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Useful Tools to Save you Time

As a social media professional, I am always seeking ways to make more efficient use of my time.  I belong to a couple of forums and groups that often discuss free tools or low-cost options.  I would like to share a compiled list here with you:

  • Hootsuite – one of my faves – up to 5 social media accounts for free, up to 20 for $5.99 per month
  • If This Then That – will help you do just that with about 11 social platforms – ex. if [Twitter mention] then [thank them] – will work with Facebook pages.
  • Buffer – share your posts at a later time on any Twitter account or Facebook personal pages
  • Dreamstime – free photos for use in your materials – they also have photos for purchase.
  • DIIGO – similar to Dropbox for websites you want to save for later – lets you bookmark in a cloud favorites by keyword.  You can even highlight things, place sticky notes on pages and share it with connections.
  • FanTools – the free side lets you set up one Twitter and one Facebook page, upgrades available for planning, coupons and deals.
  • YouSendIt – sending large files through email is no longer a problem, use YouSendIt.  You upload, the receiver downloads.  You must stay under a size limit for it to remain free.
  • Morgue File – more free photos. Has a connection with Dreamstime.
  • CutePDF – makes pdf files for any of your printable documents for programs that don’t already convert them.
  • Join.me – screen sharing
  • Skype – video calling and screen sharing, have a group video conversation for a monthly fee.
  • IWOWWE – video email and conferencing.
  • MailChimp – e-newsletter system free up to 2000 emails
  • FreshBooks – on-line accounting, up to 3 clients for free, up to 25 clients $19.95 mos.
  • BeFunky – photo effects editor
  • Zoho – CRM on-line tool.
  • Gimp – photo editing software – you download it.  You don’t need Photoshop with this one.
  • Inkscape – modify vector art similar to Illustrator.
  • ClipArt – open clip art library
  • AVG – anti virus
  • Adobe Browser Lab for website testing
  • WeTransfer – for sending files
  • PrimoPDF is also free PDF converter
  • Hamster – another Free video converter
  • MyPictr – Avatar creator – for profile pictures on social networks – not sure if its up to date but you can manually change the px size
  • DaFont – Free Fonts
  • OpenOffice – The Free and Open Productivity Suite
  • LastPass – Online Password storage.
  • Malwarebytes – Don’t run windows without it – not free
  • Nitro PDF Reader – recently added thanks to SME club thread
  • Toggl – Time tracking, great when you are billing by project
  • Avast! – Anti-virus, some free, but all the bells and whistles cost
  • Audacity – Sound recording and editing
  • TeamViewer – Screen sharing and more.
  • Jing – screen capture. pro version for a small upgrade is no longer available.  Will have to switch to Snag-it or Camtasia.
  • FileZilla – FTP management
  • CCleaner – keep your hard drive clean and optimized
  • Synergy – use one mouse and keyboard to connect multiple computers (from Zoho)
  • Any Video Converter – convert any video, aptly named
  • Dropbox – store and share files online
  • Google Docs, Calendar, mail, keyword tools, alerts, analytics, insights for search – access docs that you share, share with others, check your calendar, multiple email accounts from you desktop, phone, or laptop, find what keywords you need to use, set up alerts for anything you want to track from the web and blogs, add analytics to your website and track traffic to your site, .
  • Evernote -remember everything, anywhere
  • Readitlater – don’t have time to read that article now, save it to readitlater.
  • SimpleNote – similar to Evernote, jot yourself a note anytime, anywhere
  • KeePass – another password compiler
  • Free Conference Call – teleconferencing line available 24/7. Each call accommodates 96 callers on an unlimited number of 6 hour free conference calls.
  • SuveyMonkey – free survey tool
  • Evite – free party planning tool
  • Producteev – task management app, helping to organize office days. It’s cross-platform, desktop and mobile.
  • AnyMeeting – web conference meetings
  • Bit.ly – link shortener and tracking
  • Box.net – add files to this on-line application and link it to your LinkedIn profile
  • Scribd – post your pdf files and documents to share on your social networks if you don’t want to post them on your website.
  • Visual.ly – create your own infographic
  • Get Listed – enter your business name and zip code.  The tool finds the location sites on which you are or aren’t listed.
  • Timeline Image Tool – helps you build custom tab images without needing design software.

What have I missed?  What do you like best?  What wouldn’t you use?

 

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Your Best Generic Resume

How do you make a Generic Resume?

I know that everyone tells you to customize a resume based on the skills listed in a job posting. That is well and good. But, I propose that a generic resume is needed as well.  You need to have a resume ready to go at the drop of a hat in the event that you are out and about and run into someone that says, “Hey, you got a resume that I can give to my buddy? He is looking for someone like you!”

Generic Resume Components

Contact Information – nowadays, I support the premise that you don’t need to include your address on your resume. Phone, email and LinkedIn URL are sufficient in addition to your name. So many companies are allowing remote or virtual workplaces, or working from home to cover a territory that living close to your work is not always necessary. Personally, I have had clients in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Being able to work virtually truly depends upon the job you do, but it is becoming more and more prevalent.

Skills – in a bullet list. Include  your primary skills, and keywords. Read articles on keywords here, here, and here.

Functions – this works very well for job seekers with over 20 years of experience. Address a specific keyword with a problem you faced, an action you took, and the result. The result needs to related to money, time, percentage or number of something that you either saved the employer or gained the employer. One example I use is in my LinkedIn Summary. It says that after working with me, one client noticed a 35% increase in traffic to his website. Pick four or five keywords that you can address.

Experience – for this save some space on your resume and list chronologically the Company name, your title, the city / state of the business, and dates your worked there. Don’t go back further than 20 years. If you need to break one employer up to show different positions, do that.

Education – DO NOT include the dates of graduation unless it is within the last 10 years. DO NOT include the date of High School graduation ever!! If your education is newer, you may want to place it above your experience.

There you have it. The best generic resume you can write.

Now where can you put it besides in an envelope in your car or backpack?

  • Post a PDF version to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Add it to an on-line portfolio.
  • Add it to Dropbox or Google docs to send out quickly to someone by email.

Hope this works out for you. If you want a great tool in which to build a resume, check out the tool on Illinois workNet. So many great functions available for FREE!

Marketing Your Skills

How are you marketing your skills?

Marketing your Skills is simple as long as you know what your skills are.

For those of you that know me, you know that LinkedIn is my favorite social media platform. You may have even heard me speak about the importance of marketing yourself when you are in job search mode as if you were marketing your business. You need to know what skills you have in order to know how to market them effectively.

When teaching one of my LinkedIn workshops, I share that it takes 5-7 times for someone to see your name or face to remember that they have even seen it. It can take as many as 21 times for a person to take action. That means that you have to have your skills prominently displayed wherever and whenever you can.

Let’s define skills – they are the things that you can perform and possess that you use on a job. They can be digital, technical, or workplace related. Illinois workNet has a wonderful guide to help you discover the job skills that you need. Check here. Now we need to translate that to how you can market them.  For marketing purposes, skills equals keywords.

So how do you find out what your keywords are?  Read this article.  Briefly, look for 5 jobs to which you qualify to apply, copy the job description into a word cloud tool. Make the word cloud. The bigger and darker the word, the more important it is. Those are your keywords.

Next use those keywords everywhere:

  • Resume – make sure that you use them in a skills summary list, in a functional resume – use them as section headers, in a chronological resume – use them within the description of that job. Make sure that an ATS reader will pick them out!
  • Cover letter – be sure to include at least one paragraph that includes a bullet list of the keywords that apply to the job that the cover letter addresses.
  • Business card – it has two sides. Use one side for contact information and the other for a list of your keywords.
  • Leave Behind brochure – include a visual representation of yourself in a brochure format. Resume’s have too many words and aren’t easy to scan. Make something pretty that you can carry with you and ‘leave behind’ with a potential employer or business connection.
  • Social media profiles – when you describe yourself in the profile on any social media platform, include at least two career related keywords.
  • LinkedIn – the three areas that need keywords the most are the headline, about section, and skills & endorsements. Adding them to any other job listing is a bonus.
  • Posting – whatever blog or social media post you do consider frequently interspersing a post about a skill that you have and how you are using it at the time. (Like right now I am talking about marketing with social media)

Without being overly pushy casually bring up an example of how you solved someone’s problem with a skill you possess. Marketing your skills is very similar to selling a product or service. As much as I hate doing it, always be selling. Just don’t make it sound like you are selling all the time!

9 Tips to Network Virtually

2020 is the Year everyone learned to Network Virtually

Networking in person is hard enough, but knowing how to network virtually can be extremely difficult. I would liken it to cold calling. There aren’t too many people around that think cold calling is the best thing since sliced bread. I am not a fan. But, networking virtually is not anywhere near as hard as cold calling. In fact, I promote the theory that to network virtually can help you warm up cold calls.

Let’s examine  my list of options:

  1. Sign up for LinkedIn – and not only sign-up but get some help to optimize your profile (hint – I can help you with that.) LinkedIn is the largest professional network. At the time of this writing, there were 690M+ users on the platform with 169M+ in the US. Click here for the current stats.  Granted there are a bunch of duplicate profiles out there because people forget how to access or lose access, but this gives you a huge pool of professionals from which to choose to build your personal network.
  2. Build the relationships you have – networking is akin to marketing. You need to get your name out in front of people for them to remember who you are. Use the tools at your disposal in Facebook or LinkedIn to be in touch. Wish people happy birthday, congratulate them on work anniversaries, promotions, or new positions. If you see an article that may be of interest to someone share it and tag that person in the comment.
  3. Take it off-line – building upon the last comment above, if you see something really compelling to share with someone, send it in an email AND, take it off line and make a phone call to talk to the person about your idea.
  4. Text – if you don’t have time for a phone conversation, send a text. Schedule a chat for later.
  5. Physical to Virtual Networking – many groups have had to change from meeting in person to meeting over one of the many apps available these days. You may be “Zoomed” out, but it is a great way to continue to keep your presence in front of your network.
  6. Allocate Time – did you meet someone in a webinar or virtual networking meeting? Can’t meet in-person for a “coffee meeting”? Try to schedule something virtually. So many options are available: Zoom, Google Hangouts or Google Meet, Facetime for iPhone users, What’s App, and Facebook Messenger all give you free options to hold a video meeting. Then there are the other platforms that are subscription based – Zoom, WebEx, Adobe Connect and so many others. Take the time to schedule a virtual sit-down with someone new.
  7. Tweetchats – This is an opportunity to participate in a forum type conversation in certain industries. Here is a schedule to check. Get to know who people are by their Twitter handle, AND in the meantime, learn some new things in your industry.
  8. Meet new people – so the people you met in the Tweetchat – perhaps connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know what sort of business relationship might develop. Use the advanced search functions to look for 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn who seem interesting and may be able to provide guidance, leadership, or information, OR just be someone worth having a chat with virtually.
  9. Join Groups – this is a good idea in person and virtually. Find a group on Meet-Up, LinkedIn, Facebook or Eventbrite. Other organizations that are career related may have a virtual presence as well. Participate in virtual conversation threads and when possible attend in-person events.

spreading wings

Now that you have a few tools to try, it may be easier to network virtually.  I always say, “It isn’t about who you know, but who they know!”  When you are talking with your existing network, take the extra step and ask if they know anyone to whom they could recommend  you. Pay it forward and introduce your connections to someone that could use their talent or service. Now go, spread your wings and your network virtually!

Starting a Business

Have you considered starting a business?

With the way the world is going these days, employment is flexible. You may consider starting a business.

Nine years ago now I was happily working. I was working as the Marketing Department for a workforce development agency that put people back to work after lay-offs. I got laid off!! The irony of it.

So I took that opportunity to do some informal polling with my, at the time, 1000 connections on LinkedIn. I got a good response. Of those that responded about 70% start your own business. That was a scary thought because my husband was already running a business and that would mean both of us were dependent upon contracts to meet our family obligations.

That was nine years ago. I haven’t looked back except to offer advice to those that ask me. Here is what I would suggest if it is something that you are willing to do.

  1. Do some labor market research – use your state department that provides the Labor Market Information (LMI). Check out the growth of the position you are considering. Would a consultant in that area be a good opportunity?
  2. Find an SBDC – Small Business Development Center in your area. These are typically federally/state funded offices that provide free business guidance and support to businesses in the area.
  3. Speak with your accountant about which business model option might be best for your particular business.
  4. Speak with the SBDC about the proper steps to setting up your business as a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability partnership, or a corporation.
  5.  Speak with an attorney about the legal documents you need. An attorney isn’t the only person that can help you. I worked with Laura Wilcox of Corporate Minutes Inc. to help me square away some of the things I had bungled up with my DIY approach.
  6. Accounting – while you are still drawing unemployment and trying to decide whether or not you should take the plunge, track your expenses in Excel. Income and expenses is as simple as it gets. File everything. Once you actually incorporate open a separate checking account and set-up a Quickbooks account (or other accounting software) to do the accounting properly. I didn’t do this properly and it cost me headaches for a long time until I paid a Quickbooks expert to help me sort it out.
  7. Healthcare – if your spouse is still working and carries the insurance you are golden. If not, we investigated a Healthshare plan. Many of them are faith based, but if you are healthy, this is a much lower cost option than going with one of the health care giants or even Cobra insurance.
  8. Networking – get out and do it! Join a chamber or industry organization. If it works for you, offer to give a free 30-45 minute presentation. I almost always get at least one client from an event that I speak at for free.  The Elgin Area Chamber of which I am a member even offers a Small Business Academy for people thinking about starting a business or are just getting on their feet.
  9. Website and email  – this is super important. An email address at the domain name of your website gives you better credibility than joeswelding @ gmail . com. Let me know if you need help with any of your marketing needs.
  10. Read the book – The E Myth Revisited. Let me give you a synopsis – hire someone to do what you are not good at. The best thing I ever did was hire someone to do my monthly bookkeeping. I was spending way to  much sweat and heartache to get it done. I would put it off until I had hours of work to do. Now I still write checks and pay bills but the bookkeeper does the reconciliations, enters the things I pay through billpay, and files all the paperwork. If I have to help her figure something out, I don’t get all frustrated. If you need help with marketing, I can help YOU with that!
  11. Another great resource to use is Illinois workNet BizHub. Once you are up and running, you may need additional resources to keep you moving forward. Things you can use like human resources suggestions and filing quarterly taxes and more are located in one convenient space.

I am sure that there is all sorts of advice out there. But take it from someone who tried the DIY approach and lived to talk about it, there is all kinds of help out there for you. Take advantage where you can!

 

Watch a Facebook Livestream

Some people may not know how to Watch a Facebook Livestream

I have been helping my parish through this Covid19 Pandemic get Masses out to parishioners. Some of the folks are challenged with how to watch a Facebook livestream, so I thought I would put together a how-to article and video.

Watch a Facebook Livestream

  1. Log-in to your Facebook. screenshot of Facebook video page How to watch a Facebook livestream
  2. Go to the page you want to watch, especially if they have posted a schedule like we have done at the parish.
  3. Scroll down the left-hand side until you see the word video.
  4. Look for any of the videos with a red box with white letters that say LIVE.
  5. Click on the video and you have joined the Facebook livestream!!

Watch the video here:

Get Notifications

If you follow any company or organization pages, you may want to get notified if they are live. Do the following:

    1. Log-in to your Facebook accountaccess settings for notificaitons
    2. Far right down arrow – click
    3. Find “Settings” – click
    4. Left column – Notifications – click
    5. Scroll down to Videos – click

video notification settings

Select how you want to be notified.

This way you should be able to get notified either on your Facebook account on your phone, by email or by text message that the livestream you want to watch is ready to go!

Happy watching. AND if you are looking for a great Catholic parish in the Elgin, IL area, I highly recommend St. Laurence Parish on the west side of town tucked back into a neighborhood.