What’s Your Brand?

A brand is how a person feels about a person, product or oganization.

A brand is how a person feels about a person, product or oganization.

I am not an avid Coke drinker by any means but during the holidays I cannot resist purchasing a six pack of those little glass bottles of dark, sweet, caffeinated liquid! And even though we become inundated with the holiday polar bear commercials, this is not what provokes me into making the purchase, either.

What is it then, you might ask? Well, it’s the way that those little glass bottles make me feel. That’s right, drinking soda from glass bottles elicits a feeling of sheer, unadulterated happiness that reminds me of my childhood.

Coca Cola wasn’t even my drink of choice as a kid; it was Cream Soda by The PopShop, for crying out loud! But, soda in any kind of glass bottle brings me immediately back to the carefree days of my youth when during ‘special occasions’, we popped the cap of any icy cold bottle of pop and drank in its syrupy goodness! So, kudos to Coca Cola and their brilliant job at branding!

Branding is not a product, a logo or a mission statement. A brand is how a person feels about a product, service or organization. Strong brands like Apple, Google and Coca Cola are all highly credible, high quality brands that promote a general feeling of trust and security amongst consumers.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you yourself could convey that kind of feeling to an employer?!? Well…you CAN! It’s called Personal Branding. Start by developing a brief statement that communicates who you are, what you are looking for and how you can benefit an employer.

Often referred to as “the 30 second elevator speech”, this pitch is like a mini commercial about yourself! Practice this statement often so that it comes across naturally when you are networking or introducing yourself to prospective employers.

Continue to build your brand through a professional resume, a portfolio, and don’t forget your online image! Be consistent and work to maintain your brand. A strong, clear brand can help you become known for what you are good at and hopefully set you apart from everyone else!

Karen Cake is a student from the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON. For more information about the Career Consultant Certificate Program, or how MCACES helps students with Employment Advisement, please contact Lidia Siino, Professional Development & Communications Specialist at lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.

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The MCACES Employment Advisement Program is now using Pinterest. You can follow us through this link:

www.pinterest.com/mcacesjobsearch

The content curated for our account is a combination of original blog posts in addition to thoughtfully selected info that assists job seekers and like minded individuals with modern day work search and career development.

We will continue to post info on our MCACESBlogs website and are pleased to expand our views to a broader audience.

As always, happy reading!

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Résumé Deconstruction

There’s never a bad time to assess your employment situation. Many times job seekers miss out on what could be a perfect job opportunity because they have an imperfect résumé.

If the perfect opportunity does appear, it’s far easier to re-save this important job search document as a “Résumé for Company x” as opposed to trulresume_closeupy refining it.  Refining your resume is the basis for a “deconstruction.”

Recently, during a popular culinary related television program, the contestants were faced with the challenge of taking famous dishes and performing a deconstruction.

What is a deconstruction?

As the name implies, deconstructing a dish involves taking important elements and reinventing the meal so that the flavours are similar to the original but the meal’s composition has changed.

Why someone would want to create complexity with food where there is none is beyond me, the concept of deconstruction is completely relevant and transferable when working with your résumé.

Could your résumé use a deconstruction?

Maybe you have a résumé, but it’s not getting you any interview calls. Maybe you like your résumé, but you don’t really love it…something may feel incomplete, but you aren’t sure what’s missing.

The best part of performing a résumé deconstruction is the satisfaction you derive from putting it back together again as a focused, coherent document.

Lidia Siino has over 11 years of experience as an Employment Advisor for Distance Education and Continuing Education Students at Mohawk College. She is designated as a Certified Résumé Strategist through the Career Professionals of Canada. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts created by Career Consultant Students & Faculty. Like what you read? Be sure to follow our blog today! Happy reading!

A true story authored by life

It is about two years ago that I called my friend in Austria, and asked her how she was doing. She sounded quite depressed, and said that she was very bored and did not know what to do. Mothering her lively daughter takes a lot of energy; yet at the same time she feels completely under-challenged in her life. When I asked her if she had considered getting a part-time job she just laughed. “Yeah, right… a college dropout with a child at home. I am sure the business world is waiting for that.” My lunch break was coming to an end, and I did not want to end the conversation too negatively, so I changed the subject and told her that I found a recipe on the internet  that might be interesting for her, since she always loved to try out new recipes. It was a food blog that had some really good ideas.

After I had sent her the link to the recipe she started researching on food blogs. She loved the idea of creative cooking ideas with beautiful pictures and some private notes of the life of the writer on top of it: the perfect mixture of reading, for anyone who was interested in cooking.

ImageJust a little bit over a year later, after that conversation on the phone, my friend got an award for the best food blog in German-speaking countries in Europe. Her blog is amazing, and the award, by the way, provides about the same amount of money she would have made in a part-time job within a year. The number of her followers grows daily, and if my friend would decide today that she would like to have a job, I know for sure that it would be very easy for her to find one indeed. First of all her confidence grew so much that she no longer links her identity with being a “college dropout”, but rather with a creative entrepreneurial spirit that proved to be successful. Secondly, she just would have to drop a hint on her blog that she would be interested in working, and immediately there would be over three hundred people at hand who care for her, and would go a long way to support her. Also because of her blogging, she has clearly established herself as an expert, which would open many doors right away.

So, what if you cannot cook? Is blogging then not for you? There are thousands of blogs out there on almost every topic. Is there anything in your life that you are really passionate about? Is there something you would like to stay knowledgeable about in a field or topic? Would you like to connect with people like you and also bring likeminded people together?  Would you like to have great support when you go for a job interview one day, and you can point out that hundreds of people follow your writing already? How much easier is it to convince a recruiter, that you are already interesting and have something to say?

Consider starting your own blog and see where life leads you with it. Who knows? The next award might just be waiting for ….YOU!

MCACESBlogs is a series of blog posts created by students and faculty from the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. Be sure to subscribe or come back often for more information and insights about the work search process.

An Introvert’s Guide to Networking Events

Ok now before the introverts reading this decide to close the tab or run to another room and hide just let me explain…

As a self-professed introvert myself, I know that having the spotlight on you can be unnerving, but as someone who has navigated these tricky waters before I can assure you that networking events don’t require you to suddenly act like the life of the party. Believe it or not you don’t have to stretch too far beyond your comfort zone to be a good networker. Just think of it as a sandwich. Without the bread (the areas that introverts excel at) you won’t have much of a sandwich.

Bottom (Bread)

  1. Do your research

Use your preparations to your advantage. By knowing who’s who in your industry you can often begin a conversation simply by acknowledging and admiring someone’s accomplishments. Plus this is a great conversation starter…

  1. Have a goal

What is it you want to accomplish through meeting certain individuals? – Gain advice? Offer skills or expertise? Understanding this will make the interaction smoother. Also make sure you have practiced a quick (30 second) elevator speech, contacts need to know how your skills can be utilized to benefit you both.

Ham

3. Show your passion

Don’t sweat it! Even if you are an introvert, your deep passion for your industry will inevitably bubble to the surface if you simply focus on what you do and why you enjoy doing it. By taking yourself partly out of the equation and putting your profession in the forefront you will relax a little and share more.

4. Master exit and entrance strategies

If you need to get out of a conversation or move on to meet someone new a good way to end the conversation without causing offence is to ask for the person’s business card or to hand over yours (even if you are not currently working create a simple card with your contact info on it for these situations) This cue usually works – but before you meet someone new quickly jot down conversation points on the back of the card while things are still fresh.

Top (Bread)

5. Followup

This part is so important it can’t be emphasized enough!  Email the person the next day and maybe mention a point or two that you discussed with the person (those business card notes will come in handy) This continues the conversation and could potentially start a great collaborative partnership.

Because Introverts tend to notice the little details others overlook,Image use this strength to your advantage to make yourself standout. More and more, potential movers and shakers realize that introverts contribute added value to their companies. For all you know you may be the best thing since sliced bread!

Elaine Logie is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts to assist job seekers their friends and peers with many facets of the work search process. Like what you read? Be sure to subscribe to MCACESBlogs or check back often for the latest tools and tips about work search techniques.

kNOwledge is power

ImageAfter the excitement and stress of the interview process has worn off you are now in a waiting game to hear the all-important news…Did I get the job? Emotionally, this is tough, but by far the toughest has got to be when you finally hear the news and it is a big NO.  Well, actually few employers would actually say that word but it’ll be all you can think of in the after shock. It’s hard to pick yourself up when all you’re thinking is – What happened? What did I do wrong? Was my handshake too limp: my palms too sweaty? Basically you have two choices, you can either stew about it or take what happened and learn from it.

Your ego may be bruised and it may take a bit of time to regain your composure but it’s important to turn your NO into knowledge. Here’s how:

After the interview I usually ask the interviewer(s) this question:

“could you share any advice with me so that I can improve my interviewing skills?”

You’ll notice that I didn’t ask :

“What did I do wrong?” or “Why didn’t you hire me?”

I kept the question positive. Interviewers are more likely to respond when you are showing that you want to improve yourself and are therefore less likely to take their answer in the wrong way. Since they don’t have to give you an answer a friendly tone is much more likely to achieve results. This question also shows them that you are receptive to learning new things.

If you feel like the employer has been very helpful you should thank them for the advice.  If you applied some or all of their advice and it paid off in another interview situation let them know.

In some instances you may have even gained some rapport with the employer, if that’s the case try calling them in a few months to let them know you are still looking for work. You never know the person they hired might not have worked out. As a potential candidate they already took the time to interview now may be your chance to step into that choice position.

Without asking you’d never know, so don’t let a NO be the final word!

Elaine Logie is a current student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. Be sure to follow MCACESBlogs, a blog created by students to assist fellow job seekers. For more information about the Career Consultant Certificate Program, please visit our website: 

http://www.mohawkcollege.ca/continuing-education/career-consultant.html