The Dollar Bill Test

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Dear friend and layout expert Rowan University Professor Claudia Cuddy, ret., came up with this many years ago. It remains applicable as you can see in The Public Relations Practitioners Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators (Chapter 12).

The Dollar Bill Test is simple:

Take a dollar bill and turn it on a page of copy. To pass the Dollar Bill Test, it must touch at least one copybreaker. If it does, your publication passes. If not, it fails.
Professor Cuddy has her own list of copybreakers to assure publications pass the Dollar Bill Test:

• Heads
• Subheads
• Pull quotes (Blurbs)
• Rules
• Initial (or drop) caps
• Shaded (screened) boxes
• Pictures
• Art (line art)
• Bullet lists

There is much more in The PR PlaybookFor a copy, visit

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Small biz ideas you can start from home

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As Steve Nicastro of writes: (See the full story in Sunday’s (Aug. 30, 2020 Courier-Post)

Here are a few ideas for small businesses that can be run from home:

If you are a wordsmith

1. Blogger

2. Resume writer

If you love animals

3. Pet sitting or walking

4. Gourmet dog treats

5. Mobile pet grooming

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Some small-biz ideas en route to entrepreneurship

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From the Aug. 23 edition of the Courier-Post  and Steve Nicastro of comes these suggestions:

If you are handy:

  1. Start a general handyman business
    1. Get into appliance repair                                                                                                                  If you are tech-savvy:                                                                                                            3. Smartphone repair                                                                                                                 4. Web development

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Looking for a job from home during the pandemic? Some hints for you

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This comes to you from Lauren Schwahn at (CourierPost – 8/16/2020)

Here are four ways to .netune your athome job hunt.

1. Build your skills

2. Give yourself credit (Don’t be shy. Brag about your successes)

3. Highlight your adaptability and flexibility

4. Prepare for virtual interviews

Here it is in total:

1. Build your skills

These uncertain times boast at least one advantage for job seekers: Many re sources for online learning are now free or more a.ordable in response to im pacts of the COVID19 outbreak. So make yourself more marketable by learning or developing a skill, or getting a certi.cation (think mastering Excel or project management). You can .nd courses for just about any topic on plat forms like Coursera and Udemy.

“Then, put that bullet point on your resume. Even if they don’t have a formal certi.cation process, that’s still a big deal to say you invested that amount of time in yourself,” says Julie Kratz, foun der of Next Pivot Point, a leadership training organization.

This can be even more impactful if you’ve had a gap in work experience during the pandemic.

2. Give yourself credit (Don’t be shy. Brag about your successes)

Maybe you don’t meet 100% of the listed requirements for a position or you’re considering a new career path. Don’t let that stop you from applying.

Be con.dent and try not to apologize for or otherwise call attention to any thing you’re lacking, says Jeannie Kim, vice president of content at career site The Muse: “What you should do instead is really play up the things that you do have. Play up the skills you have that are in the job description. Play up the back ground that you have, and make sure that you’re telling the story of how you’re quali.ed to do the actual respon sibilities of the job.”

3. Highlight your adaptability

Businesses across the country are settling into new normals. That might involve recon.guring workspaces or learning to operate remotely. You’ll make a good impression by demonstrat ing you can roll with changes. How do you do that? Showcase personality traits and attitudes like .exibility, em pathy and creativity, known as soft skills.

“With people not able to be in the same place as their coworkers, being able to show that you have strong com munication and collaboration skills is really important right now,” Kim says.

Transferable skills are also crucial to mention, especially if you’re looking to change roles or industries. Those are skills that apply to a variety of roles and can include both soft and hard skills, such as sales, writing or leadership.

Previous telecommuting experience can give you a leg up, too.

“Experience managing a remote team would be huge right now because very few managers have managed like this,” Kratz says. “But even having suc cessfully contributed to a virtual team, especially if you can lead with the ac complishments you achieved on that team, would go really well.”

4. Prepare for virtual interviews

The interview process could be most ly, or entirely, virtual – even if the job it self isn’t. Standard interview advice still applies: Dress professionally, ask smart questions and so on. But you should also adopt a few new best practices.

If you’re granted an interview, ask the company what the process will look like. How long will it take? Who will you meet with? Will it be over Zoom, Google, Skype or something else?

Then do a dry run. Test the audio, video and internet connection on your device. Make sure there’s nothing dis tracting or inappropriate in the visible background. Get familiar with the soft ware so you’ll know where the controls are located.

For good measure, set up a mock interview with a friend who can let you

know how everything looks and sounds on the other end. Finally, tell the people you live with when you’ll need access to shared equipment and quiet, uninter rupted time.

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Benchmark – A definition

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This comes to you from The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators by M. Larry Litwin (visit

PR Play 4-2
• A standard for comparing similar items such as research findings,
the creative elements of a campaign, advertising results, etc.
• A point of reference – baseline. (A person or organization that
others aspire to match or exceed.)
• A standard for comparing products to determine competitors’
costs and quality with one’s own.

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Benchmark Study

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This comes to you from The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators by M. Larry Litwin (visit

PR Play 4-3
Benchmark Study
A measurement of audience attitudes before and after a (strategic)
public relations campaign. A starting point (baseline) so that behavioral
change can be accurately measured.
Source: Eileen Weisman – The W Group – Houston, Texas

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This comes to you from The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators by M. Larry Litwin (visit

How to answer the toughest interview questions

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From Kate Lopaze in the July 19, 2020 Courier-Post.

  • Think about (past) experiences and gather examples
  • Always keep the tone positive and professional
  • Do your homework in advance – Be prepared, part of the ABCs (Anticipate – Be prepared – Communicate clearly [no jargon])
  • Take a minute to organize what you want to say – Communicate Clearly, Concisely,Consistently, Calculatingly, Completely (Specifically and Simply) and Correctly
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HR managers want candidates to ASK these questions

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Thank you to Kate Lopaze of the for providing this in the July 26, 2020 edition of the Courier-Post.

  • Ask questions about the company you may be working for
  • Ask questions about the job you are interviewing for
  • Ask questions about logistics – what are the next steps after today
  • Questions NOT to ask
    • Salary: Sve this one for the next conversation – assuming there is one
    • Specific demands: Days you will need off or maybe you need a response within a few days
    • Do not ask personal questions of the interviewer
    • Simply show that you are genuinely interest in the job and you are fully engaged.
  • And – GOOD luck.

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5 reasons you should invest in employee development now

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Thank you to Kate Lopaze of thejobnetwork for writing the full version of this article for the Courier-Post on Sunday, July 12, 2020.

With everything so uncertain right now, it may be hard to see how your organization moves forward and where you should be focusing your resources. Many companies are concerned about the impacts of coronavirus and the economic downturn on their bottom lines, and the idea of focusing precious time and money on employee development may not be top of mind. Still, your organization should consider investing in your employee development right now. Let’s take a closer look at why.

1. It’s building your organization’s future

Honestly, many workers are just happy to have a job right now, and many companies are content to stay afloat while navigating choppy waters. However, things will likely calm down soon, and as the new normal settles in you’ll want to be prepared with the best workforce possible. Focusing on employee retention and development takes advantage of questions you’re likely already asking, such as what kind of leadership is working for your organization, what you need from your employees, and what kind of changes are coming your way.

2. It improves your employer brand

Employee-focused organizations get more positive feedback from current and former employees. In a world where online word of mouth can be everything, this is how you appeal to the best talent. When your team knows that you’re invested in their needs and their development, it builds good word-of-mouth and keeps great employees from seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges for any organization. If you’re retaining your best employees and keeping churn low by meeting employee needs and expectations, it enhances your reputation as a great place to work.

3. It gives you more insight into your employees’ potential

Part of any employee development program is assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your current employee pool and identifying both areas for improvement and for the potential for promotion. This legwork helps build a pipeline of internal candidates for promotions or for open positions within the company.

Similarly, knowing any weak spots improves your fortunes as well—better to nip any issues in the bud at an early stage, when intervention can help you put the right people in the right places or move people away from areas where they’re not going to perform well.

4. Engaged employees are productive employees

Employee boredom or restlessness is rarely a good thing in any organization. It either hurts productivity as employees start to become emotionally distant from their jobs, or leads to quality employees looking elsewhere for a more satisfying job. The feedback and data you get during an employee development audit and implementation are essential to help you find ways to keep employees engaged and invested in the organization’s success.

Training programs, skill development programs, and asking employees for feedback are all ways to keep your workers from feeling disengaged or stagnant in their daily work.

5. Employee development makes good financial sense

Hiring is typically one of the biggest resource investments for any organization—searching for talent, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding are intricate processes that involve many touchpoints and significant costs. Having in-house talent you can use to fill leadership roles (or lateral roles in the company) helps cut down on the external hiring processes that you would otherwise need to do.

Whether you’re trying to attract new talent to your changed organizational landscape or keep the great employees you already have, a strong employee development program can help you get where you need to be—both in the short term and the long term. The time and attention you focus on growing employee skill sets and supporting their potential are some of the most important strategic tools you have as a hiring professional.

The post 5 reasons you should invest in employee development now appeared first on TheJobNetwork on July 8, 2020


5 ways your job will change because of pandemic

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Thank you to Kate Lopaze of thejobnetwork for writing the full version of this article.

  1. Physical distance and masks will be the norm
  2. Home is the new office
  3. Coworker relationships and meetings will be different
  4. Business travel may go extinct
  5. Medical screenings may become mandatory

Comments or questions?