What Should I Tweet About?

As a follow-up to my blog last week, I am continuing with the twitter theme. After the idea of filtering out the noise, the most often question I get asked is what am I going to tweet about?? Who would be interested in what I have to say?

Anyone professional that is serious in keeping up to date on current trends and practices in their profession, should, at the very least, read professional periodicals. This is a great source for tweeting for the following reasons:

  1. You should already be reading this type of article, so the amount of “extra” time needed to tweet will be minimal.
  2. It demonstrates the type of information you read to keep on top of your profession.
  3. It gives credit or props to the source.
  4. Commenting on it helps establish your thoughts on the topic.

This is all very easy to do by using a third party app such as Hootet by Hootsuite, or bufferapp. These applications allow you to, with the click of an icon, to open up a new dialogue box with the title of the article, and a shortened link for the URL. All you need to do is add your personal touch, and tweet it out. You can even schedule to send them out at peak times.

How Can I Effectively Leverage Twitter When All I See Is Noise?

One of the most common questions I get about using Twitter as part of a job search strategy is, “How can I get through all the noise?” It is a very good question, with actually a quite simple answer. However, in order to get to the answer, it is very important to understand that to make the greatest use of Twitter, you cannot view it as a standalone branding application. It is best to use a Social Media dashboard such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to manage your social media communication, which will save you an immense amount of time, and let you filter and receive information that is important for you to focus on. The more people or companies you follow, the harder it is to catch the tweets that will be important to you. Every tweet of every person you follow streams on your Twitter home page. Depending on how many you are following, you can have 10’s of thousands of tweets per day. Now, how do you filter the information?

  1. Go to your twitter profile and create “Lists” or categories for people who are important for you to focus on, receive their information and network with. Some of these categories might include industry thought leaders, function thought leaders, mentors, employees of target companies, networking groups, etc. Twitter allows you to create up to 20 lists.
  2. Group your list into 2 ~ 4 broader categories.
  3. Go to the list of people and companies you are following, choose the ones that are most important for you to catch and act on their tweets, and put them in the appropriate list. Keep in mind; you do not need to list all people you follow. Keep it selective. As you follow more people, if they are import.
  4. Open up your account at a Social Media dash-board such as Hootsuite.com. Create a new tab for each broad category, and on each tab open up a stream for each list in that broad category.

Now you will have streams with limited numbers of tweets from the people and companies that are important for you to focus on, and allow you to catch, and act on their relevant tweets. Happy Tweeting!

Is LinkedIn Just an On-Line Resume?

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools you can leverage in your career management, but most professionals use it for nothing more than an online resume. When I teach LinkedIn, people are amazed that there is so much more to LinkedIn. A repeated theme of my workshops and blogs is that job security in corporate America is a thing of the past. As a result, the most important thing a professional can understand is this: It is not what you know, or even who you know, but who knows you that will land you your next position or help you promote in your career. LinkedIn leveraged properly will allow you to spread your reputation as a subject matter expert and successful professional. So in considering what to blog about this week, I decided to write a blog on how to better leverage LinkedIn as a personal branding tool. Just as I was starting to write, I saw a posting from my good friend Neal Schaffer, spelling out exactly what I wanted to say. So rather than try to write the same thing, I would share Neal’s post. Click the link below and Enjoy! 4 Ways Of Obtaining Thought Leadership on LinkedIn.

Coal or Diamond – What is Your Personal Brand

A common theme of my blogs as well as workshops is that companies, for the most part view employees and prospective employees as liabilities instead of assets, or commodities instead of equity that bring additional value to the company. The other day I was talking with a client about the many types of experiences and skills that she possesses. It hit me that these were like the many facets of a valuable diamond, and each contribute to the value of her diamond. So rather than being viewed as coal that just gets burned up and consumed by a company, demonstrate your value and make yourself the diamond that brings equity to the company. What are you doing to know, understand and be able to articulate your many aspects that create significant value for your employer or prospective employer? Target companies that can leverage your facets to solve their most pressing issues and gain advantage over the competition. Remember, you are the diamond bringing value, not coal to be burned and consumed by the company.

How Do You Quantify Your Ideal Job?

Are you in transition? Are you considering a Career Change? Are you trying to determine the path for your career? How do you find the right job? Can you afford to “choose” the right job?

Many professionals choose jobs that come to them, rather than proactively managing their career and working their ideal jobs. Too many job seekers focus primarily on the tasks that they perform and take jobs that are not a good fit for them in other areas. When looking at opportunities, there are so many areas that impact you’re your job satisfaction as well as job performance. Does the job provide the growth opportunities you are seeking? Does the company culture and position fit your personality? If the answer to these questions meets your needs, your performance and ultimately job security will be positively impacted. If not, they will be negatively impacted.

How can you focus your job search so that you target the right opportunities? There are several things you can do to help understand the direction you need to go in.

  1. Take a personality test such as Meyers-Briggs or Jung Typology test to understand your personality type and the environments and roles which you thrive.
  2. Evaluate your motivated skills to determine what you want and need to use to achieve job satisfaction.
  3. Evaluate your core values of what you are looking for in your career.
  4. Evaluate past positions and determine circumstances that made your job great or not so great.

Using these factors to build a matrix that allows you to measure where each potential job ranks in terms of meeting your needs will allow you to more clearly focus your search to land your next career position that will maximize your growth and security.

Do You Define Your Career or Does Your Career Define You?

Throughout my career, I have run into basically two types of professionals. Those who define their career and those who let their career define them. In this economic time, this distinction has become increasingly apparent. Another way to look at it is do you do what you do because you love it, or because you need the money? I run into individuals who thrive on what they do, why they do what they do, and how well they do it. I also run into individuals that are trapped by their titles they have had or processes and tasks they have performed limiting what they think they can do now. The latter group, when introducing themselves at networking events or in interview situations focus on tasks or processes they have done without any clear understanding of how this impacts the organizations they have worked for. The former group, in the same situations, talk with passion about themselves and their profession. They hold your attention, and you see how they can positively impact an organization. No hiring manager wants to hire someone who will feel the job is a means only to a paycheck. They want to hire someone who is passionate about the product or service of the organization, and is passionate about contributing to the success of the organization. Some job seekers would say, given the current economic situation, they cannot afford the luxury to do what they want. They just need a job. I would venture to say, unless you can differentiate yourself with your passions and your success, will have difficulty getting any job just because you need the money. As you are mapping out the rest of your career, whether you are in the beginning of it, the middle or winding down, assess your skills and passions, and develop a strategy so that you will be working because you love what you do, not because of the money you need to earn.

How to Increase Your Career Security Through Professional Associations

The other day, I had the opportunity to speak to the Future Business Leaders of America at Cal-State Fullerton. During the question and answer session, one of the members asked, given the current lack of job security in corporate American, what can they do to create their own career security? As you have read in previous posts, I strongly believe that your success is not always determined by what you know, or even who you know, but who knows you. In other words, in the typical course of a career, you develop a reputation as a professional and subject matter expert among a small number of colleagues at the companies you work for, as well as possibly a few customers or vendors that you work with. However the circle that your reputation spreads to is very limited. One of the most effective ways to increase the reach of your professional reputation across an industry or function is via professional associations. However, I am not talking about just being a member and going to some networking events. I am talking about getting on committees, boards or working on projects for the association and even speaking at meetings on particular subjects of which you have expertise. This will allow others outside your normal circle of influence to get to know your professional thought process as well as how well you work with others. Active involvement in these capacities gives you opportunities to achieve accomplishments for the organization and also will provide you a platform of visibility. Then as you strategically plan your career advancement, you will have more advocates and a stronger network to help you reach your goals.

How Business Card Etiquette Improves Your Networking Results?

In a recent blog, I wrote about business cards and how they impact your brand. Today, I would like to talk about the etiquette of business cards, and how this can positively impact your effectiveness in networking and ultimately your career management or career search. I was lucky enough to begin my career in Japan, and this has significantly impacted my perspective on this. In Japan, the business card is an extension of the person. Exchanging business cards is a ritual in Japan. The way you give and receive a card demonstrates your respect of the other person. The information on the card lets each party know the hierarchy, and how they should behave towards the other party. What I learned is the importance of acknowledging information on the card, and using that to demonstrate my interest in the other person. Now, whenever I exchange cards, I always look at the name and title of the person giving me their card. Unfortunately, I do not have the best memory, so I say the name and title for the person out loud, and this helps me to remember the person. It also lets the other person know that I am paying attention to them. How many times have you been at a networking event, where the noise level is so high, it was difficult to hear what the other person does? How many times have you met a person, and by the time you finish talking with them, you have forgotten the name and title of the person you are talking to? By looking at and repeating out loud the information on the card, you are providing an additional method of inputting the information into your head, and remembering the person. How many times have you given a card to someone and they immediately put the card in their pocket without even looking at it? How much were they listening to you? By implementing this into your networking practice, you will not only demonstrate greater respect to the individual you are meeting, but when you look at the card to follow-up with the individual, you will have much greater recollection of the person you met and the conversation that took place, allowing for a much more effective follow-up.

Healthcare Options for Underemployed and those in transition.

This past week, I was talking with an accountability group, and we started talking about healthcare. For individuals in transition or who are under employed, health care can be one of the most stressful issues in our lives. So many people are forced to make decisions detrimental to their health based on their current financial situation and lack of knowledge for healthcare options. Therefore I would like to discuss some options here. If you have other information to benefit others, I would appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Every state is different, but for everyone in California who has children, and is in transition, or under employed, you can get coverage at least for the children. Healthy Families is a state program to make sure all children have coverage.  Eligibility is based on household size and income. Click here for Healthy Families Applications

Also in California, medi-cal may be available for low or no income individuals. Applications are available at local county social services departments. In Orange County, click here for Social Services information.

For those that purchase medical insurance, due to the costs many are forced to purchase the lowest cost insurance which is often a high deductable insurance.  Unfortunately with a high deductible, every visit, every test, every thing is extremely expensive. This leads to not going to the doctor, and the insurance being only for the purposes of catastrophic coverage.  Some Insurance providers have financial assistance programs. For example, Kaiser Permanente has a Medical Financial Assistance program (for those already enrolled in their insurance programs). It provides financial assistance for low income families, and covers all or a portion of co-pays that the patient is responsible for.  Eligibility is based on household size and income. For Kaiser, click here for the Medical Financial Assistance Application  

If you have a high deductible insurance, and are not going to the doctor because you cannot afford to, please check with your insurance and see what plans they may have for financial assistance. Ask for financial assistance!

If any of you have information to add that can help others in this area, please let us know what information you have found in your area or with your insurance that may help others. Thank you for paying it forward!

How is your business card branding you?

Are you in transition? Do you have a business card? What does it say about you? Why do you need a business card, what should you put on it, and what should it look like?

With over 80% of jobs being landed through networking, business cards are often your first exchange of information when you meet someone in your job hunt. But what message are you giving people when you give them your business card? Does it say you are a value added solution or just a commodity on the job market? If you are at a networking event, how many other people there have the same design card?

At the most fundamental level, a business card allows you to exchange contact information, so that in networking, you can continue to communicate, develop a relationship and leverage each other’s connections. At a higher level, the business card will inform your network of your target position and industry as well as your skills and experiences that qualify you for the position. Finally, the card reflects your professionalism, and the standard with which you view yourself. With this in mind, what components go into a well developed business card that represents your brand and value?

  • Name
  • Target Title and industry if applicable – not necessarily your most recent title, but where are you headed?
  • Tag line/ Career Theme – What do you do for companies? What is your impact on the companies? Why do you do what you do? What are you known for?
  • Cell Phone
  • Professional e-mail address – it is easiest to base it on your name
  • Social Media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress
  • Core competencies on the back

Remember, that since the card represents you as a professional, you want your card to stand out. Yes there is a site that prints “free” cards, you just need to pay for shipping. But all that says is that your brand is not worth distinguishing. You are branding yourself as a commodity. If you are worth a company investing in you, than invest at least a little bit in how you present yourself. Print your cards on heavy stock. This shows pride in who you are, and confidence in your value. Have color! Work with a graphic designer to come up with a design and layout that represents you and your quality. After all, your business card is your first impression.

 

This post is by Greg Johnson of Above The Rim Executive Coaching

%d bloggers like this: