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Power Up Your Communications Career


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Presentation to contractors at SAIC

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Power Up Your Communications Career

  1. 1. Power Up Your Communications Career CMA Public Affairs Roundtable Sept. 1-2, 2009 • Baltimore, Maryland Presented by: Tracy Imm, APR Marketing & Communications Director Vision Multimedia Technologies, LLC
  2. 2. Who am I? Hiring Manager Project Team Leader Downsized executive Entrepreneur Commercial Banker & Financial Analyst Strategist Writer Community Volunteer Accredited in Public Relations (APR) Social Media expert Sister, daughter, aunt, wife Management trainee Junior team member Proposal Writer & Sales Leader Middle management Agency account executive General Contractor Chief of staff MBA graduate People lover Experience in nuclear power and aerospace & defense 2
  3. 3. Agenda • Today’s Competitive Landscape • The Brand Called You • Navigating the Landscape – Implementing an Effective Game Plan • Resources 3
  4. 4. The Brutal Facts: A Down Economy A little doom and gloom for you: • ―The economy will be in shambles throughout 2009– and Decide right now that for that matter, probably well beyond.‖ (Warren Buffett) you will not be a VICTIM but rather in • U.S. unemployment reaches an all time new high of 9% (Wall charge of your destiny Street Journal) and career. • Mass layoffs occur across all sectors and in all functional areas (Business Week) • The impact is not confined to blue collar workers, Wall Street, the Rust Belt or junior positions. 4
  5. 5. Finding a new job • Before… you could send • Now you need to work on out lots of resumes to differentiating yourself lots of places, do a little from the pack and this networking and find an may mean that you may comparable or better job need to take a lower level job to stay employed or get training to jump start your next move 5
  6. 6. A new paradigm We used to talk about progression on the career ladder where the only acceptable path was up. Think of it more like a personal jungle gym where you traverse as you need throughout your working life: •Relocation is now an acceptable way of life. •Lateral moves are now acceptable. •Shifting to different functional areas is now acceptable. •Going backwards to then go forward on another rung (where you want to be) might be a good strategy and is now acceptable. 6
  7. 7. A Proven Approach • As professional communicators, we are trained in this methodology: – Analysis – Planning – Implementation – Evaluation • This process works for your work life as well – Where are you now? What do you like to do? What are your passions? – Where do you want to go? be? do? – Execute your plan—use social networks like LinkedIn, create a Visual CV or Web site/blog – Evaluate how it went 7
  8. 8. From the hiring manager‟s perspective PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES: • Have you done your research on the organization before your interview? • If you do not have experience in that sector, have you read up on industry trends, issues and what the competition is up to? • Many times, you are being tested to see if you will fit into their culture more than anything else. 8
  9. 9. From the hiring manager‟s perspective • Carefully read the job description to see what the organization is looking for. – Develop several talking points around these key items and how you either have first hand experience or demonstrated results in that area. • This is what you are bringing to the table as the candidate. • You are basically structuring your responses to increase the likelihood that you will be a top candidate and potential hire. 9
  10. 10. From the hiring manager perspective According to Fast Company’s Technomix Blog in August 2009: • 45% of employers check social networks before hiring • A study conducted by CareerBuilder found 35% of companies had rejected a candidate based on information from a social-network profile. Indications of drinking, drug use, inappropriate behavior and maligning past employers were top reasons for rejection Managing your online reputation should be a top priority for you 10
  11. 11. Importance of Branding 11
  12. 12. The Brand called “YOU” 1. Talents: How well do you What are my unique strengths or talents? What is know yourself? the highest and best use of my talents? How can I better maximize the talents that I have? What talents might I have that have not yet been This is the analysis developed? phase. 2. Skills: What skills do I currently have? What skills will I need in the future that I do not currently have? To what degree am I constantly upgrading my skills? 3. Knowledge: What is my current level of knowledge in my specific field? What am I doing to stay current? What other areas of knowledge am I pursuing? (SOURCE: THE SPEED OF TRUST, S. COVEY) 12
  13. 13. The Brand Called You 4. Attitudes: What are my attitudes about work? About life? About learning? About • ASSIGNMENT: myself, my capabilities, and my opportunities to contribute? Are there Briefly answer these questions more productive attitudes and and evaluate yourself in each paradigms I could embrace that would category. help me create better results? 5. Style: How effective is my current style in approaching problems and opportunities and interacting with others? Does my approach facilitate or get in the way of accomplishing what needs to be done? What can I do to improve the way in which I go about doing things? (Source: The Speed of Trust, Covey) 13
  14. 14. The Brand Called “You” What 3 words would you use to describe your brand? 14
  15. 15. The Brand Called „YOU” Be both credible and competent HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CAPABILITIES: • Run with your strengths and with your purpose • Keep yourself relevant • Know where you’re going HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR RESULTS: • Take responsibility for results • Expect to win • Finish strong » Steven Covey’s The Speed of Trust 15
  16. 16. How can you become the “best” possible candidate? Differentiate yourself in multiple ways: – Skills (possess something rare or unique) • What experience do you have with digital communications platforms and social media marketing? • Are you a generalist or specialist? • Are you exceptionally good at media relations? Crisis communications? Employee communications? Community relations programming? – Experience (B2B, B2G, B2C) • What results have you achieved in your assignment with U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency and SAIC? • You can do pro-bono work for organizations to get more leadership, project management and marketing/communications experience that your employer may not offer. 16
  17. 17. How can you become the “best” possible candidate? – Outlook • A positive attitude is important and it shows to employers • Can you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and provide counsel that is value add? – Preferences • Know yourself: Are you an extrovert or introvert? Do you like to lead? What are your greatest strengths? Be interesting 17
  18. 18. Traditional Communications Skills Evaluate your skills and experience in the areas of: • Integrated Marketing & Communications Strategy development • Public Relations & Corporate Communications • Employee Communications • Community Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility • Public Affairs support • Communications Consulting and Coaching • Project Management/Leadership 18
  19. 19. Social Media & Digital Communications Skills How much do you know about social media and how good are your digital communications skills? Employers want communications professionals that know a variety of technologies, can create online marketing strategies and know how to execute the tactics. The Dummies Book series includes: Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, others. 19
  20. 20. Developing Your Game Plan • Where do you want to work (location, industry, etc.)? • Can you describe your next ideal job? • How much longer do you need to work? • What other skills and experience do you need to get? If you can not get it on the job, can you get it another way like through a volunteer role? 20
  21. 21. Your Resume and Cover Letter • Showcase your experience, your education, your achievements, your credentials • Create both a functional and a chronological version • Create a Visual CV ( • Consider hiring a professional resume writer to work with you • Customize your cover letters for each job • Post your resume to several sites • Use the verbiage from the job description • Send a hand written thank you 21
  22. 22. Networking 101 • WHY: Most people find jobs through people they know, not through online postings • WHAT: Create a proactive networking strategy----write it down and measure your success – Create your ―elevator speech‖ about who you are and what you are looking for and practice it on everyone (what 3 words describe your brand?) – Read books/blogs on networking techniques 22
  23. 23. Networking 101 • WHO: Your network is bigger than you think: – List of former colleagues, supervisors, classmates – List of people you know from church/synagogue, community organizations, etc. – Find recruiting firms that specialize in communications/marketing – People your family knows that can assist you – People you don’t know now but that you want to meet (use LinkedIn) • HOW AND WHERE: – Events to attend (free, low cost) in your community – Take a class or seminar 23
  24. 24. Implementation • Get business cards printed that you can hand out when you network • Recognize that you may spend more time searching for your next position that you expected • Don’t take rejection personally • Continue to stay positive and surround yourself with people who will support you during your search-it will show in your interviews 24
  25. 25. Implementation • Find opportunities to exercise, eat right, enjoy your family and friends, complete projects that you have been meaning to do for years • Network, network, network • Volunteer your time and talents to an organization that will benefit • Get feedback from close friends and family on your networking techniques, elevator speech and continually refine your approach 25
  26. 26. Five things to do when you are out of work • Create a job for yourself • Focus on ambition and execution • Start a blog about the industry you want to join • Start a company • Practice talking about yourself with everyone Penelope Trunk The Brazen Careerist 26
  27. 27. Books to consider 27
  28. 28. Available Resources Top Communications Professional Organizations: – PRSA (Consider getting your APR, read articles, attend seminars and monthly meetings, join the board, post your resume) – IABC (Consider getting your ABC, read or contribute articles, attend seminars and monthly meetings, join the board, post your resume) – AMA (Read or contribute articles, attend free webinars and monthly meetings, join the board, post your resume) 28
  29. 29. Available Resources • Sign up for Ned’s Job of the Week e- newsletter ( • If you want to create your own firm, then look into all the resources available through the U.S. Small Business Administration and your State agencies that promote entrepreneurship 29
  30. 30. Professional Help • Consider hiring a professional • Consider hiring a career coach resume writer to write several to help you figure out your versions of your cover letter plan and resume 30
  31. 31. We are free to do what we will with the cards we are dealt, to chose what response we will make to fateful events, to decide what cause or persons will receive our devotion. -Steven Covey