Month: May 2013

Career Wellness Checkup #16

Do you have a mentor inside your organization?

Mentors are an important factor cited in study after study on career success.  If you are committed to your career success, you should not ignore the power of mentoring.

I’m not talking about waiting for your organization to tap you on the shoulder and offer you a place in a formal mentoring program (if it even has one).  A mentor can be formal or informal, long-term or short-term, broad or narrow-focused.  Yes, I’m using the term ‘mentor’ very broadly.

Formal mentoring programs can offer fantastic opportunities for growth, but what if the tap never comes?  And, even if it might some day, why wait?  Whether you use formal or informal channels, make having a mentor from inside your organization a priority.

Having mentors inside your organization is important because they are operating in the same world you are. They will be more familiar with the corporate culture, policies and processes, which can be of great help to you in navigating them. They also may end up serving as an advocate for you internally, and goodness knows, we can never have too many advocates.

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Career Wellness Checkup #15

So you’re on social media.

How well are you managing your brand?

Whether you’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs or anything else, you need to realize that every word you write, every picture you share and every connection you make becomes part of your brand.

Here are few tips for actively managing your brand in a way that’s healthy for your career:

1)  Stay engaged. Update, comment, share, tweet or retweet regularly.  When you do, it reminds people that you’re there and often leads them back to your profile.

2) Keep your content aligned with your brand.  If you randomly share anything and everything, you will dilute your brand.  If you’re a tech person, share mostly on tech topics. If you’re a finance person, share mostly on finance. That doesn’t mean you should never color outside the lines but maintain the right balance. A little bit creates interest and dimension. Too much creates confusion.

3) Like, comment on or share content of others with relevant content.  People appreciate it when you share what they say and bring attention to their brand. If they like your content, they may reciprocate. 

4) Stay current.  You are always changing and growing.  Therefore, your profiles and what you share should change too. Read your profile on a regular basis and adjust as needed.

Career Wellness Checkup #14

So, you’ve Googled yourself.  Like what you see?  The good news is, your virtual brand is constantly evolving and you have a great deal of control and influence over what direction it goes.  The bad news is there are so many online channels for your message that it can be overwhelming.

Do you know which social networks you should be using? 

Even though I am a huuuuge proponent of LinkedIn, I am even more a proponent of being in the right “space” — the one that makes sense for you, given your profession, industry and goals. Each social network is a community and the members of the community make it what it is.  Take time to learn about those which are being used by people who do what you do.  If you don’t know…ask them!  Find out: Who is there? What do they do there? How do they engage? This will help you decide which is right for you.

Now, for most professional/administrative/managerial/executive workers (which is generally the population that read this blog), LinkedIn is absolutely the place to be. It’s a free, virtual space where you can post your “professional billboard”.  You get to write about you, what you you’ve done, what you’re good at and so on.  What you choose to include here shapes what people will know and believe about you.  Yes, it greatly mirrors a resume.  But you don’t have to send it out to dozens or hundreds of people.  It is there for the viewing at any time.  And, as you connect with people, share your status, comment on or start discussions, it drives people to see your profile, reinforcing your brand. One more word about LinkedIn: It is not just about job search.  In fact, it’s mostly not about job search.  It’s about engaging with other professionals in your network for mutual benefit, whatever that means for you at the moment.

Twitter is less well-understood by many, but can also be a great resource for professionals, both in influencing their virtual presence and in acquiring useful information and contacts.  No, it’s not all about celebrity watching, though if you want that, you can find it there.  You can also find thought leaders in every industry from everywhere around the globe. And you can share your thoughts with others who care about the same things you do.  What you share there (or “tweet”) and who you engage with becomes part of your brand.   If you know a lot about marketing analysis and you engage and share on Twitter about marketing analysis, guess what? Soon, people learn that you have this particular area of knowledge or expertise.  If you’re not on Twitter yet, you don’t even have to join to check it out. Try this: Go to https://twitter.com/search-home and search any topic of professional interest to you. (You can search by using the plain words or by using a hashtag – for ex: Java vs. #Java – you’ll get some different results either way).  You’ll probably be amazed at what you can find.