Tag Archives: networking

Looking for work? Get fired!

These days I’m often asked to speak to career groups. There are a lot of folks in transition these days and many have never experienced a job climate quite like the one they find themselves in today. It’s a tough spot. One piece of advice that I often hear given to job seekers is to treat the job search like a job: set goals, have a plan, give yourself a quota of activity to accomplish daily, and don’t fall into a rut of inactivity. All good sound advice, but there is one vital piece missing: this is not a job you want, in fact this is a job from which you want to be fired!

Getting fired?! It’s appalling, embarrassing, humiliating… unless it is getting fired from the job of being an “A” Number One Unemployed Job Seeker. There’s nothing humiliating about losing that job title. So what do you do when you’re TRYING to get fired? Well naturally, you break some rules. But you don’t just break them quiet-like – you make some noise, you call attention to yourself. If you want to get fired you have to get noticed. Get noticed breaking the rules.

There is a dangerous rhythm that the job seeker can fall into: a cycle of online searching, sending resumes, filling out application forms, and visiting career groups. It can feel like a job, it can feel like progress, but if you’re not getting results it’s not progress. Break the rules, change the pattern. Get noisy. Start a blog, become a twitter networker, pick an issue in your industry that you care about and take a stand, do it vocally, don’t be benign. Instead of standing in line at the career fair, break the rules – organize your own event. Instead of waiting to get the sales job, break the rules – bring your target company a customer – you’ll get some attention, bring them 3 and you’ll get hired.

These days being good at what you do, being qualified and experienced are only enough to get you the opportunity to stand in line. It’s not differentiation, it’s another resume in the pile. Get out of line, break the rules, find another door, or a whole new line. These are risky times to play it safe. Get passionate, get creative, and by all means when it comes to the job of job seeking, get fired.

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Posted in blogging, commentary, mad scribblings, networking, personal branding | Also tagged , , , | 4 Comments

A visit with The Passionate Entrepreneur

I recently had a great time visiting with Kenneth Brown, The Passionate Entrepreneur. Ken is a multi-media machine so I was delighted when he invited me for an interview session on his BlogTalkRadio podcast. You can check it out here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/e3c/2010/02/12/what-is-your-personal-brand

I’ve actually been considering giving the BlogTalkRadio format a try, perhaps even doing some live “Brand Therapy” sessions to give listeners some insights into what I call the Whole Brand ThinkingTM process. I’d love to hear from you if you like the idea, or if you think you might be interested in being the subject of such a session.

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The Portable Personal Brand

Is your personal brand portable? Is your message easy for others to carry and spread?

Sometimes we get too caught up in our own message – we labor over the words, trying to get the nuance just so; making sure we get the essential essence of our value proposition; delving into details; artistically articulating skills, services and strengths… only to find out that everybody else refers to you as “the guy with the funny hat”, or “you know, that lady who sells real estate”, or “the dude with the stale coffee breath”.  It happens.  But there is a lesson to be learned here: if you show up often enough people will remember you, but are they remembering you for what you want or for what they find convenient?

What if you could combine the two?

The portable personal brand is about getting known in that straightforward, easy to identify, easy to remember way, but also in a way that points people toward your value.  You can’t do this with  a complex message: “Oh you know Dave, he’s the guy that went to art school after getting a math degree, and went on to startup companies and then built a career in marketing, blah blah blah…” It is too much. I can’t remember it all and I lived it, how can I expect someone else to carry all that info?  And even if they could what would they do with it all?   But if I give myself a label, “the brand therapist”, and tell people one thing I can do, “help people brand themselves to get more business” then maybe, just maybe someone might remember that.  Maybe then, when someone meets a person with a murky message who is not getting results, they  will say “Oh you should talk to Dave, the brand therapist, he can help you”.

Simplicity is portability, but there is a trade-off:  there is more I can offer, but I have to leave it out otherwise it is distracting and cumbersome. There is certainly more you can offer than will fit in a sentence or two, but it is unreasonable to expect people to remember it all.  And if it isn’t simple it won’t function as a trigger.  When you network you will meet great people who are willing to help you, don’t you owe it to them to make that job easier?  Equip them to help you with a simple way to understand your value. Build a portable personal brand that makes it a reflex to relay people to you who need your help.

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Posted in branding, Branding Thoughts, commentary, mad scribblings, networking, personal branding, Thought for the day | Also tagged , | 7 Comments

Tell me a story

We are born with a craving for stories.   Ask any parent if their kids ever ask them to read them a report or a product sheet or a market study – of course not, but “tell me a story”, that’s a common refrain.   As adults we may not climb into a lap to ask for a story, but we’re wired for them just the same.   Yesterday, I had the good fortune to sit in on a presentation by Mike Wittenstein of Storyminers.  Mike is a great storyteller, but more importantly he helps people to see the importance of story as a means of making a connection with people.  For us so-called grown-ups, “What do you do?”  is the common refrain, but Mike reminded me that what is really being asked for is that same “tell me story” from childhood.

What if the next time someone asks you that question you answer with a story, instead of the usual 30 second commercial?   Try a real story about one of your customers, and describe the journey taken in working with you.  Set the stage by  talking about the client’s situation and the emotional state it caused.  Talk about the problems solved and the changing circumstances that came as a result.  Finally, bring on the “happily ever after” – share the client’s success and happiness that were the outcome of working with you.  Find the compelling beginning, middle and end and you may find that talking about someone else’s experience is an effective way of communicating your own abilities.

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A seven-point tune-up for your personal brand

My friend Mike just sent me a link to a nice article on personal branding: Maintaining your Personal Brand Online by Jonathan Snook.  First of all, I happen to think it is one of the more attractively and readably designed blogs that I’ve seen lately, but I’m recommending the article for different reasons. Seven reasons to be exact.  Actually seven very practical tips for stepping up your engagement in your personal brand, that Mr. Snook has thoughtfully provided.   I won’t spoil his thunder, but I will say that I think these are good, easy to do steps that will help raise your recognizability online. And as you know that is the first of the three Rs of branding.

Visit: Maintaining your Personal Brand Online

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Posted in Branding Thoughts, commentary, networking, personal branding, social media | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Adjacencies

A random analogy for the serial networker:  are you considering your adjacencies?  When you go to a networking event, you dress up, you make sure you have your cards in your pocket, you practice that stadium pitch, but have you put any thought into merchandising yourself in the room?   Retailers put a tremendous amount of time and energy into tweaking and tuning the merchandising of their stores.  There is a conscious effort to setup product adjacencies that will encourage increased sales, complimentary product sets, and impulse buys.   Why not apply the concept to yourself at the next chamber of commerce luncheon?  You probably already know some of the folks in the room – think about what they offer and how your offering would look on the shelf next to them.  If you own a car wash, it might be good to follow the local mechanic when it comes time for everybody to make their pitch.  It’s an easy segue.  Or perhaps you can find a nice bit of contrast.  Do you have a competitor in the room?  An intelligent adjacency might give you the opportunity to point out the difference in your value proposition – it is always easier to see the difference between two things that are side by side rather than separated by space or time.

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    Caitlín Mowbray"I adore your doodles... I swear looking at those bunnies lowers my blood pressure, calms my mind and makes me smarter. Who needs meditation when there are bunnies?"
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