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					Branding, Blogging and Googling Your Way to Career Success
Create a Brand
Branding, once the domain of corporate America, has made the quantum leap
to personal America. According to William Arruda, branding means
"identifying and communicating what makes you unique, relevant, and
compelling." In basic marketing lingo, the word is "product
differentiation." Today, it means, as Arruda writes in his Reach Branding
Club workbook, "understanding your attributes - strengths, skills, values
and passions - and using them to separate yourself from your competitors
or peers." It's about "clearly communicating your unique promise of
value, something no one else can provide," to your employer or client. In
delivering this message to your target audience, it must meet their
needs, desires, concerns, interests and expectation, says Arruda. Key
points include:
Authenticity: Your brand must be built around your passions, values, and
dreams. To maintain an "edge" your offering can't be a commodity.
Know thyself: Highlight what makes you exceptional and promote yourself
based on these attributes. What nouns, adjectives and phrases best
describe you? Analyze these and adopt them within your branding
statement.
Know your competitors: You can't stand out until you know where you
stand. First, clearly describe your competitors.
Know your target: You can't effectively mass-market yourself. You must
aim at a specific audience. Focus before firing.
Express yourself: Based on your exceptional attributes, knowledge of your
competition, and understanding of your target audience, create a brand
statement - the essence of your brand. For example, the short version of
mine: "Facilitating discovery." The full statement: "Helping clients
discover the power of their potential." Here, I have positioned myself as
a tool. In writing a résumé for a client, I probe through a series of
questions to help the client to understand the value they offer as
expressed through their contributions: the programs they've created, the
process improvements, marketing innovations, or technologies they've
introduced. In short, their impact on the company or the community.
Evaluate: Develop metrics or a system to measure your success. As a
résumé consultant, I ask clients for feedback on their project/job search
- both during and after the process: How did you hear of me (yellow
pages, online directories, referral, Web site?). What did you think of
the information-gathering - the interview process? And I seek their input
to update me during their job search.
Evolve: Remaining relevant means adapting to change. Add new products or
modifications of old ones: printed résumés = diskette résumés = CD ROM
résumés etc.
In closing, I seek through the interview process, to identify a key
personality trait, skill, or passion within each client and translate it
into a kind of "brand statement" within their résumé. For example, a
construction superintendent might say, "The more demanding the challenge,
the more important it is to complete the project on time, within budget."
Blogging Along the Frontier
In 2004 Merriam-Webster announced that "blog" was the word most looked up
in its online dictionary and other Internet sites. In fact, this
discovery led to "bloggers," those who create and use blogs, being named
people of the year by Time magazine. And Fortune magazine named blogs as
the number one technical trend of 2004. A blog, as most of us know now,
is a journal kept by an individual and made available on the Web. The
word's etymology is derived from "web log." Habitual users, as Joseph
Epstein wrote in a Wall Street Journal column in 2005, should probably be
called "blogophiles," which I guess makes me, according to Epstein, a
"blogophobe," since I am still shuffling, very unequivocally, two years
later and much behind the trend, to jump on the "blogwagon" (this term,
unabashedly, I will credit to myself) and implement into my business.
Beyond these thoughts, here's what I've learned:
Since blogs are journals, so to speak, our clients could use them to
promote their personal brands and enhance credibility and visibility. If
well-executed, a blog would be a valuable networking and image-building
tool.
They create "community." Readers can comment on one's posts.
They're easy to create (no knowledge of HTML is needed).
They provide a simple way to post new content on your Web site.
They're search-engine friendly - and can help drive traffic to a
practitioner's Web site.
Using TypePad résumés, or excerpts from a résumé, can be posted (with
some technical ability) online. However, it would be better to provide
links on the blog to downloadable versions (Word, ASCII, PDF) of the
résumé available online.
Google Me, Google You
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "You're a
nobody unless your name Googles well." Depending upon your point of view,
I'm either a somebody - or a nobody. My name, actually, Googles well.
Unfortunately, I'm not the Douglas Morrison referred to on the Web. As of
August 24, 2008 on Google, there were more than 432,000 listings for
Douglas Morrison (many redundancies, though I'm ranked #4), including a
great many for James Douglas Morrison (aka Jim Morrison, the late rock
star/poet, of The Doors), whose name Googled so well, I couldn't compile
an accurate tally.
Today, if you're looking for a job, both employers and recruiters alike
are looking at you. A 2005 poll conducted by Harris Interactive indicated
that 23 percent of people search the Web for the name of a business
associate or colleague before meeting them. And hiring managers and
recruiters Google prospective candidates as well. In fact, more than 80
percent of executive recruiters use search engines, like Google, to learn
more about candidates, according to a recent survey by ExecuNet, the
executive networking firm.
This practice, I've recently learned, has developed into quite a cottage
industry. Over the last several years, commercial services have sprung up
to simplify the process. These include, for example, Ziggs, LinkedIn,
ZoomInfo (formerly Eliyon) and Ryze. Such sites allow users to easily and
quickly create their own online professional profiles and include
information like employment history, education, or even a photo. Recently
(in hopeful expectation of becoming somebody), I joined LinkedIn. Now I'm
a somebody, one of 39 illustrious somebodies, most, I'm sure, much more
illustrious than me. And a cross-reference directory check on ZoomInfo
revealed that I was also one of 226 Douglas Morrisons. So far I'm
uncertain how I will use my new-found "somebodieness" to lucrative
advantage, but according to Webworkerdaily.com, there are at least than
20 ways to use it as a business-building tool (see
webworkerdaily.com/2007/06/15/20-ways-to-use-linkedin-productively for an
explanation).
In closing, if we are to maintain a competitive edge, grow a business, or
seek a new job, we must use technology which has irrevocably altered the
architecture of our business landscape.
Doug Morrison, a Charlotte based resume writer, has been helping
executives write their resumes for over 20 years. His North Carolina
resume writing service has helped thousands of sales and marketing
professionals add adrenaline to stagnant careers. Call 800-711-0773 or
visit http://www.careerpowerresume.com for a complimentary resume
consultation and put the life back in your career.

				
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