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-Value Your Past in Creating Your Future

Mary Rosenbaum | June 17th, 2010

I love going into antique stores. For me it’s about learning the history of some object that caught my eye – who crafted it, who owned it, what it was originally used for, where it was found or from whom it was purchased. This information provides me with the substance that makes the object more real, more interesting, and more memorable.

Believe it or not, the same holds true for you as a professional or entrepreneur. We are always talking about the value of being authentic as part of your personal brand. When your brand is authentic it includes everything about you as well as your history. Your history is as vital to your brand as it is in making the antique more desirable.

Early in my career I worked in investment banking. As an analyst I learned how to compare and evaluate companies, synthesizing vast amounts of information including earnings, market penetration, comparability, economic conditions, consumer sentiment, and so forth.

That doesn’t sound like it would be useful for someone whose expertise is in personal branding and career management. Yet, it’s those same analytical skills that provide the underpinning for me to help clients evaluate, compare, synthesize and communicate how their talents, experience, skills, passions, vision, and values enable them to stand out from the competition. This past experience is a piece of the puzzle that makes up ALL of who I am and what I offer. My history is part of what makes me more interesting, more unique, more memorable, and of course, it helps me stand out.

When you are working on your personal brand try to answer these questions:

1. What are you are good at – what comes to you easily?
2. How did you come to own this particular skill?
3. How does it enhance what you do?
4. How can it enhance what you want to do (remember, brands are aspirational)?
5. Why are you good at it – does this fulfill a particular passion, interest, value?
6. Does this help you differentiate yourself from your competition – why?

The experiences in your life should not be compartmentalized, instead they should be mined and brought to the surface. They are your precious gems. So take a walk through your past, connect the dots to your present, and set the stage for your future.

If you have any personal branding stories to share I would love to hear them.

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 Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru


Marketing and Sales: Procrastination – The Enemy of Success

Mary Rosenbaum | June 10th, 2010

As someone who has always worked in positions where I was marketing and selling my services or the services of my company, I know how hard it can sometimes be to get yourself motivated and make those calls. And interestingly enough, it’s even harder when business is slower. That sounds like an oxymoron because when business is slow you

a) have the time to market and connect

b) should be more motivated to get business

Here are some techniques I use for getting off the fence and generating some new business:

1. Make a list of existing and former clients.

Make sure you are on target and properly servicing those clients still actively engaged with you and your company. Keeping your existing clients should always be a high priority. Reconnecting with past clients is also a good way of generating new assignments and keeping your name front and center in the event that a new project or assignment develops.

2. Make a list of everyone who has ever referred business.

If you haven’t done so already, start reconnecting and re-establishing your relationships. There is a fine line here between calling someone specifically for new referrals and calling someone to reconnect. Make sure the message you send is more reflective of the latter rather than the former. Focus on building and maintaining your relationships and staying top of mind.

3. Make a list of potential clients.

There are two categories in this group. The first category includes people or companies who can be considered low hanging fruit. How often have you neglected to follow up with people you met at events or conferences who expressed an interest in continuing the discussion? Or how about people who responded to your articles, attended seminars you gave, signed up for your website, asked for more information about your company, or maybe you were given some names of people who might have an interest but never followed up?

The second category includes companies or people who fall into your target audience but with whom you have no contact. This is where your personal network or your network on LinkedIn might be helpful. Learning as much as you can about people or companies who fall into this group would be instrumental in making your initial contact and taking it to the next level.

Developing relationships with potential clients is a longer term strategy and consequently should be an ongoing activity regardless of market conditions.

4. Eliminate unnecessary busy work.

We have all been there. It’s easy to get busy doing everything but what really needs to get done. Selling and marketing can be fun, especially when economic conditions are booming. It’s a lot harder to get yourself going when times are tough. Procrastination is the enemy of success.

So stop getting in your own way and move forward with purpose.

What other tools do you use to generate new leads and new business?

Follow me on Twitter @careersguru

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


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