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

7 Key Ways to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Posted by Jean Cummings

Mar 3, 2013 6:06:00 PM

Using Social Media for Job SearchOne of the biggest concerns my executive clients have is how to use social media in their job search. They know that it's the new kid on the job search block, but they themselves have rarely gone beyond a bare bones LinkedIn profile (LIP). Facebook evokes shudders of horror, and Twitter is deemed trivial.

Some rethinking might be in order. Life calls on us to go out of our comfort zone on occasion - and this may be one of those times. See what you think about these steps to start actively leveraging the good in social media to promote your personal brand for job search and career advancement. Do they feel doable to you?

1. When you see a job you're interested in anywhere, use LI to connect with a couple of managers in the company that posted the job. Ask for 5-10 minutes of their time - say that you are interested in the job and want to find out a little bit about company culture, trends, etc. If it feels comfortable, request that they forward your resume to the hiring manager (not HR - submit that separately as instructed in the job ad). Why would they help you? Employees frequently get financially rewarded for referring a candidate that gets hired.

2. "Rinse and repeat" for your other social media sites: Identify employees, ask for a brief conversation, ask that they forward your resume to the hiring manager.

3. Reach out directly through LinkedIn to the recruiter or hiring manager. Express interest. Send your resume.

4. On Facebook, go to the company pages set up by your target companies and "Like" the company (recruiters say they notice "likes" more than comments!).

5. Expand your online footprint, so that when your name is Googled (and it will be!), you show up, on brand, in a number of places, not just LinkedIn.

6. Search for jobs on LI, Twitter, and Facebook every day or every other day. They (and job apps created around them) all have extensive job listings. To find third-party apps, Google like this: "[Twitter] job search."

7. Watch the activity of companies you are targeting. If you see they are going through M&A (mergers and acquisitions), opening up new offices, expanding product lines, etc., use that information to position yourself as a "solution" in a letter direct to the hiring manager (US Mail) or via email.

This is a limited list, but if you implement some or most of these items, you will be in a good position to both attract recruiter interest and get interviews. Practice until you become adept at leveraging the personal promotional potential of social media sites. Take the advice of my client who "poo-pood" these suggestions at first and now uses Twitter almost exclusively for Healthcare IT professional information. Do it and see. You'll be glad you did.

 

 

Tags: LinkedIn, Twitter, networking, social media job search, Pinterest, youtube

 

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Topics: LinkedIn, networking, personal branding, personal brand, Twitter, Social media job search, Pinterest, youtube

Move Over "What Color is Your Parachute": New Career Paradigm

Posted by Jean Cummings

Feb 21, 2012 2:12:00 PM

Choosing a career

Who can improve on What Color Is Your Parachute, the all-time best-seller in the careers field? Who other than the cofounder/chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman.

From his lofty seat at the top of the top professional network in the world - through which daily flow valuable job postings, job searches, candidate searches, and networking requests - Reid has a unique vantage point for observing the life cycle of careers in 2012. 

Along with his co-writer, Ben Casnocha, he brings into question the idea that each of us has a specific calling that requires only that we discern the color of our particular parachute to know what we should do with our life. This prevailing cultural myth is challenged, and rightly so in my opinion, by Reid's particular insight into the way most people's careers actually develop.

Sure, we've all heard of people who knew from a young age knew that they would be a president of the United States (Bill Clinton), or a composer (Mozart). But most of us, especially as the days of staying with one company for 30 years or more are long gone, follow a winding path where the twists and turns may take us to someplace we never thought of to a job we could never have envisioned.

He gives a number of examples of well-known people, himself (started out planning to work in academia), Tony Blair (started as concert promoter), Sheryl Sandberg (COO Facebook started in public health at the World Bank), and others who have found their way following a different dynamic.

Reid says that careers develop according to the interaction of your assets, your aspirations, and market realities. And that where we end up can be very different from where we started. He also says that often you can perceive an inner logic to the journey. (This may be more where we see Richard Bolles' ideas than anywhere else.)

The book, The Startup of You, is a must-read for anyone charting their career. I believe Reid's ideas have long been true, but technology is currently changing careers, industries, even functions at an accelerated rate. Although somewhat complex, Reid's remarks will help you keep your eyes open to signals of change both within yourself and in the world at large.

His perspective may also take some of pressure off for those who are frustrated trying to look deeply within to discover their purpose. I see the process he describes as more like a white water rafting trip than a fishing trip in search of a particular gold coin.

We each, in our own wonderfully unique way, find a twisting path that is both our own and profoundly influenced by our world. If we are lucky, each stage of the journey holds a fulfillment of its own while providing us with strengths that can transform the next leg of the trip.

I'm a believer, in part, because his observations have been true in my career: teacher of children with learning disabilities, handweaver, careers professional. ?? I think I know why I made those shifts. If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to tell them. But what has been your path? What has influenced you in your career decisions? Do you know where you will turn next? I'd love to hear.

 

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Topics: personal branding, personal brand, career management, career planning, personal brands, career brand, careers in retirement

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

Zen and the Art of Job Search

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jul 20, 2011 7:01:00 AM

 executive job search - poise and power 

As I was driving home Sunday from a weekend away, I tuned into an NPR interview on the radio. He was taking about stress-free productivity. Something job seekers need desperately! Along with everyone else practically! His ideas sounded oddly familiar...

Yes, it was David Allen of Getting Things Done fame. I'd read it years ago - it's a classic in the field of personal organization - and used the system for awhile, then fell away (alas, the end of most good intentions). But his words about having too many different kinds of things to do on our minds causing significant stress resonated big time for me.

So I pulled out my iPad when I got home and did what he said to do: take everything on your mind and write it down in a way that makes sense to you. And then have a system for checking it and also for continuing to enter anything that is a to-do and that preys on your mind. I used Notes but there are lots of apps I will explore. (Put that on my list!)

OK, I did that. The rewards Allen promises are valuable: the ability to be highly productive and react in perfectly appropriate ways to stressors. He describes the "mind like water" that martial arts practitioners use for perfect readiness and power. 

I think daily pauses (mini meditations if you like) for deep breathing and contemplation of a serene image (water receding from the beach, then rolling in again, for instance - my image) help get us into that frame of mind of poised readiness and response.

Looking for your next job involves a myriad of things to do and keep track of: executive resumes sent, personal branding initiatives, targeted cover letters written, networks contacted, appointments planned and kept, research on companies, interviews planned and attended - all with various schedules and levels of importance. What better time to apply Allen's ideas?

The Zen job search would be one conducted with full confidence that you had the bases covered and WRITTEN DOWN according to your system, so that you can act from a place of calm productivity.

The Zen interview is when you can bring a mind open and a readiness to respond to the interviewer with calm interest, quiet confidence, generous openness to the other person, and keen listening (to hear the subtext of questions), and make an appropriate on-brand response that speaks to the employer's needs. A Zen mind is also ready to ask insightful questions and proactively project its personal brand in appropriate ways into the conversation. 

So, "mind like water," T.S. Eliot's "the still point in the turning world," and Yeats' "I hear lake water lapping, with low sounds by the shore." Now we are ready. Bring it on.

 

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, interviewing, interview style, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, executive job search, Job Interviews, personal brands, career brand, salary negotiation, salary negotiations, job interview, power of attraction

Dare to be Different! Personal Branding & Job Search Success

Posted by Jean Cummings

May 25, 2011 10:17:00 AM

Personal branding lets you stand out
According to Seth Godin in Linchpin, the only winners in the new work world are the ones that are indispensable. If you want to enjoy job satisfaction and job security while making more money, you have to stand out from your peers as someone who can't easily be replaced. And his theory of how to do that is to be creative and take risks at work that benefit the company.

It's a good read (or rather, in my case, listen - which is what I did on our sailboat in Maine!). And it's a real heads-up. Are you content to be like everyone else who does your job? Or are you going to figure out what makes you passionate about what you do and turn it into actions and attitudes that serve as a competitive advantage for your company?

This is another take on personal branding. It really elevates the passion piece. Godin believes that we all are creative as pre-schoolers - and that all that uniqueness gets educated out of us in school. As a former open classroom teacher, I totally resonate with this point of view! Kids were so much happier, more creative, and learned a lot more when their individual choices and differences were honored, not squelshed.

Godin's glimpse into the future of work is this: only distinctive, indispensable personal and corporate brands are going to thrive. Take note! Celebrate your authenticity and passion at work and make them work for you and your organization.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, personal brand, career management, career planning, personal brands, reputation management

Thinking of Consulting? Think Twice! Career Management Tip

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 19, 2011 10:10:00 AM

Image consultant resized 600

Consulting has become a go-to choice for people out of work. It gives them a way to keep their hand in their areas of expertise and brings in some income while they are conducting a job search. And some people commit to a career of independent contracting or consulting by choice.

But there are still more who use the term "consultant" on their resume to cover a period of time in which they weren't employed just to fill in that period of time, even if they are consulting very little.

It's these latter who are causing the problem for all those who are genuinely pusuing full-time consulting, out of choice or as a serious activity while they are job hunting.

I've had the opportunity to sit down in small groups with several executive recruiters lately, and they consistently say they view a candidate who currently uses "consultant" or "consulting" to describe what they are doing in a negative light. They agreed with one another, "It's just a cover for being unemployed." They also said that being an independent consultant in the present would rule someone out as a candidate. (These are headhunters, remember, not hiring managers, who may have more generous views).

I think this is attitude does a great injustice to those who are serious consultants.

When I probed into the question of why a consultant wouldn't make a good candidate for an executive-level job, one of the recruiters said that the concern would be that the person wouldn't stay long, because they are used to working for many different companies.

These attitudes, fair or not, suggest a couple of things about executive resumes and career management very strongly:

1. If you embark on a career of consulting, consider it long and hard, because it may be very hard to jump back into a line management position in a company again.

2. If you use "consulting" on your resume to describe what you've been doing while conducting a job search, be sure to document your activities in detail so that the reader understands you have been practicing your profession seriously!

One of the recruiters suggested that it would be better for unemployed people to get involved in volunteer work and document that. (He is assuming, of course, that the individual is not seriously consulting!)

Takeaways? Everybody needs to pay a lot of attention to their career path, to their brand, and to how to present themselves on paper in order to have successful careers now and in the future. Careful handing of these three areas will give you a significant advantage over the long term.

 

 

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Topics: LinkedIn, personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, executive recruiters, executive job search, consulting, consultants, consultant

Attributes Executive Recruiters Look For

Posted by Jean Cummings

Mar 22, 2011 9:22:00 AM

Attributes Executive Recruiters Look ForThis is Part 2 of my blog posts on what executive recruiters are looking for in executive candidates. Wayne Mitchell of Cabot Consultants listed the qualities he likes to see in candidates he will present to his clients:

These adjectives and attributes top the list:

1. Driven

2. Energetic (take note people 45+)

3. Entrepreneurial (that includes executives in non-entrepreneurial companies)

4. Resourceful

5. Tenacious

6. Strong interpersonal skills

7. Collaborative

8. Flexible

9. Friendly

10. Persuasive

11. Proactive

12. Team player

13. Self-confident

14. Intelligent / bright

15. Creative

16. Decisive

17. Intuitive

18. Logical

19. Quick study

20. Pattern of ongoing learning

21. Possessing Integrity

22. Honest

23. Trustworthy

Look like a dream list that no one person could embody? In reality, internal and external recruiters can actually find the "dream" hire - because the Internet - specifically LinkedIn - provides a large top-applicant pool. So they don't "settle."

What does that mean for people growing their careers? I think it suggests that they build towards these qualities and characteristics, if they don't have them already. In my mind, they fall into these clusters:

LEADERSHIP: collaborative, team-based, decisive, proactive

ETHICS: honest, trustworthy, has integrity

BUSINESS APPROACH: entrepreneurial, flexible, creative

MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS: intelligent/bright, intuitive, logical, quick study, driven, self-confident, intent on lifelong learning, tenacious

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: good with people, friendly, persuasive

Interestingly, there are a few ones missing from this list that can be of critical importance in corporate leaders: strategic, visionary, inspirational, out-of-the-box thinking, charismatic, able to execute.

One takeaway from this is that achievements alone are not sufficient and that the above attributes need to be demonstrated in particular success stories.

These concepts are viewed as desirable in executive leaders. Other sets of attributes may be more desirable for other jobs, such as sales, hands-on technical jobs, finance, operations, etc.

We tend to think that the above list of "soft skill" would be relatively unimportant, but it appears that they are highly valued in a new hire. This is good news, I think.

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, career management, career planning, executive recruiters, career services

Top Trends in Personal Branding: Job Seekers Take Note

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 26, 2011 8:48:00 AM

Personal Branding for Job SearchWilliam Arruda, The Personal Branding Guru, is known for "seeing around the corner." His list of the top trends in personal branding is a heads-up for job seekers who want to get out in front of their competition. Here they are, in brief:

1. Hiring Anywhere - companies are more open to hiring from other locations, and video is the way to get your message across when you're not there in person; consider creating a video to communicate your personal brand, host it on YouTube, and distribute it to interested hiring managers and recruiters

2. Homecasting - professional home offices and backgrounds become the "set" for your video communications; when you shoot your video, make your background clean and professional

3. Vidmail - William says that email is "so last decade," and that integrated text, image, and video communications will become more common; include images and/or a video in your emails

4. Professional Dress - as video becomes a more prominant vehicle for communicating personal brands, it's essential to have your dress on-brand in terms of formality and style; in video and in-person interviews, dress on the formal side of what is appropriate for your job

5. Personal Branding Infused - with the concept at least a decade old now, watch it being talked about in corporate settings with more frequency; leverage personal branding on behalf of your job search

6. Web Purity - watch for new ways to ensure that when someone googles your name, they will find you; now, several people may come up; take a look at Visibility's "Search Me" button and consider adding it to your LinkedIn profile

7. 3D PB - with blended, multimedia search becoming a reality, be sure to have different ways that people can get to know you - real-time content, images, and video; become active on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr in job-appropriate and brand-enhancing ways

8. Personal Portals - new tools are emerging that enable you to assemble in one place all the pieces of your personal brand that reside in different places on the Web; check out about.me and flavors.me

9. Revyous - establish your credibility by getting recommendations on your LinkedIn profile; watch for more sites that enable feedback on who you are professionally

Job seekers, more than anyone else, need to present themselves as relevant, valuable, and 3-dimensional, in order to capture the attention of recruiters and hiring authorities. For those of you who haven't developed your personal brand, do it now. For those who have, project your personal brand in the many ways suggested by William's list of top trends.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, career management, career planning, Jobs, Get a Job, career services, Job Interviews, personal brands, Online ID, LinkedIn Profiles

Can Someone Clone Your Personal Brand?

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 7, 2011 2:13:00 PM

No 2 personal brands are alike

Now that so many people are branding themselves in the employment market, how do you keep from duplicating someone else's brand and how do you keep them from unknowingly mimicking yours?

Say your brand is that you excel as an operations manager at cutting costs through business process redesign. Well, many, many people probably have that value proposition. So what do you do?

Fortunately, since a personal brand is made up of more than the value proposition, you have the opportunity to fill out the picture more. Consider the constellation that makes up a personal brand: key attributes, abilities, signature achievements, core values, value-add skills, commitments, leadership or working style, outside interests and skills, etc. Synthesizing these into a "living, breathing" personal / career identity makes it possible for your personal brand to be truly unique.

The difficulty comes in communicating the complex picture surrounding the core value prop in a succinct way that comes alive on the page and then finding space for it in valuable resume real estate!

BUT! With the possiblities presented by social media, you can present a more complete and nuanced personal brand than is always possible on a resume.

- If you tweet frequently, your followers will start to know you for your style, interests, values, commitments, knowledge, etc.

- LinkedIn offers some opportunities to present the bigger picture with its links to your personal blogsite / Website and to your associations. By participating in Groups on LinkedIn your audience will come to know the way you think and process information as well as the depth and range of your expertise.

- Facebook with its wide array of ways to interact with it can help fill out some of the picture of you socially.

- YouTube videos in which you talk about some aspect of your work can be tremendously powerful and can communicate many of the intangibles of a brand as well as your expertise and personality.

- If you write a blog, you become available to your public in yet another way. Your "voice" is unique. What you care about, think about, and talk about help define you.

We are all dynamic, living personal brands ever evolving. That makes us different from product brands. But it makes it more challenging to fully communicate too!

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, career management, career planning, personal brands, reputation management

LinkedIn's New Personal Branding Help

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 22, 2010 3:19:00 PM

Personal Branding on LinkedIn

LinkedIn's launch of a global group called BrandYou is a powerful recognition of the movement towards personal branding in careers and job search. William Arruda, the Personal Brand Guru, extended Tom Peters concept about a decade ago and created a methodology and tools to help people create their own personal brand. Others have continued the conversation. And now LI  has put its imprimature on the concept - and appropriately so, as personal branding couldn't be more central to LI's own core brand: a business networking site facilitating trusted connections for business, job search, and knowledge transfer / idea creation.

On the group's main site is a link to several Brand You videos. Don't miss these. They capture facets of personal branding that you don't often hear about, but we all experience: the "magic," "spirit," and "mystery" in strong personal brands.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, CIO resumes, personal brands, IT resumes, job interview

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