Hiding in Plain Sight

Ah Halloween and careers! In thinking about the symbolism connected with the season, I can imagine that there are lots of scary mistakes that run across the full gamut of job search and career management activities. It’s a fertile area for metaphor. Yet for me, I think the scariest mistake is to run your career, including your online presence, as if you were The Invisible Man. In the classic novella by H.G. Wells, the main character, Griffin, is “…a scientist who theorizes that if a person's refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will be invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result.” Since this was published, we’ve learned it’s actually possible to hide in plain sight. In nature it’s called camouflage, and it allows organisms to blend in with their surroundings. While the survival benefits may work out in the wild, … [Read more...]

Your Best Job Search Resource? You!

Normally, when people ask about resources for job seekers, they mean something that will be useful in helping the job seeker successfully secure new employment. It could be a book, a website, an article, an assessment, a contact management tool, or a networking or professional organization. There are lots of possibilities. And all you need to do is launch your web browser to find them. So, this post isn’t about any of those. When all is said and done, success in a job search is meeting a short-term objective on a longer journey of career success. So, as I see it, the best resource for a job seeker is his or her own good judgment in making choices that lead to successful career management. Individual choices will be different for everyone. However, there is one common theme: developing the self-knowledge to be able to recognize the right kinds of opportunities, and then exercising the discipline to get out there to meet the people who can help connect you to them. Frankly, the … [Read more...]

Getting Beyond “My Brand”

These days, it seems that personal branding has faced increasing criticism. Much of it, I think, is driven by people who don’t get it, or at least who don’t get the concept that we advance at Reach. And, let’s face it, social media and the prevalence of internet marketers has allowed for the idea to be hijacked in the interest of “driving traffic.” Lot’s of people out there pushing “my brand” opens the door to the perception of personal brands as contrived or fake.  Frankly, I think the dialogue about personal branding is a good thing, and that we need to participate. I think that addressing these criticisms gives us a platform for creating more clarity, and perhaps even evolve the concept of personal brand further. So, here’s my contribution. * * * Think about it. When you were growing up, did your friends ever ask if your brand could come out to play? Not likely. What they wanted was you and what you brought to their experience. Fast forward to the present, and ask yourself if … [Read more...]

Were You Always Like That?

Call it an elevator pitch. Call it a self-introduction. Describing ourselves is one of the most challenging things we are called upon to do.  Some people stumble through. Some people say way too much. Some people wrap themselves in buzzwords related to their area of expertise. Fact is, most folks simply aren’t comfortable talking about themselves, whether in live situations, on paper, or in online profiles.  Yet, in today’s ever more connected and competitive world, crafting a self-introduction has never been more important. Not only does it relate your expertise and convey your unique promise of value, but it's also key to inviting and encouraging people to connect with you. At recent career transition strategy session, I asked attendees to introduce themselves, and include one key piece of information they believed a decision maker should know about them. What I didn’t tell them was that I’d be asking why they shared what they did! Frankly, I was as surprised as they … [Read more...]

The Public Life of Your Personal Brand

Most people would readily agree they have a personal life, but few would describe themselves as having a “public life.” Sure, we have our work life and our home life. Yet, we don’t usually think about having a “public” dimension to our lives. Politicians and celebrities have public lives. We do not. We are apt to believe our careers are part of a daily blur of activities and don’t really stand out. Yet, to a large degree, professional success has always been driven by the positive regard of others. It shapes our reputation. And although we might not consciously make the connection, reputation exists by virtue of a public life. Sure, many of us have tended to be conscious of making the right “career moves.” Still, we’ve not usually thought of proactively managing our success in a “public life” context. The advent, and virtual explosion of social media, has changed that. Forever.  Today, if you want to be successful, you need to respond to the incessant demand to have a public … [Read more...]