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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 – still one of my faves – but they have changed things up. Now for free you get 2 social account. I am now paying $75 a month for what I used to have in the legacy edition for $5.99 per month.  This was a big shift and what they promised me isn’t working out. I still have enough slots for all my customer accounts but… (updated 7-2021)
  • Trello – this is a Kaizen board tool to help you track projects!!! Love this tool. (updated 7-2021)
  • Miro – this is a flow chart tool. It is just cool. Play with it. I used it for an on-line baby shower and everyone got to play at one time. (updated 7-2021)
  • Slack or Teams – communication tool to help you stay in touch without having to send emails. (updated 7-2021)
  • Zoom – virtual meeting tool (updated 7-2021)
  • Thryv – CRM tool – I wish they had the ability to use one log-in for multiple accounts. Right now, I have to have a separate email for each account I manage for customers. (updated 7-2021)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • SNAG-IT – 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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LinkedIn Headline

Does your LinkedIn headline help you in landing in search results?

Three places in a LinkedIn profile need to focus on keywords:

  • Headline
  • Summary (About)
  • Skills & Endorsements

It is good to splatter those keywords wherever else you can in your profile, but those three are the biggest spots. They are where people will look the most and where search algorithms come into play.

Think of keywords in your LinkedIn profile the equivalent of organic adwords.

Is your LinkedIn headline searchable keywords?

In other words, do the words or phrases that are in your headline include those words that people type into the search bar if they don’t know your name?

I see a number of my connections that have phrases or “cute” words. Think about what you enter when you are looking for someone other than their name. Do you enter “Enhancing Performance to Drive Business Results” or would something more succinct get better results. If you did changes yours to keywords, are they all run together without spaces i.e. keyword/keyword/keyword. Or do you just have your job title in the headline?

Whether you are looking for a job, own your own business, or are comfortable in your current job, consider using keywords in your headline that tell the story of what you do. If you aren’t sure what those keywords should be, look down at the skills section and start typing in your keywords. The suggested phrases will offer you the proper suffix to use i.e. trainer or training.

If all else fails, give me a call and we can work through your profile to optimize it to help you be found.

Email Signatures

What does your email signature tell others?

My email signature might be a bit of overkill, but I cannot be accused of someone not being able to reach me. I have 5 emails that I check on a regular basis. Each signature has the phone number at which I can be reached, a web address if there is one associated, an email address, and if it is one of my business emails, the links to the associated social media.

Frustration sets in when I am in the middle of my day trying to answer emails and need a quick bit of information and there isn’t a phone number to try to call the person.
redacted email signature

Some of my regulars are on my Slack or Teams network so that doesn’t bother me as much – but they all have the information I need to reach them on the bottom of their emails.

Not only should you have the contact information in your outgoing email signature but some of the information should always be included in the reply email signature as well.

It is really super simple and all of the email platforms have the option for you to personalize your email signature. If you are in job search mode make sure that you include your customized LinkedIn URL in the email signature so people don’t have to find you.

GMail

Change your settings with these steps:

  • Click the gear in the upper right corner
  • Scroll to the bottom of the General tab
  • Signature – click the pencil or create new
  • Pick where you want the signature to appear

Outlook

Change your settings with these steps:

  • Select File>Options
  • Select Mail>Signatures
  • Select New, type a name, and select OK.
  • In the Edit Signature box, compose your signature and select Save
  • To include your new signature in new messages or replies/forwards, next to Choose default signature, select the drop-down box and then select your new signature.Happy emailing!! AND update those signatures!

Resume vs LinkedIn

What is better a resume vs LinkedIn?

If you are thinking that you only have time to do one thing, what would it be a resume vs LinkedIn? Well I am here to tell you that you can build one and the other will benefit. Read on to find out how. Take a look at the graphic to gain some extra tips.

Keywords

I advocate that keywords are imperative for LinkedIn and nowadays we need them in a resume. So many companies are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that focus on keywords or phrases prescribed by the job posting that keywords MUST be used in a resume.

Functions

Headlines and summaries on LinkedIn allow you to focus on the functions of your job by employing the keywords I just mentioned. Functions are a great way to build a resume for someone who has tons of experience or very limited actual work experience. When you focus on functions, make sure you tell a story about a problem you faced, an action you took and the result that happened. If you can relate it to savings or a gain in money, time, percentage or number a reader’s interest may pique.

Experience

Using functions allows you to include experience that may have volunteer roots rather than paid experience. Depending upon the type of resume that you build, the listing of job experiences can be a chronological listing or may necessitate including the particular functions of that job right there. On a LinkedIn profile you are forced to include your job experiences in a chronological fashion. If you have gaps in W-2 jobs, try to fill in with “consultant” type work. At the time of this writing, LinkedIn is promoting stay at home experiences because of the explosion of child care and elder care happening these days.

General Tips

  • Leave off the address – you really only need an email address, phone number and LinkedIn profile custom URL.
  • Skills – bullet list your top 15 skills. If you can complete your list without using things like Microsoft Office (this is expected knowledge for many jobs) or employability skills the better your resume will work in an ATS reader.
  • Time – avoid including dates on education or experience older than 15 years. While you can tout subject matter expertise, it could eliminate you from the original pool of applicants.
  • Practical and focused – For the initial contact, make sure your resume is focused and succinct. No more than 2 pages. 1 page is better. Leave the artistic resume for the “leave-behind” at the interview. Don’t include an image on the resume you submit initially, the business isn’t supposed to accept it. In this situation, LinkedIn is a must-have. You can have the image; you can add attachments and links; your summary and each work experience can have 350-400 words; you can have as many jobs as you want that are applicable; you can list all of your certifications; you can include 50 keyword skills; and, you can have as many  endorsements and recommendations as you can gather.

Summing it up

You need a resume. You probably need a LinkedIn profile.  Take advantage of the tremendous amount of information that can be added and edited in LinkedIn to pick the best of the best to use on your resume. Take advantage of the file uploads to put your best generic resume on LinkedIn as a file. Both tools can be fluid. Make sure you aren’t building either one and leaving them out to get stale.

Blog Regularly

Do you Blog Regularly?

I am not the best example of someone that does blog regularly. I just realized the last blog I wrote was almost a year ago. I am like the shoemaker and his kids shoes. Or the parent who says do as I say, not as I do.

The best thing about writing a blog regularly is that you have new content on your website that web crawlers can find and report to help with organic growth and reach.

It can be easy or hard to actually take the time to write. If you blog regularly, it is easy if words and thoughts come out of your brain and onto paper or keyboard easily. It may be hard to blog regularly, if you have the thoughts and aren’t around your keyboard to post them.

One of the other things about blogging is that getting people to your website may be a challenge. One thing that you can do is take the content that you write on your website and share it in a newsletter, link to it on social media, and take the best part of it and post it as an article on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a good option for anyone who does not already have a website with a blog platform. There are hundreds of millions of potential readers AND if you link back to your website, you may end up with a following on your RSS feed if you have one or a new connection on your social media.

A few tips for your blog:

  • 275 – 300 words minimum
  • include an image
  • use your keyword frequently

Call me if you need some thoughts or guidance. I am much better at helping my customers than doing my own!

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!