About Jonathan Rick

I'm one of those lucky people whose jobs are extensions of their hobbies: I’m a digital-marketing consultant. Follow me on Twitter and circle me on Google+.

5 Reasons Why People Think They Need a “Skills” Section on Their Resume — And Why They’re Wrong


The Best Resumes Avoid This Mistake

Résumés should show off your skills, not shotgun them.

In writing a résumé, many people include a “skills” section. Here, they cram together “hard” skills, such as programming languages or software, and “soft” skills, such as “conflict resolution” or “adaptability.”

Let me be frank: This is a waste of space. Instead of ticking off vague notions like “Excel” or “Photoshop,” tell your audience how you used these programs. Get specific.

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Why You Should Always Be Extra Polite in Your Emails


WTF

A tale of two emails.

Sometimes an email is just an email. Other times, it’s an X ray of someone’s character. Here’s a perfect example of the difference.

Recently, a friend emailed me. He asked if I would forward the résumé of a friend of his to my clients that have intern programs. I did so happily.

Both people I emailed replied within a few hours (after all, they work at PR agencies). Yet while they basically said the same thing — “You’re too late” — the tones they used were strikingly divergent. Here’s what they wrote:

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These 3 News Outlets Have Figured Out a Better Way to Tweet


Work Smarter, Not Harder

When tweeting, most of us add an image only if it’s explicitly called for. For example, if we’re commenting on a facepalm by the White House chief of staff during a speech by the president, it makes sense to include the priceless pic.

Yet for the vast majority of content, the vast majority of people don’t think in visual terms. Instead, we put out the link along with some text, and leave it at that.

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A Few New Things You May Have Noticed on Our Website


The Jonathan Rick Group Team

They say the shoemaker’s son has no shoes. Few fields illustrate this principle better than marketing: so many of our fellow flacks neglect their own websites that it can be hard to take them seriously.

That’s why (after far too much procrastination), we finally made a few critical changes to JRG’s site. They’re nothing dramatic, but they facilitate major improvements in SEO and UX. Here are the details:

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Use This One Simple Trick to Make People Actually Read What You Write


Visual aids make writing easier and reading more enjoyable.

Smart writers know a secret. They know that what you write — your choice of words — is only half of any project. The other half is how those words look — everything from your font size to your margin widths. Packaging and presentation matter more than most people appreciate.

This is one reason stores like Gucci and Whole Foods can charge a premium: the layout of their bricks and mortar gives rise to a certain appearance and ambiance. By contrast, while I have nothing against Marshalls or Giant Food, when it comes to aesthetics, their displays just can’t compete.

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You’ve Been Apologizing the Wrong Way Your Whole Life


I'm Sorry You Feel That Way

Have you ever told someone, by way of apology, “I’m sorry if you feel that way”?

If so, please know that this is not an apology. In fact, this all-too-common phrase is one of the most specious in the English language. It’s a head nod toward contrition, but it’s utterly devoid of sincerity.

There are at least three major problems with these seven little words.

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You Have a LinkedIn Profile. Now What?


If you’re reading this, you no doubt have a LinkedIn profile. What you may not have is a full understanding of LinkedIn’s hidden powers — how it can transform your online presence from an afterthought into a model of thought leadership.

Here’s a quick example. LinkedIn offers two fields for your title: one is your career title (how you describe yourself at parties); the other is your job title (what your business card says).

To illustrate: have you ever heard of the guy known as the “Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs”? Here’s a hint: you know him by his job (rather than career) title: the “National Security Advisor.”

Sadly, when it comes to social media, most people conflate these two appellations. As a result, they miss an invaluable opportunity to optimize their brand in search results — not only on LinkedIn, but also in Google.

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Why Adjunct Professors Shouldn’t Need Graduate Degrees


Because looking good on paper is not the same thing as being good.

When hiring a professor, nearly every college uses commonly agreed-upon criteria. Among these, perhaps the most important is whether the applicant has a graduate degree.

On one hand, credentials are a critical part of a school’s brand. Given that students are coughing up an arm and a leg for today’s tuition, it’s helpful when a school can boast that “every single one of our faculty holds an advanced degree.” Indeed, this percentage contributes to a school’s ranking.

This argument makes sense, especially from a marketing perspective. Yet it’s less compelling when applied to adjunct, rather than tenure-track, professors — i.e., those who teach as a sideline. We adjuncts typically have another job that pays the bills; we don’t teach for the money, but because we love doing it.

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You’re Doing It Wrong: Elevator Pitches and Cover Letters


As you may know, I teach business writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. And, as you may have guessed from JonathanRickPresentations.com, most of my classes are driven by PowerPoint.

Why, then, are most of my slide decks not online, I wondered recently? After all, there’s a website called SlideShare. The honest answer: laziness.

Here, then, are a couple of my class workshops (they’re short):

1. How to Articulate a Winning Elevator Pitch