Branding Fail: Putting A Bandana On My Dog Did Not Make Him A Pirate

pirate bandit

If you ever saw my dog Bandit while on a walk, you would think he was quite an intimidating fellow.  His Great Pyrenees/Lab sister towers over him, but he struts like he is ten feet tall and bullet proof.  If he sees another animal, he puffs up and gives the impression that, by golly, it is a good thing he is leashed or he might just go after them like a Tasmanian devil.

Then of course, there is reality.

He is a cupcake.

He barks at hot air balloons; a fly buzzing around him makes him duck his tail and hide; toads fascinate and frighten him; delivery drivers are the greatest threat to mankind until they offer a belly rub, then he is a sprawled out pile of jell-o.  The dog has literally jumped at his own gas and shadow.  A cupcake.

But I can’t take him in nature twice a day and let the other animals know he is a cupcake. Those squirrels can be quite vicious in their teasing and we don’t want the skinks and toads gaining up on him.

So what do I do? I get him a bada$$ bandana – a black pirate bandana with skulls and everything to complete the look.  But that bandana does not make him tough, we have to sell it.

While on our walks and he begins his ‘routine’ I back him up. I tell him he’s a good guard dog, to stay put and even make it look like I am struggling holding him back. I say, “I know you want to go tear that apart but I won’t let you.”  To all the other woodland creatures, I am the only thing holding him back and saving their certain doom.

What on earth does this Dr. Doolittle-ish tale have to do with personal branding? Personal branding is all about positioning yourself the way you want people to see or get you.

The bandana on Bandit – that is your title.  You title is nearly meaningless.  Wearing a pirate bandana did not make him a pirate. You are not your title. Your title does not define you. What is important is what you do, how you do it and how it provides value to others. Titles rarely convey that.

His title is guard dog, not cupcake.  His title does not convey his ‘image’. Our charades during walks, well that is what people see.  It is how he presents himself. I also let him go chase after things once in a while. As he darts off at full speed, I know that if what he is chasing turns around, he will run for the hills and that he is good for a “I’m gonna getcha” run of less than a minute.  So about 30 seconds into it, I make a big show of calling him back. I help my dog save face.

Bandit truly believes he is the biggest, baddest guard dog around. He puts it out there. You can’t fake it like my dog. My dog also thinks he is a pirate.

What are you putting out there? Now, granted he relies on me to help sell the story…but are you selling your own story?

This part belongs to you. It is the how you do things. If you tell people you are passionate about a certain industry or topic yet cannot muster above monotone when speaking about it – you have brand clash. If you portray that you are an amazing listener yet when networking ask no questions – you have brand clash. Your actions define you. How do you back up your brand?

Do you use words that resonate with you and the brand you want to portray? Do you convey value or duties? Do you engaged, network, with others to build your brand?

You can’t be a pirate by wearing a skull and crossbones bandana. If you are going to be a pirate, be a pirate. Be your own pirate, whether that be Pirates of the Caribbean or Black Sails. Be a pirate in owning your own brand – get it shipshape then weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!

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A little about me: I do what I love: help people break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews and celebrates their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

 

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Help A Recruiter Help You

good eggs and bad eggs

 

Recently, I have noticed a bit of recruiter bashing. I will be honest, there are some recruiters out there that deserve the unkind words and vented frustrations. Another point of honesty – I know more who do not; in fact, they are outstanding professionals and people. Unfortunately, they suffer from the actions in the first group.

A bad experience can certainly taint your view; I completely understand that. Yet give me just a few moments of your time and lend me your ear (or eyes) to give you a different perspective.

There Are Good Eggs & There Are Bad Eggs

When I say I understand the bad taste in your mouth after encountering a bad recruiter, I really mean it. When I was in my mid-twenties, a single mom looking to improve her lot in life, I met with a bad egg. He told me, and I remember these words verbatim, that I would not get a job without him and my son would starve, but if I paid him $5,000 he could get me a job.

Seriously?  Can you say sleazeball? To add insult to injury, he did not even talk to me about skills, career goals or talents. Just pay him the money or my kid would starve. Get outta here!

Luckily, I later met a good egg. She took the time to sit down with me, review my resume, talk with me about skills, responsibilities, strengths, ambitions etc. She hooked me up with a great company for an interview. She helped coach me and debrief after the interviews. She negotiated on my behalf and it wound up being an amazing experience and a great launch for me.

You are Not the Only One

I had to have my car worked on a month or so ago. I do not like being without transportation so having the old girl sit in the shop was hard for me. It took a bit longer than they anticipated. I wanted to get frustrated and angry, I wanted her to have her zip back and at my disposal, but there I sat, waiting impatiently, until she was ready. At home, car-less.

I had to remind myself, I was not their only customer. I was not the center of their universe.

No matter how much you should be, remember, you are not a recruiter’s only client.  If they do not respond to you within five minutes, do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

They are Not the Only One

When my car was being held hostage (ok, not really, but it felt like it), part of the reason was that the mechanic had to order parts. Unfortunately, the vendor was not communicating promptly. They called and called the vendor and finally got a response.

The recruiter may very well be working really, really hard for you but they cannot make someone respond. If they could, trust me, they would – it would make their life a lot easier. Some companies use internal and external recruiters, while others really stink at responding.

Unfortunately, sometimes a recruiter gets a gig with a company who is clueless as to what they need and become completely scattered about requirements, salary, duties or even expected start dates.

Give them a break, they are dealing with a lot of frustration on both ends, all while really trying to help you.

They are Only Human

Sometimes it happens, mistakes are made. They are human. If they do not call you back when they said they would or you are waiting on information – call them. Make sure you had the time and date right. Don’t stew. They are they to help you, keep that communication open. If a mistake was made a good recruiter will apologize and make sure it doesn’t happen again. A bad egg will ether blame you or shrug it off.

Anne Sullivan they are Not

Recruiters work a balancing act. Their clients have needs and expectations and their candidates also have needs and expectations. Oh, if only both parties would be clear and communicative… but they are not. My mom had a saying, “if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, oh what a wonderful Christmas we would all have”.   (I honestly never thought I could work that into an article, and yet, there it is – my mom will be so proud.)

From the candidate’s side, help them out. Yes, they should be talking to you about your skill set, accomplishments, talents, abilities, career goals, education, certification and all other factors that impact your candidacy. However, the onus is not only on them.

If you market yourself in person or on your resume by simply gives titles, companies, time periods and brief description of your job duties, you are making their job more difficult. How can then sell you when they don’t know what value you have to offer? Value is the key. What can you bring to an organization, what can you do for them? That is the most important question to be answered – supply it to the recruiter.

They cannot read or hear a cliff notes version of your career and immediately whip up these value selling points. They are not miracle workers. Help them out.

Their Time & Talent is Valuable

Most recruiters I know do not do resumes. That is not odd. I do not do recruiting. I specialize in personal branding and dipping my toes in the recruiting side would deflect from that. Recruiters, good recruiters, are specialists. Their time is valuable and spent cultivating relationships, leads and matching great candidates with great companies.

In short – they do not have time to redo your resume. Redoing a resume that is a cliff note version is not a quick and easy fix. A resume done right takes time. Time you do not want them to take away from finding you the right fit. They can tell you if you need to revamp your resume – but do not expect them to go through line by line to debrief you and tell you what to do. Remember, you would rather have them using their time finding your happy career place.

Ask for recommendations or do some research. Head their advice on your resume – they know. Yet do not get upset if they do not offer to redo it for you.

Another time consideration – the relationship building aspect of their job. Good recruiters have great relationships. The best have relationships with exchanges like:

Client: “we want this”  ~ Recruiter: “you need that”

You see, they cultivate these relationships to be able to know their client’s culture, values and important factors of positions, departments and the company short and long term. In other words, great recruiters partner with their clients to determine exactly what they need so when they fill it – the fit is like a glass slipper. This type of rapport, research and communication take time.  Time that does not impact their candidates, but hey, these good eggs work hard and this is an aspect I do not believe most people even consider.

Make It Easy to be Found

LinkedIn is an amazing tool utilized by recruiters. If you want to be found, you have to put out there what is important.

Hello keywords!

Yet, instead of throwing out a bunch of keywords; integrate them into your heading, opening sentence, summary and career section. Demonstrate you know what those things are and why they are important. Do not assume that having a specific title will communicate all there is to know about you.

Titles are can be a hindrance. If you are looking for a sales position, be general. The more general the term the more likely it will appear in a search. If you use, for example, Client Representative, that will not score well in a search for Sales Representative. Bring in the broader search terms to make sure you are covered.

Tell recruiters or those you want to read your profile what you want them to know about you – put it right there in your summary and career section! If you don’t say it – how are they going to know? Do not let them assume, as my dad used to say, “never assume, it makes an a$$ out of you and me.” (wow, look at that, a saying from both parents in one article!) 

If you are in between jobs, put in there that you are looking or interested in what you want.

If you are making the case that you have a strong strength in a certain skill, industry or capacity – demonstrate it. Listing it over and over as keywords is not enough. For example, if you are a rock star Project Manager, give examples, tell a story demonstrating why you are a rock star. Help them find you in order to sell you.

The other wonderful thing about LinkedIn is it is a great resource. Search for articles or  career professionals in your network or just beyond to help you get on the right track with your profile. There are an amazing amount of articles and thoughts on making the most of your LinkedIn profile!

Participate – It Goes Both Ways

If you are thinking about working with a recruiter do your due diligence. Participate in the process. Interview them. Ask them questions. This is your career here, would you take a job without asking any questions? Talk to a couple, search LinkedIn, ask your network if they have used a recruiter or if they recommend anyone in particular – then ask why.

You still might come across some bad eggs, but by remembering the points above, you will find that there are some amazing professionals out there who really work hard to make sure their candidates and clients are happy. These are the ones that love what they do – and that, you will spot a mile away. That is the kind of professional you want in your corner.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

 

My Dog Just Might Help You Face The Fear In Your Career

Bandit Walking on Sunshine
Bandit – Walking on Sunshine!

 

Where do you want to go or do in your career? Are you there? Are you taking steps to get there? If not – what is holding you back?

 

There may be many answers to this question: time, money, education/certification, etc. but they can all be boiled down to one thing: fear.

 

It may seem that a lack of resources may be the cause, but if it is something you really want, you would find a way. Financially, get a second job. Time-wise, get up an hour earlier. I know these sound like easy answers and it is not always easy to find that time or extra income. Yet, I contend it is not lack of resources, but an abundance of fear.

 

I am not throwing stones – fear is my friend and foe that I have disguised as a resource limitation in order to avoid it. I saw a wonderful short video of Will Smith talking about jumping out of an airplane. Long story short, he was saying that the night before and every moment leading up to jumping out was full of fear yet the moment he was hurled out of that plane was sheer exhilaration. He rightly concluded that all that fear leading up to the moment was mind manufactured.

 

He did not say that last phrase, I made it up as a summary, but I really like that – mind manufactured. Our mind manufactures all sorts of things to stop us. It’s job is to keep us safe and we think fear is bad.

 

Fear is not a bad thing – it is a merely signal. A sign from your mind or body telling you it is time to grow or push yourself.

 

I was inspired to write this today because of my pup. Poor Bandit. Every morning and evening we talk a walk to a semi-forest lined field. The field was recently cut down so there was a lot more room to run and roam. This is where he does his business. Last night, while doing his business, something must have bit him in the butt. He gave a weird little yelp then came running over to me, tail tucked tight and kept sitting down the rest of the walk – as though guarding his little rear-end from anything else that might want to take a nip at him.

 

This morning, he hemmed and hawed alongside the field. The pup had to poop but was afraid of going back in that field. He is also finicky and does not poop on sidewalks or streets (thank goodness) so it was a necessity to go into that field. Eventually the need to poop won out and he gingerly went into the field. When mother nature called and he had to squat, he did so gingerly constantly looking around for unknown tushy attackers.

 

Nothing happened.

 

He then did the doggy kicking the ground after you poop thing and went happily along exploring the field and running around in the sunshine. That’s him in the picture above.

 

His fear was faced as a matter of necessity. Sometimes we are forced to face our fear and that is the best way – we have no choice. Once we face it, we have that rush of beating it. That is when I think fear is my friend. The one that throws you in to prove that you can swim. For example having to give a big presentation or being promoted to a new role only to realize we are really good at it

 

Fear is my foe when I let it linger and give it companions to stick around: no time, no resources, no idea of how I am going to do this thing I say I want to do.

 

There is a goal I want to achieve and I kept making excuses I just don’t have the time. The project is a little scary for me – it could turn our really well or land me flat on my face.

 

That’s when I realized it wasn’t about time. I have the time, but I am borrowing it for something else, almost. There is a project that has to be done and I don’t want to do it. It is a personal project that will take a lot of work, diligence and time. I am procrastinating about it. I am putting off this project, wasting time in doing so, that I could be using toward my project.

 

I am using the project to fuel my fear of failure. If I just buck up and get the project over with, I will have all that time to do work on my goal. It was my aha moment like my dog had: “I have to poop, I have to go in there to poop, the longer I meander out here the worse I have to poop. I’m going in.”

 

As for me, I have a whole afternoon booked to take a huge dent out of that personal project. I have set a timeline for myself to kick its butt and get it done. Then I start taking one step at a time on my goal. I get to mark things off my list (which always makes me happy) and move on.

 

If you are stuck in your career with a fear of moving forward or going for something else, you have two ways of breaking through that fear.

 

First is the Bandit way: think of it as a necessity. Stop looking at it from a possible failure aspect and look at it as you have to move up or on. Staying where you are is like Bandit prancing around the outside of the field – uncomfortable and possibly painful.

 

The second is the divide and conquer way: What is your fear? How are you mind manufacturing new ways of not facing that goal? Break that apart into smaller steps to conquer them one by one. When you take fear apart into pieces, you can take one step closer into that field of your goal and really enjoy running around in the sunshine.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

Your LinkedIn Profile –How You See Yourself For Others To See & Find You

doggies

One of the best things about being five foot tall and having a son who is over six feet tall is the endless array of short jokes.

Lisa K McDonald - shopping with my son
So my kid is a little taller than me….

It just never ends. I took my son shopping earlier this week and without fail, there were short jokes involved.  Reaching for something slightly over my head, I heard, “you want a ladder Mom or should I just get that for you?” Ha. Ha.

 

 

I suggested looking for something in another isle and was treated to: “It’s not over there. I know you can’t see anything from down there, but I can see over the isles, it’s not there.” Ha.

 

He takes these opportunities as often as he can, where he got this sense of sarcasm I have no idea. (clears throat and gives innocent baffled look) The thing that he thinks is really funny is a lot of people after meeting me and getting over the initial short shock do not think of me as small.

I don’t sound small. I don’t see myself as small.

Most of my conversations are over the phone and electronic communication. I have a near perfect track record of hearing the same statement when meeting someone after they have read my LinkedIn profile or talked to me on the phone: “You are a lot shorter than I thought.”

Apparently I sound, both in verbal and written communication, as tall as my son. Take that kid!

I am very passionate about what I do. I love it. I love working with clients and helping them rediscover their value and be able to communicate it in a way that it opens doors for them to go in the direction they want with confidence, poise and excitement.

This passion comes through when I speak to individuals and through my LinkedIn profile.

When you write your profile, write from you – not what you think others want to hear. Who are you, what do you want them to know? Keep this in the context of your audience. What is important to them?

When you compose your LinkedIn profile this way, your authenticity will align with their needs and the magic will happen. I have heard LinkedIn called a virtual handshake. I like that.

There is nothing worse than a limp handshake – one in which there is a splattering of key words with no person behind it; or a dominate handshake – one which is chalk full of a resume and void of a personality. The best handshake is a confident grasp that is welcoming and breaks the ice.

You are good at what you do. You know where you can go. You understand your value and how it benefits others. This is you as you know yourself. This is the you that you want others to see. This is the you that you should write in your LinkedIn.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

 To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right 

 

Don’t You Dare Dumb Down Your Resume!

do not dummy down your resume

Question: “I am overqualified for all the jobs I am applying for and not getting any response – do I need to dummy down my resume to get a response?”

Answer: No.

How is that for a short article? The question was answered, yet it probably does not eliminate the frustration of the original question, so let’s expand a bit.

First, do not ever dummy yourself. Period. For any reason, job or person. It is disrespectful to yourself and that is not a state of mind that is healthy or to operate.

For your resume, it is not a matter or overqualified, underqualified or just right qualified.

There are plenty of candidates that know they are a perfect fit for a job and still do not hear anything back.

There is a bigger issue at hand: focus. Focus on them. Focus on what is important to them. Focus your resume to make that connection.

Most resumes are compiled with two flawed premise: tell the reader what you were hired to do and speak to all your experience.

What you were hired to do are your duties, which are too often used as bullet points. No one cares what you were hired to do. They care what you did.

Speaking to all of your experience is a convoluted road map. This is not about you, this is about them and what they need. Your job is to provide a succulent road map that shows you are the solution to their problems.

Focus

Back to being overqualified and how to focus your resume to a specific position. Let’s use the example of having run your own business and now going after a sales leadership position.

Remember – we are focusing on them. Forget about your history for a minute and analyze the opportunity. Do your due diligence here and identify key factors including:

  • Company size
  • Product
  • Industry
  • Needs
  • Metrics
  • How you be measured and on what
  • Responsibilities

What does this job really entail? Now, how does that match up with what you have done?

If you were running a company, you were doing sales. There is overlap there, find it and mine it.

Running a company and sales have four goals in common: revenue, growth, profit and market penetration/expansion.

When you were running a company, how did you measure success? Do they echo what is typically used in a sales leadership role: ratio of new business versus repeat business, turnover rates, lead response time or rate of contact?

Some typical goals or responsibilities assigned to a VP of Sales or Sales leader include:

  • Strategic planning for developing business, hitting company goals, building go-to-market strategies and corporate sales plans
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, development, aligning behavior to culture
  • managing team of X number of people
  • Growing a channel
  • Managing key client relationships
  • Working in a specific industry, specific products/services to small/medium/large companies or to individuals
  • Closing key opportunities
  • Utilizing CRM to manage team tasks, pipelines and closing data
  • Analyzing, reporting on markets, trends, competition and metrics
  • Budgets, compensation, incentive programs, training, process management / improvement, forecasting

 

The new job’s responsibilities and metrics are your roadmap – take that back to where you have been to build a road right to the opportunity.

Use the 80/20 rule. In your resume, focus 80% of what you put on what aligns with the position and the remaining 20% on the remainder of what you did.

If you ran a company it is not going to be expected that you only focused on sales, there were other important responsibilities that you fulfilled. That is your 20%.

And you don’t have to tell them everything.

If you had some really major accomplishments that you think would scare the crap out of them, you don’t have to put those down. The point of your resume is to tell them your story the way you want them to understand it.

 

Speak to what you want, what you know as it aligns with where you want to go and soon they are going to want to be talking to you!

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

How To Not Stink At Supporting Someone During Their Job Search

be supportive

One of the things I love the most about what I do is that I get to help people. Really help. Not the “hey, let me know if you need anything” then fall off the face of the earth help that unfortunately they get from a lot of people in their circle ‘help’.   Real help.

After working with people in transition for almost a decade, I hear many stories and a lot of frustration. I am taking it upon myself to be their voice today. I am speaking directly to you: their support system, their network, their friends, family and colleagues.

Here is what you need to know to truly provide support or assistance to them during their job search and things that we all wish you would stop doing.

First Things First

Before you even make a single comment – take a step back and remember this one thing: what they are going through is an end of a relationship. It was a commitment much like a serious relationship or marriage.  The relationship may have stunk, but it was still their relationship.

The ending may have been their idea or they may have been blindsided with divorce papers. The point is it is over and it hurts.  There are emotions tied here so let’s be sensitive about that. No downplaying it with things like, “you are better off without that dirt bag” or “you were too good for her”.  Nope.

Be compassionate and remember there are feelings here. That job may have treated them badly but it was their job and they were vested in some way, even if it was a paycheck. So being kicked to the curb or walking out on a bad thing is very taxing to the emotions, confidence and their spirit.

Be kind, not assumptive.

Start With This

Instead of asking what happened, asked instead “what can I do”. Asking what happened is almost akin to asking for gossip. It also rips open those emotional wounds – see section above for a refresher on the whole emotion thing.

When it comes down to it – does it really matter why? Nope. The point is the relationship is over. No one wants to go through their ordeal over and over again how they were left for a younger version of themselves. Give them a break. The gossipy part is not the important part. The important part is showing your support.

What can I do let’s them know that you are there to help I whatever way you can and you are looking at this as a way to participate in moving forward, not reminiscing about the past over a gallon of Ben and Jerrys….or wine. Whatever the preferred method.

Walk The Talk

If you are going to ask, then be sure to follow through when they ask you for something. If they say they really want to meet someone at a certain company and you know an individual that fits the bill, than make that introduction!

They do not need lip service. That will only pour salt in the emotional wounds. I would say see first section about the whole emotion thing, but it should be sunk in by now.

Find Their Comfort

When making an introduction, ask them how they want to be introduced – in other words – what they want the other person to know about them and how to handle the “available” situation.  Maybe they want to go in a new direction and they would prefer that you focus on those skill sets instead of what they were doing prior to the split.

Give Them A Reason

When introducing people, give them a reason to connect.  Simply sending an e-introduction with “Bill meet Susie, Susie, this is Bill” kills the connection before it even happens. Bill and Susie do not want to feel like sixth graders at their first boy-girl dance pushed together by their parents not knowing what to say to the other.

Give a little background with the info gleaned from the prior section. “Bill, I would like you to meet Susie – she is an absolute wiz at XYZ and someone I think you should definitely have in your network!  Susie, meet Bill, he is the go to person in COMPANY for ABC and has been a great resource for me.” That was totally off the cuff, but you get the drift.

Keep In Touch

It is not your job to follow up with them or harass them to make sure they connected with whom you introduced them to – if they are appreciative and professional, they will do so and let you know.  No, this part is about just dropping a line every now and then to let them know you are still there.

No one likes feeling like they have a mad dash of support than two weeks later it is crickets in their computer. Have a cup of coffee and talk about something else. How ‘bout them Cubs? I saw a great movie the other day, have you ever seen it?

Help them get their mind off the overwhelming task of job searching now and then – it helps, a LOT!

Don’t Squash Their Dreams

If your person says they want to take their career in a whole new direction, or even just veer it a bit, please do not respond with, “you can’t do that” or “why on earth would you want to do that?”. It is their dream, their journey so no negativity from the peanut gallery.

If you don’t get it, just respond with something non-committal like, “that’s nice.” If you want to get it, ask them how that came about, as in “wow, I never thought of that, tell me more”. If you are close with this person and want to help them achieve their dream, then really engage in conversation.

Just make sure when you engage in conversation it is not from a ‘can’t do’ or squashing standpoint, instead ask them to paint you a picture. What skills do they have that align with the dream. If you don’t’ know anything about this dream job, ask them to tell you about it and they maybe you can start seeing some transferable skills. Just come at them from a ‘let me help you build a road map’ stance instead of ‘that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard – you’re going to this as a rebound relationship’ stance.

Know When Enough Is Enough

Sometimes you help people and they become octopuses. One little suction cup gets stuck on you (not wanting to go to a networking event if you aren’t there) and pretty soon a whole tentacle is wrapped around (never wanting to attend any networking event without you, constantly asking for help but not following through on anything you give them.). Next thing you know, you have that big squishy octopus head sucked onto your face and you can’t breathe.

Distance yourself. It is okay to tell them that you have given everything you know to help and right now, just can’t think of anything else. If you are real tight with them and that kind of friend, it is okay to say, ‘look dude, I gave you 10 leads and you did not follow up on one of them. I can’t help you if you don’t want to do anything.’

Don’t let their fear, insecurity or lack of follow through ruin your relationship. You need to be healthy too. Put some distance in there if they are just not moving on. Suggest help. Let them know that you have exhausted all your brain power and maybe it is time they talk to a professional who can help – no, not a relationship guru, a business person.  You know, maybe someone like…..I don’t know, possibly me?

It doesn’t have to be me, there are so many amazing resume writers, brand strategists and career coaches out there that they should talk to a few to get a sense of who is right for them. Just as a side note – if your person is stuck in the angry phase (still blaming the ex or unwilling to move forward) please do not send them to me. I don’t like working with angry people.

 

It all comes down to this: heaven forbid you ever find yourself in that situation – how would you want someone to help you? How you answer is how you should proceed.  Remember, the Golden Rule has never tarnished.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

To Advance in Your Career – Show the Dynamics of Change in Your Resume

Dog writing resume

Recently I lost one of my best buddies.

Luke on guard
Luke, my personal protector

Luke became a part of my family almost a decade ago and was my constant companion and the court jester of the office.  He was also my personal guard dog. Any time someone came into our home or approached me outside of its confines, he would stand in front of me blocking potential danger and letting the world know, he was my protector.

Our little family of furries is adjusting.  My remaining male dog, Bandit, has now taken on a new role – my personal bodyguard. Anywhere I go, he goes.  On walks he now does not venture more than 10 feet from me. In the evening he watches the boyfriend and inserts himself on occasion just to let him know in that dog way, “I’m watching you buddy, I’m her protector now and I got this.”

Bandit has also changed in that he responds quicker, is more attentive and puffs up in a grandiose style when walking with his mom.  He has assumed Luke’s job as my primary protector.

How does this relate to a resume? It is all about writing forward.

You want to write your resume to where you are going, not where you have been. If that next desired position is the next wrung up on the ladder, write toward that.

What if you do not have direct experience with those required tasks, you ask? Take those tasks and break them down to the skill set necessary to complete the task. What is needed in order to do the job that you want?  List those skills, for example, communication, problem solving, certain applications, presenting, leadership etc.

Now use those skills as the framework when writing where you have been – i.e. you current and past positions.

Bandit has assumed the role of my primary protector, but he is not the alpha in the pack. That place is still held by our 11 year old Great Pyrenees / Yellow Lab mix.  But if he were applying for the alpha position, he would take the qualities it takes and demonstrate how he has performed them in the past. He would use the change in his environment to demonstrate those skills.

When there is a change in your work environment, take a moment to reflect how this has impacted you. Have you been asked to step up and do more, take on additional assignments, lead certain components of projects?

If your boss asks you to take on additional responsibility, you can easily transition that into your resume by stating that you were depended upon or requested by executive leadership to assume those duties which align with parts of the next step position.

It is more than okay to give the parameters of what is going on relative to the changes in what you do. In other words, tell the story. It is important to paint the picture of having to take on more stuff, in addition to your own, to demonstrate your flexibility, dependability, adaptation and work ethic. It shows you are ready for more.

happy office puppy
Bandit assuming his new status as bodyguard

Bandit might write, “after departure of primary protector, immediately assumed all duties and responsibilities for continual safety and security without downtime.”  He could say “maintained 100% customer satisfaction in vermin extraction while assuming the duties of full protection detail eliminating the need for a new full time bodyguard.” (You could say until a full time bodyguard replacement could be found, but no way will that happen in our house.)

Change is not always easy or fun, yet it can provide key experiences that will help you advance to where you want to go next – as long as you show the dynamics of the change and how it prepared you to take that position now.

 

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

Enhance Your Career By Using LinkedIn As A Match, Not A Flamethrower

Strike a Match on LinkedIn

 

I love LinkedIn. I am a huge fan of a platform that allows you to communicate your brand with so many enhancements to build business relationships. It is a critical and effective business tool.

Yet, with any tool, the key to success is knowing all the features, capabilities, limitations and most importantly how to use it.

  • The features include a great profile, experience section, headline, profile picture, groups and more.
  • The capabilities are the ability to convey your value and voice in a single site.
  • The limitations are the character limits and layering of options.

I am a DIY kinda girl. I like laying flooring and building things. I have a garage full of tools so how about we use these for an analogy.

Let’s say that you want to use LinkedIn to make connections and secure a new position. It is like laying tile.

If I were going to lay tile, I would make sure I have enough tile to cover the area, spacers, grout, sponge, water and a saw. I have measured out the area and laid my pattern. I have pre-planned and assimilated all the necessary equipment and items for the job, just like you have filled in your LinkedIn profile  within the parameters showcasing your voice and value.

But, if you are a DIY-er like me, you might notice that I left one little thing out – what kind of saw. What if I had a jig saw? You can’t lay tile with a jigsaw – you need a tile saw. (I guess you technically could – but that is an argument best left to Bob Villa.)

My point is just because you have a tool doesn’t mean it is the right one for the job – translation for our example: just because one method of using LinkedIn has boosted results according to one person does not mean it will work for you. Like email blasts.

This morning I received a very polite opening letting me know that the sender had gathered my information from my LinkedIn profile. They then proceeded to give me quite the narrative of their career highlights, including attaching their resume, with the request to pass on their information to our hiring manager in hopes of finding out more about our company. They are looking for a high level IT project management position.

They may have gotten my information from LinkedIn but they sure didn’t read anything else besides my email.

This is a case of using LinkedIn for career advancement like a flamethrower instead of a match. I do not recommend blasting an email such as this blindly to hundreds of people on LinkedIn. At best, it is annoying.  Be selective, research the companies and people. Find connections and then use LinkedIn as a match to strike up a conversation. Flamethrowers burn bridges, matches ignite relationships.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

How Your Brain Sabotages You When Creating Your Personal Brand (And How To Make It Stop)

Personal Branding and Your Brain

Do you know why most people struggle when creating or communicating their personal brand? Because they make it all about themselves.

Well, that seems quite contradictory now doesn’t it?  I mean your personal brand is all about you so if you don’t make it about you then who the heck are you talking about and how does it relate to you?

Your personal brand is about you – it is right there in the beginning of this sentence; however, there is a huge block in the way: your brain.

When you sit down to create your brand and begin with the “I have to write about myself” you approach it from the all about me stance. When you put pen to paper you get brain freeze.  If you manage to thaw it a bit and actually write something down, your brain whispers to you in that little voice, “you’re bragging”.

That’s it – game over.

Your brain works against you by telling you anything that you write about yourself is bragging!  Unfair!

Your brain is really trying to protect you, most people do not like talking about themselves so it is keeping you from doing something uncomfortable. Great leaders do not like talking about themselves because they don’t do it, they promote others. So the brain puts the brakes on.

Gee, thanks brain, but we still need to do this! So how do you get it to play nice and help you?  Shift the focus to value.

It is pretty simple and painless, it is only four questions: Who, How, What How.

  • Who do you work with?

  • How do you work with them?

  • What do you do?

  • How do they benefit?

The beauty of this is that it can start in a very broad sense – an overview if you will – then these questions can be used to target and explore.

The first time you go through these questions you will probably think about your overall position.  When you answer the first question you might come up with three groups that you work with: your team, your leadership team and your clients.

Break them out separately and use the four questions again.  If we took your teams and asked who do you work with, you might respond with: the team as a whole, the leadership of the team and individuals on the team.

With each break down answer finish asking the questions.  How do you work with individuals, do you provide support, mentoring, learning opportunities, help them identify where they want to go and how to get there?

Great, how do you do that? This is where it may feel a bit strange at first or your brain starts waking up that there might be something going on here and fight back with, ‘what do you mean how do I do it, I just do it.’ No, how do you do it?

No one just does anything. There is a system, process and skills involved. Break it down as though you are describing it to someone that does not know your position.

Lastly, who benefits from you doing what you do, the way you do it and how do they benefit?  For example, your individual employees: if you provide formal and informal mentoring, this may help them develop their skills to improve their performance, spark new interest in them, help them set and achieve goals of advancing in the company.

Once you go through these questions and break it down (current and previous jobs) you will discover you will have comprised a lot of information. You now have a gold mine because we tricked your brain!

It is not about you – it is about providing value to others.  Secondly, you are not bragging, you are simply telling your story with facts, not flash.

Find similarities and themes in this information for the broad stokes of your brand and the details can be used to compose your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Four simple questions lead to you creating a value-based brand with demonstrative skill backed information that will translate consistently across all your communication platforms.  That wasn’t so hard now was it?

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

Resumes: How Do I Fit A 20+ Year Career On One Page – You Don’t

Frustrated writing resume

That is one question or concern I hear a lot, how am I supposed to fit 20 or more years of my career on one page when I am ready to start transitioning into my next new adventure.  To be honest, most people do not say adventure, that was me, but the concern is still the same.

You don’t.

This is not about one page or two – that debate is ongoing with each side having valid arguments. Here are a couple of articles I have written on the whole one page or two debate: Resumes: One Page or Two – and Why They Fail Based on Length Alone and One or Two Page Resume – Why It is a Shot in the Dark and Doesn’t Matter.

The bottom line is if you have the goods, the reader will read your resume whether it is one page or two.  That also leads to the answer about not fitting a lifetime of a career on one page (or two): it is not about the career so much as it is about the value.

The point is not to put your entire career in there; it is to speak to the value that you bring to an organization to be the solution or solution driver to their challenges.

To be blunt, and that is my style, no one cares about every single thing you have done over a decade or multiple decades. They only care about what is important to them.

They have an idea of what they are going to get – resumes from people who think they are qualified. What they want is someone who understands their industry, the position, the challenges and who can speak to how they successfully overcame these things in the past.  Past performance is an indicator of future success.

For the next adventure –what are the tools necessary to not only survive but thrive? Leadership, operations, finance, logistics, information technology – what are the core skills they want? Now, how can you prove your proficiency with these tools to demonstrate success in your past adventures?

If you spent 10 years in the Arctic, that is a whole different adventure than your time in the Amazon.  If you are going to a jungle location, speak of your time in the Arctic only in what applies in the jungle.  They are not going to care about dog sledding or making igloos. Those may be great stories and skills, but unless they mean anything to your jungle audience, they will not care, which translates to an unread resume.

Your value is not only where you have been and what you know. Your true value to the reader is what you know and how you have done what you have done in a way that translates to a positive return on their investment in hiring you.

So how you do translate a 20+ career on one page – you don’t – you translate relevant value to the reader from your experience in the length that works for you.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

 To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right