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Being the Most Qualified Does Not Guarantee You the Job!

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Have you ever left an interview feeling you nailed it quite well that you would be offered the job? You wait for days (or weeks) only to hear you didn’t. I am sure you have, and it’s not a nice feeling.

The US elections are over. One candidate got hired; the other got fired, and for those of us who follow politics, we are wondering what happened. That conversation was what dominated the group coaching class with the women in my Let’s GROW Project today. One woman commented that the most qualified person did not get the job. I chimed in that 46.9% of eligible voters did not vote. Another spoke of places where people do not have the opportunity to vote. The discussion provided a segue into why being the most qualified candidate does not necessarily guarantee you the job.

Here is how the group drew an analogy with the results of the US elections and a job interview. Two candidates were shortlisted for the position and were going to be interviewed by a panel of the American public. One had a very impressive resume. She had 30+ years of experience in politics as First Lady of a state; First Lady of the United States, Senator and Secretary of State. She also had testimonials and references from high profile colleagues and celebrities. All that would easily make her a shoe-in for the job.

The other candidate didn’t have any of that. He touted himself as a businessman, and an outsider to the Washington establishment. Despite publicly passing incendiary remarks, and refusing to follow protocol, it did not stop him from getting the job. How did that happen? Answers to that question will vary, depending on which side of the political fence one is on. However, from a job search perspective we could examine the role that personal branding, messaging and the halo effect might have played:

Personal Branding and Messaging

One candidate branded herself as the one with the experience, a steady hand and an even keel temperament. She cited her many success stories and had proof that backed them up. Many on the interview panel (the electorate) believed her. In fact, she won the popular vote, but because of how the Electoral College works, she did not get the job. What went wrong? Was it her brand? Did people buy into the narrative that she was untrustworthy? What about her messaging? Was it clear to her audience that she understood their pain?

The other candidate branded himself as the outsider; the businessman who could turn around Washington. He pointed to his business successes and his ability to ‘swing deals’. Although that is debatable, it was enough to convince a good part of the electorate that he was the best person for the job. He showed himself as an astute marketer, ripping right into the heart of their core beliefs – that the status quo needed a shake up; that the other candidate was a part of the establishment and was going to offer more of the same. His messaging was effective enough where his negatives didn’t matter to his constituents.

The Halo Effect

The halo effect, as described in Wikipedia, “is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties.” This means, many on the interview panel could have been influenced positively or negatively by their perception of each candidate. If that were the case, their minds were already made up. Regardless of what the candidates said from thereon, they latched on to their first impression of each candidate.

  1. Not too many of us aspire to be a head of state, but we are very often invited to interviews. In preparing for an interview, what could we learn from the results of the US elections?
  2. A resume might not be enough. An impressive resume, LinkedIn Profile (with its many testimonials), and high profile celebrity references might not be enough to get hired. Go beyond those, and think of what additional value you have to offer. Determine if your 30+ years of experience is an asset or a liability, and will it help or hurt your chances?
  3. Branding is not just for companies. It is common these days to speak about one’s ‘personal brand’. This is a blend of people’s perception of you and how you see yourself. Are they congruent, or, do people characterize you as someone different from who you really are? One way to find out is to complete a 360 assessment. These are easily available from a variety of sources, including the 360 Reach Branding Assessment.
  4. Authenticity is a key part of your branding. Be yourself. Highlight the skills, knowledge and strengths that make you unique. Showcase yourself in a way that feels natural to you, yet capture the attention of the hiring manager. You need to ensure that your brand is received positively by the people thinking of hiring you.
  5. First impression matters. You should strive to make a good first impression. Extend your research beyond that of the company and to the people who will be a part of the interview panel. Don’t know who they are? Find out, then conduct a Google search. What you discover could serve as a conversation opener and rapport builder instead of having to discuss the weather.
  6. Messaging is important. Your message should be tailored to the needs of the employer. You need to articulate your success stories in a way that convinces the employer you understand their needs, know where their pain points are, and that you “can fix it”(according to one of the election candidates).
  7. Monitor your social media footprints. Most employers conduct a search on candidates before inviting them to an interview. Make sure you do the same. Do a Google search on yourself to see if there are any negative or unsavoury mentions about you, and clear them up as quickly as you can.

It hurts when you were not hired for the job you were sure you would get. You know in your heart that you have the right qualifications, skills and experience. You did all that you could do, but the decision making was not under your control. Don’t beat upon yourself too much and never stop believing in you and your capabilities. “Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again”, said Frank Sinatra. This might not be easy. It could take days for you to come to terms with what happened, but life goes on and so should you.

What other tips would you offer to someone who is feeling dejected because of a lost job opportunity?

 

 

3 B.A.D. Tips to Bolster Your Career Brand

 

Yes, this might sound like an oxymoron, but read on…

Earlier in the year, I had the privilege of speaking to members of CAMP, a networking group for internationally trained communication, advertising and marketing professionals (hence the name CAMP), in Toronto.

The title of the presentation was “You’re BAD!” Of course, it was not an attempt to characterize these individuals as BAD in the literal sense, but to remind them that they were (and are) Bold, Audicious and Dynamic, and that by virtue of the fields within which they work, they are uniquely positioned to be B.A.D. I encouraged them to forget the labels people place on them as ‘lacking Canadian work experience’, and continue believing in themselves, their successes and their dreams.

That message is also relevant to job seekers or anyone going through a career transition. If you are working on your career marketing documents (resume, cover letter, bio, online profile, and portfolio), your brand statement, elevator pitch, or whatever other job search collateral you are creating), you can adopt a B.A.D attitude. If not, you won’t be able to effectively tell your story and get hired. Reinvent yourself, have courage, and dare to do things differently! The job environment is such a competitive one that now is a good time to be BAD!

Below are several variations of the B.A.D. acronym. Choose the one that you think will bolster your career brand and adopt it as your own mantra:

  1. Be Big, Bold & Brilliant: Take that big, bold, brilliant step to get the job or promotion you have always wanted. Don’t let fear or negative comments from others prevent you from going after what you want. Claim your brilliance and allow it to shine through every area of your life.
  2. Be Ambitious, Authentic & Astute: Be ambitious. Don’t settle for anything small. Ambition drives determination, and determination or perseverance allows you to move forward and claim your place at the table. Now it’s time to take a gut check on your Authenticity: Who are you? Are you genuine, or are you wearing a mask? Are you satisfied with ‘Brand You’, and if you are, are you consistently living that brand? Your authentic answers to these questions will help you become the person you were destined to be. Be Astute. Do you have all the smarts required to succeed? If not, are you engaging in developmental activities that will help you acquire these skills?
  3. Be Dynamic, Decisive & Distinct: A Dynamic individual demonstrates confidence. Whether you are networking, interviewing or having a casual conversation, you need to exhibit an aura of confidence. Stop acting like a wimp!  Be Decisive: When you have a serious decision to make, tell yourself firmly that you are going to make it. The famous author, Napoleon Hill, said “Indecision is the seedling of fear.” In all your interactions, you need to position yourself as Decisive; someone who is willing to make a decision even at the risk of being unpopular. Any hesitancy on your part could indicate that you are unsure about yourself. You are Distinct. There is no other person like you. You have been individually picked and handcrafted for a purpose. This mindset allows you to accept the unique person you are and differentiate yourself from everyone else.

After reading all these BAD tips, images of conceit, self-centredness and egotism might be entering your mind, but reject those thoughts. This is not about bragging. It’s about standing up for yourself. Don’t downplay your accomplishments, and pass them off as being “Just a part of the job”, or “It’s no big deal”. This is the time for you to adopt a B.A.D. attitude and learn to market your distinct brand so you won’t miss out on another opportunity. Go ahead and be B.A.D.!

You can click on the photograph above to watch a 5-minute video with snippets from my presentation to CAMP. It’s from Rogers TV, so expect to see a 30-second commercial before the real piece. Watch it and let me know your thoughts!

 

“Read an E-Book Week” is March 4-10, 2012!

Don’t be surprised if from March 4-10, 2012, you see ebook authors offering their books at steep discounts, or for free. You see, March 4, is Read an E-Book Week, a practice that’s been going on for several years. The Canadian Parliament took it a step further by declaring during its 41st sitting in November 2011, that March is Read an E-Book Month. We have Canadian author, Rita Toews, to thank for that. Toews is an award-winning author and founder of E-Book Week.

If you are an author of an ebook, or you have converted your Pbook (printed version) to an ebook, you might want to participate in Read an E-book Week. Additional information can be found on E-Book Week and Smashwords. As a participating author, I am pleased to announce that No Canadian Experience, Eh?  is being offered for $10.97 from March 4-10, 2012. That’s almost a 50% savings!

No Canadian Experience, Eh?, was a ‘first-of-its-kind’ career guide (when the first edition was published in 2007), that addressed the challenges that new Canadians face during their job search. It covers not only job search basics such as resume and cover letter development; preparing for and mastering the interview; building professional networks, and accessing the hidden job market, but includes advice and strategies from top career experts on social media, personal branding, onboarding, green careers, leadership, stress management, career assessments, self-employment, consulting and time management. It also contains advice and tips from recruiters and human resources professionals who understand what employers look for in potential employees.

Make sure to click on the image below to grab your copy, at almost 50% off, before midnight on March 10, 2012.

If you would like to have access to these proven job search and career strategies contributed by 16 career experts, and condensed into this guide, then don’t miss this opportunity! Grab your copy here: Read an eBook Week!

Happy reading, and spread the word about Read an E-Book Week. Hundreds of authors are participating in a variety of ways. See Smashwords

 

*This offer will not be combined with any other offers.

 

Own Your Name. Build Your Personal Brand. Up Your Job Search Game

Do you own your name? “Of course, I do”, you say! Last week I hosted a free teleconference for job seekers and professionals to gauge their career plans for 2012, and see if I could help them achieve their goals. I offered some options on how they could up their job search game in the new year, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. A few days later, I had coffee with someone who had missed the call, but who wanted to bring me up-to-date on her next career move. She told me about her plans for the year and about her new website. While discussing the website, I suggested that she claimed her name on the web by registering it as a domain. Her eyes opened widely as in “What do you mean?”

These days whether you are a job seeker or an entrepreneur, one of the first steps to building your personal brand is to claim your name – register your name as a website. I learned this early. You see, actor Jude Law’s former nanny has my name, and I wasn’t aware of it until I heard of the scandal surrounding their alleged affair. Soon after that, I claimed and registered www.daisywright.com and www.daisywright.ca, as domain names through Hostmonster (Affiliate Link). I have since given up the .CA domain.

Why is it important to own your name? The hiring process has changed for job seekers, and personal branding has become very important.  Recruiters and employers don’t rely solely on traditional methods to learn about or evaluate potential employees. They are swamped with résumés, phone calls and emails. It is, therefore, your responsibility to change the way you market your stories and your skills to employers, and raise your visibility because your résumé and cover letter are no longer enough. The same is true for entrepreneurs.

To begin your brand-building process, your first step is to register your name as a domain, if it’s still available.  Use it as a one-stop haven for your social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube (if you’re venturing into videos). When employers and recruiters begin searching for you, or when you need to connect with someone of influence, it’s easy to send them a link to your own website which houses your other profiles.

In a recent Fast Company article, the writer tells a story of how a 16-year old high school student emailed her out of the blue, and asked to join her as a guest on her TV show. He did not send a résumé, but instead included links to his website, Twitter account, Facebook page, and three relevant YouTube clips. This is a 16-year old! He has already learned how to use the web to his advantage–building a strong and positive personal brand before he even reaches his adult years. Twelve months into his brand-building exercise, he is already a well-known regular tech TV expert and blogger–and he’s not even out of high school yet.

What about you? Are you ready to step forward and do something as daring as ‘Mr. 16-year old’? Do you own your name on the web? Are your profiles up-to-date and housed in one place? Have you scoured your Facebook profile to make sure that everything is professional? Do you have blog? If not, are you contributing your expertise to industry blogs? If a recruiter or employer begins searching for someone with your stories and skills, will you stand out from the herd, or will you stay hidden in the crowd?

CEOs, HR Executives and recruiters encourage job seekers to use social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs to improve their chances of getting a job. One CEO stated in a Boston Globe article that, “We often find hires because of their activity in social media and, especially, the blogosphere.”

A recruiter said, “We like to see candidates who have filled in their LinkedIn profile completely. Upload your resume, and if you are a blogger (and it is relevant to your career), post the link to your blog. With respect toTwitter, she said,”We use Twitter directory tools to find candidates whose bios match our hiring needs.”

The field is too competitive these days for you to continue doing what you have always done and expecting different results. You’ve got to be willing to go the extra mile in bringing visibility to your story. It’s time to up your game, begin building your personal brand and let the job vacancies find you.

Sources:

Five Steps to a Better Brand

Social Media Advice for Job Seekers

 

It’s a Business Card…It’s a Resume…It’s a QR Code

It is (or used to be) the norm that a business card would include a name, title, phone number, email address, website and sometimes a tagline. That was yesterday. Today, in addition to the elements mentioned, the business card could contain one’s elevator pitch, branding statement or mini resume, thanks to the arrival of the QR (or Quick Response) Code.

A QR Code is a collection of symbols that when scanned by someone’s mobile device provides more detailed information about an individual. See the sample below which was created from my LinkedIn Profile using Pingtags:

 

 

As trendy as a QR Code may be, it could present a challenge to those without a  barcode scanner or mobile device with a QR Reader App. That said, from a job search or business perspective, it could be seen as another way for someone to set him or herself apart from their competitors and enhance their brand. What will they think of next?

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Related Website: Skanz

Connecting your Brand to your Value Proposition: Recognition to Reputation

How is Brand connected to your Value Proposition? What is your core value message? Are these terms confusing as they relate to your career transition and career development? Have you established what they are and incorporated them into a self-marketing strategy? If you have an interest in this topic; have no clue what these concepts even mean or what’s their relevance to your job search, then join my guest Wayne Pagani and I, for an informal discussion about these concepts and explore some practical ways to develop your value proposition, your brand, and how to use them to leverage your career transition.

Who is Wayne Pagani? Wayne is a talented career development strategist who brings over ten years of unparalleled service delivery in the field of career development complimented by extensive management experience in the corporate world. He has coached executives, managers, and other professionals with diverse backgrounds. Wayne delivers inspirational workshops and services to clients seeking career and professional development solutions in all sectors of business.

Listen on the Internet or call 646-478-5137

What is Poise?

The following is an excerpt from Sue Currie’s recent newsletter titled Presidential Poise. As a career coach and speaker, I usually discuss some of Sue’s points with clients when I meet with them one-on-one, when I facilitate workshops, or when I speak to groups. I cover topics like poise, self-confidence, public speaking, dress code, mannerisms, etc. Over the next few days, with permission from Sue Currie, I’ll reprint segments of her article. Here’s the first segment:

“According to former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating in an article in The Australian, one of the attributes that sets Obama apart is his poise.

What is poise? According to various dictionaries it means calm self-assured dignity, ease of manner and assurance, especially in dealing with social situations. Also, a graceful controlled way of standing, moving or performing in action. Equilibrium, a stable state of balance. Going further into the Thesaurus these words and phrases come up also, mental poise, intelligence and wisdom.

Poise is a very desirable personal brand attribute. Here are a few tips to help you include and exude this trait into your personal brand:

Self confidence. Displaying self-confidence and self-assurance is easier said than done. However, a leader or someone in control shows re-assurance to others. They take an interest, listen and make the first move to initiate conversation, putting other people at ease. Obama uses encouraging words of hope and a future to look forward to. He has a warm, genuine smile. His words, actions and manner are comforting and reassuring.”

Next post will be How to Speak well with Composure.

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Sue Currie, the director of Shine Communications Consultancy and author of Apprentice to Business Ace – your inside-out guide to personal branding, is a business educator and speaker on personal branding through image and media. To learn more about how you can achieve recognition, enhance your image and shine, sign up for free monthly tips at http://www.shinecomms.com.au

How To Secure Your Dream Job

“The most important thing is that you must understand the company you are approaching. Then show them you can marry the organisation with your personal qualities.

“Most companies don’t care about anything except how the interviewee is going to improve the company itself. So tell them: Sell yourself as a package; present yourself as a business proposition. You are delivering a set of expectations related to your education, upbringing, attitude – your brand.

When you are looking for a job, you’re searching for an avenue to show The Ultimate You. Your main selling point should be to show how you will help the organisation reach its goals, while you are reaching your own.

“Also important is how you present yourself. Your appearance must mirror the image of the organisation. Reflect how the head of the organisation presents himself or herself. The CEO is the embodiment of its brand, and you cannot go wrong projecting a similarity. It doesn’t mean you must spend the kind of money that they do on clothing – it is more about attitude and capturing their brand.”

thebe ikalafeng
Brand expert and author

Want to Secure Your Dream Job? Learn to Brand Yourself First

“The most important thing is that you must understand the company you are approaching. Then show them you can marry the organisation with your personal qualities.

“Most companies don’t care about anything except how the interviewee is going to improve the company itself. So tell them: Sell yourself as a package; present yourself as a business proposition. You are delivering a set of expectations related to your education, upbringing, attitude – your brand.

When you are looking for a job, you’re searching for an avenue to show The Ultimate You. Your main selling point should be to show how you will help the organisation reach its goals, while you are reaching your own.

“Also important is how you present yourself. Your appearance must mirror the image of the organisation. Reflect how the head of the organisation presents himself or herself. The CEO is the embodiment of its brand, and you cannot go wrong projecting a similarity. It doesn’t mean you must spend the kind of money that they do on clothing – it is more about attitude and capturing their brand.”

thebe ikalafeng,
Brand expert and author

A Personal Branding Summit – November 8, 2007

The concept of personal branding has become popular enough that there will be a “Personal Branding Summit,” to be held on Thursday, November 8, 2007.

If you are in the hunt for a new job, or looking to advance your current career, personal branding is one of the best ways to secure a favorable impression from hiring managers or current bosses. Visit http://www.personalbrandingsummit.com/program-schedule.html and register to ‘attend’ the summit. Even if you can’t participate, register and the audio link will be sent to you.