Graphics. Video. Audio. Virtual Excitement!

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Thus far, you've learned strategies and guidelines to create killer content for your resume. And certainly this is a critical skill that you'll put to use throughout your career. But isn't it just a little… last century? Isn't there a lot more you can do, given Web capabilities, to liven up your resume?

Indeed there is, and that's what this Section is about.

We'll discuss how to create a virtual portfolio, with supporting evidence of your capabilities, using the VisualCV tools and features. You'll learn what to add and why, how to add it, and how to create a smooth flow of information from the home page of your VisualCV.

Combined, all of these elements will create a powerful portfolio that not just tells, but shows what you have done and what you can do.

Enhancement, Not Replacement

Despite the power punch of video, graphics, audio files, and other add-ons, don't make the mistake of thinking these can take the place of a well-written resume. The traditional resume, while it continues to evolve, is far from dead and is an essential element in your job search and career management.

Take the time to create a strong resume, as described in sections 1 and 2, before adding the jazzier digital components. You'll need the written document for a traditional job search, when you share your Word document, text file, or actual printed page with a network contact, recruiter, or hiring manager. Then, when your contacts access your VisualCV online, they'll find even more to look at, listen to, and read about to reinforce the image you've already created via your traditional resume and your personal presence.

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The VisualCV is designed for quick and easy creation of your online portfolio. When you first log in, you'll create an account and then be guided through the process of putting your resume content online. You can either type in each section or simply cut-and-paste from your existing resume.

The VisualCV is designed for quick and easy creation of your online portfolio. When you first log in, you'll create an account and then be guided through the process of putting your resume content online. You can either type in each section or simply cut-and-paste from your existing resume.

As with all Word-to-text conversions, there might be a few formatting glitches that you'll need to adjust.

As you create your VisualCV, you'll note that you are not constrained to a cookie-cutter approach but can organize and present your information in the way that is most beneficial to you.

Insider's Tip: Create an On-Target Skills List

When recruiters and employers are filling a position, they start by matching resumes to job keywords. Why not make it easy for them? Use the Skills category of your VisualCV to present your core capabilities, knowledge, and experience that match the keywords for the jobs you're most interested in. You can find these keywords by perusing job postings and noting the terms that appear repeatedly.

Your resume should include these terms, assuming they reflect your actual experience, but when they are highlighted in the Skills section recruiters can quickly determine that you have the essentials they're seeking. With the bases covered, they'll go on to review the rest of your VisualCV to learn more about you--your capabilities and your accomplishments.

When the resume portion of your VisualCV is complete, you can move on to the other elements that will make your online presentation dashing and distinctive.

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Building Your Portfolio

Below the Resume Sections you'll see an area called "Portfolio Items." Here is where you will store tangible evidence of your capabilities and accomplishments. Broken down into five areas--Documents, Images, Video, Audio, and Charts--your portfolio gives your viewers visible and audible proof of the material in your resume.

The first step in building your portfolio is simply uploading the various portfolio items--discussed in more detail below. Then just insert the appropriate items into each version of your VisualCV.

Let's explore what additional material you might include and why and how to include it.

DOCUMENTS

There is an endless array of documents that can enhance the value of your VisualCV. Consider these ideas:

Documentation

  • University diplomas and training certificates
  • Licenses and other credentials
  • Performance awards and recognition--such as a President's Club letter or award certificate
  • W2 forms for the last 5 years as proof of your earnings history
  • Patent awards and other intellectual property descr

Work Product

  • Your master's thesis or senior project
  • A white paper or article you've written that showcases your professional expertise
  • A business report, strategic plan, marketing plan, or other document you created on the job
  • A speech or presentation that you gave
  • Blueprints, diagrams, graphic designs, screen shots, or other visual display of work you've done

Third-Party Endorsements

  • Letters of reference (See later section for a detailed discussion of references.)
  • Letter of appreciation from a customer or colleague
  • News clippings--articles in which you've been profiled or quoted, that discuss a product or technology that you created, or that support a business decision you made

Resume Enhancements and Personality Profile Information

  • A resume addendum describing several of your career "success stories" in depth
  • A personal brand statement--a description of what makes you unique, how you approach problems, and what you're known for, expanding on any brand tagline you might have included in your resume
  • Your Myers-Briggs report or other assessment findings
  • A summary of a book or book chapter you've written, or a review of career-relevant books you've read
  • A question-and-answer format in which you discuss an area of expertise or respond to typical interview questions
  • A statement of your work philosophy and description of what makes a great opportunity for you

VisualCV Advantages: Privacy Protection and Permanence

Because you can easily create multiple versions of your VisualCV, you choose precisely which information you will share with each audience. For example, you will want to keep your W2 forms private until you are in deep discussions with a recruiter or employer who asks for them. Then you can share that version of your VisualCV only with those specific people.

Plus, once you upload any document, it remains stored in a central, easily accessed location for your use now and throughout your career.

To add documents to your VisualCV, save each file as a PDF or Word (.doc) file and simply upload. VisualCV also supports PowerPoint ( PPT) files for portfolio items such as presentations.

When deciding what to include, choose items that enhance your credibility and clearly demonstrate your expertise. Be sure the documents are professional in look and language.

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IMAGES

Photos add human interest to your VisualCV. We recommend that you include at least two photos of yourself:

  • A formal business head shot
  • A business casual photo

In addition, consider these photos if applicable to your circumstances:

  • Photo of yourself winning an award or being recognized for a contribution to your business or community
  • Photo of yourself giving a presentation or appearing on an industry panel
  • Photo of yourself with "celebrities" -- no, not the Hollywood B-list, but people who are recognized as leaders in your field

Photos are also the perfect format for sharing examples of your work product. For example:

  • A screen shot of a web page you designed
  • A photograph of a trade show exhibit that you created

The VisualCV accepts most photo file formats, including JPG and .gif. Simply upload each file to your portfolio.

Insider's Tip: Don't Worry About Bias

Virtually all career experts and HR professionals recommend against including your photo on a resume. That's because employers do not want to have information that could be a potential source of bias. Photos can reveal information related to EEOC "protected categories" such as age, race, gender, religion, or disability. So why are we recommending photos and video on your VisualCV?

The VisualCV does not replace the traditional resume and application process. It is designed to allow you to build and maintain relationships with recruiters, employers, and professional contacts throughout the course of your career. As such, it's perfectly natural that these contacts will know what you look like, and therefore the issue of bias does not arise.

Remember, you still have your traditional resume (without photo) that you can send to employers and recruiters as part of the standard job application process. In fact, you'll often be required to complete a company's online application even if your candidacy is already in the works or if you have a longstanding relationship with the recruiter or hiring manager. So you'll be able to meet the company's requirements and still allow your visually rich VisualCV to present a comprehensive picture of who you are, what you're good at, and your professional value.

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Now, let's move on to the next category for your portfolio--video.

VIDEO

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million! While it's not feasible to present your entire CV in video format (and nobody wants to watch you read your resume aloud), you can enhance the written word by using your voice, face, gestures, and unique personal style to communicate who you are and what sets you apart from others.

VisualCV Advantage: Multiple Videos

With the VisualCV, you're not confined to a single "video resume." You can create multiple short films that will showcase different aspects of yourself and your professional capabilities. We recommend that you consider making three videos to answer these three questions:

  • What makes me a great professional (your professional capabilities, strengths, and successes)
  • What makes a great opportunity for me (what you're looking for--the job and environment)
  • What makes me a great person (personal information that adds interest and conveys value)
Insider's Tip: Make a Great Video!

We've prepared a complete guide to creating a great video; it appears at the end of this Section. We recommend that you review it carefully to ensure that your videos are a positive addition to your VisualCV.

A video resume is not the only video you can add to your VisualCV. Consider these additional ideas for video presentations that will help paint the picture of who you are and what you have to offer.

Professional Presentation

If you are in a profession that requires you to give presentations as a key element of your job, what better way to prove your skills than to show a video of yourself in action? Here are just a few possibilities:

  • Sales presentation
  • Product demonstration
  • Public speaking event
  • Press conference
  • Trade show interaction
  • Technical explanation
  • Training session
  • Seminar delivery
  • Board presentation
  • Emcee role (for a business event)

While these sessions aren't scripted and presented in the same way as your video resume, similar strategies will ensure the best presentation:

  • Keep it short--you don't have to present an entire speech or session, simply a 2- to 3-minute clip that showcases your talents.
  • Stay focused--select the segment that best illustrates the skill you want to demonstrate, whether that be persuasiveness, grace under pressure, ability to convey complex information simply and clearly, ability to connect with your audience, or some other aspect of your professional skill set.
  • Tune in to your audience--if your audience is pictured or heard in the video, be sure their demeanor is engaged and their questions or comments on point.
  • Create killer content--the material you're presenting should further support the professional image you are trying to convey. For example, if you're a B2B sales professional, show yourself in a business setting, not the video of you emceeing your child's eighth-grade graduation.
  • Present with power--if you don't have a stellar example of your presentation skills, it's best to skip this addition to your portfolio. Remember, you are trying to reinforce your professional image, not damage it.
  • Be yourself--Your enthusiasm and genuineness should shine through on your video.

References

Rather than relying on recruiters, employers, and possible business partners to track down your references, why not include their endorsements as part of your VisualCV?

Ask your top references to prepare a short (2- to 3-minute) video in which they discuss your strengths and give some specific examples of those strengths in action. You might provide some guidelines by having them address these questions:

  • How do you know this individual?
  • What impresses you most about him?
  • Describe a significant challenge that he took on. What did he do, and what was the outcome?
  • What do you think are this person's greatest development needs? What should he learn or how should he grow to continue to advance his career?
  • How does he handle adversity? Give me an example.
  • If you were to hire this individual, what role would you consider ideal? Be specific.
  • Please comment on this person's ethics and integrity. Provide an example.

After creating your video, upload the file to your portfolio. Refer to the online help section if you need additional guidance.

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AUDIO

The human voice adds many dimensions to the written word. With the ease of recording, storing, and uploading audio files, you can enhance your VisualCV.

Consider these ideas for audible additions to your portfolio:

  • A podcast of your appearance on a radio program
  • A mock "interview"--a Q&A session in which a colleague asks relevant questions about your professional experience and you provide stellar answers
  • An audio recording of your presentation at a conference or meeting
  • Your responses to the three topics we discussed in the Video section, namely: What makes me a great professional; What makes a great opportunity for me; What makes me a great person. If for some reason you can't or don't wish to create a video of these topics, consider an audio-only file.

If you are creating audio from scratch, be sure to review the guide to creating a great video that appears at the end of the Section. Only the visual portions won't apply--the advice regarding what to say and how to say it will be right on point.

As with video, simply create your audio files and upload them to your portfolio.

The next section of your portfolio is labeled "Charts." Let's examine the possibilities.

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CHARTS

A chart is a high-impact visual reinforcement of key information in your resume. By presenting data in multiple forms, you can capture attention, impress your viewers, and drive home your key points. I suggest that you take advantage of this opportunity!

Depending on your profession, your chart can show vastly different things. Use these ideas as a jumping-off point for developing the right chart for your unique circumstances.

  • Revenue growth
  • Profit growth
  • Stock performance
  • Sales performance
  • Quality improvement / defect reduction
  • Performance to a goal (any specific, measurable objective)
  • A positive trend in any area of measurement
  • Your personal income growth
  • Length of time you've practiced specific skills

The VisualCV offers a charts widget where you can enter raw data and create your unique charts. Alternatively, you can design your own charts in Excel and save the finished charts in a graphic file format (such as JPG or .gif) and upload them to your portfolio.

In certain instances you'll want to provide your viewers with another source of information, beyond what's available in your VisualCV. In these instances, create a hyperlink in the text of your resume to allow viewers to immediately access the featured site. Items you might want to link to include blogs, news stories, and multimedia sites. For example:

  • A blog can provide solid reinforcement of your expertise and position you as a thought leader and forward thinker. Be sure your blog is professional, not personal.
  • News media can be a valuable third-party endorsement. Do include a link to the appropriate online source if you can't include the actual article as part of your portfolio.
  • Videos, podcasts, and other Web-based multimedia may be appropriate to include if they are relevant to your career and consistent with your professional image.

SUMMING IT UP

"The more the merrier" is a good approach to use in creating your portfolio. Once it's online, all your material is there permanently, and you won't find yourself scrambling to find it years down the road or when a sudden opportunity arises. And remember, you can create multiple versions of your VisualCV and share your information selectively.

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Video Resume Tips

We suggest creating three "video resumes" addressing the following questions:

  • What makes me a great professional (your professional capabilities, strengths, and successes)
  • What makes a great opportunity for me (what you're looking for--the job and environment)
  • What makes me a great person (personal information that adds interest and conveys value)

The following guidelines will help you make the most of your video opportunity.

Keep it Short

Remember, your video is designed to enhance your resume--not replace it. Two minutes or less is the recommended length. You'll find that's plenty of time to get across your key points.

Stay Focused

Before recording, plan your message, define your key points, and practice your delivery. Don't try to say too much; you'll make a better impression, and be more memorable, if you have one well-defined message that you communicate clearly.

Tune In to Your Listeners

You may be talking about yourself, but it's imperative that you make your message all about them--your listeners/viewers. Remember, you are marketing yourself. Rather than simply reciting your knowledge and experience, you should convey how that knowledge and experience can make a company more successful. In the language of advertising, make sure your listeners understand your benefits, not just your features

Create Killer Content

Using our recommended themes, you can present three distinct facets of yourself:

  • What makes me a great professional
  • What makes a great opportunity for me
  • What makes me a great person

Within these themes (described in more detail below), you can share your unique talents and your most significant successes. Make your video memorable and effective by following these content guidelines:

  • Use the big and save the little. In your two minutes, you won't have time to share a lot of details. Instead, use summary statements and strong language to communicate overall achievements, big themes, and other high-impact information. Save the details for a later meeting.
  • Be relevant. Keep in mind what your listeners care about most, and select those experiences, credentials, and successes that cater to their interests. Recruiters and employers typically want to know the scope of your experience, the industries you've worked in, your job titles and career progression, and how you've made a difference.
  • Be specific. Whether you're using a story-telling format or simply relating your key successes, avoid language that is vague, general, and non-specific. You'll come off sounding like every other candidate. Include numbers, percentages, dollars, and other specific results.
  • Dig deep. Your goal is to be memorable, so think about providing a "deep slice" of experience rather than a broad surface view. The microcosmic view you present will illuminate the entire macro picture of who you are.
  • Be interesting. Intrigue your audience and they'll delve more deeply into your written materials to see if you have the specifics they're looking for. Bore them and they won't make the effort.

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Present with Power

Once you've perfected the content, it's time to work on your delivery.

  • Speak directly to the camera and make "eye contact" with the electronic lens. Your viewers will feel you're speaking directly to them.
  • Smile! You want to appear as if you're enjoying yourself. Don't fix a rigid grin on your face and keep it there, but begin with a smile and keep a pleasant facial expression throughout your presentation.
  • Relax. Easier said than done, but before you go on camera take a deep breath and mentally slow down your breathing, heart rate, and reaction times. You want to come across as calm and focused, not anxious, jittery, or wired up.
  • Start with a bang. Your opening sentence should incite immediate interest, and it should be prepared and practiced so that you can start your video on a confident note.
  • Glance down at your notes. You don't have to memorize your presentation, although you should practice beforehand. Jot down a few pertinent keywords that will remind you of your major points, and keep the card where you can see it just by glancing down. This action will appear natural and normal and will quickly give you your next cue. Then, look up at the camera again, smile, and start your next point.
  • Gesture naturally. Avoid nervous, repeated gestures; avoid large hand and arm movements; be sure your movements aren't constant. But within these sensible guidelines, feel free to gesture as you normally would when speaking. You'll appear natural and poised.
  • If you make a mistake, go with the flow. You're probably not a professional presenter… and this is not a major network production. Try not to get flustered if you make a mistake. Simply correct yourself with a minimum of fuss and move on.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. Some people speak faster when they're nervous… and presentations make many people nervous. Others have a naturally quick speaking style. Be conscious of how quickly you're speaking and slow down a bit if need be. Regardless of how fast you speak, take extra care to enunciate each word to make it easy on your listeners.
  • Silence is golden. Don't be uncomfortable with occasional silence, and be sure you pause between sentences and as you transition from one topic to another. Your pauses give listeners time to absorb your information.
  • Avoid unnecessary sounds and movements. Rustling papers, tapping your fingers, rocking in your chair, or shuffling your feet are distractions that will catch the eyes and ears of your audience. Allow them to concentrate on your message, not the extraneous sounds and movements.
  • Don't dribble to a stop. Your presentation should have a clear ending point, so your audience knows you're done. Plan this closing statement in advance and finish with confidence!

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Prepare Your Message

As noted, we recommend three distinct topics for your video presentation. You can choose to create one, two, or three videos; we suggest that you seriously consider all three to paint the most insightful picture of who you are. Following are some prompts and sample scripts to help you create your message for each of these three topic areas.

  • What makes me a great professional
    • What are the most significant achievements of your career?
    • Explain any tenures less than one year for a full-time position.
    • What sets you apart from others?
    • What are your areas of expertise?
    • What has been your greatest learning experience?
  • Example Script

    I'm a high-energy sales and business development executive with 15 years' experience in technology products and services. The kind of challenge that excites me most is going into new markets, specifically in Asia, and revving up the revenue. In the past three years I've built the Asian IT services division for Zytec from zero to $60 million. Before that, during a 12-year career with Intelligent Solutions, I led new sales initiatives in 6 distinct Asian markets, and in every case we exceeded our first-year objectives.

    One of my greatest strengths as a sales leader is being able to quickly and accurately assess the market opportunity. This helps us make the right initiatives at the right time in the most promising markets, so that we quickly gain traction and ramp up revenues. For example, with Zytec, I developed the strategy and timeline for new market launches, based on market analysis and extensive knowledge of the business climate and culture in China, Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia.

    They say that sales is all about relationships, and nowhere is that more true than in Asia. Because I've lived in six Asian countries and devoted myself to learning as much as I could about the local culture, I understand the nuances in building and nurturing business relationships in each distinct country and market. What that means is that the business I develop is highly sustainable, built on the foundation of a strong business relationship. At Intelligent Solutions, our Asian business had the best 3-year retention rate in the company.

    What I'm most proud of during my career is that I have repeatedly developed superb sales teams. I get a lot of satisfaction from mentoring my people and making sure they are adequately trained and have what they need to be successful.

    As you may know, Zytec was recently acquired by Labtech, and they have decided to close all of their Asian offices and manage those customers from the US. They've offered me an excellent position if I wish to stay on, but I prefer to remain in Asia at this point. The opportunities there are so tremendous, I'm looking forward to having another great run for a company that shares my view! I'm looking forward to exploring how my experience can be of value to you.

  • What makes a great opportunity for me
    • What is the ideal company culture (example: small, large, public, private)?
    • What is your desired work environment (example: from home, HQ near execs, regional office)?
    • What types of challenges do you most enjoy (example: creating something, fixing something,
    • executing on a plan or strategy)?
    • What is your desired compensation?
    • What is the next step in your career (where/how can you add value)?
  • Example Script

    Working 12-hour days for a solid year isn't necessarily something I want to do again, but the culture at May-Tech was so exciting it was impossible not to pour everything I had into my work there. I am passionate about ideas that change the world, or at least make people's lives a little bit better, and I want to work at a company where everyone shares the vision and works hard to achieve it. Although I've been successful at both large and small companies, I prefer working within a smaller project team where I have the chance to step outside my designated area of expertise; I don't enjoy a rigid hierarchical structure and like to pitch in wherever I'm needed.

    My greatest skill is envisioning "what might be" within the realm of available technology; I understand what's mainstream, what's cutting edge, and what is yet to be perfected, with the result that the vast majority of products I've contributed to have been easy to manufacture and quick to bring to market. I do have strong technology skills and can contribute to the detail work as needed, but I prefer to be in a strategy or leadership role where I am driving the development and not just executing it.

    My ideal role would be as a Product Development Manager for a company with a strong technology component. I can lead product teams from concept through design, testing, and product launch, and I am particularly good at motivating my team through sticky challenges, whether technical, financial, business, or interpersonal.

    I have been earning in the low six figures and would anticipate competitive pay based on the value I offer. I enjoy the dynamic environment of a start-up or early-stage company provided there is sufficient upside potential; or I'd be happy in a division of a larger corporation, perhaps a skunk works or other new product initiative where I can play a lead role in developing new products that are not only visionary but practical. I am not too concerned about job titles and don't envision a specific role for myself in the future; I can add value in a variety of roles and I am most concerned with the challenge, the opportunity, and the team rather than career advancement or job title. I'm looking to join a great company that will benefit from my passion as well as my skills.

  • What makes me a great person
    • Talk about your current situation in life.
    • What are the most significant achievements in your life?
    • What are you most proud of in life?
    • What are your interest/hobbies?
    • What has been your greatest learning experience?
  • Example Script

    When I was 8 years old, I ran away from home to join the circus. I know that's a cliché, but I really did. I had seen the Big Apple Circus that day and was so enthralled with the magical atmosphere, I knew I had to be part of it. I didn't get very far that day, but I see that as the first example in my life of dreaming big dreams and going after them with passion.

    You might think there's a big difference between being a circus performer and being a sales rep, but you'd be surprised how many parallels there are! In my job I need to capture the attention of my audience, mesmerize them with my vision of what the product or service can do for them, and delight them with the entire experience of buying from me. So my early tendencies are certainly playing out in my professional life.

    In my personal life, I have followed this theme of "dreaming big" as well. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and then I helped three of my siblings get their degrees as well. I moved from rural Maine to the real Big Apple, New York City, because I saw it as a metaphor for very big dreams and big accomplishments. When it came time to choose a career, I first hitched my star to the world of entertainment and rose through the ranks at MTV from intern to producer before I realized I wanted to be part of something more substantial. I realized I could use my marketing skills and entertainment expertise to make something as unsexy as financial services an exciting buying experience! I helped my clients understand how their purchases helped them and helped their families and would enable their big dreams to carry on in the future. I'm really proud of helping people gain some security so they can live better lives now and make a better future for their children.

    I don't have children myself, but I get a lot of satisfaction from helping disadvantaged children live happier and more successful lives. I've been an active volunteer with Big Brothers and Sisters for more than a decade; currently I'm on the board, and I'm spearheading an alliance with Habitat for Humanity so the boys and girls and their Big Brothers and Sisters can play an active role in building homes--whether for themselves or for others in their community.

    My greatest learning experience also came about through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters. When I was paired with my first Little Brother, I was full of enthusiasm and big ideas. I wanted to help him rise above his circumstances and make something of himself. I would preach to him about what I had done and how I had succeeded. After a few months I realized I hadn't made a real connection with him. It took me some deep soul searching and some input from a trusted friend, but I realized I had been doing too much talking and not enough listening. So I put a muzzle on it! I encouraged him to talk. I learned what his life was really like. And I found he had dreams of his own. From then on I kept the focus on him rather than myself. The lesson for me was to listen and tune in to other people so that their dreams can come true--not my dreams for them. Fortunately I realized it in time to salvage my relationship with my Little Brother! He recently graduated from college and he's a Big Brother himself--and boy, does that feel great, knowing I influenced his life in that direction.

    You might be wondering how all of this relates to my professional life. In fact, it was a profound transformation in how I conduct myself with other people. It used to be all about me--now it's all about them. The incredible thing, though, is that not only is it more satisfying for them, it makes me more successful at my job. I'm grateful I learned this lesson early in life--and I'll never forget it.

Be Yourself

Let your personality, your successes, your talents, and your interests shine through in your video, and you'll create an indelible impression with recruiters, employers, and network contacts. After all, you're unique--as is each company and each opportunity. The goal in successfully managing your career is finding the fit that's right for you at a specific stage of your professional development.

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