Archive for the ‘Personal Branding’ Category
Pinning Your Career Hopes On Pinterest
Monday, August 27th, 2012
The idea for today’s blog comes from an article I recently penned for Marketing News Magazine on Pinterest, arguably the hottest dish on the smorgasbord of emerging social media platforms. Billed as a virtual pinboard, users “pin” images that they find inspiring, interesting or just plain useful. From decorating tips and tasty recipes to clever ad slogans and quirky font styles, you can create a pinboard of almost anything. Not unlike Facebook, fans of the site fondly describe Pinterest as a “time suck” and statistics concur. Pinterest garners more than 17 million monthly unique visitors, and users in the U.S. spend, on average, more than an hour on the site per visit compared with the 15 minutes or so that the average user spends on LinkedIn. While I believe that LinkedIn remains the top social platform for job seekers and career climbers alike, I can’t readily dismiss Pinterest entirely.
I started tinkering on Pinterest just a few months ago. I created pinboards on topics that underscore my personal brand including one called “Sima in the Media” and another named “Marketing Career Resources.” See for yourself at Pinterest.com/simasays. After reading my column, a member of my LinkedIn network sent me this note:
Sima, I just wanted to say that I loved your advice in the 05/15/12 issue of Marketing News about creating a Pinterest board to underscore your personal brand. I especially like your idea of pinning photos from an event you have managed as a new form of portfolio. I am going to encourage all the designers who work for me to create design boards to feature their work. We are already featuring the covers (with links) of the publications they are designing here on campus. Check it out at Pinterest.com/imahokie/virginia-tech-publications.
What do you think – willing to give it a shot? You can read my top three tips to amplify your personal brand on Pinterest here.
Your Job And The Facebook Bill
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Earlier this month Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois signed into law a measure that makes it illegal for employers to ask for their workers’ passwords to social networking sites like Facebook. Illinois employers can still request user names to review public posts, but can not request access to restricted portions of an employee or job applicant’s online profile.
While the debate over employee privacy continues on the hill, I want to extend a word of caution. No, scratch that. I want to SHOUT THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS until I’m sure every single person understands that NOTHING – zilch, nada, zip – that you post online is truly private. Ever.
I am not a paranoid conspiracy theorist. On the contrary, I’m a realist. Case in point. The other day my friend Nancy*, an HR Manager for a large organization, told me that an employee presented her with a print-out of something another employee has posted on Facebook. The Facebook “author” mistakenly thought that since her security settings were locked down tight, and because her posts were only visible only to her close friends, she was “safe.” Little did she know that one of her “friends” has grown tired of her posting negative comments about their mutual employer, and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Be it a hard-copy or screen capture, the people in your network can do anything they want with whatever you post online. In the age of personal brand and reputation management, you simply can’t be too careful. Mind your manners online and if you have a beef with the boss, handle it in the same manner you would want him or her to deal with you – privately.
You can read more about legislation to protect social media passwords here.
*Nancy’s name isn’t really Nancy, but I’m guessing you knew that already.
Job Interview From Hell
Monday, July 30th, 2012
If you’re a regular reader of our blog then you know better than to walk into an interview without doing your homework first. But sadly there are still job seekers out there giving well-prepared candidates a bad rap by coming in cold. This Fast Company magazine article by Yesware CEO Matthew Bellows details how an unprepared, cocky candidate blew an interview big time. Interviewing can be stressful, but you have to keep you cool and do your best to handle even the most awkward moments with class.
At some point during an interview, you may realize you’re not the best candidate for the job. Have you ever considered being honest with the hiring manager, and instead of trying to sell yourself into a job you’re not right for, steered the conversation to how you might add value to the company in other ways? It’s a bold move to be sure, and not appropriate for all people in all instances, but the important thing to remember is this: Leave on a positive note. Impress the interviewer with your character, your competence and your charisma. Who knows, he or she may be in a position to bring you back in to interview for another opening, or recommend you to a friend.
This may sound like a stretch but I’m living proof that people you interview with can become your allies, even when you don’t get the job. My good friend Michael R. and I met when I was interviewing for a job in which he would report to me. The company announced a hiring freeze before I could get an offer, and so it never came to pass. But we had such a great rapport and strong connection that ten years later we are still friends, still allies, and still helping each other succeed in our respective careers.
Do you have a “interview from hell” story to share, or a question you’d like me to run by my personal network of recruiters and hiring managers? Leave a comment and let me know!
To Find Your Dream Job, Be A Remarkable Candidate
Monday, April 9th, 2012
In a crowded job market it can be tough to find relevant ways to make yourself stand out from other candidates. You may find yourself competing against candidates with equal credentials and similar experience who are willing to work for less. That’s why I found this article from Inc. Magazine so fascinating. In “8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees” author Jeff Haden outlines eight characteristics that make great employees truly remarkable. If you often feel like a fish-out-of-water, you’ll be glad to know that eccentricity makes his list. So too does knowing when to speak up, and when to stifle it.
Whether you’re writing a cover letter or seated across the table from the final decision-maker, consider what makes you remarkable, and make sure the other person knows it too.
Making A Graceful Exit
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Every job seeker needs an Exit Statement. This is a brief, positive-sounding sentence or two that tells another person why you’re on the hunt. Having a prepared Exit Statement makes it less uncomfortable to talk about your search and gives you the opportunity to share information about the type of work you’re seeking. Here are some examples:
- Acquisition: As you may know, Acme Inc. was recently acquired and more than 300 positions were eliminated, including mine. I am now exploring opportunities to…
- Reorganization: My position, along with ten other people in my department, was eliminated in a company-wide reorganization. I enjoyed my job and am looking for similar work but open to other industries, including…
- Fired: I am no longer with Acme Inc. and I’m taking this time to consider how to get back into the manufacturing industry, where my true passion lies…
Be prepared to discuss your situation and career goals with your network and also with the people you meet at networking events. The more people helping you look, the more graceful your landing will be!
Job Success Spotlight: Kathryn Janicek
Monday, December 5th, 2011
Picture it: 2008, during one of the lowest points of the recession. Kathryn Janicek had quit her job in Minnesota to move to Chicago. Though she had grown up in the area, she had been away for more than 14 years and had only a small local network–with very few of those in the highly competitive television industry.
Fast-forward 6 months. Kathryn bought a condo in Chicago, rented out her place in Minnesota (despite an extremely dismal housing and rental market), and got hired as supervising news producer at WGN-TV in Chicago. How did she do this? Two words: social networking. Read on for some of Kathryn’s tips on how she used Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find a great job in a city where she wasn’t even living:
1) She built a network FAST: By getting heavily involved with the three main social media sites, Kathryn quickly established industry connections in Chicago. Building a network this fast and from a different location simply would not have happened without these tools.
2) She reconnected with former colleagues: Kathryn was able to locate people she used to work with and put the word out that she was looking. This resulted in a friend calling the WGN hiring manager on her behalf – leading to an interview and ultimately an offer.
3) She created a strong brand: Proud to be from Chicago, Kathryn promotes the city at every opportunity. As one aspect of her brand, she’s seen as someone up to date on area activities – a strong selling point for Chicago news outlets looking for local stories.
It’s no question that social media helped Kathryn’s career, and she recommends staying conscious of the purpose of each site (i.e. LinkedIn is more professional than Facebook). This can help job seekers maintain a positive presence and also make the most of each network.
Kathryn Janicek is currently NBC-Chicago’s daypart manager/executive producer.
Q&A: Why Should I Use Google +?
Monday, November 21st, 2011
Despite all the hype about Google+, there were many out there that weren’t excited. ANOTHER social network to learn and manage? Don’t we have enough? After hearing about the “pros” from Jenny Weigle, Social Media Manager for CareerBuilder, you just might see why adding this tool to your career management plan can be worth the extra effort.
MMC: There are so many social media sites out there, it’s overwhelming! Why do you think it’s important for job seekers to add Google+?
JW: It’s important for job seekers to take advantage of all of the free tools available to aid them in their search, and this includes social media. One more social network means one more opportunity to make connections that could help you in your job search.
MMC: What should job seekers do to get the most out of Google+?
JW: Just like using any other social network, job seekers should showcase their personal brand on Google+. If you’re looking for a marketing job with a large association, post your comments on a marketing article or tips for associations. Brand yourself as an expert in this field.
MMC: Do you think Google+ is here to stay?
JW: Yes, and I also believe we will start to see more social networks.
MMC: Do you think Google+ will take overtake any of the current sites (as a leading social media network for job seekers)?
JW: In my personal opinion, Google+ and Facebook aren’t going anywhere. I do predict that we will see more social networks for niche audiences.