What to pay for in your job search

A do-it-yourself job search may not be the answer for you.
Are you looking for a job? Whether you are a recent college graduate or looking to make a career switch, searching for a job can be daunting. Fortunately there are resources to make the hunt easier. With today's competitive market, job seekers need to work smarter. Consider these investments as you hunt for your next opportunity:

Invest in Your Presentation

Presentation is a key component in your potential success. If you aren't landing interviews, you may need to revamp and redraft your resume and cover letter. 

There are reputable resume companies, including WiserU, that can help you with the overall presentation of your documents. We also offer breakthrough LinkedIn profile optimization services, which can significantly improve your chances of being found by recruiters ... 97% of whom use LinkedIn to find or vet candidates. Although it's hard to spend money while searching for a job, it could mean the difference between a chance at an interview and your resume being rejected.

If you do land the interview, think about how you present yourself. Invest in a business suit and dress shoes because first impressions make a difference in a job interview.

If you are an introvert or nervous about your interview, practice answering mock questions at home. Videotaping your answers may prove helpful in tweaking your presentation.

Depend on Reliable Transportation

How are you getting to your interviews? Depending on someone else for a ride may not be the best way to secure or keep a job. Purchase a reliable and economical vehicle to get you around town. If your job requires a long commute, get a vehicle that is economical and has good gas mileage. Consider DriveTime to purchase a fuel-efficient and reliable vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius that provides 53 MPG on the highway. You also may want to research the Ford Fiesta, which is a sportier vehicle that gets 37 MPG or the 2014 Scion iQ, which boasts a low price of $17,000 and 37 MPG.

Perfect Your Pitch

Are you knowledgeable about the companies where you are seeking employment? Can you convey how you would be a good fit? Knowing how to pitch yourself is important, and you must do your part to learn as much as you can about the companies where you want to work. Read the business' mission statement, familiarize yourself with the various roles in the company and learn the company culture. Contact WiserU to arrange an interview preparation session and download our comprehensive Game Changing Interview e-Book.

To gain more insider information, contact a recruiter to determine the key components that the company looks for when considering new hires.

Seek a Mentor

If you are running up against roadblocks in a particular field, find a mentor. Contact your college alma mater or known organizations to provide you with a list of potential people you can contact about how to effectively manage your job search. Prior to meeting with your mentor, determine what questions you want to ask and what role he or she can take to help you.

Become Savvy in Social Networking

In today's electronic age, technology plays an integral part in your job search. Review your profile on LinkedIn and other sites to determine if they need any updates. Comb through your Facebook page to make certain there aren't any red flags that might dissuade an employer from hiring you. If it is a common practice among your colleagues to have a website, develop an online portfolio of your skills and accomplishments. A virtual resume, such as what you can create on CarbonMade, may help you secure your dream job.

The bottom line: If your do-it-yourself job search isn't cutting it, invest in your job search.

Guest post by SocialMonster.


Look to WiserU for expert career services and support!

We provide training and services for job seekers, new grads and college students including:

  • Expert resume creation / optimization
  • Expert LinkedIn profile creation / optimization
  • Career coaching
  • Job interview preparation
  • Group/class LinkedIn training 
  • Group/class career training (resumes, applying online, etc.)
  • Individual LinkedIn training
  • Recruiter reach services to connect top recruiters to you

To learn more or to get started, visit Services or contact Sue at 847-606-5160 or susanATwiseru.com

How to add a banner image to a free LinkedIn account

Have you seen them … those huge banner images that are at the top of some people’s LinkedIn profiles? YOU can be one of those people and you don’t have to have a LinkedIn premium account to do so.

Adding such a large hero image on your LinkedIn profile can help you stand out as a professional, business owner or job seeker and establish your brand on the world’s largest business network – LinkedIn.

I’ll explain how to add a header image, but first let’s look at what LinkedIn offers its premium account holders. 

Premium account holders have a blue header image space appear across their Edit Profile page like this …

LinkedIn header box, LinkedIn premium account header,
LinkedIn premium account holders can opt for a standard header design or upload their own image. Free account holders can only upload their own image.

LinkedIn premium account holders can click "Edit Background" and select from the following standard images that are already sized and optimized for the LinkedIn header image space.

LinkedIn premium banner image options, LinkedIn premium header design options
Only LinkedIn premium account holders can add one of these standard header images.

If you have a free account, you can still add a header image, but it must be uploaded from your computer. But not just any sized image will fit the space. Oh no, the image space is very challenging so you will need image manipulation software, such as Adobe Photoshop, and the patience of a saint to try it yourself, or access to a good graphic designer (or, learn about another viable option at the bottom of this post).

LinkedIn banner sizes, LinkedIn header image parameters, LinkedIn banner diagram
Tricky … very tricky. The image parameters for the LinkedIn header image are challenging!

As you can see in the image above, a large portion of your header image is invisible because your contact information box will be superimposed over it. Additionally the LinkedIn banner image is responsive (which means that the image will change size depending on the screen size and the device you are using to look at it). So, for example, if you make your screen narrower, the image will grow smaller behind your Contact Info box (while it stays the same size) and certain additional portions will be hidden from view. 

To top off the difficulties, your view of your image looks different than what others see even if you click “View Profile As Connections” because a long white box obscures the top part of your view.

Here’s what I mean about all the challenges:

LinkedIn banner image, LinkedIn banner image design,
The large Contact Info box and the responsive nature of the header image makes designing your artwork challenging.

Just the stats
According to LinkedIn, you should create your header image in JPG, PNG, or GIF format, under 4MB in size. A resolution of 1400 by 425 pixels looks best. For readability, make sure no type goes beyond the approximately 50 pixel margin around the top and sides.

When you save your header image to your profile, visit it “As a connection” to see how it looks. Don’t worry if part of your image is covered by the white box at the top because others won’t see the white box in their view. Adjust your screen width to see how your image will look at different widths and make adjustments as needed. You may also want to try viewing your profile on a tablet, as well as on a laptop or desktop computer.

Because of the complexity of the space, it’s best to keep the image simple. If, however, you elect to add a logo, text and complicated imagery, expect frustrations getting your image to show correctly.

Another way

For an eye-catching header image without having to upgrade to LinkedIn premium, opt for a WiserU header image. Choose from:

  • A custom header image with your logo, text and image for your profile or company page – $109.
  • A word cloud header image with key words from your resume or bio -- $69 (expect it in 5-7 business days)
  • A standard WiserU header image (no customization) -- $29 (expect it in 1-2 business days). See selection below.

LinkedIn banner image options, LinkedIn header image options.
Choose from a variety of WiserU banner options. The top section (above) shows custom banner examples for profiles or company pages for $109. The 2nd section shows word cloud banner examples (that relate to your resume or bio) for $69, and the 3rd section features standard headers for $29)

To order by credit card via PayPal, choose the type of header that you want: 
1) Customized Banner with Client Logo/Company Imagery  - $109 
2) Customized Word Cloud Banner with words from your resume or bio - $69 
3) Standard Header Image (choose from our existing styles) - $29

LinkedIn Banner Options
Upon receipt of your payment, we will send you an email requesting needed information to complete your order, such as your logo, wording and imagery for a custom header; your resume or bio for a word cloud header; or your style preference for a standard header. To pay by check or invoice, contact Sue Lopez at 847-606-5160 or susanATwiseru.com.

Whichever version you choose, we’ll send you instructions so that you can easily upload your image onto your LinkedIn profile and start reaping the benefits of a well-branded LinkedIn presence!  – Kathy Bernard, The LinkedIn Whisperer

Feel free to invite me to connect. I am the Kathy Bernard in St. Louis, MO.

Stand out on LinkedIn with an eye-catching header image!


Breakthrough header images are just one way that WiserU can help you maximize LinkedIn. We also offer:

  • Group LinkedIn training for sales, recruiting, fundraising, or career
  • Individual LinkedIn training for your specific business/career needs
  • Executive-level LinkedIn profile creation / optimization
  • Company-wide brand building on all employees’ profiles
  • LinkedIn company page creation/optimization 
  • Lead generation services (we’ll find your prospects for you!)
  • Resume creation, career coaching and job interview prep training

To learn more, visit the Services page of WiserU.com or contact Sue Lopez at 847-606-5160 or susanATwiseru.com

8 ways to boost your confidence before a job interview

Sweaty palms. Rapid heart rate. Self-doubt. ... 

These feelings are all normal to have in hours the leading up to a job interview. However, such signs of nervousness can devastate you chances of getting your dream job. 

Here are eight ways to nix the pre-interview jitters and boost your confidence:

Try a Power Pose

Social psychologist and Harvard professor Amy Cuddy says that power poses can decrease hormones related to stress by 25 percent and can increase the body's testosterone levels by 19 percent. Find a private place, like the bathroom, and strike a power pose. Stand with your head and chin up, lift your chest and place your arms up above your head or on your hips. Hold your power pose for two minutes and repeat until you feel confident.

Look the Part

The first impression is important, so be sure to leave a professional impression and dress the part. If you're interviewing for a corporate job, a suit is best. For women, tailored suits or a pencil skirt paired with a tucked in blouse and blazer are both good options. 

Less-formal jobs mean that you can wear more business-casual attire. Accessories like a briefcase, handbag or jewelry should complement your outfit and should not be distracting. If you're carrying a briefcase or a handbag, it shouldn't have any wear and tear and most importantly, it should be clean.

Swap Your Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses are known to make some people feel insecure. Sound familiar? Have you ever tried contacts? Ask your eye doctor about options for trading in your frames for contact lenses from a local company or Vision Direct. Without the spectacles hiding your eyes, you'll feel more empowered and confident in yourself.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Before you walk into your next interview, take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves. Katherine Walker, Executive Director of Lifetime Behavioral Health suggests taking 10, slow, deep breaths to relieve stress brought on by your interview. Breathe in through your nose, fill your lungs, and then breathe out through your mouth. You'll feel cool and confident after this breathing exercise.

Exercise Prior to the Interview

Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress and unwind from a hectic day. But did you know that exercising the night before a big interview can give you a boost of confidence, too? Heather McNab, author of What Top Professionals Need to Know About Answering Job Questions says exercise helps calm your body's nervous system and can help reduce physical signs of stress like foot tapping and fidgeting.

Repeat Positive Affirmations

The CEO of The Mindful Living Network and the Stress Institute, Kathleen Hall, says that repeating positive affirmations before an interview can reduce stress hormones and cortisol by nearly 50 percent. Repeating positive affirmations can also lower your blood pressure, slow your mind and reduce your heart rate. Less stress means more confidence. Hall suggests repeating the affirmation, "I am confident in all things. I have unlimited potential."

Practice What You Want to Say Before the Interview

Practicing what you want to say during your interview can make you feel calm and confident when it comes time to meet with your potential employer. Rehearse your answers to a handful of standard interview questions like "What are your strengths?" and "What is your dream job?" Forbes has assembled a list of 50 common interview questions that job candidates can browse through. Take a look, and practice your answers before your next big interview.

Come Prepared With Questions

Bring a notepad or portfolio along and have a couple questions prepared for the interview. Asking questions shows that you're interested in the job and that you have confidence. Plus, the notepad or portfolio will come in handy if you need to jot down any important information your interviewer may give you.

The bottom line: Boosting your confidence can help you interview better. So get busy and prepare now to excel at your upcoming job interviews.

Guest post by SocialMonsters.org

Related Articles
Dressing for interviews
Asking smart questions

Interviewing e-Book by Kathy Bernard
Find guidance about every aspect of the interviewing process -- from phone, video, in-person, and panel interviewing to negotiating salary -- so you are prepared to land the jobs you want. It's a jam-packed 84 pages of solid content to help you interview with confidence.

Discover in-depth strategies for handling ...

  • Phone/Skype interviews
  • In-Person and panel interviews
  • Questions to ask interviewers
  • Tough interview questions and answers
  • Following up after interviews
  • Salary negotiations
Turn the tables on your interviews and learn to interview like a pro!

Pay and download Game Changing Interviews now for just $9.97


Look to us for expert services and support!

We provide training and services for job seekers, new grads and students including:

  • Expert resume creation / optimization
  • Expert LinkedIn profile creation / optimization
  • Career coaching
  • Job interview preparation
  • Group/class LinkedIn training 
  • Group/class career training (resumes, applying online, etc.)
  • Individual LinkedIn training
  • Recruiter reach services to connect top recruiters to you

To learn more or to get started, visit Services or contact Sue at 847-606-5160 or susanATwiseru.com

60 ways to excel in your first job - the definitive guide

excelling at your first job

Want to excel at your first job? Of course you do! Here’s what you need to know and do to shine in your new position:

Here's what you need to know:

1) It’s harder to get a good job than you may have expected. The duties will be less interesting, too. Despite that, your first job will be a stepping stone to what you want to do.
2) College did not truly prepare you for the work world. The work world takes some getting used to. Expect your work environment to be awkward, confusing, antiquated, hard, boring, overwhelming, or just plain awful. Learning to handle your company’s unique environment brings maturity and tenacity.
3) Paychecks are punier than they first appear. Taxes take a huge chunk of your paycheck and your expenses are ... well, expensive. Save money and live within your means. Bring your lunch and brew rather than buy your coffee. Hold off on buying a new car or moving out of your parents’ home until you can afford to leave. While living at home, pay rent, obey house rules and do chores so that your staying there will not be a chore to your parents.
4) Your first job is not your destiny. You will likely have many jobs and may even work in several industries. 

Here's what you need to do:

5) Try hard and do good work. Laziness can turn teammates against you because they can't count on you.
6) Expect drudgery. Newbies get stuck with bad projects. So do seasoned workers. If the drudgery becomes excessive, speak up, but in the meantime, do your part even if it stinks.
7) Learn something new each day to make you and your company better.
8) Support your company. Speak positively about it and help it succeed. Refer job candidates and attract clients.
9) Meet people at all levels of your company. Invite coworkers to connect on LinkedIn. Remember names and build relationships. Knowing the right people can save your job or lead you to different opportunities.
10) Fit in. Become a positive part of the company culture without getting sucked into its unique brand of drama and dysfunction. Occasionally eat lunch with coworkers and form professional friendships.
11) Keep people informed. Let your bosses know the status of projects and alert them of problems so that they can take action. Keep coworkers and cross-functional teams up to date on issues that could affect their efforts.   
12) Realize work deadlines are different from college assignments. While colleges often want long papers with lots of lead time; companies have tighter deadlines. Learn to be faster and more succinct.
13) Learn to make decisions and don’t pester your boss with unnecessary questions.
14) Don’t take other people’s bad moods personally. Don’t assume that the boss is cranky because of you. Their bad mood usually has nothing to do with you. 
15) Learn to deal with all kinds of people. Be accepting of other people’s lifestyles and choices and don’t engage in political or religious arguments.
16) Share your ideas. Speak up at brainstorm sessions. Today's workplaces have a flatter hierarchy so it’s easier to make your thoughts known. Your fresh perspective may be just what a company needs to pivot from tried and tired practices. At the same time, get comfortable with rejection. Not every idea you have is brilliant and your company may not be open to change.
17) Think before doing. Work completed quickly, but incorrectly can make you and the company look bad.
18) Realize that your job is not your life. Don't let it take on greater significance than it deserves. Make time for family, friends and fun.
19) Be realistic about raises and promotions. You need to prove yourself before you are eligible to move up or make more money. Many companies only give raises at pre-set times and often the raises are tiny across the board. 
20) Realize your worth. As a recent graduate, you bring new ideas and fresh viewpoints, as well as an eagerness that seasoned employees may no longer feel. Embrace your potential and work to make yourself invaluable.
21) Embrace in-person interaction. While a quick text or email may seem like the most expedient method to message a coworker, misunderstandings can result. When it's important that you not be misunderstood or vilified, meet in person or, if that's not possible, talk with the person by phone. Also remember to check and respond to your work phone messages. 
22) Older doesn't mean antiquated. Just because someone is older, doesn't mean that their skill sets are rusty or that their thinking is out of date. Respect their contributions and input. And remember, many seasoned workers enjoy the fresh perspectives younger people can bring. Learn from each other!
23) Don't act like a jerk even if you think you are smarter or more qualified than others. In a similar vein, don't harshly judge what was done before your time. Coworkers who have been around longer than you likely had good reasons why they handled things the way they did. Get their input before making changes that have already been tried (and failed).
24) Don't be too passive ... or aggressive. Don't wait to be told what to do. Seek out assignments and volunteer for duties. At the same time, don't be so obnoxiously aggressive that coworkers resist your efforts.
25) Don’t miss deadlines. Be dependable.
26) Don’t blame others. Own your mistakes and admit them. Fix the problems that you caused. Learn from the situation and don't make the same mistake again.
27) Arrive on time. Being late is disrespectful. Fix the reasons that make you late.
28) Be a good listener so that you fully understand assignments and why they are important.
29) Make your boss look good, but beware of aligning yourself too closely with someone at odds with leadership. Take on tasks to free up your boss’s time.
30) Ask for assignments that stretch you and spark your innovative spirit.
31) Become a master networker and leader in your field/industry. Introduce your leadership to influential people who can help your company.
32) Resist office gossip. Saying negative things about your coworkers and company makes you feel worse, makes you feel guilty and makes you look petty. Step away from the drama and go back to work. A good response to an insistent work gossiper: “Have you talked with Carol about your concerns about her? Better to talk to her than me!” Or, say, “I’m sorry that you feel that way about George. He’s my friend.” That’ll shut ‘em up!
33) Don't yak. While it's OK to be professionally friendly, don't talk too much. Be cognizant that coworkers are busy (or should be). Don't overstay your welcome in their workspace.
34) Do more than is expected. You were not hired to fill a seat! Companies hire you to solve a problem or make the business better. Seek to understand your company's business and how your job plays a part in the company's overall success. Be willing to work longer than your scheduled hours and to pitch in when someone else needs help. Record your efforts and accomplishments into weekly reports that you provide to your boss.
35) Learn to prioritize and when possible, delegate. Push back politely when someone tries to dump a project on you that isn’t yours to take. The best way to dodge the dump: Ask the person to put their detailed request in writing so that you can run it past your boss. Dumpers hate to do the detail work and they fear that your boss will tell them no.
36) Break big jobs into manageable pieces. Set and meet self-imposed deadlines that will ensure that you complete the entire project on time.
37) Don't be a sucker. While pitching in and working hard is important; avoid continuously being taken advantage of by your boss or company. Set boundaries. Stand up for yourself and develop ways to combat over-work. Take brief breaks throughout the day and a vacation day now and then to refresh your spirit. Take a sick day when you are really sick. The company will survive no matter how guilty they make you feel.
38) Ask questions, then pay attention so that you don't have to ask the same questions again. Take notes and try to figure things out on your own. Realize that despite being a newbie, you are expected to hit the ground running, learn to lead and to eventually be self-directed and self-motivated.
39) Seek feedback, but don't be needy for excessive praise. Learn and improve from negative feedback and don't pout or hold a grudge. 
40) Dress better than the dress code. People who dress well are taken more seriously. Observe what others are wearing and don't stray too far from the norm. Practice good grooming and hygiene. Iron your clothes.
41) Follow company rules. You are not too special to do what's expected.
42) Watch for warning signs that things may be going badly for you or the company. Perhaps you've gotten a terrible review or your company is going broke. These are tell-tale signs that your job could be ending soon. Look for a new job before it's too late.
43) Be stealth-like when job seeking. Don't tell coworkers that you are unhappy or interviewing for other jobs. Some coworkers could use the knowledge to sabotage you. And, don't leave your resume on the copy machine where others can find it!
44) Banish burnout. Job duties can get tedious and the office setting can feel confining. Seek innovative ways to do repetitive things, volunteer for different projects and take a brisk walk at lunch time to override the prison-like vibe.
45) Resist distractions! Don't let your smart phone distract you from your duties. Put it away on company time! Also resist using your work computer or phone for personal use. Companies can and often do check your email and web history for improper usage.
46) Don’t air your company's dirty laundry on social media. Don't share negative thoughts about your company or coworkers. Also set your Facebook on private so that what you post about your social life can't be used against you at work.
47) Get organized. Consider time management and performance development courses to keep you operating at peak performance. Also keep your workspace clean and uncluttered.
48) Practice good manners. Say hello to coworkers. Invite them into conversations. Don't cuss or be too loud. Correct bad eating habits such as talking with your mouth full. Befriend the cleaning crew and others who come into your company. Don’t be one of those people who only acknowledge people who could better your career.
49) Control your temper. Learn how to state what you want/need without losing your composure. Forgive those who have wronged you.
50) Criticize people's bad behavior in private, not in front of others. Don’t talk about them behind their back.
51) Learn to tactfully tell people that you are too busy to talk. Say, “Well, I’ve got a lot to do and I’m sure that you do to.” Or, “I better let you go.” If they plant themselves in your cube, grab a folder (as if you are going to a meeting) and leave.
52) Spring into action when trouble is brewing. Accidentally offend someone? Resolve the problem by talking to them in person as soon as possible. Apologize. Don't let problems fester.
53) Don’t send coworkers inappropriate messages, jokes, or chain emails. And never pretend to be a coworker, using their email account to send inappropriate messages to others (all such "fun" can get you fired).   
54) Let your light shine. Display the focused energy and enthusiasm of your young age. Think of yourself as a spark that can ignite innovation.
55) Participate in work functions and charitable efforts. But don’t get drunk, don’t get overly personal and don’t be inappropriate. Avoid nightly happy hours lest you get a bad reputation and office romances, which can end badly on company time.
56) Learn to write and present well. People who can do both are seen as leaders. CHECK YOUR WORK! Grammar, punctuation and math mistakes can sink your career. If you are not good at required tasks or at being accurate, take classes to perfect your abilities.
57) Learn to run meetings. Create and stick to an agenda. Set time limits. Take notes and reiterate decisions made and time lines set. Determine strategies to ensure participants keep to the agenda/schedule.
58) Fake it until you make it. As a newbie, you can't know everything, but you can bring wisdom gained at college and in internships. People respect those who exude confidence, so learn your job, understand your company and research your new industry so that can become the sage for your age.    
59) Keep up your skills. Take training classes, learn from mentors, shadow other employees, join topical LinkedIn groups. Subscribe to topical e-newsletters and participate in relevant associations. 
60) Don't expect your first job to be your dream job. An imperfect position is a great way to learn what you don't want to do so that you'll have the clarity to pursue what you really want.

Learn to excel on the job ... doing so can help you Get a Job (or keep one!) -- Kathy

What first job tips did I leave off? Share them! 

Definitive Guide to Excelling in Your First Job
Download the printable version today!


Access and print the print version of this article -- The Definitive Guide to Excelling in Your First Job e-Book -- which includes -- 60 specific ways to excel in your first job out of school.

By Kathy Bernard -- Yours free for a special time only. Download the e-Book now


Look to us for expert services and support!

We provide training and services for job seekers, new grads and students including:

  • Expert resume creation / optimization
  • Expert LinkedIn profile creation / optimization
  • Career coaching
  • Job interview preparation
  • Group/class LinkedIn training 
  • Group/class career training (resumes, applying online, etc.)
  • Individual LinkedIn training
  • Recruiter reach services to connect top recruiters to you

To learn more or to get started, visit Services or contact Sue at 847-606-5160 or susanATwiseru.com


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