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5 Basic Rules for LinkedIn

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 3.15.34 PMLinkedIn is a great networking tool for professionals, but sadly many people either don’t know how to use it or over use it. I’ve found that LinkedIn has become over populated with personal posts, candid photos and articles that best belong Facebook or Twitter. It seems like users have forgotten the purpose of LinkedIn so it’s time to get back to basics. Here are my 5 basic rules for LinkedIn:

1. Have a professional head shot
I’ve seen so many profiles that contain candid profile photos where the user is either on vacation, in casual attire or with friends. LinkedIn is for professional networking so it’s important that you have a professional looking photo, ideally a head shot.  You can either hire a photographer for a professional photo shoot or even ask a friend or family member to take a head shot of you in professional attire. Make sure you’re facing the camera and people can see your face clearly.

2. Keep your summary short
The summary section of your profile (in my opinion) should act as a snapshot of your experience. By reading your summary people should know what you do, what your area of expertise is and who you provide services to. A summary should ideally be one paragraph long, keep it short and simple. No one is going to spend time reading your life story on LinkedIn.

3. Don’t over share
I like to think LinkedIn is a more formal type of social media than Facebook or Twitter, so keep your posts professional. Share updates about your career, projects you’re involved in or networking/ corporate events you may be attending. Avoid posting anything too personal such as the fact that you’re having a bad day or photos of : your pet, children, wedding, spouse or vacation.

4. Join groups and participate in discussions
LinkedIn has a variety of groups you can join such as those associated with a chamber of commerce or even a specific profession. Join groups that interest you and make it a point to actively engage in discussions as well as contribute discussion topics. Keep your comments brief, professional and relevant to the topic being discussed. Share your opinion but don’t be too negative or rant  in a comment,  if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. Sharing articles and starting discussions in groups will also help increase your exposure on LinkedIn and attract more attention to your profile.

5. Seek and give recommendations in equal measure
Many people ask for recommendations but few are willing to actually give them in return. If you ask someone for a recommendation, always make it a point to offer one back, it’s a polite and professional thing to do. If you feel you cannot write a full recommendation then try endorsing people for various skill sets that you know they possess. Make sure you maintain mutually beneficial relationships on LinkedIn and don’t be a moocher.


Best of the Bahamas – Atlantis

About 2 years ago my family and I took a trip to the Bahamas. It was our first time in the Bahamas and we decided to stay at Atlantis Paradise Island. We’d heard a lot of good things about the hotel so we decided to check it out.

From the moment we arrived in Nassau everyone was so friendly and welcoming, it was a great start to our vacation. When we finally got to Atlantis I was impressed and overwhelmed. I can honestly say this was the best hotel I’ve stayed at so far. Here’s why :

It’s HUGE yet the staff in all parts of the hotel are always friendly and have great customer service. It’s also got a waterpark with slides and 8 pools!
Photo provided by Hotel with Excursion Photos

Atlantis Aerial

The excursions are worth the money and give you professional photos with the marine animals.
Dolphin Excursion

The Leap of Faith Ride

Beautiful $1 million Glass Sculptures

The Bridge Suite where you can see the sun rise and set (for $25 000/night! but we can all dream 😉 )


6 Interview Mistakes

InterviewCongratulations! You’ve landed an interview! That means you’re getting the job right? Well not so fast. Here’s my take on the 6 most common mistakes made by prospective employees.

1. Dressing Inappropriately
Believe it or not humans as a species are shallow and the way you dress does matter. An interview is a chance for you to showcase yourself so dress up for the occasion. When going to an interview you should overdress (within corporate boundaries). Even though the prospective workplace may suggest that a dress shirt and dress pants are the norm, remember you don’t work there yet! The most suitable interview attire for both men and women is a business suit, preferably grey or black with something to add a pop of colour such as a red tie or a colourful blouse. However it’s important to exercise caution, no loud prints or neon colors. You want hiring managers to remember you for your intelligence and suitability for the job not your bright pink shirt or zebra print socks!

2. No prep work
You need to  have some background knowledge about the company you’ve applied to. This type of research is best conducted before you even submit your application so you will have a better idea about the work the company does and what type of culture it fosters. It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to ask you what you know about the company or even go as far as asking what you last viewed on their website. An employable candidate will have a strong knowledge about the company, it’s founders, sectors and future directions. It’s also important to keep the role you’re applying for in mind when researching and look for information that might be applicable to the job itself.

3. Not bringing a copy of your resume to the interview
This may seem like a trivial issue but many times candidates assume that a hiring manager will have a print out of their resume ready. This may not always be the case as managers can interview many candidates for one position and may not always have everyone’s resume on hand. Bringing a copy of your resume to the interview demonstrates responsibility and conscientiousness. In fact it’s good to bring about 3 copies of your resume as managers may ask their colleagues or peers to sit in on the interview.

4. Over-confidence
Although candidates should demonstrate a sense of self assurance and confidence there is such a thing as over-doing it. This is most commonly demonstrated in how candidates answer the question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Candidates often list many strengths and say ” well weaknesses, I have none” thinking that’s what hiring managers want to hear. In fact it’s the exact opposite! By denying any faults you’re not only lying you’re coming off as being arrogant and self-absorbed. What managers are really looking for in asking this question is humility. Are you able to recognize faults within yourself and own up to them? Do you know what you’re not good at? Remember everyone has weaknesses when it comes to work you just have to determine what yours are, and which ones are suitable to mention. Use your discretion.

5. Not having a reference list ready
When going in to an interview it may be essential to bring a list of reference. Many people have the phrase “References available upon request” on their CVs but employers may not have the time to ask you individually for references. Some application forms even ask for references as part of the application process. That’s why it’s always beneficial to go in to an interview with a list of references that can attest to your experience and suitability for the job you’re being considered for. Remember to choose references that best highlight your suitability for the specific role you’re competing for; general references may not cut it in today’s competitive work environment.

6. Accepting phone calls during the interview
No phone calls during an interview may seem like a basic rule to some but there are folks who make this mistake quite often. I myself was faced with such a situation when conducting an interview. My candidate interrupted me to accept a call and never offered an apology. Needless to say she did not get the job. Taking or making calls during an interview is extremely rude and makes the interviewer feel like you’re not really interested in the position. It’s also a sign of disrespect for the interviewer and disregard for the position you’re vying for. You’re at the interview to sell yourself not to socialize on the phone so during the interview cell phones should be off or on silent; vibrate is not an option. In order to demonstrate your dedication to the prospective role you must give the interviewer your undivided attention


Tips for the Business Traveler

BuIMG_5064siness trips just aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. As I’ve found out over the last two years business travel is not always complementary flights and first class lounges. Most business travelers, myself included have to deal with long layovers, jet lag, and delayed flights.

Here are a few of my tips for business travelers :

1. Stay hydrated
With complementary alcohol on-board and in business and first class lounges it’s tempting to indulge in a few drinks. The best away to stay hydrated is to stick to water. Avoid indulging in alcoholic or carbonated beverages. Don’t rely on caffeine to stay awake either as tea and coffee are both diuretics which will in turn dehydrate you.

2. Pack no iron or wrinkle-resistant clothing
Companies such as The Bay and Banana Republic offer work clothes that are specifically no iron. It’s a good idea to invest in some no iron shirts and blouses as you will need to pack light and you may not always have access to an iron, depending on where your travel takes you. A wrinkle eraser spray is also a good investment.

3. Pack effectively
Pack appropriately for the amount of time you will be away. If it’s just a weekend or 3 days you probably won’t need to take a checked bag and can use a carry-on. If your trip exceeds five days you should opt for checked luggage. Your carry-on should be packed effectively as well and consist of : a set of professional attire for the next day should you luggage be lost, your night clothes, and a set of casual attire. Most people skimp on packing their carry-on and forget to account for lost or delayed luggage.

4. Avoid eating a heavy meal on-board
Eating a heavy meal on-board can leave you feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and nauseous. Although jet lag may be causing you to be excessively hungry, try and limit the amount of airplane food you consume. Eat prior to boarding and bring a snack with you. Food bought at the terminal prior to boarding can usually be brought on board. You can also opt for dry packaged food such as granola bars or crackers. Avoid heavy meats, pastas, and any foods with creamy sauces or dressings

5. Make room for Meds
Getting sick is the last thing you want on a business trip. I recommend packing Gravol to combat nausea or motion sickness, Imodium for an upset stomach or diarrhea, Tylenol for minor headaches and body aches as a result of flying, and ZzzQuil to help you sleep on the flight and adjust to your new time zone. These are a few over the counter medications that work for me,  if in doubt consult your doctor before trying any new non-prescription mediation.

6. Bring your adapter
Voltage rates vary across the world so we recommend bringing some adapters to ensure that your laptop and cell phone can be charged at your new location. You may need to do some research before to find out what kind of adapter you need and ensure you have one that will fit correctly in to the wall socket at your destination. I strongly recommend charging your laptop and phone on-board so you will be fully ready for your business meetings when you land.

7. Add a little O2
I discovered a product called liquid oxygen by O2 Spa Bar. Adding a few drops to your water while on board will help with fatigue and jet lag. Remember to add it only to water and not any carbonated or alcoholic beverages. You can also place a few drops on your tongue for a more concentrated dosage.

8. Stay in touch : pack a destination specific sim card or purchase a roaming package
If possible purchase a sim card that will be compatible with your new location. You can do this prior to departure or on arrival. I recommend using a local sim card as roaming rates can be quite expensive. Purchasing a roaming package from your wireless services provider prior to departure is also a good idea in case you are unable to locate a local sim or need to get in touch with your office or family  during your journey.