Learning to network

February 20, 2009

How to create the best profile picture

Filed under: career, Publishing, Self-marketing, Social Media — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 3:37 pm

Having done plenty of work on the written elements of my personal brand, its now time to take a look at … well … how I can look my best? Because online networking is so common nowadays it really helps to publish a picture wherever you write, which aims to serve two primary purposes:

  • People who know you recognise you instantly
  • People who don’t know you yet begin to get a great impression of you

And actually, these two things can meet together in a third, combined purpose

  • People who know you remember you in a positive way

We are so used to picking up visual signals when we deal with people that a tiny static image next to something we write can have a tremendous impact on the way that people feel about us when we read it. This is why it is so important to get your profile picture looking as good as you possibly can.

There are two elements to getting a great profile picture – having the right image, and publishing it well. There are actually two great articles on the Personal Branding Blog that can help you do this:

  1. To get yourself the ideal picture to start with, have a look at 11 Rules for Best Personal Branding Results with Avatars
  2. Once you have captured the best of you in a file, here are precise “mechanical” instructions for how to prepare that file for upload so you look the best you can on all the popular social media sites: The 2009 Personal Avatar Size Reference Guide
    . And even better, it explains a tool you can use to do all the hard work for you!

January 15, 2009

Do you want your resume to be fancy, or just plain findable?

Filed under: career, Self-marketing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 1:21 am

I am updating my personal profile and CV, and part of this is my list of Specialities. Naturally I want to create the best possible impression, but perhaps I should actually consider compromising some of my principles.

Because I see my list of specialities as about “doing things”, I think that Verbs make the point most clearly, and I always prefer to use plain language when I can

for example:
 – implementing systems
 – defining requirements

However most people seem to write resumes and job specifications using nouns

 – systems implementation
 – requirement definition

These are not plain language, nor do they have the feeling of action – they are static and staid. Also they are slighty longer and and actually more difficult to get your mouth around if your read them out loud. I just feel that the verb versions are simpler and better.

However, the modern dynamics of curriculum vitae, resumes and profiles is driven by a new imperative, “findability”. It is becoming increasingly rare for a resourcing manager or recruitment consultant to discuss key roles with their contacts or thumb through their rolodex or file of quality personnel. Nowadays it is far more likely that they will search through a series of online resources looking for good keyword matches.

In other words, your online career profile must have good SEO.

You may be able to rely on some of the recruiters’ search portals having sensible thesauruses, but at the end of the day you are more likely to score hits if you include the same precise terms in your profile as the ones that recruiters are looking for.

December 4, 2008

Growing by blogging

Filed under: career, Learning, Manage my network, Publishing, Self-marketing, Social Media — Tags: , , , , , — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 5:15 pm

Inspired by a discussion with Karin H. on her 1 plus 1 makes 3 blog about using blogging to grow, I started to think about all the things you can grow with a blog:

  1. To grow your own personal understand of a subject.
  2. According to Yogi Tea “To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach” – in other words the act of writing what you have learned consolidates it in your own knowledge. And of course in blogging the fact you share it with others is simply an act of generosity

  3. To grow your own personal awareness of the world
  4. This starts from the similar point 1 above, except that it leads blogging from monologue into dialogue. Your participation in the blogosphere, groups and lists means that you are interacting with the topic of your attention, and with other sharing similar interests, so your growth of understanding is accelerated.

  5. To grow a community of like-minded individuals
  6. This extends from point 2 to focus exclusively on a given topical area, and many people share the podium instead of one. This either becomes a group blog or it could be based on other media such as mail lists.

  7. To grow your own individual career
  8. Rather than focussing on self-education under point 2, this becomes more informative and the conversations exploratory.  This is of course the art of personal branding, where you turn yourself into a thought leader in your chosen subject by sharing your wisdom (at least that which you’re prepared to give away for free) and nurturing communications with people in your same field

  9. To grow your own business
  10. This could be similar to 1 or 2, but the objective is more commercially oriented.

  11. To grow the market’s awareness of your business proposition
  12. Like the personal branding in point 4, this is the commercial branding that helps get your message out.

  13. To grow a community around loyal customers and interested prospects
  14. Perhaps this is the true way forward for growing your business by blogging. You give your prospects free information to help them make their choice. This encourages you to distinguish yourself by making your proposition more enticing or even “remarkable”. And at the same time you nurture a community that includes existing customers as well as potential customers, who can all give you very direct feedback about what they want, what they have liked, and what they would love more of.

Of course all this potential for growth relies on people making time to share their ideas with others, so there is a cost. But if you think about the nature of the relationships you can build within the micro-communities that form around you, that sounds like an excellent investment in your future.

July 18, 2008

Upsizing your Personal Brand

Filed under: career, Self-marketing, think positive — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 12:59 pm

One of the issues I’ve always struggled with in the past is the fact that I am my own product, as a consultant I only have a certain number of hours in any given day that I can spend with clients and bill to them. Although there is often room to negotiate rates up, depending on the circumstances you move yourself into, this still a major limiting factor on ones income.

Well, if you are well-versed in how to identify, develop and project your own Personal brand, then the next logical step would be to grow this into a fledgling Corporate brand. All you need to do is to find a way to remove yourself from the critical path, or if you have already learnt to think big, remove your foot from the hosepipe. Whether you encourage trusted ex-colleagues to take on parts of your role, put yourself out of a job by developing a tool that does some of the wonderful things clients want without you needing to be there, sell some of your experience in the form of courses or books, the choice is yours. At the end of the day, you can find ways to accept more clients who will value the extra special something that is behind your USP.

It all comes down the the notion that we are the people who set our own limitations – if you can just encourage yourself to think that little bit bigger, then the sky becomes your limit!

March 10, 2008

Four top reasons why clients hire Interim Managers

Filed under: career, Self-marketing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 2:14 am

Executives Online have carried out a recent survey of the UK interim sector. They have included their findings in their New Interim Report, which draws together “Research and Analysis on the UK Market for Interim Management and Other Fast-Track Executive Resourcing”. It supplies an interesting range of facts, figures and evaluations that may be relevant to clients, but which are most definitely very pertinent to people who are looking to place themselves into interim roles.

Benefits of interims

For me, one of the most valuable findings concerned the reasons why clients chose to hire Interim Managers. Executives Online found that over two thirds of clients cited one of the following amongst the most important qualities of interim managers:

  1. Skills/experience for job
  2. Strategic but also implement (sic)
  3. Results focused
  4. Quickly get people on side

The report suggests that clients like to reduce risk by employing someone who’s “done it before” – obviously no great surprise there. However, once you understand the other key qualities clients appreciate, then it makes it easier to emphasise to them that you are capable of delivering.

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January 7, 2008

How are you doing against your Personal Branding checklist?

Filed under: career, Self-marketing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 1:07 am

Its great when someone publishes a list of “X important things you must do in order to…” , because it provides a fantastic way of metering your own progress towards your goals. Personal Branding guest blogger Jason Jacobsohn gives a classic example at with 13 Important Drivers to Developing Your Personal Brand. What could be more reassuring than counting the achievements you have already ticked off? If you already have plans to accomplish the others, it only encourages you further.

In fact, I find it highly satisfying that Jason lists only one important driver that I do not esteem – personal note cards. But anyone who has tried to decipher a scrawled personal message from me in the past decade will appreciate that no amount of gold-emblazoned bonded card stock could ever make my handwriting appear professional.

December 12, 2007

Wave around your personal brand with eight arms

Filed under: Learning, Self-marketing, Uncategorized — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:38 am

Dan Shawbel has developed a model of eight prime areas of activity within the realm of personal branding:

  1. Social media – your brand’s communication channel with the world
  2. Entrepreneurship – your career is your business, who else will manage it for you?
  3. Human resources – as potential consumers of your services this is your target market
  4. Public relations – you can get your message across using new and old media
  5. Self-marketing – primes you with the raw material for any conversations
  6. Forming relationships – networking allows you to transact with people who may be interested in your brand
  7. Search engine optimization – improving your page rank through publishing techniques that can often complement your content

Not only does <a href=http://personalbrandingblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/personal-branding-octopus-model-of-relevancy/>Dan’s article</a> explain this more clearly than my clumsy paraphrasing, but it also comes with a free Octopus.

September 10, 2007

Networking through journalism – interview your targets

Filed under: career, Publishing, Self-marketing, think positive — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 8:31 am

If you have a good idea for a paper or a publication then you can use this as an opportunity for networking

In order to complete your research, it often helps to conduct some interviews with subject matter experts – people in the field who have concrete experience. As you interview people, you are beginning to understand their needs, and this is often an important aspect of building a networking relationship. This means that as a networker, you can benefit from the implicit relationship that comes from interviewing.

Of course it helps if your research topic is close to your career path, but in an ideal world it should be anyway.

A potential issue with this is that, as a relatively unknown writer you might not be able to attract prestigious interviewees – but then this is all part of your self-development as a writer and/or networker. You need to start with people who are close enough to you, and where possible develop further relationships through them. As you continue your reputation will spread, and so will your ability to draw interest from a wider group of professionals.

In all cases, a crucial factor will be the topic you choose – the more exciting or relevant it is, the more people you will attract to be involved. And naturally if you are enthusiastic about the topic, more people will be drawn by your passion in the subject – both contributors to the writing stage, and later your readers too!

Does that sound like a win-win strategy to you?

May 29, 2007

Realising the value – THE END of the beginning

On the 19th February my online business networking paid off.

Well, by the time the invoice got sorted it was much later than that, but the point is that an ex-colleague of an ex-colleague to asked meet me, then offered me a busy role that kind of didn’t allow time for learning to network.

Well, I have still carried on networking when feasible, but I have not had time for the luxury of researching and reporting on the topic. However I have learned so much by sharing this experience that I am determined to apply many of the publishing and marketing skills on something that is close enough to my day job to make it compatible and feasible


Look me up on




February 8, 2007

Make yourself easy prey for any “sourcers”

Filed under: career, Self-marketing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 5:26 pm

Sourcers are more like traditional headhunters than regular recruiters, they go out to try and find the ideal person for a role, rather than searching their existing database of CVs. Shally Stekerl and (six degrees from) Dave Mendoza have recently started a business called JobMachine, sharing their sourcing secrets with recruiters. In the post StlRecruiting: JobMachine Interview: Sourcers Extraordinaire we find some usefuls suggestion for people who are hoping to be “sourced” at some point in the future.

Whereas recruiters publicised their requirements and extracts from job descriptions, in the hope of attracting potential candidates, sourcers are far more pro-active. Therefore there is not point in contacting sourcers, because you cannot know what they are interested in. Instead Shally offers the following advice

7) How can I, as a candidate, improve my chances of getting “found” online by a sourcer?

Create an online presence that clearly details your expertise, aspirations
and how to contact you. Make sure that online presence is listed or linked
to places relevant to your industry.

This follows on very well from the sound advice many career consultants offer. They say we should define our ideal role, to help us take specific specific actions to find where such opportunities exist. Now the sourcers are adding the advice to disclose that information about our ideal role. If we share it publicly, then sourcers can find it, and of course prospetive employers can know when they have found someone who could well be just that person they were looking for. Maybe this is a case where your wish is more likely to come true if you tell other people what you wished for.

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