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6 Stuffs Your Online Profiles Should Manifest

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Landing your dream internship is no easy feat. Many employers call for an experienced candidate with relevant skills and a personality compatible with company culture. To stand out, you need to think outside the box — and social media platforms can offer a goldmine of your strongest selling points.

Cover letters and resumes, although a necessary requirement for most job postings, don’t always provide an accurate portrayal of who you are to an internship employer. Your application materials may shout, “Hire me!” — but beefing up your online profiles, includingFacebook, LinkedIn, GitHub and even your personal website or blog, can ultimately be your golden ticket.

What an internship employer finds online can make or break hiring decisions. Here are six things your online profiles need to showcase while you’re on the hunt for a dream job or internship.

VISIT ALSO: 4 Things that Provides a Ways to Knock Off Your Resume

Professionalism,

Cover letters and resumes are almost always going to read as professional documents — but your online profiles can offer perhaps the most accurate reflection of your level of professionalism. While social media profiles are mainly used for, well, socializing, there’s always room for you to flaunt your professional talents: the projects you’ve worked on and various qualities that might appeal to a potential employer. While there’s no golden rule for professional social communication, below are a few tips on how to display professionalism in your online profiles.

  • Participate in relevant conversations on LinkedIn, and be sure that your LinkedIn profile is an adequate reflection of your skills and experience.
  • Engage in professional conversations on Facebook about news stories, expert opinions and industry information. Utilizing relevant hashtags (sparingly) displays your investment in the conversation.
  • Showcase your passion for your future career by mentioning events (like hackathons) you’ve attended, side projects you’ve been involved with and volunteer experiences you’ve completed.
  • Highlight your personality traits by mixing personal and professional posts — be sure that you’re not posting anything too personal. Your “Spring Break ’08” photo album should probably remain for your eyes only.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to professionalism, displaying interest in the industry you wish to enter is a great start.

Industry-related activity,

You may not use your online profiles to engage in career-related conversations, but there are still a variety of ways in which employers can determine whether or not you’re invested in your industry.

  • You may be more interested in following the conversation or sharing valuable information rather than actively participating. If this is the case, be sure you’re following thought leaders and sharing any industry-related links or insights to show you’re keeping up with the conversation.
  • On Twitter, participate in Twitter chats related to your major or industry. Curate your profile with retweets that are intriguing.
  • For LinkedIn, join groups that are specific to your space.

As always, be consistent and stay active so the employer knows it’s not a temporary spike.

Expert communication,

Conversation on social media will often take a more short-form, casual tone. But this doesn’t mean you should throw grammar, spelling and general sentence structure out the window. Rather, your online profiles should highlight your expertise in sharing information, connecting with others and properly representing your interests — and it should do so articulately and intelligently.

  • Post well-crafted updates, confident exchanges of insight and conversations on a variety of topics.
  • Start a blog — whether it’s through Tumblr, WordPress or Blogger — and share your posts to showcase your writing skills and grasp of the industry.

The “wow” factor,

While voice, professionalism and passion are a good start, you shouldn’t be afraid to step it up a notch when applying for an internship. Seize the opportunity to stand out.

  • On Twitter, consider creating a hashtag for your dream internship. This allows you to put your social media profile at the center of the application process and gives the internship employer a sense of your online footprint in real-time.
  • You may also consider posting a video resume, or creating an online campaign to really impress your potential internship employer.

A large, valuable network,

Often, it’s all about who you know when it comes to securing an internship or job. Consider your online network as a group of professional references — while members of your network may not have directly signed off on your expertise, you’ve made the decision to follow and communicate with them.

  • Follow and, if possible, engage with as many influencers, innovators or leaders in your industry as you can. Not only do these interactions highlight your devout interest in your career, but they also provide evidence that you’re staying up-to-date on the relevant conversations taking place online.

Correlating links,

Your online profile should consistently present a variety of applicable links — not only to industry-relevant content, but to your own portfolios, profiles and online work. An internship employer should be able to easily find a link to your personal website, blog, online portfolio and even your resume. This shows commitment and makes your application materials more accessible.

Red flags to avoid

You probably use your online profiles for personal updates, which is unavoidable — but unfortunately, many internship candidates take this a little too far and post some cringe-worthy content. Remain wary of a few warning signs that potential employers may find worrisome.

  • Updates that are opposite of the company’s values
  • Repeated controversial posts on a number of topics
  • Plagiarism or unsourced information
  • Badmouthing your previous employer
  • All-around negativity

If you want that coveted internship, put your best face forward on your online profiles. Show that you’re up-to-date on relevant company information, passionate about the industry and an all-around savvy Internet user: Bonus points if you’ve reached out to the company via social media prior to your screening process.

4 Things that Provides a Ways to Knock Off Your Resume

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Brie Weiler Reynolds is the content and social-media manager at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings, and a former career advisor. At FlexJobs, Reynolds offers job seekers career and work-life balance advice through the FlexJobs blog and social media.

One area of job searching that confounds plenty of job seekers is what to include on a resume. Include too much information, and you’ll lose recruiters in unimportant details. But, with too little information, recruiters won’t be sure you’re qualified for the next step in the process.

VISIT ALSO:Resume Cogitation Among the Recruiters

Since most job seekers have excessive information on their resume and don’t know what to eliminate, let’s start with four things you can always leave off of it. These tips will help you better organize your information, and present it in a format that is easy-to-read and quickly understandable for recruiters.

An “objective.” This is the statement at the top of a resume that tells an employer what you’re looking for — but it’s got to go. They already know you’re interested in their job, so it’s unnecessary. Instead, use a “summary of qualifications” to introduce employers to your most relevant skills and experience, and to show them exactly how your experience can fit their needs.

Unrelated awards, hobbies and interests. Our CEO once had a job seeker who claimed to be a “pig-wrestling champion” on his resume, which is a great accomplishment, I’m sure. But it had nothing to do with the job he applied for, and it distracted from the rest of his qualifications. Unless it directly adds to your qualifications for the job or helps the employer see how you fit with their company culture (for example, if you’re applying to an outdoor apparel company and you are an avid hiker, that’s a hobby that matches their culture), leave it off your resume.

Too much formatting. Keep your resume simple, so recruiters can read it quickly and easily. Don’t use bold, italics and underlines all at once. Don’t use more than one font, and be consistent in the way you present information. Bulleted lists are much easier to read than paragraphs. Keep your resume single-spaced, and shrink your margins to a half inch. You’ll be surprised at how much space poor formatting can take up on your resume, pushing it far longer than it needs to be.

Lists of tasks for each job. Instead of telling recruiters what you did at your past jobs, tell them what you accomplished — what were the overarching results of your day-to-day tasks? Rather than rewriting your job description, tell recruiters how you did what you did and why it made a difference to your employer and customers.

What you leave off of your resume can be just as important as what you include, so make sure that precious real estate is taken up with relevant, well-stated, interesting information. Recruiters should be able to check off their list of qualifications easily by reading your resume, and come away with a sense of who you are and the value you can bring to their company.

Ways to Write Recommendations on Amazing LinkedIn

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Most of us have worked with great colleagues, bosses and employees over the years who we’d be happy to recommend on LinkedIn (or anywhere, really) in a heartbeat if asked.

Problem is, of course, that sitting down and writing said recommendation always takes more time than you think it will. What should you say that will make your contact stand out — but still sound genuine? Should you describe every amazing skill this person has — or keep it short and sweet?

Don’t worry. We’ve turned that daunting task into a five-step (and five-minute) process. Next time you’re asked to recommend someone, follow this template (complete with sample lines to cut and paste.

VISIT ALSO: Does Entrepreneur Need a Mentor in their Business

Start With a Knockout Line,

As with any good writing, you want to start with a line that grabs your audience and makes them want to read more. (After all, what good is a great recommendation if no one reads all the way through?)

Ideally, this line will show right away what an awesome person your recommendee is. Be careful, though, to avoid phrases like “one of the best” or “one of my favorite employees” — while, no, not everyone’s going to be the ultimate superlative, there are plenty of words and phrases that sound just as strong, but less qualified.

“It’s rare that you come across standout talent like Mike.”

“Few people have the opportunity to report to a manager who is also a coach and mentor— but I did when I worked for Susan.”

“‘Ridiculously efficient’ is the phrase that comes to mind when I think about Tim.”

Describe Your Relationship,

Next, you’ll want to give the reader some context as to how you know the person, including your reporting relationship, what you worked on together and the length of time you’ve known each other. While you don’t have to give all the details (LinkedIn will show the company and both of your job titles on your recommendation), it’s important to let readers know why you’re qualified to give the recommendation. (And, of course, be sure to note that it was a positive working relationship.)

“I had the pleasure of working with Jim for two years at the Smith Company, collaborating on several project teams.”

“I hired Carrie as a freelance designer in 2011 after seeing her online portfolio, and she’s completed six flawless projects for me since then.”

“Mark expertly filled the role of social media coordinator for my company’s marketing team for just over a year.”

Share a Standout Trait,

If you’re recommending someone, there’s a good chance you think he or she is smart, talented, organized, wonderful to work with, the list goes on. So, there’s no need to use the limited characters in your recommendation to state the obvious.

Instead, think about one or two things this person does better than anything else — or that really stand out to you above others — and focus your recommendation there. You can also ask the person if there’s something he or she would like you to talk about: For example, if she was your executive assistant but is now applying to her first management role, she’ll likely want you to highlight her experience managing volunteers over her organizational skills.

“I was particularly impressed by Kelly’s ability to handle even the toughest clients — and effortlessly. That skill often takes years to develop among customer service professionals, but it seemed to come perfectly naturally to her.”

“I was always in awe of Fred’s ability to command a room and get people on board with ideas — even people who were initially on completely different pages.”

“Matt’s ability to juggle multiple projects was unlike any I’ve seen before and made a dramatic difference in the productivity level of our team.”

Add a Touch of Personality,

Let’s face it: Everyone wants to hire someone who not only gets the job done, but who’s also great to work with. So, if you can share a tidbit about what it’s like to work with this person or some insight into his or her personality, do so! (Just, you know, know your audience. “Sophie planned the best office happy hours ever!” might not go over so well with her future employers.)

“Oh, and she made sure our Monday morning staff meetings were never without bagels and coffee. Talk about motivating a team!”

“And we still miss her on the office softball league!”

“No matter how tense a meeting, Annie made sure everyone left with a smile.”

End With Your Solid Recommendation,

Finally, it’s always nice to seal your recommendation with a final line that makes it clear that you give your contact an enthusiastic thumbs-up. You don’t need to do much here — think short, sweet and solid.

“Allison would be an asset to any team.”

“As a team member or a leader, Steve earns my highest recommendation.”

“Any employee would be lucky to have Michelle as a manager.”

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Does Entrepreneur Need a Mentor in their Business

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“Being an entrepreneur isn’t an easy job,” says Andres Teran, cofounder of Toplist, a social shopping recommendation startup. “There are moments that you have nothing and feel like things are never going to getting better.”

Teran is referring to the days before his company’s vital pivot point, when he and his team had dedicated their lives to creating a site they loved with features they themselves would want.

“Toplist, before being an app, was a website where people shuffled around cool products curated by their own interests,” says Teran. “We worked hard to develop this cool site with great features that showed amazing products. After we launched the site, though, we noticed people didn’t use all the great features we had built for them. They weren’t engaging with the amazing content we had curated for them. Worst of all, they weren’t coming back to use our service.”

VISIT ALSO: Ways to Globalize Your Career from a Startup

At that point, his team set out to raise capital for what they had built, hoping to secure enough money for marketing, hires and anything else it might take to help the concept catch on. But, with low user numbers, the Internet odds were stacked against them and time was running out. No one fronted the cash.

“We were just about to let everything go and end the project when we landed a meeting with the CEO of a micro-credit company that had just gone public in Mexico to see if he wanted to be involved as an angel investor in our company,” says Teran.

It was the only lead they had, and soon, he would become the first investor. But not in the company’s current state. First, there were essential pivots to be made, honest realizations to be had and hard-earned advice to be taken. The Toplist team needed an outside perspective and some guidance to find their way.

“On that day, he made us realize two things,” says Teran. “One, the product we had been working so hard on did not work for the users; we thought it would, but it didn’t. Two, not everything was a complete failure: We had learned a lot about how to build products that people could be engaged with, we learned about working together as a team. We had learned from our mistakes actually.”

What was supposed to be a pitch meeting turned out to be a crucial pivot point for Toplist — one that wouldn’t have happened without the right guidance and advice. Teran’s team took the feedback seriously, made the necessary changes and their luck started to change. The company’s new and influential mentor had saved just saved them from near failure.

VISIT ALSO: Grab you Skilled Place without Resume

“Before we left his office, he said that if we changed our project into something more attractive he would definitely invest,” says Teran. “Sometimes you need someone else to honestly point out what is wrong. We were amazed by his good will.

He could have just said, ‘No,’ and we would have gone on with our failure and him with his success. But he took our side.

He could have just said, ‘No,’ and we would have gone on with our failure and him with his success. But he took our side.”

Mentorship has been a hot topic in the startup world for years, with incubator and accelerator programs offering it — among other things — in exchange for stock in founders’ ideas. Outside of incubators though, finding a good mentor is challenging. But finding the right mentor is a lesson in luck, persistence and not letting opportunities pass you by.

“We did look for mentorship before we found someone that was right,” says Teran, explaining that his company’s mentor was discovered by chance. “I think the way to go is talk with people that can give you advice on certain topics and, most important of all, help you to make good decisions.

A big thing, though, is not to obsess about finding mentorship, because you could lose focus on what’s really important as an entrepreneur — executing the concept,” he says.

So how do you stumble upon your own honest and willing mentor without losing sight of your first priority (your company)?

“Good mentors will be hard to track down, and their time is extremely limited,” says Brett Hagler, cofounder of Hucksley, a marketplace for discovering one-of-a-kind brands. “Reach out creatively and always try to take the ‘backdoor’ approach by getting introduced through a mutual contact. Certain platforms such as LinkedIn allow you to have direct access to your targeted mentors. Always be creative on your specific ask and make it as relevant and direct as possible.”

Look hard for a mentor and network as much as possible, but don’t make finding a mentor your primary focus. Perhaps Sheryl Sandberg said it best in Lean In: you don’t need a mentor to excel, “Excel and you will get a mentor.”

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Enthrall Recruiters with your Linkedin Profile

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You know the drill. You’re unhappy in your current job — or unhappy with no job — and are desperately updating your LinkedIn profile that hasn’t been touched since the last time you were in this situation.

Well, you’re not alone; this sums up the dysfunctional relationship many professionals have with their LinkedIn profiles. While some flock to LinkedIn only when in need and apply to already posted positions, the platform is at its best when maintained regularly and optimized to allow hiring managers to reach out to you. LinkedIn’s career expert Nicole Williams helps elaborate on six ways to optimize your profile and attract more recruiters to you now.

Develop a Keyword Strategy,

If search engine optimization is not your expertise, here is a mini lesson. LinkedIn’s search functionality makes it easy to find people by their name, skills and any other words that appear in their profile — which is why these words should be chosen with thought. First, make a list of terms associated with your skills and experience. Ask yourself, “What words would someone search for to find me?” If strapped for terms, seek inspiration from a job positing you are interested in.

Next, take those terms and rework them from the perspective of a searching recruiter. For example, you may have the term “digital strategy” in your LinkedIn profile; however, a recruiter would be more likely to search for the term “digital strategist.” Synonyms are also important; you never know if recruiters will search for “digital,” “online” or “Internet,” so include them all. Lastly, you want to organically incorporate these key terms into your profile to attract both the search engine and human reader alike.

Say Cheese,

Williams says that “hiring managers are seven times more likely to view your profile if you have a photo; it’s a must have.”

Not only does a photo allow your profile to stand out in the search results, but also shows recruiters that you are active on the network and LinkedIn is a viable way to contact you. Williams suggests using a photo that places you in the context of your job. You want to help hiring managers envision you in that position.

“If you are a chef, feel free to show yourself in a kitchen, or in front of a whiteboard if you are a marketer,” Williams says. “But don’t use a picture of yourself with your dog, unless you’re a veterinarian.”

Be Vain,

Williams also prompts all passive and active job seekers to claim their vanity URL. This is a customized URL that drives directly to your profile.

“Using your name in your vanity URL gives it a chance to appear in a Google when someone searches for you,” says Williams.

This makes it easier for hiring managers to find you and share your information with other hiring managers. If your preferred vanity URL is already claimed, incorporate a relevant key term, for example http://www.linkedin.com/in/CarlySimonSinger.

Trestle up Esteems,

Solicit recommendations from people you have worked for or with. “Make a strategic plan for your recommendations,” says Williams. “Approach different people and suggest particular skills or experiences you would like them to highlight.”

This strategy helps provide hiring managers with a more holistic view of you and your past work. However, the most important part of the recommendation is not necessarily the content, but that it exists at all. It shows that someone was willing to take the time to personally vouch for you.

Strategic Connections,

The more connections you have on LinkedIn the more likely you are to come up in a hiring manager’s search results. Strategically identify people you’d like to be linked to and approach them with a custom connection request.

“The biggest mistakes users make is asking for too much in the first request,” says Williams. LinkedIn are no different than connections in real life. “Find an affinity you have in common, ask a question, but don’t ask for a job in the first connection.”

Groups work similarly and if you and a recruiter are in the same group, you can rise to the top of their search results. Join groups that are relevant to the industry you are in and a few recruiters in your field will most likely be members as well.

Now Share with your Connections,

“Don’t just set up your profile; actively engage in LinkedIn,” says Williams. Share useful content or comment on the shared content of others to make your profile more viewable. Interacting with others on the platform not only makes you visible to them, but also their connections.

If you don’t have time to scour the Internet for shareable content, Williams suggests leveraging LinkedIn Today, a feature that allows you to receive the most read news on your chosen topics. Choose one story per day from that feed and not only will it help you in your current job, but it might catch the eye of a hiring manager for a future position.

Grab you Skilled Place without Resume

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So you’re about to enter the world of work. You’re ready to get in front of hiring managers and secure a job you’re passionate about. But there’s just one problem: your resume is seriously lacking.

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Maybe your major was so challenging that you didn’t have time to intern or participate in extracurricular activities in college. Or maybe you’re switching career paths, and your past experience isn’t relevant to the new gig. Whatever the case, you can still get hired without a resume –- it just takes some honesty and drive on both your part and the employer’s.

My company, 2U, an ed-tech company helping universities bring their own degree programs online, often makes hires without asking candidates for resumes -– especially within our tech team.Why? It’s often a lot easier to test candidates in the throes of battle than it is to see their qualifications on paper

It’s often a lot easier to test candidates in the throes of battle than it is to see their qualifications on paper. At 2U, we want to recognize a candidate’s passion and effort, and sometimes, seeing them work alongside us on a project as an intern or consultant can tell us a lot more than a resume.

In fact, 2U’s vice president of IT and the vice president of software development were both hired without turning in resumes. They helped me to complete some work first, like managing my email and setting up computers. Based on a few conversations over lunch, I learned enough about them to know they were people I wanted on my team, people who could be at the nucleus of our technological success. Since 2U’s founding in 2008, we’ve grown exponentially this way -– from just a few employees to 400 in offices around the globe.

Hiring without a resume benefits the company because, instead of judging a book by the cover, I get to read a chapter before I buy. It gives me a chance to hire the right people for 2U’s culture and mission. Want to get hired without a bursting resume? Here are some collections of  tips.

Focus On Personal Projects First,

At 2U, we often work with technology so advanced that it’s impossible to find someone who’s already gained experience working with it. For instance, we built one of our learning tools with AngularJS, an open source Javascript framework. Because it’s relatively new, we opted to hire someone who didn’t have that particular skill but was interested in building smart solutions, someone who’s a fast learner.

Any employer should be willing to teach new hires the skills they need. Get your hands dirty on your own first, then use that work to pivot into a company, Get your hands dirty on your own first, then use that work to pivot into a company or use it as a replacement for a resume when speaking to hiring managers and employers.

Complete a public project for yourself or contribute to an open source project, and make your work available online. We, for example, source a lot of candidates through GitHub.

Just Be Honest,

One of 2U’s current employees came to us after doing nonprofit work for free. He told us that even though his prior experience was in a different field, he’d been doing tech work for free because he really liked it, wanted to learn and was ready to take on the challenge.

If you don’t have lots of experience, you don’t have to hide it. All you have to do is explain that you’re very interested in what the employer is doing and that you see your career path meshing with their needs. Point to your schoolwork, personal projects or experience in another job that’s given you transferable skills to succeed.

Perform To Rise Through The Ranks,

Rising through the ranks can happen more quickly than you’d think. Many of the senior members of our team rose from being interns. They showed they cared to work and were interested in what we did

They showed they cared to work and were interested in what we did. They acted as a sponge for information, learned what they could and ended up with compatible jobs. One of 2U’s interns transitioned to a full-time employee after just three months. Nine months after that, he became a lead developer managing others on complex projects.

Often, our resume-less intern hires come to us by way of referral. If you know someone working in the field you’re interested in, get in touch and see if they’d be willing to recommend you to any key players they may know. Attend meetup events, use social media, or offer to start as an intern or temporary employee. Networking can be a great way to get your foot in the door and ultimately rise through the ranks. You don’t have to have tons of experience to do great things in your career. All you need is intuition, drive and true passion about what the company has to offer.

Things Really Efficacious People Do

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Forget about your job title or profession – everyone is looking for ways to be more productive at work. It’s time to set down your gallon-sized container of coffee, toss out your three-page to-do list, and put an end to those ridiculously long emails you’ve been sending.

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Experiencing a highly productive workday can feel euphoric. But contrary to popular belief, simply checking tasks off your to-do list isn’t really an indication of productivity. Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.

Most everyone would like to be more efficient. Just think, you would spend less time doing the things that you don’t enjoy and more on the things that bring satisfaction, happiness and profit. Some people are actually very adept at efficiency.  They manage every manageable moment so they have more time for themselves to do the things they love. Here are eight techniques efficient people use to gain that freedom.

Stop Multitasking,

Many people fool themselves into thinking they are good at multitasking. But actually very few can solidly focus on more than 1 or two tasks, particularly if they require focus and depth.  They fool themselves into believing they are getting more done when in reality they are accomplishing less and the quality of the work is poor. Really efficient people know that concentrated effort with few distractions leads to better work product in faster times. Otherwise the work may not be up to par, which means wasting even more time and energy going back to fix the mistakes.

Delegate,

So much productivity is lost when people take on more than they can accomplish. Don’t be inspired by CEOs and leaders who overload their schedules and burn the midnight oil. Really efficient people are extremely good at delegating tasks to others who will perform them better. When you know how to break down a task and empower others to contribute effort, you can choose the tasks most suited for you and crank through them in record time without distraction.

Use Appropriate Communication,

Poor communication is a huge time-waster. A fast email transmitting bad instructions or an offensive attitude can end up adding many unnecessary hours to a project. The masters of efficiency take a little extra time to think through their communication in the beginning. They consider their objectives when deciding to get on the phone. They craft their emails with purpose using the exact language necessary to get the desired effect.  It takes a little more time at the beginning but can actually shave days from a project.

Apply Structure to the Schedule,

With all the available scheduling and productivity tools you would think more people would feel they have a handle on their schedule. And yet often people feel their schedule drives them instead of the other way around. Efficiency fanatics create standard routines in their schedule so they can achieve a disciplined approach and be ready for the important events. The more you control the calendar, the easier it is to make room for the unexpected.

Give Everything a Proper Place,

A lot of time is wasted chasing down lost items. Keys, pens and clothing hunts can cause distraction and frustration, especially when you have something important to do or somewhere important to be. People get really efficient from being organized. Establish a home for all the items you have.  Factories that practice LEAN create common homes for necessary tools of the trade. You can do the same. Organize clothes, papers and electronics in a way that you can easily find what you are looking for.  It may take you a few extra minutes to put things away but you’ll save a ton of time and irritation from having to search for what’s important.

Time Activities,

Do you really know how much time you spend productively versus how much time you waste? I often know that I am talking on the phone with someone who takes efficiency seriously because they tell me when the call is almost over. Efficient people set a time for each of their tasks and work to keep the schedule. Try logging your time on conversations and activities for a week.  Then spend the next week setting specific times for similar activities and work to reduce the times with similar output.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the gains.

Commit to Downtime,

Tired and overworked people don’t perform well. People pleasers will sacrifice their own downtime thinking they are benefitting others, but in truth they detract from productivity. Really efficient people make sure they get rest and recuperation so they can perform at their peak. Since one amazing employee can do the work of three average employees, best to let the team rest up and be top performers.

Plan Projects,

Effort is often wasted when people don’t have a clear path to success. Impatience is the direct enemy of efficiency. Really efficient people know they must take the time to research and break down a project into basic steps in order to achieve success consistently. Yes, planning takes a little time. But considering the challenges, process and responsibilities in advance will make for clear direction with the team. With good communication everyone can move confidently and efficiently to achieve all the objectives in record time.

Create a smaller to-do list,

 Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.

Take breaks,

You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.

Follow the 80/20 rule,

Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.

Start your day by focusing on yourself,

 If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.

Take on harder tasks earlier in the day,

 Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.

Pick up the phone,

The digital world has created poor communication habits. Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate – don’t be a victim of this action. This distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and is a sign of laziness. If you receive an email where many people are CC’d, do everyone a favor by BCCing them on your reply. If your email chain goes beyond two replies, it’s time to pick up the phone. Increase your productivity by scheduling a call.

Create a system,

 If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.

Don’t confuse productivity with laziness,

While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.