4 New Year’s Resolutions You Should Consider Making

Now that the Christmas rush is over the attention turns to 2016.

In consideration of the goals that you may be looking to set in 2016, l am pleased to suggest four New Year’s resolutions you should consider making.

1.Get More “Social” With Your Social Media.

People ConnectionsSocial Media is a game changer.  It allows us to connect instantly with anyone around the globe.  However, as great of a communication tool that social media in all its forms can be, it can also isolate us from the “person to person” communication so vital to creating the real and lasting connections that can truly help us get things done.

Therefore, resolve with me this year:

  • To make a phone call rather than send a text.
  • To use your mobile devices to create a short video to explain your point rather than to write a post.
  • To acutely meet your LinkedIn connections; discovering how you can be of assistance to them.

2. Never let “I don’t have enough time” be an excuse for not getting things done.

Man looking at the clockWhen the clock turns midnight on January 1st, we will all have the same 525 600 minutes to make our dreams, wishes, goals and accomplishments come true.  So the question is, why will some people get stuff done during those 15,493 hours 20 minutes and many others will not?  Yes, the answer between getting things done or not, often comes down to ability or money.  However, it should never come down to time.  We should be the master of our time instead of having time master us.

Therefore, resolve with me this year:  

  • To account for our time by using a planner to schedule our daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activities.
  • To be responsible for our time by vowing to make our meetings better. Use an agenda to make sure the most important items are covered while being committed to the revolutionary notion of starting and ending our meetings on time.
  • To take advantage of our time by looking for ways to be more efficient. With a dedication to making technology work of us instead of us working for technology. All the while, understanding that multitasking, despite how much technology is designed to give us that advantage, actually creates more inefficiencies.  It actually causes us to use more time than our “multitasking” efforts will achieve.

3. Be willing to mentor and be mentored.

MenatoringKnowledge is the key to becoming better at what we do and how we do it.  Knowledge is best obtained with experience guided by mentors.  A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee.  We need more effective mentoring in our lives.

Therefore, resolve with me this year:  

  • To freely share our knowledge and experiences with others.
  • To become a thought leader by writing blogs on LinkedIn and other social media.
  • To challenge ourselves with an active learning life highlighted by reading articles, books and whitepapers. Also, by attending lectures, seminars and webinars.

4. Set goals instead of making resolutions.

Research from the University of Scranton suggests Set Goals Hand Red Markerthat just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions

So why do so many people fail at these resolutions?  Well the answer is simple. Resolutions are merely wishes, however, setting goals make our wishes a reality.

Therefore, resolve with me this year to set goals that are:  

  • Clear and Simple. Instead of developing a large list of aspirational goals, create a set of small, yet, attainable goals. With the clarity these goals can bring, the accomplishments will come.
  • Set Tangible Goals. If you can’t measure it, you can’t achieve it.
  • Advertise Your Goals. Letting people know what you are up to is a powerful way to gain the support you will need to get things done. Announcing your goals is a great way to build accountability, especially, in the Social Media era.

Final Thoughts

The New Year is filled with hope, opportunity and promise. And despite the ups and downs that will come, I am confident that with vision, perseverance, and hard work we not only reach but exceed our God given potential.

 

Have a happy and productive New Year!!! 

Beyoncé’s 5 Strategies To Build A Great Presence On Social Media

Beyoncé2Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter is more than just a superstar singer, actor and dancer.  She is an icon.  As one of just a handful of worldwide icons, the 33 year old native of Houston sets the trend in music, fashion and style.

Beyoncé’s masterful use of social media allows her to be “heard above the noise” in a globally competitive, cluttered, and sometimes confusing marketplace.  With social media Beyoncé  offers direct access to her adoring followers that are eager to receive her clear, concise, and convening messages.

The juggernaut which is Beyoncé has been built on 5 simple and timeless marketing strategies that we can all employ to build the social media presence that can get us hired, lead people to our church or sell our products.   Let’s explore them:

  1. Know Your Purpose

Beyoncé knows (LOL) why she is on social media.  Every Facebook post, Instagram Picture, and Beyoncé5Pinterest Infographic is intended to accomplish a specific goal.  She tweets to promote a new song.  She does a Y-Tube video to showcase a movie.  Then, she write a blog to bring attention to a cause.  The key is to know what you are trying to achieve and then to use the right social media tool.

Key Beyoncé Point: Know What You Want To Achieve And Then Use Social Media To Achieve It.

  1. Narrow Your Audience

Beyoncé15Yes, Beyoncé is a worldwide icon.  However, her true core audience that will plunk down money to download her music, purchase her cosmetics and go to her movies and concerts are in the 18-45 age bracket and mostly female.

Beyoncé has found the great often overlooked secrets of social media; which is to understand that your audience is narrow.  Beyoncé is not trying to cultivate followers with AARP cards. She is targeting the narrow; but, still larger chunk of the audience that will respond to her call to “buy” what she is selling.

Key Beyoncé Point: Find Your Sweet Spot and Cater To It.

  1. Use the Best Tool

Additionally, Beyoncé has mastered the art of giving her audiences what they want on the social Beyoncé9media platforms that are more effective to reach them.

Defined broadly, social media is simply using information sharing tools to send messages to a mass audience.  One of the best examples I have seen of using the right social media tool for the audience, comes from the pastor of my local church who uses recorded phone messages with her elderly flock as an effective social media tool to provide mass updates.

Key Beyoncé Point: Social Media Is Old and New School, So Use the Best Tool to Reach Your Audience

  1. Constant Contact

Beyoncé10Consistency of communication produces the best social media presence. Beyoncé’s camp provides some type of social media post on average every two days.

Now, I realize you and I don’t have a “camp”; and we probably don’t have the time to produce posts regularly like Beyoncé.   However, we can keep up with the global godless by following the 4 C’s formula for posting content:  Continuous, Create, Curate, Circulate

Continuous:  Set a regular schedule of posting that is right for you. The regularity is more important that the frequency.  For example, if you blog weekly your readers will be more loyal if they are provided content at the same time and day every week.  Less is actually more if it is done continuously.

Create:  About a third (33%) of the content you post should be stuff that you create:  Pictures, blog post and Infographics.

Curate: Is simply pulling together content on the web for presentation to your audience.  The second third (33%) can be from content that you have found on the web that is a fit for the people who read your email newsletter, or Facebook page.  You are free to curate any of my blog post just go to my webpage www.marbenbland.com for more posts.

Circulate: The final third (33%) of your web presence is comprised of the spontaneous sharing of posts that come across the web.  Circulation differs from curating; because of the speed of the share.  Twitter is the best platform for spontaneous sharing.

Key Beyoncé Point: You Cannot Have A Social Media Presence Unless You Are Present On Social Media. (Use the 4 C’s.)

  1. Visuals Are Queen

Beyoncé6Perhaps Beyoncé’s greatest gift are her looks. The camera loves her and she loves it back.   More than ever the web is viewed on mobile devices and it thrives on pictures and video. Therefore, feed the beast by using the 4 C’s to give your audience a steady diet of visuals.

Key Beyoncé Point:  You Don’t Have To Look Like Beyoncé To Provide Great Visuals!!!

Be Like Beyoncé… Be Present

In today’s information driven society a presence on social media is a must for success. However, the good news is we can have the same impactful presence on social media as the icon Beyoncé.  We can have a social media presence when we employ the same timeless marketing strategies that Beyoncé and millions of others have done.

Social media has leveled the playing field of influence, where it is less about the money and more about the strategies.  Beyoncé has a presence now.  How about you?  See you on the social media.

 

 

 

10 Money Saving Tips for Savvy Travers

I travel a lot and as a small business owner I am always looking for ways  to save money while providing a level of conform that will allow me to arrive at my destination refreshed and ready to do my best.   Over the years I have met some really savvy travelers who have devised some brilliant and innovative ways to stretch a buck.   You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to save money, all you have to be is a traveler with a desire to get the best for less.  If you are that kind of traveler here are 10 money saving tips from my savvy traveling friends.

Food

Sure saving money on airfare is great but how often is saving money on food as we travel is  overlooked. Our first 3 tips can help stretch your dollars while having a tasty dining experience. 

1. Book Accommodations That Serve Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one you shouldn’t skip to save money. Before booking your accommodation, make sure they include breakfast in the rate. That way, you can fill up on free food and eat lighter later in the day.

2. Plan Your Meals – Figure out where you will be and eat before you actually go out. This is not just good for your wallet, but your stomach too since you will probably find economical restaurants that tastes great.

3. Stay At Accommodations With Kitchens
Grocery shopping and cooking your own meals is not only healthy, but also budget-friendly. It’s also fun to discover new grocery items you don’t have at home. Even if you don’t want to cook every meal, incorporating it into your eating itinerary will save you a lot of money.

4.Pack Your Own Food For The Airport & The Flight
Let’s face it airports have mastered the food business, the selections even in the small regional airports are rather good as the major fast food players, Subway, McDonald’s and alike are now feeding travelers. However, the prices for that Big Mac or foot long sub are typically 10-20% higher than their off-airport locations.   The TSA will allow passengers to bring sealed packages of store bought and homemade food.  Clearly your selection will be better and you will save a ton of money.  Save big money on water by bringing your own TSA approved empty bottles and simply filling them at airport water fountains.

Transportation    

We all know about Expedia, Priceline and other online booking sites for travel.  Here are 4 tips that can save money as we go beyond the box of air travel.

5. Night Train and Flights – If the transportation is going to be long, consider traveling at night to save money on accommodation and many hours of time. Many people have a tough time sleeping on these, but it’s all mental. Once you get used to it, you will be able to have a good night’s rest.

6. Take the Slower Transportation – If flying is too short for you to take advantage of sleeping while traveling, take a bus ride. When you are sleeping, you won’t mind that the bus ride is 7 hours.

7. Car Rental Coverage – Some insurance and many credit cards have car rental coverage so take advantage of those when you rent a car. All you have to do is pay with the credit card that will cover you. (Just make sure you decline the coverage from the rental company when they ask)

8. Gas Up The Rental Car – If you are renting a car and need fuel, just fill her up with regular gas since that’s what the car rental company uses anyway. Also, decline those services that fills the gas tank up for you. Even though it seems like the advertised price is cheap, they charge you for a full tank of gas regardless of how much is left in there when you bring the car back.

Discounts

The world of travel discounts are there for the taking.  Tips 9 and 10 are about finding and taking those discounts.

9. Reward Points – Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler, sign up for those reward programs since you might qualify eventually. It’s all free anyway and if you finally get enough points, you can get always get something free.

10. Age, Student and Membership Discounts – Many attractions like theme parks, museums and others have discounts for senior, children or students. If you are traveling, remember to take your ID and membership cards (e.g. AAA card) with you that might qualify you for these.

Bonus Tip: Ask

You will be amazed by the upgrades, discounts and freebies that can be obtained by simply asking.  However, be aware that the key to asking… and then receiving is to be nice.  I urge you to be nice to the front desk clerk, the person behind the rental car counter and always the airline employee.   These folks have a difficult job and they deal daily with a fair share of gruff.   A smiling, pleasant and understanding attitude from you will go a long way toward the savings you deserve.     

The Bottom Line

I have always viewed travel even business travel as a wonderful adventure; however the adventure can be so much more fun when you are saving money.  Save travels and have fun saving.

P.S. I am always looking for ways to save money during my travels and to pass those money saving tips to others.  Join the fun send me your tips to me at marben@marbenbland.conm .  I will pass them along in my next travel tip blog.   

When not traveling Marben Bland is the CEO of The Marben Bland Group a consulting firm focused on high-performance leadership, career coaching and business innovation.  Send your comments to marben@marbenbland.com

 

Can you really find a job on Facebook?

Can you really find a job on Facebook?

While LinkedIn represents a pure play on next generation online recruiting, Facebook is instead seeding numerous markets. Facebook has massive user activity and social data, but is still relegated to personal use and content sharing. Everyone knows that Facebook will look to disrupt major online marketplaces (recruiting, auctions, eCommerce, search) etc… but for right now, it seems much more focused on acquiring users and building traffic.

Facebook itself has not focused on recruiting, which leaves a lucrative white space open to technology startups. Recruiting technology companies are fighting to gain market share and traction before either: A. Facebook develops its own recruiting technology or B. Facebook entirely concedes professional networking to LinkedIn.

Technology companies approach recruiting with Facebook in very different ways. Each of these five types of technology have been receiving heavy interest and investment lately:

  • Social distribution: Recruiting technology that focuses on delivering the job through a normal channel, such as a career jobsite or job board, but then enables social distribution through Facebook and other services. These companies use the social graph of the employees at the company recruiting. For example, a job is posted through the company website and then “pushed” out through the company Facebook page and individual employee accounts for magnified and focused distribution.
  • Metadata Layering: Facebook has tons of personal data, but for professional data, it’s about as useful as eharmony. Entire companies are springing up based on the Facebook social graph, which focus on overlaying additional professional data (or metadata) on top of Facebook. These services trust that Facebook will be the de facto standard for user authentication on the web – all that is needed to recruit with Facebook is to add a professional contextual layer.
  • Recruitment Ad Distribution: Facebook is an incredibly efficient advertising platform. Services such as Facebook sponsored stories “socialize” advertisements through the endorsement of friends. These personal ads coming from a user’s own friends seem like an ideal platform for job referrals and recruitment marketing. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on Facebook advertising – delivering efficient ways to measure recruitment metrics, spend, and channel performance.
  • Facebook Page Optimization: Most large companies have begun using their Facebook page as a primary vehicle for branding and company communication. Delivering employment branding and actual jobs through the Facebook page is an obvious strategy – but one that requires expertise that most HR departments don’t have internally. Some recruiting technology companies have focused on the delivery of optimized Facebook pages for recruitment: improving employment brand, measuring engagement, building fans, and efficiently serving geo-specific jobs.
  • Talent Communities: Facebook provides an ideal way to build highly focused and engaged groups of people. However, it’s a bit harder to engage a large group in a systematized way with recruitment campaigns. Additionally, Facebook provides administrators of pages and groups with little user data. Some companies are focused on methods and technology to build large pools of focused talent to meet the recruitment needs of clients.

The potential market for recruitment on the word’s most popular website is obviously staggering. Investment dollars are flocking to support technology startups that promise efficiency of recruiting with Facebook. The incredible success of LinkedIn’s IPO will no doubt increase venture capital interest in social recruitment technology.

The Bottom Line

Unless Facebook itself becomes a job board, the opportunity for startups to leverage its massive social graph for recruiting is clear. Of course, it is not a zero sum game – more than one technological method for recruiting with Facebook may gain traction. Additionally, if any one particular startup emerges as the clear winner, they may include all of these types of services in their products.   Smart Job Searchers should center their social media job finding activities to LinkedIn until a Facebook solution comes online.

3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012

Graduation 2012: Is it the most depressing time of the year?

This year nearly two million graduates will be vying for a limited number of jobs. A full-time salary with benefits sounds great however; few new grads will land one. A recent report from Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession found that just one in two college graduates earning diplomas during the years 2006 to 2011 is now employed full-time. And only 60 percent of 2011 graduates employed full-time are working in jobs that require four-year degrees.

Many of the nation’s leading newspapers paint an even bleaker picture for the class of 2012

High Student Loan Debt – USA Today

The average student debt load tops $25,000 in the U.S., while the job market for recent graduates continues to struggle. More than 95 U.S. colleges report that their 2010 graduates — the most recent data available — owed on average more than $35,000, and 73 colleges reported that more than 90% of the 2010 class had student loan debt, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt.

Underemployed – The Baltimore Sun

An analysis by researchers at Northeastern University in Boston estimates that last year, about 38 percent, or 760,000, of the 2 million employed young graduates with bachelor’s degrees were “Underemployed” — working jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
Is this really the most depressing time of the year?

With all of this bad news no wonder some consider college graduation normally one of the happiest times for hard working graduates and long suffering parents, the most depressing time of the year.

All is not lost

In light of the dismal jobs outlook, high student loan debt and slow economic recovery, all is not lost.  An employer survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), indicates that companies expect to hire 29,237 graduates this year, up 10.2 percent from 2011. Internship offerings are up 8.2 percent from a year ago. Job postings are triple what they were in 2010. The median starting salary for the class of 2012 jumped 4.5 percent to $42,569 from a year ago, the association reported.

 

3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012

Bethy Hardeman who writes on credit, personal finance and the economy for CreditKarma.com, a free credit management website has come up with 3 Smart Job Search tips for the class of 2012.

1. Clean up your online profiles and get networking.

Your future employer can — and probably will — use your social network profiles during the employment screening process. A recent study found that “69 percent of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profiles.”

The good news is that nearly as many recruiters responded that they have hired a prospect based on his or her positive social media presence. After you’ve cleaned up your social network profiles, start using them to network with companies you want to work for. If you don’t already have one, create a LinedIn profile. LinkedIn is the top network used by recruiters.

2. Perform a financial health check-up.

Now that you know employers might do a credit check, find out where you stand by getting a copy of your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com and your free credit score at CreditKarma.com. For those looming student loan debt repayments, set up an account with ReadyForZero, which helps you prioritize your debt. Lastly, monitor your entire financial profile with a Mint.com account. You’ll be able to set up and adjust your budget based on your typical expenses.

3. Become a volunteer or an intern.

If you can’t find a full-time position right away, bolster your resume with some unpaid work. Students who completed an internship while in college reportedly earn nearly 15 percent more on average than those who did not. Check out VolunteerMatch and InternMatch to find a spot that fits with your schedule and skills set.

The Bottom Line

The Smart Job Searcher knows that graduation is truly one of the best times of the year!  As you receive your degree take your destiny into your own hands.  Yes you are competing in a difficult job market; yes you may have student loan debt and yes the outlook for the future may look depressing. But remember that you’re not alone you have a fabulous support system of your classmates, your college career center even +-your parents.  Use them, lean on them they all have a vested interest in you and want to see you employed.

Are You A Facebook Idiot?

No one wants to be an idiot, especially when it comes to Facebook where there’s the chance for thousands of people, including recruiters and potential employers, to see it.

I have been on Facebook since 2007 and have made my share of mistakes that have made me look like an idiot.  The social media and email marketing experts at Constant Contact recently compiled a list of mistakes that can make you look like an idiot on Facebook.  And so, as a public service, the Smart Job Blog presents the Top 5 Things That Can Make You Look An Idiot on Facebook.

Are you doing any of these things?

5. Not monitoring your Facebook Page.  When someone visits your page, are they going to find it full of links from Facebook spammers inviting your fans to college night at the local bar of to click to win a free iPad?

4. Liking your own post. Really?  That’s almost a cry for help. Maybe that’s why no one else is liking it.

3. Posting one thing right after another. Your fns may love you, but long post after post after post in the newsfeed can be a bit much.  Be sure to space out your updatesso there’s a better chance people will engage with them rather than pass them by.

2. Spelling errors. As small as they might be, spelling errors can really hurt your Page’s credibility.  A typo is okay, but lots of typos are not.  Watch for some common misspellings such as there/their/they’re; your/you’re/yore.

1. Not filling out necessary information: location, description, picture, etc. Facebook gives you the opportunity to add detailed information about yourself.  Be sure to fill it out fully so recruiters, hiring managers and that long lost friend that has the perfect lead for a job can find you.  Concerned about privacy?  You should be.  You can set the right balance by simply keeping the information you share on Facebook strictly professional.

Your Turn:  What Facebook idiot moves have you seen?

By no means is our list of idiot moves on Facebook complete.  I look forward to sharing with our readers the idiot Facebook moves you have witnessed.  I will post your responses in next week’s blog.

Bottom Line:  You don’t have to be an idiot on Facebook.  Smart Job Searchers are aware of the importance of a good Facebook image.  So be aware of those things that may make you look like an idiot on Facebook. Are you guilty of doing any of the top 5?  Well, as a Smart Job Searcher, now that you know it may be a good time to stop.

Can Your Resume Is Your Resume Passing The 6 Second Test?

Typically a hiring manager will skim your resume for a mere six to eight seconds. Can your resume pass the six second test? In six seconds how does your resume showcase your accomplishments, contributions and results?
It’s not just typos or poor formatting that sinks a resume. The biggest flaw for a resume is when it fails to showcase a person’s accomplishments, contributions and results.

Here are 3 tips to make sure your resume passes the 6 second test.

1. Think Big – What are your significant accomplishments?

hatever jobs you’ve held –whether assistant or CEO –think beyond the everyday tasks of your position. We often get bogged down in the day-to-day details of our jobs, however, when it comes to your resume, you’ve got to remove the clutter and think big. One way to think big is to simply ask yourself “What are the key accomplishments of the jobs I’ve had?” When writing resumes with my clients we partner to create a “Significant Accomplishment” section where clients can think big about their career achievements.

2. Be Clear, Concise and Correct – A resume format for passing the 6 second test?

In almost two decades of interviewing candidates, advising candidates and being interviewed as a candidate I have found the most effective resumes are clear, concise and correct. Click on this link  on the side of this post to download the 6 part resume format that I have used with great success in building resumes that are clear concise and correct and are guaranteed to pass the 6 second test.

3. Tell your Story – What do you bring to the table?

At the end of the day hiring managers want to know what you bring to the table. What would happen if you come up blank when trying to tell them what you can do for them? The resume is the starting point for building your story for interviews, elevator pitches and network encounters. Building a resume rich in significant accomplishments provides the raw information needed for you to craft compelling stories about your career and your impact…what you are bring to the table.

Think Big, Be Clear, Correct and Concise, Tell Your Story, and your resume will pass the six second scan test.

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, and thought leader focused on 4  interconnected areas:

  1. Social Media Branding:  Increasing sales & awareness by creating lasting impressions
  2. Recruiting:  Finding world class talent for leading business and non profits
  3. Job Coaching:  Providing solid solutions for finding a job
  4. Project Management: Bringing order to complex problems

Contact Marben:   marben@marbenbland.com