Wednesday, June 26, 2013

5 Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make During an Interview

Congratulations! You've landed an interview for that job that you applied for... but what good is it to get an interview if you're just going to blow it? Listed below are just a couple of common job interview mistakes, blunders, and errors that prospects make.
Talking Too Much

Sure, when you’re in an interview, people want to learn about you, your skills, and your accomplishments. However, that doesn't mean that you should go into a twenty-minute diatribe on your past achievements or drone on about how you solved a simple technical problem. Keep your answers succinct and to the point; if the interviewer wants more, they'll ask. By keeping your answers to the point, your interviewer will be better able to follow your answers, making you appear better prepared.
Dressing Down

First impressions are important, and the first thing your interviewer will notice is how you dress; your physical appearance can speak volumes to someone who is meeting you for the first time. Even if you know that the firm allows employees to dress casually, you should proceed on the conservative side and show up in neat, professional clothing; you won't get penalized for over dressing, but can possibly get dinged by dressing too casually.

Arriving Late

As mentioned above, first impressions count and can have an impact on your job prospects... but did you know it's possible to make a bad first impression before your interviewer even meets with you?

Running late suggests that you don't care about the job that you're interviewing for as well as a lack of respect for your interviewers time. In addition, it shows that you lack basic time management skills, so make sure to take the proper precautions so that you arrive on time, or a few minutes (5 - 10) early (arriving too early also suggestions poor time management skills). By going the extra step to try and get to your interview on time, you'll be able to give yourself a cushion in case 
something unforeseen comes up.

Not Having Any Questions Prepared 

As well as being prepared for questions you may be asked, also be ready to ask your own questions. Do not be caught off guard when the interviewer inevitably asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" Be prepared with several questions, about the company, the position, or the corporate culture. At an initial interview, do not ask about salary, benefits, or workload. You do not want to appear only interested in money, perks, or having an easy job. You want to show your willingness and ability to do the best job possible, and portray enthusiasm for the position. Not having any questions prepared makes a job candidate seem uninterested, unmotivated, and unprepared.

Asking About Your Salary Too Soon

While it may be one of the determining factors in your decision to work at a company, don't talk money too soon while in the interview. Many interviewers will tell you the salary and benefits that come with the job, though some will ask you what your salary expectations are. Either way, follow the interviewers lead when it comes to discussing salary. You don't want to look like someone who is just in it for the money and doesn't care about the job as it may work against you when compared to other suitable applicants.

Take the time to prepare before your interview, so you don't have to stress out about blunders after it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Using LinkedIn to Generate More Business

LinkedIn is a fantastic network for those looking to grow their business, boost their visibility, and grow their professional contact list, finding new leads, snagging more business and so much more. Check out the following stats to see why LinkedIn is such a great social network when it comes to growing your business:.
  • LinkedIn users are affluent: Over half the users on LinkedIn  earn more than $60K per year and over a third earn more than $100K
  • LinkedIn users are educated: Nearly half have a college degree and over a quarter have a graduate degree.
  • LinkedIn users love the site: Nearly a quarter of the users are on the site a minimum of 30 times per month.
LinkedIn is definitely something that you should incorporate into your marketing strategy to help grow your business by boosting visibility and reputation while getting more leads and finding new contacts. Here are a few tips to help you on your journey to generating more business with LinkedIn.

Have a Complete, Optimized Profile

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John Owens -

It's important to be found if you want to start using LinkedIn to generate business, and the best way to make sure you are found by prospective clients as well as colleagues and friends is to make sure you complete your profile fully and optimize it.

Make sure that you include your previous job and education history as well as uploading a professional photograph of yourself. You should also start thinking about what keywords your ideal clients would be searching for to find the service or product you're offering. 

Have a Compelling Headline

(img src: LinkedIn Ninja)

It's not enough for you to be found in the search results. You'll show up along with other people in the search, so you need to find a way to distinguish yourself from the other results. The best way to do this is by writing a compelling headline that will get a user to click-through to your profile.

The best way of writing a headline that's effective is to come up with one or two keywords for SEO purposes and use them to create an attention-grabbing statement. For example, if you're offering a service in a local area, then you should think about including that location as your keyword within your headline.

Give People a Reason to Take Action
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With people finding your profile and clicking through, it's now important that your profile compels the user to take action, whatever that may be. The first section that a LinkedIn user will see is your Summary section. (You should make sure your Summary section has relevant keywords dispersed in to increase the number of people who find you).

The summary section should be focused on the client and what you can do for them instead of focusing on yourself and your past achievements. This may seem counterintuitive to what you may think about how to use  LinkedIn, but as a business-building tool (we are not looking at job seekers), people are looking at what you can do for them, which is why you want your summary to be client focused. 
With this in mind, be sure your profile speaks directly to your ideal clients. Begin your Summary section with a paragraph about who you are, share some of your story and position your credibility. The rest must speak to your specific target market, who they are, what their problems are and of course what solutions you provide.

Grow Your Network
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In addition to being found in search, it's important to grow your network, as you'll be found more easily if you are in someone's first, second or third level network or are a member of the same group. One good way of growing your network is by posing and answering questions that are relevant to your field in the LinkedIn Answers Section, which will allow you to make new connections and establish your expertise at the same time. 

Groups are another great way to grow your network by connecting with like-minded people. Instead of joining every group that's related to your niche or expertise, you should find groups that have members who are active and engaged. Make sure to join conversations, adding your own viewpoint or expertise when appropriate or create your own conversation as a way to help others. 

Follow Up with New Connections

Make sure that you take the time to follow up with any new connections who have taken the effort to reach out to you as well as the the ones you’ve reached out to and requested to connect with.
Send a welcome message after someone accepts your connection request or sends you a connection request. Thank them for connecting with you and if you can, offer them something of value, to help lay down a solid foundation which will allow you to generate additional business.
Stay connected to your networkreach out to them regularlyadd value for them and move the relationship forward. This means whenever possible, move the relationship offline and have a telephone call or an email. You’d be surprised at how much business still happens the old-fashioned way!

The power of LinkedIn is in the network. Therefore, the more involved your contacts are in LinkedIn, the more powerful a tool it becomes.
Iconic Mind is an IT consulting firm, based in Maryland, that works with clients so that they can make the best use of technology while focusing on data security and network accessibility. Connect with Iconic Mind on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Using Twitter to Grow Your Business

If you already have a Twitter account for your business, you likely use it to post news updates, create brand awareness, build a wider audience and promote everything from store openings to new deals to help with increasing your businesses reach and revenue. Here are a few tips that will help to make sure that you are leveraging Twitter to its fullest extent.
Use Hashtags. The hashtag (#) is a way of marking specific keywords or topics within a Tweet. As there are established hashtags being used on a daily basis, as well as news ones that trend daily, hashtags can be a great way of extending your reach on Twitter, increasing the chances that your message gets shown within a Twitter search, thereby helping your business reach a new audience who can find your tweets and follow your brand. They also allow you to connect with your audience in a more meaningful way. You can use tools like WhatTheTrend, Twubs or Hashtags to find tags that are currently trending.

However, it's important that you are careful with how you use hashtags, as they've become a way for people and businesses to spam. You should only use hashtags that they are consistent with your brand and the tweet that you're sending out. Also, you should never stuff your tweets with tags, so avoid using more than two.
Help people and engage customers. Twitter is more than just sharing links and photos. Twitter is a social network and as such, you should participate in the community by helping people out. 

Search for tweets related to your niche and answer any questions people have. By assisting people you are building goodwill for both your organization as well as for yourself.
Promote It. Get your Twitter handle know by showing it prominently on your website as well as in all your marketing materials that way you can make it easier for clients and prospective customers to connect with you on Twitter and build your following.

Have additional tips? Leave a comment below!

Iconic Mind on Twitter or LinkedIn.