Becoming Professional: A Blog

Archive for March 2010

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A week has passed, and I have another list of sites I think you might enjoy. Have fun!

What Does “Connecting” Really Mean? – This is a great little article on how not to be just another “networker.” It gives some good examples of how to meet people in a genuine way, instead of that annoying, “give me business!” kind of way.

The Social Media Bubble – This article takes the “Connecting” article above’s premise and discusses what this has done to our society. It’s a discussion of trust and relationships. And it’s short, since I don’t have a lot of time to read stuff, and I’m sure you’re the same way.

What’s the Big “O” in Social Media for Women – I’m a woman, so naturally I found this interesting. Even if you are not a woman, you might find it worth a read. It discusses how women are using social media, statistic-wise, and then goes in to if they are using it the right way, the way that opens doors and opportunities.

And that is your weekly threesome! Three articles I enjoyed from my wonderings of the web and that I hope you will enjoy, too.

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I was at my local American Marketing Association Chapter luncheon and, naturally, had to wear a name tag. It was one of those clip-on ones. Being in a dress, I didn’t have lapels, though I was able to clip mine onto a frill. A gentleman I know didn’t have a pocket to clip his on to and so decided to clip it to his belt and rock what I’ll call “corporate chic.” This all gave rise to the question:

Where do you wear the dang name tag?

It’s not a fashionable accessory, so most people want to clip it on and get done with it. I know more than a few folk who dislike name tags in general, but they are necessary. If we have to wear them, we might as well wear them correctly.

So, I promised my conversational group I would research this question and answer via blog post. Here it is:

Wear your name tag on the upper right portion of your chest.

At the luncheon we all had ours on the upper left portions of our chests. Not very correct of us, I know. This was probably because company name tags get worn on the upper left while a meeting sticky or other type of name tag goes on the right. We were wrong, but only slightly. Perhaps it is better to say we were just well trained by our corporate bosses?

Anyway, the reason for this placement is two-fold:

  1. When shaking hands, a person’s eye naturally travels up his or her partner’s arm to the shoulder/chest area. They see the name and then the eye travels up to the face.
  2. It can be embarassing for a woman to have her hand-shaking partner look awkwardly at her chest area. This motion is not as apparent if the tag is on the upper right side since that, as just explained, is where the eye goes, anyway.

Of course, I did see another suggestion in my research. I like this one better, too: the forehead. That way no one will forget your name, have to look at your chest, and you wont have to worry about no lapels on your clothing. Granted, you would look silly.

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Alright, I enjoy seeing what other bloggers think is interesting out there in the world of the web, so I thought you, dear reader, might enjoy it, too. I Tweet about a lot, but I have a back log of recommendable articles. So I’m cleaning house! Look for this every Tuesday, or there abouts.

Personal Branding Blog’s Personal Branding Worksheet: It’s a great tool if you’re struggling about where to start with your personal brand. It’s not easy to go through, but then again, if it was, would it be powerful? It is, however, an easy step-by-step process to understand.

William Shatner’s Social Network Game Site??: Yes, Shatner, James T. Kirk. The original. He’s made a cross between a social gaming website and a job networking site for the entertainment industry. It even has captains with captain’s logs. I just get a kick out of the idea and will be joining up shortly.

Linked In and Recruiters: I just posted a blog post about Linked In and Connecting with people. Here’s a bit of the research that led to that post. It’s about when it’s okay to accept a Connection Invitation from a corporate recruiter, particularly if you still have a job. It can get touchy, so these are good tips.

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Who do you Connect to on Linked In? Do you just link to people you know personally? Do you just Connect to folk you know well enough that you can write a whole paragraph on them? Are you a LION? A Linked In Open Networker who links to anyone? Which is best? How do you know what is best?

This question was always in the back of my mind when I first started networking on Linked In. It came to the fore when a hiring manager at a company I was applying for said that job candidates should try to Connect to their recruiters on Linked In. His argument was that it would help in the interview if the candidate has a better understanding of the manager. He also described a kind of competitive intelligence where you can possibly see who else is applying for the job by looking at who else the hiring manager has been interacting with. Good points, but I felt a bit uneasy Connecting to someone I didn’t actually know that well. I had to know about accepted practices and asked a Question using the Answers function of Linked In.

So after my research and conversations with Linked In users, here’s the conclusion: Connect to whom you want to but be sure that you are Connecting to someone who wants to be Connected to. Tell the person in the Connection Invitation why you want to Connect. Don’t just use the standard invitation. It’s bland and not very persuasive. If you can’t show that the person you want to Connect to has a reason to Connect to you they might click “I don’t know this person,” which hurts your reputation.

How do you know if someone wants to be Connected to? Talk to them. Message back and forth a few times. Perhaps you can just ask them then and there if you could Connect. Many folk state that they are LIONs on their profiles. Others say who they are interested in Connecting to. Linked In is for networking, after all, it would be a shame not to use it.

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Have you ever heard this song? It’s by MxPx, the title is “Responsability,” and sometimes I think the band was reading my mind. Here’s a LINK so you know what I mean.

Part of the transition between college student to professional is dealing with the fact that people will want to rely on you more. People just don’t expect great quality work from a student, but they do from an employee, and saying, “I just graduated. Cut me some slack,” will not improve your chances of getting a raise or keeping that job in this economy.

Which leaves me, young grad that I am, staring at mature, greying men saying, “Yes, I can do that for you. I’ll have it on your desk by tomorrow. Oh? You want it today? And it has to include a strategy for successful implementation? Gotcha. I’m on it.” Yeah, am I the only recent grad who finds those mature men and women (not “old” mind you, “experienced”) more than a tad intimidating? This new responsability thing is tough.

And I don’t believe it will get better. Nope, I don’t think my boss will ever stop saying, “Oh, and do this, too,” adding more, and more to my workload. Once I start doing one thing well, a new thing will need criticism and improvement. Once one strategy succeeds, the next one must be put in to play, with expectations of an even greater success. And Lord forbid a failure, but they will come, and I’ll have to live them down.

This doesn’t happen only to grads. It continues after we get that 2 years of experience under our belt. It’s life. I remember when I came home that first tough day and complained to my mother about work, how tough it was, how I couldn’t figure it out. You know what she said?

“Welcome to the working world.”

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Let me introduce my fictional example, Melanie McGuffin, the IT programmer who makes it happen, works real hard, and never stops… and needs a new job or some freelance work. She’s thinking about a personal brand. It seems that if Melanie doesn’t think of herself as a brand name then she’ll risk becoming a commodity. Problem: What is a personal brand? 

Well, Melanie, luckily, I was a marketing major before I became a young professional, and I know what a “brand” is. It’s who and what you are. What the intangible benefit of the product (that’d be you) is. For instance, you might be an IT programmer. That’s what an employer gets, the product. However the brand is, Melanie McGuffin, the IT programmer who makes it happen, works real hard, and never stops. I’m sure the “Personal Brand” evangilists would tell me that I have to phrase that in a witty, one sentence tag-line, but that’s not my point.

My point, Melanie, is that if you know yourself, then you should already be doing the personal brand thing. Your track record should show that, your interviews should exhibit it, and your online self should support all of that. Same as with a real product, you can’t just slap a brand message on a company. The company has to live the brand. 

A “Personal Brand” is just how to communicate this inner who-you-are to others. That’s the 60 Second Commercial, what you’re wearing, your behavior on Linked In and other social networking sites… The list of things that affect this “brand” go on. And here’s the kicker: all you should do is be yourself.

I recently read All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin. In it he explained that a brand has to be on message at all points of contact and have as many points of contact as possible since you don’t know when or where the customer is going to have the first impression. The only way to do this is to live the brand message, since that way even if you get caught unawares by a customer, you’re still showcasing that all-important message.

Same thing for prospective employers or business contacts. Will they see you first on Linked In? Your blog? How about a networking event? Or maybe at work? So just realize that you’re always going to be in the spotlight and act accordingly. We all have heard not to post drunk photos on Facebook, so just don’t. Melanie, if you want people to think that you’re a perserviering, IT version of the Enegizer Bunny, then your Tweets should support that by talking about where to find solutions, even after business hours are over, or linking normal life to problems you’ve seen in the IT field on your blog to show your always about IT.

That’s all there really is to a personal brand. All the other stuff is just icing. If you look at a person as a product, then this is the core of what the “Personal Brand” evangilists are getting at. It’s really a simple idea.

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A while back, I talked about how a good professional doesn’t play up his or her sexuality at work in the post Sexy, Smexy. I recently read an article that takes this idea and turns it partly on its head.

It said that checking each other out during an interview is natural and we shouldn’t stop it. Yes, I just said, “checking each other out.” Apparently, it is a natural inclination to take a good gander at the person you are dealing with, and then move on to businesses. And it’s not just true of men, but also women. I can believe this. After all, we’re judged on our appearances all the time.

The article suggests that instead of fighting this natural tendency, we just accept it. In the case of interviews, it suggests giving the interviewer a chance to check you out. Litterally. Drop eye contact and rummage in a bag, move a chair, do something so that the other person has a chance to give you the once over without feeling terribly self-conscious. This way the interviewer can move on to judging your intellectual qualities instead of constantly restraining his or herself from looking at your more physical qualities.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. While I understand the principle, it just seems wrong. As I mentioned in “Sexy Smexy,” blatantly showing off your sexuality is not good for your image, or your reputation. This still stands.

But by the same token, the article reports that when this “let the other party check you out before getting to business” tactic was used during sales interviews, the salesmen got better sales.

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog ( and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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