Category Archives: Take Advantage of Today’s Tools

Managing Your Time – It’s tough, but not impossible!

by Danish Imtiaz Gangani

We’ve all heard ourselves say it: “There’s never enough time!” Truth is that we all have 24 hours each day and what we accomplish during that 24-hour period depends on our own motivation, our energy, our skills & abilities and other resources. Most people think that ‘Time Management is Common Sense but Beware – Common sense is not so common!’ Many students discover the need to develop or work on their time management skills when they arrive at college. Unlike school where teachers frequently structured your assignments and classes filled your day, in college, you will have less in-class time, more outside of class work, and a great deal of freedom and flexibility. This article will provide you with tips for managing your time well so you can get the most out of your time.

Since there are always demands on your time, it may be helpful to think about what you will do with your time and to consider some strategies for more effective time management. Time management is not a way to make you work harder and longer, but a mean to help you work smarter to accomplish your work more easily and rapidly. If you can manage your time more effectively, you will be rewarded in a variety of ways like:

  • You will achieve greater success in your very important and highly visible role;
  • On a personal level, you will certainly feel healthier, more energetic, and generally in a better mood to serve yourself and people around you;
  • You would have more creative time that allows you to find creative solutions to your problems, achieve better quality of work and time to spend with the people you love.

However, there are lots of things that make it difficult for us to manage our time effectively, which includes unclear objectives, disorganization of work, inability to say “no”, internal and external interruptions, periods of inactivity, trying too many things at once, stress and fatigue. Therefore; it is really very important to recognize the existing obstacles, identify them and devise some practical strategies to overcome those obstacles. Here are some strategies you can use to overcome the obstacles mentioned above:

Goal Setting:

The first and most important strategy you can apply to manage your time is to set clear goals for yourself. Obviously, there are many things you want to accomplish in your life, though, the best favor you can do for yourself is to determine what those goals are and make sure your efforts are always directed toward their achievements. Keep in mind that the goals must be SMART i.e.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bounded.

Planning and Organizing:

Take a few minutes, preferably the night before, to plan out every activity of the coming day. Always work from a list. Always think on paper. This is one of the most powerful and important disciplines of all for high performance.

Priority Setting:

The essence of all time management, personal management, and life management is contained in your ability to set the proper priorities on the use of your time. This is essential for high performance. Personally, I would advise you to work on 4D formula when you are prioritizing your work. There are tasks that you have to ‘DO’ yourself while you can ‘DELEGATE’ some tasks to others. Similarly, there are tasks you can ‘DELAY’ whereas there exist few which should be ‘DELETED’ from your list (I call them ‘time eaters’).

Concentration on your Highest-Value Activities:

Your ability to work single-mindedly on your most important task will contribute as much to your success as any other discipline you can develop.

Learn when to say “NO”:

You can’t do anything. Don’t undertake things for which you can’t find time to complete OR are low in importance to your ‘To Do List’. Remain consistent with your goals. When you learn to say “NO” you are not closing the door on your responsibilities, but rather you are making sure that you can meet your commitments and accomplish the maximum possible in the time available to you.

Use your waiting time:

Another time management skill is to make good use of your “waiting time.” Have you ever thought about how much time you spend doing nothing during an average day? Usually this is not a situation where you planned to do nothing; it just happened. There are two ways to look at these periods of time. You can either consider them as “waste of time” or as “gifts of time.” If you choose to think of them as gifts of time, you can use them as opportunities to accomplish routine tasks that are necessary, but don’t require large periods of time.

Consider your personal prime time:

Are you one of those people who gets up before the sun rises and starts working? Is the early evening, after the evening meal, your time to work? Or are you someone who prefers to wait until the quiet of the late night hours to do the really hard tasks?

Everyone is different. Most research shows that tasks that take the most mental concentration are most effectively accomplished early in the day, but even these studies acknowledge that this is not always true, and that everyone has a “personal prime time.” That’s why it is important to identify that time and plan your most challenging tasks there.

The list of people who can benefit from better time management is a long one, and includes students, teachers, workers, managers, business owners, artists, musicians, contractors, engineers etc. The fact is, nearly everyone can benefit from learning the principles and techniques of how to be better stewards of time.

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How Successful People Stay Calm

By Dr. Travis Bradberry

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

If you follow our newsletter, you’ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health (such as the Yale study, which found that prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control). The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.

stress

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.

“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.

Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.

They Appreciate What They Have

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

They Avoid Asking “What If?”

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.

They Stay Positive

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.

They Disconnect

Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.

Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.

They Sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.

They Squash Negative Self-Talk

A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.

You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.

They Reframe Their Perspective

Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.

They Breathe

The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.

This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.

They Use Their Support System

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, and emotional intelligence certification, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

SUBUD WORLD CONGRESS WORKSHOP FEATURES CAREER QUEST CARDS TM©

PUEBLA, MEXICO—Seattle-based career counselor/coach Halimah Bellows, MA, MS, CCC, CPC will hold a workshop on Tuesday, 12 August from 14:00 to 16:00 CMT at the Subud World Congress in Puebla, Mexico, City Express, Room 1. She will be demonstrating CAREER QUEST CARDS TM©, the unique self-coaching tool which she created to offer individuals an engaging and affordable strategy for developing a fulfilling new career.

Packaged in a convenient, portable 4½-by-6-inch clear plastic box, the set of 24 CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© provides a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises. The cards are color-coded in five categories, allowing an individual the flexibility to work with them randomly or use them in a sequence that suits his or her own learning style.  CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© are also available as an app for iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android devices.

Career coaches and counselors, career development professionals and outplacement consultants, as well as high school guidance counselors and advisors can also utilize the CAREER QUEST CARDS TM  © in working with their students or clients.  The package of cards includes suggestions for using the exercises interactively with individuals or organizing workshops where people work together as partners or in small groups.  Young people in particular may find the colorful cards more fun than reading a book about career development.

Halimah Bellows is a seasoned career counselor/coach with more than twenty years of experience as well as an educator and educational planner for colleges and non-profits on the West Coast. She is available for counseling, coaching or presentations and can be reached at 206.595.7927.

Donna Seebo Show Features CAREER QUEST CARDS

Donna Seebo, who is an International mental practitioner, counselor, speaker, teacher, award-winning author and radio/TV personality, talk show host had me on her radio show a few months ago to talk about the coaching tool I developed, Career Quest Cards. She recently sent me the link to that show and I would like to share it with you.

Go to this link: http://www.delphiinternational.com/ and click on The Donna Seebo Show in the bar on the top. Once you are there, click on the yellowed area to left; Click here to listen to previous Donna Seebo show broadcasts and then scroll down to April 25th and click on the box to the left hand side of the page to place a check mark and scroll down to where is says play selected files and click on that and you can listen to the show.

I welcome any questions or responses you may have after listening.

Halimah Bellows, MA, MS, CCC, CPC

Donna Seebo-Radio, Television, Speaker, Counselor, Mental Practitioner, Author delphiinternational.com. We invite you to look through the various pages to find out more about Delphi International, Vision Broadcasting and Mrs. Seebo’s Classics.

“DONNA SEEBO SHOW” TO FEATURE INNOVATIVE CAREER COUNSELOR

SEATTLE—Seattle-based career counselor/coach Halimah Bellows, MA, MS, CCC, CPC will be interviewed on “The Donna Seebo Show” at 9:00 AM PST on Friday, April 25. She will be speaking aboutCAREER QUEST CARDS TM©, the unique career-building tool which she designed to offer individuals an effective and affordable strategy for finding fulfillment in the workplace. The show can be accessed online at www.delphiinternational.com.

Packaged in a convenient, portable 4½-by-6-inch clear plastic box, the set of 24 CAREER QUEST CARDS TM © provides a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises. The cards are color-coded in five categories, allowing an individual the flexibility to work with the cards randomly or use them in a sequence that suits his or her own learning style. The cards are also available as an app for iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android devices.

Career coaches and counselors, career development professionals and outplacement consultants, as well as high school guidance counselors and advisors can also utilize the CAREER QUEST CARDSTM© in working with their students or clients. The package of cards includes suggestions for using the exercises interactively with individuals or organizing workshops where people work together as partners or in small groups. Young people in particular may find the colorful cards more fun than reading a book about career development.

Halimah Bellows is a seasoned career counselor with more that twenty years of experience as well as an educator and educational planner for colleges and non-profits on the West Coast. She is available for counseling, coaching or presentations and can be reached at hbellows@careerquestcards.com or careerquestcards@gmail.com, or 206-595.7927

Rave Review for Career Quest App

 

cc-app fast track

 

Career Quest

By Peter Yun

We’re continuing our series of useful phone apps – the ones that help your life and make it easier, rather than allowing you to be lazy and waste some time. This time, we’re looking at an app on the Amazon App Store, an app called Career Quest.

In school, from the moment we start our education we are only taught things that we can use in our careers. Lessons upon lessons of what we should be able to do in the future, but there’s little to no knowledge about how you can actually go about putting that knowledge into practice. Career advice is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated services out there right now, and it’s exactly what Career Quest does great.

Career coaching sessions are usually very expensive. Naturally, they work better than this app, but they are, for the most part, done by professionals with years, even decades of experience in the field, with psychology degrees and tons of other credentials. If you feel like you are on the verge of making your decision, but you need just that little push to help you consider, then Career Quest is really an option worth taking into account. With a complete set of unique strategies that are designed to help you in your career transition.

The app is available on the App Store for $6.19 right now, doesn’t require a ton of permissions, and everybody who has tried it out so far speaks highly of it. Try Career Quests yourself!

Source: DIYAppReview

15 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Paper résumés aren’t exactly passé, but they surely have lost much of their punch.

by Kerry Hannon

Quick: When looking for a job, what is most likely to pique a potential employer’s curiosity? Go to the head of the class if you answered, My LinkedIn profile.

Yes, today’s hiring managers pore over your digital footprint to gather as much information about you as they can. Call it due diligence.

And for most of them, LinkedIn is the place to go. A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 77 percent of employers are using social networks to recruit, a sharp increase from the 56 percent who reported doing so in 2011. Among the recruiters using social tools, 94 percent said they use LinkedIn.

“There’s no easier way to demonstrate your expertise to a broad audience of potential colleagues, networking contacts and hiring managers,” says Miriam Salpeter, owner and founder of Keppie Careers, a coaching and consulting firm.

So don’t take a bare-bones approach to your profile. When a hiring manager looks at it, you want him or her to see a clear portrait of your background, skills and experience and to learn a bit about how you spend your time outside the office.

Equally important, a comprehensive online profile subliminally helps ease concerns about your age: It sends the message that you are not out of step with social media and technology.

Here are some smart ways to make the most of your LinkedIn profile.

1. Pick the right headshot

This sounds obvious, but lots of people don’t add one to their profile. It might be for privacy reasons, or they don’t have a photo of themselves they like. Sometimes they have do have one on their page, but it’s a small, blurry image.

That’s a turnoff for a recruiter. It implies that you aren’t comfortable with social media, or are a neophyte. “Your LinkedIn profile photo is critically important for 50-plussers,” says Donna Svei, an executive search consultant and executive résumé writer who writes the AvidCareerist blog. “It’s often the first impression you make on a recruiter.”

Choose a current one. Sure you might think you looked better a decade ago, but that photo doesn’t show you right now. If you get in the door for an interview, the employer may feel cheated when she sees you face-to-face.

Svei recommends a photo of you behind a podium, clearly involved in a public speaking engagement. “This confers automatic authority and shows that your opinion is respected by others.” Otherwise opt for “a naturally lit photo where you look happy, have white teeth and well-styled hair,” she says. Plus, pay attention to your jawline — no double chins. Push that forehead out and down a bit when you pose.

2. Customize your LinkedIn address

Click on “edit profile” and change the URL to: http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/yourname. Then include that address on your résumé, cover letter and the bottom signature line of your outgoing email, too. Consider creating a QR code that links directly to your profile. You can use free tools like QReateBUZZ or Kaywa to generate your QR code. Make sure to add your LinkedIn QR code to your business cards and résumé. Android phones come with QR code readers and there are free reader apps for iPhones, so it’s simple for someone to scan your QR code and be sent straight to your LinkedIn profile.

3. Create a bold headline

Your professional headline runs directly below your name on your profile. By default, your current job title will fill that space. Don’t let a run-of-the mill title command that key space.

When employers run a LinkedIn search, the results that appear display names, photos and headlines. You want to have something that captures people’s attention, so make the most of those 120 characters. Tailor it to say exactly what you do, or the kinds of jobs you’re seeking. For instance, mine reads, Expert/Author/Speaker. If you aren’t sure what to type in there, LinkedIn has a prompt for you to click and see what others in your industry are using.

4. Join groups

Get involved in LinkedIn groups that relate to your current work, alma mater, past employers or other interests. Comment on posts from others and add your own. It displays your expertise to prospective employers. Plus, it’s astonishing how many new “connections” you can make, when you interact.

5. Create regular updates

If you’ve read a terrific article — share it with your connections as an update. It illustrates that you’re continually learning new things. “Statistically speaking, we know that if you share once a week you increase your chances of having your profile viewed by a recruiter tenfold,” says LinkedIn’s career expert, Nicole Williams.

6. Market your blog or a personal website

Under your contact information, you can add the links to your other digital doings. Such extras can provide a smorgasbord of information about your expertise. You can include videos of speeches or PowerPoint presentations you’ve given or attach a video résumé.

7. Refresh recommendations

Don’t be pushy, but periodically ask ex-colleagues, previous bosses and clients to write recommendations on your profile. If possible, suggest that they upend older-worker stereotypes that a hiring manager might have by highlighting the fact that you are a source of timely and creative ideas or have up-to-date technical skills. Get recommendations from coworkers or managers in several different age brackets, Williams says. Having a younger colleague go to bat for you will send a subtle message that you work well with those younger than you.

See also: How to get along with a younger boss

8. Cull endorsements

Endorsements let your connections select skills and areas of expertise that you’ve listed within your profile, as well as endorse new skills they think should be included in your profile. Some of these can be off-mark. If so, remove them, or even turn the entire endorsement feature off. You can also delete endorsements from certain connections.

9. Post previous positions

Many seasoned job seekers only list one or two in order to appear younger to their future employers. “This will work against you in the long run,” Williams says. “As a mature employee, your experience and longevity in the workplace is what differentiates you from younger job seekers.”

10. Spice up your skills

List recent certifications and courses on your LinkedIn profile. “This is key to do since employers often fear that older workers have plateaued and haven’t improved their skills,” says Williams.

11. Show your heart

There’s a section devoted to describing your volunteer experience, what role you played and what the cause was, along with a place to write a detailed description. You can also type in specific opportunities you’re looking for, such as joining a nonprofit board or providing pro-bono consulting. You can also include causes you care about, such as animal welfare, the environment or education.

“Highlighting your passion and commitment to projects signals to employers that you don’t spend your time away from work on the couch but rather at charity meetings and events,” says Williams. According to LinkedIn research, 42 percent of hiring managers surveyed say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience.

12. Check out the competition

Review LinkedIn profiles of other professionals in your field and see how they’ve described their work. You might get ideas of keywords to include in your summary description, or ways to clarify the work you do in a clever, non-jargon way.

13. Shuffle the sections

You can change the order of your current positions and education entries to emphasize something more prestigious. Of course, if you don’t have many endorsements or recommendations yet, you may want to slide that section down the profile to make your lack of supporters less obvious. Once you begin getting endorsements for your top skills, you can reorganize the content.

14. Bump up connections

If you only have a few connections, it’s going to make a potential employer feel like you just joined the network — which might signal that you’re not that tech savvy. Once you hit 50 connections, LinkedIn will start giving suggestions of people you should connect with, so that will help you build up your network of potential business contacts more quickly.

15. Write your own personal notes

Don’t use the generic e-vite that automatically pops up when you click to send a request. It may sound old-fashioned, but etiquette never goes out of style.

Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills.

10 Websites every baby boomer should know but probably doesn’t

By Marc Miller

There is a set of websites every baby boomer should know to manage your career, and I am writing this post to expose you to them. Some of these might surprise you. Let’s get started.

General

Employee Benefit Research Institute – The mission of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) is to contribute to, to encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education. There is a ton of great data about retirement. They do a variety of surveys related to baby boomers ability to retire.

PBS Next Avenue – This PBS’s website dedicated to the baby boomer generation. Articles cover a full spectrum of issues and come from a variety of sources. Career Pivot contributed an article in February.

Harvard Business Review Blog – I have become a big fan of HBR. They follow a variety of trends that you must keep on top of for your career.

Let’s cover some recruiting websites every baby boomer should know.

Recruiting

ERE.net – ERE is a central gathering point for the recruiting industry. You will find lots of useful information on careers but more importantly trends in employment.

Recruiting Blogs – Recruiting Blogs is a central place where recruiters can blog on topics of their choice. There are over 14,000 recruiting blogs on this site. This is a great place to gain insight into what recruiters are thinking.

The Undercover Recruiter – The Undercover Recruiter is the #1 recruitment and career blog in the UK & Europe. Another great place to follow industry trends.

Recruiter.com – One of the largest websites for the recruiting industry. This link will take you to the Career Advice section of the website.

I believe every baby boomer should track trends in the recruiting industry.

Let’s cover some different websites every baby boomer should know.

Social

Social-Hire – This is a new and innovative career site around the new way to find a job. I particularly want to point you to the career advice section.

Linked Into Business Blog – This is a LinkedIn blog for business written by my good friend Viveka von Rosen. Viv runs the Tuesday evening Tweetchat called LinkedIn Chat. If you want to stay on top of changes in LinkedIn this is the place.

This one will surprise you!

Heidi Cohen – Heidi Cohen’s blog provides marketing related insights grounded in digital and direct marketing. Served with a creative twist, Heidi includes practical tips based on her extensive experience that readers can apply to their marketing. You need to understand online marketing tactics to market your own career!

Did I miss any websites every baby boomer should know?

Bonus

BoomerJobTips.com – Okay, I am being a bit self serving. I recently acquired the BoomerJobTips.com domain which was listed in the top career sites in 2012. The previous owner took down the website for personal reasons. My plan is to make BoomerJobTips.com the premiere career information website for baby boomers and keep it pitch free. Content is curated from around the Internet and posted through out the day.

Marc Miller is a Career Design Specialist, contributor to Career Pivot and author of Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

10 Ways to Generate More Leads and Referrals on LinkedIn

By Jeff Haden

It’s not hard–and may be the best 20 minutes you spend every day.

Everyone seems to be on LinkedIn. So you are too. But are you actually generating leads and referrals?

Here’s a blueprint for using LinkedIn to prospect more effectively from Sandler Training, a leading sales, management, and leadership training organization.

1. Prepare a digital version of your 30-Second Commercial and include that text in your LinkedIn profile. The main thing to remember about LinkedIn is this: It is a huge, never-ending, virtual networking event, and you have to be ready with the right response to, “What do you do?”

Your 30-second commercial is the answer to that question, as told from the point of view of a prospect in pain that eventually turned into your happy customer.

For instance: “We specialize in custom designed inventory management systems for manufacturing and distribution operations. We’ve been particularly successful with companies in the X, Y, and Z industries that are concerned about the costs associated with inaccurate inventory counts, unhappy with frequent paperwork bottlenecks that slow down the fulfillment process, or disappointed by the amount of time it takes to reconcile purchasing, invoicing, and shipping records. We’ve been able to create hand-in-glove inventory management systems that help our customers save time, attention, and money.”

If something like this isn’t on your LinkedIn profile you’re at a competitive disadvantage.

2. Add connections to your network. If you invest a minute or so each working day clicking the “connect” button on the “People You May Know” list that LinkedIn posts in your feed you will broaden your network, and you will become known as someone who broadens the network, which is just as important.

Remember: Everyone you talk to about business or meet during the course of the business day is a potential LinkedIn connection.

3. Play fair. But only “connect” to people you actually know. LinkedIn will backfire on you if you pretend to know people you don’t. (While we’re at it, here are nine other mistakes people make on LinkedIn.)

Always ask for introductions to people you don’t know.

4. Build out your lead list. Spend five minutes a day investigating the connections of your contacts to see whom you don’t know personally but would like to meet. Make a note of those to whom you would like introductions. Start first with the “Recommendations,” since those are most likely the strongest relationships of the LinkedIn user you are viewing.

Ask for the recommendations outside of your LinkedIn account via email or phone. You’ll get a quicker answer. (And you’ll get the chance to quickly reconnect with your connections.)

5. Follow your current clients and prospects. Spend another two minutes each day looking up your current clients and top prospects. Find out whether they have a company page. If they do, follow and monitor it.

6. Post an update. Spend 60 seconds each working day posting an “Update” to your LinkedIn network. Use the daily update to share a link to an article or a video that is relevant to your prospects and customers. Or use the “Pulse” (used to be known as “LinkedIn Today”) feature on your LinkedIn dashboard.

Each time you post an update you get displayed on the feed of all the people with whom you are connected. But never sell when you post updates. Add value and share expertise instead.

7. Join groups. LinkedIn lets you connect with people who are in groups with you. Use this as a targeted way to add value to others, share insights, and build out your network with prospects. Invest five minutes a day on this. (Here are tips to find the best groups to join.)

8. Use LinkedIn to celebrate the accomplishments of others. When you come across a news story or post that offers good news about your client or prospect, or any key contact, share the news as a status update. Recognize the person with an “@” reply. That will ensure they receive notification of the mention. Spend a minute a day on this.

9. Write a recommendation. It is often difficult to secure LinkedIn recommendations, if only because it takes the writer time to log in, write, and post them.

Instead of waiting for someone to recommend you, devote five minutes a day to writing and posting (reality-based) recommendations for your customers and key contacts. Once your contact approves the text, the recommendation will show up on his/her LinkedIn account.

This will align you with your contact, serve as a permanent top-of-mind promotional piece for you and your organization, show your network that you work together, and make it much more likely that your contact will look for a way return the favor. That could be either a referral or a recommendation.

Often, it’s both.

10. Stop. The key to success on LinkedIn is investing a little bit of time every working day–not six hours a day for a week straight, then nothing.

Do all of this regularly. The maximum total time investment should be 20 minutes a day, not including developing your 30-Second Commercial (which you should finish before you even log into LinkedIn.)

Invest that twenty minutes a day, consistently, for thirty straight working days, and you will start generating more prospects and referrals from LinkedIn.

Then… keep it up!

Jeff Haden is the owner of Blackbird Media and has ghostwritten nearly forty non-fiction books (four Amazon Business & Investing #1s) and am a featured columnist for Inc.com and CBS MoneyWatch.com.  

NEW APP OFFERS POWERFUL CAREER-BUILDING STRATEGY FOR 2014

For job-seekers committed to reinventing themselves in the new year, career counselor/coach Halimah Bellows, MA, MS, CCC, CPC has now incorporated her innovative CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© into a convenient format that can be instantly downloaded on any connected iPhone, Kindle Fire or Android device.  The app provides a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises in a colorful, fun, easy-to-use package designed to enable busy users to take it with them on the go as they explore possible paths to career success.

Mid-life professionals making career transitions, recent college graduates without a clear career direction, retirees embarking on a new stage in their work lives, dissatisfied job-holders who have never before considered a real career–all can benefit from this powerful career-building tool. CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© provides an affordable alternative to paying for the cost of a career coach.  The app uses color-coding to enable individuals to work in a sequence that suits their own learning styles—random, by category or fast track. CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© also provides a notepad for tracking discoveries that users make about their values and preferences in the process of doing the exercises.

To download CAREER QUEST CARDS TM© on your Kindle Fire or Android device, go to:

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To download on iPhone or iPad, go to:

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cc-app fast track