Revealing Your Personal Power in the Workplace

bar_biz[1]

1. Brand-Building Treasure Hunt

  • Ask 5 people you trust to tell you what they think your three greatest professional strengths are, and then ask them what three to five words come to mind when they think of you.
  • Choose One Word that best represents you and create a story that demonstrates one of your greatest strengths using this word. This can become a powerful networking tool for you.

2. Develop a “Me File”

  • If you’re employed, track your achievements, kudos from your superiors, projects you’ve worked on, ideas you’ve generated into fruition, programs you’re proud of, employees you’ve developed into leadership roles, and more. This will aid you’re next performance evaluation, next promotion or next career.
  • If you’re not currently employed and want to return to the workforce, track your volunteer achievements, leadership roles, fundraising events, and related activities. These can turn into valuable, marketable skills for your job search.

3. Get Paid What You’re Worth

  • Do your homework on your company.
  • Find out about your company’s competition.
  • Keep track of your achievements, projects, and other “outside the scope” of your job activity.
  • When documenting, be specific. List quantifiable results.
  • When the performance review is set, let your boss talk first.
  • Present your case diplomatically.
  • Don’t take maybe for an answer.
  • When given a time/date for the raise or “consideration” to kick in, follow up.

4. Acknowledge co-workers, customers, etc. positively for their contributions.

  • Go deeper with your compliment, instead of “Great job!” Try, “Your enthusiasm and proactive solutions will be an excellent contribution to our project.”

5. Have solutions prepared BEFORE you talk to your boss about a problem.

6. In staff meetings, actively participate, take notes, listen closely, provide ideas or solutions, and ask questions. Be visible.

7. Build your personal brand and your internal networks.

  • Who needs to know about you? Communicate your value in a positive, authentic way.

8. Smile when you speak on the telephone so the caller can hear the enthusiasm in your voice.

9. Dress professionally and carry yourself with confidence.

10. Develop your own personal sound bite (a 30-second commercial about yourself and/or your business) to use when networking or meeting new people. You can use

11. Always communicate positively, powerfully, clearly, and concisely.


© 2002—2015 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Top 10 Secrets to Turn Networking Pain to Career Gain

RYN_logo_slide

It’s not what you know; it’s who you know that gets you hired or promoted. We’ve all heard this phrase so many times our ears are bleeding, right? Here are the facts: more than 70% of people land new jobs through networking. And, according to CareerXroads Source of Hire Study, 41% land through internal promotions or movement. With that in mind, here are 10 secrets to turn your networking pain into career gain:

  1. Know yourself and your personal brand: Are you hip, trendy, and cool? If you are, then the networking group you join should match your style and your attitude. Sure, you want to meet different types of people to successfully manage your career, but you also want them to “get you.” And you want them to be fun to work with, right?
  2. Know what you want: when you attend a networking event, what is it you want from the event? Contacts? Referrals? Ideas? Notice I didn’t say “job.” Unless of course you’re networking at a job fair. The goal for networking is to create relationships that can help you propel your career in the direction of your overall goals.
  3. Know what you bring to the table that no one else does– what makes you or your qualifications unique among your competitors? “I’m a people person” is not a unique skill set.
  4. Know your audience: who needs to know about you to help you reach your goals? Does this networking organization serve your audience? Does it have members who are your audience? If not, it’s probably not the group for you. What groups should you join? Join at least three types groups. 1) A peer group for brainstorming, education, commiserating, and more importantly for creating referral or alliance partners; 2) Prospects: a group that is your ideal target market or knows your ideal target market; 3) professional business group or leads group. Hiring decision-makers often Google your name before meeting with you. A professional organization can boost your online presence as they often have a membership listing on their website.
  5. Know that the more you give, the more you get. It’s not all about you. You’ve got to fuel your network to fire it up!™ How can you help your new contacts?
  6. Know how to start a conversation. Develop at least 3 open-ended questions you can ask a person in your new networking group. And it’s not: “Hey, know anyone who’s hiring?”
  7. If you’re shy, know that it’s A-OK to team up with a friend to attend events and meet new people. Networking becomes easier when you can introduce your friend first and then yourself when meeting new people.
  8. Know when a group’s a great fit for your career goals – and when it is not. When you think about writing off a group, you want to think about how profitable the group is for you. And I don’t necessarily mean in terms of revenue. With some groups you’ll know after the first meeting it’s not a good fit; others take time to gel. For example, if you’re active in the group and meeting the right people, it may be a good fit. The goal is not to collect business cards; the goal is to build relationships that grow with you, your career, and your business. It comes down to this, if you are not building relationships in the group, and you’re just going for the food, it’s not a good fit. Follow up on those business cards.
  9. Know that in order to make the most of a group you’ve got to take an active role. Networking is more than just showing up. Joining a networking group is a commitment.
  10.  Know that networking is simply having a conversation with friends. Following these steps takes away the pain for your career gain.

Keep in mind, networking is a two-way street. A good networker gives to their network, maintains their network, and builds a positive, ongoing business relationship. Enjoy building your network and taking your career to the next level.


© 1998 – 2015 • Wendy J. Terwelp • All rights reserved.
Wendy Terwelp is president of Opportunity Knocks™ of Wisconsin, LLC, a career management and personal branding firm that helps you get hired faster and be a rock star at work. Learn how to rebuild your network 5 minutes a day with Wendy’s book, Rock Your Network® .

Top 10 Tips to Boost Your Business Network

RYN_logo_slide

  1. Know yourself and your brand. Are you hip, trendy, and cool? If you are, then the networking group you join should match your style and your attitude. Sure, you want to meet different types of people for your business, but you also want them to “get you.” And you want them to be fun to work with, right?
  2. Know what you want. When you attend a networking event, what is it you want from the event? Contacts? Referrals? People to brainstorm ideas? One colleague joined a marketing group – to learn about writing marketing copy. Then complained when she did not land new business. New business was not the focus of the group. If you want new business, join a leads group. It’s also important to go into a group with a goal. When attending your next conference who would you most like to meet? Make a plan. 
  3. Know what you bring to the table that no one else does. What makes you or your product unique among your competitors? Don’t tell me it’s your quality, service, and price. Yawn. Since everyone says this, it does not stand out. And, if you’re only competing on price, you’ll lose customers to the next guy who has a lower price than yours.
  4. Know your audience. Who is your target audience? Know that not everyone is your ideal client. At one networking event I attended, a beauty product rep said, “I work with anyone with skin.” People in the group were confused. “Anyone with skin” was too broad and unfocused so they didn’t know how  or who to refer to her. Who is your favorite customer or business and how can you find their clones? Knowing who you want to work with – and who needs to know about you – makes it much easier to attract the right clients for your business. And helps others help you best.
  5. Know that the more you give, the more you get.Networking is not all about you. You’ve got to fuel your network to fire it up!™ Keep others in mind when networking.
  6. Know how to start a conversation. Develop at least three open-ended questions you can ask a person in your new networking group. Here are a few to get you started:
    • What brings you to this conference?
    • How did you get started in your business?
    • What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you all week?

Keep your questions open and inviting. That way you can start a warm conversation.

7. If you’re shy, know that it’s A-OK to team up with a friend to attend events and meet new people. It’s much easier to introduce your friend to others and then introduce yourself.

8. Know when a group’s a great fit for your business – and when it is not. Join at least three types groups. 1) A Peer group for brainstorming, education, commiserating, and more importantly for creating alliances; 2) Prospects: a group that is your ideal target market or knows your ideal target market; 3) Professional business group or leads group. Joining a peer or professional group can also increase your search engine rankings, your visibility, and your credibility because they often publish a directory of their members on their membership website.

9. Know that in order to make the most of a group you’ve got to take an active role. Networking is more than just showing up.

10. Know that networking is simply having a conversation with friends. A good networker gives to and maintains their network.

© 1993 – 2015 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Back to Your Future After 50

Back to the Future day photo courtesy of Back to the Future II

This post is in honor of Job Action Day, which tackles the after-50 career.

In Back to the Future II, Doc Brown and Marty McFly took their DeLorean time machine to October 21, 2015. Thirty years ago, filmmakers took some giant leaps as to what would be happening this year. Some predictions almost happened, like Cubs in the World Series (they made the playoffs) and Rocky (there’s a new Rocky – and it’s Creed) and some didn’t, like faxes and the Jaws 19 sequel.

What does this mean for your career after 50?

After 50, my clients look at careers differently. Is their current profession (or former one) meaningful? Do they enjoy what they are doing? What might a new career look like? Do they have what it takes to make the leap? You do, it may look differently.

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” – Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown

New Career Direction:

While you may not need a road for your new career, you’ll want a focused career direction and a map to get there. What you wanted to be when you grew up may not be what you want now. Plus, new careers are constantly being invented. Thirty years ago, social media, blogs, and smartphones didn’t exist. How can you apply your current skills and expertise to a new field? When working with clients in career change mode, one of the action items I recommend is to make a list of your talents and check out onetcenter.org’s “My Next Move” to see careers you can explore that use those talents, skills, and abilities.

Find Meaningful Work:

According to one study, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are delaying retirement. While there was not a Rocky 19, Rocky Balboa (aka Sylvester Stallone, 69), is still going strong. Instead of being the fighter this time around, he serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed in this year’s movie, “Creed.”

Review the list of talents, skills, and abilities you created and identify nonprofits that may benefit from those skills. Or use them to see who and how you could mentor a younger employee.

One of my clients, a finance executive, left his financial career to explore his two passions, golf and nonprofit. He wanted to give back. He landed an Executive Director role with a nonprofit organization that benefits youth through the game of golf.

Create Your Own Business:

Doc Brown was not only an inventor of things, but a “re-inventor” of himself. With each Back to the Future movie, you see the Doc using whatever tools are available to create opportunities for him and Marty to escape perils and change the future for the greater good.

One of my clients, a training and development professional, retired from one gig and created her own consulting firm dedicated to transforming leaders and creating cohesive teams – the work she enjoys doing most. She also wrote a book about her experience.

Update Your Personal Brand:

Throughout the Back to the Future trilogy, Doc and Marty have to quickly adapt to whatever year it is – the future as well as the past.

One of my clients at 50+ took a risk. After being downsized, she decided to target a career and work environment she really wanted. Her “nothing is holding me back” attitude and willingness to do what it takes, helped her reach her goal.

She said, “I thought these dreams might have been way, way too big —but they’re happening! (Washington) DC called me…. Thank you for all the work and coaching. I truly appreciate the guidance and would recommend the sessions we had. YES, YES, YES, I just keep smiling.” A year later, my client was promoted.

One of the things she likes most about her new gig is that they appreciate and value older workers. Many employers do. Use your personal brand to attract right-fit employers.

Good use of social media is another way to boost your personal brand. When 86% of people Google you before ever meeting you, a strong online presence is important. And LinkedIn typically lands on page one of that search.

If you’re already on LinkedIn, take a look at your profile. Does it reflect your current brand, skills, employment, and goals? If not, it’s time to update.

Revive Your Network:

While social media didn’t exist at the time the Back to the Future series, offline networking, like Doc and Marty collaborating, did.

Networking is the No. 1 way people land new gigs, new clients, and new business. Take the time to list all the people you know in your network, including former coworkers, colleagues, friends, family, George McFly, etc. Who needs to know about you?

Does asking for help with your new adventure feel uncomfortable? It’s OK. You’ve survived many life events by now, you will again. Each time I ask my clients in workshops or coaching sessions how they feel when they help others, they use words like: wonderful, good, happy. Won’t it be great to have your network feel this way when they get a chance to help you?

Marty McFly: Doc… what if we don’t succeed?

Doc: We *must* succeed.

You will succeed when you get back to your future and take control of your career. Won’t it be great to love Mondays?

Copyright 2015 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Easy 5-minute Tips to Make Your Network Thrive

RYN_logo_slide

 

No time to network? Have you got five minutes?

Here are some quick tips to stay top of mind with your network and make it thrive.

1. Get Social: Set a specific purpose and time limit for your social media activities each day. This helps you avoid overwhelm or distraction (hey check out this link, which leads to that link, which leads to …). In your specified time frame, take a moment and tweet a reply to one of your followers. Have you read a great post on LinkedIn or Facebook? Hit the “like” button and share it with your connections.

2. Repurpose: Are you reading a great blog post or article you feel would benefit your network? Tweet a link or post a link to the story with a brief descriptor on LinkedIn or Facebook. Or if it’s relevant to only one or two people in your network versus the entire group, send a link to the story in an email: “Saw this article and thought you might find it helpful.”

3. Align networking with things you’re already doing: Going to a football game? Whether it’s the pros or your kids, game time is a great time to network. You’re sharing a common interest, which makes starting a conversation easy.

4. Make a plan: Going to a networking event or conference? Set a goal to meet at least three new people.

5. Create a dynamic, branded sound bite: Doing so helps you quickly address, “So, what do you do?” Check out chapter 5 of my book, Rock Your Network®, for a quick three-step formula to create a sound bite that helps you network with ease and confidence. Got a business? Shark Tank’s Daymond John says, you better be able to distill your brand down to two to five words. Are you ready for your next big gig?

Now that you have your networking plan, sound bite, and goals, you’re prepared for networking anytime, anywhere, I’d love to hear your networking stories and tips. Feel free to share in the comment section. Go get ’em!

© 1998 – 2014 | Wendy Terwelp . All rights reserved.

 

 

Do Employers Read Online Portfolios?

bar_biz[1]Web or online portfolios have been around for years and are now back in the news. Passe or vogue?

In a recent story by The Wall Street Journal, employers stated they don’t have time to read online portfolios. Per the story, “One big problem: Few employers are actually looking at them. Polls suggest employers might be interested in the sites—83% of respondents to a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey said an e-portfolio would be “very” or “fairly” useful in ensuring that job applicants have requisite knowledge and skills. But basic human-resources software don’t allow such links in the first round of application submissions, and many hiring managers are simply unwilling to carve out time to dig into the digital showcases, they say.”

Online portfolios work on interviews: While employers may not have time to look at a portfolio in an initial resume scan (employers receive 200 to 300 resumes per day 7 days a week according to one recruiter), candidates may be able to showcase their skills with an online portfolio during an interview. Candidates can back up interview question  responses with examples from their online portfolios. Additionally, time for portfolio highlights also depends on where the candidate is at in the interview process – such as a second or third interview. Type of job, company culture, and the interviewer’s personality will also play a role. Web portfolios can demonstrate proof of performance. And employers say that “past performance demonstrates future productivity.”

Old school: Mass Communications / Journalism grads like me had to build a portfolio of clips and send them to employers with our resume in some cases or bring them to  interviews as leave behind proof of our ability to write news stories. And that was in the late ’80’s.

New tools: Now, LinkedIn allows you to post proof – you can add links to videos, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, white papers and more.

Boost your personal brand: This all helps boost your personal brand. According to one poll, 86% of people use a search engine like Google before ever meeting you, the web portfolio gives people information you WANT them to see. As LinkedIn typically lands on page one, start there.

Readers rock! Hat tip to Thomasina for sharing the WJS story with me via Facebook. What’s your take on web / online portfolios?

Comments welcome: Have you got an opinion or story to share? Feel free to leave comments.

Testimonials: Boasting or Beneficial?

In one of my groups on LinkedIn a member asked, “How important is it to post testimonials on the website? It seems to be necessary to some but few feel it’s too much of self-gratification.”

I feel testimonials are mission critical to a business website and immediately address the “Why should I hire you?” question potential customers are asking. I thought I’d share my response:

Think about it like this, do you ask friends for a great restaurant suggestion? When several friends recommend the same place for the same reasons (great food, fabulous service, fun atmosphere, etc.) do you make the decision to go to that restaurant? And when you do and have a wonderful experience, do you share that information with others? I’m guessing you do.

That’s what testimonials can do for a business, provide social proof. Depending on which study you review, purchasing decisions based on mentions and recommendations range between 72% to 90%. People have always used Word of Mouth and recommendations to determine a purchasing decision long before the advent of the web. Now, the reach has expanded.

Amazon reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, “likes,” are all testimonials of sorts.

Having them on a business website are critical – as long as the following occurs: 1) they’re true and authentic, 2) they have quantifiable results, and 3) they provide names or other clearly identifying information.

When I see only vague generalities, like “great work,” accompanied by no name or simply initials, then I doubt the veracity of the testimonial and the quality of the work.

It’s not bragging if it’s true and therefore self-gratification does not play a role. When you have experienced great results and wonderful service, it’s natural to want to spread the good word. Let your clients spread the good word about you!

© Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved. | http://knocks.com (Full disclosure: You’ll see testimonials / social proof throughout my website.)