Personal Branding — How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

January 16, 2012

If you’re looking for a job, you face fierce competition. How can you stand out from the rest of the pack? What can you do? I have three words of advice. You must be:

  1. Relevant. If you’re not relevant, you are obsolete.
  2. Different. If you are not differentiated, you are not marketable.
  3. Findable. If you are not findable, you do not exist.

That was the premise of two workshops on personal branding I led this month for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The sessions were mostly attended by university students who will soon be entering the turbulent job market. Hundreds of students, along with their faculty representatives, came from across the nation for the annual Alliance Management/Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest leadership development and networking symposium for students, faculty and nonprofit professionals.

Following is the structure of the workshop, and also the sequence of the upcoming blog posts where I will elaborate on my suggestions for personal branding.

1. How to Be Relevant in a Competitive Job Market

A. Know Your Brand

B. Convert Features into Benefits

C. Focus on Your Cover Letter

2. How to Differentiate Yourself in a Competitive Job Market

A. Know Your Competition

B. Create a Unique Elevator Speech

C. Blend Personal and Professional

3. How to Be Findable in a Competitive Job Market

A. Want to Be Found

B. Expand Your Digital Footprint

C. Share Your Content Online

I enjoy leading workshops and writing blog posts, not so much because of the wisdom I might impart, but rather because of the conversations that ensue. I learn from others.

Collectively we are all smarter than any of us individually, so I welcome your thoughts on any of these topics. Tell me what you think.

Taylor Saalfeld — My Part in the Difference

December 15, 2010

Taylor Saalfeld

Guest Post by Taylor Saalfeld

Over the past few weeks, I have had quite a bit of time to sit with the question, “Why do you want to work in the nonprofit sector?”  And to be quite honest I have been wrestling with this question and how to state my reasoning more than I would have ever thought.  My struggle is a result of trying to capture my heart and place it in writing.  In my best attempts to do so, the following is what has resulted.

I want to make a difference.  “Well isn’t that the goal of every nonprofit entity operating today?” you may ask and to that I would respond, “yes.”  But my difference is a result of who I am and where I have come from.

On Thanksgiving, I was blessed with the opportunity to sit with my father and grandfather and watch a WWII documentary on the History Channel about the 8th Air Force.  I will never forget the emotions played on my grandfather’s face as he watched this documentary.  As a veteran, B-17 pilot in 8th Air Force, 34th Bomb Group, he was reliving his history and the pride for the difference that he, along with his fellow brotherhood of airmen, made was evident.  This pride I have only seen matched on the face of my father, who battled in a very different war.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chandra Clark — Why I Have Chosen a Career in the Nonprofit World

December 2, 2010

Chandra Clark

Guest Post by Chandra Clark

I have chosen to pursue a career in the nonprofit world because I am passionate about transforming lives. It’s my heart’s desire to lead a successful faith-based nonprofit organization specifically designed for children and young women. My passion is best described in poetic form:


I am from brokenness, rejection and fear

I am from slander, gossip and malice

I am from broken virginity, broken vows and a broken heart

I am from “I love you” only to find that it wasn’t love at all

I am from a tarnished body image and a façade to protect the wounds

I am from vanity used as a replacement for a lost identity

I am from father wounds that run deep to the core of the soul

Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing Student Guest Bloggers

December 1, 2010

Last month I was honored to speak before a class of university students preparing for careers in the nonprofit sector. Our topic of conversation was social media.

We talked about the trends in social media, ways to use social media in a nonprofit organization and the blurring of our personal and professional lives.

We even discussed using social media tools for personal branding. I shared my thoughts on using Facebook to differentiate oneself when launching a career. I challenged the students to use social media to “brand” themselves in an open, transparent and authentic manner. Then, to encourage them to develop their own online presence, I did something I’ve never done.

As an experiment, I invited each student to become a guest blogger here on my personal site. I offered this space to anyone in the class who wanted to share why he or she had chosen to pursue a career in the nonprofit world. A couple of students accepted the invitation. Read the rest of this entry »

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