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Semipro Everything

August 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Okay, so I’m getting married in less than a week and I’ll be gaining a new uncle who, I kid you not, is good at just about everything.  He will beat you in pool, he will beat you in golf, he will beat you in darts.  He can snowboard, ski, wakeboard, and waterski better than you.  If you jump off a tall cliff into a lake in the middle of summer, he will dive off a taller cliff into freezing Lake Tahoe in the winter.  Let’s put it this way, the guy is GOOD.  He’s always the guy to beat no matter what game we’re playing or what adventure we’re embarking on.  He is what we call: Semipro Everything.  Not quite professional, but good enough to be better than everyone else.

This is the key to Professional Diversification, just viewed in a different light.  When it comes to your career, you want to be semipro everything.  You want to be good at this and good at that, at least better than everyone else.  To be honest, it really doesn’t take much.  A little research here and a little practice there, and you’re on your way to being able to add some more skills to your portfolio.  Think about it this way, you go home after work and research the stock market.  You learn how it works, how to invest your money, where to invest your money, and all the tips and tricks to being successful in the stock market.  It takes a couple minutes every night, but you now have an opportunity to earn additional income on top of your normal salary because you know how to properly invest in the stock market.  You don’t have to go to school and become a stock broker to make money.  All you have to do is know enough to be dangerous.  Like I said before, Semipro Everything.

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Professional Diversification Online: Using Twitter to Promote Yourself

July 29, 2011 2 comments

eric chaump twitter profile professional diversificationNext on the list of social networking sites to promote yourself on is Twitter.  I know what you’re saying.  Twitter is for celebs who want to share what they’re eating for lunch in New York City and those who actually care enough to read what they’re tweeting.  Yes, but no.  Trust me, I thought the same thing before I actually started using Twitter.  There are people on Twitter who post stupid things that nobody cares about like where they’re going with their BFF or how they feel about the last episode of the Real Housewives.  Stupid, I know.  But, there are people who are using Twitter the right way.  The right way?  Okay, I don’t know if it’s the right way to use Twitter, but it is how I was taught to use Twitter (thank you @drbret).

The proper way to use Twitter, especially if you want to promote yourself, is to do a little thing called content curation.  Content curation is basically the act of finding good, relevant content and sharing it with others.  For example, you’re looking for a good article on how to invest in stocks.  You find a few people on Twitter who specialize in investing and you read their content.  Once you find one you like, you share, or retweet it, with your own followers in case they were looking for the same thing.  That is the proper way to use Twitter.

With that in mind, let’s discuss how you can get your Twitter profile up and running:

1. Grab Your Vanity URL.

Just like LinkedIn, you want to make sure you get your vanity URL on Twitter to make it easier for people to find you.  You do this by ensuring you use your full name as the username when signing up.  Try to make it the same as your LinkedIn profile.  Since I used EricChaump on LinkedIn, my Twitter handle is also @EricChaump.

2. Fill In Your Profile Information.

You’re profile information will be the first thing you do after creating your account.  You will be asked for your full name (use your full first and last name here), your location (provide the city and state), a link to your website (if you have a blog, put it here, if not, we’ll talk about starting a blog in a couple weeks), and finally your bio (similar to a 15 second elevator speech, but in 140 characters or less).  When creating your bio, make sure to include what you’re good at and what you are interested in.  This will give others an idea if you can help them or they can help you.

3. Choose A Professional Profile Picture.

Choosing a profile picture is very important.  People like to connect with faces so they can visualize the person they are connecting with.  You’re profile picture should look professional and be focused on your face.  You want your face to be bright and clear because that’s what people are going to see in that little tiny square next to each of your tweets.  And always remember to keep your profile picture the same across all your social networking sites.

4. Start Following People.

Start searching for people who have similar interests as you and follow them.  If you’re interested in fishing, start following people who are also interested in fishing.  Chances are they will follow you back.

5. Create A List.

The best way to segregate people who provide content value to you on a particular topic is to add them to a list.  Try creating a list for your main value stream, the one thing you really want to learn more about.  Then start adding people you’ve followed to that list.  Once you have that list compiled, you can choose to view only those tweets from those people.  My main Twitter list is called Professional Diversification.

6. Engage In A Conversation With Someone.

One way to really show people you care is to actually engage in a conversation.  If you retweet someones blog post, ask them how their day is going.  I’m sure they’d be happy to chat.

7. Join A Twitter Chat.

Speaking of chatting, keep an eye out for the hash tag #TChat.  This is the hash tag used during a large group chat on Twitter where people ask questions and have them answered.  It’s a great way to find valuable people on Twitter and gain more followers for yourself.

8. Go Mobile.

eric chaump twitter mobile app iphone smartphoneJust like any other social networking site, it’s important to stay up to date on all the information flowing through Twitter.  The best way to do that is to download the free Twitter app for smartphones.  You can stay up to date on your Twitter stream, reply to messages, and retweet other people’s posts.

Now if you follow these eight steps, you’re on your way to creating a successful Twitter profile and a successful online presence.  In the next few weeks, I’ll be doing the same thing for Facebook, Google+, and the most important one of them all: A BLOG!

Related Content:

What is Content Curation? – Michiel Gaasterland

Professional Diversification Online: Using LinkedIn to Promote Yourself – Eric Chaump

Writing Skills vs. Presentation Skills

July 25, 2011 1 comment

presentation skills microphone nervous eric chaump

I’ve always been told that I’m a good writer.  Throughout high school, my teachers told me I had great writing skills and throughout college, I always got A’s on papers and essays.  This whole blogging experience has been great for me, as it’s given me an opportunity to write, a lot.  I’ll be honest, for a guy who got his degree in Supply Chain Management, writing 500 words two to three times a week is a LOT of writing.

I’m now embarking on a new adventure, a little thing called video blogging, which I’m sure you’ve already seen.  I’ve done two videos so far, neither of which I’m really proud of, and I’ll tell you why.  I hate presenting.  It’s one of those things that scares the hell out of me and I don’t know why.  Every presentation I’ve done in school was actually very good.  I always have someone tell me afterward, “You did great! Probably the best in the class.”

Every time I have presentation, the same thing happens.  I get nervous, my hands start to shake, my palms get sweaty, I start saying “umm” a lot, my voice sounds shaky, my mouth starts to dry out and I always forgot to stop and take a sip of water, which I have with me every time I present.  The funny thing?  The same exact thing happened the other night when I recorded my first video blog.  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s not like I was in front of a group of fellow students.  I was in my home office talking to a crappy video camera sitting on top of seven books and binders because I couldn’t get the camera to point at my face without them.  It took me over an hour to make it through a full run without screwing up and completely botching the entire video.  Maybe it was the thought of all the people out there who might actually watch my video on YouTube or my blog.  I don’t really know, but I do hope that video blogging will help me overcome my fear of presenting.

The reason for writing this post was to bring up the question: which is more important, writing skills or presentation skills?  Personally, I think it all depends on what you do.  If you work in sales, I would think presentation skills are more important.  If you work for a newspaper or magazine, writing skills are obviously going to be very important.  In most professions, though, there is a middle ground between the two.  It’s important to be good at both and not limit yourself to one or the other.  Besides, why wouldn’t you want to be good at both?  It’s one more thing you can add to your list of skills.

Now it’s your turn to answer the question: what’s more important?  Share your opinions below!

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Professional Diversification Online: Using LinkedIn to Promote Yourself

July 22, 2011 4 comments

linkedin eric chaump profile summary

If you don’t know what LinkedIn is, then you better listen up.  LinkedIn is an all business-related social networking site.  It allows professionals to connect with other professionals and share information.  The unique thing about LinkedIn is that it’s like an online resume, a very versatile online resume.  You fill out your profile, which includes information like your work history, education, honors and awards.  Sounds like a resume, doesn’t it?  What’s unique about LinkedIn is that you can recommend people you’ve worked with and they can recommend you.  Now here’s the most important part of LinkedIn that relates to Professional Diversification: your skills.  LinkedIn recently added a skills section to your profile that allows you to choose what you’re good at and share it with the world.  You get to pick your skill level and how many years you’ve been doing that particular thing.

Now that we all know what LinkedIn is, I’m going to give you a few tips to get your profile up and running:

1. Grab Your Vanity URL.

The first thing you want to do is, obviously, sign up for an account.  Go to http://www.linkedin.com/ and click the “Join Today” link.  The first and most important thing you want to do is grab your vanity URL.  What the heck is a vanity URL, you ask?  A vanity URL is what makes your profile unique to you.  Most social networking sites allow you to pick your own and I advise you choose your own full name, like I’ve done below.  Why is this the most important part of your profile?  Because when people search for your name in Google, they can find you!  DUH!

linkedin eric chaump vanity url

 

2. Fill In Your Resume Information.

The next step is to fill in the bulk of your information.  It’s all that boring resume information, like where have you worked, how long did you work there and where did you go school and when.  Obviously, this is the most essential part of your profile, just as it is your resume.  The nice thing is you can copy it straight from your resume, so you better dust that thing off.

3. Fill In Your Skills.

Now we get to some of the fun stuff.  If you read my post on Interests, Skills and Inexperiences, and actually took my advice, you should have a nice list of skills that you can put in this section.  If you don’t have a list like that, please take a look at that post to help you get started.

4. Fill In Your Profile Summary.

This is something you really don’t get to do on a resume.  It’s where you get to talk about yourself!  Everyone’s favorite thing to do.  Some people are really good at talking about themselves, but me on the other hand, can’t stand it.  I have such a hard time talking about myself, which is one thing I have to get over if I want to be successful.  There are a number of great resources online that teach you how to write great summaries.  If you can’t find any, you could use mine as a template.  Your summary should include who you are and what you want to accomplish, a little something about your education and where you excelled, and where you’re at in your professional career and where you’d like to go.

5. Interests = Potential Careers.

In addition to your hobby interests that you’ve identified from above, I encourage you to list your potential careers as interests on your profile.  If employers are looking for people who want to be stock brokers, they can see that you’re interested in the stock market and investing.  There’s really no other place to put it on your profile, because it’s not necessarily something you studied in school and its not something you’ve done as a profession.

6. Join A Couple Groups.

Groups allow you to get together with other people who are interested in the same things.  You can learn a lot from the people in these groups, so I encourage you to join a few that might interest you.

7. Ask A Question.

LinkedIn has an interesting feature that allows you to ask any questions you might have.  Let’s say you want to know everyone’s opinion on Bank of America’s stock price.  You could ask a question on LinkedIn Answers and have highly qualified people answer your question in minutes.  Make sure you give credit to the person who provides the best answer though.  It’s common courtesy on LinkedIn.

8. Answer A Question.

Once you’ve put your own question out there, it’s time to show people what you’re made of.  Find a topic that you believe to be an expert on and answer someone’s question.  If your answer is the best, you’ll be credited with badges that show you are an expert in certain fields.

9. Ask For A Few Recommendations.

Now that you have your profile all up and running, the last thing to do is to ask for a couple recommendations.  Some people are against asking for recommendations.  They think recommendations should not be asked for.  I disagree with this thought though, because I find people won’t recommend you if you don’t ask for it.  So don’t be afraid.  Find some coworkers, classmates, or bosses that you think would be willing to write nice things about you and send them a request for a recommendation.

10. Go Mobile.

linkedin mobile iphone droid app

If you didn’t know, we’re living in what’s called the “Instant Generation.”  We now live in a world where waiting for information is unacceptable.  That’s why I encourage the use of mobile apps, and LinkedIn has a great one.  When you’re on the go, it gives you the opportunity to respond to messages and check out what your connections are up to.

If you follow these 10 steps, you’ll have a fully functioning LinkedIn profile where people can find you, connect with you, and could help you get a job.  If you have any additional thoughts you’d like to add, feel free to comment below.

Professional Diversification Online: Using Social Media to Promote Yourself

July 12, 2011 1 comment

social networks media facebook twitter wordpress blog linkedin youtube onlineSo I’m sitting in the first class of MGT 691, which is a continuation of BADM 726 that I took during the Spring 2011 semester.  The classes are focused on creating a personal brand and promoting that brand on various social media platforms.  Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this blog is my personal brand and I’ve been promoting it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

From here on out, I’m going to be starting a new category of posts called Personal Branding.  My plan is to start helping you use the Professional Diversification techniques I’ve shared by promoting yourself on social media platforms to help you get a job if you’re looking or keep a job if you’re at risk of being laid off.  If you are at risk of being laid off, creating a successful personal brand can help you jump right into something else and prevent yourself from a major setback.  Nobody wants to be unemployed for long periods of time.  We all have bills to pay and for some, even a month without a job can be devastating.

All this Professional Diversification stuff is useless if nobody knows about it.  Think about it.  You’ve written down your interests, skills, and inexperiences.  You know what your goals are and you know what motivates you.  What you’ve done is essentially assembled a Professional Portfolio…in your head.  You know about it and that’s it.  Unfortunately, that’s not good enough.  How are you supposed to get a job if you (and only you) know what you’re good at.  In order for employers to find you and learn about what you have to offer, you have to put it out there so they can find it and find YOU.

So with that being said, stay tuned for posts on how to properly use social media platforms and incorporate these Professional Diversification techniques to your benefit.

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How to Succeed in Life with the Help of Peter Drucker

July 10, 2011 1 comment

peter drucker how to succeed in lifeI was reading an article in Bottom Line about a guy named Peter Drucker.  The title of the article was How to Succeed in Life – From the Man Who Taught the World How to Succeed in Business.  I’d never heard of Peter Drucker until this article and I came to find out that he was known as the “father of modern management.” He knew when he was doing when it came to business, but what people didn’t know about him was that he was also highly successful in life.  Stop and think about that statement for a second.  He was successful in both business and life.  Yes, I know it’s hard to believe for some of us, but business and life are two very different beasts and we have to attack them both if we want to be successful.

In the article, Bruce Rosenstein, author of Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life, identifies three of Peter’s core life strategies.  I’m going to share these three strategies with you and try to relate them to the topic of Professional Diversification:

1. Live in more than one world.

Most people think the best way to be successful is to find one thing you’re good at and roll with it.  Peter Drucker advised against this focus, suggesting that you should find at least one interest outside your primary focus and turn it into more than just a hobby.  This is exactly what I’ve been talking about with my Potential Careers.  I’ve identified some of my favorite hobbies and learned how to be successful in each one of them.

Drucker found that people who have only one goal end up unhappy for a number of reasons.  Having only one goal leaves no fallback position should you be dealt a setback.  This is the whole idea behind Professional Diversification.  You’re trying to protect yourself if you happen to get laid off.

2. Choose a nonfinancial primary goal.

We all love money and I’m sure we all wish we had more money, right?  Unfortunately, money can’t buy you happiness.  This is exactly why Drucker felt a financial primary goal was unfit for a successful life.  People will go out, make a million dollars, and then have a desire to make even more money or wonder why they don’t feel fulfilled.  Instead, Drucker suggests choosing a nonfinancial primary goal, like maintaining a happy, loving family or choosing to treat everyone you meet with respect.

I wrote a post a while back about The Definition of Success.  How do you define success?  By the number of cars you have or how much your house is worth?  Or by how happy you are doing what you do?  I felt success was a split between the two, in which each individual has to decide how much of each equals success to them.  This is the same concept as choosing a nonfinancial primary goal.

3. Know and develop your core competencies.

Core competencies.  Think about your core competencies this way.  You figure out what you’re good at and how you can provide value to others.  You make a list of all these thing and what do you get?  A Professional Portfolio, of course!  See, I told you I wasn’t crazy.

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Webpage Credit:
Bottom Line Secrets
Peter Drucker – Wikipedia
Bruce Rosenstein – Blog

Related Articles:
How to Succeed in Life – From the Man Who Taught the World How to Succeed in Business

Defining Motivation: The 3 Major Social Motives

June 17, 2011 3 comments

motivation definition achievement affiliation influenceMotivation is always one of my favorite topics to discuss. In the past, I’ve written about my top motivating factors, how vacations can re-ignite your motivation, and how playing company softball can teach you a thing or two about motivation. I was recently introduced to an assessment in my leadership class in which a group of 5 people get together and talk about where they’ve come from, where they are now, and where they see themselves going from here. It can be related to school, work, relationships, or anything in between. The idea is for the rest of the group to determine what motivates you based on the things you’ve said. According to this assessment, there are three basic social motives that drive our behavior:

1. Need for Achievement

The goal of achievement motivation is the need to do better and to improve task accomplishment. This concept is typically known as “efficiency drive.” People who are achievement motivated strive to out-perform others, meet or surpass self-imposed standards of excellence, strive for innovative, unique accomplishments, and think about long-term career concerns. Achievement motivated people want personal responsibility and set challenging goals. They tend to be successful in entrepreneurial, small business, sales, technical, and engineering jobs, but are ineffective in managerial roles because they are often too pushy and/or coercive.

2. Need for Affiliation

The goal of affiliation motivation is the need for establishing, maintaining, or repairing friendly relationships. There are two types of affiliation. Affiliation Interest, which is the act of giving affiliation to others because of genuine interest, and affiliation assurance, which is the need to receive affiliation for others. People who are affiliation motivated strive to establish, restore, or maintain close relations with others, are concerned about separation or disruption of relationships, and always characterize group activities as social or friendly. They tend to be good helpers, consultants, and therapists, are effective in management roles that require relationship building, and tend to be more effective at creating participation.

3. Need for Influence

The goal of influence motivation is the concern with having an impact, with reputation and influence. This concept is often called “power motivation.” People who are influence motivated strive to exercise strong, influential actions, generate strong emotions in others, and express concern for reputation or position in the world. They are usually successful mentors, trainers, or instructors of others. They seek positions of leadership, authority, and status. They are usually effective managers and rise to the top of organizations.

My results

Before we actually started the assessment, I assigned the following weights for each of the three social motives:

Achievement – High
Affiliation – Medium
Influence – Low

I was surprised to find that my peers felt the same way about me. I’ve always said that I’m motivated the most by money (achievement) and that’s probably a true statement. But recently, I had an opportunity to apply for a different position at work that might have paid a little more then what I make now. I found myself not able to apply because I would have to leave the department I currently work for, which means I would have to leave my fellow coworkers and the culture that I’ve become a part of. The tradeoff between a slightly higher salary and relationships I’ve become a part of wasn’t worth it for me to even consider the move. This is when I realized that I’m much more affiliation motivated that I really thought I was.

Now that you know the 3 major social motives, where would you say you rank in each of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

NOTE: The descriptions provided in this post came from a handout passed out in my leadership class.  The author of the source is unknown.

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