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The Truth About Colour in Your Resume

Whether you are an executive, a manager or mid-career professional, in a tight job market you know you are competing against equally qualified candidates for the same position. What can you do with your resume (and your other career marketing documents) to differentiate you from your competitors? Infuse them with a tinge of colour.

Before you baulk at the idea, take a look at the Colour Emotion Guide below. It contains some of the most recognizable brands. Notice their logo colours? They did not choose them by accident. A lot of thought went into their decision.

Image credit: The Logo Company

      Image credit: The Logo Company

Colour speaks a powerful language even without uttering a word. It evokes emotion. It plays a huge role in marketing. Corporations such as IBM and Coco Cola use colour in their branding with the hope it will evoke a positive response from consumers. In an Entrepreneur.com article, The Psychology of Color on Branding and Marketing, writer Gregory Ciotti states that “It is of paramount importance for new brands to specifically target logo colors that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors.”  As a job seeker, you are also involved in marketing and should employ some of the same tactics as the big brands if you want to stand out.

For those of us who collaborate with clients on their career marketing documents, there is a rationale behind our use of colour. Although our main aim is to help clients uncover their value proposition and tell a focused story, we are also involved in developing an ad campaign to help them differentiate themselves from their competitors. This may include designing a logo, adding some lines, boxes or charts, and adding colour. More often than not colour is used sparingly to ensure it does not overpower and detract from the main message

All this colour dialogue might not resonate with everyone. First of all, when it comes to resumes, opinions are plentiful as to the perfect design, length and format. If ten people look at a resume, it will garner ten different responses. Second, colours mean different things to different people, depending on one’s culture and personal likes and dislikes. However, what most people would agree on is that resume appearances have evolved, and are no longer restricted to black ink on white, gray or ivory paper.

As alluded to above, colour impacts our psyche. It induces an emotion. Generally, if one sees red (as in a flashy red car), it is supposed to denote energy, flamboyance, and dominance; blue symbolizes tranquility, trustworthiness and confidence, and green signifies nature, growth and generosity. The list below contains a few popular brand colours and their meanings:

  • Blue is very popular and implies honesty, trustworthiness, tranquillity, confidence and authority.
  • Red is very intense and aggressive, and draws attention.
  • Gold is associated with value, luxury and prestige. It reflects wisdom, beauty and generosity.
  • Gray is neutral, calm, and conservative but also implies security and reliability.
  • Green has an harmonizing effect. It is associated with nature, health and growth; balances the emotions, inspires compassion, and encourages generosity and kindness.
  • Orange inspires warmth and optimism, and creates enthusiasm. It also suggests affordability and cheap.

While the content of a resume is of paramount importance, anyone who wants to differentiate him or herself from their competitors, should experiment with a dash of colour in its design. It just might boost their brand, garner some extra attention and hopefully evoke an emotional response from an employer.

Want to determine your brand colour? Watch this 4-minute video from the Personal Branding website of William Arruda, developer of the 360Reach Personal Branding Assessment (a tool that I am certified to administer): Discovering My Brand Colour.

Are you ready for the experiment? Go ahead!

 

6 Job Search Tips from Ted Williams – “The Homeless Man with a Golden Voice”

Have you heard of Ted Williams? He is the homeless man whose Youtube video has captured the hearts of millions of people around the world, thanks to a Columbus Dispatch videographer Doral Chenoweth III.

Williams is an ex-radio announcer who fell on hard times, but two years ago he changed his lifestyle and began looking for help and for work. Since the Youtube video went viral, he has received so many job offers that he is still trying to determine which offer to take.

As a job seeker, what can you learn from Ted?

1.       Know yourself and what you are good at. Although homeless, Williams knew he had (and still has) a “God-given gift of voice”.

2.       Craft a clear, concise and compelling branded message that’s unique to you. Williams’ crisp cardboard message read, “I have a God given gift of voice. I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be gratefully appreciated. Thank you and God bless. Happy holidays.”

3.       Look for opportunities to demonstrate your value proposition. Williams didn’t just hang out his cardboard sign, but he demonstrated his rich, radio-announcer delivery whenever he got a chance, and he caught Mr. Chenoweth’s attention.

4.       Follow Williams’ example and revamp your resume to make sure it has the right message that will grab attention. Notice he didn’t have a long laundry list of job descriptive statements, but a short and compelling message.

5.       Brush up on your interview skills to be ready to articulate the value you can bring to your next employer. During his subsequent TV appearances, Williams articulately demonstrated his value when asked to do impromptu voice-overs. He was ready!

6.       Never give up, even when the going gets rough. There’s light at the end of your job search tunnel.

Have you hit rock bottom in your job search? Reflect on the Ted Williams’ story, realize your circumstances are not as bad, then pick yourself up and try again!

Proactive Workers Know How to Stand Out from the Pack

“It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared”. ~Whitney Young

According to a recent survey commissioned by Robert Half International,standingout 82% of workers polled said they would be ready to conduct a job search if they lost their jobs tomorrow, but only 20% had updated their resumes in the last 3 months.  What differentiates the 20% from the rest? They are proactive. You won’t find them passively waiting for their pinkslips. They are constantly preparing for new employment opportunities (in or outside their companies) just in case the layoff axe falls on them. Here’s how you, too, can become part of that 20% of proactive workers and set yourself apart:

P Be prepared. Have a carefully laid-out plan ready for the next opportunity. That means your resume is up-to-date, voicemail is professional, and interview skills are sharp.
R Research companies and target only those employers for whom you would want to work. Do not send unsolicited generic resumes to every company in the telephone directory.
O Remind yourself that your objective is to convey to the employer how you can solve their problems, not to ask for “a challenging position that offers opportunity for growth”.
A Be active and visible. Attend networking meetings, volunteer on committees, participate in discussions on social media forums like Twitter, LinkedIn and others, and get noticed.
C Commit to ongoing professional development if you want to set yourself apart. It’s one of the best investments you could give yourself.
T Take time to develop and nurture relationships and build your network of contacts. It is a fact that people do business with, and recommend, people they know and trust.
I Become good at generating ideas, and learn how to influence key decision makers so they will accept and implement your ideas.
V Have a vision of what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. Don’t get sucked in to people who don’t share your vision and want to divert your attention from your goal.
E Exude confidence, not arrogance. Confidently communicate to the employer why you are uniquely qualified for the position and why you should be the one they hire.

These steps actually spell the word P-R-O-A-C-T-I-V-E, and if you follow them, you will always be ready to pounce on an opportunity, and lessen the impact of a sudden job loss.

We welcome your comments on this or any other topic covered.

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

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.