Connecting The Dots Between Personal Competencies & Personal Branding

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With fierce competition for limited jobs, many college students wonder if they will be able to land a good job. Sadly, the economic situation feels like a bad dream. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. Yet, there are opportunities for those students who are prepared for the future.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total employment in 2024 will reach 160.3 million, an increase from 2014 of almost 9.8 million jobs. The health care and social assistance sector will account for over a third of the nation’s projected job growth from 2014 to 2024. This article focuses on how building the right competencies will help individuals brand their personal brand and increase their opportunities for job opportunities.

As a result, today’s unemployed workers are unsure about their future. Many students struggle to pursue the right major in college. Others follow the latest trend on reality TV for selecting their ideal major. Finding the ideal job is a combination of personal interest/passion, values, and skills/abilities.

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Disruptive Change: How Leaders Navigate Uncertainty

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As companies continue to wage war with global competition and attempt to figure out their next steps due to advanced technologies, organizations are dealing with unpredictable change that is disruptive. In fact, disruptive change is impacting everyone in all walks of life, from Wall Street to entertainment. The casualties of disruptive change are evident.

In a statement to the Associated Press about joining a Silicon Valley boardroom, Serena Williams said, “I feel like diversity is something I speak to. Change is always happening. Change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of change and to make it easier for the next person.”   we will examine disruptive change and what leaders can do to navigate the resulting uncertainties.

Disruptive change is wrecking traditional thinking of industries and institutions. Long-standing organizations have long attempted to maintain the status quo, allowing flagship institutions like Harvard University and Princeton lead the pack. Non-traditional institutions, like the University of Phoenix, were frowned upon by academics because it was a for-profit university growing by using non-traditional models like online learning.

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New Product Development Strategies

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With the aftermath of globalization, companies are carefully thinking about the best ways to extend their product and service offering. Thus, product development strategy is critical for their success. Yet, many companies are in defensive mode and merely want to maintain the position in the market place.

However, staying in a holding position is a definite way for companies to be left behind. Innovative thinking that allows for product/service growth is a too sure way for sustainable success. In today’s discussion, we will explore the importance of product development for the growth of businesses, especially in a competitive market.

Launching into new product offerings is not easy. According to one market research, approximately 75% of consumer-packaged goods and retail products fail to earn even $7.5 million during their first year.[1] Harvard Business School Professor, Clayton Christensen, who is the world’s foremost authority on disruptive innovation, suggests that the failure rate of new products may actually be as high as 95%. Product failure rates relate to the number of products that are launched commercially but fail. Continue reading

2017 Job Strategies for Recent Graduates

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When the graduation celebrations have ended, many recent graduates must consider what they are going to do with their lives. Boy, how things have changed! When I was in college (the 1980s), it was an unspoken rule for college seniors to have a few job offers and have a good concept of what they would be doing. In fact, the question, “where do you see yourself in five years” is a standard question of college recruiters on campus. Answer this question timidly or with revocation, and you were assured not to get a follow-interview. Go home to live with parents was not on my radar or any of my close friends.’

Yet, when I started talking with my students and other graduates from other institutions, the clarity of what they were going to do after college life was murky at best. Surprisingly, the majority of the graduating seniors did not have any idea of what they were going to do. Perhaps, it is generational because Millenniums have a different outlook than Baby Boomers or Generation Xers. However, this mentality is nothing new to me. Working for the federal government for over 25 years, I found this mindset while visiting university campuses across the country.

The situation caused me to research this matter and write my book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence. I attempted to assist frustrated parents, anxious students, bewildered educators, and others who are deeply concerned about the welfare of recent college graduates and their employability.

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With my co-author, William Bailey, we discovered a huge disconnect between what organizations desired from potential employees, and what today’s job seekers expect of employers. In this discussion, we will examine 2017 job strategies to assist recent college graduates, their parents, or other supporters in how to increase their success in employment.

The economic picture should give recent college graduates some hope. According to the Blackrock Investment Institute’s 2017 quarterly market report, economic opportunities continue to increase. Global growth expectations are on the rise. While the United States provided most of the economic growth in 2016, non-U.S. entities created the global stimulus for economic growth in 2017. In fact, earnings upsurge was particularly strong in Japan and emerging markets despite terrorism abroad, government stability, and uncertainty in the EU countries.

Focusing more closely on the United States, individuals should feel positive about employment prospects for recent college graduates. According to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top bachelor’s degree, which would be in the highest demand, was business administration and management. Of the 169 surveyed employers, 86 stated they intended to hire graduates with this degree.

In another college employment study by CareerBuilder.com, 74% of employers planned to hire more recent college graduates this year (up from 67% from 2016). Half of these employers planned to offer recent college graduates higher pay than last year; 39% of these surveyed employers would start recent graduates with $50,000 or more (compared to 27% in 2017).

The most sought after majors for these employers were: Business (30%), Engineering (26%), Computer and Information Sciences (23%), Engineering (16%), Communications Technologies (13%), Mathematics/Statistics (11%), Construction Trades (11%), and Health Professionals/Related Clinical Sciences (10%). With this positive job outlook, college graduates cannot afford to relax because of the continual changes in the job market.

Recent college graduates must enhance their job strategies. In today’s competitive environment, getting a job in one’s major is not easy. In fact, more experienced and older workers are now competing for entry-level jobs. Companies are more demanding due to the surplus of seasoned and young talent before them.

With globalization causing more U.S. companies to compete, many businesses are turning to technology (i.e. automation) and foreign-born talent to offset any workforce shortages. Thus, employers are very picky about prospective employees. For example, some graduates who were excellent students with high GPAs without any experience might find themselves on the outside if they compete against work experience.

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According to the Economic Policy Institute, one in eight colleges graduating class of 2016 were under-employed. Underemployed relates to those individuals in the college-educated workforce that are doing jobs that don’t require a college degree or not in their intended major. With that said, those unemployed individuals would prefer to be working in their major full-time. In the Office of the New York City Comptroller’s 2016, the study found that, by 2014, Millennials were making about 20 percent less in real terms than what older generations made during their first years in the labor force. Thus, recent graduates cannot afford to misunderstand the job market.

Peter Cappelli, the author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, notes that the impersonal nature of the current employment process: “Like a replacement part, job requirements have very precise specifications. Job candidates must fit them perfectly, or the job won’t be filled, and the business can’t operate.” In a surplus market with numerous potential candidates, employees can be picky.

When a list of prospective applicants does not meet the requirements, many times, these positions are left unfilled. Sadly, most job seekers have not figured this reality out. Yet, loaded with the right attitude and good job strategies, recent graduates can ensure themselves of better success in this job market. The following are the 2017 job strategies for more employability:

  1. Possess a good character that makes you an attractive person.
  2. Connect your ideal job with your interest, skills/abilities, and value/belief system.
  3. Build an effective personal brand, including an online personality connected to Linkedin.com and critical online networks.
  4. Pursue additional education and certifications (i.e. Google digital marketing certifications) that separate you from the competition.
  5. Use daily positive self-affirmations about your skills and abilities to keep your energy level positive.
  6. Build an incredible professional network for identifying job opportunities.
  7. Learn how to seek out critical advice and mentorship, but develop the capacity to use it.
  8. Develop a questioning attitude about life to promote problem solving.
  9. Network with subject matter experts, industry leaders, and highly successful people to increase your job opportunities.
  10. Target desired positions and apply periodically (daily, weekly, etc.) so that you are actively engaged in new employment.

In today’s difficult economy, college graduates must be more assertive despite the positive forecast for employment. Getting a job isn’t easy. This article describes 2017 job strategies to assist recent college graduates to become successful in today’s employment landscape.

Unlike when their parents were starting their careers, many Millennials will face future employers that have a variety of job options to fill a job vacancy. Individuals who understand the new mindset of current employers will have a better chance of successfully navigating the employment landmines.

Yet, a savvy job seeker understands these employment changes and makes the necessary corrections to make his/her personal brand attractive to potential employers. If individuals want to be more effective in their job hunt for 2017, they can use these job strategies to navigate future career challenges. Pray that it is not too late.

© 2017 by Daryl D. Green

 

Cultural Intelligence: How Leaders Can Navigate the Racial Divide in America

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In June of 1995, the Jury in the OJ Simpson trial announced a verdict of not guilty. The aftermath of dismal reactions highlighted significant conflicts and diverging views in America’s workplaces. In fact, white and black people had a different perspective on the OJ Simpson Trial and life in general. Eighty-three percent of whites stated that Simpson was “definitely” or “probably” guilty while only fifty-seven percent of blacks agreed with this assessment. Rather than carefully assessing one’s own viewpoint when evaluating a different culture, most individuals make assumptions about other cultures definitely.

Sadly, we still have not learned this lesson in the United States. The last several days have been very hectic as I try to answer students’ questions and address my own concerns about a recent Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary gaff that has provided another headwind for others sharing the Good News. Let me say that we have all done foolish things and have suffered the consequences. Most of us have had to debase the impacts of this photo on our popular culture to our students and others.

In the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth (TX), five seminary professors, including the dean of the School of Preaching, put on gangster-style clothing (perhaps dressing like urban rappers), flashing their gold chains and one holding a handgun. Written above the photo were the words “Notorious S.O.P,” which was a reference to the seminary’s School of Preaching and to the black rapper, Notorious B.I.G.

the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary-photo

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LinkedIn – What It Is and Why College Students Should Care – Guest Blogger

College is a beginning. It is a time and place to begin to learn who you are, what you want and what is possible. College is also a place that the institution can teach you a lot, but what you learn yourself is even more important.

College taught me how to take tests about things I can’t for the life of me remember now in classes I couldn’t possibly see as relevant to my degree.

Yet what my college did not directly teach me, that I learned on my own, was balance. I had a full load, was on the dance team, participated in the theatre and worked a part time job. I had to learn how to balance all those things in eventually earning that degree.

It is also a place that, for many, will serve as the last step before entering the “real world” – after graduation getting that “real” job.

Although many universities and colleges have career centers to help you with that task – and they are wonderful, take them up on all the help offered, there is also something you need to learn in order to help yourself: marketing.

Before you graduate you need to begin to market yourself because once you are out in the ‘real world’ you are going to be thrust into sales. You are the product and the company. You have to learn to sell yourself to potential employers and pretty much anyone in a business sense that you meet in order to secure a position. That last part is called networking. Continue reading

Building A LinkedIn Profile for More Job Opportunities

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Today’s college students face a landscape of great opportunities as employers look to this Millennium generation to infuse bright ideas and energy into their organizations. In recruiting young engineers and scientists at the Department of Energy, I soon discussed a major disconnect between what employers desire from potential employees (i.e. college students), and today’s job seekers’ expectations of employers.

I often spoke on this matter and wrote these discoveries in several formats including articles, books, and lectures. With that said, I believe marketing these concepts are also vital on Bison Hill too. In this discussion, we will examine how an effective LinkedIn.com profile can be utilized to showcase students’ potentials to future employers and increase their personal brand.

Having an online presence is vital for today’s employment opportunities. According to Business2community.com, 427,000 resumes are posted each week on Monster.com, an online job board; 8 million job applicants said they found their job on Twitter.com.  Eighty-nine percent of employment recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.com.

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Exploring Hidden Markets in Ballroom Dancing

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We just had to go on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, the place was known for great blues music. We stopped at one of the famous blues hotspots on this strip. We were directed to our seats; the house was packed with people. The band was playing with great passion. My wife and I walked in the room to celebrate with others the love of good music. The music was carried across the room slowly as blues music permeated the atmosphere like smoke covers a house on fire. Everyone was excited. People were all over the dance floor. These folks were no amateurs to blues. Interesting enough, my wife and I were the only black couple in this crowded location. Blacks created the blues. Yet, many blacks have either abandoned this genre or have forgotten the roots of this music. I hope that dance in America will not falter like this.

As my wife and I have danced ballroom in various states and different dance studios, we have not seen many black people doing ballroom dancing. African-Americans have made significant contributions in all walks of life, dance is no exception. Black History Month gives us a time to remember the pioneers of dance, including Josephine Baker and the Dance Theatre of Harlem and glance at the future. When you start talking about ballroom dancing, everyone thinks about the ABC’s hit show, Dancing With the Stars, that pairs up celebrities with professional dance partners in an intense ballroom competition. There are a few African Americans involved with ballroom dancing in the nation. In this session, we will examine how dance studios can better target African American communities by reaching an untapped market.

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Do You Know What the Future Holds? 2017 & Beyond

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We have reason to worry and be anxious about 2017. The United States citizens have just gone through one of the most bitter presidential elections of modern times. In fact, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump had the highest unfavorable ratings in history. Most people were not discussing the candidate with the best vision, but ‘choosing the lesser of two evils.’

With Donald Trump taking the office of president as a Republican and both a Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives, there is still much uncertainty due to Trump’s fuzzy economic strategy and the will of elected officials to get things accomplished despite partisan politics.[1] The world is filled with risk and danger. Terrorism continues to ‘shock and awe’ at the destruction aimed at human life. Globalization combines countries together against their will.

Russian hackers attempt to influence our presidential elections. The dollar hits a 14-year high against 16 major trading partners; a sharp increase in the dollar has long-term consequences globally. For example, China fears that a rising dollar will destabilize their currency. Other countries worry about their own economic feat in 2017. Do you know what the future holds in 2017 for you? Are you now dreading the upcoming year with more demands on your own personal dreams and ambitions?

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The Power of Gratitude for Professionals

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I watched people get on and off the elevator at work. It was crowded with working professionals. Being a young employee, I and the janitor were strategically located in the back of the elevator. I greeted the janitor since I routinely would speak to all employees, regardless of their pecking order in the organization. Other professionals ignored this janitor in the elevator as if his existence didn’t matter. When the janitor or other service folks would do something for me, I would say ‘thank you.’ Well, I’ve done this act of gratitude as part of my learning from my parents who were hardworking class people. My mother would tell us (children): “You can’t go wrong doing good for others.” I believed her.

Yet, we live in a selfish world where the needs for themselves supersede the needs of others, with gratitude and thanks being a rare commodity in today’s working culture. When I talk with my college students, I attempt to show them how the little things like ‘thank you’ cards to guest speakers in class is more than a cute idea. For me, gratitude is a connection with humanity. Gratitude shows that you care. In fact, those individuals that master this act of kindness will have a competitor advantage over those who do not practice this virtue. Let’s examine the concept of gratitude for today’s working professionals in society.

Professionals must overcome a world of selfishness in order to appreciate gratitude. Employees face a gloomy landscape before them with global competition reducing their standard of life and wages stagnant. People aren’t feeling thankful and grateful to be moving backward to the standard of living that their own parents had. Statistics support this ingratitude emerging before us. According to a 2014 Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey, the majority (52%) of US workers are not satisfied with their jobs. In 2010, worker dissatisfaction was at an all-time low of 43%.

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Marketing students (MKTG 3303) take photo with Enterprise Manager Jackie Lovejoy. The students thanked her.

Columnist Susan Adams has been tracking this unhappiness trend: “What worries workers most: layoffs. Even though hiring has picked up, only 46.6% of employees say they feel satisfied with their job security, compared to 48.5% before the recession.” Working professionals have many stressors to consider including layoffs, family issues, health care cost, career advancements, and wage compensation. How in the world can gratitude be at the top of their list for developing?

Gratitude is an invaluable trait in a world built of self-promotion and personal gratification. President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Management expert Brian Tracy further expounded on this concept of gratitude: “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step towards achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”

Gratitude can be defined as ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Some people will argue that gratitude is rooted in biblical truths and communal relationships in society. From a faith perspective, gratitude is not taking. It is about giving to others despite how others have treated you.

II Corinthians 9:11 reads “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” Even if you don’t possess a religious bone in your body, showing individuals appreciation who do good for you can’t be foreign. Yet, the concept of gratitude is difficult to implement in the face of trials and tribulations in life. If people are able to look at others who are in a worse situation and appreciate the fact that they are better off, it is possible for gratitude to grow in people. Given the fact that gratitude is connected to relationships, words like gratitude, giving, and thanks are themes of helping and appreciating others in life.

Unfortunately, developing gratitude in working professionals is a difficult task. Many organizations are built on power structures that reward takers and those individuals who are great at putting situations at their own advantage. Most of who are only vaguely interested in recognizing or thanking others if doing these actions will benefit them professionally.

Some business-oriented individuals may argue that this gratitude characteristic is a weakness in a corporate rat race and that takers are at the advantage. In contrast, Dr. Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drive Our Success, explains the different mentality of givers and takers in the workforce: “Takers have distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give. They tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interest ahead of other’s needs…If you are a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis; you help whenever the benefits to others exceed personal cost.”

Dr. Grant’s research further demonstrated that givers are more successful in the long-run. Helping others provide leverage and influence in life. Givers are better at giving than takers because of their genuineness in striving to be generous in their time, energy, skills, knowledge, and connections to benefit others. How do I grow my gratitude in my life? That’s a great question to consider.

Unless it’s Thanksgiving or a special occasion, most professionals will not consider the merits of gratitude in helping them in life. This article demonstrated that employees are unhappy in the workplace and face many hardships in life that causes them to look inside themselves instead of helping others. Gratitude is a soft skill that has a positive effect on others.

Even celebrities like Marilyn Monroe realized the importance of gratitude: “When you have a good friend that really cares for you and tries to stick in there with you, you treat them like nothing. Learn to be a good friend because one day you’re gonna look up and say I lost a good friend…Always remember to smile and look up at what you got in life.” Life is a like a blade of grass that passes with time. Gratitude is something that you can use for a lifetime. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

© 2016 by Daryl D. Green