profile.
  2. Select the Photos tab.
  3. Select the Albums tab.
  4. You can make the photo album private from the Settings menu in the bottom right-hand corner of each album.
  5. You can delete an album by clicking on the album and choosing to delete it from the Settings tab in the top right-hand corner.
  6. Confirm that you want to delete the album.

Pictures

  1. Log in to your Facebook account, and go to your profile.
  2. Select the Photos tab.
  3. You can delete photos individually by going to the Photos tab (for all photos you have uploaded to an album or your timeline) or by searching for them in the Albums tab. To delete, hover over a photo, and select Delete This Photo from the Edit option found in the top right-hand corner.

4. Confirm that you want to delete the picture.

How to delete a photo from Facebook, part 2.

5. To hide the picture, choose the option Hide from Timeline.You can remove yourself from pictures in which others have tagged you by hovering over the photo and choosing the Remove Tag option from the Edit feature found in the top right-hand corner.

Status Updates and Posts

  1. Log in to your Facebook account, and go to your profile.
  2. Scroll down your timeline, and find the post or status update you wish to remove.
  3. Select the downward arrow in the top right-hand corner of your post, and select Delete.
  4. Confirm that you want to delete the post.
  5. To hide a status or post, select the Hide from Timeline option from the same menu.

How to delete a Facebook post.

Personal branding

Personal branding on Facebook is not something many people think about in relation to their personal accounts. But Facebook can work for you both personally and professionally. Make sure you present a professional profile picture and cover image. This doesn’t mean they have to be stuffy or formal, but high-quality, appropriate photos will significantly contribute to others’ impressions of you.

Fill in all of your professional information—potential employers might check this against your application. Follow groups and pages that relate to who you are and your interests; presenting the most authentic version of yourself online is a key part of personal branding. Be aware of what you post on Facebook, and perhaps substitute that extra cute cat mash-up video for a think piece on something about which you are passionate.

Instagram

What to remove

Like Facebook, you might want to consider a social media cleanup of your Instagram feed, considering that the two platforms are so closely intertwined (and that Instagram is now owned by Facebook). Remove any questionable photos that may not show you in the best light if an employer were to stumble across them, or you can set your account to private. Removing any off-color quotes or images is also an important aspect of social media etiquette.

How to remove

  1. Log in to Instagram on your phone or tablet—pictures cannot be The Instagram logo.deleted from the computer dashboard.
  2. Go to your profile.
  3. Select the photo you wish to delete.
  4. View more options by selecting the ellipsis (“. . .”).
  5. Select Delete from the Options menu.
  6. Confirm that you wish to delete the photo.

Personal branding

Instagram has become a significant platform for personal branding. To utilize the app to its best potential, upload a professional profile picture, and really consider what you post. You are more likely to gain followers if your images are edited in a similar manner so that the photos flow together nicely or have the same aesthetic. Try to showcase photos that you have taken yourself that reveal who you are and what your lifestyle is like in an authentic way.

Conclusion

The key to knowing what to post on social media, especially when embarking on a job search, is to consider each post from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know you. Ask yourself, “If this one post were the only thing somebody knew about me, how would I come across?”

Even though your friends and family may know that a certain status update is meant to be sarcastic or that you only use the word totes ironically (s-u-u-ure), remember that potential employers don’t know you well and are still in the process of forming their opinions about you. Make sure your social media accounts help them form accurate and positive opinions that reassure them of your professionalism and reliability.

 

How to Write a Cover LetterImage source: jarmoluk/Pixabay.com

Posted on

How to Build Your Brand

How to Build Your Brand

How to Build Your BrandWe’ll start with the basics: What is a brand, anyway?

A brand is a representation of your relationship with your customers. It determines how they view and interact with your business. Put another way, your brand is like a promise.

Since the Internet has become a critical place for traffic and information, building an online relationship with your customers through a brand is imperative as you strive to make your business successful. To improve this relationship, you need to make sure your business is doing everything possible to build the brand and create a reputation.

So how do you use branding to build your business? How do you create a positive image so customers will feel a connection and sense of loyalty?

Think about your customers first

Before you can think about how your business will look online, determine what your customers want. Think about what will appeal to your customers when you start devising a business marketing strategy. For example, the types of colors that would attract them, the kinds of messages they like to hear, and the kinds of products they’re likely to buy. Once you have an idea of what your customers want in a brand, you can craft your image for them.

Think about what makes you unique

Before your customers can figure out why they’re going to choose your business over another one, you need to determine what makes it stand out among the rest. When you pinpoint your company’s strengths, you can use them to your advantage when creating your brand. On the Internet especially, your business needs to distinguish itself from all the rest, and promoting what makes you unique is the best way to market your business.

The logo

Logos are an excellent tool to help craft your image. Logos are symbols and they can generate an emotional response from your customers, if you build the right context around them. What emotional response do you want from your customers? A feeling of calm or confidence? Excitement? Strength? Think about how you feel about your business. How can you translate that into a logo?

The slogan

To your customers, your brand represents a message, or a set of values, that they can internalize when they purchase your product. A slogan can help your brand create this message. The one-line slogan that you choose will be how customers remember your business and identify with it through a single idea. Incidentally, you don’t have to have a slogan, and you don’t have to use the same slogan forever either. Most of the hamburger chains you know and love change their slogans for every campaign.

Get your brand out there

Once you have your desired image for your brand, you need to make your business widely known. This means putting your brand in front of your customers everywhere they’re likely to be. Forbes publishes a list of the world’s most valuable brands, and you probably know most, if not all of them. Consider where you’ve seen their advertisements, and then consider who they’re trying to reach. How can you apply that process to your own brand?

Consistency

Brands become familiar over time, and can even provide a sense of comfort. Once you build a brand, you build a relationship with your customers that rests on a foundation of reliability and consistency. So long as you maintain that consistency, you will be able to maintain your relationship with your customers and build a brand following online. And that, as you can see by the numbers on that Forbes list, can be worth millions.

Image source: My Life Graphic/Shutterstock.com

Inklyo's free ebook about business blogging.

Posted on

5 Books Every Work-from-Home Businessperson Should Read

5 Books Every Work from Home Businessperson Needs TN

5 Books Every Work from Home Businessperson NeedsTired of the office life? Many people aspire to work from home, but doing so requires a particular set of skills. It’s not all pajamas and cuddling your cat while bringing in the money; successful work-from-home businesspeople are excellent at time management, personal organization, work–life balance, and marketing their unique skills to maintain a livable income. Below, Inklyo has rounded up five books that offer great tips for working from home.

1. My So-Called Freelance Life, by Michelle Goodman

Written for female entrepreneurs, My So-Called Freelance Life has practical tips for working from home for anyone wanting to leave the 9-to-5 grind (not just women). The author, Michelle Goodman, has been a successful freelance writer for 16 years and shares her experiences and tips for working from home, while delivering her advice in a relatable, funny, and highly readable way! Michelle offers a thorough overview of what’s involved in growing a successful freelance career, and, although she is a writer, the basic principles she describes are useful for any freelance creative work.

My So-Called Freelance Life covers how to organize your clients and jobs to optimize your output, plan your own career path, plan your workload based on how much you want to earn, market yourself using a great web presence, network and gain clients through referral, and negotiate projects and contracts. It also covers legal, budgeting, and tax issues. Overall, Michelle offers some great pointers for those wanting to do freelance work and those who are already doing freelance work.

2. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, by Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam’s book on time management, 168 Hours, is one of those reads that people either love or hate. The author advises us to start thinking in 168-hour blocks (i.e., the number of hours in a week), monitor what it is we are actually spending our precious time on, and then cut the time-wasters. She offers sound advice for spending your time mindfully and on pursuits that further your career, relationships, and passions. In 168 Hours, quality is more important than quantity, and living a full life is as easy as out-sourcing the tasks we don’t want to do to make room for the ones we love. This is one principle that many readers have an issue with, but besides a tendency to whitewash the fact that time management may look different to people of various economic means, the core concepts of her book provide realistic tips for working from home.

3. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr, Dr. James E. Loehr, and Tony Schwartz

A work-from-home businessperson reading.The Power of Full Engagement is a powerful book that aims to help people change their perspectives on time management and their daily routines. The core concept here is that, instead of prioritizing the amount of time you put into your day-to-day actions, you should focus on the energy cost of those actions. An over-packed schedule not only creates stress but is also detrimental to productivity—which is especially important for those who work from home and depend on their own ability to self-manage. The authors explain the cost of spreading yourself too thin and how it affects your happiness, physical state, and engagement with life. These same positive and negative energies also affect how well you do your job. The Power of Full Engagement provides key principles to ensure that you are using your energy efficiently and in the way that is best for you, an important tip for anyone working from home.

4. Creative Personal Branding by Jurgen Salenbacher

Jurgen Salenbacher’s Creative Personal Branding is a great place to start for anyone wanting to learn more about developing their personal brand. In a world so driven by fast information and seemingly endless options, having a dynamic, recognizable personal brand is a must for anyone working from home. In this book, branding is explained in detail, from defining your own marketable skills to how to market those skills creatively in today’s global market. How well you present yourself has a huge impact on your success as a freelance businessperson or entrepreneur.

5. Organizing from the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern

Organization is not just for Type A personalities. Julie Morgenstern’s book Organizing from the Inside Out covers many areas of life and explains how keeping your surroundings organized can lessen stress, create more positive thinking, and increase productivity—all of which are important when you work from home. The book is laid out in chapters that cover separate areas of life, from your kitchen and your kids’ rooms to your office space and home-based business. Morgenstern’s goal is to help you build an effective strategy for tackling the disorganization issues specific to your life, so that you can forget about mental and physical clutter and focus on your own success and goals. The chapters about using technology to organize projects and resources are especially relevant and packed with tips for working from home.

Image sources: Startup Stock Photos, kaboompics.com