Brazen Life http://blog.brazencareerist.com Personal development meets professional aspiration Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Copyright © Brazen Life 2011 alexis@brazencareerist.com (Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life) alexis@brazencareerist.com (Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life) 1440 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Brazen-Podcast-Art-144x144.jpg Brazen Life http://blog.brazencareerist.com 144 144 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/feed/podcast/ Personal development meets professional aspiration. Personal development meets professional aspiration. So there’s this awesome job, the sort of job you’d just die to land (and tell your friends about)! But the awesome job isn’t nearly like the job you have now. So how do you make it from current job to awesome job? In our podcast series, we’re hoping to provide insights and answers to that very question. We talk to young people who have amazing jobs or are doing something really cool and interesting and ask them how they did it. So listen along for good information and some inspiration, too. job, search, jobs, career, advice, job, hunt, networking, Gen, Y, interviews, millennials Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life alexis@brazencareerist.com no no Why Learning Languages Makes You a More Appealing Job Candidate http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/22/learning-languages-makes-appealing-job-candidate/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/22/learning-languages-makes-appealing-job-candidate/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17577 Can you speak more than one language? Here’s why multilingualism is a coveted skill -- and why it could be key to landing your next job.

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In this ever-changing world, more employers are seeking the best people for their workforce. Graduating with honors and partaking in extra-curricular activities alone aren’t enough to be considered in the company anymore.

Nowadays, employers and headhunters are looking for more skills — like being multilingual. Here’s why multilingualism is important in the workplace.

1. Better communication fuels more sales

If you’re into sales, a lot of talking and persuasion is required to close a sale. Practicing a sales pitch and being confident when meeting clients are steps to get you there. But acquiring the native language of your customer will help you further seal the deal.

This makes people feel more comfortable and at ease when talking with you. Earning their trust will also be easier. This is why recruiters hire people who are bilingual or even multilingual speakers. Aside from sales, you’ll have plenty of career opportunities waiting if you have the language ability they’re looking for.

2. Cognitive advantages make you smarter

Science Magazine states that knowing how to speak in multiple languages makes people become smarter. Having to comprehend words in other languages improves your cognitive skills. (Click here to tweet this thought.)

The New York Times, in their article “The Benefits of Bilingualism” published in March 2012, also agreed that being bilingual makes you more powerful. The brain is exercised and forced to process multiple languages at once. This hones your ability to solve problems.

3. Globalization

With globalization, employers are in the search for people who are good at communicating in multiple languages, as they’re seen as better at cooperating, negotiating and compromising. Multilingual individuals also have intercultural sensitivity and they can think more efficiently.

Language teachers, interpreters, translators, customer service assistants and representatives, and tour guides are positions most likely to demand experts at speaking in multiple languages.

But this doesn’t discount that as businesses’ supply chains and customers become increasingly global, professionals who know how to speak another language become more prominent.

For instance, if you’re an IT executive, it would be great to enroll in higher studies like an information technology course in the Philippines, learning a new language at the same time. This will improve your IT skills and take advantage of your language capabilities to meet the business’s goals.

Learning a foreign language isn’t easy. But being multilingual gives you an edge wherever you go, so be eager to learn and take the time and effort to improve your speaking ability.

Other perks of being multilingual include more travel opportunities and increased salaries as you’re recognized as an asset of the company. By improving your foreign language skills, you can more easily transform into a stellar performer who helps drive the business through its next phase of evolution.

Mishka Tolentino is a business student at University of Westminster, a freelance writer, and web enthusiast. Follow her on twitter @mishkatolentino.

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5 Ways Millennials Can Nail Their Next Job Interview http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/21/5-ways-millennials-can-nail-next-job-interview/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/21/5-ways-millennials-can-nail-next-job-interview/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17586 An employee whose company has a selective interview process shares his best tips for hopeful job applicants.

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It’s harder to get a job at my company than it is to get into Stanford. I was one of the first three employees at Help.com. We’ve since received over 500 applications and interviewed about 150 total candidates. We ultimately hired five of them.

Our team takes hiring seriously. We interview frequently and hire rarely. Our acceptance rate for new hires is 0.01%. That’s lower than the acceptance rate of Stanford (5.7%), Harvard (5.8%) or Columbia (6.9%). Our benchmark is not intentional — we just insist on hiring awesome people, and it can take several rounds of interviews to find the right fit.

After well over a hundred interviews with people of all ages, I’ve realized a few things Millennials in particular can do to stand out interviews. Since I’ve spent so much time speaking with prospective employees, I’ve learned a great deal about what it takes to stand out in the interview process.

Here are my top five tips for Millennial job seekers during interviews.

1. If it doesn’t make you look awesome, don’t include it

Only include resources that actually enhance your qualifications for a position. The kitchen sink approach will get your resume trashed — not get you hired.

When trying to land that first job, you may be inclined to read every article in existence about what you should include in your application. Don’t try to squeeze all those things in, then send me an application that actually would be stronger without most of it.

For example, imagine how it looks if you include a link to your personal blog with one measly post from a few years ago or a GitHub with a two-day streak and no contributions from the last eight months. I’m left unimpressed. Attaching those resources won’t enhance your likelihood of an interview with anyone.

If you have an awesome GitHub, a killer website highlighting cool projects you’ve done, or a robust LinkedIn profile with updated experience, testimonials and lots of helpful info, by all means include it. Those all will help the recruiter learn more about you.

At my company, we spend much more time exploring a candidate’s website, GitHub or LinkedIn than we do their resume. This can work for candidates — or against them depending on the quality of their site or profile.

If you don’t have a blog, GitHub or LinkedIn, don’t sweat it. We’re happy to look at the rest of your application and make a decision on whether or not to move forward from there. Better to play it safe and only include what you know makes you look good.

2. Research stands out

Research EVERYTHING: The founders, the company, the person or people interviewing you and the industry.

I’ve had a number of people come in with thoughtful questions for me about our founders, my background and our industry. They showed me they’d done their research.

Those people impressed me.

Do enough research to stump me and I’ll like you. Come in confident enough to challenge me and I’ll love you.

To figure out if you want to work for these people, you’ve got to interview them, too! If you know your stuff, it’s not creepy. It’s impressive, and it’s as simple as a Google search.

3. Cover letters are worth the effort

Take the time to write a great cover letter.

Help.com’s CEO Douglas Hanna says the thing he notices first in a good application is a good cover letter.

Before your resume or any of your other application materials, this is the first thing many employers look at. If you’ve researched the company and know exactly why you’re a good fit, you’ll stick out to your prospective employer as you go through the interview process.

If you’ve done your research, it should be easy to write a great cover letter. Avoid the templates, which will make your cover letter feel manufactured. Someone who clearly puts thought and originality into their cover letter will jump off the page. I can instantly spot someone who has thought out a few compelling reasons for applying and can speak to how their unique skillset will mesh with our project.

4. A “don’t mess up” mindset can get you in trouble

Millennials often come into interviews seeming nervous and tightly wound. Don’t try to give me the “right” answer. It’s no fun. Also I don’t believe generic, mostly insincere answers and can spot them a mile away.

Have some fun. We liked you enough to bring you in. That’s a good sign. There’s a pretty large space between unprofessional and robotic, and we want candidates to be in a place where we can still get a sense of your personality and who you are. (Click here to tweet this recruiter’s quote.)

Once a candidate told me I was wrong. I loved it! Someone willing to go head-to-head with me in an interview? That’s what I want. The deer-in-headlights stare doesn’t look good on anyone.

Ask questions. Think about your answers. Don’t come in with the mindset “don’t mess up,” because that ensures you’ll bore me. Take a risk, have an opinion and make it so that I remember your thoughtful answers at the end instead of how scared you looked.

5. Applying to two great jobs is better than applying to 20 random jobs

Job searching is hard, and it’s so rare to find a perfect job. Sometimes it seems better to take a shotgun approach to job applications to maximize the likelihood of “something” working out.

As someone who spends a lot of time interviewing, I can tell you that success by volume is a myth. It’s far better to put ten hours of work into one or two phenomenal applications than to blast out twenty identical applications to jobs you’re not actually interested in.

Invest in your happiness. Know what you really want in your career so you can find a job that excites you. Then, pour everything into that application. The people reading the application and interviewing you will be able to tell you went all out. When you interview with genuine enthusiasm, you’ll set yourself apart.

Be patient. Job hopping is no fun. Be confident in yourself and find a job or two that you love, then blow those applications out of the water. It will benefit you in the long term.

Enough preaching. Act on these tips and go show everyone how awesome you are!

Are you a millennial with a tip about interviewing for jobs? Tell us about it!

Graham Moreno works in Business Operations and runs the blog at help.com, a software company where they are rethinking customer service. You can read his other work at blog.help.com.

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4 Things You Need to Do to Land Your Dream Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/20/4-things-need-land-dream-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/20/4-things-need-land-dream-job/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17572 With your dream job on the horizon, you need to take these steps to seal the deal.

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Have you reached that point in your career where you feel stagnant? Are you ready to make a change and go after your dream job? Well, good for you! It’s big step in your career and life to be mentally prepared to make this leap.

But you must first address a couple key questions before making a big career change (especially one with such high expectations.) First, what is your dream job? And second, but equally as important, is that job truly right for you?

Being able to reconcile the job you want with the one that’s the right fit is typically a difficult moment for job seekers. You need to do your research and see what opportunities you’re genuinely passionate about, then make sure those positions support the ultimate goals of your career trajectory.

Once you’re sure of your convictions and know you have a goal in mind that’s right for you, then it’s time to follow the path that will set you up to land the opportunity you’ve been dreaming of. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Follow this strategy to secure your dream job.

Put job descriptions and company reviews to work

Most job seekers know they have millions of job postings at their fingertips. Look at these as valuable resources to help you conduct research in the field you’re hoping to break into.

When reviewing job descriptions, look for recurring skills or competencies. Determine which ones you possess and which you need to build upon to be qualified for your dream job.

Company reviews are also a great resource. Similar to Yelp reviews for restaurants, company reviews provide a platform through which former employees can rate where they have worked. You can use tools such as Indeed Employee Reviews to see what other employees think about the culture, work-life balance, mobility within the organization and more.

Remember, it’s just as important to find the right position for you as it is to find the right organization. Your dream job must also fit your work style and provide an environment you can succeed in.

Get smart about networking

You already know the right relationships with key individuals in the industry you want to work can be crucial in landing your dream job. But you may struggle to figure out how to engage those individuals.

First, think about the networks you already belong to. Can these you expand your networking within those organizations? Have you tried to align with alumni groups from your university? There may be individuals who fulfill a similar role to the job you’re looking for.

Another networking tactic can be to find people who already have the job you want. Find out what organizations they’re involved in — and join them. Meetups or industry events that nurture these types of networking interactions are other places to find the right people to build connections with.

Scale up your competition

To land your dream job (or any job, for that matter), you have to prove you’re a better fit for a particular position than other candidates. When building your resume, think about how you can set yourself apart from the competition for this specific job.

Try out online tools like Indeed Resume, where you can view the resumes of other job seekers to compare and contrast resume format, skill set and other unique qualifiers.

Set yourself up for success

A dream job needs to be the right fit both both sides. By the right using tools to help identify that perfect match, you’re already setting yourself up for success in your job search.

If you do your research and work hard to present yourself in a way that makes sense for the organization, you’ll shine in the interview process — and will be well on your way to making your dream job a reality.

Mike Steinerd is Indeed.com’s Director of Recruiting, and handles everything from hiring and managing the sales recruitment team to establishing critical market intelligence for the company. Previously, Mike has worked for two Fortune 50 organizations, owned and successfully operated a small business, and has been involved in the Recruitment Industry for over 14 years.

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How to Create an Online Business That Allows You to Work From Anywhere http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/20/create-online-business-allows-work-anywhere/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/20/create-online-business-allows-work-anywhere/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17581 What you can start doing today to build a global online business and work from anywhere.

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If you like to have your cake and eat it too, splitting your time between two countries probably sounds right up your alley! The good news? It’s not a crazy pipe dream.

How I made it happen

It wasn’t always my plan to one day call both the United States and Brazil home. In fact, I didn’t have a plan at all. Even as I kept earning more degrees (hello student loans!), I never felt “right” about where my life was headed.

One day, a friend of a friend asked if I would edit his dissertation. While I was always the go-to editor and writer for friends and family, it never occurred to me people would pay me for this skill. I had no idea what rate to charge, so I nervously said $20 an hour. He agreed, and became my first editing client!

Around the same time, I was eager to travel. Although my Brazilian boyfriend (now husband) and I had talked about spending time in his home country so I could learn Portuguese and get to know his family, we were not proactively making it happen.

But my gut was telling me my ho-hum feeling job wouldn’t get me the life I wanted: A life of travel, culture and control over my time.

One day, after a particularly stressful day at work, I decided I would move to Brazil with or without my boyfriend. (Yes, I’m a bit impulsive!) He decided to join me. Within six months, we sold almost everything we owned. With five overstuffed suitcases and our cat Rupert, we boarded a flight to Brazil!

Our plan was to stay for six months. If we didn’t like it, we’d move back and continue on with our “normal” lives. If we loved it, we would complete the necessary paperwork to stay in Brazil legally.

Turns out Brazil is pretty awesome!

In between trips to the beach, I took courses in Portuguese and continued editing for my first client and others. While I wasn’t making a ton of money, I was able to pay my student loans. My husband was working too, which helped keep us afloat financially.

While we loved living in Brazil, we started missing our U.S. life. So what did we do? We decided to have our cake and eat it too! We’re back in the states now, and I officially launched my full-time writing and editing business less than a year ago!

We plan to buy a condo in the U.S. within the next six months so we won’t have to sell everything every time we move. Then, we plan to spend three to five months each year in Brazil.

We don’t have all the answers. But we know anything is possible when we do the work and remain dedicated to our core values and goals.

How YOU can make it happen too

If you want to travel extensively or split your time between two countries, it is possible! (Click here to tweet this bit of inspiration.) Here are my best tips to make it happen:

  • Start building an online business: This is the most important part of living wherever you want. While figuring this out can be hard and overwhelming, trial and error is your best friend here. Take action, get up your website and start offering your services.
  • Always remember your why: Working for yourself can get tough. In those moments, you must come back to your values and goals. For me, this is having control over my schedule and my lifestyle, being a global citizen and giving my future children the opportunity to grow up in both of their cultural backgrounds.
  • Know yourself: To be successful and not go insane, you have to know your strengths and weaknesses and use them in your business. For example, while most of my work is based from my home office, I make it a priority to work with one or two in-person clients wherever we’re living. This ensures I get out of the house regularly and see people face-to-face. Plus, getting dressed up is nice, too.
  • Know (and follow) visa regulations and laws: Get used to government paperwork being part of your life! Don’t overstay your visas or violate conditions of your stay. These mistakes could not only affect your legal status abroad, but also be costly to correct.
  • Have fun! At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy and enjoy life. Find out what that exactly means for you, and make it happen!

Where would you love to split your time each year? What’s one step you can take today to make it happen? Share in the comments.

Shannon Trindade is a writer, editor, and communication pro who helps businesses and individuals connect with their unique audiences. She loves being around internationally minded thinkers, splits her time between the U.S. and Brazil, and firmly believes we are all connected and must learn to cherish and appreciate our differences. WritetoConnect.org

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Considering a Career in Public Relations? Set Yourself Up for Success With These 5 Tips http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/17/considering-career-public-relations-set-success-5-tips/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/17/considering-career-public-relations-set-success-5-tips/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17538 Still contemplating what your future career might be? If you’re considering public relations, here’s what you need to know.

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School is back in session and many of you may be thinking about what your career will be. For freshmen, you may feel like it’s too early to consider the future. It’s not.

The earlier you can get yourself on a career path, the better off you’ll be. (Click here to tweet this quote.) While I didn’t start off in public relations, I’m glad I made the switch. A career in public relations is rewarding and filled with tons of hard work. I’ve never felt more fulfilled in life and career than I have while in public relations.

Are you now considering a career in PR? Good! Here’s what you should know.

1. Be smart

Do your research on the proper courses to take. Pretty much every college and university has a course catalogue online. Review it, then ask questions of an advisor or trusted professor.

Don’t have one of those? Reach out and ask to talk to a student majoring in PR and/or marketing. They’ll give you honest insight into the coursework. Talking to students in your (potential) major is a huge plus. They aren’t going to sugar coat anything. And that’s good.

It’s also not a bad idea to hop onto social media to research what other students and pros are doing. Follow PRSSA National, your school’s PRSSA chapter (if there is one) and professionals like Deirdre Breakenridge and Kirk Hazlett That leads us to…

2. Create, or improve on, a social media account

Social media is huge part of what PR pros use in today’s world. Using these networks properly is absolutely integral to future and current success. According to PR Newser, 93 percent of marketers and PR professionals use social media for business.

News flash: That’s a ton of pros. Here’s a tip: Before diving into social media (if you haven’t already), take a few minutes to understand what these networks can do for you.

A few years back, the advice was to just dive in. That’s changed. Now, more than ever, employers, educators and fellow professionals look at your social accounts closely. They want to know who you are, what you post and whether you’re worth a follow. Don’t give anyone a reason to question you… ever.

3. Find a mentor

Plenty of PR pros are willing to help you. They can sometimes be the best sounding board. While you shouldn’t just tweet at a pro and say, “Can you mentor me?” you can start a conversation by introducing yourself.

This can be done during a chat like #PRStudChat or by using the #PRSSA hashtag. Many students follow these and are more than willing to say hi and see how they can help.

Since #PRStudChat is a student/professional collaborative chat, you’ll get a great introduction to pros more than happy to offer advice. As trust develops, you can ask about what you should expect from internships, the job market and whether agency life is the way to go. You can also expect us to offer honest opinions, which you should listen carefully to.

4. Join PRSSA

This is the organization to join if you want to take your PR career to the next level. Most colleges and universities have a PRSSA chapter on campus. You would do yourself a huge favor by taking in a meeting and joining.

Having experience with many PRSSA chapters around the country, I can tell you the knowledge they share is invaluable. Being a part of a campus chapter also gives you the chance to have shared experiences with your fellow students.

Another bonus is the opportunity to attend PRSSA’s annual national conference. This is where students can learn from other chapters around the country, as well as professionals. I’ve had the opportunity to present and I can tell you that it’s educational for pros as much as it is for students.

5. Don’t doubt yourself

This sounds easy, but it isn’t always the case. You’re the one who knows your skills best; believe in yourself and know that even though you may not know it all, you can still be a success.

You can’t and won’t be an overnight success in PR. It takes years of experience, hard work and dedication. You’re going to stumble at times, but understand that with these “hiccups” comes a better understanding of the field.

There isn’t a pro today who hasn’t made a mistake. But they believed in their skills and work ethic and became successful. You will too.

Jason Mollica is the president of JRM Comm and a frequent speaker at conferences and at colleges and universities around the country. He blogs at One Guy’s Journey and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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Struggling to Explain Your Unconventional Career Path? Do This Instead http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/16/struggling-explain-unconventional-career-path-instead/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/16/struggling-explain-unconventional-career-path-instead/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17527 If you’ve had several different jobs throughout your career -- and aren’t sure how to make sense of them all -- it’s time to figure out your “through-line.”

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Gone are the days of working in one company for 40 years, moving up through the ranks until you retire. Today’s workers are more mobile, often switching companies — and even industries — several times throughout their careers.

For some career changers, this can be confusing or stress-inducing. When you’ve worked in several different jobs, how do you design a story explaining your career path to potential employers, your family and friends — and most importantly, yourself?

Time to discover your through-line

In a post on her blog Create As Folk, career coach Laura Simms offers a solution: Find your “through-line.”

She defines a through-line as: “The uniting theme(s) that connect the multiple careers throughout a career arc,” and she says that finding it “will help you feel as though there is some continuity between the seemingly disparate careers you’ve had (because there is).”

Simms, who’s worked as an actor, coach, and teacher describes her through-lines as: “collaboration, community, inciting change, and being part of creating marvelous things.”

By thinking of your past jobs this way, Simms says it will be easier to describe your path to others, as well as help you make future career decisions.

Smart, right? If you need help figuring out your own career through-line, you can download a free worksheet from Simms’ blog.

Have you ever thought about your past jobs like this? How would you describe your through-line?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.

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How To Build a Strong Network By Connecting With Total Strangers http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/16/build-strong-network-connecting-total-strangers/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/16/build-strong-network-connecting-total-strangers/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17543 Stop making rookie networking mistakes and get smarter about growing your network. Learn how to reach out to people you don’t even know and convince them to help you.

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If you’re like most people, you make at least one of the following mistakes in your networking efforts:

  • You have no strategy or goal underlying your networking efforts
  • You’re unfocused in who you network with and just end up talking to random people
  • You come off as needy or inauthentic
  • You value quantity of connections over quality
  • You meet a lot of good contacts, but then fail to maintain the relationship

Instead, follow this system to build a strong network of people who want you to succeed. Read on for a winning strategy to find the right contacts, then successfully bring them into your network so they will help you.

Define your networking mission statement

Start with a plan. First off, get clear on why you want to network and who should you network with.

If you want a job, narrow your focus even more. What job title do you want, and what kind of company do you want to work for? If you want clients, get specific. Who’s your market and who would know them?

Once you’ve honed in on what you want to get out of building your network, it’s time to get to work.

Tap into your alumni network

Skip the networking events unless they’re industry-specific. Instead, use LinkedIn to find alumni from your school who are also in the specific group you’ve decided to network with.

Look for 30-50 contacts initially, expecting 20-40 percent to actually meet with you. For practice and to get your pitch down, start with the people you’re least interested in. Send each person a short message complimenting them on their career success. Ask if you can grab coffee with them and pick their brain for 20 minutes.

If they suggest a phone meeting instead, that’s fine — agree and follow the rest of steps below. Also, dress up for the phone call.

Conduct an informational interview

Research the person and their company extensively beforehand. When you meet them for coffee (which you will pay for, obviously), warmly introduce yourself, then ask a question or two. Just let them talk.

Aside from the introduction and the last few minutes, the other person should be doing most of the talking. You should be listening. Learn as much as you can about the other person while showing genuine interest. Get one or two pieces of actionable advice from them.

At most, you should interject a couple of times to show you’re actively listening and have done your research. Towards the end of the interview, you can talk about yourself  for a few minutes just to show how you can be valuable to them.

That’s it. Don’t ask anything more of them yet. At the end of the meeting, thank them and say goodbye.

Follow up the next day

The next day, shoot the person a quick email thanking them for their time. Mention a couple of high points in the conversation you found especially interesting.

Finally, mention the advice they gave you and declare your intent to actually follow that advice. Most people don’t do this, so you’ll immediately set yourself apart.

Give value 1-2 weeks later

A week or two after meeting your new contact, send them another quick email. But this time, instead of asking them for something or thanking them, offer them something.

Your offer can be a variety of tangible or intangible things: Access to something that isn’t open to the public, an intro to someone you think they might want to meet, or even just a link to an article they might find helpful.

Show that you’re a person who follows up — and that you’re also someone who gives (and doesn’t just take.)

Close the loop 2-4 weeks after your initial meeting

Meanwhile, you should be following whatever advice your contact gave you, whether it’s to talk to a certain person, take a specific business action or educate yourself on a particular subject.

A couple weeks after that discussion, you should have followed through and gotten some kind of result. Send your new friend a note letting them know you followed their advice and share with them what you got out of it. Once again, thank them for their help.

Why is this step so important? Nobody does this, and your action sets you miles above other people your in your contact’s network.

Keep in touch by periodically giving value

If you’ve followed all the right steps, your contact is now willing to help you if you need an introduction or recommendation. You’ve built trust with them, and they’ll likely hear you out if you have a business idea to pitch.

Continue to stay in touch by giving value, inviting them out, or just sending a short personal note to stay on their radar every month or two.

John Fawkes is a career coach, blogger, and veteran marketing and business development professional. He helps his students find their dream jobs, and blogs about job hunting, productivity, and building joyful careers at johnfawkes.com.

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Networking in Chicago: 7 Must-Attend Events for Creative Entrepreneurs http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/15/networking-chicago-7-must-attend-events-creative-entrepreneurs/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/15/networking-chicago-7-must-attend-events-creative-entrepreneurs/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17548 Tap into Chicago’s entrepreneurial scene and meet other go-getters and creatives at these Windy City events and spaces.

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How many times have you met someone new and exchanged creative productivity tips over a cold craft brew this week? If your answer is none, it’s possible you’re missing out on some of the best networking events for creative entrepreneurs in Chicago.

Chicago’s creative community is particularly adept at bringing people together around creative talks, presentations and workshops designed to spark industry dialogue and encourage professional growth.

Look to the following organizations for events where you can immerse yourself in the community, make meaningful connections and come away with fresh creative fuel for your work.

1. Chicago Food + Tech Meetup

Food meets tech at this monthly meetup focused on generating discussion around the challenges, solutions and opportunities for food technology in Chicago. Anyone is welcome to attend the BYOB events.

Show up and throw around ideas at these casual talks, sometimes featuring local entrepreneurs as guest speakers. Come for the friendly group atmosphere and make new connections by chatting about a niche topic.

2. Creative Mornings Chicago

This popular breakfast lecture series features leaders of the Chicago creative community. Each month, a different Chicago advertising agency, coworking space or creative workspace hosts the event, so this is also a great opportunity to peek inside some of the city’s coolest places to work.

Follow Creative Mornings Chicago on Twitter for updates on ticket releases. The free tickets “sell out” in minutes, so be on top of your game to nab one.

3. Design Cloud Chicago’s Second Thursdays

This coworking space is also a hub for the local art and design community. Design Cloud hosts talks, workshops and skillshares every month.

You can also take advantage of free desk space for a day every second Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spend a day working in their coworking space and make a new contact or two while you’re there for one super productive day.

4. Ignite Chicago

This event gives 12 or more people the stage for five minutes each to present on any topic they’re passionate about. Attendees should come curious and ready to mingle; there’s casual networking over pizza and beer before the presentations begin. $10 tickets are available online before every event.

5. Ms. Tech Events

Ms. Tech is an organization dedicated to providing female entrepreneurs with resources to start and scale their businesses. They host a lunch series every Wednesday at coworking space Grind, as well as panel discussions, social events and workshops every month. Ticket prices range from $20 to $50.

6. Next Door

Next Door Cafe is a cafe and event space run by State Farm. But instead of selling insurance, the coffee shop aims to be a community hub for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Next Door’s event schedule offers a little bit of everything: Financial coaching sessions, branding and typography lectures from local agency Bright Bright Great and even yoga classes. The events are free, but you’ll have to buy your own coffee and snacks.

The space is designed to accommodate everyone from solo laptop workers to one-on-one meetings to small group brainstorm sessions (you can reserve meeting rooms.) This is a great place to grab coffee and hang out with other creative entrepreneurs.

7. Polymathic’s The Living Room

As a consulting company for product developers, Polymathic is a kind of home for creative and technical entrepreneurs. Their office space, dubbed The Living Room for its cozy functionality, is the site of launch parties, dinners and “Founder Therapy” sessions for entrepreneurs who just want to talk it out. Events are free, often with a suggested donation of cash or a six pack.

What other Chicago networking events for creative entrepreneurs belong on this list?

Kara Andersen is a freelance blogger, copywriter and proofreader based in Chicago. She is the writer behind Writer Babe, the blog about “brazen business and sophisticated style.” Follow her on Twitter @writer_babe and Instagram.

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Looking for a New Job? Don’t Make These 4 Mistakes http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/15/looking-new-job-dont-make-4-mistakes/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/15/looking-new-job-dont-make-4-mistakes/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17520 You might be sabotaging your job search without even realizing it. Are you doing these things? If you are, heads up -- it’s time to change.

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You spend all your time on job boards. You email everyone you know to tell them you’re looking for a job. You sent your cover letter and resume to approximately 12,000 employers in one day. Yet, the only response you get are rejection emails.

You can blame the economy. You can blame the educational system. You can even blame your parents. But should you be blaming yourself?

Job seekers make some pretty silly mistakes that sabotage their job search. It doesn’t always matter how many applications you send out. What matters is whether you submit a well-written, targeted cover letter and resume to an employer that showcases why you’re the perfect fit for the position.

Hiring managers are flooded with applications for each open position. To narrow down the list of applicants, the easiest way for them is to delete the emails from people who make glaring mistakes. Here are four actions you can take if you want your application deleted before the hiring manager bothers to look at your qualifications: (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Fail to tailor your cover letter

Employers have their choice of applicants. If you dash off a cover letter that doesn’t highlight your skills as they apply to the position, you have little chance of getting an interview.

Your cover letter should contain information that the employer requests, including a description of your relevant background and skills. It’s your chance to tell an employer why you’re the perfect candidate for the position.

Does the job description state the applicant must have experience managing others? Write about the office manager position you held and your supervisory role. Does the job prefer someone fluent in Spanish? Mention your translation experience and the year you lived in Spain.

Highlight items from your resume and tell the employer how your experiences have prepared you to take on the responsibilities of the position.

Take the time to explore the company website. What is their mission statement? Read the bio of the hiring manager. What’s their background? Don’t be creepy and mention that you Googled them and saw an award that they received in Boy Scouts 20 years ago, but know your audience.

Make your cover letter stand out by mentioning a recent initiative the company has undertaken and discussing how your skills would benefit the employer.

Hint: You shouldn’t send the same cover letter to every employer. Take the extra time to read the job description carefully and address how your experience meets the employer’s needs.

2. Don’t proofread

Hiring managers may take it personally when you spell their names or the name of the company incorrectly. Same goes if you address someone as “Mr. So-and-So” when that person is female.

If you’re unsure whether the contact person is male or female, take a minute or two to find their bio online. If you can’t find one, address the hiring manager as “Dear First Name Last Name.”

Other mistakes also make it easy for a hiring manager to put your application in the rejection pile. Did you use spellcheck? Don’t stop there. Spellcheck won’t tell you if you used “too” instead of “to” or if you missed a word.

If you use an old cover letter as a template, be sure to change the name of the company, not only in the address block, but also in the body of your cover letter. For example, if you write, “I am interested in the XYZ position with ABC Company,” make sure you change it to fit the current company.

A hiring manager is unlikely to invest time in interviewing a candidate who sends along a cover letter with obvious errors. If you make sloppy mistakes as an applicant, chances are you’ll make sloppy mistakes as an employee.

Hint: Your cover letter is your first impression. Take the time to proofread it. Can you blame a hiring manager for not wanting to hire someone who can’t spell the company name correctly?

3. Don’t send the requested information

If a job description asks for a resume and cover letter, don’t send only a resume. If the job posting requests you indicate in your cover letter where you saw the job posting, don’t forget to do so. If the company asks for the information, chances are they need it or they’re weeding out applicants who can’t follow instructions.

Hiring managers who receive a large number of applications sometimes test how well applicants pay attention to detail by making certain requests such as instructing applicants to use a specific subject line in their emails. If you don’t follow the instructions, your application may be rejected outright.

Same goes for document type. Some companies will only accept PDFs. Others want Word documents. Some prefer that you copy everything into the body of the email because they’re afraid of viruses in attachments.

If you send your documents in the wrong format, chances are the hiring manager will delete your application instead of spending the time to email you and ask you to follow instructions. And please, make sure you attach what you say you’re attaching. Nothing says sloppy like forgetting the attachments.

Hint: Look at the job description and instructions one last time before you hit send. Ensure you’ve included all requested information, that your documents are in the requested format, and that your subject line clearly states why you’re writing to the hiring manager.

4. Wear a tanktop in your Linkedin profile

Hiring managers do check Linkedin to verify the information in your resume. Make sure you’ve filled out your profile completely and accurately and that you have a professional photo. Having no photo makes your profile incomplete.

What’s worse than no photo? Having one that looks unprofessional. If you don’t want to find gainful employment, by all means, have a Linkedin profile picture like these:

  • a photo of you on the beach
  • a photo of you with alcohol
  • a photo so small and pixelated you can’t discern if it’s a human face or abstract art
  • a cropped photo that gives you the appearance of a third arm
  • a photo of you wearing a tank top, workout clothing, pajamas or anything other than professional clothing

Hint: Your Linkedin profile picture should be a clear headshot. You don’t have to spend the money on a professional photographer. Enlist a friend to take a photo of you dressed appropriately with a neutral background and upload that picture to your profile.

Avoid the above mistakes if you want to increase your chances of getting past the initial review of job applications. It may take a little longer to proofread, tailor your cover letter and build a professional online profile, but it’ll pay off with more interview opportunities. It’ll be time well spent when it eventually lands you a job.

Kristin Gallagher is a writer and attorney who lives in New York City.

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Want to Make More Money? 4 Reasons to Lie About Your Salary History http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/14/want-make-money-4-reasons-lie-salary-history/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/14/want-make-money-4-reasons-lie-salary-history/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17532 No matter what anyone tells you, this is the most effective tactic to negotiate the salary you deserve.

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If you want tips on negotiating a job offer or asking for a raise, you’ll find plenty of advice on how to talk your way into a better compensation package. Yet you’ll rarely receive this crucial piece of advice that could almost double your paycheck: It pays to lie about how much money you already make.

The thought of lying during a salary negotiation may make you uneasy at first. But the sooner you come to grips with the concept, the closer you’ll be to landing the salary offer you deserve.

Below are four reasons you shouldn’t lose sleep at night about lying through your teeth about your salary history.

1. Companies lie during salary negotiations

Have recruiters told you they have a set salary range for a particular job? Well here’s something they don’t want you to know: They’ll always find ways to work around the company’s policies if they want to hire you badly enough. If they can lie to box you into a range, it’s only fair you do the same so you can get the best deal possible. (Click here to tweet this bit of advice.)

Oh, and if you apply for a job and the recruiters tell you “we don’t promote up?” Lie. That’s also more of a guideline than the hard and fast rule they’d like you to believe.

2. Cash is king

In your research on salary negotiations, you’ve likely read you should try to negotiate other benefits like extra vacation days or a flexible work schedule. While these perks and benefits are great, they won’t reduce your cost of living. Will your rent or mortgage get cheaper if you work less? Do you plan to use all of your extra free time to sit around your house while not spending any money?

Didn’t think so.

The number of people living paycheck to paycheck is staggering. If you’re one of those people — and the numbers indicate you most likely are — then you need to focus on maximizing your salary. The most effective way to line your pockets with more cash in your next job is to lie about how much money you make now.

3. Telling the truth makes you look greedy

As crazy as it sounds, the only difference between you getting paid what you’re really worth and you receiving a pathetically small pay bump from your last job will be how you answer the following question: “What’s your current salary?”

If you come off as greedy before you even start negotiations for a job offer, your future employer might see you as entitled. No one wants to hire an entitled employee; they might even withdraw from the negotiation. The negotiation process will go more smoothly if your new employer thinks you’re getting only a 15 percent bump on your fictitious current salary.

4. You won’t get more unless you ask for it

One of the most basic concepts in sales is asking for the sale. It’s amazing what you can get people to do if you just ask. If you don’t think of your job interview and negotiation as a sales opportunity, you’ve already put yourself at a disadvantage.

Practice saying the numbers out loud until you can say them without hesitation. When your employer asks about your past salary history and requirements, you’ll be ready to answer with conviction so you can make the sale.

One last tip: Timing during salary negotiations is everything

A skilled negotiator not only has the nerve to ask, but also understands how much a reasonable person would ask for. Before you start pulling numbers out of thin air in job interviews, understand the timing of communicating these numbers to a recruiter is crucial.

Share your salary history too early, and you could talk yourself out of an interview.  Don’t share it soon enough, and you’ve wasted your time on a position that never had a shot of meeting your salary requirements in the first place.

In a perfect world, you’d be confident the company can meet your needs (read: demands) without having a conversation on salary until you’re certain they’re ready to hire you. This creates a situation in which you have all the negotiation leverage.

Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t get paid what they’re worth. We don’t live in a perfect world. But if you take advantage of this negotiation secret, at least you can live in a financially comfortable one.

Eric Butts is a Management Consultant, MBA and CPA. By day he solves complex business problems for some of the world’s most well-known brands, and by night he teach others how to carve out successful careers in the business world. Follow him @EButtsCPA.

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5 Ways to Convince Your Boss to Allow You to Work from Home http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/13/5-ways-convince-boss-allow-work-home/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/13/5-ways-convince-boss-allow-work-home/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17515 How to convince your boss that working from home increases productivity, lowers costs and is good for the company.

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Too many cars moving much too slowly compounded with that constant worry you’ll be late to work again; morning rush hour is never a great way to kick off your work day.

And yet, you endure the pointless traffic daily. You know that telecommuting could be a great option — for people who are not you. While more employees than ever now work remotely, many managers and business owners are still skeptical.

Unfortunately you don’t get to decide the work-from-home policy. Someone else does, either your boss, your boss’s boss or the CEO. Even if the decision maker is several rungs above you, you can still influence their opinion.

You’ll probably have an easy enough time seeing how telecommuting can benefit you. But to sway the decision makers, you need to present strong arguments for why it’s good for businesses. (Click here to tweet this quote.) If you’re out to convince a skeptical manager to try something new, here are a few talking points to help you shape your pitch.

1. Remote work can actually increase productivity

No argument you make will be as strong as providing evidence that telecommuting has worked for other companies in your industry. Prepare a few examples of success stories from similar companies that have instituted the practice.

The most high-profile study of telecommuting was performed at a Chinese travel company called Ctrip. They allowed half their call center employees work from home for nine months. The other half stayed in the office as a control group. Much to the researchers’ surprise, the group that worked from home was more productive. They were also happier and were less likely to quit.

That’s just one study though. You can find many other articles and case studies about businesses that have given it a try and been happy with the results. Find one from a business in your industry to make your case stronger.

2. Employees will be just as reachable

Even when employees work onsite, many communicate more frequently via email or instant message than they do face-to-face. With a high number of free tech tools that make it easy to stay in touch from anywhere, anybody working from home can be just as reachable as someone in the office.

Make it clear you’re willing to commit to regular availability and quick responses by email, phone, chat or your boss’s favorite means of communication. You can even still participate in meetings thanks to free meeting software like Google Hangouts and join.me.

3. It’ll save the business tons of money

What business doesn’t want to cut costs? Allowing employees to work from home is good for the bottom line for a number of reasons. We’ve already mentioned increased productivity, but your company can also save on office expenses and the costs that come with high employee turnover.

People who work from home tend to work more, call in sick less and have fewer interruptions while working. That all adds up to more profit for the company. The productivity brings in the biggest savings, but the other reduced costs add up, too. Less office space and fewer office supplies are needed.

Saving money is a real, tangible benefit any manager can appreciate.

4. Top talent for hard-to-fill positions will suddenly be within reach

You’ve already been hired, so this argument won’t apply directly to your personal case for telecommuting. It’s still worth mentioning though, as once a company opens up to a culture of remote work, this becomes one of the big benefits.

Good talent isn’t easy to find. It’s even harder if you limit your search to a small geographic area. The person who is the best possible match for a job might be half a world away. If the business allows telecommuting, that’s no problem. Along the same lines, if a fantastic employee has to relocate to a different state, the company will no longer have to treat it as a loss.

Employees are one of the most important and expensive resources any business has. Telecommuting makes it easier for a business to make sure they’re bringing on the best — and keeping them around.

5. Your company can try before they buy (in)

If you think saying “yes” once means you’re stuck with a decision forever, you’ll naturally be more hesitant. A “try it first” proposal always makes it easier to agree to a new change or policy.

Suggest your boss consider a trial period. If you can work from home for three months without negative side effects and can still do your job (and perhaps even do it better), you’ll have made your case. You can also propose working from home just one day a week so you still get face-time with your boss and colleagues in the office.

If at any point the company is unhappy with your work or the situation, they can always call you back in. If all works well though, both you and the company can enjoy the benefits of telecommuting.

If you’re sick of your daily commute and confident you can productively do your job from home, there is hope. Try reframing your argument to consider the business needs first, and you’ll be well on your way to ditching the morning traffic and working from the comfort of your couch.

Kristen Hicks is a freelance copywriter from Austin, TX who‘s been working from home for years with no problem. She specializes in blogging and content marketing and you can follow her @ATXCopywriter.

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How to Fire an Employee You Like (And Not Feel Terrible Afterward) http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/13/fire-employee-like-feel-terrible-afterward/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/13/fire-employee-like-feel-terrible-afterward/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17479 Firing someone can be hard, and it’s even more difficult when that someone is your friend. Get the job done easier with a little preparation and a lot of honesty.

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Unless you catch an employee spreading trade secrets like small-town gossip over a three-hour lunch break, you most likely won’t take any pleasure in firing them. Firing someone is hard, even if you feel neutral toward the employee as a person. However, it’s especially difficult when it happens to be someone you respect and like.

Maybe the reason is absenteeism. Maybe the employee was hired in a time crunch for a job they weren’t qualified to do. Perhaps the employee has been around a long time, and the job responsibilities have grown, but they haven’t.

No matter the case, telling someone that their career at your company is ending is a conversation you will most likely lose sleep over.

But it doesn’t have to make you cringe with guilt for months to come. If you have given warnings, offered to guide the individual in professional shortcomings, and given them chances to improve behavior or performance, you are making the right decision.

You can fire your employee the right way: by sticking to your guns while still expressing respect. Here are three ways to make it easier to fire someone you like.

Prepare for the meeting

Don’t come in frazzled from a busy work day and make the employee feel you’re not giving the meeting due consideration. Even if you stayed up all night phrasing everything just right, take a few moments before the meeting to gather your thoughts again. To simplify the process, speak to HR to get all the legal information both you and the employee will need. Also, choose a comfortable, private place and the best time possible.

Many people advise firing on a Friday as this allows the employee the weekend to recover before launching back into the job search. That also may be more convenient for the company as far as payroll goes. However, the employee’s business contacts will most likely be unavailable over the weekend, which could cause discouragement before the job hunt even begins. Consider firing mid-week when a few days remain to pursue leads.

Be empathetic, but firm

If you like the employee, then this person obviously has several good qualities and doesn’t deserve a cold dismissal. They also don’t deserve to undergo the emotional torment of thinking there’s room for you to change your decision if there’s simply not. Stick to your planned dialogue and acknowledge the employee’s virtues — perhaps they are helpful and hard-working — but don’t minimize the problems that led you this point.

This is not an easy conversation to have, and you might feel tempted to withhold details regarding why you are firing this person. But “it’s simply not working out” doesn’t help the employee know what to do next. It’s ultimately more constructive to be honest about why you are firing them. The employee will feel more respected if you do so and they won’t have to wonder what went wrong. They will be more able to pursue a position that matches their qualifications, or one that has flexibility regarding the responsibilities and priorities of their personal life.

Once you have presented solid reasons for your decision, your employee will have the opportunity to share thoughts and show emotion. You will be tempted to defend your decision, but there’s no point in giving details that could only hurt feelings. Respond to sadness and anger with compassion, and move on to the topic of how you will make their transition easier. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

Be clear about what’s next

Be sure to explain to your employee what kind of reference you will give to prospective employers. Also, encourage them to pursue a job that makes use of the strong skills you’ve noticed. It’s important to act as a positive reference and help them succeed in another setting.

Additionally, let the employee know the date and method of receiving a final paycheck, what will happen to vacation days and how long their benefits will continue. While it may feel harsh to do so, follow the necessary legal procedures, such as retrieving company property and making sure the employee leaves the premises. Finally, provide contact information for yourself or another person in the company in case the employee has questions.

It may be difficult, but end on a positive note. It will benefit both you and the employee’s reputation to maintain a strong professional relationship down the road — even if this situation didn’t quite work out.

Katherine Halek is a Marketing Associate at Signazon.com, a leader in online printing. Signazon works with hundreds of small businesses owners each year to promote their businesses with custom signs, flyers, and more. Connect with her on Google+.

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How to See the World While Working: 6 Sweet Jobs That Let You Travel http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/10/see-world-working-6-sweet-jobs-let-travel/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/10/see-world-working-6-sweet-jobs-let-travel/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17494 Don’t throw away your extensive travel plans because you need to work. These jobs will let you work from anywhere.

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Traveling isn’t just a way to see the world; it broadens your mind to other options and ways of life. While most people feel stuck, you have options that can allow you to work during your travels. After all, traveling is an opportunity everyone should experience.

For some, being a nomad is a way of life. They have the freedom to move from one location to another. For others, it’s an opportunity to see what the world has to offer. Some opt to travel to enlighten those incapable of venturing into the unknown. No matter the reason you choose, if extensive traveling is in your future, you can find careers suited to the lifestyle.

1. Freelance Writer

Freelance writing can be done anywhere with Internet. As long as you have a good understanding of the English language, writing jobs are readily available.

A search online can uncover some sources, or you can partner with a marketing company to provide content for their clients. Best of all, you don’t need a college degree to start.

2. Graphic Designer

Graphic designers can work at home or on the go, particularly if they’re self-employed. Many designers are college educated, but with a little hard work, the skills can be self-taught.

Graphic design work can be taken on in a freelance basis, or designers can work for a design or marketing agency. This career also requires an Internet connection. The job often entails creating website layouts, logos and other graphics.

3. Massage Therapist

While it may take a while to earn a degree in massage therapy, it’s certainly worth it. Most degree programs require schooling followed by approximately 500 training hours. Some people opt to work at a salon or doctor’s office, but you can travel, too. Many sports programs offer positions for massage therapists to travel with the team.

You can also work for yourself and have complete freedom. You can purchase portable tables and supplies from online vendors. MassageTableOutlet.com offers both stationary and portable massage tables, as well as massage chairs, so you can offer your clients variety. Working for yourself also offers scheduling flexibility.

4. Flight Attendant

If you don’t have a specific destination in mind, being a flight attendant is a great option. Staffing requirements vary by airline, but most don’t require a degree. Flight attendants should be friendly and able to handle stress. Some airlines are strictly domestic flights, so if you’re looking for international travel, consider that when looking for an employer.

5. Travel Tour Guide

Being a travel tour guide allows you to share sites with others. Some job opportunities are for a specific location and involve taking different groups to various areas. Other opportunities allow you to travel with people and explore new sites along the way. But you have the option to move to the next spot the wind takes you.

6. Archaeologist

Archaeology is the study of the human past, often in remote places. If you’re a fan of digging up ancient relics and artifacts, this may be the job for you. Brace yourself though, because a bachelor’s degree is the minimal educational requirement, with a graduate degree preferred. On the plus side, the job market is expected to increase, so you should start now.

What path you chose is up to you, but you should never let work options get in the way of following your dream. Career options are available for all levels of education and experience as long as you’re willing to put forth the effort.

Michele Wright is a San Diego based freelance copywriter and brand representative. She’s been freelance writing for three years and has contributed to articles on a variety of business, marketing and finance topics.

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Why You Don’t Need Silicon Valley to Become a Successful Entrepreneur http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/09/dont-need-silicon-valley-become-successful-entrepreneur/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/09/dont-need-silicon-valley-become-successful-entrepreneur/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17489 Think you need to live in Silicon Valley or NYC with an MBA to be a successful entrepreneur? As it turns out, simply finding a place to call home, along with a smart strategy, is often all it takes.

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Students aren’t the only ones learning lessons from summer road trips — one professor just finished an enlightening journey of his own.

As Fast Company reports, Mike Glauser, executive Director of the Clark Center for Entrepreneurship at Utah State University, recently completed a cross-country bike ride to learn more about the realities of entrepreneurship in America. With funds raised on Kickstarter, he and a team cycled from Florence, OR to Yorktown, VA and interviewed 100 entrepreneurs in business-friendly smaller cities like Sister, OR and Chester, IL.

What he found revealed some interesting things about those on the forefront of the shift to entrepreneurship. Here are some of the big lessons you can take away from his findings (Click here to tweet this list.):

1. You need a mission

Money is great, and of course entrepreneurs want to make as much of it as they can, but the most successful (and happiest) aren’t motivated by money alone; they add a sense of mission to their business plan.

Your takeaway: Identify the big “why” behind your business. Who are you trying to help? What difference do you want to make in the world? Getting clear on that will not only improve your ROI; it’ll improve your overall sense of satisfaction.

2. Location matters

While Silicon Valley or NYC may seem the “place to be” for entrepreneurs, the people Glauser interviewed made a conscious choice to escape the rat-race feel of big cities and move to a place they’d enjoy calling home.

For some, that meant being close to the mountains. For others, it meant going somewhere they could enjoy an active lifestyle or be a part of a close-knit community. Being able to feel a part of their surroundings and to give back was important to nearly every entrepreneur Glauser interviewed.

Your takeaway: Don’t forget the “life” side of the work-life balance equation. Make sure you’re creating a life in a location that makes you feel personally fulfilled, both as a person and as a business owner.

3. You don’t need a ton of money (or a great economy)

The entrepreneurs Glauser spoke with didn’t necessarily have a ton of startup money or a flush economy on their side, but they leveraged their creativity and the advice of smart advisors and mentors to bootstrap their way to success.

Your takeaway: Don’t see dollar signs as an obstacle to your entrepreneurial goals. You may need a little more than a “dollar and a dream,” but you can do a lot with a little if you’re smart about it.

4. You don’t need to be an MBA

“Only a handful” of the 100 entrepreneurs Glauser interviewed had any formal business background or training. They simply figured things out as they went along and applied the brains and experience they already had.

Your takeaway: Glauser’s advice, as a professor who teaches entrepreneurship? “The model is to create a prototype fast, scale up fast, grow, and create an exit strategy.”

To learn more about Glauser’s trip, including the entrepreneurs he interviewed and his plans for a book based on his findings, click here.

What other advice would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is the Editor-in-Chief of All Things Career. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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8 Fun Networking Events in Sacramento You Should Attend http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/09/8-fun-networking-events-sacramento-attend/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/09/8-fun-networking-events-sacramento-attend/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17446 Live in Northern California? Expand your professional and social circles with networking events that will help connect you with new friends - and maybe even new colleagues.

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Over time, Sacramento, California has become known as a great place for young professionals to find work and engage in the community. California’s capital city has not only been deemed America’s most diverse city in recent years, but the regional job market has also begun to grow, offering a multitude opportunities in fields often associated with the state’s larger cities.

Whether you’re into politics, the farm-to-fork movement, technology, marketing, health care, creative entrepreneurship or anything in between, there are plenty of networking events to help you widen your professional circles.

1. SacTweetUp

If you’re into social media (Twitter, in particular) and you’re looking to connect with others who love to interact both online and offline, this is the event for you. Held monthly, the SacTweetUp events are a wonderful way to meet people from various professional fields in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

2. Sacramento’s Creative Class

Based on the premise that it takes an active community to build a great city, Sacramento’s Creative Class meet-up group offers a whole host of events including weekly bull sessions, workshops, mixers and more. At the events, you’ll meet talented individuals from all backgrounds and professional fields. Be ready to share what you know and learn from others.

3. Sacramento After Work

These monthly events are full of professionals from every background and professional field you can imagine. Not only that, you’ll be able to meet others at various levels in their careers. The events also meet at a new location each month, which means you’ll be able to check out a new Sacramento hot spot during each event.

4. HackerLab

Developers, programmers and coders unite at Sacramento’s HackerLab. If you’re interested in networking, sharing and learning with others as you work to build great web products, this is the best place to start. The lab hosts a full calendar of events that cover specific topics and it’s a great place to meet others in similar fields.

5. American Marketing Association Sacramento Valley

If marketing is at the core of your business or professional position, the events organized by the American Marketing Association Sacramento Valley (AMASV) are for you. Each event is developed under a specific theme and offered as both a learning and networking experience. Be sure to bring your business cards, active listening skills and your preferred method for note taking.

6. Sacramento Metro EDGE

As a branch of Sacramento’s Metro Chamber, Metro EDGE was developed to engage young leaders—under 40, to be precise—in the region. With everything from mixers and workshops to golf tournaments and community events, Metro EDGE is perfect for any young professional looking to participate in their larger community.

7. Connectionopolis

Produced by the Sacramento Business Journal, Connectionopolis offers professionals an opportunity to both network and learn from experts in various fields. The event is hosted monthly at various locations throughout the region. The event is a great way to both learn more about your industry and explore industries outside of a particular niche.

8. Sacramento Social Media Club

While the focus of the Sacramento Social Media Club is, of course, social and online media, the events cover a wide range of topics that can be applied to almost any field. If you’re looking to grow an online community or simple want to participate in the social media conversation, this is a great place to start.

Jennifer E. Snyder is a freelance writer, editor and podcast host based in Northern California. She shares stories of creative entrepreneurship, wellness, life’s adventures and everything in between. When she’s not working, she can be found giving in to her insatiable urge to travel and explore the world as much as possible.

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Learning From LeBron: What the NBA Star Can Teach You About Becoming an MVP At Work http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/08/learning-lebron-nba-star-can-teach-becoming-mvp-work/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/08/learning-lebron-nba-star-can-teach-becoming-mvp-work/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17504 What the NBA’s top star can teach you about becoming an MVP at work.

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Basketball superstar LeBron James has dominated the game ever since he joined the NBA in his late teens.

Early in his career, they started calling him “The King.” In the eyes of many sports fans, he’s lived up to the billing.

He’s a perennial all-star, a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player and on a career trajectory that few NBA players have ever matched.

But what, exactly, makes LeBron so good? What makes him so valuable?

You may be tempted to quickly point to James’ headline-grabbing numbers: his points scored, assists and rebounds, among other stats.

But James himself begs to differ. Asked what’s differentiated his performance over the years, King James is clear:

“Efficiency. I’m just a more efficient player. I take no shots for granted…As I’ve grown, I’ve made more of a conscious effort to become a more efficient player and I think it’s helped my team’s success over the years.”

And, according to statisticians, he’s absolutely right.

In the mid-1990s ESPN writer and statistician John Hollinger developed a statistical model to calculate a player’s total contribution to team performance – what he called the Player Efficiency Rating or “PER.”

This metric, as Hollinger describes it, “sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.”

PER ratings start at 0 and peak around 35, a number that Hollinger describes as a “Year for the Ages.” Players who have a score of 30+, writes Hollinger, are “Runaway MVP candidates.”

In his 2012-13 MVP seasons LeBron had a PER of 31.87 – nearly 3 points higher than the next closest player, Kevin Durant (the current MVP who led all players in efficiency this year, with a PER of 29.90.) All-time, LeBron’s PER is 27.79, second only to Michael Jordan’s 27.91.

LeBron was right. He has become more efficient – and seems to be getting better every year. But you don’t need to be a basketball player to learn from LeBron’s success. Read on to learn how you can channel your inner LeBron to rise to the top of your game at work and become a true Workforce MVP. (Click here to tweet this list.)

What workforce MVPs and LeBron have in common

Like LeBron, Workforce MVPs prioritize efficiency above all else.

Like LeBron, Workforce MVPs not only do their individual job exceedingly well, but also help others perform at their highest levels, too.

Like LeBron, Workforce MVPs don’t rest on their accomplishments. They invest heavily and consistently in building or enhancing skills they need to remain both competitive and highly effective.

Last but not least, like LeBron, Workforce MVPs are valued highly by the organizations and teams with which they work. They typically get more of the financial remuneration, praise and freedom than others.

If the idea of being a Workforce MVP appeals to you, consider this your training camp. These are four things to start doing today, and every day, as you build the skills and experience necessary to lead your team to victory.

1. Put first things first

We all struggle with sometimes feeling like we have so much to do, and not enough time to do it. Employees who can align their personal to-do list with the most important objectives of their organization quickly differentiate themselves. Managers and colleagues alike notice this skill.

“We have extraordinary numbers of challenges and opportunities to address going forward,” the Head of Talent at a global manufacturing company shared with me recently. “We win only if we are able to put first things first.”

In basketball, the objective is crystal clear: Win. And the strategy for doing so is straightforward: Score more points than the other team. Unfortunately, in many highly-matrixed, global companies, prioritization can be far more complicated.

If you’re not sure how your to-do list aligns with the greater needs of the organization, ask. Engage your manager on the subject. If he or she doesn’t know, then keep asking until you can find someone who can.

One of my favorite questions to help guide this conversation comes from strategic coach, Dan Sullivan:

If we were meeting six months from today, what has to happen during that period for you to feel great about our progress?

2. Help others win

More than just a team player, a Workforce MVP seeks to understand what members of their team want to accomplish (the incentives, the metrics, the accountabilities) and helps them achieve those goals.

Examples include:

  • Pro-actively sharing essential information
  • Facilitating critical connections
  • Eliminating non-essential work as much as possible

We all want to win as an organization. But if you make a point of helping others achieve individual wins, you create not only a better performing team, but also a more loyal colleague and teammate.

3. Build organizational awareness

As the CEO of a large automobile joint venture once shared with me, “every organization suffers from it own beautiful dysfunction.”

I suspect you know what he’s talking about. You know, the funny, odd, seemingly illogical, way certain things get done in your company.

While Workforce MVPs always seek to drive process improvement – and ultimately performance – they also learn to effectively operate in the system, despite its flaws.

More importantly, they make it a point to teach those newer to the organization the ins and outs of the organizational and decision-making hierarchy. They expedite the learning curve for new hires, making tenure less of a correlating factor of performance.

As soon as James decided to re-join his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers — a team and city he knew very well — he got on the phone to share what he knew with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, a player rumored to be interested in joining LeBron in Cleveland. According to Love, James shared what he knew about new and existing talent on the roster, the management team and the city of Cleveland.

“That [call] had a lot to do with my decision…” said Love after deciding to join LeBron and the Cavaliers.

Every organization has its unique way of doing business. Workforce MVPs work to ensure everyone on their team understands how things get done and ensure their teammates have the right info and resources to be successful in their role.

4. Focus on getting better, not getting ahead

Workforce MVPs can come from any part of an organization. Yet despite the differences in their roles and responsibilities, they all share a mindset of continuous improvement.

Again, LeBron James is a useful role model here. In 2011, after losing the NBA Finals as a member of the Miami Heat, James decided to re-invest in his professional development. He recruited NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon – arguably the best forward ever – to train him. James flew to Olajuwon’s home in Texas and trained with the master for a week.

“I wanted to get better,” said James. “I wanted to improve and I sought out someone who I thought was one of the greatest low-post players to ever play this game.”

Hard to imagine that a guy like James – already one of the best in the league – would need to get better. But that’s what MVPs do: Constantly seek improvement.

This focus on getting better may come easy earlier in your career when there’s so much to learn. But the continued focus on skill building is what differentiates true MVPs from their peers.

What part of your game needs the most work today? Who is your Hakeem? Who is the person you aspire to emulate and can learn from?

LeBron James is a once-in-a-generation talent, no question about it. But his impact and value, maps back to more than just natural athleticism.

While we may never be able to shoot, pass and jump like LeBron, we can still become MVPs in our careers by modeling the efficiency of his game.

Ben Sands writes at Regret Free Life where he helps the smart men and women make great decisions about their careers, money and relationships. For more useful ideas join his free newsletter.

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Getting a Job After Your MBA: 5 Skills That Make You More Hireable http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/08/getting-job-mba-6-skills-make-hireable/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/08/getting-job-mba-6-skills-make-hireable/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17498 When you’re fresh out of business school, show off these skills to prove you’re management-level material.

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For some graduates, a Master’s is no longer enough to secure meaningful employment. While business school teaches the theory behind running your own business, employers look for a special set of skills in new MBA grads.

Employers don’t want to hire business school graduates who are simply destined for middle management. (Click here to tweet this quote.) They want talented hires who are already taking their first steps toward C-level executive status. If you have the soft skills required to lead a team, you’ll be more competitive amongst your peers and other recent MBA graduates.

Here are five skills that employers look for in business school hires.

1. You can lead, even when your job title doesn’t require it

Employers look for candidates they can promote to leadership and executive roles down the line. While you might start at the bottom, the cream always rises to the crop. Your employer will see (or hear) about the difference you can make.

The ability to motivate others and get the best out of your team (even in a non-leadership position) will help you advance within the corporate hierarchy.

Many businesses hire corporate coaches to train their executive leaders. If you already have the skills employers often pay thousands of dollars to help their managers develop, you’re already far ahead of the crowd.

Knowing they can count on you to one day take over a high-level management or C-level executive job allows employers to rest easy in their decision to hire (and promote) you.

2. You can think on your feet

While being able to react to problems is great, the best of the new crop of business school hires can also predict problems before they even happen.

Take the approach of problem solver. Instead of bringing in potential problems to those in supervisory roles, bring them the solutions. You must be able to adapt to a fast-changing business world to have success in corporate America.

3. You bring fresh ideas to the table

Yes men are yesterday’s news. Employers don’t look for agreeable types who will back up every word their boss says. Instead, they look for people who can empower them to lead smarter and present new ideas they might not have previously considered.

When you’re fresh out of school, your curious and inquisitive perspective is especially valuable. That said, don’t be the guy who forces his ideas on people or interrupts rudely. Timing is everything.

4. You fit with the company culture

No office or corporate workforce wants to have to shift the dynamic to suit each new hire. Culture fit is important.

Instead, employers look for someone who fits seamlessly with the team they already have with minimal overall disruption to the working dynamic.

To make yourself more employable, you need to be able to adapt and play nice with others to ensure a peaceful and highly efficient workplace.

5. You’re self-motivated and don’t need supervision

The worst employees have to be watched. Whether it’s distractions like their cell phone or too much office chit chat, or constant web browsing or Facebook checking, these employees never seem to get anything done without direct supervision.

Don’t be one of them.

Prove to your new boss and your entire team that your work is at the forefront of your mind, so you don’t need to be supervised to make valued contributions. If you have to hide something when someone says “The boss is coming,” you’re doing something wrong.

The corporate world is competitive. With a high percentage of graduates reporting they have no meaningful job prospects right out of college, or even months (or sometimes years) later, it’s time to make sure you do everything in your power to ensure you’re not one of them.

Michele Wright is a San Diego-based freelance copywriter and brand representative who works with multiple clients and marketing companies. She been freelance writing for three years and has contributed to articles on a variety of topics varying from video gaming and technology to business and finance.

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How to Use Gamification to Grow Your Business and Engage Your Employees http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/07/use-gamification-grow-business-engage-employees/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/07/use-gamification-grow-business-engage-employees/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17509 Want to increase your customers’ loyalty and your employees’ engagement? Try gamification. Here’s how you can implement it now.

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Nowadays, the gamification trend is spreading to businesses, affecting marketing strategies and employee management. It’s a powerful tool for marketers to showcase their brands and for companies to increase employees’ performance and engagement.

Let’s define gamification first. It refers to applying gaming techniques to non-gaming processes for many reasons: to add fun and interest, to engage, to allow people to experience adrenaline and a sense of competition, and to gain victory.

Including gaming elements to the companies’ strategies results in a mix of fun and business, which makes routine activities more attractive and has significant impact on the company’s marketing and employee performance. According to Gartner, by 2015, almost a half of global organizations will use gamification in their business operations.

But as any new trend, poor implementation puts gamification at risk of falling short of expectations and failing its business goals. Gamification isn’t just about badges, points and leaderboards.

To carry out a successful gamification strategy for stimulating employee engagement, pay attention to the following ideas. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Integrate gamification with personal development

When you put gaming elements like scores and points into practice, make them meaningful and valuable to employees’ ambitions and careers. People like self-development, and that’s why gamification must go along with employees’ real achievements, to become a way to encourage and motivate.

Don’t forget to provide people with the ability to share their progress with others.

2. Include rewards and recognition

Employees who achieve good working results through gaming activities need a word of encouragement and recognition to stay motivated. Design your gamification strategy so workers have bonuses and rewards, such as earning “badges,” that visibly recognize their contribution to the business. It’ll positively affect company performance and motivate other employees.

3. Socialize gaming results

Use social network platforms to display completions and leaderboards. This is a way for employees to get to know each other, see others’ achievements and “Like” them while showing their own progress.

4. Combine teamwork and competition consciously

Although these two components of work are equally essential and engaging, they tend to have disastrous effects when taken to extremes. The best way is to balance them so the competitive spirit doesn’t become a race to the top, but rather, serves as motivation for effective teamwork as a platform for realizing personal potential.

Gamification isn’t just a good way to increase employee engagement within the company: it’s an effective way to attract customers to your brand too. Including gaming elements in your marketing strategy will spark customers’ interest.

With the rise of mobile devices, this trend has become extremely popular. By bringing some fun and entertainment to your brand’s interface, you give people a pleasant experience while interacting with your brand, and this experience will enhance their loyalty.

The main goal of creating gaming applications to promote your brand isn’t only entertainment — it’s to lead them to your business offers and motivate them to buy your product. Here are the essential components of a marketing gamification strategy.

5. Use gaming to interact

Games provide interaction and entertainment. Common ways of promotion in traditional media don’t require the customer’s participation, while playing games does.

6. Share socially

Most game developers today include social elements as social media becomes an integral part of our lives. Your gamification campaign should be designed to encourage consumers to share their achievements. Installing and playing your app alone won’t be as effective. Social sharing also extends your audience.

7. Encourage the competitive spirit

Competition raises engagement, so integrate contests into your games.

8. Give rewards and prizes

The results your customers achieve through competition should be supported by awards. Usually they have a digital form like unlocking badges, points and trophies for participation, learning about the brand and reaching certain results. Such digital bonuses may correspond to real bonuses like discounts, privileges and gifts.

9. Provide a unique experience

Any reward or bonus will be useless if the game is boring. Make the user experience enjoyable and friendly, and don’t forget to add some fun. You need to have something special about your game to catch your customers’ attention — and represent your company’s idea.

10. Target audience orientation

Because the goal is to use gamification as a marketing technique, your priority is to define the demographics and psychographics of your target audience and plan the relevant scenario and design.

Gamifying employee management and customer interfaces should both be based on similar principles: learning, exploring, socializing, achieving, obtaining rewards and, of course, having fun.

Andrew Smith is a social media marketer, a web developer in the past, a writer working in QArea, which specializes in providing web, mobile, desktop app development and testing services. Andrew enjoys writing about social media, business and IT technologies.

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5 Easy Networking Tips for Making Connections in a New City http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/06/5-easy-networking-tips-making-connections-new-city/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/06/5-easy-networking-tips-making-connections-new-city/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17483 Moved to a new city recently? Making new connections -- and friends -- can be difficult. These tips will make it easier.

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Moving to a new city feels like starting over completely. You’ve left everything — including your network — behind, and it’s overwhelming to think that you need to begin again.

But meeting new contacts doesn’t have to be a painful process. Use the following tips and you’ll be on your way to a making your new city feel like home.

Represent your alma mater

People tend to be nostalgic about their college years, and meeting alumni from your school is a great starting point. Wear your college colors and gear at networking events or work. Fellow alums will notice. This gives you an instant connection with someone and easy way to break the ice.

People are interested in meeting people who have a shared experience. (Click here to share this week.) You don’t have to be decked out, but try throwing on a baseball cap or piece of jewelry. Keep in mind this is a great way to make friends too.

Brainstorm better questions

Before you attempt to network, think of questions for contacts that aren’t typical or run-of-the-mill. Think about what you want to know. It’s OK to ask questions like “Where did you grow up?” or “How long have you lived here?” but they’re boring and don’t reveal much.

Instead, ask questions that’ll reveal something new and interesting. For example, instead of “What do you do?” ask, “What do you like about what you do?” Not only is this more involved, but it’ll also allow the person to talk about their favorite aspect of work rather than listing off responsibilities.

Learn how to catch a softball

If the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and talking to people makes you nervous, try an activity like intramural sports. Most cities offer leagues at varying skill levels, and these leagues provide a booming social scene. You can sign up as an individual and be matched to a team.

Look for a sport that seems like a good fit for you. Joining will provide an instant way to spark conversation. Not only will you meet a new group of people, but you’ll also make a different sort of connection than if you just meet someone once. You can also take advantage of post-game celebrations to get to know your teammates better.

Knock on your neighbors’ doors

You may think of your neighbors as the people you have to visit when they’re being too loud on a Tuesday night, but they’re actually a valuable part of your network. You never know who could be living next door. Taking time to form a community bond within your building or neighborhood is worth the effort.

Introduce yourself to your neighbors and let them know you’ve moved in. You’ll meet a few people who can give you some insight about your new city. After you get to know your neighbors better, they may have an established network they can introduce you to.

This is an easy step a lot people struggle with. Cities, even ones known for a sense of community like Seattle, have struggled with neighbors forming a bond. One quick knock can make all the difference.

Discover and read neighborhood blogs

Chances are your new city has a lot of cultural and community events going on you don’t even know about. Community events can be a great way to integrate into a new city and give you a feel for different areas and groups.

The best way to find out about these events is to check community blogs — like Popville, a neighborhood blog for Washington, D.C. Blogs can offer more information and tips about what to do than a calendar on the city website.

Spend some time looking around for the best options in your city. You may have to go through some trial and error, but you’ll eventually find a blog that fits your style. You can also ask your new neighbors about their favorite ways to find out what’s going on in the city or about their favorite festivals.

No matter how you choose to do it, the key is to meet as many different people as possible. Whether they’re alumni or the people down the street, the more people you meet, the more likely you are to meet someone you click with or who could be a good connection down the road.

Be open to all the possibilities and your new city will feel like home in no time.

Adam Levenson is the community manager for MPA@UNC, the online MPA program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To learn more about Adam’s unique interests, visit the MPA@UNC blog or follow him on Twitter.

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Work (or Want to Work) in Higher Education? Join Us for This Free Networking Event http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/06/work-want-work-higher-education-join-us-free-networking-event-2/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/06/work-want-work-higher-education-join-us-free-networking-event-2/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:00:04 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17524 No time for face-to-face networking? This online lunch-hour event makes it easy to meet ambitious professionals!

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Want to meet some of your fellow Brazenites? Eager to network with your peers, but have trouble fitting face time into your schedule?

We’ve got an event for you!

On Thursday, October 16th, at noon EDT, we’re hosting a FREE networking event for the Brazen community, with a focus on HIGHER EDUCATION.

That means if you work in higher education or you want to work in higher education, you should join us!

Click here to register.

Our community is full of ambitious professionals — hustlers, creatives and entrepreneurs who understand the importance of having a job you love. We want to help you meet one another, so you can rely on the support of your peers as you navigate your own career. We’ve organized this networking event online and during your lunch hour.

Most importantly, this will be FUN! Remember, Brazen Careerist originated as a social network, and we still believe relationships are the foundation of a successful career. As an added bonus, this is an opportunity to try out Brazen’s software, the same awesome platform we use for recruiting events.

How It Works

It couldn’t be easier to join this event. Register now, and we’ll send you a link to join us on Thursday, October 16.

During the event, you’ll be paired with multiple participants from around the region, country and world for several rounds of seven-minute, text-based chats. We’ll even save those conversations for you so you can revisit them later. After the event, we encourage you to connect with any interesting people on your favorite social networks; that will help you turn your chat into a mutually-beneficial relationship.

It’s like online speed dating, minus the awkwardness.

Hope you’ll join us!

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How a 4-Hour Workweek Can Help You Achieve Your Career Dreams http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/03/4-hour-workweek-can-help-achieve-career-dreams/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/03/4-hour-workweek-can-help-achieve-career-dreams/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17451 We’re all busy these days, balancing full-time jobs along with family and friends. But can you create your own four-hour work week to create the career of your dreams?

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Most of us won’t be Tim Ferriss.

That’s not to say we can’t be — far be it from me to tell anyone the limits of their own awesome potential. But in reality, most of us (even in our dreamiest of dream careers) won’t be able to achieve the idealized four-hour workweek Ferriss touts in his famous book. We will, more realistically, spend at least five hours a week bringing home the bacon, probably more.

Which is perfectly fine. It is possible to enjoy your career — and your life — without working next to zero hours. The key is in creating a career you’ll actually enjoy spending some time on.

To that end, I’d like to propose a four-hour workweek of a different kind. One that anyone can aspire to, and achieve, that can be just as life-changing as the one Mr. Ferriss enjoys. This four-hour workweek focuses not on spending the least amount of time possible working, but on making the most of the time you do have to invest in creating the career of your dreams.

Making the time for your career goals

One of the biggest deterrents to chasing our dreams — whether those dreams are to start a side hustle, find a new job or become location independent — is the notion that we “just don’t have enough time.” We have day jobs to hold down. We have bills to pay. We have social lives we can’t completely neglect. Who has time for anything else?

But, if we’re being totally honest with ourselves, very few of us have all 24 hours of every day totally, irrevocably spoken for. Even deducting 7-8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for the standard workday and a couple hours for the non-negotiables such as eating, commuting and occasionally saying hello to our friends and family, most of us can find some time somewhere to eke out a little space for our dreams — if we make them a priority. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

Therein lies the rub. We technically “have” time for all sorts of discretionary activities. Unless you’re a total Spartan who exists solely to eat, work, sleep and die, there are plenty of things you do throughout the day that aren’t really compulsory. If you ever check Facebook, play Candy Crush, read a book or watch TV, you’re choosing to make time for those things. You’re electing to do them at the cost of other things you could be doing with that time.

You can do the same thing with your career. You just need to learn to invest a little more time in you. That’s where the alternative “four-hour workweek” comes in.

Putting yourself on the schedule

I’m willing to wager most of you reading can find the time to set aside four little hours each week to prioritize your own career goals. Divided over seven days, that comes down a mere half-hour (and some odd minutes) a day. Deduct one episode of The Big Bang or wake up half an hour early, and you’ve got the time.

Four hours a week is totally doable for most of us, and may not even seem like all that much, but the point is that you’re making a decided effort to create room in your schedule to work on your stuff. Not your boss’s, not your client’s, not your colleagues’ — yours.

This time is not to be spent getting in a little extra work time; yes, an extra half-hour on the Peterman project might “advance your career” in that it will make your boss happy, but we’re thinking bigger-picture here. We’re looking at where you ultimately want to go in your career, and what steps you can take, right now, to get you a little bit closer to that goal.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer…

If you’re a side hustler (or wannabe side hustler)…

If you’re a 9-to-5 corporate ladder-climber…

See where this is going (and how easy it is)? All of these things can easily be done in a half-hour a day. They may not seem like much in and of themselves, but the cumulative effect can equal awesome progress for your career advancement goals.

So what do you say? Are you ready to embark on your own four-hour workweek?

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is the Editor-in-Chief of All Things Career. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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What the iPhone 6 Can Teach You About Standing Out at Work http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/02/iphone-6-can-teach-standing-work/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/02/iphone-6-can-teach-standing-work/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17474 Love Apple and the iPhone? It’s more than an awesome smartphone -- it can teach you how to stand out in your career, too.

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If you haven’t been on the Internet — or in contact with other human beings — over the past few days, you should know that Apple recently released its plans for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

As could be expected, the civilized world let out a collective “squee!”

Why are we reporting on this? Because you can learn a few things from the storm Apple products garner. Say what you will of the brand and its products, but Apple knows how to create and sell things people can’t wait to get their hands on. And you can follow their example to make your best product — yourself — an equally hot commodity. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

Let’s take a look at what Apple keeps doing right, and what you can learn from it.

It’s all about the experience

From the feel of using their product to the way people are greeted at the Apple Store, the company takes great pains to ensure the experience of being an Apple customer is unique and enjoyable. As Carmine Gallo, author of The Apple Experience, has said, “Apple employees are not in the business of selling computers; they are in the business of enriching lives.”

How do you replicate this for your career? Make sure the experience of working with you is one people won’t soon forget. Whether you’re helping out a colleague, spearheading that new project or interviewing for a job, focus on being the sort of person other people clamor to work with.

Be helpful, be compassionate, be humorous, be reliable. Make people enjoy working with you, and you’ll quickly become their go-to guy (or gal).

Never stop improving

Does anyone really care if the new iPhone is a bit thinner, has more rounded edges and features a somewhat larger screen? Yes, yes they do. Because people are always looking for “better,” and Apple knows that.

Each new iteration of the iPhone creates a buzz because Apple constantly finds new ways to tweak and improve what they offer. The iPhone 6 is faster, sleeker and even easier to use, and customers will pay a premium to know they’ve got the “latest and greatest.”

When it comes to your career, this focus on continual improvement is your key to advancing. Your education doesn’t stop when you graduate college or master your current position; keep looking for ways to hone your skills and learn new ones and you’ll remain in-demand.

Know (and delight) your audience

Apple knows what its customers want. From easier navigation to their “Bust Selfies” feature that lets you take a rapid series of camera shots, they listen to (and anticipate) their customers’ needs and wants and use this knowledge to make products that get people excited. (Have you heard about the Apple Watch?)

Stay one step ahead of your audience by identifying their needs and finding ways to position yourself as the solution. Solve the problems your boss needs solving. Volunteer for extra responsibilities. Position yourself as the best investment your potential employer will ever make. Know your strengths and play to your audiences’ pain points, and they’ll be climbing over each other to get you in their corner.

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is the Editor-in-Chief of All Things Career. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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Does Praise Make You Squirm? Follow These Tips for Saying “Thank You” at Work http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/02/praise-make-squirm-follow-tips-saying-thank-work/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/02/praise-make-squirm-follow-tips-saying-thank-work/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17413 If accepting a compliment at work makes you uncomfortable, try simply saying “thank you.” Brushing off praise could make your hard work seem as if it wasn’t actually important.

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You may want your boss to like what you do, but does it make you squirm when she says “thank you” or gives you a compliment?

It’s common for many confident and accomplished professionals to feel uncomfortable when someone applauds their work. Even when an employee knows they did a great job, they may hear themselves responding to a compliment with, “No big deal.”

Forget what your mother taught you about humility. Modesty is the wrong response when your boss says you did well. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

When you try to sound humble, your boss may take you at your word and conclude that your effort wasn’t actually significant. More importantly, when you deflect a compliment you drain the juice from what should be a positive moment.

Think about how the “thank you” exchange should go. When your boss offers kind words, she wants you to feel good. If you answer gracefully, she starts to feel good, too. But if you reject her praise or thanks, she may feel a little awkward or rebuffed.

Don’t lose the benefits that praise and gratitude can bring. When you respond to accolades from your boss, you have two goals. You want to reinforce her appreciative evaluation of your work, and you want her to feel good about her moment with you.

Use these six strategies to get the most from praise:

1.  Say “thank you”

This is important. Begin your response by thanking the speaker — and sound like you mean it. Even if a little voice in your head says, “I don’t deserve it,” ignore your doubt and show appreciation. When you express sincere gratitude, you and your boss will both feel better.

2.   Pause and enjoy

To your brain, hearing positive words feels like a reward — and research suggests you perform even better after receiving a reward. So after hearing thanks or compliments, pause for an instant. Get the full value of the moment and you’ll have new energy for more good work.

3.  Allow yourself to be pleased

It’s not arrogant to acknowledge satisfaction when you’ve been successful. After saying “thanks,” it’s OK to add a phrase like, “It was a wonderful opportunity.”

4.  Share the credit

Although you don’t want to deny your contribution, you don’t want to hog the limelight, either. If it truly was a team effort, spread the kudos around. Add a simple comment like, “It was great to work with Joe on this.”

5.  Return the compliment

You can prolong the enjoyable moment by offering a commendation in return. You might say something like, “Your support made such a difference.” But this only works if you’re honest as flattery or fake expressions of gratitude are seldom convincing — and they can be just another way of declining a compliment.

6.  Be brief

When the exchange of polite words goes on too long it can become painful. If the flow of praise feels unending, it’s OK to turn it off with a light comment like, “Aw shucks. That’s enough now. You’re making me blush.”

While you practice the strategies, think about why the praise process feels difficult. A surprising number of high achievers find it difficult to accept compliments because at some level they believe they don’t really deserve them. Social psychologists call this the “imposter phenomenon.” If you feel like an imposter, ignore your discomfort and go ahead and accept positive comments with a “thank you.”

To explore further, ask yourself whether your lack of ease stems from their glowing words or from the way you talk to yourself about those words. If your habitual response to praise is to say to yourself, “you should have done even better,” it’s no wonder you don’t enjoy it.

Maybe it’s time to practice a new thought pattern when you hear positive feedback. Next time, try saying to yourself, “it feels wonderful to be recognized.”

Beverly Jones is an executive coach in Washington, D.C. with clients including government agencies, congressional offices, trade associations, businesses, universities, lawyers and journalists. See more at www.clearwaysconsulting.com.

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Hate Your Job? Here are 4 Ways to Love It a Little More http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/01/hate-job-4-ways-love-little/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/01/hate-job-4-ways-love-little/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17436 Why do you hate your job? Be honest about your problems at the office and stop complaining and you may actually love it a little more.

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You hate your job.

Sometimes you’ll tell anyone with ears how much you despise your job. Other times you prefer  to suffer in silence.

But make no mistake about it. You’re miserable.

And you’d rather not be.

So whether you’re a burned out lawyer, an overworked analyst or a cubicle warrior, here are some strategies to help you hate your job a little less.

1.  Quit Your Bitching

You’ve gotta stop the ritualistic bitch sessions about work. It’s for your own sanity.

Although there’s research that shows gossiping can be beneficial and even innately unavoidable, work gossip is a scenario in which there may be too much of a good thing.

Not only do you risk developing a reputation as a notorious gossip-hound, but you also jeopardize your own happiness.

Yup.

By constantly engaging in negative activities like bitching and gossiping, you become a whirling twister of toxicity.

Before you know it, you’ll be unable to come up with anything positive to say about your job, and this delightful personality trait will eventually seep into your personal life.

Now, sometimes that happens because your job really is the worst thing since pickled beets. And it’s important to recognize that.

But what if the crappiness of your job is a byproduct of your incessant nitpicking?

It may seem like a chicken-or-the-egg situation, but scaling back your gripe sessions could reveal the root of your problem.

2.  Be Brutally Honest

With yourself, that is.

You owe it to yourself and everyone around you to figure out why you hate your job.

Is it the people you work with? The excruciating commute? The gouge-your-eyes-out boredom?

Or are you the problem?

Hold up. This isn’t where you start shame spiraling into a vortex of Real Housewives of Self-Centered County, sweatpants and Cool Ranch Doritos. (Not that there’s anything wrong with said vortex, per se.)

We all have issues — family, money, mountains of old laundry — that can bring us down from time to time. And it’s easier to blame anything other than ourselves when shit hits the fan.

But if you’re the reason why you hate your job, changing up your work situation won’t solve anything.

Sure, it might seem better at first. But once the novelty wears off, you’ll be right back to where you are now — in Miseryville.

On the flipside, discovering you’re the cause of your unhappiness actually makes the whole job-hating scenario more manageable.

Why? Because your behavior is within your control.

So get your poop in a group first: see a therapist, hire a financial planner or splurge on a laundry service. Then see if you still hate your job.

3. Cut People Some Slack

We humans love to make sense of our world. And while this can be helpful in some areas of life, it can also lead us to be extremely close-minded. (Think religion and politics).

This means that your first reaction is likely dubbing your boss a self-righteous b-hole when he dumps a ton of urgent work on you… on a Friday afternoon.

Could your boss be, in fact, a complete tyrant? In which case, sorry ‘bout that.

But could he be dealing with a messy divorce? Coping with a death in the family? Or experiencing severe sleep deprivation due to a sleep-hating infant at home?

It’s much easier to label others as incompetent, rude or selfish when you’re not privy to their problems. So try keeping the following phrase in mind:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

It’s like when you bring a bad attitude to the office, only you’re not a bad person, but you’re not bringing your A-game due to your excess baggage.

Don’t get me wrong. Even if your boss does have a bunch of personal problems and isn’t really a horrible person, you’re not required to stick around to take the brunt of his unprofessionalism.

So try cutting people some slack. You might be surprised.

But consider cutting yourself loose if someone’s personal issues are giving you a set of your own.

4.  Take Control

Once you’ve narrowed down the source(s) of your discontent, it’s time to make a plan.

Actively working toward a meaningful goal will increase your happiness. Plus, creating a plan will give you a sense of control you otherwise lack in your career.

Whatever your goal — a promotion, different job, new career, resolution of personal issues — get serious about it. (Click here to tweet this bit of motivation.)

Set deadlines for yourself. Lean on your support system. Find a coach to keep you motivated and accountable. Get a psychologist to help you sort through your personal stuff.

Above all else, TAKE ACTION.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll uncover a hidden love for your workplace.

Maybe not.

But you will discover what you’re missing. And you owe it to yourself to go find it.

Annie Little is a trained life coach, former attorney and the founder of JD Nation where she helps lawyers who want to regain control of their careers, beat burnout and start enjoying their lives again. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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How to Leverage Your Alumni Network in Your Job Search http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/01/leverage-alumni-network-job-search/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/10/01/leverage-alumni-network-job-search/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17441 If you’re on the hunt for a new job, there’s one resource you’re probably overlooking: alumni. Here’s how you can leverage your network.

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Networking. It’s the key to getting your foot in the door or scoring that initial interview during your job search. But it’s challenging if you don’t know where to start. And it can be  intimidating to meet professionals you don’t know.

But that’s why tapping into your school’s alumni network is an excellent option. Not only does it give you an automatic connection, but most people also want to help other graduates from their alma mater. (Click here to tweet this advice.) Leveraging this network proves to be a useful job search strategy.

Explore your alumni association

If you’re not sure where to meet fellow alumni, check out your school’s alumni association. Generally, these large organizations are broken down into smaller groups. Search for an alumni group in your specific industry, and keep an eye out for alumni social or networking events.

Network online, too

In addition to meeting up with groups of alumni (call it bulk networking), network online. This means following the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts of alumni groups and your school.

Eventually you’ll be able to connect with specific people. You’ll learn about upcoming events and know what’s going on at the school, which can be great small talk at an event and a good way to break the ice.

Saying something like, “Did you hear about the new dorm they’re building?” will spark a better conversation than “This weather is terrible.” You can also sign up for email alerts or browse the school website periodically.

LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with alumni via the “Find Alumni” feature. This allows you to search LinkedIn based on location, company, the years they attended the school and industry.

Let your university connect you to alumni

It may seem like you’re already using your university, but most of the time, college career centers have lists of alumni they can reach out to. They can put you in touch with alumni in your particular industry or area of interest. A career adviser might be able to connect you with people who frequently help alumni and give you advice on the best way to get in touch.

Most universities now have an online directory of current alumni, what they do for a living and their contact information. The best thing about reaching out to alumni via a database is they’ve most likely volunteered their information, so they’ve already essentially said they’re willing to help.

You can also reach out to your former professors (or the dean of your school) and see if they have former students they’re still in touch with who might be willing to answer an email or meet up for coffee. Talk to anyone who might have access to a wide network of alumni.

Be professional

Though there are a variety of ways to meet alumni, the rules of communication are the same no matter what the medium is. Remember that connecting with alumni doesn’t mean you’re reaching out to them for a job. You want to build a relationship so you can learn about the industry, their company, job-hunting or anything else that might be of value.

Ask about their job and what they do on a day-to-day basis. Think about the person’s job and what questions you can ask. Maybe entry-level alumni will be able to offer more details on how to break into a particular field, while a senior level employee might be able to offer more information about the state of the industry.

Tailor your questions (whether they’re about responsibilities, interviewing tips or company questions) to the person. You can also find out information such as which industry groups will be useful to you or which publications you should be reading.

Only after you’ve established a personal relationship should you broach the idea of a potential job opening. Tell alumni exactly what you’re looking for and see if they know anyone who might be able to help.

The key to success, no matter what stage of the relationship you’re at, is to be respectful of the person’s time. Take your cues from the people in your network, and treat them as people you’d like to get to know — not just as an avenue to a job.

Carly Dell is the community manager for the innovative online RN to BSN program offered through Simmons College. In her free time, Carly enjoys traveling, binge-watching HGTV and trying new restaurants. Follow her on Twitter @carlydell2 and Google+.

 

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Hiring Millennials: 6 Tips for Recruiting the Best Young Talent http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/30/hiring-millennials-6-tips-recruiting-best-young-talent/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/30/hiring-millennials-6-tips-recruiting-best-young-talent/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17462 If you want to diversify your team by hiring more millennials, here’s how to find the best candidates.

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How do recruiters find top-notch Millennial job candidates? Are there special tools you should be using or new techniques to try?

Here’s what two experts have to say about making your recruitment efforts a success.

1. Extend your search beyond “elite” schools

Steven Rothberg, president and founder of College Recruiter, says one of the most important tactics recruiters can use to find the best young talent is to think outside the “elite” box.

As Rothberg notes: “It’s first helpful to define what a top candidate is. Many employers think that a top candidate is an elite student at an elite school. That’s true for a very small number of employers.”

The majority of employers can find great job candidates from nearly any degree program. By looking where everyone else isn’t looking, you’ll find talented students and recent graduates other recruiters and employers might completely miss.

Taking the time to work with students and recent graduates from a variety of schools can often yield a wealth of top-notch job candidates.

2. Look for candidates who aren’t afraid of long-term commitment

The best candidate for the job isn’t necessarily the one with the most impressive resume. There are other factors you should consider as well — like their commitment to your company.

As Rothberg notes, the true top candidate is the one who wants to put his or her best work into the job: “Best to focus on candidates who will do great work for you, want to work for you and will stay with you.”

The idea of looking for job candidates who are ready to stay with employers for the long-term will help you make those all-important job matches. Even though many employers expect Millennials to job-hop, recruiters often find the best candidates by looking for people who won’t be retention risks.

3. Understand that Millennials value mentorship and social responsibility

Lisa Orrell, a Generations Relations & Leadership Expert at The Orrell Group, says recruiters or hiring managers should be aware of what Millennials value. Many Millennials look for companies that offer two things: Mentorship opportunities and a sense of corporate social responsibility.

Lastly, Orrell notes that many Millennials want to work for companies with an entrepreneurial culture: “Does the company (if it’s large) have a culture as a whole, and within each department, that fosters and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit?”

If you want to attract stand-out Millennials, you need to show them your company shares their same values.

4. Embrace new tools to recruit smarter

Rothberg notes that today’s recruiters have a large number of new tools to help them attract great job candidates.

“We’ve been using a lot of targeted mobile banner advertising to reach a highly targeted group students on a variety of sites,” he says. “We can target by school, year of graduation, major, diversity and more. Getting those ads onto non-career sites means we’re able to reach students who aren’t as actively engaged in the recruiting process and therefore unlikely to be using their career service offices.”

5. Never lose sight of tried-and-true recruiting principles

“The newest thing is rarely the best thing,” says Rothberg. “Video interviewing and virtual career fairs are great ways to meet face-to-face with candidates who attend schools you can’t visit, but they’re not replacements for in-person meetings.”

Rothberg suggests that recruiters put aside part of their budget and resources to test out new tools, but that they should never lose sight of the tried-and-true recruiting techniques: “Stick with what has worked well and allocate a small percentage of your money and time resources to experimenting.” (Click here to tweet this suggestion.)

6. Make the match

  • Focus on students from a variety of degree programs
  • Look for candidates who are ready to stay with an employer
  • Make sure you can offer Millennials what they value
  • Try new techniques such as targeted advertising
  • Don’t ignore the power of tried-and-true recruiting techniques, and don’t let virtual recruiting take the place of face-to-face work

Now go out there and find those great Millennial job candidates!

Nicole Dieker is a freelance copywriter and essayist. She writes regularly for The Billfold on the intersection of freelance writing and personal finance, and her work has also appeared in The Toast, Yearbook Office and Boing Boing.

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5 Ways to Find Out If You’re Making Enough Money http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/29/5-ways-find-youre-making-enough-money/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/29/5-ways-find-youre-making-enough-money/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17457 Are you making what you’re worth? Before you accept that raise or job offer, make sure you receive the salary you deserve. Here’s how.

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Whether you’re up for a raise or considering a job offer, you may be wondering what you’re really worth. Are you making enough money for your age and experience level? Are you getting paid what you deserve?

It’s completely natural — and in fact advisable — to regularly reassess your worth to ensure your career is moving in the right direction. While salary is often considered a hush-hush topic, you you can still determine how much you should be making — and whether or not you should accept the offered salary.

1. Do your homework

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to get a general idea of what people in your position make. Granted, salaries vary greatly based on location and experience level, but sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com and Salary.com give you a good starting point.

It’s more powerful to have specific numbers ready during salary negotiations as opposed to saying you deserve a raise without backing it up.

2. Know what normal growth in a company is

If it’s a raise you’re hoping for, it helps to know what’s normal in terms of growth. According to a survey by Towers Watson Data Services, the average pay raise in 2014 was expected to be just below three percent. If you’re looking for significant growth in your salary, you may need to look for another job instead. (Click here to tweet this hard pill to swallow.)

3. Ask around

Talking about salaries within a company is often frowned upon and may even be prohibited by your employer. But there’s a growing movement toward salary transparency, which can ultimately benefit employees. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your coworkers what they’re making, talk to contacts in your industry to find out what’s typical in your field.

4. Take your company’s financial standing into account

You may know your company is going through a dry spell financially, or perhaps it’s going on its third year of record sales. Your salary will probably be affected by your company’s finances.

If business is slow, you may not get a raise for a few years, and you have to decide if you value the job enough to stick it out. If business is going well, but you’re still not getting a raise or you’re not being paid what you feel you deserve, it may be time to demand more — or move on.

5. Realistically calculate your fair-market value

Averages aside, what you’re worth is a personal thing. Employers take into account your educational background, your past experiences, your accomplishments (awards and recognitions) and additional training you’ve received.

Your salary will be commensurate with your skills and accomplishments, so be realistic about what those are. Someone in your position may be making $5,000 more, but the truth is, they may deserve more.

What to do when you deserve more

After doing your background research, you may have determined you’re not getting paid (or offered) as much as you deserve. Luckily, with the knowledge you’ve acquired during your research, you should be equipped to discuss salary negotiations with your current or potential employer. Here’s what to keep in mind when asking for more money:

  • Know exactly what you want
  • Ask politely — don’t make angry demands
  • Back your request up with facts and statistics
  • Prove that you deserve it through the quality of your work

Have you used any of these tactics during salary negotiations, or do you have additional ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Michelle Kruse has over 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At ResumeEdge, Michelle recruits and hires resume writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships, and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.

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4 Things Recruiters Will Never Tell You (That Dramatically Affect Your Job Search) http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/29/4-things-recruiters-will-never-tell-dramatically-affect-job-search/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/29/4-things-recruiters-will-never-tell-dramatically-affect-job-search/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17431 A recruiter can be an ally in your job search, but only if you know how they work. And what they don’t say is more important than what they do.

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You may believe job recruiters are your ally, there to help you land the career of your dreams. While recruiters do come with many positives, it’s important to understand their motives — namely, how their end goal differs from yours.

The recruiter is beholden to the client; their most important task is helping clients find the best talent. (Click here to tweet this thought.) If you don’t play your cards right and tailor your relationship to this need, you may miss out on a great opportunity.

If you find yourself in the position of working with a recruiter during your job search, be aware of the gray areas, understand how they work and know what you can do to optimize the relationship. Understanding these basic elements of their job can help you to land a job of your own.

Here are a few things recruiters probably won’t tell you:

1. “I care more about my client than your job search”

Recruiters have a job to do. Like you, they have to work for their bosses. To understand recruiters better, know the difference between contingency recruiters and retained recruiters.

Contingency is a service performed by a recruitment company for free until the day a candidate represented by them takes a position with their client. Recruiters working on this basis may have to compete with the client’s internal HR department, direct applicants and other recruitment companies.

Retained recruiters operate on an exclusive basis — the job will only be filled through this recruitment company. These recruiters work closely with their client, take their time and use an agreed upon system to find the best person for the job. The process is usually rigorous, with a number of names being presented to a client before the interview.

Tip: Approach recruiters according to how they work, not how you work. Contingency recruiters will throw your resume against any position to see where it sticks. Retainer recruiters will only introduce you if you’re a perfect fit.

2. “I’m not going to do all the work for you”

A recruiter doesn’t want to sit down with anyone unless they’re appropriate for a job. They want to help you, but they may not be able to help every job seeker. While this may come across as a lack of transparency or honesty, their lack of follow through is often because they’re busy.

Tip: Manage your expectations. While recruiters can counsel you on some areas of the job search, you have to do most of the hustling.

Follow the recruiter’s lead in terms of timing, materials they need and appropriate times to follow up. In the end, it’s up to you to be proactive and cast a wide net. You can also help recruiters by referring good people. This can go a long way: They may be more likely to keep you in mind for an opportunity down the road if you help them with valuable referrals.

3. “I’m not your career counselor”

Recruiters can offer you advice, but they have an obligation to work on behalf of their paying client. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek some guidance. On the contrary, you should talk to recruiters since they can offer perspective on the job search.

Just don’t expect them to sit down with you every night to tailor your resume, work on your interviewing skills or show you how to dress for a meeting.

Tip: Talking to a recruiter can be as valuable as talking to a business contact, college peer or HR representative. For example, if you come to your meeting with two or three specific questions, you’ll be able to gain some valuable advice, which can positively contribute to your candidacy.

4. “I’m looking for a needle in a haystack”

Recruiters are looking for a needle in the haystack. When it comes down to it, they can “look” at someone and tell if they’ll be a strong fit by looking through traits such as personality, interests and values.

For example, if the client has a lot employees with an interest in sports, and someone with zero athletic appreciation shows up, they’re not likely to be a cultural fit. The recruiter’s client may be looking for something specific, and it’s their job to find that key employee.

Tip: Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and what you can do to fix them. It’s OK to ask the recruiter if you come across as nervous, unprepared or knowledgeable. They’ll be more honest if you’re aware of what you lack and bluntly ask about certain elements. Be honest with yourself about what element of the hiring process you might have fumbled, so you can drill down your problem areas.

Recruiters have a job to do, plain and simple. You should never take anything they do personally. Instead, work with them to optimize your candidacy while creating the best outcome for everyone.

Have you worked with a recruiter before? What tips would you add?

Skiddy von Stade is the founder and CEO of OneWire, the premier destination for employers to connect with high quality finance talent. Connect with Skiddy and OneWire on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Accepted into Top MBA Programs http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/26/increase-chances-getting-accepted-top-mba-programs/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/26/increase-chances-getting-accepted-top-mba-programs/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17469 Should you head straight to an MBA program after you graduate or should you try to get a few years of work experience first?

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Ah, the call of the MBA. In today’s work world, even new professionals who are still huffing and puffing up the proverbial ladder have their sights set on business school. After all, earning an MBA degree is a surefire way to increase your salary, boost your credibility and prove your commitment to your career. Oh and let’s not forget about that whole job security thing — did you know 95 percent of Class of 2013 MBA grads were employed by September 2013?

But before you run out to drop several thousands of dollars on your MBA degree, answer this question: What does your employment history look like?

Like it or not, you’ve gotta work to work it! And by that we mean you generally need solid work experience (anywhere from two to seven years) to be a considered a good candidate for admission to a top-notch program.

Here’s why you should consider working for a few years after college before you apply to business school.

You look better on paper to the admissions department

While having work experience isn’t 100 percent necessary, most experts we talked to stressed it’s definitely beneficial. If you head straight to an MBA program directly after undergrad, you might not get as much out of it — or have as much to bring to the table, either. (Click here to tweet this hard love.)

“Demonstrating personal maturity, business knowledge, management perspective and bottom-line impact distinguishes an MBA candidate beyond his or her academic credentials and standardized test scores,” says Dan Bauer, a graduate of the Harvard MBA program and CEO and the founder of The MBA Exchange.

Got that? It’s not just about your slick academic stats. Your real-world experience also determines whether or not you’re ready for MBA-level coursework.

It’s also helpful for schools to learn about you through the lens of the working world, rather than the classroom. “Recommendations from work supervisors who describe convincing examples of your tangible results and professionalism on the job are more relevant and convincing than feedback from a college professor who lacks business credentials,” Bauer says.

You’ll have better context for your coursework

Getting a few years of work experience under your belt will do more than impress the admissions reps. Understanding the ins and outs of the professional world can also be a huge benefit in interacting with your classmates and completing coursework.

“A student who worked as an analyst in an investment bank and a student who worked as a teacher or social worker have a variety of thoughts, perspectives, experiences and lessons that enrich each other,” says Stephanie Klein Wassink of AdmissionsCheckup.com. Learning from your classmates — and teaching them — is an integral part of earning that sought-after MBA.

Having spent some time on the job can actually help you in your classes. “Work experience makes everything you learn in class much more practical and useful because you can filter it through your own experiences,” says Miro Kazakoff, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “There’s no way to fully understand the impact of what you are studying in class without having spent some time in a workplace.”

How to sell yourself if you’re light on work experience

So what should you do if you’re a little inexperienced, but you still think you’re MBA material? Luckily, all hope is not lost for you — or your application.

“Students who do not have work experience must make the case that they have a lot of information to impart,” says Stephanie Klein Wassink. “The student must explicitly lay out the case for the need to get the degree before they have work experience. It must be believable and in sync with the rest of the student’s application and experiences.”

So whether you have a resume a mile long or are still a starry-eyed undergraduate dreaming of board rooms and conference calls, you always have options for your path to an MBA. Just make sure those options include realistic expectations for how your work history might ultimately affect your admissions chances.

Carrie Murphy is a freelance writer living in New Mexico.

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What You Need to Know About Social Media Privacy at Work http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/25/need-know-social-media-privacy-work/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/25/need-know-social-media-privacy-work/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17409 Do you use Facebook or Twitter? Even if you don’t tweet or update your status from the office, some employers are legally allowed to fire you for what you post -- anywhere.

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The good news: Lawmakers are setting boundaries when it comes to how far employers can pry into their workers’ social (media) lives.

The bad news: We still have a long way to go in the privacy wars — and there are plenty of minefields you can fall into if you’re not careful with your online presence.

As TLNT.com reports, Rhode Island recently passed laws prohibiting employers from asking employees for certain personal social media information. This includes disclosing passwords, changing their privacy settings and divulging content they’ve shared. The laws also prevent employers from taking action against employees who refuse to do these things.

This may seem like common sense legislation to you — what employees do under the privacy of their own social media settings should be none of employers’ business, right? As long as your Facebook feed is set to “friends only” and your bosses don’t know your Twitter handle, you should be covered… right?

Maybe, but Rhode Island is only the fifth state to enact such laws. Other states have proposals in the works, but they’re still under review. Which means if you work in the other 45 states, your personal online conduct may fall into a gray area that could be cause for your dismissal (or cause an employer not to hire you to begin with).

Even the states that do have legislation governing how much employers can snoop make certain exceptions “that allow employers to protect their legitimate business interests.” What exactly does this mean? That’s up for debate — and broad interpretation:

Almost all states’ social media password laws allow the employer access to an employee’s social media account as part of an investigation. There are few, if any, limits on what the investigation is about…

…Note the information does not actually have to be related to the investigation; the employer just has to “reasonably believe” it is. Courts would apply an objective “reasonable employer” standard, as opposed to a manager who just wants to stalk people. But as a practical matter, courts usually give employers wide discretion to investigate employee misconduct, and to define what constitutes misconduct.

– HR Examiner, How Employers Can Still See Employee Social Media Accounts

As Aliah Wright, author of  A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites told American Express Open Forum, “employees can be held responsible for the things they publish online — even if they are at home on their own time and they think only their closest friends will see what they’ve published.”

So, in a world where the line between personal and professional identity online is already blurry, what can you do to protect yourself (and your career) from potential fallout?

Know your rights

If an employer (or potential employer) is asking you for personal online information you don’t feel comfortable providing, it’s within your rights to check your state laws. Some states prohibit employers for asking for especially sensitive information like your passwords or specific content, while others take a broader approach and also prohibit requests for your social media usernames

For information on your rights, check out this guide to current legislation by state to see which bills have been passed and which are under consideration.

Know your company’s policy

Some companies have specific social media policies that outline what’s considered appropriate and inappropriate social media behavior. Read up on what your company expects; if they see you as a brand ambassador even when you’re using a personal handle, you’ll need to take that into account.

In addition, if your company has a policy against using social media (or the Internet in general) for personal reasons during working hours, anything you do or say on company time and on company equipment may be liable to a search, so your best bet is playing it safe and holding off on the status updates until you get home.

Be smart about it

Avoid disparaging remarks about your company, boss or colleagues on social media. Double-check your privacy settings. Stop and think before you post that potentially compromising party pic.

Regardless of whether your employer can see what you’re doing online, everyone else can, and you owe it to yourself to present a personal brand that’s got it together.

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is the Editor-in-Chief of All Things Career. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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Networking in Dallas: 7 Events for Creating Meaningful Professional Relationships http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/25/networking-dallas-7-events-creating-meaningful-professional-relationships/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/25/networking-dallas-7-events-creating-meaningful-professional-relationships/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17404 Check out our round-up of networking events in Dallas that can help you meet other local young professionals, entrepreneurs and go-getters.

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Advancing your career as a new grad, startup founder or mid-level professional means you have to put yourself out there and start connecting with the right people. But how exactly?

Dallas, Texas, has a large population. But because the city is spread out, it can be hard to go outside your circle of connections to find your footing professionally. Read on for some of the best local networking events to get your career headed in the right direction.

1. The Dallas Entrepreneur Center

Founded in 2013, the DEC is focused on supporting local startup founders, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Their collaborative community of experts, investment groups and thought leaders will help you make the right connections to get your business dreams off the ground.

2. Dallas Business Journal Events

With everything from a Writing Workshop to a Women in Business Luncheon to an Entrepreneurs Connect Conference, the Dallas Business Journal offers a wide variety of networking events for any professional.

No matter what your budget or career field, there’s bound to be an event perfect for your interests.

3. Network After Work

Ready to ditch the cubicle to enjoy some fun and food with other professionals? Network After Work is a national social and business networking event with over 500,000 members.

Each month the group hosts a session at various cafes and restaurants where you can show off your name and brand.

4. Career Networking Groups DFW

The goal of CareerDFW is to provide access to a large number of job, networking and professional opportunities, specifically for those who are unemployed or underemployed. Check out their calendar for a complete list of weekly and monthly events to help further your career.

5. Social Media Club Dallas

The SMC is one of this area’s leaders in digital marketing. Each month they host an event focused on social media, marketing and current events.

If you’re in this field, or hope to be, joining this club will introduce you to a large number of opportunities. And I can personally say their team is welcoming and nice to interact with.

6. NetParty – Young Professionals Network

Known for their unique mix of business and social networking, NetParty caters to younger professionals looking for hip events and opportunities to connect with influential brands.

Get updates on future meetups or follow them on Twitter at @NetPartyDallas for the latest info.

7. CareerConnection

Whether you’re looking for job leads or support during your job search process, CareerConnection members and faculty can help. Every Tuesday, they offer General Session Workshops where they reveal jobs that aren’t yet publicly available, while enabling you to make valuable connections that lead to new job opportunities.

Bonus: DFW Bars for Professionals

Those of us who live in Dallas know the city likes to work hard and play hard. So why not mix the two a bit? CBS DFW offers a fun list of the best bars that also cater to networking, so you can relax and have fun while interacting with some of area’s best professionals.

Carrie Smith, a Texas native, is a financial writer who recently quit her accounting job to pursue full-time entrepreneurship. She believes there’s nothing more powerful than a real-life connection.

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How to Use Buffer to Automate Your Job Search http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/24/use-buffer-automate-job-search/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/24/use-buffer-automate-job-search/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17394 Buffer isn’t just a tool for managing your social networks -- it can help you find a job, too. Here’s how to automate your job search.

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You know Buffer helps you manage social networks by providing a way to schedule posts to Twitter and Facebook. It allows you to be more productive, spend less time on social media and get improved results and engagement.

But what about using it for your job search? Looking for a new job can be time-consuming, but using Buffer to automate part of your job search can be powerful, allowing you to increase your chances of landing a job while decreasing time spent searching.

Here are five steps to using Buffer to automate your job search.

1. Use Buffer to automatically connect a potential customer with your target employer

Use Twitter’s search functions to locate potential customers for your target employer. For example, let’s say you wanted to work for Crocs. You could enter the terms “shoe recommendation” or “*can someone* crocs.”

That search is a good baseline of potential customers. Craft a tweet in Buffer. An example would be “@potentialcustomer You should check out @Crocs Yukon Flips. I have a pair and they’re amazing.”

Crocs will surely notice you’re already helping them sell and you’re not on the payroll. You show you can sell socially. Plus, you can leverage this action into further scaling your pursuit to work for them.

2.Use Buffer to introduce valuable potential partners to your target employer

Those introductions add value. Spend some time coming up with potential people in your network you could introduce to each other. Of course, you’d want to get permission from both sides through email. Twitter is more informal, and an introduction on the platform between parties is a widely accepted practice.

An example could be this: Your target employer is Storefront. You have some ideas on how they can work with Etsy or Shopify to make more money. Use Buffer to schedule this tweet, “@storefront You guys are awesome! You should connect with @marketingguy for @Etsy. I can see amazing things from this.”

Boom. A connection is made. Most likely these people or companies will thank you and interact with each other. There may be gold for those companies based on your introduction.

They’ll remember you for that. That gives you value because it’s a sign that if you worked for one of those companies, you have the savviness for business development and can help grow their business through ideas and partnerships. (Click here to tweet this thought.)

3. Use Buffer to share blog posts with analysis about specific aspect of your target employer’s business

Let’s say that your target employer was a company such as Breather (on demand relaxation spaces). Go through some pain spotting and write your ideas on your blog. You could write a blog post titled “3 Challenges that Breather May Have & How I Would Tackle Them.”

Start the blog post on a positive note and iterate everything the company is doing well and the reasons why you’re so bullish on their business. Then get into your pain spotting and talk about the challenges they may have and your solutions and ideas for them.

Use Buffer to schedule a tweet that looks something like this: “Will @Breather take over the world? My crazy analysis and ideas for them. (link here)”

Breather will most likely read your blog post and others in your network will share it. You can springboard this into further talks with them. Of course, this can be done for virtually any aspect of a business from sales or marketing to technical parts (like programming) of their operation.

4. Use Buffer to post a link about pain spotting on your target employer from Quora

This can be accomplished by either answering existing questions about a target employer on Quora or creating smart questions specific to a company. For example, you could ask, “What are three tactics that Otterbox should use to grow sales in North America?”

From this question, you can use that answer to give you further insight into a company. Oftentimes, you can get company employees or others in the industry to provide answers. You can use this as intelligence for future correspondence. Finally, you provide answers to the question you asked and use Buffer to schedule those on Twitter.

5. Use Buffer to schedule tweets that help people in your network

If one of your friends or Twitter connections is an amazing graphic designer, you can introduce him/her to someone who needs his/her services. Use Buffer to schedule these tweets to save time. Each day look for three people in your network who you may be able to help.

Over time, those people will begin retweeting your posts and introduce you to others in your network. These recommendations can get you hired or give you new freelance opportunities you may not have received previously.

By implementing these steps, you can take an advanced approach to your job search through automation and creativity. This saves time, makes you more productive and illustrates impressive skills to potential employers.

Scott Balster is founder of EmployTown and specializes in helping job seekers connect creatively with awesome employers.

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This Skill is Often Overlooked — And It Can Make or Break Your Career http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/24/skill-often-overlooked-can-make-break-career/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/24/skill-often-overlooked-can-make-break-career/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17422 You can build up your resume, but without good listening skills it’s all wasted. Here’s how to rise above modern distractions to focus on what you hear — and make sure it sticks.

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Here’s a typical scene every time I go through a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through:

Me: One medium hot latte with skim milk

Crew: OK, would you like it hot or cold?

Me: Hot

Crew: Whole or skim milk?

Me: Skim milk

Every. Single. Time. And that’s just a single item order.

What happened to not fiddling with your phone while serving customers?

Are they even taking their summer job seriously? Yes, I know internships and summer jobs pay barely minimum wage but it’s not just about the money. Sadly, this realization is lost on so many employees.

Summer jobs and internships build up your “soft” skills, particularly listening and customer service — without which it would be very difficult for you to get a good job. It’s not just a concern for fresh graduates. Even tenured professionals will find it hard to advance their career if they’re bad listeners.

Why are so many employees poor listeners?

The art of listening and communicating effectively — sans the “indispensable” smartphone — is almost impossible for many people. It’s common for many to “multi-listen,” which means listening to someone talk while doing something else.

Sometimes, they’re listening to you talk while listening to music. Other times the conversation is interrupted by checking a notification or message from their phone.

The popularity of instant messaging apps and social networking sites doesn’t help either — there’s no need to pay attention to a speaker when there’s no real face-to-face conversation. Preoccupation and too much stimulation from games and the Internet is also a contributing factor.

I really hope everyone — from fresh graduates to tenured professional — will pay attention because listening is much more critical. The work history and accomplishments listed on their resume will be wasted if they don’t care enough to listen.

Here’s how to improve communication — especially listening — skills.

Choose someone you admire and really pay attention

Commit yourself to listening to someone you admire for the whole day. Don’t just hear; use all five senses to listen. Observe the speaker’s diction, body language and tone of voice. Pay attention to what this person says as well as what’s not said.

At the end of the day, try to recall as much as possible of what the person said, including non-verbal cues. The more you recall, the better your listening has improved. This listening and focus exercise will change bad habits like multi-listening and spacing out in the midst of a conversation.

Love TV? Good, use it to listen well

Select a news or informative program you love. Listen closely for 10 to 15 minutes then turn it off. Can you recall what you heard? This isn’t as easy as the first exercise because there could be multiple speakers in the program.

Turn it on again and repeat the whole exercise, this time make eye contact with one of the speakers on the show. This is a safer way to practice your listening and eye contact skills without giving people the creeps.

Don’t be prejudiced — meditate instead

Your brain stops paying attention to the talker once you start judging his appearance, mannerisms or statements. (Click here to tweet this fact.) Never dismiss someone as nagging, shallow, ill-informed, wrong or whatever label you please without hearing the end of their story.

If you really can’t resist giving in to your bias, do it after the talker finishes what he has to say.

Easier said than done, right? You can avoid this through meditating.

When people first try meditation, distracting and uninvited thoughts often pop-up in their head, while they’re desperately trying to keep it “still.” But it’s really impossible for novices to stop this barrage of thoughts, so just let the thoughts come and go, while continuing to focus on their breathing. Eventually the disturbing thoughts fade away, as the brain becomes attuned to stillness.

That’s similar to what you will do. But instead of focusing on your breathing, you’re going to focus on the talker.

So next time your brain clouds your judgment with snarky remarks, let those unwelcome thoughts drift away and continue listening to the talker. Do that repeatedly and eventually you’ll get used to listening to the whole story without butting in.

Listening is an underrated skill for people because they’re too focused on industry-related skills, not knowing that core skills like listening trump almost every skill there is. If nothing else, listening will make it easier for you to keep your job.

Commit to improve your listening skills now. Remember, getting fired because of poor listening makes for a bad reference.

Michelle Riklan is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Employment Interview Consultant (CEIC). She has written hundreds of resume and coached clients through all phases of the job search.

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How to Make Yourself an Irresistible Job Candidate for Your Dream Company http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/23/make-irresistible-job-candidate-dream-company/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/23/make-irresistible-job-candidate-dream-company/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17377 You’d give anything to land a job at your dream company, right? This is the strategy you need to make it happen without coming across as desperate.

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If you’re ambitious and passionate about your career, chances are you probably have a dream company you’d do anything to be a part of. Whether you’re on the job hunt, working in sales or a startup founder, you probably have one or two companies in mind you’re dying to talk to.

The following steps are some of the methods I’ve used to successfully develop relationships with companies in each of those roles.

1. Practice intentional networking

This is perhaps the most “obvious” way to get your foot in the door, but it’s still worth mentioning. Do you know anyone who works at your dream company or who used to work there? If you don’t, tackle this like a research project. LinkedIn is a great place to start.

Invite people to coffee. Buy them lunch. Get to know them. Tell them you’d love to learn more about their company. Show interest in their specific role in the company. And stay in touch!

A word to the wise: Remember networking should never be rushed. (Click here to tweet this quote.) Let people truly get to know you before you ask them to vouch for you. Trust me. The better they know you, the harder they’ll fight for you!

Above all, don’t look at people as a tool for your own devices and don’t view any specific meeting as a do-or-die conversation. Think of each person you meet as a long-term companion on the journey called your career.

2. Take advantage of every situation

If you work in business, you probably meet new people all the time. No matter the context or purpose of these meetings, always keep your dream company at the top of your mind. When people in your network ask if there’s anything they can do to help you, see if they have any connections to your dream company.

Make it your number one (and potentially only) thing you ask for. Chances are eventually someone will be able to give you an “in.”

3. Learn the inside workings of the company

Do everything you can to learn how your dream company operates. Talk to people who work there. Set up a Google alert so you’re notified every time the company is in the news. Read the company blog and follow them on social media.

Figure out their hiring process. Do they tend to hire friends of current employees? Sounds like it’s time to make some internal friends. Do they use an external hiring agency to screen candidates? Find out the name of the agency and introduce yourself.

If you’re approaching the company from a sales or entrepreneurial perspective, figure out who the decision makers are within the company. Those are the people you really need to meet.

4. Make yourself hard to resist

Chances are your dream company is a great place to work, which means that job openings might be few and far between. Just because they haven’t recently posted job openings on their site doesn’t mean they don’t need extra help — especially if the company is a startup or an early-stage company.

It sounds non-traditional, but in these cases you should consider volunteering for the company. Do some free writing. Show them how they can cut down their spending. Talk them up on social media. Offer them discounts, free trials or free work on your end. Figure out their needs and find a way to add value.

Give, give, give. Be open about the fact that you’d love to work there one day. When a job does open, companies are likely to hire someone whose work they already know and love.

5. Study how other people got there

How did other people get into the company? Are they hired out of a particular Masters program? Consider going back to school for a year or two to better position yourself.

Do they tend to recruit employees from one of their competitors? You should consider working for that competitor.

Does your dream company tend to hire employees based on years of experience and rigid requirements? Or are they more concerned about the quality of accomplishments and personality of candidates? Figure out who and how current employees were hired, then find a way to put yourself in the most “hirable” position.

Above all, when you’re trying to get your foot in the door of any company, remember that good things take time. Landing your dream job can take months or even years. Get to know people within the company. Build your reputation by being a star employee in your current job. And above all, develop an expertise and skill set that will make you a valuable asset to any company. I guarantee your dream company is looking an especially valuable employee — You.

Jody Porowski is the founder and CEO of Avelist, an online platform where you can find advice from friends and experts. Follow her on Twitter @jodyporowski and read more about her entrepreneurial journey at jodyporowski.com.

 

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5 Networking Tips That Will Make You Exponentially More Connected http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/22/5-networking-tips-will-make-exponentially-connected/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/22/5-networking-tips-will-make-exponentially-connected/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:00:02 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17417 You know you need to network. You’ve put yourself in a good situation to make connections. Now what? Here’s what.

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These tips will get what you need to help land a job — connections!

A huge amount of recruitment comes from referrals. So it makes perfect sense to focus your efforts on building business connections, and what better way to build business connections? You guessed it, networking!

1. Do not expect anything

Do not attend a networking event under the impression you will meet people who will immediately be able to help you, i.e. if your intention is to find a new job, do not expect someone to just give you one! The idea behind networking is to make relevant connections and if something comes from it — great!

It’s all about having good, honest business conversations with people in your industry — you never know, you may stumble across a great opportunity. (Click here to tweet this thought.) This brings us nicely to our next point. …

2. Don’t get to know the most people, get to know the right people

Define a successful networking event. Go on… what do you consider to be a successful networking event? Pockets full of business cards? Hundreds of new contacts?

Remember that networking isn’t about how many people you speak to; it’s about who you speak to. You should leave the event knowing that you have made a lasting impression on a handful of people; similarly a handful of people should have made a lasting impression on you.

Circling the crowd is a great idea, however, you need to remember that you have only a limited amount of time to get your message across (and listen to the messages of others).

You cannot network successfully without giving something back. In order for people to help you, you’re probably going to need to help them.

Think of networking as a two-way street — you need to form mutual relationships with the people you meet. In this case, you may want to focus on how your skills, qualifications, expertise, glowing personality, wit and charm can help a business grow.

But remember not to make it all about you, you, you. People love to talk about themselves, so give them the opportunity. Be sure to ask questions about them, their careers, their business, and to engage fully in conversation.

3. Have a business card to share

Attending a networking event without a handful of business cards is by far one of the biggest mistakes you can make. If you network successfully, people will want to contact you.

I think it is a great idea to include the URL to your LinkedIn profile on your business card. It gives people the opportunity to check you out online. Not only this, you will be able to see that someone has viewed your profile, one of the many perks of LinkedIn, and you can then connect with them.

If you have a conversation with someone you feel could be beneficial to you, be sure to not only hand them your business card, but to request one of theirs.

4. Do not regard anyone as irrelevant

At a networking event you never know who knows who, so only a fool would regard others as irrelevant or of no use. Not only is it rude not to make the effort, word will likely get out that you’re a bit foolish.

In some cases, the most unlikely of people are the ones who can help the most. Be friendly, real and pleasant to everyone.

5. Do not get drunk!

Honestly, I would strongly recommend that you do not drink — not even a drop! Although it may help calm your nerves (especially if it’s your first event), drinking can be perceived as unprofessional.

Once you have plucked up the courage to speak to one person and the conversation starts to flow, your nerves will calm themselves.

Some of these tips may appear a little obvious, but you would be surprised how many people make simple mistakes that prevent them from networking effectively. Use these tips and focus on building good, honest business connections. If you can do this successfully at your next event, a job could be on the horizon.

Jessica O’Donnell is a well-known blogger of all things career and recruitment related. Currently working at Frazer John Recruitment, Jess contributes to their blog on a regular basis offering great career tips and advice for all those looking to move forward in their careers.

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Nonprofit Jobs: How New Grads Can Get Hired in This Fast-Growing Industry http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/22/nonprofit-jobs-new-grads-can-get-hired-fast-growing-industry/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/22/nonprofit-jobs-new-grads-can-get-hired-fast-growing-industry/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17365 Want a fulfilling, stable job you’re passionate about? Then stop looking for corporate jobs, and look at this industry instead.

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This is it, Class of 2014. You’ve earned your diploma and walked away from college with your head held high, entertaining thoughts of moving to a big city and finding your dream job. But as the reality of the post-graduate job market sets in, you might find yourself becoming impatient and discouraged, especially after two months of diligently searching for a position that puts your degree to use and coming up empty.

The post-graduate job market can be frustrating, leading to one dead end after another. It’s unsettling that unemployment affects 8.5 percent of college graduates between ages 21 and 25, which is much higher than the national average. It’s even more unsettling that 44 percent of your peers are employed in a position that does not require a degree. (Click here to tweet this statistic.) What was the point of getting one if it’s not going to be of any use?

Are you looking for jobs in the wrong places?

Enough with the doom and gloom, because there is hope – in a place you may not have even considered. Graduates often overlook this sector, even though it’s a viable source for fulfilling, stable careers.

The nonprofit sector is the third largest and fastest growing sector in the country and has experienced three consecutive years of growth during the recession. In Nonprofit HR’s 2014 survey on nonprofit employment practices, 45 percent of respondents across the entire sector indicated intent to hire new staff next year. Positions are as diverse as international affairs and arts and culture. Nonprofits offer something for everyone.

This sector also aligns with the evolving career needs of your generation. According to a 2012 Pricewaterhouse Cooper study, 65 percent of graduates said that making a positive impact was more important to them than making money. If you value promoting social good and want to make a career out of your passion, a nonprofit could be the right fit for you.

How to jumpstart your nonprofit career search

If you’re ready to seek employment in the nonprofit sector, you can jumpstart your career search in several ways. Begin by looking into local nonprofits to determine which organizations near you pique your interest.

Next, take advantage of networking opportunities. Most nonprofit professionals are happy to conduct informational interviews for those curious about the industry. Don’t be shy! These interviews are an excellent way to make industry contacts and learn about open positions in a low-pressure setting.

Volunteering with your favorite nonprofit can also help you figure out if a certain organization is a good fit for you. Through volunteer work, you’ll gain a better sense of how the organization functions and where their resources come from. They’ll also get to know you and your work ethic. Serving on a volunteer organization’s board is another route to gaining experience in the nonprofit sector. While you may take on more responsibility in this position, board service allows you to get acquainted with the business of running a nonprofit, all while making high-level networking connections.

If you’re curious about other opportunities, there are plenty of online resources to help pinpoint your ideal job. Websites like IdealistCommon Good Careers and Nonprofit Opportunities are all good places to watch for job postings. After finding an open position you’re interested in, convey why you’re passionate about that organization in your cover letter.  Nonprofits look for candidates who are well-informed and truly believe in their cause.

So don’t move back to mom and dad’s basement just yet, recent grads. With a little creativity and the willingness to look beyond the private sector, finding meaningful work that also pay the bills is easily within reach.

Lisa Brown Morton is the President and CEO of Nonprofit HR, the only human resources firm in the country focused exclusively on nonprofit organizations. Lisa has worked with some of the most prominent nonprofits in the country, from Amnesty International to the Aspen Institute, and is a vocal advocate for the advancement of the nonprofit sector.

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Startup Advice: 3 Financial Tips for Long-Term Success http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/19/startup-advice-3-financial-tips-long-term-success/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/19/startup-advice-3-financial-tips-long-term-success/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17389 Running a successful startup isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t excel. Here are three financial tips to startup success.

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You’ve decided to turn your great startup idea into a reality, congratulations! As you prepare to give yourself over to the life of an entrepreneur, some of the biggest challenges you’ll need to prepare for are the financial ones. And not just how to get your great idea up and running — how to transform it into a successful company.

Between crowdfunding sites, startup accelerators, investor meetings and good old fashioned bootstrapping, you have a number of ways to successfully launch your product or services to the public.

But what about ensuring you can launch a company with the ability to survive long-term? The truth is, many great ideas fizzle out because funds are lacking, and lesser ideas succeed because the people behind them demonstrated the right know-how when it came to navigating the financial realities of entrepreneurial life.

Consider the next three tips as you prepare to seek investments and secure the funds needed to compete in the competitive startup landscape. Do so and you’ll give yourself the best chance at long-term success.

1. Don’t overestimate the value of your startup

Enough startups make million, even billion dollar headlines that it’s tempting for first-time entrepreneurs to seek more money than the company is actually worth. If a simple messaging app like Yo can raise a cool 1.5 million in a short few months with an estimated valuation somewhere between $6-10 million, it’s understandable to think your venture could too.

But while Yo might have been the sleeper hit of the summer, it’s now challenged to prove it’s worth that much, and if its founders don’t wisely distribute that investment, it has as much of a chance at failure as any other startup.

Seek what you need, use it wisely, continue demonstrating your worth and you’ll be able to secure the money you need to become profitable. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

2. Let investors in on your financial plans

Many entrepreneurs seek out investors to kick start their companies. The most important thing to an investor is understanding how they’ll see a return on their investment. In these meetings it’s critical to share your financial predictions and strategies so they have a clear understanding of how you plan to enter and grow in your desired market.

You can use a number of online tools to assist with estimating the worth of your company and how much funding is needed for its ongoing success. Remember, investors hear pitches like yours for a living, and financial savvy is a big indicator you and your team are prepared to overcome typical startup hurdles. If you can do that, they’ll be more likely to open their wallets.

3. Learn from other successful companies

Fortunately, for beginning entrepreneurs, other companies have done what they’re setting out to do and have done it successfully. If you look closely at the origins of companies like Facebook or AirBnB, you’ll see they started out modestly and smartly when it came to finances.

Facebook began with half a million dollars in angel investment and went on to IPO with a valuation of $104 billion. AirBnB used its $20K from startup accelerator Y Combinator to turn itself into a company now valued at around $2.5 billion.

With a little research, it’s easy to follow the trajectories of these companies and see how finances played into their ability to allocate funds to embed themselves into the marketplace. There’s much to be learned from the history of the companies able to make their great ideas into reality.

Many factors can affect the overall success of a startup, but financials are the most critical. Even the best ideas can’t be sustained without the financial savvy to know where to seek funds, how to allocate them and make accurate predictions that’ll guide your company to long-term success.

Paul Jackson is the founder of Worthworm.

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How Your Password Can Radically Change Your Life http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/18/password-can-radically-change-life/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/18/password-can-radically-change-life/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17383 Repeating a phrase can be a powerful way to change your life. But could changing your password so it reflects that same phrase be just as effective at improving your life?

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Don’t tell Oprah, but we’re onto an awesome new way to take control of your life. And it’s as easy as taking advantage of something you do every day.

recent post on TODAY Health has been making the Internet rounds and caught our attention as a great way to keep yourself on track with your big goals and dreams. In it, the author discusses how he used his company’s mandatory monthly password changes to do some serious self-motivation.

It’s incredibly easy and has the power to transform your daily habits, all with a few simple keystrokes.

How it works

The post’s author, Mauricio Estrella, worked for a company where the Microsoft Exchange server prompted employees to change their passwords every 30 days. You probably know the drill when it comes to the guidelines — passwords had to contain “at least one lowercase alphabetic character, at least one symbol and at least one number,” etc. We’ve all had to do it, and we’ve all found it highly annoying. What’s more is that he had to enter this new password throughout the day — whenever his screen saver came up, he’d have to re-enter his password to unlock his computer.

But rather than fume over the inconvenience of having to go through this every month, Estrella decided to seize the opportunity to “regain control of his life.”

At the time, he was dealing with a tough divorce, feeling depressed and resentful. So he chose to create a password that would act as a positive mantra, reminding him he was in control of his life and had the power to make things better. His new password? “Forgive@h3r” — a password designed to remind himself to let go of hard feelings towards his ex-wife. Every time he typed this into his computer, he reports, “the healing effect of it came back almost immediately.”

After that, he chose a new password every 30 days that corresponded with his goals at that time: “Quit@smoking4ever,” “Save4trip@thailand,” “Sleep@before 12,” etc. The results have been life-changing. Since starting his password experiment two years ago, Estrella has quit smoking, improved his health habits and has even fallen in love again.

What have your passwords done for you lately?

How to make it work for you

Can this digital version of a Post-It note on your monitor help you make some big life changes? Estrella thinks so, and here are some tips he offers to make it effective:

Turn it into a mantra. Don’t let yourself fall into the habit of mindlessly typing in your password; really pause to consider it each time. Every time Estrella typed in “Forgive@h3r,” he repeated the mantra “forgive her” in his head to drive the meaning home.

Change that mantra as needed. When “forgive her” started to lose its impact, Estrella changed the mantra to “I forgive her.” This kept things fresh over the course of the 30 days he had the password.

Be safe. Don’t forget to keep online security in mind; this may be a life hack, but it’s still a password. Even if your password requirements don’t specifically say so, try to scramble your password with things like symbols and numbers to make it secure.

What password mantra would you choose for yourself?

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is the Editor-in-Chief of All Things Career. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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Get Noticed at a New Job: How to Ditch the Guppies and Swim with the Sharks http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/18/get-noticed-new-job-ditch-guppies-swim-sharks/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/18/get-noticed-new-job-ditch-guppies-swim-sharks/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17369 Jumpstart your journey from dark entry-level cubicle to sunny corner office starting on day one at your new job.

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You managed to land a coveted entry-level job at a Fortune 100 company. Congratulations! You’re now just another guppy floundering in an ocean teeming with sharks.

It’s the first day on the job and you’re full of excitement in anticipation of the wondrous future that awaits you. As you make your way to the battleship grey cubicle that will soon become your second home, you pass at least a hundred other associates. Suddenly feeling insignificant you worry, “With this much competition, it will take years to reach manager level and start making some decent money.”

Ah young Jedi, you must learn patience and allow those that came before you to shine first.

No, no. That is absolutely not true!

Use some (or for faster results… ALL) of the following suggestions and you can make manager, or at least first-level supervisor, in a year! Two at most.

1. Look for inefficiencies

Develop roving eyes. Not for the office hottie. Look for odd tasks (in addition to your job description duties) others are doing. Figure out how to do it better. Then ask to take over and introduce your own efficiencies.

I once saw a guy spend three hours a day, every day, at the copier. He was making copies of credit card transactions, one slip at a time. I asked why he didn’t copy a few dozen at once to save paper, toner and time. He basically said, “I dunno.” Anybody else would have walked away thinking, “Whatever.” But I saw an opportunity and pounced.

Without sounding accusatory, I mentioned to the supervisor that we could save a good two and half hours a day (and a few trees) doing it differently. I offered to take over. Boom! Just like that, I made it known I could discover areas for improvement and introduce money-saving efficiencies. It was a simple, but noticeable change.

2. Push and shove

Not literally of course. You don’t want to be known as the office bully.

Learn to be assertive without being aggressive as you advance to the front of the pack. Listen and watch for opportunities to volunteer your services and talents. Supervisors are often given projects they in turn pawn off — I mean delegate — to their underlings (newbies like you.)

This is when you want to raise your hand high and yell, “Ooh, ooh I’ll do it!” Yes, you will look like a butt kisser, but it works.

3. Over-deliver

As you work on the project you so eagerly volunteered for, don’t just turn in the minimum required amount of work. (Click here to tweet these words of wisdom.) Give the report or activity extra effort. Go above and beyond.

As an example, when I was working at a mega telecommunications company, one of my supervisors volunteered to chair the annual Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony. Knowing this would be a company-wide celebration and a perfect opportunity to get noticed, I offered my services.

While the other helpers were working on decorations and food (snooze), I tracked down several employees to interview during a stage presentation. They gave their personal experiences and memories of the day Dr. King was assassinated. It was a moving and memorable gathering.

That project single handedly propelled me to the top of the heap of rookies. The President and Vice Presidents of the company were in attendance. Not only did my department supervisors, managers and Executive Director learn my name, but all the top dogs suddenly knew me.

About a month or two after that shining moment, an opportunity opened up for advancement working directly under a prominent VP. The VP remembered my name from the MLK presentation and asked to interview me himself!

I got the job, plus a rare three-grade level advancement with a whopping pay increase!

4. Aim high

Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon. It’s unlikely huge promotions will land in your lap without some major effort. While others shy away from extra duties or run for hills when they see a complicated sounding job posting, you strike with high hopes and confidence leaving the guppies in your wake.

No Einstein moves needed

Don’t feel you need to come up with earth shattering, genius moves to catapult yourself to the top. Simple, but noticeable actions will take you from floating with the guppies to swimming with the sharks.

Sylvia Talo, aka Business Plan Mentor, is a freelance business writing specialist who uses her years in the corporate world and experience as a business owner to help aspiring careerists and business owners succeed.

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Take Your Networking Skills from “Meh” to Pro With This Killer Strategy http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/17/take-networking-skills-meh-pro-killer-strategy/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/17/take-networking-skills-meh-pro-killer-strategy/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17398 What’s your networking strategy? Wait, you don’t don’t have one? That might explain why your network sucks.

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Networking as a job search strategy creates a great deal of angst. For many, it’s just plain uncomfortable to introduce yourself to strangers and strike up conversations in the hopes of uncovering job leads.

But that’s putting the horse before the cart. The first hurdle is simply finding new people to add to your network, according to job seekers who participated in a Lee Hecht Harrison online poll. Thirty-one percent of survey respondents said identifying networking partners was their greatest challenge.

The “why” behind networking

Finding the right networking partners is critical. Most job openings are never advertised or posted, which means tapping your network is an essential strategy to uncover hidden opportunities.

Hiring managers and recruiters prefer to work with people who have been referred by someone they trust. Your network is key to getting you introductions and referrals that will separate you from the “unknown” candidates.

Members of your personal and professional networks — including business associates, colleagues, former coworkers, vendors, managers, friends and close acquaintances — make up a community where you’re known. (Click here to tweet this thought.) These people may already be advocates of your work. You may share interests. This can easily be expanded to conversations about careers and business needs.

Your network connections are often willing to introduce you to people in their own networks, thereby providing an opportunity to broaden your reach and build a bigger community. As your network expands, more opportunities present themselves to initiate new contacts with a referral. A larger network increases the likelihood of gaining a meeting and eliminates the need to rely on less productive cold calls.

The “how” is just as important as the “who”

While finding networking partners was the number one obstacle, job seekers struggle in other areas that are crucial to their networking success. The LHH poll also found that 25 percent of job seekers don’t have a clear networking strategy. Going into any networking meeting without a plan and defined goals usually won’t secure any job leads.

Networking is not a one-way street. Remember that networking is about establishing new relationships, strengthening existing relationships and sharing information. It’s two-way communication that’s mutually enlightening and beneficial to both parties.

Prepare for your next networking meeting or event. Conduct online research on attendees to help uncover common interests. Know what questions you want to ask and practice answering the question, “What do you do?”

A few tips to take your networking to the next level

With a little coaching and guidance, any reluctant networker can be turned into a pro.

  • Be proactive. Don’t wait until you’re looking for a job to connect with your network. It should be part of a proactive career management strategy. Devote time to nurturing a strong career network of contacts. Be ready to offer assistance, share articles and professional insights, participate in groups and attend professional meetings.
  • Engage in discovery. Seek out new networking contacts. LinkedIn can be incredibly helpful in finding new connections. But don’t rely solely on social networks. Be active in professional associations and/or industry groups. People hire people they know, so it’s important to make potential networking contacts in person at live events.
  • Have a plan. Identify targeted companies and the competencies and experience you want to promote. This will help you focus on the right networking activities and conversations.
  • Connect. Use your referral’s name up front: “Richard Smith thought you’d be a great resource for me as I explore career opportunities in the financial services industry.” Ask if you could discuss your targeted companies, probing for others that should be included and for names of possible contacts.
  • Build your networking confidence. Practice networking at a variety of events. Arrive early — it’s easier to initiate one-on-one conversations during the first 10 minutes when the group is still small. Prepare open-ended questions to keep conversations going. Confidence is developed by becoming skilled; becoming skilled requires practice.

The key to networking success is found in making the time and always adding value to the conversation. This strategy is guaranteed to deliver job leads. Remember to start with a strategy, attend the right events and talk to the right people and keep practicing.

Greg Simpson is Senior Vice President, Career Transition Practice Leader for Lee Hecht Harrison. Greg is responsible for developing, disseminating and managing the direction of career transition services for LHH, the world’s largest outplacement firm.

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Is Your Dream Job in Faraway City? Here’s How to Relocate on a Budget http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/17/dream-job-faraway-city-heres-relocate-budget/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/17/dream-job-faraway-city-heres-relocate-budget/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17324 When taking the next step in your career means moving to a faraway city, don’t let the cost hold you back. Follow these tips to relocate affordably.

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You’ve just received an offer for what could be the job of a lifetime — but it’s in another city, far from everything you know. Or you’ve finally decided it’s time to make the next move in your career, but the bigger, better opportunities undeniably lie elsewhere.

So then comes the big question: Can you afford to move? Check out a few tips to bring your moving costs down — and bring yourself closer to taking that big step.

Plan ruthlessly

You’d be surprised to learn how many people pull up their roots and move to a new place without a serious plan. Moving can be a difficult enterprise with hidden costs, and it pays to not only have savings in the bank, but also a ruthless plan for where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

This applies not only to the basic moving logistics (transferring utilities, phone service, medical records and so on) but also to figuring out where you’ll move and when. Simply pulling up stakes and hoping for the best might be good enough when you’re fresh out of college, but if you’re a mid-level professional with more obligations, a solid plan will literally pay off in the long run.

Of course, this doesn’t just mean making a checklist of everything your move will require and drafting a budget (although you should still do that). It also helps to know what life will be like once you get where you’re going.

Planning ahead will be one of your most powerful tools to save money on your move.

Prioritize and compromise

Now is the time for the tough compromises. Cost of living includes more than rent and utilities; you’ll also need to consider taxes, transportation, schools and overall quality of life. Also, realize all cities are not created equal — either financially or in what they have to offer.

If the weather is significantly different than what you’re used to, are you equipped to handle it? Do you want to live in the center of a major urban area or in the suburbs? Will that new job cover all your new costs? What do the crime rates look like?

Even a rough estimate of what your new life might cost can help you save a bundle because it will inform the choices you make later on.

Study up

Before you pack your possessions and sell all your furniture, research your destination. Find the affordable neighborhoods in the area. If you’re moving to an expensive city, check out outlying neighborhoods or even neighboring towns you could live in, provided the commute won’t prove too painful.

Go beyond what you find online. If possible, talk to people who already live in area you’re thinking of relocating to and ask for their insight and advice. Fold these results into your research and look at the hard numbers. This raw data will help you take an objective look at whether you can afford to relocate.

Reduce your costs — and possessions

Now that your planning is done, it’s time to pull off flawless execution.

  • If you’re moving for business reasons, your move may be tax-deductible. Talk to your accountant or consult a professional, and keep your receipts!
  • If you’re a homeowner, find out if your homeowner’s insurance policy covers moving insurance. If not, work that into your budget.
  • Move at off-peak times, both in terms of the season (June, July and August are the most expensive months to move) and the day (weekends are more expensive than moving during the week.)
  • Pack yourself instead of paying movers to do it for you. Use luggage, towels and clothing where possible instead of purchasing or renting expensive packing materials. Forage for cardboard boxes instead of buying shipping containers.
  • Sell or give away everything that isn’t absolutely essential. Put the proceeds from those sales back into your moving fund. Be unforgiving. Anything without tangible utility or special sentimental value simply has to go.
  • Use up or consume all your perishable and frozen food or other consumables before your move. Who wants to lug boxes of canned goods around?

Relocation can be scary, work-intensive and most of all, costly. But passing up on a great opportunity because you couldn’t afford to move is a path to regret. Run the numbers. Be bold. Stick to the plan. You’ve got this. (Click here to tweet this bit of inspiration.)

Jon Russo is the CEO of Areavibes, a website focused on helping people find the best places to live. AreaVibes is able to provide useful information for people who are relocating or looking to conduct a quality assessment on their own area.

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5 Barriers to Starting Your Own Business — and How to Overcome Them http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/16/5-barriers-starting-business-overcome/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/16/5-barriers-starting-business-overcome/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17314 Want to have your own business? You might think these barriers stand in your way, but here’s how to get around them.

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Have you ever dragged yourself through a meeting at work, listened to your coworkers ramble about meaningless ideas and thought to yourself, “I’m done! I can’t wait to leave this place and start my own business!” Well, it’s likely you have according to a recent study by the University of Phoenix School of Business.

The study shows that nearly half of workers in their 20s and 30s want to own their own business someday. But a few common reasons keep people from taking the leap.

Whether it’s lack of knowledge or lack of funding, these barriers can prevent you from reaching your full potential as an entrepreneur. Here are some of the most common ones and how to push past them to get the career of your dreams.

You lack adequate finances

Maybe you have that one big idea. You know the one — it’s what you can’t stop thinking about every morning as you go about your hour-long commute. Maybe your idea is so big it needs investors to come to fruition or maybe it just needs the right developer, scientist or designer whose services are a bit over your budget.

Once you define your big idea, it’s time to discover where the money is and figure out how you can get your hands on it.

Shannon McLay, Founder & President of NextGen Financial says,

One of the best ways to finance your new business venture, especially if you are having difficulty obtaining bank or SBA loans, is through angel investors like friends and family. If you truly believe in your venture, then they should as well. If you don’t want to mix your personal and your business relationships, then there are a number of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter that you can access for funds.

You need more education or training to run a business

You’d be surprised how many people became accidental entrepreneurs. I’m one myself. Although there’s a lot of value in obtaining your MBA, mostly in terms of connections and networking, it’s definitely not a requirement for owning a business.

John Schmoll, who owns two businesses, Ink Harmony and Frugal Rules, explains:

If you’re waiting until you know everything about running a business, you’ll never do anything. You don’t need a business degree to run your own business. You do need to spend some time thinking through what skill, service or product you can sell or offer.

Plus, when you’re trying to gather funding or bootstrap your way to success, pricey degrees may not be the answer. As John further explained,

There’s an abundance of free information online about how to create a business plan and develop a marketing strategy. You can start there and answer basic, big picture questions like who your audience is, how you will reach them and why they need your product/service/skill.

Also, don’t forget that failure can be a great teacher. We don’t like to think about failure, but some of the most successful people on Earth used early failures to their advantage.

Jon Oringer, who is one of the youngest billionaires in the world, recently gave a speech where he described several business failures before hitting it big with Shutterstock. Don’t be afraid to fail. Know it’s a possibility and try to avoid it, but don’t be scared if it happens because you never know where it will lead.

You don’t have the time

It’s amazing how much time we’re capable of wasting every day. From getting lost on social media to lounging in front of the TV, we could all think of a handful of times in the last week where we could have been more productive. Despite this, 22 percent of people who want to own a business say a lack of time is stopping them.

Whether family commitments or exhaustion from full-time work is weighing on you, there are many ways to find those rare moments to work on your business idea.

Grayson Bell, a successful entrepreneur and owner of iMark Interactive explains:

Owning a business is not about “finding” time to make it successful. It is about managing the time you already have to be the most efficient.  While we may feel there isn’t enough time in the day, if you prioritize your tasks based on importance, then you can learn how to manage the time you have available.

You haven’t found the right idea or concept

Maybe you’ve always wanted to start a business, but you can’t come up with an idea for one. (Or annoyingly, some guy in the next state over had the same one!) Conversely, maybe you have too many ideas and don’t know which one to pursue.

If you’re having trouble creating ideas, try a new field, work on something that “bugs you,” talk to consumers to discover what they need or reinvent the wheel by making an existing product cheaper or more streamlined. (Click here to tweet this idea.)

If you have too many ideas, choose the one that gets you so excited you can’t sleep at night. Many people make the mistake of picking the idea that seems the most lucrative, but when it’s late at night and you’ve already put in 100 hours for the week, it’ll be easier to keep going if you’re working on something you’re truly passionate about.

You need to develop leadership skills

Leadership skills are acquired through experience, and Joe Saul-Sehy, co-host of the popular Stacking Benjamins podcast and former financial planner, echoed this sentiment when he told me,

I don’t believe that leadership skills are innate. Anyone can learn to be a good leader. How? First, create a vision that’s big enough for employees to share in the “win” and continuously show them the route to your combined success.

Even if you’re an experienced leader who wants to start a new venture but lacks the confidence, Joe suggests:

Sharpen your “leadership saw” by learning from the best of all time… such as Walt Disney, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Sam Walton and Warren Buffett. You have to carve out time to consistently practice. That’s how you’ll see your leadership skills develop.

Ultimately, the most significant barrier to starting your own business could be you. Remember, believe in yourself first and have an unending passion for your venture, and the support and funding will follow.

Carve out the necessary time to focus on your business ideas. Be kind and compassionate to others, continuously seek out new (and affordable) education and resources, and you’ll be surprised at how far you can go as an entrepreneur.

Have you ever wanted to start a business, but were met with one of the barriers listed above? What did you do to break through it?

Catherine Alford is a full time blogger, personal finance freelance writer, and mom of newborn twins. She writes about how to balance life and a budget all across the web including her own site, Budget Blonde.

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Startup Jobs: 8 Tips for Getting Hired by Your Dream Company http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/15/startup-jobs-8-tips-getting-hired-dream-company/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/15/startup-jobs-8-tips-getting-hired-dream-company/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17373 Are you interested in working for a startup? Good news: here are some tips on how you can go about landing your dream startup job.

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“Startup jobs” has 9,900 monthly searches, low competition, but it’s not easy to work it into a title.

Want a job at a startup? You’re a brave soul.

Think about it. Established companies have momentum: a well-known brand, existing customers, third- or fourth-generation products and resources. All of those benefit you. Applying for a job at an established company is like asking for a bag of cookies. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

You may need to prove you’re worth the bag of cookies, but you can be reasonably certain that if you do, you’ll at least get it.

Not so with startups. Nothing is certain. Momentum is rarer. Benefits and compensation are usually leaner. And chances are, future employers will look at your resume, point to the startup where you spent years toiling and scratch their heads.

Still interested? Good on you. With that in mind, here are some tips for getting a job at startups:

1.  Find your passion

If it’s something like “revolutionize the way people share memories,” then, as arrogant as that might seem, you’re on to something (arrogance being an occupational hazard at startups). You can’t cheat on this exercise, though, because startups are full of passionate people who can smell non-passionate ones blocks away.

Look for what you do with your free time, when nobody’s looking, and find a startup that’s congruent with that. If nothing comes to mind, a startup might not be your best call.  It’s just too bumpy a ride for anything other than the deeply committed.

2.  Find a startup that isn’t already hot

A startup being plastered all over the media is, you can bet, besieged by job seekers. But if you find a startup that isn’t hot yet, you have a chance of being the only person that week, or month, who asks for a job. And so out of the gate, you’ve communicated to the harried founder reading your email that you’re a trailblazer. That’s a fine start.

3. Look in the right place

Instead of using the press to find companies, look in places where companies aggregate before they’re written about. Online, a great place is on Angel List. Another is simply to look in the portfolio sections of the websites of venture capital firms. Even companies that have gotten Series A rounds — usually a sign that a company is getting somewhere — may still not be that well-known.

Remember, if this were easy, there would already be a line out the door.

4. Find the decision maker socially

It’s always best to wangle a look-see from somebody at the company because they’re doing a favor for a friend who knows you. Use LinkedIn, of course, but keep in mind that most LinkedIn connections are weak.

It’s more powerful to email all your friends with a list of companies you need to reach and see where they can get you. If that doesn’t work, drop an email to the company’s general email box. In the early days, that inbox gets read — a lot.

5. Get in touch

Once you’ve found the company and maybe the decision-maker, write a brief email. To a founder reading your email, nothing marks you as a clueless wretch more than a long-winded introductory email in the kind of language you can lift from a book. Shoot for three impactful, sincere sentences instead.

6. Lead with your most compelling information

Nothing that’s critical should be only in an attachment. As a tough trade-off with number five, don’t hide your light under the eighth bullet point of a pdf resume.  It’s nobody’s job at a startup to read resumes, so make sure the critical stuff is up front and obvious, and doesn’t require an extra click to read.

7. Check your work-life balance at the door

Startups aren’t about balance; they’re about somewhat crazy people doing something the world already considers somewhat crazy. For more sanity, look for a startup where the founders have kids, are somewhat older or where the company has been through a few rounds of funding. But it’s no guarantee.

8. Follow up

Founders are distracted. If you want to stand out, persevere — but gently. Instead of nagging, use follow-up emails to flesh out other aspects of your candidacy.

Good luck! There’s nothing like a startup job that fits.

Wade Lagrone is CEO & Co-Founder of RABBL, the world’s first social booking platform, and has worked at Yahoo!, E*TRADE, and startups ScanCafe, Zopa and Tribe.net.

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Last Year of College? Forget the Job Hunt and Start Freelancing Instead http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/15/last-year-college-forget-job-hunt-start-freelancing-instead/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/15/last-year-college-forget-job-hunt-start-freelancing-instead/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17346 Want to bring in cash during your job hunt and build up your resume? Then it’s time to launch your freelance hustle before you graduate.

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You have many good reasons to start your freelance career as soon as (or even before) you graduate college. Even if you’d prefer to work an office job or want to explore another type of traditional employment setting, think of how “running your own business” will look on your resume.

Plus, as you trudge through the tedious process of sending out applications and racking up interviews during your job hunt, a freelance hustle can help bring in cash. You may even discover you like the freelance life so much that you decide to stay there permanently! You’ll be in good company; as Business Insider reported last year, studies predict over 40 percent of the American workforce will be freelancing by 2020.

Of course, you don’t want to wait until 2020. You want your freelance career ready to go by graduation day! If your graduation date is in sight, take these seven steps to get your freelance career rolling before you walk the stage.

1. Hone in on your specialty

This might be the hardest step of starting your freelance career. You need to decide exactly what you want to specialize in.

Some of us were born to be freelance writers or photographers. For others — especially those who want to freelance to make a extra cash while looking for that dream job — it might be harder to decide which freelance route to pursue.

Think about your wide range of interests and talents. You could work online as a freelance writer, graphic designer or web developer. Or you might explore offline jobs like dog sitting or home organization. You could even become a dating coach!

You could work with high school seniors on their college applications. You could provide branding advice to classmates launching startups. Plenty of freelance opportunities are out there, so pick one that interests you and get started.

2. Create your website and online portfolio

Your website and portfolio help you stand out from the crowd. Don’t settle for the same WordPress template everyone else uses. Make your website look good, and make your portfolio look great.

To launch your freelance career, particularly in a creative field such as writing or design, avoid drawing too much attention to your college work. Potential clients might be interested in your senior year capstone project, but an entire portfolio made up of college assignments is a turn-off.

Snap a few candid and memorable photos at a wedding, submit a few articles to sites like XOJane (or check out the Brazen Careerist contributor guidelines) or design a logo for your friend — anything to get work in your portfolio that you didn’t generate in a classroom.

3. Professionalize your online image

Your social media channels are now part of your freelance brand. (Click here to tweet this quote.) Whatever brand you want to reflect, make sure it’s present on your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles.

This means fewer Facebook posts about “Awwww, classes are so hard” and more posts like “Tonight I made ten logo mockups for a new project.”

4. Seek out freelance assignments

The sooner you take your first freelance job, the sooner you start building your freelance career.

Where do you find these jobs? Job boards, online freelancer sites or networking with friends, family and classmates. Avoid freelance scams and look for good work that pays fairly.

5. Build your freelance reputation

When you’re a freelancer, you get your first few gigs based on your talent. You build your career based on your reputation. Start working now to make sure that reputation grows to be a good one.

How do you build a good freelance reputation? Never miss a deadline. Always be respectful, gracious and professional with your clients. If you’re working with a difficult editor, a not-so-communicative lead designer, or even one of the infamous Clients From Hell, learn from the experience and choose your clients more wisely next time.

Be pleasant to work with, and more people will want to work with you.

6. Learn about freelancer taxes

The two reasons to launch your freelance career during your senior year of college are:

  1. To build experience that will impress future employers and open doors
  2. To get paid

Don’t screw up the “getting paid” part by forgetting about your freelance tax responsibilities. One of the biggest new freelancer mistakes is spending your entire freelance paycheck now and scrambling to pay your taxes later.

Freelancers pay quarterly estimated taxes. When you work for a traditional employer, that employer takes taxes out of your paycheck every time you get paid. When you’re a freelancer, you take out your own taxes and send tax payments to the government four times a year.

Your tax burden will be different depending on your individual circumstances. Talk to a CPA about your tax responsibilities, and be prepared to put aside 25 to 30 percent of every freelance paycheck for taxes. Then don’t forget to pay your quarterly estimated taxes on time: January 15, April 15, June 15 and September 15.

(Oh, and while you’re at it — check both your city and state laws to see if you need any licenses or permits to work as a freelancer.)

7. Become an expert at the freelance hustle

As a college student, you’re already an expert at managing your classes alongside extracurricular activities, sports, maybe a part-time job or volunteer gig, and of course friends, family, parties and relationships.

That means you already have the skills to manage the freelance hustle.

As a freelancer, you’re rarely working on just one project for just one client. You’re balancing multiple projects, with multiple due dates, for multiple clients. Just like taking a full course load, right?

The one piece that differentiates the freelance hustle from, say, a five-course semester is the part where you have to look for new freelance gigs while you’re still working for your current clients. So make sure you work at least a little bit of freelance gig-hunting into your weekly routine.

If you follow these seven steps, you’ll be ready to take on the freelance life even before you graduate from college. No matter what type of job you get after graduation, you have the skills to earn money and gain experience as a freelancer while you work towards achieving your dreams.

Nicole Dieker is a freelance copywriter and essayist. She writes regularly for The Billfold on the intersection of freelance writing and personal finance, and her work has also appeared in The Toast, Yearbook Office, and Boing Boing.

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Submitting an Online Job Application? How to Help the Bots Read Your Resume http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/12/submitting-online-job-application-help-bots-read-resume/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/12/submitting-online-job-application-help-bots-read-resume/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17337 When you submit your resume online, it gets “read” by the company’s applicant tracking system. Follow these tips to make sure yours gets filtered to the top.

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It can be frustrating to send out multiple resumes every day and hear nothing back. Yet recruiters find it overwhelming to sift through the approximately 1,000 applications that come in for a single job post.

To help manage this large flow of resumes, recruiters use something called an applicant tracking system (ATS). These systems help recruiters do their job more efficiently by electronically filing all the resumes received.

If you’re applying to jobs, it’s likely your resume is sitting in multiple tracking systems. To beat these systems and make sure your resume gets noticed, follow these tips: (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Tailor your resume to each job posting

Spend extra time to ensure every resume you send is catered to each position you apply to. This extra work will pay off.

To stand out in the ATS, match keywords in your resume to keywords in the job posting. You should also make sure to emphasize any experience you have that matches specific job requirements referenced in the posting.

2. Spell check, then check again… and again

While people may be able to decipher what you were trying to say, machines have absolutely no idea and might immediately trash your resume. Check for errors multiple times, then play it safe and have someone else take a look. Just one bitty spelling error could cost you the job.

3. Follow the right order

Ensure these systems can read your resume correctly. Applicant tracking systems first look for company names, so never list dates first. Start with your employer’s name first, followed by your title, then the dates you were in that position. End with all of your tangible achievements in the position.

4. Give recruiters multiple ways to find out more about you

If you’ve navigated the ATS filter right, your resume will get filtered to the top and recruiters will take a closer look at you. Once they do, you need to make sure they have all the info they could possibly want.

So make sure you include all social media channels where you’re active, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook — and make sure to remove any inappropriate images or posts.

5. Use ATS-friendly formatting

These systems read plain text, so avoid using images, too many symbols or “filler words.” Ultimately, get to the point so that your resume is packed with relevant keywords and free of fluff.

6. Include the expected sections

To compare applicants, these systems generally locate sections, including Contact Information, Summary, Work Experience and Education. Although you can include other sections like Certifications and Professional Memberships, try to include the most important elements in the aforementioned sections to ensure the ATS recognizes your resume.

7. List every job separately

Even if you’ve had multiple promotions within the same company, list each out as a different job. This not only gives you opportunities to use additional keywords, but also helps the ATS recognize your career progression.

Although keywords are important in getting your application to surface on these systems, don’t forget your resume will eventually be in the hands of a person who will look at it objectively. While you focus on keyword matches to tailor your resume, ensure it makes sense to the human who will ultimately read it as well.

In your job search, be mindful of these tips and tricks to use the ATS to your advantage. You can stand out among the hundreds or thousands of other applicants applying to the same job and get your credentials in front of the right people. Then you’ll be well on your way to scoring your dream job.

Michael Dennis is the CEO and founder of FindHire, an innovative job search community and hiring network. Connect with Michael and the FindHire team on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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2 Million People Apply to Work at Google Each Year. Here’s Why http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/11/2-million-people-apply-work-google-year-heres/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/11/2-million-people-apply-work-google-year-heres/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:00:27 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17351 It’s harder to get a job at Google than it is to get into Harvard. In this post, we reveal what makes it so attractive -- and how you can apply the recruiting strategies to your own company.

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If you’re a recruiter, you may think Google has it easy.

After all, a recent Forbes article revealed that two million people apply each year — making getting a job there more competitive than getting into Harvard.

But WHY do so many people apply to Google each year?

The Forbes piece lists 15 reasons, making it clear it’s not just because it’s famous, or because it offers good pay. It’s because Google has created a community where people enjoy working.

So, how can you make more company more like Google? From the list, we’ve selected five Google strategies you can start applying in your company today.

5 ways to Google-ify your workplace

1. Caring: Google prides itself on its “welcoming work environment.” How can you show your employees you care about them? Something as simple as a handwritten thank you card on their work anniversary is a great start.

2. A Voice: Do you allow your employees to have a say? Google has the Google-O-Meter which “gives all employees a voice on employee suggestions and potential cultural changes,” but you don’t have to get that fancy. An anonymous suggestion box might do the trick.

3. Training & Development: Once you hire someone, are you continuing to develop their skills? Recruits want to know their education and growth won’t stop just because they’ve accepted the position. Google does this through a one-on-one mentorship program between executives and employees. Could you start something similar?

4. Food & Beverage: You may not be able to offer a Google-style cafeteria, but offering food is a great way to keep your employees happy, healthy, and productive. Start with catering lunch once a week, which is also a great way to bring everyone together.

5. Openness and Transparency: Every Friday, any Googler is free to ask one of the founders any company-related question. If you want to make your workplace more transparent, maybe you and some other managers could offer office hours once a week.

Can you implement any of these strategies in your workplace? Which one works best?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.

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Why You Should Think Like a Boss, No Matter What Your Job Title http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/11/think-like-boss-matter-job-title/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/11/think-like-boss-matter-job-title/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17328 Stop thinking like an employee, even if you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. Think like a boss, and success will follow.

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Don’t let Lonely Island mislead you; there’s more to acting like a boss than rolling high and taking liberties with your subordinates’ desks. It encompasses everything from refilling the coffee pot like a boss to going after that big-name client like a boss. No task is too big or too small to tackle with the “boss” mentality — and approaching everything this way can lead you to some pretty awesome places.

In fact, whether you’re a 9-to-5 employee or an entrepreneur, getting in a “boss” frame of mind can radically transform the trajectory of your career. Here’s why — and how — you can get in on the action.

The dangers of the employee mindset

When you think like an employee — whether you’re entry level, middle management or a freelancer — you limit your own potential. You box yourself to an “I’m only a fill-in-the-blank” attitude that keeps you from making the big moves and big changes that lead to success.

Employees exist to fill a pre-defined role. They wait for instructions (and permission, and affirmation) from on high. They do what they’re told. They leave the innovation to the other guys, because they’re only here to punch a clock and collect a paycheck. When you’re stuck in an employee mindset, you don’t feel in charge of your own work; you feel like a means to someone else’s end. And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be doing what you’re told or fulfilling the role you’ve been given — that’s Job Performance 101. But you should be doing so much more. If you want to excel in your career, you need to look for opportunities to elevate things to the next level. And for that, you need a boss mentality.

Here are five key ways to start thinking like a boss:

1. Take ownership

When you’re the boss, your company’s success and failure rests on your shoulders. People’s paychecks depend on you. Because of this, you feel the weight of your work and take care to do it well.

You know if you slack off, everyone down the line will suffer. But when you’re the guy who collates the copies for the quarterly report meeting, it can be hard to see how your work really matters — or why it’s worth caring about.

Sure, in the grand scheme of things, any schmoe off the street could collate the copies. But if you see yourself as replaceable, you will be treated as replaceable. (Click here to tweet this quote.) You’ll only make it to bigger things if you make people realize you deserve them.

So find ways to take ownership of your work, no matter how unimportant each task may seem. Exceed expectations. Be the best damn fill-in-the-blank you can be.

Collate those copies two days ahead of schedule. Deliver them directly to each board member while asking how their family/hobby/recent college reunion went. Flag a section in the quarterly report that got you thinking, then ask your supervisor if you can have a few minutes next week to learn more about what the numbers mean so you can help brainstorm ways to boost them. Demonstrate that you take your work seriously, and others will take you seriously.

2. Take responsibility

When you’re the boss, the buck stops with you. Tim in accounting may have been the one who screwed up, but you were the one managing him, and you should have caught it.

Similarly, even if you’re the lowest possible rung on the ladder, hold yourself accountable for everything that falls within your domain — even if that domain is ordering supplies for the office. Develop a new system to make supply ordering more efficient and make sure no one runs out of anything. Anticipate the need for extra paper since there’s a big project coming up. Don’t just do your job; think of ways to do your job better.

If you’re an entrepreneur, stop wondering why your marketing is falling flat or your sales pages aren’t converting and teach yourself how to make them better (or hire someone who can).

Take responsibility, both for the work you do and for your own success going forward. Step up when something needs to be done, make things right if you’ve messed up, and realize that you’re the only one who can take yourself to the next level.

3. Take pride

Whatever your job is, do it with all you’ve got in you. Allow yourself to feel good about that, even if it isn’t particularly glamorous.

If you’re a freelance writer just starting out and you’re stuck writing website copy for the local bait and tackle shop because that’s the only thing paying the bills right now, pour your heart into that copy. When your dream client comes along down the line and checks out your portfolio, they’ll think, “Wow. If she can write that well about fishing, imagine how she’ll bring my site to life!”

If you’ve been stuck with the most difficult client at your firm, go the extra mile to make his experience as pleasant as possible. When your performance review rolls around, you’ll stand out for a promotion for making the most of a bad situation.

The grunt work you’re doing today is a stepping stone on the way to something bigger. Put as much care and pride into the journey as you will into the end result.

4. Value your time

When you’re the boss, you know that time is money. You don’t waste other people’s time, and you don’t allow other people to waste yours. But you don’t have to make six figures to take control of your hours and make sure you’re spending them in the ways that have the highest ROI.

Learn to identify the work that makes the most difference for you or your company. Do you really need to attend that meeting on TPS reports (where Cheryl will read the same PowerPoint verbatim that she did six months ago)? Or could you be working on your new idea for a system that will boost workflow? Will spending the afternoon tweaking the layout of your site really do much for you, or would you be better off developing a plan to actually monetize that site?

Identify the 20 percent of your daily tasks that create 80 percent of your results, and focus on that 20 percent with the same intensity as a CEO who closes his office door and tells his assistant to hold his calls — all of his calls — unless something or someone is on fire.

5. Surround yourself with a strong team

A smart boss knows they’re only as good as their team. Whether or not you’re managing others, you need to surround yourself with people who will lift you up, encourage you and support your efforts — not people who will detract or derail you.

Get yourself a mentor who can guide you and challenge you to reach higher. Join an accountability group or mastermind where you can connect with others at the same level you’re at and help each other get better. Keep away from office drama and naysayers. Learn to ask for help when you don’t know something.

Bosses don’t know everything. They just always know who to turn to when they don’t know something.

How can you start thinking more like a boss?

Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is the Editor-in-Chief of All Things Career. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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Own Your Job Interview: 11 Tips for Landing That Dream Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/10/job-interview-11-tips-landing-dream-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/10/job-interview-11-tips-landing-dream-job/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17341 Nervous about your upcoming job interview? Tame your anxiety with these solid interview tips -- and land the job.

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Few aspects of adult life are more distressing than the job interview. Something about having to offer up your entire life experience to a stranger for validation makes us feel uneasy. Luckily, you can take certain steps to ensure you present your best self, no matter what position you’re applying for. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

Here are 11 tips on how you can ace your interview.

1. Do your homework

The more you understand about the business — from overall culture, goals and market strategy to specifics regarding recent successes and changes, and everything in between — the more “ready” you’ll appear. Become an expert on the company you want to join, and be able to discuss the business on the interviewer’s level.

2. Ask around

Use social networking sites (such as LinkedIn) to get in touch with former employees who can provide honest and unbiased observations about what the company values and expects from its employees. Any details you can acquire makes you more prepared for the interview itself.

3. Act it out

Role-playing the interview with a friend or associate beforehand will help you anticipate potential problems. By practicing the interaction and getting honest feedback from the person playing the interviewer, you’ll feel more confident when it’s time for the actual interview.

Work on being able to demonstrate relaxed and confident body language — it’s not always what you say; sometimes it’s how you say it.

4. Memorize your resume

Make sure you’ve memorized the pertinent facts and dates of your qualifications. If it’s important enough to include in your resume, it’s important enough to commit to memory.

5. Be prepared

Take a few hours and brainstorm everything that could potentially go wrong in your interview and take whatever steps you need to ensure that if the worst should happen, you’ll still be able to present yourself as calm and confident.

6. Get plenty of sleep beforehand

Caffeine might seem like a good way to keep from yawning during an interview, but there isn’t a substitute for a healthy night’s rest. This might mean going to bed earlier than you’re used to, so plan accordingly.

7. Be on time

Arrive at the interview 10 to 15 minutes early (unless they’ve asked you to arrive early to complete paperwork, in which case you should arrive at least 20 minutes early). If your travel time is less than anticipated, use the extra minutes to review your resume or give your personal appearance one last check.

8. Gather contact information

Politely ask each key player you meet for a business card. This will help you remember their names and make it easier to send personalized thank-you cards after the interviews. If someone doesn’t have a business card handy, ask for their information and write it down in a notebook.

9. Elaborate

Nervous individuals tend to offer short, uninvolved answers to questions, forcing the other person to do all the work. While being interviewed, provide more information than requested. Be willing to share personal experiences and ask questions of your own.

10. Be ready for the difficult questions

Perhaps the most dreaded interview question is “What is your greatest weakness?” Be ready for this question (and any others) by considering it beforehand. Don’t try to disguise a strength as a weakness (“I’m a perfectionist”) or claim you don’t have any weaknesses (“I can’t think of anything”).

Instead, select a real weakness, but one that won’t be an automatic red flag for your interviewer. Once you’ve decided on something plausible and not too detrimental, follow up with how you’re working on overcoming the weakness.

11. Follow up

Once you’ve finished the interview, you’re not quite done. Send out thank-you notes (on actual stationary, rather than emails) to everyone involved in the process. Don’t be afraid to call the employer — after a reasonable amount of time has passed — and ask if they’ve filled the position.

In sales, 35 percent of new business goes to the vendor who contacts a client first; the same can be said for following up about a job. Showing you’re committed by reaching out to them will, if done right, increase your chances.

If they have hired someone else, thank them for their time and ask for their honest tips on how you could improve for possible future interviews. After all, understanding the interview process is about understanding how to market yourself, and if you’re not selling yourself, you might be selling yourself short.

Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM and sales. He’s begun multiple corporations and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.

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5 Ways MBA Programs are Adapting to the Ever-Changing Business World http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/10/5-ways-mba-programs-adapting-ever-changing-business-world/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/10/5-ways-mba-programs-adapting-ever-changing-business-world/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 10:00:20 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17356 The business world may be changing rapidly, but that doesn’t mean getting your MBA is irrelevant. Here’s how programs are adapting to stay current.

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B-schools that want to stay relevant need to adapt to a quickly evolving field. If they don’t stay on top of those changes, they’ll leave alumni with outdated toolkits, huge debts and little to show for their time and tuition dollars.

What does this mean for you, the prospective student? It matters because you’ll want to make sure the B-school you choose to attend is up-to-date and innovative — adapting for the new economy — so you’re as equipped for your future in business as possible. And knowing what some schools are doing to keep up will help you make an informed choice about which university is best for you.

Here are five ways b-schools are staying relevant in a quickly-evolving corporate landscape. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Taking advantage of alumni

When officials at Miami University’s Farmer School of Business in Oxford, Ohio, engage corporate leaders, recruiters and other experts, they often find many are Farmer School alumni, says Matthew Myers, dean of the school and Mitchell P. Rales chair in business leadership.

And those alumni, who work in the field, have their fingers on the pulse of what employers and recruiters seek and where opportunities loom for recent graduates.

“[We] ensure we’re hearing directly from the marketplace about what kind of workforce they’re looking for,” Myers says.

2. Making “experiential learning” a hallmark

At Miami’s Farmer School, the administration and faculty also help keep their programs current through what the dean calls “experiential learning.” Several classes devoted to that approach pair students with companies, who hire them to address real-world problems.

The school’s Highwire Brand Studio, for example, gathers teams of students from a variety of majors — e.g., marketing and design — for a disciplinary-diverse challenge. Teams try to develop “the best overall recommendation for the client’s branding challenge and our Wall Street Week program, which reveals the inner workings of New York City’s financial district to our students,” Myers says.

3. Embracing technology

Some 300 miles southwest of the Farmer School, at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, faculty and staff focus on the ways technology “is quickly becoming more of an enhancement than a replacement for the traditional classroom,” says Tami Fassinger, the school’s chief recruiting officer.

“When lectures can be delivered online in a flipped classroom, faculty and students have more time for healthy debate and transformational learning to take place,” she says. (Like Myers, Fassinger cites “experiential learning courses.”)

4. Designing curricula from the ground up

When Fassinger discusses how Owen School faculty consulted with practitioners in the field to help clarify the learning outcomes of its programs, she points to the school’s master of accountancy programs (in the traditional audit, as well as the “growing new field of valuation”), its healthcare MBA and its master’s of management in healthcare.

“These efforts have also led to high satisfaction among students and their eventual employers,” she says.

5. Studying through a crystal ball

At California College of the Arts, home to a two-year MBA in Design Strategy, students can study in an MBA program — also two years — in Strategic Foresight.

That may sound like meteorology or astrology for executives-in-training, but the school, with campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, insists, “The world is changing faster than ever, making the art of looking ahead essential for leaders. … [The program] challenges assumptions about alternative futures and enables students to adapt in practical, yet idealistic ways.”

Menachem Wecker is co-author of the recent book, “Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education.”

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Stuck in a Dead-End Job? Instead of Quitting, Do This http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/09/stuck-dead-end-job-instead-quitting/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/09/09/stuck-dead-end-job-instead-quitting/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17319 When quitting your dead-end job might not be in the cards, it’s on you to find opportunities to make it work.

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Your job is an endless repetition of nothingness.

The days could not go slower while your life just seems to pass you by.

It’s messing with your energy levels and your sense of joy. You know this can’t go on for much longer.

You’re stuck in a dead-end job, and it sucks. Big time!

Most articles and books tell you to quit your job, start your own business, overcome hurdles and live entrepreneurially ever after. And you know what? They’re right! Being an entrepreneur is awesome, liberating, educational and more.

But perhaps this is just not for you. Or you’re just not ready yet. Or perhaps circumstances out of your control limit your options for now. No judgment, just the fact that something needs to change. And you can do so without leaving the job you’re in.

Ready to turn your dead-end job around? Here we go:

1. Find someone to kick your butt

Sometimes all we need to make change happen is an old-fashioned kick in the butt. (Click here to tweet this bit of wisdom.) We get too stuck in our own self pity and assumed misery to notice we’re bringing it upon ourselves.

Find yourself a life coach, a good friend or parent who’s not afraid to tell you exactly how it is. Keep your ears and mind open to anything they have to say. You’ll be surprised how this will help you spice up your job satisfaction (and life) immediately.

2. Step outside your social comfort zone

Do you talk to the same circle of coworkers every day? That’s definitely not enough to turn things around!

Be curious, talk to people and learn what their jobs are about and what they’re working on. This will not only make your days more interesting. You’ll also learn new skills and get to know more about the inner workings of your organization.

3. Embrace whatever annoys you

Though it’s impossible to change your boss or coworker, you can definitely change processes to make everyone’s job easier. If a form or computer system is not working optimally, take initiative to find a better solution propose it to someone in charge. If you can show your superiors how you can save them time and money, you’ll probably get the green light to make it happen.

You’ll show initiative, make your regular job easier and prove you’re ready to take on more challenging projects down the line that can potentially liven up your days.

4. Never stop learning

Even if you hate your job, that’s no reason sit around and do nothing. You should be learning new skills that you can apply in your current (and future) job.

Learning is essential. If your employer doesn’t provide you with learning opportunities (or not enough), then take matters in your own hands. Apply what you learn immediately for more challenge, more recognition and the ever-so-important experience.

Check out Skillshare, Coursera and the Code Academy to get high value for low prices.

5. Start your passion project NOW

Remember that idea you’ve had in the back of your head for years? The one you’ve always shoved aside because you were too busy, had too little experience or were simply too lazy to pursue? Dust it off and start doing it.

Replace the hours a week you spend on Pinterest or binge watching The Office (because it’s just oh so relatable) with your own passion project.

Set up a blog, learn how to code or find a community of likeminded people. Whatever it is, follow your passion outside of your work and it will translate to positive energy you can use inside your work. And who knows what your side hustle might grow into!

YOU will need to get yourself out of this Groundhog Day. Remember the movie? You might remember how nothing changed until the fantastical Bill Murray started to take responsibility for himself and invested everything he had in being the best person he could possibly be.

Sitting around expecting your boss will promote you and make your job more exciting is simply not something to count on. Take responsibility and create the best job you can with the circumstances you’re in.

This will take an investment on your part; it might mean working longer hours and it will definitely cost you time you’d rather spend lazing around.

But consider the alternative. How much longer do you want to live your life grumpy every Sunday night because Monday is just around the corner?

You can’t wait for an awesome job to find you — you’ll need to make it happen. When your happiness is counting on you, what do you have to lose?

Linda Coussement runs the blog Inspired Process and is on a mission to (r)evolutionise the way we do business by inspiring and activating entrepreneurs worldwide. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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