The Black Hole of Job Search

Most people think this is where your resume goes when you apply for a job. While that’s true, I’m actually referring to the black hole most people become when they become job seekers.I see so many people ‘become’ job seekers. They do what they are told even if it’s bad advice. They do it because no one tells them this is bad advice. People who never had to look for a job will tell you all the things you should do. And they say it with such certainty and authority that most people believe them.

For example, notice how people do stuff they wouldn’t do if they weren’t a job seeker. Did you have an elevator speech or ask for informational interviews when you were employed full time?

Compare this to when you had work, you had something to focus on other than yourself, you were ‘too busy’ to network, to attend job fairs or job clubs. You didn’t have an elevator speech, because your work didn’t require you to have one. Fix this by focusing on something and someone other than yourself. Have a bigger purpose and mission than just yourself. I tell people to start caring about someone and something other than their job search. This might mean charity events or volunteering, but it could also be sharing your knowledge as a speaker at your industry trade association monthly meeting.

If you know how to solve problems then start helping the people you want to work for right now. You don’t need a job to start helping them. Adopt your new company as your cause. What this will create is the attraction factor. People will want to talk to you, because you have a way to help them. In short, you won’t be seen as a job seeker, but a problem solver.

Written by Ahill

6 Social Media Marketing Mistakes…and How to Fix Them

Written by Chris Tompkins

With all of the information out there about social media, it is tough to know what to pay attention to and what to take with a grain of salt. Yet even with all of this information, we all still make our fair share of mistakes when executing our social media marketing campaigns.

As an owner of a social media-marketing firm, everyday I speak with people who are trying to make the most out of their Facebook and LinkedIn profile, or making their “tweets” count on Twitter. The following are a few of the most common mistakes that I have seen companies make on social media and what we can do to combat them in the future.

Mistake #1: Lack of Research on the Platform

This is a very important one. With all of the hype around social media (and also due to the fact that creating accounts is free and easy), many of us are eager to just jump in headfirst. Keep in mind that social media is a branding and visibility platform and thus needs to carry the right messaging and voice. Before you go full speed ahead, first see what you are getting yourself into.

I suggest creating a sparse profile and taking the time to look through each site. Where is your target market? What is your competition doing right (which can really help you come up with a strategy)? What applications can be useful? How are people communicating? What tools to I have to communicate with my market? While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can work to everyone’s advantage, if you only have time to manage one or two presences, it is best to be able to pinpoint the right ones and save yourself time and effort.

Top tip: a great way of seeing what sites suit your business is by asking your existing audience via polling.

Mistake #2: Lack of Focus

When you execute an advertising campaign, you know whom you are targeting. When you do a public relations campaign, you know what market you are trying to reach out to. When you do an email marketing campaign…. well, you get the point. Social media is no different.

Social media allows us to target with laser focus, you just need to identify whom you are trying to reach. Once identified, the key is to connect with “meaningful people” not just random people to get “the numbers.” Come on, why connect with 10,000 people who don’t care about you? What good does that do? Find connect and engage with people that matter. Focus!

Mistake #3: Lack of Consistency

If you are going to do social media, make sure to do it on a consistent basis – not whenever you can grab a free second. By consistent I mean daily, weekly, bi-weekly…on some sort of schedule. Since you are growing your audience, you need to be in front of them gaining that visibility and credibility consistently. My tip? Create a schedule of when you will be executing social media and what messages you will be highlighting. It takes a few minutes, but can save hours of weekly work.

No time to even make a plan? Outsource! It’s not a dirty word anymore.

Mistake #4: Using a 100% Push Marketing Approach

Push marketing is used all of the time in traditional marketing. While it is a perfect fit in many instances, it is not the foundation of an engaging social media strategy. Push marketing literally “pushes” what you want from your audience directly on top of them, while “pull” marketing using social media is about starting a conversation, engaging, enchanting and much more. My suggestion is to use a 90% pull and a 10% push marketing equation. This is something that I have used and it works a treat. This way you can grow your audience and create value before offering up a special discount. If they believe you to be credible through your pull approach, when you incorporate the push elements you will have higher levels of success.

Mistake #5: Wrong Goals

Truly look at what you are trying to achieve, and “more sales” is not enough. Social media has many outcomes, so it is smart to have a broader scope. Think in terms of hits to your website, newsletter signups, eBook/book sales/downloads…. this is the way to go!

Mistake #6: Lack of Planning

Again, I am going back to the importance of a plan: without a plan, you plan to fail. Although we know this clich̩ all too well, there is definitely truth to it. Why? Because a strategic plan saves you time and money Рtwo things that we all can use, right?

Sit down and figure out your marketing strategy and then layer your social media strategy on top. Social media can support and enhance everything you do; you just have to keep the two connected. Without the connection, you are wasting the power of cross marketing and branding. Flying blindly in a new marketing medium could not only be risky for your reputation, but also cause you more trouble than you can handle.

Chris Tompkins

I am the CEO and Founder of Go! Media International and we are an online marketing strategy and execution firm. My marketing and technology skills have been honed in my 10+ years of professional experience gained studying and working internationally in the UK, USA, South Africa and China to name a few. During this time I personally executed numerous online (and offline) marketing initiatives which fueled my hunger, the passion and the drive in the industry

5 Phone Interview Mistakes You’re Making & How to Avoid Them

The phone interview is an important step in the hiring process—and not something to be blown off or overlooked just because it’s less formal than an in-person interview. This is often your first interaction with an employer, so make it a great first impression by avoiding the following mistakes that job seekers commonly make:

Mistake #1: Appearing distracted.

Avoid eating, drinking, playing on the Internet, or watching television while on the phone with a hiring manager. Any type of multitasking can make you sound uninterested and distracted – not to mention that it makes it more difficult to give great answers! Turn off all distractions and sit in a quiet room (away from family, roommates, and pets) during your phone interview to avoid distractions and background noise.

Mistake #2: Using a cell phone instead of a landline.

Although most individuals today use their cell phone much more than any landline, they’re not ideal for a phone interview with a potential employer. Cell phones tend to cut out or lose signal at a moment’s notice – which could affect your phone interview negatively. Even if you’ve listed a cell phone number on your resume, provide a landline for the hiring manager when it comes time for an interview.

Mistake #3: Poor communication skills.

Much like an in-person interview, you need to have prepared, specific answers to the questions an employer might ask you. Keep answers concise but informative. Pause at the conclusion of your answer to give the interviewer a chance to interject with any questions they might have. Remember that because the interviewer cannot see your facial expressions, you’ll also need to convey enthusiasm and passion in your voice and answers over the phone.

Mistake #4: Not doing your research.

Arrive on the phone as prepared as possible. Know who will be interviewing you (a hiring manager or HR person?) and what they might ask. Look over the job description again to determine what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate and see how your skills and accomplishments match up with it. Read up on the company, including recent news, press releases, social networking updates, etc. Take notes if you’d like—the great thing about a phone interview is that you can have them in front of you while speaking with the employer!

Mistake #5: Failing to have your resume, cover letter, and other documents handy.

Not only should you consider having notes about the position and organization in front of you, but you should also have your resume, cover letter and other important documents handy. Some hiring managers might ask you about specific accomplishments on your resume or want you to walk through your past experiences, so it helps to have the exact documents you sent them open or printed.

What other phone interview mistakes should job seekers avoid? How can job candidates impress employers during a phone interview?

Guest Expert:

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

How to get on the same page and inspire others to work cohesively.

BY: Chris St. Hilaire

Whether you’re talking with family, friends, or colleagues, many conversations involve trying to get other people to do something. You can resort to nagging or demanding, but it's so much better to create unity around a common goal. The secret is keeping your ego in check and focusing on the others. When they feel safe, valued, and included, they’ll be much more open to your ideas.

Here are 12 simple ways to inspire other people to give your plan a big, enthusiastic “Yes!”

Let the goal evolve from the group

Instead of announcing your plan, encourage others to speak up. You can simply ask, “What’s our goal here today?” Let people give you the answer, and repeat what they say to make sure you’re all on the same page. Boil their ideas down into one or two simple sentences. Now it’s everyone’s goal, not just yours.

State the goal out loud

There is great power in stating the “obvious” goal. The minute you say the goal out loud, you become the leader even if you’re not officially the one in charge. This is because every group has an innate longing to be unified, and people unify around a goal.

Make other people feel safe

In the first few minutes of a business meeting, thank your listeners for taking the time to talk with you. Throughout any conversation where you aim to persuade, use phrases like “From my perspective” to show the others that they can have a perspective too—you’re all equals.

Solve their problem

If you’re talking to someone you know, start off by solving a problem they’ve mentioned before. Do they hate the sound of their neighbor’s barking dog? Bring them a pair of earplugs. Are they always fishing around for eyeglass wipes? Give them a packet. Small gestures like these show that you’re really paying attention to them.

Find something to like about your listeners

If you’re giving a presentation, people will be more open to your ideas if they like you. The good news is, they’ll generally like you if you like them. Your feelings have got to be genuine, so find one thing to like about everyone in the room. It could be a person’s smile, the joke on her coffee mug, or the way he offers a pen to a colleague. Some little detail that reminds you that we’re all human, and we all want to feel valued and included.

Stay in the moment

All great communicators understand that being totally present with your listener is key to successful communication. So turn off your cell phone, and if possible ask the others to do the same. Pay attention. Stay focused on what other people are telling you. Don’t get distracted thinking about what you’re going to say next. Listen.

Don’t use acronyms

Never assume the others in the room know your profession, your cause, or your background. Explain your terms, and be careful not to talk over your listeners’ heads.

Avoid absolutes

Absolutes are words like all, always, never, and every. It’s tempting to use them if you want to appear strong and consistent, but absolute promises are very hard to keep. Instead, use words like most and rarely. Replace everyone and everywhere with anyone and anywhere.

If you need to fidget, wiggle your toes

Sometimes you can’t help but be nervous in front of a group. Wiggling your toes gives you an outlet for that nervous energy without signaling your tension to the rest of the room.

Use your listeners’ language
If you can incorporate other people’s words, you’ll instantly make them feel included. It can be anything from a specific technical term to a funny way of describing the weather.

Don’t take silence personally

Silence at the end of a presentation can mean anything from awed approval to boredom or confusion. Never assume what your audience is thinking. Ask for feedback.

Don’t reject bad ideas—instead, add good ones

First restate the goal you both want to reach. Then, instead of arguing against their bad idea, offer other options in addition to theirs.

Chris St. Hilaire is a message strategist and the author (with Lynette Padwa) of 27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Seduce Audiences & Win Allies (Prentice Hall Press, 2010). The book offers a Buddhist approach to communication techniques St. Hilaire developed while working in the fields of politics, marketing, journalism, and the law.

10 Tips for Finding Investors to Fund Your Business

FC Expert Blo
BY FC Expert Blogger David Gass Mon Jun 27, 2011

This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert's views alone.

Discover how to find angel investors and make an impact once you do meet with them. There are critical steps you need to take to be prepared, find out what they are.

If you are starting a business or growing an existing business, you are likely to find yourself in a situation where you need capital.

Unfortunately, the majority of small business owners these days don't qualify for traditional bank financing. Instead they are seeking alternative sources of capital, such as an Angel Investor or Angel Group.

Most entrepreneurs when presented with the option of working with Angel Investors respond negatively. They don't know how to find angel investors or how to approach them. So here are ten tips for finding and working with angel investors collected from my years of experience working with angels and investing in deals myself.

1. Network, network, network. Build your network and you'll build your net worth. You don't have to know an angel investor to get a meeting with one; you just need someone in your network that can connect you to an angel investor.

2. Have a Business Plan. Once an angel investor says they are interested in learning more they will want a business plan. The business plan should have all key areas mapped out such as a clear explanation of the product/service, the size of the market, the target demographic, return on investment for the investor, exit strategy, financials, pro forma, and organizational structure of the company.

3. Investors invest in people not the idea. Don't pretend to be someone you're not in order to solicit an investor. Investors want to work with people they like, they trust, and they believe can grow the business. If you pretend to be someone you're not, the investor will find out over time and the deal will likely blow up.

4. Have your elevator pitch down. You never know when you will have the opportunity to get an investor interested in your deal. You could run into an investor who wants to hear about your deal at a cocktail party, walking down the street, by email, over the phone, in a meeting or just about any way you didn't think would have been the traditional introduction. So be prepared to present a killer elevator pitch that clearly states your offer, your business, and what makes you and your company unique.

5. Put together a one-two page summary. In addition to the elevator pitch you need to have a one to two page executive summary on your business, similar to the elevator pitch, but on paper. This is something you can hand to an investor if they want to learn more without boring them with a 30-page business plan.

6. Know your numbers. Angel investors don't want to invest in a business when the owner can't articulate what the numbers in the business plan mean. The fastest way to lose confidence in an investor is when you can't explain the numbers.

7. Learn basic presentation skills. Investors want to have confidence in their investment. You are their investment. If you have trouble speaking in front of people, you need to learn the skill. You don't need to be the next Tony Robbins, but you do need to be able to provide a clear and interesting presentation that will attract the interest of those listening.

8. Know your strengths. Investors know that you aren't going to be an expert at all aspects of running a business. They want to know the truth about what strengths you have and more importantly what you believe are your weaknesses. Then you need to explain how you are going to overcome those weaknesses by outsourcing, hiring experts, or another way.

9. Have a team. A team is important for investors to see. They need to know you understand a business isn't built with just one person. You don't have to have specific individuals in place right away and they don't have to be employees. They can be mentors, board of advisors, board of directors, managers or independent contractors. At minimum have an organizational chart based on a time line for growing the business and what team members you will add over time.

10. Maintain Focus. The last thing investors want is to invest in a business only to have the entrepreneur get sidetracked with other ideas. They also want to see focus when you are presenting your deal to them. Don't have too many projects, product lines or ideas. Maintain focus on what you are offering and investors will find clarity in your offer. Clarity = Power.

These tips can be very helpful but if no action is taken to implement them, you'll remain in the same position you are today--little to no chance of getting funded by an Angel Investor. So take the steps to put yourself in a position to get funded:

Step #1--Develop your elevator pitch and one page presentation.
Step #2--Write out your business plan.
Step #3--Join networking groups and attend conferences where investors are likely to be.

Read more about Getting Funded

David Gass is an Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, and Buying and Selling Website Expert. He founded Business Credit Services in October of 2000 and sold the company in 2008 to The Company Corporation. Mr. Gass is a sought after national speaker on the subjects of small business financing, business credit, and buying and selling websites.

How to Fix a Drab Cover Letter

Finding a job is a process. First you need ample experience, then the right contacts, an online presence, and a tailored resume.

Lastly, you need a cover letter that represents you and your brand. Your cover letter could be your only chance at getting the attention of a potential employer.

After all, it may be the first thing they see, so it needs not only be an accurate portrayal of you, but also stand out from the sea of competition.

So, how can you fix a drab cover letter and get noticed by influencers?

Make it short and sweet. Cover letters don’t need to be five pages long. In fact, many cover letters and resumes are not read if they are excessive. Think about it. Would you read 30+ cover letters, all of which are like short stories? Probably not. Instead, why not make your cover letter short and to the point? That way, an employer will be able to understand what you’re all about without having to plow through tons of text.

Use a different layout. If you’ve been sending out tons of applications and not getting many responses, it may be time to spruce things up and use a different layout. Leave your boring, uncustomized layout behind. Here is your chance to put your spin on a cover letter through design. Further, you could also use this as an opportunity to merge your online life with your offline materials by using the same fonts or color scheme. Just make sure to keep it clean and not too cluttered. There’s nothing worse than viewing a cover letter that’s all over the place.

Show why you will be an asset. Just like your resume, your cover letter is an opportunity to show results and tell a story. What can you do that’s different from the rest? How will your experience and knowledge help move the company forward? Why should an employer pick you over the next guy?

Your cover letter may be the only chance you get to answer the questions above, so make it count by showing why you are an asset. Tell your own unique story by showing how you got to where you are today. Further, think about using real numbers, especially percentage growth, number of clients gained, conversions, etc. It all boils down to this: How did you make a difference?

Link to your social networks. These days, social networking platforms are the place many employers learn more about you. Why not give them the resources they need upfront? Think about including links to your blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or even a combination of your search results with a free Vizibility SearchMe link or QR code. This way, you give a potential employer all the tools they need beforehand, making their lives a lot easier and your online brand the platform it needs.

How do you spruce up your cover letter?

Guest Expert: June 25, 2011

James Alexander is Vizibility’s founder and CEO. He’s the guy with two first names. If you ‘Googled’ his name in 2009, you would never have found him. Now, he ranks within the first few results of a Google search. Find James in Google at