3 Ways to Polish Your Resume

Often, your resume serves as a company’s first impression of you, and you want it to be a good first impression. But beyond quadruple-checking grammar and updating your job experience, how can you make your resume stand out above the rest? The following three tips can bolster your resume and get you noticed by employers.

Alter the Aesthetics

If you work in a highly technical field, a basic serif font on a resume will suffice. However, for graphic designers, videographers, and writers, you may want to consider adding some color to the resume. There are plenty of templates out there for building a colorful resume, from borders to unique fonts, but putting in some personal touches will really make it pop. So, what all can you do? For starters, pick a font that’s easy to read but unique enough to stand out. Avoid generic fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial, but don’t pick overly decorative fonts like Curlz. Once you’ve settled on a font, embellish the document with some color. Try to keep the colors calm, and if you use more than one, make sure the color scheme is logical. For example, green and red look good during the holidays, but can easily clash. You can also add a border or background, but make sure it isn’t too distracting. Overall, you want your resume to be distinct but subtle—an oxymoronic balance, but a realistic one.

 

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The Keys to Mastering Professionalism

Despite the industry, you work in, or if your company is large, small, or independently owned, professionalism is something that’s an essential key to success. Being a successful professional can come in many different forms, but in general, there are a few different key points that should always be met. Here are a few key components to mastering professionalism.

Organization

As a successful professional, you want to maintain strong organizational skills. Your organization can keep you on your toes and keep you up to date on all of your daily tasks. Depending on your job, you may have a calendar full of meetings, tasks, deadlines, phone calls, etc. Keep yourself organized by knowing what each day is going to hold and how you can manage it effectively.

Punctuality

While it may not seem that important, or your superiors may not seem to care, punctuality goes a long way, and it does often go noticed. Make it a point to show up to work on time or early, and be dedicated enough to stay a little late now and then if need be. A healthy work-life balance is extremely important, but a later day here and there shows you’re dedicated to your position. Additionally, always take meetings or phone calls into consideration. Whether its an internal meeting with peers or a meeting with a client, show that you respect the time of others by showing up at the right time.

Strong Communication

Communication in the workplace is extremely important. You need to be able to effectively communicate with peers and superiors, even if you may have different opinions or disagree on a specific topic. It isn’t uncommon to disagree with a peer at work; however, you want to handle any disagreements civilly and professionally. Understand that each individual may hold a different opinion, and if you effectively communicate and work with one another, you can surely come to an agreement or solution.

Solution Driven

Bringing us to our next and final key component: being a solution driven professional. Problems and issues come up in the workplace frequently. While you can bring them to the attention of your peers or superiors, you may want to consider developing a solution that can address the problem. This shows that you’re effectively thinking and looking for new innovative ways to improve internal processes.

This article was originally published at MaryMickel.com.

Standing Out From the Competition: A Business Guide

Running your own business comes with various benefits and rewards, but with that, also comes risks and challenges.  As a business owner, one of your greatest challenges regardless of your industry is your competition. Competition in the business world is fierce, for some industries more than others.  Your job as a successful business owner is to learn the best ways to rise above and separate your company from any other competitive businesses. Getting your business to stand out is very achievable, with the right tools and effort.  Here are a few ways you can separate yourself from the competition.

Exceptional Customer Service/Interaction

Customer service is a crucial key to the success of your business, and can also make or break your success.  Your customers should be viewed as a foundational part of your company; without them, your goals aren’t met.  With that, you should always make sure your company is delivering exceptional customer service to any consumers that need it.  This applies to delivering quality products and services, answering questions or concerns, and taking customer feedback into serious consideration.  A company that emulates strong customer service will always rise above a company that puts customer service on the back-burner.

Honest Business Practices

Always practice honest business.  Your consumers want to know they can trust your company, for quality products, and accountability.  If a product can’t be delivered on time, make the consumer well aware, to avoid any issues. If there is an internal error from a representative, billing, or with something like your website, make sure to hold your company accountable.  Customers will be quick to lose faith and trust in a company that beats around the bush and doesn’t tell the truth when something may be going wrong. Always keep that in mind. It’s a truly great way to establish a strong report with your consumers…

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4 Essential Tips for Successful Networking

One of the most important aspects of successful business practice is recognizing and participating in different networking opportunities.  Networking presents an entrepreneur with connections, business opportunities, and a way to hear about different experiences, made up of successes and failures from others who are on a similar path.  Whether you’re working to grow within a specific industry, or just looking to make general connections, participating in networking events are a great way to get your name out there, and meet interesting people along the way.  Here are a few essential tips for successful networking:

Build Relationships

One of the most important parts of business is relationship building.  As an entrepreneur or business executive, you want to make sure your relationship building skills are strong, as you need to make connections with peers, fellow employees, and even clients/consumers.  The relationships you build can bring great success to your business ventures. Be genuine, and work on creating relationships with those that you have an interest in, and think you can learn from.

Be a Strong Listener

Part of your relationship building skills should be focused on your ability to listen to others, and retain important information.  Networking events aren’t just an opportunity to sell yourself and your business; they’re more of a time to get to know others that are on a similar path and listen to their experiences and potential advice.  When meeting someone new, or joining a conversation, listen to what is being said and make sure you’re retaining some of the information…

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Becoming an Industry Leader

No matter what industry or field you’re in, your business will more than likely face more than one serious competitor.  Competition in business is fierce, and to maintain success as a business owner or executive, you need to know how to set your company aside from others.  Setting the goal of becoming an industry leader is a great way to combat your competition and build trust and loyalty with your consumer base. Here are a few great tips to becoming an industry leader:

Have a Thought Leadership Perspective

It may seem self-explanatory, but the first major step to obtaining the title of an industry leader is to think with a thought leadership perspective.  A thought leader is someone who is not only well versed in their industry but also presents themselves as an industry expert. You want to become a powerful authority within your space while serving your clients on an exceptional level.

Be Innovative

Innovation is key for a business looking to lead their industry.  Consider major technology companies such as Apple Inc. and Samsung.  While both companies are wildly successful, each has created different innovative technologies that have revolutionized their industry and kept their consumers coming back for more.  Even if your innovation isn’t necessarily a brand new product or service, your company can still hone in on innovation by adding or improving an already existing product or service. This will show your consumers that you’re not just creating products and leaving them at a base level, but continuously looking to improve what you’ve already created…

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Developing a Growth Mindset in Leadership

Hearing about the importance of leadership in the business world is not uncommon.  It’s no secret that a good leader helps foster positive employee development, mindset, and attitude.  A good leader is always finding ways to help their employees or team grow; having a growth mindset in leadership is an essential factor.  While some people have a misconception that positive leadership focuses on constant praise and rewards, a growth mindset is more about having a focus on progress and consistent learning.  Forbes contributor, Glenn Llopis, explains, “To lead business transformation, leaders must learn how to transform themselves to define the future growth of their businesses.”

Here are a few major traits for developing a growth mindset:

Get Rid of the Tunnel Vision

Being a leader requires you to have an understanding of the needs and opinions of others.  Even in situations where you think you may have the best solution or reasoning, having that tunnel vision can do more harm than good.  Keep an open mind. Take the time to listen to the needs of the individuals on your team, and understand their unique perspectives. Often times, the perspectives of others around you can assist in addressing issues or developing a specific plan.

Be Prepared for Uncertainty and the Unexpected

Business is full of risk and change; it can often cause uncertainty which may alter your decision-making process.  As a leader with a growth mindset, it’s important that you’re ready to embrace the changes that may come your way. Don’t let things like changes throw you off or alter your choices…

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PR Tactics to Help Grow Business

When you’re looking to grow your business and your brand, Public Relations (PR) is an area on which you should always focus. Having a solid PR strategy is a great way to not only increase brand awareness but essentially build up your business to potentially increase customer base, sales, and revenue.  While good business practices require regular customer engagement and interaction, a PR strategy tends to take this to the next level.

According to Inc. contributor, Adam Fridman, “A simple positive comment or tweet about your product from an internet user can add an extra layer of trust and credibility to your brand, which can also translate to some new business for you. Now imagine the effect such comment–more like news–will have on your brand when it comes from a powerful and respected third party, like a media house. That’s the power of public relations.”

Here are a few great PR tactics to help increase brand awareness and grow your business:

Content Creation & Publishing

PR, from a basic perspective, is gaining exposure to an organization’s audiences using avenues that appeal to their audience’s and public interests.  One sure tactic you want to factor into your PR strategy is high-quality content creation. Creating regular content that will appeal to your audience will help keep them in the loop about what’s going on with your company.  You’ll want to make sure you’re publishing content in relevant areas as well. Your websites and any other social profiles are a great housing platform for any Press Releases, blog posts, or general organizational news. Additionally, you can utilize third-party publications to increase your outreach.

Transparency

One of the most important aspects of running a successful business, whether it’s large or small, is maintaining transparency with your audience and customers.  Loyal consumers want to know what’s going on with your brand (this goes back to your content creation)…

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How and Why Good UX Design Leads to Better Business

Today, business has evolved from traditional retail spaces and advertisements to an entire world of online shops where you can purchase, sell, and advertise different goods and services with a few clicks of a mouse.  When utilizing a website for business purposes where consumers may visit your site to make purchases or find information about your company, having a website with a good user experience (UX) design is essential, and it could hold a huge weight in how well your business is doing.  How and why does a good UX design contribute to better business?

Easy Accessibility for a Strong User Interface

When a user visits your company’s website, they want to be able to navigate easily, find what they need, and know the website they’re using is functional and secure.  You want to make sure your site flows well, and that users can easily figure out where to go once they land on your page. Sites that are difficult for users to navigate through often have higher bounce rates as users tend to leave them rather quickly.  The more user-friendly your site is, the better a chance users will spend more time on it.

Good Design Means Increased Users

The overall design of your site has to do with not only just the aesthetics but the potential for an increase in users.  From the colors you choose to graphics, logos, and links, all of these things play a huge role in the usability of your site; and essentially, the better a site looks and functions, the more users you’ll see. According to UX design expert, Lexie Lu, “the experience your customer has on your website determines whether they complete the purchase or remain your customer.”..

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The Value of Social Media in Business

Business and marketing have reached new heights since the development of the internet, and now, social media platforms.  Social media has changed the way many companies operate, while also creating multiple avenues for entrepreneurs across the world to create their own independent brands and fully functional businesses.  When used correctly, social media platforms can drastically contribute to a business’s success, no matter how large or small the company is.  Here are a few of the greatest values that come with proper use of social media in business.

Increase Engagement with Consumers

One of the first and most important areas of business that social media use contributes to is the ability to increase organic engagement with consumers.  Your followers are part of the foundation of your business, and it’s essential to have different platforms where you can easily interact. Social networks give business and brands the opportunity to directly interact with customers almost instantaneously.  This can also help with any customer service purposes as well. Consumers are quick to reach out to brands when they’re happy with a product or service, or, not so happy. Utilizing social platforms will provide the ability to monitor consumer interaction, and receive useful feedback that can generally improve your business.

Better Develop Your Brand

While traditional forms of marketing and brand advertising are still quite effective, social media has taken brand advertising and awareness to a new level.  It’s safe to say that nearly half the world utilizes social media in one way or another; and with that staggering statistic, you can bet that these various platforms are a sure way to reach the masses.  In fact, many social media users come across new brands and products strictly from using different platforms…

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Web Design

Whether you have a small business, are in charge of a large corporation, or run a personal blog site, your website generally speaks volumes about your brand and what you’re representing.  With that in mind, if you’re designing your first website, or revamping a current one, here are some best practice “do’s” and “don’ts” of web design:

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Keep a Consistent Interface Design

One of the most important cardinal rules of web design is making sure you have a consistent interface that will work well with your users.  This should remain consistent throughout all of your website’s pages. Your sites overall look should remain consistent with color schemes, fonts, writing styles, and navigation.  The better the consistency, the easier the user experience.

Focus on Usability & Navigation

Users want to be able to interact with your site in a seamless way so they can quickly find what they’re looking for, without having to click multiple links or visit different pages.  Make sure your navigation is clear, using no more than 7 top-level navigation choices, and keeping any sub-level navigation clear and well organized. Additionally, always remember in the world of the “web”, the quicker, the better; make sure your users can get where they need to go with no more than a few clicks.

Pay Attention to Links

The links on your site play a vital role in its success.  A few best practices here are utilizing color change links once they’re visited to avoid visiting the same link multiple times, as well as, of course, testing all links to make sure they work.  Broken links can quickly discourage your users, and prompt them to leave your site early and discount you on Google’s search rankings…

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