Civilian killed in Kashmir’s Shopian district

first_imgSuspected militants killed a civilian in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday, second such killing in the past 24 hours. Preliminary reports suggest that militants alighted at Shopian’s Pinjora area and fired upon advocate Imtiyaz Ahmad Khan. He succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.Khan, who was a public prosecutor, contested assembly polls in 2014 and is considered close to National Conference.On Saturday, Bashir Ahmad Dar, considered close to ruling Peoples Democratic Party, was shot dead in Pulwama district.last_img

Parrikar to stay as Goa Chief Minister: Amit Shah

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will continue in his post, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said on September 23, as he announced that a reshuffle of the State’s Ministers would soon take place.The BJP chief said so in a tweet following a discussion with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s core group team from Goa.“It has been decided during a discussion with the Goa BJP core team that Manohar Parrikar will continue to lead the Goa government. There will soon be a reshuffle of Ministers and their portfolios,” he said.Mr. Parrikar’s poor health has sparked speculation over his continuation as the Chief Minister of Goa, and Mr. Shah had recently sent a central party leaders team to the coastal State to speak to allies and take stock of the political situation.The opposition Congress, which is the single-largest party in the State, has also staked a claim to form government. The BJP has asserted that its government continues to have the support of a majority of MLAs.Mr. Parrikar is at present admitted at the AIIMS and undergoing treatment for a pancreas-related ailment.last_img read more

Bollywood Graduates

first_img“The motion picture, with its fantastic synthesis of Hollywood, Indian folk performance traditions, music, mythology, and linguistic variety, has become a major visual cultural tradition, no less important than the murals of Ajanta, Padmanabhapuram, or the sculptural friezes of Sanchi, Konarak or Mahabalipuram.”– Ram Rahman, artist and curator. Bollywood Dreams Exhibit by Jonathan Torgovnik.What! Bollywood – a national monument and a pillar of the cultural heritage of India? Incredible, but true. From the “wah-wahs!” of the pan-bidi char anna class, our beloved, but much maligned, Hindi cinema has gone on to being feted around the world and included in Oscar talk. Once derided for its “masala” flicks, Bollywood is now being spotlighted in the bastions of high culture – the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. and on television channels like the Sundance Network, PBS and Turner Classic Movies.And yes, serious academics in the ivory towers of elite educational institutions are actually dissecting Bollywood, pondering the effects of this powerful medium on humanity! After all, Bollywood has affected just about everybody from Salman Rushdie to Mira Nair to Russian taxi drivers to Mumbai street urchins! Who knows, if William Shakespeare had been around, the bard too might have been inspired by the reel tamasha of Bollywood!Bollywood is certainly getting respect – it’s even entered the Oxford dictionary as a brand new word in the English language! Certainly it’s being pondered in academia by a host of scholars as shorthand for something much more complex and momentous than a mere song and dance routine.While Bollywood has become a staple in cinema study courses, it is also of great interest to sociologists and anthropologists. At Stanford, its possible to take a course: Bollywood and Beyond: South Asian Histories and Cultures through Popular Film. As the syllabus states, Indian cinema has been an important site for the articulation of ideas about nation, class, caste, gender and sexuality, community, and diaspora. The class addresses such deep questions ‘as how do Indian films represent, and reconstitute, “national culture” for audiences in India and the diaspora? What is the role of cinema in the formation of class, gender, and religious identities? What can Bollywood depictions of romance teach us about the complex relationships between desire, pleasure, and politics?’ And you thought Bollywood was just about Karishma and Shahrukh romancing in the rain! Farmer’s Home by Samar Singh Jodha at the Heat exhibit.Yes, scholars certainly have psychoanalyzed Bollywood thoroughly. Thomas Waugh at Concordia University speaks about “Queer Bollywood? Patterns of Sexual Subversion in Recent Indian Cinema.” And a history course has this offering: “From ‘Mutiny’ to ‘Bollywood’: Cultures of Rule and Resistance, 1857-1954” which also explore how nationhood and partition are shown in cinema.“Bollywood/Hollywood: Queer Representation and the Perils of Translation” is the subject of a talk by Gayatri Gopinath, a professor of women and gender studies at the University of California, Davis. And at the London School of Economics and Political Science, there have been readings analyzing cinema as a metaphor for Indian society and politics and scholars there have mulled over this hefty topic: “Bollywood, Globalization and Indian Cultural Representation.” Rather than just plain zany fun, Bollywood seems to be turning into fodder for a Byzantine of academic research!After all, Rushdie’s erudite Satanic Verses has Bollywood tinsel sprinkled through it, and Amitabh Bachchan and other celebrities find their way into it. It’s been pointed out that in true Rushdie fashion he makes a kitchri out of Bollywood gossip and events and makes it uniquely his own. In fact, his writing is almost cinematic, over the top like a Bollywood film, as he swallows whole events, regurgitates them into something quite different, and has great fun doing it.Shashi Tharoor’s novel Show Business is also a salaam to the color and cacophony of the Bombay film industry (and Amitabh Bachchan) with as many layerings and colors as India itself. The film with its insightful look into the film industry and its tongue-in-cheek take on films of the 70’s was made into a film titled Bollywood.Bollywood, a term alien to mainstream America only a few years ago, is popping up in media ranging from Salon to Washington Post, and Bollywood influences can be seen on everything from couture fashion to art to literature to music, breaking the barriers between high art and low art. Bollywood posters became a medium of self-expression for Annu Palakunnathu Mathew.While ardent Hindi film fans cherish the golden era of Indian cinema and revere such names as V.Shantaram, Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor, much of Bollywood’s recent fame in the west has to do with the success of films like Lagaan, Monsoon Wedding and Bend it Like Beckham.Even though Mira Nair and Gurinder Chadha are hardly card-carrying Bollywood-wallahs, they were certainly influenced by the films they grew up on. Monsoon Wedding is the ultimate tribute to Bollywood, capturing the color and vitality of the high drama of life, love and marriage in India. There was a time when Hindi films were scorned as third-rate masala films, but over the last decade Bollywood has got legitimized in the eyes of the Western world – and even in the eyes of a certain kind of Indian who looked down on these films. Fresh from its debut in the Albert and Victoria Museum in London and at Selfridges in London, the Bollywood tamashas have caught the eye of America as well.Last year’s big Bollywood promotion at London’s Selfridges store demonstrated its attraction for Britons of every hue, who lined up to see this magic world. Nitin Desai, the celebrated set designer of Bollywood whose credits include Salaam Bombay, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Lagaan, and who outdid himself with the opulent sets of Devdas, was asked to change the Selfridges emporium into colorful, ornate India.At Selfridges, Dimple Kapadia’s home was recreated for visitors to admire and emulate, and a posse of Indian couture designers interpreted Bollywood style for Londoners. Indeed, the interesting thing is that noted society designers all have one foot in Bollywood, designing for the stars.And Bollywood-style make-believe does not stop with a store makeover; the wealthy and the famous want to bring that magic into their homes too. When there was a double wedding in the Shah family in Antwerp, diamond mogul Vijay Shah flew in Nitin Desai to create a $28 million Bollywood fantasy. Sanjay Dutt in dau by D Ravinder Reddy from the Heat exhibit. As fashion designers create the wardrobes for films as well as for domestic consumers and for trade promotions abroad, the lines are getting blurred. To further confuse things, supermodels like Bipasha Basu, Madhu Sapre, Katrina Kaif, Dino Morea and John Abraham have all become movie stars so the big screen is turning into a perpetual fashion ramp.Back in the 50’s and 60’s clothes in cinema were often nondescript or tacky. The actress Sadhana changed that with her stylish outfits in Mere Mehboob, but it is only in recent years that it’s become a real pleasure to watch our now sleek and toned heroes and heroines traipsing over hill and dale in color-coordinated designer wear. Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are noted for designing for Bombay’s stars as well as for Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith who flaunted these fashions on Oscar nights. Then you have Raghvendra Rathore, a prince of Jodhpur, who’s studied at the Parsons School of Design and worked with Donna Karan, Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta, and now has his own label.There’s Rohit Bal, who’s designed for Bollywood stars as well as Uma Thurman, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. Manish Malhotra, perhaps the most famous name in Bollywood, is fashion guru to the stars, actually re-designing the images of leading stars. Rina Dhaka with her penchant for young, western style fashion has introduced sheer trousers, crochet, and stretch jersey – the body enhancing fabrics that you see on Bollywood’s leading ladies.Neeta Lulla is a noted designer who creates fashions for Bollywood movies as well as society brides, so that the line between Bollywood and the fashion world continue to blur. Rocky S. is another designer who creates fashions for stars and socialites alike, and the masses can even buy his fashions in his stores in Mumbai.Bollywood fashions are no longer regarded as gaudy or unstylish, because there’s top talent working behind the scenes. Young Indians can relate to these clothes because designers are increasingly including stylish western wear into the star wardrobe.Interestingly enough, the well-known cosmetics firm of M.A.C has also jumped into the Bollywood fray, having designed the make-up for the stars in Lagaan. East and West seem to mingle freely as Ayurveda becomes a part of skin care. Christy Turlington, Ayla Hussain and Cavan Mahoney are the women behind Sundari, a skin regimen that was showcased in London’s Bollywood promotion.Indian contemporary artists, starting with M.F. Husain, are also increasingly bringing the color and immediacy of Bollywood into their art, as are writers and photographers. Indeed, Husain has always brought the vibrancy of cinema into his work. It is interesting to note that this icon of contemporary art started out in his career as an unknown street artist painting the huge hoardings of Indian superstars! Bollywood Satirized by Annu Palakunnathu Mathew.Husain was besotted with Madhuri Dixit, seeing her films scores of times and eventually made Gaj Gamini starring her, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi. Yet even though he made a mainstream film using the conventions of popular cinema, he transcends the differences between high and low art. As artist and curator Ram Rahman points out, “He’s totally subverted the medium, he doesn’t do a regular Bollywood film but a Husain film, a totally personal film, but using this giant canvas, this new medium – and he gets away with it.” Husain’s next great passion has been Tabu and he’s made Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities revolving around her.A recent photography show at New York’s Bose Pacia Modern Gallery further emphasized Bollywood’s influence on contemporary art. Heat was curated by Rahman and was a group show of photography, video and painting showcasing work by nine artists.“The relationship of the ‘dream world’ of cinema and television and the ‘real world’ of survival, struggle and politics has occupied cultural and social theorists for years,” says Rahman. ” Not surprisingly, it is the visual artist who has come up with the richest engagement with the ‘picture’ on the screen and on the box, and its vibrant place in our mental and physical space.”You certainly get dramatic results when news photographer D. Ravinder Reddy decided to shoot the color stills for Ram Gopal Verma’s Daud. Explains Rahman, “They are the new Erotic Myths, the new Khajuraho icons for a modern, secular, (egalitarian?) culture. The visual esthetic of these pictures has an erotic heat and color which come from the ‘over the top’ intensity of the South Indian film world for which Reddy has worked in Hyderabad.”There also seems to be a marriage between the Hindi film industry and the South film industry with talents moving freely between the two. After all, even A.R. Rahman is a gift to Bollywood from the South. “That’s why I don’t like the word Bollywood, I find it very limiting,” says Rahman. He includes the television scene also because it’s become a major area where new talent, new acting and new stories are being explored. A lot of people are working in all three, and so there’s a lot of infusion from the South and the small screen. Bollywood Dreams Exhibit by Jonathan Torgovnik.Philip DiCorcia, noted American photographer, whose work is also shown in Heat was influenced by progressive film directors working in Bombay in the 80’s. Says Rahman, “The chaotic and bizarre environment of the biggest film industry in the world provided an ideal foil for his keenly honed eye for that moment of inexplicable mystery and some wordless revelation of an unfolding story which permeate his images.”Then you have Bangalore-based artist Pushpamala whose work also echoes the influences of the silver screen, using cinema as both inspiration and subject. In this series, “Navarasa,” she does sophisticated interpretation of the “nine moods” of performance. Donning masquerades, she plays the stereotypical women seen on the Indian screen in the 40’s and 50’s: siren, wife, mother, widow, the abandoned woman. She has collaborated for these highly stylized pictures with the legendary studio photographer J.H. Thakker who had shot images of movie icons in the glory days in the very same studio.Sukanya Rahman uses Bollywood images to make a larger statement about women’s varied roles in the Indian state of mind. Sultry sirens, goddesses and Nargis as Mother India all merge together in her playful yet ironic settings. Another artist who is very influenced by Bollywood is Sheba Chhachhi who’s done a whole installation in memory of Meena Kumari, using broken mirrors, images and Urdu poetry to create a tribute to woman and star.Through the lens of photographer Samar Jodha, the ubiquitous television set becomes almost a holy emblem in the homes of the middle-class, for as Rahman points out, “The electronic image joins the pantheons of the gods, religious and political icons and decorative knick-knacks, becoming a house-hold shrine spewing out both fantasy, ads for the globalized ideal life, myth, and multi-channeled news of politics, as important a part of everyday life in the subcontinent as religion.” The “idiot box” has thus turned into a powerful and respected icon of modern India. Subodh Gupta’s “Let me Make My Damn Art” from the Heat exhibit.Artist Subodh Gupta whose work hreflects on social and political violence, brought disparate high and low worlds together when he acted as a small-time hoodlum in the film Haasil and then painted a billboard style image of himself toting a gun, saying “Let me make my damn art.’ Always fascinated by Bollywood, he recently made “Irresistible Attack,” a video about the Iraq invasion, almost like a B-grade movie.Ram Rahman’s own work has always told the story of India through the painted billboards that dominate both Bollywood and politics. He sees the importance of these posters, a dying art: ” It’s something which is fast disappearing, as everything becomes mechanized and digital, so in another five years this whole visual culture will be gone. I can see it going before my eyes.”A telling portrait is of a poster of the film Bhagat Singh. As he explains, ” It’s an iconic picture of Bhagat Singh with the hat and mustache, but the face is of Bollywood star Bobby Deol and this gives it layers of meaning. I love that notion of how cinema plays with history.”Artists, of course, derive inspiration from all that is around them, and Bollywood certainly permeates the very air you breathe in India. Younger artists are even less restricted about this whole notion of high art and low art and they are much freer in the mediums that they use, so that some of the most exciting artwork coming out of India is this merge of high and low art.The visual power and memory of Indian cinema affects even those Indian artists who have moved to other shores, and they use its color and vitality to make political and social statements.U.S. based Annu Palakunnathu Mathew was born in England and later moved to India where she lived till she was 28. She recalls, “I did see a fair amount of Hindi movies, but was always struck at the disparity between the fantasy and idealism of the movies with the reality of life in India.”Bollywood posters became a medium for self-expression in her show “Bollywood Satirized.” The posters are inspired by Matthew’s own experiences as a woman growing up in India – issues of Dowry in the Syrian Christian community, arranged marriages and the double standards in society.Wanting to tackle women’s issues, she found that she could do this most effectively in the language of gaudy, exaggerated and over the top Bollywood posters. She says, “The Bollywood posters hreflect the melodrama of Indian life and are also very much part of the popular culture. I decided to use them as they allow me to further exaggerate the stereotype, allowing me to use humor to make my message more palatable.” Abbass Studio, Delhi, by Ram Rahman from the Heat exhibit.U.S. based Shashwati Talukdar is a young filmmaker whose offbeat films get their fuel from Bollywood. Eunuch Alley is a Bollywood-Noir about a journalist who encounters notorious criminal Charles Sobraj, sundry gangsters, and eunuchs, and is currently showing on television. Although the film is set in India, it was actually shot in Philadelphia, and Talukdar makes full use of song and dance numbers and Bollywoodian flashbacks.Indeed, Bollywood’s vibrant colors are making it to the most unexpected locales. Last year the V & A Museum in London showcased 70 posters from Bollywood films and even flew in the artists who paint these. Classics like Mother India, Awara and Bombay have been shown in cities around the world.This July Sundance Channel showed Bollywood Boulevard, a series of three offbeat offerings – M.F Husain’s Gajgamini, Agni Varsha, which is retelling of an episode from the Mahabharata with popular Hindi film stars, and Bollywood Bound, a fascinating documentary about Indo-Canadian youth trying to break into Bombay cinema.These three very different films show the diverse talent and types of movies that all fall under the mantle of “Bollywood.” In an increasingly globalized environment, subtitles are considered fact of life, as we vicariously peep into each other’s cultures, sometimes stunned at the universality of love and the spirit to survive.Hindi cinema continues to garner new fans as the increasing number of books on Bollywood in the West testifies. One of the most recent is Bollywood Dreams, a wonderful book of images of the Bombay film industry by Israeli photojournalist Jonathan Torgovnik.“My idea was to bring this phenomenon to people who don’t know anything about Bollywood, to show the world what an amazing, beautiful medium it is in India,” he says. “I wanted to go beyond the kitsch and really show the different elements cinema represents in India. I think you can learn a lot about Indian culture through cinema.”Star power is certainly getting respect as Coke and Pepsi and a host of multinationals deluge Bollywood stars with lucrative endorsement deals. And so strong is the magic of Bollywood, it even sells food! Asha Bhonsle owns Asha’s, a restaurant in Wafi City in Dubai that is doing very well, as well as a line of Indian spices. Kerala superstar Mohanlal also has a line of spices and restaurants there. Can we expect to see Amitabh’s next?Bollywood also continues to affect the young of the Diaspora, many of them the movers and shakers of tomorrow – providing a line of communication and connection with their homeland. Indian cinema is no longer just three hankie melodramas nostalgically watched by their parents on video.The films, being made by many vibrant new directors, producers and actors, are a diverse lot, encompassing the good, the bad and the ugly, but also the extremely good.Increasingly these films are about the schizophrenic worlds that contemporary young Indians live in, the worlds of airplanes, blended cultures and the east-west embrace.The new Bollywood stars are role models for them, strong, independent and bold. Their fashion styles are something they can emulate rather than scorn and the hi-tech wizadry and production values of these films are comparable to or even better than Hollywood movies. After all, even Hollywood film-makers like Baz Luhrmann of Moulin Rouge are drawing inspiration from brash, color-saturated Bollywood.So dim the lights, bring out the popcorn and watch Bollywood-ji put on its biggest show yet!   Related Itemslast_img read more

Are You Using the Wrong Tools in Your Job Search?

first_imgWould you ever use a screwdriver to open a can of soup? It can be done. However, most would agree that it is not the preferred method. In the world we occupy today, there is virtually a tool for every chore. And a stroll down the aisle of any well-equipped hardware store will prove this.Practically daily, a call comes in from a sincere job seeker who is frustrated with how little success they are having in their job search. The problem, more often than not, is they have been using the wrong tools for the desired result. As in the example above, sometimes you can get away with using the wrong tool. But even then, it may get messy.Now, let’s take a look inside your tool bag and see what may need to be added or replaced to help you find the right job:1. Resume. If there’s not one in there, get one. Whether this is your first job or you’ve been in the workforce since the invention of the telephone, the resume is your most important tool. If you have one, be certain it is up-to-date and speaks to your intended audience. Consider having a couple of versions of your resume if you have slightly nuanced targets. Doing so is a great way to be certain that your strengths are showcased and apropos to the position you seek.2. Cover Letter. Chances are that you’ve never attended a concert without an opening act. This show starter is designed to get the audience warmed up and raise the anticipation level among the crowd before the star of the show steps out onto the stage. A well-crafted cover letter will do the same thing for your resume. It is an introduction meant to whet the appetite of the reader, and when properly executed, will provide a great lead-in and create anticipation for what lies ahead.3. Executive Biography. This one or two-page document is written in a conversational tone. This is a great tool to use when you want to add information that may not be “directly” related to the job, but can provide a prospective employer with some personal information that may be valuable as it relates “indirectly” – perhaps a motto for life, or volunteer activities. You can describe where you were raised and how that impacted your career decisions. Mention mentors that may have impacted your way of doing things. The resume will supply the facts and figures. Adding the executive biography is a way to round that information out with some personal background.4. Interview Questions. Have you ever left an interview wishing you had asked this or that? Having a list of questions that you’ve practiced with before the interview is the best way to guard against this regret. Find a willing partner and practice, practice, practice. You will be smooth and confident when the time comes to use this invaluable tool. What employer wouldn’t want someone “smooth and confident” working for them?5. LinkedIn Profile: Many experienced managers, senior managers, executives and recruiters prowl the LinkedIn network, appealing to others to expand their network, to hunt for new talent and to simply build and expand upon professional relationships. Do not miss out on this opportunity to be found!Squelching the buzz that LinkedIn is simply an online resume is important. However, the online “resume” profile you do develop should be both powerful and targeted, invigorating the value of your membership. As well, great value is placed on writing a LinkedIn profile that’s “different” from your resume. While achievements from the resume should punctuate your LinkedIn profile, handled effectively, the nuanced distinctions of your LinkedIn profile versus your offline resume content can help catapult your job search to a new level.Having a well-executed career portfolio may not land you a job, but a poorly executed one can certainly eliminate you from the running. When the economy is sluggish, employers have a great deal of opportunity to look through a multitude of career documentation, and those who represent themselves best are the most likely to be invited to become a part of the team.last_img read more

5 Job Search Elements Not To Stress Over

first_imgDuring the job application process, there are so many little things to keep track of that it’s easy to become stressed. Do you write a handwritten note or send an email? How soon after submitting your job application should you follow-up? It would be easier if these questions had black and white answers, but the truth is they’re in the gray area. And let’s face it; the gray area can be a bit overwhelming.In an effort to relieve you of some of the stress, let’s look at five job application elements you don’t have to be stressed about:1. What if there’s one qualification I don’t meet in the job description?Job descriptions often list very specific requirements in order to weed out unqualified candidates. If you’re missing one or two of these qualifications, but you still believe you could do the job, don’t get stressed. Use your cover letter and resume to explain why you think you’re the right person for the job. Focus on the skills and experience you do have – and showcase those using accomplishment stories.2. Should I include an objective in my resume?In the past, the answer to this question would have been, “yes.” But now, an objective statement in your resume has become obsolete. They don’t demonstrate how you can help the company at all, and they take up valuable space. When you submit your job application, the hiring manager knows you want the job, so you don’t need to write it out in your resume. Fill the space with your experiences instead.3. What if I can’t find the name of the hiring manager?If you can’t find the name of the hiring manager, do not give up right away. There are plenty of methods you can use to find it first. You can use Google, social media, the company website, and more. If after searching, you still truly can’t find the person’s name, use a gender-neutral salutation such as, “Dear Hiring Manager.”4. When should I follow-up after submitting my job application?When you first submit your job application, include your plans to follow-up in your cover letter. It’s best to wait about one week before sending your first follow-up email. Use this email to remind the hiring manager about your qualifications for the job and express interest in an interview. Keep it short and sweet. After that first follow-up, you can follow-up again every 7-10 days up to two times (so, three total follow-ups).5. Should I write a handwritten note or an email?After every job interview, it is essential to send a thank you note. It shows you follow through and that you really care about the job. As for whether it has to be handwritten, a lot of people will say a handwritten note is more personal, but nearly 90 percent of hiring managers are perfectly happy with an email note. In fact, half of those hiring managers actually prefer an email note. Just be sure to personalize the note. Remind your interviewer who you are, how much you want the job, and why you’re the best fit.The job application process is not as complicated as we make it out to be. Job seekers get too stressed over the little details, so it’s important to make a decision and stick with it. If you don’t land this job, there are lots more out there.last_img read more

Glassdoor Partners With CNNMoney To Deliver Job Listings & Company Insights

first_imgGlassdoor is proud to announce a new partnership with CNNMoney which will give its online readers access to Glassdoor’s job search platform. Readers will be able to search for the latest job listings and get access to information about what it’s like to work at a particular company.Readers will be able to filter job listings by job title, location, company, industry, freshness of job listing, and job type. Company-specific insights include basic company profile information as well as company reviews and salary reports shared by those who know a company best – its employees. Currently, Glassdoor holds more than four million reviews, ratings and reports for more than 260,000 companies.last_img

5 Tips for Changing Jobs in 2015

first_imgWith the new year in full swing, 48 percent of employees are planning to switch jobs in 2015, according to a new survey by Lee Hecht Harrison.Not only is 2015 the year to find a new job, but also it’s a great year to earn a higher salary. Research also shows that people who leave their current jobs for a new position are more likely to earn more than those who stay in their current position.As the workforce continues to improve in 2015 and more jobs are created, job seekers will need to focus on ways they can market themselves has highly sought-after talent. Here are five tips for changing jobs in 2015:1. Make sure you’re prepared.Before you can fully immerse yourself into the job market, make sure you’re prepared for your job search. Take a look at your current skills and experience, and determine whether you’ve developed enough in your current position to find a new job.It’s also important to make sure your personal brand is prepared for your job search. Take a look at your LinkedIn profile, online portfolio, and any additional social media accounts, and update as needed. You should also share industry-related content, maintain a professional blog, and network with professionals online as you continue your job search.2. Create a vision for your career.When switching jobs in 2015, don’t simply leave your current position because you want a higher salary. Decide whether your current job will help you reach your overall career goals. By creating a vision for your career, you’ll locate jobs that are best suited for your next move.To create your vision, focus on what you enjoy doing and the type of work you believe is fulfilling. By paying attention to the type of work you find rewarding, you’ll be drawn to opportunities that will be the best direction for your career.3. Improve your SEO.Type your name into Google. What do you see? Does your LinkedIn profile show up? Are there any professional blog posts written by you? Do an assessment of your online search results and figure out how you can improve your digital footprint.When improving your SEO (search engine optimization), identify keywords that pertain to your industry and expertise. As you update your social media profiles, incorporate these keywords into your headlines and profile descriptions. These keywords will help you get noticed as employers search for your name online.4. Keep networking wherever you go.Whether you’re at a professional networking event or standing in line at Starbucks, always keep your eye open for networking opportunities. You never know what conversations you’ll spark as you meet new people.When you’re out and about, be sure to keep business cards handy and your 30-second elevator speech ready. You want to give a positive first impression whenever you meet somebody new, so always be prepared to talk about your background and where you hope to go in your career.5. Don’t tell your boss just yet.If you’re serious about finding a new job in 2015, it’s a good idea to keep your job search on the down-low. Searching for a new job while you’re currently employed is risky business, however, it’s essential if you want to create new opportunities for yourself.As you search for new jobs, avoid talking about your job search on social media and sharing the news with coworkers. Depending on how understanding your boss is, it’s a good idea to keep your job search quiet until you’ve secured several job interviews. Although most bosses are understanding, there are those who could fire you before you find a new job. This is why it’s important to have something lined up before you decided to give your boss two weeks notice.Finding a new job in 2015 is going to be a goal for many professionals this year. By following these tips, you’ll be able to change jobs and create more opportunities for your career.Are you thinking about switching jobs in 2015? What do your career goals look like?last_img read more

Work Remotely? Here’s How to Get that Promotion

first_imgWorking remotely has it perks, but it’s also easy to be forgotten. While telecommuting has become an accepted practice for all size companies, moving up when you work from home can sometimes be harder to do. After all, remote workers have to be self-promoters if they want to get ahead when they aren’t in the office on a daily basis.“There is one attribute that is most important to maintain a successful long-distance working relationship, and that’s being proactive,” says Becky Karsh, executive director of partnerships for Fullbridge, the company that trains students for professional jobs. “It’s important to stay in front of everyone when you work remotely.”Rewind even a few years and studies showed workers who telecommuted were less likely to get a promotion compared to those who were in the office every day. While that may be the case with some companies even today, it doesn’t have to be your outcome, granted you put in the extra work.Use Technology To Your Advantage Thanks to advances in technology, people can be in far flung corners of the world and still work together. But that same technology can also be harmful because it reduces the need for personal communications. When you work remotely, it’s easy to hide behind the technology to avoid in- person conversations, but that won’t get you promoted. But leveraging technology to build and maintain relationships will. One of the best ways to prevent yourself from being forgotten and to stay front and center in your boss’ mind is to use technology to keep in touch. Email may be the preferred method of communications in your company, but you should also try to get some in-person time via phone or video conferencing. “Pick up the phone every so often to discuss a project, rather than relying on a long email thread,” says Amanda Augustine, a career management expert. “If your colleagues are having a meeting at the office, ask to be dialed in so you can actively participate.” Utilizing things like Skype for video conferencing can go a long way in building and maintaining a good relationship with a remote boss. If you can swing it showing your face in the office every now and then will also help you take a pulse of the environment and make sure your boss doesn’t forget about you.Remote Workers Have To Give 100% And Then SomeMoving up in an organization when you work remotely is going to require hard work and the ability to go the extra mile. Rightly or wrongly, remote workers are at a disadvantage and as a result can’t take it easy because the boss isn’t around. Companies new to the work-at-home culture are going to be skeptical and almost expect you to slack off. But doing the opposite will get you recognition and keep you in your boss’ mind in a positive way. “Avoid slacking off. Your boss will know,” says Karsh. “Just because you don’t work in the same place as your boss, it’s important to keep up your hard work and dedication. Your teammates will notice, your coworkers will notice, and your boss will definitely notice.”Sell Yourself EverydayRemote workers have to be a salesman of sorts when trying to move up in a company they have never physically visited. That means being proactive in how you communicate with your boss, even if your job doesn’t require you talk to your hiring manager that often. That can be achieved by setting up weekly phone calls or instant messaging sessions where you can check in. It’s also important to send weekly updates, include your boss on relevant emails and keep him or her abreast on what you are doing. Getting in front of the communications will not only demonstrate your commitment but prove your mettle as a remote employee. Often being proactive can lead to a relationship based on trust, when your boss knows you can be counted on and that you’re working hard without having to be micro managed. “Demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the job on a daily basis. This means not only delivering above-average and quality work, but showing that you’re connected and available when your boss needs you,” says Augustine. “Be cognizant of how long it takes you to respond to emails and complete your projects during your established working hours.” If you answer your boss’ email quickly and outperform you are going to become an indispensable resource regardless of where you are located.last_img read more

Don’t Choose the Wrong Job! 7 Tips for When You Have Multiple Offers

first_imgYour job hunt has paid off and you’ve received not one, but two or more offers of employment. Congratulations! And…yikes. How do you decide which job to take when you have multiple tempting offers on the table, with good salaries and compensation?Making such an important choice can be difficult. To help make a decision, follow these seven tips:Write down your goals and priorities. Take time to put into writing your personal priorities as well as your career and earnings goals for the next one to five years. Seeing your goals will help you keep perspective on what characteristics you should look for in your next position. Maybe your current focus is on learning specific new skills, hitting an earnings milestone, working for a specific type of company or accomplishing better work-life balance. Once you determine what you want your life and career to look like 12 months from now—and five years from now—your decision may become clearer.Do research on companies who made the offers. To help you choose which company might be a better fit for you, read up on company reviews on Glassdoor. The reviews offer first hand perspective from employees as to what’s working well at the company (pros), what could be improved (cons) as well as insights into areas employees feel that the senior management team should work on. In addition, you can get snapshot ratings reports into how satisfied employees are with the company overall as well as important workplace factors like compensation and benefits, career opportunities, work/life balance and more.Make sure the salary and compensation is fair. Now that you have a better feel for which company might be the best fit for you, do additional research to find out if the salary offers you received are fair. Use Glassdoor to make sure you know exactly what others in your role, in your city, and if possible, even at the companies who made the offers make. Plus evaluate what competitors would pay as well. This will be a big part of your research to determine which offer is most competitive and relevant to your specific needs.Look beyond salary. While your pay is important it’s not the only factor that may matter to you. For example, evaluate the differences in health insurance that may be important to you or your family. Also consider any perks each company offers and if they can help offset costs that you normally may pay out of your paycheck. For example, some companies offer fitness center memberships or discounts, childcare subsidies, lunches, professional training, flexible work schedules and the opportunity to telecommute. When comparing job offers, make sure you carefully consider the entire compensation, benefits and perks packages to make proper comparisons, and assess if they align with your own goals and priorities.Consider what the job will be once the honeymoon phase passes. The position you are evaluating today can shift and evolve at various companies. So it’s important to feel as confident as possible that you will enjoy the job and company today, in several months and even years later. Also be sure to ask and understand how each employer sees the job changing over time so that you can research the compensation trajectory. For example, as you gather insights into the role, ask what job titles could come your way as you climb the corporate ladder. With that information on hand, you can again use sites like Glassdoor to research how salary and other compensation components can vary for each specific job title at that company. While compensation could be relatively equal today, consider where it could be after one or two promotions.Think about the path for career opportunity. In other words, what type of work would you like to do in five or 10 years? As you evaluate job offers, think through each job and company. Which has the greatest potential to move your career in the direction you want to see it going, and will help you build up the skills and experience necessary? Equally important, think carefully about whether each position offers room for advancement and whether moving up through the ranks is encouraged and expected. Is mentoring and coaching a part of the company culture? If your ideal “next step” is not available at the company, consider whether the experience you gain in this position could help you move into a subsequent position at another firm, or whether the firm’s leadership may allow you to evolve and develop your own next step.Get a second opinion. Accepting a new job can be stressful even if you’re not choosing between two or more good offers. Rather than trying to weigh all the pros and cons on your own, talk with someone you trust who knows you and understands your goals. That could be your spouse, parent, mentor or other trusted person. Talking with someone about your decision doesn’t mean you have to follow his or her advice, but it can broaden your outlook to discuss all the angles.Lastly, be careful not to burn a bridge when you decide which offer to decline. Even though you may be accepting a job at a different company at the moment, you’re likely to enter the job market again or perhaps work together in some capacity in the future. How you manage your job search experience and work with hiring managers or recruiters during that process can be highly valuable as you just never know when those relationships you’re building now could pay off down the road.last_img read more

14 Women Win the 2019 Top CEOs Award

first_imgWomen still represent just 6.6% of all Fortune 500 CEOs, and 5% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. Three Fortune 500 companies named women CEOs in recent months: Best Buy, Northrop Grumman and Land O’Lakes. However, there’s still more than enough work to do in order to achieve gender diversity at the top.Of our 2019 Top CEOs, 7 female CEOs are among the U.S. top 100, and 3 women earn honors for leading U.S. SMBs. Plus, this year marks the first #1 female CEO in Canada, AMD’s Dr. Lisa Su. In the UK, Liv Garfield, the CEO of Severn Trent, made the top 50 list. Meanwhile, over in France, ENGIEs’ Isabelle Kocher was named in the top ten thanks to her leadership. These women are not only doing an incredible job of leading their own companies — they’re also breaking down barriers for women everywhere. Read on to learn more about the 14 dynamic women who won the award across the globe, and join us in celebrating them!Lynsi Snyder, In-N-Out Burger2019 Top CEOs Ranking: #3CEO Approval Rating: 99%Open Jobs: 25In some ways, it’s not surprising that Lynsi Snyder has consistently earned a spot on Glassdoor’s Top CEOs list. After all, she’s been preparing for the role since she was 17, when she first started leafing lettuce at an In-N-Out in Redding, CA.“The experience was priceless,” Snyder said of her first In-N-Out job. “I learned the importance of attention to detail and providing customers the product and overall experience they’ve paid for.”At 35, Snyder took full control of the company — and became the youngest female billionaire in the world in the process. Today, In-N-Out team members rave about the excellent culture Snyder has fostered, the above-market pay and benefits they receive and the unparalleled growth opportunities available at the company.Work with Lynsi Snyder Jessica Catino, Digital ProspectorsTop CEOs SMB Ranking: #2CEO Approval Rating: 99%Open Jobs: +200As President and CEO, Jessica Catino is responsible for the company’s overall business strategy and oversee the firm’s financial operations. Under her leadership, Digital Prospectors’ annual revenues have grown from $4 million in 2003, to more than $30 million today. One former employee raved, “I have been recruiting a long time and the business is the same no matter what firm you work for. The key elements I look for is the environment, people and transparency with management. DPC takes care of their staff, and they also know how to have a good time. The management is what attracted me to DPC. I went through a personal situation that unfortunately interfered with my work, but the level of compassion I received from management was above and beyond. These are the type of people you want to work for, I experienced it first hand.”Work with Jessica Catino Nora Su, Horizon InnovationsTop CEOs SMB Ranking: #19CEO Approval Rating: 98%Open Jobs: 25Horizon Innovations is an innovative marketing firm that embraces the entrepreneurial mindset and drives employee empowerment. Born in Taipei, Nora Su has a strong focus on developing other employees and they truly appreciate it. One employee says, “The people here are awesome and the advancement potential is out of this world!!” Another employee adds, “The whole company’s advancement structure is intended to cross train you in all different areas so that you can manage a large team. Lots of room to move up!”your_label Dr. Lisa Su, AMD2019 Top CEOs (Canada) Ranking: #1CEO Approval Rating: 99%Open Jobs: 797As a first-time winner on the Top CEOs Canada list, Dr. Su is also the first female CEO to earn the number one spot. Dr. Su helms Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. is an American multinational semiconductor company based in Austin, Texas and Santa Clara, California that develops computer processors and related technologies for business and consumer markets. Employees credit her encouraging management and inclusive culture as reasons for her win. One employee said, “I’m not sure everyone realizes what a powerhouse Lisa Su is – she’s a total badass and knows exactly what she’s doing, and it’s nice to have that kind of confidence in your CEO.”Work with Dr. Lisa Su Lynne Doughtie, KPMG2019 Top CEOs Ranking: #72CEO Approval Rating: 92%Open Jobs: 18kAfter three decades with the firm, Lynne Doughtie was named CEO of KPMG in 2015. Having started out in the Audit department and progressing through many leadership roles over the years, it’s safe to say that Doughtie’s growth in the company was astronomical.One approach to diversity Doughtie wants to eliminate? Setting lofty goals with no strategy.“We have to do more than tell women they need sponsors. We have to identify high-potential women by name and strategically map them to those who will help them get to the next level. We set goals, we measure them and we hold leaders accountable.”Work with Lynne Doughtie Cindy Mi, VIPKID2019 Top CEOs Ranking: #100CEO Approval Rating: 90%Open Jobs: 2.6kVIPKid is the leading global online K12 education leader, #1 Company for Remote Jobs, and named Top 100 Best Places to work by Glassdoor. Cindy Mi is a first time Top CEOs winner whose employees rave about working every day to make an actual difference inspiring students and teaching the next generation.Work with Cindy Mi Liv Garfield, Severn Trent2019 Top CEOs UK Ranking: #40CEO Approval Rating: 91%Open Jobs: 155Liv Garfield is leading Severn Trent towards becoming the most trusted water company by 2020 by delivering an outstanding customer experience, the best value service and environmental leadership. Employees are attracted to the flexible and welcoming company culture Garfield has created, as well as the company’s mission. “It’s great to work for a company that provides such an essential service to our consumers,” says one employee. “The work is really interesting and the technical challenges mean that there is rarely a dull moment. I work with people whom are great at their jobs and I encounter learning opportunities very frequently. The company culture is professional, yet friendly and provided you are flexible in your location, there are many exciting opportunities for those whom wish to progress their careers and these opportunities are open to all.”your_label Sarah Nahm, LeverTop CEOs SMB Ranking: #44CEO Approval Rating: 97%Open Jobs: 25Lever builds modern recruiting software for teams to source, interview, and hire top talent. The company has raised more than $73 million in funding and just announced expanding to a new office in Toronto. With an overall gender ratio of 50:50, Lever’s CEO Sarah Nahm is fiercely committed to building a team culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion. “The future of work is changing, and it’s a pretty dramatic shift,” says Nahm. “People are out here looking for a deeper meaning.”your_labelcenter_img Colleen Wegman, Wegmans Food Markets2019 Top CEOs Ranking: #9CEO Approval Rating: 97%Open Jobs: 595Like Snyder, Colleen Wegman also took over the family business at a relatively early age. A newcomer to the Top CEOs list, Wegman was appointed CEO of Wegmans Food Markets in 2017 after 26 years with the company. In the year-and-change that she’s been at the helm, she’s already made a big impact.“Everyone is super friendly and inviting, and there seems to be a true open door policy with any of the upper management. You seem limited only by your own goals and ambitions here,” said a current Wegmans Food Markets Meat Clerk.Work with Colleen Wegman Anne Wojcicki, 23andMeTop CEOs SMB Ranking: #41CEO Approval Rating: 97%Open Jobs: +50Anne Wojcicki is is co-founder and CEO of direct-to-consumer genetics testing company 23andMe, which has was named by TIME as a “Genius Company” in 2018, and featured as Fast Company’s #2 Most Innovative Health Company in 2018. “What changes the landscape and improves the gender gap are supportive and vocal role models who lead by example and with proactive outreach,” Wojcicki told Glassdoor. “I am a strong believer that female role models need to tell their stories and reach out to the younger generation.”Work with Anne Wojcicki Cathy Engelbert, DeloitteTop CEOs Ranking: #15CEO Approval Rating: 97%Open Jobs: 818Cathy Engelbert broke ground in 2015 when she became the first woman CEO of a U.S. big four accounting firm — a moment the Wall Street Journal described as cracking the glass ceiling.In the 32 years she’s been at Deloitte, her success has led to many promotions and accolades. But ask her, and she’ll tell you — it’s not just about her.“Building a team that brings you solutions instead of challenges, listening to and collaborating with them — that ultimately prioritizes your focus on issues where you can have the most impact,” Engelbert told Glassdoor. “To me, productivity is directly related to the personal relationships you are able to build.”Work with Cathy Engelbert Pamela Nicholson, Enterprise Holdings2019 Top CEOs Ranking: #53CEO Approval Rating: 94%Open Jobs: +3.7kCEO Pamela Nicholson is a prime example of Enterprise’s promote-from-within culture, having been with the company for over 35 years. She first started in the company’s management trainee program and climbed her way through the ranks until becoming CEO in 2013. Her advice for those who want to follow in her footsteps?“Don’t sell yourself short. Set your goals high. If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, you’ll find it’s usually worth some sacrifice, but the rewards will make it all worthwhile,” Nicholson said in an interview with Glassdoor.Work with Pamela Nicholson Isabelle Kocher, ENGIE2019 Top CEOs France Ranking: #9CEO Approval Rating: 97%Open Jobs: 11kWith Isabelle Kocher at the helm since 2016, ENGIE develops efficient and innovative solutions for individuals, cities and businesses, drawing on its expertise in four key sectors: natural gas and renewable energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and digital technologies. She is the only female CEO of a CAC40 company, and also one of the youngest. Her ambition is to make ENGIE the leader of the energy revolution.your_label Tricia Griffith, Progressive Insurance2019 Top CEOs Ranking: #61CEO Approval Rating: 93%Open Jobs: +260Like Doughtie and Nicholson, Tricia Griffith also made her way to the top of the company after decades of service. As a Claims Representative Trainee in 1988, she crawled under cars to provide evaluations and estimates. Today, she inspires, motivates and leads a group of over 30,000 employees.In an interview with Forbes, Griffith revealed that she abides by three main rules as a leader:1. “With the right people, culture and values you can accomplish great things.”2. “Allow your leaders to lead and know when to get out of the way.”3. “Never stop listening to people at all levels of the company.”Work with Tricia Griffithlast_img read more

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde: Messi? I’m excited

first_imgBarcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insists he’s excited to be working with Leo Messi.Valverde says he’s always been a big fan of the Argentine.”Every day he surprises you, he is the best player in the world and I’m excited.”He will do something amazing one day, then the next day you feel he surely can’t do anymore, but he does and keeps improving.””When someone repeats the best things continually then there is a moment you think it is unrepeatable, but he just gets better and better,” he said.Messi himself is excited to work with Valverde, even if he has admitted he doesn’t yet know him all that well.last_img

Arsenal table 4-year contract offer to Leicester ace Mahrez

first_imgArsenal have tabled a bumper contract offer to wantaway Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez.Sport says Mahrez has given up hope of landing a dream move to Barcelona and now favours the Gunners, with a four-year deal at the Emirates believed to be on the table.Mahrez has been linked with a move to Arsenal in the past, but signed a new four year deal at the King Power Stadium in August.The 26-year-old was named PFA Player of the Year in 2016, after playing a key role in Leicester’s shock Premier League title win.He announced earlier this month that he wanted to leave the Foxes this summer.last_img

​Bournemouth striker King unsure of Tottenham move

first_imgBournemouth striker Josh King is unsure about joining Tottenham this summer, according to the Mirror.The 25-year-old, who scored 16 goals for the Cherries last season, has emerged as a summer target for Spurs. However, the Norwegian is hesitant about the move as he fears that his role in the Spurs setup would be that of a backup to star striker Harry Kane.Everton, who are resigned to losing Romelu Lukaku this summer, are also interested in a move for King.last_img

Getting the most from your bank

first_imgA small business loan might be just the thing you need to upgrade your equipment, market yourself, or expand your operations, but how do you get one? At the bank. And the New York Times small business section has a helpful article about cultivating a good relationship with your banker. There are also resources on other ways to get funding, whether from investors or selling assets.last_img

A new retirement option for freelancers via Honest Dollar!

first_imgAccording to our 2016 Freelancing in America report, 41% of freelancers rank saving for retirement among their top concerns – and yet full-time freelancers are less likely to put money into retirement savings than full-time employees.This is partially because of barriers to getting started, but also due to not having a retirement vehicle flexible enough to accommodate the saving needs of the freelance workforce.With this in mind, we’re pleased to announce that we have partnered with Honest Dollar to offer members access to new retirement benefit options.Honest Dollar makes retirement savings easy for freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their retirement. Honest Dollar offers individual retirement account (IRA)-based savings programs which provide long-term investment accounts with different tax advantages that stay with you no matter where you work.Learn moreThrough the partnership, Freelancers Union members will receive a special discounted rate. Members can open an account in minutes on the Honest Dollar app or website – without paperwork or account minimums – and begin investing with the first deposit, as well as set recurring contributions.We hope this partnership offers you a savings option that is flexible, easy-to-use, and affordable.Learn more herelast_img read more

4 key questions freelancers should ask about payment

first_imgThis is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.To survive as a freelancer, you must satisfy one basic requirement: secure compensation for your work. To most, it seems simple enough – you send an invoice, and the client pays it.If only it were that easy…Every seasoned freelancer has a handful of horror stories about the times that clients disputed charges, were late on a payment, or just outright refused to pay. In fact, 71% of freelancers have experienced difficulty getting paid at some point in their careers. While payment disputes might feel like a fact of life for freelancers, most occur because there is no framework to the client relationship, allowing assumptions and misunderstandings between the two parties to arise.Fortunately, the majority of payment disputes can be easily avoided with a clear and thorough policy that stipulates the terms of the payment. But surprisingly, the average freelancer either doesn’t have a payment policy, or has one that lacks key clauses.Don’t wait to run into your first “problem client” to draw up a formal payment policy. Before you begin that next job, take the time to ask yourself these four questions as you put together a payment policy that will help preserve your freelance career:How should I charge clients?One of the great debates in the freelance community is: Should you charge by the hour, per project, or in the case of freelance writers, per word?It’s an unusually complicated question whose answer depends entirely upon your freelance situation. Let’s review the options:Charging per wordCharging per word is the most common method of pricing for freelance writers because it works for any experience level. Per-word rates vary significantly depending on:the type of content that’s being developedthe scope and subject-matter of the piecethe level of expertise that’s requiredNew writers often start out at $0.03 to $0.06 per word, while more seasoned writers, or those with niche expertise, can earn $.30+ per word.Charging by the hourAn hourly rate is most common amongst freelancers who have some experience under their belt and is usually best in situations where:the work is ongoing or long-termthe client requires a lot of meetings or frequent communications that you need to be compensated forthe scope or nature of the work is expected to fluctuateCharging per projectCharging per project is a popular choice for more experienced freelancers because this method:makes budgeting easier for you and your clientmaximizes your productivitylets you charge the same client different prices for different projects based on their valueProject-based pricing may also be easier for clients to understand. According to the Freelancers Union, “The client is more likely to accept your proposal of $200 for a project (that you know will take you 2 hours) than they would be to accept a proposal for $100/hour.”After outlining the options above, it’s easy to see why deciding how to charge clients is such a hotly debated topic. There is no clear winner–the ideal rate ultimately depends on your specific situation.With that said, we tend to find that your best bet is normally a hybrid approach: Establish the project with a set price, but include an hourly rate in your contract to account for any work completed above and beyond the original project scope.How long should the payment term be?Outlining an invoice due date may seem like a minor detail, but 29% of invoices are not paid on time. While a due date may not guarantee that a client doesn’t miss a payment, it can ensure you get paid faster.In a study conducted by Xero, they found that payment terms are getting shorter, and that 75% of invoices have a due date that is two weeks or less from the date of invoice. Xero also dug into the invoices sent across their platform and discovered that late payments were made much earlier on invoices with only a one week due date. For example, late payments on invoices with a two week due date took an average of 5 days longer.Unless there are special circumstances that require a client to extend a due date, I suggest that you don’t allow more than a week due date on your invoices. For some added assistance in this arena, most invoicing software and apps send automatic reminders to the client when an invoice is about to become past due. This can make all the difference between an invoice paid on time and one that misses the due date.How should I accept payments?This question is vital, as it will set the boundaries on how you receive your payments. There are two features you must consider: the methods of payments you accept, and the structure in which payments are to be made.Payment methodsBefore starting a relationship with any client, agreeing on a method of payment helps to avoid complications when it comes time to send the invoice. The last thing you want to hear from a client when they receive your invoice is that the client doesn’t support your preferred payment method.Although we all have an ideal payment method that we’d like all of our clients to use, your payment policy should accept at least two different means of payment. The more forms of payment you accept, the easier it will be to maximize your client base.Here’s a quick overview of the available options for freelancers:online debit or credit paymentsdirect wire transfersACH paymentscash & checkscryptocurrencyBefore choosing the best forms of payment for you, it’s prudent to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each. There are multiple factors that could influence how you operate your business, including:processing feestime it takes to receive paymentease of setupsupport for international paymentssecurity of paymentPayment structureThe majority of freelancers stick with the traditional payment structure–they finish the project, send an invoice, and wait to get paid. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this structure, but as we know, it doesn’t provide you with much security in the event you get caught up with a “problem client”.That’s why upfront or installment payments are the most ideal for freelancers as they guarantee, at the very least, a portion of the project fee. Consider one of the following upfront payment structures:100% Upfront: The security and relief that come with receiving the full payment of a project before it has even started are desired by every freelancer. However, upfront payments are not easily obtained. Most clients feel it’s too risky for them, and usually only agree to them with freelancers they trust. This structure is also not very flexible if the scope of the project needs to be changed after it’s already been started–which as we know happens frequently.Percentage deposit: Requesting a percentage of the payment before beginning a project is much more palatable to clients than requiring 100% upfront. It’s common to ask for anywhere between 20%-50% of the project balance.Milestone payments: Milestone payments allows you to break a project up into smaller goals. As each goal is completed, the client pays a portion of the total balance until all goals are completed, and the project is paid in full. Of the three options, this installment structure is often the most preferred among clients because they don’t have to pay for work that has not yet been completed.When requiring upfront or installment payments, remember that it’s best to send your client an estimate first so they can review and approve the cost breakdown of each item of the project.What are the consequences of missing a due date?With late payments being an all-too-common reality for freelancers, your payment policy needs to include clauses that demonstrate just how seriously you take getting paid. The last major consideration for your payment policy should be the extent of the penalty you’ll levy on clients who miss a due date, and the mechanisms that will be used to enforce the penalty.Content Lead at Shopify, Anastasia Philopoulos, suggests that an accrued penalty fee works well as a strong disincentive to missing a due date. Each week that goes past your due date means another penalty–say $25–is added to the balance of the invoice. As the late fees pile up, your client will become extremely motivated to settle their debt.Of course, accrued penalties only work if there is a way to legitimately enforce them. The easiest way for a freelancer to enforce their late fees and drastically increase the odds of getting paid is to not release the full extent of the work until a payment is made.For a designer, this could mean only providing a screenshot of their creative work, or adding a watermark. For a web developer, they could keep the work on their own server. For a writer, they could send an excerpt of their work.Finally, as an added measure of protection, you can add an ownership clause to your payment policy as well. This will help weaken the client’s legal claim to ownership over your work until he or she satisfies your invoice in full.Final wordsYou may have not encountered a bad client yet, but it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable happens and you come across a problem client or experience a payment dispute. Don’t procrastinate–be proactive and follow the tips outlined above to develop an airtight payment policy that will save you headaches down the road!Zachary Paruch is a project lead and small business expert at Invoice Genius, where he works daily with freelancers, contractors, and remote workers to streamline their businesses and help them get paid more quickly.last_img read more

Mortgage interest and home equity loan deductions may impact your freelance taxes

first_imgThere are significant changes to tax deductions that freelancers who financed their home or a secondary residence with a mortgage loan will see starting this coming tax season. The bottom line? On your 2018 tax return you will have a significantly lower limit for the deduction of mortgage and home equity loan interest, which may mean a larger tax bill.Here’s why:Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) or tax reform, which went into effect late last year, the mortgage interest deduction is reduced to the first $750,000 of debt related to acquiring, constructing or substantially improving your primary home or a designated secondary residence that a mortgage loan is secured by. Previously, if you itemized deductions on your return, you could deduct mortgage interest on the first $1 million of debt. In addition, for the next $100,000 in principal you could deduct any other mortgage debt, such as a home equity loan, used for other purposes (even those unrelated to actually improving your home).Although tax reform reduces the mortgage interest deduction substantially, there is good news for those freelancers who had loans which began before December 15, 2017. In this case, you are effectively grandfathered into the previous law, meaning that you can still deduct interest on the first $1 million of the mortgage debt. If you decide to refinance the loan that you first contracted on or before December 15, 2017, you are still entitled to deduct up to $1 million in mortgage interest, but only on the remaining debt of the original loan.An important side note regarding another type of residence-based loans—the home equity loan. Under tax reform, it doesn’t matter when your home equity loan began, the deduction for interest on such loans is eliminated if the loan is not used directly for acquiring, constructing or substantially improving your primary or designated secondary residence. If you are using the proceeds from a home equity loan for qualified purposes (such as building an addition to your home or putting on a new roof), then be sure to keep all receipts and documentation that can substantiate the deductions, should you choose to itemize them on your tax return.As with many other previous “no-brainer” tax deductions, the TCJA throws taxpayers a bit of a curve. In the cases of mortgage loan interest and home equity loan interest deductions you should also consider whether it makes sense to itemize these expenses. This is because of the increase in the standard deduction under tax reform which may limit the tax-mitigating benefit of these kind of itemized deductions.If you are unsure of how this particular change to the tax laws may impact your 2018 tax return, consider contacting a tax professional who can help you understand how it will impact your unique situation.*Jonathan Medows is a New York City based CPA who specializes in taxes and business issues for freelancers and self-employed individuals across the country. He offers a free consultation to members of Freelancers Union and a monthly email newsletter covering tax, accounting and business issues to freelancers on his website, www.cpaforfreelancers.com which also features a new blog, how-to articles, and a comprehensive freelance tax guide.*Jonathan is happy to provide an initial consultation to freelancers. To qualify for a free consultation you must be a member of the Freelancers Union and mention this article upon contacting him. Please note that this offer is not available Jan. 1 through April 18 and covers a general conversation about tax responsibilities of a freelancer and potential deductions. These meetings do not include review of self-prepared documents, review of self-prepared tax returns, or the review of the work of other preparers. The free meeting does not include the preparation or review of quantitative calculations of any sort. He is happy to provide such services but would need to charge an hourly rate for his time.last_img read more

Freelancer Spotlight: Meet Naya the Creative!

first_img“Freelancers Spotlight” is a bimonthly feature that highlights the work of Freelancers Hub members in NYC. In honor of Black History Month, we’re excited to share the stories of Black women who are making incredible strides in branding, marketing, film, and entertainment. This week, we’d like to introduce to some, and present to others, Naya the Creative. With a background in digital production and advertising, Naya has taken her experience and turned her style of consulting into “brand therapy.” We asked her why she decided to focus on brand marketing, what it means to be a Black creative, and what advice she has for new freelancers.You have recently become Freelancers Hub’s resident Brand Therapist. How did you come up with the concept “brand therapy,” and what have you learned in navigating the world of branding and marketing?I’ve done design, web development, copywriting, video production — just about anything that helps a brand thrive in front of large audiences. In both my 9-5 jobs and in my side hustle gigs, some clients would expect to showcase their entire brand through a particular project (i.e. a promo video, a website, a bag of rice (yes, that happened)). However, they almost never had a strong handle on who their brands were or who their brands should be targeting.My clients didn’t understand that a brand doesn’t live entirely in its visual identity, just like who we are as people doesn’t stop at our faces or the clothes we wear. So, I found myself taking a more intimate approach with clients to get us both to understand what they were trying to express about their brands by drawing out of them why they were in this business in the first place.This turned into a habit of me asking deep questions, to which my clients couldn’t just fire back quick answers. It’s funny, even though my style of consulting people has always been “therapy” like, that idea didn’t really sink in with me until multiple clients said to me, “Talking to you is like talking to a therapist! I’m usually feeling so stressed and overwhelmed when we start talking, but by the time we’re done talking, I feel so much better and energized and ready to work!”What three important things should freelancers know about branding their services?First, you are not, and should not, aim to be everything to everybody. But you are the best person to help a specific type of person. Find that person. Be the best for that person. Brand your business for that person. Second, if you’re afraid to focus on a niche because you might lose work, chances are you’re already losing work. Someone out there is looking for a person, who is unique in the way you are, to solve their problems the way you can solve them.Finally, don’t worry so much about your name or how your brand looks. Those things are important too, but your clients won’t be working with your logo everyday — they’ll be working with you. Focus on creating and delivering a stellar service. Getting your clients the results they want is why you’re in business. Spending months “brainstorming” your logo before you ever attempt to pitch a potential client is a waste of your time and your gifts.What does Black History Month mean to you as a Black creative?Black History Month, for me, is a time when people are empowered and supported to tell amazing stories that amplify incredible achievements of old and new, sung and unsung, trailblazers. I love that through the power of information sharing I’m exposed to the stories of inspirational people who I’m proud to share an identity with. It’s such an exciting time to celebrate who I am, who I come from, and who’s right along with me on this journey.Where’s your favorite place to get work done in the city (aside from Freelancers Hub, of course)?I love working outside when the weather is nice. Even when I work from home, I try to get outside while the sun is up, but that doesn’t always happen. So, if I can work from a rooftop or balcony (or even a park), I feel really accomplished. If I also have immediate access to food all day, then I’ve basically won the day.In the age of social media, there are a lot of strategists constantly sharing their thought leadership on timelines. How have you learned to stand out and be confident in your brand and what you offer your customers?I learned a lot from thought leaders who communicate on social media and, for a while, I wanted to be just like them. I used to feel that I had to keep up with their likes and follows and it was brutal when I felt like I’d never get there. While chasing social media fame, I was overlooking some of my best social qualities — my ability to listen and connect. Social media, when I got started in business, wasn’t the best way for me to use those qualities to be useful.Once I figured out how I could usefully communicate my value and make real connections, I focused more on chasing that than chasing likes. Not only do I now feel more confident—and ambivalent about my own social media stats—I no longer feel icky when I think about using social media to make connections.Naya will be holding Brand Therapy office hours at Freelancers Hub next month, so stay tuned to register for your one-on-one session with her! In the meantime, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.last_img read more

Do Energy-Efficient Appliances Really Save You Money?

first_imgHas an organization or university offered you an opportunity with a stipend? Whether it’s an internship or apprenticeship, a stipend is a set amount of money that helps offset living expenses. This fixed amount is financial support provided while you’re… Full Story,Truth is, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to college: new friends, a new routine, (college parties!), and more independence. But along with all these perks, it’s also time to start thinking about your finances…. Full Story,A routing number is a unique number that identifies a specific banking institution. Each routing number is made up of nine digits. Routing numbers are sometimes referred to as an American Banker’s Association routing transit number or an ABA RTN…. Full Story,It’s stressful enough having a car loan over your head and staying on top of your monthly payments. But what if you have an upside-down car loan — in other words, the amount you owe on your set of wheels… Full Story,When you’re trying to get your financial house in order, it’s easy to get lost in the specifics. You might stress about how to adjust your budget, where to find some extra cash for the holidays or what funds to… Full Story,Shortly after graduating from New York University with a Master’s degree, Melanie Lockert turned to food stamps, as she worked her way out of $81,000 in student loans. “There were a lot of emotions around carrying that debt. It caused… Full Story,Traveling is one of the best things in life, and luckily, low funds don’t have to dash your dreams of enjoying an epic adventure. A wealth of destinations—both in the U.S. and abroad—are so affordable that even hardcore penny pinchers… Full Story,While we don’t yet have flying cars that collapse to the size of a suitcase, pneumatic tubes that transport us from room to room or machines that automatically bathe and clothe us in the morning, every day we’re getting closer… Full Story,Times have changed since Grams and Gramps were your age, looking to settle down and buy their first home. But today the house with the white picket fence—or that trendy loft in downtown—isn’t completely out of the question if you… Full Story,We recently hosted a Twitter chat as part of our #RealTalkSeries. And let’s just say, things definitely got real. Many of you joined us to discuss “taboo” and cringe-worthy money questions such as how to improve a bad credit score,… Full Storylast_img read more