Personal Branding: You and more

Personal brand, informational interview
Career, Jobs, Personal Branding: You and more

4 Powerful Ways To Get Informational Interviews (And Land That Job!)


To all my fellow job seekers, I understand how it feels when you know you are not making progress in your job search. You might desire to be in a role for which there are no ways or search avenues to follow. Sometimes it feels extremely frustrating when you don’t reach that career goal that you’ve so ambitiously set for yourself while you see others giving you a run for their progress.


But let’s hang in there and understand the importance of building relationships with people who can get us there. I know in some cases, when you are being told that you fellow friends, ex-colleagues or alumni can be your best confidants and steer you out of the sinking ship of directionless job searches, I don’t agree with this entirely. In fact, most of the best searches and headhunting happen via speaking with complete strangers. They absorb your situation with a fresh pair of lens and guide you with the best career advice.


What is an informational interview, anyway? According to Sara Sutten Fell, chief executive and founder of FlexJobs , an informational interview is a great way for job seekers to do exactly that – get information – without having a formal job interview scheduled. And the best part of setting an informational interview is to get an inside scoop on the company you want to work at and make a decisive call whether does it really is a fit for your skills, knowledge, experience, and competencies or not.


So how do you land up having a conversation aka informational interviews with them?


Here is my approach, to approach them.


  • Follow them and get a perspective of their career/ business. You first step should be to follow them on LinkedIn or Twitter or any other social media handle and learn about their accomplishments, their network, and what is their rule to connect with people. Sometimes they mention their contact details, and sometimes they need a reason or a logic to connect with you. You need to find your rationale to connect with them for a bigger purpose or engagement. Remember: don’t make connections for the sake of it just to expand your network; make connections to add value to the other person’s life. So think value – and add!


  • Share their content with your social network. There are many ways to connect with your target contact list – and one of the ways is to acknowledge what they are sharing online (on twitter or LinkedIn) and then writing article specific emails to connect with them. This shows your interest in their career and their areas of interest: the very first step to building a commonality.


  • Email your top 10 list of contacts with a grabbing subject line. Don’t just write ‘hello’ or ‘hi’ or ‘Quick question’. Craft an excellent introductory subject line like; ‘In reading your post on Internet of Things’ or ‘Jane suggested I contact you’ or ‘Writing at the suggestion of William’ (in case you have a reference, even better!). Ideally, it is better if you don’t send in your resume, but keep you social presence consistent and relevant to the job you are looking for. That way if they search for you online, they know they are speaking to the right person, who they can potentially help.


  • Don’t ‘job it forward’ with them. Well, they know it already that you need some help or advice or a suggestion, so keep the conversation free-flowing yet insightful. Talk about ‘what’s in it for them’ and not your job-seeking spiel. Understand how they succeeded in their careers and find a link between what drives you and what keeps them ticking. The best way to seek help is to understand their set of challenges and see how you can mutually solve them. Once your passions connect, you connect! Your goal here is to move the ball forward in your job search by asking of they know someone who can help you reach your career goal instead of plainly asking them to get you a job. People, that way, love helping once they see a bigger picture or a larger context of your vision.


And don’t forget to thank then once they agree to meet with you and speak with you on phone or Skype. It’s true, not all people who you contact would be interested in having a conversation with you, but you can always make your email/ message so compelling to get more interviews. The more personal and bespoke is your mail, the more chances of you landing those excellent informational interviews – and, in turn, landing that job!

Job on!





Career, Disruption, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more

What Switching Jobs Frequently Can Teach You About Personal Branding?


Millennials are a bit misunderstood.


Not that I say I am, but can relate to this generation, way better than most people would do in my shoes.


Especially when you look at them in the context of changing jobs way too many times than sometimes warranted. And when Employers ask all those very tightly gripped serious questions in the guise of displaying curiosity with a dash of humor, you know you need to answer them in a way that is candid yet mirroring what exactly they want [correct: need] to hear.


And the question. ‘why did you leave this company, again’ calls for a very well-prepared answer from the candidates, who would need to practice their ‘quitting’ spiel every time that question is asked by the employer.


So this scenario teaches the candidate a lot about personal branding – when moving from one job to the other in search for an ideal mix of job satisfaction, challenge, and good pay.


This inadvertent (most of the times) job hopping stems from the scenario of either:

  • Not finding the right role at an early age right after graduating from college. This is because the candidate is fresh and has raw talent with no prior experience to enter the corporate world with his aspiring job in hand. He gets what he ‘gets’.
  • Or: the candidate has many baby passions to tend to, and work for, which he doesn’t find in one job for a very long time.
  • Or: the candidate’s interest is way too fleeting to make it consistent for a very long time in the job he is in.
  • Or: the candidate learns about the tricks and trade of the industry way in advance and grows faster than other people.
  • Or: sometimes the candidate has a very high EQ, which is isn’t adequately met by the company or its culture in the right manner.
  • Or: the candidate just simply wants to try new things in life without regard to how it will look on his resume.
  • Or: the candidate doesn’t find the company competitive enough to retain him on a permanent payroll. (I will talk more about this in my next post.)


The reasons could be many, but what recruiters and hiring managers deduce is this one common perception: that this candidate cannot be a fit for our company just like he wasn’t for others.


And to change this perception every single time the candidate heads to a new company interview and works hard to take though the employer with his very missing-piece-puzzle kind of story.


But somewhere between these hoppings, the candidate unearths his real reservoir of talent, skills, and approach to figure out what would be the right fit for him. Maybe with some writing exercises via filling the requisite buckets of his dream job companies, what skills he has acquired over a period of time, what has he learned from leaving companies that weren’t aligned with his long term career goals, he can design his personal branding narrative.


And the good part is that the candidate learns a lot of selling his candidature and his learning lessons on his resume with finesse and  ‘apt’ rationale behind not continuing those jobs for a long time.


In my e-book, Personal branding manifesto called you, 21 actionable ways to boost your brand, which you will find on my Web site, I mentioned the importance of disrupting yourself as articulated by Whitney Johnson, here. You may not be following a traditional career path, but you will be on your way to define your own personal disruptive career journey to others by letting your own career strategy emerge over a period of time.


The very jobs that act as a deterrent or a sign of halt on your resume can become your personal branding narrative while connecting the disruptive dots in your career.


But let’s say you are moving jobs in the same industry – you will be able to display your passion for excellence and consistency (even though you are inconsistent) by articulating your deep knowledge about the industry instead of the company you worked for. Hints: start blogging!


So what is important is to understand the root causes of job switches instead of blaming the candidate for being inconsistent.


We shouldn’t be misunderstood for being edgy, enterprising and naturally curious! After all the coming generations will witness this trend more often than before.




Personal Branding: You and more, Unsettle

Do This One Thing To Settle In Your Career



And it happened again.


You think you are in a great job – only to realize that it somehow doesn’t serve the purpose of being true to yourself.


Sometimes you feel tormented with the fact that these career accidents happen way too many times so much such that you tend to lose faith in your ambition.


It is recurring – and you really want a panacea to ease things for yourself on the career front: and settle.


But how?


Unsettle. And unsettle often.


Now this sounds a classic oxymoron. But the reality is if you truly want to settle in your career, take some time to shake things up. Build a deliberate momentum – in some cases a well intentioned chaos – to actually (metaphorically) see what dust is whilttling down out of the your career choices filter and what is finally settling in, in your career.


There will be times when you will be inundated with multiple career choices (which is good!): say from writing gig for a fashion brand, to a commission based sales job, to a full time online marketing job. And, did I mention that you also have a little passion baby or a project of our own to reckon with?


While it feels delighted to embrace such an irresistable palate of career choices, but it is – to an extent – seemingly appetizing.


In the context of settling – which means being in perfect alchemy with your skills and an ever-evolving job – your need to flesh out your career stints more intently and seriously as possible.


It is when you unsettle – and question your status-quo – is when you truly contemplate what really matters to you.


By simply being reactive and sinking your feet into a job  – thinking this is all you really envision is a recipe for an unmotivated and mojoless experience. The goal is to be proactive and pick-up career assignments that beckon the very spirit of your craft.


Unsettle for a while and make inroads into new and lateral career avenues until you connect with your potential and calling.


When your craft marries your craftmanship, you need to now know that your setting in – and constantly settling while the fleeting career choices start to vanish.


So jolt yourself, shake things up, question your status-quo, and define your settle and success metric to truly thrive in your career – and life.


Image courtesy of adamr at

Dorie Clark, Personal Branding: You and more, Stand Out, Thought leadership

3 Ways to Build Thought Leadership With Your Personal Brand

Personal Branding

Brand You – yes, that’s what I am talking about. You have so much to give to the world – even if they are little snippets or golden nuggets. Almost everyone has something – if not concrete – but nearly ‘something’ to contribute to this beautiful world. But most of us are in our little heads and kind of stuck there like a choked machine where trail of thoughts limit us to grow beyond the obvious.

Be it gardening to a car salesman to a marketing coach to a PR pundit – there can myriad of these examples that talk about the importance of developing thought leadership in our respective niche. And some of you might think: ‘I am not sure what I am really good at even though vaguely you think you do have a perspective about something.’

So here’s the deal: Be yourself where being most personal is being most general.

Sometimes all you really need is to speak up. That’s it.

Remember that song ‘Clocks’ from Coldplay? You are.You are.. That is what you exactly need to tell yourself, hum to yourself, and make it the very core of your thought process.

Let’s get back to three ways that can build a thought leadership for yourself.

  • Be hungrier and more passionate than you think. Now this again is in a way quite rudimentary but with some weight: be innately curious of why you are here, how your past did brought you here. Is it because of some situations that cajoled you to keep doing what you want? In other words what are you life’s personal trigger points once stirred reveals you to your passion? The best way to develop an intuition that guides you to your future and your path to epiphany is to be crazily hungry about your subject or a concern or a topic. How? Read and listen. And repeat. By building your personal curriculum you start to identify what kind of skills you need to amp up your thought leadership; you analyze what patterns of a subject connect with you on the most fundamental level and build you though churning process from there.
  • Be a good spectator of your craft. Do you like the word spy? Or Stalk maybe? No? Me neither. But the truth is: we are all intelligent stalkers, euphemistically speaking. We have to map influencers, bloggers and companies in our space to eat, breathe and sleep their passion. The best way to conduct research on them would be via Buzzsumo and Alltop. Study their craft, their articulation style, their traditional background, and find out what information or content is best resonating with your audience.
  • Differentiate yourself and make your ideas known. Even if you thing you don’t have credentials and you are somehow awfully insufficient in your capacity to stand out, you just need to remember one thing what Dorie Clark quite clearly remarks in her book, Stand Out: that your expertise doesn’t have to include the most prestigious diplomas or accolades; sometimes you just have to know how to do something different in a given context, and do it well.

So here’s the underlying question: what is your background that when combined with your special talent or prodigious skill can help you pitch the battle up against the veterans of your niche?

Think about it.