What does Your Personal Brand Wordle Look Like?

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.

 

 

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Six Figures – Job Board Innovations

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.

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Personal Branding meets Resume Writing – The 6 Word Resume

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.

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Job Search in the New Millenium – What to Expect and How to Survive It

 

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 IMAPCTS

 

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.

 

Good Luck

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Personal Branding – Graduates Join the Brand-Wagon

Many graduates think that personal branding isn’t for them. They assume just because they don’t have much career experience they have little to sell and so it won’t be worth it. In fact the opposite is true. 

 

Never is it so competitive to get a job than as a graduate entering the workplace and competing against thousands of other graduates in the same field. This is the time to differentiate yourself! To stand up and showcase what you bring of value to future employers and why they should invest in you over others with the same qualification.

 

But how do you do this?  Building a personal brand shouldn’t be taken lightly. To do this properly demands that you dedicate time to building insight into your target market (particularly employers in your sector) and then analysing, extracting and honing your key brand attributes that will be relevant to them. Your brand needs to be authentic and based on your true strengths and passions. Faking a brand that isn’t you will never work.

 

For graduates serious about personal branding you can employ the services of a personal branding strategist or read books on the topic such as Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixon. This will enable you to build a brand that will enhance your competitiveness and set the foundation for your career in years to come.

 

Once you have your personal brand, its time to communicate this to the world at large. For graduates your resume is a prime place to do this. Build a branded resume. If you can afford it, employ a professional resume writer who can ensure your opening profile in your resume highlights your brand and that your resume then backs this up with evidenced achievements of your accomplishments to-date. Include extracurricular activities, industry experience, internships, anything that reinforces your brand and differentiates you from your peers.

 

When you have a killer resume re-assess your image and make sure it’s sending the right signals and then start building your network. Effective networking is always the best tool for career marketing.  

 

Finally remember personal branding doesn’t stop when you get a job. Continue to build your professional brand in the workplace through a consistent professional reputation based on the value you bring to your employers and industry through your unique strengths.

 

To all graduates out there making the jump to the workforce – good luck!!

 

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Who Do You Choose To Be?

Who Do You Choose To Be?

I heard a wonderful quote recently from Sidney Poitier whilst being interviewed by Oprah. During his interview he shared that when he was young and new to America he faced his first real exposure to racial prejudice. During this time he was asked “Who are You?” and his response was

“I am who I choose to be!”

I loved this. Not only because of the strength and fortitude it takes to understand and articulate this at such a young age but because knowing who you choose to be and consistently living by this is the essence of personal branding. It’s about understanding yourself and your values and building a personal identity that aligns authentically with these.  

Ask yourself today – Who Do You Choose To Be?

 

 

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Dare to Be You!

Dare To Be You. It’s not only my business mantra and blog title but my challenge to others. All too often the talented quiet achiever is overlooked not because they lack the skills but because they lack the personal marketing tools to get noticed and rewarded.

Life is too short to live in the shadows.

Capitalise on your Talents. Realise Your Potential. Live your Dream.

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You don’t need to be the best to be the best known!

In marketing they talk about the legendary fallacy of the statement –

 

“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

 

The reality is the world is filled with exceptional mouse traps but in marketing it’s well known that it’s not usually the best product that is the most successful but rather the best marketed product.

 

 

Take a look around – are designer labels really that much superior to other clothing items or are they just better marketed? The same can be said for personal marketing. How many people do you know that are highly talented in what they do but struggle to gain the necessary recognition and reward, whilst others with seemingly less talent effortlessly climb the corporate ladder.

 

As a Personal Branding Career Coach I am regularly contacted by frustrated professionals who know they do the job better and get better results than others in their workplace and yet they are continually overlooked by management. The reality is these quiet achievers are simply penalised because they lack the skills and confidence not to do the job but to brand and market themsleves effectively.

 

So what do you need to do to join the corporate success ranks? It’s simple! Just apply the same principles to yourself as marketing teams do to commercial products.

 

ü Have a clear understanding of your unique strengths. There are many tools available for this including the Reach 360 Personal Branding Assessment. Through these you can see how others see your strengths and talents and get a better feel for your authentic talents and skills.

ü Get to know your target audience.  Knowing your target audience will enable you to tap into their unmet needs. If you are in a workplace, identify who the decision makers are in that next promotion decision, what they need and what they are looking for in the future for the company and its staff.

ü Use this knowledge to deliver a consistent and strategic branding and promotion message.   Know your talents and sing them loudly and proudly. If you are not confident carving a strong personal brand yourself you can enlist the help of Personal Branding Consultants who can help you identify and mould an authentic personal brand. Deliver this consistently and you’ll notice your awareness and respect grow.

ü Keep in mind – how you are packaged is how you are perceived. Make sure your resume, online identity and communications with others all reinforce the image you want to promote. (Check out my article on Premium Products in Home Brand Packaging for more on this.)

 

Remember  You don’t need to be the best to be the best known!

 

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Profiting from Small Talk – What’s Your Party Elevator Pitch?

So what do you do?

 We hear it all the time. Everytime you are left with someone you don’t know at a party, networking function    or get together this is the guaranteed small talk opener.     Yet how many of us give our occupation as our stock standard response and overlook the powerful personal branding opportunity this presents us?

Just think how many times in your life you have already missed the chance to build your personal brand? To let people in on what makes you tick, what you offer and how well you do it. To set the scene for others to become your personal marketing agents through social word of mouth and referrals.

Now before you go off with pen in hand to write your party spiel remember the ‘party’ elevator pitch shouldn’t be a hard-sell. Nothing clears a room at a party faster than an full blown sales spiel. Instead tone down your personal brand statement into something softer. Develop a simple but engaging 30 second response that will entice them to ask more but still showcases what it is you offer. In short, it should be no more than a few sentences and it should be able to be understood by a 12 year old.

For example my elevator pitch goes something like this.

Party Goer: So what do you do Gill?

Gill: I’m a personal branding consultant. Basically I help ‘great’ professionals get recognised and rewarded for it in the workplace. Everyone does something really well but most people have trouble selling themselves to others. So that’s what I help with. I assist people to find and promote their talents in the workplace. 

Now no matter whether you run your own business or are employed by a major organisation you should own a spiel that you can rattle off casually but that is designed to sell you. If you are in I.T., maybe your spiel would talk about how you design technology solutions for small business owners that make operating their business easier.      If you are a florist perhaps your passion for flowers has led you to design floral arrangements that creatively reflect the personality of the recipients.

Whatever you brand, sell it consistently and passionately and you may find that your Saturday evening socialising becomes a pathway to opportunity and prosperity. 

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Caviar or Just Fish Eggs – How do you see yourself? The Essence of Personal Branding

Why is when we are asked to describe someone else our words flow seamlessly, building glowing pictures that showcase exactly what their value is, yet when it comes to ourselves we struggle to string together anything evenly vaguely positive.

 

Over and again it seems when we describe others they are ‘caviar’ but when it comes to ourselves we are just ‘plain old fish eggs!’

 

Why is it so hard for us to see our own value? We should be our own cheer squad and yet day in and day out, I hear people underplay what they do with the tired and demeaning old catch phrase – ‘its just part of my job”. 

 

Nurses hold peoples’ hands in their darkest hours; accountants manage peoples’ life savings, police put their lives on the line for others; and yet universally everyone says “it’s just part of my job”. Every job demands skill and every individual brings their own strengths and value to the workplace and its operations. 

 

I know what you are saying – that doesn’t apply to me, I don’t do anything spectacular. That’s where you are wrong. I guarantee you that if someone else tried to do what you do they wouldn’t bring the same value that you do. Each person brings their own strengths to the workplace. Whether you are the motivator that glues the team together, the trouble shooter that turns around performance when things are tough or the innovator who sparks ideas, each and every person offers distinct and unqiue contributions.

 

Still not sure. Ask your colleagues, family and industry peers how they would describe you – I guarantee a theme will emerge that will help you build a picture of your personal brand. Meticulous, articulate, easy going, reliable, a quiet achiever or a visionary?  No matter what it is, wear it with pride! Promote your strengths and display them like a badge.

 

Now use these strengths to identify where you have brought value to past employers. Build this into your resume, find examples that highlight this in your interview, and promote this in your daily networking.

 

You are unique. Dare to be You! 

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