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"Right on!" - Maggie Mistal said about Matching Your Personal Passion to a Promising Career. CNN dubbed Maggie "one of the nation's best known career coaches."

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Ellen writes feature articles for online content providers like the ones below, including Monster, USA Today, Scientific American, and TechRepublic. She is also a writer of website content, marketing copy, speeches, technical documentation, and pretty much any other kind of content development. Ellen's unique combination of creative, technical and business experience makes her quick to learn, efficiently productive, and valuable as a resource.

Read more about Ellen

Companies: Hire social media strategists and let loose cannons fly

Marketing departments are starting to turn the tide in the latest budget battle with IT departments. The theater of war? Social media. Our best hope for peace lies in savvy social media strategists that just might possess the pioneering spirit necessary to establish a collaborative truce - as long as they know what they’re getting into, and how to stay several steps ahead of the opposition.

Finally, being unconventional and unpredictable pays off

When discussions embedded with negative comments about companies first started popping up online, most marketing departments turned to IT for help in dealing with them. The initial response was to consider any online issue as a “trouble ticket” that involved trying to “remove” negative comments from the Internet and fixing the subject of concern quietly like any other customer support issue.

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Written for BrainTrack External link as guest post on TechRepublic External link


"good grief its me !" - jaipo External linkJohn Porter

"As a community manager, there's a lot to agree with here." - aaronesilvers External link Aaron Silvers

"Long & insightful." - fanpgevangelist External link Fan Page Evangelist

Tips for writing easy-to-understand security policies

For the amount of writing required of IT professionals in leadership roles, serious writing skills are relegated to low bandwidth electives in IT degree programs surprisingly frequently. At best, an aspiring IT security professional may get some solid technical writing experience in school - and if they’re smart, some business writing training as well.

Without decent exposure to journalistic writing, adult learning styles and all-important information design, IT leaders may find themselves struggling to effectively convey important information like security policies and awareness.

Effective Infosec policy writing

A well-written security policy statement:

  • Communicates high-level ground rules and consequences thoroughly yet succinctly
  • Explains both the problem and the solution
  • Emphasizes the degree of importance and relevance
  • Is accessible to employees at all applicable levels of responsibility and reading skill
  • Engages readers through relatable wording and real-world examples
  • Persuades and motivates readers to take ownership of and apply their new knowledge

Elements of engaging technical content

It’s the job of the policy writer to do the work for the reader - keep their attention, deliver the message, and compel them to adapt their behavior. The best way to meet this responsibility is to incorporate five elements of writing:

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Written for BrainTrack External link as a guest post on TechRepublic's IT Leadership External link blog

Positive Comments

"What a great piece!" said Toni Bowers, TechRepublic editor

How to Land (and Keep) a Social Media Job

Much like computer gaming and hacking did before it, social media has evolved over the past 10 years from a pastime to an emerging career field. Companies have come to recognize that discussions about their products are happening online, and it is in their best interest to have representatives engaged in these conversations. Now considered a key component in marketing plans, social media marketing has earned its place in many a corporate budget.

For recruiters trying to fill social strategist positions, though, the process of matching qualified candidates to appropriate jobs is still in its infancy. Though salaries are competitive, with full-time jobs paying from $45,000 to six figures, truly qualified candidates are hard to find – and those that do present themselves frequently fail to give recruiters what they need to sell them up the ladder.

The following are tips for selling yourself as a qualified candidate for social media-related jobs – and justifying your job once you’re employed.

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Written for BrainTrack External link as guest post on TechMaish External link

Enhancing Your Employability for Nonprofit Jobs in 2011

Landing a wage-paying nonprofit job is becoming easier than it was during the last two years, especially with larger organizations.

A recent report from the human resources consulting firm Nonprofit HR Solutions indicated that the job market for nonprofit work may be stabilizing.Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey 2010 External link, a report in which over 500 nonprofit organizations were surveyed, said that while over 50% of respondents had to eliminate positions in 2009, only a tenth said they did in 2010. At the same time, approximately 43% expected to create new full-time positions in response to a rise in demand for their services, and most of these had a greater number of employees.

These statistics and others included in the report can help people seeking employment to formulate a job-hunting strategy for 2011:

Finding Nonprofit Employers

It may not seem like hunting down employers would necessarily enhance your employability, but nonprofits frequently have little or no formal recruiting budget; they may not even have an HR department. So you must be assertive and seek out jobs with organizations that may not be advertising or posting positions online. Here are tips for broadcasting your availability effectively:

Scope out the scene: Research news stories to identify larger nonprofit employers in your area through their press releases and events. Compare community statistics to identify trends in growth between organizations.

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Written for BrainTrack External link as a guest post for The Case Foundation External link

I was happy to stumble on this review of my guest post by About.com's Joanne Fritz!

"Ellen Berry, guest blogging for The Case Foundation External link, has some terrific tips External link for people looking for a nonprofit job this year. I really liked these tips especially..." Read Joanne's article External link

How Zendesk Can Help Turn Your Support Team Into Brand Ambassadors

When we think of brand ambassadors, what often comes to mind are commercial icons such as Progressive’s Flo or Subway’s Jared Fogel. Their quirky personalities or personal stories are often the most memorable part of an advertisement, inspiring a sense of familiarity consumers are more likely to feel with other people, rather than a flat traditional brand.

The appeal power of “normal people” over spokespeople can also be seen in Honey Bunches of Oats commercials, where hair-netted and hard-hatted employees pitch the cereal from their posts in the factory.

This trend of using actual employees as brand ambassadors has been successful for companies wanting to bring credibility, likeability and memorable interaction with potential or established customers.

Fortunately, you don’t need a giant and expensive nationally televised campaign to have a similar relationship with your customers. Believe it or not, you can get a similar experience from your Zendesk, with specific tools designed help turn support desk representatives into identifiable characters.

Zendesk as a Brand Identity Tool for Employee Ambassadors

The brand-reinforcing aspects of Zendesk and its integrations make it easy to start a customer conversation and keep it going in a whole new way. These ongoing ambassador-customer interactions can generate a self-perpetuating, ever-expanding momentum with unlimited potential for lead generation.

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Written for Myndbend External link as a guest post on Zendesk's official blog, Zengage External link

Strategic Self-employment for Career Stability

If you listen to the hype, you might think there are two kinds of people out there: entrepreneurs and career employees. Entrepreneurs are seen as risk takers while employees are thought to prefer stability. But don't be fooled into thinking in these black-and-white terms when it comes to your career. With some creative strategizing, the right combination of employment types can serve you well.

Consider Yourself Self-employed First, Employed by Others Second

You may have built up being your own boss as "the big plunge" or a "someday" dream, imagining a drastic change in lifestyle with long-sought freedom and unlimited income potential. Perhaps you are waiting for a big idea or the right partner to come along.

In actuality, anyone who gets themselves to work each day and does their best to make sure their bills are paid is acting as their own boss. There isn't much difference between working for an employer or a client. It's mostly about mindset.

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Written for BrainTrack External link as a guest post on The Job Stalker External link

"Certainly, there are a lot of folks out there who, like me, have a ton of experience but still can't seem to land that full-time assignment and might well consider "formalizing" their consulting/freelance gigs into a company concept.  I know that it would be easier on my resume to be listing some corporate name under which I'd done a number of varied projects, rather than just spinning out a long list of the specifics!  Anyway, thanks to Ellen and BrainTrack for providing this interesting look at these options!" - Brendan Tripp, The Job Stalker

21 Ways To Save Big on College Expenses

The most important thing you can do to save money on college costs is to plan ahead. The more knowledgeable you are about your options, the better choices you’ll make, and the more money you’ll save. Here’s a list of strategies that will give you a head start:

  1. Create a career plan before choosing a school. College is a great place to explore your options when it comes to a career. If, however, you take some time to consider what career suits you best before going to college, you can save yourself a lot of money. Conduct your research by:
    • Taking career tests to identify your areas of interest and strength
    • Working or volunteering with different employers
    • Shadowing people at their jobs to see what their daily work is like
    • Taking continued education courses to scope out potential career tracks
    • Reading up on various career paths to prepare yourself to make a more educated decision when it comes to school

The more detailed vision you have of where you’re headed and what it takes to get there, the more money you’re likely to save by selecting a relevant degree and school.

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Written for BrainTrack External link as a guest post on Northern Cheapskate External link

"I really enjoyed this guest post. I wish I could have read it eight years ago before I started college!" - Broke Professionals

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