Careers, Personal Branding, career advice, career management, personal brand management

Does Your Reputation MAKE You or BREAK You? How to Manage Your Reputation.

Mary Rosenbaum | February 15th, 2017

What do THEY think?

Do you rush out to see a movie or eat in a restaurant your friends have panned? Would you hire someone whose reviews are mixed?  Our actions are impacted by the opinion of others. Reputations are the bedrock of how decisions, both large and small, are made. This applies to our reputations as well.

Your reputation can make or break you and that’s never been truer than it is today. And what’s also true is that YOU are in charge of your reputation. Your personal brand, your reputation, is your calling card. It’s what opens doors – or keeps them permanently shut.

Whether you are in your own business or working for someone else, everyone wants and needs to be recommended. Just look at the proliferation of likes, recommends, and follows on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.  But do the numbers you rack up on these sites leverage your reputation, your career or your business or is it just a numbers game?

HOW DOES YOUR REPUTATION SPREAD?

Have you ever been surprised to learn that a meeting or an interview you thought would be a breeze to set up suddenly didn’t happen or was canceled and never rescheduled?  Or interviews that went well but never went anywhere afterwards? Yes, sometimes other things happen that halt the process but through my work with clients I have seen these situations be derailed by what I call “bad press.”

The definition of a personal brand is the opinion others hold of you in their hearts and minds. That’s the basis for word of mouth buzz – “good or bad press”.

Word of mouth buzz is viral and can have an even more positive or devastating effect than social media because it’s a direct hit. It lands directly on your immediate target group – potential

HOW DO YOU LEARN WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU?

I have found that no matter how many times you tell someone to give you an “honest” appraisal of you, your skills, abilities, potential, etc., their response is always somewhat short of the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  That’s why it’s important to have a way to independently seek out reviews and appraisals that provide you with the feedback you need to improve and strengthen your reputation.  After all, it’s difficult to measure “how am I doing?” if you don’t have the right measuring stick.

There are formal and informal ways in which you can obtain independent appraisals.

1. Many companies today provide avenues for co-workers as well as managers to weigh in on year end appraisals. This is valuable information and should be a great starting point for you to parse through it to look for not only the positive comments but more importantly, those areas where improvement can be made.

2. Conducting your own 360 Feedback by hiring a coach who can help you interpret the results of either in-person or online offerings would be another way to go.

3. And lastly, requests made directly by you to managers and co-workers inside and outside your immediate sphere for honest appraisals in the interest of improving your career prospects would probably yield some valuable information. And the more people you ask, the more accurate your feedback will be.

The value of obtaining honest feedback is gaining a newfound ability to answer the following questions:

- Do people see me the same way I see myself?

- Is my value recognized?

- What needs further highlighting?

- What can or should I give up to strengthen my reputation, my personal brand?

- What do I need to add to my arsenal of skills to enhance and build a stronger reputation?

- Does my reputation, reflect my short and long term professional aspirations? Or will it hold me back?

YOUR REPUTATION PRECEDES YOU

We all know that social media plays a pivotal role in helping you establish your personal brand. Before I meet anyone, I Google them, and look them up on LinkedIn. I want to know as much as I can about them before our first interaction. And I know I’m not alone in doing this.

Before the first conversation, I already have some opinion about that person. Of course, it’s not complete, but it’s more than just having a name and becomes my starting point for getting to know who they are. Whether the news is good or bad, it’s out there for anyone to read. And therefore it’s important for you to keep track of if and how you come across on social media.

So be honest with yourself when you answer these questions and then fix what isn’t working:

- Does my LinkedIn profile point directly at my personal brand – what I want to be known for?

- Do my profiles and appearances on all social media sites adequately answer the “Why pick me?” question?

- Is there anything on Facebook or any other social media site that can prove embarrassing or somehow diminish my personal brand?

- Am I visible on the web? Do I show up?

- What can I do to increase my visibility on the web that enhances my personal brand?

You are in charge of your personal brand so make sure your reputation MAKES you – not BREAKS you.

For business owners, I wrote a piece for FOX Small Business on reputation that might interest you.

Need help with strengthening your personal brand, contact me.


Is Your CAREER by DESIGN or by MISTAKE?

Mary Rosenbaum | January 17th, 2017

Your Key to Success

Are you where you are because of careful planning, accident or mistake?

Too often we get stuck in the routine of doing our job. With a 24/7 mentality in most work places it seems daunting enough to just get the work done well without having to think about the future. This behavior leads us to become reactive rather than proactive when it comes to making career decisions.

The work environment today is highly competitive, extremely fluid, change focused, results oriented, and value driven. If you don’t take control of your career, others will do it for you – for better or for worse.

You have to commit to managing your career, not to just doing your job. Get into the mindset that you have control and once you do that, you are ready to take on the tasks of taking control.

There are many ways to manage your career and here are a few “must do” steps to take.

1. Set goals with specific time frames for achieving them. You want to be able to have short and long term goals that provide you with direction. For some, those goals might be a promotion to a more senior level, for others, greater leadership responsibility or a new role within your organization. Setting achievable goals within a realistic time frame and keeping to it provides you with direction and structure. This lets you know where you want to go and how fast you need to move to get there on time.

Consider asking someone to hold you accountable for achieving these goals on a time schedule that you create. A coach, a friend, a colleague, a manager, a mentor – being held accountable is what will help you be successful.

2. Find a role model. If someone has the position or responsibilities you want it would be valuable to compare your offerings, abilities, experience, and talents with theirs. An honest and thorough analysis of the hard and soft skills they have and the behaviors they exhibit will enable you to see how you measure up, where your added value lies, and what areas need further growth and improvement.

And if you come up short on the comparison, make a plan to fill in those blank spaces with the skills, experiences, and contacts you need.

3. Manage your personal and leadership brand. Understand how others see you. Knowing how others view you is a great starting point for enhancing and managing your personal and leadership brand. If you’re not viewed as “leadership” or “front office” material, what achievements can you amplify to alter their perception of your skills and abilities.

A 360 assessment, asking for direct and honest feedback from those around you (colleagues, managers, friends), or a deeper dive into your performance evaluations, are ways in which you can complete this step.

4. Grow your tribe. Build your tribe of supporters and collaborate with them in their growth and development. Your tribe is your greatest asset. They can be relied upon as advisors as well as providers of information and contacts. Help them as much as you can as selflessly as you can.  As with anything that grows, when you nurture these relationships, they can last a lifetime.

5. Find a mentor and/or a coach and ask for help. Find someone whose experience and wisdom in navigating his/her way to success can help you on the road to achieving your goals. Issues such as navigating the organization, dealing with generational differences and work/life issues, and structuring your career path can be daunting and any help along the way is always welcome.

6. Increase your visibility. Make sure the decision makers inside your organization are exposed to you, to the work you do and to your accomplishments. Take on or volunteer for projects or write articles for your company newsletter that spotlight your skills and abilities and have greater visibility across different areas within your company. It is a great way to “show rather than tell” that you are ready to take on greater responsibilities.

7. Communicate your goals. Let those in power know what your goals are so that when an opportunity arises you can be considered in the mix. Silence is not golden.

8. Find a Sponsor. A sponsor is someone who can help open doors and make introductions that will provide you with the visibility you need. To be successful at finding the right sponsor make sure you have the credibility and validity you need to gain their trust and their help. (More on Sponsors can be found here.)

So Make it Your Career by Design by taking control of your career.

Need help in defining and achieving your goals? Want a Career by Design and not by Mistake? Contact me.

Mary Rosenbaum is a Master Certified Personal Branding Strategist and Career Management Coach who works with professionals and entrepreneurs. Equipped with an MBA in Finance and with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and a career professional and 10 years in business and finance, Mary helps clients define goals, identify and highlight relevant talents and skills, and ensure that past achievements connect directly with future rewards. Success is defined as clarity of vision, differentiation from competitors, and the visibility and credibility necessary to capitalize on opportunities.


5 Ways to Bullet Proof Your Career & Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | December 8th, 2016

Bullet Proof Your Career

Your reputation – your personal brand – is your calling card in business and in life. It precedes you (think word of mouth, performance evaluations, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). How your personal brand is impacted (voluntarily or involuntarily) directly affects your career and/or business. At the same time, the trajectory of your career has a direct impact on your personal brand. Yes, there is a symbiotic relationship between the

Here are some things you can do to bullet proof your career & your personal brand – and protect the value of that calling card.

1. Never stop growing and changing – Stay curious and be open to new ideas.

New information enables you to be more flexible and innovative, both key words in staying competitive and moving ahead in business today. Rather than let your usual filter be based on experience and “the way things have always been done”, be open to allow for creativity and innovation to seep into your work and your life.

Great tennis players like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Venus Williams remain great by constantly upping their game – new serves, new techniques, new strokes, new coaches. Complacency would never be part of their playbook. And it shouldn’t be part of yours either.

In order for you to be great and stay great you have to keep learning – take courses, read books and articles, attend lectures and conferences, listen to colleagues, bring on advisors and coaches, and let new ideas take you in new directions.

So grow your personal brand by increasing your experiences and expanding your capabilities.

2. Make goal setting a priority.

“In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” Author Unknown

Accidental success is rare. Goals create a road map that helps you manage your career and bolster your personal brand. By identifying your goals you can better address what you need in order to attain them –education, greater visibility, improved communication, more or different experiences. Goals provide structure and create a purposeful plan for you to build your career.

Break your long-term goal in manageable, bite-size steps – instead of shooting for a 10 year goal – think of where you need to be in 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years – and what you need to get to these milestones first. This way your goals become less overwhelming and more attainable.

3. Understand your value – What’s in it for them?

When you know the value you provide to your organization and/or your clients you can more effectively focus on strengthening those skills and talents that make you stand out. Strong personal brands are known for something – not for many things. Knowing your value allows you to magnify its intensity.

Additionally, understanding your value provides you with the leverage you need when evaluating future opportunities and negotiating compensation or fees.

4. Get out of your comfort zone – Say yes to new opportunities.

Nothing in business is forever anymore – greater efficiencies along with improved technological advances continue to shrink jobs across a wider swath of industries.

No job is totally “safe”. So you have to take more risks. Getting comfortable in your career may sound desirable but it’s a sure way to close off opportunities that might propel you forward quicker and in new directions. Greater exposure to new experiences enhances what you do and/or the service you deliver, adding another dimension to your personal brand.

No Pain, No Gain. Just choose wisely which risks you take. Always k#eep your goals front and center and know well which consequences are acceptable in the event of failure.

5. Mind your character and your reputation – It’s YOUR personal brand.

Critical components of your personal brand are your values and your behavior. Your values are as unique as your fingerprints; they define your character. Once you are clear on what your values are they become your own personal litmus test of what you want, how you want to live, who you want to be with, work with, and what you want to do.

When you live your values you are in equilibrium, you are authentic to who you are – the world is great.

Your reputation is based on how others view you. Your reputation consists of not only your values, but includes how you do your work and how you interact with others. It’s the memory people have of their experience of working and spending time with you. As we all know, your reputation is fragile and is often synonymous with your personal brand. Doing your best work and treating others with respect each and every time will ensure that you maintain the reputation you want and deserve.

Stay curious, be bold, take risks – and move forward with purpose and confidence. A strong personal brand will bullet proof your career and help you get ahead.

Do you want to find new ways to strengthen your personal brand and bullet proof your career? Then let’s talk.


Your Job Search Secret Weapon – Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 21st, 2016

When you think of popular brands you automatically remember the specific value that manufacturers focus on when talking about their products. Whether it’s Volvo and safety, BMW and performance, or Tesla and innovation – the focus is on the differentiating qualities and the value those qualities provide. And yes, they all get you where you want to go but that’s not what all the noise about. It’s about HOW they do it and the value they provide and that’s what distinguishes them from each other and from the competition.

The same holds true for you as a professional. Your personal brand is like a fingerprint – no two people bring the exact same qualities to completing the task at hand. How you do what you do – whether it’s the specific experience you bring to the table, the innovation you are known for, the ability to engage others to work with you – is very important in distinguishing you from your competition.

Here are some important lessons to be learned from those people who are masters of creating solid well-known brands;

1. Never present yourself as a jack of all trades – because you will be mistaken for a master of none. Generalists are not memorable and therefore not easily remembered. Identify those skills/talents/experiences that enable you to provide the unique value a prospective employee needs to be successful in the position for which they are recruiting. And then find the stories that back up the claim. If you can’t claim value that distinguishes you from the competition you will be thought of as a commodity – and pricing rather than value will be the differentiating feature.

In the example I used above, the cars I mentioned would never be considered commodities – although pricing may be a deterrent for some, their target audience makes the purchase based on perceived value, not on pricing. You’re not JUST buying a car; you’re buying a specific brand known for the qualities you want.

2. Know what your selling points are and make sure all your collateral materials (resume, LinkedIn, bio, etc.) reflect and validate these points. For example, a common mistake is to make your resume a comprehensive listing of every responsibility and task you ever completed throughout your career.

Companies with strong brands keep hammering home the points they want you to remember, to connect with, and use as part of your purchase decision. They don’t give all the details of their product because that would dilute the message they were trying to convey and make it harder for you to remember what they deem to be the strongest selling points.

A resume that has too much information is as bad as one that has not enough. A resume filled with more than what’s needed is asking the reader to pick and choose what he/she deems important. Instead a resume that highlights the skills and talents you want them to see puts you in charge of how you are viewed. The focus should be on the job you want, not the one you had 5 or 10 years ago. So take control of what they think, point them in the direction you want to go, and the odds of being singled out increase.

3. Never underestimate the value of a cover letter. A cover letter is another opportunity for you to hammer that message home – that you have the skills they need and want.

A cover letter is your opportunity to link your skills, experiences, successes, and abilities directly to the job for which you are applying. It’s not a rehash of what’s on your resume – it’s a time for you to show personality, showcase your writing capabilities, illustrate the knowledge you have of the industry and of them, and tell them something that would be relevant to the job but not fully fleshed out on the resume. This is an opportunity to let your differentiating qualities come through and let your personal brand be more visible.

In my days as a recruiter I always read the cover letter and if it was one that would be able to connect the dots for my clients – show them how this candidate might fit well with their needs – I always forwarded both the resume and the cover letter. After all, the candidate was making my job that much easier.

So don’t bury your personal brand in favor of being all things to all people. Instead highlight your secret weapon and use the resources that are in your control to spotlight the differences.

Whether you are in a job or looking for one, strengthening your personal brand is vital to your success. Need help?  Contact me.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigital Photos.net


6 Career Tips: How to Stand Out in Your Company

Mary Rosenbaum | May 2nd, 2016

Standing Out

Are you known for doing special work in your department or company? Are you the go-to person for certain of your skills? Do people like to work with you? Do you get good reviews from your manager? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then it sounds as if you have a strong personal brand, a positive reputation.

The next question is: How visible are you outside your immediate department? Having a great personal brand but lacking visibility in your company is much like throwing a great party but failing to send out the invites. How do you get in front of those who need to know about you so you can be tapped for those choice assignments or to fill those positions so you can get ahead?

Getting visible sometimes requires you to take a chance and stick your neck out. Remember that keeping your head down and just doing your job is no longer a winning formula for getting visible and getting ahead.

Here are some tips on ways to gain greater visibility.

1. Make sure those who have the power know your unique value. Make sure that updates about projects you are proud of working on get sent to those that need to know. It’s hard to cc the big boss on all your emails, but it might be possible for you to volunteer for a project that puts you in closer proximity where she/he can see you in action as well as hear of your successes. Use caution that you don’t overuse the cc resulting in emails looking more like spam than like real information.

2. Attend meetings or speaking engagements where the power people congregate and network with them before and after these events. The idea is for them to know your name, what you do, what you are capable of doing, and what your unique value is to the firm.

3. Start an internal blog with postings that would be of interest to people in your firm, be on brand, and demonstrate your thought leadership. Blogging is not a dead art. In fact, if the information is useful it remains a great way to get widespread recognition. You could discuss articles, white papers, or interesting work that’s being done in your area that would bring to light your knowledge and expertise while gaining much greater visibility.

4. Networking across departments in your company is critical to developing relationships and alliances. By expanding your network outside your immediate area you gain a better understanding of what other areas of your firm are doing, the expertise they have and need, and how your skills and abilities can be utilized and augmented to better manage your career. By getting to know other people in your company you can all benefit by becoming each other’s brand ambassadors.

5. Don’t wait for new projects to find you. Everyone is busy but it’s important to take the time to find new ways to contribute to your company’s success/bottom line. Be creative and identify projects that showcase your creativity. By doing that you will be demonstrating your unique value, and building your own net worth and social capital (you make your boss look good if you look good).

6. Is there a project you would love to work on in a different department? If it furthers your career goals, is on brand, and would be a great way to highlight your skills and abilities volunteer to get involved. I know that this can sometimes be difficult to accomplish but this is where your exposure to those with influence helps. Try getting permission by focusing your request not only on why you would be a great addition to the project and add value but that the experience and perhaps even the results would benefit your department as well.

Are there other ways you know of standing out and getting greater visibility and recognition? Please share them with us.

Want to Stand Out? Let’s talk.


Feedback: Learn More So You Can Earn More

Mary Rosenbaum | December 8th, 2015

How open are you to feedback from those you work with and for, or even from friends and relatives? I know from past experience that praise goes down real easy. Constructive criticism, no matter how couched the wording, goes down like castor oil – it may be good for you but it tastes really bitter and you want to spit it out as quickly as possible.

Yet, how can we learn so we can continue to earn? How we view and judge ourselves is very much like the way we see ourselves in the mirror. The mirror I look at is different than the one that others hold up in front of me. To prove it let me ask you this question:

Have you ever walked down the street and caught your reflection in a store’s plate glass window? Is it the same image you see every morning in your bathroom mirror? I know for a fact it isn’t the same image for me or for most people I know. Seeing yourself with “fresh” eyes can be an enlightening experience.

Obtaining feedback from others is a great way to see yourself with “fresh” eyes. But only if you let yourself really hear what they have to say.

Recently while working with a client, let’s call him Steve, it became clear that there was a distinct disconnect between the feedback and the reviews Steve was receiving and the way he thought he came across. Steve kept hearing that his work was good but that he needed to be more of a team player, be more outward focused and that he lacked leadership skills. Although his work was exemplary he was never considered for a more senior role or for more visible projects. In attempting to remedy this, he tried to gain greater visibility with senior management by highlighting his successes through emails and increased participation during meetings. Nothing helped. His career was stalled.

When receiving feedback, Steve became defensive and believed that he did everything right, that the feedback was wrong, and that it was based on either jealousy or fear. He didn’t realize that he needed to change his behavior and deliver on the full value of his company’s expectations for someone in his role: his job included helping to ensure that those on his team completed their tasks as well as he did so that creativity, speed, accuracy, and success could be achieved for the group as a whole, not just for him. His attempts at grabbing the limelight got him visibility alright – but not in the way he hoped it would.

Because of his continued refusal to see himself with “fresh eyes”, his personal brand, his reputation, was damaged.  Only when he gained a better understanding of the wide gap that existed between his behavior and the company’s expectations could he then begin the difficult task of repairing his reputation. And that is still a work in progress.

As someone who specializes in helping clients understand, communicate, and leverage their personal brands, I know that one of the main ingredients in the branding process is being clear on the impact you have on others (seeing your reflection in a different mirror). Why? Because in your personal and professional life, your reputation, how you are known, will always precede you.

You are always trying to reach your networks network so you have to know: What are your followers going to say to theirs? What information will Steve’s current and former bosses and colleagues be passing along to others? And what impression has Steve been conveying to others both inside and outside the company with whom he has contact?

How others view your work and the value you deliver may be different than your own perceptions of how you come across. Here are a few ways to continue to learn so you can earn:

1. Solicit feedback. Ask those around you for ways you could improve upon what you do for or with them. They will feel flattered that you think their opinion is valuable. By having them try to help you get better or clearer on the way you work makes them feel like partners in your success.

2. Be courageous and be humble. Rather than becoming defensive and going into attack mode thank those providing feedback for their honesty. Let the words sink in. Go back and think about what you heard not from the standpoint of how you felt when you heard them but rather how these words apply to what you know about yourself versus how others see you. Most importantly use these comments to help move you closer to where you want to be.

3. Reciprocate with honest feedback and become a partner in the success of others.

For those of you who have the courage to gain a better understanding of how you impact others and how this affects your career, contact me for information on how I can help you highlight your strengths and define your brand.

Mary Rosenbaum is a Master Certified Personal Branding Strategist and Career Management Coach who works with professionals and entrepreneurs. Equipped with an MBA in Finance and with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and a career professional and 10 years in business and finance, Mary helps clients define goals, identify and highlight relevant talents and skills, and ensure that past achievements connect directly with future rewards. Success is defined as clarity of vision, differentiation from competitors, and the visibility and credibility necessary to capitalize on opportunities. She has worked with clients from a variety of industries including Financial, Hospitality, Technology, Law, Real Estate, Journalism, Non-Profit, and Human Resources.


Want a Career Lift? How to Get and Keep a Sponsor

Mary Rosenbaum | June 9th, 2015

WE ALL WANT THIS – someone who is committed to helping us achieve our career goals – someone who will open the right doors, introduce us to the right people, recommend us for the projects we want, the positions we want, the clients we want, and the raises we want. SOMEONE WHO WILL FIGHT FOR US.

That someone who is committed to helping you is a sponsor, not to be confused with a mentor. A sponsor provides strategic input and makes it happen. A sponsor is an active advocate who will use his/her influence to spotlight you and your achievements so as to enable you to reach your goals. A sponsor is usually one or two levels above your direct manager in a large company or a founder/president of a small company. A sponsor does not necessarily work in your company but is in a position to use their network, knowledge and experience to open doors and be your brand ambassador.

By contrast, a mentor plays a more passive role. He/she is someone who can help you navigate your company, answer your questions, provide you with constructive criticism and suggest ways to improve your work product. A mentor is usually one level above you but can be more senior depending on the organization.

So how do we get want we want?

FINDING (AND KEEPING) A SPONSOR

1. Find the right person. In order to ensure a strong sponsor/protégé relationship, look for someone who embodies your same values, whose strengths you value, who has not only the seniority to help you but the network you seek to penetrate.

- Identify the senior managers who benefit from the results of the projects you complete and seek out opportunities to make an introduction.

- Attend corporate events and introduce yourself at meetings and events.

- Join and actively engage in outside organizations where you can demonstrate your expertise (charitable, community, educational, professional) and gain exposure to higher level professionals and/or those with strong influence.

- At times you can convert a mentor/mentee relationship into a sponsor/protégé relationship if your mentor has the skills, seniority, and network that you seek and the willingness to make the shift.

Finding the right sponsor who wants to take on the role takes time and research but is well worth the effort.

2. Leave mediocrity at the door. Do your best work – ALWAYS. You have to be noticed and recognized as someone who can deliver superior work each and every time. Volunteer for projects, especially the ones where your potential sponsor would be likely to hear about or benefit from the results.

In order for your sponsor to go out on the limb for you, he/she must be confident that you won’t tarnish their reputation, their personal brand. Once the relationship is secure, you become their brand ambassador – your work reflects on them and their leadership skills.

3. Ask for what you want and be specific. Once you have identified a potential sponsor, ask for a meeting. Once there, you can describe your background, highlight your successes and skills, and most importantly, be specific in describing your immediate and long-term career goals. Ask for criticism and advice on how to achieve the goals you set for yourself given the background you described.

Remember, you’re not asking for a job; you’re asking for professional advice.

4. Are you sponsor worthy? How does your personal brand stand up? Once you ask, you can be sure that inquiries will be made regarding you, your work, the value you provide, and how you fit in with the culture of the organization. Make sure your reputation, your personal brand, is as strong as you described. If not, put some work into how you are viewed, your visibility and your credibility before you make the ask.

5. Give as good as you get. Since the sponsor/protégé relationship is somewhat symbiotic, it’s equally important the sponsor you select can benefit from your strengths and your network as well. A mutually beneficially relationship is what will make it a successful one. Loyalty and trust is the bedrock of this relationship.

Keep them in the loop on topics that might be of interest and help to them – your network and your perspective differ from theirs, so your opinions count. Offer assistance whenever possible in helping them achieve their goals both inside and outside the organization.

6. Keep the lines of communication open and constant. Ask for and accept feedback, provide updates on your progress, check in regularly (in person, on the phone and via email). Silence and an unwillingness to accept criticism will kill the relationship.

7. Pay it forward. Become a sponsor yourself. It’s never too early to take on this valuable role – because both the sponsor and the protégé benefit from this relationship. As mentioned earlier, good protégés help their sponsors by supporting them and providing them with valuable input. Building a team of loyal, trustworthy, accomplished professionals reflects back on your leadership skills and enhances your personal brand.

Additionally, your sponsors bask (professionally) in your success when you grow your network of protégés.

8. Don’t limit yourself to one sponsor. As your career progresses, your needs will change. Adding to your arsenal of supporters can only enhance your career progression. But remember, maintaining each relationship takes work, a time commitment, loyalty, and a responsibility to deliver on your promise of excellence and support. So choose carefully and choose wisely.

If you have any additional comments and suggestions please let us know.

Mary Rosenbaum is a Master Certified Personal Branding Strategist and Career Management Coach who works with professionals and entrepreneurs. Equipped with an MBA in Finance and with over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and a career professional and 10 years in business and finance, Mary helps clients define goals, identify and highlight relevant talents and skills, and ensure that past achievements connect directly with future rewards. Success is defined as clarity of vision, differentiation from competitors, and the visibility and credibility necessary to capitalize on opportunities. For more information email email hidden; JavaScript is required


How To Create A Memorable Elevator Pitch

Mary Rosenbaum | March 9th, 2015

What type of reaction do you get when you introduce yourself at a conference, meeting or networking event? So much has been written about the elevator pitch yet most people still have a hard time making it sound compelling, authentic and memorable.

I attended an event a few weeks ago and was surprised at how people described themselves when asked about their job or business. It was as if they had memorized a speech – not a long one of course because this was their elevator pitch, but they sounded canned and well rehearsed. Needless to say, they weren’t memorable.

If you are doing something you enjoy and are good at, describing it to anyone else should be easy; it should flow. And even more importantly, it should excite or create interest in the listener. Instead these descriptions sounded as if they were reading a label describing the contents of some packaged food product. Even worse were some of the catch phrases like – “problem-meister” – cute but could be off-putting to some.

When deciding on what to include in your introduction, think in terms of what you want them to remember about you. Here are some ideas you might want to include.

Your Introduction Should Answer These Questions

- What you do?

- Who you do it for?

- What are your deliverables (the pain points you eliminate)?

- Why should I hire or use you?

You Want To Tell Them Why

Adding some insight into who you are and why you do what you do provides an excellent foundation for connecting with other people. We always look for some commonality when we meet someone new. Sharing a passion or interest, especially if it relates to what you do opens the door for further conversation. So answer:

- What am I passionate about?

- How does my work help me feed that passion?

- What makes me feel good about what I do?

Give Them Results – Validation

- How has my experience enabled me to be successful in the work I do?

- How does the work I do satisfy my clients’/company’s needs and goals?

Be Genuine

Authenticity is magnetic. If what you say is genuine, this will elicit further questions not only about your service or work, but about you as well.

Mix It Up

Whenever I introduce myself, I have a different way of saying it each time. Although there are points I want to make, by not memorizing a script it’s more authentic and can be geared specifically to the audience I am addressing. By trying out different introductions I get a much better sense of what resonates with my audience.

Now give it try and put more of yourself into your introduction or pitch.

Need help strengthening your brand positioning? Whether you’re looking for a job or seeking a promotion, and you want to take control of your career, let’s talk about how I can help. Contact me.


Personal Branding on Steroids: Networking That Works FOR You

Mary Rosenbaum | February 24th, 2015

Networking is at the root of a lot of the work I do with clients, whether they are looking for a job, seeking career advancement, or want to increase their client list. Effective networking is Personal Branding on steroids. The more people know what you do and how you do it, the more you become known for your areas of expertise.

What I have found is that most of us disregard an entire group of people when we think about spreading our personal brand – our family and friends. Many of us tend to regard our family and friends differently than we do our “professional network.” Yet this is the group that has the potential to be our best brand ambassadors.

What do I mean by that? This example should help clear this up:

I was visiting with friends some time ago and inquired about someone they had known for years who had recently gone into consulting. It took them many attempts to try to identify what specialty their friend provided. They finally gave up and admitted that they really didn’t know. What if I was someone who could use this person’s services or be able to refer him to someone I knew that might need what he provides. But that will never happen.

Are your family and friends good ambassadors for letting others know what you do professionally, what your goals are, or what you are trying to achieve? Our expanded network includes not only the people we know but extends to those known to our immediate network. Just look at your LinkedIn numbers and you’ll see the scope of how your potential professional network exceeds your immediate contacts.

And with family and friends, we often overlook what I call “low hanging fruit” because we put them into different categories than we do our professional contacts.

It is important to communicate and define your brand to those you are close to in addition to those you know professionally. An integral part of personal branding is communicating what you want others to know about you and to brand those ideas and words in the minds of others so when they describe you to people they know, those are the words that will come to mind.

In providing your friends and family with information, it would be beneficial to:

  • Give them a detailed description of the type of work you do, the skills you employ in your work, the companies or industries you have worked for or the type of projects you have completed. Tell those stories that “show” your skills and that’s what they will remember.
  • Provide them with an understanding of what you need – if it’s a job or a role you want to play within an organization, be specific as to what you want to do (not only the title you want), if it’s clients you want then what type of clients would be suitable.
  • Let them know what your qualifications are so they have a clear picture of who you are, and consequently, they can more easily convey your expertise to others.

You need to let them know what you are good at, what makes you good at it (your validation), who you work with or for, and what you want or need. Don’t overlook the value of this type of “word of mouth” advertising. So go ahead, ask your friends if they can describe you in a way that conveys your expertise as well as your needs and wants. If not, get to work and spread the word.


Personal Branding: What You Do Is Only A Small Part of Your Story

Mary Rosenbaum | February 6th, 2015

An important part of your personal brand is your story. The most difficult part of defining your personal brand is unearthing and then communicating what makes you good at your job, why you stand out, and what propels you to do what you do.

Each of us has a unique story – one that helps us stand out.

Some time ago I worked with a young woman, a daughter of a friend of mine, who was a senior at a high-ranking university. She was able to get great first interviews during on-campus interview season. Her problem was she rarely made it to a second interview and couldn’t figure out why.

Compared to her fellow students who were getting those call backs, she had similar grades and had taken the same courses as they did. She thought that her lack of professional experience during her college summers held her back. She had chosen to travel extensively each summer rather than “pay her dues” and work as a summer intern in the financial industry (her preferred career choice).

That wasn’t her problem.

What we identified as an issue was her inability to create a cohesive story that would encourage an interviewer to want to know more about who she was and what she had to offer. There was nothing about her story that made her memorable- and standing out was critical given the sheer number of interviews companies scheduled each day they were on campus. Her story, or lack of story, made her forgettable.

Through our work together she realized that she was more than just the courses she took and the grades she earned. That even someone without work experience has experiences that build and exemplify initiative, creativity, leadership, flexibility, resilience, and intuitiveness – each of which are highly valued by prospective employers.

Once we delved deeper into her life and her experiences, we were able to add some color to how she represented herself. Some of the experiences we drew from included:
-  She was President of her sorority.

-  As President, she initiated and executed on a variety of fund raising programs for local charities.

-  She ran the sorority’s finance committee.

- Through her summer travels she learned how to navigate the world, deal with some adverse situations, communicate with people of different cultures, and come to understand that people of other cultures respond to a variety of behaviors in very different ways.

We took these experiences and fleshed them out into stories that highlighted the soft skills that so many employers want. These stories coupled with her strong academic credentials provided interviewers with a more interesting candidate. She gave them enough information so they had greater insight into who she was, what she might have to offer, and how she stood out from her competitors. Her story of growing up in NYC leading up to her desire to work in finance was cohesive, informative and differentiating.

As a professional, you have many experiences to draw from but never forget that your story is comprised of all your experiences and serves as a differentiating factor in how and why you do what you do. Your story should provide us with a glimpse of your character –your passions, your motivators, your values – and how these impact your professional life.

STAND OUT and BE MEMORABLE!

Need help standing out, contact me.