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I’m a passionate advocate for career industry professionals and a decades-long practicing career coach myself. I’m so glad you’re here.


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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Personal Branding Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

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  • 22 Jan 2021 1:02 PM | Anonymous

    and 

    Faith James
    The Faith James Personal Branding Consultancy


    Personal branding is the knowledge of who you are and where you want to go. It is having the confidence to speak up, share your mind, and ask questions. It is finding your voice, your community, and where you want to be in your business or career path. 

    Powering up your personal branding is beyond confidence. It is knowing how to add value to the very core of who you are and everything that you do—and to connect that value to a target audience and share with them a message that will be inspirational and actionable for them.

    If you are having trouble connecting with the power of your personal brand or feeling a bit drained, here are a few reminders to refresh the energy you need to keep going.

    Keep dreaming

    If you have a dream or you feel like you might have a dream, just be open and never let the situations dictate whether you should or not pursue it. Take an inspired action, even if it is a small thing or even just the utterance. 

    Let the idea be so powerful you start thinking about what opportunities you can gather and how you can capitalize on them. Then, back it up with thinking about the foundation of your personal brand. Your personal brand will help you explore opportunities that are a good fit because you are doing it based on your authenticity and what you want more of. 

    Never chase the money

    The money is there. We live in an abundant universe. If you look at the leaves on the trees in a forever expansive state, it is always looking to grow more leaves. The hedges are growing. It is never ever a point where the universe is not expanding.

    There are a plethora of ways you can make money. The real work comes when you get quiet and sit with an openness to find the expression of the truth of who you are. Ask yourself: What is it I am here to do that I am good at comes with ease? 

    Many people have difficulty honing in on their truth and authenticity, so they chase the money. You might be earning six figures but your job does not bring you joy and your passion. It is no wonder that only 13% of employees are largely satisfied with their jobs.

    Plan moments of nothingness

    We get busy and sometimes we may not allow ourselves those quiet moments—moments of nothingness. There is power in nothingness. Just sit and contemplate: What is my knowing? What is my truth? What do I do with it?

    Focus on what you love to do and what you do that come so naturally. It could be gardening or history. It could have nothing to do with your career right now. Give yourself permission to dare, to dream, and to wonder. There are many opportunities, you can find an opportunity to a career path that dovetails perfectly with your passion—and first you must know what that is!

    You may also seek support from a coach to guide you in realizing your authenticity and passion.  

    Recapture your natural power

    The idea of powering up is really intentional. It is knowing what our strengths are, where our passion lies, and then how that passion manifests itself in reality. Where do those two things connect? There is usually a place where those two things intersect—where our passion, the purpose of what we want to do, and where we want to use our talents come together with our background, skills, education, and previous work history. 

    Think like a CEO

    To power up in the workplace, you need to have a CEO mindset. Regardless of your current role, imagine yourself as the CEO so you move accordingly. Look at your work and see yourself as “I, too, am contributing to the overall goal of this company. I am locked in. I am tied into the vision and the mission.”

    Update your resume and profiles regularly

    You should see your resume and LinkedIn profile as living, breathing platforms to share your stories. Make it fun to keep them updated, at least quarterly. Collect your accomplishments and accolades, highlight those pieces of work that really need to stand out. When an opportunity comes up that aligns with your passion, you may not be looking for it, but your resume is ready. 

    Practice gratitude

    Doing a gratitude practice can help power you up through from where you are. It helps you to stay present and focus on your direction. It could be in the form of a simple affirmation every morning for where you are, who you are, and what you are going to do. When you are grateful for things that have not even happened, you are just setting this idea of expectation and then you start to manifest those things powerfully. 

    Follow your intuition

    It is important to say “no,” so that you can say “yes” when those opportunities come around that do connect with your brand. Follow your intuition, that voice in your head that says, “This is scary and yet I know it is something that does align with who I am and the strength in the future that I want to have.”

    Ready to define your value differently? Find A Personal Branding Strategist!

    Working with clients on their personal brand? Get a process to help clients extract, express, and exude their brand 


    Listen to the Full Podcast Episode


  • 18 Jan 2021 8:19 AM | Anonymous

    Susan Chritton
    Career Strategist for the Professional

    and Jacquie Peros
    JMP Branding


    In this new way of work, we have little choice but to be on video. Whether it is an interview, a client meeting, or a company meeting, we need to make sure we are projecting a professional image.

    Now that we are used to working from home, we might find ourselves taking comfort to another whole level. However, you want to be sure that you are projecting a positive impression in everything that you do, particularly on video. 

    Your brand is always on display

    Your personal brand is your unique promise of value, and it is unique because it sets you apart from your peers. It is a promise because it is authentic to you and you are going to deliver that promise consistently in everything you do. Your brand must communicate the value you bring to your target audience and those people who need to know you. 

    Studies show that it takes 7 seconds for someone to form an opinion of you. It is a very short period of time to convey the messages that you want to express. When you take in information about a person, you are assessing their physical properties, verbal and non-verbal behaviors, and their environment.


    Make a favorable and memorable first impression

    Image, professional etiquette, and professional presence are communication tools that, when used correctly, can tell your brand story in a way that is authentic to you and help project a favorable first impression.


    Make sure you dress up for a video meeting to feel more confident and to show professionalism. Choose a color that symbolizes your message. Color evokes emotion, so choose it wisely. 

    Professional etiquette is all about exhibiting professionalism in our appearance, behavior, and communication. Even though we are on a video from the comfort of our own home, we do not want that to necessarily show through. 

    Professional presence is all about your character and values. Are you projecting credibility to your target audience? Do you build visibility through your appearance and communication skills? This is how you demonstrate your personal brand in a way that is seen in a positive light.

    Understand the company culture 

    We all know it is important to do our research when we are interviewing or we have a client meeting. Digging deep into a company’s website gives you a lot of insight into its culture. 

    You can look at its mission statement, the pictures they share of employees, and read their operating principles. You can see whether or not they align with your personal brand, values, mission, and where you want to go in your career. You will also get clues for how you want to dress in your meeting with the company. 

    Always look good on camera

    It is helpful to plan on how you will set up your video presence. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you look good on camera:

    -        Wear neutral colors, such as gray and blue, as they translate well on video. White shirts are too much of a glare for the person on the other end, while black ones are too harsh. 

    -        Make sure that there are things in the video frame that are interesting, that you think would support your brand, or tell a little bit about the story of you and your brand. 

    -        Avoid showing your bed in the video frame. 

    -        A plain background is better than a virtual background.

    -        Make sure you have good lighting and your camera is on eye level.


    -      Be present during your video calls by anticipating and eliminating distractions (laptop or phone notifications, doorbell, or pets).


    Practice with someone on a video call and get feedback so you know if your set up is working and if you look good and confident. You can also get support from a personal branding coach. 

    Understand the power of body language

    Actions speak louder than words. It is important that you are aware of your body language or non-verbal behavior, particularly your gestures and facial expressions. Keep eye contact by looking at the camera and not like you are looking on your phone or something else on your screen. Remember, you are on this call for a reason. You are connecting with that person for a reason. 


    These are the few things you can do and avoid during a video meeting:


    Mind your pitch, pace, enunciation, and volume

    Pay attention to how you communicate. Speak at a pace, a pitch, and a volume that helps people understand you.

    Adjust your pitch if you are a high or a low pitch. Breaks are important. When you get comfortable with silence, you are less likely to use fillers (uh, um, so, like), as they make you sound less articulate. Some companies and organizations use tools to vet potential candidates based on quality of their voice, enunciation, and pitch, among others. 

    Check the volume of your speakers and make sure your microphone is picking up a good volume. If your speakers are low, you will probably be talking too loud thinking that you need to talk louder. Be mindful of your enunciation as well - concentrate on speaking more clearly. 

    With a bit of planning and practice, you can take your video presence to a new level and exude your brand to communicate better with your target audience.

    Ready to define your value differently? Find A Personal Branding Strategist!

    Working with clients on their personal brand? Get a process to help clients extract, express, and exude their brand 


    Watch the Full Webinar


  • 14 Jan 2021 8:12 AM | Anonymous


    By Marie Zimenoff
    Career Thought Leaders &Resume Writing Academy

    and Marietta Gentles Crawford
    Mari Brands For You


    Times are changing and there are many new platforms you can use to build your personal brand. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work. It is important to not only know about these platforms, but determine which one is right for your personal needs or career objectives.

    Things are moving so fast not only in your own industry, but also online and in the world of social media networking. Staying more marketable is about being connected and keeping up with the trends.

    Building visibility

    The internet has leveled the playing field to make yourself known and promote your brand. You do not have to be an influencer with thousands of followers to really connect with the audience. Many of us feel icky about self-promotion, but you are the only one who can tell your story and your online presence is important to show how you add value. It is about how your skills and abilities help organizations run more efficiently and effectively.

    Having the clarity

    When you are clear on what you are looking for and how you can add value, you can simply communicate that. You can offer to provide resources, and introduce people to your network or resources. You can be that connecting point. You can step in and volunteer for a project that allows you to demonstrate that expertise. That clarity has a lot of power in promoting yourself organically versus feeling like you have to promote and “sell yourself.”

    Embracing what is unique about you

    Embrace honestly what makes you unique or quirky. The people that attract the most positive type of visibility are those who are just being themselves and not trying to be someone they are not. If you are overly professional or fake, you’ll erode away at your relationships – on and offline.

    People are really attracted to someone who is genuine because they feel like they know this person. Even though you may just be connected on social media, you almost feel like you know them. This shines through as they are expressing and not suppressing their feelings, adding value, and helping others.

    What makes you stand out from the next person that cannot be captured on paper, but can be captured in your essence? That is your brand, your personality. It is who and how you are. That is what you want to highlight.

    Embracing the qualities that make you shine

    Seeing what other people see in you can help you find that essence that makes you shine. That is going to make someone want to work with you. It is finding that one thing and embracing it, and not falling into the imposter syndrome where you feel like you have to be someone else to be accepted or taken seriously. Often our specific idea of what is professional or what is needed is not what anybody else is telling us, but we just assume it.

    Evaluating your own brand
     
    Take time to process your brand whether you are looking for a job, want to keep your brand visible within a company, want to stand out from the competition in your business, or whatever your goal is. The best way to find your voice is thinking how you are most comfortable communicating. Taking time to understand what it is that attracts other people to you is important to evaluate your brand.

    Having a plan

    People have an idea where they want to go, but they do not know how to get there. You need to have a plan, including a plan for managing your personal brand. Being on social media can seem very overwhelming, so it is important to be very strategic and targeted in your goal. If you take the big picture and make it small to what you want to do at this very moment and who you need to connect with, it makes you more targeted and more focused on your actions.

    Talk to a coach if you need advice in creating your social media marketing plan or strengthening your brand.

    Allocating time for your plan

    Start getting a little bit more active on social media to promote your brand in a positive way to be marketable. For instance, on Tuesdays you posted an article and you spend 30 minutes engaging with comments. Add up thoughtful questions to get feedback. If you do that consistently, you build more and more on that because you are gaining traction.

    The key is to build smart and build from there. It does not have to be on social media if that is not the place you want to start. There are small steps you can take to read and stay up on the trends of your industry. You can also plan a connection one-on-one or attend professional networking events or association meetings.  

    Thinking a little bit outside

    Most careers today are progressing externally because of a squeeze in the market. Even progressing internally may require external visibility like industry involvement in today’s competitive market.

    Brand management is not thinking a little bit bigger, but just a little bit outside of your current company. Who are your vendors, your partners, or maybe even your competitors? How do you connect with people at those companies? It could be through a professional association, events, conferences, volunteering, teaching, participating in larger company meetings, and networking.

    Those people become your audience. You can build relationships with them that create short and long-term value for your career management.

    Building relationship and connecting with people

    Make a more impactful connection with someone in your organization. Go beyond the professional structured interactions and build a relationship. Start figuring out who those people are that you want to build those relationships with. Do something once a month to connect with them.

    Take those opportunities to ask questions about what is going on for them, what is their next big challenge, and what they have got going on. It gives you an opportunity to share yours as well. If you have clued in already what you want to do, you can share in those precious small moments what really matters to you and what you are excited about. Speak up and to stand for things that are important to your work and your success, and the success of those around you.

    If you do that consistently, then you do not have to promote yourself or “sell yourself” because you are building the same consistent message in a constant way. You will have a much stronger brand.  

    Ready to define your value differently? Find A Personal Branding Strategist!

    Working with clients on their digital brand or LinkedIn strategy? Get a process to help clients extract, express, and exude their brand


    Listen to the Full Podcast Episode


  • 04 Jan 2021 2:51 PM | Anonymous



    By Marie Zimenoff

    Career Thought Leaders & Resume Writing Academy

    What does humility mean in the workplace? The concepts of humility, confidence, fear, and pride are used often in discussions about influence, leadership, and job search. Embodying these concepts can be challenging when you are applying for promotions or if you are in active job search. 

    If you do not highlight your value, no one will do it for you. How you do it reflects your essential qualities; it can add to your credibility or cause harm. 

    Much depends on what is appropriate for your audience and your communication style. You may have encountered leaders who hire people who can follow instructions and do the job while the leader is in charge. You probably also know hiring managers who might want to hire people who are good at self-promotion and putting themselves out there, for example, in sales. 

    This article will offer practical tips and questions you can ask yourself to help you phrase your value proposition.

    What is humility? 

    Let’s start by considering ideas about humility from military and sports leaders. Kyle Williams names humility among 5 key mindset qualities for athletes, defining humility as remaining hungry to keep improving. My favorite example: NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. He was always humble, just a student of the game, always striving to get better. 

    Humility has nothing to do with the concept of a ‘doormat’ but is about staying hungry and open to learning. A humble person is an intrinsically motivated person with an internal desire to grow. It is not just about winning; it is about becoming better. And you cannot get better if you overestimate your abilities. 

    Here is another quote by C.S. Lewis: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” I can think of successful business and sales trainers who teach people to focus on solving problems for customers. These trainers think of themselves less and more about the customers, making them feel valued. Humble is not equivalent to ‘meek’ or ‘weak’; it is open to new knowledge and putting others first. 

    Humility does not involve putting yourself down or lacking confidence; it is the idea that you do not put yourself above others. It is the authentic willingness to show that we do not know everything and we do not have all the answers. The problem is that sometimes the person witnessing humility or vulnerability in the workplace is not accepting of that, and crucial conversations may be impeded because those states of mind are not properly supported and understood. 

    It is something to recognize both within ourselves and within our teams or organizations and know when it is appropriate to be vulnerable. I will add that there are times when this could hurt depending on the organization’s culture. For leaders, it is essential to build trust and safety and learn how to handle other people’s humility and vulnerability for growth. 

    We sometimes see that a ‘strong’ leader who interrupts other people is being applauded. There is danger in that; effective leaders balance humility and confidence. Bill Gates said, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they cannot lose.” 

    How is a humble and positive mindset of value?

    First of all, get out of the ‘either/or’ mindset. Humility and confidence really go hand in hand. Confidence without humility runs the risk of coming off as arrogant and rude. Someone who is pushing too hard for something likely lacks confidence, and others see it right away. 

    Another component of humility is that you know what you want and you look forward to the next opportunity. Connecting with your own goals and your own meaning in work beyond your current role is essential. I see leaders who struggle with humility and confidence because they are fighting to keep their place. You can tell right away that this is not confidence; it is simply inflating one’s significance and protecting territory, which usually means lack of growth for them and those below. 

    When leaders are looking forward and staying connected to their own reasons for what they do, they can lead with humility and confidence. This is when they bring everyone else along with them. They free up time for their own growth while giving opportunities for others to take on new challenges, building a culture where worth is not connected to your current role but your desire to learn (humility + confidence!). 

    Organizations are constantly shifting and changing. Job seekers can get in this defensive mindset too, instead of talking about how they add value. Confidence is never about pushing someone else down. It is connecting to your own value and offering that value with clarity. From that place, promoting yourself becomes a relationship of equals where as a job seeker you are informing your potential colleagues about your path, what you want to do, and how you would like to grow. 

    Find a coach who can help you get clarity on your value.

    It is important to remember that we all tend to overestimate our contributions. It is a defense mechanism. We all want to feel valued, and we tend to underestimate our contributions to failure. It helps to be real with yourself and define your strengths, your weaknesses, and your style. Where do you tend to go when you are stressed? What do you do to make yourself feel better? What are your defense mechanisms and how might they be working for you or against you? Looking inward as we respond to situations can help build our emotional intelligence.

    How do you define your true confidence for yourself? How do you feel when your buttons are pushed? What is your process for keeping that in check? As a leader, your success depends on how you help others learn. In the organization, everyone’s success is intertwined. Recent research shows that without humility we are not able to learn, and of course we cannot adapt to change and be innovative if we are not learning. 

    Being a good communicator involves seeing what is important to someone else and communicating in a way that connects to them. Your ability to do that is a strength. Your awareness of what is happening in your social setting helps you adapt and lead others to achieve common goals. If we are not learning and growing, we are falling behind. 

    Ready to define your value differently? Find A Personal Branding Strategist!

    Working with clients on their personal brand? Get a process to help clients extract, express, and exude their brand


    Listen to the Full Podcast Episode


  • 28 Dec 2020 9:28 AM | Anonymous

    By Marie Zimenoff
    Career Thought Leaders & Resume Writing Academy

    Who you are is separate from what you do. Your value is separate from your work performance.

    Some people confuse these two ideas. When they confuse their identity and worth with their roles and performance, they can confuse feedback to be a jab to who they are, instead of a simple correction of what they have done or the role they are playing.

    To resolve this confusion, it is important to understand the idea of identity versus role in our adult working life. This expands to different types of career where people’s performance becomes a part of their identity.

    Ego identity

    Psychologist Erik Erikson introduced the theory of psychosocial development in the 1950s.

    One of the elements of Erikson’s theory is the ego identity, which is our sense of self. It develops through interactions with others and is constantly changing due to our experiences. Although we might think of different definitions for ego, in this context it is who we are in terms of our personality and how we show that personality to the world.

    This interacts with the development of our careers. What is our identity going to be in terms of our interests, both related and not related to careers?

    Who you are versus what you do

    A few years ago, a sales coach had me do an exercise to list what I valued about myself. The first things that came to mind about myself were I am a mother, business owner, and trainer. I did not realize that what I was really defining were roles, not what I valued about myself. I was confusing my roles and my identity.

    It is likely that we all fall into similar patterns, especially under stress. To break the pattern, come up with a separate list of who you are and what you value about yourself across all your roles. For me, my qualities were like being strategic, thoughtful, and compassionate.

    -       What is your identity separate from what you do in the roles that you play?

    -       What does that look like?

    -       How can we start to build our identity to be separate from our roles?

    The problem with over-emphasizing feedback

    When you feel you are on a rollercoaster every day in terms of how you feel about yourself, many times it is because your role and your identity are intertwined or perhaps confused. You do not feel good about yourself unless you have done a good job, which in most cases is a subjective judgment by someone else.

    We are looking for positive feedback, letting it over-inflate our value and encourage us to take actions that may not be the most important to take. We take negative feedback to mean we are not worthy, letting it drag us down and stifle motivation. When you are caught up in a feedback loop and focus on external validation, you eventually spiral down.

    When someone tells you that you did a good job, like when you close a sale, you get that positive reinforcement. Your identity goes up and it is great that you are riding high for a little while. Then, when it does not go well, your identity and self-worth suffers. You lose motivation and struggle to act.

    How to get out of the feedback loop

    To get out of the feedback loop, think about what is important to you and have a solid vision of who you are and your intrinsic value – those deeper qualities that you bring to every role. Stay connected to that identity in a more tangible way. Instead of just writing it down once and forgetting it, really think about it every day.

    -       Am I living the identity I want to live and not getting caught up in these roles that I want to play or what other people want me to play?

    -       Am I acting in alignment with my values of who I want to be?

    None of us are perfect at work. However, we can be more effective. Connect feedback on your performance with who you are and what you value about yourself on a day-to-day basis, so you can maintain your identity stability. How would you measure your performance today based on these values? Were you the person that you want to be today?

    Confidence or ego problem? Arrogance or self-pity?

    People who are confident do not have to puff themselves up. Those who are arrogant are not really feeling okay about themselves. They have large ego needs and they are defensive when people are attacking their role. They take it as an attack on their identity. Conversely, others use pity to get other people to help them fill that large gap.

    Giving feedback to people’s role and not to their identity

    As a leader, when giving feedback, it is an important thing to consider that you are giving it to a person’s role. Am I coaching them for their role, but building up and reinforcing their identity? You are going to give much better feedback and get much better performance from people when you are not critiquing their role. Brené Brown also emphasizes this in her parenting book on how to give feedback to our loved ones.

    We are all precious human beings

    When you look at yourself and others, think about the babies (or puppies or kittens) and how precious they are – they do not need to be better. They have authentic expressions of what they feel, what they are, and who they are. You would not say they are not worthy human beings because of any behavior (performance). We may have room to grow in our roles and behaviors, but as humans, we are all valuable.

    Ready to define your value differently? Find A Personal Branding Strategist!

    Working with clients on their personal brand? Get a process to help clients extract, express, and exude their brand


    Listen to the Full Podcast Episode



  • 23 Dec 2020 8:20 AM | Marie Zimenoff (Administrator)


    By Marie Zimenoff
    Career Thought Leaders & Resume Writing Academy

    Reading the headlines about automation might be causing you to worry about the future of your job. It is important to look forward and consider how technology will impact our work. Automation is going to impact the way we work, but often the headlines are deceptive.

    Data from 2015 shows that 47% of current jobs in the United States were susceptible to computerization. Many other headlines share similar scary numbers. However, a closer look at this data reveals that while the headlines tout large numbers of jobs lost, the body of the article offers more hope.

    Analyzing the figures

    One estimate is that 3.5 million jobs will be lost to automation. This sounds like a lot but let us put that into perspective.

    US Workforce data numbers show that there are almost half that many layoffs, or 1.5+ million people, laid off every two months in the country. The same statistics also show that 6 million or so people voluntarily leave their jobs in a similar period.

    People are constantly moving around and there are large numbers of jobs lost all the time and even more created. That is hard for us to keep in mind because the numbers just seem so staggering. It is hard to even imagine what 1.5 million jobs looks like, but when we compare the data, it helps give us some perspective.

    For instance, there are 600,000 open jobs right now, so there are a lot of jobs lost, created, and moving all the time.

    What you can do to remain automation-proof

    Automation is becoming more commonplace and there is a chance that it may take your job, so what can we do with this information?

    First, be aware of what is coming up. It is important to watch the marketplace and understand what is going on in your industry and your target industries.

    Ask yourself:

    -       What skills do you have that people might need in the future?

    -       What are going to be the gaps?

    -       What are going to be the pain points?

    -       What are the drives that you need to pay attention to so that you have the next skill set in need in your industry?

    Talk through these answers with a personal branding strategist or a colleague to really delve into where the industry is doing and create a plan.

    Understanding what you can do to make technology add more value is going to help you keep your job. Instead of resisting technology or being afraid of it, be that person who dives in and learns it thoroughly so that you are irreplaceable. Augment your knowledge and expertise with the technology that is available.

    How to pave your own path

    Instead of thinking about how you can compete with colleagues for a promotion, think about how you can open a different area and create something new with your own unique background and experience.

    This seems like a far-out concept because we are so used to thinking about what we have that everyone else has, or we are trying to fit into the box outlined in a job description. Looking at that job description really helps put us in a box.

    Our ability to get out of that box and break out of the competitive structure can help us create demand for what we do in a different way. We can often avoid falling into some of these traps by looking at market demand and what is currently out there while asking, how do I meet that demand?

    Employees do not think about it that way very often. We think about our skills and what we have to offer. We do not think about: What are the needs? What are the gaps? How could we fill those?

    However, thinking that way will help us get out of that world where we are fighting against a hundred other applicants. We can create new demand and talk to employers in a completely different way than we are used to.

    Reversal

    There are many strategies for differentiating our brand from others. One of them is reversal, being the opposite of what people expect. In your work, is it possible to be the reversal of what people expect which can work for you?

    Employers may have specific things that they are looking for, you want to show you have those of course, but in what way could you also be the reversal? For instance, a lot of companies like to hire people from other industries because it brings in a totally fresh perspective.

    Hostility

    Another strategy is hostility, which some job seekers can use effectively. This is the confidence to know you are unique and flaunt it without making any excuses or apologies. This is an area where you do not want to be aggressive about. However, if you have something you cannot change about yourself, turn it to your advantage.

    When we think about personal branding, it is really about how we add unique value. Instead of comparing ourselves to the competition, we might also look at what the needs are in the market and figure out how our differences, unique experiences, and strengths add value there.

    Ready to Pave Your Own Path? Find A Personal Branding Strategist!

    Working with clients on their personal brand? Get a process to help clients extract, express, and exude their brand


    Listen to the Full Podcast Episode



  • 15 Dec 2015 2:37 PM | Anonymous

    By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW
    Jack Mulcahy Resume Services

    “Why should I hire you, instead of one of the other candidates out there?”

    Whether you’ve never been on an interview or written a resume, or you’re a veteran of the interview process and have what you consider the world’s greatest resume, that question needs to be foremost in your mind at all times during the hiring process. And to have any hope of obtaining the position, you had better have a more intelligent answer than, “I’m a hard worker,” or “I won’t cost the company a lot of money.”

    The answer you need is something you must define before you present the final version of your resume to any employer. You may have a clear idea of it before you begin, or it may emerge as a result of your own brainstorming while writing. What I am talking about is known as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP is the quality or qualities that set you apart from your competition. This is what tells the prospective employer why s/he should purchase your services instead of someone else’s.

    The USP also may be referred to as your brand. Brand has become the latest in a long line of hot topics to hit the employment field. But regardless which you call it, you need to define it clearly and without any equivocation throughout your resume, or else you’re finished before you’ve started.

    In developing your USP, you need to define: who you are (and what you do); what benefits you will bring to the employer when you’re hired; and why you are better than your competition.

    Let’s take a look at this example, taken from the introduction to a resume:

    Hands-on leader with outstanding interpersonal skills; Organizational agility; Negotiation skills; Presentation skills; Computer proficient; Multi task within fast-paced environments.

    This individual is trying to sell himself as a set of skills. Is there a person in there? Does the person (to grant him the benefit of the doubt) show who he is? Why he’s better than his competition? Benefits he will bring to the employer?

    Contrast that example with this one:

    District Sales Manager, with experience in organic sales, recruitment, coaching, and marketing, who propelled sales growth 30% and increased client loyalty 35% within 1 year. Natural leader, expert in creation and management of high-quality sales teams, communication of business goals, and motivation of staff to exemplary performance. Innovative problem-solver, adept in delivering superior client service and developing new systems.

    In the second example, the individual describes herself in terms of experience, accomplishments, and expertise. In other words, “This is who I am, what benefits I will bring, and why I’m better than the competition.”

    Which one would you hire?

  • 06 Dec 2015 10:33 PM | Marie Zimenoff (Administrator)
    By Stephen Van Vreede

    The Executive IT Resume

    Preparing a strong IT resume for executive roles is still important. No matter what anybody tells you, decision makers (HR managers, IT executives, and technical recruiters) still want to see, touch, and feel your resume to determine if you are a good fit for a potential opening. However, how your resume got into their inbox or on their desk can depend largely on your personal brand strategy. In addition, how an employer or recruiter views your capabilities and the perception they have of you as they go through the post-resume review process also depends on your personal brand strategy.

    Personal Brand Strategy: What Does That Mean?

    All the personal brand strategy means is the manner in which you present or “package” yourself in your professional life. For example, if you are an IT Director looking to move up to the VP of IT role, you are going to attempt to brand yourself as an IT Executive, not an IT Director. Another example would be if you were a Technical Consultant that has worked with clients across all industries, but you wanted to work for a company in the healthcare industry. You would package yourself by highlighting your engagements with medical and health services clientele.

    The difficulty with branding is in considering how you position yourself all the time, not just during a job search. Understandably, the job search — and this job search in particular — may be what motivates you to think about how you are branded. You might be wondering whether you are even branded at all. Well, yes, you are. You may not have defined it, it may be very watered down, and it may not be very effective, but each of us is branded in one way or another. Just look at your resume and any other communications you send to a prospective employer. If you were to pretend that was somebody else, what would you say that person’s core message is? If there’s no core message or the message does not equate with the types of jobs you want to pursue, than it’s not going to be very effective.

    How Else Can I “Brand” Myself?

    As I mentioned, personal branding goes well beyond the job search and your resume. Let’s mention some of the more obvious traditional forums for you to convey your brand:

    • Cover Letter
    • Business Card
    • Executive Bio
    • Elevator Pitch

    And here are some of the social media forums through which you can convey your brand based on your content, what you like, what you retweet, what you repin, etc.

    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Google+
    • StumbleUpon
    • Pinterest

    Don’t forget about these other forums through which prospective employers can learn more about your:

    • own blog site
    • specialty sites you comment on that go with your brand
    • in-person networking events
    • community affiliations
    • industry conferences

    How Do I Put It All Together?

    You want to ensure that your brand is consistent across all of these forums. I’m not saying that you copy-and-paste the information from your resume into all these other sites and converse with people face-to-face in resume speak. Each should have it’s own unique flavor depending on the audience and their expectations…but the same brand and theme should shine forth in all of them.Article originally released on eZinearticles.com athttp://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_Van_Vreede

    http://EzineArticles.com/?IT-Executive-Resume-and-Personal-Brand-Strategy:-How-They-Are-LinkedIn&id=6990943

    Email: stephen@ittechexec.com
    Phone: 585.586.1385
    Skype: ittechexec
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ittechexec
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede

  • 07 Oct 2015 3:59 PM | Marie Zimenoff (Administrator)
    By Deb Dib, The Coach for CEOs & Rising Stars
    RCPBS, CCMC, CCM, NCRW, CPRW, CEIP, JCTC, Certified 360Reach Analyst

    People have been talking about personal brands since Tom Peters’ groundbreaking article “The Brand Called You” appeared in Fast Company magazine in 1997. Since then the world of branding has exploded, with experts and novices alike extolling the virtues of personal branding.

    Human branding has become a force in personal and career development because the process and outcome of personal branding works. It authenticates and clarifies the value of an individual and empowers that individual to be more, to achieve more, and to contribute more—with an empowered enthusiasm and vigor that attracts success, satisfaction, and happiness.

    In fact, in the changing world of work, the power of branding may be most visible in today’s most successful employees, executives, and job seekers.

    What is the difference between a personal brand and a career brand?

    A personal brand is formed by your authentic worth and attributes—in many ways it is timeless and unchanging. Like a personal brand, a career brand projects an authentic and unique promise of value. However, career brands extend beyond the personal. A career brand is born of a personal brand but is specifically tied to unique business value.

    A career brand projects a clear and marketable value proposition, one that is often coupled with a history of visible accomplishment.

    At executive levels, such accomplishments could include success in change management, innovation, turnarounds, corporate contributions, thought leadership, and social responsibility as well as profit generation and delivery of shareholder and stakeholder value. In non-executive areas, examples might be delivering projects on time and on budget to save time and money, and conducting exceptional customer service calls that build loyalty and drive further revenue growth.

    A career brand is your face in the business world, your differentiator, your voice when you are not there, and your advertisement of absolute authentic value. It is your entree to top jobs and top compensation. It is what powers your career.

    Your career brand combines your personal and business attributes with how you use them in the marketplace. Your career brand is driven by market reality and market need. Consumer brands change to meet the changing trends and requirements of consumers, and so must your career brand, remaining flexible—in pro-action or re-action to critical changes in the marketplace.

    Why identify and leverage a career brand?

    Branded employees and executives are valuable commodities—recognized, coveted, and courted by employers—much like the way unique products are known, desired, and purchased in the consumer marketplace. Branded employees and executives are visible and respected leaders (at any level!) who project clear and distinctive career brands—recognizable and unique promises of the value they bring to their companies, their stakeholders, and their world.

    Today’s successful and innovative employees, executives, and job seekers understand the power of branding and its ability to help them compete and win for the best jobs and highest compensation. They know that branding is no longer an option in high-stakes job search and careers where branded leadership, branded communications, and branded career management are critical tools for career growth and lifelong career management.

    What can career brand management do for careers?

    The most successful careerists are adept and consistent brand managers. They continually define their brand and then communicate it in all they write, speak, and do. And they surround themselves with environments and items that reflect that brand in their work lives and personal lives.

    Your well-managed career brand prepares you to out-compete at every level, stay visible, and keep career momentum going. A career brand diminishes confusion and uncertainty and maximizes freedom and control—all based on your authentic value.

    If you have been in the workplace for more than a few years you will have experienced times when you needed to jump-start an unexpected job search or differentiate yourself as a top contender for a promotion. And, perhaps, you felt uneasy and unprepared.

    You are not alone. Most people are exactly like you—superb at what they do, but confused by the intricacies of today’s high-stakes career management and job search process. This is where career branding can be immensely helpful in keeping you constantly prepared for whatever the economy and your company throw at you!

    Can career branding help in resumes and job search?

    Savvy careerists know that their career communications must be branded, refined, and reworked to attract and maximize every individual opportunity. One size fits all does not exist in successful career management.

    They know that just as in career branding, their resume, career collaterals, networking pitches, and interview content must show leadership and potential, tell a marketing story about vision and innovation blended with practical solutions and bottom-line / profit-building performance, demonstrate personality and work style, and prove a team and corporate culture fit.

    When preparing to write your resume and launch your job search ask yourself the following questions. Then use your answers as the foundation for branded career development activities.

    What parts of my job do I love? Do my best accomplishments reflect that enjoyment?

    What parts of my job do I do well, but not enjoy? Do I wish to be hired to do those again?

    What is my management style? How do I interact with my team, core management group, or board of directors?

    What do my peers and staff routinely say about me?

    Do I have visibility in the marketplace, with the media, etc.?

    What are my top 5 business skills and my top 5 leadership skills?

    What have I done that best demonstrates each of those skills with bottom-line, strategic, profit-building, or profit-enhancing performance?

    Can I compose “challenge-action-result” success studies of each of these and then speak of them in a concise, enthusiastic, and compelling manner?

    • Do my accomplishments and skills have value in my target market?
    • Can I answer the question “Why should I hire you?” with a compelling value proposition that makes me irresistible to a prospective employer?

    What is a value proposition?

    Your value proposition is about “what happens” when you do what you do. It is the result that you deliver to your company when you use the skills and strengths that form your brand. A brand’s strength is determined by the marketplace—and so is the strength of your value proposition. A value proposition answers the brand question “Who cares?” Be sure that your value proposition is one that is relevant, even critical, to your target market.

    When you think about your value, don’t think in generalities. Put a number to your outcomes whenever possible. Numbers speak louder than words. They create credibility and desire.

    A value proposition that says, “I revitalize aging brands, recapture market share, and typically deliver 50+% revenue gains” will likely attract an interview. A brand statement that says, “I revitalize aging brands” is too vague.

    Review your answers to the above questions, identify themes, and construct your overriding and unique value proposition and subsets of “value-adds.” It may help you to imagine an organizational chart with you at the top (value proposition) heading a core group of direct reports with distinct supportive rolls (value-adds).

    Developing a branded resume with a strong value proposition is tough (the better you are at what you do, the tougher it is!), and it may help you to work with a team of supportive personal and professional resources. Your team might include mentors, family members, trusted colleagues, a brand strategist, an executive coach, and a resume consultant.

    Many successful job seekers routinely assemble such a team—a personal board of directors—a dream team of trusted professionals who help guide them, support their efforts, and give them the listening environment and honest feedback that is critical to branding, job search, and lifelong career management.

    What are key strategies for branded career planning?

    Even while you are engaged in a job search, you must also be engaged in long-range planning so that your new position “fits” your brand and your ultimate career goal.

    Once in your new position, focus on strategic contributions that will support your long-term goals and radar-screen activities. Document your contributions so that you have compelling success studies for compensation reviews, resume updates, bios, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter bios, interviews, and even media kits.

    Include these strategies for branded career planning in your career brand toolbox:

    • Continuous visibility-building activities and “give-to-get” online and offline networking.
    • Resume and portfolio updates with new, branded success stories.
    • Personal performance reviews / promotion planning.
    • Strategic entry, situation-specific, and career planning coaching.
    • Personal fulfillment activities for on-brand work-life balance, blend, and happiness.
    • Continuous refining of your career brand and value proposition.
    • Ongoing market research on the key companies and players in your industry.
    • Continual practicing of your branded 30-second elevator speech.

    How do you discover your career brand?

    Every individual has a brand, but not every individual knows he has a brand. Knowledge is power and discovering, defining, and refining your brand is a critical step towards reaching the success you crave and deserve.

    Start thinking about the ways you are unique and valuable. Then decide if you will benefit from the expertise of a certified personal brand strategist, if you’d like online training, or if you prefer to read one of the many books on personal branding so that you can begin the process yourself.

    The person who knows his value, actively manages his brand, and is clear about his value is a person who is poised for accomplishment, success, and fulfillment—for himself and for his company.

    Phone: 631-475-8513
    Email: debdib@executivepowerbrand.com
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/CEOCoach
    LinkedIn: www.Linkedin.com/in/debdib

  • 16 Jan 2011 4:43 PM | Anonymous

    By Gerry Corbett

    As public relations experts, we strive to successfully deliver the goods for our customers and clients. “Brand” for us is critical, and a solid reputation is what is important at the end of the day.

    Words are the vital threads that we weave together in a cohesive statement that fully and succinctly describe the organization so that it strongly resonates with customers and other audiences. Yet who among us has taken the time to consider a statement that describes who and what we are and the value we bring to those with whom we work and interact?

    Perhaps it is time to treat ourselves as clients and spend the intellectual capital required to effectively brand ourselves.

    So how best can you smartly craft a brand statement that will help you strongly resonate with customers, clients, friends, and family?

    Here is a 10 step approach that can help you encapsulate the essence of "you." Bear in mind this exercise may take up to 2 weeks to 2 months depending on how responsive your friends and colleagues are and the amount of brain power you dedicate.

    The basic framework for a smart brand statement is typically 1 sentence that succinctly captures your value in a way that is memorable and intuitive.

    The structure might be as follows but use your best judgment based on your own style: “I am (your name) and (an/a) (descriptive attribute) (title/role noun) (descriptive verb of value) (object of value noun).” For example, “I am John Doe and a versatile and experienced PR brand strategist focused on surfacing and promoting the vital attributes for organizations to strongly bond with their audiences.”

    Statement Guidelines: As noted, the simpler the statement, the likelihood it will be more memorable. So keep these criteria in mind as you craft your brand description.

    1. Keep it simple

    2. A reminder of the beneficial effects of your talents/skills

    3. Intuitive

    4. Understandable

    5. Easy to remember

    6. Paints a picture

    7. Universally understood

    Process:

    1. For each session that you spend on this exercise, sit down in a comfortable place with your favorite instrument of composition and beverage of choice.

    2. Compose a list of your six best characteristics as you view them. Be succinct but descriptive. For example, “versatile,” “strong writer,” “insightful strategist,” “intuitive thinker,” etc.

    3.  Ask five of your best friends to compose a similar list of your best six characteristics as they view them. 

    4. Next ask five colleagues at your place of work/business to do the same assuming you are actively employed. If not, ask five colleagues in your support group.

    5. With all characteristics in hand, create a 6 by 11 matrix so that you can assess, cross check and select the characteristics that are most common among you, your friends and work colleagues. Make sure that the most common characteristics or traits personally resonate with you.

    6. With your characteristics narrowed down and in hand, construct three sample statements based on the framework noted above that are authentic, fit your thinking and match your character.

    7. With the three statements in hand, enlist the help of your colleagues and friends to provide to you their favorite two statements.

    8. Go through the same exercise as step 5 and select the two most preferred statements. And sleep on it.

    9. With fresh eyes and brain, select the one statement that most resonates with you and commit it to memory.

    10. From here on in, use this statement religiously and consistently until you decide it is time for a new role for yourself. Feel free to use this statement for the introduction on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles or any other social infrastructure platforms that you employ.

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