Don’t Waste Time with Fillers

FillerFace

Secretaries have an interesting job. They do some pretty boring tasks, like filing and organizing, and then they do some pretty interesting tasks, like talk to people.

I’ve had a few secretary positions in my life at various places. Some places were small local businesses, some were large corporations with important CEOs. No matter where I was, I’ve dealt with plenty of people who were there to meet with someone important. Some people walked in well dressed and confident; I was happy to call the important person they asked for and announce that someone who seemed worth their time was waiting. Some people, however, weren’t so put together.

It wasn’t really their clothes that bothered me, it was how they spoke. You can always have someone change their clothes and adopt a wardrobe better suited for your business, but how someone speaks says a lot about who they are. People who walked in and couldn’t say a single sentence without an “um,” “err,” “uh,” or “like,” drove me insane. I never liked announcing their presence to someone important. It was embarrassing. Even if they had 3 PhDs and a genius IQ, speaking with fillers just made me think that they didn’t care about who they were speaking to or what they were saying.

In reality, people often use fillers when their minds aren’t completely focused. They’re either nervous, distracted, or too busy anticipating the next question to pay attention to the current question. No matter why you use fillers, it doesn’t help you charm potential clients or win over future employers.

We’ve already talked about how to get your interview outfit together to make a great first impression, so here’s how to dazzle your interviewers with a great first conversation devoid of all fillers.

1. Take a breath

Before you speak, take a breath. Not a giant inhale, not a short gasp, just a regular breath. This will not only help you collect your thoughts and keep you from wasting time with “uhs” or “ums” while your brain gets your words together, but also help your voice come out strong and clear.

2. Take your time

There’s no need to rush. You can pause for a few seconds before answering, especially in interviews. It makes you seem thoughtful, as if you carefully consider every option before making a decision. This is good to use in every day conversation as well. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who kept changing their opinions or constantly adding “well, that’s not really what I meant” because they spoke before they had their thoughts together? Don’t be that person in an interview or in daily life.

3. Say what you need and nothing more

Everyone’s experienced word vomit, constantly talking to the point of gibberish without control (almost like real vomit), in their life. It happens. It doesn’t need to happen during something as important as an interview, though. Word vomit often leads to fillers because you realize you didn’t mean to say something and you know you have to correct it, but you aren’t quite sure how, so you just say anything. Anything eventually turns into some sort of filler.

When asked a question, say the answer and nothing more. Do this for the first few questions. After that you should start to relax. Once you’ve settled in and gotten rid of your interview jitters, you can start to talk a little more, even add an anecdotal story or two, into the conversation. Word vomit rarely occurs when you’re confident, which means those filler words are less likely to crop up when you’re relaxed.

Filler words are horrible. Not only are they distracting to the listener, they also show that the speaker is distracted. You can change lots of things about a person, but you can’t change how their brain works. Don’t give someone the wrong impression based on pointless filler words.


 

Arment, Marco. Steve Nelson. 15 Nov. 2007. Online image. Flickr. 17 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/46Uhkh

3 Tips To Find The Right Company For You

CityStreet

Admit it, you’ve applied to jobs without doing any research on the company or position before. Come on, we’ve all done it. Whether it’s the new graduate desperation to use that expensive degree or a miserable job that has you begging for a change, we’re all guilty of mindlessly applying for jobs simply because a search engine told us it matched the key words we typed in. True, this is a great way to get your resume out there, you could easily apply to 20 or more jobs in a day this way, but you want to do more than have your resume sitting in a filing cabinet of every single company in the country. You actually want a job. Applying to every job may or may not get you that dream job, but applying for the right jobs definitely will.

Now, there are exceptions to this rule. Let’s say you’re laid off and need a new job right this second. By all means, apply to every job you lay your eyes on. Future employers will understand taking a job just to pay the bills while you’re hunting for a better one. This tactic is better spent on those more temporary jobs than your dream career though. That elusive dream job that begins your rewarding career takes much more precision and careful research than any temp job will.

Your dream job is more than just the title you get or tasks you are assigned. It also needs to be at a company you’re happy with. How will you know that until you’re already there? Well, technically you won’t. You can’t know everything about a company inside and out until you’ve seen how the inside works with your own eyes. But researching a company can give you a good idea before you apply.

1. Check the job posting

This one is a bit obvious, but it’s easy to forget this simple step when you’re caught up in Application Frenzy. Majority of job postings have a little place for the company to describe itself to potential applicants. Before you submit your resume, read this paragraph carefully. Does it peak your interest or send up red flags? For some, the term “non-profit” can either be a blessing or a curse depending on previous experience. If anything in that company bio makes you cringe, it’s best to just move on to the next job post.

2. Check the company website

Along with a mini bio will be a link to the company website. Check out the entire website, specifically the About page. Read their mission statement, press releases, and any awards they’ve listed on their site. Just like the job posting, these pages are full of keywords that will either entice or repulse you. Don’t want to work with kids? Maybe a place that aims to educate or entertain children isn’t for you.

While the job posting might have the title you’re after, it isn’t worth your effort to apply to a company you don’t agree with wholeheartedly. Even if you do fool the interviewer into thinking you’re a good fit for the company, you’ll be miserable once the New Job Phase wears off in a few weeks. Put your efforts towards a career you’ll be happy in.

3. Check online reviews

Job posting bios and company websites are, no surprise, written by employees of the company. Even if they are the most disgruntled employee on the face of the earth, it is still in their best interest to put their company in a good light. They will hide all the blemishes and flaws within the company to attract the best and brightest applicants. While including these works in your research is important, you should also find more objective sources to get a fuller picture.

The best site I’ve found so far is Glassdoor. Not only does it have job postings, it also gives you reviews of companies from employees past and present that include salaries, pros and cons, and company predictions from those with insider knowledge. The only downside is that you need several recent reviews in order to get a good idea of the company. While larger companies can get that many reviews, smaller, more local businesses can’t always keep up. Still, it’s the go-to site that my friends and I use when job-hunting and in general it is pretty useful.

We’ve all desperately applied to jobs before. How often has it really worked in our favor though? So instead of wasting all that time applying to 20 or more jobs in one night, spend that same amount of time researching those positions and companies to find the handful that you would truly love to call your own.


Markus, Monik. Midtown NYC. 28 Dec. 2008. Online image. Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/8fkcmQ

Get Your Interview Outfit Ready

InterviewImage

When you start applying for jobs, it’s best to already be prepared for the first interview. There’s nothing worse than having the excitement of an interview ruined with the realization that you have nothing professional to wear. You could risk last minute shopping, but that means you take the chance of bad fit, high costs, poor quality, or worse, finding nothing at all. Trust me, it’s easier to be prepared. Here’s how:

1. Start with the basics

Professional clothes for both men and women are pretty simple. They need to be the proper size, meaning not baggy but not too tight as well. If you need some help defining that perfect shape, look up images of “business clothes” as a general guide. Professional attire also needs to keep you covered, meaning they hide your shoulders and chest (yes, for both women and men) and be neat, clean, and wrinkle-free.

Everyone should have at least a few of these items in their closet:

Men

  • Plain collared shirt
  • Suit
  • Simple tie
  • Dark dress shoes
  • Simple belt

Women

  • Plain collared shirt
  • Simple dress shirt
  • Blazer
  • Dress pants
  • Pencil skirt
  • Simple belt
  • Closed toed shoes (either flats or low heels)

The business world also has a color scheme to go with its dress code. Dark, muted hues are the way to go for your interviews. Don’t stray away from black, navy, or charcoal gray. If you want to be bold, a pop of burgundy here or there is still safe.

2. Let your skills shine, nothing else

A professional interview, especially a first interview, is not the place to wear most of your accessories. Watches are fine, as long as they aren’t blinged out, bedazzled, or brightly colored. If you wear jewelry keep it simple and conservative. Restrain yourself to a simple pair of stud earrings or a single understated necklace. Leave the cocktail ring and other flashy accessories at home.

3. Your talent is big, not your hair

Or your makeup. Just like accessories, simplicity is key when doing your hair and makeup for an interview. Yes, you want to stand out in the sea of other applicants, but that’s what your resume and skills are for. You need to look professional when you meet potential employers, not unique and colorful. I know this is a little harsh for those who haven’t been on a professional interview before, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution in these situations.

4. There’s always an exception to the rule

That’s right! Just like resume formatting, there’s no concrete rules for how to dress for an interview. For example, more creative professions like those in the fashion industry might be able to get away with more fashion forward interview outfits than someone applying to be an accountant.

Again, it is always best to err on the side of caution because a first interview is your big step towards landing that job. If you do want to diverge from the traditional, conservative interview attire, have your outfit match the tone of the company you’re hoping to join as opposed to your own personal style. That doesn’t mean that you should lie or hide anything about yourself, but you want your first impression with your interviewer to be that you belong with the company. If you know that the company is very professional, follow their lead. If you know that employees regularly wear jeans and sweatshirts to the office, you can play around with color, pattern, and accessories a little more.

I’m sure you’re excited to start applying to professional jobs. After all, you can’t have an amazing career without that first job. However, you need to make sure you’re ready for that first interview before you start sending hundreds of resumes out into the world. So take the time to search your closet for your outfit before you start waiting for that phone call for that job you would be perfect for.


Kheel Center. Sewing training at an Organization for Rehabilitation and Training school. 4 Oct. 2010. Online image. Flickr. 3 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/93z4Nu

3 Tips to Keep Your Resume In Shape

paperwork

When I first started applying for “real world” jobs as a college senior they made me sick with nerves. There were so many different formats and layouts, so many rules on length and wording, basically there were too many options for me to feel comfortable handing in anything to a potential employer. One year later and I love all those options. They give you the freedom to show off all the skills you need to wow future employers. My attitude towards resumes changed once I accepted that multiple resumes were better for me than one single, massive resume of everything I had ever done.

Many job seekers today are either looking at several different career options at once or have a variety of experience due to taking a job out of necessity while still searching for their career job. The first group are people looking for a career change and have experience in a few different areas, such as non-profit and education, that they would like to pursue in this change. The latter are more likely to be 20somethings and/or recent graduates who needed a job to pay the bills and simply couldn’t afford to wait for that perfect First Career Job any longer. I was in that second group.

Whether you don’t like your current “for now” job or you’re looking for a new career, lots of people with lots of experience are putting out lots of resumes. Here are 3 tips to help you create your best resume for each position.

1. Tailor your resume to the job

Each job posting comes with key words that future employers look for when reviewing dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of applications. Not only should you look for these key words and add them to your resume, you should also remove information and experience that is not relevant to the position. According to Erik Larson at CAREEREALISM, “the biggest reason against dumping all this information in a single resume is that an employer cannot digest all of it. There is too much going on, and it would be difficult for recruiters to judge whether you are actually good at the role they want you to perform.”

I know you’re smart and wouldn’t bother to apply for a job you aren’t qualified for, but how would a potential employer know that? They’re searching through dozens and dozens of applications just to fill one, maybe two, spots. Help them out by giving them a list of your skills and experience, not a maze of job titles and irrelevant facts. This will help you go from just another application to the person they want to interview.

2. Keep it short and sweet

Like I said earlier, resumes have a lot of options. There aren’t any real hard rules to apply to each application. In general though, you don’t want to go over 2 pages. This goes along with my first point of tailoring your resume to each job. Just because you have more than a decade of experience doesn’t mean it’s all relevant. Just because you’ve held a lot of internships or volunteered all over the place doesn’t mean it’s relevant either. Only use what you need to prove that you can do the job.

If you have any gaps of employment, let’s say that in between that impressive internship and your first career job you had to work at a local coffee shop, try to fill it with whatever positions you can relate to the job you’re applying for. That coffee shop probably helped you hone your communication skills or improve your sales technique, so mention that.

3. Stay organized

Depending on how much effort you’re putting into your job search, you might have a couple resumes already put together. I recommend having templates for each type of job or career you want and then further tailoring those templates to each job posting with key words. Save each application with the job title and company in the name on either a flash drive or Google drive so that you can go back and reference it when you get the interview. Go the extra mile and make a spreadsheet to keep track of what you applied for, the date you applied, and what resume you used.

Worried that having so many different templates will keep you from remembering your entire job history in chronological order? Luckily there’s a social media site that can help you keep track of everything. We’ve already talked about how you can use LinkedIn to your advantage, but another great use for the site is keep an ongoing list of your job experience. Constantly being connected to previous employers also let’s you know if there’s been any changes with previous employers, like a new mission statement or name change (which has happened to me recently). Knowing this information, especially before going to an interview, can help you fully explain to your potential employers exactly what you did there and what you learned.

Don’t fall into the trap I did of using one resume and wondering why it isn’t working. You’re already putting so much effort into searching for the perfect job with the perfect company, why not add 10 extra minutes of work to make sure your resume is the one that gets the interview?


Heather. paperwork. 12 Mar. 2011. Online image. Flickr. 27 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/9rpM2p

6 Tips to Promote Yourself on LinkedIn

BusinessItems

So far we’ve discussed how to promote yourself on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Now we’re going to focus on the site everyone should use: LinkedIn.

When people talk about social media, LinkedIn seems to get lost in the shuffle. With giants like Facebook and twitter constantly growing and changing, it’s easy to see how the reliable and professional site can be forgotten. Just because there aren’t any fun games or cat videos on LinkedIn doesn’t mean it isn’t as useful as other social media sites though.

LinkedIn is like an online resume as well as an easy tool to stay connected to your colleagues and people you meet while networking all in one. While it seems pretty straightforward, there are ways to maximize your profile to give your career an extra boost. Here’s 6 tips to make the most of your LinkedIn account.

1. Link to former employers

When you add a current or previous employment, LinkedIn requires you to fill out the company name, your title, location, and give dates for when you worked there. When you type the company’s name,  search the drop down menu to try and find your company and its logo rather than just giving the name. Not all companies have LinkedIn accounts, especially smaller ones, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t find yours.

Linking your page to previous or current companies not only allows people to easily look up these employers and see what kind of background you have, it also allows LinkedIn to add you to a master list of employees for that company. This will make finding current and past coworkers to connect with easier (we’ll talk about that more later).

2. Include your skills

While LinkedIn suggests skills for you to add to your profile, it doesn’t add them for you. You must select the skills you have and add them to your profile yourself.

While adding your experience shows people the titles you’ve held and the places you’ve worked, adding your skills gives your greater freedom to show what you an do for future clients. You might have held similar titles at a variety of companies over the years, but that doesn’t mean you had the same responsibilities or used the same exact skills at each place. Or perhaps you’re looking to branch out and have recently gained skills you haven’t really used in your previous jobs. The skills section is the place to show that.

3. Connect with coworkers past and present

Connections are LinkedIn’s version of friends, likes, or followers. Do you have coworkers at your current job? What about your previous jobs? Did you meet someone at a networking event that you’d like to stay in touch with? All of these people are your potential connections.

Why is it important to have connections? These people can help you grow your business, hire you for your services, or even give you a leg up if you wanted to switch jobs. Just like friends, likes, and followers, connections are important to keep your business going.

4. Endorse your connections

Remember how you took the time to list all your skills on your LinkedIn page? So did your connections. One way to stay connected with your vast network is to endorse the skills they’ve listed on their pages. Be honest and only endorse the skills you’ve experienced and don’t worry about not being able to endorse all of them.

While it might seem silly to read a list of people’s skills and select a few you really believe in, it does benefit you in the long run. It’s an unwritten rule on LinkedIn to endorse someone who endorses you. Everyone might not follow this rule, but enough will return the favor to transform your list of skills from self-written to colleague-approved.

5. Share regular updates

LinkedIn has updates similar to those of Facebook. They’re accessible to your connections and remind people to keep you on their radar. This is where you share your work, such as your new portfolio, or even a funny image or inspirational quote that relates to your field. Either way, it reminds your connections that you are still active and relevant. Who do you think a potential client is more likely to hire, the talented person that faded to the background or the talented person who refused to be forgotten? The answer’s pretty obvious.

6. Don’t use hashtags

LinkedIn isn’t set up to use hashtags like twitter and Facebook. Without the linking ability behind it, hashtags just look ridiculous. I suggest keeping things professional with standard grammatical English and favor key words to catch clients’ eye.

Let’s be honest, LinkedIn is a more practical than fun social media site. That being said, it has an obvious purpose and serves it well. You’re not here to settle for average though. Always look for ways to achieve more than the status quo, even in the professional world. Use LinkedIn to your advantage and grow your business, and your network, like never before.


Symo0. Technology. 8 Feb. 2011. Online image. Flickr. 20 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/9hsheb

3 Tips to Promote Yourself on Instagram

TakePicture

Everyone knows the phrase “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” but that’s not all it’s worth. Sometimes they’re worth followers, likes, or comments, which can result in dollars.

We’ve talked about promoting yourself on twitter and Facebook, two social media sites that are more word oriented than image oriented. Now it’s time to focus on Instagram, the image sharing site known for square photos and dozens of filters. There are plenty of fields that would benefit from this website, including (obviously) photographers, artists, fashion designers, chefs, and really anyone who creates their own products for sale. Here are 3 tips to use the 4 year old site to help you find new clients and colleagues.

1. Get creative

Obviously, share pictures of your products. Did you make a killer dress? Show it off. Did you create a beautiful mural? Show it off. Your account is going to get pretty boring pretty fast if the end result is all that’s there to see. Create excitement by posting an image of your tools before you begin a new piece, or a sneak peak at a half finished product. Keep the contents of your account relevant to what you do, but don’t make things monotonous for your followers.

2. Don’t forget behind the scenes shots

Do you have coworkers? Collaborators? Bonus points if you have an actual office or studio! These spaces and faces are full of photo ops for you to share on Instagram. Not only will they add interest to your account, they also give your brand a face and personality. People see that they’re buying from or working with real humans who go on coffee runs or pull office pranks. It doesn’t matter if it’s just you and a few coworkers or an Artist Mannequin, giving your brand personality will only help you grow.

3. Use hashtags

Just like twitter, hastags are important on Instagram. They’re searchable, giving you the opportunity to connect with new clients at the click of a mouse. Instagram itself recommends no more than 3 hashtags per post which is probably the best way to keep your followers focused on your images and the text you attach to them. Do your research before posting a hashtag. Just like twitter, you want to make sure that the words you use attract the right people to your account.

Since launching in 2010 there’s not that much data on how well Instagram helps businesses. There’s no denying that using the social media site in the right way has been beneficial to many brands though. In the end how much it will help you depends on how much you rely on showing people a physical product as opposed to having them read or listening to something. Since the site is only 4 years old, it doesn’t have the following to replace Facebook or maybe even twitter, but that shouldn’t deter you from adding it to your arsenal of promotional tools.


Dulaunoy, Alexandre. Taking a Picture in Zurich. 10 Feb. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 13 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/k6yYKR

5 Tips to Promote Yourself on Facebook

FacebookLike

A few weeks ago I discussed some basic tips for promoting yourself on twitter. While twitter is an amazing website, it isn’t the only social media site out there. Your future clients and colleagues are everywhere. Why risk missing them by limiting yourself to one tool?

There are hundreds of social media sites out there, but let’s be honest, they aren’t all equal. Some of them are better designed for promoting your business, no matter what it is, than others. Some of them don’t have enough users to be worth your time. Facebook is free (sort of – we’ll get to that in a minute), great for sharing content, and with millions of users it is worth your time to use it for networking. Here are 5 tips to promote yourself on one of the most famous social media sites.

1. Create a Facebook page

While it might seem easier to share links to your website on your personal Facebook page, it has limited benefits. Sure, you’re letting friends and family know, and they’ll spread the word and help you find people, but what about after that initial wave? Grandma might tell her bingo buddies about your photography business every time one of their grandchildren gets engaged, but how long will they take her seriously? Grandma telling her friends about your amazing pictures isn’t as effective as showing everyone your amazing pictures yourself. Besides, you can’t keep adding dozens of strangers on Facebook just to promote yourself.

By creating a Facebook page you can upload images, links, prices, information, and more for both friends, family, and complete strangers to see. Sharing on your personal Facebook account isn’t a bad idea, probably better if you’re worried about Grandma posting embarrassingly supportive comments on a public page, but it shouldn’t be your only option.

2. Take advantage of photo albums

There are several freelance careers that rely on images. While there are several sites dedicated to image sharing, there’s no point in depriving your ever growing Facebook fans from seeing a selection of your products before they visit your website.

Instead of posting directly to your Facebook page, take advantage of Facebook’s photo albums. I suggest creating new albums for different categories to make it easier for your followers to find what they want no matter when you originally posted the image.

3. Be careful with hashtags

Unlike twitter, Facebook’s hashtags are a relatively new feature. They’ve been analyzed in their short existence, and the results are mixed. The dates of the research, personal vs business use, and, like twitter, how many hashtags, seems to play a role in how effective they are. My recommendation is play around with it and only use them if the benefit you. The basic rules for Facebook hashtags are similar to twitter hashtags, most importantly no more than two and make sure you chose the right words to connect your post to the right readers.

4. No character limit doesn’t mean write a novel

Remember how we discussed using too many hashtags on twitter? Since Facebook doesn’t have twitter’s 140 character limit, many people make the same mistakes on Facebook that they make on twitter x20. So overusing hashtags goes from 4 or 5 times on twitter to sometimes an entire paragraph on Facebook. We’ve all seen it, and I don’t need to explain how annoying it is to read. Please don’t do this to your followers.

Your text on Facebook isn’t just limited to abusing hashtags. You could write multiple paragraphs using proper English and still drive fans away. Many people, myself included, check social media fairly regularly on lunch breaks or while waiting in line or in a lobby. Do you have time to read a one page essay in that short amount of time? Neither does your followers. So only give the important and enticing details on social media. If you want to share more details before your potential clients actually purchase something, leave them on your actual website.

5. Don’t spend money until you’re ready

Facebook is free, but gives you the option on your Facebook page to promote your posts and gain new likes for a daily fee. While this can cost as little as $5 a day, I wouldn’t recommend it until you have a substantial amount of content/products on your website and a good amount of followers on your own.

The money you give Facebook will allow it to suggest your page to people who would be interested in it via their Facebook profiles. You know those little ads on the right of your newsfeed? That’s what you’re paying to be. While you will reach new people, valuable customers will be turned off by lack of options on your site. Instead, invite your friends and family to like your page and spread it via digital word of mouth while you’re building up your inventory to impress complete strangers.

Having a Facebook page has become so normal that people will search for a Facebook link on your website as a way for them to stay up to date on your blog/product/service. Don’t miss this chance to remind people of what you can do and why they want to pay for it. Facebook is a simple, free, and full of potential clients. Just because your personal Facebook newsfeed is full of baby pictures and a constant reminder that you went through those weird high school phases like everyone else doesn’t mean that it can’t help your business grow.


Fieber, Marco. Thumbs Up – Like. 18 Sept. 2011. Online image. Flickr. 6 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/ayepXW

5 Tips to Promote Yourself on Twitter

Metropolitan Coach Lines employee

Networking is an important skill to learn and keep up with throughout your career, no matter what field you’re in. Networking can help you gain new clients, make important partnerships that can further your business, or even help you find a new job when you’re ready to advance or just need a change.

Since many of my college friends/recent grads are freelancing in one way or another (some need it for their career while others have taken up creative hobbies that they’re trying to make money off of) I’ve seen a lot of them turn to social media to network. While I’m glad to see so many of them make this choice, I often sometimes cringe when I see the results. Social media sites like Twitter can really help your career, but only when used correctly. Today I’m going to share 6 simple tips that can really help your business grow on Twitter.

1. Always keep content in mind

Keep your Twitter account focused on your career field. Post content that the people you want to reach will want to see. Since many people who freelance or are just starting out use their personal accounts to promote themselves, this is very important to remember. I wouldn’t be afraid to post things outside of that category (your dog in a birthday hat is totally worthy of the internet) but make sure that people can still tell what your about.

If you’re worried about your personal and professional lives colliding and would rather keep them separate, start a new Twitter account just for your career. Something simple like Jane Doe Web Designs will be easy for clients to see your work without worrying about how many pictures you take of your pets per day.

2. Keep it short and simple

Twitter only allows you 140 characters, so use them wisely. Adding a link to your products/services, no matter how shortened, can still take up valuable space. Attaching a picture can also use up characters. A good tweet will never use two words when one is just as good.

A good tweet will also attract reader’s attention and make them want to click a link or follow an account. While this seems simple, it’s often pretty difficult to do in under 140 characters. You get better with practice, but a simple tip to start off with is to engage the reader by asking them a question.

Are you a wedding photographer? Instead of tweeting “Wedding photographer available this summer. LINK” try something like “Who would you trust with your wedding photos? LINK.” The first example tells too much up front so people are less likely to click the link unless they are actively searching for a wedding photographer. The second example engages the reader with a question that elicits an emotional response about something as precious as wedding photos. It makes you click the link to find the answer to the question, which is good for you. Once you get the chance to show off your work people will be more likely to refer you to a friend or save your information for another special event they have.

Keeping tweets short are also important in terms of retweets. The shorter your tweets, the easier it is for people to quote your tweet to their followers while adding their own comments. People spreading your information means you reach a wider audience, and having a positive comment or two will give you word of mouth bonus points.

3. No more than 2 hashtags per tweet

According to How to Hashtag, a basic website that explains this latest media/marketing tool, “hashtags…were invented as a way to organise [sic] twitter conversations. Hashtags are simply keywords preceded by a hash symbol (#) that makes them both searchable and linkable on twitter.” Hashtags are used in all sorts of tweets. The media often develops a hashtag for ongoing news stories like #Ferguson for the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Major television premiers also create their own hashtag to generate viewers, like #VoicePremiere for the next season of The Voice. Something as simple as #homemade can be used to highlight one of the best features of your products.

Hashtags are searchable, which means that even people who aren’t following you can find your tweets and links. For this reason, you want to use no more than 2 hashtags per tweet. Any more than that looks like you’re spam that is simply throwing out random keywords to get attention. Plus, it’s obnoxious.

4. Be careful who you tag

I’ve seen this a few times were people try to promote themselves, their company, or their skills on twitter, and actually tag themselves in the tweet. This is a great way to waste characters. When you send a tweet, people can see that you were the one who wrote it. They can easily click on your Twitter name and the link will take them to your Twitter account. Tagging yourself is redundant and makes you look unprofessional. Your online presence is like any first impression – you only get one and it needs to be good.

5. Generalized hashtag vs Specific Hashtag

If you’re tweeting about your skills or company, you want to reach the right people. So do you tweet something generalized like #design or the more targeted #AdobeDreamweaver? Ultimately, that’s your call. My advice is never settle for one tweet. Post multiple tweets over several days or even weeks. Limit one tweet per day, and always use something different. Remember, hashtags are a search engine so just because no one responded to your #design tweet on Monday doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. The right person might not search for #design until Friday. However, someone could be looking for #AdobeDreamweaver the same day you send your next tweet highlighting your skills, so don’t give up.


Metro Library and Archive. Metropolitan Coach Lines employee. circa 1955. Online image. Flickr. 21 Sept. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/jzzkfu

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. ‘”#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon).’ Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 Sept. 2013 Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

5 Tips on Working for Startup Companies

StartUpOffice

I had big dreams about using my creative writing degree to be Editor-In-Chief or New Media Guru for some Big Established Company straight out of college, but reality quickly set me straight. While I still have those big dreams, I know that those Big Established Companies require years, sometimes even decades, of experience for my dream position. So I started small and looked into the only demographic literally begging for my skills: startup companies.

Start up companies were my best friend after graduation. While they knew they needed someone with my skill set, they couldn’t afford the salary of even one person with the years of experience Big Established Companies were asking. It’s a win-win really, I boosted my experience while the startup company got an employee to do the job. But, like any job, working with startups has it’s downsides.

I’ve experienced 3 startup companies, which is apparently a bit more than the average 20-something. So let me share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way on what it’s like to work with a startup company.

1. You probably won’t get paid for a while

A lot of startup companies I’ve seen either ask for college students or push back when they hire or even have their employees start. College students can earn college credit instead of a paycheck. If a startup is looking for paid employees, they’ll either put off hiring a candidate or even have employees wait to begin working while they get their funding sorted out. Either way, be prepared for this fact. Look for startups that have been running for at least a few months if starting immediately or having a paycheck right away is important to you.

2. You might be doing a lot of work

If your startup company is growing faster than the founders expected they might not be able to hire extra help the second it’s needed. That means all the extra work that comes with company growth will be split among the few employees they started with. While this is great to put on your resume or talk about in an interview, you need to be prepared to put in more than regular 9-5 hours or meet needs that weren’t on your original job description.

3. You might be doing very little work

Just because a company knows they need someone with your skill set doesn’t always mean they know what to do with you. There might be another aspect of the company that they need to focus on and this distraction can either prevent them from helping you reach your company goals or lead them to delay any approval you need from them. While you should always stay on top of your own productivity and make sure you’re achieving your employee goals, you should also be prepared to explain to your boss what you are doing and why it is the best way to achieve those goals.

4. Things are always changing

That’s just the nature of the beast. Start ups are new and small but founders often have aspirations of competing with Big Established Companies. That means they will often change everything behind the scenes to meet company goals or make customers/clients happy. While it will often help the company, and therefore you, in the end, it’s still a stressful time for all employees. Always be willing to learn new things and keep your communication skills sharp so you can explain your new changes to customers/clients.

5. You will need to network

This is an important piece of advice whether or not you work for a startup company. Today’s job market is much easier to navigate when you have the right people to help you advice your career. Networking is especially important in startups because you represent a company that is still growing. Networking with the right people means you find people who can help your company grow while also giving them something beneficial in return. Being able to provide a win-win situation creates a “business friendship” that makes future career help easier to obtain.

While startup companies can be wonderful for all types of employees, especially those straight out of college, it might not be the right fit for everyone. Start ups require employees to be flexible and have great self-management skills. Each startup I’ve worked with has been different though, so never remove a startup from your job search just because they’re the new kids on the block. While starting out with a startup company might not be the job you’ve always wanted, getting in on the ground floor might give you the opportunity to build your own path to your dream job.


The Library of Virginia. City, crowded office space. 19 August 2008. Online image. Flickr. 31 August 2014. https://flic.kr/p/5qcR53