Biz Bits: How to stand out in the 'age of information'

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

This ever-growing pool of job seekers, a downturned economy and the endless amounts of information available online mean 21st-century job hunters must work harder to stand out in the marketplace. In the age of information, employers are able to gather data on a job candidate with a simple click of a mouse - which means that now more than ever, it's essential for jobseekers to take control of their online presence by building their own personal brand.

Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, LLC and author of the international bestselling "Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future," has made a career out of teaching new jobseekers and established professionals alike how to leverage the power of online media for personal empowerment and career success. Schawbel offers three pieces of advice on how to start creating your own personal brand.

- Find your niche - an industry or field you wish to become the go-to expert in - and become extremely knowledgeable in this field. Before you begin marketing yourself, make sure to develop the relevant professional skills. An advanced degree can give you an edge, too.

- Once you have the right education, market your professional skills and take control of your online perception. Brand yourself before someone else does it for you. By establishing your own website or blog, and claiming your name on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you will have power over how people perceive you online. If you don't start controlling your online perceptions, then you will be judged solely based on popular opinion.

- Network. Put yourself out there and be consistent in your messaging. Using your credentials, knowledge and education, build relationships with both the niche media that covers your industry and with your industry peers. Seek out mentors within your field and don't be afraid to ask for endorsements from them once you've proven yourself.


BBB Watch

With fewer people buying homes in the current market and more people renting, it is no surprise that scammers are targeting renters more frequently. The Better Business Bureau urges consumers to be wary when looking through classified rental listings online.

Typically, scammers search Web sites listing legitimate properties for sale, take the information in those ads and post it with their own e-mail address under the housing rentals category. Potential victims who see these ads and contact the "supposed homeowner" via e-mail may receive a response explaining that he or she had to leave the U.S. quickly because of some missionary, contract work in Africa or similar deceptive story. The potential renters are then asked to wire two months' rent. When victims arrive at the property on the agreed-upon date they find the house or apartment is not for rent and its true owners know nothing about the agreement.

"This is not a new scam, just a variation of an old one," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Chicago. "Scammers might also ask potential renters to fill out credit applications asking for personal information like credit history, social security numbers, and work history, leaving the would be victims open to identity theft and the double whammy of losing the rent down payment as well as having their financial information stolen."

For more information on these scams and more, go to

The List

According to, here are America's most expensive ZIP codes:

1. 91008, Duarte, Calif.

2. 94027, Atherton, Calif.

3. 90274, Rolling Hills, Calif.

4. 07620, Alpine, N.J.

5. 10014, New York City

6. 90210, Beverly Hills, Calif.

7. 10065, New York City

8. 94920, Belvedere, Calif.

9. 10012, New York, N.Y.

10. 93108, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Number to Know

$764.2 billion: Amount of money Visa credit card holders charged in 2009. MasterCard holders spent $476.9 billion, and American Express holders spent $419.8 billion.

Tech Talk

According to Pediatrics journal, holding your laptop computer on your lap for long periods of time can cause skin problems that’s called "toasted skin syndrome."

GateHouse News Service