Author: Catherine Kaputa

The qualities you need to have a successful (and long lasting) career

Posted October 15, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

But it will be hard to succeed until you change your attitude, take a personal branding perspective and even start to love the game. You’ve got to tap into the dreamer and the realist inside you, demanding the best of yourself.

You’ve got to be an intrepid explorer discovering new growth areas in the marketplace, new careers and jobs are out there that you weren’t aware of before and you must find them.

You’ve got to be a chameleon. You’re in constant beta-mode changing as the markets needs and opportunities change. The key is to present yourself as a versatile employee who can take your skills and integrate them with what’s hot today.

You got to be a marketing whiz, your best brand ambassador. You’ve got to become a personal brand storyteller, connecting the dots between who you are now, what you can do and where you want to go.

You’ve got to be your own personal inspirer, a self-motivator who realizes that the process of launching Brand You can be hard, frustrating and even unfair at times, but it can be exhilarating too. You can do it and succeed if you show up every day and implement a multilayered action plan.

You’ve got to be a master networker, a magnet for business friends and personal contacts. Networking is the key to success. It’s always important, but never more so than at the beginning when you have a shallow network.

You’ve got to be technology and social media savvy, able to market yourself, network and job hunt on social media and mobile apps.

Above all, you’ve got to be tenacious. Fortune favors the people who keep on going. When one door is locked, you have to keep looking until you find a door that’s open.


The rising cost of college tuition

Posted October 10, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

In the good old days, college students could use their summer job earnings to pay their tuition.

That was once upon a time. It’s not true anymore.

College tuition has gone up a monumental 1,120 percent in the U.S. since 1978. Meanwhile, the cost of food has increased 244 percent during the same period. If you’re still paying off your college tuition loans, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that that student loans have overtaken credit cards as the second largest source of outstanding debt in the U.S. (Home mortgages are number one.) Indeed, tuition costs in the U.S. have gone up four times faster than the consumer price index. University tuition has also been under scrutiny in the U.K. due to tuition price hikes for home students (UK/EU) and an increase in premium charges for international students.

The high cost of a university degree along with the vagaries of the job market have created a student debt collection crisis in the U.S. The federal student loan balance has more than doubled from $516 billion to 1.2 trillion since 2007. And that’s just federal student loans. If you count private student loans to students, their parents and former students, you can add another $150 billion to the number.

It is hard to link more career success to having attended an elite school despite the wattage of a top brand image. Of course, having attended an elite school might help you win out over another candidate for your first job out of the graduation gate. Over time, though, it’s all about your performance, your leadership, your network, and your brand, not the school’s brand.


Does it matter what school you went to?

Posted October 6, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

The answer appears to be a resounding, “No.”

If you look at the American-born CEOs in the Fortune 500 in 2015, only 30 went to elite colleges. The remaining 470 CEOs at the 500 largest companies in the U.S. went to a wide range of non-elite schools.

Of course, elite private colleges and universities have advantages. They have internationally acclaimed professors and cutting-edge curricula and low student-to-faculty ratios so presumably you get a better education and more personal attention. They have loyal alums and talented fellow students who can be a valuable career network. They have a well-staffed Career Services Office, which can guide you on the transition from college to career. And let’s not forget the lovely ivy-covered buildings, libraries and museums. (There’s even an arms race going on at some universities in the U.S over fancy recreation areas with water rides, spas and massage clinics.)

         Above all, you are aligned with a prestigious brand whether it is Harvard or Cambridge or France’s grandes ecoles, which will provide a halo to your personal brand particularly at the beginning of your career.


The Social Media Job Hunt

Posted October 1, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Social is growing beyond the merely social and becoming professional. Social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are going after the young job seeker and it gives you industrial-grade marketing, PR and job hunting tools to build your brand, manage your job search and increase your professional network. LinkedIn’s sophisticated Alumni Tool plugin lets you search your university and see the fields and locations alumni have ended up working, even reverse engineer their career paths to give you ideas for plotting your own career journey. The good news is all this information is now right on your laptop, and the bad news is information overload.


The Job Hunting “Iron Curtain”

Posted September 30, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Today, it isn’t tough for companies to find job applicants. The supply pipeline is strong. What’s tough is the challenge candidates face in getting a job, beginning with trying to get past the “iron curtain” surrounding companies. Today, it’s not easy for job candidates to get the opportunity to convince employers that they have the right skills, experience and personality for the job..

The job-hunting iron curtain is aided by powerful data tools and cheap online software that screens and blocks candidates. Many resumes today get their first read from a machine. That’s because large- and medium-sized companies use online automated tracking systems (ATS) to winnow job candidates and deal efficiently with the onslaught of online job applications. Piles of applications that used to take months to evaluate now take minutes.

Companies are also using pre-hire assessment tests to evaluate candidates. Of course, pre-hire tests have been around for a while but what’s different today is the sophistication of the assessment tests and their use for entry-level candidates, not just mid and management level hires, resulting in more hurdles for the beginning job applicant to jump. In 2001, 26 percent of large U.S. employers used pre-hire assessments, by 2013, the number had climbed to 57 percent.

But all this automated efficiency has slowed the process as well. In February of 2015, employers took 26.8 days on average to hire for open jobs, an all-time high, according to research done at the University of Chicago.


Why Branding is Important in the New World of Work

Posted September 25, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

To get an idea of the future of work, look at the Hollywood business model and how films are made. A team is assembled, works together as long as needed to complete the task, and then disbands. All the various people involved are free agents.

Contrast that with the corporate model and its long-term business structure and long-term employees in open-ended jobs. The Hollywood model is being used in design firms and technical companies who put together a short-term team of various experts to develop new products or work on a big project, and it’s being adopted by other companies who are using more contract or temporary workers for jobs that used to be performed by long-term employees.

You can see the advantages for management and business owners. It’s a lot less costly: you just hire the people you need when you need them. Then, you’re on your own until you find the next gig. This model shifts risk from employers to workers for health insurance, retirement income and job security. And it’s very targeted to each business situation because you select the best team to do each particular job.

The Hollywood model can work surprisingly well for people who have in-demand skills and expertise, and who are good at personal branding, marketing and networking. It favors the adaptable employee who continually takes the pulse of the marketplace to find out what new skills are in demand and who the new players are. It favors those who are good at networking and building mutually beneficial relationships, and above all, who are good at creating and communicating their value in their elevator pitch, through their resume and on social media.

In short, the new world of work favors those who are good at personal branding.


Why Personal Branding is Not Optional in Today’s Work World

Posted September 22, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

You are your most important asset. In a sense, you are your only asset no one can take away from you. Each of us is unique with knowledge, aptitudes, looks and experiences that are powerful assets. Anything you have ever done or thought about can be an asset. We all have assets and opportunities, but they are worthless unless we recognize them and take action.

You are what you make of yourself. Personal branding is about identifying the best version of you and communicating that in person and online every day.

What do you want your brand to stand for?

Your ability to maximize the asset that is you is the single most important ingredient in your success. But I am also talking about becoming who you were meant to be, which means that success includes becoming who you truly are. The trick to effective self-branding is to devise a strategy that works in achieving professional and life goals but also is true to you—that brings more of you into the equation.

With branding, you learn how to look at yourself as a product in a competitive framework. Branding is the process of differentiating that product—you—from the competition and taking action steps to get where you want to go.

Any way you slice it, brands win over products hands down. A branded item is viewed as better than its generic counterpart. Brands are perceived as higher in quality. They are in demand. They sell for a premium price.

Generic products compete only on price, by offering a very low price. (And if you’re reading this book, I doubt that you want to compete that way.)

Personal branding can be subtle or grating. modern or old-fashioned, engaging or self-centered, but if you don’t participate you will be left behind in today’s job market. Career success, like branding, is a game of perceptions. If people think you would be a talented new hire, you will get the job offer. If people think you won’t be a good fit, you won’t have the opportunity to show them otherwise until you change their thinking. Personal branding can help you do that.


You Don’t Need to Code to Succeed in the New World of Technology

Posted September 20, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

We’ve all been programmed to think that a tech education is the key to success. You’ll be a dinosaur in the near future if you don’t learn to code is how the thinking goes. Certainly, learning to code can be a route to success as the coding bootcamp phenomenon shows.

Well, I have good news for you if you’re not technically inclined to take up coding. Times are changing and that way of thinking isn’t necessarily so. You don’t have to throw your liberal arts diploma in the rubbish bin after all.

A reversal of fortune is taking place as tech companies, particularly fast-growth tech start-ups, are realizing that it’s not enough to be technically brilliant, you need brilliant business processes, too.

Some things can’t be programmed. Creativity can’t be programmed. Client relationships can’t be programmed. Business-to-business sales can’t be programmed. Tech leaders are realizing that the real value to their company’s success will come more and more from people who can sell and humanize technology not the hard-core technologists. That’s why tech companies are zooming in on liberal arts majors, people who use and embrace technology but aren’t technical. They are looking for liberal arts majors who have the business skills that technical people don’t have.

Lo and behold, big tech companies and startups alike are looking beyond STEM graduates and realizing that liberal arts majors make them stronger. People who study the humanities and social sciences are important as social alchemists who add the human touch to technology, a critical skill for any technology to take hold on a large scale. Die-hard techies have tried to create intuitive software, most of which functions poorly without non-techie partners who are adept at humanizing technology.

Liberal arts and business majors are critical for sales, business development and marketing. Their value lies in their nontechnical ability to connect with people (not end users as techies tend to call customers).

What a relief. Not all of us have the quant skills or even the desire to be engineers or computer programmers. It’s estimated that about 70 percent of the jobs in tech companies don’t involve sitting in front of a computer screen and programming all day long. Like any business, tech companies need talent in organic, people-oriented roles like sales people, business managers, marketers, lawyers, finance people, HR professionals and the like.


What is Personal Branding?

Posted September 18, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Branding for people is about finding your brand idea—your unique selling proposition (USP). You want to represent something special—your unique combination of talents and skills that sets you apart from others—the X Factor that makes you special and relevant.

Branding for people is also about “packaging” the brand that is you and using branding strategies and principles from the commercial world to enhance your identity and market Brand You successfully. You are the storyteller of your own life and you can create a compelling brand story that helps empower your success or not. Branding also means developing a marketing plan for reaching your goals, tactics to get from A to B (and through all the other letters of the alphabet, depending on your goals). And it means engaging your target audience without seeming self-promotional and obnoxious. This book will show you how.

Looking at yourself as a brand has enormous advantages. The truth is being good, by itself, doesn’t guarantee success. We all know talented people who are underemployed, underpaid, or even unemployed.

[Insert Callout]

                               Job candidate:   A person with a skill set that is interchangeable

                                with the skill sets of other people                                                                                         Brand You:        Standing for something that offers

                                                      a special promise of value that sets you apart.


Why Millenials Need to Brand

Posted September 15, 2017 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Millenials are the best-educated generation, yet they also have higher unemployment rates than we’ve seen in recent decades. Millenials make up about forty percent of the unemployed in the U.S. Even when they find a job, the picture isn’t always pretty. Many new grads are in jobs that don’t require a college degree, others are in jobs not in their area of study.

It’s always been beneficial to distinguish yourself, but now it’s absolutely necessary. Personal branding rules in the new world of work, and you can rule, too. You need to be better prepared, savvier in marketing yourself and conduct a smarter job search. But you can do it. This book will show you how.

Even in a robust job market, you’ll need to brand and market yourself if you want to get a good job and not be furloughed into temp work or a sub-par job. Besides, futurists predict that we’ll be changing jobs every few years or so, so we’ll all have to be in permanent beta mode adapting and marketing ourselves.