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Social Media Success: A Guide for Job Seekers

Most people know that posting questionable content online could be detrimental in your job search. However, if you use social media professionally to showcase your skills and expertise, it could propel your application to the top of the stack and land you a job.

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Picture thanks to http://www.salesforce.com/

Recruiters are looking for candidates online, and what they find will help determine who they hire.

“When a recruiter searches an applicant’s name to learn more about them, it’s actually a red flag nowadays if someone isn’t found to be active online,” said Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at FlexJobs. “LinkedIn is the bare minimum a job seeker should be using to help show employers that they are technologically savvy and understand the basics [of] digital communication.”

Social media can also be used to learn about companies you’re interested in and to find potential jobs.

“Companies post relevant articles and other information related to any changes happening within the company,” said Brooke Cordova, healthcare branch manager at Addison Group. “This knowledge can help a job seeker not only understand if this is a company they want to be a part of, but also give them an advantage in an interview setting.”

Each social network has its own unique characteristics and best practices. Business News Daily talked to hiring managers, recruiters and social media experts about how to optimize your social media accounts for your job search.

As the go-to network for both job seekers and hiring managers, your top priority should be perfecting your LinkedIn profile.

“Hiring managers may look to your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you,” said Reynolds. “If it doesn’t match your resume with your most up-to-date jobs, projects and skills, they may be confused. It may send the message that you’re not taking enough care with your job search or professional image.”

Reynolds also said you should keep your profile up-to-date because many hiring managers use LinkedIn to find applicants – sometimes before they even post a job opening.

“If you’re interested in new opportunities, even in the least, keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date so you’ll be findable when a recruiter starts searching,” she said.

Cordova also reminds job seekers to turn on the “open to new opportunities” feature, which will expose your profile to more hiring managers.

Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com, also recommends keeping your profile up-to-date. “

“Focus on updating your profile to be as current as possible,” she said. “Ask trusted individuals you’ve previously worked with for recommendations and write blog posts to establish your credibility within your given industry.”

The brands and people you engage with on Twitter directly impact your followers’ perception of you and may affect whether hiring managers believe you’re worthy of working for the company.

When you’re looking for a job, a good percentage of your tweets, retweets and replies should focus on topics that are relevant to the companies you want to work for. You can achieve this by using keywords and hashtags that professionals in your field talk about and follow.

“Twitter can be used to identify leaders in an organization that you are interested in joining,” said Heather Monahan, life coach and business expert. “By following them and retweeting their tweets you can get their attention. Responding to their tweets and showing your value can give you an advantage over the other candidates who aren’t trying to communicate.”

Case also recommends taking advantage of Twitter chats.

“Engage in Twitter chats that are relevant to the industry you want to work in,” she said. “This is a great way to network with existing professionals already in these fields, follow them to begin building a rapport together, and cement yourself as an expert.”

Before you start using Facebook to your advantage, you need to make sure it’s not hurting your image. Be sure to delete or untag yourself from any questionable posts or pictures. Once your page is scrubbed clean, you should only post appropriate content.

“It’s important to be careful with the type of content you post,” said Karla Ruiz, social media director at Casanova//McCann. “Make sure you are posting content you’ll be proud of in the next few years. Keep control of your privacy settings and if you are out partying, enjoy the moment and leave your phone by your side. Once it goes live, it lives online forever.”

While it’s important to use privacy settings for personal information, you should keep some information public such as your employment information, location and professional skills. You should be searchable to hiring managers.

It’s always a good idea to engage with industry leaders and portray yourself as a thought leader on all social media platforms. A great way to achieve this on Facebook is by commenting and contributing to industry-specific Facebook groups.

“Being engaged and part of these [Facebook] groups can be a huge asset,” said Andrea Hurtado, director of marketing and brand health at Protis Global. “These groups can do quite a bit for you – assist and propel you in developing yourself professionally, connect you with other individuals in your field and/or get you closer contact with an organization that is looking for talent like you.”

While each platform serves a different purpose, it’s also important to have a consistent voice and style throughout all your social media profiles. You should be using social media to build yourself as a brand.

“Be sure to have a clean and consistent social media presence,” said Ruiz. “Don’t just share stuff just of the sake of sharing. Before posting, ask yourself – does this add value to my personal brand?”

Source: written by Saige Driver for Business News Daily

 

Creating a Strong Online Presence for Marketing Success

Social network web site surfing concept illustration

 

According to Google, 97% of consumers use the web to search for local businesses – and if the vast majority of your potential customers are online, you should be, too. Having a strong online presence is a crucial component of your marketing strategy, no matter what size your business is or what industry it belongs to.

An online presence is important for outbound marketing because it reinforces your brand and what you offer to your target market. Once you’ve communicated with your audience, you’ll need to have a web presence that helps portray why your product or service is so great – because that’s the next stop for the majority of your potential customers.

It’s also vital for inbound marketing, because quality online content will help attract customers even if they haven’t heard of your brand.

So here are three of the first things you need to look at when building your online marketing efforts.

  1. Your website

All businesses, no matter how small, should have a website. It can be extremely basic, but it should contain the fundamental information customers – both existing and potential – need. For example, one frustration I encounter far too often is restaurants that don’t have a website with a current menu, opening hours, location and contact information. I know I’m not alone in that if I can’t find these details, I’m less likely to visit the restaurant – but there’s no reason a business should lose potential customers over something that’s so easy to remedy and costs very little.

A basic website is pretty easy to set up using an application like WordPress. WordPress is a free blogging tool and content management system that gives users the option to pay a little more for the premium version. If it’s relevant to your business, you can even add an online shop – after all, in 2013, 70 percent of consumers preferred to do their retail shopping online.

If you’re not sure where to start, there’s a great guide to WordPress for small businesses on Social Media today. It’s easy to understand and runs through the factors you need to consider and steps you need to take when setting up your small business website.

If you’re starting from scratch and not sure what your website should include, survey your existing customers. Whether you send out an email asking for their input, or mention it casually while making their coffee, it’s the best way to get the insight you need – people love to be involved and share their opinions.

  1. Search engine optimization

Once you have a website, it’s vital that it can actually be found by search engines. After all, 89 percent of consumers use search engines to research a product, service or business before making a decision. To take advantage of this, you need to make sure to look at search engine optimization (SEO) for your website.

In case you’re not completely sure what SEO means, how it works, or why it’s important, here’s a quick rundown:

What: The purpose of SEO is to make it easy for search engines to find your website and list it in their ‘organic’ (as opposed to ‘paid’) results.

Why: People tend to trust search engines, so websites that appear high in results pages are more likely to receive traffic.

How: Using search-engine friendly methods to improve your website.

Who: Everyone – anyone who has information that people want to find on the internet should be using SEO techniques.

When: All the time – SEO is an ongoing process. It’s important to monitor the information on your website and make sure it’s current and correct. Search engines also love new content, which is why starting a blog can do wonders for your SEO.

Where: Major search engines include Google, Yahoo and Bing. They connect people all over the world to the content they desire, from products to services to information.

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz and Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide both give a fantastic overview of the basics and will help you optimize your website.

  1. Social media

Social media is an important part of your online presence that improves your chances of generating additional revenue and building customer loyalty. It allows customers, potential customers and other interested parties to engage easily via a channel that plays an important role in their everyday lives.

Although not every social media channel will be relevant to each business, it’s definitely worth looking into your options. For example, Facebook and Twitter will serve a purpose for almost any business – it’s a great place to post news, tips, photos and videos and ask and answer questions.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you might find Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, FourSquare helpful. Make sure to research available channels and find out if they will work for you. Instagram, for example, is a photo-sharing network, so it works wonderfully for businesses selling ‘beautiful’ products such as jewelry, food or housewares. It’s important to consider your target demographic – Instagram has around 130–150 million users, over two-thirds of which are women between the ages of 18 and 35. With Instagram, you’ll also need to keep a smartphone handy to properly access your account and engage with your audience.

Once you’ve decided which social media channels to use, get a clear idea of the kind of content you can share. The more compelling and engaging your material is, the more likely your followers will like, comment and share your posts. Engagement is key to promoting your brand – not only will it make you more appealing to existing customers, the more positive social activity that goes on, the higher the chance is that their friends will be exposed to your brand and intrigued by what you have to offer.

When they do this, they’re engaging with your brand and their networks (friends, family, colleagues) are seeing that engagement and may be prompted to check you out for their own needs.

 

Source: written by Lucy Godwin for Duct Tape Marketing

The Basics of Branding

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?

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Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand.

Brand Strategy & Equity

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.

Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product–and customers will pay that higher price.

The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe.

Defining Your Brand

Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.

Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex, consider leveraging the expertise of a nonprofit small-business advisory group or a Small Business Development Center .

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:

  • Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
  • Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
  • Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
  • Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
  • Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
  • Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
  • Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
  • Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.

By John Williams for Entrepreneur.com

Don’t Make These 3 Social Media Mistakes

by Simon Reynolds

The buzz about the importance of social media is at crazy levels.

It seems everyone is obsessed with the desire to build out a powerful social media platform and campaign.

Certainly social media marketing is important. But it sure ain’t new. For centuries word of mouth has been both the most effective and the cheapest way to get customers, and social media is just a digital version of word of mouth marketing.

Now of course, it’s incredibly easy to put up a Facebook page, write a few posts and actually get some followers. This ease of creation and swift results has led to a passion for social media that is at massive levels and is increasing at an exponential pace.

But be careful. As the map makers of 500 hundred years ago used to say, ‘There be dragons here’.

There are three big mistakes that the majority of entrepreneurs are making with their social media that can endanger not just your company’s marketing, but the future profits of your organization.

Mistake 1: Spending Too Much Time Posting and Monitoring

Social media can be a huge time suck for entrepreneurs. Firstly, it’s always moving- every few hours someone has commented, complained or replied to what you’ve posted. This ever changing nature of social media is very,very seductive. It makes you feel like you have to always respond, always react. Pretty soon you’ve lost 90 minutes of your day handling it.

That’s a huge error. Social media is in the end just another marketing medium. It’s not the holy grail. It’s not a magic solution to your revenue woes. It’s merely another channel by which you can make contact with customers, deepen your relationship with them and hopefully inspire them to buy from you.

It’s important you don’t spend too much time on it. I suggest no more than 20 minutes each work day. Putting a time limit on your posting and monitoring will force you to be efficient and also leave enough time for you to work on the other vital marketing areas. Like email, print, your brochures, finessing your sales presentation,testing online ads, training sales staff, making your website more responsive, etc.

Spending any more time than that is in my view giving social media too much importance, for the reason that i’ll address next.

Mistake 2: Expecting Social Media to Generate Revenue

The world is littered with companies that went under while they were working on getting their sales from social media marketing.

Now don’t get me wrong: social media can be a highly potent marketing weapon. But here’s the cold, hard reality: I mentor many, many entrepreneurs and virtually none of them have been able to get people on their social media lists to actually write them checks.

Sure they’ll follow you, like you, even comment enthusiastically about how wonderful your products are, but getting them to buy from you as a direct result of what you post on social media is damn hard.

Now I’m generalising of course. I also work with entrepreneurs that are making a fortune from social media. But take it from me, they are a very small minority. Almost all entrepreneurs will find it way easier getting people to pay them money using other media, like email, telephone marketing,online ads, direct mail and website design.

So I advocate doing social media, for sure, just don’t expect your revenue to rise greatly because you are.

Mistake 3: Not Moving Your Followers To Your Email List

Here’s what most entrepreneurs don’t realize: If you have say 5000 people following you on your social media, you don’t own that list. Facebook, Pinterest or Linked In do. That can be dangerous.Your list may get deleted because of their error or as a result of cyber crime (it’s increasing at a worrying rate). Or the owners of those social media sites may change their policies, and start limiting your ability to post. (This has already happened. Did you know that when you do a business post on Facebook now, often only around 16% of your followers see it?). So leaving those precious names on social media sites is very risky indeed.

But there’s another reason you need to move them onto your own email list. Research shows that when you try to sell something to people who are on your email list, you usually get a better response than when you make the same offer on social media. There are all sorts of possible reasons why, but the fact is that email marketing is usually much more effective. How do you move them onto your email list? Just post a free report or offer some benefit to your followers – if they click on a link and leave their email address. If your offer is strong, you’ll get loads of people doing so, and voila, your email list will grow. Do this several times a quarter, and you’ll have the email addresses of many of your social media followers.

So in conclusion, yes social media is a fabulous marketing medium – it’s cheap, it’s fast and it’s highly engaging. But unless you avoid making the three mistakes mentioned above, it could also end up being a huge waste of time.

How to Build a Meaningful Career

by Amy Gallo

Everyone aspires to have purpose or meaning in their career but how do you actually do that? What practical steps can you take today or this month to make sure you’re not just toiling away at your desk but you’re doing something you genuinely care about?

What the Experts Say
Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to make the job decisions that lead to satisfaction. Nathaniel Koloc, the CEO of ReWork, which provides recruiting services to companies that offer purposeful work, says that’s because no one really ever teaches us how: “Very few parents, teachers, and mentors urge us to think about this or give us mental models to use,” he says. “We tend to only get nibbles of what meaningful work is in our twenties.” As a result, we often pick jobs for the wrong reasons, says Karen Dillon, coauthor of How Will You Measure Your Life. “We look for things that we’re proud to talk about at a cocktail party or look good on a resume.” But rarely are those the things that translate to satisfaction. Here are principles you can follow to find a career — and a specific job —­ you don’t just enjoy, but love.

Know what “meaningful” means to you
Am I respected by my colleagues? Am I being challenged? Am I growing? Do I believe in the mission? “These are the things that are going to make the difference between being ok with your job and being truly happy,” says Dillon. But “meaningful” means something different for each individual. “Don’t just look to obvious things, like salary, title, or prestige of the company,” says Dillon. Koloc identifies four categories to consider:

Legacy
This is about the concrete outcomes of your work. What do you want to achieve? Sure, you may spend a lot of your day responding to emails or attending meetings — most jobs entail at least some of that ­— but what evidence do you want of your work? You might find it rewarding to advance the math skills of 80 students in one year, or build six desalination plants over the course of your career. This is often a question of how close to the frontlines you want to be. Some people want to help sick people directly while others aspire to help pass the Affordable Care Act.

Mastery
These are the strengths that you want to improve. For example, if you enjoy connecting with people, you could use that skill to be a psychologist or a marketer. Similarly, if you’re a strong writer, you could use that skill to write fiction or copy for advertisements. The key is that you are using these strengths in a way that you find rewarding. “Being good at something you don’t enjoy doesn’t count,” says Koloc. “It has to be something you love to do.”

Freedom
This is about the salary, benefits, and flexibility you need to live the life you want. For some people, this may mean a high paycheck that allows you to take exotic vacations. For others, it could be the freedom to work when and where you choose. Here you need to know the lifestyle you want and ask whether your job is helping you fulfill that.

Alignment
This last category covers the culture and values of the place you work. This is not the same as mission, warns Koloc, but is about whether you feel like you belong. What are the beliefs and priorities of the company and the people you work with? How do people treat each other? Do they hug? Have lunch together? “It’s important to enjoy spending time with your colleagues and your manager,” says Dillon.

The content of these categories will vary by person. Dillon suggests making a list of all the things you value, and then prioritizing them. This list will help guide your decisions and can be used to evaluate specific opportunities like a new assignment in your current role, a job at a different company, or a new career path.

Form hypotheses
If you’re unsure what matters most to you, think through a given day or week at work. Ask yourself: what made me most happy? What did I find most frustrating? Then, Koloc suggests, come up with a few hypotheses about what is most meaningful to you. I want a job where I create something that people can use everyday. I want a job that allows me enough flexibility to pick up my kids from school. I want a job where I’m directly interacting with people in need. “Be careful not to overcorrect for a particularly bad job experience,” says Dillon. “When you have a micromanaging boss, for example, it’s easy to think that your biggest priority is to work for a manager who doesn’t smother you, but if you seek out that one thing, you may end up being unhappy for slightly different reasons.”

Run experiments
Once you’ve nailed down your hypotheses, it’s time to test them. There are a variety of ways to do this. First, you can try things out within an existing job. “You might try to convince your manager to let you work remotely for a month,” he says. Take on a new assignment that allows you to try out new skills. “Look for opportunities to enhance your job. Sign up for a new cross-company initiative or propose taking something off your boss’s plate,” suggests Dillon. “I’ve never known many managers to say no to people offering to help out.” If you can’t run experiments within the constraints of your job, look outside the company. “Join industry groups, go to conferences, volunteer for a nonprofit,” advises Dillon. The third way to test your hypotheses is to have conversations. Find people who are doing what you think you want to do and ask them lots of questions. Listen carefully and critically, so that you don’t just hear what you want to hear.

Form a personal board of directors

Don’t go it alone. Work with others to kick the tires on your hypotheses and share the results of your experiments. Invite four or five people to serve as your informal board of directors. You might tell them, “I’m doing some exploring about what I want from work and I’d love to talk with you on occasion to get your feedback on my direction.” Include any mentors and trusted professional peers. And if your manager is receptive include her as well. “Not all bosses may be supportive,” says Dillon, “but if you have a manager who you can bounce career ideas off of, take advantage of that.

There are a few people you shouldn’t include, says Koloc. “Family members can be tough,” says Koloc. “Spouses, for example, need to know what you’re doing but they may not be best positioned to help you figure it out.” And don’t be afraid to dig deep into your past, Dillon says: “I have people who I haven’t talked with in years who call me when they’re considering a job change or a career transition.” Check in with this board of directors on a regular basis to update them on your thinking and ask for input.

Think long term
This work shouldn’t just be in service of getting your next job. “Career design is different than a job-search strategy,” says Koloc, and the question you should be asking yourself, he advises, is not “What job do I want?” but “What life do I want?” Think about where you want to be in five, ten, 20 years. Of course, you have to answer more immediate questions about what you want in your current job or your next, but do so only in the context of your longer, larger career goals.

When you’re already deep into a career
Even mid-career professionals can and do make big changes. “Your ability to turn the ship is no different but the speed at which you turn it is going to be slower,” says Koloc.“If you’re 35 and have two kids, it’s going to take longer to explore.” There’s good news though, he says: “You have more clues as to what you want and enjoy.” The important thing is to not feel stuck. “You may feel locked into a job, a higher salary, a higher title because you have more responsibilities, like a mortgage and kids, and sure, you may need to take fewer risks, but you don’t want to settle for a job or career you’re not happy with,” says Dillon.

Buckle down on your finances
One of the main reasons people give for staying in a job or career they don’t love is money. “Take steps to give yourself a financial cushion and a little psychological freedom,” says Dillon. Make a budget if you don’t have one. Look for ways to lower the amount of money you need each month: downsize your house, move to one car, and be more disciplined about saving. Having a financial buffer will make it more likely that when you find something meaningful, you’ll be able to act on it.

Make the time
“I have yet to meet anybody who wouldn’t benefit from setting aside dedicated time to sit down and think about what they want from work,” says Koloc. Schedule a time in your calendar to reflect on your career. Even if it’s just an hour every other week, you’re going to make some progress. “Sometimes just thinking about it will get the ball rolling, and then, often, the change becomes inevitable,” says Koloc.

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Make a prioritized list of what a meaningful career would look like to you
  • Invite four or five people to serve as a board of advisors as you explore what you want
  • Experiment with different elements of a job that you’d want either in your current job, outside work, or by talking with people

Don’t:

  • Focus on your next role — think about what you want from work over the long term
  • Let the stage of your career hold you back — even those deep into their careers can make changes
  • Neglect your finances so that when you want to make a change, you don’t feel able to

Case study #1: Turn to those who know you
Deirdre Coyle had reached a point in her career where she knew she needed a change. She has been the SVP of communications at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City for eight years and while she believed in the mission of the nonprofit, she just couldn’t picture herself in the role forever. “There was something else out there for me. I have high expectations of myself and wanted to push forward into new territory,” she says.

Still, the question was: What did she want to do instead? “I started by thinking options through and vetting ideas in my mind.” Did she want to go back to school? Did she want to pursue her passion for landscape architecture? Did she want to take her one-of-a-kind fashion accessory business to the next level?

She also got advice from a small group of people she knew well. “There are about six people in my life that I consider my advisors. They come from all different aspects of my life. They don’t know me equally well but they know important parts of me and I cherish their opinions,” she explains. With their help she eliminated a lot of options, such as starting her own business. While being an entrepreneur greatly appealed to her she was afraid of ruining the pleasure she took in her hobby by turning it into a job.

Deirdre told her boss that she was getting ready to move on. “We had worked very well together for close to ten years and I felt like I owed him that respect,” she explains. Soon after that conversation, a former executive director of the ICIC came to her and her boss with an opportunity: she wanted to start a company that would encourage entrepreneurism and job growth in Middle Eastern countries, starting with Saudi Arabia. “Even though the idea wasn’t yet fully formed, I knew right away that this is what I wanted to do,” Deirdre says. It fit many of the criteria she was looking for — it allowed her to travel internationally, work in emerging markets and build an organization from the ground up. She became the co-founder of the AllWorld Network and while “there are certainly moments of angst,” she is thrilled to be doing a job she loves.

Case study #2: Get your finances in order
Tim Groves liked his job at a civil litigation law firm. But he didn’t love it. “I didn’t get up in the morning excited to go to work,” he says. “And I knew if I continued on that career path, it wasn’t going to get better either.” He was interested in mission-driven work so he started by talking to people in the nonprofit world and signed up for automated job listings. “I volunteered and served on boards, and I had friends and relatives who worked in nonprofits so I had an inkling of what I could do with a law degree in a nonprofit setting,” he says.

He also did a few informational interviews with people he respected who had made similar transitions. He was careful in how he set up these conversations. “I told people that I wasn’t miserable at my current job, but that I was looking around and would love their perspective,” he explains. “I also mentioned that I had a mortgage and a family so didn’t want to broadcast this.”

To broaden his network, he became more active in his volunteer and board work and upped the pro bono law work he was doing. “I put myself in contact with people who could connect me to an opportunity or who could vouch for me when an opportunity came up.”

Tim and his wife had supported each other through several career transitions but this time, as he says, “the stakes were higher because we had kids, school tuitions, and college looming on the horizon.” Given that Tim was going to almost certainly take a pay cut, he and his wife came up with a budget and the lowest salary figure he could take. To give themselves more financial flexibility, they downsized and moved from a one-family to a two-family house where rent from tenants could help pay the mortgage.

About a year and a half after starting the process, Tim took a job as a development officer at the Rhode Island Foundation. “The process wasn’t always easy but I feel good about where I ended up,” he says.

How to Stay Super Motivated

by Simon Reynolds

There are two elements needed to succeed in business.

The first is a good strategy – making sure you’re heading in the right direction and focusing on the most valuable opportunities.

The second is how well you do your work. You must perform with speed, positivity, efficiency and drive to achieve great things.
You need to get your mind right. You need to maintain a high level of personal motivation to win.

If you’ve been finding it hard to stay motivated, here are some techniques that can really help you.

1. Make a Genuine Commitment To Personal Excellence.

If you look at how most people work, they certainly have a commitment to getting the job done, but not necessarily to doing things in an excellent manner.

I have found that by simply making the decision to do everything as well as you can (in the time available), you not only get better results but your self respect, self image and personal motivation skyrockets.

This commitment to excellence must be adhered to regardless of the mediocrity of the people around you. You are choosing to be outstanding no matter what.

2. Remind Yourself Daily Of Your Strong Points.

Ambitious people often have a major personality flaw. They beat themselves up for their weak points. In fact in my experience coaching business executives from all over the world I would say that many say at least 5 negative things to themselves for every 1 positive. The result? You often feel defeated and not good enough.

This has to stop. Today. And one of the best ways to do that is spend 2 minutes every morning reminding yourself of why you are (or can become) superb at your career. Get a pad and pen and just write all the reasons why you’re damn good – your experience, your training, any positive personality attributes, etc. Simply focusing on your strong points every day will forge a far more powerful sense of self, which will lead to dramatically higher motivation.

3. See Yourself As Unstoppable.

What I am suggesting here is a subtle variation of how many business people see themselves. In my experiencing mentoring I’ve found that lots of business leaders work hard to envision themselves as successful, but then find they fail often in the course of their daily work. This gives them a conflicted self image.
I believe that by changing your view of yourself to ‘unstoppable’, then when you experience the inevitable obstacles of life you remain positive and effective. It may seem a minor change but try it for a month and you’ll see a huge lift in your motivation.

Literally write the word ‘Unstoppable’ on a Post It note and put it where you can see it every day, so that it remains in your conscious mind. (If you work with others you may choose to just put the letter ‘U’ on the Post It, so that nobody knows what you’re doing).

4. Congratulate Yourself Every Evening.

In my recent book, ‘Why People Fail’ I pointed out that ambitious people rarely give themselves a pat on their back for the good things they’ve achieved. Instead they tend to focus on the 1 or 2 things that haven’t been completed or weren’t done superbly. Obviously over time this will lead to a loss of motivation. Performance will soon suffer as a result.

But there’s a simple way to counter this negative tendency and that is to remind yourself every evening of all the good stuff you got done. Just take 2 minutes before you go to sleep and list your achievements of the day, however minor. You’ll be surprised how many you come up with.

When you get into the habit of doing this every evening your sense of achievement will escalate rapidly, your self image will improve and your drive and motivation to do well the next day will be powerful.

It’s important to realize that motivation doesn’t just happen. You need to work at it. I’ve used these 4 techniques often to help business people become super motivated and if you try them they will certainly work for you too.

Young Professionals: Six Keys to Building Your Career

by Josh Bersin

This week two new studies (one by The Economist and one by Quantum Workplace) highlight how rapidly young professionals’ view of their careers have changed. While startups continue to be exciting and people desperately want to work for pre-IPO companies, research shows that most Millennials (under the age of 30) are starting to really mature in their career thinking.

Here is some data:

Young People are Getting more Serious: The days of young people smoking marijuana, hanging around on the street in cities like Berlin, or kids in the UK engaging in binge drinking are slowly coming to an end. The Economist research shows that these teams of youth are going away and people are focused on their education, career, and making a living.

“Across the OECD, a club of 34 mostly rich countries, enrollment of 15- to 19-year-olds in education increased by 11 percentage points to 83% between 1995 and 2011. Among adults in their 20s participation in higher education has increased by a third. Young people who are studying rather than in paid employment have less money for hedonism.” (The Economist article).

People in their 20s rate “professional development” as their #1 issue in selecting a great place to work. The Quantum study, which surveyed 400,000 professionals, rated the top drivers of engagement by age and look what they found (it’s not surprising).

Fig 1: Quantum Workplace 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report

Fig 2: Engagement vs. Education, from Quantum Workplace Engagement Report

Young professionals: this is your time. What this data, coupled with the strong jobs report launched earlier this week, shows is that we have entered a period of time where younger workers (people in their 20s and early 30s) are now getting far more serious about their careers.

Young Professionals: Welcome to Your Career – Six Keys

As an aging baby boomer who spends my career looking at talent and business trends, let me summarize some suggestions:

1. It’s time to take your career seriously: make sure you achieve your goals, openly communicate with your manager, and express your ambitions clearly.

When I was young I was far too shy (and not even sure) about my personal career .. and not until my late 20s did I really have any idea where it was going. Don’t worry if your current job doesn’t seem like your “dream job” – learn everything you can, contribute positively, develop great relationships, and express your desires in an open way. Today more than ever employers will help find you the right next step, as long as you’re doing good work in your current role.

2. Seek out the mentoring and advice of others.

Now that you’ve become a little more serious about your career, take some time to have lunch with a more senior friend, work associate, or even family friend. Ask them about their career, what they learned, and how they decided to do what they do. Building a career will take decades, and you will get lots of good ideas on which direction to go from many of us who have been down this path.

3. Stay open to changes and diversions in your path.

The one thing I would say about my career (and I hear this from most senior people) is that I could never have predicted it would go where it went. Every job and every assignment will teach you something new: something about work, something about life, and something about yourself. Stay open to these new assignments and opportunities and look at them as your stair-step path toward your eventual “perfect job,” whatever that may be.

4. Teach yourself every day.

These days we have so much learning, content, and information available online you should spend your commute time, travel time, or down time learning something new. Read about a new company or technology; follow a business leader you admire; take courses in new technology or tools; and learn to use all the tools around us. The world of business changes faster than ever – you should get comfortable being a “continuous and relentless learner.”

5. Push your limits.

The most valuable learning experiences you will have in your career happen when you get thrown into the deep end of the pool and think you can’t swim. I had a whole series of jobs I was not qualified for, but after months of hard work and lots of late nights, I figured most of them out and each one became transformational in my own career growth. If your boss offers a new assignment which is both important and new, think hard about taking it!

6. Be yourself.

Last year I wrote an article called “Learning to Be Yourself.” Now, more than ever, as the job market heats up, you should spend some time learning what you are really all about. I was always an introvert and shy as a young professional, and sure enough that eventually brought me into a career as an analyst, researcher, and entrepreneur. Don’t try to copy someone else who appears to be getting ahead – your path will be much more valuable if you stay true to yourself.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”
― Judy Garland

Building a career is a never-ending process, and even if you get layed off or your boss fires you, it’s part of moving forward. A good friend of mine is a senior HR executive and she was just ousted from the company she worked at for many years. Rather than think of this as a “failure” or “mistake,” I encouraged her to think about it as the opening of a new door to her career – one as an HR leader at a new, perhaps smaller company who will value her skills even more.

Every career is unique and you can succeed in a myriad of ways. I admire my doctor for the career he built; our family nutritionist is a highly successful professional in her chosen field; whenever I hire a contractor or consultant I learn about their career and am usually fascinated by their experiences.

The research clearly shows that over the next 3-5 years career development will be one of the most important issues in the labor market. Employers: take heed – if you don’t offer these kinds of “tours of duty” (as Reid Hoffman calls it in The Alliance), you’ll lose good people.

And those of you in the first ten years of your own journey, strap yourself in for an adventure and enjoy the ride. If you follow some of my advice, every day will be a growth experience and you’ll look back 30 years from now and say “wow, what a great career I had.”