As you watch your kids trot off to school in the morning, it may have entered your mind that you want and NEED to get your brain back to work but you don’t know where to start. The game is calling for you and it may mean working for someone else, or deciding to being your own boss. Both options require focus and some re-training to strategically approach your fresh journey.
Networking is a critical step. Before you reach out to a headhunter, neighbor, old boss, colleague or a contact you’re dying to connect with, work through these tools and thought shifts to prepare yourself. You will: gain confidence, become crystal clear on your goals, walk with a mission in mind and become your own best friend. I promise.
2. Understand the 60/40 Rule
3. Establish a Personal Advisory Board
4. Get Published
5. Nail the “Tell Me About Yourself” story
6. Promote Yourself
7. Be Relevant
Let’s start with the grand master word that your search will rely on—reputation. What do you want yours to be? In the U.S., we typically sum up other people with a two-word description, whether we like it or not. For example, hard worker, go getter, total bitch, brown noser, always talking or clever woman. You get it. Which two words do you want people to refer to you as? By the way, being called a bitch isn’t terrible, especially when a positive adjective precedes it. Being thought of as a smart bitch can be effective. Either way, you WILL have a reputation and either Y-O-U manage it or everyone else will do it for you. Pick authentic words and repeat them about yourself in the mirror 10x. After you feel comfortable, start slipping those words about yourself in conversations with everyone you meet. Eventually, those folks will repeat those words about you and your personal branding effort has been launched. Here are a few adjectives you can consider: Consistent, Organized, Unflappable, Reliable, Flexible, Generous, Supportive, Solution-Oriented, Smart….
The 60/40 Rule
Most likely you will find your new career or job through someone you already know or a referral. You just have to uncover it. You have to pick up the cell phone AND leave your home to spread the word. Hearing your voice and seeing your face out and about is key. Even if you aren’t exactly sure what you want to be in your next life, pick up the phone and start connecting or get out of your house and go to the gym. Attending events and engaging with those around you is critical. My experience is that people will always want to help you, but you need to be present and involved in your community one way or another so that you’re visible.
60% of your time will be connecting with contacts, making appointments to meet new people for informational interviews and attending any and all events you can hustle. 40% will be focused on headhunters, resume writing and going on interviews.
Don’t forget to be complimentary when speaking to other people. Ask questions and focus on their personal interests and upcoming goals. Send handwritten thank you notes. It makes a difference.
Create a Personal Advisory Board
Find leaders from a variety of businesses who can assist in growing your brand. Your board can even be a paid career counselor. There should be at least two people you can ask unfiltered questions as you are re-establishing professional yourself.
Write. Write and then write some more. If you can’t do it, hire someone who can. They are called ghost writers and they write under your name. Your name and your written word are your brand. Establishing yourself on a public stage can seem terrifying but believe it or not, people want to hear from you. Make sure you’re focusing on your interest and not just last night’s stories. Try not to be afraid to speak your voice. Opinions backed up with fact, win.
Your Tell Me About Yourself Story
Being able to flawlessly spit this out when someone asks you this all-important question is imperative to establish that you’re a credible, smart person who knows exactly what she wants. You can change your story depending on who is listening. Nailing this story is key because the listener absolutely wants to help you attain your goal but it’s up to you give them the right information. It should be no longer than 30-seconds, all good news, include professional and personal accomplishments, Lose the uh’s, ok’s and likes. Practice, my friends, practice. This is an audition. You’re looking to get hired.
Promote Yourself & Your Services
You are your own best PR agent. Take credit for your accomplishments and speak positively about yourself at all times. People repeat what you say about yourself. If it’s constantly bad or sad news, that’s what gets repeated. Smile as much as you can. It’s warming. Be authentic. What does that mean? It means your present when you’re interacting with someone else. You’re not on your phone, thinking of the to-do list or your kids, it’s just the two of you connecting.
Who you are on the outside says a lot about who you are on the inside. Your personal brand reflects your total package that you present the world every single day that you walk out your front door. You're being judged. Clothes, posture, speech, tone of voice, and interpersonal communication count. I would recommend having an up-to-date hairstyle and clothing. It’s not the amount of money you spend, it’s the style. Don’t be caught out not knowing relevant news stories either! Scan the newspaper and the internet. Your headshot can do a lot of work—good or bad. Make it do great work. Hire a professional person to take your headshot. Use it everywhere you can.
I work with individuals to create and execute their personal brand blueprint before and during their search as I have written above. Each bullet point can be created, practiced and executed seamlessly. Together, I help you nail your brand so you are irresistible for hire.