How did the ‘Berlin patient’ rid himself of HIV?

first_imgHIV resurfaces in ‘Mississippi baby’ many presumed cured Researchers are closer to unraveling the mystery of how Timothy Ray Brown, the only human cured of HIV, defeated the virus, according to a new study. Although the work doesn’t provide a definitive answer, it rules out one possible explanation.Brown remains one of the most studied cases in the HIV epidemic’s history. In 2006, after living with the virus for 11 years and controlling his infection with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), he learned that he had developed acute myeloid leukemia. (The leukemia has no known relationship to HIV infection or treatment.) Chemotherapy failed, and the next year Brown, an American then living in Berlin, received the first of two bone marrow transplants—a common treatment for this cancer—and ditched his ARVs. When HIV-infected people stop taking ARVs, levels of HIV typically skyrocket within weeks. Yet researchers scouring Brown’s blood over the past 7 years have found only traces of the viral genetic material, none of which can replicate.Today, researchers point to three different factors that could independently or in combination have rid Brown’s body of HIV. The first is the process of conditioning, in which doctors destroyed Brown’s own immune system with chemotherapy and whole body irradiation to prepare him for his bone marrow transplant. His oncologist, Gero Hütter, who was then with the Free University of Berlin, also took an extra step that he thought might not only cure the leukemia but also help rid Brown’s body of HIV. He found a bone marrow donor who had a rare mutation in a gene that cripples a key receptor on white blood cells the virus uses to establish an infection. (For years, researchers referred to Brown as “the Berlin patient.”) The third possibility is his new immune system attacked remnants of his old one that held HIV-infected cells, a process known as graft versus host disease.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In the new study, a team led by immunologist Guido Silvestri of Emory University in Atlanta, designed an unusual monkey experiment to test these possibilities.Bone marrow transplants work because of stem cells. Modern techniques avoid actually aspirating bone marrow, and instead can sift through blood and pluck out the stem cells needed for a transplant to “engraft.” So the researchers first drew blood from three rhesus macaque monkeys, removed stem cells, and put the cells in storage. They then infected these animals and three control monkeys with a hybrid virus, known as SHIV, that contains parts of the simian and human AIDS viruses. All six animals soon began receiving ARVs (which respond better to SHIVs than SIV itself), and SHIV levels in the blood quickly dropped below the level of detection on standard tests, as expected.A few months later, the three monkeys that had stored stem cells underwent whole body irradiation to condition their bodies and then had their own stem cells reinfused. After the cells engrafted, a process that took a few more months, the researchers stopped ARVs in the three animals and in the three controls. SHIV quickly came screaming back in the three controls and two of the transplanted animals. (One of the transplanted monkeys did not have the virus rebound but its kidneys failed and the researchers euthanized it.)The team, which publishes its work online in PLOS Pathogens today, concludes that conditioning by itself likely cannot rid the body of the AIDS virus. Silvestri explains that the monkey study was a proof-of-principle experiment that cleanly isolated the effects of conditioning alone. “There’s no way to do this in humans,” he says. “It’s an important study and it’s a very useful model,” says Daniel Kuritzkes of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who wasn’t connected to the research.Kuritzkes and colleagues are particularly interested in the experiment because two of their own HIV-infected patients with leukemia received bone marrow transplants from donors who did not have HIV-resistant cells. For several months after stopping ARVs, HIV remained at bay in both men, raising hopes that the resistant donor cells were not a factor. But the virus eventually returned in each patient. Kuritzkes suspects that the transplants did reduce the amount of HIV left in the patients’ bodies—known as the viral reservoir—but the virus resurfaced because it continued to copy itself and eventually overwhelmed the immune responses against it.Although the study shows that conditioning by itself likely cannot eliminate an HIV infection, the study leaves open the possibility that graft versus host disease played a central role in Brown’s cure. Unlike Brown and Kuritzkes’s two patients, the transplanted monkeys received their own stem cells, which did not trigger a graft versus host response. “At the end of the day that might be an important component,” Silvestri says. He also thinks it might help reduce the reservoir size to treat monkeys with ARVs for longer than a few months.Silvestri hopes to do future monkey experiments that test the different variables, including transplanting the animals with viral-resistant blood cells that mimic the ones that Brown received. “The best scientific studies raise as many questions as answers,” says Steven Deeks, a researcher and clinician at the University of California, San Francisco, who has treated and studied Brown. “Unfortunately, the heroic efforts that went into this study failed to provide a definitive answer regarding the riddles of the Berlin patient. The model will likely need to be further optimized, and at the very least, the macaques treated with antiretroviral therapy for longer periods of time. But I am confident the team will figure this out.”Related content:Strategies against HIV/AIDS Cure setbacks force HIV researchers to reset sightslast_img read more

Indian rower Dushyant Chauhan clinches bronze at Asian Games

first_imgDushyant Chauhan won a bronze medal to take India’s tally to 12 medals at the ongoing Asian GamesRower Dushyant Chauhan was the lone bright spot after the shooters drew a blank as India managed just one bronze medal to slip to the 14th position in overall standings on the fifth day of competitions in the 17th Asian Games on Wednesday.Dushyant was the only athlete to manage a podium finish as he grabbed a bronze in the men’s lightweight single sculls event on what turned out to be a mixed day for the Indian contingent.The strong shooting squad, which had accounted for the bulk of medal collection so far, drew a blank today which led to India dropping one place in the medal table.With the addition of just one bronze today, India took their tally to 12 (1 gold, 1 silver, 10 bronze). Powerhouse China continued to lead the pack with 99 medals(50-25-24) followed by hosts South Korea with 70 medals(24-23-23) and Japan’s 64(18-23-23).The badminton and squash teams had a good day in their respective matches but the women’s hockey team lost 1-2 to China in a preliminary match.Early in the day, Dushyant, hailing from Haryana and belonging to the Bengal Engineering Group in Roorkie, led from the 500m till the last 200m in the 2000m race before strong northerly winds and rain put paid to his gold medal hopes as he fell behind two others and finished third by clocking 7:26.57.Chauhan was second behind gold-medallist Lok Kwan Hai by just under two seconds in the first 500m and then caught up with his rival before overtaking him in the course of the next 500m and looked assured of a gold before inclement weather hampered his chances.advertisementHe not only lost the gold medal, but also the silver as the host country’s Lee Hakbeom, who was third with 500m left, also surged past the Indian rower to clinch the second spot in 7:25.95.It was the first medal of the day after a fruitless stint at the shooting range for India and the 10th bronze in the Games.After scooping six medals, including a gold won by Jitu Rai, on the first four days of the Asian Games, Indian shooters misfired at the Ongnyeon pistol and rifle range here.last_img read more

Kabbadi player shot dead in Rohtak, murder caught on camera

first_imgRohtak, Mar 16 (PTI) A national-level Kabbadi player was shot dead by two armed assailants in Rithal village of Rohtak, with the murder captured on a CCTV installed at a house near the crime spot.The 24-year-old player Sukhvinder Singh was returning home after practice when he was shot dead last evening.”Two persons on a scooter shot dead Sukhwinder with a pistol near his house on Tuesday evening,” a police official said.The crime was captured on a CCTV installed at a nearby house.In the CCTV footage, Sukhvinder is seen talking to someone on his mobile while returning home. Two unidentified assailants on a scooter approached him and then fired shots at him in his chest and forehead following which he fell on the ground.Police said a murder case has been registered against unidentified persons and a hunt has been launched to nab the killers.According to the parents of the deceased, Sukhvinder did not have personal enmity with anyone. PTI CHS AKA DVlast_img read more

9 Companies Committed to Pay Equality – Hiring Now!

first_imgTomorrow, August 26th, is “Women’s Equality Day,” marking the day when many women in the U.S. were granted the right to vote in 1920. While much has been accomplished since to further the women’s movement, there is still much work to be done, including within the workplace.In fact, 9 in 10 employees believe men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. But recent Glassdoor research found an “adjusted” pay gap of 5.4% still persists between men and women. This means that even when we account for variables such as age, education, experience, occupation, industry, location, year, specific company and job title, men still earn an average of 5.4% more than women, a significant gap for which there appears to be no explanation.So where should you work, if you are one of the 9 in 10 employees? The good news is you have options: More than 2,300 employers have already taken the Pay Equality Pledge on Glassdoor, indicating a corporate commitment to pay employees equitably for equal work and experience.Here is just a selection of companies (in no particular order) actively working to close the gender pay gap with very satisfied employees (with a Glassdoor company rating of 4.0 or above*). And, good news, they are hiring now!SalesforceGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.2What They Do: Salesforce provides customer relationship management (CRM) software services to help companies with global customer communication.What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made news last year when he pledged to close pay gaps at his company. Salesforce did an analysis of the salaries of more than 17,000 global employees to determine if men and women were paid equally for comparable work. The company assessment showed that they needed to adjust some salaries—for both men and women. Salesforce said in a blog post: “Approximately six percent of employees required a salary adjustment, and roughly the same number of women and men were impacted. Salesforce has spent nearly $3 million dollars to eliminate statistically significant differences in pay.”What Employees Say: “Company has made great strides in gender equality and providing opportunities for women in leadership and taken a strong stance against LGBT discrimination.” – Salesforce Employee (San Francisco, CA)“Salesforce is also very engaging with volunteer opportunities, speakers and other hosted events that expose you to new ideas and perspectives both internally and externally. Lastly, pay and benefits are very fair.” – Salesforce Employee (San Francisco, CA)See Open Jobs at SalesforceDelta Air LinesGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.1What They Do: Delta Air Lines is one of the world’s largest global airlines, helping more than 160 million travelers each year.What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Delta Air Lines is committed to closing the gender pay gap within its company. “Delta’s overall pay parity between men and women is nearly perfect for all of 80,000 employees. Excluding scale employees, who truly are at 100 percent pay parity, we are at 98 percent,” said Joanne Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “Although this is well ahead of the national average, we won’t be satisfied until the gap is zero.”What Employees Say: “Promotes great diversity and teamwork.” – Delta Air Lines Sales Account Manager (Atlanta, GA)See Open Jobs at DeltaAppleGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.0What They Do: Apple is famous for its hardware computing products, like the iPhone, iPad and Mac as well as its software platforms which enable services like the App Store, Apple Music and the iCloud.What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Apple believes that “equal work deserves equal pay.” This year, the company looked at the total compensation for U.S. employees and closed the gaps they found. They are currently analyzing the salaries, bonuses, and annual stock grants of all employees worldwide. The company says: “If a gap exists, we’ll address it. And we’ll continue our work to make sure we maintain pay equity.”What Employees Say: “Great Benefits; Ethical and Inclusive culture I can be proud of; Challenges me to be the best version of myself I can be every day.” – Apple Employee (location n/a)See Open Jobs at AppleSpotifyGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.2What They Do: Spotify is a music, podcast, and video streaming service which provides digital rights management–protected content (from record labels and media companies.)What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Spotify was one of 28 companies which this year signed the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge. These 28 companies have committed to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations; reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers; and embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives. Spotify, headquartered in Stockholm, has said it was “born out of a Swedish culture that places an emphasis on a healthy work/family balance, gender equality and the ability for every parent to spend quality time with the people that matter most in their lives.”What Employees Say: “Great coworkers and working environment. You are encouraged to continuously learn and grow. The work life balance is great and Spotify is leading the way with benefits like the 6 month parental leave policy.” – Spotify Employee (New York, NY)See Open Jobs at SpotifyJohnson & JohnsonGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.0What They Do: Johnson & Johnson manufactures medical devices, as well as pharmaceutical and packaged good products.What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Like Spotify, Johnson & Johnson is one of 28 companies that signed the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge this year. Johnson & Johnson has a history of creating programs to help women employees in their careers, including the Women’s Leadership Initiative which supports a woman’s career development with continuing education and mentoring programs at all levels. Johnson & Johnson has been recognized as a great company for women to work at.What Employees Say: “Smart people, values based company.” – Johnson & Johnson Senior Brand Manager (New Brunswick, NJ)See Open Jobs at Johnson & JohnsonDropboxGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.1What They Do: Dropbox is a file hosting service which offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud and client software.What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Dropbox has taken Glassdoor’s Pay Equality Pledge to signify its commitment to paying equitably for equal work and experience. Dropbox also recently hired Judith Williams as Head of Diversity to help the company meet its commitment to increase the number of women both in the company and in leadership, in addition to increasing inclusion and diversity overall.What Employees Say: “Perks are out of this world, the most friendly and inclusive work environment imaginable, compensation was literally double from my previous employer for a similar position, food is amazing, unlimited paid time off and finally the overwhelming sense that you are helping a good company that cares about its customers.” – Dropbox Employee (Austin, TX)See Open Jobs at DropboxFacebookGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.5What They Do: Facebook provides a global social network that helps people stay connected with friends and family, discover what’s going on in the world and share and express what matters to them.What They Are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Facebook regularly reviews their compensation practices to ensure pay equity. Earlier this year, Facebook’s Head of HR Lori Matloff Goler announced: “I’m proud to share that at Facebook, men and women earn the same…There’s always more work to be done, of course. But we’re proud to be a leader in pay equality, and look forward to a time when we don’t even need to call it out. ”What Employees Say: “The transparency, candidness and drive for equality. The work culture is what I’m here for.” – Facebook Software Engineer (Menlo Park, CA)See Open Jobs at FacebookCare.comGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.0What They Do: helps families find child care, senior care, special needs care, tutoring, pet care, and housekeeping services, and also helps caregivers find jobs.What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Led by Founder, Chairwoman and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo, is also one of 28 companies which signed the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge. additionally has launched the Who Cares Campaign with New America and Caring Across Generations to redefine the social and economic value of care and caregiving.What Employees Say: “Amazing culture & management. Voices are heard and transparency is a core value. Excellent work environment. Talented professionals. Very flexible.” – employee (location n/a)See Open Jobs at Care.comBoston Consulting GroupGlassdoor Company Rating: 4.3What They Do: Boston Consulting Group is a global management consulting firm with an emphasis on business strategy.What They are Doing to Close the Gender Pay Gap: Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is one of 28 companies which signed the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge. Additionally, BCG has been named one of the best companies for women to work. BCG’s women’s network – Women@BCG – has the strategic objective of increasing the number, success, and job satisfaction of women at BCG.What Employees Say: “Great benefits and very flexible with your living situations. Lots of different case experience and top quality clients.” – Boston Consulting Group Employee (location n/a)See Open Jobs at Boston Consulting GroupEMPLOYERS: Job seekers want to work for companies that embrace pay equality. If you’re an employer, do what more than 2,300 employers have already done, and take the Pay Equality Pledge to show your commitment to equal pay for equal work. Then, share your commitment with your current workforce and prospective talent.EMPLOYEES: What is it really like to work at your company? What are the pay practices like where you work? Share a company review or share your salary anonymously on Glassdoor and help others.*Methodology: This list reveals just a sample of companies, in no particular order, that have publicly committed to pay equality in the workplace. Companies considered must have signed the White House’s Equal Pay Pledge, signed Glassdoor’s Pay Equality Pledge or have taken actions within their own organization with a goal of reaching pay equity. In addition, each company must have at least an overall Glassdoor company rating of 4.0, based on at least 30 reviews, as of 8/17/2016. Company ratings on Glassdoor based on a 5.0 scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied.last_img read more

Zillow Knows How To Sell A Home And An Irresistible Work Culture

first_imgIf you’ve ever shopped for an apartment to rent or a home to buy, you’ve likely used or heard of Zillow, the Seattle-based real estate and rental marketplace. Not only is this company known as the leading market that helps renters and homeowners find a place to call home–but they’re also widely recognized as a great company that employees feel at “home” in.With a company rating of 4.2, Zillow employees don’t have much to complain about, rather, they really love working at Zillow! Here’s an inside scoop at a company featured as one of our top 50 best places to work.The perksFrom health insurance, to stock options and 401k plans, to paid vacations, sabbatical and free lunches and gym memberships–Zillow provides a lot of perks and benefits to its employees.“They’ve thought of everything and provide an absolutely phenomenal benefits package,” writes a former Senior Business Consultant for Zillow.[Related: Search Open Jobs at Zillow!]Employees are most excited about Zillow’s maternity and paternity leave program, which offers men 8 weeks off for paternity leave, a perk one employee from the company’s Denver office says is “unheard of in the Denver area.”“There are 16 full paid weeks of maternity leave. That is absolutely amazing,” describes another Denver-based employee. “They also give us 1,000 dollars in amazon baby bucks for diapers and other essentials we may need. They help cover infertility costs and adoption if needed.”Employees also rave about their health insurance options and vacation and paid time off policy–which offers three weeks and one week for sick leave.The peopleZillow CEO Spencer Rascoff is one of Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEO’s of 2016 with a 96% approval rating. Most employees say that love their co-workers at Zillow, describing them as one of the best parts of working for the company. Moreover, they say those who work on management, as well as Rascoff, are always approachable.“Innovative, fast moving, fast growing company with great people who love to come to work every day,” says a software development engineer at Zillow. “We have very smart people here to learn from, excellent people who do their jobs well so we can do our job well. We work hard, but have a lot of fun. The work life balance is great.”The office digs and cultureAs if working with great people wasn’t the best part about working at Zillow–you have to see their office location! Located right in the heart of downtown Seattle, the company’s headquarters is one of the major benefits to employees who love living and working in the Pacific Northwest.“Best work environment of all time, location is wonderful being in downtown Seattle by the waterfront with minute walk to Pikes Place Market,” explains one Zillow employee.[Related: Search Open Jobs at Zillow!]Fun and positive are the two words employees consistently use in their reviews to describe the working environment and company culture that Zillow has created. “Zillow is a great place to work at if you’re proactive, hard working, creative, and an innovative problem solver,” explains a current program manager at the company. “Clearly their amazing benefits and fun work environment are huge perks, but for me, the way Zillow allows employees to come up with ideas, run with them (as a pilot, small project that grows, or mini initiative) is the reason why I love being here.”The payAnother reason Zillow employees love working at Zillow? They are happy with their pay! One employee points out a major pro that Zillow offers is a compensation plan, stating that it offers the ability to make six figures within your first year.The company has 699 salaries reported for 326 job titles, showcasing the average pay for roles such as an account executive ($72,323), software engineer ($108,247), inside sales consultant ($41,007) and software development engineer ($101,984) and more.The verdictZillow is a growing company that only continues to improve both its product and its employee happiness. “I’ve been at Zillow for 3 years and through tremendous growth they continue to upgrade everything from my pay, to benefits, to social events, to the actual work space. Shown tremendous dedication to driving employee happiness,” says an employee from the national business development department.DISCOVER: Zillow Is Hiring Now!last_img read more

5 Ways to Get More Time Back In Your Day

first_img10 Amazing Companies You Can Apply to in Less Than Two Minutes If there’s one thing I could take back with me from the Harry Potter universe, it wouldn’t be a magic wand, or a flying broomstick, or even those delicious-sounding chocolate frogs. It would, without a doubt, be Hermione Granger’s time-turner. (For those of you who aren’t as big of geeks as I am, a time-turner is an hourglass-shaped device that lets you turn back time.) Just think of all of the applications it could have in the workplace: you could prep for meetings at a moment’s notice, re-do that presentation you flubbed, and actually head home at a reasonable hour every day. Alas, this is the real world — and as wonderful as they sound, time-turners are just a work of fiction.But while magical time-travel may not exist (at least not yet — get on it, scientists!), there are still a number of strategies you can use to get more time back in your day. We chatted with personal productivity expert Peggy Duncan to get some of her best tips. Try some of these on for size, and the results might just be magical.1) Analyze“The biggest time management mistake people make is not realizing how much time they waste,” Duncan says. So before you go making radical changes to your day-to-day routine, make sure you take a look at how you’re actually spending your time. Duncan recommends that you “keep a time log and track every minute for a few days.” Even if you catch yourself goofing off, “be honest with yourself about how you’re spending your time,” Duncan says. You might feel a twinge of guilt after seeing how much of your time is spent on non-essential items, but accurately recording that will only help you see where you can make improvements moving forward.The One Productivity Hack Intuit’s Sherry Whiteley Swears By2) SystematizeAfter you’ve conducted an internal audit of your time management, it’s time to see where you can shake thing up to streamline things moving forward. You can “get back weeks by not working the same way you always have,” Duncan says. “Spend time figuring out better ways to get everything done,” she recommends. “What steps are unnecessary? Is someone else doing it a different way and finishing faster and with fewer errors? Examine everything you’re doing, write it down, move steps around, and eliminate all wastage.” 3) OrganizeSearching through your drive for a document when you need it, or thumbing through the files on your desk for a handout you need to bring to your next meeting may only take a few minutes at a time, but those small increments definitely add up. And together, they can be a major time suck out of your day.“Save hours a day by creating paper, computer, inbox, etc., filing systems so you can find anything you need the instant you need it,” Duncan says. “Purge what you don’t need, and create a system for the things you keep that puts like items together.”Believe it or not, Duncan recommends that you start with your clothes closet. While that may not be directly related to work, it does have the potential to help you arrive at the office earlier and ready to tackle the day. Some notable entrepreneurs even go so far as to wear the same thing every day to reduce the chaos of getting ready in the morning — although for the average office-goer, you probably don’t need to go to such extreme measures: a tidy closet should suffice.7 Ways To Deal With Too Many Emails4) PrioritizeOn any given day, you probably have a dozen plus tasks that you want to get done — but remember, not all tasks are created equal. While it might be nice to cross off all of the items on your to-do list, the reality is that there are probably some that you can hold off on until later. On the other hand, there are almost certainly some that are urgent or time-sensitive. Because of that, one of the most important things you can do to make the most of your time is prioritizing your tasks. “You have to determine what your goals are so you’ll know how you should spend your time. The things you value and need (not want) will take priority,” Duncan says.There are different ways you can figure out how to make this work for you, but I’ll offer my own little tip. On my to-do list, I list items from top to bottom in order of their priority. Bold means I need to work on them today, and an asterisk means they need to be done today. While I’m by no means a productivity expert myself, this has really helped me figure out where my time is best spent.5) ComputerizeMost of us use a variety of software programs each day — but can you really say you’ve mastered the ones you use most frequently? While software is designed to make our lives easier, it may just be adding an additional hurdle if you haven’t learned how to truly use yours effectively. But “if you learn how to use the software you touch every day, you’ll finish everything at least six times quicker,” Duncan says. No matter what software you’re using, there’s almost always some sort of resource to help you get the most out of it, whether that’s a series of blog posts, videos, webinars, etc. If you really want to go the extra mile, you may even want to reach out to your customer service rep to see if they can offer any hands-on training.“You might have to give up a weekend or three to get this done, but you’ll get all that time back and feel better every day going forward,” Duncan says. “And unlike dieting or exercising, the results from all these things are immediate!”last_img read more

How to Leverage Diversity & Inclusion to Move Your Career Forward

first_img 23 hours ago 23h It’s not too late. In fact, this a great time to turn the tide and watch the changes that happen as a result of leveraging diversity and inclusion as a part of your career strategy. Let’s look at some options you can undertake to move your career forward.How to Build Your Own Career Path Within an OrganizationChange Your Networking StrategyThe next time you consider who, what, where, when, and how you go about your networking, consider broadening your approach to leverage a diversity and inclusion lens. An example of this is seeking out diverse individuals/associations to connect with. Whether it be your personal sounding board or professional alliances, diversity and inclusion should be factored in for widening your reach for career growth. That action will allow you the opportunity to broaden your circle and build “off the beaten path” relationships that can drive unexpected career advancement. Consider leveraging meetup groups to find more diverse outlets to connect to. The key really is not just to surround yourself with additional diverse communities but to also engage and participate to foster inclusion.Leverage Employee Resource GroupsMost companies have Resource Groups as part of their Diversity and Inclusion strategy. The groups are internal think tanks to offer ideas to learn about engaging with culture and communities, unearth potential marketing ideas, and more. They offer the opportunity to build and demonstrate leadership skills and in some cases get a seat at the table with senior leaders. It’s an underutilized opportunity for some mistakenly attribute opportunities to the diverse category where the offering is available. Don’t sleep on resource groups. Tweak your perspective and get involved as an employee. Attend meetings! Raise your hand for a role. Learn as much as you can from these groups. I guarantee you that you will see benefit from this association.Should You Join a Professional Group?Gain Cultural CompetencyI hope that we all know by now that education is an accelerator for career growth. Diversity and Inclusion education is an opportunity for gaining competitive advantage. I recommend that you take advantage of cultural awareness training provided. This will provide strengthen your toolkit as an influential leader. Outside of your organization, follow and build your acumen via diversity and inclusion thought leaders like Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Inc, Working Mother, Catalyst, and The Center for Talent Innovation. Guaranteed, there are additional options but the aforementioned is a good start. Whilst you don’t have to be an expert, broadening your perspective will allow you to amplify your innovation genes which no doubt will serve you well in whatever career path you choose.Helpful implementation strategies for putting these options into practice include prioritization of the option that best resonates with you, making a plan, executing and tracking against that plan and ultimately measuring your success to highlight corrective actions. Be sure to also have fun on the journey. Know that these actions will indeed impact your career in some form or another. 3.6★ Lead Software Engineer Forward Financing Boston, MA Software Engineer General Dynamics Mission Systems Pittsburgh, PA 23 hours ago 23h Sr. Java/APEX Software Engineer Bridgeline Digital Woodbury, NY 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Lead Software Engineer FHLBank San Francisco San Francisco, CA 23 hours ago 23h 2.7★ 2.9★ 23 hours ago 23h 4.6★ Software Engineer – Java Sila Solutions Group Shelton, CT 23 hours ago 23h Systems Software Engineer at Vertica Micro Focus Cambridge, MA 3.1★center_img Software Quality Engineering Lead 4G Clinical Wellesley Hills, MA 23 hours ago 23h Hot New Jobs For You 3.1★ N/A So, with all those benefits ripe for the taking, what holds people back?They aren’t sure where to start or what specific actions to takeThey aren’t aware of the benefitsThey don’t have the time/bandwidth and want to focus on their core jobThey don’t see a fit/place for them to engage 2.7★ Senior Software Engineer II – CareKinesis Mount Pleasant, SC 23 hours ago 23h 4.4★ View More Jobs Senior Software Engineer **INTERNAL CANDIDATES ONLY** Montana State Fund Helena, MT Simone Morris is CEO of Simone Morris Enterprises LLC, a certified minority and women-owned business enterprise that provides consulting, training, coaching, and speaking services. Focal points for the company include diversity and inclusion and women’s empowerment. The company was founded in 2015 and is based in Norwalk, CT. Sr. Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) Act-On Software Portland, OR 4.8★ 23 hours ago 23h You’d have to be living under a rock to be unfamiliar with diversity and inclusion these days. After all, the terms make daily headlines.  Just this week while on business travel, I picked up Delta’s Sky Magazine and was impressed by CEO Ed Bastian’s 2 pages about Delta’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. When I picked up the USA Today, there was a front-page article about the Pentagon spend of $8M to treat 1500 transgender troops. I say all this to say, diversity and inclusion has arrived and is now integrated into our daily way of life. Yes, there’s still to do but the conversation and actions remain a priority as our world’s makeup continues to shift.I attribute Diversity and Inclusion as a game changer for my career. Back in 2008, I was minding my business trudging along in the technical field. I was a Technical Project Manager managing complex SAP projects, the delivery of branded websites, and customer portals and more. Then Diversity and Inclusion came knocking. At first, I was asked to be a part of a focus group to discuss diversity and inclusion. When the company hired a Diversity and Inclusion Director, we began to see changes in the form of employee resource groups as a part of the strategy. I remained committed to my day job while keeping my eye on the progression of the groups. I attended a meeting here and there and then I decided to volunteer more of my time by being a part of the Black History Month Planning Team. And before you know it, I was heading up the African Heritage Employees Group. I did that for 4 years and boy did everything change in my career.Is Diversity Just a Buzzword at Your Prospective Employer? Here’s How to Find OutYou see it opened my eyes up to the possibilities of making impactful cultural changes. I was consumed by driving cultural awareness and providing professional development opportunities. Before long, my love for diversity and inclusion eclipsed my passion for remaining in Information Technology. As a result of that experience, I shifted functions and worked in Human Resources supporting the Diversity and Inclusion team. I’m happy about that experience because it’s opened my eyes to doing work that I’m passionate about while changing lives. Why do I share this story? I share it because I believe diversity and inclusion is an underutilized tool for bringing out career growth. Some benefits to your career leveraging diversity & inclusion include:Exposure and access to senior leaders inside and outside of your organizationLeadership experienceCultural competencyNetworking OpportunitiesMentoring and Sponsorship Accesslast_img read more

12 Things to Never Do During A Phone Interview

first_img 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 4.3★ 5.0★ 23 hours ago 23h 4.1★ 3.0★ Product Support Engineer root9B, LLC United States 23 hours ago 23h Solutions Engineer My Job Tank San Mateo, CA 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Outside Plant Engineer Verizon Alpharetta, GA UCS Engineer Insight Enterprises, Inc. Hanover Park, IL 4.3★ Engineer FusionStorm Newark, CA 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 2.9★ Engineer Trihydro San Luis Obispo, CA Quality Engineer Gill Industries Trenton, GA Transmission & Distribution Line Engineer Ampirical Solutions, LLC Mandeville, LA Field Engineer R.T. Moore Company, Inc. Indianapolis, IN 23 hours ago 23h Hot New Jobs For You These days, phone interviews are an unavoidable part of the job interview process, and for good reason: They save everyone involved time and effort. But that doesn’t mean that phoners require zero energy on the part of the candidate. Yes, you should spend more time preparing for an in-person interview, but many companies treat phone screens as the official first round of the hiring process. That means candidates are expected to go into them prepared with as much information about the company, position, and their own skills and strengths as possible. We asked HR pros about their top phone interview pet peeves, they had no shortage of advice to offer. Apparently, it’s quite easy to mess up your phone interview. But here’s the thing; it’s also not hard to come across well if you keep some key things in mind.1. Never Take The Interview Somewhere NoisyIt might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised what interviewers say they can hear in the background of their phone interviews—everything from barking dogs to screaming children. “Prepare for the interview by securing a quiet space in advance, even if it means escaping to your car parked in the garage,” advises Chere Taylor, founder of Fulcrum HR Consulting. “If you can lock your home office door, by all means do it. We’ve all been there and sometimes things just happen, but the more time spent anticipating what could go wrong, the better prepared and organized you will appear to the interviewer and the greater likelihood of success.” That doesn’t mean that if your washing machine beeps once in the background all hope is lost, but the more effort you put into being in a quiet place, the more focused you’ll be.The Ultimate Job Interview Preparation Guide2. Don’t Talk About Your Personal Life…Unless you’re directly asked a question about what you like to do in your off hours. “The point of a phone interview is to focus on getting to know a candidate’s professional experience and goals,” says Mckenzie Roark, campus talent specialist at Lithko Contracting. “A recruiter is trying to qualify them to see if they are the best fit for a role, and learning about their personal life doesn’t help. For example, when asked where you see yourself in five years, we don’t want to know that you hope to be married or that you want to buy a new house. That is nice but that isn’t relative to anything professional.”3. Resist The Urge to MultitaskIt might be tempting to cross something off your to-do list while on a phone interview, but recruiters and hiring managers can easily tell if your attention is elsewhere. “My number one pet peeve is people who decide to multitask while on the phone interview,” says Dan Krupansky, Talent Acquisition Manager at PrimePay. “I have heard candidates washing dishes, making lunch in the microwave, going for walks, letting their dog out, and grocery shopping during the interview. I even had one person use the bathroom and flush the toilet while speaking with me.” Needless to say, this doesn’t reflect well on your level of interest in the position you’re interviewing for. 4. Skip The Money ConversationTo put it bluntly, it’s simply too early in the process for you to be the one who brings up salary expectations. “Chances are if a candidate is participating in a phone interview, this is the first time they have talked with the company, and the first call isn’t the appropriate time to talk about ‘what’s in it for you,’” says Justina Strnad, the Talent Acquisition Manager for Shiftgig. “Trust me, if you are a great candidate and make it to next steps, the hiring team is going to be very transparent about what’s in it for you later on!”Salary Negotiation Scripts For Any Job5. Never Put Your Interviewer On Hold Phone interviews don’t take that long, and there probably isn’t anything else going on that is really truly so urgent that you need to pause your interview. “Do not put me on hold to take an important call that just beeped in,” advises Jeremy Payne, head of people operations at Remote Year. “I am your important call. If you are expecting extremely urgent news (like information about a family illness), be sure to preface that in the early minutes of the interview, so the recruiter is aware of the situation and so you can work with them to reschedule if that interruption does occur,” he says.  6. Never Skip The Q&A “After wrapping up a phone interview, it is typical that the interviewer will ask the candidate if they have any questions. I can’t stress this enough: ALWAYS ask questions,” says Roark. “If we have had a great phone interview and then we wrap up and they don’t have any questions for me, it pretty much ruins the whole interview. It tells me that the candidate is uninterested in the role, which in reality, might not be the case at all,” she notes. But surely, if you’re interested in a job, you can think of something to ask your interviewer.7. Don’t Be LateIt seems basic, but surprisingly, a lot of people are late to phone interviews. “About a quarter of the people with whom I schedule phone interviews aren’t on time,” says Sophie Cikovsky, who handles U.S. recruiting for Infinite Global. “While this bothers me personally, it’s also indicative of someone who isn’t very detail-oriented,” she explains. “In order to identify this early in the hiring process, I started asking all candidates a few years ago to call me as opposed to calling them at an agreed upon time. That way if I hear from them at 1:13pm or 12:49pm instead of our planned 1:00 pm interview time, I have an early indicator that they might not be a great fit.”7 Situational Interview Questions to Prepare For8. Don’t Assume Reception Is Good“Make sure you test your headset and connection before dialing in,” recommends Payne. “There is nothing more frustrating for a recruiter who has a structured interview guide in place having to repeatedly ask the same question over and over because they could not understand your answer due to static or dropped signals.” Test call a friend beforehand or even call yourself from a landline if necessary; it will take less than a minute.9. Never Talk Over The InterviewerYou might be eager to get your point across or talk about your experience, but interrupting the interviewer is awkward and rude when you’re speaking on the phone, even more so than in face-to-face interviews. “Interviewing can be stressful and sometimes that stress manifests itself in speaking too fast, speaking too loud, talking over the interviewer, or attempting to answer the interviewer’s question before they have actually finished asking the question,” says Taylor. “Don’t do this.” There’s a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive, and interviewers can always recognize it.10. Skip Filler WordsIt’s tough not to say things like “um,” “uh,” and “like” in everyday speech, but these verbal habits become much more pronounced when speaking on the phone, says Chris Dardis, a recruiting expert and HR professional with Versique Executive Search. “In face-to-face interviews, they’re not as noticeable because there are other things like your hair, suit, or body language to distract people,” he explains. But in a phone interview, the only thing you have to go on is what you say and how you say it. “That’s why it’s so important to eliminate these words from your speech when doing a phone interview.”How to Succeed in a Case Interview11. Don’t Go In BlindNot knowing anything about the company or job you’re interviewing for is way more obvious than you’d think. “Many people think that a phone interview means they’re getting away with something, that they don’t have to put as much effort into researching the role or company,” says Steve Pritchard, HR Consultant for giffgaff. And if you have your laptop in front of you during the interview to do a few quick searches, they won’t know the difference, right? Not exactly. “Seasoned interviewers will know whether an interviewee is researching while on the phone; they will take too long to answer the question and punctuate their answers with a lot of ‘ums’ and ‘errs’ as they type. The interviewer can often even hear the typing as they ask the question,” he adds. 12. Nix Long-Winded Answers“The key to success during a phone interview is clear and concise answers,” says Dardis. “People’s attention spans tend to be shorter over the phone. You don’t want your future employer to lose interest in the conversation.” He recommends practicing answers to questions you know will be asked ahead of time in order to be clear on what you’re going to say. That way, you can prevent rambling before it starts.What Recruiters Want to See at Each Stage of the Interview Process 3.6★ Senior Structural Engineer R&M Consultants Anchorage, AK 3.2★ 23 hours ago 23h 3.6★ 4.2★ View More Jobslast_img read more

Ex-Man City striker Jo: Robinho was shocked for Portsmouth debut

first_imgFormer Manchester City striker Jo has spoken of Robinho’s introduction to Premier League football.Robinho seemed to have had misgivings about English football from the very beginning, judging by a story Jo has told to ESPN Brasil.“In Robinho’s debut against Portsmouth in 2008 I scored my first goal with Manchester City’s shirt, but this game had a really funny story before,” said Jo, who also revealed that Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were his toughest opponents in England.“We were positioned in the tunnel and their defence was Sylvain Distin and Sol Campbell, one of the midfielders was Bouba Diop, and there was Peter Crouch in the attack. It was almost a team only of giants.“Then Robinho looked at the guys and said to me, ‘F***, Jô, are we going to play rugby? Look at the size of the guys’ (laughs). I just replied: ‘Yes, Robinho, welcome to the English League!”last_img read more

Chelsea target Lukaku willing to meet Mourinho about Man Utd move

first_imgManchester United boss Jose Mourinho is pushing to sign both Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata AND Everton’s Romelu Lukaku.The Sun says, however, Lukaku, rated at £100million by Everton, still holds a grudge against the Special One — who sold him to the Toffees in 2014 for £28m after sending him on loan to Goodison and West Brom.The striker, 24, who has hit 51 goals in his last two seasons on Merseyside, sees a return to Stamford Bridge as a dream move.But he is willing to talk to Mourinho.Chelsea boss Antonio Conte wants Lukaku back at the Bridge but the Italian is unwilling to pay Everton’s huge asking price. While doubts remain about where he will go — with Everton already spending much of the money they expect to get for him — Lukaku wants to explore all his options.last_img read more

End Fistula Forever: Progress Toward Preventing and Treating Obstetric Fistula

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 10, 2011November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)End Fistula Forever: Progress Toward Preventing and Treating Obstetric FistulaTuesday, May 24th 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.121 Cannon House Office Building, Capitol Hill, Washington DC*Breakfast will be servedSpeakers include:Representative Carolyn MaloneyCarrie Ngongo, EngenderHealthKate Grant, Fistula FoundationMary Ellen Stanton, USAIDJanet Walsh, Human Rights WatchGillian Slinger, UNFPAModerator: Jennifer Redner, International Women’s Health CoalitionObstetric fistula is both a preventable and treatable childbearing injury, resulting from prolonged, obstructed labor. It leaves women incontinent, ashamed and often isolated from their communities. A debilitating condition that has left—and continues to leave—hundreds of thousands of women suffering in solitude and shame, obstetric fistula is perhaps one of the most telling examples of inequitable access to maternal health care around the world. Partners from the international community, civil society and the US government are working together on a global campaign to prevent and treat fistula with the goal of making the condition as rare in the developing world as it is in the United States. Please join us for a briefing on a strategic and thoughtful approach to addressing this critical reproductive health and human rights issue.Please RSVP by May 20 by clicking here or sending an email to this:last_img read more

Announcing our membership drive!

first_imgIt’s time! We’re organizing freelancers across the country, and we need every member to help. Our goal is to get to 75,000 members by Independence Day, July 4. Here’s what you can do: visit the membership drive headquarters on our Advocacy page, and use the form there to tell all your friends–in every state!–to join the movement.last_img

3 stages of client relationships and how they impact your profits

first_imgI’m a firm believer that you can remain a freelancer as long as you want, and that you don’t have to grow into an agency, or “switch to an entrepreneur mindset” or whatever the buzzword du jour is, to have a fulfilling and profitable career.We’re freelancers because we want to be, not because we’re not able to figure out a different business model. So let’s be the best freelancers that we can be.Your current stage of evolution as a freelancer affects your rates, profits, income stability and earning potential more than anything else.The 3 stages of evolution I describe in this article are defined by your relationship with your clients. When you grow as a freelancer, your client relationships will deepen, and this will enable you to provide more value to them, while also getting more value in return.Here’s what each stage is like, and what you can do to move forward through them.Stage 1: The TechnicianOther terms people use for this stage are order taker, pixel pusher and code monkey.Typically, the job of a technician is to implement the client’s strategy, exactly as the client prescribes. Even if the client is not proficient in the freelancer’s line of work, they will act like they are, thus driving the freelancer’s impact on the project to the very minimum.If the freelancer proposes a solution that’s better than what the client initially had in mind, they will likely be ignored, because the client doesn’t take them seriously.This stage has a limited earning potential because you’re treated like a commodity. Clients are constantly questioning your rates and asking for itemized pricing sheets on your invoices to make sure they’re “getting their money’s worth.” Since your impact on the project is limited to doing what the client tells you to, anyone with the technical skills you possess can take your place. Freelancers in this position are well aware of this, and agree to ridiculous terms the clients push on them in fear of losing the gig.In the very beginning of your career when you’re still learning your craft, this stage is pretty much inevitable, and I don’t know many (if any) freelancers who were never technicians at some point in their career. There’s no reason to be ashamed if you currently find yourself in this phase, but it’s in your best interest to get out of it as soon as you can.It’s important to note that even if you graduate to the next stage, you’re still at a risk of slipping back. This often happens when you take on the wrong type of client who doesn’t have sufficient respect for your expertise, because you’ve missed the red flags in the sales conversation.In an effort to rush to the project finish line and get rid of the client as soon as possible, you fall back into the technician mode. We often do this to protect our emotions and sanity when the client starts having unreasonable demands. Doing what they want without complaining expends less energy than trying to educate them to getting them on board with your professional process.To avoid this trap, be prepared to walk away from the client who keeps trying to push you into the technician role, even if this means losing some money in the short term.Stage 2: The ExpertThe expert is the consultant who advises the client on the strategy, as well as the implementation.Strategy can bring disproportionately more value to the client than pure implementation does, so as an expert you can charge higher prices from your average technician freelancer.In order to keep your status as the expert, you cannot take on just about any client who comes your way – you need to be discerning and selective, only taking on those clients who perceive you as an expert and are open to listening to your ideas and proposed best practices. This requires a thorough vetting process using your sales page copy, inquiry forms and questionnaires, sales conversations and proposals. Some clients don’t play well with experts, and are just not worth taking on.The way I’ve made sure that my clients see me as an expert instead of a generic designer, is by demonstrating how I can add more value with my specialized skills:I offer brand strategy as a part of my logo design services, because it takes more than a logo to build a great brand.I offer content strategy consulting and a content writing guidebook in my website design package, because creating content is the biggest stumbling block for clientsWhen the clients learn that there are aspects to their project that they haven’t even thought about, they’re more inclined to trust (and hire) the person who took the time to educate them on that topic.Most freelancers stop here, and you can certainly do that – but if you’d like more income stability and repeat clients who are thrilled to recommend you to their network, a great way to achieve it is to evolve into the next stage.Stage 3: The PartnerTrue partnership begins when the client includes you in their own business model. This means that they actively seek out projects that your services are an essential part of, and see you as an asset to their business.You might not want to work continually with the same clients all the time, but if you run into the right client that’s kind, respects your process, pays on time and does interesting things in their market, a long-term relationship with them can pay off both financially and emotionally.When I say partnership, I don’t mean just any kind of repeat or retainer services – I mean the type of repeat services that are directly tied to the client’s own offers. If you’re providing services that do not lead to the client making money, they might start looking at you as an expense, instead of an investment.Bookkeepers are a great example of this: each time you issue an invoice for a service or product, they need to perform administrative tasks to make sure your business runs legally. If you make money, they’re making money as well.Event organizers operate the same way: every time you want to put on a conference, they help with all the details that help the event run smoothly, and get paid for their expertise.In both of these cases, it’s not a service you do once, and then the client is set for the rest of their life. But how often do freelancers like designers, writers and developers operate this way? You write that copy for a website, or set up the webshop, or design the brand, and that’s it – the client doesn’t need you anymore.Still, it’s possible to take a leaf out of the bookkeeper’s and the event manager’s book and see how we can encourage repeat business.For a graphic designer, it can be designing a presentation every time your client has a speaking gig. For an editor, every time your client self-publishes an ebook or a course, you’re making sure that the written content is on a professional standard. Developers can get involved with companies whose business model relies on apps (and updating them).I’ll show you how this partnership works on the example of one of my clients.The client is a small publishing company. Our relationship started like all my other client relationships: I’ve designed their logo, brand and website. At their level and publication schedule, they’re not able to hire a full-time graphic designer for their books, so they outsource this part to me. **Every time they create a new product (book), they need me to design it. **Without my design, the book is not ready for print and distribution, and they can’t profit from it. (I don’t offer book design a la carte as this is not my core service and something I want to be known for, but I’ll gladly keep my existing clients engaged and happy using my wide range of skills.)Not every repeat client will turn into a partnership, but you only need a few to get more stability in your income, and a stellar word of mouth that will get you a more engaged and higher paying clientele.If partnership sounds suspiciously similar to employment, I assure you it’s nothing of the kind. Partnership is based on mutual respect, and the understanding that you each bring essential value to the project. The client-partner is aware the whole time that they’re not the only one in your roster, and won’t put up unreasonable demands on your time. If you maintain a limited number of partnerships, you’ll still have plenty of time to work with new clients.If you decide to go in a different direction, just maintain honest communication with the client, and if you can, assist them in finding someone who will replace you and document your process thoroughly, so the new person can jump straight in. That way, you’ll keep the great relationship you’ve had, and get the benefit of referrals from your former client.You don’t need to dilute your portfolioIf you’re worried that changing your focus from your core service in order to retain clients long term would make you look like a jack of all trades, worry not.Don’t broadcast everything you can do on your website and in your first client interaction – wait until the end of the first successful project (your signature service), and then talk to them about the potential opportunity to work on a long-term basis in a way that would benefit both of you.Which stage are you currently in?And what will you do to move to the next stage, if it’s your ambition to do so?If you’re still in the first stage, don’t worry – it takes just a little courage and some fine-tuning of your own client intake process to rise up to the Expert level. I explain how to do that in my talk called End Design Revision Hell.If you want to start creating partnerships, the first step is to find the clients you really like and get along with great – you’re going to be talking to them a lot.Because what’s the point of freelancing if you’re not enjoying the process?Nela Dunato is a freelance brand & web designer. She helps service-based businesses and creatives evolve into premium brands and connect with their dream clients. Get her free course Revamp Your Brand In One Day and discover what makes your brand unique.With over 300 contributors and 2 million readers, the Freelancers Union Blog is the foremost publication dedicated to empowering the independent workforce. Write for us!last_img read more

Why Short Sales Take So Long and What You Can Do About It

first_img Post navigation It’s a question many real estate agents hear from clients: Why do short sales take so long?Despite improving real estate markets, short sales and foreclosure sales will be with us for the foreseeable future. Many homeowners are still underwater, and at any time in the coming years, these folks may face a situation, such as a job transfer or divorce, requiring them to sell at a loss.Short sales happen because the loan on the property is larger than the sale price minus all the sale expenses. With a short sale, the seller is asking the bank to take less than the amount owed.Even if you’ve made an offer and the seller has accepted it, it’s not a done deal. The seller’s bank must approve the sale, and this is where the big delays can happen. Banks are losing money in a short sale and aren’t too keen on it.It’s understandable: Imagine that you loaned a friend $100, and he came to you later saying he could only pay you back $75. Would you cave in easily? Probably not.It’s important to know that a buyer and their agent have no control over the process and that the success of a short sale — and how long a short sale takes — relies heavily on a listing agent.If the listing agent isn’t experienced with short sales, you’re likely wasting your time. A good short sale listing agent will properly advise the seller and have a thorough knowledge of the bank and its process before your offer is accepted.Here’s a look at why short sales can take so long, along with tips for what you can do about it.The seller’s bank must review the short sale packageIn order to approve the sale, the lender requests a complete short sale “package” from the seller. Much like the package you must submit to get a loan, the seller must submit their finances.The lender will want to see the seller’s debts and assets, review their credit score and the contract to purchase the home. After all, why would a bank approve a short sale if the seller had $1 million sitting in the bank?What you can do: A good listing agent will have the short sale package in hand and even completed upfront. Once an offer is accepted, the agent can simply add the contract and buyer’s information and submit it.Documents get lost, pages go missing, signatures are left blankMost banks require hundreds of pages in the short sale package, and many of those pages require signatures from buyers, sellers and agents. If one page is missing or one signature left blank, the document doesn’t get processed.Often, the listing agent will fax in 100 pages and just wait. Sometimes it will take a month to get a response from the bank, informing the agent that things are missing.What you can do: Be proactive. The listing agent should call the bank after submitting the short sale package, especially if sent by fax. Confirm that all documents have been received. Make sure to get the name and phone number of the person you speak to.Some documents quickly become outdatedIt could be weeks between the time the documents get “processed” and when the information hits the desk of a negotiator, who actually reviews and negotiates. Does one bank statement come at the beginning of the month while all the others come at the end?That one bank statement may soon be outdated, and the bank will require an updated one. If that’s the case, it could take the lender weeks to realize this and another week to contact the seller or their agent.What you can do: Review the statement date on each credit card and bank statement so you’ll know if a new one will arrive soon. If so, send it over right away.The lender wants more informationThe lender may ask to see the buyer’s proof of funds, review the preliminary title report or request more verification of the seller’s hardship (job loss, divorce, job transfer). The negotiator could request just about any additional information.What you can do: The seller and agent should be ready to respond, because a delay could add a few more weeks to the process. Try to imagine yourself as the bank and think of everything that might be asked for. Provide as much information as you can upfront.2 loans complicate everythingThe short sale process is difficult enough with one bank. Imagine two banks, each with its own processes, that don’t cooperate? It could set everyone back months.The second lender may request more information before approval. Or, the second lender may issue an approval good for 30 days. If lender No. 1 approves on day 31, the seller must go back to the first lender to get re-approved.What you can do: Understand the approval timelines for each bank and anticipate deadlines.The deal could die at the last minuteOnce the bank has a complete package and you get a negotiator on the phone, there is light at the end of the tunnel.After all this time, the negotiator may counter the buyer on price. Or they may only approve the sale if the seller contributes money. They could always ask for the commission to be lowered.No matter what they say, the bank’s request could kill a deal in the moment. And there’s no way to anticipate exactly what they will come back with.What you can do: Don’t think the bank will simply approve a low offer. If the seller has money in the bank, they need to be prepared to contribute or you may have to come up with more money.Sometimes the bank is just looking at its bottom line and doesn’t care how everyone gets there. Buyers, sellers and agents must work together to make the deal work.Foreclosure trumps everythingTime and again, all parties wait and wait and follow along the process — only to see the sale denied. What’s worse is that sometimes the foreclosure department at the same bank does not work in conjunction with the short sale department.A good offer for a short sale may be on the table, but the seller may be six months behind on payments, causing the foreclosure process to kick in. And the foreclosure process can trump everything.When this happens, the buyer no longer has a deal on the table because the seller, forced into foreclosure, is no longer the seller. In a foreclosure, the home belongs to the bank.How to speed up a short saleThe best way to expedite a short sale approval, and therefore your escrow, is to be certain the seller’s real estate agent is experienced with short sales. The seller’s agent interfaces with the bank 24/7.If the agent isn’t experienced in short sales, chances are this process will drag on and on.An experienced short sale agent will know how certain banks work, what to anticipate and how to best work through the bureaucratic process. But even the most experienced short sale agent can come up against brick walls or challenges they just can’t overcome.If you see a short sale home you love but don’t have much confidence in the listing agent, try not to fall too deeply in love with it. You’ll only be disappointed if the sale doesn’t go through.“Why Short Sales Take So Long and What You Can Do About It” was provided by Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedlast_img read more

Tax Tips for Schedule C Filers

first_img Post navigation Working for Yourself, Stephen Fishman. For do-it-yourselfers, this book from Nolo Press covers more than just taxes. Last year, I fulfilled a lifelong dream: getting paid to tell jokes.Every week, I cohost a comedy podcast about food (I’m not going to plug it, but it’s not hard to find).The show is free, but we ask listeners to voluntarily subscribe and send us a few bucks a month, NPR-style.Enough people enjoy our corny jokes and marginal food knowledge that last month we hired an assistant, Abby, who works a few hours a month for us as an independent contractor doing the dirty jobs: editing audio, keeping our calendar, untangling headphone cables.Abby is new to the world of self-employment, but she’s far from alone. Self-employment, freelancing, and side gigs are everywhere.And all of those independent workers, from plumbers to eBay sellers to podcast engineers, have something in common: in their first year, they’ll learn way more than they ever wanted to know about business taxes and licensing.You see, as twisty as the US tax code can get for employees, you don’t get the full IRS experience until you file your first Schedule C, the form that goes with your 1040 when you run a sole proprietorship.A lot of taxpayers are in this club.In 2009 (the most recent data available), about22.7 million tax returns included a Schedule C. That’s almost 10 percent of all returns.I’ve been self-employed since 2002, so I offered Abby some help.Here’s a startup guide for your startup: how to stay out of tax trouble and get up to speed fast in year one.Get a business license, or twoNot every business requires a license, but most do.Mine requires two, because both the city of Seattle and the state of Washington insist. I pay $90 for my city license, but the state license is free.To find out whether you need to get licensed, and how to start, visit the Small Business Administration and enter your zip code.Lots of small businesses get away with running unlicensed. This seems like a risky way to save a small amount of money.Learn about state and local filing requirementsThis is my least favorite part of business taxes. (I realize this is like saying, “Root canals are my least favorite part of dentistry.”)Washington doesn’t have a personal income tax, but it has sales tax and assorted other taxes for businesses. The city has its own array of taxes.My business is small enough to exempt from most of these taxes, but I still have to file…four times a year.Acquire an aliasIf you want to advertise your business under a name other than your own, you have to apply for a fictitious name (great term, isn’t it?) or DBA (for “doing business as”).It usually comes with a small fee. This is usually handled by the same state licensing agency that grants business licenses.Obtain an EINAn EIN is a federal Employer Identification Number.Technically, you don’t need one unless you are a corporation, or you hire a W-2 employee or establish a 401(k) plan.But you’ll need to furnish some sort of tax ID number to your customers, and without an EIN, you’ll be handing out your Social Security number left and right.That can’t be smart, right?Luckily, getting an EIN is free and takes literally seconds. Apply here.Separate business from personal moneyThe IRS doesn’t require this for sole proprietorships, but you should do it anyway.Maintain a separate checking account for your business, and don’t mix business and personal expenses in the same account.It’s just too much of a pain to sort out at tax time.Luckily, you have tons of options for a free checking account with no minimum balance.This doesn’t mean you can’t move money between your personal and business accounts—of course you can! Just restrict it to transfers.It’ll save you major headaches. I waited way too long to do this.Set aside money for taxesWhen you’re self-employed, no taxes are withheld from your pay, and you owe the federal government two kinds of tax: self-employment tax (Social Security and Medicare) and income tax.If you don’t set aside money for taxes, you’ll get bitten with a high tax bill and possibly a penalty next spring.If you expect to owe more than $1000 in tax on your self-employment income, you should start paying quarterly taxes by signing up for EFTPS.I don’t even know what it stands for, but it’s the way to pay your federal business taxes online.If your self-employment income is a small proportion of your total income, you can avoid quarterly taxes by adjusting your W-4 at your day job so you have more money withheld from each paycheck, enough to cover the tax on your small business income.How much should you set aside? More than you think.“Set aside between 25% and 40% of gross earnings to pay the estimates and the eventual balance due come next April,” says Andrew Stern, tax preparer and author of Z Art of Taxes.Be compulsive about record-keepingDocument every business expense and every paycheck, no matter how small.Use software such as QuickBooks to stay on top of it. Save (or scan) receipts, and use a credit or debit card for purchases—it’s much easier to document expenses made on plastic than with cash.As Stern puts it in his book, “Try drawing a picture without red and blue on your palette. Or play a piano without the black keys. It’s the same trying to prepare your tax return without having all of the information at your fingertips. You will miss something.”Don’t miss out on deductionsDo you use a cell phone or laptop computer for your business?Even if the equipment isn’t used exclusively for business, you can deduct a portion of it.If 25 percent of the time you spend on your laptop is spent on your business, you can deduct 25 percent of the depreciation on the laptop. Easy.Consider the home office deductionThe same principle does not apply to your home office. If you want to deduct a home office, it has to be used exclusively for business, 100 percent of the time.Think about whether this could work for you, though, because it’s a lucrative deduction, and the IRS simplified the process of taking it this year.At tax time, use business-oriented software or a professionalYes, small business taxes are more complicated than individual taxes. But it’s not a big deal.I do mine every year with TurboTax Home & Business, and did so long before I started writing for Mint (which is owned by Intuit, makers of TurboTax and QuickBooks).Think about retirementSelf-employment money adds to your bottom line, but none of it gets automatically get diverted into your 401(k), like your regular paycheck.There are several retirement plans available for self-employed people, but for now just kick some cash into a Roth or traditional IRA—or up your contribution at your day job.Read upJust a few years ago, there were few good books on this topic. Now I can recommend several:Z Art of Taxes, Andrew Stern. A short, simple ebook by a guy who does taxes for rock stars. Independent Contractor, Sole Proprietor, and LLC Taxes Explained in 100 Pages or Less, Mike Piper. Exactly what it says on the tin.So, Abby, sorry to drag you into this mess. I don’t enjoy this stuff any more than you or any other sane person. But here’s the silver lining: keeping scrupulous records is good business practice anyway.Now get back to to work!Matthew Amster-Burton is a personal finance columnist at Find him on Twitter @Mint_Mamster. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedlast_img read more

Not Just CO2: China’s Efforts on Lesser Known Greenhouse Gases Critical to Stabilizing the Climate

first_imgChina Can Cut Non-CO2 Emissions FurtherAn even better path is within reach for China.WRI research identifies seven opportunities to curb significant sources of non-CO2 GHG emissions going beyond current polices. These include HFCs from cooling systems; nitrous oxide from making fertilizers, plastics, and synthetic fabrics; and methane from coal mines, rice cultivation, livestock and wastewater treatment. All moderate ambition measures are proven and immediately available at a cost of less than $14/t CO2e. (Some, but not all, higher ambition measures cost more than $14/t ton CO2e. Higher ambition measures also include impacts of wider application and better enforcement.) HFCs, coalmine methane, as well as nitrous oxide from nitric and adipic acid production all have large mitigation potential, while mitigating emissions in the agricultural sector could save money.   Stepping Up China’s Climate Commitment under the Paris AgreementDespite progress, under current policies China’s non-CO2 emissions will still grow by roughly 16% between 2020 and 2030. If China does not enact more stringent policies, the country’s non-CO2 GHG emissions will not plateau until between 2030 and 2040 (at around 2,571 Mt CO2e), followed by a more discernable decline after 2040.Under the Paris Agreement, all countries are expected to put forward national climate commitments, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in 2020—and, ideally, to strengthen their earlier 2015 NDCs. That makes 2020 a key opportunity for China to strengthen its current policies by adopting bold targets to curb CO2 and non-CO2 gases. The seven measures WRI identified provides ways to implement those policies while delivering cleaner air and improving the health and well-being of China’s people.Specifically, China should draw on the following options in its 2020 NDC:Option 1: Set an ambitious, economy-wide GHG target. This would involve setting a target across all GHGs, including for both CO2 and non-CO2. The target would encompass enhancing China’s CO2 mitigation beyond the current NDC and a commitment to stabilize non-CO2 GHG emissions starting in 2020, after which emissions should begin declining as soon as possible.Option 2: Set an ambitious economy-wide target specifically for non-CO2 GHGs. This should involve a commitment to stabilize non-CO2 emissions starting in 2020, enabling those emissions to begin to decline as early in the decade as possible.Option 3: Set ambitious gas-specific reduction targets. These targets should cover a majority of non-CO2 GHGs, including a commitment to cut methane emissions by at least 7-21% and nitrous oxide emissions by 7-11% by 2030 compared to 2014 levels. China should also commit to take early actions to emit fewer HFCs cumulatively than the limit required under the Kigali Amendment.Option 4: Commit to implementing ambitious source-specific actions. Policymakers could implement all the specific measures identified by WRI’s research. For example, the country could require utilization or flaring of all coal mine methane with concentrations higher than 9%, require all adipic acid and major nitric acid manufacturers to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and aggressively promote more climate-friendly alternatives to refrigerants derived from potent greenhouse gases (e.g. HFC-134a and HFC-410a).In the near term, taking fast, ambitious action to reduce China’s non-CO2 emissions is vital to reduce the rate of global warming and to give the world a chance of achieving the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). It is an essential step to delivering important health and development benefits while ensuring poor and vulnerable communities are spared from the worst effects of climate change.China has made important progress by putting place policies to curb its non-CO2 emissions—but it must go further. By stepping up its emission reduction efforts for all greenhouse gas emissions next year, China can show the leadership the world needs on climate change. When people talk about climate change, the planet-warming gas that invariably comes to mind is carbon dioxide.  But carbon dioxide (CO2) isn’t the only greenhouse gas (GHG) to worry about. Other gases like methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) can have a much more powerful effect in heating our atmosphere. For example, methane emissions from natural gas leaks, agriculture and landfills warm the planet with an intensity 28 times that of the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 100-year time horizon.Unabated, these powerful gases can contribute to potentially irreversible climate tipping points such as ice-free Arctic summers, the collapse of coral reefs and runaway warming caused by permafrost thaw. On the other hand, bold measures to end non-CO2 pollutants will have a huge impact on curbing dangerous air pollution, excessive ultraviolet radiation and ground-level ozone,  and deliver multiple gains for health, food security and sustainable development.As of 2014—the year when the latest government data is available—China emitted 2 gigatons of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, which accounted for 16% of the country’s GHG emissions. To put that in perspective, China’s non-CO2 emissions alone have a warming impact greater than all greenhouse gas emissions from Japan or Brazil. If China’s non-CO2 emissions were a country, they would be the 7th largest emitter of total GHGs in the world.New WRI research looks at what China is already doing—and what more it can do—to limit these pollutants.  The research finds that policies China has recently put in place to cut non-CO2 emissions puts the country on track to avoid the 3.5 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) between 2015 and 2030, compared to policies in 2015. That’s a big step in the right direction, but more can be done. Our analysis shows that if China takes more cost-effective actions to tackle sources of non-CO2 emissions it could avoid an additional 3 gigatons of CO2e in that same time period.Avoiding 3 gigatons of CO2e is like taking 63.6 million cars (over one-fourth of China’s vehicle fleet) off the road for ten years. This would allow China’s non-CO2 emissions to stabilize as early as 2020—a decade earlier than current trajectories—and would cause China’s total non-CO2 GHG emissions to return to 2012 levels sometime before 2030.And these are emissions levels that China could also incorporate into strengthened targets under the Paris Agreement in 2020. China Taking Some Steps to Rein in Non-CO2 EmissionsChina did not include non-CO2 GHG emissions in its top-line national climate commitments in 2015. However, our analysis shows that since then the country has put in place several policies that, combined, are likely to cut more than 380 million tons (Mt) CO2 of non-CO2 gases annually by 2030.Where do these emissions reductions come from? The country’s plan to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which limits HFC emissions, should account for more than 200 Mt CO2e of reductions annually by 2030. China’s target to flatline nitrous oxide emissions from industrial processes by 2020, as communicated in the country’s first biennial update report, would also have a significant impact. Other policies that will help include increasing coal mine methane recovery and utilization, improving municipal solid waste treatment and developing rural biogas facilities.last_img read more

Microformats: Inbound Marketing for Computers!

first_img Let’s look at two specific examples. . There is also an So these technologies are all related in the grand sense of making the web more computer-readable. With microformats, you could add a little bit of special text to your web page, telling other computers, such as Google and Yahoo’s search engines, about these reviews. The search engines can show five stars (or whatever the appropriate visual display is) and a link to the review right in the search engine results page. And in a browser, it might look like this: hReview . Try entering one of your events into the free hCalendar creator , put it your event information, and paste its HTML code into your web page. Here’s how it looks: When a user visits this page, they might see something like this: Soon, browsers will be able to add a customized “Add to calendar” link next to this entry. That is possible because the computer now understands the event information. , where you can input your product information and it will give you the text to paste into your web page. More impressively, search engines that index this page will also be able to add an “Add to calendar” link right on the search results page! Imagine your web page standing out of the crowd with some customized, personal links for the user! Microformats are hCalendar Website Design RDF, which stands for The meeting example above uses a microformat called Resource Description Framework The product review example above uses a microformat called Example 2: Product Reviews Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack As another example, let’s say your company has a product that you want to market. The product has been reviewed on your web site and in other places, but right now to see the reviews the visitors have to come in to your web site. Not anymore! a handful of simple technical standards Here’s how this would look: The concept is simple: it’s just like marking certain text as important on your web page by making it bigger or using a bold font, except you can convey more complex information. Used properly, these tools will drive more traffic and more qualified traffic to your web site. Technically, this type of data representation is called XML, and you can view it or edit it in any text editor. The output from the microformat creator tools can simply be copied and pasted into any web page. Originally published Apr 3, 2008 11:15:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 hReview Creator , and it will give you the right text to paste into your page. , and the  are two terms closely related to microformats. Both are approaches to making web pages more readable by computers, not just humans. The idea is to give computer programs, like the search engines, more information so they can better display your web page to their own users. What is RDF? What is the Semantic Web? Are they all related? that let you put information on your web page for other computers, as well as humans, to read. By making the same information computer-accessible, you will improve the user experience for your visitors, and even impact the search engine results pages to make your results stand out more. The result will be more traffic, better qualified traffic, and a higher conversion rate. You are attending a trade show and you want to let people know, so they can sign up as well. All you have to do is go to the free Semantic Web Technical Details Example 1: Putting a meeting on the calendar Topics: Imagine if someone does a keyword search and sees 10 results, but yours is the only one that has product reviews right there in the search engine result page! It’s a free and simple way to get more traffic to your web site, and it’s likely to be more qualified traffic as well. hCalendar Creator toollast_img read more

4 Lessons to Learn from Google’s SEO Mistakes

first_img Learn more about how you can optimize your site to get found online in search engines to generate more leads for your business. that outlines how Google’s own products and webpages rank in the company’s search engine. Despite what you may expect, Google has a fair amount of SEO work to do for its own web properties according to the report.  4. Conduct a Regular Audit of Web Properties — From the sheer volume of data and aspects of search engine marketing covered in the report, it is easy to see that a wide range of factors and executions impact both on-site and off-site SEO. When it comes to tasks like URL naming, redirects, title tags, etc., having not only a clear strategy but also a defined organizational process will help to ensure that all the small but 1. Successful Search Engine Marketing Needs Processes and further examine other ways your business may learn from Google. — Does your company website or blog impact how your brand is perceived? Yes. Take a minute to think about what many of your customers see before they even arrive at your website: your search results in Google. Take a look at the image below that shows a result from a Google property in which the search result, instead of a brand-friendly description, included legal policy text. The Web is not linear; potential customers come from different places and visit your site from various pages. URL structure is a simple but important aspect of Ensuring that your brand is properly represented in search results Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack critical aspects of SEO is an important branding measure.   SEO Report Card search engine marketing Download our 4 Lessons to Learn from Google’s SEO Mistakes . When potential customers see URLs for your web properties, they need to be consistent. For example, if your organization uses the format, as you expand the site, this format needs to remain the same. Additionally, other popular URL types such as should send visitors to the preferred URL format This type of consistency helps to set user expectations. SEO for Lead Generation Kit search engine optimization for lead generation kit When businesses think about search engine optimization, they often go straight to thinking about how well they can rank in Google’s search results. Interestingly enough, the search engine giant has released an —  In the examination of Google’s data, it is easy to overlook that the most important thing Google did was to invest the time and resources to actually conduct an audit. By setting a regular audit, it makes the process easier to maintain. Audits, while time consuming, can be great projects for marketing team members to better understand how search engines work. SEO report card 2. SEO Impacts Branding Check out the entire . Does your business conduct a regular audit of its online properties? get completed every time. Originally published Mar 3, 2010 2:28:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Technical SEO 3. Pick a URL Format and Stick with It —last_img read more

The No B.S. Guide to Reducing Your Website’s Bounce Rate

first_img Topics: Ever gone into your analytics and seen your bounce rate hovering around or above 90%? If so, you’re in trouble. That is a high bounce rate. And it’s very, very bad.Bounce rates are website killers. The problem is, many webmasters simply expect bounce rates to stay at high levels. I’m convinced it doesn’t have to be this way. You can bring your bounce rate down as long as you know what to do. I’m tired of reading the same hackneyed information about “reducing your bounce rate,” so I decided to stop looking for the advice that doesn’t exist and create some of my own — a list of not stupid ways to crush your bounce rate. 5 Quick Facts About Bounce RateFirst, let’s just run through a few quick facts about bounce rate to make sure we’re all on the same page about what it is. A high bounce rate is bad. You will not be able to win any arguments with me on this one. A high bounce rate is a very bad thing, and it causes other bad things to happen, too. If your bounce rate is high, it may have a negative impact on your rankings. Some bounce is inevitable. You’re not going to eliminate all bounce. Accept some of it as human fate — the destiny of the web. Bounce rate is not exit rate (but it’s related). Exit rate is the percentage of visitors who left the site from a certain page. Don’t confuse the two.Reducing bounce rate is site-specific. There’s no such thing as a set of rules that is guaranteed to reduce your bounce rate. My article is tactical, but I’m not giving you a list of design techniques or wonder-hacks that will automatically slash bounce rates. I’m giving you strategic ammunition that you have to load and fire. So far, we’re in SEO kindergarten still. This is just preparation for the solid and strategic advice that I want to share with you in the next section.How to Crush Your Bounce RateLet’s nail it. How do you crush your bounce rate? Follow these steps, and I guarantee that your bounce rate will begin to fall. 1) Know who’s visiting your site.Here’s the big problem about the conventional pabulum on bounce rate reduction: It doesn’t get at the root problem. Immediately, such advice launches into tips like redesign your website! Or add more pictures! Those are not true bounce rate solutions, though. You want pictures? This website has them, but you can bet I’m going to bounce as soon as possible. Such design advice doesn’t cut it. You need a more fundamental approach to crushing your bounce rate. You need to know your visitor.To find out who’s visiting your site and what kind of content they like, check out your analytics. Take a look at how many of your visitors are new vs. returning, for example. That single data point alone helps you understand how to structure your page, what type of messages to put in place, and how to create your copy. Knowing what language your users read, their demographics, and what they’re interested in is also incredibly important. Understand your audience before you change anything. Know what language they speak, where they live, what they search for, and why they visit your site. You won’t be able to take any real bounce-rate crushing action unless you first understand your visitor. 2) Know what your visitors want. Once you’ve gotten to know who your user is, you need to know what they want. Attracting the right user to your website is all about targeting the right keywords. Ideally, you’ve done some keyword research and have identified the keywords that you need to be ranking for. You should already be ranking for branded keywords, and comprehensively covering other niche keywords. Keep in mind that, depending on the nature of your site, your bounce rate may vary. Here is the information that I presented in my infographic guide to decreasing bounce rate. The chart below displays Google Analytics benchmark averages for bounce rate across different types of websites.If you know exactly what your visitor wants and give it to them, then they have virtually no reason to bounce. The only way you’ll be able to do this is through successful content marketing. 3) Pour everything you’ve got in to UX.By now, you’ve gotten two things straight: You need to know your visitor.You need to give them what they want.By this point, you’re well on your way to getting rid of sky-high bounce rates. What else could possibly cause a visitor to bounce? One of the main things is the site’s usability. User experience is everything. The user must feel comfortable, confident, and clear when they’re on your website. This article isn’t a design tutorial, but let me give you a few specific points:Put the good stuff above the fold. If the user doesn’t see what they’re looking for above the fold, they are more likely to bounce. If your content is relevant to the user’s query, make that obvious by displaying it above the fold. Make your navigation intuitive. If the user wants to navigate — i.e., not bounce — make it easy. Place navigation where it’s expected, and make navigation choices obvious.Look professional. Good design is a marker of a good website. Savvy web users can distinguish a shoddy website from a professional one simply from a quick glance at the overall design. In a Search Engine Watch article, Nick Eubanks makes the point that “design has become a legitimacy signal.” In other words, poor design means that you look illegitimate or unprofessional in the eyes of your visitors. Their response is to bounce. One of the strongest defenses against high bounce rate is to make a website so awesomely functional and beautiful that it makes people stay and click.4) Make them click. Just about everyone misses this one. We blather endlessly on about killer headlines, and the right keywords, and more pictures, and engaging design, and ad nauseum. But we forget to talk about this one thing: You’ve got to make them click. In order to explain it to you, I’m going to circle back to Google’s definition of bounce rate: “Bounce Rate [=] … single-page visits.”A bounce happens when a visitor goes to your page, then leaves your page. That’s it. If the user is not clicking anywhere else on the page, the visit will most likely become a bounce.Here’s the kicker. Your site could be so good that bounce rate goes higher. How the heck does that happen? If you 1) know your user, and 2) give them what they want, and 3) have sick UX, then you could have successfully created a bounceable page. Why? It may very well be that you’ve created a page that is so successful that the user doesn’t need to go anywhere else. She has the information she needs, and she’s done. She bounces. Goodbye.And so your bounce rate goes up, much to your chagrin. So, here’s where real bounce rate reduction starts to happen. You’ve got to make the user click — to perform some action or some movement on the site. Let me explain how you can do this:Add conversion paths from every page on your website. Perhaps it is a blog subscription or a “read more,” or a CTA. Whatever the case, optimize every page for conversions. This is what I do on my personal website, with very high success. Make “hot” zones clickable. If there’s a place that people tend to hover over and it can be clickable, add a link it to make it clickable. I suggest using CrazyEgg to conduct heatmapping for this purpose. A good page not only gives users the information they need, but it also asks them to act on that information. That action — compelled by a CTA — is going to involve a click.The moment your visitor clicks, they are no longer part of the bounce rate statistic. That’s what you want. 5) Go beyond mobile friendly.Here’s another point that everyone is missing: Mobile usability. Designers and webmasters have been singing the praises of responsive design long enough. It’s a great song, and I appreciate all the responsive sites that are out there. If your site is not responsive, pardon my bluntness, but you just need to get with the program. Get responsive or you will die. (End of rant.)But a responsive site isn’t enough. Your site should be usable on a mobile device. I’ve seen plenty of great responsive sites that still don’t have mobile usability going for them. Though site isn’t trying to crush a 1,200 pixel width into a 300 pixel screen, it’s still not good enough. The site must be brilliantly intuitive and beautifully usable on a mobile device if you want to avoid mobile bounce rates.If your website has mobile traffic — and I will be shocked to death if you don’t — then you need to think about more than just mobile friendliness. You need to think about mobile usability. Your mobile users are a growing segment of your traffic, and if they aren’t getting the site usability they need, they will bounce. And your bounce rate will reach those agonizing highs. ConclusionThis has not been your typical reduce-your-bounce-rate post. This is more strategic, high-level, and hopefully helpful. Don’t be content with industry average bounce rates. Defy the bounce rate benchmarks for the type of website you have. Even though there will always be some bounce rate, I think you can get it lower. Here’s the great thing about reducing your bounce rate: Once you get your bounce rate lower, your conversion rate goes up. Your SEO goes up. Your CTR goes up. Your rankings go up. Bounce rate is a powerful metric — it actually shapes the way that a site ranks, because it’s one of the few user-dependent features of a website’s ranking. By reducing your bounce rate, you are paving the way for success in so many other areas.What tips do you have for reducing your bounce rate?  Definition: Bounce rate is the number of visitors who left your site without visiting any other pages on the site. Google, ever so careful about metrical nuances, puts it this way: “Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”  Originally published Aug 11, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2017 Web Analytics Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

What Do Recruiters Look for in a Resume? [Infographic]

first_imgRecruiters receive an average of 118 resumes for every job listing they post.As you can imagine, they don’t always have time to read through every one. In fact, they may not even have time to open every one.That’s why it’s so important to make sure your resume — and the email or cover note you send along with it — is written in a way that pleases the recruiters reading it. That means it should be scannable, free of errors, and formatted in a way that makes it easy for them to uncover key metrics and accomplishments. To learn more about how recruiters read resumes and what they’re looking for, check out the infographic below from StandOutCV.96Save96Save Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published May 11, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Resume and Cover Letters Topics:last_img read more