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Personal Branding Tips for Graduates

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In this post, I will provide tips I have learned on personal branding which may be beneficial for graduates looking to “market” themselves into their dream job.

Young people entering the workplace today have far better tools and communication channels at hand then previous generations could ever imagine. Social media and the Internet provide all of us with the ability to connect with millions of people all over the world. However, we all know it’s a double-edge sword, allowing bullying and trolling 24/7, but for this post I am focusing only on the positives of the technologies we have available to us for personal branding.

First off, what is personal branding and why is it important for your career.

Personal branding is all about presenting yourself to the world in the way you want to be seen. You do this to help achieve your goals such as landing the dream role, increasing your earning potential and being thought of as a leader or influencer in your skill-sets.

Graduates are faced with more and more challenges in landing a job, let alone their dream job. Globalization and immigration policies have dramatically increased the number of available candidates per role. Success ultimately comes to those who know how to market themselves above and beyond the competition.

I have broken this post into 4 key sections:

  • Selecting a “home base” online to establish yourself and help grow your personal brand.
  • The importance of networking and connecting – not only online but face-to-face.
  • Content curation as a strategy for being recognized as someone to follow online.
  • Writing your own content to start on the path of being known as an expert.

So, let’s begin!

Choose Your Social Media Platforms Wisely

I think anyone who has invested their time and effort in building and growing a social media profile for business will know it’s never ending and massively time consuming.

For developing your personal brand, it’s even more important that you select the social media platforms that are right for you. It’s a complete waste of time investing all that time and effort building up a social media profile on a platform that will serve you no benefit to your career.

LinkedIn is the social media platform I invest most of my time and effort in for building on my personal brand. All the other social media platforms, some of which I must admit, I am too old to even understand, are not even on my radar. The only other social media platform I invest a little time in is Twitter but solely for content curation (see Content Curation section).

I focus on not polluting my personal social media profiles such as Facebook with business and vice versa. For me, LinkedIn and Twitter are for business and every other platform is for personal use.

Of course, LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for business. If you have not yet created a LinkedIn profile for yourself I suggest you do so ASAP. LinkedIn is the main tool people use to research people and businesses – recruiters will contact me via LinkedIn after reviewing my profile, clients connect with me as well as workmates.

As a graduate your first task on the road to personal branding is to establish a “home base” where people can go to get a complete run down on who you are and what skills you have. The home base should be your CV online. Some people recommend that you to establish a personal blog as the home base either as a static CV or a place to post your content. Personally, I don’t recommend a blog as the initial home base for a number of reasons:

  1. Maintaining a blog can be time-consuming, taking you away from your core objective of brand building. If the blog is hosted on a blogging platform then that adds further complexity in regards to SEO and migrating away from the platform.
  2. Unless you can register the domain name for your full name then there will be additional work required for SEO to help locate your website. Search engines especially Google rank highly personal social media profiles before any other domain where you keep a personal profile. If you are lucky enough to register the domain for your full name I would initially have it redirect to your LinkedIn profile. For example, MarcKrisjanous.com.
  3. Your home base should be where your target “market” is – your target market being people you want to connect with. You would not set up a shop where your target market is not present and it’s the same online. LinkedIn is one of the first places online where people go to conduct research on a person or business – that’s where your home base should be.
  4. Your LinkedIn profile not only represents your online CV but also records the groups you belong to, recommendations from others, information about your connections and your recent activity within LinkedIn. It provides an almost complete picture of your professional life on one page. To replicate this functionality on a blog or another non-social media platform would be difficult.

Networking & Connecting

Once you have established your home base within LinkedIn locate all your student friends and connect with them. Also, connect with all your old lecturers as well because you will then be indirectly connected to their networks which instantly gives you some profiles to look at and possibly connect to (see warning below).

Warning!! Do not randomly connect with people you do not know directly on LinkedIn! Attempting to connect with strangers or someone that does not share common interests is one of the worst things you can do on LinkedIn. If one of your direct connections connects with a person you either know or feel they share a common interest then connect – but make sure in your connection request you explain exactly why you want to connect with them.

The reason why you are connecting with people on LinkedIn is to firstly start networking but also it helps with “social proof” – a term used to denote your networking strength. Think of it this way – people by their very nature tend to be more positive towards someone who is seen to be popular. I will leave it at that because I do not want to distract focus and encourage debate on the pros and cons of “social proof”.

After you have connected with people you know on LinkedIn search for LinkedIn groups that cover your interests including skill-sets, then request to join the group. For example, if marketing is your career path then search for marketing groups, if its IT security then join up to IT security groups.

The most important rule when joining a LinkedIn group or any online community for that matter is to first watch and learn. Don’t bother contributing to the group yet. You should first understand the attitude of the group and the key players. You need to understand the “culture” of the group in order to know what is acceptable to contribute and what is not. As a newbie, you don’t want to upset anyone or be laughed at. Once you have identified the key players in the group introduce yourself and confirm with them the rules for the group. This help show that you are respectful of the groups culture and hopefully one or more of the key players in the group will look after you until you are accepted.

Connecting with people online is an important part of personal brand building however, what really cements a relationship is connecting face-to-face.

Ask your workmates and other peers what professional groups are around that you can join to network with people and learn further. Make sure you commit to attending the meetings and don’t be scared to say hello to the attendees.

Conferences and expos are also a fantastic way to meet people not only the locals but people from further afield. Conferences and expos have industry leading speakers so make sure you introduce yourself at the end of their presentation and then attempt to connect with them via LinkedIn.

Important Tip!! When requesting to connect to someone within LinkedIn, make sure you add a note to the connect request such as how you know the person or why you would like to connect with them. Do not, ever, attempt to connect with someone within LinkedIn without providing a personal note in the connection request. Many influencers will ignore the default connection requests since they receive so many – make it personal and memorable.

Content Curation

Content curation is a newish marketing term, though what it involves has been around forever. The results of the effort are “magical” in the way compound interest works for financial growth – it’s a slow process but overtime the results can be exponential.

For example, my personal Twitter profile is currently at 12.6k followers at the time of writing this post – 95% due to content curation.

Content curation is about locating content that would be of interest to your network and sharing it with them so they may get value from it. The content you locate and share should be from various sources not just you. The content should be of a high standard and from reputable sources.

You can share your own content but I have a rule of a 1-to-19 split, meaning each piece of content I authored and shared with my network I share 19 other pieces of content I did not author. This removes any chance of being thought of by your network as purely self-promoting.

Now, you may feel that content curation appears to be a fantastic way to promote others but ultimately does nothing to help promote your own personal brand – but you would be wrong.

This is where the “magic” really kicks in.

Sharing content created by others has amazing benefits to your personal brand such as:

  1. Sharing content that will provide value to your network overtime has a magical effect where people believe you to be an expert on the topics you share. You may never write a single post in your life but sharing well written and high value content authored by others still makes you out to be an expert!
  2. Most people have at times attempted to contact influential or famous people directly only to have no response. This is where the “magic” of sharing another person’s content starts to work! If the person you are trying to connect with authors content such as blog posts, articles, videos etc… share their content with your network and make sure they are aware of the share. Most social media platforms make it easy for the author to be alerted to the share. Alerting the author of the share has two benefits for you: (1) the author is now aware of you and (2) most of us who receive a favor feel compelled to return the favor at some stage. The action of sharing an author’s post is in my opinion the easiest and most effective way of getting a person to notice you and most of the time, results in a favor to be returned. It may take a few or many shares but ultimately, I have found the sharing strategy works 99% of the time.
  3. Though I do recommend, as part of your personal branding, writing on topics you want to be known as having skills in, you don’t have to. Just sharing other people’s content puts you above most people within social media who are mostly watchers not active participants. One of the major success factors for being known in social media is to be active by contributing to the content stream – sharing content makes you an active participant, and therefore as a direct result, people will notice you.

How to find content to share

One easy strategy for content curation, is to locate influencers within your area of focus and re-share whatever they share that you think would be relevant to your network. Not only does this save you time locating content but it also helps you getting noticed by the influencer.

However, to really ignite the magic of content curation you will need to start seeking out content to share yourself.

Finding content to share online that is of high quality and provides value to your network is not hard – it’s just a matter of finding one useful initial source of content. Overtime that initial source will lead you to other sources of great content.

If you’re stuck locating a website for content try News360.com. The website provides a free service where you can sign-up and select categories of interest. News360 will then locate and display content related to your selected interest categories. The content is sourced from thousands of websites. I have used News360 for years and have located some interesting content and websites through this service. As usual, there is a mobile app, so when you have some free time, maybe while traveling to and from work, browse the latest content News360 has located and if something looks interesting share it with your LinkedIn network.

As a final tip, don’t spam your network with too much content. My rule is to share daily 1-3 pieces of content that is of high interest and value to my network. Therefore, my network knows that when I do share something its worth their while to take a look.

Writing Your Own Content

In my opinion, the most effective way to build your personal brand is to write about topics within your skill-set. There are so many benefits to writing content on a topic that I could write another post solely on that subject.

Writing content to promote a person, business or brand is called “content marketing” and at the time of writing this post it’s a massive focus for the marketing sector. Search for “content marketing” to learn more about the strategies used.

Here are some of the most important benefits:

  1. As a graduate, writing about a topic that is part of your professional skill-set forces you to learn more about the topic and to fill in the gaps of knowledge you have. For example, if you’re focused on marketing as a career, create a list of topics you are interested in and commit to writing a post on each topic. The fact that you will end up publishing the content on the Internet to be read by people with far more knowledge and experience than you, should force you to make sure you have researched thoroughly that your content is correct and based on facts.
  2. Building up a collection of content covering your skill-set and publishing on applicable websites and social media platforms such as LinkedIn super-charges your CV. Your content is proof that you actually know something. Don’t forget, most CV’s are embellished to a certain degree – most recruiters and future employers know that a person’s CV conveys how the person wants to be seen – not what they truly are or know. Your content is proof that what you state in your CV is true.
  3. When you have enough content, you can package the whole lot up and create an eBook that other graduates can read and get value from. The eBook is a major marketing tool for you – its pure power for your personal brand! You will be surprised where the eBook will end up – in the hands of influencers, recruiters, future employers, conference management teams looking for speakers. Oh, and now you are also a publisher – another skill to add to your LinkedIn profile and CV! Then of course there is repurposing your content into different channels but I will leave that up to you to discover.

Get Started – Now!

This post provides a small collection of tips I have learned throughout my professional career to help build my professional brand. As a graduate you are just starting out in your career but it’s never too early to start thinking about your professional brand. Finding a job is not as easy as it used to be, we all know that, so learning how you can promote yourself above the competition is an absolute must.

So, the steps are:

  1. Establish a “home base” on a social media platform where people can find you – I recommend LinkedIn.
  2. Start to get recognized, firstly by connecting with peers and influencers in your professional sector both online and face-to-face.
  3. Share high value content with your network, that starts you on the path to being recognized as someone who is passionate and keen to learn.
  4. Create your own content and share with your network to start on the path as being known as an expert.
  5. Continue to promote yourself – but also promote others you feel have given you value, as people will often return the favor.

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Management

How Your Business Can Help The Planet

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Climate change is real, so don’t let any politician tell you otherwise. Their denials are most likely motivated by their personal goals, not what’s right for our planet.

Forbes reported from a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that there is still optimism that the increase in global temperature can be kept to just 1.5°C, but it required a massive commitment to reducing emissions to zero by 2050.

Is Time Running Out?

Milestones needed to be met before that date to show we’re on track including the commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2016. 195 UNFCCC signed the agreement and a year later US President Donald Trump declared his intention to withdraw America, one of the world’s highest polluters.

There is a chance America’s withdrawal won’t happen as they have to stay in the agreement until November 2020 just before Trump’s first term ends, and with a new President with more realistic views on climate change they could reverse the withdrawal – fingers crossed.

What’s disappointing is the US is already acting as if it’s no longer part of the Paris Climate Agreement with rises in emissions. Most Americans believe in climate change, so have you see any notable change happening your industry?

Own Your Carbon Footprint & Change It

There are many actions businesses can take to make a difference to their carbon footprint, especially when they are taken collectively, i.e. Businesses acting together. You’ve heard the saying: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; so in this blog article, we mention some actions you can use in your own business and share your experiences to inspire your peers to join you.

The benefits are not just for our planet; there’s also a great business case for making changes too. Consider the benefits that will arise from changing your policy and use of energy, transport, and travel. Reducing costs and doing right for future generations that’s inspiring and worth sharing.

Start With A Plan

Develop a Climate Change Action Plan – and this will be a work in progress. It will take time, but you need to start somewhere and make a commitment to reaching some milestones that reduce your emissions.

Teamwork

Assign a team to the campaign project and choose a leader. It will surprise you just how much interest there is in doing good and how inclusion in the project will raise the overall productivity and staff satisfaction.

Open Invitation Meetings

Regular meetings with an open invitation so all workers can attend and participate in the discussion. Maybe the ideas presented will see rewards for the business, which may include customers electing to buy from your business due to its climate change policy, over your competition.

Attracting staff may become easier too as they want to get from their work than just their pay packet.

Supply Chain

Consider your supply chain and where change can happen. You’ll be surprised where you can get a win-win, with cost savings and positive change in worker well being. Mentioned earlier in this article are areas all businesses can start on. Travel, transport, and energy-use are within the control of the business, so a commitment to use less or a different approach will reduce your carbon footprint and provide other rewards.

Energy

Where is your business using energy and where’s it coming from – i.e. the source? Consider moving using solar power and renewable energies.

Would you need your current premises if your staff could work from home and desk share when they’re in the office?

Transport

Swapping out your petrol or diesel vehicles for electric cars, and trucks.

Technology

Use technology to cut down on your business travel, and it’s carbon footprint. Chatbots, Videochat or conferencing, VOIP, are excellent tools for online meetings with clients, suppliers and for selling your services. Imagine the cost savings for a business without long-haul travel!

Summary

Climate change is real and time is running out before we experience catastrophic and devasting outcomes, with the loss of many lives. There is a lot we can control to reduce emissions and at the same time, reap the rewards for standing up and being counted as a climate-conscious enterprise.

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Management

Secrets of Good Business Management

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Every entrepreneur who wants to achieve a relevant profit margin should keep in mind that the secret to success is good management. Regardless of the size of the company, it is of fundamental importance that the manager be able to integrate all of his or her personality development in order to boost growth.

A good administrator personality should keep in mind that flexibility is required to accept the constant changes that occur in the market, so it is vital to upgrade and acquire the skills needed to implement those changes within your business.

Based on this assumption, we selected a few secrets to an efficient business management that will certainly help you excel in your business. Get to know them:

Do a market study

For a venture to achieve the expected positive results, it is of the utmost importance that some positions are taken into consideration by investors. The market study emerges in this scenario with the objective of evaluating the economic viability and offering the evaluation on the effectiveness or not of the implementation of the company or the product or service in which it is wanted to invest.

In this sense, market research emerges as a great tool, since it enables the business manager to understand the operation of competing companies in terms of price, costs, payment deadlines, and thus, to be able to gather some indicators that will serve as parameters to ensure a differential and get better results.

Gain skills in business management

The competition, as well as the great instability in the market, makes it necessary for the business manager to have the skills and abilities that stand out from other entrepreneurs in the same segment.

In order for a good performance to be achieved, the administrator must acquire characteristics and postures capable of doing so if he excels and obtain the desired success for the company. We have selected some practices that will assist you in this process:

Make improvements

A good manager should always be looking for new ideas, new concepts and personal developments. Always be in search of information, knowledge. So stay current, make specializations, and deepen your knowledge.

In this way, you will not become obsolete and bring the innovations that your company needs to stand out from the competition.

Learn to Lead

Being a leader of a corporation carries responsibilities for which the professional is not always prepared. A true leader is not the one who gives only orders and results, but rather, the one who uses communication to get the support of the collaborators and who knows how to argue and solve conflicts in search of positive results.

Do a self-assessment

The entire process of company growth depends on business management, so make a self-assessment of the effectiveness of your contribution within the company. Also try to set personal goals to achieve the desired goals.

Managers must have broad knowledge in the processes they are managing so that they do not lose efficiency and control their execution.

Value your employees

Just as the manager’s role is fundamental to the firm’s solidity, employees have a primary role in executing actions.

It is common consensus that the valuation of employees enables the success of a business. It is up to managers to assess their potentials and motivate them so that they integrate into the ideal of that growth.

A good alternative is to maintain direct communication by emphasizing the qualities of each one, making them feel recognized for their work. Holding meetings where they can make criticisms and suggestions is also a great way to engage employees.

A company that offers good working conditions will keep the team motivated, enabling the generation of profits expected by the entrepreneur.

Invest in financial management

The actions of the financial sector of a business involve all planning and analysis regarding the company’s equity, investments, inflows and expenses. These actions have the objective of increasing stockholders’ equity and increasing the capital invested.

An efficient business management should pay particular attention to the financial managers of the company, because the lack of training of this professional can cause problems to the development of your enterprise. Among the actions of a good financial manager are:

The preparation of a balance sheet , without which it is possible to evaluate the value of the company’s net worth.

Make analysis and financial planning , bringing the possibility of projections about the future of the business.

Know where to invest the resources, so that the expected return is viable.

With all this, so that a company has effective financial management, it must be based on a plan in which goals, objectives and strategies are the pillars, enabling the reduction of risks and capital losses and reaching the goals expected by the entrepreneur.

Stay tuned to cash flow

Also included in the context of financial management, cash flow deserves special attention, because it is through this tool that we calculate capital inflows and outflows of a company, being essential for day to day business management.

Through the cash flow it is possible to know the values ​​that the company has, as well as the possibility of future projections of the assets (assets, credits, rights) and liabilities (suppliers, loans, fiscal obligations) of the business in a certain period of time.

For this cash flow to be effective, it must be calculated daily. Only in this way is it possible to keep track of the amount of capital existing in the company, as well as its obligations.

Take care of marketing

The Positive business management is only achieved when managers acquire knowledge about the market and customers. The marketing functions within an enterprise as a wild card, identifying customer preferences and requirements and market needs.

Look at some of the marketing functions in a business:

Tracing the profile of potential customers

Assessing consumer needs and preferences is a key. With the strong competition in the business world, it becomes indispensable a tool where managers can capture the desires of customers.

One of the ways to draw this profile is through market research and also the creation of personas, which, in general, is the representation of your ideal client. In this guide , you can follow a step-by-step approach to building people efficiently.

Caring for the company’s reputation

Marketing has the function of advertising and creating actions that promote a good reputation of your company and thus, bring positive impacts to the loyalty of its customers, as well as to capture new ones.

Creation of strategic actions

It is through marketing actions that it is possible to generate new sales, new contracts. In this way, the goals of the company can be achieved. The manager must work to develop actions that take into account the challenges of the market and integrate the sectors responsible for obtaining new clients.

Pay attention to the knowledge management of a business

As important as any other sector of the company, the management of knowledge , that is, of all informational content and business documents, is not always as simple as it seems, one has to fulfill a series of organizational techniques.

The business manager should try to insert this practice within the company in order to save the search time, making the information available more quickly.

Implement a structure where physical and electronic files are arranged so as to facilitate the company’s day-to-day operations. Adopt with your employees a culture of preservation of this material.

There are several advantages to having an organized file, among them the ease in identifying the information, the agility and the convenience for the queries.

Be innovative

Given the competitiveness in the market, the business management that stands out is the one that has some differential to offer customers and consumers.

The art of innovation is achieved with much study, planning, analysis and refinement. Only then will you know if that project you have in mind will be feasible for your company.

Another way to implement the processes of innovation in a business is to surround yourself with people with good ideas and committed to your business.

So, let your collaborators’ creativity come out, listen to what they have to say. Motivate them, challenge them, congratulate them on results, and believe in their potential. This will bring the positive results you both expect.

At this point in the reading you must have realized that there is no magic formula for the success of an enterprise. There is a lot of work and techniques that, if followed, can make you succeed.

Also, do not forget the primordial for any company: to build your way, you will need knowledge. Research, perfect yourself, only the knowledge of the product or service you want to offer will make what your business advances.

Risks do exist, and must be taken into account, but with determination, willingness and common sense to make assertive decisions in business management processes, you will surely achieve the desired success!

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Management

Offshoring Versus Outsourcing Which Is Best For Business?

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Businesses need to be competitive to make a profit so they’re always seeking solutions that reduce their overheads. Offshoring core activities is one way to reduce overheads, keep control of a business’s intellectual property and keep their data secure.

In this blog article, we look at offshoring and outsourcing and we consider if there is a right and wrong time for a business to consider either option.

Offshoring Explained

There are countries that are considered the back office of major corporations located somewhere else.  China, Vietnam, India are some of the nations that provide goods production and professional services for businesses located in western countries like USA, Canada, UK, and Australia. These countries are used for offshoring and outsourcing.

Is Outsourcing Another Name For Offshoring?

The short answer is no, outsourcing is quite different in its workings to offshoring.  With outsourcing, your business has essentially signed a contract with a service provider to deliver the services on behalf of your business.

The similarity between the two services is the business or team providing the manufacturing or professional service is usually located out of state or in another country to that of the business.

Where in the business is full outsourcing is popular?

Server and Website Hosting is an area we’re all familiar with and most businesses outsource this service.  The other areas deemed more sensitive and systems critical to a business also often outsourced are:

  • Technology hardware & software
  • Data communications
  • Software development
  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll services
  • Administration

Why Offshoring?

There is more control over the process with offshoring as the business can dictate the terms and use its own rules and systems.

The starting point is to choose where you want your business process to be carried out, i.e. in which country and area.

Setting up a team or purchasing a business in another country to roll out the service is not as challenging as it might appear as countries like those aforementioned are used to the activity.

The offshore team will work exclusively for the one business and therefore adhere to their methodology.

An example of where this activity is prevalent today is in the professional services sector.  Law firms and accounting practices readily place services offshore to reduce staff costs. An Accounting firm will locate part of its practice in a country and hire qualified workers i.e. accountants who cost less than their peer in the area or country the Accounting firm is located.

Is there a right or wrong time to consider outsourcing or offshoring?

Timing Is Everything

Yes, as timing is everything especially with everyone connected online in social media.

The reputation of a business can be damaged if clients start complaining of a negative change in the service.  Therefore a business needs to do a thorough analysis and weigh up the pros and cons of moving core processes or systems offshore or into the hands of another business entirely as is the way with outsourcing.

Managing the move will be challenging as people don’t like change especially if it costs them time.   Just think of how annoying it is to visit a website or use the App you use regularly only to find its user interface in a new design and it’s functionality changed.

Learning takes time and requires patience so it’s important for all businesses moving to an offshoring or outsourcing model mark sure their staff and end users are managed during the transition and that their experience is satisfactory with knowledge of much better service on its way.

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