Writing Samples

Below are pieces of text written by me for various outlets. One is from an unpublished memoir, and the other are articles written for LinkedIn.
Unpublished Memoir
Chapter 1 Sample
“One hundred. Two hundred. Two-fifty.  Thank you for your patience, Mrs. Kyle.  I apologize for the delay in getting your washer and dryer delivered.  If you have any other questions, give me a call personally.  My number is on the receipt.”
It was an extremely colorful day.  The sky was bright blue, the grass was green, and the words coming out of these customers’ mouths were as dirty as the local golden arches.  The day was almost over, about 9:52 pm and only half the store has even attempted to start closing up their department.  Looking at my cell phone, a message appears; “How are the numbers?”
A typical day isn’t very typical at all.  Working in retail isn’t anything of a normal job.  From demanding customers to overly demanding higher management.  From not so flexible hours to taking the heat from a customer for the company ‘screwing them over’; nothing from my abnormal working weeks were typical.  However, what was typical, the sigh I would relieve while looking at my phone and seeing the time inch closer to closing. 
It was apparent my day wasn’t over just yet.  It was the 5-minute countdown until doors would officially close. Storming through the TV department, I listen to a young lady, maybe 23 or 24, smooth voice, sounding calm but noticeably frustrated, saying something through our walkie-talkie.  The Company had adopted an ingenious idea of giving all our stores walkie-talkies with earpieces to communicate. This was instituted so there weren’t any disrupting customer interactions throughout the stores via its older telecom system, which could be heard by everyone through the in-wall speakers around the stores.  You know, the ones you hear shouting “Clean up in isle 4”, in a condescending old lady voice. A lot of retail companies used this practice of walkie-talkies and our Company was just another stat for the walkie-talkie manufacturing plant.    
“Jason, this customer wants to talk to you.” Looking at my cell phone again, it’s 1 minute until closing and I have to deal with a customer who probably needs to vent their anger about the Company.  Asking what the matter was over the walkie, I can sense that this wasn’t going to be an easygoing night.  “She wants to return a laptop and doesn’t want to pay the restocking fee.”  Disgusted at the visual sight I imagined, I hear once more over the walkie, “I told her she has to, and she’s getting pissed and asked for the manager.”  Great.  I love those lines.  It’s the lines every manager wants to hear.  If you haven’t heard those lines, you didn’t work in retail.  “… Wants a refund …” and “… asked for the manager …”. 
I’m about 100 feet diagonal from customer service, standing in the television department.  The customer is irate.  I look back at my phone, 10:01 pm, ugh, I need this day to end, and the only way to do that is to see this customer.  At every step I make, I feel like I’m warping into slow motion.  Each step taking a minute to complete the stride, hundreds of thoughts rushing through my head – none of which pertained to this situation at hand.  I can’t forget to put that cheap laptop aside for a customer for tomorrow morning.  Did I lock the trash compactor in the warehouse?  Who was the one who called out for tomorrow afternoon’s shift?  None had anything to do with the apparent customer I am about to hear from.  It would be a simple, routine visit to the customer.  I say hi, offer my apologies, explain the policies we have to enforce and listen to the customer bitch for a few minutes.  All the while, explaining the policies again and handing them a card that has the corporate number on it to call in the morning.  Sometimes it’s easy; customers can be deceived very easily if worded correctly. Sometimes it’s extremely frustrating, unfortunately, however, never when it’s convenient for me.  Walking up with a smile, the angered customer doesn’t give a smile back, instead, shoves me a receipt demanding I give her back the money she paid for the laptop.  The laptop is a pretty decent model, good specifications, and great price; overall it was a good buy for anyone starting out or needed a second computer.  Before looking at it extensively, I ask why she was returning the laptop.  Maybe there was a defection?  Could it be there was a problem with the laptop out of the box?  I thought out a few good possibilities as to why she was returning the gorgeous looking computer with a very sturdy case and sleek special edition style that came with a three-year warranty.  No, it wasn’t defective.  “I was told it had the Internet on it and it isn’t on there!”  She proclaimed. This woman was around 6’5, 270-280 pounds.  She was one tough momma.  If I was anywhere but confined in a spaced filled with active cameras, I probably would be on the ground – either dead or begging for mercy.    I knew that if I gave her the answer she didn’t want to hear, I wouldn’t be closing the store anytime soon.  
20 years of IT experience, and 5+ years of retail experience; add in a degree in web design, and multiple specialty areas in CE and IT, I wake up confident every morning with a pretty good understanding of what is on computers nowadays.  I’m sure there was a misunderstanding.  Either that or the customer is just plain stupid and is extremely dumb when it comes to computers.  I like to think compassionately and provide the best belief in my customers, so it could have been a misunderstanding for sure.  To answer her idiotic statement on not having the Internet on the computer could easily be assisted in under a minute to any normal human being.  Explaining, “where the internet is” to this lady could take more than I want to give, however.  “Every computer comes with a wireless card so you can get the Internet anywhere there is an access point or hot spot.  You just need to find a place that has access currently.”  It was a simple answer.  Nothing more and nothing less of an answer I knew was the correct one.  She fired back, “I was told I can get the Internet anywhere.  And that is what I expect.  So either you give me the Internet anywhere, or I want my money back!”   It’s hard to explain to someone, especially ones who doesn’t want to listen to you, how wireless Internet works, but I knew it wasn’t any use trying. 
I immediately tried to assess for any damage.  She looks at me, with her face molding into a picture like a parent finding out their child is smoking crack for the first time.  “What are you doing?  I want my money back!”  I tried to explain that I needed to look over the laptop before I make any returns.  But as soon as the words were coming out of my mouth, she insisted I get my manager.  Ah, the comical I want to see your manager line.  I am the only one here I exclaimed, and I am the manager.  As if I was lying to keep my “bully-type attitude” here and to no one else, she insists I get my manager.  I ignored her requests. I deemed the computer in returnable condition, not a button or inch of the screen was smeared with fingerprint grease.  I looked at the time again, 10:12 pm. 
I realized this wasn’t the time to make an issue, so I chose to surrender and allow the return.  However not looking at the receipt beforehand, provided with a much bigger issue currently.  The first problem was the laptop being purchased at another store.  It was purchased in a store a little over 15 miles away.  This would mean, we didn’t provide the customer with the wrong information, nor misinformed her.  She was told she would be able to get the Internet, presumably to research sumo wrestling or something similar, and she would be happy from day one.  Unfortunately, I had no control over what another associate from another store had mentioned to her.  Maybe they were also terrified by her attitude.  Maybe she had this vision of the wonder laptop that did whatever she commanded.  The latter wouldn’t surprise me.  Either way, I couldn’t just say it wasn’t our fault, but the words that came out of my mouth did it for me.  “You mean to tell me you won’t make the return because I purchased it at another store?  Don’t you all work the same way?”  I couldn’t defend that point.  We have over six hundred stores nationwide and some now being opened internationally.  We all use the same systems and have the same control over sales and returns.  She made sense, obvious sense, and I knew she was going to go that route.  I tried to defend my point, “The fact is, my store didn’t make any wrong statement to you regarding your purchase.  In fact, none of my associates other than customer service has ever said a word to you.  I don’t blame you for your worries, but if there was a problem, I would think you would want to talk to the actual people you spoke to.”  I let out a small breath of air, knowing I was right, and while she may have been right as well, it wasn’t right for her to accuse us of making her experience horrible, to begin with.  
She had a friend.  The friend didn’t like my apparent attitude so she reached in her bag for something.  I was hoping it would be a 9-caliber pistol since that could have been easier to deal with than the current situation.  No, it was a cookie cutter shaped Company logo business card almost every associate had specially made for them.  It had a fellow’s name on it.  “Give him a call,” the friend mentions in a light, soothing voice.  Her friend, about 5’8, 200 lbs, was built by God with pure muscle.  I can tell both of these ladies weren’t the ones you wanted to deal with on a Friday night while winning at billiards. 
“I can’t give them a call”, I said while looking directly at the friend’s huge tattoo of a purple butterfly on her left shoulder.   “The store has already closed, and so have we.”  Frustrated and determined, there was no sign of her letting up.  I noticed her name on the receipt, which is printed when a loyalty card member uses to make a purchase. The big momma, named “Tamina”, says all she wants is just a refund.  “Alright, ” I say, trying to calm down.  “However I can’t and won’t refund 15% for the restocking fee”.  Her eyes opened wide, and her friends’ even wider.  It was like the Chicago Cubs actually won the World Series. She wasn’t confused, just shocked I had told her flat out no that I wouldn’t be giving her the entire $950 + tax back.  After 5 minutes of going back and forth, she knew she wasn’t winning any longer and had already made the decision to complain to someone other than me.  I thought maybe she wouldn’t actually be good at billiards or poker after all.  She finally agreed to the refund minus the 15% restocking fee.  But then I had looked at the receipt for a final time.  
Stories usually end up working out similarly.  An issue arises, the manager is called, we try to calm the situation, a situation is compromised, then a bigger issue punches you in the face when you think you have all in order.  This one was sure to please.  “You will be receiving a check in your mail in the next 4-6 weeks.”  I began to think I was in a cartoon because I’ve never actually seen smoke come out of anyone’s ears before.  The young customer service rep and also a computer technician heard my statement and both bolted at least 30 feet from where the customer and I were.  They knew Tamina was going to explode.  “Why in the hell would you not put the money back where I originally paid!”  To answer this question, I only directed her to the return policy board, which was about 6 feet by 6 feet large behind the customer service counter.  It was a routine issue with almost 10 customers a day.  Retail loves to screw a customer, but legally.  In this case, it was a legit policy, and we weren’t screwing the customer.
The Company has a policy that paying for anything via debit card will be refunded back to the debit card or a gift card.  However, that only applies to purchases under $250.  Unfortunately, Tamina didn’t read the back of the receipt, interestingly, a recurring theme with customers and the controversial tricky schemes of retailers.  “No one told me that! What am I supposed to do now?”  I defended my employer and stuck to the policies that were on the board.  I never really understood some of the policies on the board, and a few were down right outrageous, but it’s my job to stick by them, no matter what it took. 
She stuttered for a few minutes, knowing there was no use yelling to just a messenger, even if I was the manager.  After many precious minutes, and many angry words later, some darker than shooting a video with the cap still on, she decided to finally give up.  “Just give me back my laptop and I will call your owner tomorrow.”  I wanted to laugh, but I just stared. You will be making a lot of phone calls, I thought to myself.  We were a public company, with many, many owners.  In fact, with every shareholder in the company, you would probably end up in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most minutes used on a cell phone.  “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer and the media on this one. “ She then fired another bullet, “I will make sure you are fired for this!”  I wished for the real 9-caliber bullet though.  It isn’t rare I get those comments.  They don’t hurt my feelings and certainly don’t make me fear my job or the customers.  I stick to my company, in return, hoping they return the favor one day for me.  Unfortunately, the theory took 6 years to realize that favors are never returned.
After she left, I turned to my phone, 10:30 PM and the store was still a mess.  While watching her leave, I turn around, looking straight at the receipt Tamina had left behind her on the counter.  I knew this night wasn’t going to turn out the way I planned.  But then again, in retail, it never does.
I asked for 5 minutes, was given the best advice ever.
Written for a LinkedIn Pulse Article & Featured in: Best Advice - Published on January 6, 2015
Over 8,200 views and 600+ various forms of engagement.
I can't say enough about how grateful I am for the people I interact with each and every day. Not just the people I work with and for, but those I say hi to, the ones who ask for advice, and those who spend just a few minutes every so often to just talk business.
But sometimes it can be difficult for you to actually do the asking and get authentic feedback. I have asked numerous individuals for advice on my advancement, and often get generic "You are great" or "Just keep pushing" responses. I set out for the best advice I could get and I couldn't believe what I got in return.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and write a thirteen hundred word essay on myself for a very prestigious leadership program my work offers. It's an annual program, but one that lasts for three years and you graduate with such distinction on your resume. I've heard from executive leadership that other fortune 100 companies research the program to learn how the company develops highly skilled and educated leaders of the future. I couldn't wait to join in the opportunity and start the application process.
Because of the prestigious level, the demand and number of applications were always in the high figures. The process of selecting, interviewing, and hiring often took three to four months. As an applicant, I'm given about three months to work on the application. I knew if I could be one of the lucky ones selected for an interview, I had a pretty good shot of making the team. So in order for my application to be selected, I knew I needed to solicit advice from a mentor.
Choosing this special person is not easy. In fact, it often takes courage and shows the true commitment if you can ask one to be your mentor. The same work commitment goes for the mentor. I realized the engagement needed to be high on both ends of the table. This couldn't be a "here's some advice, come back if you need me" sort of relationship. At the time, however, I didn't realize it meant much more.
I reached out to the one person I was inspired by for a few years since I started working for my current employer. His busy schedule was important to him and each day meant time, money, and work that had to be completed. At first, I hesitated to ask, however, I knew if I did, I could gain at least some advice for my application. All I could hope for was a little "this needs to be changed" or "I advise adding these few phrases". Nothing proved me more wrong.
The fact of the matter was that I had to either ask this person to be a mentor or go home not trying; and never would I ever back down from my own challenge.
We spent no more than a minute when I went right to business. "I would like to ask for a few minutes of your time". I looked at the clock, saw that it was about 10 minutes before his scheduled appointment he mentioned he would be attending. I will give you 5, he replies. I started to hurry my pitch and tell him the leadership program and the details. He stopped me halfway. "Let us meet up tomorrow and discuss this further". I started to feel aggravated and for a moment, lost the desire to pursue any further.
The next day we sat for close to sixty minutes. He explained that his passion is to dedicate one hundred percent to his peers and his employees. As a senior manager, he strives to take the time and understand every employee he interacts with. He interrupted me yesterday in order for me not to feel rushed.
His final words of the meeting that day made me understand more about leadership than all my years in college. "Your actions are depended on every minute, every hour, every day, every week, month, year and decade you put into it. Never rush to compensate. If you take your time and listen, you will learn so much more than you ever imagined".
He ended up taking not just a few minutes out of his day, but for the next sixty days, he advised me throughout my entire application process. I learned a very valuable lesson those couple of months. There is nothing like listening, teaching, understanding, and providing advice to another person. The rewards are overwhelming when you can provide value for someone to learn. His aspiration to inspire me is the one advice I could never forget. It is the one lesson every leader will ever need to be successful.
To this day, I spend my days motivating others, because I aspire to inspire. A leader or not, I hope you follow this path as well.

How do you feel about today's story? What motivates you as a leader? If you aren't a leader/manager/owner/executive, what drives you each day to do your very best?
Young entrepreneurs are finding ways to give back through video games
Published on February 28, 2015
Written for a LinkedIn Pulse Article & Featured in: Social Impact
There is always a need to celebrate charitable events. Charities are important to our social life, as it brings psychological and emotional well-being. The benefit, usually a get-together, beef and beer, sporting event, or countless others, generate a band of togetherness to help a cause in need.
2 years ago, Chris Dace had an idea. Chris is an aspiring writer and podcast host of "The Dace Man Show". Their shows generate thousands of listeners/viewers on YouTube. Chris and his friends from "Fanboys Anonymous", an entertainment website about "all things geek culture", had an urge to play video games non-stop and film it for the world to see. So they decided to host a 24-hour video game marathon with all proceeds going directly to charity. It's an amazing ordeal, which Chris says makes him feel good knowing he can provide back to the community while doing something he loves to do.
The charitable donations for this year's event, which began in January of 2015 has generated interest from contributors around the world. Contributions extend from the US to England and Canada. Chris adds, "It's amazing the amount of excitement and collaboration from people all over the world coming together for a cause and to have fun in the process".
The lineup for a 24-hour marathon of video gaming involves multiple shows and different games being played. The event will be streamed live on Twitch and the Fanboys Anonymous website. Retro, classics, current favorites, and games from multiple platforms will be played by anyone who is willing to stop by and play.
Last year's event was a huge success and donations were sent to St. Jude Children Research Hospital. This year, all proceeds will be sent to Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania. 

Chris explains, "We chose this charity because Young Audiences' mission is to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts".
It all starts today, Saturday, February 28th, at approximately 12 PM noon EST until March 1st at noon. You can donate to the cause during the entire event online at Fanboys Anonymous through Crowdrise, a reputable charitable cause organization and fundraising site. Prizes such as gift cards and sporting event tickets will be given out for contributors throughout the 24-hour event.
The future is bright for Chris and Fanboys Anonymous who are developing next year's annual tradition with hopes to incorporate a music/concert-type festival with local artists to the mix for a larger charity event. "Connecting people together is important to our society, so is giving back to the organizations and people who need it the most. We hope to inspire a large gathering in future years and build a great festival for all things fun".
While their goal is to raise $1,500, they are hoping to provide as much entertainment and the most money to the Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania. You can find the 'Young Audiences' organization through their website at www.yanj-yaep.org
3 Creative Alternatives to the Traditional Resume in 2016
Written for a LinkedIn Pulse Article - Published on July 26, 2016
There is nothing like a well-oiled resume.  Highlighted with years of experience, skills, and education, your resume can describe more about you than what words are written.  
But it's 2016, and it's time for a change in perception.  The resume is like your self-portrait.  Its' painting is marvelous and detailed, yet presented in such a small frame.  Your painting highlights all the spectacular intricacies, yet hides the smallest defects. 
In 2016, could your resume be ready for an inspiring change?  Can you stand out and creatively present your self-image?  Let's visit 3 unique alternatives to the traditional resume. 
The Infographic Portfolio
Creative jobs require creative presentations.  But this requirement shouldn't be limited to specific careers.  Presenting yourself in a unique way can be telling in a leadership role or a more competitive environment.  
The infographic portfolio is filled with stats, intricate details, gratifying creative juices that showcase how much you want that job. 
The Media Copy
Applying for a media position?  How about a magazine/newspaper publishing company, television or network production company?  In these industries, standing out is important, and the competitive landscape demands your detailed creative side.  But even if you are creative, how can you prove that to a fast-paced company?  
A resume resembling the specific media company can tell your potential employer that you know their brand, their product, and what kind of creativity you have matching the brand's interests.  
The unique magazine cover, video commercial, newspaper advertisement, all of these are essential for an artist's portfolio if you were applying for a creative job. However, even if you show your creative side for a leadership career with the company, you can tell a much larger story of your passion for the company you want to work for.   
The Self Promotion Headline
There are more companies looking for that 1 line headline to describe you.  The quick 5-second glance to sell you as their number one candidate.  To achieve this, an Executive Summary is almost crucial to your CV/Resume.  But sometimes, a headline is all you need to grab their attention.  Big, bold, and colorful.  If you can present that 1 liner in a creative way, you might get that much-anticipated call.  

In all resumes, it's about highlighting your strengths and skills.  In many cases, you will still need a word documented traditional resume, especially for those employers who use computer software to pick out keywords.  But if you can present both styles of resumes, that showcase your experience and creative side, you might have that "leg-up" on the competition.  

Do you have a creative resume you'd like to share?  In what ways have you presented your unique talents?  If you are in HR or a recruiter, what do these creative resumes mean to you?  Share your comments below.  
7 LinkedIn habits to win 2015 for your professional career
Written for a LinkedIn Pulse Article & Featured in: LinkedIn Tips - Published on December 28, 2014

By January 1st, 2015, there will be over 300 million profiles on the social media site, LinkedIn. Over 90% will have been a free account and no more than 50% of each individual profile will be completed. It’s been justified that having an updated profile, completed, and invested into will attract more search results and become more network-attractable.
In prior years, Facebook and Twitter had dominated the business platform for young business professionals looking to gain traction and marketability. In 2014, LinkedIn made a drastic change on their home page and layout that appealed to the user’s attention and continued connections with fellow LinkedIn professionals. With this upgrade, users will find themselves using LinkedIn more so than ever; so much so, the company is fighting real completion with Facebook and Twitter for the professional market share of brand and professional awareness.
But for you, the business professional, 2015 will serve as the most important year for social networking on an individual branding level. Studies have shown that over 90 percent of recruiters have searched LinkedIn first before any other social site when recruiting. So what happens when you don’t have a professional profile? Recruiters will trickle their search efforts to other social sites in order to garner insight on an applicant. This means your personal Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and possibly your colorful Instagram profile are all vulnerable to first impressions.
But 2015 will certainly be different, right? You will have that much favorable LinkedIn profile set up with connections and a resume for those to review. You have done your job and you can relax. Think again! Your professional career is ever evolving and so should your profile. These are the top 7 must have habits on LinkedIn for the New Year in order to gain an advantage for your professional career.
Update your LinkedIn profile picture at least twice a year
Many times I've searched former colleagues, professors, or peers in college. Their photo shows me a lot about their professionalism and business nature even before I look at their profile. Are they a manager, entrepreneur, student, or still a frat brother after 6 years removed from college? The picture characterizes you in many ways, yet many LinkedIn users use the same photo from their personal Twitter or Facebook profile as their professional representation.
The LinkedIn profile picture should be a generic view of which you are, with the focus on you, not your surroundings. Such pictures that show the beach or your biggest fish catch is not one that should be highlighted. And don’t even think about leaving that wedding photo of you up online. Even if that is your only picture of you in a suit, it’s not acceptable.
I've connected with many peers who I worked with and they sport their job’s uniform from the company they worked for. When I looked at their profile, I see they left the company years prior. Misrepresenting yourself is not only unprofessional but signals a lack of maintenance.
If you are looking to aggressively connect and network to increase your personal brand in 2015, you must update your profile picture. Also, every time you update your picture, a news feed item is sent to all your connections. This is a great way to get re-introduced to connections you might not have reached out to in a while and get noticed again.
Join groups and actively participate
Groups bring knowledge and insight to your profession. If you are a programmer, joining SDK groups, for example, can develop personal relationships and aide in your projects or portfolio. Some groups teach some offer advice, and some connect those who are destined to work together. When you join a group, you have the ability to reach a wider connection of people who enjoy similar industries and possess those same traits as you.
More importantly, groups allow you to engage in activity and activity gets you noticed. The more you participate, the more your connection’s newsfeed will show that. A great way to market yourself is to show you are involved in the subject areas most passionate between everyone.
Signup for a Premium account
The old saying goes, “You won’t get what you don’t put into it”, and these next two are most important for your branding in 2015. First, step up your account to premium and make a difference. Now, I’m not saying everyone must go Premium, especially if your intent is just to network. However, this year was different you said, right? You wanted to market yourself as a true business professional. Thus, if you are making that difference in your social self, so should the effort in building your profile.
Simply, there are a few varieties of premium accounts, which you can review with a quick Google search or here. And while they cater to a particular segment, they all have one thing in common, they enhance your credibility. Put it this way, you can dress yourself two different ways, with a suit (or dress) or something else. Which do you choose when trying to impress professionally? The same goes with the account. Anyone can sign up for a free account; however, those who are interested in pursuing the next step in their networking strategy need to up the stakes.
Besides being more searchable and a larger photo to become more attractable in searches, you also are provided with inMail, the LinkedIn private messaging, which allows you to break the ice with a prior colleague, manager or future employer (if done right!). But most importantly, becoming a premium member distinguishes you as someone who is dedicated to their future career and who is willing to take extra steps to become marketable.
Complete your profile and maintain it regularly
The first impression is everything, and now, first impressions are done more online than in person. If your profile is outdated, unrelated to your resume, and shows more of your hobbies than your abilities, you stand the chance of losing prospective employers. Show them you care about your online status, and proudly represent what and who you are.
LinkedIn provides a status bubble that keeps track of how far your profile is to being completed. Take your time and fill it out. LinkedIn will also provide questions to you, guiding you on your quest to becoming an all-star profile champion. Don’t get flustered with the amount of information you need to complete your profile. Over time, you will add and update your summary, skills, classes, and certifications, and LinkedIn will help with each step.
Completed profiles are similar to a completed resume. You wouldn’t submit a resume that doesn’t include your latest skills, certifications, or job roles, would you? This year, make sure your profile showcases everything about you. And unlike a resume, add as much as you want. Make sure you mention every ability, the project worked on, class taken, and job. The more you include, the bigger your profile represents you.
Lastly, don’t forget to include pictures, video, journal writing, anything you have done in the past that is a visual indication of your skillset. The profile isn’t all about reading but also seeing what you actually have done. Bring that ego out and have a little fun!
Build your connections
The more people you connect with, the more people you can learn from. This has never been truer. Building your connections is like building your business card Rolodex. You want to engage in people’s professional lives, and help develop your personal social network. And when it comes time to writing your posts (see number 6), you become a knowledgeable reference for those who need you, thus becoming a valuable resource.
Your connections also allow for references and recommendations to meet new people. Working at a retail company for many years allowed me to network with so many people. When I turned to LinkedIn to advance my career, I noticed my peers and colleagues had additional connections that I wanted to network with. It made it much easier to ask for recommendations and referrals to connect because of our mutual connection. This one step will undoubtedly set you apart from the rest of LinkedIn newbies for 2015.
Write a post (or more) that you are most passionate about
Once you have a great looking profile, updated to premium, connected with many new faces and engaged in groups, now is the time to start truly branding yourself. What sets you ahead of the others in your industry? How are you better than the rest of applicants who the recruiter looks at daily when comparing similar applicants? The answer is writing posts. Engaging in topics on LinkedIn will transform a simple professional profile into a living individual brand. Much like the groups, posts engage readers in new found knowledge or insights that attract continued interest. Readers will then want to learn more about you or ask you questions directly. The more you write, the more traction you have with the LinkedIn world.
Writing posts could easily be something that is on your mind or something you experience regularly at your work. Your insights could and should benefit the reader, providing something different about the subject. The easiest way to start a post is just to click “Write a new post”, however, you could blog a post on your own website and link directly on your news feed. Doing this might not get as many viewers since posts get shown more than status items and statuses are only shown to your connections, whereas posts can be shown to the entire LinkedIn public world.
But sit; take the time to engage in a post or two. You will be surprised as to what you have to say can be interesting to someone reading. Reading inspires, motivates, and provides prosperity. Posts don’t have to be long or show any real deep diving studies, but these do help. Writing about a subject also brings out personal interest and learning. The more you write, the more you will learn.
Also, through a marketing side of things, the more you write, the more your name is showcased across many people in the public LinkedIn world. And since you are reading this article because you want to enhance your professional self in 2015, this should be a must habit to have this year.
Engage in your connection’s posts
Lastly, while writing posts and actively engaging in groups will help get you noticed, no one likes to have that connection that just spams their business throughout their entire news feed. Engage in others posts, comments, and work. They put just as much time and effort in as you did, and they should be rewarded like you have been. Also, like mentioned earlier, the more you write, the more you learn. So does reading and commenting.
When you comment, don’t just add a “Yes”, or “I agree”. Add meaningful arguments or discussions that add to the post. It is okay to disagree but provide a valid argument. Don’t just spam a comment for the sake of getting your name out there, let there be a reason for the comment.
2015 will showcase some of the best talents through LinkedIn. Employers will use LinkedIn more than any other social site for their recruiting practices. Get noticed, show off your skills, network and connect with others like you, and build your personal brand. Without these practices, you will become just another user. With them, you will step above and beyond the rest of the pack and get noticed amongst the best and brightest. Will you make that step?

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