Branding Workshop: How to Stand Out

July 26, 2017

On July 25, 2017, 50 NYWICI members — from recent college grads to seasoned professionals — participated in a branding and resume workshop at Bloomberg's headquarters in New York. If you missed the event, here are a few essential tips to help you make your mark.

Your LinkedIn Profile

Every branding effort starts with a professional LinkedIn profile, says Amanda Fox (below, at right), a senior recruiter at Bloomberg. A good LinkedIn profile increases your professional credibility, and the main goal is to stand out and get noticed. Here are other points to keep in mind when creating your LinkedIn profile, which is your “online business card”:

  • Your profile picture is very important; keep it professional and updated.
  • Add a specific title that clearly identifies you; don’t use internal company terminology but identify your business unit, company and region.
  • Add public info and contacts, social media links, email etc.
  • Change the default URL to your profile and customize it.
  • In your intro summary, tell a story, use a concise statement (who are you, why are you interested in your field/industry, what is your experience and expertise); keep it short and always write it in the 1st person. Most people don’t have a summary on their page, so yours will stand out.
  • Add your experience and skills, roles, responsibilities, key contributions and how you solved problems.
  • Add links to portfolios, videos, whitepapers, pictures, volunteer experience, mentoring and service projects.
  • Amanda FoxConnect with others in your industry — but don’t send connect requests to people you don’t know. Don’t automatically accept connecting requests from people you don’t know — unless the connection could be helpful (i.e. recruiters). Try not to use the connect default message but personalize the message to stand out.
  • Get recommended. 
  • Specify "I am interested in...." And as an entrepreneur, make it clear that you’re open to working with clients/companies by stating that you would be available as a vendor or contractor.
  • Customize headlines when sharing articles; edit your posts to garner interest.
  • Mind your tone.
  • Respect data privacy.
  • Follow groups on LinkedIn and become active in them because, as Amanda stresses, “recruiters go through groups to view potential recruits!”

After the keynote address, attendees were invited to have their headshots taken, to share their resumes in brief one-on-one sessions with five Bloomberg recruiters or to attend informal roundtable discussions on branding, networking, interviewing and professional presence. 



Dianne BaranelloAt the table discussing networking tips, NYWICI coach Diane Baranello (at right), principal at Coaching for Distinction, chatted about networking fears, and she shared tips and tricks how to make the best of meeting others outside of one’s own comfort zone.

Key takeaways included:

  • Try to research the people that you are networking with.
  • Make sure that you know exactly what you want people to know about you; pitch specific points.
  • Know exactly what you want to get out of the event.
  • Try to go to events by yourself so that you have to mingle and meet new people.
  • If you want to get something, you first have to give something.


The Perfect Elevator Pitch

Robyn HatcherExecutive coach Robyn Hatcher (at right), NYWICI’s vice president of Professional Programming and the founder of SpeakEtc., shared her insights at the “How to Pitch An Effective Elevator Pitch” table (she prefers to call the “elevator pitch” an “intro-mercial”). Robyn helped each attendee phrase that short and sweet intro that has the power to make you stand out, be memorable and appear professional. Her advice in finding that perfect pitch included:

  • Start with the why — and make it emotional.
  • Emotion sells — logic tells.
  • Highlight your strengths.
  • Talking about yourself is not bragging but sharing.

In addition, Robyn stresses five ingredients of a “delicious intro-mercial”:

  • Engage Them
  • Inform Them
  • Assure Them
  • Seduce Them
  • Invite Them


Interview Tips & Tricks

Christine HauerBloomberg recruiter for Media & Industry Verticals, Christine Hauer (standing at far right), shared stories about interviews she conducted at Bloomberg with candidates applying for a job at her company. She acknowledged that Bloomberg hires job applicants at every career level and age. When asked about how to ace a job interview and come across as genuine and professional, she advised:

  • Always research the company before you come in for an interview.
  • Spin what you have done and how you fit in with the company.
  • Learn about the employer’s objectives in the long and short term, and then explain how your experience can fit in and help them.
  • Be honest and give examples when you talk about actions and results — even if the results were bad. Then share what you did to overcome any bad results.
  • Show that you understand the big picture — and how you can help.


Related Reading:

Becoming Your Own Brand (NYWICI past event). 

You may also be interested in reading transcripts of past NYWICI Twitter Chats on the same topic: Positioning & Personal Branding with cohost Selena Soo (@SelenaSoo) and Personal Branding with cohost Joanne Jombrakos (@joannetombrakos). 

10 Ways LinkedIn Can Build Your Brand and Generate Leads (Instapage)


Slideshow images: Jan Goldstoff


Posted by: 
Tekla Szymanski

Six Personal Branding Lessons

July 18, 2017

Aloud Blog Pro

I’ve had many conversations over the past few years with executive coaches and personal branding strategists on how to build and sustain a strong personal brand. Here are a few insights they shared with me on why it is important to remain vigilant in managing and protecting our personal brand.

The Difference Between Success And Failure Comes Down To Three Simple Steps:

According to Diane Baranello, former NYWICI Board member and president of Coaching for Distinction, those steps are:

  • Build your brand on your core strengths and values. Know what you stand for. If you don't know what you stand for, no one else will. 
  • Define yourself around what makes you unique and what sets you apart. Develop a plan that differentiates you from the competition. Blending is not an option.
  • Communicate an authentic and consistent image in everything you do.

Brands Are More Than A List Of Subjective Adjectives:

According to Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D., president of RJC Associates and author of Make the Right Career Move, "focus on objective hard-hitting results and achievements. Since the best predictor of future performance is past performance, your results make the strongest impact on others. Defining and operationalizing your brand in concrete, factual and quantifiable terms is not only the most powerful approach to market yourself, it is a more comfortable way for women to market themselves. So, rather than say ‘I'm a smart, dedicated, persuasive and incisive leader,’ take the ‘just the facts, ma’am’ approach by sticking to describing what you’ve actually done, what objective indicators of extraordinary customer service you have displayed, time or money saved, service improved, etc." 

"To kick start your list, remember that depth and breadth are often sources of competitive advantage. Customize your brand to your particular audience, emphasizing specific things that mean the most to them. This enables you to simultaneously market yourself and reinforce relationships by focusing on how uniquely well qualified you are to help them. You brand and reinforce the relationship by making it all about them.”

Your Brand Gets To The Next Place Before You Do:

Selena Rezvani, author of PUSHBACK and The Next Generation of Women Leaders, adds that "people will know you — even those whom you’ve never met — based on the way in which in you interact with others, how you present yourself, and what kind of reputation you’ve developed. That means that you want to be proactive in sculpting your brand, as you’d like it to be, rather than merely reacting and ‘putting out fires’. One way you can do this is to think about your career with the end in mind. When you leave this company one day, how do you want to be remembered? When people consider the impact of your career, what will come to mind?"

"Figure out the legacy you’d like to leave and allow that to be your guiding vision, just the way a company creates a vision statement to which they strive. By understanding your legacy, you will shed light on the brand you want to create and have a decision making tool against which to measure your actions.”

It Is Never Too Late To Join ‘The Personal Branding Club’:

According to Catherine Kaputa, president of SelfBrand and author of Graduate to a Great Career, You Are a Brand, Women Who Brand and Breakthrough Branding, “the strength of your personal brand influences your marketability which, in turn, influences your current earnings and the financial value of your career.” Think of it this way: the more we earn, the more free cash we have available to save, which has the potential to make our golden years in retirement all that more golden. Catherine offers a list of “must-do” action steps for thinking and acting like a brand:

  • Leverage the power of a first impression: The first 15 seconds and your first 15 words are the most important.
  • Have 3 accomplishments and 3 stories: Don't talk functional responsibilities; tell stories about three projects or accomplishments that demonstrate what you can do in the new job.
  • Find sponsors: We've all heard about networking and finding a few key mentors, but those who out-compete others also find sponsors. A sponsor is a senior executive who will advocate for you and introduce you to others.
  • Pose powerfully: Studies show that certain poses project confidence and power, such as leaning in when others are speaking to you while other poses brand you as a wimp.
  • Think of your resume as a narrative: A resume should tell an interesting story, not be a laundry list of everything you've ever done. Jettison things that are irrelevant to the plot line.
  • Level the playing field: You demonstrate confidence when you engage the interviewer with questions of your own. It immediately levels the playing field.

Branding Is About You:

Kathleen McQuiggan, vice president of Pax World Fund stresses that “personal branding is about YOU. You need to define it. You need to develop it. You need to be able to communicate it and have a strategy on how to grow your brand. Think of your brand as a campaign to talk about yourself.”

Be Concise and Specific:

Nanci Raphael, author of Entrepreneur’s Guide to Mastering the Inner World of Business, gives this advice on how to phrase your branding message: “Be clear, concise and specific when building your pitch. Keep it short so others will remember and repeat it. Constantly reinforce your brand, in writing or when speaking. Make it your mantra.”


Posted by: 
Linda Descano

Building Your Personal Brand

April 12, 2017

Aloud StudentsAs ​someone who’s just starting to brand herself professionally and personally, one of the best tips I’ve ever received was “​Don’t be strict and don’t be afraid. ​Post what makes you happy, makes you laugh, inspires you, makes you think and whatever you feel is important to have linked to you.”

Alona Elkayam, ​founder of The Brandinist​a, was the first who brought this idea to my attention. Her advice that “a personal brand and a professional brand are connected” made me rethink my online identity and the connection between the two.

​Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, President of ​Masthead Media​ Company, reiterates this with her central idea that business doesn’t define you. There are an undeniable amount of things that contribute to your brand. While it is important to be professional, you also have to be yourself.

There’s no point in having a brand if it doesn’t portray the person behind it. This is something many of us struggle with as it can be difficult to decide what to post and what not. It’s obvious  when a person is being transparent, and it isn’t just about what you see on a screen or piece of paper — it’s what you bring to a room.

Where do you draw the line between your professional and normal self? As Tanya Jones, Career Coach and Executive Producer for​ Meredith​, sees it, your “personal brand should be an essence of who you are.” Obviously stay conscious of what you’re posting, writing, saying, doing and how you’re acting — but don’t constrict yourself. If you’re afraid to post about a topic that you feel strongly about because a future employer may not agree with it, keep in mind that maybe you don’t want to work for someone whose values don’t align with yours. A difference of opinion is a fantastic thing to have, but if you’re afraid to use your voice, maybe that's not the best place for you.

Remember that you don’t have to be everywhere, but where you are, be there.​ If you love Twitter, brand yourself on that platform. But if you hate blogging and can’t keep up with it, simply refrain.” Let your best self show, and use branding as a constant way to improve the already incredible and empowering person that you are.



Posted by: 
Lexie White

Mastering Self-Promotion

February 14, 2017

AloudPro BlogDo you struggle with self-promotion? Are you reluctant to tell others about your success? Women often think that ‘singing their praises’ will be perceived as pushy, and they’re reluctant to embrace their powers. But self-promotion is not taboo — especially if done strategically.  

It is important to remember that society is increasingly embracing women as change-makers and ambassadors for global social issues. On Jan. 21, 2017, millions of women did just that: They made history when at least 3.3 million people participated in the Women’s March in more than 500 US cities and in many other marches around the globe. 

Still, even with women’s success stories on the rise, we are still conflicted with whether or not self-promotion is acceptable. NYWICI tackled the issue in a recent Twitter chat with NYWICI member and Twitter chat cohost Julie Livingston, the founder and president of Want Leverage, a public relations and business development consultancy firm.

Julie shared insights on why women should “sing their own praises,” and strategically promote their way to success.

Should women promote their career successes on social media?
Don’t be timid about promoting ‪[your] career success on social media. Spread the word and form new connections. Actively promote your ‪success on social media using an editorial message calendar. Promote yourself by sharing blogs, personnel news and event photos and showcase your thought leadership. People will notice.  

How should women embrace self-promotion?
Women should reframe self-promotion from negative to positive by asking themselves, “How can I make my work visible?” Instead of “self-promotion”, stress the ways your talents and work are of service. Get excited about having more impact. Ask yourself, “Are my accomplishments visible at work for current and potential clients?” Self-promotion does not equal being pushy. There's power in being known. There’s a difference between empty bragging and confidence that comes from knowing your skills and being optimistic. If you believe in what you're doing, why not tell others?

How does one self-promote without being perceived negatively?
Make self-promotion part of your daily routine. Write down self-promotion goals and set deadlines for achieving them. It's not too late to start! As a communications pro, position yourself as a resource for writers looking for experts. Self-promotion is a powerful tool to gain visibility and credibility. Don’t be afraid to look for opportunities. If you do not take credit for a job well done, guess what happens?

It is important to build networking relationships among coworkers in other departments to increase exposure and credibility. “Show your competency by increasing visibility! Strategic self- promotion is the key.”



Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Storytelling as a Marketing Tool

June 14, 2016

storytellingWith so many online voices, it is important that brands find imaginative ways to connect with their customers. Creative storytelling allows brands the opportunity to take consumers on a visual journey.

How is storytelling evolving in this age of technology? To answer this question, we invited Julie Livingston to share insight during our May 31, 2016, Twitter chat. As President of Livingston, PR, Julie advises clients on how to effectively use storytelling as a PR strategy.

Storytelling as a marketing tool

  • Social media and content marketing provide perfect platform to tell stories as part of brand marketing.
  • Stories contribute to a brand's persona, a powerful mechanism for connecting with consumers.
  • Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand.
  • Storytelling helps to differentiate your brand from the competition.
  • Consumers form a personal connection with your brand thru stories that are authentic, creative and inspirational.
  • New social media platforms are influencing brand storytelling such as snapchat.

Changes that Impact Storytelling

  • Because of social media, attention spans are shorter. Stories must be brief, yet compelling.
  • Audiences have become more fragmented, specialized. Stories that appeal to Millennials may not to Boomers.
  • The advent of mobile has also influenced brand storytelling. Must be brief and highly visual.
  • Real-time storytelling is on the rise. Snapchat is a great example of real-time storytelling.
  • The brand's audience demographic will often dictate the kind of ‪#storytelling theme.

Examples of Great Brand Storytelling

  • @Progressive has done remarkably well through ‘Flo,’ a character created to tell its brand story.
  • @KennethCole used his fashion brand’s advertising to raise awareness of various social causes through powerful storytelling.
  • @TOMSshoes helped pioneer a type of disruptive storytelling.
  • @warbyparker has used storytelling to make consumers care about buying eyeglasses and helping others.

User-Generated Content

  • Brands are shifting gears from content creation to content curation and getting their fans to contribute.
  • User-generated content (UGC) can come in the form of Instagram photos, Facebook posts, Snapchat,Twitpics and more.
  • Sometimes, user-generated content is requested by a brand in exchange for a contest entry.

Popular Storytelling Platforms

  • Mobile technology and pervasive use of smart phones has contributed to the state of marketing and storytelling.
  • Think Snapchats, Vines, YouTube videos, influencers, long/short-form content.
  • Social media distribution and even made-for-TV content is evolving, changing the face of storytelling. Great example of this would be @Dicks film, “We Could Be King.” They won an Emmy in 2015 for its effective storytelling.

Brands have a story to tell and every effort should be made to identify what best resonates with consumers. Julie’s final thoughts on storytelling: “I think great brands actually tell the story of the customer getting what they want within their own brand story.”

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Becoming Your Own Brand

February 3, 2016

On Feb. 2, 2016, NYWICI hosted "Marketing Yourself at Every Age" — on standing out, staying relevant and navigating bias.

Panelists included (left to right): Jamie McLaughlin, founder and president of Capstone Hill Search (@CapstoneHill); Celia Currin, executive career coach (@celiacurrin); Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Resume Strategists, Inc. (ResumeStratgsts); moderator Robyn Hatcher, author and communication skills expert and founder of SpeakEtc (@SpeakETC) and Soniya Monga, global agency partner lead at LinkedIn (@soniyamonga).

Here are key takeaways of a very lively discussion:

What goes into a personal brand?

I don't like the term 'personal brand' — I think it's cheesy. It's really about reputation. How do you want your clients, colleagues and others to see you? How do you figure out a way to be yourself? You need to have a point of view and something to say. (Soniya)

One of the key things in building a brand is to be consistent. Building familiarity and repetition across channels — from your message to your headshot — will help people remember you. (Alyssa) 

You want to have one thing that makes you the go-to person, even if it’s knowing the best golf courses. The passion you let out can show up on the personal side. (Celia)

People mistake standing out for being controversial; you don’t need to do that. (Jamie)


How important is passion in marketing yourself?

When you can match your passion with your skills, it’s magic. I would also hire someone more passionate and excited about the job than someone with a great resume but no passion. You can be successful without being passionate, but at some point that's going to catch up with you. (Alyssa)

All interviews are about three questions: Can you do the job? Will you love the job? Can I stand working with you? The third question may be the most important: People want to work with others they enjoy being around. (Celia)

Find something in the job you are passionate about — whether it’s the outcomes or the flexibility, which leads to a better work life balance for example. (Jamie)


What are things you want to pay attention to or avoid doing?

You have to be aware of who you’re marketing to. (Jamie)

Don’t just limit yourself to behind the screen. Get out there face-to-face, go to alumni events, meet with people. When you’re thinking about your online brand, be careful that the brand you’re putting out there doesn’t make you sound like you have more experience than you actually have. (Alyssa) 

A mentor once said to me, “Say yes to everything.” Go to every networking event, set up coffee with people. There’s a difference with people who do their research, know the background of the person they’re meeting with and follow up with a personal note. People often forget about this, so it stands out more if you take the time to follow up. It's easier to build your brand that way. (Soniya)

Do your research. Google yourself periodically and see what comes up. Keep things private and don’t share anything you wouldn’t tell your grandmother over dinner. (Jamie)


How do you craft your message?

Short and brief messages grab the reader’s attention. Have one thing that you are the go-to person for. This opens up opportunity to reach more people. It can be a professional specialty or personal specialty. Let some of your personality out! And use the summary space in LinkedIn to talk about your brand. (Celia)

Be yourself and have a specific point of view to craft your brand around. People are drawn to stories. Craft a story of who you want to be perceived as and have a sense of where you want to go. (Soniya)

In your written communications, proofread everything. Don’t be sloppy. (Alyssa)


Does appearance play a role in your personal brand?

When you think about appearance, there are so many aspects to it — your hair, clothes and accessories. Think about your environment, who you’re meeting with and be consistent with your brand. (Alyssa)

You need to come across as a trusted advisor with expertise. If you're not sure about the dress code, ask. (Jamie)

Get a couple of interview outfits that you feel and look great in. (Celia)

— With reporting by Kathleen Brady, Jessica Kleiman and Angela Morris.
Photos: Jan Goldstoff 


You may also be interested in reading transcripts of past NYWICI Twitter Chats on the same topic: Positioning & Personal Branding with cohost Selena Soo (@SelenaSoo) and Personal Branding with cohost Joanne Jombrakos (@joannetombrakos). 


Personal Branding: Essential to Your Success

September 29, 2014

What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? You may not think twice about your professional image, but the way people perceive you is essential to your personal success. Moreover, hiring decisions are often made by the hiring manager’s perception of you.

Our personal brand is a part of who we are. According to Selena Soo, publicity and business strategist and founder of S2Groupe, “everyone has a brand — the question is, does your brand reflect how you want to be seen?” Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what their personal brand says about them or how to effectively develop it to leverage professional success. But if you want to be known for something, “let the world know! Blog about it and talk to people about it,” advises Selena. And make sure your brand is “authentic, distinctive, consistent and memorable.”

Your personal brand does not start with social media, however, or your blog. While your presence on social media is important, building your personal brand is an ongoing obligation to define yourself on all platforms. 

In a recent NYWICI Twitter chat Positioning & Personal Branding, Selena shared a few key questions to ask yourself when building your personal brand:

  1. What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?
  2. In a few words, what describes your personal brand?
  3. What do you want to be known for? Branding includes your “big ideas.” Nike’s is “Just Do It,” “Apple’s is “Think Different,” Samsung Galaxy’s is “The Next Big Thing.” What is your “big idea?
  4. What difference do you want to make?
  5. What makes you unique?

Think about what your personal brand means to you. As you interact with co-workers and others, be aware of your overall presence and what others are thinking of you in that moment. We’re constantly evolving and should consider branding check-ups often. Ask someone you trust and respect to share honest feedback about your personal brand. Don’t hesitate to take a self-assessment of yourself and adjust accordingly.

Further reading:

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens
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