Tag Archives: Housing

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The dangers of home title fraud: What it is and how to stop it

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It’s time to look at one of the latest cybersecurity threats out there. Typically, when you think of cyber scams, you’re usually thinking about things such as credit card fraud, identity theft, viruses, phishing, and so on.

An emerging trend is home title fraud, which literally is robbing people of their home and the home equity they have built up over the course of years. You might be surprised to learn that real estate and rental fraud grew more than 2.6 times the rate of credit card fraud from 2015 to 2019.

How does this happen? First, forged deeds can be created by using easy to access online data. The perpetrators then try to file paperwork with the county claiming that they own your home. Finally, you as the true homeowner is typically unaware of what’s been happening until it’s too late: you then receive a letter indicating that you’re being foreclosed on.

Protect your home from home title fraud today and check out how you can stop this crime in its tracks through the visual deep dive below:

Infographic courtesy HomeTitleLock.com

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Healthy buildings: Construction’s answer to health crises

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After 12 months of living under the shadow of a global pandemic, burnout about the topic of health is spreading contagiously. If we’re not actively working to keep others healthy, however, we’re likely to experience future, large-scale outbreaks. The buildings in which we live, work and thrive can be more effective at protecting us from harm and preventing the spread of disease by incorporating intelligent design elements.

Healthy buildings are structures designed and built with the intention of improving the lives of occupants. Buildings that are “healthy” use responsibly sourced green materials in thought-provoking designs that showcase well-ventilated, light-filled spaces. These structures use openness to encourage natural communication between occupants that might otherwise be limited by a closed-off floorplan.

Healthy buildings are certified with nine points of inspection:

  1. Air quality
  2. Ventilation
  3. Presence of pests
  4. Thermal health
  5. Moisture
  6. Water quality
  7. Lighting
  8. Noise
  9. Safety

These human-centric design elements are intended to increase health, productivity and happiness. Check out the infographic below to learn more about the features that make healthy buildings so healthy, and about the benefits they offer to those who live and work within them.

Infographic courtesy BigRentz.com

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How the construction industry builds smarter with artificial intelligence

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With the advent of sophisticated machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence, the construction industry is one of the many sectors to be positively impacted. Traditional processes are no longer efficient in the world of digitalization, and AI is here to stay. Designers, project managers, and construction workers on site are now able to use AI technology, such as surveillance drones, 3D printers, and construction robots to automate time-consuming tasks and increase efficiency throughout the value chain.

Today, the construction industry is still facing various problems such as labor shortage, cost overruns, schedule delays, and safety issues. However, as companies in the sector continue to upgrade their equipment and technology to keep up with digitalization, the improvement of production output and logistics efficiency is inevitable.

Infographic courtesy BigRentz.com

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Infographic: Understanding eminent domain

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One of the basic understandings of the American dream is having a house and land. What if the government then came along and tried to take your land? If you own land, you need to know your rights when it pertains to eminent domain. This is happening across the nation.

Eminent domain has roots based on the Fifth Amendment, and grants the government the rights to seize private property without the owner’s consent — with two main points: as long as the government provides just compensation and has claims for public use, it is permissible.

You might ask “what is just compensation?” If your land has been targeted for an eminent domain case, you’ll likely receive a notice of intent by mail. You then may be appraised on the size and value of your land and be given a purchase offer based on that appraised value.

Knowing your rights includes getting appropriate legal counsel who can help negotiate your terms. Check the following visual deep dive on eminent domain below:

Infographic courtesy Dallas & Turner, PLLC

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COVID-19 accelerated change. How do you stay ahead moving forward?

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This article first appeared in Real Leaders.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst that accelerated change in almost every industry. What used to take some companies five years to accomplish remarkably took them only five months during the pandemic. From at-home grocery retailing to working at home virtually, companies digitized their businesses and changed how they delivered services at unprecedented rates.

Many businesses had no choice but to rethink how they created value for customers and how they operated. New ways of delivering existing services were created. Entirely new products and services were developed and launched in record time.

While some companies were better positioned to deal with the challenges the pandemic presented, others struggled.

Given this, consider these three relevant questions for all business leaders in the context of their own organization and industry:

  • Why did it take a pandemic to accelerate innovation and change?
  • How did your organization fare?
  • What will your organization do differently to stay ahead moving forward?

Businesses that were far along on their digital transformation — those who’d already moved to a more agile organization and had a deep understanding of their customers — were in a better position to deal with the challenges the pandemic introduced. They could seize the market opportunities it presented.

For example, the unprecedented rate of change and disruption occurring in the financial services industry, along with changing customer preferences and expectations, had caused some organizations to already rethink everything they do, adopt technology, and be more agile and innovative.

US Bancorp of Minneapolis was well positioned coming into the pandemic, having gone through its own agile transformation the few years prior. This enabled them to maintain business continuity, effectively serve customer’s needs, and continue to quickly launch new products and services. Robinhood and Reddit had business models and the digital reach that enabled them to continue to create value and grow. Peloton, Roku, and Zoom were poised to pounce when the lockdowns hit.

For some companies, lockdowns increased the demand for their products and services. However, their ability to meet those demands was contingent upon how agile and digitally connected their organizations were both inside and outside. For US Bancorp, products and services that used to take them years to develop took them months by the time pandemic struck, giving them an advantage going into it.

Other businesses were not so fortunate. Coming into the pandemic, what used to take them years still took them years, putting enormous pressure on organizations. Traditional retail is one such example. While low-end retailers like Walmart and Target weathered the storm (in part because they were allowed to stay open), many other high-end retailers couldn’t quickly adjust, as evidenced by the many closures in 2020 — including Pier 1 Imports, Papyrus, and Victoria’s Secret.

Although some companies weren’t as well-positioned as others coming into the pandemic and had slow cycles of innovation and technology adoption, some rose to the occasion and adapted. They rapidly adopted technologies and found new ways to deliver products and services to add additional value to customers.

For example, one European company that delivered on-site quality management auditing services found new ways to conduct remote audits through the use of video inspections and how information was shared. Now, this is being sold as having more value to customers than the way it used to deliver these services and this approach will outlive the COVID pandemic.

Moving forward, smart manufacturing technologies, remote sensing and monitoring, and direct connections into systems will open up more possibilities to innovate and provide quality management services that create even more value and better outcomes.

The opportunity to create more value for customers was always there

Every industry has examples of products or services that were traditionally delivered one way, but fundamentally changed in response to the pandemic. You can probably think of some in your own industry and company.

The opportunity to radically change how a service is delivered and how customers are engaged has always been there: the technology to enable it has been available. Why did it take a pandemic to force change in some industries and for companies to discover different ways of working that also create more value for both their companies and their customers? When the pandemic fades and is no longer a catalyst for accelerating change and disruption, what will be the driving force?

Many organizations learned they could get done in months what previously took them years. Why was it taking them years? They learned they could fundamentally change how a product or service was delivered and consumed, creating more value for the customer. Why didn’t they see this before and act on it? These are fundamental questions that every business leader should consider.

How to stay ahead

The pandemic has provided many important lessons. It will serve business leaders well to reflect on their organization before the pandemic, what they observed about their organization during the pandemic, and what learnings they can apply to help make their organization more agile and resilient in a world where the pace of change only accelerates around them.

Here are five things to consider moving forward:

1. Speed. If you discovered that it took a pandemic to get done in months what usually takes years, identify the underlying root causes that previously held back progress and address them. Your organization needs to be able to keep up with the pace of change without having a virus to force the issue. Next time it will be a competitor — or possibly a new entrant not constrained by a legacy culture or traditional industry practices — that disrupts your business and creates more value for your customers.

2. Opportunity. Don’t underestimate the opportunities that exist to proactively transform how you can create value for customers, disrupt your industry, and differentiate. It’s possible to do things very differently than your organization may have imagined. When everyone in an industry does something the same way, a wonderful opportunity exists to find a way to do it differently and create additional value for customers.

3. Advantage. Did you come into this pandemic well positioned? If your organization has the ability to think differently, is digitally capable, and can develop and implement forward looking strategies quickly, you are in position to put your competitors on the defensive, create more value for customers, and drive growth. Don’t wait for the next pandemic to strike and force everyone in the industry to change. Be proactive and continually find opportunities to rethink what you do and how you’re uniquely creating value for customers. It will be harder for competitors to catch up.

4. Risk. Pre-COVID, risk in some corporate cultures might be doing anything that changes the status quo or is difficult and could fail. During COVID, risk was not doing what was difficult and needed to be done. Post- COVID, organizations have a choice regarding which path is riskier. How does your organization perceive risk?

5. Strategy. Evaluate your organization’s strategy development capability. How is it helping the organization think differently, challenge assumptions, and take an outside-in view? Is it able to effectively facilitate bringing together a deep understanding of customer needs, opportunities in the value chain, and the organization’s unique competencies to reimagine how value is created? Can it develop strategies that lead to differentiation and growth — not just differentiation from your competitors, but differentiation from how your organization has been doing things?

The winners moving forward will be organizations that are agile, digitally capable, and proactively willing to rethink everything they do. Applying some of these lessons to your own organization will help position it in front of change, not behind it.

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5 less explored marketing channels that can bring a lot of value

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Marketers have multiple options to promote their products and services. You have almost certainly heard of email marketing and social media marketing. Marketers use these methods because they work. And when the marketing is effective, the money comes in.

But what about the other avenues you might be ignoring? In this article, let’s look at five less-explored marketing channels that can still bring a lot of value to your business.

5 Less-Explored Marketing Channels to Drive Value

These five marketing channels tend to be overlooked for several reasons. Some entail a big marketing budget. Others require a lot of effort to set up. However, all of them are worth exploring because of a single reason: they work.

Image: BambooHR

1. Your Website

Many marketers don’t view their website as a marketing channel, but it might be the most important one of all. The website is where most of your potential customers will go when they want to know more about your brand. If the website works well and gives them the information they need, they are more likely to stick around and make a purchase. If not, they’ll leave and not come back. In other words, your website can determine whether or not you’ll get a conversion.

To ensure you make a good impression with your website, here are some things you should do:

Make sure it loads quickly.

Ensure it has information valuable to visitors. A blog with useful content can help attract leads.

Make sure it has a strong and user-friendly interface.

You must make your website discoverable, too. It pays to work with a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist if that’s not your area of expertise.

2. Referral and Affiliate Marketing

However fantastic your website is, it’s not enough. If you rely only on people going directly to your website for conversions, you’ll be disappointed. One of the best ways to drive new business your way is to let others do some of the work for you. This is where referral and affiliate marketing can help you.

Referral traffic refers to the people who visit your site without searching for you on Google. So, when someone gets to you through another website, Google considers that as referral traffic. Some of the best ways to get referral traffic include writing guest posts for other sites, engaging in industry forums, and posting on discussion sites such as Reddit and Quora.

Pro tip: when people come to you through referral traffic, you might need to pitch your services to them. Having a proposal template, like this example of an SEO proposal template, ready to go can help you save time and land more customers.

In affiliate marketing, you pay affiliates (also known as publishers) to promote you by giving them a commission when someone buys through their unique link. You can create an in-house affiliate program or join an affiliate network. The great thing about affiliate marketing is you pay the commission only when the affiliate delivers.

3. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing allows you to promote your products or services to new, relevant audiences. Using this method means that you pay an influencer for access to their audience and platform.

Influencers can successfully promote your brand because they have two things: followers and authority. So when they say positive things about your brand or products, their followers will believe it. Done right, influencer marketing can help you get much closer to your marketing goals surprisingly quickly.

Here’s an example of a recent influencer campaign from Ralph Lauren.

You need to choose the right influencer for your brand. They should have a significant number of followers who are interested in your niche, but the engagement levels of those followers is far more important. The influencer must also share your brand values.

Once you think you have found the right influencer for you, get in touch and make your partnership pitch. Use proposal management software to keep track of things if you’re reaching out to several influencers at once.

Track your influencer marketing campaign’s metrics as you go so you can make adjustments as necessary.

4. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is precisely that: marketing that relies on people telling others how much they love your brand. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any type of advertising. BigCommerce also reported that a whopping 74% identify word of mouth as a key influencing factor in their purchase decisions.

Getting word of mouth marketing traction takes some time, but it’s not as difficult to do as you might think. Put your customers first, provide amazing service, and make sure your product is as good as it can possibly be. After that, the recommendations will start rolling in.

Don’t just rely on organic word of mouth recommendations, though. Once you get people talking about how great your brand is, implement strategies to amplify word of mouth. For example, you can encourage your loyal customers to leave reviews on your website. You can also use customer feedback to your advantage to improve your business even more.

5. Podcast Marketing

Podcasts are incredibly popular nowadays. According to KickoffLabs, podcast listenership has grown by 75% since 2013. Oberlo reported that the average weekly podcast listener subscribes to six shows and listens to seven episodes per week. In other words, you’ll be missing out on potential traffic if you didn’t use podcasts to market your products.

But don’t make the mistake of launching a podcast just to pitch your products or services. You need to provide value. For example, you can discuss current trends and other relevant topics in your niche, interview experts, and provide tips and advice. Then weave in your calls to action organically.

Wrapping up

With effective marketing, a business can attract new customers and increase revenue. However, you might need to look beyond the standard marketing strategies and try out some less explored channels.

The five I’ve discussed here are just some of the effective strategies you can try. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try things out. You’ll soon find that perfect marketing mix you’ve been looking for.

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6 tips for financing heavy equipment for your construction business

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Heavy equipment financing permits you to get a bank loan or lease to buy construction equipment for your business. This makes it more convenient to have equipment without purchasing the equipment outright. The construction equipment that is bought with the loan acts as collateral for the loan. Heavy-duty construction equipment that can be financed includes forklifts, bulldozers, excavators, engineering equipment, and tractors.

Although you may have the funds to purchase the construction equipment you need, it is best to opt for heavy construction equipment financing. This will allow you to devote your cash flow to more important networks. This article features six tips for financing heavy equipment for your construction business.

Loan for Your Equipment

If you decide to take out a loan for your equipment, the equipment will automatically be yours upon purchase. Your equipment can also be used for equity once you pay up your loan. This is beneficial if you need to buy additional pieces of equipment. Another option is to utilize a lease back agreement. In this case, the loan company is able to acquire the equipment, once the lease is up.

It is much easier to take out an equipment loan than a small business loan. This is because the regulations aren’t as risky. Plus, various factors are taken into account, which includes your experience with using the equipment. There are tax advantages associated with financing using an equipment loan. For example, it can be used as a tax write off.

Keep in mind that you must have a down payment when you get an equipment loan. However, you can avoid a large down payment if you have a number of assets. Your assets can be used as collateral and, in this case, you wouldn’t be required to pay a down payment. The only downside is that if you don’t make timely payments on your loan, your property will be seized and resold, to pay off the loan.

Lease the Equipment

Leasing equipment will significantly save you a great deal of money. Additionally, you will get the latest equipment. Since it isn’t a loan, your monthly payments will be reduced. You will also not be required to pay a down payment for the equipment.

Leasing offers plenty of flexible benefits. For instance, you will be able to negotiate the terms of the lease. If you decide that you want to end the lease agreement and would rather keep the equipment, that option is available. Additionally, you will be able to outright purchase it at a discounted price. Unfortunately, there is a termination fee, but you won’t have to continue to make payments. Also, the interest rates will be a bit higher than an equipment loan. Plus, you will not be able to build equity since there aren’t loan payments. However, another benefit of leasing is that it is tax deductible.

Qualifying for a Heavy Equipment Loan

The amount of the loan is dependent on the type of equipment you want to purchase. So, it isn’t just based solely on your business credit score or revenue. Keep in mind that every loan company is different. However, if you have a great cash flow and good credit, you should have no problem with qualifying for a loan with good rates. If you happen to have poor cash flow or a not-so-good credit score, you can always offer a down payment for the heavy equipment.

Interest Rates

The interest rate of the loan depends on your business experience, credit score, and equipment type. It also depends on whether you pay a down payment. If the equipment isn’t very expensive, you may still have to pay high interest rates. However, more expensive equipment tends to have lower interest rates. Depending on the loan company, interest rates are usually between 8% and 30%.

Term Lengths

The length of your loan should coincide with the equipment’s life expectancy. For example, if the lifespan of an equipment is 50,000 hours before repair is needed, it is wise to have a term length of four years or less. However, it all depends on how often you use the equipment each week. In most cases, the terms of the loan will not exceed the life of the equipment.

Timing of Loan Financing

Fortunately, the equipment loan underwriting process isn’t as rigid compared to unsecured loans. Most of the time, you will receive financing in a matter of two business days. Online lenders tend to finance loans quicker than financing through a bank.

Once the equipment is financed, the next step is contacting the vendor. The vendor is the company that has the equipment and, therefore, determines how long it will take before you receive the equipment. Be sure to have the invoice from the vendor. This will speed up the process so that you are able to get the equipment in a timely manner.

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Why you need diversity in the supply chain

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It’s hard to imagine that we live in a world that’s been in a pandemic for about a year now. We all can probably think back to when we heard the news of when it was hitting China, then in Iran, Italy, England, and progressed to our own backyard in the United States. Prior to the pandemic hitting the U.S., the pandemic was already impacting everyone throughout the world via the supply chain.

Why does the supply chain need to be diverse, you ask? There are underserved populations and businesses that are minority-owned who are not getting a seat at the table.

According to Avinandan Mukherjee, dean of the Lewis College of Business at Marshall University: “[S]mall companies are at the mercy of larger retail buyers and suppliers sometimes, they do get less focus and attention, especially when production is lower at the other end. So bargaining power definitely creates some risk for smaller companies.”

Also, large corporations are often missing the mark for their minority suppliers. Diversity needs to be less talk and more action. The Diversity Consortium is working hard to adjoin supplier solutions, community impact, and is redefining the rules of engagement:

Infographic courtesy The Diversity Consortium

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5 ways CIOs can deliver business-critical results during the pandemic and beyond

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This article originally appeared on The Enterprisers Project.

CIOs and other C-suite leaders must rapidly adapt both strategy and execution to deliver the results necessary for survival in the next normal.

In January 2020, you were likely paddling through the rapids of “old normal” business-critical issues, including: Providing systems that help business leaders deliver outstanding results, creating competitive advantage by improving the customer journey and overall experience, and nimbly adapting to constantly changing technology.

Then, bam! COVID appeared around the next bend in the river and the world rapidly became far more difficult and treacherous. Instantaneously, you had to:

  • Provide great customer experiences, but in ways that changed overnight;
  • Shift much of your company to working remotely;
  • Ensure everyone had the technology they needed and the ability to use it while maintaining security and information integrity;
  • Potentially cope with radical changes to budgets while scraping and clawing your way to mere survival.

You’re now paddling in cataclysmic rapids amidst a world of perpetual whitewater. As CIO, to paddle your way to survival, or even to thrive, you will need to focus on these five key areas:

1. Adapt your strategy: Understand how you create value to enable the business to create value.

Your company’s strategy — how it creates competitive advantage and wins in the market — has likely changed, perhaps dramatically. You must change your information strategy to support that change. Consider how you will:

  • Support a rapidly changing customer experience/journey;
  • Create value as the fundamental processes by which the business creates value have changed almost overnight;
  • Help accelerate execution of the business’s vision and strategy;
  • Help align organizational energy towards the most critical business drivers;
  • Decide what you stop or avoid doing — either because it no longer fits with the environment or it doesn’t optimize the value you provide.

2. Align the best talent: Master right-right-right.

It’s critical to get the right people in the right roles with the right capabilities to execute your strategy. The capability requirements for your team were probably already evolving at lightspeed. Adapting to the changes wrought by COVID threw a step function change on those capability requirements. Consider:

  • How do you ensure your team is fully engaged and delivering their best, even as they navigate through uncertainty themselves?
  • What capabilities do you need in your organization as work processes and technology evolve?
  • How intentionally are you re-skilling the members of your team to be effective in this rapidly changing environment?
  • How are you recruiting and selecting the talent you need for today’s and future needs?

3. Create a culture of communication.

Everyone in the organization is going through a significant amount of highly stressful change. They are trying to sort out issues at home — staying healthy, caring for family members, managing kids who may or may not be going to school — while they may also be fearful about their own futures. You must ensure everyone is well informed about the challenges facing the organization and confident in your organization’s direction and response. Effective communication is always important; now, it’s paramount to survival.

Show you care: People need to know you care. To forge that connection, you must hear and understand their issues while being empathetic to their feelings and concerns.

Communicate, communicate, communicate: Once is not enough. People don’t always get what you share with them the first time. If they don’t have information, they default to MSU: “making stuff up.” What they make up is rarely accurate or good! You have to communicate clearly, consistently, frequently and through multiple channels to ensure you’re connecting effectively and minimizing the level of individual and organizational anxiety.

You also need to be open and transparent about both what you do and don’t know. With conditions changing nearly every day, it’s impossible to know everything. Being clear about that is critical to building and maintaining trust.

Practice 2-Up/2-Down: In this highly adaptive change, no one has the answers to how to navigate the next normal. Rapid learning is critical. Make a point to always communicate two levels up and two levels down. That ensures your messages are getting through and you’re learning about the questions, challenges and ideas from everyone in the organization.

4. Create organizational gravity: Align your “organizational architecture.”

Architecture includes the systems, structure, processes and culture that shape how work gets done. When well aligned to your strategy, they create gravity which pulls your organization in the direction you want to go. When misaligned, it feels like you’re swimming in mud.

As we paddle through the waves of COVID, the next normal of work will evolve. It’s impossible to predict exactly what that will look like although it will likely look different for every organization.

To ensure your organizational architecture enables whatever evolves, think about:

  • How do your information systems need to change to support your organization’s next way of delivering value for your customers?
  • How quickly can you adapt your systems, structures, processes and culture to provide the necessary flexibility to respond to rapidly changing circumstances?
  • How can you adopt the right technology faster to enable your organization’s success?

5. Maintain focus and alignment on critical priorities while you lead through the turbulence.

Executing your strategy requires that the efforts of everyone on your team are aligned to the strategy. To create focus and alignment, you’ll need to:

  • Redefine your team’s goals on the new results you must achieve;
  • Realign your scorecards to reflect progress toward your new goals;
  • Identify new performance drivers (critical tasks, behaviors and actions) necessary to delivering outstanding results;
  • Rethink your follow-up/follow-through process and rhythm. Crisp, consistent follow-up/follow-through is critical to generating the learning necessary as you discover what truly works and doesn’t work in this new environment.

The next normal for your organization looks significantly different than the last normal of a few months ago. It will be extremely uncomfortable to adapt to this new state, but it’s also a great opportunity to rethink and redefine the information strategy and refocus on how you execute to create more value than ever.

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Good news in your job search: Harry, Larry, and the bear

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What is North America’s No. 1 domestic issue of most concern to the average person? Politics? Coronavirus? Who will win Super Bowl LV? Nope! The thing that concerns most people is still jobs.

Whether you are 18 or 80, you’ve likely never seen it more difficult to find a great job in your field of interest in your lifetime. Lockdowns in various regions of the country, overseas competition, and rapidly changing methods employers use to fill jobs have all made it difficult for good people to find good jobs.

A recent article says many grads in the class of 2021 will face stiffer competition for jobs than ever. Many adult job seekers reach out to 100 or more employers before they get a yes. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that a career search won’t get any easier for the foreseeable future.

But there is good news! Let me introduce you to my two good friends, Harry and Larry. They are backpacking enthusiasts and have driven their SUV as far into the Colorado wilderness as the roads go. They are about 5 miles from their SUV when suddenly up pops an angry bear about 400 yards away!

They see him, and he sees them. Immediately Harry drops to his knees and pulls his sneakers out of his backpack and laces them up. Larry looks down at Harry and says, “Dude, you think a pair of Nikes is gonna let you outrun that bear?” Harry replies, “No man…I just gotta outrun you.”

Isn’t it the same thing with a job search? There are jobs out there that you would love to have. Your challenge is to outrun the competition you are facing (i.e., “Larry”). Even if unemployment surges to 20%, there is still 80% employment and a lot of open jobs to fill. That means there are always job openings to be filled along with strong competition for those openings.

The first step in outrunning the competition is getting invited to interview for positions that fit you and your career goals.

Here are 10 things you can do right away to improve your chances of winning the race to get to that interview:

1. Educate yourself about what you do and do not know about conducting an effective job search in today’s marketplace. Consider best practices job search books like “Get A Better Job Faster” on Amazon to educate yourself on current and emerging best practices. Its advice could be worth a half-million dollars in lifetime earnings to you.

2. Understand this is not your daddy’s job search. Job search today is being done with keyword search, so unless you have the right set of keywords embedded in your application resumes, and online profiles, you will not get a single look, even if you are the most qualified person in the world to fill a particular job.

3. Start looking at job postings to identify positions that interest you. For each position of interest, look carefully at the job posting and/or position description and identify the keywords. Every employer looking for talent has identified a set of 1-2 dozen keywords they will use to find candidates.

4. Build a complete LinkedIn profile. Now more than ever, employers are searching the over 700 million LinkedIn profiles holders worldwide to find the best talent to fill openings. In keeping with point No. 2, multiple use of the right keywords will mean that your profile comes up higher in an employer’s search for candidates.

5. Build a resume template in “plain text” (text that has no formatting or special characters, such as bolding or bullet points). You’ll use this “base resume” to create individual customized resumes that are tailored to specific positions of interest.

6. Embed the top 20 or so keywords for each position of interest to customize your application or resume upload for a specific job opportunity. This will dramatically improve the chances that your resume will be selected as a candidate to be interviewed. You’ll need to have at least an 85% keyword match rate to the employer’s criteria in order to have your resume and application considered… some jobs may be even higher.

7. Network like crazy. Because many job openings are unadvertised, networking offers the opportunity to discover positions that you’d otherwise not know about. The quality of your networking is determined by the quality and quantity of your network times the quality and frequency of interacting with your network in a meaningful way.

8. When you network, be a giver and not a taker. Help others in areas where you have experience and talent. Share your best practices. Encourage and support others. Practice positivity. Make connections between your connections where it benefits both of them. You’ve got to invest before you can see a return.

9. When you network, don’t be the hammer looking for a nail. Just because someone accepts your request to connect doesn’t entitle you to start soliciting them for help in your job search. Or to buy what you’re selling.

10. Consider a coach. LinkedIn Profinder can help you locate a coach ideal to help you move ahead in your career, regardless of your specific career situation. A good coach gives you a return on your investment well exceeding 1,000 times. It will be the best investment you make in yourself all year.

In future articles, we’ll explore some best practices for your job search. Until next time, don’t forget your “job search Nikes!”

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