Category Archives: Personal Branding

Job seekers must fully address employer concerns

Sanjit P., a banker from India, Paul M. a newly unemployed tool and die machinist, and Andrea S., a former accounting clerk, may not appear to have much in common. But all three are frustrated job seekers looking for employment in Southern Ontario and all face difficulties in the job market for what is essentially the same reason. Too often, prospective employer concerns about hiring them are significant barriers that never are addressed.

Address Employer Concerns

As I have mentioned in a previous post, all these worthy job applicants see is a total lack of response.

Morning after discouraging morning, they send cover letters and resumes to posted employment opportunities.

Evening after discouraging evening they wonder what they need to do differently.

In each of these (fictitious) stories of typical job seekers, one significant piece of information stands out to an employer like a red flashing light and sends the application to the trash.

Know the Precise Employer Concern

Sanjit worked as a banker for 15 years but it is hard to tell from his application exactly what his responsibilities might have been and he is applying for a much more junior position than a banker with an MBA and 15 years of Canadian experience would consider. The employer concerns are that he will not accept the work environment and more junior duties that go with entry-level employment opportunities and that he will need significant training to get up to speed in the job. He will not be able to “hit the ground running”. Continue reading

Are you popping buttons on God’s vest?

When you do the most what you do the best, you pop the buttons on the vest of God

Max Lucado

Max Lucado is clear. There is something that you could be doing that would make God very proud. Presumably if you were already doing what that was you would know clearly. No doubt you have met other people who seem to know that they are doing what makes God proudest of them. And if you don’t feel that way too, you may very well wonder where you took a wrong turn. And you may suppose that it is too late for you to get back on track.

I can relate. When you are a minister’s son, you meet lots of folks who knew what they were “called to do” in their teens. They became nurses and ministers, teachers and doctors. They headed off to university and the rest is history. They couldn’t imagine doing anything else and everyone agrees that they are doing the thing that fits them perfectly. Continue reading

6 Job interview questions a blogger should welcome

We all dread certain job interview questions, but with a good answer ready you can actually look forward to any question.

Successfully launching a blog is not easy and just the fact that you have a blog that is in any way career related gives you a conversation starter and icebreaker. But your blog can provide much more than that. Here are a few questions that you can respond to by drawing from your blogging experiences:

Provide an example of your problem solving skills:

If you have successfully launched a blog and sustained it for a significant amount of time, you have solved many problems. So every time you solve a significant problem, write down a short description. Note the nature of the problem and the implications it has for your blog’s availability or effectiveness. Describe exactly your problem solving process. what you did to solve the problem (e.g. use Google, phone a friend etc.). Specify clearly the outcome of the action you took and what you learned if anything. Tell the whole story in less than 60 seconds if possible in a way that is easy to understand. Continue reading

Try Social Media Cross-training for new skills

A couple of days ago I provided a few examples of lessons I have learned through my experience posting photographs on Flickr. After buying my first digital SLR I was looking for a venue to share my photos and to learn about photography. Flickr has provided exactly that. But you don’t draw attention to your photos without learning a few things. Like finding others who find the same things interesting. Here are a few more things I have learned, all of which translate to blogging!

  •  I began photographing sunrises for one simple reason. I can take some nice photos right out the window of my 15th floor condo as the photo at right demonstrates. I found that there are other Flickr members who enjoy these photos (and don’t bore of them too quickly) by joining Flickr groups particularly focused on sunrises and sunsets. I also learned from participating in those groups exactly what other people respond to most strongly. I can recognize other photographers whose photos are clearly superior to mine and ask them to critique my work. Ditto for blogs. Continue reading

Social media cross-training: let Flickr make you a better blogger!

Social media cross-training could give your blogging skills the boost they need. Posting your photos on Flickr can teach you essential social media skills and strategies more quickly than blogging!

The usual advice is this: focus your attention and energy on one specific strategy and refuse to be distracted. Great advice much of the time, but not necessarily when it comes to blogs and other social media. Concurrent social media pursuits can actually be beneficial.

You create traffic in one by spending time in another. Your Pinterest presence sends blog visitors. Facebook activity pumps Twitter traffic. As you probably already know, this is not just wise, it is essential.

But are you aware of the learning benefits? Lessons learned in one social media site apply elsewhere. The skills and habits you need to thrive on Flickr readily translate to the challenge of growing your blog. And those essential lessons that I find hardest to learn with establishing my blog came more intuitively to me on Flickr. Continue reading

5 simple career blog strategies for a first-time blogger

Launching a new blog it may seem like an intimidating project but it doesn’t need to be.

In my last post, I listed 12 benefits of a career-related blog. They are just a start.

If you aren’t sure how to get started on a blog to boost your career out of its rut, there is lots of help available. Start here with a great post and podcast from Michael Hyatt.

What subject matter you could write about might be a mystery for you.

6 ways to find blogging topics: Continue reading

Consider blogging your way out of a career rut

Establishing a blog related to your career can cure a lot of ills. Feeling stuck in a rut is just one. It has never been easier and the benefits have never been clearer.

12 benefits from a career-related blog:

  1. Blogging  gives you, not your employer or anyone else, total control over the heart of career management, your personal brand.
  2. Here’s your chance to broadcast the experience and wisdom you have accumulated in your professional career. You can answer those questions that no one ever asks or provide the advice to a newcomer that you wish someone would tell them. Continue reading

Learn from Gold Medalist Stephen Kiprotich – In the end it’s up to you!

Olympics

Stephen Kiprotich

You usually can’t tackle the biggest goals without the help of others, but there is often a time when you need to break away from those who got you this far if you want the highest prize.

It’s been a few weeks now since the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. I’m sure we all have particular memories that won’t soon fade. Like the Queen welcoming James Bond into the sanctity of her room, then skydiving from a helicopter into Olympic Stadium. Nor will l soon forget the end of the men’s marathon. When I switched channels to the marathon about 45 minutes earlier, it was clear that unless something shocking occurred the three particular athletes in the photo would garner the medals. They had already created sufficient distance between themselves and the next closest runner that it was unlikely they would overcome the gap. Continue reading

Does Your Career Need A Platform to Stand On?

Murder She Wrote

Murder She Wrote

What’s your mental image of a writer’s life? Mine comes from watching too many episodes of “Murder She Wrote”, which are still broadcast at 7:00 p.m. every weekday evening in the Toronto market. In the familiar opening sequence, Jessica Fletcher is pounding away on what I am told is a Royal Magic Margin Vintage typewriter. Every once in a while she gets to type “THE END” with a great flourish. That final page gets added to a few hundred others and stuffed into a big manila envelope and mailed off to her publisher. Unlike Jessica, Andy Farmer, played by Chevy Chase in the movie “Funny Farm”, is not an established author. Andy sends a manuscript off to the publisher and watches the mailbox for a response. Each day a maniacal mailman drives by or near the mailbox. For poor Andy, those letters from the big city bring only bad news. If that wasn’t enough humiliation, his wife Elizabeth who isn’t supposed to be a writer at all, has her manuscript for a children’s book accepted for publication on the first attempt! Continue reading