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120 | Personal Brand Building – Jenny Hargrave, InterviewFit in Guildford, UK

Episode 120 is live! This week, we talk with Jenny Hargrave in Guildford, United Kingdom.

With over 15 years of experience, Jenny helps companies attract and retain sought-after talent in competitive sectors through her executive search firm. She also assists job seekers by helping them to develop a strong personal brand through their CV, professional profile, and face-to-fact interviews at her firm InterviewFit.

On today’s episode, Jenny shares her tips on how to build your personal brand, and how to prepare for a successful Skype interview. She also helps us to understand the concept of a ‘personal statement,’ and gives us tips for how to relocate from the U.S. to Europe for work.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about Jenny and her company InterviewFit, check out her website at http://www.interviewfit.co.uk/.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching. Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

 

The Importance of Honesty

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Recent events have brought this very basic idea back to the surface. Honesty should be a critical part of each of our professional and personal brands. Building and maintaining trusting relationships is such an important piece of a successful career.

News coverage from the Olympics was dominated by the actions of a few swimmers. And, those actions have nothing to do with the years they’ve each spent training in the swimming pool. Many of the news reports are conflicting. What really happened or how bad things were is unclear. But, what is clear is that the swimmers were not completely honest when they spoke to officials, their families, and the media. Regardless of how bad their actions were, their characters are now being scrutinized in detail. Their lives will be forever changed, both personally and financially, by something that may have seemed inconsequential in the moment.

In a similar regard, we can often be on autopilot at work. We’re trying to make it through the day. We have more on our plates than we can possibly manage and we’re working to check everything off the list. At times, honesty, ethics, and doing the right thing can take a back seat to getting things done quickly.

In fact, a 2002 University of Massachusetts study performed by Robert Feldman found that sixty percent of people lie at least once during a ten minute conversation. It said that “most people lie in everyday conversation when they are trying to appear likable and competent.”

Although the number seems high, this reasoning makes sense. Someone may initially tell a small lie to make themselves look better. But, if caught, a lie can truly impact how we see that person going forward. We may question everything that person has told us before, and whether or not they will tell the truth in the future.

In an interview, telling a lie can cost you the job. If there’s something inaccurate on your resume or in other information you’ve shared along the way and it’s discovered, you won’t receive a job offer. If you’re fortunate enough to make it through the hiring process and then the lie is discovered, it could be grounds for termination.

With this said, accidents do happen. There are times when we’re trying our best to be honest and something we’ve communicated is inaccurate. When this happens, the best answer is to be straightforward with the truth. Dancing around the issue only sets you up to look like you were being dishonest all along. Apologize to anyone who may have been hurt, take corrective steps, and try to move on quickly.

It’s better to build a reputation as someone who’s a little too honest than someone who isn’t quite honest enough. Honesty will allow you to grow professional relationships that will last for years to come.

Warren Buffet said it best. “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Where does my religion fit into the interview?

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A reader contacted me today with an important question for consideration. She asked when it was appropriate to wear clothing, jewelry, or other items associated with her religion to an interview or to work. Her concern was about being judged in the office for her religious affiliation.

As you can imagine, this is a very tricky and personal question. I will share my thoughts with you, but at the end of the day, it’s a very individual choice.

I often think of a job interview much like a dinner party. At a dinner party, you meet many new people who may have different viewpoints than you. Conversations tend to be high level, centered on pleasant topics, such as the weather. Etiquette experts say that the potentially taboo topics to avoid include politics, religion, and money. These hold true in an interview as well.

Unfortunately, when it comes to getting hired, studies show that managers aren’t free of biases. Those biases can influence who’s landing the job offer. Details as minor as hair and makeup can influence the interviewer’s impression of a candidate. Even a candidate’s height can make a difference.

Religion however is more personal, and much more important, than hair, makeup, or height. It can be a large part of one’s identity. In today’s climate, sharing your religious viewpoints with others can cause them to judge you, either positively or negatively. When they judge you negatively, it can potentially hurt your chances of getting hired.

A great organization to share your religious views with is one whose perspective aligns well to yours. For example, some private universities, non-profits, and corporations have a foundation that is based on specific beliefs.

A vast majority of organizations however are not based upon these views. Their employees are made up of people from around the U.S. and the world, who have a host of different affiliations. When interviewing at an organization like this, it’s important to be aware of the choice you decide to make.

If you want to minimize the likelihood that someone may unfairly judge you, think of all of the places you may send out cues to others about your views. Check the volunteer opportunities on your resume. Look at the organizations you follow on LinkedIn. Check your Facebook privacy settings. And, consider the pieces of your interview outfit that may signal an interviewer.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the column, this is a personal choice. I’m not here to influence you in one direction or another, or to discourage you from holding true to your beliefs. But, it is wise to consider the positive and negative implications of your decision – and to make it consciously based upon what you feel most comfortable with.

After you’ve landed a job, you have a new choice to make – whether or not you want to share your views with your new coworkers. While it’s important to be yourself, remember that your story is one to be earned over time through trust.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

“What should I wear?”

One of the questions I’m asked over and over again is, “What should I wear?” What should I wear to an interview? What should I wear to work? When should I dress up or down?

The answer to this question can be tricky. When I started my career in engineering, I wore a golf shirt, khaki pants, and steel-toed boots. As a project manager, I wore business casual most days. As a member of corporate management, I often wore a suit.

In a way, what you wear to work is as much a costume as anything else. It’s what you put on to be taken seriously each day. It’s what allows you to fit into your environment.

On one hand, you want to be yourself. On the other, your number one goal at work isn’t to make friends. It’s to get things done.

And, unfortunately, people judge you for what you wear. So, what should you wear?

When it comes to interviews, a good rule of thumb is to find someone on the inside to quietly ask in advance. If you’re interviewing at a corporation or traditional business, a suit is often the correct choice. Stick with neutral colors in your suit, your shoes, and your makeup.

But, if you’re interviewing at an advertising agency or a start-up, the full suit look could really turn folks off. Consider something slightly less formal, and with creative accents. Add a little more color than you would at a corporation to show creativity is part of your brand.

When it comes to day to day wear, it’s often best to take hints from those around you. In a creative environment, you will want your style to look more up to date. Similar to when you were interviewing, you’ll want to add in more color, more creativity, and more of your personal brand.

But, if you work at a corporate, beware. It may seem fun to stand out initiatlly. You may be known as the one with the interesting hair, crazy shoes, or big tattoos. But, it’s likely in a corporate environment that’s all you’ll ever be. That person with the unusual look. It’s less likely you’ll be considered for promotions or management roles if you don’t fit into the corporate culture.

It’s sad, but true.

Now, I’m not trying to tell you not to be yourself. If you have no career aspirations of moving up, by all means, wear what you feel the most at home in.

But, if you plan to move ahead, you need to consider your wardrobe carefully. Selecting the wrong “personal brand” for your environment can sideline you in a way you never expect, and may never know for sure. It’s rare that someone will be truly honest with you if your style is causing you to be overlooked.

Again, I’m not encouraging you to not be yourself. But, consider your environment and think of your goals. Remember you’re at work to make a living, not to make friends. Friends are a great bonus, but you also need to stay focused on your goals. And, sometimes, especially in corporate, part of reaching that goal is being able to fit in along the way.

If you do have a strong personal identity that clashes with your work, remember that you can always wear your favorite clothes at home, outside of the office.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland

@CopelandCoach

Cleaning Off the Cobwebs

My latest Memphis Daily News column is out, “Cleaning Off the Cobwebs.” In it, I discuss proactively cleaning up your personal brand.

When new jobseekers start their search for the perfect opportunity, they’re often met with one of two concerns. Either “I’m too old” or “I’m too young.” Those who are older feel their experience will be overlooked because they have too many gray hairs. Those who are young feel their lack of experience will trump their abilities.

Whether you’re young or old, you’re in a similar situation. Ironically, many interviewers aren’t great at guessing your age. They use cues and information you provide. You heard that right. They often guess your age based on your own actions. The question then becomes, “What can I do to change this perception?”

To read the entire article and get tips on spring cleaning your personal brand, visit the Memphis Daily News site here.

New Year, New You: Building Your Personal Brand

The New Year is just a little over a week away.  You’ve just started to think about looking for a new job or internship, and you’re wondering where to begin.  The entire process can be quite overwhelming for many, especially if you don’t have family members you can lean on for help.  You may be graduating from college, finishing up graduate school, just looking for something new, or switching careers altogether….

No matter what your situation, the first thing to consider is your own personal brand.  Yes, YOU.  Your personal brand is a lot like the big brands that you think of such as Target, Apple, McDonald’s, and Facebook.  What do you think of when you think of these brands?  Do you love them? Do you hate them?  Where did you come up with these impressions?  I will be that there are brands that you’ve never used before, but you already have an impression of.

When you’re looking for jobs, the first thing you need to consider is your personal brand.  You may wonder how to begin to evaluate your personal brand.  Here are the steps you should follow to start with:

  1. Get your resume in order.  Draft a new resume or update your existing resume.  Then, work with a professional career coach to ensure that your resume really makes the cut.  The worst thing I’ve seen is candidates with a great education and great background who are overlooked because of a sloppy resume that doesn’t succinctly highlight their skills.
  2. Do a Google search of your name in quotes.  The first place an employer will look other than your resume is in the search engines.  For example, I would check out “Angela Copeland.”  What pops up?  Are there positive or negative results?  Do you have the ability to remove or change the negative posts?  Can you add more positive posts?
  3. Do a Google search again, but within Google Images (Google.com/images).  You may never have noticed, but Google also allows you to search through their images using your name.  Are there beautiful photos of you and your parents from your graduation?  Or, do photos also show up that your friends posted on Facebook after a drunken party?
  4. Ensure that your e-mail address is clear and concise.  Take a second look at your resume, and the e-mails you’re sending.  It should not make a statement about your hobbies or your age (such as green_girl_1992@gmail.com).  It should be plain and easy to understand.  Try something like firstname.lastname@gmail.com.  If you’re an older job seeker, stay away from e-mail addresses that date you, such as anything@AOL.com, or anything@HOTMAIL.com.  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone gossip, “Did you see his e-mail address?  Oh my gosh! He is either extremely old, or he knows nothing about technology!”  Neither of these is something you want an employer to think (even if they are kind enough not to say it).
  5. Take inventory of your social media.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, your blog.  Whatever you’re using, it’s time to go through it.  Look at your privacy settings.  Ensure that they’re set so that random internet stalkers (a.k.a. “future employers”) can only see what you want them to.  Check that your visible profile picture is also in line with the professional brand that you want to display.  Consider hiding or removing old photos that don’t represent who you are today.  Drunken party photos or scantily clad beach pics are not what you want to be part of your personal brand.

Following the steps above will help to ensure that you’re driving your own personal brand, and avoiding a social media nightmare.  Stay tuned to CopelandCoaching.com for more tips for building your brand and finding the job for you in the New Year.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland

@CopelandCoach