Looking Professional – Not Your Holiday Photo Please

Looking Professional– Not Your Holiday Photo Please

Advice from Wendy Smith.  Wendy is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Looking professional – have a care with your profile picture. So, there I was sending out invitations to various contacts and I hit on one name I hadn’t seen Looking Professionalfor a while. It was a former colleague. I went to look at her profile to see what she’d been doing recently and, there it was, that same old photo.

Well, you might say, be fair Wendy. There is a certain very flattering photo of you that has been on one website for a very long time. Yes, that is true.  But that isn’t her problem. My old chum has chosen to put on her professional profile, a not very flattering photo taken on holiday. True,  she isn’t looking for work at present. And,  I suppose for her, social media is just a way of keeping in touch.. But what happens when things change?

Think about looking professional

She isn’t the only one, of course, who doesn’t think about looking professional.  I know others who have non-holiday and posed photos on their profile. But, still, they do not look at their best.  Some seem to have been taken with the giggles and others seem to think that looking professional equates to looking grim.

I’m not sure why they have not worked out that looking professional means looking like someone you would want to work with or do business with.

On top of that, remember, that these days potential employers may search social media for more information about you.  Those photos you are tagged in that were taken on the “stag” or “hen” do in Benidorm are not going to work to your advantage.

So,  why not carry out an internet search on your name and check that what comes up promotes your professional “brand”.  Anything that doesn’t  see if you can delete it, or at least, remove the tags!

And in future guard pictures of you that appear on-line quite carefully. You never know what potential employer may be watching. Don’t let your photo “mistakes” come back to haunt you.

In job search and career development you are the “brand” so ensure you keep looking professional. It is up to you to protect yourself. If you would like some more job interview tips or some extra help, please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your personal brand checklist will ensure the world sees you as you wish. It will help you reflect your personal brand in all you do. Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the you are seen! Here is your personal brand checklist.

personal brand checklist
Your checklist
  1. Are you sure people believe you know what you are talking about? First of all, does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date? Do the words you use at work reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time? Do you write articles and blog posts on your specialist interest?

What about your “elevator speech”?

2. Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers? Can you say your piece within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say? Can you influence people? Why not do a market survey? So, you could choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  Why not, read a book about it, take a class or work with a coach like me.

4. Do you dress for the job at work? Because you do need to know the dress code for your sector? And you would be wise to follow it for success. But what about off duty? If you met you boss in the supermarket, what impression would they get? Think about what is appropriate to the situation. And balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

Do you know how to behave at work?

5. By that I mean the etiquette for your organisation and your sector? What kind of business cards do people carry? Most of all, always be courteous. Therefore, always be the one who follows up and says thank you after a kind deed. Remember to do it after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress? Take time out to build your address book. Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly! When you have built your relationship, ask contacts for further introductions. Use LinkedIn to find new people.

How often do you nurture your network?

7. Are you working at nurturing your relationships with your contacts? Most of all, are you showing an active interest and do you genuinely care care about them? Ask how they are and what they are doing. But make sure you mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time? Do you give something back to the community with voluntary work? Or perhaps you help your local sports club? You don’t need to brag about it; news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious. It’s the you the world sees and judges by. Nurture your brand and you will nurture both your life and your career.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Looking Professional

Looking Professional

Job Search – Minding the Brand – Not Your Holiday Photo Please

Looking professional! So there I was sending out invitations to various contacts and I hit on one name I hadn’t seen for a while. It was a former colleague, so off I went to look at her profile to see what she’d been doing recently and there it was, that same old photo.

Well, you might say, be fair, there is a certain very flattering photo of you that has been on one website for a very long time. Yes, that is true.  But that isn’t her problem; my old chum has chosen to put on her professional profile, a not very flattering photo taken on holiday. True,  now she isn’t looking for work and,  for her, good old LI is just a way of keeping in touch with people. But suppose that were to change?

Now, she isn’t the only one.  I know others who have non-holiday and posed photos on their profile. But they still do not look at their best.  Some seem to have been taken with the giggles and others seem to think that looking professional equates to looking grim.

I’m not sure why they have not worked out that looking professional means looking like someone you would want to work with or do business with.

On top of that, remember, that these days potential employers may search social media for more information about you.  Those photos you are tagged in that were taken on the “stag” or “hen” in Benidorm are not going to work to your advantage.

So,  why not carry out an internet search on your name and check that what comes up promotes your professional brand.  Anything that doesn’t  see if you can delete it, or at least, remove the tags!

And in future guard pictures of you that appear on-line quite carefully – you never know what potential employer may be watching. Don’t let your photo “mistakes” come back to haunt you.

In job search and career development you are the brand – it is up to you to protect yourself. Looking professional really matters.

Wendy is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

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Danger – Spontaneity Ahead! Why You Need a Communications Strategy for Social Media.

We live in a complex but highly networked world!

Never before have so many people had the ability to communicate cheaply with each other, and the rest of the world, at length!

  • You can broadcast and you can have conversations through networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc and through messaging services!
  • You  can publish and broadcast if you choose through blogs, and through sites like YouTube.
  • You can produce your own radio programmes and even become a DJ through music sites like Blip.fm sitting at home and on the move!
  • Increasingly LinkedIn is a key tool in professional networking and recruitment.

A little while ago this digital world belonged to techies and school kids.  Now it can belong to all of us.

Increasingly, it will play a role in both career and business survival.  A little while ago all you needed to know was how to surf the net to find and download information. Now you need to know how to put it back up there so that you can control and develop your personal brand.

Messages flow fast!  Once you have sent them, they continue to exist on the web for a very long time.  So to be purely spontaneous is to take a risk. If you are in business or hoping to develop your career, you need a strategy for your communications.

Before you start here are a few tips.

1. Integrate online and offline.

Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your offline and online activities!

If you meet up with contacts you have made on the web, will they know who you are? No, I’m not talking about having a photo that bears some relationship to how you look today.  (Although, it makes sense to choose a flattering photo that does you justice, have a care if you want to avoid embarrassment)

What I’m talking about is authenticity and integrity.  Don’t express views on line that you don’t really hold, or that you wouldn’t be prepared to express in public, to your boss, your work mates, your neighbours and, of course, your customers! You’d be surprised what people remember and what people find on the web!

2. Start with a plan!

Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan!  Think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you, your business or your career and what you do?

List them and then decide how important they are and how much influence they have over your future!  What heading will you put them under?  For example;

  • government
  • your sector
  • customers and potential customers
  • shareholders
  • potential business partners
  • board/top management
  • suppliers  and potential new suppliers,
  • managers,
  • staff,
  • trade unions
  • wider sector interests,
  • personal contacts
  • family,
  • your community
  • interest groups

You can take it as far as you wish!

Who has the priority?  You can score them out of five under each heading!

Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on.

For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?

Now how will you engage and what will that  engagement  look like?

What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.?

How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available? Do you have resources available to take professional advice?

3. Engage in Conversations.

Remember although organisations use social media to broadcast, that isn’t how they are best used.

When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the offline world.

Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  And on social media sites people get put off pretty quickly. You’d be surprised how quickly they can switch you off!

Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or your business at first!  You have to give, to get.  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  You need to win the right to pitch!

The courtesies are just as important as they are in the off line world!  Say please and thank you and acknowledge when someone has bothered to spend time with you or done you a favour!

If you are polite and engage in real conversations, relationships will begin to form.  You will see opportunities open up to talk about you and what you want to offer!

4. Monitor your “Brand”

Use tools like Google Alerts, and Yahoo Alerts to monitor what’s being said about you, your organisation, others in your sector and the market you are targeting.

Knowing what is being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your impact. Knowing what’s being said about your sector, your competitors and your market can also make you more competitive.

I use Google Alerts as well to find out about the latest developments in my professional discipline.

But simply putting your name and the name of your organisation into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise

There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it is easy to be distracted.

I have to work very hard each morning to switch off from Twitter to concentrate on my in-tray! This is where your plan comes in!  Remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.

Stick to the plan!

But review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of, as you gain experience and knowledge.

Streamlining saves time – as I’ve hinted above, social media is so enjoyable that  it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember: “If content is king, then conversation is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka.

I would love to hear about your own experience of social media and if you need any help please get in touch!

A shorter version of this post was posted here in June 2009.  I’ve revised and expanded it based on my own experience of social media.

  • Why Use LinkedIn? (brighthub.com)
  • 5 tips to build your personal brand with social media (xpressartuk.wordpress.com)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439


BEING FAIR

There is a website called goodcharacter.com that provides educational resources for children.  It works on the principles that

  • Your character is defined by what you do, not what you say or believe.
  • Every choice you make helps define the kind of person you are choosing to be.
  • Good character requires doing the right thing, even when it is costly or risky.
  • You don’t have to take the worst behavior of others as a standard for yourself. You can choose to be better than that.
  • What you do matters, and one person can make a big difference.
  • The payoff for having good character is that it makes you a better person and it makes the world a better place.

This is what it says about HOW TO BE A FAIR PERSON

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Take Turns.

Tell the truth.

Play by the rules.

Think about how your actions will affect others.

Listen to people with an open mind.

Don’t blame others for your mistakes.

Don’t take advantage of other people.

Don’t play favorites.

As managers we talk a lot about being “fair”!  Indeed there is significant amount of legislation aimed at trying to make sure we behave in a way that is fair.  But I wonder what we are really thinking when we use the word?  Would everything you have done over the last week or even over the last day at work and at home, really stand the test set out above.  Isn’t it clear that our customers, as well as our friends and family, might think better of us and return more often, if we acted in accordance with these simple rules for children!  If you do happen to be someone who doesn’t think  this approach actually works, then all I’m asking is that you try it for a while, just try it!  You may be surprised!

FIVE TIPS FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY FOR HARD TIMES

We are all going through change all the time.  But at the moment many of us are going through changes we would not have chosen as a result of the poor state of the Economy.

All change requires some form of communications/media management.  It’s vital that you have a strategy in place especially if you’re hoping that social media will play a role in your career advancement or your business survival business.

Here are 5 tip for your social media strategy

1. Integrate Online and Offline
Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your off line and and online activities (see our recent post about managing your brand)  – you want to maximise both forms of interactions.  You are going to make every effort, campaign, and initiative count.

2. Start with a plan
Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan – think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you or your business and what you want to provide.  List them and then decide – how important they are  – how much influence they have over your future – you can score them out of five under each heading!  Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on. For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?  Now what will  engagement will look like? What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook etc.?  How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available?  Now we are going to concentrate on social media

3. Engage in Conversations
When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the off-line world.  Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or business at first,!  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  When you have done that opportunities will open up to talk about you and your business.  You need to win the right to pitch!

4. Monitor your Brand
Use tools like Google Alerts, Scoutlab, and Radian6 to monitor what’s being said about you, your company, your competitors and the market you are targeting. Knowing what’s being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your brand evangelists as well as your brand assassins. Knowing what’s being said about your competitors and the market can also make you more competitive. Simply putting your name and the name of your company into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise
There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it easy to be distracted.  This is where your plan comes in – remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.  Stick to the plan – but review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of. It also saves time – social media is so enjoyable to use it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember –  “If content is king, then conversationion is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka

YOUR PERSONAL BRAND – A CHECK LIST – 8 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

The world sees your personal brand in all you do.  Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the world see you – your personal  brand!   Here are eight questions to ask yourself!

1. Do people believe you know what you are talking about?  Does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date?  Do the words you use reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time?  Do you write articles and blop posts on your specialist interest?

2. Do you have an introductory piece – an ‘elevator speech?  Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers, within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say?  Why not do a market survey – choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  If not, then read a book or take a class.

4. Do you dress for the job?  Do you know what the dress code is for your sector?  Do you follow it?  But what about off duty – if you met you boss in the supermarket , what impression would they get?  Think about what is appropriate to the situation  – balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

5. Do you know the etiquette for your organization and your sector?  What kind of business cards do people carry?  Be the one who follows up and says thank you after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress?  Take time out to build your address book.  Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly!  Ask contacts for further introductions.  Use LinkedIn to find new people.

7.Do you nurture your network?  Do you work at nurturing your relationship with your contacts.  Do you show an active interest in them and genuinely care care about them?  Ask how they are and what they are doing and mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time?  If you give something back ot the community with voluntary work or help your local sports club – the news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious – it’s the you that the world sees and judges you by.  Nurture your brand and you will nurture your life and your career.

LESSONS IN PERSONAL BRANDING

Increasingly you are judged on your contributions to the web – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs etc.  You will gain an online persona – your personal brand – whether you want to or not.  This can affect large parts of your life and certainly gaining business and work opportunities.  Your personal brand really does matter and you can develop it as you wish!  If you make a positive effort it can make a major contribution to your success.

Benjamin Yoskovitz. is the CEO & co-Founder of Standout Jobs, a venture-backed startup founded in 2007. He is also a blog and social media consultant.  He has been an entrepreneur for 10+ years in the Web space, working extensively in web & software development. He is obsessed with creating things  and with customer service. The piece below is from his blog to which there is a link at the bottom. These are his thoughts, not mine, but I would love to hear what you think!

“ Personal Branding Lessons

Looking back, here are some thoughts from my own experiences building my personal brand:

  1. It’s never too late to start. In some respects I think it’s easier to start making a concerted effort to build and cultivate your personal brand once you’re older and you have a few years working experience. You know more, you’re more comfortable in your shoes, and you have some experience to rely on. There are still too many examples of young people screwing up in public (on Facebook or Twitter) and getting in trouble for it (although there aren’t that many examples, they’re just blown out of proportion.
  2. You know more than you realize. A lot of people seem afraid to speak up publicly and promote themselves because they don’t feel like they have anything to say. You’d be surprised what you know.
  3. What you know is valuable. And what you know is likely valuable to a bunch of people, even if you don’t realize it. As they say, Common sense isn’t all that common. Just think of the college graduate coming up after you into your field of expertise, and the difference between where that person is at and where you’re at…
  4. Connecting online is easier than you think. I was amazed at how easily I could connect online with people. I still remember some of those early connections – Liz Strauss, Becky McCray, Chris Cree, Mike Sansone, Terry Starbucker and so many more. It was easy to find people online (who shared my interests), get myself involved, and build out a valuable network.
  5. It takes time and commitment. Building your personal brand isn’t something you do once in awhile when you’re bored. It takes time and commitment, and it never stops. And doing it half-ass won’t get you anywhere.
  6. It’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed building my personal brand, and the activities that are involved with that online – blogging, connecting, helping others, asking for help. It’s a process you have to enjoy otherwise you won’t do it properly and invest the right time. Plus, there is a feedback loop – as you gain valuable connections, leads (for jobs or business), comments on your blog, etc. you’ll realize that all of that is worthwhile feedback on your efforts. And that’s motivating.
  7. Watch. Learn. Emulate. Do your own thing. Starting the process of building your personal brand doesn’t involve years of research or anything that hasn’t been done before. As Dan’s book proves – there are models for making this stuff work. I remember spending a good amount of time watching and learning, and then emulating what others were doing. It was natural to copy what seemed to be working. But over time you branch out, do your own thing, experiment and your own personality, brand, value emerges.
  8. Your personal brand will (and should) evolve. Don’t think of your personal brand as a static item. It’s not a resume that you submit once and forget about; it’s a living, breathing thing. It changes and evolves, just as you do. That’s OK and expected.

Personal branding works. I’m a perfect use case for it. And certainly not the only one! But ultimately, I’m convinced that building a strong personal brand can absolutely help in career success (be it finding a new job, moving up within your organization, changing careers, etc.) and in many cases is a necessity.”

Read more: “The Importance of Personal Branding” – http://www.instigatorblog.com/personal-branding-important/2009/04/15/#ixzz0DxJbbzQW&A