Tag Archives: personal branding

Employability self-assessment

In my previous blog post I raised the issue of employability. Whether you are happy with your employer or you feel it’s high time for you to make a change in your career, I recommend you to evaluate and maintain it. Note that in tough economic times it’s crucial to adapt to them and stand out of the crowd.

In order to assess your employability you should proceed to analyze both the context and your particular situation.

The context:

Assuming that you are not a psychic and you accept that you can’t predict the future, I suggest you to try PEST analysis. This is a way of trying to understand and asses the most likely future developments and trends in your industry sector.

PEST analysis takes into consideration several factors that influence the current state and possible changes of your sector and workplace: political, economic, social, technological.  Understanding these factors can give you a clearer image of what is happening to your company and industry sector and, trough that, a clearer understanding of your situation in the workplace.

  • Political factors – Take into consideration issues such as: political stability, government’s policy on economy, changes in legislation, EU requirements that must be met during the next period, etc. The political arena has a powerful influence on businesses regulation and spending power of both other businesses and consumers.
  • Economic factors –Take into consideration: interest rates, exchange rates, inflation rates, economic growth. The impact these factors have on how businesses operate and make decisions can be easily seen trough the major changes caused by the current economic crisis.
  • Social trends – Include: career attitudes, age distribution, attitude towards the social services, financial system, consumer habits etc.
  • Technological factors – Can determine the minimum efficient productivity level and influence outsourcing decisions. Technology is vital for competitive advantage, and it’s a major driver of globalization.

After completing the analysis, try to answer some questions:

  • What changes have occurred or are likely to occur in your job function’s role?
  • What are the threats and opportunities you identified for your company/sector? How could these impact your job role?
  • What changes have occurred and what is the trend of the workforce market in your sector?
  • What are the actions you should take in order to be prepared for these changes?

Now that you have a clearer sense of what is happening around you, take a good look at yourself and your particular situation. In order to find out where you are and where you should be heading, try a SWOT analysis. This is a breakdown of your strengths and weaknesses combined with the opportunities and threats of your particular situation.

Strengths and weaknesses refer to your competencies (your inner qualities) whilst the threats and opportunities refer to the external environment in which you operate.

It’s high time for you to be completely honest with yourself.  Unless you openly and honestly appraise your own strengths and weaknesses and consider the situation you find yourself in, this analysis will be a waste of time.

Take some time to think and find solid arguments for everything you write in your SWOT. Think about more aspects of your life as a professional. E.g.: Ask yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses as: a coworker, a team member, a partner, a manager, a leader, a subordinate etc.

After you devised this, try to find trusted and qualified people to provide you with a feedback on it. Choose people who will give you an honest feedback and whose opinion you trust and value on those specific issues.

Answer yourself the next few questions and use the answers to build an action plan of your future development.

  • In which job role would your strengths be mostly valued? What would be the impact of your weaknesses?
  • Is the job that best fits you also the one that motivates you?
  • How many of your competencies identified as strengths are transferable to a new job?
  • What weaknesses mostly affect your current job?
  • What could you do to diminish your weaknesses?
  • What are you planning to do to make the most of the identified opportunities?
  • How could you transform the threats in opportunities for development?

Now that you have a better image of both your competencies and workforce market needs, you can also start building your personal brand.

Piece of advice: periodically update your PEST and SWOT in order to keep an accurate image on your employability and development.

LE: If you are intrerested in employability self- assesment and you want to know more about this, I recommend you to read: Teach Yourself Getting a Better Job by Roderic Ashley.

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What is HR about?

At the beginning of my career I was so naive that I answered the question “Why HR?” with “Because I want to work with people”. Fortunately, I met a real HR professional who told me: “If you want to have a career in HR, consider it being about business, not about people. So, do you really want to work in HR?”

I said “Yes, I do”. Therefore, I had to gain an overview of the business and I put myself in the executives’ shoes, thinking “If I were him/her, what would I expect from HR?”

I still have much to learn about HR, but I think that seeing it from a business perspective helps me.

A useful piece of advice on ”How HR can earn a seat at the table with the Big Dogs

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Job Searching through LinkedIn

It’s true that if you aren’t willing to spend a certain amount of time on social networking, LinkedIn may not prove efficient for you. It’s not a solution for finding a job tomorrow, but it is a valuable tool in building your brand as a professional.

Firstly you should clearly define what your objective is, in order to build your image accordingly.

1. Have your profile completed (if you haven’t used LinkedIn before, you can check this first):

  • Write a summary This not only provides the recruiter with an overview of your expertise and motivation, but it is also helpful for keyword searches.
  • Include all relevant experience for your area of expertise. It helps you to get connected with /recommended by your past coworkers, managers, business partners and so on. It also helps me, as a recruiter, to learn more about your career path.
  • Include a link for other sources where we can find relevant information about you (professionally speaking) e.g.: online portfolio, twitter etc.
  • If you have a professional blog, use “Blog Link” to connect it with your profile. You can also take a look at the other applications.

2. Get connected – to all the people you know in your industry. Having your profile completed helps a lot.  Useful advice can be found here.

3. Now your profile provides necessary information about you. The next step is to increase your visibility.

NB: getting noticed is not similar to spamming people

Join groups – it increases your visibility and also allows you to contact the members directly. It’s not the number of groups that makes the difference; it’s their relevance to your objective and the added value you bring in. To this effect, here are some criteria to help you in your choices:

  • What is this group based around: professional interest/former employers / alumni associations
  • members from your geographical area (or area of interest)
  • active groups

Add value to those groups. As I previously mentioned, just being there is not enough. Neither is starting discussions titled such as “I am looking for a career change”. Not only is this not enough, but it is not recommended. If you want to emphasize that you are looking for a career change, try starting a discussion on the request of workforce in your area of interest thus share your experience and expectations.

Remember that the most important thing is to get involved: answer the questions, provide consultancy/advice, argument your opinion on the different issues raised. This is the best way to prove your expertise and get noticed.

Answers: if you haven’t found it yet, LinkedIn also has a Q&A section. You can get noticed by answering questions addressed in your area of expertise. You can also ask a question and start a debate on a specific professional topic.

4. Visit the Jobs section. Job posting on LinkedIn is not frequently used by companies in Romania. Nevertheless you can keep an eye on it. There are a few multinational companies that post openings from time to time. Furthermore, the tool provides a better experience for both job seekers and recruiters than regular job boards do.

5. Be active and respond to your connections requests (introduction, reference, expertise requests etc.). Don’t be selfish. Networking is not only about you and your needs. It’s give and take, it goes both ways.

6. It’s time for you to actually start job hunting. In order to do this, you should aim for getting connected with:

  • recruiters working in consultancy companies covering your area of expertise;
  • hiring managers and recruiters working in the companies you would like to work for;
  • opinion leaders in your industry;

When you arrive at this point it is crucial to comply with the existing etiquette in asking for an introduction. For example, when someone asks me for an introduction and they fail to provide a reason for the recipient to accept it, I don’t forward it. Why? Because I respect the people I am connected with and I don’t want them to waste their time. If, however, you show respect for me and the recipient, by reasoning your request, I would gladly help you.

The main thing you should keep in mind about social networks is that you interact with people. Either online or offline it’s still about building relationships.

LE: useful advice on “6 Top LinkedIn Tools“.

LE 2: How to master the skill of networking in your job search

LE 3: Free webinar Recruiters are all over LinkedIn. How to ensure they find you first.

LE 4: How to Use Linkedin to get the Job You Want

LE 5: 6 Reasons Why LinkedIn Is So Critical In A Job Search

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Twitter & your personal brand

I found a presentation on “20 Ways to Tweet: For Companies, Corporations, and Small Business” and I think the advice provided can be successfully applied in personal branding (except for two slides, one referring to recruitment and the other to giveaways and discounts).

I assumed that you already had your personal brand defined.

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