NEPA BlogCon 2013 - Building a Professional Network in the Digital Age


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Building a Professional Network in the Digital Age

Presented By: Jeff Katra and Michael Toma
Track: Business
Session Format: Co-Presentation
Description: It has become very clear over the recent years that building a relevant professional network is important in both securing a job and starting a career. College educations are becoming more of a standard and less of a distinguishing factor amongst our peers. This has made the job market much more competitive and opportunities less abundant. It has also created a trend where intelligent college graduates believe that they need to escape to the big city in order to secure a job. The truth is that while the job market is competitive, it is not impossible. There are tons of opportunities out there, it just takes an out-of-the-box attitude and a little work to uncover them. While networking has always existed, certain tools have been created to help us stand out amongst the crowd and connect with relevant professionals in the digital space.

This session will discuss how professionals can utilize networking and digital tools such as blogging and Linkedin to help them standout in their respective careers.

Published in: Technology, Business
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  • This slide will be a question to the audience. We will ask them “Who in the audience has heard the quote, “Build it and they will come?” Most people should raise their hands. I’m going to explain that this actually one of the most famous misquoted lines. The actual line from Field of Dreams reads “If you build it, he will come.” The reason I bring this up is that simply building your brand isn’t going to attract anyone towards it. Professional development is a two step process where you must first develop your brand then market it.
  • In a nutshell professional development and personal branding is creating awareness of yourself and your skillsets. It is also about creating a positive reputation and leveraging this to move forward.
  • An important thing to remember is that professional development and personal branding is about it isn’t a one and done deal. It is about constantly developing and evolving yourself. There seems to be a divide in our philosophies in career development. There are people who seek comfort and stability and there are those who are always urgent to make their next move. The trend that we noticed is that the younger generations are more prone to the urgent route and the older generations seem to like comfort and stability.
  • A Harris survey at the University of Phoenix found that 80% of workers in their 20s want to change their careers as compared to 64% of 30 somethings. The number continues to decrease that the age increases. This can be due to many factors outside of career stability and status. In our opinion it is great to continue moving your career forward, but it is also great to do it in a strategic manner. Comfort and job stability are great things.
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  • Step 1 – Is defining your goals. What do want to accomplish in your professional career and what kind of timeline do you want to do it in? DO you want to work for a corporation or a startup? Do you want to commute to work everyday or have a job in the city where you can walk or take a bus? It is important to define these goals early so you can stay focused.Step 2 – Identify your values, passions, and interests. This will help you better define your goals. These values inlcude intrinsic extrinsic and lifestyle values. Step 3 – Evaluate your current professional skills and how they can be applied to your goals. Ask your self if and how you can enhance these skills. It is important to get outside opinions from family and friends when identifying your strong points.Step 4 – Once you have these things set you
  • Add Image that displays “product” After these steps are taken what you have is the product. What is the product? It’s you. It’s your personal brand. Now its time to relax. If you build it they will come right? No. It’s time to take your personal brand to the market place.
  • Add a picture of a target.Just like a business needs to identify a target market so do you. Who is this target? It all depends on your goals. This can include job forums, job postings, recruiters, etc. Remember unique, genuine and memorable. I can not stress this enough. Coming off like a hot shot know it all may work in some situations, but most times it doesn’t. If you may not have all the qualifications for a job stress that you are versatile and willing to learn.
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  • The first tool that we think of when we being up the subject of career development and personal branding is the resume or curriculum vitae. Ask the audience a question: “What is the typical page length that is recommended for your resume?” The answer should be one. That one page has a very similar resemblence to an object we see very often. That object is the BOX!
  • Essentially the one page resume is a box. We only have this one page to display all of our accomplishments and skills and passions? While an updated resume is important, it merely is a requirement. Sticking to the guidelines in today’s competitive market won’t help differentiate you from the crowd. What we need to do is think outside of the box.
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  • One of the best tools in developing your personal brand and developing as a professional is something that you statistically use on average 25/hours a week. Yes, it is the internet. Having a significant online presence is one the most important factors in the digital age. When you apply for a job most employers WILL google you. Some of our answers to this are deleting our facebook and other social media accounts. This is not a good approach to take.
  • The lack of online presence can be detrimental as well. Perhaps the most common instance of this is someone having the same name as you. If your employer stumbles upons information about another Mike Toma or Jeff Katra and its negative, it will hurt. In fact there is another Jeff katra in this local area!So everyone here who has a presence on any form of social media please raise your hands. Now everyone who has a personal website keep them up, the rest of you put them down. (Should be a significant amount)
  • Your personal website or blog should be the focal point for your online presence hands down. It is where you want to drive potential employers and other members of your professional network. Ok, I know it may seem a little overwhelming to create a website. Or it may seem expensive. In fact the process can be quite simple and inexpensive. It starts with purchasing a domain name. I would suggest GoDaddy. Go there and buy for around $15/year. Next is selecting a place to host your website. I currently use HostGator because it is simple and inexpensive. The Third step is utilizing a platform to design and post content to your website. The two best that come to mind are wordpress and blogger. They are designed to push content such as blog posts, photos, etc. They are also very customizable so you can tailor them to your style and taste.Ok, so now you have a website. What is the strategy to market it and your personal brand? It’s a two elements strategy.
  • Use your website to create relevant content in your respected field of interest. Write blog posts/articles, share other articles, guest post on other peoples blogs. Then use social media to promote this content and drive traffic back to your website. We are going to go over each individual in no particular order of importance minus Linkedin. Linkedin is an interesting tool that many of us aren’t using to its full potential.
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  • NEPA BlogCon 2013 - Building a Professional Network in the Digital Age

    1. 1. Building a Professional network ….in the digital age. By: Jeff Katra & Michael Toma
    2. 2. WHO WE ARE ? Account Executive Jeff Katra 15/10/2013 Business Dev. Michael Toma 2
    3. 3. THE PLAN Overview Our plan is educate you on building your personal brand and developing yourself as a professional in the digital age.  Intro  Building and establishing your personal brand  Tools that you can use  Wrap up 15/10/2013 3
    4. 4. INTRO If you build it, they will come. 15/10/2013 4
    5. 5. WHAT IS PERSONAL BRANDING  Awareness Creating awareness of your personal skills and talents is key in professional development.  Reputation As you become more professionally connected, you will begin to build a positive professional reputation. 15/10/2013 5
    7. 7. FACT! 15/10/2013 7
    8. 8. THE PROCESS 15/10/2013 8
    9. 9. The Process Define Goals STEP 1 15/10/2013 Identify Values STEP 2 Evaluate Skills STEP 3 9
    10. 10. ADD THESE TOGETHER    15/10/2013 It’s Unique It’s Genuine It’s Memorable 10
    11. 11. 15/10/2013 11
    12. 12. THE TOOLS 15/10/2013 12
    13. 13. THE RÉSUMÉ 15/10/2013 13
    14. 14. THE RÉSUMÉ 15/10/2013 14
    15. 15. THE RÉSUMÉ 15/10/2013 15
    16. 16. HOW IS THIS DONE? 15/10/2013 16
    17. 17. TWO WAYS Offline . Online 15/10/2013 17
    18. 18. Local Networking Opportunities 15/10/2013 18
    19. 19. Community Involvement 15/10/2013 19
    20. 20. Presentations 15/10/2013 20
    21. 21. 15/10/2013 21
    22. 22. FACT! 15/10/2013 22
    23. 23. THE FOCAL POINT Personal Website Your personal brand’s online focal point should be your website/blog.  Domain Name  Hosting  Design and Management Tools  Content 15/10/2013 23
    24. 24. HD MOBILE MOCKUP INCLUDED Content Social Media  Blog Posts  Facebook  Article Sharing  Twitter  Photos  Google+  Pinterest  LinkedIn 15/10/2013 24
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    30. 30. Questions?