JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

Our Power Word for Job Seekers in 2012

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 3, 2012 3:14:00 PM

Image align

Our power word for job seekers in 2011 was LEVERAGE. We used it (and still use it!) in multiple ways: "Joe leveraged his people skills to turn around morale and retention in a team demoralized by multiple layoffs." Or: "Joe leveraged the group's expertise in project management best practices to collaboratively establish the company's first formal PMO."

We love "leverage" because it is able to say so much in just one word and because it is a "body language" word. We can feel what it's like to lift something up with the help of something else (a lever). It's also a word that teaches us about something we can do in our personal brand or our job. For instance, we can use one of our brand attributes to empower us in doing our main job. This attribute may be a strong differentiator for us as a candidate or as an employee.

Our power word for 2012 is ALIGN. It is defined by Meriam-Webster as:

Transitive verb

1. to bring into line

2. to array on the side of...

Intransitive verb

1. to get or fall into line

2. to be in or come into precise adjustment or correct relative position

For example: "The school had to align their programs with state requirements," or "She is aligning with other Senators to oppose his nomination."

Why is "align" a useful word for job seekers? Because employers are looking for applicants...

  • who are aligned with the values of the company
  • whose actions are aligned with their own personal brand
  • who can (for example) align IT with the business objectives of the organization

"Align" can say so much in one word. It can say that the person's personal brand is unified and internally and externally consistent or that the person's work lines up with the values and goals of the organization.

"Align" is a "body language" word too. We can feel in our muscles what it is like to line up with or become parallel to something else.

So here's to 2012! May you align your actions with your core values. May you align the work of your group with the overarching goals of your organization. May you become aligned with a path that will enable you to reach all your personal and professional goals.

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Topics: personal branding, personal brand, career management, executive job search, career brand, career

Why "Think and Grow Rich" Attitude May Hurt You During the Holidays

Posted by Jean Cummings

Dec 16, 2011 7:54:00 AM

Many people try to define success. Our society certainly defines success. Its default mode is: success is determined by job status, money, possessions, and recognition of elevated status by others. This is the idea that Alain deBotton questions in this video.  

During the holidays, many people feel less-than-great. Sometimes they compare themselves with others in a negative light or think about hopes that failed to materialize. If you've ever thought that you weren't as much of a "success" as you thought you should be, this talk from Ted.com may help.

Most people have doubts and regrets if they've lived long enough. And one's work or career is a lightening rod for feelings of success and failure.

DeBotton says that, in our Western society, the very first question anyone asks is: "What do you do?" If you are currently out of work, working in a company that's going through a reorg with its attendent uncertainties, unhappy in your job, not rich, unable to reach your dreams, then his perspective may give you some helpful perspective.

There are many wonderful things about self-help books and the principles, attitudes, and methods that are said to produce success and wealth. They can motivate us, give us new ideas, and give us hope.

Think and Grow Rich has sold millions of copies worldwide. And many credit the ideas in the book with helping them make their fortunes. The only problem with wonderful inspirational resources is that they are based on the absolute belief that one can control one's life absolutely.

The flip side is that if you aren't a "success" by society's terms, then you are completely responsible for being a "failure". In this philosophy, there is usually no room for accidents, whether fortunate or unfortunate (were you born in the US or in Myanmar?), randomness, societal inequalities, etc. 

Better to go into family, work, and community gatherings at holiday time with a sense of generosity towards yourself and other people, regardless of work situation. Neither overly admire those in high places or blame those who appear less fortunate. Life is too complex for us to make judgments and/or assumptions about another person's work or lack of work.

No one needs extra helpings of blame upon self-blame, especially at this time of year. So be gentle with yourself. And regard others with compassion.

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Topics: career, Xmas, think and grow rich, self-help books

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