Creating Your Professional Brand, with Andrew Hudson

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that hopes you get hired in the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard your host and publisher of Mac’s List. Our show is brought to you by Mac’s List, your best online source for rewarding, creative, and meaningful work. Visit macslist.org to learn more. You’ll find hundreds of great jobs, a blog with practical career advice and our new book, “Land Your Dream Job in Portland and Beyond.”

Welcome to Find Your Dream Job. Every week we bring you the career tools and tips you need to get the job you want. Joining me as always are Ben Forstag, Managing Director of Mac’s List and Cecilia Bianco, Community Manager of Mac’s List. How are you two doing this week?

Ben Forstag:

I’m doing great.

Cecilia Bianco:

Doing good Mac, how are you?

Mac Prichard:

Good. Ben every week, I know you’re pouring through the internet and you’re looking for blogs, podcast, and other tools people could use in their job search. What have you found for us this week?

Ben Forstag:

Mac, this week I have a free online tool to help you pick the right keywords when you’re defining your personal brand, and for your resume, your cover letter, and your LinkedIn profile.

I want to start with a question first though. This is for both of you and Cecilia. What is the functional difference between these three terms? One is “nonprofit,” just one solid word. The other term is “non-profit” with a hyphen between the non and the profit. The third one “not-for-profit.” Do you know what the difference between those words is?

Mac Prichard:

I feel like I’m back in English class in high school in taking a grammar quiz. I am drawing a blank here. I’m going to defer to Cecilia.

Cecilia Bianco:

I was going to defer to Mac because I’m not sure either.

Ben Forstag:

You can both defer to me, because I have the answer.

Cecilia Bianco:

Great.

Mac Prichard:

All right. Ben is in-charge, so take it away Ben.

Ben Forstag:

As the dictionary would tell you there is no difference between those three terms. The difference though, functionally, is that one of those terms is twice as likely to show up in a job posting, which means that if you use that term in your resume or cover letter, your application is twice as likely to pass a keyword based on automated screening system. We’ve talked in the past about how a lot of employers when you send off your resume, it’s not a human looking at it, it’s going through a computer system, and you either have the right keywords or you don’t.

t’s important to know what the right keywords are. In this case, would either of you like to guess which one is used and what’s often?

Mac Prichard:

My guess would be nonprofit as one word. I think people just like simplicity and they like shorter words.

Ben Forstag:

Cecilia?

Cecilia Bianco:

I would agree. I think that’s the right one, but mostly just from seeing people submit applications is why I think that.

Ben Forstag:

I take great glee in telling you that you’re both wrong. The term that’s used most often twice as much as the other two combined is “not-for-profit.” Twice as much as the other two terms combined. This is an important lesson here because we don’t know what the keywords that are out there and even when keywords are very close, f you’re not exactly right, if you don’t have the verbatim keyword or phrase, you’re not going to pass that screening. The two I want to share with you today is a great way to find out what the right keywords are.

The tool is indeed.com’s job trends tool. You’ve all heard of indeed.com, Mac, Cecilia?

Cecilia Bianco:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. It’s a hugely popular site.

Ben Forstag:

Yes. They claim and I believe this is true, to be the world’s largest compilation of jobs out there with millions of jobs posted. If you go to indeed.com/jobtrends, you can search through all the jobs that are posted or ever have been posted on Indeed and see what terms showed up in those job postings. I went through and checked nonprofit, non-profit, and not for profit to get this information.

This is particularly important when we’re talking about branding on social media, for your LinkedIn profile for example. Your LinkedIn profile is like the big highway sign for you as an employee that you put out there hoping that people are going to come through and see it and say, “That’s the right guy for a job I have.” When you’re looking for keywords for a specific position you’re applying for, you’re really going to use the job posting and that company’s own copy as the baseline for your keyword search.

If you’re looking for a general job out there around social media for example, or engineering, or communications, you’re not looking for a specific company perhaps, but you want to have enough keywords in your LinkedIn profile that people will come and see you and say, “Yeah, I want Mac for this job.” If you use the Indeed job trend tool, you can go through and type in a bunch of different related keywords and see which one is used most often.

It’s really amazing how even minor variations and keywords generate huge differences and results. I pulled up a couple examples that I thought were interesting here. Do you know about certified meeting professionals the credential?

Mac Prichard:

That’s a new credential for me. Tell me more about that Ben?

Ben Forstag:

Okay. If you’re in the meeting planning game and you want to get letters at the end of your name, you go and become a CMP. I typed in, “Certified Meeting Professional,” and their acronym, “CMP” into the system. Any guesses on which one gets pinged most often in job posts, Cecilia?

Cecilia Bianco:

CMP?

Ben Forstag:

Mac?

Mac Prichard:

I would guess CMP too, I think people like to have those abbreviations after the name.

Ben Forstag:

You guys are 0 for 2. In this case …

Mac Prichard:

It’s Ben’s week.

Ben Forstag:

In this case “certified meeting professional” as a term, appeared in eight times more job postings than CMP, which means if in your resume you wrote CMP–I’ve got a CMP, or I’m training to be a CMP–you’re not going to pass that keyword test.

Here’s another example, “Certified fundraising executive,” this is another credential. This one’s for people who go out and raise money. I put in, “Certified Fund Raising Executive,” that’s four words, and the acronym CFRE, any guesses on this one?

Mac Prichard:

I, again would tend to guess CRFE the acronym, but I’m wondering if maybe it’s such your question.

Ben Forstag:

Cecilia?

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah. I think you might be tricking us, so I’m going to go with the spelling out of the name.

Ben Forstag:

Cecilia, you’re wrong. Mac, you’re right. In this case, the acronym is 20 times more likely to be used in a job post than the long form version. Interestingly, a misspelling of the long form version is eight times more likely to show up than the actual spelled out certification.

Mac Prichard:

There’s a Machiavellian angle you can take here?

Ben Forstag:

Yes. This is like Google keywords for your own job resume, your own LinkedIn profile. Really interesting stuff, you could probably waste several hours going through and doing this, but I definitely suggest it because this can give you an angle and some insight onto the kind of jobs you want, to the kind of organizations you want to work with. It can position you to beat those automated testing systems. Check it out, it’s Indeed’s job trend tool at indeed.com/jobtrends.

Mac Prichard:

That’s great advice. As you talk Ben, two tactical ideas occurred to me, one is just the value of knowing the keywords in the field that you want to be in. As you’re updating your LinkedIn profile, there’s a section where you can list skills and knowing what the most popular skills, recruiters, and others might look for in your area could be very valuable. This sounds like this tool could help. As you do status updates and write on a blog or do any online writing in your field knowing again those keywords that are likely to turn up in organic searches could be very helpful.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah and in general, I think you can never underestimate how specific language is and the words that companies use and the job seekers use to define themselves, those words exist for a specific reason, and that you don’t want to interchange them. You don’t want to get creative with them, you literally want to repeat them verbatim.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific. As Ben mentioned, we’re talking this week about branding, especially personal branding. Cecilia has a question for us related to that topic. We always enjoy hearing from you our listeners, so Cecilia is going to answer one of your questions. What do you have for us this week Cecilia?

Cecilia Bianco:

Thanks, Mac. Our question this week is, “Do I have to use social media in my job search?”

Ben Forstag:

Cecilia, did my mother send this question in?

Cecilia Bianco:

No, she didn’t.

Ben Forstag:

Okay. Just checking.

Cecilia Bianco:

Okay. She’s going to get her answer here so my answer is yes and no. Using social media is definitely necessary in a few important ways but some others are a bit optional. As Ben just mentioned a few seconds ago, LinkedIn is like the highway sign for employers. LinkedIn is definitely one of the necessary ways to use social media. Overall, using social media is a great way to control your online reputation and your digital footprint. Employers are going to Google you most likely and you want to have as much control on what they’re going to see as possible, and social media is a great way to control this.

Mac, I know you’ve hired a lot of people. I’m curious if you’ve Google’d candidates before?

Mac Prichard:

I always Google’d candidates and I go down usually five or six pages in the organic searches. That is exceptional, according to research out there, most people don’t go beyond the first page. What I’m looking for and what other employers tell me they’re looking for is just the people’s history, and examples of their professional work. You’re also looking for red flags, because hiring process is time consuming and you want to use your time as wisely as you can and focus on candidates who are going to be most appealing and have the best backgrounds and skills.

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah, that make sense. With LinkedIn, it’s really grown to become the best tool to control your online reputation and it allows employers to see more than just your resume which just Mac said is what they’re looking for. It’s a huge opportunity for the employer to get to know you before actually meeting you. LinkedIn allows you to share your interest, the causes you care about, and you can even upload the projects you’ve worked on in the past. They’re getting to know you and the important things they want to know about you before they potentially contact you for an interview. Among all the platforms, I think the most important are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. With Facebook, you don’t have to use it as a social networking platform, but you want to at least have a basic profile up there so you’re searchable on Google and it pops up. Employers are going to check that so you want to be prepared and you want to make sure you’re settings allow employers and strangers in general really only to see what you want them to see.

I know Ben recently told us abut a tool called, “Persona,” that looks through your Facebook history and he learned a lot from this. I want to get your official opinion on Facebook do you think it’s necessary for job seekers?

Ben Forstag:

I do think it’s necessary, but I think it’s pretty much necessary for everyone nowadays. My friends and I have a joke that if we can’t find someone on Facebook we assume they’re dead or in jail. It just seems like everyone’s on Facebook including my mother and my grandfather was on Facebook. It’s always suspicious when you can’t find someone on Facebook, there’s some reason behind it I think. I would encourage everyone to have at least some presence there. You don’t need to use it a whole lot, but you should be able to be found there.

Cecilia Bianco:

I agree. I think most employers agree with that. They want to be able to see that you’re a normal person and you’re out there on social media. I mentioned Twitter also, it’s definitely necessary but not as necessary as LinkedIn and Facebook. It definitely depends on the industry you’re in, but it can also be really helpful to your job search because you can use it to show your interest and your knowledge in industry you’re in.

If employers are Googling you, and finding you on Twitter, they’ll learn a lot about you and maybe even be impressed by you so Twitter is a great tool to use to boost that online reputation. As far as the other social media platforms Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and the rest, I think all of those are really optional and you should only use what you enjoy using, because those don’t really further your professional reputation, they’re more of a fun side thing. Would you guys agree with that or do you think they’re important?

Ben Forstag:

I think the caveat here would be if you’re a creative professional and you’re using these tools to build a portfolio. Whether you’re a musician and you’re posting stuff on SoundCloud, or you’re interested in video creation, you’re posting your videos on YouTube, this is definitely where you’re most likely to be seen and so where you want to put the work that you want to showcase for others.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I would agree. The good news here is these social media channels allow you to put your best foot forward and to create your own brand, the impression that you want to make by sharing your work, your ideas, your portfolio. I think you’re so right Cecilia that people need to be thoughtful and figure out where the people they want to reach and influence are gathering online. We can all be publishers now and that’s what social media allows us to do.

Now, the other thing to keep in mind is a colleague of mine once said about the internet, “It’s fast, easy, and forever.” Whatever you put up there is going to be there for a long time maybe forever and just be thoughtful about what you publish as well.

Ben Forstag:

Mac and Cecilia, can I ask you a question here? Do you think on the whole social media is a net benefit or a net risk for job seekers?

Cecilia Bianco:

I think it’s definitely a net benefit. I think it can help you be searchable in a good way and it’s a way that you can control. I think you can use it as a tool to impress potential employers and even recruiters. It’s a good way to get found when you’re looking for a job.

Mac Prichard:

I agree with Cecilia. It’s an opportunity to find yourself, and your brand, and you offer to others. I know I’ve shared with, I think both of you before a story about an experience I had when I first came to Portland. I had a good fortune to work at City Hall for a candidate for Mayor and ran a good campaign, but we lost the race. After I left City Hall, when the campaign ended, I saw someone several months later I’d met there, and she introduced me to a friend. She said, “This is Mac. He use to work for Earl Blumenauer,” who was my candidate, great guy. I walked away from that conversation thinking, “That’s not really how I want to be defined. How I want to be known, is somebody who used to work for somebody else.” That was many years ago. Now with social media, we all have the opportunity to publish and share our work and put our best foot forward, and to help define ourselves. We’re going to be talking more about that with our expert this week, Andrew Hudson.

Terrific, Cecilia those are great ideas and thank you for sharing that information in response to our listener question. If you have a question for Cecilia, she’s eager to hear from you. Her e-mail address is cecilia@macslist.org.

These segments by Ben and Cecilia are sponsored by the Mac’s List guides. Publisher of our new book “Land Your Dream Job in Portland and Beyond.” The Mac’s List guides give you the tools you need to get the job you want. We’ll show you how to crack that hidden job market, how you can stand out in a competitive field, and how you can manage your career. The book has eight chapters and each of them feature experts who share job hunting secrets like how to hear about positions that are never posted, and what you can do to interview and negotiate like a pro. To download the first chapter of the book, you can get it for free. Just visit macslist.org/macslistguides.

Most job openings attract dozens, sometimes hundreds of applicants. How can you make sure your application stands out in a big stack of resumes? How do you distinguish yourself from other candidates once you get an interview? Personal branding is one of the most powerful tools you can use to stand out in any crowded field. Here’s what management expert, Tom Peters have to say about the difference of brand can make in a business or career.

Quoting Peters, he says, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business, we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are the CEOs of our own companies, me incorporated. Our most important job is to be the head marketer for the brand called you.”

Our guest today knows all about personal branding. He’s based in Denver, Andrew Hudson, and he’s the founder and CEO of Andrew Hudson’s Job List. He’s based in Denver, and Andrew Hudson is the Founder and CEO of Andrew Hudson’s Job List the Rocky Mountain Regions premiere job search website. More than 35,000 subscribers receive Andrew’s weekly updates and hundreds of thousands of more people visit his website every month. As a job seeking expert, Andrew has trained thousands of job seekers through seminars focusing on self branding, interviewing, networking, and traditional and online job application strategies. Previously, Andrew led communications and marketing for corporation, public agencies, and elect officials. He’s also served on many nonprofit boards. Andrew, thank you for joining us.

Andrew Hudson:

I’m so happy to be here and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about this great topic. It’s really important topic.

Mac Prichard:

I know this is something you feel very passionate about. My colleague Cecilia and I had a good fortune to sit down with you for lunch in Denver a few months ago. You had a lot of energy about the topic of branding. Tell us about why do you care so passionately about this brand Andrew?

Andrew Hudson:

A couple of reasons. I think number one is that all components of job seeking are never really taught that well. All the way back from college and then as you move through your career, you’re going to be having to look for other jobs as you progress. It’s one of the things that I found out over time is that people are really confused about what is it that makes somebody stand out. There are certainly things that the people who are getting the job offers are doing and they’re connecting with the employer in some way.

My background in advertising, and marketing, and branding, and PR really lent itself to making that connection between corporate branding and what does it mean in terms of personal branding. Because, really there’s a lot of very common things that are going on at the same time.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s talk about personal branding. What kind of difference have you seen a strong personal brand make either in your own career or in the careers of the people that you work with?

Andrew Hudson:

When somebody has a really good personal brand that’s attached to a level of confidence, and that level of confidence is something that people who are looking for a job are really focused on and it identifies their strengths, it identifies their skills, it identifies their accomplishments. Also, this whole thing about taking ownership and taking credit for the things that you’ve done as a professional. Then being able to really expose that and really talk about it in a confident way. It’s not an egotistical way, it’s not a desperate way, it’s a way in which your true essence and the truth of who you are really comes out.

I know even if someone who has hired a lot of people, I will sit there as the interview process progresses and I meet with several people who are looking for a job. There’s a special element about that person that gives me what I call the, “Brand Sigh of Relief.” It’s a connection that they have made. It’s identified to certainly their confidence and their ability to connect themselves to the job they’re applying for, but it’s also about somebody who has done the research, and somebody who has really analyzed and figured out what is it that is going to influence my thought and motivate my behavior in favor of them, and in favor of their brand.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s pause there and break that down because for some listeners that might sound abstract so let’s back up to the brand sigh of relief and the elements of a brand. How do you define those and without having the wealth of experience that someone like you who has been a professional marketer and brander might bring to the table?

Andrew Hudson:

It’s funny because we walk around all day long, all of us. We get that brand sigh of relief every single day. I’ll give you a good example. Last Christmas my kids they got a bunch of DVDs and they wanted to watch these DVDs, and oh no, our DVD player broke. I went to the store and that’s a big box store like a Target or something, and I didn’t do much research at all, and I’m looking around, and there’s all these DVD players.There’s Panasonic, and there’s Sanyo, and there’s LG, and they’re all screaming different prices, and they’re screaming different components, and different qualities. In my head it’s just swimming, and then also then I look to the left and there’s the row of Sony’s. Oh my goodness, I made a B-line for the Sony, it took me about three minutes, I grab my Sony DVD player, walked up to the front. I stopped myself and I said, “Dang Andrew, you didn’t even check the price. You didn’t even compare it to these other ones.” It was that element of everything that was screaming at me about why it was that if Sony was the thing that I needed.

Now, let’s take that same concept and take it to the job interview. You’re sitting in front of the table and there’s three people who were doing the interviews. Maybe it’s an HR person, maybe it’s your boss, maybe it’s a colleague, and they’re all asking questions and everybody is going through that interview. Particularly, when it’s a finalist interview, maybe there’s three finalists. They’ve all been scrubbed, the references have been checked and everything. They’ve all theoretically do the job. Now it’s coming down to a connection that one of these finalists has to make with that group of people. I see this happen over and over.

Mac Prichard:

I think when we talk about that people often, interviewers will bring up chemistry as a way of describing it.

Andrew Hudson:

Yeah, it’s chemistry, but what also happens is that, that person creates this brand sigh of relief. Every single person on that panel after that person who has created that has his big sigh of relief. They’ve been able to connect that within and more than that, that interview has really turned into a conversation which is a very different thing. When you turn an interview into a conversation and all of a sudden you’re creating imagination in somebody’s head about, “Wow, that person would be really terrific,” and it requires practice in terms of writing out a personal narrative about yourself, practice singing it out loud, practice understanding what it is about yourself that really you can talk about in terms of your best strengths and your best attributes, and the accomplishments that are going to be best demonstrating why you’re the best person for that job.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Your goal when you’re sitting in that hot seat, you’re one of three finalist is to make that connection, to create that brand sigh of relief, to find that common ground that’s going to make people feel comfortable with you, and say to their colleagues when you leave the room, “That’s the person.” You took us through some practical steps about how to do that, describing strengths, doing a research about the company. When you see people make that connection, what is it that they have done? Is it the culmination of that homework, that preparation, or is there’s something else happening there?

Andrew Hudson:

I take job seekers through a role play, through a fake interview. I ask them some questions that are very basic, but things that you’re getting asked in an interview. One of the first questions you’re going to get is, “We’d love to hear more about you. Can you tell us something about yourself?” That is the hardest question in the history of mankind. To ask somebody to tell them about you, where do you start? What do you talk about? What are the things that you need to do, and how do you do that? I’ll tell you the other thing Mac is that the complaint I get from a lot of job seekers is they say, “When I’m in a job interview, I feel powerless. I feel like I don’t have any power on the subject of an interview.” The fact is you have a lot of power.

Mac Prichard:

I’m always impressed by people who walk into an interview and they have a list of questions. They seek to have what you described earlier as a conversation. They don’t walk in as a supplicant but as somebody who is a potential partner and that’s a powerful dynamic.

Andrew Hudson:

It’s interesting when I find people struggling answering even some of the basic questions, what are your strengths, things like that. Here’s the one question I ask them that always breaks their shell. Can you describe to be one of your most proudest accomplishments in your career? All of a sudden there’s a switch that goes off in somebody’s head and they start thinking about, “What was it that thing that got me promoted, or the thing that my boss really liked about me, or the thing that brought my team together, or the thing I needed to do you convince our board of directors to do something?” Everybody has those accomplishments that really brings them to life and shows them in their best like.

Mac Prichard:

You’ve done the homework, you’ve practiced the answers to possible questions, but how do you bring in that … It’s not that you take control of the interview but how do you make sure that the points you want to make get made in that conversation and that you do a good job of showcasing your brand and putting your best foot forward.

Andrew Hudson:

Sure. Another thing and you’re going to appreciate this because this is really a page out of public relations that’s called, “Bridging.” Bridging is a very powerful way if we’re taking control of a question in an interview. It’s not spinning, it’s not dodging a question, but it’s taking a question and establishing your credibility.

Mac Prichard:

It’s a great technique and you and I have both worked with elected officials, and trained people on how to do it, and seen some of our bosses do it expertly. For those who haven’t worked in politics or public relations, tell us more about bridging and how it works?

Andrew Hudson:

Sure. Bridging is basically when you get a question and you want to answer it in such a way that really focuses in on what is important and in this case what are your strengths. For example, somebody was to ask you a question about something that you did in your past, one of the ways to take control of that question is to say, “My last boss appreciated my experience in this area.” Then you are taking that question and aiming it right towards an anecdotal story. If they’re asking you something about an issue that you feel really compelled in terms of describing your experience, you could say, “Let me give you an example of a tough decision I had to make surrounding this issue.” All of a sudden, there’s a level of credibility that number one is talking about your expertise in that issue, but it’s also a level of you’re able to make tough decisions.

You can talk about, “That’s a great question. I had a similar experience at my last job, let me tell you how I managed it.” You can go online and type in bridging statements. You can come up with your own, but basically what it is, it’s establishing your credibility, it’s establishing your expertise. A lot of times, not all of the time, but a lot of times you’re being interviewed by people who are not the subject matter expert that you are. This is a way for you to take back the question and really put yourself on display.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a very clear overview of the technique. For those who want to go beyond what they might find online, I strongly encourage for them to watch the Sunday Public Affair shows where you’ll see US senators and other elected officials use bridging techniques regularly throughout the course of the show.

Andrew Hudson:

Yeah. Let me make it clear. This isn’t been and this is not dodging. This is really you taking that question and demonstrating your credibility. I just want to make that clear.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. I think it’s a good clarification. We’ve talked about the importance of branding and what to do when you’re in that final round of interviews. What about other parts of the job search process? Tell us about some of the common materials like resumes, business cards, online profiles, and the difference that branding can make?

Andrew Hudson:

I was the head of advertising marketing at Frontier Airlines. One of our signature brands was the animals on the back of the tails. We created this really fabulous campaign where the animals, these are the actual TV advertisements where the animals were talking back and forth and they had this wonderful banter back and forth about Frontier Airlines. It became really just as memorable ad campaign, particularly in Denver. After about three months of that ad campaign our awareness was through the roof. It was a perfect example of how advertising can really create awareness.

As a marketing professional, a branding professional, I know that advertising campaigns can only go so far. The awareness is one area but the actual being able to deliver on the brand promise is a whole another thing. What I did is I did what I call, “A touch point brand audit.” It looks at every touch point that you have with consumers that can influence thought and motivate behavior in a positive way towards your brand. If you think about an airline, it’s everything from a website, to the customer service scripts, to the policies, to what flight attendants say. Even if there’s an irregular operation, a flight delay or a cancellation, or a weather delay, or whatever, how do you communicate that in such a way that people still give you credibility.

It’s the same thing in terms of looking for a job. You have all of these touch points in which your brand has an opportunity to come alive. It starts with the resumes, the cover letter, the script that you might have when you’re making a cold call to a company, and obviously, the interview itself. As you so eloquently said earlier and the gentleman you quoted, “You are the chief marketing officer through yourself when you are looking for a job.”

One of the things I tell people all the time is you cannot make your brand come alive simply by shut vending out resumes to job boards. Your brain comes alive when you’re able to get in front of people and talk to them, look them in the eye, and convince them about what it is you’re capable, and what value you bring to them.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a great spot to close at. Tell us Andrew, how can people find you and learn more about you online?

Andrew Hudson:

Sure. My website is www.andrewhudsonsjobslist.com. You can e-mail me at anytime at ahudson@ahjobslist.com, and I’m happy to communicate with anybody.

Mac Prichard:

Thanks so much. I know people will want to reach out to you. I appreciate you being among our guest.

Andrew Hudson:

All right. Thanks a lot.

Mac Prichard:

Cecilia, Ben, we’re back in the studio and we heard from Andrew talking about how to bridge a question. I know that a lot of job seekers, this is a technique that could be very helpful for them because they’re thinking about the points that they want to make. What did you two think about the advice that Andrew offered.

Cecilia Bianco:

I thought it was really helpful Mac, but I’m not sure that I fully understood the concept of bridging. Maybe you can give me an example if I walk into an interview at a marketing agency and they ask me, “What are your weaknesses?” How would I answer that by bridging?

Mac Prichard:

What I do as a candidate and what I advice others to consider doing, is to think about the needs of the employer. The best way to understand those needs is to do the homework, the research, and check out the website, talk to former employees, talk to peers, and know that job description called. Look at your own background and the strengths that you offer that are valuable to the employer and highlight that in your answer. The answer that I would give if I were in a hot seat that day and somebody said, why don’t you go ahead and just ask the question Cecilia?

Cecilia Bianco:

What are your weaknesses?

Mac Prichard:

Like everybody I have my share of weaknesses and I’ve learned that to be most successful in my career, I need to focus on strengths. The reason I’m excited about this position is because I’ve got the skills and the qualities that you need that you filed in the job description. Let me give you some examples of how I’ve used those skills and qualities to produce positive results for previous employers.

Cecilia Bianco:

Okay. That make sense. It’s not exactly deflecting, but it’s more redirecting to a different, to what you really want to talk about which is your strengths.

Mac Prichard:

Exactly. It’s also taking into consideration the needs of the employer as well, because you can’t ignore their needs if you address them directly, you change the frame of the conversation. You’re talking about their problems and what you can do for them. Every employer sitting behind that desk, when they’re talking to candidates, they’re thinking about the work that is piling up that has to be done. That maybe they have to stay late for work, or their supervisor is asking them for updates on how it’s being done. They’ve got a problem to solve and you can offer solution if you understand their needs and demonstrate how your skills, and qualities, and experiences can help meet them.

Ben Forstag:

I think this gets at the heart of what branding really is when you get down to it. It’s not your own personal logo, it’s not your LinkedIn profile per se. It’s really the story about yourself as a professional and the unique value you bring to the table that you can operationalize with that employer.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. I think you nailed it Ben, and those tactics matter and you need to pay attention to the details like LinkedIn profiles and you have to be thoughtful about them. Again it’s that …

Ben Forstag:

It’s a holistic approach.

Mac Prichard:

Exactly.

Mac Prichard:

Thank you both Ben and Cecilia. Thank you our listeners for joining us. We’ll be back next week with more tools and tips you can use to find your dream job. In the meantime, visit us at macslist.org and you can sign up for a free newsletter that Cecilia publishes every Tuesday with more than a hundred new jobs every week.

If you like what you hear in our show, you can help us by leaving your review, a comment, and a rating at iTunes. This will help others discover our show. Thanks for listening.

Your professional brand is how you showcase yourself to others in a way that distinguishes you as a credible, trustworthy, and skilled person. In other words, it is how you personify and embody the strengths, skills, and accomplishments you list in your resume.

Professional branding is particularly important for job seekers, who must quickly build trust with prospective employers and differentiate themselves from hundreds (or even thousands) of other applicants.

This week’s guest, Andrew Hudson, has an extensive background in product marketing, advertising, and public relations, and is passionate about applying branding best practices to the job search process. He argues that a strong professional brand conveys a level of confidence and trust that helps candidates stand out from the crowd.

This Week’s Guest

Andrew is a seasoned marketing/communications professional with more than 20 years of experience. He is the founder of Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List, which has connected thousands of pr and marketing professionals with employers throughout Colorado and beyond.

Resources from this Episode