Updated August 1, 2022 . AmFam Team
Do you dream of being a trailblazer? Wonder what it’s like to be your own boss? Do you think you have the unique skills needed to do something completely outside the box? If so, you might consider becoming an entrepreneur! While the idea of starting your own business can feel a little intimidating, you can become a successful entrepreneur with the right support and resources.
But where do you start? Every entrepreneur’s dream journey is different, but there’s a general path that can lead you to success. Here are seven steps to becoming an entrepreneur.
First things first: Make sure becoming an entrepreneur is right for you. While you get to call the shots and choose when and how you work, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes with it. Entrepreneurs work long, hard hours for something that is not guaranteed to be successful. Starting up your own business means understanding that risk and wanting to do it anyway.
If you’re just looking for a job that gives you independence, make sure you know your options before becoming an entrepreneur. For example, a freelancer or contractor can independently choose their clients and what specific task(s) they do for them. In contrast, as an entrepreneur, you are given very little guidance, and you certainly don’t do a small set of things. Being an entrepreneur means you wear many hats — you’re the head of fundraising and financing, human resources, negotiating, planning and everything else in between.
Ready to become an entrepreneur? We’re here to support AND protect your small business dreams. When your business is ready to take off, get in touch with your local American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) today to learn about our small business insurance.
Looking for more tips and motivation for your career? We’ve got just the resources to help you carve your own path.
Your job search is moving right on track! Your application caught a potential employer’s attention, and you just aced the interview. Now, you’re feeling confident, energized and ready to move forward toward your dream job.
But wait! While the interview finished well, it’s not quite over. Keep the good vibes going by taking the next, sometimes underestimated, step in the interview process — sending an interview thank you email. This is your opportunity to express your gratitude for the interviewers’ time, remind them of what makes you a great fit for the position, and invite them to contact you for further information that would assist in their hiring decision.
Not quite sure how to write a follow-up email after an interview? Use these tips to quickly get your message in the hiring manager’s inbox and keep your name top of mind!
Follow-up emails should always be concise, but the specifics of what to include depend on the kind of message you want to send. There are three different types of follow-up emails:
For this article, we’ll focus on the first type — the interview thank you email. These tips can help you create the ideal follow-up email immediately after an interview.
It’s true what they say — looking for a job is a lot of work! From scanning job boards to tweaking your resume to preparing for interviews, it can feel like a job to look for a job!
But did you know one of the most important steps in the application process — writing a great cover letter — can set you apart early on the path to your dream job? In fact, a recent article shows 53% of employers still want them, and 49% of Human Resource managers think a cover letter is one of the best ways to boost your resume.
Let’s take a look at what a cover letter is and some tips for how to craft one that sets your resume apart from the crowd.
Think of a cover letter as your personal introduction — like sharing a little about yourself to begin a face-to-face conversation with someone you’ve just met. It’s your opportunity to briefly highlight who you are and what you’ve done and inspire further interest. Plus, it can help you connect with the recruiter or hiring manager, give insight into your communication style, and demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile to show you’re a strong candidate.
You’ll want to keep the tone conversational yet professional and include three core components:
While not all job listings request a cover letter, it’s highly recommended that you include one anyway. If there isn’t a place to attach it when responding to an online post, you can pair it with your resume in a single PDF document.
Ready to write a great cover letter? With the following cover letter tips, you’ll be on your way!
In today’s competitive job market, knowing how to write a cover letter for a job you really want could set you apart from other applicants. After all, first impressions matter, and since a cover letter may be the first part of your application a potential employer sees, you want to be sure it’s engaging, well-crafted and convincing.
Keep in mind, you have a small amount of space to accomplish a big task. You must be strategic. You’ll want to choose examples that uniquely capture your suitability for the role and accent the reasons you want to work there.
With these tips for writing a great cover letter, you can feel confident you’re taking an important step toward creating an attention-grabbing application.
This is a classic you-had-me-at-hello challenge! Hiring managers receive mountains of cover letters and resumes, so to put yours on top you’ll need an opening that quickly captures interest and makes them want to read more. Rather than a ho-hum “this is my name, and I have X years of experience,” think about more enticing ways to draw in your reader. For example, you might immediately state what you think the company will gain by hiring you. Or you could impress them by sharing something you learned about the company that makes you excited to join their mission.
Your career is composed of defining moments you’ll want to weave into your cover letter narrative. Again, you must be selective. The goal is to identify a few highlights from your experience and use them to craft a story that resonates with the qualifications noted in the position description. By using these “snippets” to reflect your individual journey, you’ll give insight into your personality and work style.
Your school days may be behind you, but there’s still homework! Take the time to investigate and gain a clear understanding of what the company does and its goals and priorities. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way in convincing a potential employer you see the position as more than “just a job” — it’s a career opportunity in which you’re willing to invest.
One of the best ways to establish a connection and underscore your interest in the position is to personalize your cover letter. Think about it — when you receive a letter or email addressing you by name, aren’t you more likely to pay attention? With a simple internet search, you may be able to find out who you should address the letter to and make an impression by using their name. If you can’t discover the recipient’s name, consider addressing the letter to the division or the department that’s hiring for the role, such as “Dear (Company Name) Product Engineering team.” Whatever you do, don’t use “To whom it may concern.”
You can spark a hiring manager’s attention by tailoring your application to demonstrate how you’d be an asset to the company. First, brainstorm and jot down highlights from your career path. Then put your list side-by-side with the job description and choose two or three experiences that shine a light on the characteristics or competencies they’re seeking. To successfully prove you’re a good match for the role, you have to first show you’ve got the skills and background to match the job requirements. Pro tip: Use specific keywords from the posted job requirements so, if the company uses filtering technology to scan for qualified candidates, your application will be flagged for closer review.
A well-designed, easy-to-read cover letter is succinct. Since space and time are at a premium, keep it concise — no more than three to four paragraphs fit onto one well-organized page. If your cover letter goes beyond one page or isn’t visually appealing, a busy hiring manager may not take the time to sift through it. They will appreciate your ability to edit and leverage your words wisely.
Here’s the rub: Tailoring your cover letter to each position you apply for takes time and effort. But here’s the payoff: A customized letter could motivate a recruiter to take a closer look at your application and, ultimately, schedule an interview. Use the company name, and reference how your background and abilities are well-matched to their specific needs — whatever it takes to communicate you’re already invested in them and motivated to prove your value to the team.
A company that launches a thorough candidate search will be more inclined to pursue someone who expresses a desire to grow with them. Share an accomplishment or skill that shows how you can contribute as the company works to solve current and future business challenges. It’s great to talk about your past experiences but put them in the context of what you can bring to the table to strengthen the company now and in the future.
Nothing says “hire me” like an error-free cover letter and resume. It’s one thing to make a generic statement about your efficiency and attention to detail — it’s quite another to demonstrate those qualities by proofreading your application materials before you hit submit. Scan your cover letter several times and ask a friend or family member to review it to be sure you have resolved any spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes.
A cover letter template is a useful tool to help you get started. It can keep your letter focused and make it visually attractive. If you used a template for your resume, there may even be a matching template for an accompanying cover letter. (If you combine the two documents into one pdf file, this will really give it a unified look.)
The templates for cover letters are as varied as those for resumes, so you’ll have choices. From college students to executive-level professionals, job seekers of all types can find an appropriate cover letter template through a quick internet search. Simply type “cover letter examples” or “cover letter templates” into your favorite search engine and you’ll discover a plethora of options to get you started.
Now you know how to write an excellent cover letter! By following these tips for writing a cover letter, you’ll not only gain an edge on the competition, but you’ll be one step closer to your next dream job.
And remember, we have career growth resources to support you along your professional journey — no matter if you’re looking for your first internship, changing careers or planning to start a new business. Visit us and be inspired!
Let’s face it — writing professional emails is a skill that must be practiced and honed, much like writing prose on parchment with a feather dipped in ink during the Renaissance. Whether you type multiple emails a day or do it once in a blue moon, writing effective business emails can help you and your work stand out.
How? Well-written emails can show great project management, leadership and communication skills. Once you’re known as an email-writing pro, you could be perceived as a trustworthy contributor who can handle larger, more complex projects. Plus, you’ll always be a pleasure to work with, making messages and objectives clearly understood and managed.
Ready to get started? Here are five of the top professional email writing tips.
While you may have background info and passion behind your project, your audience likely does not. If that's the case, try to keep jargon to a minimum and provide meaningful info that helps your audience follow along and stay engaged.
As you craft your email message, ask yourself:
Information overload is real. The subject line of your email could be the deciding factor in whether your email gets read, skimmed — or deleted without being opened. A subject line that speaks to your audience can help. Which of the headlines below would get you to open an email?
Headline 1: Five 401(k) changes that could impact your retirement?
Headline 2:Third-party vendor releases annual retirement plan updates?
Hopefully, you picked the first one!
Attention spans are short and schedules are busy — making it more important than ever to keep your email short and to the point. How, exactly, do you do that? Keep these tips in mind:
Everyone has personal goals and dreams they want to achieve. Whether your dreams are focused on self-improvement, personal growth or career advancement, they can sometimes be challenging. Creating a personal development plan can be an important and effective way to realize your personal goals — and cultivate a growth mindset, which is a must when you're pursuing your dreams.
Keep reading to learn more about why you should make a personal development plan and how to get started!
A personal development plan can help you organize and focus your efforts so the goals you want to accomplish can become a reality. A personal development plan can help you:
A personal development plan typically consists of writing out nine steps:
By crafting a detailed plan using these nine steps, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done as you work toward completing your dreams. Let’s break down what makes up each of the nine steps:
The first step in creating your personal development plan — and achieving your dreams — is setting your goals. This starts with writing your goals down and defining what exactly they are. Long-term goals lend themselves well to a personal development plan because they can take time to accomplish. It can be easier to manage long-term goals when you detail the steps you need to take to achieve them. Consider making a personal development plan for long-term goals like:
One effective way to set goals is to follow the SMART goal methodology. SMART goals are:
S – Specific: What, exactly, do you want to accomplish?
M – Measurable: How will you measure your progress as you work toward completing your goal?
A – Achievable: What you can realistically achieve, and what skills will you need to reach your goal?
R – Relevant: Why do you want to accomplish your goal now? Does it align with your other goals?
T – Time-sensitive: What deadlines will you set, and how will you hold yourself accountable for meeting them?
The SMART process can help you clarify the purpose of your goals and may even boost your productivity. Learn more about SMART goals below and download this worksheet to help set your goals.