Monthly Archives: March 2011

Update at least Weekly…at least

Weekly, you ask? Yes, weekly. Better yet, daily. What have you been up to? What articles have you read that were particularly helpful in your job search? Read any good books? Did you have a great interview? Did you get a job? Do you have any leads for people? Is your business thriving?

Update often. The more you update, the more people will see you and keep you in the forefront of their mind. This is an important part of networking, staying fresh in peoples’ mind. Most people have a tendency to remember those who they see often. With frequent updates, you’ll appear on your contacts’ Home Page, hopefully with your sharp photo and key-word-rich title.

When is too much? Please don’t treat LinkedIn as though it’s Twitter. A daily update would be great, but four in an hour can be a bit much. When I see someone’s face too frequently, I Hide them. This is a great feature that allows you to turn off tweets…I mean Updates…without having to delete the offenders completely. Before I learned of the Hide feature, I deleted a few contacts because their presence on my Home Page became annoying. I wish I had known about this feature.

Practice networking etiquette. I like to post an update once a day if I can, but I don’t want the information to be frivolous. If I have nothing of value to share, I’ll skip a day…or two. I also like to see my contacts on my Home Page. I never thought I’d say this, but I look forward to opening my Home Page to see what’s going on in my contacts’ lives. I have to say that the information my contacts share is usually relevant and useful, and I think this is because LinkedIn has provided a platform for professional individuals, both business people and jobseekers.

I miss you. When I haven’t seen someone in weeks, I wonder what’s happening in their professional and daily lives. Please take the time to send an update. I’m feeling old and want to enjoy every day as it comes. No, I’m not being a wise guy. I enjoy seeing people come out of hiding and sharing their news.


I Now Have a Branding Statement; Do You?

I realize as I’m telling my Career Networking workshop and other career search workshop attendees about the importance of having a career branding statement…that I don’t have one of my own. For this reason, I’ve decided that I need one. This little fact of omission is not sitting well with me. I can see their eyes asking what my branding statement is, challenging me, calling me a hypocrite unless I actually have one.

Furthermore, I read in a blog written by Thomas Cairns, “Tell Your Story in Six Words or Less,” that the magic number for a branding statement is six words. I see this as a challenge, and I take this challenge; I embrace it. After all, Nike does it in only three words—“Just Do It.” Though, it took Fed Ex eight words—“When it absolutely positively has to be there.” And in some cases “overnight” has been tacked on.

How hard can it be? I’ll take this step-by-step. There are some questions I’ll have to answer, so bear with me as I go through the thought process

  1. What are some of my qualities? I’m dedicated. (Cliché.) I speak with clarity. (So.) I’ve been told I’m knowledgeable. (I should hope so.) I’m innovative. (I read this adjective is considered overused, but I like it and feel it describes me well.) When confused, people come to me for answers. (Would that classify me as a go-to guy? If there ever was a cliché, this is it.)
  2. What is my main goal? One of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is employment. (I’m getting philosophical, but this is how I feel about employment and the importance it plays in one’s life.)
  3. What makes what I do valuable to jobseekers? I create an interactive environment conducive to learning; this is one of my strength of a career trainer.(This is a good start.)
  4. Hold on, let me think of some words that describe my attitude about career training: hope…promise…guidance…strength…compassion…mission…providing the necessary tools…empowering…motivating…understanding…meaning…perseverance…tenacity…educating.

By the way, why does my brand have to be six (6) words or less? Mr. Cairns gives “The ultimate driving machine” as a slogan as popular as any out there. BMW probably spent thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions on a high-powered advertising firm develop it. (Actually no: The slogan, now nearly 34-years-old, was originally created under the reign of Bob Lutz by a relatively unknown ad-agency, Ammirati & Puris. So BMW didn’t spend a lot of money.) This is not the point.

Let’s give this a shot.It’s time to put up or shut up.

“Motivating and providing direction for your employment search.” (Nine words and “providing” is passive. I want “empowering” in my branding statement.)

“Motivating, empowering, and directing jobseekers to employment.” (Seven words. This is crap.)

“Delivering knowledge that leads to employment.” (Six words. I’m getting closer.)

“Delivering career-search expertise” (Almost there, and using the hyphen to connect career and search works for me. Only three words.)

“Career-search expertise leading to rewarding employment.” (I’m almost there. But this is not compelling.)

“Motivating, empowering you.” (Wait, I’m going about this wrong.)

What is my value to jobseekers and potential employers? Who am I and what do I actually do? What matters most to me?

Educating jobseekers through innovation, motivation, empowerment.

I think in the words of Mr. Cairns, this brand statement best describes [me] or how [I] want to be perceived. I’m happy with this branding statement and, perhaps, I’ll include it in my written communications or utter it while networking. One thing for sure is that I can tell my workshop attendees that I have a branding statement.

Let’s Walk: Having a Routine is Important to Your Job Search

It was raining the other morning at 6:00 AM, so I did what felt natural—I went back to bed. That was a mistake I discovered later in the day. I was sluggish and not on top of my game. My workshops were uninspiring, and I noticed a monotone in my voice. All day I was looking forward to my walk the following morning, regardless of rain or snow in the forecast.

My walking routine offers me the alone-time to think about the day ahead, planning exercises for a workshop, thinking about the workshop I’m designing; or simply time to take in the beauty that surrounds me as I ascend and descend hilly roads.

Why am I writing about walking? It’s not only walking I’m talking about; it’s any kind of exercise we should engage in when we’re employed or unemployed, but especially unemployed.

There are many self-help articles on how to stay motivated the job search. One article I ran across in my Internet surfing offers suggestions on how you can do to stay motivated if you’re out of work. I saw this article on the New England Job Show. The author, Randall Davidson, gives 10 ways to stay motivated, but number eight is the one I allude to:

Establish a routine. One thing a job offers you is structure. In the absence of a job, it can be difficult to find structure and that can contribute to depression. To avoid this, deliberately establish a daily routine. Take a class at the gym, drop your kids off at school, etc. Make sure that you schedule something for yourself that takes place early in the morning, as that’ll help you get up and going.

Walking, for me, gives me a routine that I’ve followed for over two decades. Yes, I’ve been unemployed, and yes I followed some of his other advice, such as dropping the kids off at school or taking them grocery shopping with me. Having a routine didn’t make being out of work a happy occasion, but it made this difficult time in my life easier to handle. The point I’m making is that Randall Davidson is correct when he says to get yourself out of bed, just as you would when you’re working.

Walking isn’t for everyone. You may decide to tackle a home project. (I attempted to re-tile the bathroom floor, which was a complete failure.) Or go to your local career center to take workshops, use its resources, or network with other jobseekers. Volunteering at a company or organization of choice is another way to establish a routine. These, of course, are addition to your hard-driven job search; but they’re important in keeping you off the couch and improving your physical and mental wellbeing.

I’ll continue to walk in the morning no matter what employment state I’m in. God forbid I lose my job, but the first thing I think I would do is start a walking club for people who are also out of work. I wouldn’t see this as a networking occasion. It would be more for helping others to create and maintaining a routine.

Tell me what your routine is, employed or unemployed.