What’s Your Brand?

DSC_0015Over the past three years the Career Thought Leaders Consortium gathered to discuss employment trends for the now, the new, and the next. For those seeking professional guidance, visiting www.careerthoughleaders.com may be your smartest move as the contributors are recognized leaders within career management.

For now, let’s do a quick review, followed by a worthy analysis and recommendation.

When it comes to branding, here’s the latest scoop according to findings published March 1, 2014, by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium:

The NOW:

     * Branding is a particular problem for those just entering the workforce. Because they have little experience, they don’t know how to assess their value. Even if they have a sense of their value, they don’t know how to translate it well.

The NEW:

     * Branding and social media searches are having an increased impact on the job search. Job seekers should use video and evolving social media tools to create on-brand online images.

The NEXT:

     * Branding will continue to grow in importance as contract and portfolio careers increase. In a rapidly shifting job market, applicants without a clear and compelling brand will be at a serious disadvantage. Whether you are a seasoned executive or a newbie in the job market, developing a strong professional brand is not an option… it is a requirement. Stop the squirming as we delve into the basic “how to create an effective professional brand” session.

By way of priority, professional brands should be that: professional.

  • Leave out personal information NOT related to employment or information which could be used in a discriminatory manner. Things such as religious affiliations, children/family life, political agendas, things you’ve done over the weekend, and/or medical issues.
  • Information to include in your professional brand: accomplishment stories and details, relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities, unique/value added benefits, and assets you bring to organizations.
    • Consider what you believe to be your greatest strength. If you decide to go with one strength, have an actual employment story supporting it. For example, don’t claim in your brand that you specialize in logistics if you have never examined and improved back-end operations.
  • Much like an elevator speech, your professional brand should not bore the reader or be excessive in length.
    • Keep your brand down to three or four sentences (75 – 100 words)

Think about a potential hiring manager and what she most likely would be interested in knowing about you. The secret is in keeping it short, powerful, and packed with value (from the employer’s perspective). If you have any questions or if you would like one of our certified writers evaluate your brand statement (even throw in a few suggestions along the way), don’t hesitate to share.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a disadvantage, take control of your career by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions).

Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com

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Terminated… What now?

DSC_0379With employment tenure averaging two – three years, goodbyes are something we all will end up doing more than once. Though professional and personal relationships vary in depth and degree, both do have much in common. For example, in personal relationships, one is likely to run across the “other” now and then, be it in restaurants or social networking. In a professional setting, revisiting previous job positions and experience gained will also be common for years to come.

Given similarities between personal and professional, truth is, there are differences. I need not delve into the obvious and will concentrate on the professional side of reality: moving from one job to the other. When it’s time to continue your journey, two typical scenarios come to mind: voluntarily and not-so voluntarily. As we recently reviewed the voluntary side of leaving, this time we’ll concentrate on the not-so-voluntary side by examining common stages and how to react as destroying bridges is rarely in our best interest.

Being asked to leave a position is never easy, but, for many, an experience to be encountered. For those who have not had the displeasure, the initial shock of being asked to clear out personal items can suffocate reason while, at the same time, unleash irrational behavior and/or words (typically stated for the world to hear). Recognizing the temptation to lash out may be great, it is strongly recommended you keep calm about the situation, remain professional in all areas, and respect the decision (even if you do not understand the reason).

Feeling vulnerable under stressful situations lends itself to denial. “How can this be?” “I’ve given you five years of dedicated service!” “I’m the best worker here.” “This company can’t operate without me.” These words are often expressed by the one asked to leave at the onset… once denial no longer rules and reality barges in, the next common reaction, anger, shows in various forms.

Consistent to the loss process, the initial reaction of denial typically morphs into anger. Again, this is not the time to display anger… come to think of it, NEVER is the time to act out anger. For those giving into anger temptation, the negative effects of a shouting or shoving match is rarely rewarded. Truth is, bridges tumble quickly if anger is not controlled.

For the easy-anger triggered, hold off for a better time and place. Though hard to resist, keep self-talk from burning future references. If you are at the point of boiling over, do whatever possible to take the high ground, leaving the work environment peacefully and safely go to a place where calm can be restored. For many, this would be home, a park, a long drive, a movie, or even just a walk in the mall. Diffusing potential conflict is ALWAYS the first and safest choice.

Measured by a change in attitude, anger often dissolves into a feeling of hopelessness or depression. If you find yourself at this stage, time to recognize you are not alone as most people have worn those very shoes. How you react during this stage can create a powerful new and progressive you or it can diminish personal as well as professional attitudes. Ultimately, this is the time to accept the past as what it is…the past and begin developing a new you. Concepts such as positive daily affirmations and visualizations can help you along the way. On the other side of the coin, holding anger can destroy many tomorrow’s.

Knowing tomorrow is going to be a great day begins with attitude and action. Positive affirmations should be a part of the daily routine (this goes for everyone) as you make a career and life transition. Instead of beginning the day with a “this day is going to suck” attitude, begin the day with a “nothing is going to stop me from succeeding” attitude. Naturally you will devise personal affirmations fitting your situation. The thing is, by telling yourself “today is going to be a great day,” actions will begin to make this into a reality; even if you have to fake it until you make it.

Visualizations refer to “pictures” of how tomorrow will become. Keep your pictures of the future real while developing images of what you want and, at the same time, create a plan to secure each image. Knowing where you want to go is half the journey. The second have involves the plan (we’ll get to the “how” in later blogs).

Partnering with positive affirmations and visualizations, feelings of hopelessness and/or depression will transition into an attitude of acceptance. Here’s another truth, once you accept a job loss, positive growth can come about.

Being on the wrong side of downsizing is never easy while burning bridges can be as simple as saying the wrong thing during an irrational moment.

If approached and asked to pack your bags, think (more than twice) before speaking or lashing out. I know it’s quite tempting to “give’em a piece of your mind” but hold off a few days to consider alternative options and their consequences.

By recognizing the probable psychological stages to be encountered, you can better prepare for the “just in case” situation.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a disadvantage, take control of your career by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Bridges Better Unburnt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are reasons that doctors put “Changing Jobs” in the highest category of stressors. There are reasons you get funny looks if you’re all smiles but wondering why you’re having headaches and/or stomach aches and you say you’re changing jobs. It is a very big deal. And it starts in that one moment of realization when you know…It’s time to move on.

It can happen quickly, or over several months. It could be your decision or forced upon you. But at some point in everyone’s career, a change is going to come and you are going to leave. The stress, anxiety, and questions that come along with this realization can be overwhelming, and these can mount deeply even if on the surface you think it’s no big deal.

The first thing that you have to come to terms with is that no job is permanent. I think a lot of people mistake a professional relationship and the commitment thereto for something more like a marital relationship, where any thought of severing the bond brings anxiety. The point is, if it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on. You need to understand that as much as your coworkers and employer(s) do.

No need to complicate it with emotions, either in your own mind or in your resignation. All that you have to do is take your leave in a way that opens rather than closes doors. Here are a couple of thoughts on how to make that happen:

Respect

The first and most obvious of this is respect. Not only to give it, but to earn it. No matter what position you are in or how you are leaving this job, this is the single most important part, and it bleeds into everything that you will do in your transition period (if you have one). Show your employer and coworkers respect by acknowledging their position. Gain respect by abstaining from negative talk at work. Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you’re suddenly allowed to gossip and talk about people behind their back. Continue your work with pride until you are gone. Remain courteous and amiable with your coworkers and employer. Be helpful and genuine. You’d be surprised how simple acts like positive body language, eye contact, and handshakes will set people at ease and earn you respect.

Honesty

By this I don’t mean full transparency necessarily, but do be honest. There is no need to bring your personal feelings and daydreams into this in any way that is not related to your position or your time working with them. So, if it is not a medical issue, you don’t have to tell them every aspect that went into your decision and you don’t have to tell them every reaction you’re having. Hopefully this goes without saying, but some people get nervous and start rattling off things they didn’t originally intend to say. However, you should be honest. Honesty will, in turn, gain you respect. Tact and diplomacy will be paramount (no huffing and puffing about old scores or anything), but telling them that you are looking to advance or focus on a particular area in your career is not going to be met with hostility. And, if it is, smile your most professional smile and hold up your end of the previous paragraph until you are out of the door. Stay above reproach, no matter what.

Be honest with yourself in this transition. Do your research on where you’re going, and be sure of what you’re leaving behind. In the end, most people want what’s best for everyone involved. Be one of those people. At every step, forget anxiety and focus on doing the next right thing, and one day you’ll look back and see a landscape of bridges and not piles of ash.

If you’re in a transition, or preparing for one, feel free to share your thoughts, stories, and questions. As always, I’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned: Next time we will examine the flipside of job loss… being asked to leave and the common stages defining downsizing.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

HSP Career Advantage Summarized

I appreciate all the comments and e-mails on our series of blogs about Highly Sensitive People in the workplace. Many reached out to say, “this is me, I never knew, where can I turn now?”

DSC_0062Your comments are inspiring and wonderful. I want you to know that you’re not alone. You should see this outpour of response and recognize that you’re not the only one sitting at a desk or standing behind a counter with a fake facial expression, a bleeding heart, and a passion for something outside of your current job. You’re not the only one affected by sounds and atmosphere in a way that makes others doubt your abilities. And none of this makes you a lesser person.

I received explicit questions about specific career moves for the Highly Sensitive. In light of them, I’ve decided to do a recap for those who missed the discussion last year.

For the Creative:

The Creative HSP is the one who can take their sensitivity to their environment and translate it into amazing art. This can come in so many forms that you need to look deep down, explore online, and find the option that will fit you. If you can find writing positions that fit your life, go for it. Get into graphic design, filming and editing videos (even if you just start with small parties or weddings), or even marketing, which could showcase a remarkable amount of creativity for the right HSP.

For the Empathetic:

This is the kind of Highly Sensitive Person that works best with people, giving off warmth and compassion in a way that creates trust between the consumer and the business. Empathetic HSPs make amazing teachers, nurses, counselors, and even customer service representatives in the right atmosphere.

For the Precise:

The Highly Sensitive Person that is drawn to detail, flourishes in quiet independence, and excels in numbers, figures, and linguistics, genuinely should find a good home in programming, accounting, fact-checking, and researching, just to name a few. Working in a library might suit you incredibly. With your skills and determination to justify them, any employer would be lucky to have someone trustworthy, accurate, and talented like you sitting somewhere undisturbed to verify, catalog, or calculate.

The point is, you can’t sell yourself short. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Employers need people just like you to balance the workplace and to offer the natural gifts that you have. No matter how old you are, or what level of experience you have, it’s never too late to start offering those gifts now. Begin with volunteer work, and share your talents with those who need them. You’ll find your way. Somehow, we always do.

Take care, and keep the e-mails coming!

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com