Posts Tagged ‘Personal Branding Blog’

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a BBQ networking event hosted by my friend Wayne Yoshida. The idea is simple. You are always attending various types of networking events where you have a short time to connect with a large number of new people. Wayne’s inspiration, which was from reading the book Never Eat Alone, is rather simple. Invite people you meet at some of these events, along with some people you regularly network with, and get together over a BBQ and pot luck. You have a few hours to talk in an informal and relaxed environment and an opportunity to get to know others in ways you do not at other networking events. So not only did we have killer ribs along with some other very good food, but I also learned quite a bit more about some people in my network, and got a better idea of how we can help each other. Maybe the next idea is Sushi Making Networking? What is your idea for fun networking?

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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

In my previous post, I wrote about 10 steps professionals in transition can take to rise up to their purpose. I received several comments that with a few modifications, this is also appropriate for professionals who are not in transition, so I decided to write a new post from this focus. Has the rat race got you going through the motions? What can you do to break free? How can you make 2012 the year that you play your career Above The Rim. As my good friend and mentor John Hall says, considering all the restructuring, downsizing, right sizing, mergers and acquisitions, and just “plain ol cost cutting”, job security in the corporate environment is a thing of the past. It is therefore incumbent on each person to strategically and purposefully take the steps to generate their own job security and maximize their career opportunities. Professionals must understand the value they bring to an organization, and create their personal brand based on their value proposition. Your personal brand is nothing more than your reputation as a professional and a subject matter expert. Typically, within our career, we naturally create this reputation or a personal brand identity with our colleagues, as well as a few vendors or customers we may deal with. However the reach of this brand identity is extremely limited. What can you do to take your career Above The Rim?

  1. Build a board of Advisors. Most successful executives have a handful of mentors or advisors. Each has different experiences and strengths that you can lean on. These advisors can be professors, colleagues, leaders in an industry, members of your church, and yes, your career coach. Discuss your career and dreams with your advisors. Seek their advice.
  2. Write a long-term career plan – Determine where you want to be in the next 3, 5 and 10 years. Do a S.W.O.T analysis to help you determine the best path for you to take. Determine any education, degrees, certifications or training you need to achieve your desired promotions. Consider the cost and time needed. Budget it and schedule it. Review it every year.
  3. Write a short term career plan. Assess what you want to accomplish in the next 30, 60 and 90 days. Get feedback from your supervisors, colleagues and mentors to determine what will help you maximize your contribution to your company or organization. Review it every month.
  4. Understand the why of what you do, and learn how to articulate it – this really differentiates you.
  5. Create Case Studies of your accomplishments. Assess your projects and tasks you are working on, and understand what is the impact on the bottom line of a company. Keep in mind, in order to be of value to a company, your work has to help the company generate more revenue, cut more costs or mitigate more risk than the cost of employing you. Utilize your case studies in your performance reviews.
  6. Network inside your company. Have lunch with colleagues outside your department. Learn what you can do to positively impact others both inside and outside your department. Cultivate advocates throughout the company. Keep your ears open to learn of new projects, or new opportunities that can be promotional steps for you.

  7. Network outside your company. Join professional or industry associations and actively participate on projects, committees or board positions. This allows your reputation as a professional to spread beyond the colleagues you work with. When networking, remember it is not about you. Become a connector and pay it forward.
  8. Read professional publications and keep your knowledge up to date. Know industry current practices, trends, leaders and what is on the horizon.
  9. Pass on information you read and learn in a comprehensive campaign leveraging social media including blogs, LinkedIn, twitter and face book. A well developed social media campaign will positively impact your current company or organization, and spread your reputation as a subject matter expert.
  10. Pay it forward. Understand that the more you help others and facilitate opportunities for other, the more opportunities will be facilitated and created for you.

Like I said in my previous post, following the steps above is not easy. This is both good news and bad news. It is bad news, because it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It is good news, because not many people are willing to go the extra mile and take their career Above The Rim. May 2012 be a year filled with blessings, one in which you leverage your skills, experience and passions to fulfill your purpose.


In our current job market and economic climate, one of the most sought after yet difficult to attain aspects of our career is job security. With the average tenure at corporate positions, especially the more senior ones lasting an average of two and a half to three years, where can we get our security? The answer lies in our personal branding. It is through Personal Brand Equity that we can establish our value to employers past, present and future. However, where does our brand equity come from? Often times at networking events, I ask people what they do, and they respond by telling me their function, or possibly defining themselves by the tasks or processes they do at work. The problem is that this does nothing to indicate how well they do those tasks and processes, and it does nothing to differentiate them from everyone else who performs the same tasks and processes. When developing our personal brand identity, it is very important to understand that each of us has a unique shape that is a blend of skills, education, experiences and passions. It is through these that, in the process of doing tasks and processes for a company, we achieve accomplishments that contribute to the bottom line of an organization’s success. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing several blogs illustrating how to identify this blend of attributes and the accomplishments achieved throughout a career. Once you have this foundation of your personal brand, we will explore how to use this information to articulate your value proposition throughout your career management.