Posts Tagged ‘Fresh Grads – Stand Out!’

Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: Unemployed … a Blessing in Disguise!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out! By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

Unemployed … a Blessing in Disguise!

In my previous articles, we’ve been trying to tackle the subject of landing your dream job by preparing your arsenal with the necessary ammo to be an active soldier in the war for talent. Sometimes, you have to wait a while before you get drafted or called in for duty. This state is commonly known as unemployment!

In this month’s article, I will share how a state of unemployment is actually a blessing in disguise. Yes, you heard me right, a blessing! Let’s lay down the facts.

When was the last time you had all the time in the world to do anything you ever wanted? As soon as you finished high school, you probably joined university, and that went on for another 4 years to say the least. Not once, did you have the opportunity to just step back and look at your life from a new perspective? You were always busy. Well now you have all the free time on your hand to do whatever you want.

Remember that backpacking trip across Europe you’ve always wanted to take? Or those cooking lessons your friend told you about? You can finally join your friend in their revitalizing morning runs! How about that book you’ve started one too many times, but never had the time to finish it? Didn’t you always want to learn Italian? There’s so much you can do now that you have time. So stop wasting it wondering when that phone is going to ring. You’re ready to be called in at any given time, but don’t hold your breath waiting. Use it to learn, train, and develop!

Here are 3 tips on how to make the best of your unemployment:

  1. Develop a Schedule: Even with 24 hours, the day might seem awfully short if we don’t organize our time. Not keeping a schedule makes you open to continuous distractions that will occupy your time with nonsense. I’m not asking you to become obsessed with keeping a schedule, but try grouping your day plans into chunks of time. For example, you can decide that you will spend 8 hours sleeping, 4 hours on self development, 2 hours of family time, 2 hours of fitness, 4 hours with friends. Guess what, you still have 4 hours to spare! So trust me when I tell you, 24 hours is a whole lot of time, it just depends what you do with it.
  2. Make a Commitment: Regardless of how you decide to divide your time, commit to it. Discipline is key! If you decide you will be spending 4 hours a day developing yourself, be it through reading, classes, mentorship, make sure you stick to it. Remember, the trick here is forming new habits; they need to become part of your routine.
  3. Make it Public: The best advice I can give you is make your commitments public. It becomes very similar to a promise you make to the world and have to keep or justify yourself for not keeping.

Make the best of your unemployment; it’s an opportunity to make what you were good at even better. Stop wasting time waiting … and Like I always say, “You Shy, You Die!”

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: Shopping for Talent

Thursday, July 25th, 2013
John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out! By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

Build your Personal Brand in 100 steps!

Shopping for Talent

In this post, I would like us to step into the hiring manager’s shoes and try to look at things from their perspective. When a company seeks out to fill a certain vacancy, it’s very much like grocery shopping, with the only exception of not having to actually go to the supermarket.

I want you to wear the hiring manager’s hat for a few minutes. You have been tasked with finding the right candidate to fill up a vacancy. With the amount of resumes received with every job posting, it makes it almost impossible to go through them all without missing out on a few minor yet important details that make the whole difference. To bring the idea closer to home, try to imagine walking into a Kroger or a Safeway supermarket to buy shampoo for the first time and the only visible difference is the brand name on the bottle. Picking out the right shampoo is therefore left to trial and error. Hiring the wrong talent can be very costly and time consuming.

Now back to you! Do you really want to leave the opportunity of being chosen to fill up that vacancy to mere chance? Of course not!

It’s all about using the right communication channels and tools to attract the attention your personal brand deserves. Here are some quick tips of how you can redesign your shampoo bottle to standout from the clutter.

  1. Spice up your CV – Give it some flair. Add some color to it. Create an infographic to showcase certain information: your skills for example. Sites like vizualize.me can help you do that. Get inspired by Googling “creative CV”! It doesn’t have to be complicated, here’s mine.
  2. Customize the CV – Make it relevant. There’s a brand of shampoo for your every need – for extra shine, for volume, for split-ends, for colored hair … I could go on forever. Your CV should be tailored to meet the requirements of a certain job vacancy. If the job demands problem-solving skills, make sure you highlight that in your resume and link back to it in your cover letter.
  3. Don’t dismiss the cover letter – It makes all the difference. In most online job applications, adding a cover letter is optional. This is an option you really don’t want to miss out on. The cover letter serves as an introduction about you … think of it as a sneak preview. Remember you shouldn’t be repeating on your CV in your cover letter. Use it to highlight certain skills that don’t have a chance to be showcased properly in your resume. Tell the hiring manager how and why you’re the shampoo they need!
  4. There can only be one! – Your online brand should be a mirror of your offline brand. Hiring managers are looking more and more into the profiles of candidate’s of interest online. Go back to my article entitled “Social Recruitment – The War for Talent” and follow the steps there to build you brand online.

Don’t be just another brand of shampoo … be THE BRAND! And remember what I always say, “You Shy, You Die!”

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: Build your Personal Brand in 100 steps!

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out! By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

Build your Personal Brand in 100 steps!

Know Yourself

1. Define your vision

2. Explain your purpose

3. Unearth your passion

4. Identify your values

5. Set your goals

6. Uncover the perception of your brand

7. Refine identity to match desired perception

8. Understand your strengths

9. Highlight your skills

10. Reinforce your level of GRIT

Familiarize yourself with your brand environment

11. Classify your target audience

12. Define your competition

13. Understand the competitions’ strengths and weaknesses

14. Identify the challenges and opportunities presented by your brand environment

Unearth your brand

15. Write your personal brand statement (PBS) revealing your unique promise of value

16. Script your bio

17. Develop your brand story

18. Practice your elevator pitch

Communicate Your Brand

19. Get a photo shoot that reflects your brand attributes

20. Update your CV / Portfolio

21. Create your professional profile on LinkedIn

22. Seek out recommendations of your work

23. Use one avatar across all social media platforms

24. Use your PBS and extended versions of that across all platforms

25. Create your profile on about.me

26. Own your vanity URL www.yourname.com

27. Use your vanity URL as a hub for your contact info (include your CV)

28. Start blogging to communicate your passion

29. Comment on professional high-traffic blogs related to your subject of interest

30. Showcase your work on sites like slideshare.net and prezi.com

31. Develop your communication wheel to include the different channels you’ll be using to communicate your brand

32. Identify your different communication content themes

33. Create a detailed calendar highlighting the frequency of your brand communication across the different platforms

Market your brand

34. Identify your brand colors … this is not your color of preference. It should reflect your brand attributes

35. Choose the font that speaks your brand language

36. Fashion your brand slogan/tagline

37. Develop you personal brand logo

38. Create your business card … strip away the boring title; create one that reflects who you are.

39. Develop your video bio

Monitor your brand

40. Create your online brand listening station – use tools like Google Alerts and addictomatic.com

41. Google yourself regularly and assess the results – use this free online identity quiz

42. Seek feedback from others & monitor the progression of your brand’s perception

43. Ensure online & offline brand communication consistency

Refine your communication skills

44. Become an eloquent speaker –join an organization like Toastmasters

45. Take up acting classes – it will increase you confidence under the spotlight

46. Join a writing class – learn all styles: business, poetry… creative writing; then develop your own style!

Live Your Brand

47. You attire should reflect your brand at all times – remember I’m referring to the style not the clothes

48. Your surroundings should mirror your brand attributes – your mobile, office, hair, clothes, … everything should be on-brand

49. Connect with the right people.

50. Have fun doing it … it’s all about you!

I’m in a very giving mood, so I gave you a 50% discount on the 100 steps, you only have to do 50 … and remember, like I always say, YOU SHY, YOU DIE.

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: Job Matchmaking – What makes you “click”?

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out! By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

Job Matchmaking – What makes you “click”?

“John, I heard you quit job! What happened?” The only thing I could say to that was “We just didn’t click!”

That got me thinking, what exactly did I mean when I said that I didn’t click with my job? So I grabbed a pen and paper and created a checklist of what I thought the perfect job offered to see just how we “didn’t click.” This is what my checklist looked like:

  • Multinational Company
  • Company Reputation
  • Company Portfolio
  • Great Annual Package
  • Regional Position

To my surprise, the job I just quit aced my checklist, so what exactly was I complaining about?

I wish I knew then, what I know now. In this post, I will reveal to you an important, if not the most important, aspect to consider while exploring the next company to work for. VALUE!

Yes, value matchmaking should be on top of your checklist. Your values are what make up your belief system. You can’t detach yourself from your values … they are what make you who you are! Knowing your set of values helps you making sound career decisions. They serve like a compass guiding your career to happier and more satisfied you. Identifying your values will help you recognize whether you and a particular company of interest would make a good fit.

Let’s take some examples:

  • If you value family, then you are less likely to feel comfortable with a job that requires of you to be away from yours 90% of the time. As exciting as the suitcase-life might be at the beginning, you will soon grow restless because you just miss you family too much.
  • If you value fairness, then you will be frustrated to be working for a company that has a tendency of terminating employees under the pretext of internal restructuring, even if you yourself are pampered.
  • If you value calmness, you are bound to blow a fuse working as a manager for nightclub.

Matching your values embraced by the company you intend to work for will leave you with a greater sense of content and in turn allow you to be more productive.

To make sure you “click” with your next job, your homework before heading of to the next job interview is unearthing your top 5 personal values. If you have difficulty identifying your values, I recommend you take note of things that bother you. Usually when something bothers us, it’s because one of our values is being violated.

… And like I always say, “YOU SHY, YOU DIE!”

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: What’s Your Expected Salary?

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out!
By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

What’s Your Expected Salary?

In an earlier post, we tackled one of the typical questions you’d expect in an interview: “Tell me a little bit about yourself”. In today’s post, we will tackle a slightly more awkward question, “What’s your expected salary?” Some career advisors will tell you how to dodge the question and redirect it back to the interviewer. Personally, I think you should answer that question with confidence and honesty.

Certainly, I’m not asking you to just throw a number hoping for the best. You should have a good argument behind the figure you give in reply to this question and present it as such.

So, let’s get back to the question, “what is your expected salary?” Before you’re able to answer that question, you should consider the following:

Salaries paid for similar jobs.
You can easily look up online the salary range for jobs similar to the one you’re applying for. If you’re in the US or Canada, Salary.com is a good site to run your search. If you’re in the Middle East region, Bayt.com releases periodic reports containing salary information for the different countries in the region.

Company profile.
We’re all aware that salaries vary from one company to another. Depending on the company size and industry, you should be able to assess the salary range it (the company) falls within.

Your education & relevant experience. If you studied Hotel Management, and you applying for a marketing role in an FMCG company, you should expect a lower starting salary from a marketing grad applying for the same job. During the interview, make sure you highlight how your education and experience relate directly to the job.

Your brand.
When thinking about your brand, make sure you take into account what you and only you can bring to the table that adds value to the job you’re applying for. I’m not referring to a certain skill; I’m talking about your personal brand attributes.

Opportunity Cost.
A typical term you’d hear in your economics course, which basically means: the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. In this case, what is the monetary value of what you’d be giving up to take on the new job. You might be freelancing graphic design projects, and accepting the new job won’t give you time to continue doing so. You need to take that into account.

Fair compensation.
Finally, after considering all that, it boils down to one thing … what would make you happy and be considered a fair compensation for the your work. You need to feel appreciated and properly compensated to continuously perform at your best. Remember, the honeymoon period is short on the job, so try to think passed that, and see what would make you happy.

Before you head on to the next job interview, make sure you do your homework. Now you can answer that seemingly awkward question with full confidence and honesty; you can also justify your request.

… And like I always say, “YOU SHY, YOU DIE!”

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: Ready … Aim … Hire!

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out!
By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

Ready … Aim … Hire!

Even though there’s one keystroke separating the “H” and the “F”, trust me, this is not a typo! In today’s post, we’ll discuss how to strategically use the blogging and the networking power of social media to guarantee your spot on the hiring manager’s radar, because let’s face it, if you’re counting solely on your CV, your chances are very slim! A key thing to remember about personal branding is that it’s not about begging, bugging, or buying attention; it’s about earning it!

For the sake of clarity, I will use a hypothetical example:

You’re a Management Consulting graduate that’s passionate about the digital business revolution and your aim is to work for one of the top-consulting firms that cater to that industry.

Step 1 – Ready

Ready your digital presence to showcase your passion. Start off by setting up your profile on the major social media channels. All the channels should be used to direct traffic to your blog, where you get to share your thoughts and point of view pertaining to your passion.

Remember, blogging is about sharing your own experience, observations, and opinions … so don’t concern yourself with excuses like “I don’t have sufficient expertise in management consulting or digital business”. You’re not claiming to be the expert; you’re just sharing an opinion, an educated opinion. Just make sure you support it with logic, references, and facts.

Step 2 – Aim

After setting up your arsenal, it’s time to focus your effort to land your dream job. Here are the steps to follow based on our hypothetical example:

  1. Search for top-tier consulting companies that are interested in digital business. Capgemini Consulting has a dedicated blog entitled Digital Transformation Conversations. Logging on to that blog, I have found several posts of interest.
  2. Leave a smart comment on some of these posts. Make sure your comments reflect your thought process, which could be in agreement or disagreement! Remember it’s your opinion supported by a proper argument.
  3. Share the post on your social networks: LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ …
  4. Sometimes your comments might lead you to write your own post reflecting your own opinion on the subject matter. If you do so, make sure to leave a link to that post in the comment and invite the author to review it. Make sure you’re not spamming – your comment should summarize your post and invite further discussion.
  5. Connect with the author – look up the author’s name on LinkedIn or Twitter and express your interest in connecting with them. This is how you start building your professional network.

Repeat steps 1 through 5

Step 3 – Hire

You have earned the attention your brand deserves and now you’re ready to take the shot! Use the network you built as referrals during your application for the job. There’s somebody in that company that knows what you’re capable of and can vouch for that.

… and like I always say “You Shy, You Die!

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: So, Tell Me a Little Bit About Yourself!

Thursday, February 21st, 2013
John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out!
By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

So, Tell Me a Little Bit About Yourself!

“So, tell me a little bit about yourself” – don’t you just hate that question! Unfortunately, there’s no escaping it in the interview process. Just try to search for the “most common interview questions” and you’re bound to find that question in the top 10; and my personal experience confirms my findings. Ironically, very few are cable of answering that question without choking. Given how frequent we are asked this question, I’m still surprised we haven’t mastered the answer.

For you to be able to give a compelling reply, you first need to understand your brand thoroughly. How can you expect to sell anything to anyone if you don’t know the product or service you’re selling? The same applies to your brand! Therefore, you need to think long and hard of who you really are and what makes you unique. Always remember that there are two sides to every coin; how you see yourself and how others perceive you. Self-exploration requires you to keep an open mind and not take yourself too seriously, that’s the only way you’ll learn more about the real you.

Aside from 360 assessments and strength finder tools, I strongly recommend you give this book a try: “The Question Book – What Makes You Tick” by Krogerus & Tschäppeler. This book “asks all the questions you’ve ever wanted to ask someone – and you never asked yourself”. The extraction phase of personal branding demands a lot of patience, but the gem you unearth will be worth your while. You will have tons of material to use in formulating the answer to that inevitable question.

Here’s a tip: Think of your answer as a movie trailer – a customizable one at that.

You can’t expect to expose the whole movie in the trailer, but you have to be able to earn the attention of the viewer enough to make them want to watch the whole movie. This is where customization of the trailer comes into play. Just like any movie, it usually has several different trailers that reveals different ‘snippets’ of the movie intended to attract different viewers. Similarly, your reply should be customized to meet the requirements of the person asking the question. The key thing to remember here is that the movie staring “you” is one and the same; you’re simply presenting it in a different light according to the situation.

Here’s my advice: Prior to any interview, read more about the company itself and the job in question.

Highlight keywords found in the company values and job description that match your own. Use those common elements to customize your trailer and a kick off that interview with a jaw-dropping performance that will keep them on the edge of their seats for the rest of the movie.

And like I always say, “You Shy, You Die!”

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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Fresh Grads – Stand Out!: Social Recruitment – The War for Talent

Thursday, January 24th, 2013
John-AntoniosFresh Grads – Stand Out!
By John Antonios
Helping new graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.

Social Recruitment – The War for Talent

The War for Talent is fiercer than ever. If all you have in your arsenal is your CV, then your chances of survival are very slim. According to the 2012 Jobvite Social Recruitment survey results, 92% of companies plan to use social media for recruiting. Hiring managers and recruitment professionals are becoming more and more interested in reviewing online profiles of candidates during the hiring process to insure higher quality recruits. So the question that you need to ask is “are you ready to be drafted?”

Contents of your arsenal

1. LinkedIn: 93% of social recruitment happens on LinkedIn (Jobvite 2012); therefore, it’s worth spending time developing your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it reflects your academic and professional experience and support that with recommendations from your professors and managers.
2. Google+, Facebook & Twitter: Even though Facebook & Twitter are not perceived as professional social networks, part of the screening process takes place there. Hiring managers use Facebook & Twitter as filtering tools that allow them to identify value mismatches between the company and the recruits. Your likes and dislikes, the subjects that interest you, who you engage with, your hobbies, and much more personal information that helps the recruiter profile the candidates.
3. Own your name: Buy your personal domain name, think of it as e-real-estate! If you have nothing to share on it, you can simply use it as a virtual business card – with your picture, name, email, and a downloadable copy of your CV. Ideally though, you should be blogging about your expertise.

Survival Tips

1. One You: Even though the purposes of the social networks are different, you are still the same person and your profile on each of them should reflect that. You can’t be the professional businessperson on LinkedIn, the drunken party-animal on Facebook, and the political activist on Twitter all at the same time.
2. Behave: Recruiters react very negatively to recruits with comments/posts containing reference to drug use, sex, profanity, and even grammatical/spelling errors! So make sure you behave!
3. Engage: Aside from setting up your profile on the different social networks, it is important to showcase your know-how by engaging with online content.

Some of the best places to engage are:

  • Showcase your expertise with LinkedIn Groups: Join groups of particular interest to you and target the most active discussions there – provide insightful replies and thought-provoking questions. This will help you build visibility, credibility, and your network.
  • High-traffic blogs – use sites like technorati.com to check out high-traffic blogs in your field of interest. The next time you read an interesting post on one of these sites, make sure to leave a comment that will intrigue the readers to investigate the person behind it!
  • Twitter Chats are interactive chats regarding a particular subject, predefined with a hashtag. The format of the chat depends on the choice of moderator but usually involves Q&As. You will be able to engage and network with people that share similar interests.

Recruits … now you’re ready for war! And like I always say, “YOU SHY, YOU DIE!”

John Antonios is a Personal Branding Strategist & Executive Coach. He stands side by side with politicians, executives, and graduates helping them understand and promote their brand DNA, allowing them to cash in on their passion and take control of their legacy.

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