Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Putting Your Education to Work on Your Resume

by Nathaniel Davis
You can use your education on your resume to put you ahead of the competition. It doesn’t matter if you have a college degree or a GED; it is possible to showcase your education. Placement of your education is important in how you want to utilize it.
Where to Place Education
Depending on what you are trying to emphasize should dictate your placement
When highlighting your education, a good place is to list it in the “Objective” section as a career summary as well as list your certificates, degrees, and relevant training in the “Education.”
·         Experience should be the first thing a hiring manager sees if you have at least five or more years of experience that fulfills your goal. Education in the form of experience and accomplishments on your job are more interesting to hiring managers than your education.

·         Education should be the first thing seen if you recently graduated or have work experience less than five years. Changing careers and continuing you education to support the change should be listed first. Fields that are academic and or scientific focused sometimes look for education before experience.

Highlight educational credentials in the “Objective” and “Education” sections if you feel the need.
  • Current students or recent graduates should list their GPA only if it is not lower than a 3.0.
  • If your program is very challenging and unique, a lower GPA is acceptable to list.
  • For programs that do not utilize a 4.0 scale, it is important to list the scale as to avoid possible confusion.

The further you get in your career, the less important it becomes to list GPA and eventually removed.
  • Include academic honors to show you excelled in your program.
  • Give specific details such as type of program and what type of honor along with when achieved.

New Grads
Students and new grads with little related work experience should use the education section as the centerpiece of their resumes, showcasing academic achievements, extracurricular activities, special projects and related courses.
Degree Incomplete
  • Try not to list incomplete educational or abandoned programs. This gives the impression that you start things and don’t finish them.
  • If you feel the need to list incomplete or abandoned programs, then list the amount of credits completed or the study type began.

Experienced Job Seekers
If you are focusing more on experience than education, list the basic facts regarding your degree, including institution name, location, degree, major and date.
High School Information
High school or GED information is not necessary for inclusion if you have college credits and or a college degree or degrees.
Lack of Certain Educational Credentials

Just because you don’t have a degree or may be lacking certain education in reference to what HR is asking, then if you have participated in ongoing training, seminars, and courses creation of a “Professional Development” list in the Education section could satisfy the requirements.

Professional Development Highlights:
·         Global Marketplace Product Launch
·         E commerce Innovations
·         Selling the Vision of Change
·         Professional Management Program

Monday, November 3, 2014

Your Skills and Adding Them to Your Resume

by Nathaniel Davis
When compiling a resume, it is important to show your potential employer that you have the right skills for the job. The Skills section should showcase the skills that would be important to the position you are seeking. You should start by searching and reviewing postings that target the position that you are seeking. Record the frequently repeated skills and list them, as well as create a list of your skills that match for incorporation into your resume. Skills and acquisition of them are not limited to just employment, but can come from extracurricular activities and even self-study.

Three Types of Skills
·         Job-Related: These are relevant to a specific job.

·         Transferable: These are skills that are learned in one field and are transferable and applicable to different fields or jobs. Transferable skills can show how work with materials, data, and people. For example, you can show how you deal with actual things such as machine operation, or data such as research and dissemination of information, even how to manage and instruct people.

·         Adaptive: These skills are the hardest to substantiate as they include personality traits and characteristics that determine your style of work. Adaptive skills include reliability, ability to get along with colleagues, honesty and productivity.  

Adding Your Skills to Your Resume
For each skill, indicate your skill level and years of experience. It's important to describe your true skill level. Don’t consider yourself an expert unless you can substantiate your claim. At the same time don’t underplay your skill level which could be just as negative.
Here's a guideline for rating your skill level:
·         Beginner: A novice understanding of the skill. You have exposure to the skill and understand its basic concepts.
·         Intermediate:  You have experience with and can carry out the skill but don't understand its advanced concepts.
·         Expert: A highly developed skill level. You have solid experience and training with the skill and understand advanced concepts. You demonstrate proficiency and superior skill level.

Select 10 to 15 of your strongest, most desirable skills, because most employers scan for the most relevant and beneficial skills that can add to their organization. A short, targeted skills list will be more effective than one that's long and overwhelming.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cutting Costs Without Cutting Labor

By Nathaniel Davis
When it comes to companies saving money, the first go to is labor. What organizations don’t understand that when cutting labor in the short term, it can cost you in long term. So instead of cutting your labor force, there are other methods that can benefit your organization. I have listed a few decisions that can keep your labor force intact while saving money.
  1. Four-day Work Weeks
  2. Voluntary or Enforced Furloughs
  3. Unpaid Vacations
  4. Removal of Bonuses
  5. Wage Freezes
  6. Pension Reductions
  7. Flexible work schedules
  8. Reduction of Travel
  9. Reduced Office Supply Purchases
  10. Reduced Equipment Purchases

These are just a few measures that can minimize your organization’s costs while retaining good and skilled labor. Why would you want to get rid of “good” people who are “skilled” and add “value” to your organization? A few changes can go a long way while keeping your organization fully staffed and effectively functioning.
Nathaniel Davis is the Owner and CEO of SWIPE Consulting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How A Leader Deals With Moments OF Existential Crisis


Jay Myers didn't start his video conference technology company Interactive Solutions, Inc. in 1996 thinking it would be easy. But he also didn't imagine getting to the point a few years ago when he’d be reeling from so many crises that he’d be scared to turn off the lights at night in his bedroom.

A gloomy pattern had emerged for Myers. Hit the lights. Crawl under the sheets for a few hours’ sleep. The shuteye meant it’s much closer to a new day, when fresh chunks of sky would fall, and more bad news would land atop the pile he thought had already stretched him to his limit.
All at once, a handful of sales and customer service representatives at the Memphis-based company he founded resigned, which simultaneously threatened to vaporize a big piece of the company’s income if Myers didn't do something about it.
“You feel almost traumatized,” Myers says. “I was feeling kind of lost at first and had to gather myself. Thinking about this leadership-wise, though, the one thing we didn't do is we didn't panic.”
Also around that time, a technician at ISI went into the hospital for a liver transplant--and never left. While changing shirts so he could attend the funeral of a close friend, Myers got a call from one of his managers warning him the technician had taken a turn for the worse. He’d soon be attending two back-to-back funerals.
If that wasn't enough, doctors diagnosed Myers’s wife Maureen with breast cancer around the same time. In addition, the Great Recession was gearing up to tear a big hole in the balance sheets of companies like his.

"When is all this bad stuff going to end?" Myers remembers thinking. "How much can one person take?"
Uncertainty is part of a start up founder or small-business owner's career path. That uncertainty includes crises; everything from typical ups and downs to dangers more existential. This is when one wrong move--such as a big customer departure, or just a run of bad breaks like Myers experienced--can make it seem like an untimely end is in sight.

Entrepreneurs say these experiences have taught them a variety of lessons about leading in a crisis.
The departures en masse at ISI left Myers stuck with many challenges to grapple with, including how to replace several million dollars in annual sales revenue that had basically walked out the door.
His immediate battle plan: 
·         Don’t waste time
·         Reevaluate business strategy
·         Figure out what resources are on hand
·         Immediately get to work squeezing the most out of them.

Myers recalls ISI had hired some younger sales professionals, so the way forward partly involved giving them “a good pep talk and intense training,” and bringing them up to speed--fast.

“I grabbed some sales accounts, too,” he says. “I improvised. Engineers pitched in to fill the gaps. People can look at a crisis, and panic and fall apart. We said: ‘Let’s look at this as a clean slate.’”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Time Management

Time Management 101
by Nathaniel Davis
Here are some basic steps, which should give you a basic idea of what it takes to get you going:

  1. Define what you want out of life. Do this by listing your goals and values. What do you really want out of life? When you do this step thoroughly, you will notice a difference. You will also see that 90% of people have not completed this first essential step towards a more constructive life.
  2. Figure out some next steps towards your life goals. After that, start taking small steps towards them. If you define your goals tonight, you can start taking steps tomorrow. Even if these are fundamental steps, they do not have to take forever. You can always come back and revise your goals later.
  3. Take a firm control of your everyday tasks, and projects. This is a basic time management habit needed at your hectic workplaces today. Techniques of these sorts really represent "hands on" time management. Knowing that you have your tasks under control will also help you to stay calm. Stress won't catch you easily.
  4. Take control of your incoming paper flow (brochures, magazines, invoices, etc.). Also organize your existing papers and documents.
  5. Clean your desk at work, and keep it clean. It really benefits your time management.
  6. Transform your email software from a task overwhelming enemy, to an effective tool, which actually helps you keeping in control of things. You will find joy in an empty email inbox, once you learn how to do it.
  7. Start using your increased free time to develop yourself in new or lost areas of life. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Money Saving Ideas for Your Business

Money Saving Ideas for Your Business

By Nathaniel Davis
Paper Reduction
 Paperwork can quickly pile up and add unnecessary lead times in variety of areas. As you trace the paper trail, ask everyone who handles or creates a paper form the following questions:
·         What information do you add to the paperwork and why is it needed?
·         What information do you take from the paperwork and why do you need it?
·         Why is this paperwork important for you to perform your job?
If anybody answers, "Because it's always been done that way." it is almost certain that this area of the process is a prime candidate for reducing paperwork and streamlining the process. Also, if each piece of information cannot be justified, it should be eliminated from the form to reduce the amount of work necessary to process the paperwork.
Filing and Storage
File cabinets and storage boxes take up valuable office space. Use a document management system to archive paperwork for long term storage and retrieval to free-up the office space that is being occupied by paper storage.
Saving money on cell phone business usage can be quick and easy. Competition in the general cell phone market is fierce. This is even more so for business cell phone customers. You can take advantage of the current marketplace and save money on cell phone usage in your business.
Empower Employees
Employees on the frontline and in the trenches know their jobs better than anyone else. The best employees have been with the company a long time and know the processes and decisions inside out. Look for areas where supervisors and managers are involved in day-to-day operations of the business and these will be the most common areas that can benefit from empowering employees.
B2B with Customers, Suppliers and Partners
Business to business (B2B) communications (also called e-commerce) goes way beyond just having a storefront on your web page. Having the ability to share electronic information automatically will determine which businesses thrive and which ones struggle keep afloat. Benefits include:
·         Better customer service
·         Increased sales
·         Reduced inventory
·         Capital savings
·         Improved cash flow
·         Reduced lead times
Consolidate Software
Do you have one piece of software for order entry? Another for accounting? Another for inventory control? Do you employ somebody to key the data from one system into another system? A "yes" answer to any of these questions indicates that you could need an integrated software platform. There are a variety of packages available today that can meet the needs of small companies as well as the large ones.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

10 Essential Things You Need to Know about Running a Successful Business

by Nathaniel Davis

  1. Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. 
Too often, people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful, rather than one that is already proven to have a market.

Instead of creating and selling a new sports shoe with the latest trendy design and materials, you'd be much better off from a business perspective to focus on shoe category generally (a proven category because which people buy shoes every day) and then focus more specifically on the niche of high performance sports shoes, (which you may even sell in a section of a shoe retail outlet). Better to have a small slice of a large category than a large slice of no market at all.

  1. Get cash flowing ASAP 
Cash flow is the lifeblood of business, and is absolutely essential to feed bottom-line profits. So you need to find ways to jump start cash flow immediately.

How do you do that? In a professional services business, you can ask for deposits on work up-front, with balances due on delivery.

You can do the same in retail, especially on high-ticket or specialty item and position it as an added value and a way to insure delivery by a specific date.

You can also add value to generic items by creating private labels, and develop continuity programs where customers pay an up-front monthly fee to insure delivery or availability of items they will buy on a repeat basis. Of course, the key is to make sure there is little or no gap between when you pay for labor, stock inventory and when you actually get paid. Ideally, you'll find ways to get money up front, and your cash gap will never be an issue.

  1. Always find new ways to keep costs low. 
All the cash flow in the world is worthless if it's not positive cash flow, which means you have to bring in more cash than you pay out.

To do this, you need to keep your costs and expenses low. We've
touched on this before, especially in terms of outfitting a startup. The main idea is to never pay retail, and look for used or gently used items to furnish your office or your retail space.

Paying vendors up front also gives you leverage for negotiating better prices. Especially in this economic environment, where credit is at a premium, vendors are more willing than ever to find creative ways to finance transactions, and that is a trend will likely continue over time.

So do some extra work and research now to discover how owners and vendors are finding ways to work out deals, and you just may hit on whole new ways of doing business.

  1. When planning, always overestimate expenses and underestimate revenues
    Being conservative in your numbers doesn't mean you are willing to accept those numbers, it just means you are arming yourself with information you can work with and work over. It means you can gauge the kinds of efforts and activities you will need to put into sales and marketing.
  2. Focus on sales and marketing manically. 
In business, nothing happens until a sale is made. From the jump, you'll need to find a good way to get leads, convert leads into sales, and make sure you keep getting repeat sales from your customers.

The way to do this is to find or create a marketing and sales funnel system that you can work, test, measure; one that anyone in your company can utilize.

Too many entrepreneurs focus on getting their brand right before they start to generate leads. That is exactly the wrong way to go about business. Leads are always more important than your brand, so don't waste money getting your brand right at the expense of spending that same money to buy new customers.

Soon, you'll discover you can build your brand from the ground up, versus spending years and hundreds of thousands of dollars building it from the top down. Don't presume you'll even survive that long, because without leads, you won't!

  1. Find ways to exponentially increase profits. 
In business, there are five drivers that impact profits. If you can master them while keeping your costs in check, you will run a successful business.

It's as simple as getting more leads, converting more leads into customers, increasing the number of times those customers buy from you, increasing the average price point of your sales and increasing your profit margins.

Do any one of those, while also keeping costs down, you will see more profits. Do all of them and you will see your business really take off.
  1. Test and measure everything. You can't change what you don't measure, and you can't tell if a program or strategy is working if you are not faithfully testing, measuring and tracking your results.

    Another way to look at this is to think in terms of doctors. Most like to get baseline stats of your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing before they delve into identifying symptoms or recommending corrective courses of action.

    The same is true in your business. Why keep literally throwing money away on an ad campaign that costs thousands of dollars but doesn't bring any people through the door?

  1. Accept that learning more equals earning more.
 If you've never run a million dollar business, you don't know how to start a business--simple as that.

But you can learn to run one, even if it is your million dollar business you are building from the ground up.

However, you need to accept right now that learning always comes before "earning" (except in the dictionary). You'll need to be committed to learning as much as you can about sales and marketing and operations if you want to have a truly success business.

Once you do that, however, the sky is the limit. Knowing and applying those simple fundamentals in a highly leveraged way is one of the reasons many top executives and entrepreneurs earn so much.

Identify those areas and you then can decide to learn it yourself or hire an expert and learn as much as you can from that person--because you never know when you can run across a distinction in thinking or a strategy that can really take you and your business to a new level of success.
  1. Don't discount, add value. 
Whenever you discount, you are taking money directly out of your pocket and directly from your bottom-line profit. So don't do it. Instead, create added value propositions all the way up and down your product or service line.

Whatever the industry is, look to hold your price points, increase your margins with the low-cost or no-cost extras and any kind of premium offerings.

In the end, those little things won't cost you a lot, but will build up tremendous goodwill and word-of-mouth with your customers and customer base.
  1. Get a consultant. 
Even if you don't get a consultant at first to help you and guide you in your planning and operation, get someone who is objective and outside of your business you can rely on for “honest” business advice and to hold you accountable for getting results.

Too often, we think we have all the answers and are the only people who can really get things done. The reality is that another set of eyes can work wonders for how you operate both on and in your business. An outsider can also make sure you are getting the numbers you need both on the top line and the bottom line to survive.

Use this as a checklist to make sure your thinking and your business plan are on the right track, or if you need to get more information, strategic education or clarity for yourself on your overall vision, your market, or your product or service.
I hope this initial checklist will be valuable in helping you clarify your thinking and helping you prioritize some activities in your planning and start up mode.
There are no mysteries in business or in life, there's just information you don't know yet.
Armed with the right strategies up front, you can cut the time it will take you successfully get to your ultimate destination--wherever it is that may be for you and your business.