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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.

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Grab Recruiters Attention By Telling Your Story in Job Interviews

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Alan Carniol is the Founder of InterviewSuccessFormula.com, an online training program that helps job seekers deliver powerful answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Imagine sitting in a job interview. You’re already nervous. You know you have something to contribute. You really admire the company. However, when the interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, you buckle. You realize telling your story in person is quite difficult. You stumble or forget the most important pieces of your personal story, potentially damaging your interview experience. Now what?

We create stories about ourselves in mere minutes online in social profiles or blog “about” pages. Why is it so hard to tell the same story in person? Perhaps the solution is to merge your two stories, your online self and offline self, together in order to optimize your image. The following are a few tips that can help you to craft a compelling personal story for job interviews.

Your Two Stories

According to Rafe Gomez, author of What’s In It For Me: A Powerful New Interview Strategy to Get Hired In Today’s Challenging Economy, the trick is to create validations.

“The online story — blog posts, articles, etc. — should validate the assertions and promises made in the offline story — resume — if you’re seeking to leave a positive and memorable impression in a job interview. For instance, if you’re presenting yourself in interviews as being an experienced sales executive who has delivered results for your employers, your online story should support this assertion,” Gomez says.

Further, blending the two stories will back up any career history claims you’ve made during the interview. “Online mentions of, references about, or discussion of your accomplishments will serve to legitimize your offline claims, and make it indisputable that you could be an invaluable addition to your interviewer’s organization.”

Consistency

According to TheLadders job search expert Amanda Augustine, making the two as similar as possible can make telling your story more interesting.

“Your online presence and interview responses give you a chance to provide more color to your career history. You can go into more detail and really show your passion for a particular industry or company in ways that aren’t possible in a resume. However, the bottom line is that both stories should be similarly positioned,” Augustine says.

Look at your interview story as a way to “sell” your accomplishments, strengths and motivations to the interviewer. By doing so, you clearly show why you’re worthy of the position.

“Remember that as a job seeker, you must develop a personal advertising campaign to tell prospective employers and recruiters what you’re great at and passionate about, and how that’s of value to an organization. Your online presence, resume, and how you pitch yourself during networking events and interviews are all components of this campaign. Each of these components needs to tell one consistent story to build a strong personal brand,” Augustine explains.

Be Sure Your Story Checks Out

A recent JobVite survey indicated nearly four out of five hiring managers and recruiters check candidates’ social profiles. It’s possible you will be researched online before your interview. If your offline story does not match your online one, the interviewer may challenge you.

“Before an interview, make sure you Google your name so you know what any recruiter or hiring manager will see when they search for you (and trust me, they will). If any damaging results show up, now you have a chance to try and remove them or at least prepare a response for the interview. The worst thing you can do is look surprised or taken off guard when an interviewer challenges your story based on something they found online,” says Augustine.

It’s also important to spin the conversation back to your accomplishments if things start to go sour. According to George Dutch of JobJoy, flush out concern by asking what caught their attention and if they have any specific concerns about your capabilities.

“Understanding the interview as a risk assessment exercise helps you respond appropriately to these kinds of challenges. It’s not personal — they don’t know you — it’s them doing their due diligence,” Dutch says.

Creating your interview story in a digital era means more than telling the interviewer about yourself. Merge your online and offline stories to create a more cohesive story. Doing so helps the interviewer understand why you’re right for the job.

What do you think? What are some other ways to create your interview story in a digital era?

3 Must Do Things To Recruit Your Top Tech Talent

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Scott Rothrock is the co-founder and CTO of RemarkableHire, a talent-sourcing platform that uses social evidence to help recruiters and hiring managers find and evaluate the best job candidates. Connect with him and the RemarkableHire team on Facebook and Twitter.

Finding top-notch technical talent can be hard. But are we experiencing a shortage of qualified candidates, or are brilliant minds simply being overlooked? Traditional recruiting methods just don’t cut it in terms of finding highly skilled candidates anymore, and companies may be to blame for their less-than-brazen use of these hiring techniques.

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Top tech candidates are out there. So, how do you find and hire top talent?

Get serious about seeking talent. While companies say they are looking for the next “game-changing” employee, they certainly aren’t updating their selection processes to do so. Journalist George Anders, author of The Rare Find: How Great Talent Stands Out, observes the incredible shortcomings of companies who rely on conservative selection processes — and end up narrowing their criteria to such a degree that they often miss candidates with unusual potential.

Anders explains that wise leaders shouldn’t expect exceptional talent to come in a neat package. Companies should be scouring the market for candidates with resilience and creativity, while keeping traditional skills, such as work ethic and reliability, in view.

Employers should consider finding talent through methods that are as unique as the candidates they’re seeking. Facebook’s strategy of using online programming puzzles to test and attract new talent stands out as a great example. These forms of tests offer an alternative route for those who might initially be overlooked during an application process.

There’s no doubt that hiring managers and recruiters are serious about the hiring process. But their hiring methods sometimes take too few creative liberties, and therefore pass up serious talent. While the resume was once the mainstay of the HR industry, for instance, you’re likely to miss candidates with serious potential if your hiring process relies solely on resumes. In this day and age, many of the top tech candidates spend much more of their time honing their craft than they do honing their resume.

Recruit to train. Let’s face it: Not all employers are blameless for the talent recruitment struggles they’re facing. Peter Cappelli, a professor and author who recently wrote,Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It, presents a possible solution for this issue. Cappelli argues that companies need to return to the ancient way of doing things —  focus on recruiting talented people, and train them to be the skilled employees you wanted all along.

With the unemployment rate at 7.9%, business leaders are still complaining about the shortage of qualified candidates. These same leaders’ companies offer job descriptions with an impossible number of requirements, and then use software to filter through thousands of applications. The talent search is doomed from the start when there are precise words needed to alert the applicant-tracking software that a candidate should get through the gates and into an interview.

The tech industry should not be forcing applicants to apply through automated resume screening tools. Put more emphasis on a candidate’s core abilities to learn and adapt rather than being overly precise on a given skill set. If you focus on foundational competencies and professional athleticism, you’ll be able to look at a broader pool of qualified candidates and maybe even find the talent that your competitors might have overlooked.

Go niche. Social communities revolving around specific areas of interest — such as GitHub, Dribbble and StackOverflow, for example — exist for every nook and cranny of the tech industry. Use these to attract talent looking for specific jobs rather than post on a generic job board, where your listing can easily be lost or overlooked. Not only can you assess candidates’ qualities even before the first interview and find out if their area of expertise is consistent with yours, but you can also create and build a network of potential candidates to look at when you have other openings.

As more and more tech candidates contribute to these online, peer-reviewed communities, recruiters can get deeper, more objective appreciations for the candidates’ core competencies. By using this information, you can rank candidates based on how well they’ve demonstrated the core set skills you’re looking for, and save time that would otherwise have been spent in screening interviews. Because of the way many of these niche communities are designed, you’ll be able to see actual examples of candidates’ expertise rather than bullet point descriptions of their skills.

Don’t stand in your own way of finding the tech talent you need; take advantage of these tips to set your organization apart, and find a perfect match.

What is your company doing to find and attract top tech talent? Tell us in the comments.

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.

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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.

How Employers Can Create a Livable Culture of Go-ahead

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A recent CareerBuilder survey suggests that 21% of workers plan to change jobs this year -– a 17% jump from last year, and the highest percentage since the recession.

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For employers, this turnover rate can be a frightening thought, especially when you consider the potential impact that the loss of an employee can have on productivity and morale. In this competitive environment, many employers are likely wondering how to keep their brightest stars and how to bring promising fresh blood neatly into the fold.

Not long ago, Big Spaceship held a hack day, in which members of our crew could self-organize to produce anything that made our agency a better place. There were a number of results — from solutions for a healthy workplace to tools to appreciate daily moments of humor and joy. Big Spaceship has been evolving its culture for 14 years, but it wasn’t until recently that a printed book -– a rarity in the digital age -– would illuminate the ins and outs of our company values and what they mean to employees new and old.

Turns out, this simple reminder of our values has been a key ingredient in keeping our already tight-knit crew as cohesive as ever. It’s helped the youngest and newest staff members feel engaged and confident, and encouraged the most senior employees to remain open-minded. Culture is organic; it changes and it can’t be dictated by one person.

As your company begins to look inward to attract and retain employees, here are five tips that any business can use to create its own culture manual.

You can’t mandate culture,

A successful manual must be a manifestation of the culture that already exists at your company. Its origins should be completely organic –- a far cry from many corporate environments, in which a single person or committee is responsible for dictating the culture. Remember: Your culture may be encouraged from the top-down, but it will only take hold from the bottom-up.

One of the ways that smart business leaders can spur this phenomenon is by actively putting hiring power into their employees’ hands and allowing them input on who joins their environment.Google, renowned for its organic culture, is a great example of this; the company institutes committees when taking on new hires, naturally helping everyone feel involved and valued.

Balance friendly encouragement with tough love,

People appreciate the honest truth, because it means you respect their intelligence. A lot of things that make a company great require sacrifices, and your manual should tell both sides of the story.

Encourage your employees to ask for help when they need it; feeling supported is absolutely essential to maintaining worker happiness. But don’t let them get too comfortable. Force them to take initiative and, instead of complaining, take it upon themselves to make changes when and how they see fit. Happiness and productivity both stem as equally from independence and confidence as they do from a sense of support.

People will pitch in if you give them freedom and time,

Freedom and time are golden. In the modern workplace, these are two attributes that can be extremely hard to come by — especially when it seems as if every half-hour a new meeting alert pops up. Technology is turning many employees’ ways of life into a vicious cycle, transforming them into slaves to their calendars.

Don’t let your employees become cogs in the wheel. Give them permission to take a step back from the grind and make culture a priority, not an add-on. Sometimes the best brief will say, “Here’s the general space we’re playing in. The rest is up to you.”

Stand for something,

Studies have proven that purpose-driven brands have greater success than those that are only concerned with maximizing shareholder value. But aligning your company with certain beliefs and behaviors also means that not everyone will be a perfect fit within the company’s culture. To be straightforward at Big Spaceship, we list our values on our careers page, because we know it will help attract the right kind of people — and let others know they might be better off elsewhere.

Southwest Airlines is a brand that’s been lauded for being particularly purpose-driven in recent years. They’ve built up a reputation for being hard-working, respectful and, perhaps most importantly, laid back and friendly. They stay away from candidates who don’t fit the bill, and these efforts have paid off: The company has only a 2% turnover rate.

Find the themes that define the way you work,

It’s important that every workplace articulate its unique features and create themes, both internally and externally, that can be narrowed down and shared with all employees.Defining distinct pillars will help your employees feel grounded in their day-to-day, and will keep the sometimes numerous and potentially overwhelming aspects of your culture in perspective.

Zappos is successful at this type of transparency. Its list of ten core values, while a bit lengthy, manages to convey a simple and flexible framework within which its employees can work and play. It’s a strategy that’s worked for us, as well. Our manual has three chapters: the first is about embracing humanity in the workplace, the second is about collaboration and the third is “We Change.”

Dear Patron’s, how do you inspire Go-ahead in the workplace? Share in the comments.

Ways to Trick Out Your Startup’s Office Environment

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Last week we showed you some of the startup world’s most creative office spaces. These colorful environments with airy floor plans and comfortable conference rooms put the cubicle to shame — but before you start shelling out for employee skate parks and rock climbing walls, consider that not all office luxuries will serve your workspace equally well.

Mashable spoke with several startup employees to find out what they loved about their unconventional office spaces, and the results were fairly unanimous: An open floor plan and quirky extras encourage communication, collaboration and general satisfaction far more than cramped cubicles.

“The more comfortable our employees feel in the office environment, the more comfortable they are to speak up and share their opinions and insights with the team,” ZocDoc CFO Netta Samroengraja says in an e-mail.

Most startups have certain crucial design elements in common. These include employee lounge areas with cozy seating and colorful accents, snack-filled kitchens where employees can chat as they refuel and TV monitors used for everything from video-conferencing to gaming.

Startups with enough square footage also tend to shell out for recreational spaces — ZocDoc has a game room outfitted with beanbag chairs, a ping-pong table and an acoustic guitar — that contribute to a playful work environment that’s not just about punching the clock.

Some office add-ons will make sense for only a small segment of businesses; TastingTable, for instance, rents a test kitchen and dining room staffed with two full-time chefs near its SoHo offices. The extra kitchen space is a boon for the food-and-drink newsletter, but is probably a less prudent investment for a software firm.

At Zazzle’s sprawling Redwood City headquarters, everything from the communal desks to the wallpaper was custom-made to reflect the company’s design-it-yourself ethic, according to co-founder and CTO Bobby Beaver. Likewise, Etsy takes a DIY approach to office design with colorful knickknacks, quilts and plushies, all made by Etsy sellers. “My apartment is so boring compared to the office,” says Sarah Starpoli, Etsy’s Employment Experience Manager.

Quirky office additions such as HowAboutWe’s popcorn machine — which one employee assures us is regularly put to good use — or Zazzle’s ping-pong table may not rank as “strictly necessary” for your startup, but they undoubtedly contribute to a more welcoming work environment. “Go to your local IRS office to get a taste of the dark side of an office landscape,”Squarespace’s director of interface, Michael Heilemann, suggests.

There is, however, a fine line between a morale-boosting office perk and a misallocation of your startup’s precious funds. So, when you’re decorating that new exposed-brick loft space, go the more sensible route and avoid the 10 extravagant accessories in the gallery below — ball pits, bike repair shops and Bengal tigers are on the list — that only Google and Facebook can really afford, at least until you’ve made your first million.

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.

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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.