Don’t Assume Anything!

As part of my job search for a new role as a Learning and Development Manager I am very focused on ensuring that I maintain my visibility online across various platforms.

I have also been working to ensure that my Online CVs are both right up-to-date and promoted. This last weekend I was talking to a friend who works in recruitment. They commented to me that it would be really good if, in addition to having domains that use my own name, I could have a domain that reflects the role that I do.

When we were discussing it we thought that it was highly unlikely that there would be a domain name available that exactly matched the type or role that I do.

Later in the weekend I was working on the computer and I suddenly thought to myself — why not check what domain names are available and who has the domain name that I would really like.

You can I am sure imagine my surprise when I checked on my preferred domain name provider and quickly discovered that was available! I nearly fell off my chair!  Within a few hours I had a new domain waiting to be populated with content.

In less than 24 hours and with some quick work and updating I had a keyword optimised CV online at Learning and Development Manager

The moral of the story — never assume anything until you have checked!

Don’t Keep Comparing Ourselves with Others

It’s all too easy to slip into the habit of comparing ourselves with others. When we are going for Job Interviews or just in life generally we have a tendency to do that don’t we?

If that is something that you find yourself routinely doing then perhaps it is time to stop! You are different from everyone else. Celebrate that. You offer a unique perspective and set of experiences in life. We should all be thanking you. If you are constantly comparing yourself, it means you aren’t happy with who you are. Why is that?

Comparing Ourselves with Others

Many people are brought up to conform to society we are almost taught that comparing ourselves to others is the right thing to do. They are told that if you don’t fit within society’s norms, you will be looked upon disapprovingly. However, most people aren’t “normal” in the truest sense of the word. All of us have quirks and idiosyncrasies. It’s these differences that make us who we are and allow us to find solutions to problems. It also keeps us from getting bored. Imagine if everyone were truly the same. There would be nothing new to discover about one another.

There are some reasons to conform. For instance, you need to follow the rules and laws of your country and community. Otherwise, you will suffer consequences for not doing so. Also, you want to treat others with respect so that they will hopefully return that respect.  However, if you try to act in ways in which others believe you should, you aren’t going to live your life to the fullest.

That’s why we should get out of the habit of comparing ourselves with others. When you do this, you are likely setting unrealistic expectations and these will lead you to be disappointed. Comparing yourself to others will result in you resenting those people. They have their reasons for being the way they are, and it has nothing to do with you.

There are qualities you admire in others. There is nothing wrong with trying to adopt some of those admirable qualities for yourself. However, it shouldn’t get to the point where we are constantly comparing ourselves with others and find we are trying to redefine who you are to be like those people you admire. You aren’t them, and you never will be.

Why We Should Stop Comparing Ourselves with OthersComparing Ourselves with Others

If you spend most of your time trying to be like someone else, you are in for a rough ride. If you stick to who you are and find others willing to accept you for that, you are going to be more satisfied for most of that time you live. Others will be happier with the real you as well. You won’t be a pretender. People see right through that kind of behaviour. Just think about others who are not true to themselves. How long does it take you to see through that disguise?

50 Is The New 30 – Confidence As We Mature

In a meeting the other day the comment was made that “50 is the new 30!” which was a reflection perhaps of how in the space of no more than a couple of generations what we expect of ourselves has definitely changed. If I think back to my own parents at my age then they certainly approached life in a very different way to how we find ourselves behaving, dressing and indeed working today.

That set me reflecting on some of the discussions with “mature” people I have had recently. Some of them also talked about how in the face of the seemingly relentless change they have felt a loss of confidence at times leading some to feel like an “imposter.” I have written about the imposter syndrome before (see here) but in this post I want to look at how, as we contend with the world which expects more of us, we can retain or re-discover our confidence.

In the glossy magazines and on websites we are told that we can do it all and have it all. That can seem quite daunting if you are at a stage in your life where you are struggling with being confident. The reality is that everything is a balancing act, and the best way to stay happy and confident is to make a list of priorities and stick to it.

Who Are You?

When it comes to prioritising, you need to know who you are and what you want in life. With a purpose-driven life, you are in control, setting your goals and taking action to achievement.

There are only so many hours in the day, with one-third supposed to be reserved for sleep, and one-third of your weekdays (usually) reserved for work. However, as a partner, community activist or caregiver to elderly parents or relatives, the work day increases and the sleep often decreases. It can seem almost impossible to find “me time” in which you can relax, de-stress, and work on self-improvement.

Good Self-Care

The truth is that the happier you try to make others, the unhappier you will usually be yourself. You will never be able to take care of others well unless you first take care of yourself and ensure as many of your real needs as possible are met. These include food, rest, money to pay the bills, supportive relationships and so on.

Good self-care is empowering and will boost confidence. You won’t feel as if you are running on an empty fuel tank all the time. Instead, you can give all your important tasks your best effort. You might even have time to take classes online, learn new skills, and more.

Lifelong Learning

You are never too old to learn. Gaining new skills can increase your self-esteem. They might even help you get that promotion or raise you’ve been longing for.

Surrounding Yourself with Positive People

Positive people exude positive energy. You can tell who they are because you feel good whenever they walk into the room. Spend more time with them, and try to become more positive yourself, so you can network with like-minded people.

Do Self-Confidence Exercises throughout the Day

Start in the morning by telling yourself you are going to have a great day. Try a “power pose” in front of the mirror, stretching your arms and leg out as widely as possible until you feel like you are filling the room. Don’t be “small” or think small.

Work physical activity into your day for at least a few minutes at a time. A 10-minute workout session four times per day is just as effective as one 40-minute session, and exercise boosts your energy as well.

Come up with affirmations, positive statements that fill you with energy, such as “feel your power,” “You can do it,” and so on.

At the end of the day, journal about your successes, and what you can do even better tomorrow. Again I have written about the benefits of reflective journals elsewhere (see here.)

Cross Items Off Your Bucket List

Regularly do things you’ve always wanted to do. They will get you out of your comfort zone and increase your self-esteem.

Follow these tips to increase both your confidence and self-belief.

Can Blogging Help You Find A New Job?

As someone who is currently looking for a new role as a Learning and Development Professional and who blogs I have had a number of people ask me whether I think blogging is helpful.

My take is that blogging can help you show off your knowledge, skills and understanding of your area of work. It can also help you to network effectively and if you include a link to it in your CV can even prompt questions at interview as I have found on a number of occasions. Whether you already have a blog or are looking to start one, below are some tips for incorporating your blog into your job search.

Benefits of Using a Blog in Your Job Search

  1. Engage with more people. Blogging is really a social activity. You can use your site to engage new people through techniques such as guest blogging, interviews, and exchanging links. You can also encourage your readers to introduce/recommend you to their network.
  2. Cultivate long term relationships. It’s common for people to spend a year or more looking for a new job these days. A blog makes it easy to stay in touch over a prolonged period.
  3. Help others. Networking is more likely to be enjoyable and productive if you keep it focused on serving others. Your blog is a way to help people find solutions to challenges you’ve both experienced and attract job offers from people who are looking for a candidate like you.
  4. Expand your knowledge. You’ll learn valuable information while you’re researching and writing blog posts. It’s a great way to stay up to date in your chosen field even if you’re between jobs or looking for a position that better matches your long term goals.
  5. Create a portfolio. Think of your blog as a showcase. Potential employers can get to know you through the content you produce. As you establish yourself and gain readers you might even want to consider turning your best posts into eBooks or YouTube videos.
  6. Operate within your budget. If you’re low on funds, it’s okay to start out small. Set up a free blog on something like WordPress.

Effective Strategies

  1. Post regularly. The two top reasons readers give for unsubscribing from a blog is posting too seldom or posting too frequently. Keep your blog fresh but be prudent with more intrusive communications like mass email blasts.
  2. Stick to your topic. Identify your subject area at the start so you consistently deliver what your readers are expecting. You can always start a separate blog for unrelated interests.
  3. Participate in forums, social bookmarking and social media sites. Become a regular on sites like Twitter, LinkedIn or forums on topics related to your blog.Exchange guest posts and comments.
  4. Connect and engage with other popular bloggers in your field. If you write about issues in your area, make reciprocal arrangements to contribute to other local blogs that focus on the same issues.
  5. Get sticky. Encourage your readers to keep coming back. Thank people for their comments and answer their questions. Create a list of your most popular posts so new visitors are encouraged to read more.
  6. Stimulate polite debate. One way to get positive attention is to take a bold stance when you’ve got the facts to back you up. Write a thoughtful post about issues that are being debated in your industry. Maybe then invite an article from a colleague or another blogger who takes the opposing position.

In a competitive job market, it’s important to take advantage of every resource available to you. High quality content and strategic networking will make you and your blog stand out in a crowded field.

Personal Branding for Job Seekers

Let’s take a look at Personal Branding for Job Seekers. This is the third post in which I have covered the topic of Personal Branding for Job Seekers which gives you some indication of the importance I place on it. For me it’s the start point of the work you need to do in order to secure a new role. I appreciate that when you are looking for a new role you need to keep a tight rein on finances however there is one book which I strongly recommend you invest in.

In her book, Personal Branding for Brits: How to Sell Yourself to Find a Job, Land a Promotion, and Get Ahead at Work, Jennifer Holloway provides very clear, step by step guidance on how to approach your personal branding as a job seeker. She not only shows you in a very actionable way how to create the right brand for yourself, but she will also show you how to use this brand to help you secure a new role. I read her book many months ago and found it invaluable in terms of understanding and clarifying my personal brand. When I was first advised that I was being given notice following compulsory redundancy it was the book that I decided to revisit and work my way through in the early weeks of my notice period. The time I spent working through it was again invaluable as I was able to focus again on what my brand was all about.

Jennifer has a vast experience in the corporate world, and worked hard to create her own company. She has also worked with some of the top-name companies in the world, including Microsoft, Barclays, and Hallmark. Through her career, she taught herself how to use her personality and values to build herself a brand that would push her career ahead.

Jennifer clearly understands that everyone has a brand whether they realise it or not. This brand basically consists of what people are saying about them when they are not in the room. The difference between a good and bad brand is that successful people work hard build their own brand, rather than let others build for them. In essence, you can let people conceive a picture of who you are, or you can tell them who you are yourself.

With this in mind, Jennifer provides step-ty-step guidelines to help the reader understand what their own personal values, drivers, goals, and plans are, as well as, to realise what their current reputation is and what they want it to be. She guides readers to use this valuable information to customise an actionable personal branding plan for themselves that will help them “find a job, land a promotion or get ahead at work.”

In her book, Jennifer teaches you everything you need to know about Personal Branding for Job Seekers,  how to get ahead in your career, such as interviewing tips, how to pitch yourself for a contract or job, how to attract new clients and how to maintain the clients you have. Her tips will help you learn how to promote your personal branding, and highlight just what you have to offer, without sounding arrogant or unlikeable.

Jennifer describes the approach to creating a successful brand for yourself as being able to tell people who you are, what skills and experience you bring to the table, and to showcase just what makes you different, in a better way, from everyone else. Essentially, explaining to them why they should choose you.

Through reading Personal Branding for Jobseekers, you will not only learn about exceptional personal branding strategies, but I am sure that you will also see a boost in your confidence and a growth in your personal development. You will learn how to enhance your personal branding capabilities in a variety of mediums, such as voice, phone, voicemail, email, meetings, presentations, pitch speeches, interviews, resumes and CVs, and social media networks.

In recommending it as a “must read” book Personal Branding for Job Seekers I am confident that you will not be disappointed with what this great book has to offer. It has received rave reviews from its readers, many claiming that the book helped revitalise their career. The main benefit of this book over some other self-help books on the market, is that it does not just tell you what to do, it shows you what to do. The book includes clear and understandable guides, tips, exercises and steps that show you exactly what to do to move your career to the next level.

You an read more about the book here:

In the UK – Personal Branding for Brits

In the US – Personal Branding for Brits