Archive for the ‘technical writer’ Tag

How Effective is Your Personal Brand?   Leave a comment

A cubicle neighbor – brainwashed

Mind Share, Customer Awareness, Top of Mind Whatever You Call It – Who Knows You?

Like a lot of folks, I work in a cubicle office space. One of my cubicle neighbors has an irritating habit of humming, whistling or singing jingles and quoting commercials about athletic shoes, junk food restaurants and car dealerships. This guy is completely brainwashed with these messages, and consciously or unconsciously, spreads his junk knowledge to others around him. I usually tune this audible garbage out by focusing on my work, or putting my USB headset on.

By the way, sometimes I have music on, sometimes I am on a conference call or net meeting, but often I just have the headset on without listening to anything, so people won’t bother me. If you are in a similar noisy situation, you may want to try this “do not disturb” technique. The “commercial guy” is a little less irritating than “the nose whistler,” but that is another story . . . .

In any case, as I tried to ignore this audio pollution and tried to focus on editing a CAD model, I thought about this from a job search point of view. Companies and advertising agencies love people like my office space neighbor: Their messages are always at the top their minds, and their brand images and marketing messages are getting through – and are broadcast to potential customers.

If you are new to the idea of personal branding, consider how long and how much money it took Nike, McDonald’s, Burger King, Toyota, BMW and other companies to establish and achieve their brand recognition. Corporations have money, agencies and time to create, maintain and protect their branding. For the rest of us, our resource is time. And we can leverage the power of LinkedIn to broadcast our personal brand.

Putting this in the form of a question from a hiring manager, recruiter or company headhunter, their thoughts could go like this:

“Who is the best person in my network that can become our new (fill in the blank with a job function or title)?”

The interesting part about this question is that the person selected may or may not be the best qualified or best experienced person in their network. It is more likely to be the very first person they can think of.

And this is where we want to be: All of us should do everything possible to earn that same place in everyone’s head. We want to be the first person people think of when they are seeking advice or trying to fill an opportunity.

While you don’t necessarily need to make up a jingle about yourself, your personal brand must communicate who you are, what you do and why you do what you do in simple, easily-understandable language. As you craft this message, always think about this from the viewer’s point of view – your “elevator speech” is not for you, it is for someone looking for your skills and expertise.

The next step is to edit your personal branding message into language your grandma can understand. You must be able to answer the famous questions, “Why should I hire you?” and “What is it you do here?”

Creating and maintaining your personal brand takes time, and the messages must be consistent and positive. Why not start today and optimize your LinkedIn profile summary with a simple, powerful and memorable personal branding message?

For more posts like this, visit my LinkedIn Publish page – and connect with me on LinkedIn – just remember to personalize your request so I know how you found me.

 

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Staying Relevant by Staying Curious   Leave a comment

All of us should continuously be aware of new developments, trends, competitors and technologies in our fields of expertise. This “career maintenance” is a way to prevent skills obsolescence. Some people may call this a way to demonstrate passion for what they do, taking the time to keep their skills and knowledge well-honed. I call this trait curiosity, and one should enjoy this “extra work” not because it is mandatory or forced, but because it is enjoyable. In other words, one should enjoy the work they do, since work enjoyment benefits the employee as well as the employer.

One of the most memorable public television promotions was “Stay Curious,” a series of spots directed by filmmaker Errol Morris. In one spot, a young girl wakes up before dawn, grabs a flashlight and goes to a chicken coop. She sneaks up to the window and shines the light inside. The rooster wakes up, thinking it’s a new day, and crows. In another spot, another young girl wonders about raising fish. She goes into the kitchen, grabs a jar of caviar, and dumps it into a fish bowl.

Here’s a wildly non-job skill, non-work related example of my curiosity. Earlier this summer, I wanted to know whether or not a bunch of really big, fat, ugly worms in my compost pile were hazardous to garden plants or the compost. I could have smashed them, or I could have just ignored them. But I decided to find out whether or not the grubs were helpful or harmful to my compost. So I typed “big ugly worms in compost” into Google, and found several links to describe what these things are. In case you are curious, the worms are soldier fly (Insecta: Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larva, and are aggressive composters, a good thing.

IMG_0428 kh6wz - worms

 

We should apply this idea of curiosity and fresh excitement to everything we do, including keeping up with the latest trends and technologies in our professional field. In addition, if you can find a way to apply multiple ways of learning to your everyday activities, you will increase your expertise even further.

As you learn something new, patience is the key to success. Since this is learning for pleasure, there is no hurry to get up to speed — the idea is to get to whatever level you want. This is an important point. There are some folks who are satisfied with having as much knowledge as they have right now, and have no need or desire to expand their knowledge. And that’s okay. But consider what can happen to your career if you don’t adapt to new things, and get left behind…

Learning by Teaching Others
Did you know that when you teach others something, it reinforces your knowledge of the topic? When I was a tutor for non-native English speaking (ESL) students, I had to twist my way of thinking to understand what they were talking about. Their questions made me think about various topics in a completely different way, and I had to use my knowledge of the subjects-at-hand to answer their questions. When you have the power of knowledge, you can teach others something new. And their questions will make you think about the topic or topics in new and different angles, reinforcing your knowledge even more. Sometimes a question can confuse you, which is okay. This just means that you have to search for another expert to supply knowledge, and the teacher (you) becomes a student.

Reading and Research
This method isn’t as exciting as some other ways to learn more about industry trends or new technology, but is certainly valid. In fact, with Internet access, there is almost no limit to the information you can find. However, like a lot of things in life, there is nothing like old fashioned, hands-on experience and learning by doing.

Making Mistakes, and Learning from Them
Making mistakes is one aspect of learning. I always say, “I know what not to do in this case. . . ,” since I make mistakes all the time. But the only way to turn mistakes into useful knowledge is to learn the proper way of doing the task. In other words, if we goof, we have to find out why we goofed, fix the goof, and remember the correct way of doing something to prevent the same goof in the future.

The Concept of Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement is the search for excellence and perfection. And since nothing is “perfect,” we should always be on a quest to improve our skills and knowledge.

Here are some helpful books on networking and job-seeking skills, there are plenty of others. Do some research and find some more good ones.

Ferrazzi, Keith, “Never Eat Alone,” a great story about the networking process

Lathrop, Richard, “Who’s Hiring Who,” an old book from the 1980s, but has some useful information and words of encouragement

Yate, Martin, “Knock ‘Em Dead,” a whole series of books for each part of the job seeker

For more posts like this, visit my LinkedIn Publish page.

 

 

My LinkedIn Mentors Rock!   5 comments

Debra Faris, Greg Johnson, Sven Johnston and Ted Robison – My LinkedIn Mentors – Rock!

In February 2013, LinkedIn said that I am among the Top 1% most often viewed profiles in 2012. I thought, shoot, I bet they said this to all of their members. . . .

LinkedIn Top One Percent 2012

In any case, I could not have done it without these great people sharing their expertise.

Now I am “paying back” as a volunteer LinkedIn instructor at the Saddleback Career Coaching and Counseling program in Lake Forest, CA

Fed by Agility Fuel Systems: Ryder Systems Trucks   Leave a comment

An article in Fleets and Fuels says, “…30 compressed natural gas-fueled trucks for Saddle Creek in Texas (and one in Louisiana), and 55 liquefied natural gas-fueled trucks for Blu in Utah and Georgia…”

Read the complete story here.

I really like the photo of the CNG truck being fueled – you can see the Agility Fuel Systems Fuel Management Module (FMM) in the picture. . .

Click here to see what I mean. . .