Looking for some more tips to build your personal brand. Don’t miss my podcast on Personal Branding for the CBS business site BNET.com. You can listen to it here.
It’s the toughest question of all. The white elephant lurking in the interview room. Your silent stalker.
“So why are you looking for a new position?”
It’s the question most people affected by redundancy fear in an interview and also the most common stumbling block. With a look of resignation most people answer –
“I was made redundant”.
Sure, it’s the truth isn’t it?
The answer is an absolute 100% resounding no! Why, because you weren’t made redundant – your position was. In today’s economy, retrenchments are generally caused by economic circumstance and business downsizing and not because of individual performance.
If it was a performance issue you would have been fired for cause. You weren’t, your position was made redundant, and yet almost universally people feel the need to step up and shoulder the blame for ‘losing’ their job. It’s healthy to self-examine, it’s not healthy to assume blame where there was no need to. At the moment redundancy has little to do with the individual and mostly to do with the bottom line, and this mindset of fault and blame will only hurt your chances when looking for your next position.
Personal Branding Strategist Gillian Kelly says “How you perceive and present yourself to your network, recruiters and potential employers is how they are going to see you and as soon as you start to wear the redundancy brand it will stick.”
Instead, focus on what you want you want to be known for – what you want your personal brand to be. When asked by employers, friends, family or others in your network why you left your last job, explain that the organisation was downsizing or undergoing change and that due to this certain positions in the company were no longer needed. Then refocus on the positive. Talk with confidence and enthusiasm about your enjoyment in your past role and your time with the company in general. Hone in on the contributions you offered. Use this as an opportunity to bring to the attention of others the value you have offered in the past and potentially offer new employers in the future.
In essence brand yourself for the future not by your past.
Contact Gillian Kelly for more information on outplacement services or visit the personal branding section of Six Figures Resources section.
Everyone hates spam but now for job seekers there is an even greater down side as candidates find their resumes ending up, not on the employer’s lap, but instead caught in the recruiter’s or employer’s spam box.
In a 2008 survey done by Career Directors International regarding the percentage of résumés received that end up trapped in SPAM filters, 72 percent of recruiters said that less than 5 percent of résumés were caught; 22 percent said that 5-10 percent were caught; and 6 percent said that a whopping 11-25 percent were caught.
For jobseekers this can be devastating as dream jobs pass them by simply because of the inclusion of seemingly innocent words and/or symbols. Words such as free, specialist (which contains the drug name cialis in the middle), trial, expand, winner and American University honour term ‘magna cum laude’ are all triggers that can cause your resume to spam blocked.
My three top tips to avoid having your resume renegaded to the email spam bin include
1. Avoid words that flag your resume as a risk to spam blocking technology or utilise a content checking technology such as the free service “Lyris Content Checker” http://www.lyris. com/resources/contentchecker before sending it out. Alternatively contact a resume writer to check it for you.
2. If you send your resume as an attachment, word your subject line carefully. Alternatively cut and paste your resume in the body of the email.
3. Send a back up copy of your resume via the mail to ensure your resume is received and/or follow up via telephone. If you are concerned have the company white-list your email address.
Remember forewarned is forearmed, so take steps today to protect yourself.
I just heard about this super cool application, Wordle, from an industry colleugue, and I immediately loved it. Basically it gives you a ‘visual wordmap’ or ‘word cloud’ of a document or text by analysing the most common words. Of course I immediately wanted to see what my personal brand would look like in this format, so I revisted my original personal branding profile complete with my goals, values, vision, passions and atrributes, along with my personal brand story. Click here to see the result Personal Branding by Gillian Kelly.
Try it for yourself.
In the past I have always been wary of job boards and job seekers reliance on them as a significant part of job search strategy. All too often I’ve heard job seekers complain that they can’t get any decent information on the jobs they are interested in and more often than not they never hear back. Even more worrying, has been the dangers associated with job boards in the past with applicant’s privacy.
I’m pleased to say that I’ve now seen a job board that has changed my mind.
I came across Six Figures in an industry journal and I was so intrigued by their fresh approach that I picked up the phone and called the Director to find out more about it. I’m always looking for good resources for my clients and after meeting with the Directors Kelly Magowan and Karen Jenkin, I was even more impressed and I’ll tell you why –
1. This site only offers genuine vacancies. All jobs are vetted to make sure they are real, ensuring candidates aren’t wasting their time.
2. The site is targeted. Too many sites try to be everything to everyone and just end up failing all round. Six Figures has a clear focus and specialises on six figure appointments. This focus ensures better matched services for both employers and applicants, enhancing both the employers and candidates experiences.
3. The service understands that to make a decision on a candidate requires strong information on their skills, values and aspirations. Six Figures realises that both candidates and companies need strong brands for success and offers support and tools to do this.
Since this meeting in 2008, I have since gone on to build a sustained relationship with Kelly and Karen built on my respect for their skills and our shared vision of the future for career development and job search in Australia. In fact I was so impressed that I agreed for the first time to partner with a ‘job board’ and I now offer Resume Appraisals to members of the Six Figures site. For those of you not familiar with the Six Figures site I encourage you have a look – you are bound to be impressed.
What would you say to an employer if you only had six words. This is the question posed in G.L. Hoffman’s blog. As a resume expert and personal branding specialist I love this concept.
A few quick examples I came up with are –
* For the Project Manager – ‘Project Glue, binding teams, building unity.’
* My own as a Personal Branding Strategist – ‘Branding Specialist, Expert in Marketing You’
*For the Personal Shopper – ‘Fashionista: Reinventing tired fashions’
* For the Mum – ‘Household CEO, where slavery meets leadership’
My challenge to those reading this blog is to try this for yourself. What defines and distingusihes you? Try it today and let me know.
If, as a job seeker, you haven’t been truly active in the job search market for a few years, you probably scarcely recognise it! The speed of change in the job market is accelerating by the minute and job search today is completely different to ten years ago. Paper resumes are now only a small part of the job seekers toolset and both recruiters and applicants have a world of new opportunities to connect in the marketplace.
CHANGES & TRENDS
Job blogging, video resumes, social networking, resume optimisation, web portfolios and behavioural interviewing are just a few of the changes to job search practices that have been introduced over the past ten years and are all strong indicators of why it’s so important to remain abreast of changing job search technologies and employment trends.
Riding on the back of these trends has also been the swelling of awareness for candidates to have strong personal marketing and to be able to specify, quantify, document and articulate their employment value.
In today’s fast-moving employment market it is commonplace for employers to see hundreds if not thousands of resumes pass over their desks or email, and only those that truly showcase the applicant’s unique value and relevance to the employer will gain a second glance. Employers want evidence of success and quantifiable outcomes included in resumes to ensure they are making the right choice. This evidenced-based selection approach has also extended to the interviewing process with behavioural interviewing becoming one of the most common interview tools.
Technology has also brought new challenges in the presentation of resumes and other application materials. Resumes now need to be designed so that they are scanner-friendly and optimised so that they stand-out when reviewed by the database scanners used by many recruitment agencies and large employers in first round selections. Further issues such as spam filters, recruiters’ use of PDA’s to receive email and online applications have all seen resume formats adjusted to suit these domains. Given this complexity many job seekers are now accepting that investment in professional career marketing and advice is a must.
The most significant change to job search has definitely been the explosion of online networking. In the Career Directors International 2006-2007 Research Report “Career Industry Mega Trends” they stated that over 50% of recruiters surveyed said that they either currently use in some capacity or intended in the future to use Social Online Networking as a method of recruiting candidates. Forums like LinkedIn, Facebook and Myspace have seen traditional networking move online and have dramatically increased opportunities for job seekers to contact and link with job search targets but also pose significant risk if used inappropriately. According to recent research in the US up to 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and over 20 percent look people up on social networking sites. Job seekers, need to be aware that the transparency of information on the internet allows employers to view them from all angles, and should ensure that anything posted will not hurt future job search activities. Even if you have had limited involvement on the internet, this “self-googling” is also vital to ensure there isn’t anyone else with the same name as you on the internet that may pose a risk to your job search credibility. On the flipside of these negativities, smart jobseekers are now using the internet through job blogging to position themselves as an expert in their field, leading employers and recruiters to them, rather than the other way around.
JOB SEARCH IN THE FUTURE
With changing technology it’s hard to imagine exactly what the face of job-hunting will look like in ten years time. Many career coaches particularly in the United States are already embracing the advances of online communication such as video resumes and web portfolios to deliver more impact to application presentations. Whilst in Australia uptake and acceptance of these newer methods of resume delivery is slow, as Australia commonly follows US trends, it would be wise for Jobseekers and employers alike to consider these forums as potential opportunities for recruitment.
THRIVING & SURVING IN THE NEW WORLD OF JOB SEARCH
Regardless of how the job search is conducted, one thing is for certain, social networking, technology and personal marketing will continue to remain the key axis of an effective job search strategy. Regardless of the medium, the fundamentals of marketing yourself competitively remain paramount. Know the employer and understand what they want; identify, evidence and document your unique value in terms of these dimensions; and develop skills to articulate this in person both in social networking forums and formal interviews. Finally seek solid advice from career specialists to ensure you leverage the full advantages of latest job search technologies and also remain abreast of pitfalls of these new arenas. Doing this will ensure you present well be it in an interview, video resume, or through social networking forums.
With the speed of change in the job market today it is also critical that candidates prepare themselves through a strategic approach to their job search activities. Invest in building effective marketing materials including a resume that is tailored to your job target and presented in a variety of contemporary file types (Word, ASCII, and PDF) so that you are ready for any application forum. Seek out advice and coaching in what form of resume should be used in each forum and familiarise yourself with the current styles of interviewing. In particular understand how to articulate your contributions made to past employers so you can evidence your skills and what you offer employers in the future. Finally make sure you continually stay abreast of, and are open to, newer styles of job search and networking. You will be better positioned for success if you look beyond traditional networking, and consider networking online, or social networking, as a part of your holistic job search campaign.”
Today’s job market is an increasingly complex arena. Changing technology brings a world of new opportunities and risks to job seekers today. Online technology allows greater opportunities for visibility by techno-savvy candidates wanting to get employers attention. On the other hand this visibility also means that it’s critical to ensure anything uploaded into this domain is well thought out and highly professional, otherwise your visibility may be your downfall. However embrace technology, seek solid advice and ensure you are prepared and the world can be your oyster.