The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
— Aristotle

We’re halfway through January. How is your professional development plan coming along? So far, we’ve covered Story & Legacy (Week One) and Development (Week Two).

Week Three we’ll be focusing on Brand.

It’s easy to think that a solid brand is only applicable to products or companies like Apple, Nike, or Coca-Cola. But don’t forget that you are your own brand. Whether it’s online (social media, blogs, videos) or offline (what others say about you when you’re not in the room), you don’t need the marketing budget of the Fortune 500 to invest the time to understand what your brand is today, and what you want it to be tomorrow.

This week is a good mix of reflective and action items. Choose one or all three, just be sure to carve out some time.

Do you know someone who feels like they're in a professional cul-de-sac? Share TheCareerCue with them today.

Week Three


LinkedIn Train Wreck

You are one of 467,000,000+ LinkedIn members (yep, that’s right - see LinkedIn’s About page for more detail on member demographics). We recognize that this number doesn’t mean that every single member is active on a regular basis but I think we can agree that even with inactive profiles, it feels a little overwhelming to figure out how to stand out from the (enormous) crowd.

So, is your LinkedIn profile working for you or does it sit in darkness until you find the time to engage with the network of professionals outside of your current workplace? What does a recruiter or hiring manager see when your profile comes up in their search results? You don’t have to be a LinkedIn Influencer like Betty Liu but we do recommend setting aside 30 minutes this week to make sure that LinkedIn is working for you.

What’s the point?

Why do you have a LinkedIn profile? It seems like an easy enough question but if you’re like us, we’ve been guilty of creating a social media profile without having a clear objective as to why we signed up. Admittedly, those objectives can change over time but take this week to figure out the “why” for today and tomorrow.    

  • Job search
  • Business development
  • Regular contact with your professional network
  • Latest industry and/or career function news

How do others see you?

We get an opportunity to view our profiles but how do others see it? Technically, your network and prospective employers see what you see but what is their interpretation of your profile?

Consider asking a trusted source to review your profile and make suggestions on improvements to assist in differentiating yourself (back to the one in 467,000,000 number again).

Lora Poepping and her team at Plum Coaching & Consulting are LinkedIn masters. They work with clients from all over the world in refining their profiles and have identified the top three changes you can make today to help bubble your profile to the top of the virtual pile.

  • Post a professional photo. Don’t choose a photo that looks like you’re looking for a date, running from the law, or attending a wedding.
  • Use a header at the top of your page that promotes you. Tell people what you do and share your industry, expertise, etc.
  • Create a summary that is easy to read. Think career cliff notes. Consider having no more than two sentences per line and include a skills or expertise list too.

Check in with yourself regularly

Set a reminder on your calendar to review your LinkedIn profile every 90 days. Making small changes on a regular basis will help avoid the “where do I start?” roadblock that can sometimes create a feeling that there’s just too much to do and not enough time. It will also make sure that prospective connections and employers are up-to-date on your career and the value you bring to the table.

Check out Lora’s episode and article, “LinkedIn Train Wrecks and How to Avoid Them”, for more detail.

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The Brand of You

This has been a hot topic for a while now but we shouldn’t treat our personal brand like the latest diet trend or whatever is going to replace the "dab" (those with tweens and teens know what we’re talking about). Whether you’re consciously working on your brand or not, it’s evolving every day.

Take some time on the commute this week to consider what your brand means to you:

  • Do you know what your brand is?
  • What do you want your brand to be?
  • What are the gaps between what your brand is today and what you want it to be in the future?
  • Is there a difference between your online and offline brand?
  • Do you have trusted sources in your network (both personal and professional) that you can ask what they believe your brand to be?
  • Would you consider investing in a consultant or coach to help identify your current vs desired brand?
  • What are the goals that are directly influenced by your brand?
  • What small changes can you make today that will continue to shape your brand?

Mel Carson, Founder of Delightful Communications, and Heather Hamilton, Owner of Whiz Bang Solutions, have spent years curating their brands and they’re both in the business of helping others around the world develop their own.  Whether you’re seeking further career advancement, are interested in public speaking opportunities, or simply wanting to button up your brand identity, staying focused and making small adjustments on a regular basis will serve as an integral part of your development strategy.

We love this topic so much we've published two episodes (twice the expertise!) so be sure to listen to Mel’s and Heather’s episodes on personal brand today.

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Personal Homepages

Values, passions, and significant events are threaded throughout our day and most of us believe there is a clear distinction between our personal and professional lives. The reality is that we carry a little piece of our “other selves” into work and home every day.

Amy Brown, President of SoDo Consulting, has developed a one-page personal homepage template that she integrates into her leadership coaching sessions. Each time she’s in awe of the transformation that happens when clients invest the time to snap together the seemingly individual parts of themselves that make them whole.

Whether you complete the template in a professional team environment or with friends, this quick exercise (25-30 minutes) can assist in not only identifying your whole self but allows an opportunity for deeper connection and investment with others.

Download Amy’s personal homepage template, listen to her episode, invite your co-workers or friends to lunch, and start mapping out your whole self today.