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Careers | adrianallames

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.


Career Advice and Job Search TIps from Sears CMO

Posted: December 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Search Networking, Personal Branding, Social Networking | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Career Advice and Job Search TIps from Sears CMO

When I began my business I had no idea that the luxuries of a flexible work schedule and being the boss came alongside being the janitor, IT department and paying more taxes than I’d ever thought imaginable. Owning a business has quite a few drawbacks but this week I was blessed with a business owner bonus.

I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner with two heavy-hitting senior executives, the CMO of Sear’s Tools & Hardware and CMO of Sear’s Online & eCommerce. These two guys run the famous Craftsman brand and a Fortune 100 retail website for an iconic brand. Sears may be a bit stale, sorry guys, but it’s a brand many American’s love. In fact, we still own Craftsman tools that my grandfather, rest his soul, bought when my mom was growing up.

As we chatted over salad and salmon, they dished out their recipe for a successful career in today’s digital world inside Corporate America.

  • Engage Socially – social media is the future. get engaged online, chirping and chatting to connect with brands that are moving forward (and hiring).
  • Eyes Open – when working inside Fortune 500 organizations, if you look for walls, you’ll find them. If you look for opportunity and open doors, you’ll find that also. Do the latter.
  • Opportunity – it exists and is best accessed via networking. Executives at this level are working double time right now and to capture their attention, you need to be personally networked in to see them, and it’s best if it’s around a key initiative.
  • Flexibility – make it easy to meet with them near/at their location when they can meet you rather than near you and around your schedule.
  • Backbone – if you’re an expert in your area, then they expect you’ll have a backbone and not back down at the first sign of pressure.
  • Results – what can you do for me lately is common inside Corporate America’s walls today. if you deliver, you’ll do well.

Bill Kiss, is the Chief Marketing Officer of  Tools & Hardware, which includes over 400 brands and 30,000 products, and the Blue Tool Crew. He has agreed to do an in-depth interview on personal branding, social media, networking and how they’ve played a role in his 2011 hiring and 2012 hiring plans. Our in-depth interview on his executive hiring practices will be released on January 2, 2012. Like adrianallames career services on facebook to get access to this exclusive content!


Executive Recruiting Secrets: My Interview with MVP Recruiters CEO

Posted: December 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Executive Recruiting Secrets: My Interview with MVP Recruiters CEO

Are you tired of reading how to revise and refresh your resume? I’m tired of writing and speaking about resume and interview tips too! That’s what inspired me to go in search of how to really get you, today’s job seeker, in front of recruiters and hiring managers. What advice do these hard to reach guys (and gals) have for you?

Meet Andrew Gagen, CEO of MVP Recruiters, an executive search firm that specializes in what they call “hyper-niche” recruiting with one of the most sought after skill sets in the market – Chief Information Officers and enterprise architects. Andrew and I sat down at the famous Palmer House Hilton where he shared what you can do to get to the top of his resume stack (and it’s quite a stack) and what today’s job seekers need to avoid doing.

CEO of Me, Inc.
A common theme throughout our entire conversation was that you need to be the CEO of Me, Inc. and clearly communicate what you want, how you add value and what your expertise is in today’s market. If you’re out networking or, as Gagen stated in his direct yet tactful style, “If you were just at Thanksgiving dinner at your cousin doesn’t know what you do, there’s a problem.”

Expertise pays
“Today’s candidate’s are a mile wide and an inch deep when they need to be a mile deep and an inch wide. Employers pay for expertise, strategic thinking and thought leadership,” said Gagen, whose clients include of Visa and major financial institutions.

Standing out
Gagen put it well saying candidates need to “think like twitter, in 140 characters” to solve client’s (a/k/a employer) problems in today’s market. Focus on a high quality resume that you know will be viewed for 30-60 seconds maximum. “LinkedIn is a must have in any industry and a complete, keyword-optimized profile is critical.”

Social media, video resumes and job boards
I wasn’t about to let a guy like this get away without asking his opinion about the hot topics job seekers really want to know. Here it is.
Social Media – Essential to have the same (professional) image across all social networks. | LinkedIn is a must have. | Facebook is an up-and-coming social recruiting tool. | Twitter is great for job searching and expanding your network.
Video Resumes“Give someone a reason to talk to you; these are a fixed message. I don’t like them. Next question.”
Job Boards – good place to find companies and recruiters that are hiring, then leverage your network to connect with them.

#1 way to get hired and get access to guys like Gagen

The number one way to get hired is to engage and make the employer fall in love with you in the interview – without being crazy. The #1 way to land an interview is still to be referred by an employee. Many companies have a rule that they interview any employee referral. To get access to guys like Gagen, he says that to honestly most recruiters aren’t very good because, like many candidates, they’re a mile wide and an inch deep; they know little about the position/job. Recruiters will use LinkedIn and their network to find candidates.
If you want to find a recruiter, use your network and look at the job boards (e.g. Monster, CareerBuilder) and use your relationships to find the moneymaker that places talent with your skill set within that recruiting company. If you’re CIO, CTO or enterprise architecture professional in the U.S., go to MVP Recruiters www.mvprecruiters.com, and mention you read about his interview with Adriana. Viola! Recruiter connection done.



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