Tag Archives: branding

These Are a Few of My Favorite Blogs

You are going to spend the rest of the day humming this beloved song from the Sound of Music in your head like me aren’t you?  Today I want to say thank you to just of few of my favorite bloggers for their insites and inspiration they have instilled in my personal and professional life.

Diane Gottsman: Modern Manners and Etiquette Expert.   Diane is also the owner of the Protocol School of Texas and author of Pearls of Polish.  The devil is found in the details of life.  Diane’s excellent advice stomps the devil out of poor manners and elevates professional etiquette to help today’s career manager truly excel.   Diane’s guidance helps readers learn how to positively stand out in business by simply demonstrating respecful manners.  Please follow Diane via Twitter @dianegottsman

The Savvy Intern by YouTern  Anyone seeking an internship or seeking to hire an intern must subscribe to the Savvy Intern sponsored by YouTern.  I found this blog of resources by following a Twitter chat recommended to me by a colleague.  #InternPro can be found each Monday night.  In addition to the chat, please add this blog to your daily reads to receive targeted advice concerning the internship job search.  Please follow YouTern via Twitter @YouTern

Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter  Social media heavily factors into an effective job search.  In addition to reading Miriam’s blog, please search for her on the US News career blog.  Creating a professional and branded online presence has become a key strategy for a successful job search. In addition to her overall stellar career coaching accomplishments, Miriam provides the best social networking guidance for job seekers and career managers.   While visiting her website, please take a close look at the career books she has authored and co-authored.  You can also follow Miriam via Twitter @keppie_careers

Bottom Line Ethics by Dr. Michael Shaub.  Dr. Shaub is a professor here in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M.  This authentic blog catches the eyes and hearts of each reader covering numerous topics that center around the same subject: Ethics!  I invite you to read Dr. Shaub’s insights into the varying subjects and news events.  I am amazed at the numerous POSTIVE comments he receives for each blog entry.  His former students can easily be labeled as his fans.  I promise you will subscribe and look forward to the journey of each blog post.  Bottom Line Ethics will entertain you and teach you life-long lessons that you will never forget.  You can find Dr. Shaub on Twitter @mikeshaub

Personal Branding by Dan Schwabel  If you struggle with answering the question “Tell Me About Yourself” then you cannot afford not to check out Dan’s blog and resources.  His book, Me 2.0, outlines a four step process towards creating an effective and results-driven brand for individuals.  You can find Dan featured in numerous networks and blogs.  Dan is a GenY expert; however, his message crosses generations.  Please follow Dan on Twitter @DanSchawbel

I could go on and on listing other blogs and resources, but I thought I would limit my list today.   This list of five excellent resources will provide information and guidance with etiquette, internships, social networking, ethical behavior, and branding.  Best wishes!





21 Day Job Search Improvement Challenge

Happy New Year!!!!

As I sit down to write my first blog for 2013, my thoughts go back to the last blog I wrote for 2012.  Your Job Search Resolutions for 2013  In that entry, I talked about challenging yourself to resolutions that will improve your job search practices.  Please reread the suggestions I outline.  I hope a few make their way into your job search plan this year.

Studies show that you can create a habit if you continue something for 21 days — some good and some not so good.   Today’s generation uses the word “like” at least once in almost every sentence.  They didn’t start this habit overnight, and they won’t stop overnight either.  It takes time — 21 days.  I challenge you to take the next 21 days and change some of your bad job search habits.  Here are a few recommendations:

1.  Manage your jobsearch part time not in your free time.  Let’s face it, we do not have free time.  Saying that you will do something in your free time just doesn’t happen anymore.   Maybe you need to treat your job search like a class period or maybe you can just mark time on your calendar easily and stick to the schedule.  Whatever you do, you have to plan your work and work your plan.  You can’t just plan to work out and get in shape.  You have to actually work out.  So, schedule time for your job search and stick to that time doing something productive.  Do that for 21 days in a row.

2.  Emphasize a high touch / high tech balanced job search.  If you only apply to positions online, your chances of failure are extremely high.  You must network your way to key hiring managers in the organizations to succeed.  It is difficult to find the right person who knows about the position in which you applied and can get you to the right hiring manager.  But, you can’t ignore that the number one way vacant positions are filled is through inside direct referrals.  Does it take a long time to complete the online application?  Yes.  Does it take time, effort and perseverance to network effectively?  Yes.  Does it get frustrating?  Absolutely.  Nonetheless, you have to measure your career goal against the time you are willing to put into reaching this goal.  Maintain this balance for 21 days.

3.  Stop sounding desperate.  When you have bills piling up, getting a paycheck is the goal.  When you need a job, you need a job.  But, keep in mind that hiring decisions are made the same way you shop.  Have you ever purchased something because the vendor needs your business?  Would you hire a chef to rewire your home for electricity because that company needs your business? Of course not.  You would hire a company that specializes in fulfilling your needs.  Be very careful in marketing yourself as a jack of all trades lest you be known as an expert of nothing.  We purchase and hire excellence.  If you find yourself telling people you can do anything, then I challenge you to redesign your job search marketing plan.  Do this for 21 days.

In order for you to break your old job search habits, you must first accept your plan in the past isn’t working for you.  Maybe you have been able to apply online and get a job in the past.  Maybe you are from cultures that focus on placement as opposed to personal branding to succeed.  Whatever your past experience, anyone wanting to climb the corporate ladder must accept that with a more advanced career will come a more advanced process in managing your career.

Are you up for breaking your old habits and taking the 21 Day Job Search Improvement Challenge?



Minding Your Business Manners

How many of you heard “Mind Your Manners” as a kid?  I know I was raised to “mind my manners” in someone else’s home, in church, with family, in public–basically everywhere.   Phrases such as please, thank you, you’re welcome, in addition to proper behavior were right up there with the Golden Rule.

In your professional life, “minding your manners” can make the difference between moving forward in your career or staying stagnant.  For job seekers, poor manners can keep them from potential jobs and career paths.  It’s no secret that many business deals happen over a breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings.  Many a business deal has gone sour due to poor manners in dining etiquette.  In addition, the simple gesture as a thank you has become such a lost art that it now an exception that actually propels professionals and job seekers into an elite category.  Such a simple gesture as saying thank you can make you different.  WOW!  In today’s world of online job postings and the “black hole” feeling of those who apply for jobs online, I am constantly being asked how to stand out.  Can you believe that simply saying thank you can do just that?

Here is a quick list of best practices in joining this elite group of well-mannered business professionals:

1.  Always write a thank you note within 24 hours of an interview, business meal, reception, mentoring conversation, etc.

2. In addition to writing a thank you note after a business conversation, always write a thank you note if you receive a gift, scholarship or award.

2. Circle back to people who give you advice in business and keep them updated on your progress based on their recommendations.

3. Say “You’re Welcome” or “My Pleasure” as opposed to “No Problem.”  No problem may be a norm in our society, but it is not the appropriate response to someone say thank you.

4.  Brush up on basic dining etiquette before attending a business meal or reception of any kind.  You have no idea how noticeable and basically gross it is to watch someone use poor table manners.  Use your utensils properly, don’t eat with your hands, don’t chew with your mouth open, etc.  If others at your table struggles with finishing their meal due to your poor table manners, chances are the business you are hoping to solidify during that meal will not go your way.

5.  Treat everyone you meet in business with the utmost respect.  Receptionists, executive assistants, and custodial staff are often watching potential candidates and will report on the way they are treated.

There are so many more examples to note, so this short list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.   Please note I am not telling anyone they have to poor over etiquette books, nor am I saying that everyone has to have perfect manners to succeed in business.  My point is that you will positively set yourself apart from other job seekers and career managers by exercising basic manners.  Be appreciative.  Be respectful.   Mind Your Business Manners, and you will Be noticed.



How Do I Build a Network from Ground Zero?

This is a very popular question from people just starting out in their careers or those seeking employment in another country.  Here are two questions I receive often:   “If I do not know anyone in my geographical area, profession or industry of choice how can I network?”  “If networking is the number one way in which people find professional employment in the US, then how does a person build a professional network in the first place?”  These are, in fact, valid questions.  The good news is that everyone has a network.  Some networks are a bit more indirect than others.  The six degrees of separation from anyone in the world is true.  Nearly 80% of the potential jobs available are hidden.  They never hit the Internet job postings sites.  And whether you think you have a network or not, anyone can tap into this hidden job market and be successful.  Here are three simple resources to uncover your unrealized network so you can increase your chances of tapping into this hidden job market everyone seeks.

1.  Your college alumni network:  Alumni from every college and/or university in the world is at your fingertips.  Fellow classmates are now working in a myriad of professions, companies and industries, and these people can provide you more information than you think.  There are people all over the world who might not know you personally but share a common bond.  Allegiance to our alma maters run extremely deep.  Conversations concerning collegiate sports, traditions and experiences are the source to beginning many strong business relationships.  Reach out to these people through your campus alumni database, LinkedIn Groups and clubs.  Texas A&M has an extremely strong former student connection through our Association, local A&M clubs and LinkedIn groups.  Thousands of people are waiting for you to just reach out.  Will 100% of these people respond to you?  No, but don’t forget that famous quote from Wayne Gretzky:  “You will miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

2.  Your professional resources:  As I stated above, LinkedIn is an online resource that basically serves as a electronic professional network and rolodex.  It allows colleagues to connect and stay connected.  It providse a platform for business related exchange of information.  A job seeker can tap into this service by simply reaching out to experts in various professions, companies and industries.  Professional associations typically have LinkedIn group connections to provide networking opportunities and information exchange.  Engaging in a professional conversation is an ideal way for job seekers to connect with hiring managers and begin building a professional footprint and reputation.

3.  Your home country connection:  Each year, we have numerous international guests joining our academic programs with the concern of their lack of network.  I argue that this network can sometimes be the strongest of all.  We have thousands of internationals working in our country who can provide the best advice to those just starting the process of searching for sponsorship and employment.  Look to your undergraduate institutions and seek alumni who are currently working in the US and especially those who are working at firms on your list of top companies.  These people have already been through the experience and can provide the best advice on best practices and worst mistakes.

Everyone has a network.  Some networks are more obvious than others, of course, but each and every person has people ready and willing to provide solid advice and direction. The key is to ask and think creatively and not immediately ask for a job.   Realize your value proposition to business and market that message to a targeted audience with clarity and passion.

Please share with me your thoughts and experiences.  I am sure my readers would be interested to see how this has worked for others.


Is it Too Late to Find an Internship?

It is January 26th, and it is absolutely NOT too late to find an internship for this upcoming summer!  It goes without saying that anyone who was able to secure a summer internship this past fall is happy and relaxed where the job search is concerned, but those of you still seeking are not considered members of the unemployable club by any stretch of the imagination.

Considering our current economy, most companies are just now finalizing their budgets which includes dollar allotment for interns.  Some companies will not know whether interns are possible for their organization until even March or April.  It is not time to panic.  What it is time for, however, is action.  The very last thing you should do is wait for internship opportunities to fall in your lap.  You have to chase potential internship opportunities and make sure you are positioned to market yourself as the best candidate.   

I challenge everyone reading this blog to energize and engage.  Attend every possible event which allows you face to face time with employers.  Engage with professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter and be sure to network with mentors and professional experts in your chosen career field.   Do not let yourself think much less say that you are too busy to balance a heavy academic course load and effectively execute an active job search.  You can do both, but you have to plan your work and work your plan. 

Connecting with business professionals can take time and turning those connections to possible job leads can take even more time and more energy.  I always say that you can conduct an effective job search part time, but you can not do it in your spare time.  The spring semester will be over before you know it.  Start networking, research new connections, attend career related events and much more. 

When you find yourself getting discouraged, reach out to your career services advisor. It is not too late to find an internship for this summer.  Use the time you carve out for your job search on strategizing and executing your plan of action. 


Messages that Miss the Mark

by Guest Blogger:  Jessica Newcomb

Last week, I saw someone driving a car that was almost completely covered with bumper stickers like the one in the picture.

Let’s address the obvious first. A timeless piece of advice is to clean your vehicle inside and out before going to an interview. What would you think if you saw the owner of this car drive up for an interview at your company? After all, everything you wear or bring to an interview is an accessory that conveys your personal brand.

Selecting a few key, professional accessories polishes a look and sends a message of confidence and attention to detail. On the other hand, looking messy or being too flashy creates unnecessary distractions. You don’t want a potential employer talking about your car, suit, or any other accessory instead of your skills, abilities, or experience. With all of those bumper stickers, this person might be trying to convey that he is a free spirit who is spontaneous and unrestrained. In reality, the message is that he is messy and unfocused.

Now, let’s address the not so obvious. Because the messages were so overwhelming and conflicting, I couldn’t identify which was the most important message to the car owner. When your image is confusing and unfocused, others are likely to dismiss your good qualities with the bad because it’s too difficult and time consuming to separate them. Consequently, they are likely to dismiss you as a serious and viable candidate.

Each interaction you have with an employer gives him/her more information about you with which to make a final judgment. So, every interaction, whether written, on the phone, or in person needs to be flawless and focused.

What do you want an employer to know about you?

Can you identify anything about your image that detracts from that message?

Be aware of how each piece of your image works or doesn’t work together to create a consistent and focused message. Don’t be the guy in the car with too many bumper stickers to count.

~~ by Jessica Newcomb, Assistant Director, Masters Career Education and Advising, Graduate Business Career Services, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University


Successful Careers Involve Action Verbs Not Nouns

Remember when you were asked as a child what you wanted to BE when you grew up?  I, myself, love the excitement and joy in a child’s voice when talking about their future dreams.  I know mine were bigger than life.  We all wanted to save the world when we are kids by being a police officer, a doctor, a nurse or a super hero.   Fast forward to your high school or college years when you were asked the same question and I would bet the only difference to your answer is the title.  You still focus on what you want to BE.  We have simplified what we want to do with our lives and careers into a title.  

The problem with titles is that they rarely bring happiness in our careers.  Do you ever hear people talk with excitement about their job titles?  NO!  People get excited when talking about the amazing things they do in their jobs.  Passion drives our actions, and our actions drive our passions. 

When seeking potential positions, focus your effort in identifying job descriptions that match your career goals as opposed to the job titles.  Many times the job titles do not match the job description at all.  You will also find that positions with similar job descriptions are labeled differently depending on the company. 

Networking is one of the best ways to clarify job title confusion.  Besides building valuable relationships, networking offers the opportunity to learn about what people DO in their careers.  When employers host career fairs, the recruiters talk about what employees DO in specific positions.  The value you provide to employers will be through your actions not your title. 

Most people leave jobs not because of the job title but because of the job experience.  If you aren’t showing your value and growing in your career experience, you will not be happy.  Then, your career turns into a JOB! 

If you want a career and not a job, seek positions with job descriptions that match your ACTION goals.  Focus your job search on the action verbs and less on the nouns.