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As a hiring manager, internal recruiter, or project manager, you may be fully aware of how challenging it is to find the right talent for your teams in this market. Currently, the economy is thriving, and organizations are taking full advantage of the fruitful conditions to develop, implement, and deploy projects to help them achieve their goals. Not having enough bench strength and talent can slow this process down considerably. The great talents out there are working; likely in gigs, they have been able to carefully choose, like contracting. With this high demand for technical skill-sets, it may be time for you and your organization to consider contractors.

Contractors provide many benefits to  a team

Have you ever brought on team members needed only for their specific knowledge or expertise in an area, not fully knowing what to do with them after project milestones and goals have been met? Contractors can relieve many obstacles after project objectives have been met. There may be times when workloads may peak and lull and thus, teams and managers need to be flexible enough to meet their expectations. When workloads are maxing out, call on contractors to help you fill the gaps and relieve core team members of long hours and burdensome schedules. When workload leans out and winds down, avoid layoffs or possible HR issues by trying to find out where these team members can be utilized in the current state of business. Many software development and application projects may benefit tremendously by having stopgap measures in place when needed.

Contractors are there when you want them and can provide you with everything from bleeding edge skills and knowledge to limited term staff augmentation. They can fill the holes created with inconsistent project funding, continuously changing project workloads, and skills gaps that often present themselves with major IS/IT evolution.  If your current team does not have the necessary and specific skills needed for the demands of your projects, training and then bolstering these new skills can be very costly in both dollars and time.

Partnering with Smart Solutions and taking the time to develop a strong relationship with us, will yield your organization many benefits. In due course, you will save money on health benefits, social security and Medicare payments, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and other perks offered to full time hires. The contractors we work with are often the very best in their fields of expertise.  If you are looking for best-in-class and experienced team members to help you reach your project and organizational goals, please reach out to us. Our expert team of recruiters and account managers is ready to assist you with our decades of industry knowledge.

The post Why Contractors are a Smart Solution appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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Just like millions of others, you probably already have a LinkedIn profile. That’s great! But why should you create and tend a strong LinkedIn presence?
Today most companies are either going to find and recruit you from your LinkedIn profile. Or if you apply to their company, they are likely to check your profile. A whopping 98% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, and 85% of hiring managers look at an applicant’s profile on LinkedIn. Those stats alone prove that having a LinkedIn profile – and making sure it’s up to date – is crucial. By putting time into building your profile you can “stand out in a crowd”. You will be seen as an informed professional, and if the time ever does come when you want to, or need to, look for a new job you already have a great start.
So, here are some tips to help you build a strong LinkedIn profile.
  1. Keep in mind that details are critical (spelling, grammar, punctuation).
  2. Profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed. The right picture is worth a thousand words (People remember faces better than they remember names). Pro-Tip: Don’t go with a grainy ten year old summer vacation photograph, or any outdated photo.
    1. What does your profile photo say about you?
    2. Does it show you as a professional?
    3. Does it convey you as friendly and approachable?
  3. A headline and summary are key! A headline is one of the most important portions of your LinkedIn profile. Not only is it an excellent place to include critical career-minded keywords, but it will show up frequently throughout key LinkedIn locations such as Search Results, Connection Invitations, Employee Listings, Company Pages, and Messages. This is the place where you can use superlatives and creative wordsmithing in order to attract attention. You want to keep it professional, but this is an important opportunity to make yourself memorable. LinkedIn is really a search engine so choose to make your headline something searchable that will help people who are looking for the services you provide or the particular skill set you bring to the table find you.
  4. Summary – a summary of 40 words or less makes you more likely to turn up in a search. Make your summary the focal point of your profile. This is another place for you to shine and differentiate yourself from all the other computer programmers, accountants, marketers, and other professionals. You can even fill this section come alive with real-world evidence of your contribution to the industry. You can use any of the following tools to do that: video, images, audio, presentations, slide shows, and documents.
  5. Your Experience, Skills, and Expertise- Resist the temptation to cut and paste your resume into the experience column of your LinkedIn profile. Try to use words in this section to paint a revealing portrait of the skills and talents you possess. This is more than a description of previous jobs so keep this section easy for readers to scan quickly. But also make an effort to showcase your accomplishments, talents, and accolades in a compelling manner.
  6. Include volunteer experience (remember you want to stand out from the crowd) and remember to check the box to show you want to volunteer (if you do).
  7. Recommendations are a great addition to your LinkedIn profile. Ask those kindly providing a recommendation to give specific examples of your accomplishments.
  8. Avoid using vague or generic buzzwords in your profile or throughout your experience, instead use real-life examples on how you’re a motivated professional. Here are 10 common buzzwords to avoid: motivated, passionate, creative, driven, extensive experience, responsible, strategic, track record, organized, and expert.
  9. Lastly, build a strong network. As the popular adage goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Building a strong LinkedIn profile is going to take a bit of time, but it is important, and will serve you very well in your professional work.
 
Written by: Jackie Falch and used with permission.

The post 9 Simple Tips to Build a Strong LinkedIn Profile appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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There is more to communication than talking.

When leading a meeting, speaking to a group, or interacting one-on-one, pay close attention to the other person’s body language and voice tone, Price says. ‘Listen with your eyes. Their nonverbal cues can tell you when they have a question, want to say something, agree or disagree, need a break, require more explanation, or have an emotional response.’

By responding appropriately to others’ cues, you not only convey confidence in yourself, you show a high level of empathy, sensitivity and care for them which builds trust.”

At the same time, know that you are also sending nonverbal ques. From eye contact to handshakes to gestures, it’s important to be self-aware and know what cues you are sending!

Excerpt from: 10 Non-verbal Cues that Convey Confidence at Work

The post What do Non-Verbal Cues Have to Do With Communication appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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How do you start your work day?

The first few hours of your day sets the tone and your attitude, it is critical for directing (or derailing) your focus — and helping you achieve better results!

You may have to attend to projects or discussions that rolled over from the previous afternoon — Consider first trying to treat each day as a fresh one, says David Shindler, an employability specialist and author of Learning to Leap. “Leave any crap from yesterday behind, tap into what’s happening at the outset of the day, get organized and ready or hit the ground running, if that’s what is needed,” he says.

The first hour of each day is the best time to focus and figure out the priorities. It’s also the time when we are likely to get distracted with unimportant activities that distract and derail us.

Take 5 minutes to settle in, clear your head, and assess if you’re making the best use of your high morning brain power.

Excerpt from: 14 Things You Should Do at the Start of Every Work Day

The post Start Each Day with a Clean Slate appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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By Dave Pagenkopf

Personal security and privacy are often areas of our lives we would like to be more diligent about. Now is a great time to refresh our goals and tune up those areas!  Don’t be overwhelmed… From August 1 – 10, I am sharing 10 ideas to tune up your personal online privacy and computer security.

Tip # 10: Use a shredder!

During one windy day last fall, the recycling bins for many of my neighbors blew over and papers flew everywhere up and down the street. Among the newspapers stuck in my shrubs were cable bills and utility bills. Evidently, the bills and statements were just tossed into the recycling bin and were now blowing up and down the street. There is usually enough information on utility bills to allow someone to access one or more of your online accounts by resetting the password using the information on those papers. They may even be able to reset passwords for unrelated accounts because so much of our information is the same across all accounts (e.g. billing address, phone numbers, and email.)

In my house, I don’t keep paper around with sensitive information. Of course, I try to do everything online and not receive or generate paper in the first place, but sometimes paper documents are mailed to us. For the ones that need to be retained, I scan them and then store the PDFs on multiple USB drives. Those drives are stored in a secure location. Then the paper is shredded immediately. A trip to a local office supply store to buy a scanner and a shredder may save you a big headache later. Finally, on our street, we can even put bagged shredded paper into our recycling bin, so we can be environmentally responsible and secure.

8 Reasons to Shred the Paper!

The post Shred That! Tune Up Your Privacy and Security! appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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By Dave Pagenkopf

Personal security and privacy are often areas of our lives we would like to be more diligent about. Now is a great time to refresh our goals and tune up those areas!  Don’t be overwhelmed… From August 1 – 10, I am sharing 10 ideas to tune up your personal online privacy and computer security.

Tip #9:

There are many tricks a hacker can use to capture important information when you are working online. One trick is to capture information in another browser tab or to pull information from that browser’s cookies. Therefore, some experts recommend using one browser for secure and trusted sites such as your email and your bank and another browser for casual web surfing. I prefer to use my favorite browser with all of my important bookmarks for the secure sites and then a secondary browser for reading news and other surfing. The two browser approach is a very simple and easy way to improve online security.

The post Using Two Browsers for Online Security appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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By Dave Pagenkopf

Personal security and privacy are often areas of our lives we would like to be more diligent about. Now is a great time to refresh our goals and tune up those areas!  Don’t be overwhelmed… From August 1 – 10, I am sharing 10 ideas to tune up your personal online privacy and computer security.

Tip # Eight: Turn off the auto-connect feature in your mobile device

One of the biggest risks for mobile users is wifi networks that spoof real networks.  Millions of people around the world connect to public Wi-Fi networks on their mobile devices as they travel and seek their regularly scheduled Internet.  The problem is, not all networks are official. Spoofing is another hacker’s tool that tricks the victim into giving over information or performing an action that the attacker intends. Given the way our data plans work in today’s world, most people are on a constant hunt for a Wi-Fi connection that will relieve them of their data usage.

For example, suppose you routinely use the free wifi in the local coffee shop. That network, called for instance “freejava” is now saved in your phone and your phone — depending on your settings — will automatically connect to the “freejava” network the next time it sees it. Simple and convenient. However, a hacker outside your office could setup a wifi network with a name of “freejava” and then your phone will automatically connect to it. At this point, your phone is now vulnerable to hacking by the owner of the imposter network.

Here is a spoof created by Lookout for a demonstration on 60 Minutes.

Therefore, on my mobile devices I have turned off auto-connection except for wifi networks that require authentication.

The post What You Should Know About Auto-Connecting to WiFi With Your Mobile Device appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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By Dave Pagenkopf

Personal security and privacy are often areas of our lives we would like to be more diligent about. Now is a great time to refresh our goals and tune up those areas!  Don’t be overwhelmed… Over the next 10 days I am going to share 10 ideas to tune up your privacy and computer security.

Tip # Seven: When you setup a new Windows PC, the first user account is set up as an Administrator Account. That means on your home PC, there is a very good chance that someone in the house is using an administrator account for everyday use.

What’s the danger here? It is much easier for malware to do damage when you are logged into an administrator account. Therefore, the best thing to do is use the administrator account to create a regular User Account and use the User Account every day. If your PC were to be infected with malware, then it is less likely to do as much damage with your regular user account.

Here are some tips from Kim Komando on instantly making your computer smarter!

The post Online Security – Change the Admin Account appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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Giving Productive Feedback

Be positive. Give at least as much positive feedback as you do negative. Positive feedback stimulates the reward centers in the brain, leaving the recipient open to taking new direction. Meanwhile, negative feedback indicates that an adjustment needs to be made and the threat response turns on and defensiveness sets in.

You don’t need to avoid negative, or corrective, feedback altogether. Just make sure you follow it up with a suggested solution or outcome.

Excerpt from: Five Steps for Giving Productive Feedback

5 steps to giving positive feedback - YouTube

The post Competent Leadership – One Tidbit appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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By Dave Pagenkopf

Personal online security and privacy are often areas of our lives we would like to be more diligent about. Now is a great time to refresh our goals and tune up those areas!  Don’t be overwhelmed… From August 1 – 10, I’m sharing ideas to tune up your personal privacy and computer security.

Most malware is introduced into businesses (and likely homes) by clicking on a link in a legitimate looking email. These emails, referred to as phishing emails by the pros, entice people to click on a link that may install malware or encourage the user to share important information like passwords.

Many of these phishing emails are expertly done, but they almost always contain an attachment for you to open or a link to click. Don’t do it!

My view is that when in doubt, just delete the email!

Skepticism is your friend here. If you receive an important looking message from your bank with a link it and you are afraid to delete it, then instead of clicking on the link just go directly to the bank’s web site and login as you normally would do. Most banks and other institutions will have a place to send you secure messages.

So, what if you do click on it? There are a number of things that could result, including that your passwords and personal information could be compromised, and the phishing link can automatically send the email from your account to the accounts of people in your address books, spreading the link even further.

But how exactly does the scam use the link to uncover your personal information and send emails from your account?  YouTube user DewClarke lifted the veil on the other side of hacking to show exactly how passwords are pulled from phishing links (and YIKES it is grim).

What happens when you click a spam/phishing link - YouTube

The most important question, though, is what to do after you’ve clicked the link. Here are the immediate steps you should take:

  • Disconnect your device from Wi-Fi.
  • Back-up any personal files that you have on your computer with a USB.
  • Reconnect to Wi-Fi, and run a malware scan like Malware Bytes on your computer to see if your information has been compromised.
  • Change the password to your email, and passwords on any account where you have sensitive information — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, online shopping sites. Anywhere you might have your credit card information stored.
  • Call your bank and credit card companies to let them know that your information has been compromised; the bank will keep an eye on your accounts, and the credit card companies will reissue you cards with new numbers to prevent fraud.
  • Email your address book and post on Facebook or other social media to let people know your account has been compromised, and not to open any links sent from your account.
  • If you are still experiencing issues, contact a professional on what steps to take next.

Again… my view is that when in doubt, just delete the email!

The post When In Doubt, Delete It! appeared first on Smart Solutions, Inc..

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