Branding Yourself: Paving Your Way in the World of Work

We’ve been getting really involved in different forms of branding during #Tchat for the last few weeks. Last week’s #Tchat focused more on personal branding and what it can mean for those in the “world of work.” I really identify with this topic and feel like my efforts to brand myself eventually became a success story, and a continuing success story at that.  I recall a time when I was a job seeker and struggled to be known for my work experience in human resources and my intentions to continue to work hard to move forward in this career path. For months, I applied to job after job and attempted to land interviews. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. At that time, I realized that I clearly was not standing out in the candidate pool and I needed to do things differently.

A resume wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I realized that I had to work harder to get my name out there. I realized I needed people to connect my name with HR. I needed to be transparent: I wanted people to be able to Google “Ashley Lauren Perez” and see that I was progressively moving forward in my career, even if I didn’t currently have an employer. In no time, I was branding myself and I didn’t even realize it. It happened organically.

Some of the things I learned while going through this process were:

  • Go big or go home: if you are going to be branding yourself, you need to not only be transparent about who you are and what you do, but you also need to be consistent about it. Don’t hold back- be bold.
  • Make time to network and collaborate: I think one of the greatest things I gained from branding myself was the networking opportunities that came from it. I made sure I connected with people and would open up my schedule to speak to them very casually about different topics in regard to HR. Before I knew it, I was learning more than I probably did in relevant college classes. Some of these individuals even helped increase opportunities for collaboration, job opportunities, guest blogging, and work partnerships.
  • Be a human: if you’re branding yourself on social media, you need to remember that the point of this technology is to be SOCIAL. Yes, feel free to post links/blogs/etc. and repost, but make sure you actually engage in conversation with people. Comment on their posts or join in chats/discussion groups. Don’t be a “news feed.” You need to humanize it; otherwise, no one’s going to get to really know you.
  • It’s not all about you: don’t be selfish about your brand. The best brands are the one that add value, which means you need to give back in some form. Be open to help others and you will be sure to receive.

Whether you are a job seeker, a college student, a consultant, or a CEO of a major company- you need to brand yourself. We live in a world where collaboration is essential in order to have a competitive edge in whatever you do. Don’t limit your opportunities.

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter: Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More Links:

Empower the Brand “You”

Mindfully Managing Your Personal Brand

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Credit Where Credit is Due: Employee Recognition

Once again, #Tchat blew my mind last Wednesday as we discussed employee recognition.  Were managers giving too little recognition or ignoring employees? Were they giving too much that it seemed insincere? Did the recognition tap into what employees wanted and needed or did it make no difference in their engagement? There were so many questions surrounding this topic and all of the contributors provided some great input, advice, and examples.

Here are some little take-aways:

  • First off, know your employees: recognition is a great thing but it’s even greater when you know your employees will respond in the way you were intending. Each employee is different and, therefore, their needs are different. Make sure your recognition would be appreciated by them. (i.e. if someone is an introvert, don’t put them on the spot in large crowds).
  • Don’t get too crazy: we all love to be recognized for our hard work, but don’t go overboard. If you say thank you or get excited about EVERYTHING that EVERYONE does, it will start to lose its meaning. Make sure you keep it meaningful.
  • Show a little faith: sometimes companies don’t have the financial means to provide a compensation reward, and that’s perfectly fine. But there’s other ways you can reward your employees. For example, allow them to take on another project to build skills and learn. Show them you believe in their abilities to do well and have faith in them. This can go a long way.
  • Don’t shut out bad behavior: recognition doesn’t just mean positive praise. Sometimes you also need to recognize an employee for the bad, too. Don’t ignore them- help them! Ignoring these situations is just doing a disservice to them and your company. I’m sure they’d benefit from your recognition and help.
  • Keep it unique: make an effort to go beyond a generic recognition statement. Take notice of what your employees individually do for your company and show your appreciation for their unique efforts.

These little tips were just a few of the many great take-aways I gathered from the chat. You can find links below to the recap and full chat for more insight. In conclusion, remember that recognition can be a simple thing to increase morale, engagement, and efficiency. Sometimes, these things can be achieved with a simple “Thank you.”

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to join #Tchat on Twitter, Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More Links:

Employee Recognition Social Platform (and Photo Source): Work Simple – Contact Jocelyn Aucoin @JocelynAucoin for more details

#TChat Recap by Megan Burkett @MegBurkett

Storify of the Chat

Switching Up to a Career Seeking State of Mind

Alright, the economy really did a number on us as employees. Many of us have lost jobs or were in fear of losing it. We took pay cuts, benefit cuts, and worked extra hard to compensate for being under-staffed. Some of us had to take crummy jobs after crummy jobs just to make sure our mortgages were paid and there was food on the table. Some of us even wondered if we’d ever find a stable job again. I say- enough! I’ve been there before and I know it’s rough. But 2013 is a new year and with last month adding over 100,000 new jobs into the mix, we’re hoping things are looking up. With that being said, it’s time to switch gears and start getting career-minded rather than “job to get by”-minded.

Building yourself up to get ready for your career and achieving your career goals does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process. So, what should you be focusing on to help you get where you need to be? Here are a few ideas:

  • Personal Branding: resumes are becoming redundant and often highlight what you done rather than your career path intentions. It’s time to stand out of the candidate-crowd and get people to know you for what you WANT to be known for. Get involved in activities, groups, or conferences that can help you gain skills and network. Get exposure on social media. Start TALKING about it.
  • Be about it: maybe your personal brand won’t land you the dream job right off the bat, and that’s to be expected. Your relevant skills might be a bit rusty or maybe you need to develop new ones to keep up with the way the industry had changed. Internships, projects, and volunteer work are never below you- remember that. Some people’s pride and ego get in the way from taking on these seemingly innocent projects/roles. But the truth of the matter is; these situations help you build the skills you need to be an attractive candidate.
  • Learning is continuous: so be sure to add to your talking and doing by learning. Think of it as being extremely well-rounded. Your mind needs to be sharp and up to date. Be sure to find learning opportunities, whether it is to take classes, read business books/blogs, or simply join in a discussion relevant to the career/industry you’re targeting. This can keep you fresh and be ready to contribute useful ideas/insight when you have the opportunity to shine.
  • Build your network: doing all of these steps will be pretty useless if no one knows who you are, where you’re located, or what you’re striving for. It will also be useless if you have no idea what feasible options for you are. Build your network of contacts, get to know them and let them get to know you. Simply building and maintaining these contacts can help them reach out to you if opportunity arises or they can even help guide you so you can ensure you’re taking the right steps towards your goal. Your network will be your support, your mentors, your key to opportunity, or just a good conversation.

Your career isn’t a fleeting thing. It is your future, and a long-term future at that. Take care and pride in these steps to help you reach your goal in the most ideal way possible. 2013 will be the year that you will focus in on your potential and strive to be the best version of yourself. Take action!

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to join #Tchat on Twitter on Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More Links:

#Tchat Recap

Storify : Lose job, keep career

5 Powerful Career Drivers for the Future of Work – Forbes article by Meghan M Biro

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Helping our Veterans Enter the Civilian Workforce

Just in time for Veteran’s Day! #Tchat hosted a great discussion last week in regard to helping veterans enter into the civilian workforce. Once again, the contributors had some great suggestions on how we can help veterans prepare for job hunting, gain transferable skills, and format their resume so it can be easily read by recruiters in civilian companies. I was happy to see the passion that these recruiters and human resources professionals had for helping the veterans get where they need to be when it came to landing a job.

Here are some great take-aways and suggestions from this chat:

  • It would be wise for military branches to take a few months to properly prepare the veterans for the change between military life and civilian life. This includes helping them build necessary skills that will transfer into civilian work.
  • RPOs, organizations, and staffing firms should take the time to partner with military branches and prepare available jobs for transitioning veterans.
  • Veterans should seek help when it comes to gaining appropriate interviewing skills, job hunting skills, and resume writing skills. Companies should be open to helping them with this, even if it’s as simple as helping them reformat their resumes so they will have appropriate keywords that recruiters look for.
  • Veterans should be taught how to build on their networking skills.
  • Veterans should be educated on how to create a personal brand that they can use in face-to-face networking events, interviews, and even social media branding.
  • Companies and veterans need to take the time to collaborate and bridge the gap between military verbiage and civilian business language so they can have equally understandable communication with clear messages.
  • For mentoring and coaching opportunities, companies should pair new veteran employees with others who have made the transition in the past.
  • Companies should make special efforts to seek out veterans, help them become aware of job openings they could be a fit for, and create social opportunities to discuss how the job and candidate would be a fit.

There were so many great ideas in this chat that I simply could not name them all. We all hoped that these suggestions were inspiring and hopefully had started a helpful trend in this respect. You may review more of the suggestions, the recap, and additional tweets on this subject below.

If you are interested in topics like this, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter- Wednesdays at 7pm EST

More links:

Employing our Veterans by Meghan M. Biro

Smart Mission- Hire Vets by Kathleen Kruse

Recap Slide Show

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Can HR Upgrade to 2.0?

This past Wednesday’s #TChat was quite an interesting one. Of course, I loved it because it dealt with Human Resources, technology, and keeping up with the fast-paced business changes. Apparently, though, I wasn’t the only one who found this topic thought-provoking. 340 contributors on Twitter had taken the time to participate in our hour long chat which had resulted in 2,100 tweets and 11.7 million impressions. I definitely want to say thank you to those who contributed- your offerings made the chat one of the most enjoyable ones to date. And of course, you have helped spark ideas for today’s blog posting: why HR sometimes seems to lag during fast business changes.

Can HR be agile like the rest of business? Sure they can be, but their purpose is much more complex than that and being agile could potentially prevent them from doing their proper due diligence. Human Resources are there to protect the company and also the employees. They must edit their plan of action to not only protect them presently, but also in the future. This involves careful planning. With every organizational change, HR needs to consider and update the following:

  • Job descriptions: sometimes these organizational changes can also change the roles of the employees. This means HR needs to reconsider the descriptions, duties, and expectations for these new roles.
  • Compensation Benchmarking: HR now needs to consider and compare the new roles against others in the industry. They must ensure that they are now compensating employees properly to be competitive.
  • Career path planning: HR may need to restructure some of the paths that these new roles will lead up to. After all, they wouldn’t want to create a job that ends there with no room to move upwards or laterally. That could ruin their efforts of retaining talent.
  • Performance reviews: new criterion and expectations need to be created to ensure that employees are meeting the requirements satisfactorily. This means that management and HR need to create new objectives to ensure that the role is progressing appropriately for business needs.
  • Recruitment efforts and assessments: recruiters will now need to know what the new profile and basic requirements are to help them discover the best talent. New assessments will have to be created to help recruiters determine that candidates have the appropriate skills and knowledge to perform well at the new role.
  • Employer branding: HR needs to determine what marketing and branding efforts will need to be restructured to ensure they are presenting the company in a way that is aligned with the new changes. These efforts need to be carefully thought out to appropriately attract new talent and retain current talent.

Some individuals may question why HR can’t keep up with “the speed of business”, especially with new technology emerging. Yes- technology has helped HR exponentially. However, a lot of the functions above require a “human” touch to review, plan, and consider long-term effects. HR is the department that keeps the organization and workforce ecosystem steady. Therefore, their role in organizational changes may be a little bit slower, but overall, their efforts make more of a difference than some may realize.

If you like topics like this, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter – Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More links to this week’s chat:

HR Shifts to the Fast Lane by Kathleen Kruse

#TChat Storify by Sean Charles

5 Ways to Rock Star HR Leadership by Meghan M. Biro

Talent Culture

Photo Source

Should You Let your Employees Use Social Media?

Another successful #TChat this past Wednesday has become my muse for today’s blog post. HootSuite was kind enough to make a guest appearance this chat and helped us learn the many business benefits of social media. Of course, social media has many great benefits when it comes to marketing to customers but what about the benefits of allowing your employees to use social media for business even if they aren’t in the sales or marketing department?

Social media in the workplace doesn’t necessarily need to be a negative thing. It can actually help your business more than you realize:

  • Employees become a megaphone: if you have more employees using social media to talk about your company, the products/services, events, etc., it can reach a larger audience. Not to mention, the audience that it is reaching will be people that know the employees and trust them which can make a better impact.
  • Your recruiters can research candidates: resumes don’t always give a clear picture of why candidates would be top talent for your company. Social media gives candidates a voice and personality and can show recruiters the candidates’ personal brand. This can help recruiters really get a good picture of what a candidate would bring to table if hired.
  • It can engage employees and increase internal mobility: sometimes an employee’s job role doesn’t allow them to show managers what they’re truly capable of. Social media can open up options when employees are attempting to find ways to take initiative. It can open up opportunity and show managers what ELSE the employee can do if given the chance.
  • Surprisingly, it can increase communication: social media makes it easier to communicate and network with all sorts of professionals. This networking can help build relationships that can turn into partnerships or business opportunities. Additionally, these people can provide new and useful resources to help a company learn and progress.

Understandably, employers are worried that employees will abuse social media use. However, it can make a positive difference if you train employees on proper uses and even give them ideas on how to use it to benefit their jobs and the business as a whole. You can even engage employees to use it properly by creating contests, recognizing a good job, or even offering incentives. Open your mind to this and you may allow your company to progress faster than ever before.

#Tchat Recap

TalentCulture

Photo By: Sean Charles

For more interesting information, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter on Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

How to Promote Social Learning

#TChat has done it again! Another wonderful chat last Wednesday has given me some really great information for today’s blog post. Last week we discussed the importance of promoting a learning culture in the workplace. Many participants chimed in and let us know what they suggested in order to create in an environment where social learning could succeed. As usual, the chat is comprised with some really fantastic people that had some great input on the topic.

An environment and workplace culture that promotes continuous learning is key in aiding a company towards a constant, successful future. Here are some ways you can encourage learning within your workplace:

  • Don’t hand out answers: If someone comes to you looking for help or an answer, make them think.  Ask them questions that could help them learn where to look for a useful resource, or ask them questions to help them critically think and potentially come up with the answer on their own. Sometimes people know the answer, they just need a question to help them lead to it.
  • Create a safe environment: Allow people to feel like they can freely voice their thoughts, feelings, suggestions, and concerns without being judged.
  • Encourage people to challenge the status-quo: Things change because people question if what’s currently in place is relevant. Allow people to challenge what is currently there so they can investigate new trends and resources and hopefully come up with a better solution that will work presently or in the future. This can allow business progression.
  • Encourage people to share: Allow people to come to you and openly share new resources for learning and information. Sometimes people can find new things that the L&D or HR department may have never stumbled upon.
  • Be adaptable: Things change fast, so be sure to keep up. Don’t teach things or use methods that are out of date, otherwise you may have reversed learning and growth rather than helped.
  • Be open to different learning options: Many people think that learning is only conducive in classrooms and workshops but technology has opened up other outlets for learning. For example, I learned so much from different professionals that I networked with via Twitter chats and LinkedIn discussions. I never thought those social media sites would be as useful as it truly was.

Learning is important for your employees’ personal and professional growth. When your employees grow, they are able to bring more to the table and help your company reach new heights. Promote learning in your company- it can benefit all that are involved.

For more information about this topic, check out Meghan Biro’s article in Forbes and the #TChat Slideshow that Sean Charles created.

Also, be sure to join #TChat on Wednesdays at 7PM EST