Mind your manners to work well together, know what others want from you and be helpful on social media. Last night at the Western Michigan Project Management Institute (WMPMI) meeting, I listened to the insights from former students of the PMI Project competitions, Spectrum Health System’s IT recruiter, and social media consultant for Spectrum Health and founder and leader of LinkedUp Grand Rapids about project management, careers and online professional branding.
I was particularly interested in project management because the success rate for projects worldwide was as dismal as implementing CRM software. There were too many silos of information and people did not communicate well. So PMI has been structuring those processes and knowledge areas for professionals. I was keen to relate that to organizational and personal marketing to help my own clients, as well as students at Aquinas College.
Pro-Actively Managing your Career from College to Retirement
Here’s what the students, now employees, said about how their experience with “The Project” had influenced their education about project management and their career path decisions:
- It helped me find out where I would fit in.
- Communication was most important to get others to help.
- I did not have to do it all because I was part of a team.
- Mentors and academics created tension, but provoked thinking and problem solving.
- Risk was revealing in how to structure projects to mitigate it.
- It helped to have a clear vision of the project and its impact on the organization.
- It was necessary to be respectful of others to obtain their cooperation.
- We learned organizational skills.
- PMP certification helped me tie together and better express my years of experience.
The meeting took place at Grand Rapids Community College Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center (ATC). Charlotte Byndas, Lead Recruiter at Spectrum Health Systems, moderated the student discussions and later highlighted tools and techniques to better brand yourself from college to retirement.
Charlotte broke down the issues to reasons for wanting to change jobs and creating your personal brand. As a successful recruiter with over 20 years of experience, she always worked toward making the best match for both the candidates and the hiring team and stressed alignment of values.
Her acronym for career change was CLAMS:
- Challenge – It’s the most overused phrase, but the least clarified. Can you define what you really want vs. not willing to work on (e.g. role)?
- Location – Are you willing to relocate for the opportunity or are the other factors more important?
- Advancement – What kind of responsibility do you desire (technical vs. strategic)?
- Money – Do you know and understand what you want out of the entire compensation package?
- Stability – How much do you value stability vs. change?
Her acronym for personal branding was EASY:
- Experience – You should update your resume and LinkedIn Profile at least once a year.
- Accomplishments – Whereas, you should update your accomplishments as they occur.
- Skills – Likewise, update your skills and certifications – especially as they pertain to your career goals.
- WhY – Is the differentiator that recruiters look for (e.g. to belong to the new organization, to move up or out of town, or want to change/improve). When your personal brand is in alignment with the company’s goals, there’s synergy and you’ll stand out.
Developing and Maintaining Your Personal and Professional Brand Online
Michael (MD) Yoder, social media consultant for Spectrum Health System and founder and leader of LinkedUp Grand Rapids, gave the keynote presentation: Developing and Maintaining Your Personal and Professional Brand Online.
Recruiters, prospective clients, customers, peers and colleagues are influenced by what they find about you on line. You need to take charge of your online presence by building and maintaining your professional brand through social media – particularly LinkedIn.
Branding is what your audience feels or perceives about you. Lack of an online presence or an over-the-top one creates a red flag. Google yourself to see what others see.
Image is extremely important in business-to-business (B2B). Take the opportunity to build idiosyncratic credits by sharing information, but be sure to include disclosures that it is your content rather than your organization’s point of view.
4Bs of content: Be
- Interesting to relate and get read
- Helpful to show how to solve a problem or issue. Tune into WII-FM (What’s in it for me?)
- Unique as not to rehash or repost without adding value.
- You (real). Let your style add to your differentiation.
To get noticed, you need regular updates to stand out (3-5 times/week). However, the group’s responses seemed rather skeptical of taking or making that much time to do it, especially based on their appreciation of time management and constraints already placed on them.
Lastly, Michael advised to use LinkedIn posts as teasers to your web articles rather than just publishing your blog posts because LinkedIn posts expose you to a much larger audience.
I found the meeting and the membership helpful and friendly. In a competitive global economy, project managers can’t go it alone. PMI membership gives you the tools and support you need to make your mark on the profession.
In our next article, we’ll discuss how Tempest added e-mail marketing, bounce management and demographic refreshment services.