career advice, career management, Careers, Elevator Pitch, Job Search, linkedin, Networking, Personal Branding

The Weapon of Choice in Your Job Search: Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | June 28th, 2010

Your personal brand is a great weapon in today’s economy. If you are looking for a job it helps to distinguish you in a crowded universe. Knowing your strengths, talents, values and passions helps you identify and achieve your goals. When you know where you want to go then you can more easily articulate what you offer and why you would be a great hire. Identifying your specific areas of expertise enable you to more easily promote yourself to your desired target audience.

There are common mistakes people make because they believe that casting a wide net will open up opportunities while specificity will limit their chances of securing a position. Here are some things to avoid when involved in a search:

1. Presenting yourself as a jack of all trades (and therefore master of none). Generalists are not memorable and therefore not easily remembered. Stand for something and identify a speciality or differentiating quality so that you stand out. You are not a commodity so find your unique talents and strengths and shine a spotlight on them.

2. Cover all your bases and make sure your resume includes every responsibility you ever held so that nothing slips through the cracks. 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 15 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. One cover letter will do because most people don’t read them anyway. As a former executive recruiter I can say that I read cover letters and often forwarded the contents to potential employers. A cover letter provides the reader with a reason for meeting you. The letter connects the skills they want, the experience you have and the successes you achieved using those skills. It allows you to show personality and to illustrate the knowledge you have of the industry and of them. This is an opportunity to let your differentiating qualities come through and let you personal brand be more visible.

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

Are there other myths or beliefs that should be dispelled when looking for a job or making a career change? Please share them with us.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Personal Branding – Put Some Passion in Your Pitch

Mary Rosenbaum | June 3rd, 2010

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 and authentic.

I attended an event a few weeks ago and was surprised at how people, when asked about their job or business, described themselves. It was as if they had memorized a speech – not a long one of course because this was their elevator pitch, but it sounded canned and well rehearsed. I kept wanting to ask them: Where’s the PASSION? Why are you doing what you are doing? Why is it special?

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.

As I have stated many times, your personal brand is about ALL of you. Your elevator pitch should incorporate your personal branding statement – WHY you do what you do and for whom. It should elicit further questions not only about your service or work but about you as well.

There are some basic rules about what should be included in your elevator pitch. Your pitch should provide the following information in a few sentences:

What you do?
– Who you do it for?
– What are your deliverables (the pain points you eliminate)?
– Why should I hire or use you?

Your answers to the above questions have more resonance if they include not only what you do and the value you provide but how the passion, vision and values you bring to your work make you the person I want to hire, promote, or get to know. You are providing a reason for WHY I would have an interest in hearing more about you, your business or profession.

In crafting your introduction or elevator pitch think about the following:

– What am I passionate about?
– How does my work help me feed that passion?
– 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?

For example, I am passionate about helping people gain greater control over their lives. My experience of over 25 years in executive recruiting, career coaching, and personal branding has prepared me well for the work I do: helping professionals and entrepreneurs gain a greater understanding of their vision, passion, values, skills and talents. It’s only when they have that understanding that they can more effectively communicate their worth, their value added, and then – achieve their desired professional goals. It’s been my experience that having control over their professional lives gives people more choices resulting in greater satisfaction and control over their personal lives.

This is not a canned introduction. I change the way I introduce myself every time I have the chance. That way it’s more authentic, does not sound memorized, and can be geared specifically to the audience I am addressing. By trying out different introductions or pitches I get a much better sense of what works and what doesn’t.

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

Any other thoughts on how to get the passion into your description of yourself? Please share them with us.

If there are topics you have an interest in learning more about please contact me and let me know.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Spread Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 16th, 2009

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? It is important to define your brand to those who are close to you as well as to those who can more directly further your professional goals.

This was driven home for me this past weekend. I was visiting with some friends 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 and finally gave up and admitted that they really didn’t know.

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 industry you have worked for or the type of projects you have completed.

§         Provide them with an understanding of what you need – if it’s a job then 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 can more easily convey your expertise to others.

If this sounds a lot like your elevator pitch, it’s because it incorporates the same information. 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.