Archive for the ‘Self-Marketing’ Category

  • Do you know WHO you are online? “An old wine in a new bottle???”


    If you think you control your online fate by not participating in any Social Media Networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, you must think again. Even better, try popping your name in Google’s search window.

    The results could be fascinating, riveting or downright appalling.

    I submitted my name with a little fear and trepidation and found references to speeches I had long forgotten about, a video of me created 4 years ago at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford England, books and a vast assortment essays I had published, reviews of those books and essays, and I found (in the prestigious de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection online) a letter which I had written to an author almost 20 years ago. After perusing 24 of my Google pages, I stopped in my tracks when I discovered a reference to me as “an old wine in a new bottle.” I can only hope they meant a vintage champagne. I did not have the courage to continue reading my Google dossier but I will and you must also.

    Today, at least 50% of employers will check your online presence and those same techies will eliminate more than 35% of all candidates because of their online persona.

    You may not control your Google profile but you absolutely need to be aware of what’s there. That way, if, per chance, you’re applying for a management position in a sausage factory, you can proactively explain just how you came to be photographed in that big Animal Rights rally.

    On the other – much more positive – hand, Social Media Networking offers a great opportunity to not only differentiate yourself from other candidates but also to bring your more traditional credentials to life. We’re all competing for visibility with employers and, ultimately, for that job offer. If your credentials look just as good as many others on paper, you have to find a way to make your less tangible attributes – your commitment, passion, personality and motivation – stand out. With all due respect to the mighty Groundhog of Punxsutawney, this is no time to bolt back into your den.

    Just look at this Social Media utilization chart. It indicates there were over 300 million unique participants in 2009, and we know that number is increasing exponentially. Today there are more than 65 million people registered on LinkedIn alone.

    Global Web Traffic to Social Networking Sites

    Soooo, gird your loins and take your first Social Media steps forward. The best way to learn how to use these tools and to see the ways in which they can be of help is to sign-up and give one or two a test drive. Believe me, if I can “tweet and blog” you can too.

    Once you begin to dip your toes in these virtual waters, keep the following in mind:

    • Make certain each Social Media profile (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs etc) you create is professional.
    • Keep your direct and web contact information up-to-date.
    • Check to be sure your profile/personality is consistent from platform to platform. You cannot hide your wild side any place online.
    • Pay attention to your headline – just as a book’s title should make you want to read it, your headline should capture your reader’s attention, promote your skills and demonstrate how you can help.
    • Select a picture that conveys intelligence and enthusiasm. Ask yourself: is this someone with whom I would like to work?
    • Last, but FAR from least, never ever post anything on any platform that you would not want your mother or daughter to see!

    Happy Tweets!

  • Phone Interviews – How Can You Make the Interviewer Hear Your Best Face?


    Yes, you can “hear” a face.

    Shakespeare nailed it in his Pyramus and Thisbe play within his play, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Shakespeare’s lovers cannot see each other through the wall that separates them, but Pyramus hears Thisbe’s voice and says, “I see a voice… an I can hear my Thisbe’s face.”

    The interviewer cannot see your smile but he or she will hear it in your voice. A genuine smile – not the Cheshire cat’s grimace – lifts the tone of the conversation and your enthusiasm. The interviewer can sense you are relaxed and enjoying the interview.

    The interview is a two-party dialog not an inquisition, and your questions are a key element.  Your questions will cue the interviewer that you are both interested and interesting. One of my most enjoyable phone interviews was with Dan Sherman, Founder and President of Explore Company, an international executive search firm specializing in recruitment for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Naturally, I researched Dan and his company before the interview to have a good sense of with whom I would be talking. I was impressed with the portion of Dan’s company website that was dedicated to his late father, Dr. Alan Sherman.

    Dan specifically cites two of his father’s papers which, as a tremendous testament to vitality in aging, are an inspiration to all of us now 60+

    Beyond Growing Old: Individual Empowerment as a Key to Personal Vitality

    T.I.B.E.T. and the Process for Effective Change

    I have taken many of Dan’s father’s words to heart, but the ones that struck deepest were: “As playing music has taught me, you must not let a misplayed note distract you from joy in the sound and the process of playing music. Some of us have been so well trained to get the notes right that we forget about the music and the joy.”

    I did not get the position for which I was interviewing; it was not a good fit but I learned more than I had ever anticipated from the interview.

    Now, lest you think – based on this experience – that the phone interview just a chatty conversation – it is not. You are relaxing and enjoying so you can truly engage in the process.

    Practical preparation includes:

    Eliminating all the distractions – no radio or TV in the background, dogs are outside roaming the back forty, call waiting has been turned off,  “Do Not Disturb” signs posted on the door etc.

    Confident that you and your interviewer are not going to be distracted, it’s time to focus on you. Self-branding isn’t all about selling yourself, it’s being intentional about the impression you make.

    Have your resume and your bullets addressing why you are the best candidate for the job and the one who can do the most to move the organization strategically forward at your fingertips for reference.

    We presume you’ve prepared what you want to say, but have you prepared how you’re going to say it?  We are not talking about an elaborate sound system but rather the energy of your delivery. Just as you know to have active, dynamic words in your written materials, you need to have them at the tip of your tongue. Speak with confidence and authority.

    Nick Corcodilos, on his blog, Ask the Hunter, has a great video by the poet, Peter Taylor, about how to speak with conviction.

    Now that you are ready: relax, engage and enjoy! And don’t forget, after the call send a thank you note! Further, if you think a follow-up, in-person interview will be forthcoming, revise your sales pitch with info you learned about the organization  and their strategic thinking in your call so you’ll be even better prepared for the next round.

  • How You Handle Rejections Could Mean the Difference Between Having a New Career and Wishing You Had One!


    Every Job Rejection Presents a New Learning Opportunity

    If you’ve reached aged 60 and still live in fear of rejection, you haven’t really lived. Certainly in my 60+ years I have been rejected in every conceivable way, but I always pick myself up, assess the circumstances – sometimes more objectively than others – and then move my more informed self forward.

    Of course rejection devastation is appropriate at times – like kindergarten. Who could forget those Valentine’s Days when missives to your heart were scant and some of your classmates barely had time to open all of theirs? Then, too, high school could be particularly brutal when “popular” girls were admired for their cashmere twinsets and not their brains.  But life goes on and the longer you live the more context you have to put each of these peccadilloes in perspective.

    Rejection – whether it be personal or work related – often has little to do with who you are. I don’t know many people more vulnerable than authors. They pour their heart, soul and intellect into every page of their manuscripts. Their writing may be brilliant but publishers with seeming reckless abandon reject them (unless they are already on some prestigious best-selling list) out of hand with such excuses as “the market just isn’t there for your book.”

    Still, many authors who have been rejected zillions of times, pick themselves up from the floor, print out another copy (a publisher never returns the rejected copy) and send it out again. They persevere because they believe in themselves and their work. I recently learned that a current best-selling author (I won’t embarrass him by mentioning his name) with more than 10 million books in print and still selling experienced 85 rejections over 7 years before his first book was published.

    NBJust as you should never submit your resumé to an unknown entity at the employer of your dreams, never send your manuscript to a publishing house without having the name of an editor who has agreed to read it – or at least open the package.

    There could be many valid reasons why you do not get the job of your dreams. It may have nothing to do with the credibility of your skills and accomplishments but, rather, that your talents are not a good fit. How well did you research the organization’s needs?

    Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Be open and prepared to hear the criticism. Do not be defensive! Your interest shows the hiring manager you care and he or she is more likely to remember you if another more appropriate position opens in their organization. Use what you learn to better market yourself for the next opportunity.  Last but far from least – be sure to thank them for taking the time to do this!

    Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • What Do Job Boards and Black Holes Have in Common?


    Too much I fear. There’s a reason they have names like “Monster.”

    I cannot imagine any scenario where a Job Board would be of value today. If that’s the way you choose to search for a job, you might as well print out 1000 copies of a generic resumé, hire a helium balloon, drift out over Nebraska and pitch them over the side of the gondola.

    Finding a job should not be like playing “Wheel of Fortune,” where you let the fates take control of your spin. Finding a job is very much under your control. It is proactive and involves a lot of highly focused research and preparation. To be precise, you need to figure 95% of your time for research and prep and 5% for the actual interview where you secure the job.

    First, you need to decide (in your head and heart – not some job board) what you would like to do. Second, brand what you do so others will recognize it. Third,  identify those organizations where you’d like to work and why they need someone like you. Fourth, find the individual in that organization who will best understand the value you bring. Finally, write to that enlightened person to tell them what you can do to optimize their organization’s success.

    Make no mistake, we are talking about a sales pitch. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. If you were an employer looking for an individual with an office cleaning service, for example, which of the following would grab your attention?

    1.  Owner of Acme Office Cleaners submits a traditional resumé:

    • Objective: We are looking for more offices to add to our portfolio of satisfied clients
    • Education: Certified in all Whamo products
    • Chronology: History of the business, beginning with first client’s one room office to current 10 clients with average of 2500 square feet each
    • References: Supplied upon request

    2.  Owner of Turbo Cleaners submits a sales pitch:

    Acme Cleaners has never had a dissatisfied customer. No space is too large or too small; no soil too tough for our team of crack professionals. We are speedy and extremely efficient. Call us today and we will have a team at your office within 24-hours. If you’re not satisfied with the results, we will come back at no additional charge. Acme is a certified and fully insured cleaning enterprise, and we guarantee to meet the quotes of any competitors delivering equal service.

    Turbo wins hands down in my book!

    You can create the same captivating sales pitch for any business or organization with whom you’d like to work. Today, especially, no one has the time to pore over traditional resumés to try to determine if that person does or does not have what it takes to move their company forward. After you’ve done your due diligence to learn what an organization needs, you can show them what and how you can deliver. It takes time and care but it does produce results. While those other resumés are still floating over Nebraska, you will be walking into an interview, where the employer is eager to convince you that this company and this job are the ones for which you’ve been waiting.

    Does this mean you do not need a resumé? Absolutely not. Think of the resumé as a blueprint for your sales pitch. You need to ground the pitch in real details and data to document who you are and what you have accomplished and to articulate that history and those credentials (all part of your brand) so your potential is clear – to you as well as others.

  • Mind the Gap – in Your Resumé That Is, Not the London Underground


    “Mind,” as in pay attention! Be proactive. Reclaim that territory – don’t avoid it like a failed relationship. Every point, or lack thereof, in your resumé is connected and has a purpose. A jazz musician would describe it as the music played between the notes.

    Take time to think. Don’t just jump from one job to the next. Reflect on what has worked for you and what has not. A blog I have mentioned before, Zen Habits, has boiled this reflection and action process down to Four Laws of Simplicity that you can use on your resumé, any area of your life and, in fact, your life as a whole:

    1. Collect everything in one place.
    2. Choose the essential.
    3. Eliminate the rest.
    4. Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely.

    Your experience and your thinking are assets. It’s your story. Share those assets with your future employer, after all you were not just sitting home eating bon bons. Truth be said, maybe you were powering up with chocolate, but the enlightenment at the end of the munch is what counts. If you’ve filled the “gap” testing new opportunities, launching entrepreneurial start-ups, acquiring more formal education, learning new skills, working in the trenches, building your network or mentoring others, tell those stories and highlight the ways in which that “gap” experience makes you an even more credible candidate for the job. Any employer worth his or her salt should be thrilled to learn you’re not going to flip out prematurely or abandon ship because you did not take the time to get your act together before stepping into a new environment.

    Pay attention to the gaps, capture the music between the notes and remember: the London Underground only looks like a labyrinth to those without a map!

  • 15 Secrets to Mastering the Phone Interview: What – No pajamas!


    Talk about personal setbacks… Yesterday, phone interview guru, Paul Bailo, appeared in Fortune Magazine’s “Dear Annie” column to say: absolutely no PJ’s for the telephone interview!

    His advice: “Wear business attire.” Bailo goes on to explain, “Of course the interviewer can’t see you, but ‘you won’t feel, or sound, as businesslike in your pajamas.'”

    “Businesslike?” How does Bailo know we Savvy Seniors are not interviewing to fulfill a passionate desire to become super models for a new “Boomer” line in Victoria’s Secret closet?

    Not many groundbreaking “interview secrets” in this column, but I do like Bailo’s idea to: “Have a photo of your interviewer on your computer screen. This could be from LinkedIn, Facebook, the company website, or anywhere else your interviewer’s face might appear online. (You have Googled him or her in advance, right?) It makes the interview a little more like an in-person conversation.”

    Caveat Emptor:  I think it might be safer to print and post the interviewer’s photo some place slightly to the side your computer screen just in case you feel compelled to hurl a dart at it, should you not pass the “first five minutes” benchmark…

  • Resumé Blasphemy


    Nick Corcodilos, in his Ask the Headhunter blog, shares what he calls his “blasphemous resumé” philosophy.

    The idea, he says, is to create a “working resumé, where you provide the employer with just what he or she is looking for: proof of your understanding of the work that needs to be done, proof that you can do the work, do it the way the employer wants it done, and proof that you can do it profitably.”

    Prescient as that might be, I find the real piéce de résistance in Corcodilos’ blog is this extraordinary “working resumé” from Leonardo Da Vinci. One of Corcodilos’ readers, Phil Hey, at Briar Cliff College, Sioux City, Iowa, sent him Leonardo’s 1481, job-seeking letter:

    Leonardo DaVinci’s letter to Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, applying for a job in 1481:

    Having, most illustrious lord, seen and considered the experiments of all those who pose as masters in the art of inventing instruments of war, and finding that their inventions differ in no way from those in common use, I am emboldened, without prejudice to anyone, to solicit an appointment of acquainting your Excellency with certain of my secrets.

    1. I can construct bridges which are very light and strong and very portable, with which to pursue and defeat the enemy; and others more solid, which resist fire or assault, yet are easily removed and placed in position; and I can also burn and destroy those of the enemy.

    2. In case of a siege I can cut off water from the trenches and make pontoons and scaling ladders and other similar contrivances.

    3. If by reason of the elevation or the strength of its position a place cannot be bombarded, I can demolish every fortress if its foundations have not been set on stone.

    4. I can also make a kind of cannon which is light and easy of transport, with which to hurl small stones like hail, and of which the smoke causes great terror to the enemy, so that they suffer heavy loss and confusion.

    5. I can noiselessly construct to any prescribed point subterranean passages either straight or winding, passing if necessary underneath trenches or a river.

    6. I can make armoured wagons carrying artillery, which shall break through the most serried ranks of the enemy, and so open a safe passage for his infantry.

    7. If occasion should arise, I can construct cannon and mortars and light ordnance in shape both ornamental and useful and different from those in common use.

    8. When it is impossible to use cannon I can supply in their stead catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other instruments of admirable efficiency not in general use — In short, as the occasion requires I can supply infinite means of attack and defense.

    9. And if the fight should take place upon the sea I can construct many engines most suitable either for attack or defense and ships which can resist the fire of the heaviest cannon, and powders or weapons.

    10. In time of peace, I believe that I can give you as complete satisfaction as anyone else in the construction of buildings both public and private, and in conducting water from one place to another.

    I can further execute sculpture in marble, bronze or clay, also in painting I can do as much as anyone else, whoever he may be.

    Moreover, I would undertake the commission of the bronze horse, which shall endue with immortal glory and eternal honour the auspicious memory of your father and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

    And if any of the aforesaid things should seem to anyone impossible or impracticable, I offer myself as ready to make trial of them in your park or in whatever place shall please your Excellency, to whom I commend myself with all possible humility.

    Leonardo Da Vinci

    At last, we know the reason behind that enigmatic smile!

  • Why Qualified Candidates Don’t Always Get the Best Jobs


    “Out of 1,700 resumes 1,685 people did not get the jobs.”

    Larry Slesinger, President and CEO, Slesinger Management Services has some of the best, most straightforward, free information for job-seekers on the web. His Slesinger Management Services is an executive search firm that helps nonprofit organizations in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area recruit talented people for senior management and leadership positions.

    In his article, Why Qualified Candidates Don’t Always Get the Best Jobs, Larry itemizes why many qualified people were considered “dead on arrival” as soon as he read their applications.

    Although, Larry does not direct any comments at the 60+ job seeker specifically, every nugget is valuable advice for all of us to heed.

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