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Ways to Promote Your Personal Brand at Work

August 02nd, 2012

Hi All!

I am on the final stages of writing my newest book, “Make Your Personal Branding Outstanding: How Any Employee Can Create & Promote Their Own Leadership Brand For Massive Career Success!”. I am very excited about how the book is coming together and thrilled with the interest people have expressed in wanting it when it’s published. My Personal Branding Workshop has become one of my most in-demand over the past 2 years, so this is clearly a very hot topic. And companies like eBay, Wells Fargo and Johnson & Johnson wouldn’t be hiring me to conduct it, multiple times, if it wasn’t resonating with their employees…and my audiences are from ALL generations and career levels! Plus, quite a few companies have me conduct this workshop as part of their overall Leadership Training Programs...and all of this plays into improving employee retention (something many companies are taking very seriously these days).

That said, one of the areas I cover in the book and in the workshop, is how to promote “your” brand at work. It’s always a popular segment in my workshops so I thought I’d share part of that chapter here to not only give you a glimpse of tips I will be providing in the book (it’s crammed full of good info!), but to also just to give you helpful tips to think about now.

And, no, the book is NOT just about how to promote your personal brand! The entire first section of it covers “how” to create a personal brand…ideas for promoting yourself come after that section.

Okay! Without further delay, here is a partial excerpt from one chapter in my new book due out in October 2012 on Amazon (in both print and Kindle versions):

You’ve created your Personal Leadership Brand by following the principles outlined in the previous chapters, and now you want to start attracting some notoriety. This is a good thing! However, it’s an area where many employees who want to achieve extreme career success drop the ball.

            Why? Because everyone gets busy and stuck in their department silos. It’s very common, especially if you work for a larger company, to spend a vast majority of your time at work with your department colleagues and rarely expand outside of that world, except to grab lunch somewhere.

            But if you want to achieve bigger career success and become more known throughout your company, there are things you need to do within your department and outside of it. Typically, just “doing your job”, even if you’re great at it, isn’t going to be enough to get you where you REALLY want to go.

            So let’s look at some key strategies for you to consider…

Networking at the Office: If you work for a larger company that has internal networking groups or clubs (like Women in Leadership Group, an African American Group, a softball team, a running club, etc.), have you joined one that matches your interests? And if you have joined one, do you actively participate?

When I ask this question at workshops, not many hands go up. But this is a KEY strategy! You’ve got to leave your department and get to know people all around the company.

And if you work for a company that doesn’t have internal networking groups, when was the last time you coordinated some sort of networking mixer to bring people from ALL departments together for socializing? Don’t wait for other people to do it!

Remember: This is to benefit your Personal Brand, so make the effort. People will appreciate your coordinating something fun for the company to participate in…and they don’t have to know it is part of your own personal “publicity” strategy.

But aside from participating in internal networking groups or clubs, or coordinating events, you can be proactive at introducing yourself to key people in other departments. I know a woman, who was a middle-manager at a Fortune 500 company, who looked at the org chart for each department, contacted VP’s in each one, and invited them individually to coffee. She simply said that she wanted to know more about their department and career path, and would appreciate 30-minutes of their time.

And what was the result? Not ONE VP declined her offer, plus most of those coffee meetings lasted for more than an hour! That’s significant face time, alone, with senior executives she would have probably never met otherwise.

Within a few months she knew most of the key VP’s throughout the company, and more importantly, they knew her. This then led to many invitations to be on special projects outside of her department, invitations to events she would never have known about before, even job offers from other departments, and finding internal Mentors that she could seek advice and support from.

Yes, it took guts and time to do what she did, but the pay-off for building her Personal Brand within the company was huge!

Go Out of Your Way to Help Others: If someone asks for volunteers on a project, or help with something they’re struggling with, or even help with cleaning the break room, do it. I don’t care what level on the org chart you are, if you’re capable and qualified to do what is being asked, do it. It will reflect well on you in a variety of ways and that is important.

Why? Most people WON’T do it because in our own little minds we think we’re the busiest people on the planet and don’t have time to volunteer for something else. Well, the reality is that most of us DO have the time; we just choose not to make the time.

Present Ideas Creatively: Don’t be the person who puts people to sleep when you do presentations. One of the best things you can do for your Personal Brand is become known as a great presenter. And if you know this is an area you struggle with, hire a Speaking Coach to help you or join a local Toast Masters group in your area to get help and feedback on your skills.

            I know employees who have worked on their presentation skills, became very good, and were then asked to do major, high-profile presentations because their boss knew they would do a better job than s/he would. That is huge exposure!

            No one likes a boring presentation. I’m not saying you have to juggle and tell jokes. I’m saying you need to have an air of confidence and that creates rapport and presence. Whether you have to do a presentation for 10 minutes to your co-workers and boss at your Monday morning meeting, or conduct a 45-minute presentation to 200+ people, always make it good. Be prepared, practice a lot, and again, get help with your skills if you need it. Good speakers have magnetism and that benefits your Personal Leadership Brand.

Promote Your News: Did you win an award from a club or org you belong to outside of work? Did you write an article that got published? Did you accomplish something cool like hike up Mt. Everest on vacation? If so, share your news! And if your company has an internal company-wide e-newsletter, send them your news!

You never know who may read about it and want to reach out to you because they share a similar interest. It could be a Sr. Vice President that you may have never met, that is planning to climb Mount Everest in a year, and she wants to pick your brain about your trip there…and who knows where THAT new connection could lead you!

Pat Others on the Back: Do not hold back compliments and kudos. And always share them publicly versus waiting until you’re alone with the person. Also, if you know of something a co-worker has done that is exceptional, or went “above and beyond” to get a project done and no one else knows the extra effort they put in, announce it in meetings and/or send out mass emails sharing the news. No one will forget you did that for them, others will think it’s admirable, and that could lead to people doing it for you at some point…and all of that supports the positive building of your Personal Brand.

Speaking at Work: Are there internal company events where you could think of a topic and submit it for consideration? I’m sure there is. Every big company has events throughout the year (departments or company-wide) where they look for employees to be speakers at. And if you work for a smaller company that doesn’t have internal events, you can create your own. Think of a topic that you know would help others at work or in their personal lives, and do a Brown Bag Lunch session. You can even do this if you work for a large company!

            Again, you can create your own “events” and that increase your brand recognition. And for an internal presentation at your company, the topic doesn’t even have to be around your “work” expertise. If you practice meditation for stress reduction, but your “job” is as a Software Developer, who cares? You can still promote a Brown Bag Lunch session where you’ll share tips and strategies to reduce stress through meditation. You can promote it company-wide and attract ALL types of employees, from all different career levels, who think the topic is interesting. And, by them attending that, they will then get to know “who” you are and “what” you do in your role at the company. See? Now those who wouldn’t otherwise have a reason to know you at work will know you!    

Alright! That concludes the excerpt from my new book due out in October. I hope you found those tips helpful! I also have an entire chapter on how to promote your personal brand outside of work to achieve more notoriety in your industry (not just in the workplace). So be sure to look for my newest book on Amazon this fall…

Bye for now!

Lisa

Gen Y: Time to Get Comfortable with In-Person Conversation

June 02nd, 2012

Hi All!

There are a variety of reasons I chose this topic to write about today, but one recent conversation with a good friend was the thing that got me motivated to actually do it.

She was telling me how she and her 23-year old Millennial (aka: Gen Y) son, who recently graduated from college, went mattress shopping for his new apartment. During their outing together, she was chatting up a storm with everyone; the salespeople, other customers, etc.

After a while, her son finally said, “Mom, what is it with your generation? You guys talk to everyone, all the time!”

He then continued to say that he wasn’t comfortable doing that and that most people he knew, in his generation, felt the same way. However, during their 3-hour mattress-shopping afternoon together, she told me that he hardly ever stopped texting back and forth with his friends. So, “communication” isn’t the issue; “how” they are comfortable doing it is.

Anyway, after his comment, at the very next store she made an effort to hardly say a word and decided to let him handle the interaction with the 40-something sales associate. It only took about 4 minutes for her son to ask her to talk to the salesperson because he didn’t want to anymore. Rather, he was more comfortable watching his Baby Boomer mom do all the talking.

I’ve seen this “not talking much” dynamic occur in many of the workshops I conduct for Millennial employees in corporations. That is also one reason I dedicate a chapter to “communicating like a leader” in my popular book for Millennial employees, “Millennials into Leadership”. My Millennial audiences are always totally engaged, but just aren’t comfortable making comments or asking questions, even when I ask them to. However, they come up to me one-on-one afterwards, or send me emails afterwards, with questions or comments. THAT is totally different from when I conduct workshops or seminars with “older” generations in the audience (i.e. Gen X and Boomers). I typically have to monitor how much time they take up talking!

Plus, I get tons of Millennials at my leadership training workshops that openly admit they just aren’t comfortable speaking with strangers, or even work colleagues, face-to-face. AND, I hear this complaint from many of their Managers. They get very frustrated with the fact their Millennial employees don’t participate much in meetings. However, they find it odd that those same Millennials are totally okay telling them about what they did over the weekend, in lengthy detail, EVERY Monday morning.

And I have to explain that most Millennials like, and need, close ties to their bosses, and sharing their personal life is one way they try to build that “bond”. Unfortunately, that’s something that most supervisors in the workforce, 35+ years old, find very irritating.

Hence just ONE of the reasons the multi-generational workforce challenges continue…and that’s what keeps getting me booked for speaking engagements at well-known companies across the country!

The bottom line to all of this is: Most Millennials grew-up communicating electronically with their peers and that is their comfort zone. However, as I explain to them, they need to work on getting out of that online comfort zone and work at being more comfortable with in-person social settings. It is critical to their career success and relationship building professionally.

My advice to all you Millennials is to take it slow and “practice”. Go to professional networking events, at work and outside of work, or if you’re job searching, and force yourself to meet as many people as you can each time. Trust me! It gets much easier the more you do it!

Also, to get you started, follow these great tips for networking successfully at events offered by David Spinks, who wrote this article for BrazenCareerist.com, an info-packed blog site for young professionals, entitled, “13 Tips for Your First Networking Event”.

Now get out there, turn off your mobile devices, and build some new relationships by communicating the old fashioned way…in-person! Your “career” will thank you!

Bye for now,

Lisa

Ten Tips to Off-line Networking for Career Success and Personal Branding

June 26th, 2011

Hi All!

Nowadays, most people seem to be solely focused on social networking online. And, yes, while I am a firm believer that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are AMAZING tools for making professional connections, I find that many Millennials (aka: Gen Y), and even members of older generations at work, such as Gen X, Generation Jones and Boomers, forget about “the other” type of networking…attending industry mixers and professional association gatherings!

Quite honestly, I find that attending in-person networking events can typically yield me positive business results faster than relying on social media networking. Therefore, I make an effort to include in-person networking to my personal brand-building mix.

But, I also find that many people are not that great at using their valuable networking time wisely. As a result, I make sure to include tips on “effective networking at events” in the Personal Leadership Branding seminars and Millennial Business Boot Camp workshops that I conduct for corporations and college students. It is key to your career success!

So whether you’re a job-seeker or simply wanting to expand your professional network outside of your office to “increase awareness for your personal brand”, keep reading!

Here are Ten Tips I suggest to make your off-line networking efforts successful:

  1. Show-up with your business cards! People often forget their cards, or only bring a few, and that’s embarrassing. Bring a substantial stack so you don’t run out. And, if you’re a job-seeker who is unemployed, make your own cards and consider making them 2-sided so that you can list your qualifications on the back. Plus, bring copies of your resume “just in-case”!
  2. Don’t be shy. Remember, everyone is there to meet new people, so you are all in the same boat. Find someone standing alone or a small group of people, walk up, extend your hand (for a FIRM shake), smile and introduce yourself. It may feel odd at first but people who network a lot are used to strangers approaching them. And if you say it’s your first time attending the mixer, they’ll normally want to help you meet other people.
  3. Practice your 15-second “personal infomercial” (aka: elevator pitch) before you arrive. When someone asks what you do or why you are there, be able to explain yourself in 15-seconds or less. DO NOT bore people with a long personal pitch or a bumbling explanation about who you are and/or what you’re seeking.
  4. You should take an interest in the people you meet first. It’s common to ramble on about yourself when you’re nervous, so make a serious effort to ask people questions and LISTEN to what they share closely.
  5. Depending on the length of the mixer, try not to spend more than 5-10 minutes with each person. You’re there to meet a lot of people! Now if you’re really enjoying yourself with someone, maybe spend a bit more time. BUT, KEEP IN MIND, they may want to be moving on to meet more people, too, so don’t monopolize their time. They might be too shy to excuse themselves, so be mindful of time, and watch their eyes and body language!
  6. If alcohol is being served, don’t overdo it. I’ve seen quite a few people early-on at an event making a great impression and then, after a few drinks, it goes downhill. Remember: If you’re an employee, everything you say and do at the event will not only impact your personal brand but will also reflect on your employer’s brand!
  7. Make a lot of eye contact with people and smile! It’s all about human contact, and smiling will draw people to you. However when most people get nervous they tend to stand on the sidelines and hope people will come to them. A genuine, sincere smile will relax people and will make connecting with you more inviting…exuding confidence it key!
  8. Practice being a good conversationalist. Rather than JUST talk about you, your job and your purpose for being there (or theirs), have a few interesting questions memorized, and ask about kids, travel, previous jobs, pets, sports, current events, etc. This can help you quickly bond with people beyond “business”. Also, by really listening to people (which many people are NOT great at!) questions will come up naturally that you can ask to keep the conversation going. And, personally, I avoid topics around religion and politics…there’s no need to get yourself into a potentially controversial conversation!
  9. If someone approaches a group you’re talking to, immediately extend your hand, smile, and make them feel welcome. Remember, they are probably nervous, too!
  10. Send a hand written follow-up note to all the people you meet (mail them within 1-2 days). The immediate thought, especially by Gen Y, is to send an e-mail or text message, but a good ‘ol fashioned “Nice meeting you” greeting card, sent via snail mail, makes a BIG impression on people, from ANY generation…because people rarely send them nowadays!

Okay, now find some good association mixers and industry events in your area, and try to attend at least 1-2 per month, consistently. There is a very good chance you’ll reap the benefits of your off-line networking efforts fast, such as: See your professional contacts database grow quickly; find career-building opportunities otherwise missed; and, for those of you job searching, potentially get leads on good job opportunities!

Here’s a great quote I read a while ago (but I can remember who said it): “Take your online connections off-line, and take your off-line connections online”. Great advice!

 Bye for now!

Lisa

Career Expert’s New Book Examines Today’s Internships in America

June 07th, 2011

New Book Explores the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Internships in America Today!

Hi All!

I wanted to share this Press Release with you about a new book I highly recommend checking out, Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle, by Heather R. Huhman.

PRESS RELEASE:

Today’s internships are creating and evolving the next generation of our workforce – and generating controversy, urban myths, and false prophets. In her newest book, Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (Happy About, 2011), career expert and experienced hiring manager Heather R. Huhman examines the condition of internships in today’s economy – and tackles the good, bad, and ugly.

Available on June 6, 2011, Lies, Damned Lies & Internships explores the current state of internships, buried in misconception, exploitation, and controversy, and gets down to what really matters: experience and education.

Huhman, who has been recognized by CNN/CareerBuilder for the past two years as a ‘top job tweeter you should be following’ and included in Monster.com’s ‘The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Search,’ says, “As a five-time intern and proud intern-employer, I believe that an intern is hired to learn, not to go on coffee runs and make endless copies. In fact, internships aren’t meant to be ‘jobs’ at all. This book looks at both sides of the internship debate – and ignites a new discussion amongst legislators, employers, universities, parents, and, of course, interns.”

Lies, Damned Lies & Internships includes a forward by Mark Babbitt, CEO of YouTern. According to Babbitt, “It is time for all of us, across the board – corporate America, higher education and the intern candidates themselves – to focus on the importance of high-quality, mentor-based internships as a means to transition from academic pursuits to the real world.”

In Lies, Damned Lies & Internships, Huhman discusses:

  • Recent controversies surrounding internships
  • The importance of internships
  • Characteristics of a good internship program
  • How to create an internship program
  • Current problems and possible solutions
  • An analysis of “internships gone bad”
  • How to turn an internship into full-time employment
  • How to turn interns into full-time employees

Lies, Damned Lies & Internships is available for purchase and download at Happy About. Soon, the eBook also can be enjoyed on the Kobo, Kindle, iPhone/iPad, Nook, and Google Books.

ABOUT HEATHER R. HUHMAN:

Heather R. Huhman is the Founder & President of Come Recommended, and has nearly a decade of public relations and marketing experience, specializing in media relations, content marketing, and social media. She is also a well-recognized career expert, an experienced hiring manager, and someone who has been in nearly every employment-related situation imaginable.

Grab a copy of her book today! It’s interesting and definately worth reading!

Bye for now,

Lisa

The Top 10 Leadership Books All Gen Y Employees Should Read

January 31st, 2011

Hi All!

I conduct various seminars and workshops on Leadership and Personal Leadership Branding for Millennials (Gen Y) employees and college students, and one of the things I tell them is to “feed your brain”. That is a key trait of effective leaders regardless of how high up the ladder they are in their careers…they never stop learning to be better.

Along with that advice, I’m also asked,”What books on leadership should I read?” Obviously, I can’t resist recommending mine, “Millennials into Leadership”. I would be crazy not to!!

But here are some of the other (wink) top books on leadership that I think Millennials, and all other generations at work, should read to learn and nurture their leadership and management skills. Quick side note: Just because you’ve been given a leadership role, doesn’t mean you’re good at it! Some people are born leaders, but MOST everyone else needs training. That’s why organizations hire me to conduct leadership seminars for their Millennial employees!

Okay, back to the list…this article was in WashingtonPost.com and written by Andrea Useem, and the list was created by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten, who run the business book publisher and website 800 CEO Read. And based on their research, this is what they chose as the 10 best leadership books.

Excerpt:

…and how did they choose them? “We had three litmus tests,” Sattersten told me in a phone interview. “Was the book accessible and well written? Are its lessons applicable today? And, third, would we apply the insights in our own business?”

1. On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis

2. The Leadership Moment, by Michael Useem

3. The Leadership Challenge, by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner (NOTE: Recommended by one panelist as the FIRST book on leadership you should read)

4. Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will, by Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherman

The other books on their list are:
Leadership is an Art, by Max De Pree
The Radical Leap, by Steve Farber
Leading Change, by John Kotter
Questions of Character, by Joe Badaracco
The Story Factor, by Annette Simmons, and
Never Give In! Speeches by Winston Churchill

So there you have it! Choose a few, or all, and get reading! Your employees and employers will thank you!

Bye for now,

Lisa

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