Top 4 Recruiting Insights for Job Candidates

Like many recent college graduates, I had a tough time finding a job in today’s economic climate. The ability to deal with the frustration seems like it deserves a spot on your resume.

I often think about what I know now that would have made my search easier. There are a lot of nuances to the job market I did not understand until I started working for the Brett Fisher Group – nuances I wish had learned in the job search articles I read.

Below are my top four recommendations to supplement the advice you have received from other sources. Hopefully, these better frame the suggestions you have already seen.

1. You always hear that you should consider your long-term goals in finding a position – one reason is that it is too easy to get stuck in a career track.

I have looked at hundreds of resumes, and Brett has seen countless more. We know that the resumes that catch employers’ attention show progressive movement in a single field.

This will not surprise candidates who constantly see a requirement for two or more years of experience in a field. What people might not realize right away is that, because most jobs these days require prior experience, workers tend to get pigeonholed in their fields and find it very difficult to make a major career change.

Many jobs have a natural progression into a higher position within that field – retail associates can become store managers, auditors can become audit managers, CEOs move to a company that pays them more, and so on. Making a complete career change means starting over, and it has become very challenging to get even an entry-level job with no relevant experience.

You do have to think ahead in your search. When looking into jobs, consider the career possibilities that stem from that choice. Find a way to learn about the trajectories that most interest you to make sure you choose a career path you will actually enjoy long-term.

 

2. Learn what is reasonable to expect in a salary negotiation – salary bumps are usually steps, not leaps.

Brett and I always discuss salary expectations with our candidates – we do not want to waste their time by presenting low-paying roles. However, some candidates’ expectations can be rather unrealistic. We have to talk them down from overly optimistic ideas of what they can make.

What we have found in the market is that employers will pay, on average, a 5-10% increase over an employed candidate’s current salary. If the candidate is unemployed, the employer will rarely pay more than their previous salary.

As with anything, these rules have exceptions. A candidate who is objectively underpaid could reasonably expect a larger jump in pay. On the other side, an objectively overpaid candidate may have trouble finding any employers willing to pay what they ask for.

Some of you may not know market rates for certain positions. You may be starting out in your career or moving to a completely new industry. Fortunately, there are always ways to find out the market rates: you can ask friends who are comfortable talking about pay at their companies or look on the web site Glassdoor. Use any resources you have available to you.

 

3. Add accomplishments to your resume, but make sure they mean something to hiring managers.

Your references are there to vouch for you – hiring managers can trust them to say how well you performed in your past jobs. If you fail to impress hiring managers early on, however, they will never call your references. You need to show accomplishments on your resume that will catch their attention right away.

Candidates often fail to convey how impressive their accomplishments actually are. Common phrases like “managed a team” and “provided excellent service” offer employers only a vague sense of what you have actually done and make you sound just like the five hundred other people applying for each job.

Lou Adler, a frequent LinkedIn contributor, recommends sharing accomplishments that are measurable. Numbers especially help. Instead of vague cliches, include measurable accomplishments, such as “increased store sales 15% over the previous year” or “managed a team of five and reduced time spent on closing the books by 20%.”

Employers like numbers because they are objective – numbers are numbers. It will also feel less like you are boasting: you are simply showing the actual results of your work.

 

4. Posting to a job board is very unlikely to land you that job. You have a much better chance if someone knows you, and that someone could be a recruiter.

Disclaimer: I work for a recruiting company, so keep in mind my professional biases.

Posting to a job board is hit-or-miss for several reasons. Screening software may reject your resume for not including the right keywords. Job descriptions often fail to fully explain and sell jobs to great candidates. Many companies give up on job boards – which often do not turn up great candidates – and turn to recruiters or other avenues of finding people.

Hiring managers prefer to hire candidates known by someone within the company. If a good employee can vouch for someone, that candidate becomes a more comfortable choice than the unknown quantity who applied to a job posting.

Networking or working with a recruiter can be helpful in that you gain a contact who can vouch for you. As the adapted adage goes, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” Make sure people know you and can vouch for you so that you have a leg up in your applications. If you find people who know you well and who are well placed in industries that interest you, you have a better chance of finding a role that is a good fit.

 

I hope that, with these insights, I am able to turn job search clichés into actionable information. The job-hunting process is tough, but now you have more knowledge at your disposal. Good luck in your search!

The Value of Horizontal Networks

As posted in the Graziadio Voice Blog on February 25, 2011.  Co-authored with Hannah Plaxen, MBA Candidate 2012.

One of the many activities you should become engaged in during your MBA journey is developing your social network.  In strategy class, we discuss social capital as the network of relationships that individuals have throughout the organization as well as with customers and suppliers.  Leveraging social capital gives you access to key contacts for the success of your future, your company, and in entrepreneurial endeavors.

Your horizontal network is comprised of the people you barely or somewhat know.  By contrast, your vertical network is comprised of the people you know very well or have met in person.  For example: I (Brett) don’t know Hannah, but I read her personal blog and contributions on Graziadio Voice.  We’ve never met face to face, but we share some common interests, such as business school, sharing knowledge, and Pepperdine.  To each other, we are weak ties, but each of us separately has many strong ties in each of our respective vertical networks.  The real value to engaging with your horizontal network is the access you have to many other vertical networks.

Why would you want to expand your horizontal network?  The Corporate Lattice, by Cathleen Benko and Molly Anderson discuss how building your lattice, “is simply a more adaptive construct chock full of options for how to view and enable career success, which makes it better suited to align with the changing needs and expectations of today’s workplace.”  Simply put: the old model has given way to a more modern, adaptable one.  Tapping into your horizontal network will give you access to “weak ties” that are more likely to help you realize new opportunities than through your “strong ties.”

Your Personal Objective to networking matters.  You can easily talk to the people you already know, say on Facebook (strong ties), or you can venture out, build you network and meet some new contacts (weak ties).  The best place to do this at Pepperdine is on Yammer.  Yammer is Pepperdine’s internal social network that ties all its participants together on one platform, in one place, safely and securely.  All students have the potential to connect with one another across this platform and gain value from contributions of its members.  The richness of the experience depends completely on your participation and sharing.

Stay tuned for a future article on how the value of Yammer is an easy portal to expanding your horizontal network.

In-person horizontal networking often feels like the most insincere thing you can do, especially when you get friend requests on Facebook or LinkedIn, and you question whether or not you will even see this person again.  The truth is, you may never, but with the whole span of their world shared now on their profiles, the commonalities you didn’t even know you had can come to the surface.  For example: my current internship (Hannah) was driven by a LinkedIn connection through an entertainment industry networking group during my “former life.”  Rob and I had met once in person and learned about each other through this networking group, similar to a Yammer forum or LinkedIn group.  Trust was built through the reputation we each had with our shared vertical networks.  Therefore, when I reached out regarding the consulting practice at his company, he actually offered me the internship position before I had a chance to really inquire.  Now I see Rob all the time and he has worked his way into my vertical network.  The activity we engaged in with our horizontal activities built up our personal brand equity without even knowing it.

The National network often feels irrelevant, especially if you expect to stay local forever, like I assumed I would (Hannah).  But the truth is, nothing is guaranteed, and when I came back this weekend from the Sony Case Competition, I found myself thankful that I had established additional horizontal relationships with people all over the country.  First of all, I have strong vertical connections in a variety of states, relationships in industries that don’t necessarily benefit me at this time, but I love them anyway.  These new, spread out connections may know people in Los Angeles, people that are more valuable then my own vertical connections.  Sometimes, we have blinders on to people who aren’t in our field, our city, or even at our career experience threshold.  However, these connections, the tiny threads beneath the surface that spin together into a thick strand and eventually dramatic fabric… these connections are the ones worth fostering in whatever way we can.

Crossing Cultures in Brazil

As posted in the Graziadio Voice blog on May 9, 2011.

At the beginning of May I returned from participating in Pepperdine’s One Week Global IntensiveProgram in Brazil.  As recommended in my “360-Degree Learning Experience” blog entry, as an MBA student,you would be seriously missing out on a many degrees of the entire experience if you did not participate in a one-week trip over one of your semester breaks.  Last April, I participated in the Hong Kong Global Program and finished my trip traveling to Beijing, China.  I had such a great experience, that I knew I wanted to travel again this spring to a destination I had never been to. 

Here are the highlights from A Day In Rio.

If at all possible, get off the beaten path long enough to enjoy a slice of culture that most tourists wouldn’t take the time to do. This past Sunday, a classmate and myself (with a recommended tour guide named Ricardo) traveled to the nearby beach town of Saõ Conrado (a quick 20-minute drive from our hotel in Ipanema) to hire paragliding pilots .

Enter: the world of Brazil’s informaleconomy.  For the best hang gliding or paragliding deals (and weather conditions), get there early.  Pilots will charge tourists more money in the afternoon because they perceive those customers to be the ones who stayed out all night clubbing and spending money.  While waiting on the beach for our pilots to finish their previous flight, we observed an entrepreneurial Brazilian. This person would cover the windshield of parked cars with cardboard boxes to shield the car’s interior from the sun’s strong rays.  When the car-owner returned, the local would charge the car owner R$1 (about .66 cents) for the service. (See photo to the left).

According to our guide, Ricardo, hang gliding in Rio began in 1978.  Ricardo was a part of that movement, and now enjoys watching travelers enjoy the thrill of flight.

 

Once we landed back on the Praia do Pepino (Cucumber Beach), Ricardo took us to a nearby favela.  A favela is a very densely populated community, primarily made up of lower-income residents.  We had the opportunity to enter Favela Rocinha and see what life in the largest favela in Rio was like.  As most of the residents do not have cars, motorcycle taxis are the primary means of transport around Favela Rocinha.

So … when in a favela, do like the favelan’s do: we jumped on the back of a motorcycle taxi for an exhilarating, yet “safe” ride up a windy and well-traveled road to see a spectacular view.  R$3 (about $2) later, we were there.  What an experience!  Now, we were well off the beaten path, and in a community that is not normally open for tourists to enter, unless they have “official business.”

 

If the ride up wasn’t exhilarating enough, the ride down was even more heart-pounding.  Dodging buses, cars, other motorcycles, pedestrians, and trash, we made it back down and grabbed a taxi across town to our final stop: the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor‘) atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

I recommend arriving about an hour before the published sunset time to see the sun go down behind the mountains.  The funicular train up the mountain takes about 30 minutes.  Once on top, not only is there quite an impressive 360-degree view of the city, but also a remarkable monument.  One person was carrying around a radio, listening to a football (soccer) game, and each time the home team scored, everyone would cheer, and we would see fireworks light up above the city.  It was very surreal.  Also, a very impressive sight!

What I Have Learned on Yammer

As posted in the Graziadio Voice Blog on March 10, 2011.

For someone who is usually on the front end of the adoption curve, I missed the very beginning of Yammer’s splash down at Pepperdine.  While the true Pioneers have been “Yammering” for some time now, I decided to jump on this past December after seeing this quick, informative, and entertaining video after presenting at the new student orientation.

After Yammering for a mere 90 days, I can assuredly tell you that the water feels nice and you should jump in!  The party only gets better as more guests arrive, so for those who like to arrive fashionably late, we’re done setting up, great music is playing, and there are enough people here so that you wont feel awkward.  Really.

If you haven’t experienced the curious excitement from the Value of Yammer yet, I present you with these golden nuggets as to why Yammer is such a valuable social networking tool.

1) Self-Populating Knowledge Base: As noted by Sue Gautsch (faculty), “…unlike Facebook, Yammer is a self-populating knowledge base.  Got a question about startups, or Brazil, or Netflix, or whatever?  Type it into the search box and see what your colleagues/classmates are discussing so intelligently when you’re not looking.”  Lesson:  As more and more students, faculty, and alumni join the network, their valuable contributions will richen the knowledge base for all of us to benefit from.  Yammer is private; behind a firewall, and information posted is not searchable by the general public.  You must have a pepperdine.edu email address to join.

2) Create Groups for Your Class: Easily create a public group for your class.  Ask questions and get quick answers from your classmates.  If you are a shy participant in class, or if English is not your native language, answering someone’s question on Yammer is a great way to share your expertise.  Create a private sub-group for the same class for smaller groups to share top-secret, privileged trade secrets.  Lesson: leverage tacit knowledge from experts through a medium that facilitates knowledge transfer and collection.

3) Challenge For Charity (C4C) 5K on March 12: My wife and I have been training for the Great Race of Agoura Hills, but when full-time students Gene Miller and others have been promoting the 7th Annual Run The Waves 5k this Saturday, we quickly learned that many others were participating, and signed up.  Lesson: disparate conversations are centralized and geography of satellite campuses no longer limits participation.  With Yammer, you can create events within a post.

4) The Best Ways to Watch TV Online: abc.com, Hulu, Freeonlineepisodes.net, the list goes on.  There were 30 replies to this post.  Lesson: You can create a poll within a post to source answers to pressing questions like this or others.  See results instantly.  When someone “likes” your poll, or post, your poll or post now appears in their feed for their followers to view.  Now, your poll/post is available to an entire larger network.

5) Travel Tips for the April 2011 Brazil Trip: Last year I traveled to Hong Kong with Pepperdine’s Global program.  I got so much out of the experience I signed up this year to go to Brazil.  One participant created a Brazil Global Program group.  Lesson: most of the people I will be traveling with have shared great insight about airfares, hotels, tricks to stopovers, tricks to getting your visa, and much more simply by sharing their expertise.  I feel like I know the trip participants, and we’re still over 6 weeks away from leaving.

If you don’t see the value yet, what value can you bring to the Pepperdine community?  Share your knowledge, expertise, or even just a funny joke, and watch the community gather around for some Yammering.  Join the conversation today.


Knowledge Sourcing and Blog Sharing

As posted in the Graziadio Voice Blog on February 4, 2011.

The prevalence of different forms of technology and access to vast amounts of information on the Internet has been paramount to supporting our MBA education and knowledge growth.  All that information comes from knowledge sourcing, from authors like us.  I want to take a moment to highlight the concept of social learning (learning among peers, and easily facilitated with technology) as a tool for gaining access to new information.

Graziadio Voice blog entries have been traditionally written by one author, with one perspective, and sourcing references to the entry come from a limited slice of the total amount of information on the subject.  I propose co-authoring future entries on topics with two or three other authors from within our Pepperdine community, who share similar topic interests, and a passion to share knowledge.  Additionally, I encourage you to post a blog entry about 5 topics you would like knowledge sourced.  The result will be richer entries from multiple perspectives, and the proliferation of many more blog entries, created more quickly — for our student, alumni, and academic community to enjoy.

Here is list of the next five blog entries that I have in the pipeline for the Graziadio Voice.  If any one of these topics sound appealing, please contact me, and let’s pool our collective knowledge on future entries.

1)   Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark (the Musical) – A Case Study

In a mirroring of the story itself, producers and their creative team, bitten with the creative bug to stage a “large scale extravaganza,” are faced with the responsibility of saving a record-setting $65M spectacle from turning into a flop.  Business themes include: new models, co-branding (Marvel and U2), investment risk (this has a beta of 4.7), and delayed product launch.

2)   Building Horizontal Networks

Inspired from this Harvard Business Review blog post, the author sums up career advice in one word: options.  The 21st century model is corporate lattice instead of the corporate ladder. The more value you are to your organization, the more options you will have both inside and outside its walls. Business themes include: personal branding, career development, and multiple careers.

3)   Can Social Learning Re-Invent Higher Education?

Thanks to Graziadio’s e-learning department, who has provided us resources such as GLEAN and Yammer, students are now more prepared then ever to leverage social learning.  Knowledge from a collective group of experts, takes learning far beyond textbooks.  How do we access and share that knowledge? Business themes include: new models, social networking, and e-learning. 

4)   Preparation for Any Job

Also inspired from the same Harvard Business Review blog post, how do we prepare 21st century MBA candidates for “any job” when the traditional model prepares us for one career that we used to anticipate having for most, if not, all of our lives?  Business themes include: new models, career development, and entrepreneurship.

5)   Sustainable Business Model for the Performing Arts

Why do they always ask for donations?  For-profit businesses don’t.  I returned to school in 2008 to pursue an MBA after being laid off from a job working in upper-management for a non-profit, live theatre company.  The non-profit had two products: ticket sales and donations.  One product became less popular in 2007.  No new products were in the pipeline.  I have an idea for a sustainable model that involves real estate, education, and social entrepreneurism.  Business themes include: new models, entrepreneurship, and investments.

Do you have knowledge on any of these topics that would add a rich perspective?  Please contact me to contribute to one of these pipeline blog entries.  If you have a similar idea, please share it with me.  I welcome your perspective, and our future readers do too.

Crossing Cultures in Antigua

As posted in the Graziadio Voice Blog on January 7, 2011.

A fabulous steel drum band plays at Shirley Heights

 

This is my favorite time of the semester — vacation! I enjoy reading all the international blog entries that are posted on Graziadio Voice during this time.  All of us have worked hard for the past 15 weeks and now it’s time to reward ourselves.  My wife and I were contestants on The Newlywed Game in 2010. We won the game, the episode aired in June, and in December we enjoyed our reward for working so hard this semester (and for thoroughly embarrassing ourselves on television).

I could tell you stories about our “unofficial” tour guide, our more professional “official” tour guide, or the bubble of staying at the resort, but I won’t.  When you see me next, ask me about these.  For now, it’s more relevant to share the business and cross cultural takeaways of Antigua, in the West Indies, and eastern Caribbean.

My wife Jessica and I purchased several local art pieces from this artist to bring back as gifts.

1) Learn the lingo. Even if you learn only four or five words or phrases, the effort will go a long way.  On our first day we befriended a local selling jewelry and artwork.  Sharon was so excited that we were interested in learning phrases that she took the time to write out a page of phrases for us.  In Antigua, the native language is English, however, it’s “broken English,” and that makes the language completely different.  Another conversation with the water sports staff went like this:

Brett: “What language are you speaking?”

Water sports staff: “It’s English…”

Brett: ”Ooohhh.  Cool.”

Water sports staff: ”But it’s like, broken English though.”

Brett: ”Oh, so like a dialect.”

Water sports staff: ”Yeah mon.”

2) Business at a different pace. We are so accustomed to our American way of doing things, it can be eye-opening to see how business is conducted (which may be equally effective) in other countries.  In Antigua, things happened at a much slower pace–on “island time.”  We didn’t mind–we were on vacation.  Interestingly, since the country is completely a service-based economy, the wait staff in restaurants were very good, and numerous.  Back home, to cut expenses, we would’ve had less than half the amount of staff to accomplish the same amount of work.  Surely the staff was paid less, but they were employed!

Street performer in St. John’s central shopping district.

3) Experience the culture. Perhaps it is goes without saying, however, when vacationing, it can be easy to avoid the native land by cuddling up in the comfort zone of a resort. The best opportunities lie outside the boundaries of your resort.  Hire a driver and guide, speak the language, and taste the local food.  Experience what it is like to be a local.  You’ll develop an appreciation for the life that they live in ways you hadn’t imagined.

4) Relationship first. In most countries, it takes many meetings before a formal business transaction takes place.  In the U.S., we are usually anxious to close a deal as soon as possible.  Welcome the notion of developing a strong foundational relationship first, before embarking on a business venture.  Your foundational relationship will provide for a long-term opportunity based on trust and confidence in your partner.

5) See life through their eyes. It’s humbling to know the life we get to return to, and the tremendous possibilities and opportunities we have in our country.  For some locals, beading jewelry, waiting tables, or skippering a boat is their life.  Most locals have multiple jobs to support their families.  When we have all sorts of technology to make our lives easier, others are still very content with a simpler way of life.  There is a lot to be said for people who still transact effectively without technology resources.

As a part of the MBA curriculum, I recommend taking at least one global business class and of course,participate in Pepperdine’s Global Program by spending one week in a country you have never been to, or would otherwise never travel to.

Our “official” tour guide Sam gave us a fabulous island tour.

For a great two-unit global business elective, I recommend taking Cross Cultural Management; it will help you develop using your business skills effectively in other countries.

The biggest takeaway was to not use your “U.S. playbook” in other countries.  It simply will not translate.  For a truly great experience, take the Cross Cultural Management class the semester prior to going on a one-week Global Program trip.  The class will more than prepare you for your experience crossing borders.

Minding Your Intellectual Property

Reposted from the Graziadio Voice Blog

As entrepreneurs, we’re always “preneuring” something, or in my case, many things.  As business students, you’ll likely have access to a lot of intellectual property, and knowing how to protect yourself, or how to advise your clients is an essential skill.  In Mark Zuckerberg’s case, and beautifully illustrated in The Social Network, several important lessons can be taken away:

  1. Sign a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA). An NDA will protect you from others potentially running off and using your ideas to create other works, or more importantly, using your trade secrets or client lists for their gain.  In California the NDA is called a Non-Circumvention Agreement.  Anyone who questions you about signing an NDA is probably someone not worth working with.
  1. Sign a Letter of Agreement (LOA). For clarity of all matters between two persons doing business together (especially for the first time) it is highly advisable to draft a Letter of Agreement.  The LOA should spell out “all foreseeable situations” that could arise between the Company and Contractor.  One of the biggest points of clarification is who has ownership of the work created for the company?  Under a work for hire agreement, the Company owns the work and is entitled to a royalty-free license to use the work for X amount of years.  The greater detail that is placed into the LOA, the less the courts will have to infer, should a dispute arise.
  1. Register Copyrighted Works. It’s not enough to simply place a © 2010, Brett Fisher Group, LLC notice on your original works.  In order to pursue any claims you may have against copyright infringers, your work must be registered with the Library of Congress.
  1. Hire an Attorney. We are not attorneys, nor should we be giving clients legal advice.  However, a good attorney is worth every penny.  Spend time interviewing various attorneys until you find someone you are very comfortable with.  This is not a process that can be rushed.  Be sure to explain what type of IP you are working on so that your potential attorney is comfortable representing you.  Ask for references.
  1. Settle out of Court. If you happen to do it on your own like Mark Zuckerberg did, in the grand scheme of things, settling will be like paying a speeding ticket; it’s the price of doing business.  Expect to be a target, so do whatever you can to mitigate any potential problems.  If you do get sued, settle out of court.  Don’t leave your company’s future up to a sympathetic jury, and you don’t want a judgment against your company.

For a quick review of business law, pick up LearnItByEar.com’s business law audio review.  “It’s like cliffsnotes for your iPod.”  The intellectual property section has 33 memorable soundcards to help you review and recall the essential business law terms you need know.  Enjoy!

The Business of “Glee”

Reposted from the Graziadio Voice Blog

One of the reasons I returned to school to pursue an MBA was to develop a sustainable business model for performing arts organizations. After having spent the last eight years working in both nonprofit and for-profit live theatre, it became clear to me that the arts still lacked a sustainable business model if it were to survive long-term.

To bring you up to speed, most theatre companies have a few products that they sell — tickets (either as subscriptions or single tickets), donations, and perhaps educational classes. The gap in this model is (1) a high upfront capital investment in producing intellectual property for the stage (such as a straight play, or musical work), (2) a weekly operating cost, (3) reliance on “contributed income” (grants and donations) to fill theearnings gap, and (4) limited distribution. The earnings gap is the difference in the amount of money needed to cover the expenses of producing a show and the amount of money brought from the sale of tickets (or earned income).

May 19, 2009, the pilot episode of Glee airs after American Idol with a radically new form of hour-long drama for television, combining story, singing and choreography. In the game of competition for eyeballs through advertising, show creator Ryan Murphy, along with writers/producers Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, and Foxhave turned the traditional television revenue model on its side. We’ve traditionally seen a television show run its course through first-season airings, then seek additional revenues through re-runs or a DVD release. There are new avenues to pursue, like through the iTunes Store, and Glee is capitalizing on its product potential.

Let’s deconstruct the business of Glee as its diversified portfolio and multiple streams of income should be heeded by any business:

  • Brand – Like any great business, Glee has created an iconic one-word image. You can think of many one-word brands that stand out.
  • Product Diversification – Here’s the kicker: Glee has many products in its portfolio, aside from first-run episodics, reruns, and complete seasons on DVD and on the iTunes Store, it also has (1) originally produced songs and complete albums to download and purchase, (2) live concert performances, (3) merchandise, and (4) cross promotion with legendary artists such as MadonnaLady Gaga, and Britney Spears. To strengthen their brand and provide bench depth to the young product line, the show features famous guest performers, and covers a horde of popular songs and famous show tunes.
  • Personality – We’ve been talking about the importance of brand recently in our posts. The Glee brand certainly has a treasure chest full of personalities that their audience can identify with. Of course it’s easier to bring out personality from an entertainment industry brand, but attractive personalities help.

For any business, not just nonprofit arts organizations, it’s not enough to just have one or two products. A strong business needs many great complimentary products, each contributing to a larger diverse brand portfolio that provide different types of income streams over the long-term.

How diverse is your brand portfolio? How reliant are you on each product? Do you have enough products (or services) to sustain you for the long-term?

Borrowing models from other industries is nothing original, but having the agility to shift models as it has been done in television and adapting will serve live theatre well for the long-term.

6 Tips on Adding Value to Your Personal Brand

Reposted from the Gradziadio Voice Blog

Srinivas Rao made an astute comment in his recent blog post A Message To Incoming MBA Students, on 25 Aug 2010 emphasizing the importance of an online brand to capture the attention of recruiters, hiring managers, and search engines. I completely agree. I would have to add to that, the importance of being a “value-added” brand. How are you going to make your personal brand stand out? Here are some insights:

  1. Emotional Intelligence. Your calm and smooth demeanor is contagious. You are friendly, humorous, and you consistently get the job done. Beyond that, you posses a skillful way with others that stands out as being able to get along with anyone.
  2. Flexibility. Now, more than ever, you embrace new opportunities that weren’t the specified plan. Your agile nature allows you the freedom to consider all possibilities instead of rejecting alternative plans.
  3. Be A Network Hub. If you can’t help someone, you sure know the right person who can. Nothing is more important than being that person who can connect others to what they need. Attend as many networking events as you can, and be sure you continue attending them after graduation. Stay connected.
  4. Response. Your response time in communications with others sends a message to how important your need is to the other person. Be available and quick to respond.
  5. Be A Great Partner. You understand and value the importance of team accomplishment. Even if you are a sole practitioner, or are used to doing things on your own, you rely on the skill of others to complement your skills. For without them, you can’t offer your customers the best solution. You are selfless, and allow your own interests to prevail only when it’s acceptable. Your ego is not important, because you are secure and confident, and you receive praise and reassurance even if it’s only from yourself.
  6. Share Wisdom. As a constant learner yourself, you know that it’s equally important to pass on the valuable bits that you find most important, to help others because you understand the value of teaching others.

I encourage you to blog and share your wisdom with all of us to build your online brand.  You will be better positioned as a value-added candidate to be sought after for that dream job you’ve been working so hard for. The time will go by fast, so start writing now and discover how value-added you are!

I encourage you to email me or comment if you have any thoughts on this subject.

Everyone is an Entrepreneur

Reposted from Pepperdine’s Student Blog: “Gradziadio Voice” on 8/30/2010

I began my MBA at Pepperdine after having worked almost continuously since I was 12, having spent the previous 8 years working in both for-profit commercial live theatre, as an intern in New York, and as a Managing Director and General Manager for two non profit live theatre companies in the Los Angeles area.  I contributed all that I could from my past experiences, wisdom, and education, and still faced a job layoff (which was quite a humbling experience if you haven’t experienced one yet).  I thought I would always be working, and would always be employable.  Even after temping for four months, I was back at home, sending out resumes — and that was one month after I started the “fully employed” program in the fall of 2008.

The first recommendation I can pass along to you is that you should plan on developing your entrepreneurial skills.  Everyone is an entrepreneur to some degree.  You probably are already an entrepreneur, even though you may not express it in the form of a business.  At the very least, even in your personal life, you have found solutions to problems — around the house, with your hobbies, or clever shortcuts that have made your life easier.  Remember those great ideas, and write them down in a journal, because you will never know when you may want to start developing those ideas into a real business.

If you’ve thought about starting your own business, or have the desire to pursue something that you are more passionate about than what you are doing today, I highly encourage taking ENTR 661: The Generation of New Ideas.  The class will help you gain tremendous confidence about how to take ideas or problems you have, and pitch solutions you come up with in front of a group of peers.  This class is highly relevant in today’s economic climate, and one that I feel every MBA candidate should take, just to have some basic entrepreneurial skills in your back pocket.  I feel all MBA candidates should be prepared to be entrepreneurs — at the very least through taking this one class.  This one, 2-unit class positions graduates to be much more rounded leaders and thinkers.  Even if you plan on working at the same company, or in the same industry for the rest of your life, you will be thankful you took at least one entrepreneur class while at Pepperdine to prepare you for the unexpected, or just to unleash your passion.

Over the past few years, I have enjoyed both exciting and challenging opportunities working as a freelance business consultant.  The insights I will share with you over the course of the next year will be from my personal experiences and thoughts I have as a consultant and entrepreneur.  Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me and the other readers, as we would love to learn from you what your experiences have been as well.