4 ways to find your career contacts during college time

Okay, sure. Grades will help you find a great job and find your career. They are, however, far from the only way to get the ball rolling. In fact, in many ways, they’re often only an extra push. The prime mover is, in fact, more likely to be the people you know and what they know. For that reason, you want to make sure that you know a lot of people. That’s only part of the puzzle. You also need to make sure you know the right people. Here we’re talking not just about strong connections, like best friends, but also weak ones, like acquaintances, as both can be very valuable.

But how do you do that in college? What strategies can you use to find people to help you get your career started or who can help you along when – down the line – you want to make a switch? That’s the question we’re going to explore today.

Pursue your interests

Here I’m not talking about drinking or partying. Though those are surely interesting activities, it can be hard to find employment in either. Instead, I’m talking about interests that actually might lead to connections, even if only indirectly. For example, while you probably won’t be able to be a professional chess player, there are a lot of smart people that hang around in chess clubs who might just be very valuable connections when you want to start something or they do.

What is important here is that you don’t pursue your interests on your own. If you can find anybody to share with, then that can help you get more out of your interest by being able to share as well as make valuable connections that are based on more than just wanting to get ahead. Because though networking is useful, building connections spontaneously and naturally with people you like is far more effective.

Internships

Internships are good for a lot of things, not just getting your foot in the door in a company you want to work at. Don’t get me wrong, it works well for that too, but if you also make sure to keep in touch with the people you work at when they move on you’ll suddenly have a connection in other places as well.

So, when you’re in an internship don’t just make friends with the person you work for. Talk to other people as well. You never know where people might end up and who might be climbing the ladder quicker than you thought possible.

In this way, even internships at little-known companies like trust my paper or a local newspaper can actually turn into opportunities to forge important connections.

Go abroad

Going abroad might sound like it’s just a cultural experience and doesn’t have much career benefit, but nothing can be further from the truth. In foreign climes, your regular habits are no longer tenable and you don’t hang out with the same people you always have. Instead, you’ll make new friends, meet new people and because you’re exotic you’re just that little bit more memorable.

That means that you’re in a perfect position to make the connection for your career. You might even be able to take your first step up your career ladder in a foreign country. That will often mean a lot of learning opportunities and also the chance to possibly skip a few rungs. Then, when you come home, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Even if that doesn’t happen, a semester abroad can teach you invaluable multi-cultural skills and make you more flexible in your thinking. This can stand you in good stead when you want to get your dream job. After all, a corporate culture is also just another culture that you need to understand and adapt to quickly.

Stay in touch

However many connections you make, it will all be for naught if you lose them all again afterward. For that reason, realize that every relationship is not just making that connection, but after that maintaining it. If you’re naturally good at this, then so much the better. If, however, you’re not, then make sure that you set aside some time each week (or even each day) where you reach out to people that you want to stay in touch with.

Often it doesn’t have to be much. Send them a note on a birthday. Congratulate them when something goes right for them. Invite them to events in your life. In this way, you’ll stay on their radar. What’s more, when you need their help they’ll remember back how you made an effort over the years and be far more likely to make an effort on your behalf as well.

Last words

You never know what contact will be the one that lands you a job. This is because it might not be the person you’re talking to who lands you that connect, but instead a friend of a friend. For that reason, it is important that you maintain a network that is both large and varied.

In that case, whatever you’re looking for or whatever problem you need solving, you’ll have a much better chance of finding somebody who can help you out. What’s more, the better a job you do of staying connected, the more likely they are to help you. And in that way, you’ll be able to get ahead in your career as well as your life.

7 SEO Mistakes Even SEO Professionals Make

No, despite what you may have heard, SEO is not dead. That’s just people being dramatic. At the same time, it is changing and changing rapidly. For that reason, if you want to stay ahead of the curve it is important to know what’s going on and how you can take advantage of it. Only in that way can you make sure that what you’re doing in SEO actually has any value.

Today we’re going to explore some of the big mistakes that many SEO professionals are making. These fall into two broad categories. The first one is using strategies from 2016 and back in 2017. The second one is not being on the ball and letting small mistakes influence the effectiveness of what they’re doing.

Sound good? Let’s get started.

Not having a checklist

The very first thing that we’re going to discuss is the humble checklist. Yes, I know, a checklist? But bear with me here. Checklists have proven invaluable in numerous professions. For example, hospitals and surgeries now use them regularly to significantly reduce the risk of death from surgery.

How do they do this?

By identifying small maneuvers and actions that can make a difference but are easily overlooked. Yes, individually these actions might not be that big. They might only make a 1 or 2 percent difference overall. But when you’re talking about big numbers – and hopefully you are – a couple of small little actions that add 1 to 2 percent to your campaign’s effectiveness will make a huge difference to your bottom line.

So, the first thing that you should sit down and do with your SEO team is create a checklist of activities and actions that are important to SEO. As an added bonus, you’ll use that time to share news and ideas that will make it clear what techniques work and which ones do not, thereby shedding wasteful actions and focusing on what will actually boost your strategy.

What’s more, an up to date checklist will be phenomenally useful when training new members of staff. So go on, do that first.

Thinking it’s still all about keywords

Just a couple of years ago you could make a lot of money by finding underused keywords, building a website that was covered with it and then redirecting traffic from that site to your own. That doesn’t work anymore. After all, Google reads the articles out there as well.

(Do you ever wonder if Google’s algorithm reading about Google’s algorithm amounts to self-reflection? Okay, that’s just me then.)

Sure, Google still works with keywords, but they’re not half as important anymore. Instead, they’re now targeting underlying concepts. Yes, that’s right. Google now understands language well enough that simply writing about keywords is no longer enough.

Instead, texts need to actually be about what you say they’re about, with the algorithm determining based on word groupings what you’re actually discussing. This is a massive boon for those websites that have decided that a lot of high-quality content is valuable. It isn’t quite as great for those SEO practitioners that are still creating huge amounts of mediocre content in the hope of building lots of links.

Duplicated Content

Often content gets duplicated by accident. For example, your website might have two different ways of pointing to the same text. The thing is, just because you do so by accident doesn’t suddenly make it alright. In fact, it makes it far worse as you’re far less likely to actually notice that it’s going on and that it’s affecting your page ranking.

For that reason, it is vital that you regularly check for duplication both on and off your site. Fortunately, that is quite easy to do. Simply turn to such programs as Copyscape to give you an idea of where texts are being duplicated.

Also, be aware that print friendly versions of pages, as well as different paths to the same pages can lead Google to seeing duplicated content. Similarly, if you have something as http and https then this can be interpreted as duplicated content.

The easiest way to avoid this kind of problem (after deleting the page, of course) is to use 301 redirect. That will make it possible to have multiple pages with the same content without it impacting your scoring in any way.

Quantity over quality

Google cares about quality. Sure, this isn’t sometimes fully embraced in their algorithm, but that’s more because their algorithm is a work in progress. The thing is, you can be sure that they’re going to continue updating their algorithm in that direction for the forseeable future, so that they can improve their reviews of companies and websites.

So even if right focusing on quantity is still a feasible strategy that is earning you a lot of traffic, that will continue to change and to shift against you – until one day they make that one little shift or change that will kill all your efforts and leave you without any traffic whatsoever.

Make sure that you get ahead of that by starting to focus on high quality content today.

Now, to be clear, not everything that you’re doing has to be absolute outstanding. That isn’t even possible. Instead, the right strategy to pursue is to have some pieces that are truly outstanding while other pieces are simply pretty good.

Then, when you have a piece that is really drawing in a lot of people, don’t just leave it be, but take extra steps to make it extra good. That means updating it, adding new information to it and in other ways making sure that it stays relevant and continues to serve as a portal to draw in extra traffic to your website.

Focusing on the wrong audience

Sometimes we get so obsessed with in audiences to our site that we forget what they’re actually there for. For example, somebody selling pots in Arkansas, starts blogging about it, ends up drawing in a lot of traffic and thinks they’re a huge success. Except that they’re only selling pots in Arkansas and the people that are actually coming in aren’t actually looking to buy pots. And so, though their traffic is up, their sales numbers are not.

Similarly, there are plenty of content marketing attempts that target the wrong people as well. For example, a lawyer site who writes articles that are only interesting for other lawyers, or a software development firm that writes articles which only programmers can understand.

Now, obviously that won’t work. This is not the audience for your product. For that reason, when you think of a new article or a new keyword, make sure that it actually fits the audience you’re trying to draw in. Because, sure it’s always nice to have more authority and to rank better overall in Google, but at one point you have to draw the line and aim at pulling in the audience that will actually buy the products that you’re offering.

Not using the right anchor text for internal links

Internal links are a fantastic opportunity to let the Google algorithm know what a page is actually about. So don’t waste that by anchoring your text to something like ‘click here’ or ‘this post’. Instead, make sure that your link actually contains the keywords that your article is about. In this way it’s far more likely that you will actually have your article rank for those words.

Remember, your link doesn’t have to be only one or two words long. You can easily highlight five or six words. In this way if you want to have the words ‘click here’ included, you still can. Just make sure that they’re followed by words that actually relate to what the article is about.

Putting the algorithm in front of your visitors

Yes, of course you want to rank well in Google. If you can do so effectively, then you’ve got a real opportunity to draw in lots of traffic. Just remember though that only drawing in the traffic is not enough. They also need to stick around on your site once they’ve arrived.

For that reason, make sure that your page actually serves the purpose that it’s meant to, by giving people the information that they’re looking for. This will ultimately serve you better than just targeting SEO as it will reduce bounce rate as well as make it far more likely that users will return to your page in the future – which in turn will benefit your SEO strategy.

So yes, focus on building a good SEO strategy. Just realize that that is not the only thing that matters. Ultimately, serving the people who come into your site well will help you far more than gaming Google.

Last words

SEO is not dead. Instead, it’s evolving. The great news is that it’s evolving towards giving users what they want – which is high-quality information that is truthful. That means that ultimately white hat strategies will pay off far more than black hat strategies as well as making the two tracks – optimizing for SEO and optimizing for visitors – fall more and more in line.

So the best strategy is to continue to optimize for SEO, even as you slowly put more and more emphasis on serving the people that come to your site. If you can do that, then you’ll be following close in the footsteps of what Google is trying to do and your content will continue to rank well for years to come.

Learn How To Use Social Media Marketing To Present Valuable Info To Your Prospects

In our previous issue, we discussed about effectively communicating with your Facebook fans. In this issue, we are going to talk about using Facebook marketing (Social Media Marketing) to deliver significance to your prospects and customers.

Here’s the fact: Over 50% of the whole Facebook community log in to their personal accounts daily. This simply means that there are around 250 million of the social networks 500 million who might be able to see your Page.

Think of the large number of people that your company can reach out to. That can equate to tons of dollars in revenue and even more work opportunities that you can actually get a chance to get involved in.

Still don’t assume all Facebook accounts have the capability to acquire customers. Just like an official web page, a Facebook account must be worked tirelessly on, adjusted, upgraded and evaluated.

It’s important that you first assess whether your Facebook business page is delivering valuable results while keeping your reputation healthy.

Do you want your business to raise a corporate awareness among people on Facebook?

Do you want to add a touch of fun and excitement which will appeal to your audience?

Or do you simply want your page to be a customer service area where informal questions and inquires can be attended to?

It’s important that you always regard value as your top priority whenever posting anything on your page. Get rid of the clutter and post only the very important things. Sometimes with a business page, you just have to reject the temptation of being too particular even when such a medium calls for it.

Here are some other tips you may find useful:

Use Customer Testimonials

It used to be that people who want to keep up with their families and friends would just have to visit their Facebook profile page, view photos, send messages and stuff like that. At present, social media management offers numerous benefits to business people. You can persuade prospects by using testimonials from your current customers or clients. So why not ask your past clients for testimonials? Of course, you would most appreciate highly positive feedback if given under your own accord. Still, this may not always be the case based on the quality of your products or services. So offer incentives, give out prizes or hold a contest. For instance, how about a 5% discount for every constructive feedback?

– Interact with Potential Customers

Whenever there are inquiries with regards to your products or services on Facebook, make sure that you get back to them straight away. It would be a good impression for your Page and for your brand in general if their questions and issues are tackled at the earliest time possible. In case this is not possible, at least apologize for the late response.

To help you with answering questions, you should also hold as much information in your Landing Page (or your Profile Page). You can make use of the Notes section for this or other similar applications on Facebook.

– Upload Relevant Photos

Quite a few use the Photos Page while some make pseudo-shops where they feature their merchandise. Any of these is fine as long as the product images are shown in good quality. Presenting photos that look wearisome and uninteresting won’t attract prospects. That’s why it’s important that you come up with eye-catching, even artistic photos, if possible. When working with retail for example, zoom towards areas where there are intricate details which highlight a clothing item’s quality.

Always remember these simple suggestions when coming up with content and you’ll have tons of prospects coming in to your business page.

Be sure to read our next issue of Facebook for Business soon.

How to Stand Out in Your Job Search. Or in Life. Part II

This is Part II of a three-part series on how you can be creative and stand out in your job search and more generally when selling yourself anywhere else.

Read other articles in this series:

Using a targeted blog and building community

In the previous post, we talked about setting up a website with your online pitch and portfolio targeting a specific company you would like to work for.

Yet even this approach results in a somewhat static website, lacking essential interactivity. Wouldn’t it be great if you could continually update the posted information and give the hiring company an insight into your thoughts as time goes by?

Jamie Varon did this through her TwitterShouldHireMe.com campaign

What Jamie did:

  • She created a blog with an eye-catching URL that also included the keywords of the company she was targeting.
  • She used other social media tools to promote her blog and to build community around her search (her posts on Twitter received over 400 retweets).
  • She included information about how others could get involved, either through posting a banner or through bookmarking her blog on other sites.
  • She updated her blog regularly providing more and more information about herself and why she wanted the job. This way she could also respond to the feedback she was getting from the online community that built around her.

Did Twitter hire Jamie? As of now, not. But this campaign did get her noticed and Twitter did invite her in for a lunch/interview. The important part is that this campaign certainly raised Jamie’s profile and led to job offers from other companies that liked her inventiveness and creativity. So it was definitely worth it.

Are you using a blog to promote your personal brand? Would you like to? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

How to Stand Out in Your Job Search. Or in Life. Part III

3359997143 835b86bdcd How to Stand Out in Your Job Search. Or in Life. Part III

This is Part III of a three-part series on how you can be creative and stand out in your job search and more generally when selling yourself anywhere else.

Read other articles in this series:

Using Slideshare and a targeted social media campaign

We’ve looked at using a website as well as a blog and community-building techniques to promote yourself in your job search. But what about a truly comprehensive campaign using multiple social media tools?

It’s difficult to look for a job in a city far away from your current location. When Laura Gainor found out that she and her husband had to relocate to Milwaukee, she decided to be proactive and use Slideshare and other social media tools to target a position at a specific company.

What Laura did:

  • She researched potential companies of interest in the Milwaukee area through web and twitter search and started following their employees and brands on Twitter.
  • Reacted very quickly to a tweet about an open position posted by Comet Branding on Twitter.
  • Started a comprehensive social media campaign #LauraGainorToMilwaukee – using Foursquare, SquarePik, Youtube and Slideshare.
  • Caught the company’s attention through a creative photo campaign in the actual location. Laura made sure the company’s representatives were tagged in every tweet she used in the campaign and were thus informed constantly about her efforts.
  • By targeting a specific company, she could truly tailor all of her interactionstowards gaining the specific position.
  • She put together a visual resume and showcased both her campaign as well as skills and experience.

Laura got the job! With a bit of effort and lots of creativity, she was able to differentiate herself from all the other applicants for this post and show that she would really fit into the team.

What do you think about Laura’s approach?