Is YOUR personal brand doing well?

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]  From Larry’s ABCs of Strategic Communication come the following:

  1. Google yourself regularly
  2. Do frequent social media sweeps

Tips to Succeed:Do you have a brand? – Evaluate your 5 Ps

Your brand consists of a complex set of characteristics and dynamics
that play out in thousands of scenarios each workday.
You can use your brand to positively influence your image to others
and enhance your career using these five Ps:
Persona – The emotional connection and reaction you elicit from
other people as a result of your personal style.
Product – The sum of your qualifications, experience, technical
and/or functional expertise, ideas and results you’ve delivered
over time.
Packaging – The presentation of your personal appearance, surroundings
and tangible results of projects and assignments on the
job.
Promotion – The way you inform your market about your value
and impact.
Permission – The sense of legitimacy, confidence and core belief
that you have important contributions to make.

Thank you to Susan Hodgkinson – The Leader’s Edge

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7 Tips To Becoming More Valuable in the Next 12 Months

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This week’s blog comes from 

Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

By Anita Zinsmeister

In The Next 12 Months:

1.  Become More Confident – When you believe in your abilities, others will too.  It starts with your body language.  Carry yourself with confidence and others will take notice.
 
2.  Ask For More Responsibility – Doing more than your job requires or asking for additional responsibilities shows that you are eager for a promotion.  But be sure you are ready to work hard.
 
3.  Share Your Ideas To Improve The Business Or Process- If you have an idea that will add value to your company, speak up.   The worst your manager can say is, “no.”  At the very least, it shows that you want to contribute.
 
4.  Start Writing Articles (Or Videos) On Social Media – Social media is a great way to tell a broad audience about your goods, services or skills. Create a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter account.   Then regularly post relevant content on topics within your area of expertise.
 
5.  Develop A Blog (WordPress)- Like to write?   Why not start a blog? Blogging about industry topics that interest you is yet another way to promote your expertise.  Tools such as WordPress make it easy to get started.  If you have a website, be sure to add a link to your posts.
 
6.  Network, Network, And Network Again – Attending local networking events can also be useful.  When independently promoting yourself, consider offering your services in exchange for goods or services that are useful to you.  This is a great way to get a prospect to sample your work without having to commit to a long-term business relationship.  If your product or performance exceeds expectations, it is likely you’ll gain a new client — and some referrals.
 
7.  Keep An Ample Supply Of Business Cards On You – In today’s digital world, business cards may seem a bit old-fashioned.  Yet they are still one of the most effective marketing tools.   Use your card as an opportunity to promote your business.
 
Executive Summary:  Promoting yourself can be a challenge, especially if you are modest.  But a little self-confidence can go a long way.  Here are some more tips for you:
 
  • If your goal is a promotion, take on more responsibility at work.
  • Speak up if you have a good idea.
  • Take advantage of social media, blogging and other online tools to get your name and talents noticed by a broader audience.
  • Self-promotion may take a little work, but the payoff could be a big career boost in the upcoming year.

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How exercise can boost work performance

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This is excellent advice via the Courier-Post on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018:

BY ERIC TITNER

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

We’re all familiar with the obvious benefits of exercise — regular physical activity can keep us looking and feeling fit and healthy, increase our energy levels and confidence and help us maintain high levels of self-esteem. Staying active can also help us fight off a wealth of potentially life-threatening illnesses.

If you’re still not sold, perhaps this will help seal the deal — exercise helps fuel and maintain a healthy body, and it can actually improve your ability to think and retain information.

WHAT EXERCISE DOES

Recent studies have shown the following cognitive benefits of exercise:

Boosts brainpower: If you’re looking to take your brain’s ability to the next level, you can’t do much better than regular exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can actually increase the volume of key areas in your brain.

Enhances thinking ability: Regular workouts will help kick away the dreaded “brain fog” that keeps you from thinking clearly and keep your mind and thoughts razor sharp all day long.

Helps you process and remember new information more effectively: If you’re trying to acquire a new skill or task, like learning a new language or tackling a new job responsibility, combining it with regular exercise can help. New research suggests that physical activity can increase the size of the medial temporal and pre-frontal cortex of your brain, key areas that regulate and control thinking and memory, so you’ll be able to master that new skill faster.

Improves ability on cognitive tasks: Do you have an important test for work or school coming up? Whatever your mental goals are, exercise will help you succeed on all sorts of cognitive tasks that test your intelligence and brainpower.

Keeps away the negatives: Regular exercise will help keep your mood positive and upbeat, help you achieve more restful sleep at night and help reduce anxiety and stress, ensuring your brain works at its best.

WHEN, WHAT AND HOW MUCH?

Now that you know it works, let’s explore how you can make it work for you.

Although there’s some debate regarding the type of exercise that best serves to promote brain function, according to a recent article by Harvard Medical School, “researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results.”

Research also suggests that although you’ll receive a brain benefit regardless of when you decide to exercise, the most promising results typically occur when you do your workout before or even during a cognitive task.

Another big question you might be wondering about is how much exercise you should do in order to receive a cognitive benefit. The same Harvard Medical School report suggests that “standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week.”

If you’re worried that you’re simply too busy to exercise or find the very idea of exercise daunting, a great way to take a step forward toward a regular active lifestyle is to start small. Try taking a brief yet brisk walk for 10 to 15 minutes each day, and gradually increase your workout in both length and intensity as time passes.

Now that you know all about the many benefits that exercise will bring to your life, put the excuses aside and get up and get moving toward yoursuccessful future!

Eric Titner is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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10 ways to identify a fake job posting

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From the Dec. 10, 2017 issue of the Courier-Post comes this important advice from thejobnetwork.com:

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK

The job market is hard enough to navigate without having to worry about a job posting that turns out to be a scam — or even just a dead end. Save your precious time and energy by being on the lookout for these simple signs that something just

isn’t right:

1. The company has no online presence.

You do your due diligence and try to verify the person, the company and the job listing and nothing is turning up in your online search. You can stop right there and step away. Legit jobs always have some sort of online trail.

2. The recruiter’s email doesn’t match their company.

You get an email from a recruiter who claims to represent a fabulous and well-known company. The company logo might even be at the bottom of the email. Look closely — does the email they want you to send materials to not end in the official company name (theircompany.com)? If the email associated with the posting or the invitation is a personal one (think Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), you might want to take a pass. And don’t respond and attach any personal documents unless you’re sure you’re dealing with the real deal.

3. You found it via a random social media post.

While it is possible to land a great job you found through social media, chances are if it’s just posted there — or sponsored or advertised — it’s probably not as sweet a deal as it seems.

Remember that the overwhelming majority of jobs are referral based, come through legitimate channels or are posted on vetted job boards. Resist the idea that you can just surf Facebook and get hired.

4. They claim “No experience necessary.”

Sure, maybe the job they’re offering is entry level. Maybe they offer training. But if the posting leads with “No Experience Necessary,” you can be almost certain there’s a catch you won’t like. Most employers want you to come equipped with some skills.

5. The language is sloppy.

If the ad isn’t well written, contains spelling or grammatical errors, is sloppily punctuated or IN ALL CAPS, consider it a red flag. A real job posting will be professional and polished.

6. They ask for an interview via chat or text.

You should be wary if your first interview is scheduled on some type of text messaging service. While remote interviews are becoming increasingly common, that means phone calls andSkype, not a typed conversation in a chat window.

7. Anything about it is too good to be true.

You’re hired immediately! The salary is crazy high! They contacted you out of the blue! When can you start? (Hint: If a job seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.) 8. Everything about it is vague.

If you can’t tell from the posting exactly what your role would be at the company, that’s a problem. A bigger problem is when you can’t really tell what the company does and get a sense of its mission or history. If all of this is very vague, leave this one in the “no” pile.

9. They want money.

If you’re asked to pay anything — such as a fee to apply or for a software program to send in your application materials — consider the job a scam. A general rule of thumb: Never give your money away to total strangers.

10. Your gut says no.

The bottom line: Keep an eye out for these and other warning signs, but your best alarm system is your own gut instinct. Does something seem off to you? If so, let it go. There are other jobs out there.

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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How to describe yourself in a job interview

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From THEJOBNETWORD, the Courier-Post (on Nov. 12, 2017) and writer Peter Jones come these “tips.”

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK

You know you’re going to be asked about yourself in a job interview, so don’t get caught tongue-tied.

It’s smart to have a small collection of adjectives that describe you well and show you off in your best light — bonus points if they aren’t the same old tired words everybody else is using.

Often the best strategy here is to think of action verbs, then modify them into adjective form. Think about how you would sincerely describe yourself, both personally and at the office, then put together a list and memorize it for ultimate interview success.

Here are eight powerful examples interviewers are sure

to love:

  1. Communicative

Communication is one of the skills most highly valued by employers, so this is a shrewd word to use. It suggests that you’re a people person, you are effective at disseminating information, you care about connecting with your clients and coworkers and you are intelligent enough to do so clearly and professionally.

Plus, you can segue this into concrete examples of how you used your communication skills to problem solve.

  1. Reliable“Consistent” or “accountable” are also good ones. You’re in it for the team — you don’t just show up for you. You realize that your work is part of an ecosystem of other people’s projects and you don’t let anybody down. You’re not late for work or meetings. You can be relied upon to do your job, do it well and deliver whatever needs to be done.

      3. Driven

If you’d rather, “ambitious” works here, as well — any adjective that shows you are not just showing up for the paycheck and free coffee is great. These words prove that you are in it to win it — both to advance yourself in your career and, in the meantime, to advance the company and its most important goals. Subtext: no one is going to need to hound or micromanage you to keep you motivated. You’re “self-motivating.”

  1. Meticulous

This word hints at your attention to detail, your precision, your organizational skills, your ability to prioritize and the fact that you hate letting anything slip through any cracks.

If you’re meticulous, you’re thorough and self-managing and trustworthy. See how much work this kind of word can do?

  1. Impactful

Go ahead and say what a difference you made at your last gig. Go ahead and gloat.

You come on the job and get things done. You can totally brag here at this point, and throw in a mention of any accomplishments or awards you may have earned along the way. This word shows you don’t just make promises, you get results.

  1. Persistent

You don’t quit until the job is done (and done well). What’s more, you’ll get the project done on time. You’ll put in the extra work until the solution is found. This conveys that you’re “results-oriented,” as well.

  1. Flexible

You’re not rigid. You think outside the box. You’re able to adapt to challenging circumstances and find the workaround that no one else can see. You adapt on the go and keep adapting. You’re the kind of employee everybody wants because you’re willing to do things outside the purview of your job description — provided it makes sense for the company and for the goals of your team.

  1. Team player

It’s always good to round off a list of descriptors of yourself with something that conveys a bit of humility — your willingness to sacrifice your own time and ambitions now and then for the good of the group.

“Team player” transitions easily enough to a description of how you’re also a “leader” … for those of you who want to score that last bonus point.

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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3 tips to soothe your interview jitters

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Thanks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, we have these interview tips from Jon Simmons, Monster contributor.

Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Why? Either you’re Eminem about to rap battle your opponent, or you’re about to go to a job interview.

If the thought of standing in front of a stranger, asking to be judged on your professional merits makes you want to vomit, you’re not alone—according to a study by Everest College and Harris Interactive, 92% of people say they get nervous at some point before a job interview.

Nerves are natural, but if your high stress level makes you appear less capable than you really are, that could be a big problem during your job search.

Take a deep breath and try to relax. Monster talked with some experts who shared their top tips for staying calm and focused, so you can conquer job interview jitters and land your next job.

  1. Practice your pitch

One of the questions you’re most likely to trip over is also one of the simplest: “What can you tell us about yourself?”

It should come as no surprise that practicing talking about your skills and accomplishments will help you stay calm. But what exactly should you focus on, and how should you practice?

“Your pitch should include your most recent job, two accomplishments, key skills, length of experience, education and languages you speak,” says Amy Geffen, founder of Geffen Careers, a career coaching business in New York City. “Write down your pitch, and practice it in front of the mirror and with a friend. After you have it memorized and you become comfortable, say it in a conversational tone.”

It’s that easy familiarity that can help calm you down when you feel the pressure building in the real-life scenario.

  1. Do your homework

You’re probably familiar with the feeling of taking an exam that you were underprepared for. It’s not a good feeling, obviously, and it’s also a total recipe for a stress attack. But on the flipside, you probably also know the opposite feeling—sitting down for a test that you know you’re going to crush since you took the time to prepare. That same recipe for success applies to heading into interviews.

Google the company to see if they’ve been made any news headlines in the past year. Of course, scouring a company’s website and social media accounts other ways to do your homework. What is their mission? What are their values? What are their future goals? What’s on their radar right now? Familiarize yourself as much as possible with the company.

Company homework aside, your research should also include preparing answers to some of the interview questions recruiters are most likely to ask.

  1. Take your time responding to questions (and take notes!)

Which do you think hiring managers prefer: a candidate who fires off a quick response right after the question (and doesn’t answer particularly well), or a candidate who takes a moment to gather her thoughts before replying with a concise, detailed response?

“Applicants are often nervous and feel they have to provide an immediate response as soon as the question ends,” says Susan Hosage, senior manager, human resources at CTE, Inc.,a PA-based construction services company. “Unfortunately, this practice often results in applicants not understanding what information is being requested or the required level of detail.”

So if you’re asked something you aren’t 100% sure about, stay calm, knowing that hiring managers prefer to wait for the right answer than listen to something that’s tossed back quickly and nervously.

“Listen to the question—even take notes if it’s a long one—and provide a thoughtful response,” Hosage says. That way, you’ll be able to calmly respond, which is half the battle when it comes to looking like you know what you’re talking about.

Content provided by The Inquirer Advertising Department

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8 steps to help you find a job in 30 days

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The following appeared in the Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 edition of the Courier-Post.

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK

You need a new job and you need one fast.

Maybe you’ve just been laid off, or quit or you’re just starting out — or you’re doing some secret job hunting from a position in which you’re miserable. No matter your reasons, if you follow these steps, you’ll have a great shot at scoring a new job in 30 days.

  1. Make a spreadsheet.

Excel is your friend in the organization game. And organization is the key to getting a job fast. Keep track of company name, position title, a link to the job posting itself, application materials, due dates, plus the date you applied, follow-up dates and notes. If you hate Excel, try JibberJobber or Fresh Transition instead. But do keep all your details organized and easily referenced — you’ll be glad you did.

  1. Do your homework.

Be informed — very informed — about the industry where you’re applying. Research every company and every position. Research the people who might be interviewing you and supervising you. Research the top people and the company’s mission.

The more you know and the more prepared you are, the better you’ll do. And the more you strategize and target your applications, the more efficient your search will be.

  1. Dig deep.

What do you actually want in a job? What have you liked and disliked about your current and former positions?

Why do you want a change?

Think about your values and which kind of work environments suit you best. Try to aim for places that match up with your innate talents and tastes first. You’ll be a better fit right out of the gate.

  1. Budget your time.

Once you have a game plan and an organizational system, you’ll want to devote time every day to your job search for 30 days.

You couldn’t possibly spend all day every day on it, but even just 30 minutes of concentrated work a day will move you that much closer to the finish line.

  1. Get social.

Your promo toolbox consists of your social media platforms. Get them all up to fighting speed. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn … make sure these accounts are active and up to date. Make sure you’re using them correctly and are working consistently toward building your personal online brand.

  1. Network.

The one step you might like to avoid is probably the most important. Sometimes all the difference is made in who you know and who knows you.

Think of it as initiating mutually beneficial relationships.

Keep in mind what you have to offer. It’s not just a one-way street.

  1. Follow up.

Your interviewer will likely tell you that they will be in touch with you soon. Tell them immediately how much you appreciate them taking the time to interview you and mention you are eagerly awaiting a response. Then follow up with the same. Send a handwritten thank-you note — you’d be surprised at how effective this can be. Then follow up with a phone call if you haven’t heard back in two weeks. And don’t forget to note when and how you’ve followed up on your spreadsheet.

  1. Be patient.

Keep looking. Keep working at it. Don’t get discouraged after a few rejections. If you’re consistent and keep honing your tools, you’ll get there.

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

 

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Why keywords are so important in a resume

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The following comes from CAREERBUILDER’s Deanna Hartley (June 26, 2016)

HERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD USE CERTAIN KEYWORDS THROUGHOUT YOUR RESUME.

Did you know that, according to CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior Study, more than 3 in 4 full-time employed workers (76 percent) are either actively looking or open to new job opportunities?

That means in today’s job market, you need to find a way to stand out among the competition and shine. To accomplish that, the first step is to get the person on the other end to sit up and pay attention to your resume instead of tossing it into a pile of “maybes.”

One trick is to use certain keywords throughout your resume.

Keywords are descriptors of skills and attributes that industry insiders typically use to describe themselves and others in the profession. Hiring managers sometimes use computer programs known as applicant tracking systems — or ATS, for short — to save time and effort on their part. Keywords matter when they’re scanning your resume in these programs to gauge if your skill set is the right fit for an open position.

According to a Forbes article: “Depending on how a specific ATS works, the location and frequency of keywords within your resume can be extremely important. Typically, the better your resume matches the job description requirements, the higher you’ll rank in the ATS. Additionally, it’s common practice for companies to begin reviewing applicants from the top of the ranking list – bad news for job seekers who haven’t customized and keyworded their resume.”

3 reasons to keep in mind

  1. It helps you to get in front of a human being. Remember that applicant tracking systems use keywords to sort and organize resumes and cover letters. This is designed to save the hiring manager some time, so make sure your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle simply because you didn’t use the right keywords.
  2. It helps you home in on what’s most important. Some job seekers submit resumes that are multiple pages long — and the truly important information gets buried beneath other achievements that are completely irrelevant (such as how many high school basketball championships you won when you’re applying for an accountant position). Making a list of keywords up front can help you to whittle down your long list of experiences to just the ones that the hiring manager will actually care about.
  3. It shows you’re speaking the same language as the hiring manager. Hiring managers use certain keywords in the job posting or description, and it’s important to show that you’re on the same page by using similar terminology to convey your specific skill sets, qualifications and experience.

Need tips on how to get your resume noticed by a company’s applicant tracking system? We did the homework for you. Check out our blog on how to get past an ATS and read up on some best practices on how to conduct an ATS-friendly job search.

Deanna Hartley is a writer for the Advice & Resources section of CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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How to answer tough interview questions

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This comes from the Courier-Post and The Job Network on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

We all know it’s good to prepare answers to the standard interview questions, plus the not-so-standard ones that might come up in a particular interview at a particular company. But often, we are so prepared that we forget to edit our answers down to their most surgical and concise form.

Here are six standard, but tough, interview questions and the snappy sort of answers you should start rehearsing right now:

 1. Why you left your last job

Maybe the answer is as simple as your company was downsizing, but if you left in order to challenge yourself further or pursue more meaningful work, try saying something that emphasizes some skill or experience you wanted to develop professionally.

Talk about how it wasn’t possible to do this at your former job, and so you are committed to mastering it, and you see the perfect opportunity to do so at this company.

Bonus points if you can prove you’re already well on your way to developing this skill, whether by having taken a class or earned a certification.

2. Your greatest weakness 

Step one: Pick a trait that won’t scare them off, and doesn’t in any way affect your ability to perform this job.

Don’t humblebrag. “I’m just too good at work!” But do try and pick something with a positive spin. Maybe you’re too much of a perfectionist or you go flat out until a project’s done without taking a break. Or choose a weakness that you’ve since worked hard to convert into a strength. Formula for the latter: “Well, I was noticing that I was x, so I took step y in order to improve, and ended up in situation z,” (which is infinitely better and makes you a stronger candidatefor the job).

3. Why you seem overqualified

Rather than agree with them and say how much this job is beneath you, emphasize why (and pick three or so specifics) this job is perfect for you right now, and how it fits into your career growth plan.

Your resume probably shows that you can do this job, so use this answer to prove that you want it.

4. Why you’ve changed jobs a lot 

It can be a red flag to some employers who haven’t gotten the memo that job-shifting isn’t necessarily a red flag anymore. Try telling the truth.

Either it’s as simple as, “For reason x, we moved around a lot and so I was forced to…,” or you have a unique opportunity to document your drive and your desire to learn new things and acquire new skills that make you such a stellar candidate with such passion for what you do. Emphasize how all this hopping has uniquely prepared you to land on their precise lily pad, and why you’d want to stay put for a good long while.

5. Why you’ve been unemployed for ages

If you’ve been out of the workforce for a year or more, you’re going to have to explain yourself. Either go for the “I took some time off to evaluate my career needs and wishes in order to come back refreshed and well-prepared and hungry to do this kind of work,” or the “I’ve just completed x course or accreditation in order to make myself more valuable in my field.”

They’ll eat either up.

6. Your age

It’s illegal to discriminate in hiring decisions based on age, but not illegal to ask. If you’re on the older end of the job market spectrum, use your answer to assuage their fears that you’re just in it for the drudgery and the paycheck.

Emphasize how much passion you still have and how much invaluable experience you bring to the table. You’re not done yet!

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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