Earlier today, I made my 25th blog post about how I Love Teaching – and it’s already been getting really nice traffic. What is nice traffic you ask?!? Well for a tiny phytoplankton in this giant internet ocean like myself, that looks like about 35-50 views – nothing earth shattering – but I’m loving the experience and the internal insights. Writing is coming very naturally, and it’s really helping sort out my version of the human experience and organize my thoughts. Sometimes it might look like ramblings – however some posts feel like the makings of some really quality content. Usually, it’s just close family and friends finding it entertaining. Whatever it is, it’s a good thing and this post is about reflecting on my last 25 blog posts, 3 personal transformations, and my favorite posts to date.
3 Transformations Since Starting to Blog:
- Two weeks ago, I began volunteering two nights a week to teach children, ages 13-18, how to code in HTML & CSS. This has been tremendous, seeing kids light up about embedding a YouTube video or listing out their favorite foods and attaching pictures on a web page has really sparked some curiosities in a few youngsters that might grow into something great. This has ignited a passion for educating people, and particularly youngsters that I want to seek out further.
- Started a Morning Routine that I’ve been consistent with 90% of mornings. This one practice is BY FAR the most important key to my recent performance and productivity improvements. Why report about a 90%? Because I’m human and want to emphasize how nobody is perfect, and there have been days I’ve woken up and not felt up to my hour-ish long routine. The one thing I have noticed is this: The days where I don’t complete a morning routine are the days I’m typically least productive, which is a great thing to know about one’s self.
- Meditate for ~20min per day. Doing this in the mornings helps me come alive and focus on the task of the day. Doing it in the evening helps clear my mind of the day and prepare for a restful night sleep. Overall, the benefits to my mood and mental stability have been phenomenal and I would recommend this practice to anyone who is setting aside even just 2-5min a day.
My Top 7 Favorite Posts Thus Far (in order):
why 7?…. why not…?
- My Morning Routine – It’s the one I link back to most and have edited the most, it’s my best work in progress.
- Oh Snap! That’s a Cold Shower! – Entrepreneur on Fire’s John Lee Dumas commented on this post and really inspired some great confidence about what I’m doing.
- 1 (More) Reason I Love my Mother – This has been, BY FAR the most visited post. That’s because thanks to my mother’s Facebooking abilities, she was able to share it and attract nearly 900 unique visits to my site that day. Even WordPress told me the post was, and I quote, “Blowing up.”
- Preparing to Ignite – This was the post right that inspired the morning routine. I realized on this day that turning 30 was 1,282 days away and I wanted to transform.
- Just keep swinging, just keep swinging… – This post was a great personal reflection about overcoming the difficulties and frustrations of learning to code and the learning process in general.
- “I am Groot” – surprisingly, this post got me about 3 or 4 follows (like 30-40% of my followers at this time…) It was a reaction to my experiences watching Guardians of the Galaxy and a metaphorical analysis of the Groot character.
- Group Therapy: Lessons from our 1st Group Project – We’ll round out the list with a reflection on what I learned from completing our first group project between back end, front end, and iOS developers. It’s an honest post with some good takeaways.
In the pursuit of creating an excellent, online, personal brand – LinkedIn is certainly one of the most important profiles to give attention to these days. Whether you’re an employee, business owner, entrepreneur, or a freelancer – the power of a strong professional network is strong in this one.
Now you could search the Google machine for a billion different answers to this topic, and admittedly, those answers have driven a lot of what I’ve changed about my account in the last few weeks. So this is not me on a soap box shouting you need to change everything about your account and these 5 recommendations are scripture – no… these are merely suggestions that I have found to be helpful in the past few weeks and maybe you’ll take 1 or 5 and find some value. So here goes…
5 Recommendations to LEVEL UP your LinkedIn:
- Get yourself a nice, shiny, professional profile photo
It’s surprising how long I lasted with just a random, chopped up Facebook photo of myself on LinkedIn – the truth is… this photo is a first impression for a potential recruiter or client, so make it as great of a first impression as possible. A photo has the potential to say a lot about who you are professionally, and when I tacked up a sloppy photo, it might have been silently sending signals that falsely portray me doing sloppy work, and you don’t want to risk that! The photo should also match the industry your seeking work in, I’m seeking work as a developer… so a little more casual is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re looking for legal, government, or consulting type work – it’s probably best you suit up. When in doubt, your photo should match how you would dress for an interview.
- Make Connections, Lots of Them, All the Time, yes… More
If you grew up with the dawn of Facebook like I did, you might think this sounds like the old social network popularity contest – I have more digital friends than you naa-naa, look at me, I’m cool online! If that is your perception, you might be missing the point on what LinkedIn is as a professional tool. The fact is, the more connections you have, the more likely you are to be found or sought out, that’s it. There is also an unsaid “credibility” that comes with 500+ connections and you want to be there as soon as possible.
- Give Recommendations, Receive Recommendations
What goes around comes around, truly. I found this recommendation in my research, applied it, and received 2 very solid recommendations from my former employer. As you make more and more connections, take some time to write a well-crafted, thoughtful recommendation for someone you particularly enjoyed working with or who was senior to you. Then, ask them to write you one back in return and you’ll be amazed at what comes back. Recommendations definitely set you apart from the rest and the higher up the ladder you can receive one from, the better.
- Allow your Endorsements to tell the story
This one has been big for me recently, particularly because I’m in the midst of a career change and all of my endorsements represent some previous jobs. So in the same way that you write recommendations for others… if you endorse others for their skill sets, I can almost guarantee they will be endorsing you back for yours. I’d go as far as saying each new connection you make, make at least one endorsement for their current field. So if a recruiter adds you as a connection – accept the request, and endorse them for “recruiting” or “networking” or one of their other top choices. Again, being a professional site, you want as much credibility surrounding your profile as possible.
- Content is King when it comes to Experience
Your “Experience” category is your resume. So make it readable, and pack it full of the awesome stuff you’ve done for that company. Use some simple hyphens to give the look of a bulleted list and don’t just throw a bunch of paragraphs on there, be specific and get to the point you’re trying to get across. This should read exactly how your resume reads and be completely consistent with what you might have on paper. And since you’ve come this far – apply the Content is King mindset to everything on your page! Meaning… fill out your Summary, Volunteer Experience, and Education sections with tons of copy. It shows that you’re serious when it comes to making a great professional first impression.
There you have it – hope you find some value out of this… and if you have some other insights I’d love to hear them!