Negative Campaign Ads and Their Impact on Personal Branding

What can we learn from negative campaign ads? We can clearly see the mentality of our society. A society that lacks accountability, that blames others for things gone wrong versus one of introspection that is hardwired with a moral compass. As the campaign season has come and gone (November 2nd) this fall I wanted to reflect on the impact of negative campaign ads and personal branding.

The Influence

The influence of negative campaign ads reaches beyond politics and the campaigns that a particular candidate is running. Let’s break it down. A candidate that develops a negative campaign ad is basically telling you he/she is incapable of winning the political race with a safe margin without running the ads and there is data to support that. Any candidate that can win a political race without negative ads will run clean campaign ads, period.

Good to Great (Level 5 Leaders) – They take responsibility when something goes wrong and deflects the praise to their employees when things go right.

The Pink Elephant in the Room

It is easy to find fault with someone else and to point out their inefficiencies. It is much harder to focus internally on what value you bring to the table, communicate your true expertise, and give clear examples of how you have solved problems that benefit people other than yourself.

I look at personal branding through a different len/worldview. Personal branding is more than who you are between 9am-5pm. At it’s core personal branding it is driven by your value system. There hs been no other point of time in history when a person has had more control over their career than today with the invention of the internet and the real-time web.

As a personal brand it is time to lose the negative ad campaign mentality. Your career or life in reality are a reflection of your choices and decisions. Your career path is not the responsibility of your supervisor to mentor you, nor is their annual review of your job performance the reason for your annual salary. It isn’t HR responsibilities to put you on the career fast track. If you don’t like your reality you can change it by doing something about it by running your own clean campaign ads. Let potential employers know why they should vote for (hire you), market your value and track record of being a proven leader. Quite living an undervalued life!

Note: The video that I have included has absolutely nothing to do with negative campaign ads I prodcued it two years ago and I thought you would enjoy it.

I am your personal brand strategist Hajj Flemings and I approve this message.


2010 Career Re-Tool Workshop w/@HajjFlemings on 07/13

The Michigan Technological University’s School of Business and Economics – Tech MBA Online has developed a Career Re-Tool Workshop to help you Re-Tool, Re-Wire and Re-Think your career and future.

This FREE event is designed to enable you to evaluate your career planning strategy and position you to grow personally and professionally.  This is a must attend event for job seekers, those in career transitions and people who want to re-tool themselves for promotion in a challenging job market.

Register Today!!!!  Seats are limited!!!!

Register at:


Hajj E. Flemings – Personal Brand Strategist/Founder of Brand Camp University

Brenda Rudiger – Director of Alumni Relations at Michigan Technological University

Paul J. Hindelang – President at Results Systems Corporation



Re-Tooling yourself with Education

We will explore the value of education as a career strategy to help you stay globally competitive in a challenging job market. This session will focus on the benefits of an MBA and higher education to empower you to reinvent and re-think your future.

Re-Wiring your Career with Social Networks and Online Tools

Come and learn how to rewire yourself through social networks and online channels to connect with companies and identify new career opportunities.  Become a person that understands how to translate their network into value.

Re-Thinking your Financial Strategy

Has your 401K got you down?  It is time to re-think your financial strategy and prepare financially for your career transition?  Come and get fresh new ideas for investing, financial planning, insurance and social security.


Are You Connecting with Your Interviewer?

From personal experience, I can confidently say that communicating a strong personal brand in your interviews can be the difference between getting the position and going home empty-handed.

However, just verbally telling an interviewer what your personal brand is may not be enough.  Part of communicating a strong brand is making a strong connection with your target audience (i.e. your interviewer).

The following are some top tips on how to make stronger and lasting connections in your interviews and in turn, more effectively communicate your personal brand:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to make sure the job and company are a good fit for you just as they need to determine if you are a good fit for them. Think of it as a two-way interview. This will allow your character and personality to shine through, as well as give you insight into the position.  - Lisa Quast,

  • Help them relate to you. When doing informational interviews or interviews with managers beyond HR who are actually in your chosen functional area or industry, you can create a stronger connection with them by asking them to share their own career search journey.  Ask questions like, “How did you break into [insert industry, functional area or company name]?” and “Do you have any advice for someone trying to get his foot in the door in [insert industry, functional area or company name]?” These questions not only engage them in conversation which often creates a more personal connection, but often remind them of what it’s like to be in the job seeker’s shoes which may help them relate to the challenges you are facing and which may motivate them to assist you in other ways to overcome them.  - Chris Perry,
  • Identify their interests or passions. One way to make a personal connection with interviewers while still remaining professional is to comment on something in their office. Don’t pick anything too personal, such as family photos, but perhaps a piece of artwork on their desk or an item that appears to be a souvenir from traveling. If you’re able to make a genuine comment or pose a sincere question, it can be a great way to get interviewers to open up and talk about themselves.  Pick the right item, and the interviewers will remember a warm conversation and that you showed an interest in them. - Laurie Berenson,
  • Try the path less travelled. When I was a consultant and had to regularly job hunt to keep the paychecks coming, I made a habit of requesting a walkthrough of the area and an introduction to a couple of people that I would be working with, so they could also look me over.  I wanted to make a personal connection with as many people as possible, so they would be sure to remember me. Plus, I knew that most interviewees are too terrified to make such a request. While my interviewer was introducing me to someone, I would smile at the person and offer a warm handshake. I would then ask how the role for which I was interviewing would assist them with their daily duties. When possible, I would look for something around their desk that I might have in common with them and could comment on.  This not only worked like a charm with respect to building a rapport, but once I started the assignment, I already felt like a part of the group. - Monique LaCour-Henry,
  • Tell a story. Tell a brief story that illustrates one of your core values or skills. With the job market so tight, the employee’s character matters even more than ever before, and besides, telling the right story can highlight your communication skills.  So how do you pick the right story? You can go one of two ways: tell about an event that helped make you the person you are today (i.e., someone they want to hire); or tell a tale that highlights your problem-solving ability. After all, that’s why you’re being considered — to solve a problem or fill a need that the company has. Keep your tale short and sweet. Make sure your anecdote follows the basic form of situation-problem-resolution. And if you pick a story with genuine emotion in it, your interviewer will feel a connection with you. - Bruce Hale,

Thank you to all of the experts who contributed to this wealth of interview insight!

Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing “generator,” a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer and Launchpad.

Photo Credit: untitled, originally uploaded by .faramarz.

Write your own Manifesto: Letting your passion kick up your Personal Brand

dg8w2x5s_123g7xq2398_bIf I asked you if you’re doing work that you’re passionate about every day, what would you say?

Would you ask me why it mattered?

There are jobs, and then there are callings. There’s a career, and there’s a natural path. And they feel very different.

A job: You show up, you do what’s expected of you, you head home. You have good days and bad days. Sometimes you win, sometimes not.

A calling: You’re excited to get to it. You think about work a lot when you’re not there — not because you’re stressed, but because you have new ideas. You excel at the core parts of your job almost without trying, because it comes naturally to you.

See the difference?

When your work is your calling, you will naturally excel. You will deliver great results, and be happy while you’re doing.

So I ask you… is there anything else that could be as good for your personal brand?

Sure, it may seem unrealistic to think that you can choose to bring passion into your work. But if you make it a priority to actively seek out roles that play to your natural talents and motivators, you’re far more likely to find yourself in a job that aligns with your passion.

Wanna get started? Write a manifesto.

manifesto ( \ˌma-nə-ˈfes-(ˌ)tō\) – a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer

The definition is a beautiful thing, because it spells out two incredibly simple but key techniques for bringing passion into your life.

1.  A manifesto is written

The process of writing can help you clarify your thoughts, brainstorm concepts you hadn’t thought of before, and serve as an ongoing remonder. So take some time to write down what motivates you, what you’re best at, and what you want from your future employment.

2.   A manifesto is publicly declared

This is where your manifesto links to your personal brand — in the communication. As you develop your manifesto — your statement of purpose, mission, values, etc. — you can start effectively communicating it, in your resume, cover letters, online profiles, elevator pitches and more.

So go out and write your manifesto

Get really clear on what makes you tick and what would make the world work.  Write enough for a tweet or a treatise.  And find one person or a hundred to tell about it.

What’s your manifesto?  Who have you shared it with?  What has it given you?

Kristi Daeda is a career coach and writer who blogs on creating an inspiring career, job search, leadership and more at Career Adventure. Be sure to check out her free report on 51 Places to Find a Job.

photo via flickr – credit: altemark


10 Ways to Write a Standout Resume

2605794078_cfdc780f87Save a recruiter’s weary eyes. Write a fresh, unique, straightforward and easy to read resume, and you’re much more likely to get it read. Here are ten tips on how to keep your resume professional and effective.

Prove every word. Lots of resumes will claim that the candidate is “team oriented” or has “excellent communications skills.” So many that most readers don’t believe it anymore. If you want to make the claims, back them up with evidence. Write accomplishment statements that demonstrate your soft skills, like the fact that you’ve presented at industry conferences or facilitated team building events that produced business results. If you can’t prove it, you may want to skip mentioning it. Besides, they’ll judge your communications skills the minute they get you on the phone.

Put the reader on the scene. Help them taste the ripe, dripping orange or see the sunset, crimson fading into violet behind the silhouette of an Alpine forest. It’s how a fiction writer draws the reader into the scene, and you too can use detail to help the reader see, hear and experience the work you’ve done in the past. Offer enough concrete description that they can imagine themselves in your shoes.

Own your impact. If you delivered results, stand up and shout it. Words like “facilitated,” “coordinated,” “managed,” and “functioned” sound like you took a back seat while the rest of the team were at the wheel. Being part of a winning team is an accomplishment of itself. Talk about the teams results, share your part of the big win, and take credit where it’s due.

Keep it simple. What are the essentials to understanding the situation and your impact? Describe your work according to the CAR method (challenge, action, results) without getting into the minutiae. You can give additional context when you get to the interview.

Ditch the adverbs. Many adverbs dilute the power of your words. Look for any word ending in “-ly” and ask yourself if it’s necessary to maintain the meaning of the sentence. If not, use that red pen and mark it out.

Axe passive voice. An employer wants to know what you did, not what happened to you. Resume statements should start with an action verb (“delivered,” “developed,” “achieved”). Most of your work can be rephrased to show the action you took. One that is harder is “was promoted.” Good thing that’s the only time what happened to you is an accomplishment.

Pique their interest. If you can write an accomplishment that shows that you delivered impressive results, and leaves them with the question, “how did she do that?”, you just may get an interview so they can learn your solution to the problem. Think of what you can do to leave them wanting more.

Eliminate corporate speak. If it would show up on a Corporate Bingo game board, leave it off your resume.
Alright, you may not be able to avoid using “customer service” but other words, like “synergy” and “transparent” you should be able to skip. In fact, if you Keep it Simple like in rule XX, this one shouldn’t be a problem. If you find your resume sounding more like a technical manual and less like the engaging, successful person that you
are, corporate speak is often to blame.

Use white space. Ample white space–the margins and breaks around your text–makes your resume look more professional and polished, as well as easier to read. Many are tempted to try to jam in that extra sentence or two, and end up sacrificing the reader’s first impression for that content.

Use reader-friendly formatting. Bullets, indenting, bold, etc. all help the reader scan and process the information on the page. Use the tools available to you to make it easy on them, and highlight the areas of the document that you think are worthy of notice.

Kristi Daeda is a Success Coach and creator of Career Adventure, a blog which helps professionals in the pursuit of their inspiring work. To receive her free report, 51 Ordinary and Extraordinary Places to Find a Job, sign up for her free Career Kick Start newsletter.


Football and your Job Search Brand

Tim Tebow Blog Photo

Imagine you’re at a pro football game (pick your team, I’m not partial). You’re standing on the field at the 50-yard line, facing the stands. A sea of people face you. Some scream, some cheer, some boo, some watch quietly. Some wear football jerseys, others don’t. Some drink, some eat, some talk to their neighbor.

Now… tell me who’s the biggest fan.

Tough, right? You’re looking at thousands of people that are mostly indistinguishable, looking for small clues that will tell a story about how much they love their team and why.

A recruiter has the same kind of challenge, leafing through stacks of resumes looking for a talented project manager, or an experienced engineer. Each resume forces the recruiter to make a judgment based solely on a first impression. The recruiter doesn’t get to ask questions or do research. He has to look out across the sea of faces and make a call.

How do you stand out from the crowd?

o Show up early. The crowd is smaller early on, so it’s easier to get noticed. If you can get to a job opportunity before it’s advertised, or at least in the first wave of arrivals after its publicly posted, you’ll be much more visible.

o Wear team colors. Show your enthusiasm for the team. Customize your resume for the company in question, reference their unique challenges and strengths in your cover letter. Show that you’re more than just a fair-weather fan.

o Carry a sign. If you have only 6 words to get the attention of the TV cameras, what would they be? Luckily, you don’t have to restrict yourself to 6 words. You get three sentences — your resume summary statement. How can you make an impact in a very short time?

But the absolute best way to stand out from the crowd? Don’t be in it. Connect with someone in the organization and get invited onto the field.

How do you make your resume stand out?

Kristi Daeda is the President of Twin Sparks Consulting, Inc. and the creator of Career Adventure, which shares ideas and insight for connecting professionals with their inspiring work.

Visual Resume 2.0: The New Story Teller

How do you capture the scope and depth of your life in an 8.5 x 11 white paper? One dimensional thinkers in times past (pre social networks) could be captured in a white box, but the transformation of networks to social networks, face-to-face to online conversations have changed the rules of engagement.

Traditional resumes or resume 1.0 are dead and it is not because of the Green movement.
As a personal brand you engage your community, perspective employers, customers, and future business partners through a series of brand impressions that can be leveraged through your online community. With social networks like Twitter, Linkedin, VisualCV and Slideshare and other free tools a person can more effectively communicate their personal brand and what makes them different?

Definition of Visual Resumes – Is a visual communicator of your personal brand that creatively tells your story through a brief series of images, ideas, and experiences that are in a sharable and searchable format.

Examples of Visual Resumes
o Dustin Sommer – A student from my Personal Branding Class (@Dustin Sommer)
o Saranyan Vigraham – Employee at Qualcomm (@Saranyan)

Goal of Visual Resumes: Extend the engagement of your personal brand (Employers spent 20-30 seconds viewing resumes)

Visual Resume Elements
o Brief – Recommend 15-20 pages
o Story Telling Format
o Avatar- Global ID
o Spreadable – Embed into your blog, Linkedin, and Twitter
o Searchable – The use of tags for searchability in the social network and in Google
o Images – Sources: Flickr and istock photo

Why Create a Visual Resume?
o Shows your creativity
o Optimize your elevator pitch.
o Think in soundbites
o Practice story telling
o Extends the engagement.

A Note to GRUSTLERS: (Grind-to-Hustle)
Especially if you are a GRUSTLER, the traditional resume doesn’t work. Your resume is probably loaded with experience that is not directly related with your passion and doesn’t do you justice. You need away to communicate the varying dimensions of your life.

Share a link to your visual resume.

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