What Your Resume Should Include (and What it Shouldn’t)

What Your Resume Should Include (and What it Shouldn’t)

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with some clients to spice up their resumes. That got us thinking. When an employer looks at resumes, what causes one go into the yes pile, while others go into the no? In order to answer this question, we did a little research and reached out to employers from South Dakota, to Minnesota, to Ohio. These employers gave some general advice, and some advice specifically for ministry related jobs. Here’s what they said below:

CONTENT:

  • Highlight what you’ve done. Don’t just regurgitate your job description. How have you excelled at it? Maybe you’ve found a way for your organization to save money by switching suppliers. Say that. Don’t just put, “Ordered supplies,” but rather, “Saved the organization 20% on paper by switching to Dunder Mifflin.” If you were a employer, who would you want to hire?
  • While education is important, people care a lot more about what you’ve done than what you’ve learned. Unless you have little to no work experience, keep your degrees for the end of your resume. Employers across the board wanted to know what you would do in the position, how you will advance the organization, not just what you’ve learned. Show them what you’ve done in your past or current positions so they know that you will do great things for them in the future.
  • Follow the application instructions and if possible, go above and beyond. One employer specifically mentioned a major job posting site. Candidates have the opportunity to fill out a profile and upload their resume as a PDF. However, some seekers simply used a cut and paste feature and put their resume info into a box instead of uploading it. This meant that the employer had to format resumes, which didn’t always happen. Follow the directions thoroughly.
  • When in doubt (or if not otherwise noted), use a PDF format! Not every computer has Microsoft Word and not everyone uses Google Docs. PDF is a universal format that all computers can read. Neglecting to do this may mean that your resume doesn’t get seen.
  • Longevity and stats do matter (even in the ministry). Jumping jobs year after year, or simply completing your job’s minimum requirements doesn’t make you stand out as a candidate. If you want your dream job, you’ve got to put in the time and the work.
  • Use action verbs. Did you write a policy or did you spearhead the creation and implementation of it? One sounds a lot stronger than the other. Of course, be honest. However,  through our research we found that people went one of two ways. Either they embellished their accomplishments with action verbs, or they didn’t give themselves enough credit. Take an honest look at what you did and use words that match that.  By the way, here’s a great list of verbs to get you started.
  • And finally… it’s probably a good idea to make changes to your resume for each job you are applying for. Canvassing employers with a generic resume will probably land yours in the trash.

DESIGN

  • Use PDF if no other format is specified. (Do you see a theme here?)
  • Consider sticking to black and white. While color can give it a nice pop (and is expected in some fields), some employers print resumes. Churches are especially known to do this since they are often distributing resumes to several committee members. Chances are, they aren’t going to print it in color. Black and white (or grayscale) is always a safe bet.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. You may have an employer who doesn’t care if you have a typo, but do you really want to chance it?
  • Keep it clean, use easy to read fonts and do not make your font so small that someone can’t read it. (We’ve all been tempted to do this so that we can fit as much as possible in thanks to our last piece of advice).
  • Last, stick to two pages. Your resume shouldn’t be more than two pages long. That means you may have to condense or cut things, but if you were looking at 20-30 resumes at a time, you probably aren’t going to flip through ten pages.

Hopefully, our research will give you a leg up on your job hunt and help you get an interview. Here’s to landing your dream job!

Do you have any job hunting tips? We’d love to hear them! Comment below to share.

Relevance: What is it and How Does it Lend to SEO?

Relevance: What is it and How Does it Lend to SEO?

A few weeks ago, we discussed what SEO, or search engine optimization is. Today, we are going to discuss how you can improve your SEO and attract more visitors to your website using one of the main components of SEO, relevance. Because, as we all know, a pretty website does no good if no one can find it!

If you remember, there are three main components that search engines use when someone types a query in the search bar. They are relevance, usability and authority. The first aspect of SEO that we will cover is relevance.

What is relevance? The answer is simple. It is finding a web page with the right words. Relevance is why you don’t get information about penquins when you ask Google what the best restaurant is in your neighborhood. Penguins are irrelevant to your question. In order to ensure that your potential visitors are finding your site, you want to make sure that you are using the correct keywords. Your keywords need to be relevant to what your website is all about.

There are some amazing tools available to help you find keywords that fit your organization. For instance, say we wanted to open an online shoe store. One keyword would be shoes. But, if someone typed in shoes as a query, he or she would not get your particular website. Instead, we can use a tool, like Keyword Explorer, from Moz, to help us determine additional and more specific keywords.

Using Moz’s tool, here is a list of addional keywords:

  • shoe stores near me
  • online shoe store
  • shoe stores in the mall
  • men’s shoe stores
  • women’s shoe stores
  • shoe stores near my location
  • shoe shop

These are just a few examples of different keywords that can be incorporated into our fictional website to better guide potential customers to our site. The more specific you are with keywords, the better. Taking the example above, selling shoes online is a pretty broad category, which is fine. But, let’s say you sell not just any shoes, but men’s blue suede shoes. Your keywords should be “men’s blue suede shoes”.

Please note, you do NOT, want to stuff your website with keywords. Placing keywords throughout your website, does not help SEO, it actually hurts it by penalizing your website when it comes to search queries. Keyword stuffed websites become irrelevant, not relevant. Placing the word “shoes” too many times on your site will make Google (or other search engines) read your site as spammy. Quality content (or authority) is so important that it is another component of SEO that we will cover in the future. For the time being, know that your content needs to be authentic, not stuffed with spammy keywords in an attempt to gain more traffic.

There are a few places which you will want to place your keywords for best results:

  • Site Title (aka Title Tag). Your site title can be found under settings and then general. In this area, you can enter not only the name of your website, but a keyword or two to describe your website. Take a look at the blue field in the New York Times site title. Instead of just stating New York Times, there is a dash with a site description behind it. This is your title tag.

New York Times Title Tag

  • Page Description (aka Meta Description): Below the New York Times title is a brief description of the site. This one is a bit tricky. Although having keywords in the description doesn’t affect rankings, it can influence clicks.
  • Post Names. By default, WordPress gives your posts weird names like www.nashcreative.co/1294949. Instead, you want to change this (once again, this can be found in settings and then permalink). Instead of the default setting, chose Post Name. Google is better able to tell what your post is about.
  • Headings. Your keyword(s) should be used in headings of your website. Headings aren’t just for formatting and making your website pretty. They actually have a purpose when it comes to SEO. We will discuss headings more later this week, but for now, just know that search engines use headings to understand what your site or post is about.
  • Images. Yep, that’s right, images also lend to SEO. Giving your image the right file name is crucial. Instead of 124345.jpg, you should give your image a name the describes it. For instance, bluesuedeshoes.jpg lets search engines know that the picture is one of blue suede shoes. WordPress users can also easily at alt text and title text when using images. This is dual purpose as not only does this help with SEO, but it allows users with visual disabilities to employ the use of screen readers and know what the image is all about.

 

These are just a few basic SEO principals that will help your website’s rankings. When it comes to relevance, making sure that you have used the right keywords in the right places will not only help you better organize your thoughts and information, but also ensure that your website’s content is relevant to potential search queries.

The hole of SEO is deep, but do not worry. Taking just a few simple steps, like those listed above, can help even the most novice blogger gain a bigger following.

As always, if you have any questions or if you would like further help with SEO, we’d love to help! Contact us to schedule an appointment!

 

 

 

How to Attract More Website Visitors with SEO

SEO - Relevance, Usability and Authority

Have you ever wondered why some websites appear first in search engine results, why others are 12 pages back? Why some websites get thousands of visitors a day, while others, that contain similar info get almost no visitors?  The answer is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Figuring out SEO can feel a bit like solving a mystery and there are many factors that come into play when it comes to gaining a coveted spot on the first page of Google’s search results. While some companies hire an expert, there’s no need to get out the checkbook right away. For many small businesses, taking a few simple steps will help improve your placement in search engine results. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be giving you some practical ways your website can get found on the world wide web.

What is SEO Anyway?

SEO is short for search engine optimization. Basically, someone types (or speaks) a question and the search engine (for instance, Google) runs this question through an algorithm to find the best answer possible for the query. Some search results are paid, some are not (this is called organic).

What’s the Deal with SEO?

SEO can be quite complex. While many people have spent many hours and many dollars to try to figure out this algorithm, the good news is that there are some simple steps that the average website owner can do to increase his or hers website ranking.

However, these steps will not warrant immediate results. Getting your website into the first page of a search engine ranking is more like a marathon and less like a sprint. Time is an important factor when it comes to SEO, so don’t be surprised if your website doesn’t rank #1 immediately.

Relevance, Usability, and Authority

Let’s start with a few basics. What is a search engine? A search engine is basically like an answer machine. Some examples of search engines are Google, Yahoo, and Bing. When you ask it a question, it will find an answer based on Relevance, Usability and Authority.

In the next few weeks, we will break down these three areas a bit more, including easy to understand practical steps on how you can increase your website’s rankings. Although SEO can be a bit intimidating. The good news is that WordPress does a great job with SEO right out of the box. With a few additional steps, your website will be attracting more visitors in no time!

Article At-A-Glance:

  • SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization
  • There are two types of SEO: paid and organic (not paid)
  • A search engine is ” computer software used to search data (such as text or a database) for specified information” (Merriam Webster)
  • Relevance, Usability and Authority contribute to organic SEO.

Want more info or a little help when it comes to SEO? We can help! Contact us today to set up an SEO audit of your website!

Tip Tuesday #3: Get More Likes and More Shares

Tip Tuesday #3: Get More Likes and More Shares

It’s an age old problem (well, it’s actually a 13 year old problem). Your company or organization wants to leverage social media for advertising. It is the new town square, which means instead of your product selling via word of mouth, it sells via shares and retweets. So, you post… but your post gets lost in the long screen of tweets, posts and Instagram photos. There is a simple solution to help your posts stand out. It’s free (or practically free) and easy. The solution? Use images in your social media marketing campaigns. According to Buzzsumo, Facebook posts with images are 2.3 times more likely to have engagement than posts that do not use images. Engagement is defined as likes, shares and comments. 2.3 times more engagement just by adding an image to your post!

Facebook posts with images are 2.3 times more likely to be liked, shared, and commented on.

On Nash Street, we typically use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to add text to images. However, although we love Adobe, it can be pricey and have a bit of a learning curve for the average small business owner. Canva, on the other hand, is free, easy to use and has a plethora of backgrounds, texts, and images already loaded. Templates are already created based on your desired outcome. For instance, if you are looking for a social media post versus a Facebook background, you simply select social media post. No entering dimensions or resizing. One click and you are set go.

With Canva, you can go the completely free route, pay for some images or upload your own from some of the free stock photo sites we introduced to you a few weeks ago.

Check out Canva at www.canva.com. As always, if you are stuck, need ideas or just don’t have the time or patience to create your own social media posts, contact us to find out how we can help!

Next week, we will show you how to schedule and post your social media images to multiple networks at once.

 

 

A few of our fav’s created with Canva


 

How and Why You Should Blog

How and Why You Should Blog

Blogs are a great way to drive traffic to your website, inform your customers, gain credibility and allows you to share your voice. Whether you are writing a personal blog or one on behalf of your organization, adding a post to your WordPress website is simple.

Before we tell you HOW to blog, let us give you a few specifics on WHY you should blog.

 

Almost half (47% to be exact) of buyers read 3-5 pieces of content before interacting with a sales rep. (Next Gen Report, 2016)

This makes sense. No one likes to talk to sales reps (sorry sales reps) if they don’t have to. Blog posts allow potential customers to dip their toes in the water before taking any leaps.

 

 

Most people ignore paid ads. Between 70-80% of people ignore ads and focus on organic results (Search Engine Journal, 2016).

In plain English. When you type a query into Google, how often do you look at the ads on the side and how often do you look at the ads verses the search results? Chances are you take a look at the search results first and ignore the ads. Blogging helps you gain a better place in search results by providing rich content.

 

81% of consumers conduct research online before making big purchases (Retailing Today, 2015). 

Your blog can provide valuable information to shoppers. It is an opportunity to further show them what makes your product or service stand apart. For instance, if you sell furniture, a blog post about the durability and stain resistance of your latest fabrics will have mothers everywhere saying, “Sold!”.

 

How to Add a Blog Post to Your WordPress Website

Take a look at either option below to get started adding posts to your website. No website or a website without a blog? No problem! Contact Nash Creative Co. today to get a blog set up!

Our Top 10 Productivity Hacks of 2016

Our Top 10 Productivity Hacks of 2016

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is often a black hole of productivity.  Between sugar hangovers and lack of sleep, getting work done can be impossible.  The good news is that this week gives us time to reflect on things we’ve done right and areas in which we can do better. One way we are always look to improve at Nash Creative Co., is that of productivity.  No matter how much ground we gain in this realm, there is always room for improvement.  In an effort to make the upcoming year even better than this year, we are sharing our best productivity products and hacks with you.  Leave a comment and let us know what you do to be more productive.  As entrepreneurs, parents, small business owners, employers and employees, we can make 2017 our most productive year yet!

1. Coffee.  Seriously, coffee is important.  In addition to providing a daily dose of water (we really hope our trainers aren’t reading this), it fuels us.  That’s why we take our coffee makers seriously.  We have a new love and it’s called the Ninja Coffee Bar.  In addition to making regular coffee, it can make iced coffee, lattes, mochas and more.  Our favorite part is that the water reservoir is removable, meaning that instead of carrying water from the sink via a cup or pitcher, you carry the reservoir to the sink and fill it.  No more water dripping down the sides of your coffee maker!  We especially love the ability to easily brew a cup, a half of a pot or a whole pot.

2. Amazon Prime.  Most people already know about this, but we often forget to use Amazon Prime for business.  Being located in a rural area, we cannot easily get everything we need for a smooth running office.  Ink cartridges are a 30 plus minute drive.  Prime allows us to get what we need, delivered to my doorstep in a matter of 2 days, all without a minimum order.

3. Passion Planner.  If you are looking for a handy way to set goals and incorporate them into your daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists, then we highly recommend this planner.  It walks you through your long term goals and helps you break them down into smaller chunks.  At the end of each month, there is a section to evaluate how you did with reaching your goals.

4. My Fitness Pal.  Track your weight loss goals with this app.  Users can record their weight, measurements, exercise, foods they’ve consumed and daily water intake.  It’s free and it makes a huge difference when it comes to staying on track.

5. DustBuster.  This may seem like an unlikely item to add to the list, but as any parent can attest to, cleaning can take a huge amount of time.  Even if you hire it out, the daily cereal spills, crumbs and dirt can add up.  We love our DustBuster because it is powerful, yet easy enough for our kids to use.  The fact that we don’t have to haul out our big vacuum every time a box of cereal is dumped over is a huge plus.

6. Number 5 leads us straight into number 6.  Delegating.  Your kids/spouse/roommate can and should help.  Don’t be an island, ask for help. Trying to do it all leads only to failing at everything.

7. Wave Apps.  This software allows you to track expenses, invoice clients, collect payments and generate reports.  The free version is amazing.  Users can set up recurring invoices that are automatically emailed to clients.  We find this especially helpful for clients that are billed yearly.  No more calendar reminders.  Simply set up the invoice, the frequency of invoicing and you are done.

8. Evernote.   As every sticky note junkie know, sticky notes eventually lose their stick.  That’s why we use Evernote.  We use it for everything from brainstorming, to code snippets for web design, to contract ideas.  When users read something that they want to remember, they can put it in Evernote, use tags to organize it and the next time they need remember a piece of information, they can simply use the search feature and every note with the tag they’ve searched is brought up on their screen.

9. Every Dollar App.  Tracking spending is a pain, especially with multiple people using one account.  Every Dollar allows you to set your monthly budget and sync your bank account.  Like many similar apps, Every Dollar helps keep you accountable.  For us, this app is a bit easier to use than others (such as Mint or You Need a Budget), but this is a matter of personal preference.

10. Filmic Pro.  As video becomes more and more important to social media marketing, having a way to easily film high quality video, without spending a ton of money is important.  Filmic Pro is an app that costs less than $10.  It claims to turn your phone into a HD camera. While it may not be as a great as a $5000 camera, it does do wonders and for next to nothing.  Filmic Pro allows you to adjust the ISO, frame rate, exposure, audio gain control and more.  Using this app saves time when it comes to editing and the final product looks amazing, considering the small price tag of this handy little app. 

An iPhone and Filmic Pro allowed us to film this video for Empowering Fitness.  In our opinion, you get way more than you pay for with Filmic Pro.

 

So there you have it folks!  Our top ten productivity hacks of 2016.  Tell, us, what do you use to maximize your productivity?