Internet Marketing – A Maze In A Haze?

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Internet marketing, website marketing, call it what you will, can be a bit like a maze. You charge off down one route……dead end. Someone sends you off down another route with a big smile on their face…….another dead end. Another route looks promising…….until it fizzles out and you reach another dead end. You can’t cheat by looking over the hedge, it’s about 20 feet high! A big ladder so you can get a good view? No, they’ve all been hidden. None left on the planet! Except those in the vaults of the internet gurus, you suspect.

So, you keep going around this maze, and at every turn there’s advertising, all about the maze itself, telling you about which way to go. Plans of the maze which, if you follow, may get you half way round, only to find you need to buy another plan to get the rest of the way. So what do you do? Carry on around this maze unaided? Or buy another plan? You buy another plan of this maze, and lo and behold, you end up at a place somewhere near the exit into real open daylight (you think), but how do you get the correct final few turns? Anyway, maybe you’re not near the exit after all? You could be on the far side of the maze from the exit. Sound familiar?

If you’ve been researching the internet from a business point of view for any length of time, you have probably found that much of the advertising, the marketing, is about …………….. internet marketing. This is partly why it can seem like a maze. If you are not sure what is going to work to market your website, or the products in it, how do you know which advice to listen too, which “offers” to take up?

Why is Internet Marketing Such a Maze?

Marketing is a subject I’ve been interested in for many years, long before I was partner in an advertising related business in the early 90’s. Then, marketing was a quite stable world. The most recent “change” of any significance had been TV, and TV advertising had evolved steadily over several decades. It was glossy, glamorous, and………..very expensive. That was good for the big advertising agencies, and they chased the big advertisers with massive budgets for TV advertising. They had their creative departments to come up with memorable TV ads, often designed to be memorable rather than to sell, and their media buyers to buy time on the commercial TV stations.

The glamour was in TV, but every company and every agency would work on a marketing mix: radio advertising, sales promotions, glossy magazine advertising, newspaper advertising, trade ads, direct mail…..all played their part. These all had one thing in common, though: they had been around for a very long time. Marketing was a stable industry, not in economic terms, but in the “tricks of the trade”. There were a few minor variations here and there, but basically, the marketing industry had its accepted, well documented, ways of doing things. Skill levels varied of course, and that’s where competition came in between the agencies and between companies in the same industries. The point is, though, it was all basically stable. Good or bad, it was stable.

Then along came the internet. Being involved in advertising in the mid 90’s, it was obvious to me that the potential was absolutely enormous. Mind boggling. It was difficult to demonstrate, though, as speeds were painfully slow. You’d try to show someone over a cup of coffee or tea, and you’d finish the drink while the second page was loading. Try coming back in 5 years. Well, they did. With a vengeance.

The internet itself came on in leaps and bounds after that. Technically it developed rapidly. Companies started to realise they “had” to have an internet presence. Why? Well, often because their competitor did, or because they thought they should before their competitor did. They were diving in, pretty much blind; they did not understand what they were getting into. The stock markets cottoned on that something big was in the offing, so .com shares were being touted to ever higher levels. Shares of companies with no substance in most cases.

I used to trade shares on a daily basis in those days, and I never touched one internet related company. I cringed every time I saw the financial figures of a listed .com. Prices of shares were often in the stratosphere while turnover was meagre and profits non existent, then and into the future. The traders in the London Stock Exchange and Wall Street did not understand. The internet was new, there was no history to go on. They simply did not understand. They were excited, and were exciting others too. The buying was frantic. The crash inevitable.

Companies all over the world were realising, though, that they must have a web presence. Companies had marketing departments and/or advertising agencies. So they too had to go along with the the tidal wave of internet anticipation. What did they do? They followed the accepted patterns for marketing in those days. TV advertising. Radio advertising. Big newspaper ads. The massive costs of those methods bore no relationship then to the potential for additional income, for sales. They were throwing money down the drain in most cases. Why? They simply did not understand!

The internet was, and is, a revolution in communications. But the marketing industry had not had a revolution, it was too bogged down in the rest of the marketing mix to realise what was really going on here. The printing press was a revolution in communications, but it took many years to spread its influence. Radio was a revolution in communications; likewise. TV? Likewise.

The internet has been more like an explosion, and after an explosion it takes time for the dust to settle. That’s one of the reasons for the maze of internet marketing. The dust is still settling. You can’t see through the dust yet. More of a haze than a maze I suppose! No, a maze in a haze!

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Cable TV 101: The Power of TV Commercials

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As we watch various TV shows at home, there is something that you may notice after taking a break. This is what we call commercial breaks. It is some kind of advertisement that are placed in a TV network during break time. Advertisers are paying the TV company on a pay-per-view basis until the credits expired. It means that for every advertisement viewed by the cable TV customers and subscribers, credits will start to charge. Why is it that lots of advertisers are willing to promote their product, service or company through TV commercials?

First of all, cable and satellite TV providers are having a huge market. The reason that cable or satellite TV is a huge market because of the great demand. In other words, everybody loves to watch TV all the time. This is where the advertisers came in, and they’re willing to spend their money for advertising credits. But how would they benefit from their advertising credits through TV commercials? For example, if you advertise a shampoo product through a pay-per-view basis, you might target a lot of women who are watching cable TV.

The channels that you are targeting for the product must be related to beauty, fashion, lifestyle and other variety channels. As cable TV providers and the advertisers agreed to a deal with this campaign, the commercial mode starts to roll. As you are targeting the right niche or audience, it gives them a lot of interest to check out the product advertised on TV. If there is a possibility that your product or service made sales through your TV commercial campaign, it is a sign of success for your business. This is where businesses are very successful through their campaigns.

However, if you choose the wrong target or demographics, you will get no or less sales from your products or services. It is important for your campaign to be targeted by means of pay-per-view, and it reflects the performance of your product or service itself. There is no guarantee that you may have a successful campaign with any cable TV provider, because there are lots of advertisers out there. In other words, there are some competitors in your niche or area that are running their campaigns through TV commercials as well.

Overall, it is worth for your business to test anything for the best. If you don’t test it out, you will not succeed. It needs you to take action to make your business profitable, especially in terms of promoting products and services. There are lots of ways for you to advertise the product and service, and it has no limits for you. As long you have a big budget to run a campaign for your product or service in a cable TV company, you’re good to go. This is the real power of TV commercials in running their campaigns through a pay-per-view basis. It may give you a real risk, but it’s normal for all businesses.

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Social Media Marketing – Wake Up to the Revolution, Market Your Business Online – Part 1

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Are you stuck in the wilderness of old fashioned marketing techniques or are you part of the new revolution?

You might ask, what is Social Media? I’ll ask you: under what rock have you been the last couple of years?

If you want to be part of the revolution I’ll share a few facts with you that will show you why Social Media is one of your most important and powerful marketing strategies to promote your business online TODAY.

What is this Monster then?

“Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues.” As defined by Wikipedia

It is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace, Blogger, Digg, Orkut, Flikkr to mention a few.

Lets ponder on a few interesting facts that will undoubtedly demonstrate the enormity of this ever evolving media that is fast becoming the new economy of the world – A Big shift indeed!

– When you look at the worlds population, over 50% is under the age of 30 and 96% of them joined some kind of Social Media Network.

– Baby Boomers are joining in their masses

– Personal relationships are formed on these networks – 1 out of 8 marriages today met through Social Media

– It grows faster than any other media in history. To reach 50 Million users:

– Radio took 38 years

– TV took 13 years

– Internet took 4 years

– iPod took 3 years, BUT

FACEBOOK alone added 100 Million users in 9 months,

– today it is the number one activity on the web, outperforming the previous number one- pornography,

– In the USA today there are more online students than students who receive face-to-face education (revealed by a study done by the US Department of Education)

– There are 15 Million articles on Wikipedia (Wiki-Hawaiian term for QUICK). These articles is as accurate as the Encyclopedia of Britannica

– It is a truly on the go media/platforms

– People using it everywhere and at anytime

– It is used by young and old

– This will undoubtedly have an impact on the way you market yourself, your business and the quality of the product or service you render

– This bring a truly new meaning to the term “Word of Mouth Marketing”

This is the NEW ECONOMY, driven by people for people. Instead of having a selling mindset you have to shift to a listening mindset before you can even think of selling to that customer.

You have to come to the party. You must focus on providing high value content, product and service. If you get this right you’ll be able to start showing profits. Why?

People will trust YOU!

This is true for your business. It does not matter if you’re a business from home, a traditional brick and mortar business, an online internet business, or a big corporate business. YOU have to get educated.

Look out for Part 2

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Case Study – Billing Statements Garners Better Business

Consider the story of Banner Health, a non-profit healthcare system with twenty locations in seven different states. For years, Banner had been providing services and excellent patient care that made a positive difference in people’s lives.

Consider this case study of Banner Health, a non-profit healthcare system with numerous locations in seven different states. For years, Banner had been providing services and excellent patient care that made a positive impact in people’s lives. As patients grew more familiar with technology in their everyday lives, clients began requesting easier ways to pay their bills and keep track of their billing statements. While Banner’s staff service was already excellent, customers wanted to the ability to view bills online, make payments online 24 hours a day, and easily reconcile issues or other concerns with their statements.

To fulfill these needs and improve the customer experience, Banner Health implemented an online bill presentment and payment solution that let customers to receive, view and pay their bills online. The entire invoicing process was streamlined while still retaining the offline options for customers who preferred printed documents. The result: Banner Health immediately began receiving increased cash payments in less time and recovering bad debt while reducing postage and labor costs. In the first year, Banner saved $40,000.

Online billing statements, secure online payment solutions and electronic referencing for pertinent client information can greatly improve your business, too. If you are an established business looking to offer your invoicing online or a startup looking to start out on the right foot, billing outsourcing may be the key to unlocking your business’ earning potential. As your business grows and your clients begin expecting easier options for managing their bills, an outsourced billing system can vastly improve the effectiveness of your company which translates into less time wasted on clerical and administrative tasks and more time that can be devoted to improving your business and delivering the quality service that your clients expect.

Providing safe, convenient and timely customer service is essential to harboring repeat business and positive customer interaction. Too many opportunities are lost to inefficient filing and invoicing systems that leave customers waiting on the line and administrative professionals tied up with unnecessary work. Having the ability to quickly rectify any customer issues and immediately respond to client requests will distinguish your company from the competition and encourage enthusiastic word-of-mouth recommendations as well. To take advantage of this, partner with a billing outsourcing firm that can work to implement a system that streamlines both your client’s experience as well as your staff’s daily responsibilities.

Finding The Greatest Paying Affiliate Applications

Even when they eventually locate these companies, they fail to market their products in the right way thus failing even before commencing the marketing of such businesses. You can market your associate business effectively through:

websites tailored to such products

blogs filled with content relevant to the programs being marketed

writing relevant and keyword rich articles and distributing them to articles directories

contributing to forums

preparing a marketing plan and following it

Believing in yourself and your ability to succeed.

The list above is not exhaustive. You may choose to use paid options to market your highest paying affiliate programs. These options include ppc, banner ads, etc. The choice is yours.

There are only a few companies offering lucrative affiliate programs that can sustain affiliates with their commissions. Many of such programs simply provide their affiliates with the least level of help required to start them off. On the flip side, there are some of these companies offering tremendous amount of help to their affiliates.

Look for such companies and when you find them, your monthly commission income will sustain you for a long time to come. Make use of the search engines to discover these companies with world-class products and affiliate programs you can promote for your online success and sustainability.

People who are on the hunt for earning sizable amounts of money via the internet over a short time span can look into top paying affiliate marketing programs. Yes, earning big in any business venture is no mean feat and there will be tons of hurdles that will come your way. To earn big in affiliate marketing, you will need to encompass outstanding affiliate programs along with top quality traffic in order to reap in success. With loads of affiliate programs shoving for the same break, your affiliate programs need to be competent in order to stand any chance of withstanding opposition.

There are certain top paying programs that are lucrative to the root cause of profit generation and image building. To profit in large amounts, traffic generation is key and by promoting or selling free software you can do precisely that. The software market is quiet rewarding in many ways as anyone who uses a computer has to use software in one way or another. This aspect more or less guarantees software sales. With software sales, the commission is significantly superior besides you can gain a sizable reputation among techies.

Web hosting can be easily considered among the top paying affiliate programs as it can pull immense traffic. Although garnering initial success as a web hosting establishment is demanding to say the least, but when traffic does come your way, the profit can be very lucrative.

The next on the list are travel websites. With tourism being promoted by most countries, travel websites is yet another lucrative option and can be counted within the domain of top paying affiliate programs. Commission over here is in small amounts, but one can enhance their profit margins by simply selling services in volumes. Services work here on a referral basis. As and when services are sold by referral, the website or individual who refers, stands to gain a certain commission.

Other than these few programs, there are tons of other programs that can equally earn you massive profits. With the online market evolving endlessly, choosing the right affiliate programs is crucial.

Garnering Traffic Online – Why Use Twitter For Business?

If you own business, whether it is a new business or a business that has been around for a long time, you will know that marketing your business is very important if you want it to survive. There is no business in the world that can survive without some sort of marketing. In the older days there was word of mouth, and almost all business depended on their loyal customers and clients to tell the people they knew about a certain business.

New Method of Marketing:
This type of marketing was very effective and did the job for almost all of the businesses around. Then, a few years later, came newspapers, and people started using those as a marketing tool, and then came the radio and that become a marketing tool and then after that came the TV and that too became a marketing tool. After all of the changes in the marketing arena word of mouth fell away, and people were paying to get word of their business out to the general public, and other people stopped talking about great service they got at places.

Marketing Cost Effectively!
However, word of mouth marketing has made its way back on the scene, in a way. This has come about with a brand new marketing tool, and probably the biggest marketing tool that mankind has ever seen -the internet. There are many different types of ways to market your business on the internet. Yes, you do get the paid ways, and many people are using these ways to get their messages out, but word of mouth has made it back through social networking websites. Take Twitter as an example, it has not been around for a very long time, but it has helped many people market their company at no cost, and all they needed to do is sign up to get a profile.

Social Networking and Marketing:
With most social networking websites, like Facebook for example, you need to have people on your profile in order for them to see what you are doing. However, with twitter, if you made your profile public, anybody searching the network with a keyword that relates to your blog will be able to see what you are up to.

Marketing For Your Business:
This is why so many businesses have started using this method of advertising. Say you sell houses in the US and want people to visit your site. All you need to do is join Twitter, make your profile public and start tweeting with keywords you think people will type into the search function of the Twitter site, like House for Sale. Once people find your tweet, they find your site and you start getting more traffic at your official website because of the Twitter blogging network. The more people that find your blog, the more potential traffic you get.

It Pays to Combine Search Engine and Social Media Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) are two of the most commonly used and cost-effective forms of Internet marketing. A system that brings you greater return on investment should never be ignored and so the companies that aim to reach the sky and make it big in the industry must combine search engine marketing and social media marketing strategies.

The mixture of these two forms of online marketing is a perfect recipe for online business success. Now a days, search engines and social media networks are two of the most widely used platforms from where you can garner as much information as you want. While search engines lead you to the most well-optimised and useful websites for your respective searches, social media networks allow you to connect with the people and businesses that you find interesting. Thus, if you want your business to become visible and reachable to your existing and potential customers, establishing a strong online presence is mandatory; and this can be achieved by merging SEM and SMM strategies together.

The cost of getting listed on the search engine result pages (SERPs) and signing up on social media networks is nominal in front of the traditional marketing costs. Moreover, the end result of online marketing is far more immediate and encouraging than the other forms. Thus, there are no two ways about the many benefits of search engine and social media marketing.

While larger organisations have been exploiting these platforms to their full potential, SMEs and freelancers are also taking this advantage of this highly beneficial opportunity. Search engine marketing strategies include search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising. In SEO, on-page and off-page optimisation is conducted for organic searches. PPC is paid advertising with a difference as in this form of advertising you pay when your ad is clicked and the user is directed towards your website. The primary purpose of SEM is to increase the traffic towards your website and to spread awareness about your brand so that more visitors convert into customers. SMM focuses more on building relationships and spreading awareness about your brand. By targeting and networking with the right kind of people on social media websites, companies can enhance their customer relationship management and engage users with their brands.

Some of the benefits enjoyed by business enterprises and professionals from properly integrated search engine marketing and social media marketing strategies are discussed below:

Prevents the scenario of ÔéČout of sight, out of mind’- The more people see of you online, the better it is for you, your company and your brand. Intense marketing efforts through traditional methods can have significant benefits for your business, but search engine and social media marketing can take your business’ marketing efforts to new heights. Search engine marketing and social media marketing leverage your corporate reputation and make it easy for people to know about you and contact you.

Saves significant amount of money and time- Online marketing is a relatively cheaper way of marketing your brand in front of a massive audience. A planned approach towards SEM and SMM can save you a lot of time and money that can be invested in other crucial areas that facilitate the company’s productivity and quality.

Best platform for word-of-mouth advertising- While SEM alone aims at popularising your website on the Internet, merging of SMM strategies can facilitate word-of-mouth advertising of your brand. If your brand is popular on the social media, more people will talk about you and reach your website to know more about you and your services.

Establishes business’ credibility and professionalism- These days it is a status symbol as well as a necessity for businesses to mark their strong presence on the Web. This is so because Internet is the number one source of information about businesses across the globe and having a search engine-friendly website and well-established social media profiles can add credibility and professional appeal to your business.

It Pays to Combine Search Engine and Social Media Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) are two of the most commonly used and cost-effective forms of Internet marketing. A system that brings you greater return on investment should never be ignored and so the companies that aim to reach the sky and make it big in the industry must combine search engine marketing and social media marketing strategies.

The mixture of these two forms of online marketing is a perfect recipe for online business success. Now a days, search engines and social media networks are two of the most widely used platforms from where you can garner as much information as you want. While search engines lead you to the most well-optimised and useful websites for your respective searches, social media networks allow you to connect with the people and businesses that you find interesting. Thus, if you want your business to become visible and reachable to your existing and potential customers, establishing a strong online presence is mandatory; and this can be achieved by merging SEM and SMM strategies together.

The cost of getting listed on the search engine result pages (SERPs) and signing up on social media networks is nominal in front of the traditional marketing costs. Moreover, the end result of online marketing is far more immediate and encouraging than the other forms. Thus, there are no two ways about the many benefits of search engine and social media marketing.

While larger organisations have been exploiting these platforms to their full potential, SMEs and freelancers are also taking this advantage of this highly beneficial opportunity. Search engine marketing strategies include search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising. In SEO, on-page and off-page optimisation is conducted for organic searches. PPC is paid advertising with a difference as in this form of advertising you pay when your ad is clicked and the user is directed towards your website. The primary purpose of SEM is to increase the traffic towards your website and to spread awareness about your brand so that more visitors convert into customers. SMM focuses more on building relationships and spreading awareness about your brand. By targeting and networking with the right kind of people on social media websites, companies can enhance their customer relationship management and engage users with their brands.

Some of the benefits enjoyed by business enterprises and professionals from properly integrated search engine marketing and social media marketing strategies are discussed below:

  • Prevents the scenario of ‘out of sight, out of mind’- The more people see of you online, the better it is for you, your company and your brand. Intense marketing efforts through traditional methods can have significant benefits for your business, but search engine and social media marketing can take your business’ marketing efforts to new heights. Search engine marketing and social media marketing leverage your corporate reputation and make it easy for people to know about you and contact you.
  • Saves significant amount of money and time- Online marketing is a relatively cheaper way of marketing your brand in front of a massive audience. A planned approach towards SEM and SMM can save you a lot of time and money that can be invested in other crucial areas that facilitate the company’s productivity and quality.
  • Best platform for word-of-mouth advertising- While SEM alone aims at popularising your website on the Internet, merging of SMM strategies can facilitate word-of-mouth advertising of your brand. If your brand is popular on the social media, more people will talk about you and reach your website to know more about you and your services.
  • Establishes business’ credibility and professionalism- These days it is a status symbol as well as a necessity for businesses to mark their strong presence on the Web. This is so because Internet is the number one source of information about businesses across the globe and having a search engine-friendly website and well-established social media profiles can add credibility and professional appeal to your business.

How to Outsmart Competition in Online Marketing Services

Making it easy for prospective customers to locate your website, inviting them to visit it, and persuading them to buy your products/services are a few objectives that can be fulfilled by leveraging search engine marketing. Crafting and executing an online marketing plan demands time and money; and it is therefore imperative to monitor the campaign efficiently to garner maximum benefit. Pertinent to add that every website is unique and mandates a tailored made online strategy.

Search engine marketing is varied but the endeavor needs to start somewhere, depending on what needs to be accomplished via online marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO), though a long term process has its own superseding advantages. Pay per click (PPC) on the other hand provides instant search engine visibility and prompt gratification in terms of visitors. Keyword research is crucial and forms the backbone of SEO as well as PPC. A well carried out keyword research would not only guarantee more visitors but also ensure quality visitors.

Many people tend to use SEM and SEO interchangeably. People define it in their own ways, sometimes mixing both and sometimes seeing one as a part of another. However, SEM includes SEO as a subset. The other notable subsets of SEM are paid inclusion, link building, keyword research, affiliate marketing, and banner ads. Combine them together (a blend with the right balance) and you would have an inherent powerful technique to overcome cut throat competition. SEO and PPC are the most preferred tools of SEM because they are better equipped to boast online sales and help achieve higher ROI.

The two main networks of PPC ads are run by Google and Overture. PPC is one of the rated SEM services and enjoys some edge over organic promotion. PPC will give your website search engine visibility at the click of a mouse which otherwise would have taken a couple of months to achieve, that too without any guarantees. It will however cost you, sometimes dearly, whenever someone decides to click at your listing to land on your website or custom made landing page. It is therefore imperative to manage and execute the campaign with laser precision to garner maximum ROI.

SEO, on the contrary, is characterized by a gestation period equivalent to a couple of months. However, SEO is known to deliver robust and long lasting results and is not a constant drain on your financial resources. It is also important to note that achieving top rankings is not the end of SEO as it requires constant work to maintain those rankings, maybe better them.

While all the SEM services are important in promoting a website, it’s important to define your goals before blindly following one, or ignoring the other. A right mix of SEM services is any day better than a mix of all SEM Services.

Use the Lazy Days of Summer for Career Success

Maybe you’ve recently graduated, are in mid-career shift or are recreating your life after economic downturn – whatever your story, if you’re looking to launch your career to greater heights, there’s no better time than summer. While your peers may be thinking of taking the summer off from the job search, you’d be best served to take this time to lay the groundwork for your future.

Unemployment Lines Await

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), worldwide unemployment is still high at 8.5%, while US unemployment rates linger at a staggering 9.3% and Canada hovers around 7.4%.

The OECD reports that, since the start of the economic crisis some 3.5 million young people worldwide have joined the ranks of the unemployed. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, those under 30 in the US may be some of the hardest hit, with nearly thirteen percent of those under 30, unemployed.

What does all this mean for those trying to establish a new career direction? It means competition in the workforce is fierce. But it’s not impossible. According to a recent survey hiring managers are reporting that their companies are confident the economy will continue to expand in the latter half of this year, making hiring more probable. Instead of sipping mojitos by the pool this summer, you’d be better off creating and implementing your new career strategy and getting the jump on the competition.

Summer Slow Down

While you may argue that summer, may be a slower time of year for some industries, with businesses functioning on reduced staffing, summer hours and lowered production, what you’d be missing is the potential opportunities for employment that staff vacations present. For someone looking to garner experience in an industry new to them, summer provides the perfect chance for you to pitch in and help a company maximize production in the absence of staff. Because things are slower, you may also be able to capitalize on some quality one-on-one mentoring.

Interning and Volunteering

Interning has long been a respected way for new grads to get their foot in the door, especially in highly competitive fields, like law and journalism. But interning isn’t just for recent grads anymore. Mid-career interning has become the perfect way to change career trajectories or fill-in resume gaps, while keeping your skills and accomplishments relevant. Often internships like these lead to job offers at summer’s end, with some even offering nominal pay for your efforts. Even if you don’t land a job, though you’ll have gained experience for your future career and made valuable connections in your desired industry.

Just because your industry may not typically employ interns, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Approach and explore the idea with some of your ideal companies, sharing, specifically, what you feel you can offer and why – you might be surprised by their response.

Also, volunteering at a local nonprofit in your field (or a related one) looks great on your resume and builds skills and connections that could lead to the position of your dreams.

Research and Network

* If you’re on the lookout for employment opportunities, let people know. No reason to keep it a secret. Reach out to friends, colleagues, neighbors, family and even casual acquaintances – you never know who has a lead on that next great job.

* Go to industry events, conferences and meet-ups. Networking with your peers, in a genuine fashion, can get you the inside scoop on possible job openings and keep you up-to-date on your industry. Nearly 80% of employment positions are filled this way.

* Research: Where would you like to be, ideally, in your career? Look at who is doing what you want to be doing and find out how they got there. Ask them if they would be open to mentoring you.

* Keep up on changes in your industry, researching the current market and any new innovations.

* Develop your skill set further: Is there a new skill you can cultivate or a knowledge base you could expand that would increase your value in the marketplace? Use this time to take a class, be mentored or read industry newsletters and books. This kind of passion for your career shows employers you care.

Remember, in a competitive job market, employers want to see your potential in action, not your vacation photos.