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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!

 

How a Patchwork Quilt Résumé Could Damage Your Brand

Wikipedia’s Definition of a patchwork quilt: a quilt in which the top layer consists of pieces of fabric sewn together to form a design.

By my own definition, a patchwork quilt résumé is one that is made up of phrases and sentences copied from other people’s career documents (résumé, cover letter, bio, or LinkedIn Profile), and presented as one’s own.

Recently, there was an intense discussion on the forum of one of my professional associations about someone who had copied blocks of a sample résumé to create her own then contacted one member to spruce it up for her. While scrutinizing the document, the member realized the contents didn’t gel, so she did a Google search. It turned out the sample résumé was crafted by another member of this same association and posted in an article on AOL.

I have had my share of people sending me résumés made up of bits and pieces of other people’s résumés, and sometimes cover letters. In one case, it was the summary from one of my own creations. As I started reading the résumé, I thought the wording sounded familiar. On checking, I realized it was one I had written for another client. This new client told me someone had helped him out for free but he wasn’t having much success with it.

When information is copied from someone else’s résumé, it is very easy to spot the patchwork quilt design. The information is incoherent; statements are generic and some phrases just do not match the person’s experience or background. Actions like these only serve to damage one’s brand, and elicit accusations of plagiarism, copyright infringements, and ethics. Moreover, if such a résumé lands on the desk of a discerning hiring manager, such a candidate’s credibility will come into question, and he or she will most likely not be called for an interview.

Here are the facts:

  • Your résumé is a branding tool that tells YOUR story, not someone else’s, and shows the face YOU want employers to see.
  • You are unique! There is no one else like you, with the same experience, accomplishments and work ethic. Your co-worker may have the same job description and may do the same work like you, but he or she is not your clone. You must differentiate yourself.
  • Your aim is to create a résumé that captures your unique talents, accomplishments and experience; not one that looks like a patchwork quilt, or one that gives the impression you have a Jekyll and Hyde personality.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Instead of scouring the Internet for sample résumés to build your own, take a look at your job description and ask yourself “What have I done with the job they asked me to do? How is the company better off since I joined?”
  • Read each job description statement and apply the ‘so what’ factor to each. For example, if one of your responsibilities is to “monitor and analyze sales promotion results...” Ask yourself, “So what? What did I do? What happened?”
  • Review your last two performance appraisals and look for the nuggets of your contributions from projects you worked on, objectives met and targets exceeded.
  • Start building a résumé that tells YOUR story. Make sure each statement addresses your value proposition, and answers the employer’s question “Why should we hire you?” If you are unable to create your own résumé, find someone whom you trust; has credentials and know what they are doing.

Don’t damage your brand with a patchwork quilt résumé. Learn to tell your own story and get hired!