Job interviews can be really tough. Interviewers are looking for someone outstanding and asking the right questions can make you stand out.

Have you ever sat down and created a list of all the jobs you’ve worked during your life? The number may astonish you. My number astonishes me when I look at my list!

But what also astonishes me is that the approach to finding a new job and getting hired has its own set of unspoken and somewhat complex steps that one must follow in order to be successful.

For the purposes of not driving readers and job-seekers crazy who are reading this post, we’re going to focus on only one of the parts of your interview: asking pointed and targeted questions during your interview that communicate three things to your potential boss:

  • You’re actually interested in the job and you’ve done your research on the role that you’re being interviewed for. This is important to show your potential employer because there are many job seekers who forget to research the roles that they are applying for.
  • You’re motivated on a professional and personal level. No one wants to hire a person who lacks motivation. They are annoying to work with.
  • You’re actively engaged in your interview. Basically, you’re not going to sit in the interview and say nothing to the interviewers.

There is an art to asking the RIGHT interview questions and not alienating or freaking out a potential new employer. Before you begin asking questions, remember that each job has its own specific set of questions that you should ask.

Questions for a leadership role.

If you’re applying for a leadership role, then the questions you ask should also include things such as:

What leadership style are you looking for?

How many people would the person in this role be supervising?

But, to keep things simple, in this post we’re going to assume that everyone is applying for mid-level administrative/management roles without supervisory duties.

First, be aware that there are some questions that you do need to be cautious about asking when speaking with your potential new employer during an interview.

If you’re aware that you’re interviewing for a role that you consider to be a short-term opportunity, and only have plans on working just for 2 or 3 years in that role, don’t let it slip that you’re not going to be there for the long-run. Most employers expect potential employees to leave within two to three years, but they like to pretend otherwise.

Questions for entry-level positions.

If you’re applying for an entry-level job here is a list of questions that may be appropriate to ask your interviewers. You do have to feel out the energy of the interview before asking them. Each interview has its own dynamic so you will have to play this by ear.

Examples of questions to ask include the following:

How do you see the person in this role supporting the overall mission of the department that they are in and the mission of the organization?

This question is important to ask because it helps you know where you stand in the organization AND it helps you know how the tasks you may work on are viewed by your potential colleagues.

What opportunities are there for advancement for the person in this role?

There is nothing worse than being hired for a job and there is nowhere to go in the position. If that’s the case you as the interviewee may make the decision that this is not the role for you OR that it’s a short-term opportunity until you find an opportunity in another organization.

How do you evaluate people in this role?

Job evaluations are a huge part of how you get raises, promoted, and get the feedback needed to better your job performance.

If the organization gives feedback in a way that you’re philosophically opposed to, such as having your colleagues’ give input on your performance evaluation or a scoring system, you need to know so that you can strategically work in such a way to earn positive reviews because you understand how you will be evaluated.

By the way, I absolutely hate having colleagues comment on your job performance because more often than not, you may have a colleague who can’t stand you. And, if a colleague can’t stand you it makes sense that they may be less inclined to give you a fair job assessment.

Do you know your non-negotiables?

What benefits do you offer?

Is flex-time important to you?

Life insurance, health insurance, etc?

What’s your maternity/paternity leave like?

Be careful with this question because potential employers may worry that you’re about to have a baby. Is it the type of organization where there may be the potential work from home? If the interviewer hasn’t answered these questions, it’s reasonable to ask them.

What is the company culture like?

Do you have to wear suits/dresses?

Have casual Fridays?

Are there events after normal business hours and do you have to show up?

But, before you begin asking these questions make sure to do your due diligence and research the organization as much as you possibly can. Then, be honest about what you’re looking for in any future role you may be interviewing for. What is a non-negotiable for you? What are you willing to compromise on?

Knowing your non-negotiables will create a framework for which questions you should be asking during your next interview.

Have you used any of these questions in a job interview? Do you have any other good ones to add? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Social media is a great way to land a job. But you’ll be empty-handed if you don’t know what you’re doing. Learn to how to make social media work for you.

During one of my previous job hunts, I found a gig that seemed pretty much perfect. They were located in a great area, offered a competitive salary and benefits package, and seemed like a fun place to work. The only problem was their complete and utter lack of interest in me.

The only problem was their complete and utter lack of interest in me.

I tailored my resume for days, poured my heart into a cover letter, and had a nice phone conversation with the hiring manager, but after a few weeks I realized they weren’t biting. I needed to try something else before the opening was filled.

So rather than pining away for a callback, I got proactive. I did some deep diving on LinkedIn and Facebook, found an alumnus from my alma mater who had worked at the company several years before and asked them out for coffee. We talked about college, our careers and eventually, the position I was seeking. They promised to call the CEO that afternoon and put in a good word for me.

The next day, they called me in for an interview. The day after that, I received a job offer.

The job market in 2017 rewards those who can navigate their way around a news feed. Social media has complicated job hunting, but it’s also opened up a wide world of possibilities for those bold enough to embrace its utility. Here are some ways you can harness that potential.

Reach out to people.

Before social media, you could only contact someone if you had their phone number or email address. Now with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can find almost anyone you’re looking for.

Instead of issuing a blanket statement on Facebook that you’re looking for a new gig (where your current boss might see), reach out to people individually. If possible, ask them for a specific favor, such as introducing you to their friend who works for your dream company. Think of it like planning a party – inviting people to a Facebook event won’t get people to come out, but sending individual texts will.

Create job alerts.

LinkedIn is the premier social media network for landing a job, but only if you’re strategic about it. When I was job hunting, I would create a LinkedIn search alert for journalism, marketing or PR jobs in Indianapolis. Every morning, LinkedIn would send me an email notification with any new jobs that matched my search terms.

Usually, I’d get results for jobs I wasn’t qualified for or interested in, but every week or so I’d find something perfect. Job hunting is a game of numbers, so be prepared to scour through hundreds of jobs to find one you actually like.

Become a subject matter expert.

A few months after graduating from college, I attended an alumni mixer at my journalism school. I was still unemployed and desperate to get job advice from the newspaper and broadcast veterans. When I asked one lady for her best job-hunting tips, she told me to start blogging about my passion. She said I could use that as a way to set myself apart from the other applicants.

I dismissed her advice. “Who has time to start a blog,” I thought to myself. I was certain it would be a self-indulgent waste of time.

But she was right. Starting and maintaining a blog proves that you have commitment and dedication to your work. It was because of my blog that I launched my career as a freelance writer.

If you don’t have the inclination to start your own blog, at least use social media platforms to prove your subject matter expertise.

Post articles on Twitter and LinkedIn that are relevant to your industry and comment on them. Showing that you care about your trade will make you more appealing to recruiters and hiring managers when they inevitably look you up on social media.

Nowadays, I use Twitter to post about personal finance and freelance writing. I don’t know if my editors and clients look at it before they hire me, but I hope they do. I’m proud of my social media game.

How social media can hurt your prospects.

During my last 9-5 job, my boss asked me to help him find my replacement. After I scanned over their resumes, I would look up candidates on social media to gauge what kind of people they were.

Most of the time I’d find nothing out of the ordinary – brunching with friends, traveling to Europe, spending time with family, etc. – but sometimes I’d find a profile gushing over their love of smoking weed or recent photos of binge drinking.

It’s not that I judge people for drinking or using drugs, but I do judge their decision-making skills when I see them publicly posting about private affairs. If I see that you liked a post about hot college girls on Spring Break, I’m probably going to judge you.

Ask your most old-fashioned friend to look through your accounts. If they find something that makes them uncomfortable, you should either take it down or make it private. It may hurt to censor yourself, but there’s a time and a place to exercise your free speech – job hunting isn’t it.

Has social media ever helped you land a job? Do you have any social media tips that could be helpful. Share with us in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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You have something to share. And it just might make you money.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Today, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Monica Louie to talk about it can change your life to be your own boss, and how to build up the courage and strength to make the change. What does it take to leave the everyday world of working behind and make it on your own?

We’ll take a look at Monica’s journey, and what you can do to be your own boss. Plus, Harlan and Miranda share a little bit about their own journeys as well.

If you want to conquer Facebook Ads, take a look at Flourish with Facebook Ads, Monica’s new course. Monica helps Adulting.tv with our own advertising, which has been very successful.

Monica Louie is a Facebook ads coach and strategist who helps ambitious online entrepreneurs grow their impact and their profits with the power of Facebook ads. She has worked on more than 100 Facebook ad campaigns, including several traffic campaigns with cost per click as low as $0.01 and conversion campaigns with cost per result as low as $0.30. Her online journey began in 2015 when she shared how her family paid off $120,000 of debt in two years on a single, middle-class income. When she’s not playing in the Power Editor, she can be found hiking in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, dog, and two kids.

https://www.facebook.com/FlourishwithMonica/
https://twitter.com/MonicaRLouie
https://www.monicalouie.com/
https://flourishwithfbads.com

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Being a solopreneur is pretty great. Except when it’s not.

We hear a lot about starting a business online and becoming your own boss. In fact, this trend is so prevalent now that it’s got its own term: solopreneur.

Most of the time, I love working from home. I also making money (mostly) on my terms. Before you decide that being a solopreneur is the move for you, here are some of the realities involved.

You set your own schedule.

One of my favorite things about being on my own is the fact that I get to set my own schedule. Since I started working for a company as a W-2 employee again there are a few more restrictions, but I work from home and still get to set my own schedule much of the time.

As a solopreneur, you have freedom and flexibility to work when you want — and from where you want. It’s freedom, and one of the things I treasure most.

Sometimes you have to work even when you don’t want to.

Ok, this is true whether you have a real job or whether you’re a solopreneur. You just have to suck it up and work sometimes.

But when you have a real job, the assumption is that you can clock out at some point and take a break. When you have a business, that’s not always the case. You might be up late working, even if you want to sleep. I can’t tell you how often I work on the weekend.

You have to force yourself to work sometimes, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. And sometimes, especially at first, you find yourself working more than you ever did while holding down a regular job.

Get ready for the self-employment tax.

One thing you don’t think about when you’re working for The Man is that your company is paying half your payroll taxes. When you’re working for yourself, you pay both parts of payroll taxes.

It’s important to be prepared. You could see a higher tax bill when you quit your job, just because you no longer have an employer subsidizing part of your taxes.

Set aside money each month to go toward taxes. I like to set aside about a third of my monthly income to go toward taxes (you might feel more comfortable adjusting this amount). And remember: you should pay quarterly to reduce the chance of problems with the IRS. Plan ahead of time to avoid money problems down the road.

Sometimes it feels like you have several bosses.

Be your own boss! You’re totally in charge!

The reality for many solopreneurs is that it can feel like you’ve got multiple bosses. There are days when I’m wrestling with multiple deadlines for different clients. I definitely don’t feel like I’m my own boss in those situations!

For freelancers, it’s common to feel as though you have more than one boss. The bright side, though, is that you have the chance to fire an unreasonable client down the road when you start seeing success.

Making money online takes more than just setting up a website.

Online entrepreneurs make it look so easy. Just set up your website and boom. The money rolls in.

But does it, really?

Sure. After you’ve put in the work. And it can take years to find success with your website or store. It can happen faster, of course, but it takes work. You need to market your website, services, and products — just like any other business.

You need a plan. You need to do the work. And you need to be realistic. If you build it, they aren’t guaranteed to come. You have to entice them.

It can get lonely cooped up in your home office.

I love working from home. And part of the reason I started doing the online thing was to avoid having to people on a regular basis.

But even introverts get lonely. We need to talk to people sometimes, too. As a solopreneur, though, that human contact might not be as frequent as you’d like.

You can ease the pain a bit by heading to a co-working space or a coffee shop. Meetups, conferences, and video calls can also help. Plus, if you have a life partner who works from home, that can provide you with support as well. Of course, having your life partner at home all the time with you can have its own drawbacks.

Your friends and family just don’t get what you do.

Working online as a solopreneur is hard to explain to friends and family. I’ve got people assuming I can just drop everything and do things for them left and right.

And my IRL acquaintances think what I do is a quaint hobby. Um, no, I support my family.

Trying to explain what I do to my grandma? She didn’t think I’d “made it” until she actually saw my name in the newspaper.

Luckily, as the internet becomes an increasingly acceptable way to make a living, and as the gig economy becomes a Thing, it’s easier to explain what I do. But sometimes it can be truly maddening.

It’s possible to go to the spa on Thursday.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy a flexible schedule?

This is my favorite reality of being a solopreneur. I love going to the spa on Thursday. I can almost always get an appointment, there aren’t many people there, and I can truly relax while my son is at school. It’s perfect.

Maybe the spa isn’t your thing. Maybe it’s golf. Or going to lunch with a friend. Perhaps you just want to go for a hike or play paintball. Whatever it is, go wild.

Just realize that you might have to make up for it by working on Sunday afternoon.

All your friends are working when you want to play.

It’s nice that you can go to a matinee movie on Wednesday afternoon. But you better like going alone. Because your friends with real jobs are all working.

This is a tough reality for many solopreneurs. They’re so excited that they can set a schedule to their liking, but what happens when everyone else is still on the 9-to-5 grind?

I get around it by meeting friends for lunch near their workplaces so we can enjoy a little time together. You can also find other friends to do things with, or even learn to be your own best friend.

You are responsible for your success.

This is the biggest, scariest, harshest reality of being a solopreneur. It’s also the most liberating aspect of being out there on your own. The fact that you are totally in charge of your own success is a huge deal — and it can make you or break you.

I love thinking that I can chart my own course. Even if you are still working your real job, and your solopreneurship is mostly in the side hustle stage right now, you are still taking control of your future success.

To me, even though there are hard realities associated with doing what I do, the biggest reality is also the most encouraging reality.

Are you a solopreneur? Tell us your story in the #Adulting community on Facebook

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You can learn the hard way, by making more mistakes, or you can learn an easier way, with the help of a mentor.

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

One of the best ways to get ahead in your career and in life is to learn from someone else. If you can find a mentor, you have the benefit of wisdom and experience.

But how does one go about finding a mentor? And what can you do to maintain a good relationship with a mentor?

Concepts

  • How it can help your business and life to find a mentor.
  • How a mentor can help your career.
  • Advantages of an outside view.
  • The importance of learning from others and benefitting from their experiences.
  • Tips to help you find a mentor.
  • How to get referrals from your networ for a mentor.
  • How to use mentorship to network and find new opportunities.
  • Tips for developing a good relationship with your mentor.
  • What you need to know about choosing the right mentor for you.

As you prepare to find a mentor, this week’s DO NOWs can help. Start by identifying one area of your life you want to work on, whether it’s money, career, or your health. Pick one area of focus. Write down the names of people in your network who can help in your area of focus. Ask one of the people on that list to lunch or coffee.

This week, our listener question deals with concerns about using a mentor someone else picks out for you. We talk about taking a chance, and how to identify if the mentoring relationship is going to work early on.

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Resources

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Your blog is great but no one knows it. People need to know about your work. Get your social media game up.

This blogger makes $111,000 a month. This guy makes $17 million a year. She makes a good six-figures a month.

Blogging is fun and a great way to make money if you do it right, but the path from $0, or from being in the red because of start-up costs, to three figures per month can be elusive.

What should a new blogger consider to go from red, or flat, to black? A critical component of a blogging strategy is social media strategy.

The blogosphere is part of the virtual world. Therefore, it’s important to use virtual marketing in a way that lets the virtual world know you exist and how you help your readers.

As personal finance bloggers who talk to the LGBT community, what’s worked for us and the bloggers above have been different. Based on your blog’s focus, personality, and audience, you will also need to develop a unique social media plan.

You may need to nuance what I write below to better target your demographic. But, this will give you some direction from my personal experience.

Social media is plain marketing.

At its simplest, a social media strategy is just marketing. It’s different (but not much different) than when businesses pay for advertisements on the radio or television.

But, this is why I love the new gig-economy so much – the barrier to start a business today is so much lower than in the past. Unlike the old economy when you needed a lot of money to advertise on the radio and television, which could take all your revenue or savings, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars into advertising today. You can start with a few advertising dollars and then scale up as your business grows.

Besides cost, compared to traditional advertising, another difference lies is in the name. Social media lets you be social with your readers, listeners, followers, or whatever you call the people you connect with and serve. The ability to engage with your audience is HUGE. You can talk one-on-one with them. You can follow them on social media, as they follow you, and it’s not creepy.

Engaging on social media is great because it lets you learn about your audience, how they talk and what they need. Learning about your audience helps you create the content, products, and services they need.

Rather than investing thousands of dollars in market research about a product or service you want to provide, a simple poll on Facebook or Twitter with an $100 Amazon gift card is all you need.

So, what social media strategies do you need? That depends on who you are, what you blog about, and where your audience is.

No matter what, you probably need to be on Facebook.

There are two gigantic players in the virtual world and no matter your feelings towards them, you need to learn to live and work with them. They are Google and Facebook.

To work with Google, you’ll need to learn or hire someone who is good with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For this article, we’ll focus on Facebook.

Yes, there are reports that Facebook usage is down and even lower for younger people, but to some extent, everyone is on Facebook. My 77-year-old mother and father just joined Facebook this summer. While they still don’t get it, they’re on Facebook, and they’re at least stalking people.

To promote your blog on Facebook, you’ll want to create a business page. For many reasons, I’d advise against mixing your blogger profile on your personal profile. However, the first people who will follow your business page will be your friends, family and colleagues. So, don’t be afraid to invite them from your business page to like your business page.

It is, however, okay to share some of your personal life on your business page. Personal updates as they relate to your blog topic are significant. The occasional quirky or non-blog topic related updates are engaging. Being too off topic too often, though, will confuse your audience.

For your lead image, so the virtual world knows you’re a human, it’s ideal to use your image. You can superimpose your blog or brand logo over your image, so the other humans learn your brand.

From your business page, hook and link to your latest blog article. Provide enough information on your Facebook post about your latest blog article that’ll capture your followers’ interest, then provide the link to your article followed by a period (.) so Facebook doesn’t make your link disappear.

Likewise, you’ll want to include an image on your Facebook post that ties with your latest blog article. The image size should be 940px x 492px and include zero to minimal verbiage. Facebook now owns Instagram and images with too many characters aren’t permitted on Instagram. Consequently, Facebook’s algorithms also won’t promote posts with images that have too much verbiage. This throttle will slow traffic to your blog.

Add Facebook Pixel to your blog. Just like social media allows you to engage with and learn more about your audience, Facebook Pixel lets you learn even more by capturing demographic information about who visits your blog. This additional information will help when you create ads with Facebook Audience to target your blog articles, products and services to specific audiences.

Every Facebook post on a business page can be boosted to reach a bigger audience. There’s a blue button at the bottom right of each post that says, creatively, “Boost.” This feature lets bloggers choose high-level demographic information (location, interests, age, etc.) to promote their post to particular audiences. This is ideal for getting started and requires a minimal investment of money.

That said, it seems that once Facebook learns a business page owner will pay to promote posts, it does whatever it can to incentivize more paid post promotions by that business owner. Keep that in mind before you start paying and make sure you’re prepared to pay more money more often.

Facebook Audience complements Facebook Pixel in that it lets bloggers drill deeper into the demographic information (income, the number of lines of credit, zip codes) of a blog’s audience captured by Facebook Pixel.

This level of information is helpful for all businesses, including bloggers, because you can target the right content, products, and services to the right audience, even more so than television advertising, and convert more traffic to your blog or sales of your goods and services.

Since you’re on Facebook, you may as well be on Instagram.

As I said, Facebook owns Instagram, and that’s why your images must be conducive to both social media platforms. Therefore, it makes sense to be on both. Consequently, there’s renewed interest in Instagram.

Instagram is where you share pictures and videos. This is especially ideal for food bloggers because who doesn’t love to look at or watch food? Instagram’s also good for fashion, photograph, and lifestyle bloggers. Essentially, any topic or niche with a good visual component is good for Instagram.

I’ll be honest, as a personal finance blogger, I’m still figuring out Instagram. Capturing the lifestyle component of being and living debt free seems to work. Also, appropriately using hashtags is important. For example, “#LGBT, #GayPride, #Homosexual” targets my images to people who use similar hashtags.

Twitter Is great for B2B.

Twitter is struggling to monetize itself, and it can feel like drinking from a fire hose, but Twitter is still relevant. A nightly news segment doesn’t go by that doesn’t include a tweet from some politician or celebrity, our current president notwithstanding.

For my business, Twitter has been great for connecting with other personal finance bloggers, investment firms, banks and financial publications, and influencers and celebrities. The relationships that I’ve built with investment companies and banks have been valuable to my business because they let me create brand ambassadorships that have made me good money.

Connecting with my fellow personal finance bloggers and celebrities has been icing on the dough. The connections I’ve made with financial publications have built my most consistent stream of income as a personal finance freelance writer.

Create a Twitter profile for your blog. Provide a brief profile description of who you are and what you do and, again, use a personal picture as the profile picture, so the Twitter-sphere knows you’re a human. Then, follow other bloggers in your niche, businesses you have an interest in and might be able to partner with, and other humans who you think may be interested in your blog.

For us, we frequently search “#LGBTQ or #gay” to find other LGBTQ people who may be interested in living successful financial lives.

After you follow people and businesses, engage with them. Like, comment on, and share their content. When you’ve engaged enough, occasionally tag them on a tweet that promotes a blog article of yours. Whether you tag anyone on a tweet or not, if you link to a blog article, write an enticing hook to your article in 140 characters or fewer.

Images, again, are necessary. Horizontal and clean are best.

Pinterest wants to be Google, so you may want to be on Pinterest.

Pinterest is investing a ton of money to be the alternative resource to Google and to appeal to men. Currently, most people on Pinterest are women. If you’re a women blogger blogging about any topic traditionally appealing to women: cooking, fashion, beauty products, home organization, etc., then you must be on Pinterest.

You may wonder why a gay personal finance blogger, who blogs for the LGBT community, has a social media presence on Pinterest. In 2015, Pinterest invested $15 million to connect specifically with men. Surely to holy Mother Nature, two to four percent of those men Pinterest reaches are gay.

Pinterest is uniquely more helpful to bloggers than any other social media platform because every other platform tries to keep its users on its platform. While the other social media platforms are essential in building an audience and traffic, the hoarding of traffic is a constant challenge for bloggers.

Pinterest, on the other hand, wants to lead its users to the content that’s most useful to its users with the long-game plan of being the alternative to, or replacing Google to its users.

Create a business account on Pinterest. Create up to ten boards that cover different topics related to your blog. This way people who visit your profile can see what you’re all about and then look and share your pins. For example, I have “Best of Debt Free Guys,” “Gay Travel,” “Money Podcasts” and more.

Describe who you are and what you do. Again, use a personal image on your profile. If you’re a straight man, it’s ideal if you include a picture with your wife or girlfriend and kids, if you have kids. The reason is that most Pinterest users are women and they typically think a Pinterest page by a man may not appeal to them. It’s branding, not sexism.

Post pins on your various boards as appropriate. Your pins should be “rich pins” – high-resolution images that relate and link to your blog article and are 1,000px x 2,000px.

This article includes enough information to start your social media strategy. One of the six-figure-a-month bloggers above has nailed the Pinterest strategy. So, click here, here, here and here to see what the pro is doing. That’s what I do.

Honorable mentions: LinkedIn and YouTube.

That’s my primary social media strategy. If your blog is more corporate-like or career-focused, you might try LinkedIn.

I dabble in YouTube videos but haven’t had the time to perfect them. I do okay in part because reading about money can be dry sometimes and videos let me inject even more personality than my writing. If you’re a beauty blogger/vlogger (video blogger), for example, YouTube may be the platform for you. Follow and learn from other vloggers.

Starting a social media strategy can feel daunting. I tried to start everything at once and failed several times. I’d recommend choosing one platform to start and then adding another platform once you get better with the previous platform. You may eventually learn that a platform you tried doesn’t work for you and that’s fine.

I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time on Periscope, even though when I saw U2 use it on their Denver visit, I was very tempted.

The important thing is that you start a blog because a blog is an excellent way to diversify your income stream or even replace the income stream you already have.

If you have a blog, how has social media – or the lack of a social media presence – affected your blog’s success? What is your favorite social media platform! Please share with us over at the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Want to move up on the job? Do you seem promotion-ready? Here are some things you can do to be sure.

Work’s going well. The economy is good. You’re killing it, and you want to move onward and upward. How do you get that next promotion? Here’s how you can bet you’ll get one more step up the ladder to your dream job.

Set yourself up for success.

Understand the value you bring to your team or organization and where you struggle. Self-improvement is noble, but there are some theories, such as Gallup’s Strength Finders, that say focusing on getting better at what you’re best at may be a better use of your time and energy.

Understanding your limitations and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Richard Branson said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” It’s, also, important to understand that consistently good, small steps may sometimes be better than risky leaps. Stretch yourself, but don’t tear yourself apart.

Don’t be entitled.

By all accounts, you may deserve the next raise or promotion. You may be the ideal candidate for a new job. You may, in fact, be the smartest person on your team or in your company. That said, there are multiple variables to running a business and sometimes the reasons for some decisions aren’t always visible to everyone.

That said, there are multiple variables to running a business and sometimes the reasons for some decisions aren’t always visible to everyone.

Coming across as entitled will make you a turn-off.

See the forest and the trees.

It’s great that you know what your long-term career goals are. It’s great to work with mentors who are doing what you want to do. Remember, though, that it’s often not a direct path from where you are to where you want to be. It may sometimes help to make lateral, and even backward career moves get to that long-term goal.

Remember, though, that it’s often not a direct path from where you are to where you want to be. It may sometimes help to make lateral, and even backward career moves get to that long-term goal.

Don’t suck up.

No one respects a suck-up and a suck-up is obvious to everyone. Especially if your goal is to be the leader of your current team someday, you’ll want the people who will eventually report to you to respect you.

Don’t be an asshole.

If you’re unapproachable and hard to work with, it’ll be more difficult to move up the corporate ladder. Of course, there are assholes everywhere, but business leaders need to lead, and it’s hard to lead if everyone hates you.

Don’t get too comfortable.

Live in the here and now, but don’t get stuck in it. In today’s economy, it’s helpful to get a broad range of experiences and knowledge. Learn what you can learn in a particular role and then move onto the next position, which may or may not be a step up.

If you stay in a job for too long, you may be “typecast” in that role and it’ll be hard to grow.

Be self-aware.

Life and business aren’t little league soccer. If you didn’t have a good year, don’t ask for a raise or promotion. If you come across as aloof and unaware of yourself, the value you add to your team and your performance, those who decide who moves up and on may decide you’re too out of touch.

Keep it business.

Keep your work life separate from your home life. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. No matter how friendly you get with colleagues and peers, keep it professional.

If you become too casual about work, you may come across as not suitable for moving up.

Show up.

It never ceases to amaze me the value of simply showing up. Show up to work regularly and when you’re supposed to show up.

Do your job. Network with colleagues and superiors. Have mentors. Always keep learning. Then, apply for jobs as often as you need to get the job you want.

Be persistent.

If you do everything else, then be persistent. Continue to show up and continue to apply for the jobs you want until you get the job you want.

Don’t expect others to have your dream.

You may be crystal clear on your career path and the job you want, but no one else will know unless you share your vision with them. Find confidants and mentors to share your dreams with and ask for help and guidance. If you don’t express what you want and work to get what you want, you won’t get it.

If you don’t express what you want and work to get what you want, you won’t get it.

Be courageous, not obnoxious.

Those who are brave enough to share their ideas and correct their superiors stand out as leaders. However, don’t come across as offensive or as a know-it-all. No one likes either trait, and neither will get you far.

When you’re right, be quiet. When you’re wrong, apologize.

No one cares about your drama.

Keep the drama at home. No one cares that your cat is sick or that your ex is a jerk. Personal days are just that – days to deal with your personal drama at home. Keep the drama in your personal life and not your work life.

Learn from yours and other’s mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Not only is it wise to learn from your mistakes, but it’s also efficient to learn from others’ mistakes. Why repeat the same mistake someone else made when you can learn from it?

Some people make the same mistakes repeatedly. If you watch what’s going on around you, ask questions and learn from others, you’ll become better that much quicker and with fewer of your own mistakes.

Everything you do isn’t special.

Let me repeat, life and business aren’t little league soccer. Some people want to praise for everything they do. Refilling the coffee machine, as hard as it apparently is, isn’t cause for celebration. Organizing the team lunch, though helpful, doesn’t qualify you to be the boss.

Likewise, simply doing what you’re expected to won’t be enough to get you that next promotion. If you consistently achieve your job descriptions, that’s great. Congratulations! However, those who decide on who gets the next promotion may decide you’re perfect in your current role.

Be a solution.

Business is about seeing opportunities and overcoming challenges. Look for the possibilities and then propose ways to take advantage of them. Spotting problems is easy. Creating solutions is how you can turn a problem into an opportunity.

Ask for help.

You don’t have to go it alone in business. In fact, it shows great character when you can ask for help and then use the help that you’re given. No one knows all the answers, including the boss. The best leaders are those who can process the guidance they get from their teams and make the best decisions.

Ultimately, be the employee you want to have when you’re the boss. No one is perfect and no one expects you to never make a mistake. But, if you can learn from your mistakes, add value and be easy to work with, you’re likely to land that dream job sooner than you think.

Do you have any great tips to add? Have any of these tips helped you on the job? We’d love to hear about it in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Jobs can suck hard. Don’t be the person that makes it worse. Get your co-workers on your side.

It has been awhile since I’ve worked in an office, but I still remember the people that I truly loved working with. And fortunately for me, I’m still friends with a large number of those amazing people.

It’s not easy becoming the co-worker that everyone loves. There are so many landmines to avoid when you’re in the workplace, and being “the co-worker that people love to hate” is not the title that you want to wear at work.  Let’s talk about all of the ways you can get your co-workers to love you without becoming the office brown-noser.

Always remember to respect other people’s time.

You don’t have to watch the clock obsessively, but be aware that people notice when you’re constantly late for work, meetings, or keep them waiting in general. After a while it stops being funny and just makes you look like a douche and unprofessional. And, seriously, those are two labels you want to avoid at work.

It doesn’t matter if you run constantly late for everything and everyone else in your life (even though it’s still annoying). Be self-aware enough to know that disrespecting other people’s time will ultimately make them dislike working with you.

Create a plan so that you’re on time and stick to it.

Can you hear me now?

Practice active listening whenever you’re in a conversation or meeting with your colleagues. I remember being constantly frustrated because I felt like people weren’t listening to me.

We would have discussions in one of the endless meetings that could have been an email. I would pipe up to make a point and then people would talk over me or ignore what I said – all the time. They clearly weren’t listening to me. It was so annoying and I felt disrespected.

Be the person who truly listens to others. We notice when you do. Offer thoughtful and kind responses to whatever proposals or questions that your colleague brings up. If you’re in disagreement with their comments, be kind when offering point of view.

It sometimes feels like people have forgotten the art of being tactful. At work, it still reigns supreme.

Don’t eat other people’s food.

They always find out who does it.

I’ll never forget the drama that ensued one year because one of our colleagues kept eating everyone’s lunches. I worked in education so it was normal for  everyone to bring  their lunch. We also had a ton of community food for everyone to take if they were hungry. So it baffled me when this person would eat the food that other people brought…but, they did. On and off for a year.

The worst part…it was just too awkward to call this person out. Instead, everyone gossiped about the fact that they were eating everyone else’s food. That person even helped themselves to  my Perrier and that was the end for me. Fortunately, this person left and things got back to to normal.

If you have nothing nice to say…

Gossiping will also get you shanked professionally. The thing about gossip is that even if you’re telling the truth about a person or calling out a situation, if you’re constantly gossiping, people will wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.

I have a very firm policy of whatever I say – I will say to your face. It makes life easier. But, at work you really should avoid gossip in general. If you find yourself in a group of people and they start gossiping just float away and say you have something else to do. If you still find yourself sucked in, just joke and say that you’ve got nothing to say and move on.

Know which topics are off limits.

For the love of all that’s holy-be self-aware enough to avoid talking about how young or old you or your colleagues might be. For some people it could come across as talking down to others (if you’re older) or, it could be perceived as disparaging other people’s age if they are older than you.

I’ve literally cringed when people begin talking about age at work. Just do your job and move on.

It feels like it’s obvious but for the sake of just stating the obvious-avoid talking about religion, race, or politics as much as you possibly can. Discussing any of those topics almost never ends well.

At my old job we actually were able to talk about these issues because we were all almost of the same mindset regarding all of those issues. But the typical workplace won’t have that high a level of value alignment. Leave the talk at home for people who have no choice but to listen to you.

By no means am I saying that you have to stop being yourself, never say what you mean, or pretend like you don’t have an opinion. But, what I am saying is that the self-aware worker is the one who is well-liked, listened to, and promoted in the office space.

Be that guy or gal. It’s not that hard.

Do you have any other tips for being a good co-worker? Or any stories about bad ones? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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A resume is stale. Show who you really are. Learn how a blog can really make you shine.

So, is it time to update your resume and LinkedIn profile? You can do that, but it’s not enough.

No, really. Resumes are so 2009. LinkedIn profiles may be a little better.

What you need is a blog. Why? For starters, a blog is a more robust example of who you are and what you can do.

Improve and demonstrate your writing skills.

Good writing skills are essential for most jobs. Whether you’re a customer service representative, a journalist, or a team manager, your writing needs to be clear, accurate, and compelling – unless you’re a doctor.

Admittedly, far too much business today is done by email. That said, if your emails to clients are confusing or droll, you won’t be effective.

Rather than learn good writing skills on the job, learn at home. Your blog readers, who will likely be your friends and family at first, will let you know if your writing isn’t making sense. I won’t hear from friends or family for years, but I’ll get an email or direct message when they notice a mistake in my writing.

You don’t have to go solo, though, there are numerous online courses that you can take to help with your writing. Some are free. Some are cheap. A good writing course is worth it.

Improve and demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

Businesses are desperate for critical thinkers. Those who excel do more than regurgitate information. Hiring managers and business leaders want to know that their teams can manipulate and apply information and data in a way that’s useful and beneficial to the organization.

What better way to make sure you’re interpreting information accurately and coming to unique, valuable conclusions than to share your interpretations with the world on your blog and social media?

In 2011, when I posted my first blog post with my name on it, I had to work up the courage. I was concerned about what people would think. They might’ve thought my ideas were stupid, so I was prepared to rebut their rebuttals. They might’ve called out my writing, spelling and grammar skills, so I proofed, proofed and reproofed before I hit publish.

Hitting the publish button for the first time took me way too long. I’ve gotten much better in the last six years, and that’s a skill I can take to any job, whether I work for myself or someone else.

Show your personal brand.

Personal brands are gold these days. It’s harder for businesses today than generations past to market to and attract an audience. Unless it’s aired during the Super Bowl, a television commercial, like a resume, doesn’t carry the same weight as it once did. Therefore, businesses are looking for creative solutions to be recognized and to grow their buyers.

This is why a person with a solid personal brand is valuable to a business.

The best way to show potential business partners or employers your true self is with your blog. If an employer can scroll through even a few months of your blog, they’ll get a somewhat accurate understanding of who you are. Therefore, they’ll have a good idea if you can work together and, if so, of how you can work together.

Take, for example, a hair stylist. If a hair stylist, going through school, posts their work online and their work is consistently good or shows improvement, they can share their blog or portfolio with prospective employers and the hiring employer will have a good understanding of the candidate.

Build a following.

A personal brand backed by a substantial social media following is platinum. You don’t have to be an A-List YouTube star (if that’s such a thing). But, if you have an audience who likes and listens to you, you have leverage when business opportunities arise.

If that same hair stylist also posts their work on Instagram in addition to their blog, and they grow their Instagram following to one thousand, ten thousand, or more, they’re even more valuable to a prospective employer.

Also, the risk of failure for the stylist with the big Instagram following opening their own salon is less because they can guarantee a percentage of their followers will follow them to whatever salon they go.

Build a platform for your other skills.

In today’s economy, it’s good to have multiple streams of income. Employees no longer spend a lifetime working for the same employer. Even staying with the same job, within the same company for more than a few years is considered antiquated. The best way for employees to feel financially secure is to not rely on one source of income.

A blog is a great part-time job. Your blog can focus on your hobby, something entirely different from your day job. Or, it can complement what you do during the day.

Take, for example, someone who wants to be a nanny abroad. Thousands of people want to be nannies in different parts of the world. Being a nanny will be the prospective employee’s primary job. However, they could start a blog about how they went from the idea of becoming a nanny abroad to actually becoming a nanny abroad.

Blog readers can use the nanny’s blog as the template for how to become nannies themselves. Everyone can learn from the mistakes and successes of the nanny. The nanny can continue blogging about their experiences, what they like and don’t like, what they learn, and about other nanny jobs.

They could eventually monetize their nanny blog with ads and sponsored posts. They can become a resource for the nanny industry and write books, make videos, and become a speaker all because of a blog.

Have an accountability journal.

Another value of having a blog is that it can act as your accountability. If you’re striving to achieve a goal, such as paying off debt or losing weight, sharing your goals with the world makes it harder to quit when you don’t succeed as fast or as quickly as you’d like.

Likewise, people with the same or similar goals can act as your support, share their stories to help, and inspire you and others. Plus, everyone can learn from your trials and tribulations.

You can, essentially, create a community of people to help and uplift each other. Connecting with people because of your blog is even better than monetizing it.

Resumes are outdated.

Finally, resumes are static and stale. It’s easy to pad a resume and use the right words to make even the most mundane success seem incredible. Resumes won’t go away anytime soon because they’re an executive summary of your accomplishments.

A blog, though, has life and personality. It can demonstrate everything about you. To be sure, no recruiter or hiring manager will sift through every page of your blog and every video you create, but they don’t have to do all that.

Anyone considering hiring or working with you will easily and quickly get a sense of who you are from your blog. That’s why a blog is a nice complement to your resume.

So, don’t skip updating your resume or LinkedIn profile. But, complement them with a blog and stand out from others. Starting a blog isn’t as hard as you think and the value is more than worth it.

Have you seen success with a blog or have any questions about starting one? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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College is over-rated. Get a good job without a four-year degree.

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Do you want a good job, but you’re unsure if college is the right move for you?

It’s possible to make good money without a four-year degree. With the right skill set and training, you can make a decent living and enjoy a fulfilling career without taking the “traditional” college route.

Here’s what you need to know if you aren’t sure that a four-year stint at university is the thing for you.

Concepts

  • College grads are struggling to find jobs right now.
  • We might be seeing a skilled labor shortage, and that means you have a chance to make good money without a four-year degree.
  • The importance of developing a marketable skill.
  • Ideas for jobs that don’t require a four-year degree but still offer decent pay.
  • Thoughts on apprenticeship programs.
  • Tips for keeping your skills up to date.
  • The place of community colleges and vocational education.
  • How to research career paths that can pay without a long time in school.
  • Why it’s important to continue to update your skills and re-certify.

Our DO NOWs are all about creating a plan to make good money without a four-year degree. Start with a skills inventory to see what you like to do, and what you’re good at. Next, research in-demand careers and see what matches your skills and abilities. Finally, look at what you need to do in order to enroll in the appropriate program.

This week’s listener question is about helping your parents reconcile to the fact that maybe you won’t go to college.

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Resources

25 jobs to make good money without a four-year degree.
College grads struggle to find jobs.
Skilled labor shortage in the United States.

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