Monthly Archives: February 2016
Conducting a job search using the Internet has definitely transformed how jobseekers contact hiring companies. The availability of copying and pasting a text version resume into a form at a company’s website has laid the foundation for an easier and more convenient process. No longer does a jobseeker need to spend hours with the traditional method of printing and mailing his resume to countless recipients.
With the Internet’s convenience, a breeding ground for scam artists continues to grow each year as well. Identity thefts have increased to an overwhelming 10 million cases per year, and many of them are the result of phishing — not surprisingly, the employment industry is under attack as well.
Phishing is an attempt to extract personal information through what appears to be authentic emails. If you are job searching, an email from a seemingly interested recruiter, for example, may not raise a red flag with you. You may think that the contact person and company listed are legitimate, yet looks can be deceiving. Knowing what to look for and how to spot fraud (or potential areas for abuse) can be the best deterrent to ensuring you have a safe experience while conducting your job search.
Be leery of submission invitations.
Scammers and spammers follow the same patterns. Mass emails are sent to an enormous list of recipients. Not everyone on the “hit list” is searching for a new job; however, only a small number of people need to be convinced, or tricked into believing, the email is authentic in order for the scam to be deemed successful. Receiving an email from a recruiter who states, “We saw your resume on the Internet, and we find your skill set to be perfect for one of our clients. Please complete our online application through the below link.” Ask yourself a series of questions: Did you send your resume to this recruiter? Visit the company’s website (type the web address into your browser, avoid clicking the link in the email); upon further examination are they reputable? How did they hear about you? Call the company if necessary. Always proceed with caution when you receive a cold-contact email from someone.
Avoid responding to requests for personal information, such as a social security or credit card number.
Let’s say you receive an email from what appears to be a well-known job bank. The email states that your account needs your contact and payment information to be updated in order for service renewal. You click on the link and you’re taken to a page that looks, feels, and “smells” right. You proceed by submitting the requested information. The link appeared safe, but you were taken to a site designed to defraud you. Reputable companies will rarely ask for personal information via email so examine every incoming email for validity.
When purchasing from a resume writing or resume submission service, for example, ensure information is encrypted upon hitting submit.
Encryption, in short, ensures the private information you submit online is kept safe. When at your browser, you can recognize an encrypted form when the root URL starts with “https:” instead of “http:” or seeing the padlock present in the bottom right corner of your screen. Purchasing from companies having added security measures in place can ensure your private information avoids the hands of ill-willed people. Learn more about encryption by reading Jeff Tyson’s article titled, “How Encryption Works,” at howstuffworks.com.
Reports show an estimated 80% of online fraud goes unreported. If the proper authorities aren’t aware of the magnitude of fraud that actually exists on the Internet, then getting the much-needed funds to battle the problem will take more time. The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (ifccfbi.gov) has an online complaint feature for individuals to report phishing attacks. The IFCC report process requires basic information, including information on the perpetrator and type of fraud.
In addition to filing a complaint, forward the fraudulent email to the legitimate company. Phishing is smearing the good names of countless companies, and notifying the company about the scam can also help the fight. Companies being brought onboard will ensure well-rounded efforts to this epidemic.
Avoid giving your information out freely. Whether you’re at the end of a phishing attack or the job application requires more information than you’re willing to provide, proceed with caution. Much like you’ll analyze job opportunities; intensely examine each person who receives your personal information. With safe online practices, you’ll get the best return from your job-search efforts — instead of spending hours filing a police report and calling credit bureaus and credit card companies.
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It’s one thing to write a good song, but a song needs a great arrangement to become a hit. Arrangement is an art that requires balancing elements in a track to create interest and movement. Here are a few ideas on how to create better arrangements in your dance tracks.
Some of the best electronic arrangements use contrast to maintain the listener’s interest. Skrillex and Diplo’s ‘Where Are U Now’ contrasts a minimal verse arrangement with a chorus that’s fuller and livelier. In the verse, Justin Bieber sings accompanied by a piano and soft synth line while the chorus has modern sounding percussion, a happening bass line and a mallet. Due to the song’s strong arrangement, this tune has quickly become a dance floor favorite.
If you have a great melodic idea to express in your track, or want to use instrumentation that’s not commonly used in dance music, go for it. It just has to be placed correctly in the track and be done well. Sander van Doorn & Firebeatz’s ‘Guitar Track’ (Original Mix) is a perfect example of this; the middle of the track breaks down in a beautiful guitar melody. The guitar is unexpected and offsets the hard synth sounds in the rest of the track. This is what makes the track original and stand out amongst the millions of EDM tunes.
If your song is starting to sound crowded, try muting tracks and find out which ones you can leave out. It’s more about how little you can make a song work with, rather than how many elements can be included in a track. If you have more than one instrument sitting in the same frequency spectrum, you may need to remove one or at the least EQ them differently so that the frequencies are balanced in the track.
Listen to arrangements of your favorite tracks and study them. This is the best way to learn about arranging. Listen to tracks in the genres you produce, but be open minded and listen to arrangements from other styles. You might hear a new arrangement idea or two that could be applied to your own songs.
5. Know Your Target Audience
You will need to know who your target audience is and arrange accordingly. If you are creating underground techno or house, longer club cuts will be the norm and there is more time to stretch out your arrangements. If you are crafting pop dance or pop music for the radio, a three to four minute mix will be necessary with shorter 8 to 16 bar intros and outros. It’s a good idea to create the radio version first and then create the club mix afterwards. This will help you to understand what the truly necessary parts of the song are and build from there.
6. Remember the DJs
If you’re producing dance music, it’s important that your tracks have intros and outros that DJs can mix. If you want DJs to be able to play your tracks, they are going to have to be structured so they fit into contemporary DJ sets. Historically this has meant percussive intros and outros but the digital DJing age may change the need for this.
7. Hook at the Beginning
If your song has a great hook, try putting it at the beginning of the song, before the verse. Although it’s not electronic music, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit is a great example of this.
8. The Spice of Life
Vary the arrangements in your verses and chorus by using slightly different instrumentation, switching chords or adding a new riff. Although it’s certainly not typical to hear major changes in the arrangements of the chorus, subtle changes will keep your listeners intrigued and wondering what’s coming next. Surprise them.
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The proliferation of electronic data has become a well-documented global challenge to businesses. The sheer volume of electronic data – e-mails, voice-mails, videos, internet searches, social media, backup tapes, clouds, smart-phone generated data, online journals (“web logs” or “blogs”), instant messaging, etc. – makes management of this data complex, but when you add to that complexity the fact that bytes of information are continually being updated, edited, and changed by different people, effectively controlling compliance risks can become overwhelming.
Failing to manage and maintain electronic data for litigation readiness may not only make it difficult for your company to present its best evidence in court, it can also subject your company to severe sanctions. Court-reported sanctions for electronic discovery abuses cover a broad spectrum, including damaging adverse-inference jury instructions, dismissal of claims, waiver of privilege, and monetary penalties ranging from $250 to more than $8 million. Although the standards courts use to evaluate motions for sanctions for failing to preserve electronic data vary greatly — from mere negligence in some jurisdictions to bad faith in others — your company will be in a good position to defeat a motion for sanctions by showing documented efforts to manage and preserve appropriate electronic data.
Best Practice Tips
- Start now: Do not wait for a lawsuit before managing your data. In addition to being prepared for any future lawsuit, management of electronic data may help your company prevent a trade-secret leak or the disclosure of confidential information.
- Familiarize yourself: Educate yourself about your company’s electronic data systems, including capabilities and limitations. At a minimum, you must know (a) how many different forms of electronic data exist and where they are; (b) who has access to the data; (c) how long the data is stored; (d) when and how the data is deleted; (e) what the back-up systems are; (f) what employees store, if anything, on personal devices; and (g) what metadata you have.
- Know the legal requirements: If you do not know what the legal requirements are for your industry, state, or country with regard to the preservation of electronic data, take steps to learn and understand them now. The legal requirements are continually evolving, so be sure your knowledge remains current. If you operate in a variety of states or countries, there may be conflicting jurisdictional obligations that your company will have to address.
- Select a custodian or custodians to oversee the data management system: Establish a protocol that identifies who is responsible for overseeing the electronic management system or systems, on a day-to-day basis as well as in response to a litigation hold. Ensure that the custodian or custodians are doing their job properly.
- Adopt electronic data management and storage policies: Every company should adopt policies that are simple, clear, and consistent with applicable laws. Include information pertaining to litigation holds in the policy. If employees fail to adhere to the policy, either intentionally or unintentionally, take immediate and consistent action. Policies that are not enforced will not be looked on favorably by the courts. Established policies can not only help your company avoid potential sanctions, they can put you in a position to easily access data that might be exculpatory, or at least supportive of the company in defense of a claim.
- Less is more: Your company should develop and enforce a record retention policy outlining what types of data should be kept and for how long. Just because you can store the information does not mean you should. Overburdened storage systems complicate retrieval of data.
- Ensure that your litigation hold procedures are in place and working: A litigation hold process must be quickly and easily triggered if it is to prevent the destruction of data and documents. Moreover, make sure that the process works — run mock litigation hold tests to ensure, for example, that auto-deletion systems can be suspended.
- Be consistent with training, updating, and auditing: Your electronic data management systems require continual maintenance to ensure that they are up to date. Similarly, be sure your employees are trained and kept abreast of changes in the system. Continually audit the system to ensure that it is able to incorporate new data and technology.
The costs and risks associated with electronic data management are best addressed before a dispute ever arises. Regularly and wisely spending a few dollars and hours can help eliminate the risk of discovery sanctions and decrease the potential for time-consuming discovery demands.
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Today, businesses have more ways — and places — than ever to market themselves. But deciding on a marketing method, particularly when you are a small or even a mid-sized business with a small budget and limited resources, can be difficult. While social media marketing is generally free, it can be time-consuming; and the same goes for blogging. But traditional print advertising, as well as digital advertising, can be expensive.
So which marketing channels are best for SMBs? Dozens of small business owners and marketing professionals share the following list of top marketing strategies for SMBs.
- Blog. “One of the best marketing strategies for a small business is blogging,” says Maren Hogan, chief marketing brain at Red Branch Media.
Inside: Making the CIO/CMO relationship work, Ford’s shift to bimodal IT & much more!
“By providing your prospects and clients with informative, non-salesy content that you can house on your blog, promote socially and offer to other networks to supplement their strategy, you and your team can quickly establish yourselves as experts in a desired field,” Hogan says.
[Related: 6 Mobile Marketing Trends to Leverage in 2014]
It can also positively impact your SEO.
“By blogging at least twice a week, you significantly increase your website’s ability to be found on search engines,” adds Mike Lieberman, chief marketing scientist and president, Square 2 Marketing. “The more you blog, the more traffic your site will get from Google, Yahoo and Bing… [because] you are adding fresh content to your site [assuming your blog resides on your company website],” he says. And “if each of your blog posts includes a call to action, you might even generate some leads from your blog.”
Business owners and managers should also consider guest blogging.
“Guest blogging is one of the best marketing tools I’ve ever found,” says Susan Payton, president, Egg Marketing & Communications. “By contributing to relevant blogs with useful content, you can expand your reach and show off your knowledge.” Moreover, you can typically link to your website via your author bio, “making it easy for people to visit your site.”
- Leverage social media. “If your small business isn’t using social media, it’s time to start,” says Mike Volpe, CMO, HubSpot, which specializes in inbound marketing. “Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing or direct mail.”
Because social media can be (or seem) overwhelming, “choose one social media platform that your customers, prospects, and industry leaders engage with the most — be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ — and start building a presence there,” Volpe says. “Once you’ve set up an account, start connecting sharing your original content, joining discussions and engaging with the community. Keep your social efforts frequent, but above all, relevant and helpful to your audience.”
[Related: 7 Ways to Create a Successful Integrated Marketing Campaign]
- Create a Facebook business page and use Facebook advertising. “Facebook is one of the most important marketing tools for any business to use, especially a small business,” says Tori Hoffman, the social media strategist at Potratz, an automotive advertising agency.
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“Americans spend one out of every seven minutes on social media, providing a huge opportunity for small business owners to build a relationship with fans by sharing relevant content and interacting by commenting and liking fans’ comments,” Hoffman says. “The more a user interacts with a page, the more likely their friends are to see it, increasing awareness.”
Also consider Facebook advertising.
“We have been having great success for our mobile marketing clients with Facebook advertising,” says Bob Bentz, president of ATS Mobile, a mobile marketing agency. “The ads appear right in the news feed so it’s really impossible to miss. It is especially effective with local clients, because there is virtually no waste as with traditional media,” he says.
“A local restaurant, for instance, can promote just to the zip codes where it draws from. It can even target specific age groups and sex,” Bentz says. “Best of all, you can target those customers during the time that they are most likely to buy; for instance, you can display your ads just before and during the lunch and dinner hours.” And if your Facebook campaign isn’t getting the desired results, “there’s no long-term commitment. You can cancel at any time.”
- Post to Pinterest and Instagram. If you are selling a highly visual product or service, say you are in the bridal or food business, you should be regularly posting images on Pinterest and/or Instagram. Posting is free and both platforms have large followings, particularly among women.
“You can drive major traffic to your website via Pinterest, and no platform uses hashtags to build audiences like Instagram,” says Eric Elkins, CEO and chief strategist at WideFoc.us, a real time social media company.
“For goods and services specifically targeting women ages 18 to 65, [we] recommend companies utilize Pinterest,” says Ria Romano, partner, RPR Public Relations. “Since women are inherently more visual than men when it comes to shopping online — it’s not just a cliché — a picture really does speak 1000 words,” she says. Indeed, “for every dollar a female consumer spends on our clients’ products and services they find on Facebook, the same shopper will spend $3 on the same product or service on Pinterest.”
“My favorite place to sell my handmade jewelry is Instagram,” says Mindy McCarthy, owner of MinMac. “It’s the queen of virtual markets. Potential customers can scroll through your collection of pictures and see who they’re supporting,” she says. “They make a connection with you as a person, not just a business owner. It’s very rare that I post a piece of jewelry that doesn’t sell within minutes.”
- Leverage email marketing and email reminders. “Email marketing is great for engaging customers, but you’re really limiting its potential if you keep it in a silo,” says Ron Cates, director, Digital Marketing Education, Constant Contact. So be sure to integrate your email marketing campaigns “with your other marketing campaigns for maximum impact,” and vice versa, he says. For example, “if you’re running a Facebook contest, increase the number of people participating by notifying your email subscriber list of engaged customers,” he says. “If you’re running a time-limited deal or special offer, send a reminder via email.
“The impact of email is undeniable,” Cates states. “We’ve seen from our customers that upwards of 25 percent of all sales of coupons and deals can be attributed to reminder emails.”
- Try PPC (Pay-per-Click) advertising/Google AdWords. “SMBs need to be as targeted with their marketing efforts and dollars as possible, especially if their product/service is location specific — and PPC ads are one way to do so,” says David Waterman, account director, Digital Marketing, The Search Agency, a search marketing and optimization firm.
“PPC ads can be a cost efficient way to dip your toe into the online marketing world and use your marketing dollars to specifically target the regions and terms that relate most to your business,” Waterman says. “Some media/marketing companies even offer automated bidding solutions that allow the SMB PPC novice to gain the same level of targeting and exposure without the heavy lifting.”
“An efficient Google AdWords campaign, where you are sure you know how the platform works, can be a huge quarry of leads for small businesses,” adds Kyle Peterson of Clement | Peterson, a tech PR and marketing firm. “Start with uber-targeted keywords, paying close attention to keyword match types, negative keywords and search query results to eliminate irrelevant visitors, like people looking for jobs,” he says.
“Then, enable some form of conversion tracking so you know that new visitors are scoping out your business and not immediately bouncing,” he says. “Scaling up the spend is the easy part. Making sure you aren’t wasting money on irrelevant clicks is where the biggest AdWords challenge lies.”
[Related: 14 Ways to Use Twitter to Market Your Business]
In addition, or instead of Google AdWords, Waterman recommends small and midsized business owners check out Bing PPC advertising.
- Conduct webinars. “Use webinars to build your list and generate leads,” says Nicole Skuba, a partner at marketing firm Blue Tree Digital. “Webcast experts say some webinars see a 70 percent rebound effect comprising those who viewed the live broadcast as well as new individuals,” she says. “Webinars are also more interactive and keep the attention of leads or potential clients.”
Just make sure your webinar is content rich, with relevant content (that is content relevant to the target audience), well organized and hosted by someone with experience conducting or running a webinar.
- Don’t forget about press releases. “Competition for visibility is intense,” says Abby Hammer, product manager, Vocus, which owns PR Web. “Press releases help small and midsized businesses amplify their content across hundreds of global and local channels, allowing them to achieve the same exposure as much larger brands,” she says.
“By including press releases as part of an integrated marketing strategy, small businesses are able to get their content directly in front of consumers and connect with journalists and bloggers — interactions that can result in lasting impressions,” Hammer says.
In addition, the cost of posting a press release via a wire service is relatively inexpensive, typically $200 to $300, with releases being picked up by the major search engines and thousands of websites. And small businesses have a number of wire services to choose from, including PR Newswire and PR Web.
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