UNIVERSITIES IN EUROPE

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Category: Tips

3 Ways to Design Your Online Writing Portfolio

I’m always amazed how many writers there are out there that don’t have an online portfolio. That’s like a web designer without a web page! You’re a writer! Write one up! If you don’t like it, you can always change it.

And once you have one up, it’s much easier to search for work. After all, you can simply point people to your portfolio and if they hear about you, through a byline or some other source, then they can go straight to your portfolio and look at what you’ve done and what you’re capable of. In this way, the work can seek you out – something that is impossible when you don’t have a place online to keep your writing.

Sure, it takes a bit of work and fine, you might not like the original result, but like everything else in life you have to practice portfolio design to get a good idea.

For that reason, here are some ways to design your portfolio. Choose which suits you best.

Let the writing speak for itself

If you’ve got a lot of articles that are in high-quality journals, magazines, and websites, then why distract from that? Instead, choose a simple minimalistic design, where there isn’t very much to distract the audience from the most important part – the bylines you’ve managed to get.

The great thing about minimalism is that it is easy for your audience to decide where they should pay attention. As an extra bonus, it means you don’t have to select images and all that kind of jazz. So if words and not the stuff around it are really your forte, go with that.

As a package

Can you do more things than writing? Then why not create a package. Showcase that you’re not just a writer but can also deliver additional services. Really, this is a fantastic idea, as often people aren’t looking for a freelancer, they’re looking for a solution and they just want to use a freelancer to get there.

If you offer more skills, then you’re more likely to be able to give them that solution. What’s more, people will often pay a little bit more than they might do to two individuals, as it means a lot less communication and a much greater likelihood that the writing and your other skills mesh.

As part of a blog

The great thing about combining your portfolio with a blog is the same reason that so many people are now embracing content marketing. It gives you an organic way to draw an audience to your website and push yourself up the rankings in Google. That means that you’ll significantly raise the chance that clients will find you if they’re looking for somebody.

As an extra bonus, your blog posts will serve as a good way to get the message out that you can write. This is fantastic if you don’t get a lot of bylines – perhaps because you’re just starting out or because you do a lot of ghost writing.

A third advantage is that you might be able to use the blog to sell other products except for your writing services.

Of course, all of that does come with a downside and that is that blogs are only useful if you manage to write on them consistently. The moment you fall silent, people are going to assume you’re not very active as a writer anymore.

Edit, edit, edit

Whatever route you choose, make sure that your portfolio is error free. For having errors on your blog is a bit like a cook who serves a soup with a fly in it. It is going to jar your audience and has a very high likelihood of having them click onwards towards another writer. After all, you’re a writer, you’re not supposed to make mistakes.

So make sure that you read your portfolio that extra time and go back to it often, so that you can see any mistakes that might have slipped through the net the other times you checked it out (oh, and when you make edits, realize that that is when the most mistakes sneak into your writing – so double check what you’ve done).

8 Psychological Tricks Making Your Readers Become Loyal Subscribers

Getting your readers to subscribe to your content has become more and more tricky. People won’t settle for mediocre content that clogs up their email folders anymore. They would rather see content that resonates with them on a personal level, and making that content has become a challenge in itself. There are a few ways in which you can ease a reader into subscribing to your blog or a website by using some simple techniques.

Be honest about it

It’s completely normal to want people to subscribe to your blog – it’s a win-win situation. People get regular content that they will enjoy and you get more subscribers on your mailing list. So why not be open about it? Tell your readers exactly what they are getting if they give you their information. Be as transparent as possible and don’t use their emails for anything other than internal communication between you.

Create quality content

The content you offer will speak volumes about what kind of a blogger you are. If your content is able to connect to your readers, they will willingly give you their emails and ask for more content as soon as possible. Give yourself some time in-between posts, articles and content creation – think carefully about the niche you are operating in. Ask your readers for input if you need any but don’t spam your blog with poor content just to stay consistent.

Opt-in link

Including a sign-up link on your articles will help the readers subscribe as easily as possible. They should be able to see your sign-up link at the end of each article or a post and quickly be able to move on with their web surfing.

Don’t make the process overly complicated and ask for confirmations or multiple-page sign-ups. Ask for the bare minimum information you need in order for the person to subscribe to your content and be content with what you are getting. People are far more willing to subscribe if it’s easy and straightforward rather than convoluted and confusing.

Special rewards access

Giving people exclusive access to special content if they are subscribed is a perfect way to get them to do exactly that. Just thinking about “special content” makes you intrigued, and people love that psychological effect of being special among the crowd.

Creating some extra content like behind-the-scenes videos, extra articles or posts or special trivia and giveaways for those who are subscribed will work perfectly in your favor. Think about what content works best for your own blog and work your way towards special members’ page from there. You can even include a Patreon page or a Donate button if you so desire, but that’s another matter entirely.

Use a strict schedule

Being lazy about your content will land you nowhere. Getting more subscribers is all about creating content that revolves around a strict schedule and trust between you and your readers. If you promise them an article every Friday evening at 8 PM, you should deliver on your word. If you have too much work on your hands you can always contact a professional service and ask for help with creating your content. This will create a psychological sense of security and get people to subscribe to your content much more willingly.

Pull strategy

You might have heard about “Push” and “Pull” strategies already but don’t have an idea what’s that all about. A Pull strategy basically means listing all of the benefits a customer (or a subscriber) can get from the content you are providing them in exchange for their email and contact info – and leaving it at that. No special links, no begging them to subscribe. The psychology behind Pull strategies is actually rather clever.

You will make the people want to give you their information by letting them see what they can get instead of directly communicating your intention to get subscribers. A Push strategy is the same but in reverse, asking the people to subscribe. Do whatever you think is best for your blog, but more and more corporate enterprises are opting for a user-friendly Pull strategy and it works marvelously.

Use social media

Being present on as many platforms as possible is the key to being noticed. You can easily run separate Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for your blog and post content everywhere at once, linking it back to your blog. This will create a sense of belonging with the reader and make your community feel like a family rather than a lonely blogger asking for more followers. Create profiles on as many platforms as possible and you will reach a much higher number of potential subscribers.

Be friendly and chatty

People will start commenting on your posts sooner or later. While some people will love you and ask for more content, others will be dismissive and leave negative comments. It’s important to be a diplomat in these situations and make the most out of the situation. Think of all the negative comments you might get as objectively as possible and try to see past the negativity and look for useful information.

Any comments you get might help you deliver even better content and get more subscribers in the process. Talking to your readers and fans is the number one priority of anyone who calls themselves a blogger – it’s a two-way street. If you stop communicating, so will the readers, and you don’t want to experience that silence.

In the end

Getting people to subscribe is all about getting them to trust you. If you can overcome the barrier of an unknown blogger and give people something to relate to, your fan base can become truly special. Do whatever you think is best for your blog and start steering the proverbial ship in the right direction. The right subscribers will find you by themselves and stick with you no matter what.

8 tips to create agile performance management in your business

Creating a working environment with agility and performance in mind is what every project manager should strive towards. Your team members and coworkers will look to you for guidance and coaching. This means that the bulk of the expectations will rest on your shoulders.

Even if that’s the case, there are certainly some fool-proof tricks that you can implement for kick starting your team’s productivity. How can you create agile performance management in order to boost the productivity and quality of work that your team is conducting?

Understand the expectations

Just like in any corporate enterprise, your executives will have certain expectations from you and your team. You need to make sure that you are personally aware of their goals and expectations. Your team is going to communicate only with you, so what you communicate is going to be the law for them.

With that said, misunderstanding the wishes of your executives can result in devastating consequences down the line, not only for you but for your team and projects you are working on. An agile working environment is based on accurate information and mutual trust – you can’t have that if you don’t understand what’s at stake and what to aim for.

Communicate the bias

Performance management is a tricky subject because of its subjectivity. Your coworkers and team members will always feel like the performance that was presented aren’t the actual data. The bias of the person performing the evaluation should be kept to a minimum.

You should be as objective as possible when evaluating the work of your team, regardless of how close you are. Keeping important hidden from your executives can lead to mistrust and rifts between coworkers – you don’t want to create an environment where everyone feels awkward.

Implement a tracking system

The best way to perform agile performance management is by implementing a tracking system for everyone. Everyone who works with you or your team should have a spot on the tracking sheet and clear tasks assigned to them. This will keep everyone productive and focused during each day; because seeing how other people are achieving their tasks will kick start those who are slacking off.

A tracking system can be anything from a dedicated online platform or a simple Google spreadsheet with clear duties and deadlines. Implement anything that your coworkers will be comfortable with filling out on a daily basis and your performance should go up in no time.

Educate your coworkers

Tracking your coworkers and creating an agile working environment is one thing, but letting your coworkers know its happening is another matter entirely. Talk to your superiors about conducting a mandatory seminar for all the workers affected by this change. Helping people understand why they are being tracked and what it means for the future of your company will make the transition much easier.

You can easily create a few presentations, talk about the past and future ways of tracking performance and then focus on the benefits of the new system and how to use it individually. It’s painless for you and it makes you look good in the executives’ eyes – anyone who goes an extra mile to educate their co-workers clearly cares for the well-being of the company.

Highlight the role models

Once the agile performance system is in place, you should start making examples in your internal structure. Going through the data on a daily and weekly basis can help you determine who did the best job for that week. Highlighting these individuals will help a great deal – while others will be inspired and happy for the person who got applause (and maybe a small reward), they will work harder to have a chance at being the best for the next week.

Role models have always been the center stage of performance development in internal company relations. You can even visit a professional writing platform and prepare small speeches or thank-you notes for your coworkers. Don’t waste an opportunity at a free performance boost and make sure that you congratulate the people who are going through the trouble of providing you with usable data.

Involve everyone

Your team shouldn’t be the only one who is going through agile performance management tracking. Involve everyone who has a job description even remotely close to working on projects. Excluding some people and involving others will quickly create rifts in your department.

If some people are being tracked for data and performance, then everyone should be – including you. Talk to your superiors about your jurisdiction and make sure that you are the person in charge of the tracking project (with them overseeing you, of course).

Evaluations and revisions

The purpose of collecting so much data on a daily basis is to conduct evaluations and revise your game plan. Just because one week was productive and you got a lot of work done doesn’t mean that it will happen again soon.

Evaluate your data based on individual performances and how everyone pitched in to help complete the projects you are working on. Agile performance management means that you can easily revise the job descriptions and responsibilities of each member of your team. The personal feeling should be left aside when conducting evaluations, just like with tracking beforehand.

Performance assessment meetings

People will want to know what you have been tracking and concluding on a weekly basis. Dedicating an hour of your time to a performance evaluation meeting is a good way to connect with the department.

Casually talking about how everyone is doing and how they did the week before is a great way to give people some sense of completion. They will feel like they are actually performing and it will help them do even better in the following weeks. While it may not seem as much, letting people know if they did good or not is an essential part of agile performance management and shouldn’t be skipped, regardless of the hectic nature of your work.

In the end

The more care you put into tracking and evaluation, the more people will care. If everyone sees concrete morale and performance boost across the department then no one will tell you to stop. While there will be some growing pains with creating and implementing an agile tracking system, the results will always be worth it. Your executives will also appreciate the dedication and effort you put into implementing a performance data tracking system.

What HR Is Primarily Looking at in the Resume?

It can be heartbreaking for many people to get a call from the company they applied for only to be told to try again next time. Interviewers and employers have been working with candidates of varying profiles for years – that’s what makes them professionals at what they do. HR people are used to analyzing and deciding on whether a candidate is fit for the role in a matter of minutes, sometimes even seconds. If they are so confident about their abilities, what exactly are they looking for in resumes that arrive at their doorstep?

Most recent employment

While the entire professional background is relevant to a job application, interviewers are far more interested in the latest job employment. This is the freshest experience a candidate has gone through, and it’s the one that made them apply for this position in the first place.

Why did they leave and how much did they really learn while employed there? These are often critical questions that differentiate candidates from potential employees, and it’s one of the things that you should pay the most attention to when writing your resume.

Job-related keywords

Believe it or not, most cover letters don’t end up read properly. Interviewers simply don’t have the time to read every single application thoroughly and take their time in doing so. This means that they are carefully searching for keywords that make them go “aha” when considering a candidate.

These range from niche to niche, and can often determine if a candidate knows what they are talking about. Those that have experience and knowledge will likely be given a pass and further consideration, so using area-specific keywords that make sense in your niche is essential.

Soft skills

Modern enterprises and corporate ventures are looking for more than the just good professional background. The internal culture and productivity of a company are determined by the amount of teamwork and leadership that resides within. Interviewers are far more likely to consider a candidate that excels at teamwork, team building, and leadership and stress management roles than someone with the strict professional background.

Being a team player is far more important than just being good at your job because it will mean that you are ready to lead projects and make difficult decisions. Soft skills are a huge part of what makes a resume attractive these days, so take extra time to write down whatever you think you are good at when it comes to interpersonal relations.

Proper formatting

It goes without saying that your resume should look the part. Resumes that are poorly written lack any sense of formatting and order and are just full of grammar and proofreading errors won’t even be considered. People who don’t know how to write a proper correspondence don’t have any place in a modern corporate world, and interviewers will likely never contact them.

If you are too stressed out or unsure about how to format your resume, you can take a look at a list of the top writing services that can help you out. This is an essential part of creating your resume and you should pay extra attention not to make any errors in writing or editing.

Professional experience

Your overall professional experience might not be high on the interviewer’s list of priorities but it ranks fairly high. You should add any and all professional experiences you have had in your life, regardless of whether you deem them job-related or not.

Your interviewer will appreciate the attention to details in listing everything you have ever done for a living. The culmination of all of your past job experiences may just be what the company is looking for, so think carefully about all the things you did and format those experiences from the most recent to the oldest one.

Personal motivation

What usually makes or breaks a resume is the personal motivation of a candidate. This is where the interviewer catches a glimpse into what kind of a person they are dealing with. The resume gives your interviewer only a fraction of who you are behind all the listed information, but it’s usually enough to make them decide if you are good for the company or not.

Employers usually steer clear of egoistic and overly ambitious people and opt for more grounded and realistic personalities that can fit into their internal culture. The best course of action is to be completely honest and write about your motivation succinctly and truthfully instead of sugarcoating it in order to land a position in a company that clearly isn’t for you.

Overall tone and structure

It’s true that it usually takes employers only seconds before deciding if a candidate is good for them or not. The overall tone and structure of your resume will be determined by the combination of previous information you have listed.

Try giving the resume to your friend or a family member and ask for a second opinion on whether it’s too much or too little. It’s not too late to add or rewrite your resume until the very moment you submit it. Even then, if the interviewer sees something that they like you, they will likely give you a call and arrange an interview.

Conclusion

People like to say that writing a resume takes a lifetime, and that’s completely true. While you may not be able to choose your first employments, you can use these experiences later on when you hunt for a job that truly matters. HR works differently in every single company, and catering to their way of thinking is the secret of landing a job that you really want.

5 tips to encourage students study through smartphones

Smartphones are a fact of life. They’re in your students’ pockets and they’re not going to start ignoring them just because you don’t like them. The much better strategy, therefore, is to find ways to actually co-opt the smartphone and make it a part of your class. Of course, for that, you do need to know how to motivate students so that they’ll actually use them.

So how do you do that? Well, it turns out it’s not as hard as you might think. Here are some of the best strategies we’ve found.

Gamification

Okay, if you’ve heard of the term, then you probably thought of this one yourself. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea, however. People (particularly boys, it turns out) love to compete and the best way to do that gives them something to compete on. By gasifying whatever you’re doing you can achieve that quite easily.

For those of you who don’t know what gamification is, it’s the act of turning a regular activity into some sort of game. Duolingo, for example, does it with language learning.

And that’s great if you want to do language learning, but what about other fields? Well, you can go looking for some apps (there are plenty) or you can make your own. Don’t know where to start? Then why not try Quizizz. Here you can build leaderboards and theme music, even while carefully tracking who excels at what. It’s also easy to use.

Create dedicated social media

There are plenty of platforms that now allow you to create groups for your class, where class members can share with each other, work on projects together and in other ways use them for learning.

Done well, this can be a great tool for learning. Just make sure that you also leave them room to use the social media non-educatively. Then it can become one of their go to platforms, which will make it so that even your least eager students end up aware of when assignments are due and what other people are asking about them.

Facetime interviews

If you’ve got some class subject and you know somebody interesting who knows somebody about it but they live too far away, why not invite them to facetime in? This can really be a great way for students to interact with people from different cultures and different parts of the world.

You can even create the opportunity for students to interview these people at some length and then come back to the classroom. If you have enough interesting people who would take part in something like this, then you can create the opportunity for them to get first-hand knowledge of something that happened in history, politics or any other field that is of particular interest to your students.

Curate interesting material

There are now plenty of online places where you can curate material that you think will be interesting for your students to read. Even better, you can create a group page where everybody can curate interesting articles and material together. That can make it a lot less work for you and a lot more interesting for your class.

You can even set themes and ask your students to find some kind of content that matches that theme. The great thing about this is that if everybody manages to find something decent for a project in this way, then collectively they can have a wide selection of sources to consider so that whether they write it.

Don’t know any good curation platforms? Then you can always try pocket, which is free.

Connect with parents and get them involved

Perhaps it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, but it certainly takes their parents. And the great thing about smartphones is that it allows you to get in touch with parents without having to actually give a note to their kid to take home (and forget).

For example, with Remind, you can easily stay in touch with parents and in this way make certain that they are aware of what’s going on. In this way, they’ll be in the loop and hopefully far more engaged in their child’s education. This will make sure that if their child is struggling, you can take steps to make sure that they stay up to speed.

Last words

The smartphone can be turned from a device of distraction into a great communication and learning tool. All you need to know is what is possible. Fortunately, that’s becoming easier by the day are there are just so many articles like this one out there that will give you great advice as to what you can use.

So keep on reading. Perhaps you can even curate information together until you have everything you need. From there you can then make sure that your class stays engaged and that other teacher learns the power that students carry around in their pockets every day.

5 Ways Your Fashion Blog Can Boost Your Writing Skills

­­­­ Ernest Hemingway would have been a great blogger. American students have read at least one of his works when in high school – The Old Man and the Sea. And anyone who has read this book knows that the author was a master of simple, clear, precise language with as few adverbs and adjectives as possible. Good bloggers are a lot like Hemingway, and your continued work to maintain your fashion blog will boost your writing skills in many ways.

Ideas Get Structure

Creative ideas can be messy. And fashion bloggers are creative people. When you talk about your ideas, they begin to take shape. When you force yourself to write about them, the structure becomes even better. You will learn to go from a great idea to a finely-tuned piece of writing that is logical in its flow and very clear in its message.

Of course, this takes practice. A beginning blogger tends to have a tough time writing a great post. Over time, however, s/he studies other great bloggers, keeps practicing, and refines those unique skills that are required for crafting posts.

Editing and Proofreading Become a Natural Activity

No good writer ever considers his/her work finished the first time a piece is finished. There are often several, if not numerous, re-reads, re-writes, and final polishing. Bloggers will learn to do this because they will come to understand that their reputation and the growth of their readership depends upon good writing. There is thus a huge motivation to make every post well-written, engaging, and exciting to read. This requires almost “over-thinking,” and editing to a fault sometimes, but better that than too little.

Routine Writing = Improvement

When we were in college, the writing was a routine thing. Of course, it was and still is academic writing, and that has been truly difficult for students who struggle with grammar and composition – so difficult that many have had to turn to writing services to get the help they need. Over time, however, as they studied the good writing they got and began to practice on their own, they got better.

Blogging is a very different type of writing. And any blogger who thinks that, because s/he got good grades for academic writing, blogging will be a “piece of cake,” is very much mistaken. Yes, the grammar and composition must be perfect. But the style and tone are wholly different – it is conversational, informal, and entertaining.

Fashion bloggers have lots of “meat” to be informal and entertaining. Their topics are of interest to a large segment of Internet users. By setting up a routine schedule of creating posts and giving themselves the time to edit and improve them, their blog-style writing skills get better. Getting better means posts are easier to write; and when they are easier to write, more will be written.

Clarity and Simplicity

Even Shakespeare was aware of the need to make his scripts clear and simple for the audience he had. While the modern reader finds his plays difficult to read and understand, his audience of the time, commoners of London, did not. He wrote for them.

It’s easy, especially as a fashion blogger, to get carried away with flowery, descriptive writing – the style of writing that is commonly found in poetry and sympathy cards. But fashion does not have to be an industry filled with those adverbs and adjectives that Hemmingway hated. Fashion can be made simple for an audience that really does want it simple and direct – millennials.

Given that millennials are the largest fashion retail consumer demographic today, it only makes sense to get “into their heads” and meet them on their own turf. And this is what all blogger do. They study their target audience and they learn to write for them.

And a note about reading levels: Even though a large proportion of Millennials are college grads, this does not mean that language should be sophisticated. In fact, it should not. Research shows that blog posts that utilize a 7th-grade reading level are best.

When you begin to “tone down” your reading level, you will engage more people; when more people are engaged, they will share.

Those Openers

Fashion bloggers are creatives. But they often make the mistake of getting right down to business when they craft blog posts. As you become more familiar with the style of blog writing, and as you become more familiar with the needs of your readers, you will find ways to craft amazing and compelling titles and openers that will grab their attention immediately.

Putting It All Together

Here’s the thing with blogging. It is a unique type of writing, to be sure. It has to be simple and clear; the reading level must be at the middle school level; the needs of the target audience must be considered at all times. All of this does not mean, however, that good writing is sacrificed.

Maintaining a fashion blog means tapping into the needs of your audience; it means that grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation must be impeccable; it means that a piece must have a logical flow and a structure that makes sense to the reader. And it means that creativity should not be sacrificed.

Does blogging boost your writing skills? Absolutely. But the tone and style are not the same as they are for the academic writing you may have encountered in school. Simplifying your writing, and yet ensuring that the basics of good writing are still present, will be your challenge. As you practice, however, you will only get better.

How to Write an Effective Speech?

Speech is an articulated form of human communication and it based on synaptic combination of lingual and names that are drawn from large vocabularies. Human speakers (cryptologist) are often able to communicate in two or more of them. Writing speech in many ways like writing on paper or in soft form electronically, excluding that there is no penalty of spelling and punctuation errors. When you are writing a speech for you then try to use those words which you can pronounce in comfortable way. If you don’t know the meaning of any word then exclude it from speech because these factors can break your concentration and lead you toward less fluent delivery of speech. If you want to write an effective speech either for your college seminar or for any event in your institute or for your convocation, there are some simple but effective tips by following them you can write a perfect and impressive speech.

  1. First of all you should evaluate how much time of your speech should take. If you have limited time then try to keep your speech brief & concise but yet informative.
  2. Inquire about your audience and let your perception about audience then shape the tone of your speech according to audience as to maintain audience interest and attention.
  3. Start your speech with an introduction that reflects about you like who you are, why you are here, what your purpose is, why you will be talking about it and how much time you are going to take. You can also include a joke, anecdote or any interesting fact to grab and maintain audience’s attention.
  4. Prepare some key points, you can organize your information into 3-7 key points and prioritize them according to importance and effectiveness.
  5. After completion of speech proof read it and delete all extra points that are not crucial for your speech in case if you have too much material for your speech according to your time frame.
  6. Write your speech in chronological order. Start your speech with most important point, then go forward with least important point and move slowly towards most important points. Try to keep balance between most important and less important points to grab attention of audience. For example if you have 7-8 points then keep the most important point at number 1 & 2 then keep least important points on number 3 &4 etc. in order to give effective presentation of your speech.
  7. Try to support your each point with the help of statistic facts and figures, examples, interesting short stories, quotations and all other supportive material.
  8. Link all points of your speech with each other like you should link your introduction, body points of speech and conclusion together in smooth transition.
  9. At the end conclude your whole speech such as you can summarize all main points of your speech from start to end to leave your audience with a lasting impression.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  1. Your introduction should contain total 10-15% part of your total speech and conclusion should make up 5-10%.
  2. If you are preparing your speech in hand writing then make it sure that it is easily readable and if you want to take print then take it in large and clear letter.
  3. Rehearse your speech many times before delivering it to maintain confidence and fluency.
  4. If you are going to deliver a great deal of information then support your information with handout and visual aids to help your audience to remember your points. Trim your speech if possible.