Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More on Facebook and LinkedIn

Following on yesterday's post about setting up a profile on LinkedIn...I opened the latest issue of Money magazine this morning and saw an article by Dan Kadlec.

You Ought To Be In Facebook covers the same points that Neil Patel made. He comes at it from the perspective of the baby boomer generation - stating that networking gets more critical as you age.

I don't necessarily agree with that. Networking is important at any age - both professional and personal networks. The care and feeding of your network intensifies the longer you wait. But, Money is geared towards Boomers and they have to play to their audience.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Facebook the New LinkedIn?

Oy. Now I need a Facebook profile? According to Neil Patel, yes. I caught the Use Facebook as a Marketing Tool link from Lifehacker. This took me to Patel's Quick Sprout blog and the full post: Build a Facebook Profile You Can Be Proud Of.

Facebook has opened itself up to the masses. Now anyone can have a Facebook page. Previously, you could only get in if you had a college email address. (Which doesn't make sense but I read it on the webbernet so it must be true.) The principal is essentially the same as building out your LinkedIn profile.

The name of the game, ultimately, is personal branding. The number 1 marketing method for building your brand in your Google page rank. If Facebook is uber-popular and will help move me ahead of Mike Lally, the actor, I am all for it. Patel gives some helpful hints: Build your profile...the more complete the profile, the more chances you have getting connected to others with similar interests/backgrounds.

Next, you need to interact. Just like LinkedIn. You have to work it! Search for people you know. Find the connections. Grow your network organically. I AM against just random linkages. GENUINELY get to know people BEFORE you add them.

Lastly, and again, just like LinkedIn and your resume, keep your profile up to date. Know your accomplishments and PUBLISH THEM FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE! it Facebook page.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

48 Days to the Work You Love

More on personal branding. I mentioned in my last post that I was deconstructing myself. I pick up this book to help.

There is a quote from Tom Peters somewhere that if he gets one idea out of a $20 book, the ROI is incredible.

This is one of those books. This book is H-E-A-V-Y on the religious overtones. I don't judge and those parts are easy to skip over.

This book looks at goal-setting and life balancing. It asks you to look inward and "know thyself". It provides some decent tips along the way.

The author, Dan Miller, lays out 7 Areas For Achievement in your life. They are:

  1. Financial
  2. Physical
  3. Personal Development
  4. Family
  5. Spiritual
  6. Social
  7. Career
For more on this I really suggest you look at Rick Houcek. I met him a few years ago. He talks about the same thing...balance and goal-setting. He's an intense guy.

Digression - in the Social section, Miller provides a list of 6 Ways to make people like you - that he lifts from Dale Carnegie. (I don't know about "making" people like you, but these couldn't hurt):

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.
Then he gets into understanding your personal brand. In order to understand your brand you need to understand three areas: your personality traits, your values, dreams, and passions, and skills and abilities. You need to take a very hard and detailed personal inventory to understand you values/dreams/passions and your skills/abilities. There are plenty of personality tests out there (more on those in a later post).

Miller takes a pretty common point about your plain-old-looks-like-everyone-else's resume and tweaks it in a way that bears repeating:
Your resume is your sales tool for where you want to go. Don't let it be just a snapshot of where you have been.
Where you want to GO. I like that.

He continues...
If you want to redirect your career path, you can begin the process with a well-designed resume. Remember, if your resume is just a chronological history of what you've done, it will pigeonhole you into continuing to do what you've always done. You can redirect in major ways by identifying 'area of competence' that would have applications in new companies, industries, and professions.
Along with goal-setting and branding, Miller provides interviewing tips. I liked his section on the always tough "Tell me a little about yourself" question. I think I am a pretty good interviewee. I hate this question. Miller helps and it really goes hand in hand with your branding. If you really lock in on your brand, this question will answer itself. He advises:
Remember, your answer to any question should be no more than 2 minutes in length. On this particular one, you might spend 15 seconds on your personal background, 1 minute on your career highlights, a few seconds on your strongest professional achievements, and then conclude by explaining why you are looking for a new opportunity.
I recommend video-taping yourself. It is BRUTAL. But it is effective. Get yourself a timer. Script out your answer, record it, time it. Edit it as needed. Pay attention to your body language as you speak. I don't know about the 2 minute rule either.

You need your elevator-speech (we really need a new term for that) and this will come as you come to understand your brand. Take the 2 minute version and chop it to 1 minute. Then to 30 seconds. It is OK to have multiple versions - long, medium, short.

Maybe I was unfair in the beginning of this post. There is a good amount of value in this book. I was really turned off by all the "Bibleing". Miller tosses around Scripture like - I don't know, I can't think of a good metaphor. But all in all, this is a good starting point for someone looking to know themselves better.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More on Branding Yourself

It has been ten years since Tom Peters first interjected the concept of personal branding into the workplace lexicon. Very few people get it. I think I am just beginning to get it. I keep learning. I evolve. Someday I too will be a beautiful and unique snowflake.

Today has been a day of convergence around Personal Branding. I read a great article from Joe Calloway at The CEO Refresher called Your Brand is Everything. Calloway does a good job of cutting through the marketing-speak and laying out what a brand really IS:
Your brand is owned by your customers, the people you work with, and anyone else who has an impression of you. Your brand is other people's perception of what it is like to do business with you, work with you, or be with you.
Take a minute and let that sink in.

You create your brand with every breath, every action, every decision and how all of those elements drive your customer's experience. Calloway advises that the way to build a strong brand is simple: keep your promises and create great experiences for others.

Then, the mind-blower: you don't have just one brand. You have MULTIPLE brands. "You literally have as many brands as you have customers and people who have an impression of you." Holy cow. How many people did you talk to today? How many did you email? IM? All of them walked away with a perception of YOU - your BRAND.

The customer gets to decide your brand. He then goes on to talk about customer experiences. One I particularly LOVE:
Everyone at the dry cleaners knows my name. I spend about thirty dollars a week with them. My company spends tens of thousands of dollars every year with you and yet I feel like you have no idea who I am.

Tomorrow I will drop off my own dry cleaning and be greeted by a "Good morning, Mr. Lally!" And it is genuine. I've been going there for years. It is not because they HAVE to do it. It is a part of them. As soon as I get to the office, I have a meeting with a technology vendor who is coming to talk about a migration plan to a new platform. I've been chasing them all week on a problem we are having with the existing platform. The sales person doesn't know that I am going to be managing the relationship going forward. And I am not a happy camper.

Flip over to Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist blog. She has a great post today on Three Steps to Building Your Brand. I've really enjoyed this blog. The link is to the full Yahoo Finance article. She points to a definition by Dan Schwabel (who has actually commented on Diligentia!) in his Personal Branding Wiki.

The wiki definition of a personal brand is labeled a PROCESS of "identifying and articulating their unique value proposition...and leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal."

But where to begin? Penelope and Dan provide some tips. Dan says to begin with an "inventory of personal core competencies, natural constituencies, expertise and demonstrated abilities." Good but I am just a simple farmer. That is a bit too wordy for me. I like Penelope's version better:
  1. Know what you are good at.
  2. Know what people think of you.
  3. Meet the right people.
One of the big tricks to career success is to find out what you do better than almost everyone else, and then let people know that's what you do.
Knowing what people think of you is a tough one. Getting honest feedback is not easy. She points to a great article from The Prometheus Institute on Five Tips to Increase Your Likeability. I would also point you to Marshall Goldsmith's book - What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

How to be likeable:
  1. Be positive. As my mother-in-law says: "Quit your crab-applin'." She's right. Attitude is everything.
  2. Control your insecurities. Breathe. Accept who you are and if you don't like it, change it. Or sit down and be quiet.
  3. Provide Value. Get in the game. Get some social skills. You may be brilliant but if you can't stand to be around other humans, no one is going to care. Learn how to fake it if you must.
  4. Eliminate all judgements. This means "treating everyone with the respect you would give to a 120-year-old man and the understanding you would give toward your sever-year-old cousin."
  5. Become a person of conviction. As the song says....respect yourself.
Be a hammer. "Specialists have the best careers."

As I mentioned, I have been working on this. I have been going through a process of deconstructing myself. Stripping ME down and putting myself back together again starting at the core.

I will start posting about my efforts to develop the Brand Me.