Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Proprietary Metrics — the Next Big Thing in Talent Management

I am a strong advocate of what I call “parallel benchmarking,” which is borrowing the proven best practices from completely different industries and functions. This article advocates the borrowing and the adaptation to talent management of what are known as “proprietary metrics” from the baseball industry. Proprietary metrics get their name because they cover metrics that are so powerful that they are “owned” and their components are therefore not shared. In baseball, there are dozens of proprietary metrics, while in the corporate world of talent management, they are surprisingly rare. Corporate examples of these proprietary metrics include Google’s “retention metric” for predicting which employees are about to quit and its “hiring success algorithm” for predicting the characteristics that lead to new hire success on the job.

Baseball Has the Most Advanced Metric Model to Learn From

You might not know it, but baseball metrics (which are known as Sabermetrics) are literally years ahead of the metric practices in talent management. Most talent metrics are calculated but once a year and they merely inform the user about last year’s results. In direct contrast, most baseball metrics are provided in real time on the scoreboard for all players and managers to see precisely when they need right as they are making a decision. Many baseball metrics are also “predictive talent decision metrics” that accurately guide executives in important talent decisions including who to hire, how much to pay, and how long a player will continue to add value. Even “old-school” baseball managers now realize that the use of metrics for talent decisions can result in more productive hires, increased revenue, and significantly more wins.

The Value Gained by Not-sharing Your Metrics

Another critical lesson to learn from baseball relates to the value of sharing or not sharing the details behind your metrics. During the early Moneyball era in baseball, metrics were open and commonly shared by all teams. While this universal “open-source” sharing made it easy for teams to compare their performance against each other, the fact that every team used the same metrics meant that no individual team could gain a competitive advantage. It took a few years, but eventually baseball executives realized that increasing performance above that of your competitors was a critical goal. So in an attempt to develop a competitive advantage in metrics, the best teams and some vendors started to develop what are now known as “proprietary metrics” (examples include WAR, Ultimate zone ratings, and StatRank).

Proprietary metrics in both baseball and talent management by definition are unique and valuable, so the data used, the methods for collecting the data, and the components in the metric formula are all treated as valuable secrets. This exclusive or limited use allows executives using the proprietary metrics to make better talent decisions than their competitors.

A List of Proprietary Talent Management Metrics to Develop

If you have weak metrics, keeping them secret obviously doesn’t by itself add much value. What is needed are advanced talent decision metrics which provide such measurable insight and value that you want to keep them secret long as possible. Whether you are a corporation or a vendor, you should be constantly striving to develop these “proprietary metrics” that when used correctly, significantly improve talent management decisions and results. In order to have a large impact, proprietary metrics in most cases have to be developed in areas where no current metrics exist. Some areas where I suggest that proprietary talent metrics should be developed in the corporate world include:


  • The factors or algorithm that predicts candidate on-the-job performance and retention

  • A metric that shows what the level of competition for external top talent will be 6 to 12 months into the future


  • A risk metric that shows which employees have a high probability of quitting within six months

  • A metric that predicts what the turnover rate by manager will be in 6-12 months into the future


  • An algorithm that successfully identifies leadership potential in team members with less than two years at the firm

  • A leadership algorithm that predicts a leader’s success over the next two years based on the actions that they take

  • Calculating in which cases moving and retraining existing workers has a higher return on investment than externally hiring new ones

Productivity/ innovation

  • A metrics process that identifies the job-related factors that increase employee productivity and innovation

  • A metric that accurately identifies innovators among candidates and recent hires


  • An algorithm which shows which reward and recognition factors have the greatest impact on improving employee productivity

  • A metric which accurately determines which employees are under or overpaid

  • Predicting into the future how many years an individual employee will remain productive and “worth their salary”

Business case metrics

  • Calculating how much the value of a replacement new hire is above (or below) the value produced by the average current employee.

  • Calculating the increased dollar impact for each percentage increase in new hire on-the-job performance.

The proprietary metrics mentioned above might seem far-fetched to many talent management leaders, but some of them are already being used for improving baseball talent decisions.

In a Competitive World, Metrics Must Also Be Continually Improved 

Another lesson to be learned from baseball is that no matter how good your array of metrics are initially,  they will eventually be copied and even exceeded by your competitors (as baseball guru Billy Beane stated above.)

Keeping your best metrics proprietary will work up to a point. But in order to remain competitive, you must have a process for continually upgrading your talent metrics, so that your organization is continually in the lead in understanding the factors that cause current performance and that reveal future performance. Next-step metrics for most talent functions start with the development and use of real-time metrics to help managers make decisions based on today’s data. And at some point, talent decision makers will begin to demand predictive metrics that tell you in advance how you must act today in order to ensure superior future results.

And last but perhaps the most important metric frontier is the development of business-case metrics, which show you the direct value-chain connection between improving talent management results and the subsequent improvement in business results. This last step is essential because nothing increases funding and credibility more than quantifying and showing your direct dollar impact on corporate strategic goals.

What Exactly Should Be Kept Secret and Proprietary?

In baseball, some will reveal the name and the even the value of their proprietary metrics. But unless you are going to sell them, in the corporate world I wouldn’t even reveal those two factors because the mere knowledge of their existence and success will encourage others to develop similar metrics. You should also strive to keep secret the following metric-related components:

  • The data needed to calculate the metric

  • Where, when, and how that data is gathered

  • The elements and their weight in the formula for the metric

  • What is a passing and failing score on the metric

  • Which talent decisions are improved by the metric

  • Common problems involved in using the metric

  • The models developed as a result of the metric

Final Thoughts

After decades of work in metrics, I have found that both corporate recruiting and talent management are literally years behind in the adoption of all forms of advanced metrics. Google of course is the lone exception, with a variety of proprietary algorithms and its employee research lab. Google is also internally focused, so it avoids the use of benchmark comparison metrics with other firms.

A handful of ERP and talent management vendors have actually developed some proprietary metrics, but for the most part, I can’t honestly say that I have found them to be worthy of being kept secret. Instead, what is needed are bold corporate talent leaders who are not afraid to study and learn about the type of talent decisions that are currently made in baseball. Corporate leaders should then proactively identify new talent areas where a metric that explains why things are happening, what will happen in the future, and the correct actions to implement in order to take advantage of that future because these actions would add significant business value by increasing revenue, productivity, and innovation.

Obviously advanced and proprietary metrics are more difficult to develop, but the dollar business impact may be up to five times higher than using existing “copycat” low-value metrics like cost per hire or the number of training hours provided. So the last step is for leaders to stop worrying about benchmark comparisons with other firms and instead to focus on metrics that provide quarterly and year-to-year double-digit improvement in their own talent results.

via Proprietary Metrics — the Next Big Thing in Talent Management –

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Proprietary Metrics — the Next Big Thing in Talent Management

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Biggest Hiring Mistake You Can Make

In case you weren’t aware, it’s incredibly difficult to hire software engineers right now. This problem is not relegated to Silicon Valley, New York City, or Washington D.C. It’s everywhere. And for a software startup, not having the right talent at your disposal will be a real game-ender.

Here at The Startup Factory in Durham, North Carolina, I’m constantly being asked for connections to talent. In fact, I get asked for talent so much that I created a job fair specifically for tech companies to pitch the audience on why they should work for them.

So what can entrepreneurs do to recruit top talent? Or put another way, how will you compete with others for talent?

The first thing you’ve got to do is avoid shooting yourself in the foot. This usually happens when you find the right hire, but make a bad offer. As a startup you’re obviously low on cash, but you’re most definitely rich in equity. Future stock ownership granted through a stock option is the best compensation tool in your arsenal right now.

As a founder, or set of founders, you own all or most of your company. So an option grant has to be the most important part of your compensation offer because it represents the future value of your vision. If you are hiring a new vice president of technology to build out the tech side of your business, for example, then this set of skills may cost $175,000 or more outside the startup world. Allocating that much cash would be crazy, so you need to convince this person to take equity and a smaller amount of cash as part of her total compensation.

Too many times I’ve seen founders or chief executives present a weak equity offer thinking that giving up part of their ownership will only dilute the massive payday coming to them as visionary founders. The paradox is that the equity is not worth anything if you never get past the development side of your vision. And if you need to hire a VP-level superstar–who has the skills and experience you don’t–that is simply not going to happen.

By definition, your first hire should propel the company forward, and in a big way. So will you recruit her by offering a measly 0.2 percent of the company? If so, that’s a big mistake, as one of two things will happen. First, the person who would accept that offer is the wrong person for the job, as she won’t understand what this means. Or more likely, she’ll walk away because you don’t get it.

A terrific hire deserves 10 to 50 of the company’s equity, which are big numbers indeed. But that’s because it’s not about your idea but about the execution of your idea. This person is being hired to help make it happen.

Now that you are over your sticker shock, allow me to offer some comfort. Every stock option plan should have a one-year cliff to vesting the options, so offer your new hire a realistic stock option grant that gets her interested and build from there. If you don’t see momentum from this employee in a year, it’s probably best to part ways. And if the new hire moves the company forward, trust me: It will be the best investment you ever made.

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The Biggest Hiring Mistake You Can Make

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

IT Salary Survey 2014: Who"s hot, who"s not

It’s poaching season at Truven Health Analytics. The Santa Barbara, Calif., company has been up to its eyeballs in new projects since the federal government’s Medicaid business systems group enlisted Truven’s help to improve its Web-enabled reporting systems.

With business booming, Randy Lum, director of Truven’s software and database design group, needed two highly skilled developers — fast. But the rules of supply and demand were not in his favor. Nearly half of all managers who are in the hiring mood are looking for developers, according to Computerworld’s 2014 Salary Survey. So Lum took a tried-and-true course of action.

“I steal people,” he says, “people that I’ve worked with in the past that I know are good. I’m not shy about that. If I can offer them something they’re after, I won’t hesitate.”

In fact, five out of seven of his direct reports — all senior-level computer scientists — are former colleagues. Most of them are looking for job security, Lum says, but a competitive salary doesn’t hurt either. Right now his staffers earn between $128,000 and $143,000 per year. Their unique skill sets make them well worth the price, he adds.

“It is difficult to find developers with the right mix of technology skills for what we do,” he explains. “We’re not a large group, and my development staff is expected to have a wide range of skills — so they can work on any part of any project, ranging from database to the Web interface and everything in between.”

IT employees who participated in Computerworld’s annual salary survey share that view of the market. They say a shortage of IT workers with the right skills, an uptick in new projects and a shift in the way IT works with business units have given them renewed optimism about IT careers — though salaries and bonuses are advancing slowly.

Compensation and job security inch up

IT salaries continue to chug along, with pay increases averaging a modest 2.1%, according to the survey of 3,673 IT workers. Bonuses are up by an average of only 0.7%, slightly lower than the 0.9% increase seen in 2013.

On the bright side, companies are spreading pay increases among more IT workers. Some 60% of the respondents reported a raise, while only 8% reported a pay cut. That’s slightly better than last year, when 57% reported raises and 9% reported pay cuts, but well above 2012, when less than half reported a raise.

As the economy has improved, the percentage of respondents who feel secure in their jobs has also inched up, from 57% in 2012 to 59% in 2013 and 61% this year. Workers are also more optimistic about IT as a career: In 2012, only 29% said they believed that a career path in IT and the potential for salary advancement was as promising as it was five years prior, but that percentage increased to 38% in 2013 and to 42% this year.

The rising optimism among IT pros coincides with an increase in the number of open positions and a shortage of workers with the skills to fill those jobs. But while some people are in high demand, others find themselves sitting on the sidelines.

Hot, hot, hot

For the third year in a row, application development was the most sought-after skill: 49% of all managers who expect to hire this year said it was on their wish list.

Help desk and IT support skills ranked second, with 44% of managers expecting to fill jobs in those areas this year. That’s up from 37% in 2013 — the biggest year-over-year increase in our survey.

Not surprisingly, some organizations are having a tough time meeting salary demands.

It took six months to find a do-it-all help desk staffer to meet the growing technology demands of the Monadnock Regional School District in Swanzey, N.H., says Neal Richardson, the district’s director of technology.

“We had very highly qualified candidates; we just couldn’t meet their salary requirements,” which were $15,000 to $20,000 higher than the district could pay, he recalls. “We ended up going with [someone with] less experience.”

Public school IT professionals once accepted lower salaries in return for perks such as low-cost insurance and summers off, Richardson says. But school boards are whittling those benefits away. For instance, IT jobs are now year-round positions, he says.

Third place on the list of the most in-demand skills saw a tie between business intelligence skills and database analysis and development expertise, with 29% of hiring managers saying they planned to increase staffing in those areas.

“All things data” are red hot, says David Foote, CEO at Foote Partners, an IT labor market analyst firm. Titles such as data administrator, database developer and database architect are grabbing recruiters’ attention, especially for positions in larger companies.

Rounding out the top 10 in-demand skills among 2014 survey respondents were security, network administration, networking, cloud computing, Web design and development, and data management.

Headhunter calls, unfilled positions

With demand outpacing supply for many positions, more than half of our survey takers (54%) said a headhunter has contacted them in the past year.

“I get a lot of job offers from staffing companies and corporations that need a ton of DBAs and SQL administrators,” says Erin Baker, CIO at payroll processing firm Fastpay Payroll in Lubbock, Texas. He says he receives five to 10 calls a year from recruiters, and “most often they’re looking for SQL DBA or SQL programming skills.”

Though some offers have been tempting, Baker says no company has been able to beat the perks of his current job, which include weekends off, flexible hours and the opportunity to work from home.

David Fitzgerald, network and security engineer at Ariad Pharmaceuticals in Boston, says he gets a call or an email from a recruiter “probably once a day.” But like Baker, he doesn’t see himself leaving his current employer anytime soon. “It’s a small cancer-based pharma. They’re doing good things for people,” he says. “I have a great deal of autonomy. I can make a difference.”

(Many survey respondents ranked intangible factors such as recognition for good work and a positive corporate culture as important aspects of their jobs. See “What Do IT Workers Want?“)

All of those recruiter calls point to a growing challenge facing employers: It’s taking them longer to fill open positions. Half of the managers surveyed by Computerworld said that it has taken at least three months to fill open IT positions in the last two years.


via IT Salary Survey 2014: Who’s hot, who’s not – Computerworld.

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IT Salary Survey 2014: Who"s hot, who"s not

Why 2014 is the Year to Become an Independent IT Contractor

Michael Kirven, Mondo Signs point to 2014 being a banner year for IT hiring. Yet technology professionals might do well to reconsider whether they want to follow traditional full-time career tracks. There’s never been a better time to explore opportunities as a contractor — and the payoffs can benefit both workers and employers.

The Computerworld 2014 Salary Survey highlights the strong economic outlook for IT staffers, with more respondents reporting raises than in previous years and fewer reporting pay cuts. In addition, more than half say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their total compensation.

Yet respondents do have some career concerns, including the challenges of keeping skills up to date and finding new positions worthy of their experience. Others worry that their career trajectories have flattened out.

At the same time, a recent survey by my firm, technology resourcing provider Mondo, found that 48% of businesses plan to hire more IT contractors than full-time staff over the next 12 to 18 months, and 32% expect to increase their annual IT contractor budgets over the same period.

These shifts show that while technology hiring is, thankfully, on the upswing, the real opportunities may no longer lie in full-time jobs.

Flexibility is the new stability

Often, an increase in the use of tech contractors gets chalked up to companies not wanting to commit to long-term, full-time employees. But what we’re seeing at our firm, and among our clients, suggests that a big part of the shift toward contractors has to do with what job seekers want.

Tech professionals of all ages are increasingly interested in contracting. Generation Y workers entering the job market often don’t want to feel tied down to a single company; they may have even seen parents lose jobs despite lifetimes of professional loyalty. Older people, meanwhile, may be open to making a change because they’re out of work or are in fear of being laid off.

For both groups, and many professionals in between, taking the reins of your own career can be financially and professionally rewarding, and it can provide you with the satisfaction of finding yourself in demand, no matter how business needs at an individual company may change.

Brave new world

Being a contractor isn’t for everyone. It requires agility, the ability to market yourself as a brand, and not a little bit of bravery to take that first leap. However, many contractors find that myriad benefits come from cutting ties to conventional full-time employment, including a renewed excitement for their work as well as opportunities to contribute to high-profile projects and keep their skills current.

For those considering a change, many cities offer networking groups to connect IT contractors and tech employees, or you can mine your LinkedIn network to find former colleagues now working as full-time independent contractors. A contracting mentor can share valuable tips for setting hourly rates, securing benefits and staying connected to new assignment opportunities.

It’s an ideal time to give contracting a try. With companies hoping to grow innovation while keeping workforces flexible, there are more opportunities than ever, making contracting an increasingly attractive way for talented tech pros to not only survive, but thrive.

IT Salaries 2014

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Why 2014 is the Year to Become an Independent IT Contractor

What do IT workers want?

Smart employers know the score: Take-home pay still matters, but so do company culture, praise and challenging work.

As the economy continues to rebound and the competition for qualified IT professionals reaches new heights, employers seeking to attract or retain staffers are increasingly becoming like anxious suitors, desperate to figure out how to please their dates: “What do you want? What will make you stay? What really matters in our relationship?”

According to Computerworld’s 2014 IT Salary Survey, tech workers are looking for many traditional benefits of a good partnership: financial security, stability and reliability — all represented by salary and benefits. But this year’s results confirm a growing trend: IT professionals are placing increasing importance on “softer” factors in the workplace, which have less to do with dollars and cents and more to do with corporate culture, personal growth and affirmation.

Over the past several years, traditional incentives like base pay, benefits and bonuses have declined in importance, while less tangible rewards like recognition for a job well done, the opportunity to work with talented people, and the knowledge that one’s opinions are valued have gained ground.

To be clear, money still talks: Base pay still outranks all factors. But whereas 73% of respondents ranked pay as one of their five top concerns in the 2012 survey, just 49% did so in 2014. Benefits took a similar plunge, cited by 36% of those polled this year, down from 59% in 2012. And the percentage of respondents choosing vacation time declined eight points over the same period.

The biggest gainers over that span are factors that have a positive impact on quality of life (the choice of commuting distance rose seven points), the worker’s sense of security (job stability made the same gain) and the work environment (job atmosphere/community, being recognized for good work and being valued for one’s knowledge all rose five to seven points). Being able to work with highly talented peers and having challenging work are on the rise as well.

What workers want

What matters most to you about your job?

• Base pay: 49%

• Job stability: 45%

• Benefits: 36%

• Challenge of job/responsibility: 34%

• Vacation time/paid time off: 32%

• Flexible work schedule/telecommuting: 30%

• Job atmosphere/community: 28%

• My opinion and knowledge are valued: 28%

• Potential for career development: 19%

• Skills development/training opportunities: 19%

• Financial stability of organization: 19%

• Commuting distance/location: 18%

• Recognition for work well done: 18%

• Having the resources to do my job well: 16%

• Corporate culture and values: 16%

• Working with highly talented peers: 14%

• Working with leading-edge technology: 12%

• Effectiveness of immediate supervision: 10%

• How my work helps achieve organization

goals: 10%

• Bonus opportunities: 9%

Source: 2014 Computerworld IT Salary Survey; 3,648 respondents (up to 5 responses allowed)


Why these factors, and why now?

“In our recovering economy, IT workers are growing more confident,” says Shravan Goli, president of IT staffing firm Dice, which noted the importance of intangible rewards in its own recent salary survey. “The job market is good, with a lot more jobs out there. Folks are less worried about retention.

“Good pay is still necessary for retaining workers,” he continues, “but it’s no longer sufficient. These days, employees are putting a greater emphasis on career ambition and personal growth.”

At the same time, the nature of IT work is shifting, demanding a different mix of skills and traits. Where it once was desirable to be a master of a particular technology, today’s projects often require high degrees of collaboration, says John Reed, senior executive director of IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology. The ideal worker has a balance of tech skills and people skills, he says, so it’s not surprising that workplaces where people have the opportunity to acquire or use collaboration skills are gaining favor.

Respect, trust and fulfillment

Marty Rosensweig has had a long and successful career in IT. Beginning as a self-proclaimed “Beltway bandit” in 1973, he worked for years at American Management Systems (AMS) in a variety of roles. He left in 2002 and now works for a technology consulting company called ECSTeam as a senior consultant. What matters most to him in his work is the chance to continually reinvent himself.

“I’m at a point in my life where I’m not looking to get promoted but to be challenged,” he says. “I want to get something done. I want exciting and interesting work. I’m not really looking to make a million bucks.”

Even in his earlier years, Rosensweig says, money wouldn’t have been his only, or necessarily his primary, motivator. Much higher on his needs list were being recognized for his skills and having the opportunity to deploy them in the company of people he respected.

For instance, during his time at AMS, the company recognized Rosensweig for his contributions as a skilled technician — and not always with tangible rewards. “Those ‘attaboys’ and title promotions — they go a long way,” he says.

Though a generation younger, Andy Dillbeck shares Rosensweig’s views. A Web and database developer at JL Warranty, Dillbeck says the morale boosters his company dreams up create a corporate culture that has kept him content in his first job out of college.

Small perks, like impromptu smoothie runs and a modest stipend for carpoolers, add up, he says. Even more important, he adds, is the feeling that others trust his skills and the understanding that the company will invest in developing them.

“I’ve thought about applying elsewhere, but here I’m always being encouraged to try new things,” says Dillbeck, who has worked at JL Warranty for eight years. “When something goes well, when you go beyond expectations, you hear about it. I don’t want to end up in a cubicle farm where nothing you do really matters.”

The freedom to challenge himself, on company time, makes a difference. For instance, a few years ago when his manager saw Dillbeck’s enthusiasm for the then brand-new iPhone, he encouraged him to experiment with the technology. Dillbeck made two iOS apps, just to see if he could. That sort of trust and support is compensation of a different but no less important kind, he says.

Goli equates desirable workplace traits to Abraham Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs, which holds that meeting basic needs leads people to seek higher and higher levels of fulfillment. In the workplace, Goli says, once an adequate level of base pay and benefits are achieved, workers are freed up to consider higher needs like cultural fit and professional growth.

“Most tech jobs pay pretty well,” Goli says. “So where is the additional motivation to come from? Tech professionals in particular find fulfillment in challenge and innovative environments.”

Using culture to compete

IT managers charged with hiring and retaining staffers need to keep softer factors in mind if they want to compete in today’s labor market. A dearth of candidates in areas like big data, cloud computing, security, mobile and game development has companies competing like never before for a limited number of qualified workers, Reed says.

“Companies know that they can’t just put a job description out there and expect that to be enough these days,” he explains. “They have to tell the story of why, exactly, someone would want to work at their company. And the elements of that story have to include things like the creative and supportive environment that’s on offer, the chance to make a difference to a company’s vision, and what their company contributes to the community.”

Employers aren’t competing on a level playing field, Reed adds. High-profile companies like Google and LinkedIn have an easier time recruiting workers than more obscure or stodgier organizations. Public-sector employers face some of the highest obstacles.

“As a university, we know we’re not always competitive with private industry on base pay. With a market this hot, it’s a huge hurdle to find talent,” says Tom Harney, a programmer analyst at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. “But we can sell candidates on a culture, on education benefits and a flexible work environment.”

Harney himself is 15 years into his IT career. He has experience at a range of organizations, including a Fortune 500 company, a small e-learning business and a midsize finance company. Across those jobs, the defining factor in his satisfaction has always been cultural, he says.

“Every time I looked for a job, that’s been important,” he adds. “At times, I’ve felt like I was sold a bill of goods; a company promised that kind of supportive culture and then didn’t deliver. I keep that in mind with the people I manage now.”

Jana Canada has been working in the public sector since the late 1970s. Her current job is as a network administrator for the Sutter County government in California. She has been caught in an unenviable position, where pay remains tight and the quality-of-life benefits are declining. A much-appreciated working schedule that included half-day Fridays was recently axed with little notice, for instance.

What’s worse, Canada says, there’s a creeping disregard for the skills folks like her have honed over the years — skills that are still key to the smooth functioning of the county’s systems.

“Over the last five or six years, we’re seeing an environment that turns its nose up at you,” Canada says. “Everybody wants to be appreciated. A ‘well done!’ would mean a lot, especially in a situation where there hasn’t been a raise for three or four years. I used to wake up and think, ‘What’s going to happen today?’ But it’s harder to sustain that motivation in this environment.”

Millennial influence

Now more than ever, companies need to be concerned with how their workplaces are perceived by outsiders, says Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing firm Modis. “Prospective employees are really selective these days, and they can find out a lot more about what’s really going on at your company. [The millennial] generation especially: They want to know a lot upfront about your company’s culture. They ask good questions, different questions.”

Whereas older employees are likely to ask about the project at hand, younger ones ask about softer factors, and “they have the power of social media behind them,” Cullen says. “If a company says it has an appreciative environment, job seekers can find out if that’s true through backdoor references or online at places like Glassdoor. Transparency is the name of the game now.”

In the ongoing arms race for IT talent, the companies that prevail will make cultural changes to stay competitive to the generation now entering the workforce. As Dice’s Goli sees it, “those companies that can outline a path forward for their employees — help them migrate to the next level of their growth and connect that to the work of the company — those are the ones that will do best in the employment space.”

via What do IT workers want? – Computerworld.

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What do IT workers want?

Top-paying industries for IT 2014

Some IT professionals fared significantly better than others this year based on the industry in which they work. Somewhat surprisingly, the Computerworld 2014 Salary Survey respondents who reported the biggest pay increases work for nonprofit organizations, where total compensation — salary plus bonus — was up 4.4% from the previous year.

28th Annual Salary Survey

Other industries that saw strong increases in total compensation include telecommunications (up 4.3%), entertainment/marketing/advertising (up 4.1%), mining/agriculture/construction/engineering (up 3.4%) and legal/insurance/real estate (up 3.3%).

Growth in bonuses was highest for IT pros who work in the legal/insurance/real estate industries, with an average 9% increase, and in telecommunications, with an average 8.6% increase. The industries that saw the largest decreases in bonus payments were education (down 9.7%) and health/medical services (down 7.1%). No industries saw a decrease in total compensation or in salary year-over-year.

Here’s a look at the total compensation of a sampling of IT job titles by industry:

Computer services/consulting

CIO/vice president of IT: $148,500*

IT manager: $123,262*

Software engineer: $103,079

Application developer: $75,289*

Systems administrator: $73,567*

Help desk/tech support specialist: $45,052



CIO/vice president of IT: $168,133*

Director of IT: $101,315

IT manager: $75,313

Network engineer/architect: $71,129*

Systems administrator: $59,948

Help desk/tech support specialist: $48,473



Director of IT: $105,805*

IT manager: $100,049

Technology/business systems analyst: $83,635*

Systems administrator: $80,468*

Programmer/analyst: $79,573*

Help desk/tech support specialist: $58,545*



CIO/vice president of IT: $175,829*

Director of IT: $113,598

IT manager: $90,177

Systems administrator: $71,824

Technology/business systems analyst: $71,018*

Help desk/tech support specialist: $51,030*


Legal & insurance

CIO/vice president of IT: $226,206**

Director of IT: $132,715**

IT manager: $102,760*

Programmer/analyst: $93,811**

Systems administrator: $85,329**

Help desk/tech support specialist: $55,499**



CIO/vice president of IT: $197,781*

Director of IT: $132,052*

IT manager: $99,050

Systems administrator: $73,467*

Network administrator: $63,078*

Help desk/tech support specialist: $56,052*


* More than 15 responses but fewer than 30

** 15 or fewer responses

via Top-paying industries for IT 2014 – Computerworld.

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Top-paying industries for IT 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why You Should Think in Reverse to Find a New Job

Sometimes you can achieve a breakthrough by thinking in the opposite direction. Take 7-Up, for example. It became hugely popular in the ‘60s by branding itself as the Uncola. 7-Up went in the reverse direction from other soft drink companies, who were competing with Coke and Pepsi in the cola market.

Or how about the Volkswagen Beetle? Back when Detroit was pumping out big, fast, hot muscle cars, VW was selling the small, slow, ugly Beetle. They went in reverse — and found huge commercial success.

Success in your job search might be right around the corner, if you’re willing to do the opposite of what the hordes of other job seekers are doing. Here are two examples of “reverse thinking” that could help you find a job faster …

1) The Reverse Personal Commercial

You may have heard that you need to develop a “personal commercial” about yourself when networking — a sort of 30-second advertisement, like: “I’m a sales manager with 11 years’ experience, who’s looking for a job at a Fortune 500 company.”

The trouble is, if every other job seeker has a commercial like this, you may find it hard to stand out when networking or attending a job fair, for example.

Well, here’s a new take on that idea, adapted from “The Little Black Book of Connections,” by Jeffrey Gitomer.

It’s called the “Reverse Personal Commercial,” strategy. And if you follow it, you can engage more people while networking. All you have to do is ask questions, instead of spitting out a canned “commercial” from memory.

The questions that make up your Reverse Personal Commercial might go like this: “Hi, my name’s Fred. Say, how many (insert your field here) companies in Minnesota do you know that are growing? What companies do you know that need to improve their (insert your expertise here)? Who do you know that I should be talking to?”

Now. Why do questions work? They’re hard to ignore — they force listeners to pay attention. Plus, questions let you gather valuable data, so you can quickly tell whether or not you’re talking to someone who can give you a job lead.

So, I have two questions for you:

What questions could you ask about your industry and your expertise that would engage listeners?

Whom could you meet and try your Reverse Personal Commercial on today?

2) Reverse Engineer the Job Posting

Reverse engineering is taking an object apart to see how it works, in order to duplicate or enhance that object. When you reverse engineer a job posting online or in the newspaper, you can see how the mind of an employer works, which will enhance your job search!

According to career expert Carole Martin, hiring managers put a lot of time and effort into writing job postings that list the qualities and skills of their ideal candidates.

In other words, the typical job posting is a wish list. If you can match its language in your resumes and cover letters, you’re much more likely to get called for an interview.

Here is an example, provided by Martin, of desired traits found in six job postings for the position of Executive Secretary:

“Confidential” (used in all six postings)

“Ability to proofread and edit” (used in all six)

“Organized, attentive to detail” (used in all six)

“Excellent written and verbal communication skills” (used in four of six postings)

Do you see a pattern here?

If you’re applying for an Executive Secretary position, you need to highlight the above traits in your cover letter and resume … so long as they apply to you, of course!

Bonus: You can use these same words in an interview to make it sound like you’re a natural fit for the position. After all, you’ll be speaking the same language as your employer. So get busy reverse engineering today!

via Why You Should Think in Reverse to Find a New Job.

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Why You Should Think in Reverse to Find a New Job

10 Must-Have Apps for IT Recruiters and Hiring Managers

10 Must-Have Apps for IT Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Finding good tech help is no small task. Take your IT recruiting and hiring practices to the next level with any of these sourcing apps.

Click to see slideshow

via 10 Must-Have Apps for IT Recruiters and Hiring Managers

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10 Must-Have Apps for IT Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Women Leaders Must Dive In, Not Just Lean In (Part 1)

There is a women’s leadership movement afoot that needs to transition from underground grassroots to mainstream establishment. This isn’t about goodwill, preferences or representation. Mobilizing women into leadership positions is mandatory for sustainable economic growth, global competitiveness and innovation across all industries.

It’s time for women to dive-in, head-first and heart-strong. They must actively deploy their unique ability to see with wide-angle vision and sow opportunities with a passionate pursuit – as do all great pioneers that change the status quo and build new bridges. International Women’s Day, recently celebrated on March 8, reminded us of “the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.”

Women are ready to live with an entrepreneurial spirit and activate their ability to connect the dots of resources and relationships to create and sustain momentum. Women wired to naturally promote the spirit of giving and lead to leave a legacy will cultivate continuous impact and influence in the industries they serve.

In order to consistently deliver on the natural leadership skills that they possess, women must confidently convert today’s shallow waters into deep reservoirs of endless possibilities in business, government and the media. This is not just about having a voice; it’s about changing the conversation about what is required to enable growth, innovation and opportunity.

Since the publication of my article titled, The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits Of Women, I’ve received hundreds of emails from women all over the world who were inspired, yet surprised that a man understood that women in leadership represented today’s new normal. While I was equally inspired by their voices and touched by their stories, I was more impressed by just how ready women are to lead.

Not just because they believe they deserve a seat at the table, but more so because they see that their natural abilities to lead are in alignment with what the marketplace warrants during this time of survival, renewal and reinvention. Their instincts tell them that their time has come to dive-in and get things back on track.

One of those emails introduced me to two senior female executives at Deloitte LLP who exemplify leadership at its highest level: Maritza Montiel, Deputy CEO & Vice Chairman, and Jennifer Steinmann, Deputy CEO and Chief Talent Officer. This led to the opportunity to conduct a candid interview about their leadership journey and their advice to other women.

Following is Part 1 of my conversation with them. Part 2 will run tomorrow.

Glenn Llopis: Maritza, why are you so passionate about women in leadership?

Maritza Montiel: My passion for the topic of leadership came from observing women and men in different leadership roles and from sitting on the executive committee and multiple boards. When you get to see women in action from many different dimensions, as well as men, it can be quite insightful if you pay attention.

I started my career back in a different era, the early 1970s, a pioneer stage of the women’s revolution when we were told – and many believed – that you could have it all. Not exactly true; my philosophy always was: “You can have it all; you just can’t have it all at once.”

Llopis: What has made women successful in business since then?

Montiel: Women through the years have had to face multiple challenges, making them the world’s greatest multi-taskers. I think this is one reason why women succeed in business.

For example, many mothers work day and night as caretakers, CEOs of the household – and yet they also come into the workplace and compete in very challenging environments, where they have to put in long hours to get ahead. This challenge is a real balancing act. As Jen’s mentor, I encouraged her when she was 8 ½ months pregnant to take the job and we would figure out the work/life balance.

Women today are in a much different place than we were when I started out. But we still have a lot of barriers to overcome and ground to cover. When you look statistically at women in corporate America – and organizations throughout the world – it is still highly disproportionate. Only 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women – a number that has not changed in the past decade.

When we begin to see more role models and more women defining the rules, we will see what that success looks like and can begin to emulate it. Not that you should be like everyone else, but it does cause you to begin to think about what is possible.

Llopis:  How did it affect you, not having role models?

Montiel: When I was young, and thinking about getting to the next level, becoming a partner – we had two different evaluation processes: current performance and long-term potential. Even though I got good performance reports every six months, I always got “undecided” for long-term potential.

When I asked a lead partner at the office why, he said, “We just don’t know about you because there are no other women partners.”

They may have thought my potential was limited, but I never did. That is why you have to dive in, not just lean in. You can’t whisper, you have to roar – and be assertive about your desire to lead and to succeed.

Llopis: Jennifer, what are the top barriers that women can overcome faster than people might think?

Jennifer Steinmann: People make assumptions about your willingness to take on a challenge, especially if you’re in a unique situation (in my case, being 8 ½ months pregnant). I broke down those assumptions, that barrier, by making an impact running our talent organization.

There aren’t that many women in senior leadership roles, so as Maritza pointed out, that can be a barrier when you don’t have enough role models. What women have done this before you so that you can see how things work and orient yourself around their example in order to better position yourself and adjust to the environment most effectively?

When I walked into my first executive meeting, I was aware of being new in this role and making a jump into a leadership role where someone was perhaps taking a chance on me. I hadn’t necessarily cleared all the leadership hurdles normally required for someone taking a leadership job at this level.

This led to another barrier of sorts, what I would call the: “lots of people want to help me” syndrome.

Llopis:  How was that a barrier?

Steinmann: In the beginning, I was surrounded by other people and this made it hard to filter out the noise.  Several people felt entitled to tell me what to do even though I was the one that had the job.

But the final, most important barrier was myself. I got the job, and I had to derive confidence from that. Support from women’s groups helped me to see that it didn’t matter how I got the job – I had the job because someone saw something in me and believed I could get the job done.

I needed to take in the input I was getting from others but ultimately follow the vision I had as a leader. I needed to “leader up” and make a mental shift from being a mentee to being a leader, get others to follow my lead, seize the opportunity and run with it.

As a constant reminder, I have a poem on my desk (Invictus by William Ernest Henley) that was hung on the wall of our kitchen by my father. The last line reads:

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

That’s how I look at my role and it helps me overcome the challenges and the barriers, even when they are self-inflicted.

Llopis: As you think about how you grew into the role, how can you use that to inspire other women leaders to elevate their own confidence?

teinmann: The critical glue that holds everything together is finding those 1 or 2 people who can give you a pep talk when you need it and champion you when you need it. The right mentors and sponsors will give you straight talk and have no agenda other than helping make you successful. Day or night I knew I could ping Maritza and ask her to take a look at something and let me know her thoughts. I could ask: “Am I off on this, or on the right track?”

If you do all of your homework in assessing the situation and determining what direction to go, you will build confidence in yourself that you have set the right vision and that you’re going to execute the job well.

Llopis:  Was there a defining moment for you, when you felt your confidence grow as a leader?

Steinmann:  The mental shift happened for me in one meeting when we were very close to launching a new operating model for our talent organization. Two senior partners sat me down and started to lecture me.   I didn’t know what their objective was, but I came out of it saying I’m going to do this my way and stop worrying about what other people think.

Every now and then, take a step back, look at what you’ve been asked to do, and then have the courage to see it through, because you’re the one that’s done the work and nobody’s in a better position than you – because you’ve got the knowledge, the ownership, and the responsibility to get it done.

Llopis: You know you’ve found yourself in a defining moment when preparedness meets opportunity.

Steinmann: Our gut tells us when we are ready, even when others may not think we are. That’s when you take it upon yourself and just go for it.

Llopis: When you were mentoring Jennifer, when did you start to see things clicking for her?

Montiel: I remember that same meeting and saying, “You don’t work for those two individuals. You work for the CEO. Thank them for their input and let them know you will discuss it with your boss at the appropriate time.”

This is the way to establish your own authority. Show interest in what they have to say, but you’re not there to do what they think you should do. You’re there to execute your job as a leader, based on the vision and expectations your boss defines for you.

This is something I see with a lot of women: they think they have to ask for permission to lead.

Llopis:  Why do you believe women need to ask permission?

Montiel:  Men don’t suffer from that (in general), but women are brought up more not to offend anyone. They worry how it will come across if they push too hard. This leads them to worrying about things that have nothing to do with their job.

At the end of the day, it’s about having conviction, focus, and self-confidence. Knowing you’ve been asked to take this job, so you take the risk, and even if you fail, even if you are taken out of the job, you’ll learn a lot more from failing than if you hadn’t tried at all.

There is a moment when you have to take that leap of faith, and have the courage to stand up and speak for yourself. When Jen gave herself permission to do that, it was very liberating. Her confidence during and after that meeting dramatically changed.

Her new-found confidence said: “I deserve to have a seat at the table.”

“I am equal in terms of knowledge and I can contribute equally to any other person in this room.”

“My opinion matters and my opinion counts, so I will speak up and talk about the things I think are important.”

This is what great leadership is all about. But first you have to take that initial step, and eliminate the fear you have inside you.

Llopis: It sounds like you played a pivotal role in helping her get over that fear.

Montiel:  Well, Jen came in at a pivotal time for us. We really needed to transform the talent organization for 21st century leadership and the new rules to compete. Jen is working on this paradigm shift and understands the different generations, their desires, their needs, their demands – and that we needed to work in a different way to achieve our goals and objectives.

It all came from that one defining moment; she did it, all I did was cheer her on and tell her: “I’ve got your back.”

This is the end of Part 1 of my interview with Deloitte’s Maritza Montiel, Deputy CEO & Vice Chairman, and Jennifer Steinmann, Deputy CEO and Chief Talent Officer.

via Women Leaders Must Dive In, Not Just Lean In (Part 1) – Forbes.

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Women Leaders Must Dive In, Not Just Lean In (Part 1)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What does Geography have to do with Hiring Tech Candidates?

Despite a relatively high rate of national unemployment, many companies are facing a talent gap. When it comes to the tech industry and top tech talent, the gap between supply and demand of candidates is especially wide.

With tech candidates so hard to find, part of the solution is knowing just where to look. In this infographic, we analyzed our own database to determine the best areas for recruiters to find tech talent – and found the cities that are most rich with tech talent (per capita).

While the jury on telecommuting is still out, your company will fall behind if you don’t find the top candidates, wherever they might reside.


via The RemarkableHire Blog.

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What does Geography have to do with Hiring Tech Candidates?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CIOs Must Become Technology Consultants

The new role of the CIO can be summed up in one word: consultant.

“Technology’s role in the business is increasing” beyond the purview of the traditional CIO, says Andrew Wilson, CIO at giant tech consultancy Accenture. “The CIO has to embrace the challenge.”

In the old days, the CIO would green light or, more often, red light technology purchases and manage all the technology in their data centers. They would provide service to internal customers much like a big telephone company would for customers — that is, at the CIO’s discretion and with varying levels of customer service.

“A good consultant comes at it from an industry and client perspective and with an outcome rather than with tools and technology.”

The CIO’s Role Is A-Changing

Times, though, have changed dramatically in the last few years. New and exciting technology in social media, mobile and cloud have empowered business leaders to seize control and benefit from technology directly. Today’s business leader seeks to adopt immature, consumer technology that the CIO used to shun.

It’s now contingent upon the new CIO to make the technology sales pitches, not receive them. The new CIO must show how IT services can help business leaders become better within their particular operations, as well as how a cross-departmental, holistic approach raises the tide and lifts all boats. The new CIO must advise and assist on technology adoption, not give orders and mandates.

In essence, the new CIO must become an internal tech consultant and reach out to business unit leaders in marketing, finance, human resources and other departments, Wilson says.

CMOs, CFOs and chief human resource officers (CHRO) are all facing digital disruption within their departments and must quickly become technology evangelists. While they need help in doing so, many are loath to reach out to the CIO because of past experiences. The old CIO had a reputation of throwing up barriers.

In truth, though, the CIO is in the perfect position to make a sales pitch.

“I spent time with our chief marketing officer on how to bring alive the value proposition of technology, which may be quite leading edge and possibly something we might not have automatically adopted in the way we used to operate,” Wilson says, adding, “Don’t be competitive with the C-suite.”

CIOs and CMO Suddenly Must Be BFFs

There is no question that the relationship between the CIO and CMO is going through a sea change, as the CMO is forced to become tech savvy. Social networking, mobility, customer data and analytics are giving rise to the digital marketer. Suddenly, the CIO and CMO roles are overlapping. Thus, the CIO has to become a partner with the CMO or risk being left out of the technology purchasing decision.

While technology is shaking up marketing, finance is also undergoing a transformation. A joint Oracle and Accenture survey of 1,275 mostly CFOs and senior finance executives found that the CFO needs to be a technology evangelist. Nearly three-quarters of finance executives believe new technologies, such as cloud, mobile and social media, will change how finance is structured and run.



Yet only 20 percent of C-level respondents say their finance departments have adopted leading-edge technology. New skills and analytics capabilities are needed to execute on modern finance’s mandate, the study concludes. All of this makes a sales environment ripe for an internal tech consultant, such as the CIO.


“A good consultant comes at it from an industry and client perspective and with an outcome rather than with tools and technology,” says Wilson. “I must not just be a technologist. I must be an articulate, collegiate business operator who also owns the technology responsibilities that enable the firm.”


The new CIO will need to speak the language of the CFO, the CMO and even the CHRO.


Biggest Internal Client May Be HR


The HR function, too, is looking at a technology facelift with social tools for internal collaboration and external communication. Many CHROs are seeking transformative technologies in talent management and analytics.


Yet many CHROs lack a digital strategy. They’re only beginning to apply analytics and social business to their processes. According to a recent IBM study, only 50 percent of the HR organizations surveyed use workforce analytics, with far fewer using predictive analytics to optimize decision making in areas such as sourcing and recruiting. Helping CHROs are at the top of the CIO’s list this year, the IBM study concludes.


By now, it should be clear that CIOs must expand their role and be a consultant to the rest of the business, in addition to their current responsibilities. A recent study by Forrester found that the share of IT projects primarily or exclusively run by IT will decline from 55 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2015.


“Change in the CIO role is more prevalent now than at any point in my career,” Wilson says, adding, “It’s about running IT as a business.”

What business would that be? A consultancy, of course

via CIOs Must Become Technology Consultants –

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CIOs Must Become Technology Consultants

CIOs Still in Control of Most IT Spending, Forrester Says

CIOs still have the last word over most IT spending but over time they will work more closely with business units on buying decisions, a Forrester Research survey finds.

Only 6.3 percent of new technology purchases in the U.S. were made and implemented solely by business units in 2013, according to the report’s author, Forrester vice president and principal analyst Andrew Bartels. Some 9 percent of spending involved technology the business unit chose but the CIO’s team implemented and managed.

However, “the ideal tech-buying process is one in which the business and the CIO’s team work together to identify a need, find and fund a solution, choose the right vendor or vendors, implement it, and manage it,” Bartels wrote in the report. “We estimate that more than a third of tech purchases will fit that profile by 2015.”

Moreover, the share of tech purchases the CIO’s group “primarily or exclusively makes” will drop from 55 percent to 47 percent by 2015, Bartels added.

Still, “pundits who make sweeping statements about tech spending shifting from the CIO’s department to the business fail to appreciate the complex process involved in buying and owning technology,” he wrote.

Business units’ share of new technology spending went up from 2010 to 2012, fueled by purchases of smartphones and tablets, but this trend will wane as such items become part of consolidated IT budgets, according to Bartels.

Meanwhile, business unit purchasing of SaaS (software as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) is growing, “though the actual volume of spending is relatively small because many of these purchases have first-year costs measured in the tens of thousands of dollars,” he added.

Although control over tech spending is shifting slightly away from CIOs, they shouldn’t be alarmed, according to Bartels: “The fact that business users are taking the lead in identifying opportunities to apply technology solutions to business problems is a good thing, not something to be deplored.”

But CIOs should make sure their relationships with various business executives are strong, so they will come to the CIO’s office for help, he added.

While the report focused on the U.S., the same trends are likely to be found worldwide, particularly in countries such as the U.K. which have similar technology adoption profiles, Bartels said in an interview on Monday.

But many other countries aren’t as advanced in their usage “and still tend to view technology through the lens of the IT department,” he added. In those nations, the amount of tech spending led by business users is probably lower than in the U.S., according to Bartels.

via CIOs Still in Control of Most IT Spending, Forrester Says –

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CIOs Still in Control of Most IT Spending, Forrester Says

How to Craft Your Personal Brand Statement

Before you write blog posts for the masses, before you apply for those positions, before you even set up your LinkedIn profile there is one thing you should do – craft your very own personal brand statement.

Your bio, elevator pitch and any other descriptive text about you will invariably start out with your personal brand statement.

What is a personal brand statement?

Your statement is 1-2 sentences answering what you are the best at (value), who you serve (audience) and how you do it uniquely (USP). It sums up your unique promise of value. Your personal brand statement is distinctive to you and you alone. You could liken it with a tagline, strapline or even a catchphrase that product brands will have.

The personal brand statement is not a job title. A job title is what others will try to classify you with, what employers and others want you to be to fit you into a corporate setting. You deserve better than that.

It’s also not your personal mission statement, career objectives or even life purpose. These are much more long-term concepts intended to guide you through life and not aimed at marketing you to anybody.

A personal brand statement is memorable, punchy and solution oriented. As opposed to simply saying “John is a boiler man”, why not “John keeps families warm through bespoke heating installations”? To be continued…

Why do you need a personal brand statement?

How many times have you been asked what you do? Do you feel like people really understand what you do or is it merely pleasantries? I bet you can tweak what you say and leave a lasting impression with that person, an impression that might just lead to business one day.

Just being another hairdresser or plumber is not going to allow you to stand out. When you don’t stand out, you will have to compete against everyone else on price which isn’t a great situation to be in. To be successful in today’s economy you have to specialize; you have to choose a topic and master it. Your statement will clarify exactly what you do, how you do it and for whom. By communicating this, you and your target audience will know exactly what you are capable of.

writing your personal branding statement

How do you write a personal brand statement?

Start with listing your key career or business attributes on a piece of paper. Once the list is complete, take a good look at it and pick out the ones that make you unique. These will form your unique selling points, or USPs.

Look at your unique values and key attributes and you should be able to develop a 1-2 sentence brand statement, answering these three questions:

• What value you provide (what problem do you solve)

• How you do it uniquely (your USPs)

• Whom you do it for (your target audience)

Remember to be clear on the value, don’t confuse anyone with any fluffy terms that don’t mean anything. Furthermore, what makes you unique in one place may not be unique in another, e.g. big cities will have lots of specialists and experts in certain fields, small towns only one and that makes him or her unique to that location.

Target your audience

Whom are you aiming your services at? A particular industry, geography, age demographic? Try to stay somewhat focused on a sector of the market and don’t spread yourself too thin. The reason personal branding has become critical for business and career success is that nobody wants to buy from the person that does everything for everyone. Look at what target audience would benefit the most from your services and zero in on this.

Stay authentic

When writing a personal brand statement it’s easy to get carried away and putting down what you’d like to be one day. The old “fake it until you make it” approach does carry some merit but don’t overdo it. Never call yourself a guru, ninja, samurai, expert or even thought leader unless you truly are one. Only your audience can determine whether you are an expert and you will know if that is the case. The aim of your statement is to inform and inspire the reader, not to scare them off with fancy titles.

Make it punchy and memorable

Using technical or big words could alienate your target audience. You want a seven year-old to understand and be able to repeat what you do. Whenever you introduce yourself at a networking event, stay punchy and memorable. Ideally you will want that person you were talking with to tell other prospective customers what you do – this will cover a lot of ground, trust me.

Keep it reasonably short

Less is more as they say. Your ability to describe exactly what you do in one sentence says a lot about your introspection and professional focus. In some cases you have to take up two sentence but always aim for one. I will give you a special dispensation to write more if you have done more things in your life than Tim Ferriss.

It ain’t cast in iron

You will soon find that you are going to tinker with your statement after it’s written up. It’s easy to change it but just don’t get carried away and change it every week. On the flipside, some people will never look at it again. Even though it’s time consuming, your personal brand statement should be revised at least once a year to reflect changes and advancements in your professional career. In order to be effective, it needs to stay current.

Example brand statement

Back to our Scottish boiler man, here’s an idea for a statement:

“John keeps families in Edinburgh (target audience) warm (value) through bespoke heating installations using only the most advanced German boilers (unique)”.

This clearly tells you what John does, for whom and gives you an insight into how. I would say the statement is memorable, I for one think of a family keeping warm and snug over Christmas all thanks to the fantastic boiler man John.

Call to action

Finally it’s your turn to start looking at your statement. Don’t put this off, you’ll find that it’s a wonderful marketing tool that you are going to use over and over. Most people haven’t really thought about their statements so you will stand out with an effective one. Over time I would think personal brand statements will be part and parcel of any successful career or business.

Do you have a personal brand statement? What is it?

How to Craft Your Personal Brand Statement.

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How to Craft Your Personal Brand Statement

The 7 Rules of Effective Personal Brand Statements

Guest Blog: Jorgen Sundberg

I will assume that you have already crafted a personal brand statement and you may even have used it a few times. Before you spray every social media outpost with it, take a few minutes to go through this checklist to make sure it does you justice.

Here are seven hallmarks of an effective personal brand statement:

1. The length of one out-breath

You should be able to take a deep breath and then comfortably deliver your statement. If it’s any longer than this, you risk not making that impact you were looking for so chop it down.

2. The WOW-factor

Just like any performance, your personal brand statement should be received with a mixture of surprise and delight. If this isn’t the case, you are probably saying something very similar to your peers. Make it unique and you’ll evoke the WOW on people’s faces.

3. An eight-year-old understands it

Or a four-year-old if you are really tough on yourself. Your statement should never contain any technical terms or jargon, it should be in plain English and touching on the lowest common denominator. Test it on your children and see how you fare, can they tell you exactly what benefit and value you add?

4. Yours and only yours

Can you be sure that your statement is unique? Well and easy way to test that is by asking colleagues, peers and competitors what they use. Or you can go to an industry event and do some eavesdropping to see what NOT to say. If you find that your statement is similar to others, try harder to really make it stand out by examining exactly what you do uniquely and how to present this.

5. Delivered with confidence

stating the brand personally

The delivery is equally important to the content. You must be able to put on your best story telling voice and really mesmerize your new found acquaintant. Great delivery comes with practice so get in front of your mirror and get rehearsing today.

6. Leaves them wanting more

A classic trick in show business is to dazzle the audience and have them begging for more. By only giving out a teaser that is interesting enough, you are likely to be asked to elaborate and that’s when you go into selling mode.

7. Catchy, memorable and repeatable

To cover a lot of ground you are going to need others to spread your statement via word-of-mouth marketing. In order for them to do this, you have to stay punchy and memorable enough to get repeated over and over.

Final thought

Remember that your personal brand statement will always be a work in progress and you should update it as your career or business changes over time. Revisiting the statement every now and then is great for introspection and give you great direction in your professional life.

Would you say your statement cuts the mustard?

via The 7 Rules of Effective Personal Brand Statements.

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The 7 Rules of Effective Personal Brand Statements