Networking Internally for Your Next Job

Posted: April 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Networking Internally for Your Next Job

For those of you job hunting within an organization, you may underestimate the role of networking internally. This important and essential activity is how you can build your personal brand within your current organization, and land a new career at the same time.

You have the upper hand

Networking internally is the fastest and easiest way for you to get a new job. As a hiring manager at a company with over 200,000 employees, I’m partial to internal candidates for many reasons. First and foremost, as an internal candidate, you’re already familiar with the company’s culture, environment and systems. The reality is that you already have the upper hand in the hiring process.

LinkedIn is your friend

Socialize your way to your next career step using the best social network for professionals, LinkedIn. With over 100 million professional members across the globe, it’s likely your company and the hiring manager of your ideal position, is on LinkedIn. Go ahead and send a request to connect, there’s a 50/50 chance they will accept it. The chances go up if you put in a few lines with your request such as:

“Hello X, I’ve been with XYZ company for ___ years and I’m interested in learning more about your department. Do you have time to connect for 15 mins. next week?”

Work your internal connections

At least once each week, someone I meet will recommend an internal candidate for my team. I keep a list of these people so when I have a new opening I can send their names to my team’s recruiter. Are they highly qualified social media professionals? Possibly. Are they top talent? More than likely. When someone is willing to put their name behind another individual that says something about the candidate’s character, work ethic and professional capabilities. For me, it says it’s worth me time to at least interview that candidate. If you want to change careers internally, start working your internal network to ensure your personal brand extends far and wide within your entire organization.

Taking the Plunge: I’m Heading Back to Corporate America

Posted: January 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Taking the Plunge: I’m Heading Back to Corporate America

After more than a decade leading my business, I’m taking off my Entrepreneur hat for the Employee hat. On January 30th I will start my first day as the Division Vice President, Social Media Marketing at a Fortune 100 Company here in Chicago. I’ve had all the freshmanesque jitters of what do I wear on the first day? What’s the environment really like? How far is the Starbucks? (okay, let’s be honest, I already know the answer to the last one, after all, it’s my addiction).

Why It Matters To You
It’s proof positive that my career coaching methodologies work. I used the exact resume format and layout, interview kit and techniques (including questions to ask the hiring managers), 30/60/90 day plan and follow-up strategy that I coach my clients to use during their career transitions. I ran to FedExOffice and printed off resume packets with clear vinyl covers and vinyl backs, I included reference sheets, I hand wrote thank you notes and mailed them promptly – only after sending email thank you notes within 24 hours. Most importantly, I networked my toukas off throughout the entire process and was (and still am) ever grateful for the internal champion that supported my candidacy.

How To Find Me

I’m not exactly disappearing, in fact, I’m not even moving. The best way to stay connected with me is on LinkedIn.  I’ll also continue to be an active blogger on the Personal Branding Blog where you can find my posts every Monday morning or via my Twitter account on Tuesday mornings.  If you still can’t find me, head to Starbucks in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood on a weekend morning and any barista can point me out!

What I’ll Be Doing

Social media marketing – Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Social Media games for a retailer I believe in greatly. Who is it? I’ll disclose more after I start on the 30th. Most importantly, I’ll be engaging with consumers via social media and getting you (aka – American consumers) excited through fun, engaging and viral campaigns. Seriously, how exciting is this? As you can tell, I’m excited!


It’s because of you and your support that I have the opportunity to grow my professional journey in this direction. Thank you. I appreciate you.

Personal Branding Author Interview: James Marshall Reilly

Posted: January 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Searching, Personal Branding | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Personal Branding Author Interview: James Marshall Reilly

Today, I spoke to James Marshall Reilly who is the author of Shake The World: It’s Not About Finding a Job, It’s About Creating a Life and the founder of Guild Agency Speakers Bureau & Intellectual Talent Management. Reilly was honored at the White House as one of the Top 100 entrepreneurs in the U.S. age 30 or under. In this interview Reilly shares an aggregate of stories from leaders in humanitarian and corporate ventures, what success looks like, the role personal branding plays today, and much more.

What inspired you to write Shake The World?

I left a job and (like many people) didn’t know what I wanted to do next but I knew I wanted it to be something different, something productive and meaningful in more than just a financial way. That got me thinking about the amazing people that were doing things to change the world (e.g. building schools, reducing malnutrition, leading multi-million dollar companies). This book was a way to showcase the stories of the ones we often don’t hear about.

You interviewed inspired leaders and entrepreneurs, is there a common thread they all share?

Let me share that Reilly interviewed humanitarians to corporate leaders including Tony Hsieh, CEO of, Inc. and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS.

There were several common threads, which is ultimately the underlying argument of the book. The core set of commonalities and the biggest, most important is to “act as a disruptive force” whether that’s within an industry or your own life. This action will lead to the greatest result. Tony Hsieh disrupted the shoe industry with Zappos and the industry, consumers and his company are all in a better place. Shawn Fanning created disruption in the music industry and while he got in trouble, 10 years later, we’re able to consume music better and easier and record labels are paid for it.

What does success look like?
Each person defines success different, for one it may be donating 65MM shoes and for another it may be personal happiness. For most of these leaders success is when daily life+work intersect in a way that Sunday and Wednesday are interchangeable.

Take Ellen Gustafson who was working at the UN shortly after being inspired, in a nearly obsessive way, by food and healthy eating, during a ski trip. While partnering on a project with Lauren Bush they developed the original FEED bag to address global hunger and malnutrition. After the UN declined the project and several other groups and companies passed on them, they opened their own company. By 2010 the GAP was selling their FEED handbags and products. Half a million bag sales later, fifty-five million children have been fed and their little company has generated millions in sales too.

This is just a sample of the type of story you’ll find in Shake The World, and how anyone can turn their passion into a business.

How relevant is personal branding, for anyone, including job seekers today?

Personal branding is incredibly important whether you’re Tony Hsieh or Joe the Job Seeker. We all have a personal brand. Take any of these rising companies (e.g. TOMS Shoes, Zappos) and there are strong leaders in front of the brand. We all know the CEO and feel like we know the CEO personally; look at the impact when Steve Jobs was lost. We all felt as if we know him. When we like the company or brand’s leader, their businesses do well.

The same goes for a job seeker or employee. If I’m an intern at a company and I post a bunch of pictures on my Facebook account, that’s my personal brand. If I tweet a bunch of socially relevant things, that’s also my personal brand. The most important part of anyone’s brand is authenticity. People respond to authenticity.

What one piece of advice do you want to convey about Shake The World?

Avoid settling. Don’t be afraid to fail. Take small risks when you feel it’s worth taking them and know that it may not be that you’re going to start a business but that half-baked idea you have today may turn into something big in 3 years.

Keep an open mind and pursue your own interests.

Shake The World was released with Penguin Books in late December, 2011 and can be found at, your local bookstore or on your Kindle. After reading it myself I’d say it’s definitely worth $20. If you’re not inspired to start your own business, these are stories of great leaders you want to know of, about and get connected to. Who knows, maybe they’re building companies you’ll be part of someday soon.

Inside Fortune 500: Personal Branding Interview with Sears CMO

Posted: January 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Searching, Personal Branding | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Inside Fortune 500: Personal Branding Interview with Sears CMO

Like many of today’s companies, Sears has been through good times and bad. Unlike the Google, Groupon and Facebook’s of the world, Sears has weathered the storm for over 150 years. Integrating brand history, today’s consumers and the hottest technology gives the CMO a unique perspective that I wanted to understand better. Meet Bill Kiss. He’s the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Online General Manager of Sears Tools & Hardware leading a cornerstone business at the Fortune 100 company with an 8-figure marketing budget. With over 300 brands, including America’s #1 tool brand, Craftsman, this executive knows more than a thing or two about personal branding, product branding and hiring. Bill and I sat down to chat – after a few reschedules – his calendar seemed as tight as Santa Claus’ during December.

Foray Into Fortune 500
Kiss’ personal brand evolved from advertising and consulting to the corporate side when a former boss from Leo Burnett called him with the opportunity to join Sears. He agreed and has been delivering results ever since. How can you do the same? “Demonstrate your ability to make things happen. For example, in this ever-evolving digital world, everyone can say I’ve created something on Facebook or I’ve done something with Twitter, but If you can say I did X with results attached, whether that’s engage, sell or serve customers, then you’ve got a good chance.” says Kiss. To get in the door at Sears, Kiss recommends using their job board and then leverage your other resources (e.g. LinkedIn) to connect directly to the hiring manager “Use two sentences on why I can help your team or perhaps share an idea” Kiss notes and “those will be the ones that move through the noise.”

Personal and Digital Branding
When asked how essential personal branding is in today’s job search environment, Kiss responded simply, “It’s critical to the extent I make it a standard practice in all the interviews I conduct.” He elaborated that you need to know “what I stand for and what you get” and be able to convey that clearly. You can’t rely on your paper anymore either, when it comes to personal branding, digital media is heavily involved and folks need to proactively manage their digital brand. Kiss Googles over 80% of the candidates he interviews and says he’s surprised by the results, or lack thereof, at least 50% of the time. Today’s candidates, and executives, are missing the mark when it comes to managing their digital brand.

Big Book of Kiss’isms
Whew. Thank goodness I Googled him! Kiss sees this as a lighthearted extension of his personal brand and a tool that speaks to his style. Furnished as a gift originally, it has been added to over the years and he’s found ways to incorporate it into his leadership to inspire, coach and give people focus. He shared this Kiss’ism “Be Open Kimono” with your people and partners – establish clear understanding with people and with goals. What’s his brand stand for? The Bill Kiss brand stands for making good things happen, for the company and their brands. Results move from the bottom to the top success tier and he can extend companies into new categories. Said another way, Bill Kiss “brings good things to life”.

3 Actionable Steps for Your Personal Brand
Kiss offered this insight to build your personal brand, focus on R&D, be relevant and differentiated. If you don’t have that to say about yourself, how are you going to help a given business to the same. He gives three steps to ignite a personal branding plan: 1. Plot a course and stick to it 2. Rigorously plan and paint the end picture of what you want to have people see about you 3. Make it happen (read: make time) Given the time of year, I’ll toss one closing thought on Kiss’ great tips, avoid making this a New Year’s resolution. Studies show the majority of them are abandoned by the end of February and this goal is worth too much to abandon. Commit to yourself that you will deliver on it in 2012.