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I’m not bragging but…

October 24th, 2006

has anyone spent an entire day to make a video just for you? Read on, cuz it happened for me last week!

Remember the post I did last week on other personal branding blogs? The last link was a “funny” thing referencing advice on how to get personal branding…. it was something like this:

  1. put cheese on your face
  2. sit on a subway train (or whatever – it probably won’t work if you commute alone in your car ;))
  3. … and then something like “wait for the branding to begin”

I thought it was funny because you will brand yourself as the guy that always wears cheese on his face, right? Isn’t this somewhat similar to the guy that always wears a nametag, everywhere he goes??

So the owners of that blog who manage an art studio and do creative stuff (I have not one creative bone in my body) commented and said “you wait until tomorrow – we’re cooking up a better personal branding scheme.” And so they did – this one had my in stitches because when I was a teenager a friend “borrowed” the yellow Post-It notes (from his employer) and would cover his friend’s cars with them… check out what they came up with (and I promise I’ll wrap this up into a meaningful message at the end!):

(click here to see the video)

So this is cleaner than the cheese thing, and you can be known as the Post-It Note guy. It is more interactive because when you sit down and see someone looking at you (which they will) you approach them to ask them for a pen (as opposed to just sitting there waiting for it to sink in).

…. that’s not how I’m wrapping it up, don’t worry 😉 I thought this was clever because you need to think about what you can do that is different to create, enhance or reinforce your personal brand. It may be as out-of-the-box as the post-it-note thing. Here are some examples that I’ve seen in the last year that I can recall off the top of my head – they were catchy enough to be memorable:

  1. At a conference everyone in the booth wore the same clothes (I think black everything) and YELLOW old-fashioned Converse shoes. They really really stood out amongst all the suits, and everyone soon came to know who they were.
  2. At a seminar I went to a few weeks ago a guy handed me his card. I have the coolest card in Salt Lake but this guy gave me something very memorable. On his card was his basic contact information on the right, and on the left was nothing except the words “MY CARD” which was centered. It got a chuckle out of me because it was unique.
  3. My SOB award giver has a great signature: first line: Smiles, second line: Liz, third line: a 65th crayon, if there ever was one – makes you think… color? creativity? sense of humor? All of the above.

Just some examples. I don’t expect you to be overly-silly. The branding only works if it really reflects who you are, and you have a long-term committment to it. But once you figure out little ways that you will stand out it will be very effective in a business setting, in an interview setting, etc.

One word to the wise, however, be especially careful how you come across in the interview – you don’t want a branding experiment to brand you as a nut-case!

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First a SLOB, now an SOB…

October 23rd, 2006

I'm an SOB winner!So I just got a great honor from Liz Strauss who is a blog expert, career coach and many other things (check out her profile here)… her experience in blogging at a corporate strategy level really adds credit to this award, and I sincerely appreciate it.

One question I have for any award-givers out there is… aren’t there any acronyms that don’t make people blush or flinch? Like “the NEAT award” (nearly everything’s authentic blog) or “the BOMB award” (Blog on master blogger!)?

And for all the naysayers, you can click here to see that this is a real, authentic thing 😉 Note it is the 52nd week she’s done it, happy birthday SOB/Liz!

Note: SOB = Successful and Outstanding Blogger 😉

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Recruiter Techniques and Tricks

October 23rd, 2006

I like to follow recruiter blogs to see what they are up to and their overall mindset on various things.  Afterall, they are a big part of the job search process and understanding what makes them tick helps understand how they fit and can be helpful.Â

On Dave Mendoza’s blog I came across a post from Steve Levy about common misconceptions that newbie recruiters have about what recruiting is…. and he says he is going to set it straight in 3 posts.  This first post is called “Recruiting planning by focusing on the business side (who your targets are).” I liked what Steve had to say here because he has specific examples of some tricks recruiters know to manage some of the competitive intelligence that helps them do their jobs better – specifically, knowing what industries and companies are hot, and which are about to (or are tanking).

Isn’t this something that you should be doing???Â

Trust me, for all this industry analysis that recruiters are doing to piece together the potential market, they aren’t going to sit with you for a few hours and give you the run-down.  Remember, they don’t work for you.  They work for the client - you may be a big part of them filling their job or getting a nice commission - but they aren’t your best friend (unless you are lucky ;)).  As far as I’ve seen, they would rather spend time doing something moving towards their commission than giving you the 411 on stuff you should already know.

So just what does Steve tell other recruiters to do?  You need to read the whole article here because reading it from his perspective helps you understand what a recruiter is to you (and how they work).  I’ve picked out some specific tools that he recommends to really know where things are at:

  • Get the financial low-down at the New York Times Interactive Sector Snapshot – this is a very cool tool that financial geeks must love, but if you are looking at different sectors to move into (or wondering how yours is doing) you need to check it out
  • Yahoo Finance allows you to create financial portfolios that you can track – not just for your personal investments anymore – consider this to measure/monitor the health of that new industry you’ve been eyeing!Â
  • In addition to various e-mail lists you can get on you can check out MarketWatch for another perspective and source of information.

I think you get the point… others that care about finding people jobs are using tools like this to see where the jobs are, or where talent might be coming from (that’s the point of Steve’s post – remember, he is a recruiter telling other recruiters where to find talent)… but know that these tools are available to you also.  This can help in a career transition or in actually doing your job (getting competitive intelligence)… good luck!Â

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“You Get It” winner of the month – Kent Blumberg!

October 20th, 2006

Kent BlumbergCongrats, cyber-high-five, 3 additional months of free Premium and a link on the left in the winners circle all go out to Kent Blumberg for being the winner of the month for November 2006! I came across Kent a few weeks ago from a post by Louise Fletcher on her Blue Sky Resume blog and was uber-impressed! We’ve exchanged e-mails a bit over the last few weeks and I’m even more impressed – this guy is very cool. But that’s not why he’s the monthly winner.

This prize is based on “getting it“… that is, using the Internet to develop, enhance, reinforce a personal brand – which is one component of taking your career into your own hands. It is only one component, but it is increasingly significant. If you want to read more on personal branding go check out the new links to bloggers that I put up this week that are personal branding (or general branding) experts… and I guarantee you’ll regret not studying harder in your Spanish class because the dude from Spain does have a lot of quality input on the subject. Back to Kent…

I know that Kent is an “expert” in leadership, strategy and performance. How? Because it says so right under his name! Get it? First he brands his name, then he tells us what his expertise is. How hard is that? Right off the bat I would be interested in reading what he writes because (a) all this business stuff is interesting to me, and (b) he will have a different approach, style and perspective than what I’m used to because his life experiences are different. Sure his opinion is only his own but by reading some of the posts I can see that I want to read more, and in my eyes he is an “expert”… or at least another really good source of information.

Kent’s blog is full of high-quality, short-read posts. His categories include execution, financials, leading change… all topics that can be tricky – but those plus the others show the breadth and depth of Kent’s professional capabilities. He has a section called “Favorite Posts” which quickly shows you as the reader what he really likes, getting a chance to peak into his brain in just a few posts.

A quick look-up on Technorati shows that he has 15 (now 16 with this) blogs that link back to him… which is not too shabby for a regular person. But I was very impressed that three of those blogs are quite popular (they had 79, 189 and 213 blogs linking to them… ) which shows that Kent has quality posts that have impressed some pretty big bloggers – not easy to do.

Here’s his post I read yesterday on “LEAN”… I’ve heard of lean and think I get it but in just 3 lines I learned more than I picked up on before. If I am looking for a manager that gets lean I’ll surely want to talk to him because he wrote this article on it!
Ok, enough of the technical and analysis stuff. Here are some things that I found interesting, from the e-mail exchanges:

First, Kent is indeed looking for a job! You won’t see that anywhere on his blog, which I think is brilliant (especially for him, at his level). Why brilliance? Because what he is doing is developing his long-term personal brand, which is not as a job seeker but as an expert in leadership, strategy and performance. Once he gets his job he should continue to blog and further increase the perception of his expertise! Here is what Kent isn’t saying on his blog:

Looking for a role as executive GM (VP and above) over a division with revenues between $300 million and $700 million. Target industries are bio-energy, specialty chemicals, and pulp and paper. I’m looking worldwide, but with a focus on the continental US.

Second, when I asked him about his blogging experience, why he got started, etc. here was his reply (I’m not going to comment on this but I find this summary to be right-on with my personal experiences):

It’s fun.

It gets me involved with a community of folks I would not otherwise meet. You, for example. And Bob Sutton (http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/), professor and author.

It helps me learn web 2.0.

It gives me the opportunity to document what I know (or think I know) and what I believe about leadership, strategy and performance.

It gives others the opportunity to learn a bit more about me before face-to-face meetings.

It stretches my mind (I want it to be good, so I work hard at it).

Kent, good job and congratulations! You are an excellent example of how executives can take control of their personal branding and run with it.

Want to know more about Kent? Go check out his blog, where you can find contact information.

So is this really a big deal? Veteran career coach Barbara Safani, who has an ear-to-the-ground on this type of technology, says “I’m a big fan of blogging and frequently recommend leveraging blog posts as a networking and general career management strategy” (read more here) … general career management strategy?? I love it – stop asking the old questions of “what’s your sign,” “where’s the beef,” and start asking “what is your career management strategy!”

And stay tuned for the Nov 6th blog carnival – I promise you won’t be let down! Better yet, sign up to get daily e-mails of this blog sent right to you… see the little subscribe box at the very top right of your screen?

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How Do I Help My Buddy?

October 19th, 2006

This question has been on my mind for a long time and I’m going to post it over at Recruiting.com to see if any of the expert recruiters over there can chime in. I imagine that a lot of people have this same question, so hopefully we’ll get some good advice 😉

Because of what I do (lots of networking, all day long and into the night) I meet some very unique, outstanding individuals. Only a few are here local – many are spread throughout the country (or have interest in working overseas). When I say unique, I mean they are way above average in their competencies, work experience, salary expectations etc. Maybe my experience is too limited but I think I’m talking about the creme of the crop. And, as someone wrote for the carnival (I’ll post the whole thing on the 6th), they may have spent all their time on their JOB and none (or little) on their CAREER.

So my question is, if I know so-and-so in this-state or that-state, HOW can I hook them up? I know Carl Chapman in Georgia but as far as I understand he only focuses on restaurant executives. I know Paul in Minnesota but I think he only focuses on techies. Dave Mendoza is an expert networker (this is a really good read on networking – or here it is on his blog)… but I don’t think it is right to send all of these unique folks to those recruiters. And I realize that some recruiters are very specialized but still work nationally.

How do I find someone that can help people like the following (all of these are real people):

H.A. – just got laid off – has been an exec in the ag industry working for huge organizations in various countries. Very seasoned, experienced, etc. Usually VP or above. I think he is open to any good opportunity, anywhere.

K.B. – business expert on strategy, leadership etc. Not sure where he lives or wants to live but this guy is hot stuff.

D.S. – inventory expert, wants to stay in Pennsylvania. Incredible experience and could probably write books on logistics, supply chain management, etc.

J.D. – here in the SLC area and wants to stay here, J.D. has incredible business development and international development experience. Worked and performed miracles at a company everyone knows and is looking for his next big gig.

J.H. – an American that has spent (I think) about 10 years in Asia, speaks Mandarin and Cantonese and is very interested in working in Asia again.

There are more… L.J. has great depth in marketing and international experience, L.?. has a PhD in the medical research arena, etc etc etc.

Any ideas on how I can get more connected to people that can help these people? What would recruiters recommend I do to be more useful to these friends that are in my network? What do *you* recommend?

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The Elite Book on Job Search

October 19th, 2006

I skipped my Monday morning network meeting to spend a couple of hours with Ellen and Lorie, owners of Elite Business Communications, coaches and authors of the fresh-off-the-press book “The Complete Job Search Handbook“.

I asked them why they decided to write this book and they said that their experiences as executive coaches usually led them into helping with job search stuff, either for their clients or their clients’ kids.

I asked them what makes this book different among the rest and they said that it was easy to read, there is no BS – just good hearty content.

I asked them how they found the other job search books that are already on the market to be and they said they were all across the board (I agree with that!).

I’ve been perusing their book and find it to be helpful. One thing I like in there is that there is a lot of stuff on ettiquite (which this Jason really needs!). I don’t remember reading so much on ettiquite other than the normal “be professional/strong handshake” type thing – but these ladies lay out lots of ettiquite for you – job seeker or not. For me that would probably be the main differentiator, comparing it to other books.

Of course they talk about organizing the job search but they talk about having 3×5 cards… you already know how I feel about that 😉 I also didn’t see anything on there about personal branding, so maybe there will be a Complete Job Search Handbook Part II 😉

I confess that I have not really read many of these (I perused other books earlier this year when I was in my job hunt and hated reading these HUGE things that had too much information, or lists and lists of other resources – neither of which this book has/does). I would love to get a copy of CM Russell’s Ultimate Job Hunting Secrets and weigh in on it. CM (aka Chris) is an online buddy and more in touch with this stuff than most people I know – he owns and operates a number of county based job boards and contributes to a number of blogs. I don’t know what version his book is in but I’m sure it is interseting based on his exposure to the issues.

I just read that NBC is looking at cutting $750 million, which will affect 700 people – make that, 700 familes. Maybe Lorie and Ellen need to go give each of these hard workers one of their new books as they walk out the door.

And this morning I read about the AOL announcement of 1,700 layoffs on the east coast and selling a local office in Utah with about 400 employees who they “hope will be able to land a job with the company that’s buying it.” Isn’t it nice that AOL *hopes* the best for their employees?

Listen, you can get ticked about the employer hoping… but that’s more than they owe you. They paid you a “fair” wage while you were there, and you are now even. If you were looking to them for your career then you don’t understand how things work anymore.

If you have a job now you need to realize what you got … its like holding water in your hand. It can go at any time… what are you doing to prepare? I’m dying for the 6th to come because the carnival entries are getting “gooder and gooder”… you’re going to love what people are coming up with, and it is straight from the heart. Subscribe to this blog (see the box in the upper right?) so you don’t miss out on it… I promise it will be the bomb!

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Is This National Personal Branding Week?

October 18th, 2006

Maybe not but perhaps it should be. Yesterday’s on-site presentation, today I’m looking for personal branding blogs (yesterday I went to look for my ‘category’ (see those links on the left, where I have all my posts categorized?) called “Personal Branding” and DOH! I didn’t see it!) and on Friday I’ll announce the winner of October’s You Get It monthly award. And, the carnival entries that I’ve read are laden with personal branding (and more – and it is all qute personal).

First thing to notice is a new category for things about personal branding (I’m not going back to all the posts to recategorize yet), and another “blogroll” section to highlight personal branding blogs (I’ll start this today). Here are a few that I came across that you might find interesting:

Seth Godin is a master in his own right, and everyone knows it and links to him. I’ve neglected linking to him because, well, everyone else does. But with regard to personal branding it is critical to understand marketing ideas and thoughts, and I’m not sure there is a better place to get it. And, Seth’s posts are way shorter than mine… he is a daily “must read.”

William Arruda, the “personal branding strategist” … lots of good juice on personal branding but it looks like he’s taken the last three weeks off. I bet he’ll be back soon, his short posts are good stuff. In this one William talks about “Do O’clock” (listen to the 1:49 minute podcast, you’ll get it)… and I agree. For me this time of the day was the sleepy time, so why not shift gears and work on your career and not your job?

Here’s one from Andres Perez Ortega from Spain (get your spanish dictionaries out). It is filled with cool, juicy thoughts and even if you can’t read Spanish you should know that this is a hot topic internationally. Andres has a great blog with lots of content. Hola Andres!

Jack Yan is a branding expert with huge international appeal. If you dig reading Seth’s stuff on branding you might want to peek over here and see if Jack has stuff you need to learn about. I always encourage professionals to sharpen their saw and I’m seeing more stuff here from Jack than I got out of my MBA marketing class. Here’s a specific post on personal branding (at the end when he talks about celebrity brands, that’s you ;).

HELLO my name is Scott cracks me up – he wears a name badge everywhere he goes. Is that personal branding or what? I find his blog to be though-provoking… and since he is living the personal branding thing figure he is a great read (he has to promote his speeches, books, etc.). Lots to learn from mr. namebadge everywhere.

Jason Whitman is all about branding – his blog’s name is “Brand Love Hate”. He has a series on personal branding, and here is one post (with two links) that are great reads FOR YOU.

Susan Guarneri is “the Career Assessment Goddess” – and her blog is right on for everyone that knows they may be in a job search. Here is a specific post on personal branding, note she mentions William and Carolynn… I had lunch with Carolynn a couple of weeks ago. Does that make me a little more famous?

For fun here is a very short read on how to have a great personal brand with CHEESE (it is in europe… hm, those funny guys).

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Personal Branding and Carnival

October 17th, 2006

jason presenting on personal brandingI finished my presentation on Personal Branding using technology, which was fun but somewhat exausting. Hey, for a big guy like me who is usually pounding away on my keyboard (read: lazy, out of shape), getting up and presenting for 90 minutes (with intense discussion) was a little tough 😉

I was slow to get to this post, and Rob beat me to it. I really appreciate his follow-up thoughts not really on anything I said but on stuff that the presentation made him think about.

I hope to get this uploaded to a video place in the next few days, probably in pieces so it isn’t one big 90min presentation. I won’t belabor it here, and will save some stuff from the presentation for a few other posts. Here are some thoughts on the carnival.

The response that I’ve gotten on the carnival has been awesome. I sent out some e-mails to people that I personally wanted to hear from and have already gotten some of their write-ups. I am ASTOUNDED at the thought that went into these write-ups – the advice is excellent.

There is one very thoughtful and creative recruiter in Georgia that sent me his piece (he’ll post it later, and I’ll link to it on the 6th) that was awesome. I got what I consider two “celebrity” folks to submit their responses, which I’ll also post later (ah, the suspense is killing me even though I’ve already read what they wrote! ;)). I have had one passive job seeker (a guy that has a job but realizes that you are never safe from that proverbial pink slip) send me an excellent piece he wrote…, another from an author of a book, etc. I know others are coming.

I will share one with you right now, just because it is from someone that I wasn’t crossing my fingers on. Phil Windley actually gets part of the blame for my blogging addiction, as he was on the panel of the conference about blogging where I decided to jump on the bandwagon. He has been an inspiration to me as someone who has developed his own personal brand (which he talks about in this post). I consider him to be a very successful professional, and even had a slide covering his site in my presentation today. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he had responded to my carnival today, and encourage you to read his post.

Remember, he is answering this question:

Yikes! You just lost your job! You’ve been so busy at *work* that you don’t feel your network is as strong as you would like it to be! What are you going to do with (and to) your network in the next 6 weeks as you begin an aggresive job search campaign? And, outside of your network, what job search tactics will you employ? Or your best networking tips related to job searches.

Anyone can jump into this carnival, just e-mail me your permalink by the 5th or 6th of November, as on the 6th I will post all links that I know about. I guarantee this will be a thought-provoking experience. All input that I’ve recieved thus far has some common themes but also there are great outside-the-box ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of!

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Paul’s Job Board Secrets

October 16th, 2006

I’ve blogged on Paul from the Twin Cities before… in fact he is one of my favorite recruiters and has a great blog for job seekers and professionals.

This particular post reminded me of one of my strategy classes in the MBA program where we learned about the “competitive landscape” – that is – you should know the ins-and-outs of your business, everything about vendors, suppliers, customers, etc.

Your career management is your business!

So here is a view into the recruiter world, a how-to that Paul wrote on whether job boards are valuable or not. One quick Jason-note – I’ve blogged a lot on networking to get that job, but I do not discount the power or value of job boards. This post from Paul shows you that they are indeed valuable, and not only in the traditional sense that we all used to think.

In response to “what do you use job boards for?” Paul replies: “I do not recruit people who post their resume online today. I leave that to my clients.

So what, how, huh? Go check out this post – it is a 4 minute read and may help you rethink how YOU use job boards!

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New Stuff in JibberJobber

October 13th, 2006

Ya, this is the third post for today, sorry about that! You now I usually only post once a day. I just needed to mention a few updates… next week I’ll have more cool stuff to announce as we are finishing up some way cool development to further polish JibberJobber. And, I got a lengthy detailed e-mail yesterday by someone that is very analytical with some great points (well, weaknesses) that can be addressed. So here’s what’s new (at least, the stuff I can announce now):

First, John from Utah requested a change on how to add contacts… if you want to use the “referred by” part then you have to know where you put the referrer (so, if Joe referred you to Sally, you have to know where you had Joe (in My Network, Friends, etc.). That was getting kind of confusing, and some people like to have tons of categories, … John suggested to just have a drop down of all the people in his network, and not have to hunt people down by the categories. This is the new default, but if you like the old way then you can go into My Account -> Preferences and go back to the old way.

Second, I’m pleased to announce a relationship with Salary.com where they actually co-branded their stuff with my site. We have been talking about this for a while but it was my bad because we were in the middle of changing our layout (which, btw, I was recently told feels old :( You just can’t win them all!) Anyway, under Tools AND on the right-bottom panel on the front page while logged in are the links to Salary.com… go ahead and go there to see what you are worth, and all that juicy stuff.

Third, another great relationship with Chimby.com. I’ve blogged on them before and they have done a co-branding also. You will find links to them (1) under Tools, (2) in the bottom right panel on the main logged in page, and (3) in the Library (at the bottom). Chimby is the google of all things job search. I know the owner (he wrote the book Ultimate Job Hunting Secrets) and he has a great search system that is limited to searching on only job related stuff. He pulls from about 200 websites that have blog posts, articles, etc. I go there frequently when I’m looking for good information… Google just doesn’t filter it down like Chimby does.

That’s all I have to say for now. Here’s a sneak peek at what we’re working on for Wednesday(ish):

  1. Addition of a birthday field for contacts (duh.. how can you keep relationships if you don’t know this. Go put your wife or husband’s b-day in!)
  2. New phone field so you can have work and home… once again, DUH. Not sure how we overlooked that. But polishing is a good thing, right?
  3. Adding a picture on a contact – this is cool because I’m *really* bad with names+faces. This way I’ll be able to put people’s pics up and when I meet with them, go check out their picture so I can recognize them when I see them.
  4. Importing enhancements. This will be phase II on this feature… it works fine (no bugs) now but there are some useability changes that we’re implementing that will make it way easier and more effective.

I’m out there networking and meeting with users, collecting business cards and having lunches. I’m putting JibberJobber to the test personally and have a list of things to make it better… all the input from you guys is great and is on the list!!

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