Monday, September 16, 2013

LinkedIn and Branding: (You Determine the Rest of this Title and Determine the Topic)

LinkedIn and Branding: (You Determine the Rest of this Title and Determine the Topic)
Due: Friday, 20 September, by Midnight.
Did you know that the current trend, according to U.S. World Reports, demonstrates that SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises or Businesses) using social media were 56% more likely to see a revenue rise, with 28% reporting a rise in revenue and 18% reporting a fall. This compared to the national average of all businesses (SMEs), with 18% recording a rise and 39% a fall in revenue respectively.

When I first started my professional career it was with The First National Bank of San Jose; soon they were acquired by one of the largest French Banking Conglomerates and renamed. . .Bank of the West.  I learned two important lessons while in banking:

1.    Ask, ask, ask, ask and then ask some more: don’t expect a position of authority or responsibility to simply fall into your lap.  You have to make your goals known to those that matter;
2.    Get to know those in authority: I don’t mean in a personal way, but in a professional manner.  Ask them about their professional journey (stories) and then ask for their advice.  After all, they’ve already learned from their failures (or mistakes) and these are priceless gems they can pass on to you.

Now, on with the business of selling yourself; first and foremost you are not selling YOU personally.  You are selling a business that you’ve spent countless hours developing (studying, going to lectures, taking exams, etc.), countless dollars investing in and paying for (tuition, books, supplies, etc.), and countless hours of saying NO to your social life; you’ve spent more on this business of YOU than most start-ups shell-out the first year.  I could go on with a 10 Best Practices for Selling Yourself, or 25 Ways to Land that Job, or 50 Reasons Your College Education Will Pay-Off; but if you’re like me, I can only remember three items. . .at best.  After that. . .it’s cognitive shut-down!

So, here are my top three when using any type of social, professional networking tool:

1.       Make Sure Your Network is Active: this goes for whether or not it’s online or in-person, one-to-one.  Sure, it’s great to link with your friends, but if they aren’t in the market to sell their skills professionally and move forward in the industry. . .then don’t.  Your active network is most often where insider referrals will be forwarded to you and are more tailored to your skill sets.  An example: say a friend applies for a position, and either a second position is available or they decide that the position is not a fit for them—but an ideal fit for you.  Bam! There’s your referral and that’s networking at its best!

2.       Reevaluate Your Skills and Abilities at the End of Every Semester:  Yes, they change.  You add skills, you develop prior skills, and you develop the ability to behave more like a professional and less like a student after every semester.  Journal and chronicle your path to that hard-earned degree; if you don’t write it down, you won’t remember the process of obtaining advanced technical skills and marketable soft skills.  Most employers are interested in the evolution of your educational knowledge, your technical skills, and your professional abilities.  Learn to take them on this journey by using examples (stories) and describing outcomes (results).

3.       Know What is Being Said (from Employees) About Your Dream Company: just as much as your brand and your image are important to you, it is also important to leaders in industry. . .no matter the discipline.  Take the time to research their website, their competitors, and what their employees are saying about them  Because, eventually if you work for that company, you’ll be LinkedIn to their reputation, too.


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