If you’re reading this, you should probably update your LinkedIn profile

Okay, so you’ve created a LinkedIn profile with your name, current job and title. You’ve got a thorough and well-formatted Word Doc resume, ready to hand off to hiring managers. Done, right? Wrong. You’re missing the point of LinkedIn if you think having a print resume, and a short LinkedIn profile is the entire arsenal your job search requires.
Keeping your LinkedIn up to date is something that requires little time, but may end up having big benefits. Any recruiter can tell you that they are constantly on LinkedIn looking for quality candidates. Hiring managers will check your LinkedIn before bringing you in for an interview. Beyond the job search, having a stellar online profile can help build your professional network, add to your personal brand and may even up your industry credibility.
So what should I update?
Let’s start with a good photo! In this case, that means a picture of you, without sunglasses or a hat, or your pet/roommate/current boyfriend. While having a professional headshot is preferred, reading some pro tips online about how to get a well-lit photo, and then enlisting a friend’s help can result in a great solo photo. Remember that the image you’re projecting here is for your business network – so save the shot of your cute Coachella outfit for Instagram.
Now, take a look at your accomplishments and interests. As a recent grad, including your sorority or fraternity leadership position will help hiring managers see your credibility as a leader, even without extensive full time work experience. However, if you’ve been working for over a decade, it might be wise to leave off that award Panhell gave you back in college. Including internships, volunteer experience, or TA work as a recent grad is also a great idea.
Also, if you’re trying to build up your client base, reach out to recent customers who’ve had positive experiences for a short quote. Having reviews isn’t a deal breaker, as your experience should speak for itself, but having a few positive reviews (especially from influential people) wouldn’t hurt.
How much do I put on here?
While it is definitely important to list all of your experiences, it’s not necessary to have long winded text under each one. A LinkedIn profile is like an online resume. Having key experiences clearly highlighted with an easily digestible amount of information will do you, and hiring managers, a favor. Save a longwinded story – even about a win – for an interview.
Your wins should stand out with specific numbers and details. Include dollar amounts or percentages wherever relevant. Be sure the numbers are the same on your resume though… saying one thing online and another in print is a good way to quickly lose credibility.
LinkedIn isn’t just about job experiences
One area to not skimp on is adding your interests, volunteer positions, charity work and any boards you may sit on. Showing what you do outside of work can, and should be a part of your LinkedIn profile. People are more likely to respond to a networking request if they have a sense of who you are beyond your current and past titles.
If you’ve received a prestigious award or have a special achievement under your belt, put it on LinkedIn! Hiring managers want successful people on their team. Clients want to work with people who have proven records. Whether you’re looking for a job, or trying to build up your client base, showing your past successes can be a winning move.
Extra Credit
If you’re looking to build up your personal brand or want to establish credibility in your industry beyond your daily work – try writing articles on LinkedIn. Besides being a modern Rolodex full of promising candidates, people are using LinkedIn to keep a pulse on industry trends.
Follow companies and people whose work you admire, and keep track of their recent posts in your feed. If you aspire to become a thought leader yourself, start with writing about a job experience or an industry trend you’ve noticed. You never know, you may end up becoming one of the people that others follow for advice!

Paid content by American Family Insurance

How Networking Helped a Deloitte Consultant Land the Job

• My Vault

Based in Washington, D.C., Shannon Cabrey is a human capital analyst in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Practice. A graduate of Virginia Tech, where she studied business with a focus in marketing and management, she interned with Deloitte in the summer of 2015 before joining the organization full time in August 2016. Here, she talks to Vault about her experiences with the organization to date, including what she’s learned so far, and where she sees her career at Deloitte heading from here.
Vault: Thanks for talking to us, Shannon. Can you tell us a little about your current role at Deloitte?
SC: I’m a human capital analyst at Deloitte and my role currently is working on a federal project. I’m on a tech adoption project and I am helping with strategic communications and stakeholder engagement work. So I’m doing a lot of the tasks that build into bigger strategies for the client.
Vault: Do you have a technology background?
SC: I was a business major at Virginia Tech; I took business information technology courses in undergrad but was mainly focused on marketing and management, as well as business leadership. So, while I was not on a technology track, I was drawn to the strategic communications aspect of it, which is in line with my skills. In the work that I’m doing, we communicate strategically about technology practices, so it’s a good middle ground and an opportunity for me to learn a lot about cyber and technology while using communication skills.
Vault: Is your current project the first since you we were hired?
SC: Yes. After I was hired, I went through training, and then from there I started on this project. I was lucky enough to be staffed on a project right away, which was wonderful, and I’ve been there ever since.
Vault: Once your current client engagement is complete, do you have an opportunity to change tracks or to move practice areas?
Yes. I’m very open to learning other things. Later, I will reach out to my network within Deloitte and see what other projects or opportunities are out there, see what other things might spur my interest and align with my skills. I definitely don’t feel like I’m locked down into any one track; I’d like to expand and learn about different types of projects. A lot of it is just timing and seeing what fits, and where there’s a need at that point in time.
Vault: Can you give us a sense of how Deloitte has supported you in developing your career so far?
SC: There is a lot of on the job learning and training available to me. My teammates were wonderfully supportive in terms of providing the institutional knowledge that they had from the client side, and giving me the background on the technology projects that were going on—things like figuring out the history to date on the happenings, and the processes that I needed to jump in on. I was given a very thorough onboarding process, which I was very grateful for, and which meant that I felt comfortable before diving in and being able to deliver the work. I would say that Deloitte provides a great onboarding experience and colleagues who are willing to teach you as you go – as well as the opportunity to be on the client site and learn directly from the client as well.
Vault: What was the formal/informal training balance like?
SC: I completed some cyber courses online as a prerequisite for consultants who are working within a cyber environment at the client. So that was within a virtual classroom environment. But the majority was learning directly from my colleagues.
Vault: And have you had a chance to experience Deloitte University?
SC: Yes—in my second week at Deloitte I went for five days of analyst training. I was there Monday through Friday, and it was very rigorous. I got to meet a lot of people, and definitely had fun too.
Vault: Can you tell us a little about your experiences on the internship?
SC: It was the summer of 2015, between my junior and senior years. I looked into the internship during my junior year. I came across it through meeting with a VT alumna who was involved with a student group I created at school. I was co-founder of a women in business organization at VT, and we had a lot of outreach from alumni who wanted to get involved and support our group. One of those alumna was from Deloitte and had a very strong interest in supporting our students though a group called Collegial Women in Business. And from there, I formed a relationship with that alumna, who asked if I had an interest in career opportunities with Deloitte. I provided my resume and started getting in touch with recruiters to hear more about opportunities in consulting and human capital that aligned with my interests.
Vault: What was the hiring process like? Had you gone through the application process at that stage?
SC: After I’d made contact with the VT alumna I mentioned, I was put in touch with Deloitte’s lead Virginia Tech recruiter and spoke with her about opportunities that aligned with my interests. She suggested that human capital consulting.
Then I spoke with human capital professionals at Deloitte about their daily experiences and work-life balance, and I asked questions to explore whether it was a career I’d be interested in, because I wasn’t sure if human capital was a good fit for a marketing management major. I wanted to determine whether I’d be able to contribute based on my skills. When I figured out that I did have an interest, I applied through the VT online career portal. My first round interview included a case study and a behavioral interview. I went through all the interview stages and steps until I was selected to be a summer scholar. That was in the spring of my junior year.
Throughout the process, I was able to feel out whether it was a good fit for me or not, and get a good feel for the job and the requirements. And I had a good idea of what the internship would be like when I was applying.
Vault: Did you find that the internship prepared you for what the full-time role would be like?
SC: Absolutely. I was given a lot of responsibilities as an intern to make a real impact, and worked with a Deloitte team that included a managing director and a senior manager– a wonderful opportunity. We were asked to be creative, given challenging work…it was such a great experience that I couldn’t imagine working somewhere else at that point. I knew that if I was extended a full-time offer that I would want to accept. It was definitely a challenging summer, and now that I’ve been in the full-time role for a while, I reflect and realize that it did prepare me for a transition into being a full time professional.
Vault: Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about applying to Deloitte or thinking about the internship?
SC: Myadvice would be the same advice I was given, and that’s to talk to as many Deloitte professionals as you can. Everybody’s experience is different and you’ll get a wider breadth of information, and I think that the people are so wonderful, and that was a huge selling point for me. They were really on my side and wanted me to do well, and they were encouraging me to succeed. That was great, to get that feeling before you go into an application or an interview process—to get to know some people, projects, goals, and priorities. The more people you can talk to and the more information you can gather in order to be confident in your decision, the better.
Vault: What would be the process for doing that?
SC: There’s no “process”, per se. Alumni networks are great—that was my initial connection. I think you can reach out online as well, through professional or social networks. Also, using your campus resources at your university; many already have a relationship with Deloitte. Also, reaching out to counselors to see if they have information from the lead recruiters for the school. Try reaching out to recruiters; they are often a great channel to connect students with professionals.
This post was sponsored by Deloitte.
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see http://www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte USA LLP, Deloitte LLP and their respective subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.
This communication contains general information only, and none of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms,or their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this communication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this communication.

OPEC, Fighting Market Forces, Extends Production Cuts

Khalid A. al-Falih, the Saudi energy minister, talked to journalists before an OPEC meeting in Vienna on Thursday.
VIENNA — A sense of déjà vu pervaded the latest meeting of oil exporting countries. While production cuts have again bolstered oil prices, the optimism may fade, as shale producers in the United States jump back into the market and the rise of renewables dims prospects for demand.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries extended oil production cuts through March 2018, after a meeting in Vienna on Thursday. The move follows a decision this month by Saudi Arabia and Russia to do so.
The earlier announcement helped lift prices from a low of $46. But on Thursday, prices slipped nearly 4 percent, to around $53.

How To Use LinkedIn To Promote Your Business

Understanding your social media visitors
Many Sales and Marketing professionals treat LinkedIn as a CV repository. But only a few fully capitalise on the power to convey your sales and marketing messages. A good starting point is to the perception of Linkedin. It is no longer a website for job seekers and recruiters (at least from the marketing or sales perspective), but a place to engage with your buyers.
You buyers do not want to know about your professional achievements, education or if you hit your sales targets. They are not a recruiter. Instead they need to know what it is in for them.
When they review your profile it needs to convey trust and align with their experience. So, instead of writing about how good you’re at digital marketing, put a line about how your solved your customers problems. You need to use the keywords that catch attention of your buyers. A good starting point if to identify a dozen of LinkedIn personal and company profiles and analyse what keywords and type of language they use.
By using the keywords of your buyers you can tap into their experience and talk their langage.
When editing your profile try to keep your copy simple and compelling. Start with the top of the page, where your cover and profile image, and headline are. These are the first information on your profile that your visitor see.
Use a professional Profile and Cover images
Profile and cover images are the first two elements your visitors notice. It is also the most crucial thing in building trust. Almost immediately people can decide if they want to do business with you – an assumption many people may be inclined to make.
Make sure you have a clear and professionally done profile picture. Do not use selfies or pictures from a local bar or a recent gig. Keep it professional and appropriate to your idea buyer. When uploading a profile image, LinkedIn will display it as 400 x 400 pixels. So make sure you do not use any smaller size.
You cover image is another medium to make a good first impression and convey a message. A good practice is to incorporate your branding in the cover image. Depending on the divice size and resolution, this graphic will be cropped. Thus, try to distribute you messages around the middle section of your graphic. Always double check the keyparts are visible after your upload the cover image.
Create a compelling headline
The most common mistake marketers and sales people make is to place their current job title in the headline. Once again treat LinkedIn as a selling platform, lead generation but not a CV repository. Put yourself into your buyers shoes: are they interested to know your job role?
Instead of listing your title, write a value statement that cathces the eye of your buyers and keeps them exploring your profile.
Bad example of the headline: “Digital Marketing Executive” or “Sales and Business Development Manager”.
Social selling ready headline: “Proven success in Strategy Execution, Operational Excellence and Business Transformation”.
The latter will resonate with strategy execution professionals. It will also become a SEO bonus helping buyers who search those keywords find your profile and improve your organic search on Google.
Put those keywords in a value statement to make your headline compelling.
Write value adding call-to-action summary
After looking at your profile image and reading your headling the next logical place you vistors will move is the summary section.
With 2000 characters at your disposal you can provide a descriptiong of your business value statement. Don’t leave it blank or focus your copy on recruiters. Put yourself into your buyers shoes. What is it in for your buyers?
Example of a bad summary:

Rule number one – use the keywords that appeal to your buyer and help optimise your profile for search engines. And number two – demonstrate value to your buyers. You can do it in a number of ways. Instead of writing a value summary you may choose a short video or a presentation that conscisely convey you value. Video is the most effective medium on the web.
If you choose to write you summary, make sure you include a value statement, customer you helped, Call to Action and a list of keywords at the bottom of your copy. Let’s have a look at the example below.

Now your addressing your buyers from their perspective. You talk with a value to them, plus your profile is getting an additional SEO benefits with injected keywords.
Use keywords in your skill set
Typically placed at the bottom of the page, your skills section is another way to communicate value and get the SEO juice. Many of us marketers put here skills like email marketing, lead generation, online marketing or SEO. But is it what our buyers are looking for?
Once again, look at the list of keywords you have identify or open profiles of you target buyers and scan for keywords they use on their page. Incorporate those keywords into your skills section.

Always think of the keywords your buyer cares about.
Ask for recommendations
Recommendations and endorsements have the power to influence buyers. They are a social proof of your value statement. It is a building element of trust.
LinkedIn has a build-in functionality to ask for recommendations. Simply go to your profile page, click on the arrow ˅ next to the “View profile as” and select “Ask to be recommended”.
When asking for a recommendation think from your buyers perspective. This is a great change for you to add value to your profile. Ask your customers for a recommendation that describe the problem you helped them to solve. Ask them directly after a succesfully completed project while their and your memory is fresh.
Get a personilised LinkedIn URL
By default your profile will have a randomly genereted generic LinkedIn URL. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a brand. You probably want people to find your profile online and learn about the great value your company provides. But if you’re using a generic LinkedIn URL, any changes you make to your profile will change your URL. For search engines like Google it is difficult to index constantly changing URLs.
To change your generic URL log in on LinkedIn and:
1. Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
2. You’ll see a URL link under your profile photo like http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. Move your cursor over the link and click the Settings icon next to it.
◦ Note: “Update your public profile settings” will show up if you don’t have a public profile. Learn how to enable your public profile.
3. Under the Your public profile URL section on the right, click the Edit icon next to your URL.
4. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
5. Click Save.
The aim here is to capture your name in the URL. Keep it short. If the desired URL name is taken look for variations.
Important point to remember. To keep you profile public, so the content of it can be accessible to your online visitors, make sure to check the relevant sections of your content in the “Public Profile Settings.”
Now you have a LinkedIn profile that communicates directly to your buyer, provides SEO benefits and illustrates the value of your business. Happy social selling.

The 3 Keys to Submitting the Perfect Professional Resume Package

Job hunting can be extraordinarily exhausting. Submitting your resume to dozens of employers week after week, without getting a response, can feel like you’re fishing without a hook. To fix that, and remove some of the frustration, strive to submit the perfect professional resume as part of a total application package!
Let’s take a look at exactly what it takes to submit the perfect application package…
Cover Letter
Cover letters are truly commonplace in the job-seeking world these days. So it’s important to make sure that yours stands out. Essentially, what you want in a cover letter is a little bit more detail about who you are, what experience you have, and why you’re a great candidate.
Since this page should go before your resume, it is a first look into what type of employee you are and what professional experience you have. As a result, it can be quite easy to go overboard and provide the recruiter with too much information or irrelevant information. To avoid this, keep a few things in mind while writing your letter.
Keep your cover letter at a page long if you can. All of your job history, schooling, and references should be included in your resume, so you don’t have to go into detail about those topics in your cover letter. This is a great opportunity to tell your employer just a little bit about yourself. You might have some hidden talents that you practice as hobbies or you might want to explain your career goals or just expand on some awesome opportunities you’ve been able to be a part of in the past. Just make sure that you keep it short, concise, and to the point. If it doesn’t have a direct correlation with the potential employer hiring you, it doesn’t need to be in your cover letter.
Asking someone to be a reference or offer their personal recommendation for you as a spectacular employee is a tricky business. However, there is definitely a right and wrong way to do it. Namely, who you choose and why you choose them. Just because your good friend will say good things about you doesn’t necessarily mean they belong on the perfect professional resume.
Try to choose a reference that has worked with you in some sort of professional capacity. Ideal candidates for this task would be previous/current managers, teachers/professors, or other professional mentors. Let’s put it this way, putting down your parents or best friend from elementary school can come across as a bit childish. There are people in your life that know you have done great things and will go on to accomplish much more. It’s okay to let someone brag about you.
In addition, you shouldn’t need too many references. A good middle ground is about three references and/or recommendations. Unless they are going to list particularly amazing accomplishments of yours, I wouldn’t go above five. That just creates more work and research for your potential employer. Lastly, choose people that don’t all know you in the same way. In other words, choosing three managers from the same job is not the way to go. Choosing one teacher, one manager, and one volunteer manager would be a great setup. They will all have unique things to say about their experience with you.
Once you decide on the best people for the job, you really need to make sure you have their permission before you let people give them a call or assume that they will explicitly recommend you for a position. Get in contact with that person and ask for the recommendation based on your previous professional interaction. Keep the request short and sweet. If they get back to you in a timely manner (probably a couple of days) then they are a good reference and will be responsive when potential employers give them a call. If they don’t respond or take too long, thank them for their time and move on.
There are tons of fancy templates available on the web, but don’t be coaxed by all the frills you see on the page. Remember, your potential employer is probably looking at tons of these every single day. Keeping the page as de-cluttered and sleek as possible is the best plan of action.
Stick with simple black font on a white page. Obnoxious colors and themes are sure to turn off recruiters quickly. This doesn’t mean that you have to stick to New Times Roman size 10 or anything like that. There are plenty of downloadable fonts that look crisp, but also modern instead of dated and tacky. Try out a few before you decide on just one.
A perfect professional resume is simply a list of your accomplishments. Again, try to make yours look as clean as possible. If you have additional information that you think is crucial for the recruiter to read, put it in the cover letter. Try not to expand too much on job details, personal reasons for starting or leaving school or a job etc. If there is information that the potential employer is curious about, it can be discussed in the interview.
The Perfect Professional Resume Takes Time
Creating the perfect professional resume takes years of experience. So don’t get discouraged if you feel like you have to make changes from time to time.
As you grow in life and professionally, so will your ability to market yourself effectively to potential employers. It’s also okay to ask for help from time to time. After all, co-workers and mentors are usually more than willing to provide insight into what a great resume package looks like.
Making your resume package uniquely your own is exactly what will attract the perfect employer. Good luck!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Campus to Career!



16 Money Management Books To Achieve Financial Freedom


It was literally just a google search.
I remember sitting at the edge of my bed, frustrated and exhausted from the endless chatter in my head. So, I googled “How to not get overwhelmed by thoughts” (typing that sentence on google was tiring in itself), and, the app Headspace showed up as a search result.
Without even knowing what it was, I clicked on the link and started exploring their content. To be honest, it was the beautiful design that caught my attention, it made me want to stay there, as if, a combination of code seemed to get my frustration- it empathized with me.
One thing led to another and I started meditating every day for ten minutes.
It has been almost a year and a half now, and, the simple act of sitting idle for ten minutes has taught me more about myself and life than any textbook.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned:
#1 We are not our thoughts and feelings
The French Philosopher Rene Descartes is famous for his saying “We think therefore we are” which, roughly translates into equating identity with thinking. And, to some extent, we’re all pretty identified with the voice in our heads, that constant chatter that guides our lives. It tells us what to do, who we are and how to react to situations.
A similar story holds true for feelings. Whenever we feel an emotion, we tend to become it.
Meditation taught me that, in reality, we’re not our thoughts or feelings. That, itsa sense of space can be created between the real “us” and our conscience.
Sitting idle for ten minutes is tougher than it sounds, our minds are going to wander and our feelings- erupt. The goal, then, is to not get lost in this and instead- be present. That is, whenever the mind wanders, recognize thit’sa thought and bring our attention back to the body, to the point of focus (breath in case of Mindfulness Meditation and Mantra in case of Transcendental Meditation).
The same holds true for getting space from feelings. A body scan helps us recognize the physiological changes happening in our bodies (that feeling of rush during rage or excitement, the “heaviness’ in our chest during depression) , helping us “see” our feelings instead of be it.
During times of stress, this space helps us make better decisions. It stops us from using our fists during that argument or believing that we suck just because that voice is a downer.
So, was Descartes wrong? I’ll let Eckhart Tolle take over:
“The philosopher Descartes believed that he had found the most fundamental truth when he made his famous statement: “I think, therefore I am.” He had, in fact, given expression to the most basic error: to equate thinking with Being and identity with thinking.”- Eckhart Tolle, Power Of Now
#2 Life is simple. It just.. is
We have many interpretations of what life is and isn’t; When things go wrong, these perceptions come into play and things get a bit more complicated than they actually are.
Despite knowing that life is in the present, it’s incredibly tough for us to stay there. We’re teased by things and people around us, so much so, that we spend most of our time living in the past or dreading/fantasizing about the future. Or worse- both.
Think about it- at this exact moment, as you read this, what else are you thinking about?
Now, I’m sure you know this. I’m certain you’ve read a hundred other articles that talk about our unfortunate inability to stay in the now. So, the question is- what can we do, if, our society today makes it harder for us to stay in the now?
Meditation is not just about practicing the present moment in those ten minutes.It’s about extending that practice beyond those ten minutes- to the things we do everyday, to the tasks we engage in, the people we talk to; To life.
Meditation, then, taught me that no matter how wrong things go, the present moment is very simple. It just is- right there, without pain, without suffering. It’s our mind’s interpretation of the future and past that makes us worrisome.
The Stoic Philosopher Seneca once said- “We suffer more in imagination than in reality”. And, after year and a half of simply noticing and being curious of my thoughts and feelings, I can say that Seneca was right.
#3 Kindness is the way forward
Meditation helped me become kinder- to myself and to others. It taught me that we can only be charitable and kind to others if, in a very real sense, we’re attuned with our own madness.
It also made me ask a more important question- If we’re not our thoughts or feelings, why do we think what we think? Why do we feel what we feel?
Sadly, most of the factors that dictate this, to some extent, are out of our control- childhood experiences, genetics, etc.
We’ve all had different kinds of childhoods and have been brought up by people, who, themselves, have lived so many different stories. And then, after growing up, we’ve ourselves experienced and gone through so many different things.
Our past matters too because it shapes how we respond to life in the present. For instance, what do you do to fight stress? How do you stay sane when things go out of bounds? Do you stay sane when things go out of bounds?
Here’s Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence- “Emotional Intelligence begins to develop in the earliest years. All the small exchanges children have with their parents, teachers, and with each other carry emotional messages.”
So, most of our automatic patterns of thought have been constructed by such experiences.
Now, can we change ourselves?
Of course. But, isn’t it a little sad that much of this is outside of our control?
No wonder people judge us (and we judge them).
Meditation helped me to not make immediate assumptions about people; it made me realize that in reality, no one’s “bad”; we’re all just hurt in different ways. Further, it made me kinder towards myself, so, whenever I’m having a bad day, I remind myself that I’m not my thoughts or my feelings; they just are, for us to observe and learn from.
Because I’m kinder to myself (attuned to my own madness), being kinder to others is easier.
I guess Plato got it right on point when he said, “Be kind. For everyones fighting a hard battle.”
#4 Productivity is simple
We’ve made productivity way too complex; there are hundreds of apps and add ons that will help you achieve “10X more” and “10X faster”. Unfortunately, when it comes to accomplishing things, /more/ is not the answer. And, when we’re done with testing out new versions of apps, we think the “secret” lies in taking supplements.
In theory, however, productivity just requires two things- clarity and focus.
I wrote about how we can use Stoic Philosophy to gain some clarity before engaging in any task.
Just like Philosophy can help us gain clarity, Meditation can help us get in the flow state.
Sitting in silence for 10 minutes (or more) helps me train my mind to come back to the object of focus. So, no matter how distracted I am by thoughts and/or feelings, once I’m aware that I’m unaware, I’m not unaware anymore.
This practice (of coming back to the present, again and again), has made me quite productive. Now, I know that before I start engaging in any task, I need to snooze all my notifications so i don’t get distracted by external things. Similarly, to make sure my own thoughts and feelings don’t block my progress, I try to achieve stillness whilst doing the task by being conscious of my breaths. And, because I only do one task at a time, my working memory has information that is very specific to the task at hand.
Once the flow state kicks in, I’m out and if Meditating for a few minutes everyday can help us enter in this state, I think its worth trying.
I can end this post by going on and on about how grateful I am for that google search, but, I think I’ll let Marcus Aurelius end it, hoping that it encourages you to practice sitting in silence.
People try to get away from it all- to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful- more free of interruption-than your own soul. An instant recollection and there it is: complete tranquility. So keep getting away from it all – like that. Renew Yourself. But keep it brief and basic. A quick visit should be enough to ward of all and send you back ready to face what awaits you. – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.
Monil is a business student turned writer who helps people live a better life through Stoic Philosophy. Find me at:
Facebook: facebook.com/mindandtheheart
Tumblr: monoshah.tumblr.com

How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile If You’re an Entrepreneur

Image Source: Lynda
You probably already know LinkedIn as the platform for professionals who want to grow their careers. But did you know that LinkedIn can also serve as a source of quality sales intelligence?
Salespeople and entrepreneurs use LinkedIn to find, meet, and engage new prospects.
For example, you can use LinkedIn to:
• Research and profile your ideal customer.
• Search for industry keywords to optimize your visibility.
• Establish your expertise among potential customers.
• Sell yourself and your product.
Here are six tips to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile to get in touch with more prospects and boost your career as an entrepreneur.
Use LinkedIn as a Database for Customer Profiling
While others are using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool, you can also use it at part of your marketing strategy to profile your ideal customer. So, how do you find your customers?
First, make a list of typical job titles for your ideal client. Search for these titles using LinkedIn’s search bar. You will find thousands of potential profiles.
For example, if you search for a common title like “Sales Manager” you’ll get millions of results.
Click on a profile, even if that person is a connection, and scroll down to their groups. Continue to check profiles for groups until you notice a pattern. Join the groups that are reoccurring.
Once you’ve joined these groups, check out the discussions. Here you can run a search on industry keywords. See what people are looking for and what words pop up in their discussions. You’ll use these keywords to optimize your profile.
Optimize Your Profile With Industry Keywords
Once you know what your ideal customer is looking for, you can optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords. Such optimization means that you’ll start showing up in search results.
The best place to add these keywords is in your profile headline and your summary. At the same time, you will want to evenly disperse keywords throughout your profile just as you would when you’ve figured out how to make a resume that attracts recruiters.
Once you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile for industry keywords, your profile will start to rank in searches for that word.
You might want to try searching for your keywords as well to see what profiles appear. See how they’ve used the keyword throughout their profiles. That should give you an idea of what LinkedIn finds relevant for different keywords.
Join Groups and Establish Your Expertise
Once you’re ranking, you’ll want your profile to assure clients that you’ll deliver. If you establish yourself as trustworthy and an expert, you’re halfway there.
But how do you do that?
You’ll want to go back to the groups you’ve joined and have another look at the discussions. This time, focus on the questions people are asking. You can join the conversation by providing answers to these issues.
If you see people asking a question frequently, you can consider writing an article that directly addresses that problem. Publish it as a thought piece on your profile to establish your expertise on the subject.
It’s also a good idea to use the same language that your customers are using when they are voicing their questions and concerns. If they hear themselves in your advice, they are much more likely to find it relevant.
Pro Tip: While it may be obvious to most of you, having a professional profile picture is also a major part of making yourself trustworthy to clients. Just adding a picture gets you 11x more views. So, can you imagine the increase in views if your picture is great?
How to Create a Profile Headline and Summary That Sells
Finally, you’re easy to find, and you’re talking to your customers as an expert who understands their problems. Now, you need to sell.
LinkedIn automatically populates the Professional Headline field with your current job title.
As an entrepreneur, you’re better off creating a LinkedIn profile that reads less like a resume and more like an information page for your brand and services.
No one is interested in your title. Customers want to know right away what your brand is and what it can do for them. Your headline then should be 120 characters of “here’s what I can do for you.”
As mentioned above, you’ll still want to choose a couple of keywords for ranking purposes.
What about your profile summary?
Your summary should sell! Don’t be afraid to use this space to ask your customers to try out your product or give you recommendations. Use it to show how your offer stands out from others.
Pro Tip: Add 10-15 new contacts to your profile every day if possible. The more people you add, the more likely it is that you’ll show up as a suggested contact in other people’s feeds. The more you show up, the more visibility you have. And that is what converts.
Key Takeaway
LinkedIn is more than a network for job seekers and recruiters.
It’s the largest database of professionals in the world. And it would be a shame not to use such a resource to your benefit.
Every entrepreneur should have a clean and optimized LinkedIn profile.
Whether it’s for growing your network or scoring new deals, optimizing your LinkedIn profile is essential to making the most out of your presence on the platform.

Make Your Resume Stand Out With These Seven Simple Tips

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CREDIT: Getty Images
When applying for a job, you’re counting on your skills, experience, and your overall personality to help you land that coveted position. However, before you even get that chance to meet with a potential employer, you need to get a call for an interview. And you’re counting on your resume to convince a recruiter that you are worth the time for said interview.
If you haven’t already figured it out, your resume is the key first step in helping you land your dream job. Your resume is what will get your foot in the door and land you the interview you need to secure the position you’re applying for. So, it’s crucial that you make sure your resume is spectacular before you send it off to a recruiter. To help you out, I’m sharing seven ways you make your resume stand out from the crowd and impress everyone who see it.
1. Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for.
The truth is, a generic resume that you send to every employer isn’t going to catch the eye of the recruiter who receives it. What they’re really hoping to see is a resume that has been tailored to the job at hand. They want to know that you’ve read their job listing and that you know exactly what they want in a potential employee. And you should tailor your resume to show off the skills and experience they’re looking for.
While it may be time-consuming, it’s worthwhile to make a few tweaks to your resume before sending it off. Review the job listing for the position you’re applying to and figure out what the company is looking for in an employee. Determine what it is they value for members of their team. Make sure your resume shows that you have those skills so they’ll see that you’re a perfect fit. This is a key way to make your resume stand out since many applicants won’t be bothered to do this.
2. Use industry keywords when appropriate.
I hate to break it to you, but many recruiters aren’t going to take the time to read your resume in its entirety. This is especially true if you’re applying to a job at a large company that may receive hundreds of applications per job. Many of those companies will actually use a filtering system to scan your resume for certain keywords that they’re looking for.
3. Use a header.
If you really want to make your resume stand out, one great way to do that is by using a header. Use this space to include your name and contact information and also mention the specific position you’re applying for. It’s a simple, but effective, way to grab their attention! It also helps to bring the resume together and will give it a polished look.
4. Back up your skills.
One important section of your resume is without a doubt the section where you list your skills. In this space, you’ll want to focus on the skills that are most impressive to the employer you’re hoping to land a job with. However, while many people just list the skills they have, you can take it one step further.
Back up your skills with proof. Instead of saying you helped the last company increase their sales by implementing a new marketing technique, state how much sales increased. This is a sure-fire way to impress every recruiter who sees your resume. Always remember to use metrics to back up the skills you possess so a recruiter sees you could potentially bring those same results to this position.
5. Show how you’ve grown by telling a story.
You’ve probably never thought to tell a story with your resume content, but it’s a great way to get results. You can use your resume as a way to showcase your experiences, your accomplishments, and the skills you have, but also make it clear how you’ve grown over the years. How have your skills developed as the years have gone on and as you’ve changed positions? Show that off and you’re sure to get a call for an interview!
6. Add a cover letter to truly stand out.
Guess what? If a job application says to submit a resume, more often than not, people will just submit a resume. However, if you go the extra mile to submit a cover letter as well, a recruiter is going to be impressed. Add a cover letter to supplement your resume and to briefly expand on your skills. They’ll love it and appreciate the extra time you took.
7. Proofread before hitting send.
Before you hit send on that resume, you need to take a couple extra minutes to read it through. You need to make absolutely certain that there are no errors. There shouldn’t be any spelling mistakes, typos, or grammatical errors. Keep an eye out for any kind of formatting errors as well.
When you send a resume that’s riddled with typos and mistakes, it’s not going to impress anyone. And while this final step may seem simple, it’s one that many don’t take the time to do because they’re too impatient. To make your resume stand out, double-check for mistakes before sending it to recruiters.

Reddit Founder: The 1 Habit That Separates the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

How to Survive on One Salary

Squeaking by on one paycheck when you’re used to having two can be a lifestyle buzzkill. But not if you play your cash cards right! Here’s how.
1. Suss Out Your Finances

Sitting down together to hammer out your new financial status? So not fun. But it’s time to get crackin’ on it, unless you want to wake up to a mountain of debt next month.
Evaluate your inflow/outflow. Now that you’re only getting one paycheck, you need to really analyze what you have versus what you spend so you can recast your budget to fit your new (lower) income. You may be taking in a couple of thousand dollars less a month and not realize that your collective spending habits haven’t changed (oops, $100 highlights and ball game tickets). Track your cash flow with our debt calculator.
Make your cuts count. Aim to stay within the same ratio of saving to spending that you had before one of you became unemployed. This is especially key if you were spending practically as much as you were pulling in with both of your salaries. If you’re making 25-percent less, then your expenses should drop 25 percent. Since some expenses are fixed, like mortgage and car payments, chip away at things like eating out, cable, and clothes.
Evaluate insurance coverage. If one of you lost your health insurance, get covered under your spouse’s policy. A job change or loss is considered a Qualifying Event, which means you can sign up at any time. Or check out COBRA (COBRAInsurance.com). If you or your spouse was laid off after last September 1 and your combined income is less than $250,000 for the year, you’re only required to pay 35 percent of the COBRA premium for the first nine months of your coverage — the government covers the rest.
2. Work That New Budget
Pinching your pennies isn’t fun, but you’ve gotta get on board with your new spending plan pronto. Hey, it’s a lot like ripping off a Band-Aid…the faster you do it, the less painful it’ll be in the long run. Still hurtin’? Keep in mind: This situation is temporary!
Adjust your accounts. If you were the one in charge of paying the mortgage or rent while he took care of the car payments and insurance, you’ll have to rethink how you divvy up bills. Why? So you don’t start bouncing checks or paying overdraft fees! Keep it simple by designating which account you’ll both be writing checks from. Switch all of your automatic deposits and debits to the checking account you plan to use; reserve the savings account for your non-monthly expenses, like tax payments.
Pass on plastic. Paying with cash actually triggers negative feelings in an area of the brain called the insula, which means you spend less when you’re forking over your hard-earned greenbacks rather your credit cards. Can’t control yourself? Just drop all of your cards into a container full of water and stick it in the freezer. Next time you’re tempted to whip out the plastic, the urge may be gone by the time they’ve defrosted.
3. Keep Saving (even if you think you can’t)

Stop saving for the future and you’ll miss out on long-term gains — or find yourself in a tighter spot if you need emergency dough.
Continue funding retirement accounts. Bumming over lower returns on your 401(k) or IRA statement and wondering why you should put cash toward something you won’t see for 30 years? As tempting as it is to quit funding retirement accounts, the nonworking spouse should contribute a small percentage of your monthly budget, while the employed one should put in enough to get an employer match (free money!). According to research, you’ll recoup today’s low returns over time.
Don’t touch emergency money. You’ll need that cash to back you up should the employed spouse lose their job. Considering tapping it to pay off a big bill? A crucial car repair is okay; a new kitchen appliance isn’t.
4. Work as a Cash-Stashing Team

How will you stick to your new plan if you aren’t on the same page? You need to start communicating more about money, period.
Play fair. Avoid “my money/your money” fights by setting an amount you can both spend each month, because even an out-of-work spouse will have expenses. For bigger purchases, you’ve gotta compromise — the breadwinner can’t always get their way.
Do monthly checkups. Sit down together once a month and review your new budget. It’s not just about recording a number, but assessing if that number’s realistic and, if not, how to make up the difference. So, say that you budget $100 for groceries and spend $125, but also budget $100 for dining out and only spend $75. That doesn’t give you a freebie to say, “Hey, let’s get pizza…we have an extra $25!” Sorry, but that surplus needs to be funneled back to your bloated grocery tab. Next month, you’ll know that you have to modify your budget so you can allot more for the supermarket and less for restaurants.
Separate needs from wants. Yeah, you’re dying for that Mexican vacay or deck reno, but do you really need it? Remember that the sacrifice is short-term; you can save up for those perks once you’re more financially stable with our savings calculator.

Don’t Make This Mistake When Applying for a Job

When you apply for a job, there is a very good chance your actual qualifications will blend in with those of a sea of other applicants.
In many cases, human resources will presented the manager actually doing the hiring with a pile of applicants all at once; in others, he or she will simply open up emailed submissions as they come in. Some of thoseapplicants will be obviously unsuitable for the position, and others may name a salary that’s too high, or have other clear issues making it easy to dismiss them.
Many times, however, a sizable number of applicants will make it into the “possible” pile. To guarantee you get into that pile — even if you’re not the perfect candidate for the job — you need to avoid making one major mistake.
Don’t skip writing a cover letter, and don’t use a generic one for all job applications. Putting in the extra effort to craft a personalized, customized cover letter for each job you go after can be the difference between success and failure.
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A good cover letter can get your resume to the top of the pile. Image source: Getty Images.
Do cover letters matter?
Admittedly, in some cases, cover letters do not matter. At some companies, screening resumes has been automated; at others, the pre-interview weeding out of applicants is done by lazy HR staff who don’t bother reading them.
When that happens, any extra effort you put in will be wasted, but not putting in that effort in the first place is like electing to not buckle your seat belt because you might not be in a crash.
A customized cover letter allows you to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and highlight skills you have that may not be obvious from your resume. More importantly, it’s a way to show some personality while explaining how you fit the exact job being advertised.
What should a cover letter do?
You should use your cover letter to point up the ways you fit their position that aren’t addressed in your resume. Specifically note any skills you possess that may not be obvious from past positions, schooling, or any certifications you may have that they are seeking. In addition, use this opportunity to address the parts of the ad that are more vague.
For example, if the job posting says “must be a sales leader who works well with other reps,” your cover letter can provide some details about your sales experience, and the approach you bring to working as part of a team.
Bebrief, but specific. “I’m a sales leader who works well with others,” shows you read the ad, but it does not really tell the reader much. “I grew sales by 43% in part by instituting team incentives and holding monthly contests for my reps,” would work better.
In addition, a cover letter can address any specific qualifications that the ad asks for that you lack; you it to describe how you’d be able to either work around the issue, or add the needed skills or certifications to your arsenal.
This is an area to keep carefully within reason. If a job posting seeks someone with CPR certification, it’s reasonable to say you don’t have it, but could get it within a certain short period of time if you were offered the job. If a position requires an advanced degree and you lack one, well, that’s not something you can promise to quickly obtain.
Be yourself, but not too informal
A cover letter allows you to express a bit of personality while subtly selling yourself to the employer. What it is not, however, is a letter to a friend, nor a post on social media: You should keep it formal.
Every cover letter should discuss the specific job and answer questions the person doing the hiring might have about you. It gives you a place to describe your special skills, and connect the dots in a case where you believe you are qualified, but your resume may not make that obvious.
For example, when I was attemping to move from being a news editor and reporter into writing specifically about business and finance, I had no direct experience writing about those areas. In my cover letter, I noted that, in addition to my strong general editorial background, I had spent years running a store, and for a time been in charge of a factory. I made the case that those experiences, coupled with my more traditional news background, made me uniquely qualified for the job I eventually got.
That tactic will not always work, but if I hadn’t taken the opportunity to make my case in the cover letter, it would have guaranteed I would not have been considered.
Customizing your cover letter for every job won’t get you an interview every time — but it will lead to more interviews. Sometimes, just the effort might even elevate your application over that of a candidate with better qualifications who did not take the time to do the same.
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