Creating Your Network on LinkedIn

MP900390581No one will dispute the fact that LinkedIn is one of the best job search tools on the Internet. But LinkedIn did not start life as purely a job search tool, it started as a networking tool with job search as an afterthought. So if this is your first experience with LinkedIn, or you are now building your network on LinkedIn, follow the 5 basic steps listed below to getting started. The only prerequisite is that you’ve created your basic profile.

  1. Planning: Plan out your list. Who do you want on the list, how will you source their information? The best place to start is friends, family, former high school/college friends, former and current coworkers. Don’t add everyone unless you think they will be useful. People you don’t like (or who don’t like y.ou) should be excluded.  Also keep in mind that your connections can see who you are connected to.

 

  1. Start Adding Contacts: Once you’ve created your plan, hover over the “Connections” menu item at the top of the page and select “add connections”. The next page you will see will allow you to import your address book from your email provider.
    • Who You Know- Contacts – Once your addresses have been imported, LinkedIn will let you know which of them are already on LinkedIn. You have the option of adding all from your address book (NOT recommended), “deselect” those you do not want to add by selecting “skip this step” and then add the remaining contacts. Each one will receive a notice from LinkedIn  informing them that you would like to connect with them.
    • Who You Know- Alumni – Hover over the “Connections” menu item at the top of the page again and select “Alumni”. Now add your college or university, the dates you attended. LinkedIn will now help you.
    • Who You Don’t Know – Sometimes you will want to add people that you don’t know first hand, but attended the same school, worked at the same company, live in the same town, share the same major (you get the picture). More on that below.

 

  1. Invite Contacts or Other LinkedIn Members: You are now ready to send invites to ask those you know (or have a common interest. Here’s how:
    • By Name – Use the search bar at the top of LinkedIn and start typing a name (first name followed by second name). If that person is on LinkedIn they will show up. Select the person and select the “Connect” button.  That individual will be contacted via email that you’ve made a connection request. Once that person accepts, you will be notified that you are now connected.
    • By Company -Type in the name of the company and once you find it hit enter. The next page will show people who work (or worked) at the company. You will then have a bunch of options on the left hand side of the page to further refine your search. LinkedIn will also let you know if you know someone through someone else (will have a “2nd” next to it).  Select “Connect” next to those you would like to connect with.

 

  1. Advanced Search for Contacts: LinkedIn currently has in excess of 300 Million users, so it can sometimes be difficult to find specific people or people within an industry (or other search filter).  LinkedIn has this all worked out:

    • Select “Advanced” next to the search bar at the top of the page.
    • Use Keywords, names, title, location, etc. to provide additional filters.
    • Additional filters are on the right hand side of the screen, but these require a LinkedIn premium account.
    • Once you’ve got your search filtered to the desired results, start connecting!

 

  1. Cultivate Your Contacts: There are many ways to cultivate you contacts on LinkedIn.
    • Respond to “congratulations” notices from LinkedIn (promotions and new jobs)
    • Use the “Keep in Touch” menu item under Connections (you can use “congrats” from this page as well)
    • Endorse people for their skills (you will get notices on this).
    • Keep in touch with your contacts

Once build your network, you can start leveraging it to build your career, look for a new job, make new friends and learn new things.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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Good Career Choices in the World of Finance

MP900382629If you have an interest in having a career that is related to finance, there are a wide variety to choose from. Many of these careers are in very high demand, so the opportunities for advancement and a high salary are very good. Regarding what career path you should take, it all depends on what you are interested in and your goals for the future. Here are a few of the good career choices in the world of finance.

  1. Financial examiner – A financial examiner is a person who makes sure that various financial institutions are following specific laws that regulate how they do their business transactions. If any irregularities are detected, it is the financial examiner’s job to report these matters to the proper authorities for further investigation. They also assess the management of banks, assess the amount of risk contained in certain loans and perform balance sheet reviews.
    • What They Do – Financial examiners monitor the financial condition of banks and other financial institutions. They can be “internal” examiners or work for a regulatory agency (like the SEC or Federal Reserve). They review balance sheets, and income statements. The review internal document to confirm assets and liabilities. They will generally issue a detailed report at the end of the examination listing their findings. They must understand regulations and policies to determine their the organizations compliance with minimum requirements.
    • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median pay for Financial examiners is $77,000 per year. The bottom 10% earn $45,000 while the top 10% earn in excess of $145,000.
    • Education and Training Requirements – You typically need a bachelor’s degree in Finance or Accounting. A degree in Accounting with a focus on Auditing can be very important in helping you land a job.

 

  1. Actuary – If you want to become an actuary, this is a field that has been experiencing a great deal of growth in recent years. The job of an actuary is to figure out the probability of certain events occurring and use this data to determine the level of risk involved. This data is used by insurance companies to determine whether or not they will insure people for damages caused by certain events. All actuaries must possess excellent analytical skills in order to be successful at their job.
    • What They Do – Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty using statistics and financial analysis. They help businesses develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk in industries such as Insurance.
    • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median annual wage for management analysts is $78,600. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,370, and the top 10 percent earned more than $142,580.
    • Education and Training Requirements – A bachelor’s degree in business administration is generally required. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have an MBA.

 

  1. Management Analyst – The job of a management analyst is to consult with various businesses and suggest ways in which the company can perform their daily operations in a more efficient manner. Basically, these people instruct companies on how to streamline their operations in order to make the most profit with the smallest amount of overhead.
    • What They Do – Management analysts / consultants help businesses, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They help organizations become more profitable and efficient through reduced costs and increased revenues..
    • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median pay for Financial examiners is $93,000 per year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,780, and the top 10 percent earned more than $175,330.
    • Education and Training Requirements

 

  1. Financial Analyst – A financial analyst has the responsibility of advising various people and companies to make solid choices in terms of their investments. They look at all the possible investment opportunities that are out there. By using this information, they can determine if their client is best suited to invest in mutual funds, bonds, stocks or some other form of investment. Another factor financial analysts must consider is the amount of risk their clients are comfortable with. Based on the level of acceptable risk and the amount of money their client has, they put together an investment plan to maximize the growth of their client’s portfolio.
    • What They Do – Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They understand and review macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions along with company fundamentals. They review business and industry dynamics and may make recommends based on their analysis.
    • How Much They Make – According to BLS, the median pay for Financial Analysts is $77,000 per year. The lowest 10% earned less than $47,000 while the top 10% earned in excess of $148,000. The job outlook is 16%, faster than the average for careers.
    • Education and Training Requirements – While college is not required, there is an expectation that financial analysts have an undergraduate degree in Finance or Accounting. An MBA or Masters will certainly help your career. All Financial Analysts must have good computer skills and should consider Excel training courses.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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LinkedIn Alternatives for Online Resumes

LinksThe traditional resume is being slowly being outdated, and the number of networks that allow you to share your resume online (like LinkedIn) have grown substantially over the last few years. These networks not only allow you to post your resume online, but they also provide a forum to help you make professional network connections. However, your resume must stand out from the crowd in order to get noticed by employers and recruiters (who have to scan hundreds of resumes for the “right fit”).

There are many ways you can be proactive with a resume-based webpage, making you and your work history stand out. That’s all well and good if you have the time (and talent) to create your own webpage. The best way to spend your time is to use on or more of the many online resume services. Some of the more popular sites are listed below.

  • Opprtunity —”I am looking for . . .” is the first thing you will see on this site. Three main choices (sales leads, employment, job candidates). Clicking the employment button loads a “signup” screen – you can use your email address or Facebook for this. The basic service is free, so it is worth taking a look. Once you join, you will be asked some basic questions. There is (of course) a premium service as well, but the basic service provides lots of functionality. The site finds opportunities for you using algorithms and the information you provide.
  • Flavors.me—Should you decide that you would like to create your own website, this site offers a good blend of information and graphics to create an appealing and professional looking webpage. To help craft your web presence, Flavor.me offers templates and can pull information from 35 different services to get all your web profiles into one place for free. Paid accounts are also available for more options. No coding required.
  • Re.vu—This site gives you the option of using information from your LinkedIn page if you have one. There’s an infographic tab that lets you add details about your personal interests and other skills. You can even include your portfolio. Although social media accounts can’t be linked to a Re.vu page, it will enerate a QR code graphic you can promote, post and share around.
  • Vizualize.me—For a quick DIY web resume, Vizualize.me is another good alternative to seek out. Create custom stats, add skills, or list your recommendations. Select a theme and style from their database and you can get your resume information graphically represented in bubbles, circles and bar graphs.
  • Pinterest—You know it as an Internet bulletin board, but did you ever think you could also use it as a creative resume? This is perfect for anyone who has a strong web presence or generated content online and needs a good way to organize it all. Different boards can be used for different categories of information such as your resume basics and information, content you’ve written on the web and projects that you’ve worked on. The ideas are endless. So go ahead and start pinning your best stuff.
  • About.me—Telling your story is the focus of this web page resume site. With About.me you get to set up a bio and an image of yourself to set the tone. Thus, rather than a traditional resume that outlines only your work, you get to put the spotlight on yourself as an individual. This a great supplement to add to online applications and digital business cards.
  • Facebook —If you’re advertizing your service as a small start up brand that could use a following community, why not create your very own Facebook Page? It’s worth a shot to gather all your work related content and interactions online. Not only that, it’s a great way to start a hubspot where you’re services are front and centre.
  • Visual.ly -Infographics are extremely popular on the web these days, which makes using one as a resume great for visually summing up your work history. Visual.ly, leading infographic generators, have partnered up with workforce solutions company, Kelly Services, to offer examples of creative infographic resumes that will help your history stand out better than any hardcopy resume can.

The site (or multiple sites) you select depends much on your career and industry. LinkedIn should be on that list and if you want some diversity, pick one or more of the sites listed above.

Co-author Reena Cruz writes for the Investintech.com blog, where she shares tips about PDF converter technology and software in general. As a tech-geek, she enjoys learning about new tech trends and sharing productivity tool tips online.

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Joey

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5 Important Success Factors to Achieve Your Career Goals

Stress 2One of the biggest career obstacles is understanding and practicing the key success factors that will help you maximize your career goals. Making a difference in your company and industry as well as becoming a motivating force in your workplace will help you bring it to the next level. Managing to enjoy your job and make an impact at the same time requires a drive and commitment that takes intense focus. Examining online profiles of a number of successful executives and trend setters often reveals what it takes to get to the top of the success ladder.  A glance at Marc Shmuger’s profile reinforces the thought that a motivated person working in a field they believe in can make a huge difference.

Leverage Your Experience & Proficiency:

Your experience (work, life and education) is important because your experience shapes the fabric of who you are and how you have (and will continue to) succeed. The unique backgrounds that often come to the surface on projects that become labors of love versus profit often reveals the character behind people. These experiences can be powerful motivators for direction. Fond memories can be powerful inspiration, but desiring to prevent unfortunate or tough experiences from occurring are also powerful factors in the question to make and impact and shape an industry. In the end, backgrounds make people what they are and have a profound effect on who they will become.

 

Focus on the Task at Hand:

Drive and ambition are two qualities that tend to go hand in hand, but without an element of focus, those qualities can be wasted. But planning is the key to getting things done. Prioritizing your tasks will help you focus  on the task and the goal are important for a variety of reasons, but primarily to avoid being distracted by the many other items that pop up on a daily basis. Challenges will always present themselves in new and interesting ways. Therefore, dealing with those issues while still being focused on the bigger loftier goal is vital to accomplishing the ground shaking impact everyone desires.

 

Lead from the Front – Ask the Right Questions:

True leaders lead by example. They exhibit specific traits that set them apart from everyone else. They can deal with conflict while remaining strategically focused. One very important trait is that they are not afraid to ask the tough (and the right) questions. Great leaders develop over time by focusing on setting goals that allow them to achieve their vision. They are also great at understanding people and their strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to leverage people and what they are best at and helping to achieve overall goals. Lastly, successful leaders have excellent communications skills. They are great at listening to others, understanding and embracing new ideas and positively impacting others.

 

Be an Active Community Leader:

Giving back to the community is an important part of any corporate and personal philosophy.  Community leaders take responsibility for helping improve their communities. Giving back to your community is a two way street. Not only do you “give back”, but you learn new things and meet new people (all of whom become part of your network).  Help lead a Boy Scout troop or participate in a town cleanup. Offer your time to local schools and senior citizen centers. There are many ways you can become an active community leader. Find an opportunity that matches your skill set (or a skill set you would like to learn).

 

Be a Great Role Model – Motivate Others to Succeed:

Inspire others to succeed as well. Positive role models helps everyone grow and can be an important part of your success story. Become a mentor in your company or your community (another way to be a community leader). Being a positive role model helps build your social skills and will help you gain additional confidence in your job and your career.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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Reduce Stress at Work

man at computerWe all get stressed at work. How many times have you thought about just quitting and walking out the door on the spot? Managing stress at work will not only improve your health, but can also help you get that promotion you’ve earned.

If you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder to a high-level position, or working towards a major promotion, make sure you keep your stress levels in check.

One of the greatest causes of on-the-job stress is managing the demands of your manager while keeping a good work life balance. The more you stress about getting ahead in your job, the more it could hinder your success. The tips below will help you recognize key stress factors as well as helping you manage them.

 

Stress Negatively Affects Your Performance

Excellent job performance is key to getting ahead. You need to perform above and beyond expectations in order to get improve your standing. But if you’re overly stressed out, your ability to work might be affected, which affects how your managers and coworkers view your status in the organization.  Some of the key drivers of stress in the workplace are:

  • Concerns about job security (downsizing, performance, etc.)
  • Work / life balance
  • People issues (don’t get along with their manager or coworkers)
  • Too much to do, not enough time (long hours / ability to manage your time)

 

Too Much to Do / Time Management:

While a low level dose of stress might help motivate you to meet deadlines, taking on an too much work in an effort to impress your manager (or fear of losing your job) can lead to frustration and you run the risk of not getting everything done on time or correctly. Some tips on managing your time and workload:

  • Prioritize your work at the start of each day (most important tasks first).  If you are unclear which tasks are more important, ask you manager to help.
  • Start one thing and finish it. Starting multiple tasks will cause you to lose focus and 5 started tasks are not as good as 1 or more completed tasks.
  • Learn to say no to additional work if you feel overwhelmed. Again, ask your manager to help prioritize any new tasks that will interfere with you completing work already assigned.

 

People Issues with Your Manager and Coworkers:

Stress is a major contributor to strained interactions with coworkers and poor interactions with coworkers can cause stress (yes, a vicious cycle). There are things you can do to improve relationships with coworkers and managers (although not getting along with your manager is difficult to fix in terms of perception).  Some tips:

  • Be helpful to others. Try to help your coworkers with business related tasks. Offer to get them a coffee if you are getting one for yourself. Praising their work (especially to managers) can help as well.
  • Don’t lose your “cool”. Count to 10 and take a deep breath when there is stress.
  • Stay away from office politics to the extent possible. Don’t gossip and certainly don’t say negative things about coworkers
  • To improve your relationship with your manager, follow through on what you say you will do (deliver on time).  Produce good work, get in early and stay late if necessary. If you manager knows you are a solid performer, things will improve.

 

Work / Life Balance:

Trying to do a good job at work where you are working long hours puts stress on your personal life. Short of getting a new job, there are other things you can do to improve your work/life balance and improve your stress levels.

  • Schedule time for your loved ones in the same way you schedule tasks at work. Make “date nights” with your spouse and plan special events with your kids.
  • Your time is important too. Schedule time for yourself in the same way you would schedule time with loved ones.
  • Give yourself a break. Try not to be so hard on yourself. We all deserve “down time” and time where we can do whatever we want (or nothing).
  • Getting things done at work, as mentioned above, will improve your work/life balance as well.

 

Job Security Related Stress:

There is not a lot you can do about a pending downsizing or the impact of a failed business other than to look for another job. The tips above should cover most of your performance related issues. If, however, your concerns are related to a downsizing where employees’ roles will be analyzed to determine which jobs are eliminated, there are a few things you can do to improve the chances of saving your job:

  • Help improve the profitability of your department and organization. This can be through cost savings recommendations or additional revenue (if you are in sales or marketing).
  • Improve your visibility by networking within your organization
  • Offer to take on new roles and tasks
  • Keep a positive attitude

 

Your Stress Reduction Plan

Make an effort to plan your next steps to reducing your stress based on the tips above. Make a list of the skills and resources you will need to start your stress reduction plan. Ensure you create goals and objectives that are attainable and achievable (and don’t cause stress!). Long term exposure and high levels of stress can impede your career advancement by affecting your ability to do your job.

 Book Corner – Managing Stress In The Workplace: How To Get Rid Of Stress At Work And Live A Longer Life ((Stress Management) How to deal with office stress Book 1)

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

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Joey

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