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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!

 

Modern Ways to Job Search

 

Social media is enabling job seekers to market themselves creatively to employers, and the image above highlights some of the tools they are using. Of course, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook take centre stage. With so many tools, one is left to wonder if the days of the paper resume are really numbered, or as it’s often touted, if “the resume is dead!”  As seen on the image, one-third of human resources managers predict that traditional resumes will be replaced with social/business networking sites.

With respect to networking, although the term generally conjures up images of forced smiles and awkward conversations, it is well-known that more than 80% of job opportunities are found in this manner. Therefore, the onus is on job seekers to learn effective networking skills to improve their chances of job search success.

A blog is a non-intrusive way to get employers interested in your brand without even applying for a job”, says one statement in the image.  This is a message I constantly sell to job seekers, including a group of communications, advertising and marketing professionals I spoke with recently. Use a bit of creativity, start your own blog or contribute to other blogs to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of potential employers.

While job seekers should embrace these modern job search tools, they also need to be cautious. Using these tools to bash one’s boss or to post inappropriate comments or images online is a breach of social media etiquette.

 

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!

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