• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Improve Your Personal Brand’s Social Networks for SEO with These Tips

    Search engine marketing and social media work together in building visibility online, which is a change from the older traditional methods of link building and keyword usage. Social media, in particular, is a large influence in the way people look for information, which is driven by conversations and phrases. Google’s latest algorithm reflects this and influences the way personal brands publish content.

    Has your brand’s website ranking seen a decline? There are new methods you can use that can attract readers, and improve your placement on search engines. In order to be successful, you need to be aware of the latest trends in marketing.

    Today’s social-driven SEO methods differ from those in the past, which means that in-depth and original articles are now in favor for readers. Here are a few ways that will help you improve your following online.

    Steps to Search Engine Marketing with Social Media

    Creating fresh, original content for your target market is just the beginning of being found in a search. Establishing a strong brand through your networks will help spread the word.

    • Include social icons on your website – It’s important to make sure your social sharing buttons, badges, and icons appear in the best location of your pages and posts.  They should be attractive and hard to resist, encouraging your readers to click on them.
    • Create a mix of different content – An attractive website should include both text and visual content including infographics. This allows you to use your website to inspire and drive visitors to your social networks, especially when the visuals are correctly formatted for each social network.
    • Build relationships on social media – Make a commitment to be active on social media each day with a proper number of tweets and posts. Be consistent, especially when it comes to responding and posting. People should never see a large gap of time on your profile, which could look as if your brand is out of business.

    As search engine marketing evolves it is important to keep up with the latest trends and to write fresh and original content that people are desiring in your niche. A personal connection with your audience will not only help you create better articles to share but will also increase your website ranking.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    If You Want to Be Hired… Be an Athlete

    What kind of athlete are you?

    Do you consider yourself an athlete?

    Is there such a thing as an “athletic” employee?

    If you want to be hired … Be an Athlete

    I was interviewing someone a few weeks back and we got to talking about how they hire people in their business. They said something that has stuck with me for a few weeks and I’ve continued to flashback and think about it over and over again.

    I Hire Athletes

    What he said was “I hired an athlete” and I dug into that to find out when he meant.

    He said that he’s not always looking for a specific skill set, rather he is looking for someone that is an athlete. And, what he meant by that was someone that is adaptable, malleable, and willing to learn.

    I dug a little deeper and asked:

    • Is age a factor?
    • Is educational background a factor?
    • Is gender a factor?

    Not surprisingly the answer was an emphatic no.

    And, I also asked does it matter if they actually are athletes or were an athlete in high school or college?

    And again the answer was no.

    What do athletes bring to the workplace?

    As noted above athletes bring several core skills that are directly applicable to things that need to be done in the workplace.

    They are:

    • Adaptable
    • Malleable
    • Willing to learn

    According to my friend if you want to be hired … be an athlete.

    There are a few things you can do to be more athletic … even at work.

    How to build your athletic skills

    As with all skills, there is a learning curve. There is also a passion and a curiosity to learn curve. As I have written about before there are a few things you can do today to get started on the development of your athletic prowess at work. One way is to have a Growth Mindset, another is to use the SSK model, and another is to realize you don’t need to spend 10,000 hours to become a master of something … instead you can have temporary passions.

    The first post is built upon the work Carol Dweck has done to help people decide what kind of a mindset they want for their lives. The second is a tip I learned from a friend that works in the halls of government. And the third is an homage to the Foo Fighters. Each has tips that can be used to help you identify, hone, and exercise your athletic skills and build your athletic prowess in the workplace.

    So, it seems … if you want to be hired … Be an athlete.

    It will take practice. It will take time. But, like traditional athletes, these are skills that can be developed and learned.

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    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding, Success Strategies

    Watch Out for Career Marketing Firms

    Someone in one of my job search networking groups asked me to evaluate a proposal he had received from a career marketing firm. He wanted my opinion because he knows I’m a career coach.

    His proposal cover letter opened with an aggressive tone heralding the fact that the firm was working with executives who were laid off prestigious organizations, members of academia, representatives of nonprofits, and an assortment of clients ranging from younger people just out of college to mature ones with occupations in every industry and covering every income range. Basically–but without saying so–the firm said it caters to everyone who has money to pay!

    The next FIVE pages outlined the firm’s services in a very attractive way for someone in transition. And we all know that when someone is, for instance, desperately hungry, anything that looks like food seems scrumptious and delicious. The firm stipulated its fee–which is, typically, 5 percent of the client’s highest achieved income (calculate how much that would be for you!). Then there were supplementary services–provided at an additional $500 for each one. In order to activate the agreement, it needed to be signed and accompanied by a deposit. If the client were not satisfied with the program within two weeks, said the agreement, the company would rework the material. At this point, though, your money is gone forever.

    The firm listed offices in various cities nationwide, so I attempted to research the company a bit further. My research led me to a résumé-writing service. Next, I Googled the company name–and searched on other search engines as well–to try to learn something about the proposal/agreement signer with the title of managing director. I would have expected that a person with such a heavy responsibility (after all, the company claims to have offices in more than half a dozen cities) would have at least a presence in cyberspace as well. But no, even LinkedIn did not reveal the signer.

    There have been in the past, and there still exist today, of course, many similar career marketing firms. I’ve learned of them either through my circle of acquaintances or because they gained their fame via the media’s reporting that they got sued and soon thereafter closed their doors. Of course, unfortunately, those who’d paid for such services were left high and dry.

    As a professional career coach, I say unequivocally that everyone in transition should get help with their job search.  Why you say?  Because finding a suitable job it is a very competitive task.  Those getting professional help leave the rest behind.  This is a no-brainer.  It’s up to the job seeker to solicit that help by asking others for their opinions and recommendations. Job search networking groups such as those listed at landingexpert.com can provide information, as can an online search for individualized coaching services via LinkedIn or Google. Typically, such individualized career coaching services are your best bets because they’re more individualized and because the typical fees are significantly less.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    How to Attract Only the Best Job Candidates

    Need workers but not looking forward to combing through resumes from applicants who clearly didn’t read the job description? In a best-case scenario, an employer will recruit a talent pool of the most qualified candidates with a high aptitude and passion for the work.

    Traditionally, that involves reviewing endless data and choosing, at best, 10 percent of those who have applied. Then, there’s the rest of the process — phone interviews, aptitude tests and in-person interviews. How are you supposed to attract the cream of the crop when you have to go through that tedious process?

    You start developing relationships with prospective candidates before you need to fill a spot on a tight deadline. You network and outline your specific needs from the start. Here are a few tips to secure the best candidates for your company.

    1. Take Advantage of Professional and Social Networks

    An essential career development skill you had to learn from the jumpstart quickly is still invaluable to hiring the best workers. The only difference is that you’ve built a strong network of industry contacts through memberships with associations and trade groups, among others. You have a network to tap into to find the recruits that are the best fit for your company.

    Not only that — you have access to your employee’s networks. Part of being in a professional network is helping your fellow professionals expand their access to job opportunities and resources through employee referral. Employees will be happy to help you source the right candidates. Encourage your employees to network and participate in conferences, trade shows and industry groups. In fact, pay for it because it will pay off for your company.

    You’ll need to be ready with a contact plan to routinely and systematically reach out to preferred candidates with the job description and information online, through email, mail and fax. Encourage employees to forward an email to a prospective candidate in their network they think will fit into the company culture.

    More companies and recruiters are utilizing social media as a hiring tool with 92 percent of job recruiters utilizing it in their process:

    • 85 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn.
    • 55 percent of recruiters use Facebook.
    • 47 percent of recruiters use Twitter.

    For example, Facebook lists jobs like other job search engines, but many companies are posting directly on their page with tangible contact information to reach out to a live person on staff. Twitter allows you to take advantage of hashtags, and other social media platforms, such as Snapchat, offer unique snapshots into company culture as a recruiting tool. Social media is a viable recruiting tool, especially with a quarter of job seekers conducting their search on these platforms.

    1. Your Website is Prime Recruiting Real Estate

    Job seekers are encouraged to research the companies thoroughly they apply to just as employers check up on candidates. Job seekers, especially new graduates, are likely perusing your website right now, and you’re missing out on an easy and effective recruiting solution.

    Your website already has helpful information for job seekers, such as projects you’re currently working on and how your staff has been recognized in the organization and the community. What it may be lacking is an open door policy to encourage talent to reach out to the company. While job descriptions typically say “Don’t call us, we’ll call you (if you’re qualified),” pre-recruiting the best talent requires the adoption of reverse psychology to the traditional candidate search.

    On your website, invite talent in by listing a prominent “Join Our Team” area that gives a bite-sized but in-depth overview of the company’s culture, values, mission and vision. Don’t sound like a used car salesmen who’s been plastered on every billboard. Be authentic when introducing your management team, and talk to your existing employees about what they love about the company and what drew them in. Share this information on your website.

    Job seekers who have fallen in love with your company will be able to submit their resume to be placed on file and receive emails with relevant job matches as the company need arises. Who knows? You may even find the perfect freelancer you never knew you needed.

    1. Job Descriptions are Not a List

    Fun anecdotes that showcase an employer’s ability to laugh does pull job seekers in, but writing engaging and targeted job descriptions is more involved than throwing in funny one-liners.

    You have listed the basic requirements and preferred skills, but help the candidate see themselves in the role by writing these descriptions as “a day in the life of our new employee that could be you!” Describe the role’s daily duties in detail as well as realistic opportunities that will likely come their way. Describe the company culture and work environment. In this area, many companies usually place “operating heavy equipment” and “exposure to loud noise,” but balance boring descriptions with pizazz and honesty.

    Strive for transparency and creativity. Keep titles and headlines clear and concise. Job descriptions that take form solely as a list have no soul and create boundaries between companies and candidates.

    Avoid combing through endless applications and attract the best workers. Take advantage of professional and social networks. Use your website as prime recruiting real estate and showcase the company’s vision, values and personality, which should also be reflected in engaging and targeted job descriptions. Use job descriptions for more than a list — help employees see themselves in the role.

    If they see it, they will come because you’ve built it. Your talent pool will constantly replenish itself as you attract the best candidates who you’re more likely to retain because they truly love what they do and where they’ll be working.

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    Posted in Employer Branding, Networking, Recruitment

    How to Choose Between Two Outstanding Candidates

    The need to choose between two outstanding candidates is an interesting and a desirable dilemma for employers. However, as an employer, you need to act fast and decide which one to hire. If you don’t know how to decide between the two, below you can find some ideas.

    • Try to Find Out Who is More Eager to Work for You: Try to determine how badly they want to work for you. They can both seem eager but one might be already employed and looking to make a move just to get out of the status quo or be able to negotiate a higher salary and the other one might be unemployed for months and is eager to start a new job. If you can hire the more eager candidate, chances are s/he will work harder and stay longer in your company.
    • Look at Their Past Experiences Carefully: Examine their resumes carefully and see how often they stay in one job. If they hop jobs frequently, then, it means that they can also quit working for you easily. Try to think long term. Look also for their skills and see whose skills match more with your future plans. Try to determine whether they are open to learn new skills and develop themselves. Moreover, businesses are changing rapidly and therefore, try to assess whether they are open to change.
    • See Who Fits the Culture: Invite each candidate to lunch or coffee. In this way, you can talk with them in a more relaxed setting and outside of the formal office environment. You don’t need to be alone; you can also take a few team members with you so you have a chance to see which candidate will get along better with your team. During this informal meeting, you can also see more of the personality of the candidates and decide easier which one will be a better fit for your company.

    If you still cannot decide who to hire, then hire both of them. Think this way, good candidates are hard to find and you have already found two so why not push the limits to work with both of them. There may be budgeting issues or organizational problems to hire two candidates but do your best to convince your higher-ups. If you can hire both of them, make sure you differentiate their roles or at least make them work on different projects. In this way, you can get an advantage of their skills in the best possible manner.

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    Posted in Interview, Job Search, People, Recruitment

    Don’t Be a Sycophant

    If you strongly disagree with an approach, a task, an injustice, or anything that pertains to achieving the company’s or your own mission, tell your boss how you feel directly. If you have information that differs from the boss’s position or point of view that will genuinely move the company forward, not just move you forward, you have to talk to her. You can still be loyal, support your boss, be respectful, and try to make her life easier, but in an honest, confident manner, you have to express your beliefs.

    Speak up when you think he is on target or not. Bosses need to hear it when you think they are right, just as they need to hear it when you think they are wrong. A confident person holds to her own ideas, which may not be the boss’s.

    Don’t be a sycophant. Push back. As one CEO told me, “A reverberation of your own thoughts is okay for a little while, but you soon get tired of it.”

    To push back does not mean to argue with no merit or to be a troublemaker or rabble-rouser for no reason. It means to pleasantly but assertively question. And it means to get to an understanding of what she is saying, and then explain how and why you see it differently.

    You needn’t do it in a throw-down, go-toe-to-toe, whine-kick-and-scream, verbal fisticuffs, threatening, or open-conflict way. As one CEO put it, “Just speak up as if you’ve never been shushed. Have a meaningful discussion. Be reasonable with a smile.”


    Debra Benton is co-author with Kylie Wright-Ford of The Leadership Mind Switch (McGraw-Hill, 2017)

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Three Justifications to Employ Older People

    The law says employers are not permitted to discriminate because they deem someone too old, yet employers do so every single day. How can they get away with it? The answer is, by thinking it but never talking about it or documenting it. When questioned, their answer is, It was not a good fit.

    There are many reasons people who are no longer young are associated with certain preconceived ideas—for example, poor physical appearance. In some cases, it’s true, and a candidate should show concern and responsibility for improving such an image. Easily said and challenging to reverse but often can be improved through, say, physical fitness, a more contemporary eyeglass frame, better-looking and better-fitting clothing, and proper grooming can make a huge difference. Another example is the expectation that an older and more experienced person is expecting—and needs—more money. In many cases, this is not true. While everybody wants more money of course, there are many situations in which the person has already built a nest egg, and money is a secondary or tertiary concern. Going out and working, regaining identity, contributing, and just being with other people often outweigh everything else. One more example is the preconception that younger people are more tech savvy. Yes, that’s often the case, but I can easily argue that an electronics engineer with years of experience and who’s gone through the technology evolution has a profound understanding and a big-picture point of view, which could be major assets. And how about the notion that older folks have low energy, often have a so-called corporate mentality, and a lack of flexibility? Again, some of those might be true in some cases, but from the examples I’ve presented here, it’s easy to see that each case must be judged independently and weighed on demonstrated facts.

    How can a candidate mitigate often-false prejudices? First, a candidate must be careful about social media presence. Ninety plus percent of employers check out candidates prior to making a first contact. Why this practice? Because it’s simple, quick, and free. The way candidates do the same by checking out the company and, possibly, everything they can about those they’re going to interview with at the company. It’s called due diligence on both sides. As a job candidate, you should check out your own social media score starting with LinkedIn, followed by socialmention.com. The latter Web site takes a holistic approach, including videos.

    Second, if you’re not clear on how the potential interviewer might view you, a session with a career coach can surface and reveal all your doubts. In fact, if the career coach is in the habit of using a video camera, you could see it for yourself. In addition, do not be embarrassed to initiate a conversation on this subject with your spouse and your good friends and possibly do a mutual exchange of opinions with other job seekers.

    Third, get into the frame of mind that says that as an older person, you possess a special asset: experience. Practically speaking, that means that all of the past mistakes were made on some other employer’s account and would not be repeated. How about your problem-solving skills, which are by now well developed? And how about the fact that you’re already in the habit of practicing good judgment and have good work habits. After all, you come from the old school.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    11 Ways to Improve Branding Without Using Social Media

    Social media is one of the most popular tools for brand-building today. What is your favorite unconventional branding tip or practice that doesn’t involve these platforms?

    The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

    1. Attend Industry Conferences 

    There’s something uniquely different about meeting someone in person versus online. That’s why I try to attend as many industry conferences as possible throughout the year. It’s a great way to connect with inspiring people passionate about their work, and to look for ways to help each other out. – Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

    2. Create Charitable Initiatives  

    Truth be told, for me this isn’t about the brand exposure and I don’t really go out of my way to promote my brand in the process, though it does become a secondary benefit of the efforts. We’ve made a lot of charitable contributions and set up additional opportunities to help the populations in need. This is a great way to give back, and as a secondary benefit, the brand’s reputation grows as a result. – Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

    3. Hold Intimate Dinners With Peers 

    In a world of constant digital bombardment, intimate meetings of peers stand out. Being the brand that facilitates these connections is a huge brand-builder. – Brennan WhiteCortex

    4. Create a Customer-Led Consortium 

    One program we started in a business I ran was a “client board of directors.” Although these customers held no equity in the company, they were repeat buyers, loved our services and products, and understood our vision. In creating a direct line to them, we got vital insight, along with constant evangelism for our brand. They brought in as many clients are our salespeople, for free! – Benjamin BermanOptimize For Growth

    5. Host Sponsorship Events 

    Sponsoring events is a great way to build up your brand. Identify what events you want your brand associated with and establish a presence. This will allow you to shape the persona you want your brand to have, and create a footprint within a specific community that falls under the umbrella of overall target audience. – Duran InciOptimum7

    6. Start an Email List 

    There’s something more intimate about sending an email to your subscribers than a social media post. My favorite emails are from brands that treat their email list like a private club. Share secrets with your subscribers and don’t be afraid to get more personal with them. Let them get to know the person behind the business. – Jared AtchisonWPForms

    7. Send Stickers 

    It sounds simple because it is: Send your customers little branded gifts. In a world in which people are inundated with ads, promotions and brands wanting something from them, you can create delightful moments by simply giving instead of taking. Stickers are an easy — and affordable — gift, but it can be anything. Ideally, it’s something that aligns with your niche or market well. – Derek ShanahanSuperRewards

    8. Provide a Great Blog 

    One great way to build your brand aside from social media is a factual, informative and great-looking blog. When you provide your potential customers with tips and strategies that they can implement in their daily lives, your brand should expand. – Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

    9. Build Relationships With Bloggers 

    We implement many other tools along with our social media strategy. One out-of-the-box tactic we like to use is blogger relationships for product features and product reviews. By creating relationships with bloggers, you can reach a niche audience that may not have seen your brand otherwise. – Stefan LewingerSock Fancy

    10. Deliver a Great Service 

    Customers are the best brand advocates. The most effective way to influence customers to talk about your brand is to build an amazing service that they genuinely love. Social media, content, advertising — these are all important, but none are as important as customer word of mouth and a reputation for going above and beyond. – Vik PatelFuture Hosting

    11. Use Remarketing 

    Brands with big budgets use billboards. Most of us don’t have their budgets but, luckily, internet billboards are incredibly cheap. If your website is already generating traffic, only a fraction of that traffic is converting into leads or sales. Use remarketing to continue promoting your brand to these visitors across the internet for pennies a day. – Ajay PaghdalOutreachMama

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Secret to Success: Do More, and Do It Better

    Instead of trying to get comfortable in your job, try to get constantly uncomfortable. Seek out problems, look for potentially painful experiences, approach the scariest people, juggle more balls than most people handle, and put an extra percentage of “umph” into everything you do.

    You will likely find that you can do what you never thought you could. Here are some CEOs’ versions of doing more early on in their careers:

     

    “I specifically looked for work in areas where there was no competition—or slothful, stupid competition.”

    “To stand out from my competitors, I always offered to work for a month for free, and at the end of it, if I liked the organization and they liked my work, it was a win-win situation for both.”

    “I discovered that standing out from the crowd is not about putting in an extraordinary effort on a single task, or a single job, or on a single day. It is simply doing the little things that others aren’t willing to do . . . and not just when you feel like doing them but the whole time.”

    “It’s trite, but I try to be more informed, work harder, quicker, and hopefully smarter than my peers . . . and with no higher priority than to solve problems.”

     

    If you are in sales, sell more, to more people while spending less on expenses, and help your fellow salespeople do the same. If you are in finance, figure out ways to save the company money as well as increase revenues and worth. Share what you’re doing with colleagues to assist them in doing the same. If you are in IT, make information more accessible, usable, and faster across the board, and lend a hand to the non-techie types to make the technology easier for them. If you are in marketing, creatively get more positive exposure for the organization to support sales, and be inclusive of other departments’ goals too. And if you are in human resources, resolve issues quicker, get processes in place, and communicate among all levels more efficiently and effectively so all have buy-in.

    When TJ Walker’s book came out, TJ Walker’s Secret to Fullproof Presentations (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2009), he wanted to do more to promote it. He set a goal to conduct a record number of talk show interviews in a 24-hour period. With massive behind-the-scenes organization culminating in the daylong event, he succeeded in getting 112 talk show interviews scheduled. It literally qualified him for the Guinness Book of Records, which brought another wave of publicity. He said it was physically grueling to stay awake for 24 hours, but his book ended up at number one on the bestseller lists for USA Today, Businessweek, and the Wall Street Journal.

    If work opportunities aren’t coming fast enough, go find them. If you risk and fail, you’re still further ahead in learning than those who didn’t try.

    ______

    Debra Benton/Kylie Wright-Ford, co-authors of the new book, The Leadership Mind Switch (McGraw-Hill, 2017)

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Use the Latest Content Marketing Techniques for Your Brand Next Year

    Staying up to date with your personal brand’s content strategy is an important in order to effectively reach an ever-changing audience online. The type of content that is published will either attract or turn away readers on your blog and on social media.

    There are several ways the right content can work for your brand in the new year, which can bring more website visitors with the potential to be converted into sales. Knowing the latest trends and needs of your audience enables your business to know what topics to write about, and encourages word-of-mouth marketing.

    Building the right content marketing strategy involves research, strong visuals, a mobile marketing plan, and consistent flow of good information. Here are several ways your articles can be more successful in 2018:

    • Choose a variety of content – Include informational or storytelling videos that are both live and prerecorded, infographics that are informative and interactive, podcasts, free reports, eBooks, etc. Throughout the year put on a giveaway or provide high value information for free such as a Facebook Live video that will encourage your community to want to know more and spread the word on your brand.
    • Build stronger relationships – Interacting in the various social media groups can help expand your reach. People have pressing questions that need to be answered from a trusted source. LinkedIn is a good place to network, publish, and interact with your connections. Use offline techniques such as consulting, speaking events, publishing opportunities, etc.
    • Advertise on social media Over the last couple of years social networks have expanded more offerings for brands and business to create ad campaigns geared toward targeted prospects. Organic growth has been steadily declining, which makes purchasing ads an important component of content marketing in today’s online world.
    • Keep up with email marketing Personalized videos or tantalizing offers in your messages can help keep your audience engaged and interested in what your brand has to offer. This could include exclusive access, webinars, eBooks, ect. Email marketing for your brand helps you reach your community in a personal way that provides something of high value while compelling them to share this with others.

    Publishing a fresh variety content throughout the month on a consistent basis will keep your personal brand on top. This next year mobile and interactive content will continue to expand with the increasing demand for original information that solves problems. Videos, podcasts, and live hosting events that speak to your community will especially be an important element to element, as well as paid advertising in addition to your organic content marketing strategy.

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    Posted in Personal Branding
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