gina akao

Home » Career Advice

Category Archives: Career Advice

Lucinda Curran Upcoming Interview on Change Your Life Radio!

I everyone,

I’m excited to announce that my very talented friend, Lucinda Curran, will be interviewing me on her blog talk radio show, Change Your Life, during this April’s focus topic: Get Your Life Back on Track.

Check out this video about the event and mark your calendar. Lucinda will be interviewing me Friday, April 11th at 9 p.m. PST. The title of my episode is “Get Your Life Back on Track: Navigating Academia with Gina Akao.”

Be sure to tune in. You won’t want to miss it!



Optimize Your Professional Networking Connections with LinkedIn

Hi everyone,

LinkedIn is a social network that allows professionals to connect to each other, display recommendations by co-workers, and participate in discussions through interest groups. How can you create a professional profile that will attract the attention of recruiters and potential employers?

I attended a presentation by Gigi Simmons, a Human Resources Business Partner at EMPLOYERS®, a provider of workers compensation insurance to small businesses nationwide. Simmons, who has attended several LinkedIn conferences, was kind enough to share her insights with students and staff on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, on October 24, 2013 as part of a “30 Minutes to Success” series presented by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA). Here are some of her tips:

  1. Create your profile on Your profile serves as a first impression and establishes your personal brand, which is your online workplace persona. Be sure to include a professional picture of you. It will increase the likelihood of contacts responding to your invitations to connect. Often times, you may meet potential employers at Career Fairs, but those employers speak to hundreds of people a day, so a photo of you on LinkedIn will help them recognize you (you may be required to enter their email address to send them an invite). To stand out, include a headline that describes what you are currently employed at or are trying to achieve. For example, Gigi’s headline is: “Partnering with You to Help Achieve Your Career Passion.”
  2. Stay active. Once you create your profile, post articles of interest and comment on others’ activities. For example, if you attend a lecture, post how much you enjoyed the presentation as an update on your own profile or comment on the presenter’s post. Recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential job candidates and will notice if your profile has been dormant. Find an interest group and contribute to discussion threads. Remember, keep your comments professional. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a recruiter or potential employer to see. Pressed for time? Schedule 10 minutes a week to keep your activity fresh.
  3. Highlight your story. When you list your experiences, remember that your LinkedIn profile acts like an elevator pitch. Recruiters will only spend a few minutes looking at your profile, so make your achievements stand out. Your LinkedIn profile is like your digital resume. If you are also uploading a hard-copy of your resume, take out your address, because potential employers will contact you by email or by phone.
  4. Follow companies you might be interested in working for. Recruiters can see which companies you are following, and if they already know you through an interest group, they may spend more time reviewing your profile.
  5. Know the difference between endorsements and recommendations. Anyone who is connected to you can endorse that you know a certain skill, but written recommendations by former employers or co-workers can be even more helpful.

Do you have a LinkedIn success story to share? Feel free to contribute to the discussion by commenting below. To request a full copy of my notes from Gigi’s lecture, please go to

Have fun connecting on LinkedIn!


Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today, and provides social media management and builds WordPress websites and blogs for authors and small business owners. To learn more about her products and services, please visit

Five Career Search Tips to Help You Find Your Target Job Opportunities

Would you like to know how to find a job in your targeted industry? What would a career consultant advise about job hunting in today’s challenging economic climate? I had the privilege of attending a presentation given by Career Consultant, Stephanie LaPlace on September 17, 2013. Stephanie works for Lee Hecht Harrison, the global leader in career transition consulting and was gracious enough to volunteer 30 minutes of her time to talk to college students and staff members on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno as part of a 30 Minute Success series offered by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA). Prior to joining Lee Hecht Harrison, LaPlace had worked for ten years as a recruiter and had served as a Vice President at Adecco, one of the world’s largest staffing companies.

Here are five key tips from Stephanie’s presentation:

  1. Conduct a personal assessment to identify your strengths and gifts. What kinds of tasks do you receive compliments on after accomplishing? Once you have identified those talents, match them with market demands. Then, research the potential industries you would like to work in, and start targeting your ideal geographic locations. Do you want to work in the same town in which you graduated college or high school? Are you open to relocating? How about international work? Use this information to create a written job search plan that targets your desired industry as well as market leaders within those growing industries.
  2. Set up an internship in your targeted industry. First make a list of companies or organizations where you seek to volunteer or intern. Research those companies to find out if they take interns. Some companies may even offer paid internships. If you are unsure whether you want to commit several months of time to an internship, you can set “shadow” dates to schedule time with someone who does a job you would like to pursue. By the end of the day, you can better identify if you are interested, or even passionate about, that type of work.
  3. Spruce up your resume. Most resumes just list past job duties, but if you want your resume to stand out, highlight accomplishments and measureable results. Be sure to tailor your resume with keywords from the posted job description, especially if you will be posting the resume online. Also, many companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool, so if you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one, and form your digital resume. LinkedIn is a social network that is similar to Facebook but is geared towards highlighting workers’ professional achievements.
  4. Expand your network. Only 25% of jobs are advertised online. That means that 75% of jobs are placed through connections. When a hiring manager has a job opening, he or she may ask current employees for referrals, but in many cases these jobs are secret and will be filled through networking outside of the organization. If you are in the market for a job, ask your friends for contacts within your targeted companies and set up informational meetings with hiring managers so that you can talk to them about their industry and company needs without coming out and asking for a job. Those hiring managers may talk about hidden jobs and actually hire you. It also helps to join professional associations in which your target companies participate.
  5. Polish your interviewing skills. Before an interview, be sure to research the company’s website and familiarize yourself with the industry. Prepare answers to common interview questions with real accomplishments that relate to what hiring managers seek in terms of skill sets and expertise. Highlight your skills and accomplishments and how your talents fit with the employer’s needs. If you feel bold enough, ask for the job and what the hire date is. Finally, send ‘thank you’ emails that reiterate your abilities and how you can address their needs.

Most of all, you are in business for yourself. Think of your career path as “ME, Inc.” In other words, you create job security for yourself; no company will do that for you. Eighty percent of employees just maintain the status quo. Twenty percent comprise an elite class of employees who not only develop their personal brands, but also actively seek out connections to people who can help them reach their career goals. Keep in mind, not all variables are perfect, so it is important for you to love your work in utilizing your talents and create criteria for ideal work settings, bosses, and teammates. Prepare good questions for the interviewers to answer so you can determine if the opportunity fits most of your criteria.

Now that you’re armed with a new arsenal of career hunting skills, go get ‘em!


Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today and offers consulting services to authors and small business owners who need websites, blogs, and social media management. Would you like a copy of my notes from Stephanie LaPlace’s presentation? Please go to and fill out the contact form to request a free copy of my executive minutes.

Exclusive Interview with Deborah Schneider, “Should You Really Be a Lawyer?”

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to announce that my Virtual Book Tour will conclude with an exclusive interview of Deborah Schneider, author  of Should You Really Be a Lawyer: The Guide to Smart Career Choices Before, During and After Law School. To find out more about the book, please go to

The conference call will take place on Sunday, Sept. 8th at 3 p.m. PST.
Conference dial-in number: (805) 399-1000.
Participant access code: 471729

The interview will be recorded, so be sure to Follow my blog at to receive a link to the recording.

Share the link with all of your legal beagle friends!

Also, check out the most recent book endorsement I received from attorney, Rick Hsu:

“Gina Akao accurately portrays with gripping detail the neuroticism that every law student experiences in Tales of a Law School Dropout, from the frenetic process of studying for the LSAT through the trials and tribulations of the first semester of law school.”
–Rick R. Hsu, Esq.

Maupin, Cox & LeGoy

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of my eBook, Tales of a Law School Dropout for only $9.99!

Have a great day,

Changing Names in a Memoir

Hi everyone,

When I was drafting my memoir, Tales of a Law School Dropout, I came upon a dilemma once I was ready to publish my book–should I change the names of my friends to protect their identities and privacy? What if they wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore after I wrote about them? What if they were offended by something I said in the book? What if they didn’t think my portrayal of them was accurate?

In fact, I went as far as asking my closest friends if they were okay about me writing about them. All I ever wanted out of writing a memoir was to tell people everything I wished I had known before attending law school so that they could avoid the pain I went through from going down the wrong career path. I certainly didn’t want to hurt any of my friends in the process of seeking catharsis after writing a memoir. To my surprise, most of my friends responded that they were flattered that I wrote a book and included them in it! Most of them didn’t care either way if I used their names or didn’t.

Even so, I changed their names. I spoke to an Intellectual Property attorney after he gave a presentation on copyright law at my writers’ group, and he said that I should change the names, not because of fear of getting sued, but because some day one of my friends might become a judge and wouldn’t want her real name published in a book about her first year of law school. So for the sake of my friends’ future careers, I concealed their names. But what about their personalities?

To find the answer, I consulted Tristine Rainer’s book, Your Life as Story, which advises memoir writers to change the names of their friends and loved ones, “not from concern about lawsuits, but out of desire to retain a margin of privacy for themselves and others” (p. 318). Phillip Lopate’s policy was to fictionalize only names, not identifying characteristics, in his personal essays (Rainer, 1997). Since opinions are protected under the First Amendment, it’s not libelous to state your opinion in your memoir.

However, it is good to keep in mind the elements of libel: “In most states, the plaintiff must be able to show that not only is what you wrote not true, but that the reader could recognize whom the character is based on, that the subject of your writing had been damaged by it in some demonstratable way, and that you wrote the lie with malicious intent” (p. 315).

So did I change people’s names? Yes. Did I lie about them? No. Did I deliberately try to hurt them? No. Whew.

Nevertheless, to my chagrin, one of my lawyer friends who read my book was able to recognize a mutual acquaintance. To find out who, check out Tales of a Law School Dropout.

Are you writing a memoir? Let me know your take on changing names.

Have a great day,


My Virtual Book Tour Travels to Turn Your Book into a Business

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to announce that today my virtual book tour travels to the website of Corine LaFont, a talented entrepreneur who helps authors publish and market their books. She is the only certified author assistant in the Caribbean, and and I would never have connected with her if it wasn’t for D’vorah Lansky’s Virtual Book Tour course, which allows authors from all over the world to network and to learn from each other.  Corine also has a radio show on Blog Talk Radio called “Between the Lines,” which is devoted to empowering authors.

To check out the full article, please click on the title: “How to Turn Your Book Into a Business.” This article covers:

  • How I marketed my book, Tales of a Law School Dropout, with a Virtual Book Tour (VBT)
  • How my VBT helped me double my freelance writing and editing income
  • How I turned my hobby into a business by starting with a SCORE business plan and mentor

I didn’t mention this in the article, because it is personal, but one of my main motivations for launching is because my 76-year-old dad has early-onset Alzheimer’s. This disease has shaken up our family in ways I never could have imagined, but as a result of those challenges, I have pushed myself to turn my own hobby into a business. Writing has always been something I did for fun, but now, I am blessed to have clients tell me that I’m an answer to their prayers by helping them with their own books and small businesses. Owning a business has its own set of challenges, so I encourage those of you who are brave enough to take up my small business challenge to balance your lives so that you can manage the stress of owning a business while you remain healthy and happy at the same time!

Also, if you are following and haven’t yet received your free copy of my Top Ten Career tips, please click here.



Can My College Help Me Find a Career?

Hi everyone,

It’s commencement time! Many students are graduating high school and college and are looking forward to finding their dream jobs. Luckily, most colleges offer some kind of career services department to assist students in this endeavor.

If you’re a recent grad, don’t wait until too long after graduation to update your resume and apply for jobs. The market is tough out there. Help is only a step away if you’re on a college campus.

The University of Nevada, Reno, for instance, has a Career Studio, where students can drop in (no appointment necessary) to get instant resume and cover letter critiques. Drop-in hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm in the Thompson Building (students can check the website for summer hours).

I interviewed Internship & Employer Relations Coordinator, Robyn Maitoza, Ph.D. “The Studio’s grand opening and ribbon cutting will be in September 2013,” and the Studio (now open, but located in Thompson) will be moving to the soon-to-be-built Student Achievement Center, which will replace Getchell Library. Students will be able to connect with mentors via social media, as well as in person.

Students will be able to sign in on iPads. UNR’s Career Studio is hiring 10 career mentors who will work directly with students who drop in. In addition, students may use computers in the Career Studio to update resumes and cover letters. The Career Studio, in contrast to the former career services department, will be a hub for career services and will conduct workshops, on-site interviews, and panels to help students find employers and vice versa.

The only downside I see to the new studio format is that students will not be able to take the full Myers-Briggs personality test or Strong’s Interest Inventory, which require a small fee to administer. Personally, I have found going over assessment results with a professional career counselor extremely beneficial. But, not all students will have the patience to spend hours on career tests. Instead, the Career Studio’s current assessments available are free and take less time to complete and review.

Additionally, the Career Studio will be installing a new system to collect data on how many students utilize the different services. Students will be able to search a database with job postings and employers will be able to log in and post jobs. The Studio will also provide opportunities for students to shadow alums in their target careers and to sign up for internships.

For more information about the Career Studio, please visit If you’re not a UNR student, peruse your college’s website to find out what kind of career services it offers.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to receive your “Top Ten Career Tips” for free.

Happy career hunting!


Virtual Book Tour Blog Posts!

Hi everyone,

My Virtual Book Tour is well under way, and recently I traveled to the blog of Jacci Turner, a talented Young Adult writer who I met through my writers group, the High Sierra Writers. She gave a passionate presentation on building a platform, so I was excited when she agreed to feature one of my articles on her blog, Jacci has published three books, The Cage, The Bar, and The Lamb.

In case you missed it, please click here to view the whole article, “What is God’s Purpose for You?”

During her presentation, Jacci mentioned that her blog had a spiritual theme, and although I am a Christian, I normally do not blog about religious topics, but after reading some of Jacci’s posts, I was inspired.

To see a full list of my upcoming blog tour stops, check out my Events page. The idea behind a Virtual Book Tour is that instead of traveling from city to city to do book readings, authors in the digital era can steamline the process by taking their tour online! Each blog “stop” takes the author to the blog of another successful author who writes about a similar topic.

Do you know what your God-given purpose is? Let me know! Please feel free to comment below. And if you haven’t already, sign up for my subscription list to receive your free gift, “Top Ten Career Tips.”

Have a wonderful day,


How to Navigate a College Career Fair

How do you make the most of a College Career Fair?

UNR just had its Career and Internship Fair on April 4th. There were plenty of students and employers to chat with, but how can students make the most of a career fair with so many potential employers to choose from? Here are a few tips:

  1. The day before the career fair, pick out professional attire, print extra resumes, and make sure you have enough business cards. If you’re a student and do not have a business card, you can still print one with your name, major, and contact info on it. You may even be able to download the University’s logo to include on your business card.
  2. Before you go into the main section of the career fair, scan the handout that lists all the employers present. UNR includes a handy chart that lists whether the employer is looking for students from a particular major.
  3. Decide which employers you want to talk to. You don’t have to stop at every table, but walk around and stop at the tables of employers you can really connect with. Smile and introduce yourself, even if you have a nametag on. Ask questions and have a conversation with the representative at the desk; don’t just collect free stuff and move on.
  4. If you are able to have a good conversation with an individual, get their business card and connect with them on LinkedIn or send them an email later to follow up on your conversation. For example, I only had an hour to spend at the career fair, so I had a few meaningful conversations with a few people about my educational blog. I met Pete Parker of Greek Ladders ( and talked to him about his business, which connects students who are part of Greek organizations with potential employers.
  5. After the career fair, jot down a few notes on the back of the business cards of people you talked to. For example, I told Pete I would send him a survey on freshmen data, and because I made a note, I could remember to follow up accordingly.
  6. Finally, check out the websites of the employers you talked to and look for job openings. Often times, the representatives at the booths at career fairs will encourage you to apply for jobs online rather than handing them a resume then and there. If they ask for your resume, be prepared to give one, but if they don’t, avoid pushing your resume on them. If you connect with them later in a positive way, they will remember you.

Good luck!


Career Fair Tips

Career Fair Tips

%d bloggers like this: