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60 Second Sales Pitch

Imagine you’re at a professional gathering, such as a conference or business event. You and everybody else there know it is important to network, but you don’t know what to say.

It stands out, so you stand out. This elevator pitch or in your case, sales pitch or short speech, is part of your personal brand, summing up your background and experience toward your career.

The importance of your sales pitch is based on having only a few seconds with someone you are networking with, standing in an elevator with, or passing by in the hall. That first sentence or two needs to hook whomever you speak to. If you need to catch a potential employer’s ear in one sentence what do you say? What distinguishes you as an employee? How can you relate to them in their work? How are you valuable?

It is difficult to par yourself down to one sentence, so start with the big picture. Sit down and just write down your personality traits, skills, effectiveness, experience, using the language of your field that speaks of you. What do people in general find exceptional about you in your work? It might be something your coworkers, fellow volunteers, church work groups, neighbors, or friends said. Pay attention to patterns in positive comments by supervisors.

Next work on paring down that list. Find those keywords about yourself that represent your skills and abilities.

Your sales pitch needs to be both concise and conversational. You need to effortlessly plug it into an interview or in passing. Say it out loud to see if any of the words trip you up. Does it sound stunted, blunt, vague, or just generally blah? Go back to your list and refine your action verbs.

Next practice, practice, practice. Say it to yourself in the mirror. Say it to family or friends who may have generative feedback. Practice in your networking. Mostly just practice it so it rolls off the tongue just as easily as pulling out your business card.

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How Does a Career Coach Help?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most workers change jobs at least several times throughout their careers. In today’s fast-paced ever-changing career market, it is essential that you are an expert in job searching and networking. You must also assemble your “Dream Team” to support you through the job searching process. One of those team members should be a certified career coach. Forbes gives 3 Reasons to Hire a Career.

What is a career coach?

Put simply a career coach is someone whose job is to help people plan their careers.

What does a career coach do?

“The goal is to support people in making informed decisions about their career development and trajectory, as well as offer various tools that they can use—résumés, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles—to meet those goals,” says Donna Sweidan (Forbes). Career coaching is not life coaching in which the coach helps you determine the direction in your life that is the most fulfilling. Career coaching focuses on your career and how best to support you in finding a career or a job that you want.

They won’t tell you what job to take or not take. That is up to you. However, they do maximize your profile or personal branding through social media, resumes, cover letters, and interview skills plus coach, mentor and help develop your leadership skills. They help clients see what concrete steps they can take to achieve their career objectives. Their goals to guide clients in making informed decisions about their career development and path and empower them with the tools that they can use to help them achieve their goals.

For example, 75% of resumes are never read by a human. Today, resumes are more complicated than ever given the applicant tracking systems used to screen them. If the resume is not properly formatted or contain the right keywords, it is rejected by the applicant tracking systems used by most employers. Depending on how highly your resume ranks, you could be first in line to get an interview or never be found. So, if you want to get hired, you’ll need to beat these bots, and a career coach knows how to word and format a resume, so you do just that.

How much does a career coach cost?

Depending on the degree of help you want from a career coach, expect to pay the minimum of a couple hundred dollars. That might get you resume help. However, this is not the time to be cheap. You can earn back that money many times over when the career coach’s expertise lands you the job you want.

How do I find a career coach?

There are various ways to find a career coach, such as Cynda Alexander, through business listings and social media platforms.

Cynda Alexander has an MA in Professional and Technical Writing and is a Certified Career Coach. She helps clients advance their professional position. She writes, “I am confident I can exceed your expectations. As a freelance technical writer, I’m able to offer extremely competitive rates without sacrificing quality.”

Find out more about or hire a career coach:

Cynda Alexander LinkedIn

Ask a Career Coach blog by Cynda Alexander

Cynda Alexander on Facebook

How do I know the career coach is capable?

Look for testimonials, such as,

“Your resume is the best I’ve ever seen in terms of design, consistency, and content. I’ve seen over a thousand and no joke.” Dennis Inao, Owner of NetPro Communications, NYC

“Cynda was instrumental in re-writing my resume. After receiving my new resume, I had an offer and acceptance in 14 hours with a wonderful company!” Jo Ann Keith, Chaplain, AR

“Cynda is easy to work with and ensures that it meets your standards. She also sent me some resources that can help me in the career I’m looking to get into. I highly recommend her and her services.” Zedric McBride, IT Specialist, AR

Works Cited

LearnVest. “10 Things You Should Know About Career Coaching.” Forbes, 9 July 2013.

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Want To Be Happy at Work?

We’re finding it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time ~ Shaun Achor

If you work harder than you will be truly happy. Right? What if you can have positivity and happiness in the present…

Blue Skies by Y. Hope Osborn Happiness at Work Today
By Y. Hope Osborn

Shaun Achor, Harvard grad and happiness guru, will in just 12 minutes with his TedTalk, The Happy Secret to Better Work, increase your happiness through laughter and insight. Enjoy and be happy!

How to Build a Better Bullet…

…for a Resume!

First, gather your supplies: Lead (pencil), powder (eraser), and a primer (book of action verbs). Second, put on safety goggles (so you are not tempted to stick the pencil in your eye). Third, remember drinking and making bullets DO NOT MIX.

Seriously though, you do want to use a 3-part formula for bullet points of accomplishments for your experience. But first you need to answer these questions to help you flush out your accomplishments:

Who: Who did your job help? Company? Clients? Customers?

What: What were the results of the job? How many? How much? How far? Increases, percentages, publications, products?

When: When did it happen? Was it weekly, yearly? This falls under the what as well as it quantifies what you did?

Where: Where did you accomplish this? Conference with a presentation? Area covered?

Why: Why was this accomplishment meaningful to your company, clients, or area covered? This is another area of quantifying your responsibility.

You won’t be able to fill in the answer to every question before you get down to firing those bullets, but now you have all the material you need to use a simple formula to shape up your bullets for the most impact.

Accomplished X  +  Measured by Y  +  Doing Z  = Bullet Point

Without the formula:

  • Provided written generative feedback at line editing level for a variety of genre and subject of writing
  • Worked with InDesign to create a publication
  • Collaborated with other editors to learn and use InDesign

With the formula:

  • Generated author feedback at line editing level for a variety of individual works of genre and subjects developing Quills & Pixels 2019 publication
  • Built layout for Quills & Pixels 2019 book, using newly acquired InDesign software skills
  • Ensured quality, cohesive publication of Quills & Pixels 2019 by collaborating with other editors

Breaking down the formula looks like this:

Accomplished X  +  Measured by Y  +  Doing Z  = Bullet Point

Accomplished (Built layout) + Measured by (Quills & Pixels 2019 book) + Doing (using newly acquired In Design software skills) = Bullet Point

Use a thesaurus to find a variety of apt power verbs to begin each bullet:

Generated
Aided
Enhanced
Supervised
Authored
Orchestrated
The list goes on and on…

Remember: The more relevant the power verb, the better your bullet point will be!

How Long Should A Resume Be…Or Not Be?

photo of black ceramic male profile statue under grey sky during daytime
Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

By: Cynda Alexander and William Shakespeare

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The extraneous words of an outrageous 3-page resume,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of rhetorical atrocities,
And by opposing end them: to write, to re-write
No more; and by re-write, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand wasted drafts
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis an employer’s
Devout wish. To write, to re-write,
perchance to fix-it; aye, there’s the rub,
For in that thousandth draft, what dream jobs may come,
When we have submitted this mortal resume,
Must give us pause.

Improving Workplace Productivity, Creativity, and Happiness in the New Year!!

The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts. Unknown

Many of us strive at our jobs, hoping to get to the light at the end of the tunnel where we achieve the pinnacle of our career, do the type of work we want, and retire. We don’t always feel we achieved what we wanted that day, and some days–crunching budget numbers, attending meetings, catching up on emails after vacation (if you didn’t take your work with you anyway), or interviewing for a job that is intended to just get you by–defy our notion of productivity, creativity, and happiness. However, you can feel more productive, creative, and happy wherever you are in your life right now.

When’s the last time you had a true vacation where you left all your work at the office, including emails? Ferris Jabr in “Give Me a Break” of Scientific American Mind, writes,

To maximize the benefits of breaks we need to fully disengage from our jobs—physically and mentally … Charlotte Fritz, an organizational psychologist …, “The benefits include lower exhaustion, higher positive mood, better sleep and better quality of life.” (47)

Don’t have the time for a vacation? Work is overwhelming or you need to find a job? Consider smaller breaks to sharpen your wits. Jabr continues,

A preponderance of evidence now confirms that downtime of all kinds—whether it be a meditation session, lunchtime stroll through the park or weeklong vacation—is crucial for productivity and overall health. When we are relaxing or daydreaming, the brain does not slow or stop. Rather … many mental processes require periods of waking rest during the day. Downtime restores attention and motivation, fosters creativity, improves work efficiency, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply make it through the day. (48)

Jabr goes on to report on a study conducted in 2011 with 34 marines, “Just 12 minutes daily mindfulness meditation helped to prevent the stress of military service from corroding [their] working memory” (49). If you have a hard time stopping to meditate, consider loading your phone with one or more of dozens of apps that guide you in a variety of meditations for a variety of amounts of time. I find the apps Meditation and Breathe helpful. Jabr reports, “Researchers examining the benefits of mindfulness [one way of meditating] have gathered enough evidence to conclude that meditation can improve mental health, hone concentration, and strengthen memory” (49).

Perhaps you aren’t comfortable meditating or just can’t find a rhythm in meditating to help you at work. Did you know that just walking improves creativity?

More than 60,000 people participated in a study published in the Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition that showed “100% of those who walked outside generated at least one novel high-quality analogy compared with 50% of those seated inside” (Oppezzo, et. al.). Furthermore, creativity improved to that extent whether you walked on a park trail or on a gym treadmill. Creativity from a walk is residual so you can walk and think afterwards. Having a bad day or excited, the study showed it doesn’t matter if you walk to blow off steam or to sing like a lark since mood doesn’t affect creativity. (Oppezzo, et. al.)

What about when people depend on you to stick around and collaborate on the proposal your new client accepted? Lex “Sandy” Pentland, writing “Betting on People Power” also of Scientific American Mind has a few ways to work more effectively,

The most successful teams were those that were able to optimize communication within the group. If every team member was engaged and making many contributions, then the group was very likely to be successful. This also meant that members of racial and cultural minority groups, whose ideas and experience may be different from the majority, had the opportunity to contribute and be heard. (34)

Pentland goes on to encourage face-to-face communications even if via videoconferencing, because you pick up on non-verbal cues that help communication along. Pentland encourages socializing among your colleagues to “develop a group identity” because “it boosts productivity and resilience to help get them through tough times” (36).

Innovation happens when you bring diverse people together to bounce ideas off one another. ~Pentland

You may not have the perfect job or perfect task for the day or even the perfect mood, but, perhaps, the light at the end of the tunnel is just around the corner, and you find creativity and satisfaction in just listening to a diversity of voices, going for a walk, or taking a breath.

References

Oppezzo, Marily, and Daniel L. Schwartz. “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect Of Walking On Creative Thinking.” Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition 40(4), 2014: 1142-1152. Academic Search Complete.

Scientific American Mind. Sept/Oct 2016, pp 31-49.

    “Betting on People Power” Lex “Sandy” Pentland. pp 32-37.

    “Give Me a Break.” Ferris Jabr. pp 44-49.

Auld Lang Syne to Old Resumes

By Cynda Alexander

Should old resumes be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old resumes be forgot,
and be old lang syne.

Chorus:
For auld lang syne, job hunter,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a new version yet,
bye auld lang syne.

II
And surely you’ll hire a resume pro,
and surely one will oblige!
But we’ll take the new version yet,
despite auld lang syne.

Chorus
For auld lang syne, job hunter,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a new version yet,
bye auld lang syne.

III
We two have a lot of work to do,
and pick your skills fine;
But we’ve only just started on this path,
leaving auld lang syne.

Chorus
For auld lang syne, job hunter,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a new version yet,
bye auld lang syne.

IV
We two have paddled up the stream,
from morning sun till done;
But between us a new version has emerged,
since auld lang syne.

Chorus
For auld lang syne, job hunter,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a new version yet,
bye auld lang syne.

V
And there’s an end my job seeking friend!
And given a little time,
And we’ll take the right good draft,
despite auld lang syne.

Chorus

For auld lang syne, job hunter,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a new version yet,
bye auld lang syne.

4 Uses for Social Media, Pt 4 SEO and WordPress

“4 Uses for Social Media” is a 4-part series that you don’t want to miss, covering professional branding, networking, content, and search engine optimization (SEO) and the social media apps that work with them.

SEO, Hashtags, Tags

SEO, hashtags, tags, links, images are all ways for people to find you in the vast space of the web. It enables people to Google, finding you. if you build a presence using those tools, people are more likely to find you whether they know you or your field. The more of these tools you use across your social media for professional branding, the more likely your current network builds and your future career moves.

Like the song, What’s SEO, hashtags, tags, links, images got to do with it?

SEO and Tags

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization, and it is how people find you in website listings. If you Google your professional brand tag, how far down the Google list do you show up? This is how visible you are to those looking for your service, product, or brand.

SEO is very important for blogs. Because of it, you focus on a few key words, or tags, that frequent your blogs and professional brand. It isn’t an easy or quick task, but if you use tools such as, Google Trends, answerthepublic.com, and SEO Tools & Search Engine you make life a little easier for yourself. These tools allow you to punch in words to see how well they are trending. If they aren’t trending, the tools will either show you topics around your words that are trending or show you another word close to your blog or brand topic. You may also purchase apps, such as plugins in WordPress, to do the work for you.

Hashtags

Along the same lines as tags are hashtags which is a # sign immediately followed by a keyword, like #writer. You use them to categorize your posts on social media such as Twitter, sometimes Facebook and LinkedIn, and other apps. If you want to network with nonfiction writers, you search #nonfiction or #NF to find your peeps. They find you, as well. If you want to find out which hashtags are trending, start typing in your word and look down the list that pops up, or use tools such as, Social Mention to search author, topic, or topic across web; Union Metrics to search topic, author, handle, or name to see how many reached by those tweets; or Google Trends for insights into traffic and geographic visit patterns good for news topic. Top Hashtag Tracking Tools gives you a rundown on available hashtag tools.

Make hashtags part of your professional brand. Develop a hashtag, representing you, to add to posts or tweets. You hope with time it catches or that it propagates among your followers when they like or retweet your post. It is best to limit your hashtags per post to only a few per post and per your social media footprint.

In Forbes article, Big Mistake: Making Fun of Hashtags Instead of Using Them, they write, “tweets that contain one or more hashtags were 55% more likely to be retweeted than those that did not include them … a hashtag immediately expands the reach of your tweet beyond just those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.”

For more on hashtags take a look at Kevan Lee in his Buffer article, How to Use Hash Tags: How Many, Best Ones, and How to Use Them.

Links

Links from one of your blogs to another and links to popular, well-regarded sites build your Google ranking. In Google searches you are more likely to come up alongside a website like Forbes, if you link to their posts. The more embedded links to other sites the more likely you see traffic routed to your site.

Images and Videos

Adding images that are labeled for reuse from Google Images or videos from sites such as YouTube also have data that act like links. Insert them both because they are interesting, and they generate traffic. Intriguing photos are always better than clip art for the quality of your site.

Sum All is an analytics tool to find rankings, search engine words, links, and keywords.

WordPress

Blogging not only offers the opportunity for you so show your expertise, but it offers the opportunity to get your personal brand out through SEO, tags, and links that draw Google search engines and other bloggers to you. WordPress allows you to link to your Facebook and LinkedIn sites, so your posts are broadcast over your social media apps. Links to the blogs may also be copied to share on other social media apps.

Using WordPress need not be overwhelming as you see in this short tutorial, Posting WordPress Blogs. Plus, remember the audience and content we discussed in Pt 3 Content and Facebook. How often you blog depends on how much you want to get out of it. Every week is optimal, but 2-3 times a month still nets you value.

You may use blogs such as Medium and Linkedin to post, but WordPress is most often used for a good reason—it is easy to set up and use and it connects to most other bloggers. It is a way to build your professional brand. Fauzia Burke in her online marketing book, “Although blogging may not provide instant gratification, it should be viewed as an investment in your career, brand, and future … Blogging is a gateway to building your personal brand. Each blog offers the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise, and build a following. With a little bit of focused effort, a plan, and allotted time, you can become known as an expert or thought leader in your industry” (80, 81).

All those tags, links, and SEO connect your social media apps to establish an online presence through content for your professional brand that, in turn, enriches your networking. The best part is there is no last say in social media. The interactions and possibilities are endless.

Works Cited

Burke, Fauzia. Online Marketing for Busy Authors. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.: Oakland. 2016

4 Uses for Social Media, Pt 3 Content and Facebook

“4 Uses for Social Media” is a 4-part series that you don’t want to miss, covering professional branding, networking, content, and search engine optimization (SEO) and the social media apps that work with them.

Content

Professional branding is your presence. Networking is your conversation. Content is your story. It is a cliché’ to say, “Content is king,” but it is mostly true. Better to say, “Audience is king and content his queen.” If you remember nothing else about content, remember to know your audience. Half the battle for compelling content that draws followers and builds connections is knowing your audience.

You must decide 1) who you want your audience to be and 2) who your audience already is. Start with demographics of age, education, field, but the important part is to know not just who you are in that demographic but who your followers might be. What drives them? What do they value? Who in their life is most important—friends, family, colleagues? What are their activities—hobbies, vacation spots, favorite things? What are their goals? What do they discuss most? Add your professional brand. When you find all the commonalities among you and your colleagues, you have an outline for consistent content for your social media.

You don’t have to be a writer or wordy to have quality content. You do need to tell stories. For all of man’s history, from the earliest cave drawings, we communicated through storytelling. Think about any conversation you had in the last day. You told each other stories. It might be what happened when the dog’s leash slipped out of your hand on your walk. Maybe you shared an encouraging conversation you had with a colleague. Perhaps you expressed your aggravation with your mechanic.

Storytelling includes a photograph with a caption, YouTube or you video, and link to other people’s content. Don’t post those communications without adding a bit of you. Your money in the bank, your value is what you think about what you post. It includes the video of and the typical textual tips, failures, conference highlights, career opportunities, interesting TedTalks, personal passions, collaborators’ contribution, book reviews, special event notices, resources, field-particular comics, trending topics, your blog link, volunteering moments, etc. Engage your audience in simple, interesting questions. Post according to your professional brand, but remember people connect with people.

Learn the customs of your various social media apps. LinkedIn is professional driven. Twitter is quick and casual. Facebook is method variety. WordPress or any blogging is a mic. All depend on one type or quality of content or another, and all depend on who you are and who want your audience to be.

Facebook

Just as birds looking for mates are attracted to the more colorful birds, Facebook users are more attuned to colorful, attractive pages and posts. With Facebook, you often have a personal page, to which you may add a sort of a sub-page or create a totally separate page on which to market yourself in colorful ways. This is your professional brand and networking rolled up into one. This is advertising. It is more important here than most other social media apps to think of interesting content in a variety of forms.

Facebook has leeway for forms of content and usually starts with a network of family, friends, coworkers, and alum. Fauzia Burke in her online marketing book, “Facebook creates a platform and a community of savvy consumers connecting with friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances to share advice, information, and recommendations. More than 30 billion pieces of content such as web links, news stories, blog posts, videos, and photo albums are shared each month. Facebook is thus one of the most important social media platforms for marketing and communication” (99).

In Forbes Top Social Media Tips for Every Platform Part 1 Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram, “’Every business in every industry needs to be on Facebook,’ Jakubovic says. It’s the largest online social platform with over 1 billion users, and it can give you access to potential customers you couldn’t otherwise reach. When used correctly, Facebook marketing outshines any traditional advertising.”

Works Cited

Burke, Fauzia. Online Marketing for Busy Authors. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.: Oakland. 2016

4 Uses for Social Media You Don’t Want to Miss, Pt 2 Networking and Twitter

Photo courtesy of Y. Hope Osborn

“4 Uses for Social Media” is a 4-part series that You Don’t Want to Miss, covering professional branding, networking, content, and search engine optimization (SEO) and the social media apps that work with them.

Networking

You established your professional brand and used it to become an integral part of a network. Now it is time to reach out to your network—you already know what they do with what company because you keep track of them and have interested yourself with their work.

How do you build the network? Conferences, past and current supervisors and coworkers, other volunteers, alum, and social media, such as Twitter is a start to a strategic network. It does require time and dedication, though. Networking is a mindset—an awareness of people you meet and connect with regularly. Social media such as Twitter is one way to establish a presence and grow your network.

Keep track of how you connect; meet, greet, and exchange business cards or contact info. Your business card or social media and web links are best because you introduce them to your professional brand. Don’t stop with exchanging contact information. Make a date right then to go to coffee with one or two people. Bring several in your industry together to exchange ideas and new information. For the most value, nurture relationships. Twitter is a social gathering of like-minded people who can build relationships for encouragement, collaboration, information. If you really want to add that special touch that people love, also keep track of things they like—hobbies, pets, family names and progress. Stuck for things to say, try Forbes The Best Questions to Ask at Networking Events.

Overwhelmed? A spreadsheet just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need a more efficient way to track those relationships. Several networking, relationship management, and customer relationship manager (CRM) apps either help build your network or keep track of the details above and more, sending reminders, linking communications and documents, tracking personal details, and so on. For the purpose of building meaningful networks, I recommend the CRMs, because they allow you to build detailed relationships. Depending on your purpose, the cost for these apps vary from a one-time purchase to monthly fees.

Twitter

Twitter is part of that network—a free, easy, friendly place. Fauzia Burke in her online marketing book, “At first, Twitter may seem overwhelming and difficult to use, but as you spend time on the network you will likely discover the benefits of sharing resources and collaborating with others. You have to invest some regular time on Twitter to build a community. As you work to become known as an expert in your niche, Twitter will help you establish your personal brand. Just don’t expect instant success. Pace yourself and enjoy the journey” (104).

Twitter posts, or tweets, are 140 characters or less sound bites of you and your interests. Tweets encourage with quotes, interest with insights and events, and connect on a more personal level with professionals in your field and those whom may help you in networking. Twitter is building up followers who are interested in what you have to say, who you are, or how you interact with others on Twitter. Different fields of interest labeled with hashtags (# that we talk about later in 4 Uses of Social Media You Don’t Want to Miss: Pt 4 SEO and WordPress) have different customs that enable you to expand your Twitter base of followers. Fauzia Burke in her online marketing book, “People on Twitter are generous with their time and knowledge. Yes, you will spend time on Twitter that you already don’t have, but you will also learn things that will make you more valuable, smarter, and in the know … It is a great platform to listen to others, chat about your [profession], and provide links” to your other sites “—but only after you have built trust by promoting others and sharing valuable information” (103).

In Forbes, Top Social Media Tips for Every Platform Part 1 Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram, Kate Harrison writes, “You may not know it but Google indexes every tweet (which makes it a great tool for search engine optimization or SEO) Most importantly, you can’t ignore that 60% of a business’s or brand’s followers are likely to purchase or recommend after following them on Twitter.” (SEOs feature later in this series.)

Set up using your personal brand for your tag line and allot a specific amount of time each day to interact with and post on twitter. For 15-30 minutes a day of lively exchange you get a lot of bang for your buck. Tweet your other social media or website links when someone gives you the opportunity, but build those brownie points, commenting, retweeting, and following others. Know the customs, such as #FF (Follow Friday) that allows those with a greater number of followers opportunities to share their feed with those of fewer followers through posting your links. Then people go through the list, checking you out, and following you. As Burke says, “social media provides us the tools to listen and to see what is important to the audience. It helps us learn and engage and bond with people we have never met” (93). Your interactions and posts develop good exposure, keeping you before the public eye. Follow and you are followed—that is networking with Twitter.

Works Cited

Burke, Fauzia. Online Marketing for Busy Authors. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.: Oakland. 2016

4 Uses for Social Media: Pt 1 Professional Branding and LinkedIn

Photo courtesy of Y. Hope Osborn

“4 Uses for Social Media” is a 4-part series that you don’t want to miss, covering professional branding, networking, content, and search engine optimization (SEO) and the social media apps that work with them.

Pt 1 Professional Branding and LinkedIn

Quick! What is your first thought when I say social media professional branding? “Why is social media branding important?” The short answer is because a PEW Social Media Fact Sheet reported, “Around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information, and entertain themselves.” Most people you interact or want to interact with are on social media.

The long answer is companies hire by, professionals connect with, collaborations develop on, and your reputation is in your social media. For that to happen, you need to create a professional brand that personifies who you are or what you represent and the skills you offer a potential employer. Yes, social media branding does take time. However, once you set up LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress apps this series includes, the time it takes is considerably less.

First, you need a professional brand that communicates a unique you. Before you even get online and on apps, sit down and type or write out your skills, what professionals have said about you and your work, your greatest strengths, what value you consistently bring to the table, and your passions, personality, gifts, and unique traits. Then, highlight the things that are distinctly you that are interesting to others. How many times has someone wanted to know more about … that you do or say? Also, anticipate who you want to be and what you want people to most to remember about you for your professional brand? Next, cross out phrases and sentences of what people generally expect of an employee, coworker, or supervisor. Use what remains to play with words that are …

Impactful

Interesting

Interactive

Informative

Illustrative

Instantaneous

… to develop that one sentence that is the most substantial thing another professional should know about you. This is your 60 Second Sales Pitch, and it is the bulk of your professional brand. Hold onto the rest to later expand your brand, use in a cover letter, for interview answers. From the sales pitch brand, create a phrase that is a tag line compact enough to post across your social media apps.

For example, you are a nonfiction writer and photographer who writes a variety of topics, from narrative to informative, so you “express reality in ways that captivate, inspire, and inform.” That encompasses both writing and photography, rolls off the tongue, and is interesting. It covers the bases of ways you communicate—photo, narrative, topical—with intrigue through the lively words you chose—express, reality, captivate, inspire, and inform.

Now you have a tag line to represent your professional brand and apply across social media apps, starting with the LinkedIn app where all that information you originally wrote, plus your resume goes into a profile.

LinkedIn

Today, companies selecting a candidate for a position look at LinkedIn profiles. Your LinkedIn profile, therefore, is a key part of your professional brand. Kate Harrison quotes in Top Social Media Tips for Every Platform: YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest, “LinkedIn is a community of professionals who are ready to be educated on your business and what you have to offer. As a result, it’s a great place to build your personal reputation, brand awareness and a loyal network.”

The simplest way to explain LinkedIn and what it does is to think about it as a live, interactive resume. Like a resume, your profile includes business and positions worked, schools attended, and skills acquired. Your profile helps you build connections and share information among professionals on a day to day basis. Fauzia Burke explains in her online marketing book, “The LinkedIn audience is where professionals connect and help each other to be effective, productive, and successful. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to showcase your professional experience. It is a great way to gain more visibility, increase your rank with search engines, and inform your professional network” (96) about your career activities and trajectory.

However, for it to be effective, you spend time with it, posting quality content, (not photos of pets, vacations, and family members) following and interacting with fellow LinkedIn professionals. From this network you may gain affirmation of the skills you post or testimonials that beef up your profile and your professional brand.

 

 

Works Cited

Burke, Fauzia. Online Marketing for Busy Authors. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.: Oakland. 2016.

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