evilcatbert knows all!

Bringing you the world from on high. As cats are curious, independent and sure they know everything, prepare to be enlightened.


Is personal branding passé?

According to Wikipedia, "Personal branding, self-branding, self-positioning and all individual branding by whatever name, was first introduced in the 1980 book: "Positioning: The Battle for your Mind", by Al Ries and Jack Trout."
Because the terminalogy is 30 years old and has become jargon doesn't mean it isn't important to your job search or career advancement.
Pesonal branding means taking responsibility for figuring out what you're good at then positioning yourself to demonstrate in writing (cover letter & resume) and in person (interview) how what you're good at can be of use to the employer to whom you are trying to sell yourself.
Unfortunately, lot of current job seekers are under the mistaken impression that it is an employer's responsibility to discover how they should fit into the employer's organization. What a waste (of their time and your opportunity)!
An employer who is trying to fill an opening doesn't have the time to spend figuring out how your indirect experience might relate to the job they need filled yesterday. But if you can take the time to demonstrate how what you've done in the past and how you aproach work can be used to their advantage, you will separate yourself from the multitude of candidates who simply spray and pray.
When you treat job hunting like the lottery, you're limited to luck. When you treat it like a brand (by taking the time to know what you actually have of value to sell to an employer), you should soon start discovering which employers actually need what you have to offer and you'll stop "carrying coal to Newcastle" (where they have plenty already) and start carting it to Wisconsin in the winter where it's sorely needed.


The sound of your name....

Charles Aznavour's lyrics from a song called "The Sound of Your Name" explains and explores the power of a name.
"The sound of your name comes to me any hour
on wings of the wind, like the scent of a flower
how can I explain, it's impossible power
The sound of your name"
If you've ever called someone by the wrong name, you know the reaction can be anything from puzzlement (you talking to me?) to annoyance (sorry - I'm not Lisa) to anger (the least you can do is get my name right!).
So if names have power why use them carelessly? One of the oft repeated and easily preventable mistakes job applicants make is referring to another employer or another employer's openings when sending out covers and resumes. People, people, people - always double check your cover letters and resumes to make sure they actually reference the employer and job you are applying for before hitting send! Mistakes like this one can be fatal to you in any job search because
1) covers and resumes are a work product and if they're faulty it reflects badly on the sender.
2) they easily indicate that the applicant is repeatedly sending the same cover and resume to multiple employers rather than taking the time to match their qualifications to the employeer's actual job opening.
3) the sender didn't care enough to send the very best (yes, Hallmark, I'm "borrowing" your tagline!)
The negative reaction that happens when an employer receives a cover letter refering to someone else's company or someone else's job usually isn't communicated to you except by silence so the only way to avoid this mistake in the future is to audit, edit then send.


Because a picture paints a thousand words...

I'm noting an uptick in the number of photos job applicants are sending with their resumes. I suspect it's something applicants are doing to make their resumes stand out in this difficult economy but it's also something that makes evilcatbert's fur stand straight up when it happens. Why?
Is it because I was born before cameras with viewscreens on both side of the camera were even thought of? Not really though I must admit a preference for looking out at the world versus looking in a mirror. It's because a picture paints a thousand words and by default discloses lots more things that evilcatbert doesn't want to know about any job applicant prior to interviewing them - things like race, age, religion (you know that cross you're wearing in your favorite picture?), etc. I want to be able to consider you for a job solely on your listed qualifications. So unless you're applying for a position as a model or an actor which requires headshots with your resume, please don't send photos with your resume unless requested.
I truly want to know how qualified any job applicant is for the position before any consideration about how good they'll look doing it so please keep your photos on Flickr or Picasa and send your resume unadorned by any unnecessary accessories.