Career Advice Archives - The Winding Road

Should We “Brand” Ourselves Professionally?

I’ve been thinking a lot about brand marketing, brands, and the concept of personal (or professional) brands. In the past, I’ve ignored branding and brand marketing because I didn’t think I was creative enough to be involved with it. Now I’m starting to realize that branding isn’t about being witty and creative in that way.  It’s about crafting a story in a way to shape people’s perception of your products or services. It’s like a guiding hand in helping them form their own stories about your brand. It’s why storytelling is such a valuable skill to have and to practice.  …

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Who’s it for?

Who’s it for? That’s what was on my mind as I was running this morning.  This is an important element of any marketing strategy or campaign. I’ve always thought of it as complementary to the question of “what’s it for?” Usually putting more emphasis on the latter question, probably because it’s usually easier to figure out.  That’s what I’ve done with the writing and content creation I’ve been focused on over the past year.  This is on my mind because I don’t think it just applies to my content or marketing projects. It applies to nearly everything we do. It’s …

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Changing the Game – Without a Resume

How can you get noticed without a resume or a LinkedIn profile? If you’re a software engineer and have a LinkedIn profile it’s like throwing bread out to hungry pigeons. It doesn’t take long before the flock of recruiters sending you messages grows and grows and grows.  LinkedIn has all kinds of fancy filters that recruiters can use that make discriminating against people pretty easy. Things like filtering results by graduation date making it nearly impossible for older employees to even show up in some search results. That’s why you won’t find my graduation dates anywhere on my LinkedIn profile. …

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8 Reasons to Start Networking- Even if You’re Not Looking for Another Role

If you never visit LinkedIn because you aren’t looking for another role you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build a strong, intentional network that will pay dividends well into the future. Making the right connections is, in my opinion, more important than what you know at any given time. Back when I was a corporate recruiter, LinkedIn was an integral part of my day. I spent more time on LinkedIn than anything else throughout the day. It’s been nearly five years (I was actually shocked when I realized how long it’s been) since I’ve done any recruiting on …

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Inbound vs Outbound Marketing and Your Career

I’m currently reading From Impossible to Inevitable by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin. You might think it’s strange that a marketing person is reading a book about sales. Prior to marketing, I was in sales roles. Both legit sales roles and recruiting, which is mostly a sales role. If great marketers make change, they also are connecting buyers with sellers. Buyers don’t always have to be physically purchasing something. It could also mean creating buy-in to a concept, idea, or in the case of your career, buying into your skills and experience. Great marketing bookends the sales process. It creates …

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Our Narratives and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

It’s all invented. Those three words have changed the way I view the world. A few months ago I read the book The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. The very first chapter is titled “It’s All Invented.” It’s a great book and I would highly recommend it. However, I probably could have stopped reading after Chapter 1 because that phase was all I needed to understand. It was a game-changer for me. The premise is so much of the world around us is and has been invented. Invented by humans. We invent things every day. …

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Career Survival: Staying Active When Things Feel Hopeless

Things are challenging for a lot of people right now. Seemingly overnight they went from being in a role with job security to being laid off. It’s crazy.  They’re now in survival mode. On the phone with their lenders and their local unemployment office.  Focusing on their career has turned into focusing on finding a job. Just about any job.  Finding a job in an environment in which no one is hiring.  Overnight, some of us have dropped several rungs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. You may have been focusing on self-actualization and now you’re wholly concerned about safety.  Even …

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Narratives and the Stories Other People Create About You

Stories are a part of our every day lives, whether we realize it or not. We are either telling ourselves stories about someone or a situation. We also do things to help others project a certain story about us. Take job titles, for example. They can be a signal to other people about your success. Or is it just perceived success? Do job titles give people a convenient place to hide? What do I mean a “convenient place to hide”? Research has been done that shows if we want to accomplish something big – like writing a book or running …

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Patience (Part 2) – Focus on the Small Things

Patience.  A lot of people talk about it but when it comes to practicing it ourselves a lot of us fall short, don’t we? Patience is a difficult thing to have when it comes to our careers. A lot of times we know we’re capable of so much more than we’re doing if only we had a chance to prove it.  I’m sure this is a thought that young professionals have on a nearly daily basis. Unfortunately, that’s not a thought that goes away when you get more experience.  If you’re a continuous learner like me and if you strive, …

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Patience: The Key to a Successful Career – Part I

A couple of weeks ago I was in Lincoln, Nebraska for a charity event and I was able to meet Ali Schwanke, a fellow speaker at the Digital Crush marketing conference last October (2019). After coffee, she gave me a tour of her office. It was very impressive and I particularly liked the breakout rooms that were named after well-known, highly successful marketers. People like Seth Godin, David Ogilvy, Rand Fishkin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Ann Handley.  After the tour we said goodbye and I drove from Lincoln to Omaha. As I was driving I was thinking about things and thinking …

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