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Depending on when you check, Wikipedia usually takes one of the top 10 places on Alexa Internet’s definitive ranking of the world’s most popular websites. And the free encyclopedia is held up as a paragon of website authority in Moz’s explanation of its Domain Authority ranking score, another definitive measure of website quality and algorithmic influence.

Wikipedia is so heavily trafficked—and highly ranked in Google’s search engine results pages—that a suspicious traffic drop in mid-2015 led some industry observers to wonder whether Google had adjusted its algorithm specifically to dilute Wikipedia’s dominant organic search position.

Simply put, Wikipedia is impossible to ignore. A dedicated Wikipedia page quite literally puts your business on the digital map. Next to your corporate website and LinkedIn company page, it’s perhaps the single most important digital property in your lead generation arsenal.

Unfortunately, though Wikipedia is crowd-sourced, it isn’t a pure democracy. Earning a dedicated Wikipedia entry isn’t quite as easy as purchasing a top domain and spinning up a new website with an out-of-the-box WordPress template. It takes skill, determination and a bit of luck.

Here’s what you need to know about Wikipedia’s editorial standards—and what you need to do to get a legitimate Wikipedia entry for your growing company.

Wikipedia: A Brief Overview

Wikipedia officially launched in January 2001. Founders Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger borrowed heavily from Richard Stallman’s decentralized framework, which posited that no central authority should have the final say over editorial decisions. Crucially, that ethos—with some modifications—persists today.

Within two years, Wales and Sanger stepped aside from Wikipedia’s day-to-day. Wales remained involved behind the scenes for years, but “mostly restrict[ed] his own role to occasional input on serious matters, executive activity, advocacy of knowledge, and encouragement of similar reference projects,” according to Wikipedia.

In other words, Wales let the platform develop organically. Today, Wikipedia remains open to (and funded by) the general public. Anyone can edit unprotected Wikipedia pages, and the process for doing so is easy to anyone familiar with basic text editing. Edits to some pages, typically those covering controversial topics and prominent public figures (among others), may be restricted. Wikipedia has several user access tiers, each conferring its own set of editing and review permissions:

  • Unregistered users: Unregistered users are identified only by their IP addresses. They can edit unprotected pages and create talk pages, but can’t upload images or other file types. To prevent abuse, unregistered users have to answer CAPTCHAs when adding external links. If you’re concerned about traceability as an unregistered user, use an anonymizer.
  • Registered new users: Registered new users can make minor edits without review by higher-ups and purge redundant or unsuitable pages without confirmation. If you’d like to create or edit your organization’s Wikipedia page, you should register right away.
  • Confirmed/autoconfirmed users: Users are autoconfirmed after making at least 10 edits within four days. Under certain circumstances, Wikipedia admins can manually confirm users who haven’t reached this threshold. Autoconfirmed and confirmed users have more privileges, including creating and moving pages, editing semi-protected pages and uploading files.
  • Extended confirmed users: This level requires at least 500 edits over 30 days. Extended confirmed users can edit pages with extended confirmed protection.
  • Administrators: This privilege level is granted in response to formal requests for adminship. Administrators have access to a host of tools that collectively confer considerable discretion over Wikipedia’s content. Most notably, admins can edit fully protected pages.
  • Bureaucrats: This privilege level is granted on a case-by-case basis following formal requests for bureaucratship. Bureaucrats are the only volunteer users who can make changes to other Wikipedia user accounts.

For more information about exactly who can edit what, and when, on Wikipedia, check out the platform’s user access levels guide.

Wikipedia’s Five Pillars

All Wikipedians are expected to adhere to the five pillars of Wikipedia:

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. It is an encyclopedia modeled after—but distinct from—physical predecessors like Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  • Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view. Where conflicting points of view exist, Wikipedia strives to treat them equally and neutrally based on verifiable, legitimate sources.
  • Wikipedia content is free to use, edit, and distribute. Wikipedia content is freely licensed, never owned by its creators or editors. Fair use, copyright and anti-plagiarism laws and best practices apply.
  • Wikipedians must demonstrate respect and civility. Wikipedians are expected to approach disagreements civilly and to assume good faith on the part of other editors. Capricious or punitive actions against specific users or subjects are frowned upon and may result in being banned.
  • Wikipedia has no firm rules. Aside from the above, Wikipedia has no ironclad rules. The spirit of published guidelines is more important than the letter, and Wikipedia’s management team is open to changes that benefit the community as a whole.
Cautions: What Wikipedia Is Not

The five pillars encapsulate what Wikipedia is. What about what Wikipedia is not?

This wiki is an exhaustive overview of what Wikipedia isn’t. We’ll highlight what’s most important to know for your Wikipedia-listing campaign:

  • No original thought or reporting. Wikipedia isn’t the place for editorializing. This is very important for businesses creating or editing their own Wikipedia pages—all claims must be well-sourced. Don’t base your Wikipedia strategy on privileged or internally held information that you’re not at liberty to disclose.
  • No overt self-promotion. Likewise, Wikipedia isn’t the place for self-promotion. If your entry is essentially a press release disguised as an unbiased primer, it’s likely to be flagged for review and edited—or possibly deleted.
  • No link, file or image farming. Wikipedia is a great place to insert a high-authority link to your corporate website or blog, but it’s not meant to be a receptacle for links or images related to your company. Excessive linking and image-caching will trigger action from other editors or admins.
  • No blogging or socializing. Wikipedia isn’t a social platform. Don’t reach out to other editors except to discuss entries you’ve created or edited. That means no lobbying efforts—attempts to unduly influence fellow editors are off-limits.
  • No unverifiable speculation. In the context of company pages, “unverifiable speculation” might include forward-looking statements about your company, opinionated statements about the quality of its products, and other claims for which you don’t have an unbiased source.
  • No censorship. Wikipedia has a strict anti-censorship ethos. Every edit and deletion needs to have a legitimate impulse behind it. Wikipedia severely frowns upon sabotaging competitors’ pages.
Standards for Dedicated Wikipedia Pages: What Do Subjects Need To Demonstrate?

Now that we know what Wikipedia is and isn’t, we have to ask: How does a small or emerging business get its own Wikipedia page?

First, it needs to meet Wikipedia’s article inclusion criteria. These include:

  • Minimal substantiveness: The more information, the better. Stubs are permitted, but editors are encouraged to flesh them out as new information becomes available.
  • Verifiable sourcing: As noted, entries need verifiable, objective, preferably independent sources. For instance, BetterWorks’ Wikipedia page includes citations from Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and Inc.
  • Meeting notability criteria: This is the single most important inclusion criterion. According to prominent Wikipedia administrator Mark Hetherington, you need at least three to five “solid references” to establish notability; otherwise, your subject isn’t notable enough to merit its own page. You can’t use self-published materials, such as press releases or blog posts, to establish notability—though you can use self-published materials as citations once you’ve established notability.
  • Following other Wikipedia policies: Wikipedia entries must follow all other policies outlined above, such as neutral point of view and avoidance of self-promotion.

Articles that don’t meet these requirements may be quickly deleted.

Attracting Coverage from Reliable Sources

Well-written and -sourced articles can usually avoid self-promotion and other content-related risks. For small organizations, the highest hurdle cited here is notability.

The easiest way to earn attention and clear Wikipedia’s notability threshold is to draw coverage or recognition from trusted third parties: media outlets, reputable bloggers with wide followings, municipal and public-private booster organizations, prominent institutions, etc. Well-placed national media stories and awards from government departments or institutions can dramatically raise your company’s profile, even without a corresponding explosion in sales or revenue.

Consider these profile-raising strategies:

  • Posting press releases touting major company events, such as key hires, sales milestones, new territories, successful fundraising rounds, and prominent partnerships or backers
  • Establishing yourself or other key employees as industry thought leaders and earning open invitations to contribute to business and industry publications
  • Pitching regional, national and trade media on stories relevant to your business or industry
  • Cultivating high-visibility partnerships with major municipalities or institutions with national name recognition
  • Publishing original content for your audience, such as in-depth guides or books
  • Inking distribution or licensing partnerships with major partners (earning digital or physical shelf space for your products or services)
  • Securing promotional partnerships and running campaigns with prominent endorsers or backers
Can You Write Your Own Wikipedia Page?

Clearing the notability threshold doesn’t automatically entitle you to a Wikipedia entry. Wikipedians are busy people; they lack the resources to monitor emerging companies for signs of notability, much less spring into action to create entries as companies edge across the threshold.

So, should you jump the gun and write your own Wikipedia page? Probably not.

“The DIY approach to Wikipedia … is usually a bad idea,” writes CIO contributor James A. Martin. “Such DIY Wikipedia contributions also sometimes come from people with little or no prior Wikipedia editing experience, and that can raise red flags in the Wiki community.”

The safest course of action is simply to wait until someone else creates your page. But that’s not always realistic. The next best approach, says Martin, is to hire an outside firm or independent editor with Wikipedia experience.

Creating Your Own Wikipedia Page (Cautiously)

And if you (or a subordinate) absolutely must create your own Wikipedia entry?

Growtraffic outlines a step-by-step approach. Keep in mind that this process is in no way sanctioned by Wikipedia’s administrators. Conclusive evidence that you’ve created a Wikipedia article about your company without disclosing the clear conflict of interest may be enough to get you banned from the platform. At minimum, the entry is likely to be deleted, unless it clearly meets notability standards.

  1. Use an anonymizer to create your Wikipedia account.
  2. Establish a user history by editing multiple articles over the course of a week or two. Ideally, you want to unlock autoconfirmed or even extended confirmed status.
  3. Draft your company’s Wikipedia article using a competitor’s article as a guide. Write impartially and include plenty of third-party citations.
  4. Publish the article piecemeal, over at least an hour, so that the editing history appears more natural.
  5. Continue editing unrelated Wikipedia articles—and yours, as warranted.

If editors do flag any issues with your company’s article, respond promptly and without emotion. Remember Wikipedia’s five pillars and treat fellow editors with respect.

Citation Links: An Alternative to Full-Page Wikipedia Entries

If your company doesn’t meet Wikipedia’s notability criteria, or you’re not comfortable with the idea of creating an entry yourself or hiring someone else to do it, aim your sights lower and consider an alternative to full-page Wikipedia entries: legitimate citation links. Follow these steps:

  1. Regularly publish industry-relevant content on your corporate blog. These might cover companies, people, processes, locations, trends and other topics pertaining to your company.
  2. Spin up microsites or content portals devoted to industry news, analysis, announcements and opinion.
  3. Look for “citation needed” flags on industry-relevant Wikipedia entries.
  4. Commission original, impartial studies or reports with defensible conclusions. Post them on your blog, microsites, or portals.
  5. Plug these studies or reports into appropriate “citation needed” slots.

Avoid doing this yourself, if at all possible, and remember to disclose any conflicts of interest. If you must do this yourself, continue editing unrelated Wikipedia articles to avoid attracting undue attention.

Your Business Belongs on Wikipedia

Wikipedia is an objective online encyclopedia, not a venue for self-promotion.

Once your company clears the notability threshold, you need to carefully, slowly put together your own page, or hire an expert editor to do the job for you.

Alternatively, you can create objective, informative content outside the Wikipedia ecosystem, then opportunistically link to it from industry-relevant Wikipedia pages.

Whatever you do, you need to adhere to Wikipedia’s quality standards and platform guidelines. You can’t do your company any good when you’re banned from the world’s most popular online encyclopedia.

The post What You Need To Know About Getting Your Business on Wikipedia (And Keeping It There) appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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My business, Remodista, is focused on disruptors in the retail industry through a collaborative lens. Implementing community as my business model has allowed for us to look at companies who are trendsetters and how others can stay ahead of the curve. Through that I was able to connect with executive women that were the masterminds behind this disruption and see how their role was allowing for their company to be ahead.

Acting as a think tank, Remodista uses these great minds, combines their experiences and in turn, predicts upcoming trends and tests them out in real time. We look at what is working and what isn’t for companies in retail. Using community as a business model, we have been able to approach research in a new light. I am dedicated to the women we work with in retail, but I also advocate for the importance of women in executive roles across industries. There is not enough awareness of the women in these roles.

I feel that inspiring other women can be done through the idea that it is possible and that’s why it’s important to recognize them. For the women pioneering and solving business challenges, I wanted there to be a way to highlight the most disruptive women in the industry, so as part of Remodista, Women2Watch of Business Disruption was born.

Spending most of my time with highly successful women, as well as starting my own business, I have boiled down my top three tips for finding success as a female leader:

Momentum is Key

Inspiration may dwindle as you build your business. I often find that inspiration comes to me in micro moments but that gives a burst of energy that is important in the journey. For the rest of the time, when you’re not completely inspired, you have to create drive and reason to continue your success. Persistence and grit go a long way. Complacency is killer in any workplace, especially if you’re looking to be a leader.

Not Everyone Will Like You, and That’s OK

Good leaders are innovators. Like the disruptors I work with through Remodista, the best companies are those who are ahead of the curve. When building an innovative or disruptive business, you have to have the propensity for being disliked. Disruption and innovation make people uncomfortable. Since people are not generally fans of change, trying to push it, even when it is for the better, will be met by some form of resistance. This will only make you stronger.

Let Fear Motivate You

People who are high level achievers use fear to their advantage. Successful people keep fear close by and let it motivate them. Embrace the fear of breaking down barriers and building something that is new. Fear never goes away.  It just shifts into new areas as you find more traction and success. So don’t let it get the best of you. Use the courage that fear drives to your advantage. Fear and success should have a healthy amount of tension to act as motivation to achieve goals.

I often say that my business wouldn’t have made sense to people just a few years ago. People couldn’t see the connection between women, disruption and retail. I believed in what I was creating and I developed something that people now see the value in. I fought through the innovation droughts, rejection and fear. And all the women I work with today have very similar stories to mine. Successful women must preserve. I did and you can too.

This guest post was authored by Kelly Stickel

Kelly Stickel is the founder and CEO of Remodista, a social think tank examining global retail and fintech disruption. A collaborative thinker and global connector, she is focused on understanding the layers of disruption in retail and translating insights into actionable items for retail brands using community as a business model. Kelly is passionate about cultivating women leaders and is currently focused on assisting women into key executive roles in business.

The post Top Three Tips For Future Women Leaders appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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When you’re a trailblazing #girlboss, it’s not easy to completely unplug from the work world during the weekend. For all those women looking for books to unwind with and get lost in a great page-turner, these are the new binge-worthy titles you won’t be able to put down…at least until the alarm goes off on Monday morning!

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

After a sweeping spread of disease and a nuclear war, Lynn McBride thinks that the world as she knows it is over. Then, a mysterious stranger shows up on her homestead with a proposal that could permanently restore their society. Lynn and Jax will brave the harsh conditions of the Canadian Yukon on their quest to save the world and as Lynn steps into this new role, she’ll find herself and the possibility of a new love in the process. A dangerous narrative of dark secrets and chilling revelations, The Wolves of Winter will transport you to an entirely new world this weekend.

 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

As Oprah’s newest book club pick, An American Marriage brings one couple’s relationship and the American justice system to the forefront. Celestial and Roy have just settled into married life when Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Dealing with the sudden change in her life, Celestial will take comfort in the couple’s friend, Andre, and begin to realize her dreams without Roy.  But everything will change when his sentence is overturned after only five years. Can these two find their way back to a happy marriage or has their time apart severed their bond beyond repair?

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale comes a story about resilience and the unwavering bond between mother and daughter. Leni Allbright knows her father has returned a changed man after the Vietnam War.   With the family moves to Alaska, she’ll bear witness to the violent consequences of his transformation. As Leni blossoms into adulthood and falls in love, she’ll have to find a way to keep both her and her mother safe from the dangers of Alaska’s brutal winters as well as the danger that lives within the walls of their cabin.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This instant New York Times bestseller follows the intricate lives of the four Gold children after their encounter with a traveling psychic. Having learned about the supposed date of their deaths, Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya all grow into their adult lives separately and live life with reckless abandon. Surrounded by haunting secrets, family expectations and magic, these siblings will learn how one bit of information can forever change their lives. This family saga is perfect for fans of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You.

Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley

If you’ve recently found yourself obsessing over NBC’s This Is Us, this novel is the one you should have at the top of your #TBR pile. When Mae Summers’s fiancé leaves her with nothing but a mysterious note, she finds that her entire life in shambles. Returning home, she’ll quickly come to realize that her family is going through struggles of their own and she’s the only one who can bring everyone back together. A story about family, second chances and new beginnings, Things to Do When It’s Raining is the perfect read to get lost in this weekend.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

In this New York Times bestselling novel, Vivian Miller is a CIA analyst with a keen eye for catching Russia’s most dangerous agents. On a mission to protect her country from a new looming threat, Vivian will unknowingly put both her job and her family at risk to take down the Russian sleeper cell. Vivian knows she can’t save everyone, but will she be able to choose between her family and her country? For fans of Gone Girl, this novel of sacrifice, allegiance and love is the thrilling novel you’ll be unable to put down once you’ve picked it up.

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

If you’re looking to dig into a heartwarming novel on your days off, The Friend is the book you’ll want.  After a woman loses her best friend to suicide, she’ll be left with his Great Dane and a world’s worth of grief. As she and her new canine friend learn how to navigate the world without the man they both loved, they’ll begin their path to healing and moving forward together. In this emotional read, Nunez leaves her readers with much to contemplate about the bonds we rely on and the effects of grief.

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman

In Sara Ackerman’s debut novel, a mother and daughter band together with the women in their community to support soldiers near their military base during World War II. After the disappearance of Violet Iverson’s husband, she and her daughter Ella are left to pick up the pieces of their lives. As Violet begins to think that Ella knows more than she’s letting onto about her missing father, she’ll come to rely on the pie stand and her new connection with a handsome marine to keep her life and family together. If you love historical fiction like The Nightingale, this new book is the read you’ll want to get your hands on.

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

College freshman Ada can’t help the voices inside of her head and the multiple personalities that have taken over her life. After a traumatic event threatens the fragile fabric of her sanity, two protective identities will come to the forefront and protect her the best they can. Struggling to take control of her life, the young girl will start down a dangerous path that only she can save herself from. An important read about mental illness and complicated family dynamics, Freshwater is one of the year’s most anticipated debut novels.

The Wife by Alafair Burke

Angela didn’t think that a future with NYU professor Jason Powell was possible.  But then their summer fling turned into a full-fledged relationship and then marriage.  She finally gets the opportunity to move to a new place and leave behind her troubled past. Years after the beginning of their new life, two women will come forward with allegations against Jason that he claims are nonsense but when one of the women disappears, she’ll have to look further into the man she shares her home with. You’ll have a hard time paying attention to anything but this thriller from New York Times bestselling author Alafair Burke this weekend.

The post Books to Unwind with this Weekend appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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I’ve tried getting into meditation several times in the past.  Every time, it ends with me giving up.  My reasoning might have been –

  • this is too weird.
  • I’m too busy and this is taking too long.
  • There’s no way I can silence my mind.  We’re both chatter boxes.
  • Zzzzzzzzz.  (Yeah, I’m off to sleep in seconds)

So it’s been a long time since I seriously considered it again.  And I have to admit, when “Just Sit – A Meditation Guidebook For People Who Know They Should But Don’t” arrived for review, I looked at it with suspicion.  Maybe even fear and loathing.  I knew it was just going to be another exercise in which I ended up not only failing to “get it,” but feeling rather inadequate because, after all, everyone else seems to be able to do it.

Even the cover was foreboding.  There it was, along with the title.  The figure of the person in the perfect meditation pose.  The same one that never worked for me before.  So it was with trepidation that I peeked inside.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find that this really was meditation made simple.

Just Sit – Meditation Made Simple

My first experience with meditation was through an old book called “Creative Visualization” written decades ago.  No offense to the author, but that book set the groundwork for future resistance to meditating.  Whatever that book was, “Just Sit” isn’t.

Just Sit,” authored by Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz, is a beautifully done guidebook on meditation, as they promise in the title.  But it’s written in plain and simple English, with the voice of a caring and angelic  teacher who has nothing but your best interests at heart.  No ego, nothing to prove, just a sincere desire to impart gems of knowledge to help you become a better version of you.

Needless to say, if you’ve been thinking about meditation again, or for the first time, there is absolutely no doubt that this is the book you should get.  Full of entertaining and effective illustrations, it melts away all resistance because of its simple sincerity.  Yet has all the depth you could want.

Here’s a couple of insights from the book.

Meditation Made Simple – Why You Should Meditate

The authors give you plenty of reasons to get started with regular meditation.  They include –

  • Anxiety Killer.  In today’s world, who couldn’t use a little of that?
  • Inner Cheerleader.  Think of it as your cup of coffee without the caffeine.  And it doesn’t cost six dollars a cup, either.
  • Medicine Man.  The positive effects of meditating include better health to many if not all of your essential organs.
  • Therapist.  Who has your answers?  You.  Or you can pay your shrink $150 an hour to help you hear your own voice of truth.
  • Sandman.  Learning to turn off that busy conversation going on in your head will make it much easier to get to sleep.

There’s tons more for you to learn from “Just Sit.”  And you’re going to actually enjoy it.  Imagine that.  So do yourself a favor, and just buy it.

The post Just Sit – Meditation Made Simple appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Costa Rica is the poster child for the vast Central American region. It is the land of sun, fun and a million places to explore. Whether you are seeking adventure, exploring nature, or just out to get some sun, Costa Rica has it all. But to get the most out of your trip, it’s important to for you to have an idea of the kind of activities you want to do during your stay. With the secret beaches, the exorbitant jungles and the tropical beaches overlooking the picturesque coastlines, Costa Rica has something in store for every kind of traveler.

Coming up with a travel itinerary can be tricky because there is so much to choose from and you may not want to miss anything. Experts say that when visiting a new place, ensure that the activities that are unique to that location top your list so that your experience will be memorable and completely unique. If you are looking to indulge in unique and unusual activities that most people ignore when they visit Costa Rica, here is a brief guide to get you started:

Go Bird Watching

Costa Rica is the ideal location for bird watching enthusiasts. It is home to the largest variety of tropical birds with over 800 bird species identifies. And you don’t even have to go far or cross the deepest jungles just to see some of these exotic species! You can spot them even in the comfort of your room.

Arm yourself with your binoculars, notebook and your preferred equipment then head out to witness some of nature’s finest bird species. If you want to optimize your bird watching experience, it would be wise to sign up for a guided bird tour. The experts that organize this activity are well versed in the best places to find bird species that will definitely blow your mind.

Mud Baths and Hot Springs

Spend your afternoons soaking in the naturally occurring volcanic ash mud baths around Costa Rica. Mud baths are popularly used for softening and getting rid of impurities from the skin. The volcanic ash is laden with minerals that are healthy for the skin and body.  

After a mud bath, you are assured of better blood circulation, smoother skin, relaxed muscles and a feeling of relaxation. You can then head over to the hot springs and soak your body. Take in the lush environment while getting the best natural benefits from Mother Nature’s own spa.

Explore the Cloud Forest In the Dead of the Night

Since you’re here, you must be looking for experiences that you are going to remember for the rest of your life. There is nothing as exhilarating as walking through the deepest depths of the rainforests of Costa Rica. You can choose to go on a guided tour or just gather all your bravery and take the tour with some of the locals.

Right after sunset, get your hiking gear ready and set out to interact with some of the nocturnal creatures of the forest. You will get a chance to see the forest in its most natural form and ultimately gain a new perspective on what happens there when the rest of Costa Rica goes to sleep.

The post 3 Unusual Weekend Activities You Should Try When In Costa Rica appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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The good news is that the economy is robust. Employers are in a hiring mode. The bad news is that the competition is fierce. Skilled workers who had to shelter in place at lackluster jobs during the economic downturn are now looking to move.

Facing off against ten competitors for every choice job will take confidence and finesse. But you can up your game and impress your interviewers with your passion and self-assurance. It will require doing your due diligence, refining your message and preparing mentally for game day.

Use these seven critical strategies to trounce your competitors and land the job in spite of the odds.

Add flair to your profiles.

When was the last time you Googled yourself? You can be sure employers will use a search engine to look for you. If you’ve climbed several rungs up the career ladder since you last updated your LinkedIn profile, be sure to bring it up to date. Rework those blanket statements about being creative, hard working and a quick learner. Replace them with actual evidence ofwhat you created and how you demonstrated hard work. Provide concrete examples, not platitudes. Be creative and audacious. Include industry awards, client accolades, objective criteria and any fact that shows third-party validation.

Put on your reporter’s cap.

Imagine that you are a journalist whose assignment it is to write a profile piece on the person who’s interviewing you. Find out everything you can about her in advance. Check Google, Facebook, and her Twitter feed. Investigate her LinkedIn profile too (but realize that your name will show up under LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature so only do it once, and take notes). Has she been quoted widely in any articles? Where did she work before he started at this company? Gathering background information like this leads to smoother in-person conversations.

Look to your network for a referral.

You earn added credibility with any referral you can obtain either from within the company you’re applying to or from someone trustworthy who knows both you and the employer. Even if you don’t know the mutual contact well, try to parlay your professional connection into a nod in your favor.

Prepare for tough questions.

Anticipate fielding at least a few tricky questions in your interview, and know in advance how you’ll handle them. Uncomfortable questions run the gamut, such as: “Why are you looking to leave your current job?” or “Aren’t you too young for this job?” If you have any holes in your career, be ready to explain them.

Schedule a dress rehearsal.

Rehearse your questions and answers in front of a mirror, a family member or another job-hunting buddy. Learn your answers so thoroughly that you can deliver them in a spontaneous way. Use insightful observations about the industry or ways to offer kudos for recent company successes as lead-ins.

Dress for success.

Dress appropriately — that is, professionally — for the interview. Make you interviewer feel comfortable by showing, by your dress and demeanor, that you’ll fit in perfectly from Day One.

Enter the interview firing on all pistons.

You’ve prepared well and now it’s time to pull out all the charm, professionalism and powers of observation you can muster. Make eye contact. Listen attentively to the interviewer. If there’s a break in the conversation, mention that you have some questions.

Put these tips to work and you can land the job! This guest post was authored by Vicky Oliver

IslBG

Vicky Oliver is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005), named in the top 10 list of “Best Books for HR Interview Prep,” and 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions (Skyhorse 2010). She is a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media source, having made over 700 appearances in broadcast, print, and online outlets. For more information, visit vickyoliver.com.

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Image credit. 

The post 7 Tips for Trouncing the Job Competition in an Upbeat Economy appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Everyone and their mother loves to chime in with half-remembered statistics of how businesses fail in the first two years — or was it five? So much encouragement surrounds you as begin this venture. Family members raise their eyebrows while friends encourage you to do what you love. Of course, you know there’s more to running and maintaining a business than what these well-meaning folks suggest.

Long work days deprive you of sleep, and you meet milestones while missing others. It’s all business. You’re willing to take all the help you can get, whether you’re side hustling or spearheading the small business lifestyle full-time — as long as it’s relevant. Use these five local small business resources to empower your  business and for the sake of sustainable growth — and your sanity.

Participate in Networking Meetups

Does your industry have a trade association with a local chapter that meets regularly to network and exchange knowledge? Attend these socials and networking meetings.

Check with your chamber of commerce for networking opportunities. Look at community boards in coffee shops and the library. Search online for a Young Professionals Organization or Professionals Under 40 (or Over 50). Rotary International likely has a club in your area to join as well for networking. When you find your network, you will find your people.

Become a Member of Coworking Spaces

Coworking differs from incubators and involves utilizing a shared business space, which you access for the price of a preferred membership level. You can book a conference room and have access to software and services you may not be able to afford on your own. You can rent a small office or desk. Coworking spaces also cultivate environments perfect for community and networking among other small to medium-sized business owners.

Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, and coworking spaces are expanding into smaller cities and “flyover” areas in parts of the Midwest in response to a generation who increasingly prefers the freelance or entrepreneurial life. Small business owners can also look forward to more industry-specific coworking spaces for techies, creatives and more.

Take Advantage of Local Business Incentives

Small business owners can take advantage of local business incentives to fund their operations and accept beneficial tax cuts. Whether starting or expanding your business, economic incentives will cultivate sustainable growth, such as claiming enterprise zones, foreign trade zones or SBA Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) zones. Various loans and grants also help fill the gap when you’re struggling with navigating private investments and total project costs.

Research the Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Administration (SBA) learning center hosts many free online classes to help you overcome challenges to starting, financing, marketing and managing a small business. It also provides access to loan information and guidance for preparing loan and grant applications. The SBA also works with local partners to provide local assistance, such as through the Women’s Business Center and Veteran’s Business Center.

Visit and Join Your Chamber of Commerce

Everyone, from tourists to new residents, first visit the chamber of commerce in their area for resources on the city and its surroundings. Add your business to your local chamber as one way to get the attention of such new visitors and residents. You can also arrange to leave your card or brochure at the chamber.

Your chamber also hosts various events, workshops and small business news announcements for you to stay on top with a successful business in the community.

Starting a side hustle or growing a small business can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your business becomes successful and sustainable by lifting up other businesses and resources in the community and joining forces to learn from one another.

Get out there and network at meetups. Set up shop in a coworking space until you find the perfect real estate for your business. Take advantage of business and economic incentives. Look into what training the SBA and Chamber of Commerce offer. Your community provides more resources for business success than you may think. Grab the reins and see where the possibilities lead!

The post 5 Local Resources You Need for the Sake of Your Business appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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You’ve done your research, applied for the job and now you have an interview. Congratulations! But, what are you going to wear? Of course, you are smart, professional and skilled for the job, but it has become more human to perceive a person by what they are wearing. You’ve scored your dream employer, now it is time to come face to face with potential colleagues who want to take you seriously.

Interviewing is different now than it has been in the past. You are no longer required to be in a full tailored suit if interviewing for a position in the creative field. Nonetheless, your wardrobe tells a story. Its obvious on paper you can do the job, but how you dress and present yourself can say a great deal about your character, confidence and work ethic.

Looking the part can be costly if your closet isn’t equipped with essentials to turn your next interview into an offer. Essentials are timeless pieces that can be paired with almost anything in your closet.

Before choosing your interview outfit, take some time to consider must-have interview wardrobe essentials.  Your interview is the time to shine in front of hiring managers that you are perfect for the role. With the right approach you maintain proper appearance and ensure your abilities speak louder than your fashion choices.

Here are a few interview dress tips for anyone who wants to land a good job and make the right organization fit:

A Classic Blazer

The most important essential you can own. A blazer is unique in its way to transition any look from day to night. Opt for two in colors of navy and black that can be paired with printed tops, trousers and skirts. Blazers are also a good way to spice up a boring dress work dress.

A Button-down shirt

A button-down shirt is an item that is frequently worn during interviews and once you land the role. Spending a bit more for better quality is highly recommend. When attending an interview a white or blue button down is viewed as “you mean business”. Add personality with a tie or necklace that pop nice off the muted hues.

Signature Jewelry

Certain jewelry pieces elevate your look. Find the right pieces that speak to your personality. Whether it is delicate gold/silver pieces, diamonds, pearls or a statement necklace, be it an item that can be easily incorporated into your work wardrobe once you land the role.

Tie and pantyhose

Although these more conservative items are not the norm in every workplace, consider where you are interviewing before deciding on either accessory.

Functional Shoes and Accessories

You may  think that your shoes and handbag do not mean much with your potential employer but they do. Carrying an old handbag or wearing busted shoes will put a damper on your professional look and confidence. Instead, opt for a pair of dress heels that are comfortable to walk in with appropriate heel height for the office.  When looking for the perfect interview bag, consider what you will carry. A structured tote, a roomy messenger or an all-in-one briefcase in a neutral color can ensure you’ve got space for everything you need the day of the interview.

This guest post was authored by Nikki Woolfolk

Nikki Woolfolk is an Atlanta-based personal stylist to professionals. She is known for taking professionals in search of an image reboot and transforming them to come off as successful. Nikki offers style programs to help break down your style, rebuild your confidence, and prepare you for the next move in the world of professionals.
Through education and hands on experience, Nikki takes her knowledge of fashion and delivers it to the professional woman. She will help you solve your fashion dilemmas, teach you how to shop on your
own and help you radiant confidence through your wardrobe.

The post What To Wear During Interviews? Here’s Our Essential Checklist appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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Oftentimes, waking up in the morning in an unpleasant way, at an early hour and that commute to work can have an impact on an entire day. Here are a few things that you can do to motivate yourself every morning and  make sure your mornings are upbeat.

When you wake up in the morning, remember the reasons why.

What is it that keeps you going through the day? What thought energizes you in the morning?

Why did you wake up in the first place?  Do you see yourself waking up for the same reason in the long term?

Clearing things out when waking up helps you not live your life on autopilot by automatically going every day at work, school or university without truly realizing why or even if it’s important. If the reason makes you sad or doesn’t satisfy you, maybe it’s time to change your job or your profession.

Start your day out with a few exercises

Waking up early in the morning not only invigorates the brain, but the whole human body as well, getting you ready for a productive day. Also, your metabolism will increase, helping you lose those extra pounds and prevent unwanted weight gain.

Exercising brings about many health benefits and is good for your overall well-being.

Drink water and eat well

When you wake up in the morning, your body is dehydrated. That’s why, before having breakfast, you should drink one or two glasses of water. It’s recommended to drink one liter in the morning, which is half of what you need for the whole day. This will help your body eliminate toxins and reduce hunger.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy a healthy and nutritious breakfast to get you charged for the first part of the day. You should avoid heavy foods and favor fruits, fresh vegetables, cereal and dairy.

When you eat well and take care of your body and mind, the effects on your physical and mental health will be evident.  And the habit will be easier to stick to.

Make a list with small things that you want to accomplish that day

If you want to have an efficient day, it’s good to set yourself a list of small, yet important priorities that you must tend to. It’s easy to lose focus from one day to another, especially when something unexpected happens in your life that makes you stray away from the things that truly matter to you. Grab a piece of paper and write down the things that are most important to you and the tasks that need to be done in a certain day or week. Carry that piece of paper with you and try to remind yourself as often as you can of the goals that you’ve set for yourself. The more boxes you’ve ticked on the list, the more motivated you will be.

Step out of your comfort zone

There may be moments of experiencing too much routine and losing the excitement of exploring the unknown. Try a different road to work, university or school. Eat something new. Call a person that you haven’t heard from in a while and hang out in a pub that you’ve never been to before. These are just some examples of ways in which you can step out of your comfort zone. Varying your time spent will boost you with energy and motivate you to try more and more new things.

Bonus: Smile!

Smiling is medicine for the mind and body. The moment you smile, your body exhibits many positive effects.  Endorphins are released, you feel joyful,  and become less stressed and anxious.

When you get out of the house, smile to random strangers passing by. Some might think you’re weird, but most will feel better. Smile to everyone you can. You really have nothing to lose from it.

This guest post was authored by Michael Schoeff

Michael Schoeff is a serial entrepreneur involved in a significant number of projects. Juggling them can be challenging and his positive nature greatly helps him face the challenges that entrepreneurship involves.

The post Five Ways To Motivate Yourself Every Morning appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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“I’m going to die alone!” is the sarcastic, yet slightly serious cry of many of my single girlfriends.

What if you were? Now what?

Ironically, my epiphany was born on a treadmill. Rihanna’s “Rockstar 101” had quickly become both a mantra and favorite workout track. Exercising had become necessary for my sanity at the time. Feeling rejected both by men and a job hunt during the recession, fitness was the only area where I would put in effort and see results. I escaped to the gym, my sanctuary of solitude from all the stressors in my life. If I worked out, I knew that I hadn’t neglected my own needs that day. If I didn’t have a man, I would give myself the attention that I wanted from a man, and make myself feel beautiful.

While on the treadmill, Rihanna boldly belted through my iPod’s headphones, “To be what you isn’t, gotta be what you are…”

It hit me. What if I would never be anyone’s girlfriend or wife? What if this was it? Would this be enough? Would I be enough for me? I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t be single and miserable.

It was time to surrender to the idea of being indefinitely single. If you’ve been single for a while, you probably want to punch every person who says the cliché phrase, “Don’t worry. He will come. Just be patient.” I’m not going to do that to you, #TeamSingle. I’m just going to ask you, “What if he doesn’t?” So what? Realize your worst fears. You’re single. You’re not dead. You will survive single.

We live in a society that presupposes that being single is a sad thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Now, you could either be single and miserable, single and desperate, or..you can rock single like a fresh pair of Louboutins that will never go out of style. It’s your choice, and you do have a choice.

Yes, there are women who never get married or who divorce and never remarry. They’re fine. I resolved that if I were going to die alone, my concept of single needed a makeover. I had to take single by the stilettos and work it like a runway. If I was going down single, I was going down making single look good.

That day, I resolved to being single and satisfied, and never looked back. I’d tried dating and miserable, desperate and miserable, and single and miserable. None of them were good looks for me. The pain of each situation hurt too much to revisit. But single and happy? This was a concept that I’d barely even seen. It became my happiest scenario yet. Getting there didn’t come without a fight. I had to get honest with myself to let go of some of my insecurities and weaknesses. Like my body on that treadmill, it was no longer about where I was going, but what I was becoming.

“But Bonnie, that’s easy to say in theory, but I still want to get married one day,” you say. So do I.

“Single and satisfied” doesn’t mean you’re not open to romantic love.

It simply means, that contrary to popular belief, you don’t really need it to feel complete, joyful, or like you’re living a full life. You find other ways to meet your needs. You resolve that if you needed something you would have it, and if you don’t have it, you must not need it because you’re surviving without it. It means that you’re seriously no longer searching, but attracting what fits with your destiny. In fact, the idea that someone may disrupt your new-found contentment with life will make you nervous. There is no settling for the single and happy. The bar has been raised for all of their dating partners. Their partners don’t have to beat out “single and miserable” or an ex-lover that got it wrong. Their potential mates have to convince them to give up their lifelong exclusive marriage to their oldest friend– themselves. It’s a tall order. However, it is the very reason why being single and satisfied not only improves your singlehood, but also any potential relationships.

So Don’t Sweat Being Single

In fact, I attract more men now than ever before.  There’s something exceptional about the swagger of a woman who knows that she’s not missing anything… except for maybe a black guitar (according to Rihanna). Rock your singlehood, ladies.

The post No Longer Sweating “Single” appeared first on Ms. Career Girl.

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