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5 Alternatives to LinkedIn for Professional Networking Site

8 Alternatives to LinkedIn for All Your Professional Networking Needs

Whether it’s to keep in contact with friends or family to advance your career, you are likely on at least one social network. While Facebook, Twitter,and Google are extremely popular, these platforms might not be able help you professionally. That’s when professional social networking sites come into play. And, there’s one name that instantly jumps out when you mention “professional social networking” – LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has been proven to be more effective than Facebook and Twitter at generating leads, 227% more effective to be exact. And, despite the 225 million registered members, LinkedIn does have some issues. For starters, the site is known to flood your inbox with annoying spam. Even worse than having to get rid of LinkedIn’s persistent junk mail, there’s also allegations that the company hacked into customer’s email addresses.

Even with these problems, most of us join potentially rewarding sites like LinkedIn. But, if you’re not a fan of the most popular professional networking site, then we suggest that you try out one the following eight alternatives.

5. PartnerUp

PartnerUp

The most appealing feature with PartnerUp is how the site focuses on the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. There’s also a lot of beneficial articles written by small business owners that could come in handy. The company has now moved to the Google + Communities, but the advice and connections are still there.

4. Meetup

Meetup

Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings with like-minded people, both professionally and personally, in your area. Known for posting a ton of events, MeetUp is a great tool to network in the really real world.

3. Zerply

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Not only can you post a resume on Zerply, you can actual showcase your work through videos, portfolios or even story boards. The perfect location for creative and talented job seekers and employers.

2. AngelList

AngelList

Known primarily as platform for startups, AngelList can connect you with thousands of startups seeking your skills and talent. As a whole, the site is extremely efficient, easy to use and secure.

1. BranchOut

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If you have Facebook, then you might have spotted BranchOut before, it’s only the most popular app for professional networking on Facebook platform. While it resembles LinkedIn, recruiting and job hunting is achieved through Facebook connections, which means no awkward introductions and the ability to tap into any company.

While LinkedIn has proven to be a great resource for finding employment or employees – which is why it’s such an extremely popular site – there are other sites that offer similar, if not better, services. If you’ve used one of these site that were mentioned, or know of one that we’ve neglected, let us know in the comments!

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8 Top Renewable Energy Jobs To Consider

Both the government and the private sector continue to invest in renewable energy, and the industry as a whole has seen explosive growth in recent years. Today, renewable energy represents a dynamic and transformative sector of the global economy. It encompasses wind power, solar power, hydropower and biofuels along with other forms of energy generation.

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Cost declines and improvements in technology have turned the industry into a global driver of economic development. And as the real-world implementation of renewable energy technologies continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified professionals who could design, build and service these power plants.

If you are interested in learning more about potential career paths in the energy industry but don’t know where to start, here’s a list of renewable energy jobs you could consider.

1. Solar Installer

As arrays of solar panels begin to cover more and more roofs, the demand for solar (PV) installers has never been greater. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for solar installers is projected to grow at a rate of 105 percent from 2016 to 2026.1 This is about 98 percent higher than the average growth rate of all other occupations.

As a solar installer, your job is to assemble, install and maintain solar panel systems, working mostly outside on rooftops or other structures on which solar panels are typically installed. The median annual wage for solar photovoltaic installers was $39,490 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,760, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,580.1However, your salary may be different depending on factors such as your location, experience and any optional professional certifications you may have.

Solar installers typically need on-the-job training or attend a technical school to receive a diploma or certificate in solar energy technology.1

2. Solar Manufacturing Technician

Manufacturing technicians are responsible for setting up, testing and adjusting machinery and equipment at solar manufacturing facilities. Depending on your area of specialty, you may be working with a variety of technologies, including electrical, mechanical, digital and others in order to calibrate equipment, diagnose malfunctions and ensure compliance with various safety and environmental procedures.

According to energy.gov, the median wage of manufacturing technicians is around $49,550 per year or $23.82 per hour.3 While the BLS does not track wage data specific to solar power manufacturing, you can view data for the semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing industry, which includes production of solar panels.

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3. Wind Turbine Technician

As more and more wind turbines sprout across the country, the demand for workers who can help set up and service the huge machines continues to increase. In fact, wind techs and solar installers are currently the two fastest-growing professional occupations in the United States,4 according to the BLS.

Wind techs are involved in installation, maintenance and repair of wind turbines. They generally work outdoors and atop giant wind turbines.

The median annual wage for wind turbine technicians was $53,880 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,170.5 Keep in mind that your salary could vary based on your location or if you have additional experience or qualifications.

Most wind techs learn their trade by attending technical schools where they earn a diploma or certificate in wind energy technology.5

4. Wind Farm Site Manager

Wind farm site managers, or wind energy operations managers, ensure that wind farms generate adequate amounts of energy and that all turbines are properly serviced and maintained by dedicated technicians. Site managers are also responsible for maintaining business records, training new staff and enforcing safety protocols.

According to O*Net Online, wind energy operations managers earned $50.77 hourly, or $105,610 annually, in 2017.6 As this is not an entry-level position, employees in this occupation usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. In some cases, a bachelor’s degree may be required.

The demand for wind farm managers is projected to grow as much as nine percent through 2026, which is not surprising considering the increase in implementation of offshore wind farms.

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5. Lineman

Wind, solar or hydro — no energy can reach our homes without the electrical grid. Linemen are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing the high voltage systems that distribute electricity from power plants to consumers.

Linemen work primarily outdoors servicing and repairing poles and reconnecting fallen power lines. Needless to say, good knowledge of electrical processes and safety procedures is required to perform this job. Technical knowledge of electricity or electronics obtained through military service and/or vocational programs that offer a diploma or certificate can be helpful if you are looking to become a lineman.7

The median annual wage for electrical power line installers and repairers was $69,380 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $99,860.7

Is a career as a power utility technician right for you?

 

6. Electronics Technician

Most manufacturing, business and renewable energy applications these days require the use of sophisticated electronic equipment. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there will be a continued need for electronics technicians who can maintain and service electrical equipment.8

Electronics technicians often work under direction of engineers to set up, test or troubleshoot electrical equipment. They need to possess robust knowledge of electric circuitry and be able to follow complex instructions.

The median annual wage for electrical and electronics installers and repairers was $57,210 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,590.8

7. Energy Efficiency Specialist

Energy efficiency specialists, or energy auditors, assess buildings and blueprints to determine their energy efficiency. They analyze and record data from a variety of energy-generating and consuming systems and make recommendations for how those systems can be made more efficient.

According to O*Net Online, based on data collected from BLS for business operations specialists such as energy auditors, the median wage was $33.66 an hour or $70,010 annually.9 The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,050 annually, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $120,460 annually.10

Energy efficiency specialists may require training in vocational schools and/or related on-the-job experience.9

8. Power Plant Operator

Power plant operators are responsible for controlling various power-generating equipment, such as wind turbines, hydroelectric stations or nuclear reactors.

While power plant operators primarily work indoors and their job is not physically strenuous, it does require constant attention. They read charts, meters and gauges to monitor and adjust voltage and electricity flow between generating stations and substations. Power plant operators start and stop generators, turbines and other equipment as necessary.

Employers may prefer that power plant operator job candidates have vocational school training in areas such as power utility technology. Prior to becoming fully qualified, power plant operators also undergo rigorous on-site training and technical instruction.

The median annual wage for power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers was $80,440 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,210, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,240.11

Police make dozens of arrests and fire tear gas on protesters at Paris France on fuel tax and price increase

French police made dozens of arrests across France Saturday amid violent anti-government protests described by one of the protesters as a “civil war,” CNN affiliate BFM reported.

 

In Paris, police resorted to tear gas and water cannon to try to clear the Champs Elysée.
“The objective was to unite everybody here in Paris. I am disappointed because it wasn’t meant to be like this,” Thierry Paul Valette, one of the organizers of Saturday’s demonstration in Paris told CNN.
He blamed it on a “small section” of “the extreme left and the extreme right” and said it was like a “civil war.”
In total, 35 people were taken into custody.
The “yellow vest” protests, which began as a campaign against rising gas prices, have morphed into a wider demonstration against the government of President Emmanuel Macron in recent weeks, spreading as far as France’s Indian Ocean territory of Reunion.
Police say they have mobilized 3,000 officers in Paris to contain the 8,000 protesters. A security perimeter has been set up in the city center, with government buildings protected. Three people have been arrested so far.
At a news conference on Saturday, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner blamed the clashes on far-right extemists infiltrating the demonstrations.
“Today, the far right has mobilized,” he told reporters. “The security forces perfectly anticipated this situation.”
Far-right political leader Marine Le Pen rejected the accusations, describing them as a “pathetic and dishonest” form of “political manipulation” by the government.
Earlier Castaner said of the protesters: “Their freedom of expression will be guaranteed, but it must not be exercised to the detriment of security, public order and the right of everybody to come and go. There is no liberty without public order.”
Last weekend a protester was accidentally run over and killed by a car, and more than 200 people were injured during a demonstration in eastern France.
Protesters clash with riot police who fired  tear gas canisters in central Paris on Saturday.

Macron under fire

In addition to concerns over spiraling fuel prices, the protests also reflect long-running tensions between the metropolitan elite and rural poor.
Diesel prices have surged 16% this year from an average 1.24 euros ($1.41) per liter to 1.48 euros ($1.69), even hitting 1.53 euros in October, according to UFIP, France’s oil industry federation.
The price hike is largely caused by a leap in the wholesale price of oil, with Brent crude oil — a benchmark for worldwide oil purchases — increasing by more than 20% in the first half of 2018 from around $60 a barrel to a peak of $86.07 in early October.
French protesters are, however, not directing their anger at OPEC for reducing oil production, or at the US administration for implementing tariffs on Iran, crippling its oil exports.
Macron is instead bearing the brunt of widespread French discontent, with many protesters furious at the current leader’s extension of environmental policies implemented under François Hollande’s government.
Notably, taxes were increased by 8 centimes last January on diesel, and by 4 centimes on petrol. Tax on diesel will also increase by another 6.4 euro cents in 2019, and by 2.9 cents for petrol. These rises follow many decades of under-taxation of diesel in France.
President Macron is instead bearing the brunt of widespread French discontent.

Further revolts

The growing resentment has also been a springboard for partisan political attacks, with opponents of Macron’s centrist En Marche party attempting to energize their bases to fuel further revolt.
One protester, Ludivine Landrin, a 32-year-old from near Paris, explained why she was protesting. “I’m here because I am a citizen. I want the struggle to come together. I want the French state to understand that we are here together. We want another state, we want another government,” she told CNN.
“In France we have a lot of taxes. The beginning of the movement was about taxes on fuel. The movement became bigger because all the taxes are making people fed up. The Macron government is making everyone fed up — on the right and on the left. We are all fed up with Macron and his government.”
Another protester, 33-year-old Emilie, declared that a revolution was happening. “We pay our taxes but it is only the rich who profit,” she said.

Domain Names And Web Hosting Are the Same Thing?

Ready to start a website? Great! Are you thinking that web hosting is the same thing as a domain name. Wrong. It is easy to get confused between web hosting and domain name and think that they refer to the same thing. Web hosting is the place where your website and all its files are stored, a server. Whereas, a domain name is the actual name of your website like facebook.com, amazon.com. In layman terms, domain name is actually the name of the house that you live in and web host is the actual house. Can you have a website without either? No. That is why they go hand in hand with each other. Let’s dig a bit deeper into domains.

web hosting 101

What are Domains? We have all heard about IP addresses. They are series of numbers which are used to refer to a website. However, who is going to type or remember the long series of numbers.

That is where domain names come in. A website owner registers a domain name which is then used to route to the particular IP address of the website. It is essentially a pointer, and means nothing on its own.

Together or Separately:  Should you buy the domain name and web hosting from different companies or one? Many web hosting websites also provide you with an option to register a domain with them but not all of them.

  • If you buy it from different companies, you will need to edit the DNS settings of your domain name to point it to your website. You need to keep the login details for your account safe.
  • Buying from one company is convenient and easier to manage and no need to change any settings. It does not mean that if you decide to move web hosting, you will need a new domain name. You own the domain name and will just need to transfer it.

How To Choose A Domain: There are numerous articles detailing how to go about selecting a web hosting site for your business, but fewer details when it comes to choosing a domain name. It is extremely important to pay attention to it because it will be your online identity. Here are some tips to make sure you buy the right domain name:

  • Do Your Research: Before jumping ahead and buying whatever came to your mind, do you homework a bit. Look at your competitors sites and see what names are available.
  • Make it Your Brand: Try not to use the name of your product in the domain name rather any other associative word. Do not use very common words that people forget or mix it up with your competitors. The name should be easy to remember and not include difficult spellings.
  • Make it brief: The shorter your domain name is, the more user friendly and easier to remember. But do not use a generic name. Try not to use slang or using numbers in the name.
  • Check Social media: Make sure that the domain name you have used is not already in use as a Facebook page name or twitter handle.

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Creativity Is a Talent and Hard Work

The Fertile Mind

Life requires daily acts of ingenuity and novel workarounds, so it is in everyone’s interest to nurture creative impulses, regardless of one’s day job. How to shake up the way we think? Creativity is associated with many factors including conducive environments, ideal collaborators, personality traits, serendipity, and even a quest for spiritual muses. Research shows that creative thinking involves making new connections between different regions of the brain, which is accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing ourselves to new experiences and to learning. While research psychologists are interested in tapping innovative thinking, clinical psychologists sometimes encourage patients to use artistic expression as a way to confront difficult feelings.

Innovate!

Many people feel that they have no or very limited creative ability—even people who work in creative fields! However, innovation is not some divine gift; it’s actually the skilled application of knowledge in new and exciting ways. The truth is that creativity can be acquired and honed at any age or any experience level. When a person learns new information, sleeping or enjoying a distraction allows  the unconscious mind to process the data in novel and surprising ways, thereby laying the groundwork for a creative insight or breakthrough.

 

In 1666, one of the most influential scientists in history was strolling through a garden when he was struck with a flash of creative brilliance that would change the world.

Image result for isaac newton apple

While standing under the shade of an apple tree, Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple fall to the ground. “Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground,” Newton wondered. “Why should it not go sideways, or upwards, but constantly to the earth’s center? Assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. There must be a drawing power in matter.” 

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And thus, the concept of gravity was born.

The story of the falling apple has become one of the lasting and iconic examples of the creative moment. It is a symbol of the inspired genius that fills your brain during those “eureka moments” when creative conditions are just right. 

What most people forget, however, is that Newton worked on his ideas about gravity for nearly twenty years until, in 1687, he published his groundbreaking book, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. The falling apple was merely the beginning of a train of thought that continued for decades.

Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life by William Stukeley
The famous page describing Newton’s apple incident in Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life by William Stukeley.

Newton isn’t the only one to wrestle with a great idea for years. Creative thinking is a process for all of us. In this article, I’ll share the science of creative thinking, discuss which conditions drive creativity and which ones hinder it, and offer practical tips for becoming more creative.

Creative Thinking: Destiny or Development?

Creative thinking requires our brains to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. Is this a skill that we are born with or one that we develop through practice? Let’s look at the research to uncover an answer.

In the 1960s, a creative performance researcher named George Land conducted a study of 1,600 five-year-olds and 98 percent of the children scored in the “highly creative” range. Dr. Land re-tested each subject during five year increments. When the same children were 10-years-old, only 30 percent scored in the highly creative range. This number dropped to 12 percent by age 15 and just 2 percent by age 25. As the children grew into adults they effectively had the creativity trained out of them. In the words of Dr. Land, “non-creative behavior is learned.” 

Similar trends have been discovered by other researchers. For example, one study of 272,599 students found that although IQ scores have risen since 1990, creative thinking scores have decreased. 

All of this to say, claiming that “I’m just not the creative type” is a pretty weak excuse for avoiding creative thinking. Certainly, some people are primed to be more creative than others. However, nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.

Intelligence and Creative Thinking

What does it take to unleash your creative potential?

As I mentioned in my article on Threshold Theory, being in the top 1 percent of intelligence has no correlation with being fantastically creative. Instead, you simply have to be smart (not a genius) and then work hard, practice deliberately and put in your reps.

As long as you meet a threshold of intelligence, then brilliant creative work is well within your reach. In the words of researchers from a 2013 study, “we obtained evidence that once the intelligence threshold is met, personality factors become more predictive for creativity.” 

Growth Mindset

What exactly are these “personality factors” that researchers are referring to when it comes to boosting your creative thinking?

One of the most critical components is how you view your talents internally. More specifically, your creative skills are largely determined by whether you approach the creative process with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

The basic idea is that when we use a fixed mindset we approach tasks as if our talents and abilities are fixed and unchanging. In a growth mindset, however, we believe that our abilities can be improved with effort and practice. Interestingly, we can easily nudge ourselves in one direction or another based on how we talk about and praise our efforts.

Here’s a brief summary in Dweck’s words:

“The whole self-esteem movement taught us erroneously that praising intelligence, talent, abilities would foster self-confidence, self-esteem, and everything great would follow. But we’ve found it backfires. People who are praised for talent now worry about doing the next thing, about taking on the hard task, and not looking talented, tarnishing that reputation for brilliance. So instead, they’ll stick to their comfort zone and get really defensive when they hit setbacks.

So what should we praise? The effort, the strategies, the doggedness and persistence, the grit people show, the resilience that they show in the face of obstacles, that bouncing back when things go wrong and knowing what to try next. So I think a huge part of promoting a growth mindset in the workplace is to convey those values of process, to give feedback, to reward people engaging in the process, and not just a successful outcome.”

—Carol Dweck 

Embarrassment and Creativity

How can we apply the growth mindset to creativity in practical terms? In my experience, it comes down to one thing: the willingness to look bad when pursuing an activity.

As Dweck says, the growth mindset is focused more on the process than the outcome. This is easy to accept in theory, but very hard to stick to in practice. Most people don’t want to deal with the accompanying embarrassment or shame that is often required to learn a new skill.

The list of mistakes that you can never recover from is very short. I think most of us realize this on some level. We know that our lives will not be destroyed if that book we write doesn’t sell or if we get turned down by a potential date or if we forget someone’s name when we introduce them. It’s not necessarily what comes after the event that worries us. It’s the possibility of looking stupid, feeling humiliated, or dealing with embarrassment along the way that prevents us from getting started at all.

In order to fully embrace the growth mindset and enhance your creativity, you need to be willing to take action in the face of these feelings which so often deter us.

How to Be More Creative

Assuming that you are willing to do the hard work of facing your inner fears and working through failure, here are a few practical strategies for becoming more creative.

Constrain yourself. Carefully designed constraints are one of your best tools for sparking creative thinking. Dr. Seuss wrote his most famous book when he limited himself to 50 words. Soccer players develop more elaborate skill sets when they play on a smaller field. Designers can use a 3-inch by 5-inch canvas to create better large scale designs. The more we limit ourselves, the more resourceful we become.

Broaden your knowledge. One of my most successful creative strategies is to force myself to write about seemingly disparate topics and ideas. For example, I have to be creative when I use 1980’s basketball strategies or ancient word processing software or zen Buddhism to describe our daily behaviors. In the words of psychologist Robert Epstein, “You’ll do better in psychology and life if you broaden your knowledge.”

Sleep longer. In my article on how to get better sleep, I shared a study from the University of Pennsylvania, which revealed the incredible impact of sleep on mental performance. The main finding was this: Sleep debt is cumulative and if you get 6 hours of sleep per night for two weeks straight, your mental and physical performance declines to the same level as if you had stayed awake for 48 hours straight. Like all cognitive functions, creative thinking is significantly impaired by sleep deprivation.

Embrace positive thinking. It sounds a bit fluffy for my taste, but positive thinking can lead to significant improvements in creative thinking. Why? Positive psychology research has revealed that we tend to think more broadly when we are happy. This concept, which is known as the Broaden and Build Theory, makes it easier for us to make creative connections between ideas. Conversely, sadness and depression seems to lead to more restrictive and limited thinking.

Final Thoughts on Creative Thinking

Creativity is a talent and hard work. It’s not just a eureka moment. You have to work through mental barriers and internal blocks. You have to commit to practicing your craft deliberately. And you have to stick with the process for years, perhaps even decades like Newton did, in order to see your creative genius blossom.