Understand CFRE : Step by Step to Achieve your Goal

Founded in 2001, CFRE International is an independent nonprofit organization whose sole mission is dedicated to setting standards in philanthropy through a valid and reliable certification process for fundraising professionals. In this topic we are going in depth to understand CFRE and a step by step guide to achieve your goal to become one.

Lets eavesdrop to a conversation between Ben and Linda to know more.

Ben: What is the CFRE designation and why is it important in the field of fundraising?

Linda: The CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive is a voluntary credential that is recognized worldwide. The CFRE signifies a confident, ethical fundraising professional. It is how today’s fundraiser shows accountability, service, and commitment to making a difference for good. I believe the CFRE credential is vital to a fundraiser’s professional growth and that it sets the standard for ethical practice in the sector.

Ben: How many CFREs are there?

Linda: There are more than 7,600 fundraising professionals from over 25 countries who are currently CFREs.

Ben: Why do employers prefer to hire CFREs?

Linda: When I received my CFRE, most employers did not recognize the benefits of hiring CFREs, in fact, most did not even know what the designation was. Today, 54% of CFREs receive employer support towards their initial certification fees and 60% of employers put money towards the continuing education required for certification. These employers know that by investing in their staff, they are investing in their fundraising department’s future success. Research shows that accredited certification programs are consistently preferred by employers because they drive quality and improve results.

Ben: What is the process like?

Linda: To earn CFRE certification, fundraising professionals must meet education, professional practice, and professional performance requirements; pass a comprehensive exam on best practices in ethical fundraising; and attest that they are knowledgeable and abide by the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising as well as laws governing fundraising in their region of practice.

Ben: What do current CFREs say about the CFRE designation?

Linda: Over 90 percent of current CFREs said they would recommend becoming a CFRE to a colleague, citing increased opportunities for career advantages and advancement. 

Ben: Can the CFRE help you land a better job?

Linda: CFRE certification can give you the “edge” when being considered for a promotion or other career opportunities. That’s why 89 percent of CFREs say the certification has enhanced their professional opportunities.Holding a professional certification gives you exceptional leverage when negotiating your next package.In fact, 83% of CFREs say earning their CFRE has had value in increasing their salary

Ben: How did the CFRE process help you in your career?

Linda: Like many other, I felt that the CFRE was a personal and professional achievement I wanted to attain. Holding a CFRE shows that you have displayed mastery of the field by meeting requirements and standards set in philanthropy. Nearly 99% of CFREs say earning their CFRE gave them a sense of personal achievement.

Ben: Did people value your consulting services more because you held the CFRE?

Linda: Yes, when I originally received my CFRE, and then later when I attained the ACFRE designation, I felt I had an edge over my competition. And I am not alone. More than 93% of CFREs say they have gained increased recognition from peers by earning their certification.

Ben: How will this CFRE course help you attain the CFRE?

Linda: This course covers all the basics covered in the CFRE exam and more. You’ll learn about various methods of fundraising; the role of board, staff, and volunteers in fundraising; strategic and development planning; ethics in fundraising; and more.

Ben: Does this course provide CEU credit which will count toward the education I need to apply for the CFRE?

Linda: Yes, the course is approved for 16 CFRE points.

Ben: Do I have to take the course in person on assigned dates?

Linda: No, you can take the course on-demand from the comfort of your home or office, at your own pace.

Ben: Do you have any references from people who have taken the course?

Linda: Yes (provide them with the reference from our live attendee)

Ben: Do I have access to the instructor, if I have any questions?

Linda: Yes, you can email me anytime at Linda@LindaLysakowski.com.

Ben: What if I would like to learn more on any of the course topics?

Linda: We also offer more intense courses by Linda on most of the course topics (see link to other courses)

Ben: How do I sign up?

Linda: https://bit.ly/3DHwyHs

importance of soft skills for organizations

7 Ways Soft Skills Training Can Propel Your Business Growth

What is the Importance of Soft Skills for Business Growth?

It is generally observed that most business organizations focus on hard skills when it comes to hiring. Although these hard skills are important, soft skills mustn’t be ignored. After all, an employee can only express himself or herself well when he or she has soft skills. These soft skills enable them to work as a team, grow as an individual, and contribute to the success of the organization in a better way. You can refer to an earlier post on soft skills on Guruface to know the type of soft skills that help a person to grow inside and outside an organization.

It is said that over the years soft skills in people naturally declined. Nowadays, these skills are taught through several courses. However, many business organizations are reluctant to accept the importance of soft skills for their business. Needless to say, they may not favor soft skill courses, too. This post focuses on the importance of using soft skills for organizational growth and how soft skill courses prepare individuals for achieving organizations’ goals.

7 Reasons Why Business Owners Should Encourage Soft Skill Courses in Their Organizations

In 2018, LinkedIn has conducted a study across 100 leading cities in the US to map the soft skills gap in the country. At the end of the study, it declared that there is a huge gap of 1.4 million professionals with soft skills across industries. Many soft skills like communication, problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking, time management, and stress management mean improved productivity within the organization. Thus, there are several benefits of encouraging your staff to improve their soft skills. These skills can be acquired on their own or they can take courses on soft skills.  Are you still confused? Perhaps, the following pointers may help you understand it better.

  1. Improved Communication: improved team communication

    David Grossman in his book “The Cost of Poor Communications” has suggested that inadequate communication or miscommunication costs companies with 100,000 employees an average loss of $62.4 million every year.  Adding to this, Debra Hamilton’s article “ Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money” suggests that miscommunication can be detrimental for even smaller companies with less 100 employees. It may lead to an annual loss of $420,000. Can you afford these? If no, communication is the area where you need to invest.

    Effective communication will enable your employees to communicate among themselves, with clients, and other stakeholders effectively. By making them attend soft skill courses, you will help them to express themselves, and minimize confusion.

  2. Improved Critical Thinking: To understand the benefits of critical thinking, you need to understand what weak critical thinking skills mean. Let’s see these situations:
    • Bad decisions
    • Costly business errors
    • Failed systems
    • Repeated mistakes
    • Inaccurate assumptions
    • Loss of opportunities

Do you think your business can afford to lose in these areas? If no, then it is the time you must encourage your employees to find creative and critical solutions for issues. Cultivating soft skills in them will help them to weigh their options and think out of the box.

  1. Improved Collaboration: According to Salesforce, 86% of executives and employees across business organizations cite lack of communication or collaboration as one of the reasons for workplace failures. Another study by Mckinsey suggests that 97% of executives and employees believe that lack of collaboration at a workplace can have a direct impact on the project outcomes. Improved collaboration enables employees to work toward common goals and objectives more efficiently.
  2. Strong Leadership: Imagine a scenario where employees and leaders are disconnected from each other. Firstly, this would lead to miscommunication, which would ultimately end up in a mess. It has been found that 27% of employees may want to leave an organization within the first year if they feel disconnected from the management. If you have employees with better communication skills, perhaps, they would be able to delegate work, communicate with you, accept feedback, and motivate themselves to achieve the target. Doesn’t that sound impressive?
  3. Reduced Downtimes: Today, every business understands the impact of going offline for a few hours. Although technology may be a reason for these downtimes, miscommunication or lack of human communication may also lead to this downtime. If employees are communicative, they will be proactive, too. They can quickly identify the problems and eliminate the barriers that are hampering goals, tasks, and projects. In short, they would be able to quickly find solutions to minimize these downtimes.
  4. Improved Motivation at Workplace: soft-skills-motivated-employees
    Today, many soft skill courses focus on building empathetic skills in learners. Can empathy be taught? Shouldn’t it come naturally? Yes, empathy can also be taught. According to a State of Workplace Empathy Study by Businessolver in 2020, the workplaces are less empathetic than before. Today, business leaders and employees are not doing much to show empathy. The study suggested that 68% of employees felt that their employers are empathetic, 48% of employees believed that their business organizations were overall empathetic. Almost 82% of employers who participated in the study suggested that improved empathy among employees has positive outcomes. How? Empathy is the ability to understand others’ emotions and feelings.  When employees understand each other’s situation and try to find solutions together, they will build strong relationships. These relationships motivate them to stay longer in the organization and work productively.
  5. Improved Team Synergy and Reduced Attrition Ratio:  A report by Gusto suggests that 54% of employees have confirmed that a sense of community and collaboration keeps them together. Adding to this, another study by Forbes.com suggests that employees who collaborate regularly are likely to stick to their tasks 64% longer than their peers who do not collaborate. This type of collaboration would also mean high engagement and high success rates.

An Important Tip for the Future: In a few years, millennials will make up for the large section of the workforce. A study says that 33% of millennials wish to work for companies that are collaborative and support collaboration.

All these suggest, how team collaboration helps build strong team synergy and directly contributes to reduced attrition rates. To initiate this collaboration, businesses must focus on developing communication and collaboration skills in their employees.

Conclusion

All these benefits suggest why soft skills are important for any business organization. However, hard skills should not be neglected. It is important to balance soft skills and hard skills equally to build a productive workforce. There are several hard skill and soft skill courses on Guruface that help organizations and people to improve their skills. These courses are hand-picked by our team based on the market demand. Delivered by leading industry experts, these courses are proven to prepare people for a job-ready career.

How to Start a Career in Robotics?

6 Important Steps to Build a Career in Robotics

How to start career in robotics?

Robotics has emerged as one of the most popular buzz words of the 20th century. Cyborgs replacing humans has been one of the wildest fantasies that have driven scientists for years. Who can forget the robots from retro movies and TV shows such as Bubo in Clash of Titans, Vicki from Small Wonder, RoboCop in the movie of the same name. Although these robots have been part of the folklore that inspired kids for several years, you would be amazed to know that many of them exist in reality! They are being hired in many business organizations across the world. The following are a few robot-related facts that may amaze you.

  • According to McKinsey, almost 88% of businesses worldwide soon plan to adopt robotic automation.
  • Collaborative robots (cobots) will constitute the major robotics sale by 2025.
  • ABI Research predicted that over 40,000 cobot units will be sold by 2020.
  • A report by IMARC Group says that there are more than 12 million robot-driven units used across the world.
  • The military robotics industry will reach $16.5 million by 2025.
  • The market for collaborative robots will increase at CAGR of 28.6% every year until 2030.
  • A research by Loup Ventures suggests that the industrial robotics market will grow by 175% in years between 2020 to 2030.
  • An analysis by Deutsche Bank suggests that Amazon cobots – Kiva have helped the company to save as much as $22 million in operational costs across their warehouses.

Finally

According to the New York Times, today, robotics employs more than 150,000 people in various assembly and engineering-related jobs worldwide. Career Explorer suggests the robotics job market will grow by 6.4% between 2016 to 2026. Do all these make you think or re-think about pursuing a career in robotics? If that sounds yes, this post introduces you to tips that will help you reach your goal.

6 Steps to Build a Career in Robotics

 

  1. Choose School and High School Subjects Wisely: It can be rightly said that the path to robotic engineering is paved during the school days. The following are some essential subjects that you need to learn at the school level to begin with robotics.
    1. Physics: It introduces you to diverse concepts about mechanics, energy, systems, and material science, which are important sub-topics in robotics.
    2. Mathematics and Statistics: Gaining a basic understanding of different concepts in geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and statistics will be helpful because they make the core of robotics.
    3. Technology and Design: Under this, you can learn product designing, graphic designing, manufacturing, and technological studies.
  1. Take a Bachelor’s Degree in Robotics Engineering: A Bachelor’s Degree in Robotics Engineering from a recognized university or institution is one of the important requisites for starting a career in robotics. You can also find robotics engineers specializing in degrees such as mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, and electrical engineering. Since robotics is a cross-disciplinary field, these courses prepare you for different aspects of robotics. A Master’s degree or PhD in Robotics Engineering is required for professional eyeing senior positions.

 

  1. Learn Programming Languages: What language does a robot speak? A robot can be programmed in different languages. The following are the top 7 programming languages used in robotics.
    1. C/C++: They are one of the most comprehensive yet mature programming languages used by roboticists. Many hardware libraries used in robots employ either of these languages.
    2. Python: This is one of the most in-demand programming languages used by robotics engineers. Ease-of-use, interoperability, and comprehensive libraries make Python a preferred language for robotics engineers.
    3. R: This language is mostly preferred for statistical modelling research. It features different packages such as Tidyverse that enable users to import, visualize, manipulate and report data easily and effectively. These packages can be handled by anyone with or without programming expertise.
    4. Java: This is an interpretative language, which forms the core of several AIs such as AlphaGo and Watson. The Java Virtual Machines (JVM) interprets the code during the runtime, so you can use it across machines.
    5. C#/.NET: The language is widely used in virtual reality engines, and is quite popular right now.
    6. MATLAB: The programming language is employed for data analysis and control system development. MATLAB offers a robotic toolbox and it is offered as a part of several robotics courses.
    7. Hardware Description Languages (HDLs): These languages are used to drive the electronics in robotics systems. They are used to create robotic electronic prototypes.

Many of these languages are taught as the part of engineering, however, for others, you can join programming courses online. Today, you can choose between free and paid online programming courses. However, free courses have their limitations, as there is no one to guide you and most times, you have to learn by yourself. However, paid courses conducted by industry experts can serve you in many ways. You can clarify your doubts with the trainers, or even interact with other people attending the courses and share your ideas.

  1. Understand the Different Robotics Career Options and Their Requirements.
    Robotics engineer is the most common career option for people eyeing a career in robotics. Having said that, not all robotics engineers have same job profiles. Their roles and responsibilities largely differ.

    1. Robotics Programmers: They are responsible for programming critical business functions in a robot.
    2. Robotics System Engineers: They employ Computer-aided Design C(CAD) and Computer-aided Manufacturing (CAM) to design, as well as develop robotic systems.
    3. Robotics Design Engineers: They are responsible for designing and developing robots as per the specifications using different tools and software. They are also known as automated product design engineers.

In addition to these engineers, the employers also hire for the following jobs:

  1. Robotics Perception and Navigation Specialists: Their job involves fusing and transforming data from LIDAR, stereo cameras, and IMUS. Generally, employers hire professionals specializing in mobile robotics and machine vision.
  2. Machine Learning Specialists: As the name suggests, these professionals usually develop and apply Machine Learning analysis for different complex scenarios in robotic applications.
  3. Technicians: They are maintenance and repair technicians who can build and repair robots.
  4. Robotics Sales Engineers: They are the people who finally sell the product to potential customers. A sales engineer must know everything about the product while pitching the customer. He must be able to map the client requirements with the product and customize accordingly.
  1. Do Extra Homework and Be Active: Joining any reputed online course in robotics is not enough. You need to be active in different groups. Networking is one of the best ways to inch closer to your goal. It offers you opportunities to interact with like-minded individuals. Similarly, you can apply for robotics internships at different engineering and AI companies; enter into robotics competitions; or even visit the NASA Career Corner to get some tips on how to begin a career in robotics by engineers and scientists at NASA.

 

  1. Acquire Skills that Employers May be Looking For: As seen, robotic job profiles have different requirements. However, there are certain skills that you need to have to get hired. Some of these skills come naturally, whereas others you need to cultivate.
    1. Be a systems thinker: A roboticist must understand how a system thinks, acts, and behaves in different conditions.
    2. Focus on technology design: A roboticist shares several similarities with a civil engineer. How? Both design systems or structures that speak. A good roboticist must be able to design systems that not only work but also stand for itself. If the system is not working, a roboticist must be quick enough to grasp the problem and suggest the solution.
  • Be a knowledge hunter: Building robots or programming them is not easy, you must be ready to learn, implement, and rectify whenever needed.
  1. Be a problem solver: We humans have certain limitations when it comes to working. A robot is ideally supposed to work in all conditions, but that may not be the case. So, if your robot stops working it is important to analyze the reasons or causes for failure and fix them before the issue escalates.

While reading through the post, you may have realized how robotics challenges you to stay updated always. It is one of the fastest evolving technology domains, and thus makes one of the most promising career options, too. However, staying updated or staying educated doesn’t always mean you have to visit the college or join full-time courses. Perhaps, you can consider robotics courses offered by experienced experts on Guruface. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner, an intermediate, or an expert – the robotics always presents big challenges. Understanding this, Guruface offers courses that target beginners, intermediate, and expert-level learners. You can seek these courses in trainer-led and self-paced mode. The trainer-led courses also offer scope for exploration, analysis, and critical thinking through assignments, discussions, projects, and exams. Do you think that interests you? If yes, you can visit Guruface Academy to check the different courses. You can get in touch with our team today to get more details of these courses.

Python Applications and Job Opportunities

Python Programming: Reasons for Popularity, Applications, and Job Opportunities Discussed

Job Opportunities of Python Programming and its Applications

Python has emerged as one of the key programming languages in recent years. Its simplicity, ease of use, and flexibility make it a preferred language for smart applications. Today, it is hailed as a “must learn” language or the “ Next Big Thing” by programmers who want to part of the current artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) evolution. This is why Python certification is the most valued thing in programming. Have you ever wondered how this certification will shape my career? Or what opportunities exist for me? If the answers to these questions sound yes, then this blog aims to answer these questions and more. Stay tuned.

What Makes Python the “Next Big Thing” in Programming

Although many companies still use Java, PHP, C++, and other languages, Python has emerged as a clear favorite in recent years due to the following reasons.  

  1. It is an open-source language, which means you can use it for free and download it from the official website of Python.
  2. It is an interpreted language, which makes it easier for beginners, as well as experts alike, to execute the source code at once.
  3. This language can be dynamically typed unlike C++, C, and Java, which is statically typed.
  4. Python combines the best of both functional and object-oriented programming.
  5. There is a large community that continuously contributes to the development of the language.
  6. It comes with large libraries and packages for databases, web and mobile applications, image manipulation, unit-testing, and so on.
  7. It is highly flexible and portable, which means, the code written for IOS or Linux Machine can be run on Windows or vice-versa.
  8. It can be used on any type of platform, there will be no loss of performance irrespective of the platform.
  9. The versatility of this language makes it highly popular with various applications.
  10. Python helps in automating several tasks, which makes it an integral part of software testing.

A Few Popular Application Areas of Python

Applications of Python Programming language
Applications of Python Programming language

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: This is the intelligence exhibited by machines. Today, our lives are largely controlled by AI-driven applications. Python is the most suited language for AI. SciPy for advanced computing, PyML, Keras, SciKit, TensorFlow, and MDP Toolkit for machine learning, and Seaborn for data visualization.
  1. Networking: Python is employed for configuring switches and routers, and Python libraries such as Ansible, Netmiko, PySNM, Pyeapi, Paramiko SSH are used extensively by networking engineers.
  1. Big Data: Big data is a reality today and it symbolizes a voluminous amount of data generated by digital applications. Although there are several advanced data processing systems in the market, they are inadequate in dealing with the data deluge. Python is used in web scraping applications. It is used for extracting data from web pages and websites. The data thus pulled is used in various real-world processes such as price comparison, job listings, business listings, and so on. Today, data analysts are employing big python libraries for data scraping. Scikit-learn, Pandas, Bokeh, IPython, Agate, Dask, GraphLab Create are a few popular Python libraries used by data analysts.
  1. Game Development: Game designers are nowadays using Python libraries to develop interactive games. Python libraries like PyGame and PySoy are widely used for 3D game development.
  1. Desktop GUI: Python possesses modular architecture, which improves its workability across multiple systems. This architecture combined with advanced text processing tools makes them an ideal choice for developing desktop GUI. Tkinter, PyQt, PyGUI, and PySide are a few libraries that are used by Python developers for developing graphical user interfaces (GUI).
  1. Language Development: Python’s flexible and user-friendly architecture and design has inspired new languages like Swift, OCaml, CoffeeScript, and so on.
  2. Image Processing and Graphic Design: Python is used in image processing and graphic design applications, too. Python forms the base of several 2D and 3D imaging software that we use today – Inkscape, Paint, Shop Pro, GIMP, Blender, 3DS Max, Houdini, Lightwave, and so on.

Top 5 Interesting Python Job Profiles That You Can Consider

Having known the benefits and application areas of Python, you may want to consider the different job options available to you. Isn’t it? The following are the top 6 job roles that you can fill on learning Python online.

Job Opportunities of Python Programming language
Job Opportunities of Python Programming language

  1. Python Web Developer or Python Programmer: This is the first job option that comes your way if you know Python programming. Nowadays, Python programmers are employed by organizations that deal with AI and ML. Python developers or programmers usually work on server-side components. Although their roles and responsibilities may slightly vary across organizations, generally they are required to:
    1. Write efficient codes that are user-friendly, testable, and above all reusable
    2. Design and implement high performance and low latency applications
    3. Integrate UI elements with server-side logic
    4. Implement data protection and security measures
    5. Integrate various data storage solutions
  2. Data Analyst: They are hired in organizations that deal with a large amount of data. As the name suggests, data analysts enable businesses to interpret large chunks of data gain actionable insights from them. The data is gathered, interpreted, and shared with the business owner. In addition to this, the data analysts are required to:
    1. Share the report with relevant stakeholders within and outside the organization
    2. Identify and report trends and patterns in data
    3. Work alongside teams to establish new needs
    4. Define data collection and analysis process
  3. Machine Learning Engineer: According to a report by Indeed.com, the average salary of a machine learning engineer is S146,085 in the US. The job postings for this profile have increased by 344 percent between 2015 to 2018. The roles and responsibilities of an ML engineer may vary across organizations, however, they are required to:
    1. Build ML algorithms based on modeling procedures
    2. Implement data structures, computer architecture, and algorithms effectively
    3. Collaborate with engineers to make model and data pipelines
    4. Manage the data pipelines and infrastructure necessary to bring code to production
    5. Lead the software design and software engineering
    6. Analyze complex and large datasets to extract insights and decide on the final techniques
    7. Research and implement the best practices to improve the machine learning infrastructure
  4. Data Journalist: This is the most interesting job profile on this list. Data journalism is a subset of journalism that uses python to create amazing stories. Data journalism is usually employed by news organizations for two purposes – identifying new stories for broadcasting and presenting information based on objectivity. A data journalist is a person with strong communication skills and an equally strong grip on Python programming. Python is used to analyze, arrange, as well as visualize data related to the topic. Although data journalism is still in infancy, the data journalist may be required to fulfill the following roles and responsibilities.
    1. Front-end web development
    2. Data visualization design
    3. Data management
    4. Data scraping, parsing, and wrangling
  5. Research Analyst: Research analysts with Python skills are being hired by several growing businesses in the US. According to Payscale.com, the research analyst with 1-4 years of experience earns an average salary of $60,000, and those with almost 5-9 years of experience earn $80,000. In any organization, a research analyst is required to:
    1. Examine data, as well as produce meaningful insights for the employer
    2. Analyze quantitative data
    3. Present data in easy to understand and comprehensible format for quick use
    4. Collaborate with team members to understand their information needs and deliverables

Conclusion

Python is the hot trend currently and you need to acquire the right skills to take advantage of the opportunities described in the post. To acquire these skills, you can join online Python courses on Guruface. These courses are conducted by experts who have been at the forefront of the AI and ML revolution. You can choose from several trainer-led and self-paced courses on our website. You can visit to see the courses offered and click on “Buy Now” to know more about the course details. For more details, you can get in touch with our team today.

importance of softskills

8 Important Soft Skills For Career And Your Personal Growth

8 Important Soft Skills For Career And Your Personal Growth

A hard skill like programming, marketing, and campaign management, SEO/SEM marketing, data mining, and mobile development may help you ace a job. However, soft skills will help you grow in a job. The term soft skills stand for personal traits and habits that shape your relationships at the workplace.

In 2017, a study by Harvard student David J. Deming concluded that jobs demanding soft skills or social skills have grown by 12% between the years 1980 to 2012 in the US alone. Another study by Deloitte Access Economics suggests that soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of jobs by 2030. Recently, the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey suggested that recruiters are keen to hire people with soft skills. However, they see a large gap in this area. Now you may think, why are soft skills important for any business organization? What are the soft skills important to excel in the career? Read this post to know the answers.

Soft-Skills

Importance of Soft Skills in Any Organization

Soft skills are important for any business organization for a variety of reasons.

  • They help build human connections, which drive an organization.
  • They help convince and retain customers, partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders within and outside the organization.
  • These skills will help build strong and vibrant workplaces.
  • They will help individuals in career progression and promotion.
  • They are hard to automate and no business in the world can survive without them!

Having known the importance of soft skills in the organization, it is quite obvious to think about the type of soft skills to excel in an organization. Read the next section to know the answers.

Top 8 Soft Skills to Excel In Your Career

According to LinkedIn and Monster Jobs, the following are the top 8 soft skills that will help you excel in a career and build strong interpersonal relationships.

  1. Effective Communication

    Verbal and written communication is the key to excel in the workplace. Communication skills boost your chances of building stronger relationships with your colleagues. They help minimize errors and maximize productivity at the workplace. If you can communicate how, what, when, why, and where effectively – there will be fewer worries, and more productive ideas coming your way.

  2. Adaptability

    However, hard you plan, there are unforeseen risks and challenges in every project. In such situations, your employers expect you to pivot, and find a suitable solution. According to Joel Garfinkle, the author of Getting Ahead: The Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next, the workplaces are rapidly changing. Employers are on a constant lookout for people who can quickly pivot the change to salvage the situation and keep the work going.

  3. Problem Solving

    The challenges are bound to arise every now and then within the organization. It entirely depends on how you would like to approach it: would you complain or would try to find a solution? If the answer is second, there are chances that you make the best impression on your manager or the top management. If you choose to complain, perhaps, you are losing on opportunities that may come your way. Knowing how to tackle a problem will make you the employer’s favorite. And remember, successful businesses are always lead by problem solvers!

  4. Teamwork

    TeamworkThere are all chances that you have heard lines of Julia Carney’s famous poem Little Things “ Little drops of water make a mighty ocean”. If you consider the workplace as an ocean, you can see that it is made of people with diverse skill sets and talents. The quality of work improves only when people use their skills and talents in collaboration to focus on a common goal. Knowing this, most employers always prefer team players who can contribute to healthy office culture.

  5. Creativity

    Employers hire people who show exhibit creativity. Have you wondered why many businesses fail to make a mark after a certain time period? There can be several reasons, however, the lack of creativity can be one of the key reasons. One of the biggest examples being Nokia, which was the pioneer of mobile phones but failed to make an impact due to a lack of creative ideas. The businesses that fail to present creative ideas quickly fade into oblivion. As said before, these businesses are made of individuals who drive this creativity. So, you can understand how important this skill is? Creativity does not always mean presenting exceptionally brilliant ideas during team meetings, rather it can also be demonstrated through your approach towards certain problems, people, and conditions.

  6. Conflict Resolution

    Conflicts are bound to arise in any workplace because it is made of different individuals. It all depends on how one navigates through these conflicts. Employers always prefer people who are good at conflict resolution. Being able to resolve disagreements constructively and amicably is a key leadership trait. The people who possess this trait are perceived as an asset to the organization and they help build and promote a healthy workplace.

  7. Negotiation

    A good negotiator makes a good leader – is a common conception. And yes, it is true to a large extent. A good negotiator is the one who understands the situations and makes the right decision. For instance, one of the team members may approach you for extending a deadline. Next, a client may be pushing you for quick delivery. The boss wants to cut down a marketing budget by 10%, which may affect your output. All these situations require different negotiation skills. Some people may choose a one-size approach to all situations. This approach may work in some instances but fail most times. This is because some of these negotiations need to be competitive, others are constructive or collaborative depending on the situation. So, the decision to be competitive, constructive, and collaborative, entirely lies with you and depends on the situation you are in.

  8. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

    Empathy is a soft skill that cannot be taught, but it comes from within. However, you can cultivate it with time. Empathy forms the base of emotional intelligence. By practicing empathy, you can improve your awareness of people and their situations. This facilitates deep understanding and helps you build stronger relationships at the workplace. With the workplace becoming increasingly divisible, this trait will earn you a lot of respect and attention at your workplace.

How Can You Acquire Soft Skills?

Many of the soft skills listed in this post are inculcated in childhood, still, you can acquire them with time. You can practice the following habits and enrich them.

  • Improve your communication skills, both written and spoken
  • Be solutions-oriented rather than problem-driven
  • Observe your colleagues and build an attitude that helps you interact with them effectively
  • Observe their body language and try to pick the positive traits from them
  • Practice patience and improve your listening skills
  • Try to understand your colleagues and the situations they are in for effective navigation through work-related and personal problems

Every small effort made towards building, acquiring, or sharpening these skills will help you in a big way. Although you can also acquire these skills by observation and self-practicing, still, joining various soft skill courses online will help. Today, these courses are offered by different organizations and online learning platforms like Guruface. The tailor-made courses at Guruface help participants to strengthen their communication skills as well as build strong interpersonal skills. They are designed to bring out the best in learners. Both organizations and individuals can attend these courses to increase their chances of success.

interview questions on UFT for SAP testing automation

All Important Interview Questions on UFT for SAP Testing Answered

Important Interview Questions On UFT For SAP Testing Answered

Flexibility, scalability, and efficiency are a few factors that drive the demand for SAP among businesses. Having said that, the SAP implementation is never easy and the businesses considering it needs to focus on multiple factors including the testing effectiveness of solutions.

Over the years, various testing tools have gained popularity among SAP business owners group. Unified Functional Testing (UFT) is one of the most popular amongst them. What are the other popular SAP testing tools? Why UFT is the best tool for SAP testing? This discussion between Wally Tauriac, Software Engineer and Test Analyst with over 40 years of experience in several fortune 500 companies and author of SAP test automation using HP UFT; and Ben Xavier, CTO, Guruface.com aims to answer these questions.  And also tries to cover all other important questions that you may have in mind regarding the implementation of QTP/UFT for SAP applications.

Questions and Answers on QTP/UFT for SAP Automation Testing

1. Ben XavierWhat are the tools used for SAP Testing?

Wally Tauriac: The top five test tools used for SAP testing are:

  1. Worksoft– known for being a code-free solution, compatible with SAP Fiori supportive, and ALM and Agile.
  2. RightData– SAP HANA migration, good for high validation testing, and supports a validation builder tool.
  3. Testimony– eliminates the manual efforts around test case delivery, execution, and updates for SAP testing.
  4. Micro Focus (QTP) UFT– has been around at the top of marketing supporting SAPGUI testing known as a feature-rich tool.
  5. eCATT– intended to provide the testing support needed for a SAPGUI application.

As I mentioned, UFT is still strong in the functional testing market.

2. Ben Xavier: Why use UFT over other tools for SAP testing?
Wally Tauriac: UFT has been around for a long time and therefore supports multiple versions of SAPGUI, multiple browsers, multiple operating systems, with continually growing functional services to meet customer needs.

3. Ben Xavier: What are the business benefits of SAP Test Automation using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: There are several benefits to name, whereas I believe the following benefits of UFT have contributed to their quick adoption among SAP business owners.

  • Ease of use – the programming language is VBScript which is easy to learn and use
  • Easy to record new scripts ready for execution
  • Easy to identify and define application test objects
  • Capable of identifying hard-to-detect test objects that are not common to applications
  • User-friendly IDE for customizing test object validation and verification
  • Easily adapts to various commonly known test frameworks

4. Ben Xavier: What are the career possibilities of SAP automation testing using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: There are 100s of jobs available for UFT knowledgeable individuals to test SAPGUI applications around the country. The roles are known as Quality Assurance Analyst, Tester, Automation Engineer, QA Engineer, and others.

5. Ben Xavier: How to modify an SAP Portal script?
Wally Tauriac: SAP Portal scripts are one of many supported protocols in UFT. SAP Portal is similar to web UFT scripts. The following image is an example of what a UFT SAP Portal script looks like.

what a UFT SAP Portal script looks like
An example of a UFT SAP Portal script

If you have more time, here is a video that provides a detailed understanding of how this example was developed in UFT.

 

6. Ben Xavier: How do we modify a SAPGUI script?
Wally Tauriac: SAPGUI applications are challenging test objects for test tools. But UFT can adapt to what SAPGUI requires for a test script. Here is what a UFT test script looks like for SAPGUI.

what a UFT test script looks like for SAPGUI
Example of a UFT test script for SAPGUI

For more details regarding viewing and modifying a UFT script for testing SAPGUI, here is a video that is part of my training course on UFT for SAP Testing, published on Guruface.com.

 

7. Ben Xavier: How do we test SAP Portal and SAPGUI applications using UFT?
Wally Tauriac: The UFT IDE is the normal tool used for running UFT test scripts. This includes SAP Portal and SAPGUI applications which are two of many UFT protocols. Because UFT coding syntax is supported by the VBScript language, it is an alternative way that UFT scripts can be executed. And a third method of executing UFT scripts is using its sister product called ALM or Quality Center also owned by Micro Focus.

Do You Want to Learn and Implement QTP/UFT for SAP Testing?
If the answer sounds Yes, you may join an eLearning course on QTP/UFT for SAP Testing by Wally Tauriac on Guruface.com, which is one of the fastest-growing and top-rated eLearning platform. This course is specially designed for those who want to learn or master the art of developing effective ERP test scripts using Unified Functional Testing (UFT).

 

eLearning Course on UFT for SAP Testing
The course is designed to bring UFT or
QTP together with SAP Portal and
SAPGUI application testing activities.UFT-for-SAP
Buy The Course Now!

Software testing professionals working in office

Robot Framework – Things You Must Know About

Things you need to know about Robot Framework are listed as a Question & Answer session

It is quite sure that we dreamed of building and operating or simply operating a robot at some point in our lives. With that dream or its remnants subtly embedded in our consciousness, the term robot framework may like a framework that helps you build or operate robots. Isn’t it? However, this is not the case, the term has nothing to do with any robot, although it sounds similar.
This framework has a certain amount of automation involved, which allows developers to develop and set automatic tests for testing their complex computing solutions. Although popular, this concept still stirs doubts in minds of professionals who may be considering QA Analyst as a career option or those who may be planning to pursue this course.

Question and Answers on Robot Framework

Wally Tauriac, one of the popular trainers on Robot Framework Test Concepts and a Software Engineer and Test Analyst for over 40 years of experience with several fortune 500 companies, sheds light on the importance of this framework and its implementation benefits in an online interview with Ben Xavier, CTO, Guruface.com.

Ben Xavier: What is Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework is an open-source automation test tool. It integrates with some common tools, such as Selenium, Appium, SAPGUI, Excel, and Python. These tools enhance its ability to provide a robust test framework for different application platforms.

 

Ben Xavier: How do you use a Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework is an open-source automation test framework tool. It uses the keyword-driven testing technique approach for its process design. Its capabilities can be extended by the integration of test libraries, such as, Selenium which is implemented by either Java or Python.
Robot Framework has its own set of Libraries known as standard libraries. But Selenium provides a library that can be referenced by a Robot Framework. The diagram above is a sample of a simple Robot Framework test script. The second line demonstrates an import of the Selenium library. The keywords OPEN BROWSER and CLOSE BROWSER come from the Selenium Library. Execution of this Robot Framework script would launch the Chrome browser and link to the home page of the Google website, and then the browser would close. A test results report is automatically generated.
Ben Xavier: How do I use Robot Framework in Excel?
Wally Tauriac: Excel is one of the test libraries that integrates with the Robot Framework test tool. The Excel library provides Robot Framework keywords that support reading, writing, and updating Excel and comma-delimited (CSV) files. The design of the Robot Framework supports the use of the Excel library keywords to process Excel data in a type of function called Suite Setup.
Figure 1 below is a graphic example of potential Robot Framework files that make up a script. The test case file is the main process, and then the Resource files can be called or imported by the main process. The resource files support browser actions, variable definitions, and reusable functions, respectively. In Figure 2 you can see that the variable and test functions can be replaced with Excel Sheets to support and control data management.

graphic example of potential Robot Framework files that makeup a script
Figure 1

In Robot Framework variable and test functions can be replaced with Excel Sheets to support and control data management
Figure 2

Figure 3 can be useful in appreciating a graphic picture of several Robot Framework test component file combinations. The green boxes represent the main test case file. The blue boxes represent resource files providing reusable data for Robot Framework execution. The red box is where one or more Excel test sheets are invoked to drive the testing. Then each row of the main sheet describes a test case for Robot Framework to process.

A graphic representation of several Robot Framework test component file combinations.

Figure 3

Ben Xavier: How do you open the Robot Framework RIDE?
Wally Tauriac: First, RIDE stands for Robot Framework IDE. This is a tool known as the RF integrated development environment to implement automated tests for the Robot Framework using a GUI editor.
To open or launch RIDE requires launching Windows Explorer. Go to the folder where the RIDE is installed. Locate the executable and Right-click, and then select ‘Send To’ Desktop to create a shortcut. Once a shortcut is created on the desktop RIDE can be launched by double-clicking the icon. Otherwise, you would need to double-click the executable from within Windows Explorer.
When the tool is launched it will look something like the diagram below.

Screenshot of RIDE tool launched

When a new test case is requested, the screen shown in the diagram above appears. From here a Robot Framework script can be defined. The minimum is to specify Robot Keyword statements where the line numbers appear. Otherwise, more Robot Framework functionality can be utilized by defining setup and teardown code that can be processed before and after general code at the line numbers.
For those of you who are used to high-level IDE functionality, this is a good tool. I prefer to use the native Robot Framework coding features from a generic IDE like PyCharm for Robot Framework code development.

Ben Xavier: How to create a List in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework supports scalar, list, and dictionary variables. Variable names consist of the variable type identifier ($, @, &, %), curly braces ({, }) and the actual variable name between the braces. A list variable starts with “@” with a variable name inside the braces. (e.g. @{vname})
Ben Xavier: How do I create a List in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Define a variable in the Variables section of an RF test case or resource file. An example of the syntax is: @{List} Item1, Item2, ItemX
The variable must have two spaces before the data assignment.
Sample definition and reference of Robot Framework List variables:
Robot-Framework-List-variables
Ben Xavier: How do you use RIDE Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: This editor is available with Robot Framework which helps in writing and executing test cases. The editor is easy to install and use. RIDE simplifies writing test cases by providing framework-specific code completion, and syntax highlighting. Creation of project, test suite, test case, keywords, variables, importing the library, executing, tagging the test case is easy to do in the editor.

Ben Xavier: How to run a Python Script in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: Robot Framework was built using Python. So, it fits naturally with the Python environment. Python can be defined to run in Robot Framework. There are at least two approaches – a Run Process keyword or referencing Python internal function names.
The Run Process keyword is a simple keyword from the Robot Framework Process standard library. As an alternative, all function names in Python programs can be referenced within a Robot Framework script as keywords. This approach also requires a Resource reference in the SETTINGS section of a Robot Framework script.

Robot-Framework-settings-Resource-reference

Ben Xavier: How do you write Robot Framework test cases?
Wally Tauriac: There are two file types associated with Robot Framework scripts – the test case file and the resource file. The test case file is the main file and is sufficient for a Robot Framework script. The test case file contains up to four sections labeled: SETTINGS, VARIABLES, TEST CASES, and KEYWORDS.
Details writing the test cases depend on whether you are using RIDE or another editor, such as PyCharm. In general, it requires specifying some settings to import libraries and resources, identifying, and required variable definitions, specifying some keywords to indicate a process flow, and defining reusable functions to reference in the test case flow.

Robot Framework screenshot

As said before, a Robot Framework test case includes up to four sections: SETTINGS, VARIABLES, TEST CASES, AND KEYWORDS. The example below demonstrates three of the four sections. The SETTINGS section is referencing a library reference and a resource file reference. It also references two SUITE keywords which execute browser keywords to Open the browser at the beginning of the test run, and a Close browser at the end of the test run. Several variables are defined in the Variables section. The Test Cases section assigns a test case name Valid Login. The remaining keywords provide test functions for the test case.
Ben Xavier: How to write test cases in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: To write a test case using RIDE, right-click on the project. Click New Test Case. Enter the name of the test case and click OK. There are three tabs shown for the test case created − Edit, Text Edit, and Run.
Otherwise, like PyCharm, under the project, you can create a robot file. Double-click to open it and begin defining the sections and then the settings, variables, test cases, and supportive keyword functions.
Ben Xavier: How do I read a file in Robot Framework?
Wally Tauriac: The Excel library for Robot Framework supports reading XLS, XLSX, and CSV file extensions. It contains the necessary keywords to process these files.
The most important keyword from the Excel Library is the OPEN EXCEL statement. In the Test Case file, it is important to provide a Library statement referencing DataDriver. If that statement references an Excel or CSV file, the DataDriver will automatically read each row or record in the file one at a time. Otherwise, the OPEN EXCEL statement can be referenced in a Robot Framework Resource file.

What’s Next?
If you are interested in learning the framework and its implementation, you may join the online course on Robot Framework offered by Wally Tauriac on the top-rated e-learning platform – Guruface.com. This course is specially designed for those who want to improve their knowledge in automated testing by employing various features and functions of Robot Framework and exploiting its ability to integrate with Python, Selenium, and Excel.

Online Courses

How to Keep Your Enrollees Hooked to Your Online Course

What Are The Ways To Keep Your Enrollees Hooked to Your Online Course?

Creating a value-packed online course and marketing it effectively is one thing, keeping your students “hooked” to your course is another.

I know for a fact that there are a lot of online instructors that struggling with this challenge. And the worst part is, it isn’t that easy to remedy either. I know this to be true because just like my community of digital marketers and content developers, I too have a handful of online courses that I enrolled to, yet I haven’t completed yet.

If you’re struggling with making your online courses “stickier”, then allow me to share with you some tips to help you with just that.

Let’s hop right in:

1. Make your content relatable.

There are a couple of ways that you can make this happened. However, for the most part, talking about your students’ problems would usually do the trick.

The more you rub their problems to their faces, the more they’ll want to read because they will want to hear how you’ll propose to solve their problems and make their lives better.

Have you ever wondered why “life-hack” type articles tend to get shared countless times on social media sites? It’s exactly because of that reason. Because the audience can relate to what is written in the post, they end up wanting to devour every line in the article. Of course, when they realize that your material is value-packed, they’ll share it with their community as well.

2. Ask them questions.

This strategy will work best if you take the time to get to know your audience first. That’s why buyer personas are such a goldmine. Not only does it help you create a product that your audience will love, but it also helps you create a marketing strategy that best captures your audience’s attention.

Why am I talking about buyer personas, though?

Simple.

That’s because before you decide to follow the strategy of asking your audience’s questions, you need to have a clear idea of what their struggles are.

Simply asking them random questions won’t cut it. You need to ask them questions that they can relate to. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting space in your online course.

Imagine having an online course about how to freelance online where the audience you’re targeting is the newbie freelancers — those who are oblivious about how the entire thing works.

You then ask them a question at the beginning of your curse saying, “Are you wondering which platform you should focus on to look for clients?”

As you can probably imagine, the sample question we asked is relevant to the audience. Simply because there are bazillions of places online where they can fish for jobs, yet they aren’t certain which platform will give them the best results.

As soon as they read the question, they’ll know that you know exactly what they’re going through. It sends them the right message. It tells them that you have a clear understanding of what their situation is, and you’re about to help them with it.

3. Ask them to interact with you.

Don’t just ask once, keep on dropping the call-to-action on several chapters of your online course where it makes sense.

Here’s the thing, there are times when your students need help with understanding what they’re reading. It isn’t realistic for you to expect that they’ll fully understand what you’re teaching in your course, even if you’ve tried your hardest to write everything in layman’s terms.

If you’ll ask them to interact with you by joining your Facebook group, or straight up ask them to send you an email, then they’ll have someone to turn to if they’ll have questions about your course.

This is important because other students would just stop going through the entire course if they find a couple of areas in the material that are hard to understand.

If you’ll give them a means to interact with you, however, then they can simply ask you if they have any questions. This makes the learning process for them easier, plus you’ll also manage to build your own community of like-minded individuals that you can monetize on later, or build relationships with.

4. Use different forms of content.

You can use charts, images, videos, or infographics. Do not limit yourself to thinking that you should only use text-based content.

You can even use webinars if you’d like to. Webinars make it easier for you to build relationships and familiarity with your audience. Imagine running a weekly webinar for everyone who enrolls in your course.

You can tell your audience to read chapters 1 – 5 within the week, then you’ll all meet in a webinar to discuss the chapters. This makes it the perfect time for them to ask you questions, share their success stories (or frustrations), or for everyone to empower everyone.

When you have an online course as amazing as this, then your audience will have a better understanding of your materials since you’re taking the time to meet with them in a webinar every week.

5. Add humor to your course.

You can use Memes, Gifs, or you can share one-liner jokes that would make them snicker.

Sprinkle these in your course, and you’ll have them craving for each succeeding line of your course.

Humor is important because it gives your online course a “light” feel, making it easier for your students to digest the ideas.

When you deliver one-liner jokes, your students will tend to have a positive state of mind while consuming your materials. This makes the learning process a bit more pleasant for them. This will result in them having better stamina when consuming your materials.

What’s next?

What are some of the tips that you can share with our community of online instructors when it comes to keeping their students enrolled in their online courses?

Please take the time to share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!

Mistake Online Instructors make

4 Mistakes Online Instructors Make that Ruin their Career to Oblivion

4 Mistakes Online Instructors Make that Ruin their Career to Oblivion

Just last night, I received a phone call from my friend Jeff. He was looking for someone to talk to about his frustrations. The thing with Jeff is that he has been creating courses for the last eight months now, yet he only has a handful of enrollees. I found this to be a bit surprising since he is one of the best online instructors that I know.

Since Jeff and I go way back (we’re basically like brothers), I obliged and met with him at a coffee shop near our place for breakfast.

As Jeff and I started talking, I couldn’t help but ask him about his marketing strategy to increase awareness about his online courses.

After hearing his answer, I was mindblown!

He said something along the lines of, “I don’t take the time to market my online courses. I know that if I just keep on making high-quality courses one after the other, people are bound to learn about them since they provide massive value.”

I cannot even begin to describe how debilitating this kind of mistake is.

It is mistakes like these that frustrate the heck out of online instructors, which ultimately leads them to quit their career. The sad part is, they’re not even aware that they’re doing something wrong.

That’s the kind of problem that we’re trying to remedy right now.

I’m going to share with you some of the most critical mistakes that online instructors make. That way, if you find yourself doing any of these, then you can stop immediately and start doing the things that you should be doing to succeed.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Waiting for inspiration to strike.

Just last week, I was listening to a podcast about how writers can stay productive. While there were several quotes shared during the podcast, there was one quote from Stephen King that caught my attention.

I can’t quite remember what the quote was word per word, but it was something along the lines of, “Beginner writers wait for inspiration, while the rest of us just go to work.”

Stephen King’s quote is powerful isn’t it?

It gives us a clear picture of how even for seasoned writers, the process of writing isn’t all roses and daisies. Even for them, it requires hard work, dedication and a solid enough backbone to be able to drag themselves to write, even if they don’t feel like it.

This is contrary to how beginner online instructors view the process of creating their online courses.

A good number of them tend to think that they should first feel inspired; otherwise, they ought not to waste their time trying to put the course together.

Now here’s the question that I’d like to ask you, “Whose ideas do you think is worth absorbing? Is it the newbie online instructors? Or is it Stephen King?”

2. Using the “Publish and Pray” approach.

What is the “Publish and Pray” approach, you might ask?

It’s simple. You basically just publish your online course, then do nothing else but pray that it gets the traction that it needs.

Look. I’m not against people who pray. In fact, I know how important it is, and I value prayer a lot!

However, you need to realize that successful online instructors do more than just pray. They also put in the hard work to market the heck out of their online courses, to make sure that their audience knows about the existence of their course.

Considering how noisy the internet is, you can bet your family’s jewels that your online course will only get ignored if you don’t take the time to market it.

3. They price their online courses too low.

I’ll admit that pricing your online course can be a bit tricky. Price your product too high, and no one will want to enroll. If you price it too low, however, your audience might think your course to be worthless. After all, why would anyone price something so low if that something is value-packed, right?

If you’re struggling with the same thing right now, here’s what I urge you to do.

You need to look at how much of your resources you’ve spent creating your online course (and yes, your time is a resource too), how your competitors are pricing their products, and how much value your online course can bring to the audience should they take action on your tips.

While there certainly other factors that you can look into when deciding how much you’ll price your course, the points that I shared above are almost always good enough to point you in the right direction concerning how much enrolling in your online course would cost.

4. Focusing on writing about the things they like. Not about what their audience needs.

I get it. There is certainly value in aligning your course’s modules on the things that you are passionate about, after all, if you aren’t writing about the things that you like, then there is a good chance that you’ll get burned out in no time.

We don’t want that, do we?

However, while you may be correct in writing about the things that you are passionate about, you need to realize that you are creating an online course not so YOU can learn, your online course is for your target audience — you want THEM to learn.

Since that is the case, then shouldn’t you also give emphasis on the things that they want to learn about? Isn’t it right for you to figure out where their knowledge gap is so that you can create an online course that can address it?

Friends, why don’t you do this instead? Why don’t you look for an overlap between the things that you are passionate about, and the things that your audience are wanting to learn? That way, you can be certain that there are people dying to enroll to the course that you’ve created because your target audience needs the information in your course.

Do you have any tips for online instructors?

What are some of the most debilitating mistakes that you’ve done as an online instructor? Please take the time to share them in the comments section below. Cheers!

Freelance Writing Gigs

How to Use Facebook to Start Getting More Freelance Writing Gigs

According to Facebook, they have about 1,650,000,000 monthly active users as of March 31, 2016. That’s way too many zeros to ignore, don’t you think?

The fact is, if you know how to market your writing services on Facebook, you’ll never starve as a writer – ever!

I know. You’ve probably tried selling your services on Facebook, haven’t you? And I’d bet that you haven’t gotten a single lead (let alone client) out of your marketing efforts.

Trust me; you are not alone.

I know several other freelancers that are struggling with the same thing as well.

If you are in fact getting little to no results out of your marketing efforts on Facebook, then allow me to share with you the exact strategies that I am using when looking for more freelance writing gigs on Facebook.

Let’s hop right in.

Google’s Web Store + Facebook fan page

I’d like to start with this tip right off the bat since I’ve gotten several clients from Facebook by using this strategy alone.

The game plan is quite simple. I just go to Google’s Web Store to uncover apps that the people in my niche would use. From there, I put together a list of these apps so I can look for their pages on Facebook. Once I find their page, I then take the time to comment, share, or engage with their audience so I can learn more about their business and their community.

After about a week or so of nurturing my visibility in their page through commenting, sharing, and liking, I’ll then send the business a private message asking if they’re looking for someone who can help them with their content.

* Important note – I do not just ask the prospect the question, “Do you need someone who can help you with your content?” I feel that the question sounds generic to the point where it looks spammy.

I tend to be very specific. I tell them things like, “I noticed that you haven’t updated your website’s blog posts since (the date since they last published). Are you currently in need of…” This kind of question clearly shows the prospect that you’ve done your homework, and that you aren’t just sending canned messages to everyone.

Be active on communities.

By “communities”, I’m talking about groups or fan pages.

There are several routes that you can take when using this strategy; you can straight up interact with groups that talk about how/where to get freelance writing jobs online, or, you can connect with groups that are all about the niche that you specialize in.

I’m a huge fan of the latter, however.

I’d like to be in niche specific groups since the kind of leads/clients that I get from these groups are of better quality. The topics that they want me to write about are things that I am familiar with, so it becomes easier for me to write their articles.

Invest in networking.

Not many freelancers understand the concept of networking. For them, it is just an idle “hi” or “hello” to other users. They have no clear idea of what it is, or how to even start.

The good news is, while there are in fact several important points that you need to consider to make sure that you’re networking the “right way,” we can pretty much sum the whole thing up in one line. And that line is, “How can you help them?”

Think about this statement when networking with other Facebook users, and I guarantee you that you’ll get better results out of your efforts.

Other freelancers tend to think about, “How do I approach this person so I can benefit from him?” when “networking” with others. It’s because of this that a good number of freelancers end up pitching their services even on their first contact with the other users when they should be focusing on learning more about the needs of the other person.

Look, you’ll need to be a bit more strategic when connecting with the other users, otherwise, you’ll just be spamming them with you first email pitch.

Why don’t you do this instead? Why don’t you ask the other user about what he does in the current company that he is connected with (or the business that he is managing), then ask him how you can help make things better for him?

That’s a pretty good strategy to get the other person to open up to you. Once they’ve opened up to you a bit, you can then strategically pitch your services to them.

Interview

Interviewing other users is also an effective means to turn them into paying clients.

Here’s the gist of the strategy.

All you need to do is reach out to the other Facebook users in your niche, and tell them that you’d like to interview them. Doing so will make them feel that they are important to you and that you value them.

For the most part, I have found that majority of the people that I pitch interview requests are almost always happy to oblige — unless they’re busy or something.

While you can certainly offer to interview someone for free, you might want to be a bit more selective about going about this.

After all, depending on how you want to run the interview, it can be quite time-consuming.

Instead of pitching an interview request to some random person within your industry, you ought to check the individual’s number of followers or his/her position in the company that he is connected with (among other things).

You need to be a bit more selective about who you choose to interview since your goal for connecting with them isn’t merely for the sake of interviewing them, one of your main reasons for doing so it to establish relationships, and win more customers.

As you can probably imagine, there is a world of a difference between the kind of chances that you can get when it comes to closing new clients, if you’re interviewing someone at the executive level, or someone in the frontlines.

When you’ve built a relationship with executives, they can quickly bring you more projects themselves, or they can refer you to their contacts.

What’s next?

Have you been using Facebook to get more freelance writing gigs? What are some of the best strategies that you can share with the community?

Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!