LinkedIn For Retail Professionals

There are countless articles out there on how to optimise ones profile on LinkedIn, but none that focus purely on what best makes the profile of a Retail Professional stand out. The variety of profiles on LinkedIn with the title “Retail Store Manager” or Retail Sales Assistant” are enormous, but there is more to making sure that that profile picture is professional looking, and that the profile itself contains the right keywords to attract the right recruiter. Especially when there is a high turnover in the market and job searching is a ongoing activity for any retailer.

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It might be worth glancing at the article “Out With The CV, In With LinkedIn”as it looks to draw upon the basics of what makes a effective LinkedIn profile. But here are some of the enhancements which could really make a difference to the profile of a Store Leader, or a Retail based professional as a whole.

 

Headline

The headline on a LinkedIn profile can practically make or break ones chances of landing that perfect job. This means that if it is not accurate, it could discourage many hiring managers and recruiters to pick up that phone and contract that candidate.

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However, this could be an easy fix for the majority, where using something a bit more exciting as a tagline, rather then just the job title handed down from the company plastered across the top. If one prefers to use their formal title any how, at least make sure that it is current, and not one which represents the roles from the past. For example, if the role which is being undertaken is a “Store Manager”, then use that as the tagline, if not then don’t.

Location, Location & Location

Many profiles across LinkedIn have numerous different locations on their main pages. Some have nothing at all, and some have it down as “Other”. May seem like a diplomatic approach, but doesn’t certainly work in the favour of people looking for that extra bit of interaction.

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This can prove annoying at times, as many recruiters who are looking for that perfect candidate, may have come across them already, but if there is no certainty of location, they would not know whether they are suitable based on location. This can also pose a issue with hiring managers, where the information, or the lack of information can leave them in stand still, confused as to how to proceed with their search.

 

Email Address

As time has advanced with the aid of technology, its surprising how people still fail to understand the importance of having up to date information on their CV and LinkedIn profiles. Especially when that information contains the method of getting in touch with them.

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Not everyone on LinkedIn will have access to InMails, and not everyone will know how to use the feature altogether, hence why not make is easy for recruiters and hiring managers to get in touch. Its best practice to include both the email address, and mobile phone number, rather then losing the perfect opportunity which may come by.

No Work History

Imagine coming across a book which has a amazing cover, and looks like a great read, only when it is opened, its nothing but blank pages. Well to put this in context, its what recruiters and hiring managers feel like when they come across a brilliant candidate, but then when they click on the profile, all they see is titles but blank spaces.

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Its great if a CV is present on the profile, but it should never be deemed acceptable to leave the work history empty. After all, LinkedIn is where 80% of recruiters first search for potential applicants, before even skimming through their paper based credentials.

It also represents that the candidate is not just lazy, but is still stuck in the old days of when it was common practice to hand in a paper-based CV and follow it up with a phone call. It comes across as if the candidate who’s eager to get a job and progress, but hasn’t been bothered to fill in the space which will be his/her main selling platform. Better to make a good impression then miss out on a opportunity!

 

Accuracy of Information

Its important enough to get the job title on the profile right, but there are numerous profiles which have also come across with having the wrong dates in place for when the candidate was in work. Some individuals suggest, that they were employed at two different roles at the same time, or have had multiple jobs over a short period of time.

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Not only is this un-desirable, showing inconsistency with a valid cause, but it also seems unusual that one is a District Manager at say O2 Telefonica, and also at Starbucks Coffee at the same time. It is critical that the dates, as well as any other information on a LinkedIn profile are represented accurately.

 

Recommendations

Perhaps the number one mistake people make on their profiles, is assuming that they are able to sell themselves without any proof that they have had success in the past. Just mentioning that one was good at driving results, or that they were able to successfully carry out a project which made their employer a large profit is not enough to suggest that one actually did that. This is where the power of recommendations comes in.

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Its empirical that the candidate has a handful of recommendations, especially in this day and age where searching for a job one is more likely to be approached by a recruiters if they can see that he/she is well recommended for their previous work. It is the same as a job interview, where when asked for references, one is generally expected to have some handy, the same rule now applies to a LinkedIn profile when it comes to recommendations. So get on to those former bosses and colleagues and start asking for those recommendations!

Endorsements

Although endorsements are a lesser form of say, recommendations, they still come in handy when proving their worth. People are able to endorse individuals for their work on a type of skill or trait. From Store Management, to Craft and Design, anything and everything is pretty much endorsable.

So even though they are not as respected as a recommendation, it is perhaps still a good idea to have some skills mentioned on the profile for the general network to be able to push endorsements too.

Education

When it comes to education, just like a CV with no education mentioned on it suggests the candidate doesn’t have any, a LinkedIn profile would serve the same judgement when viewed by a recruiter or hiring manager.

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If recruiters come across a profile with no mention of a school, college or university, then they will assume that the candidate didn’t attend any. With that being said, its fair to say no one can be sure whether the audience will first view the CV or the profile, so advice would be to not be lazy and just make sure education is mentioned on both in order to capitalise on any opportunities.

 

LinkedIn Groups

Many people underestimate the power of networking. This means they down see the value of making use of the extra features which LinkedIn users can make the most of. One of these is the industry relevant groups, where sharing ideas and best practice make one known to others in their field.

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Not only does this allow one to stay on top of the latest news in the sector, but it can also express a sense of commitment to the subject, showing recruiters that the individual spends some time on LinkedIn, networking within people with similar specialisations.

 

Make it Personal!

This is sometimes the one aspect of a LinkedIn profile, which is not only difficult to explain how it needs to be done, but also making one understand the importance of making it their own.

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Even though this may be a small aspect of ones LinkedIn profile, but it in many ways suggests that the candidate truly cares about their page, and what it represents. At the very least, its suggest that their is a lot of work which has gone into the profile, and hasn’t simply been a data input exercise.

*** Happy Reading @ The Kingsmans Journal ***

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Perfect Timing

Whether it be managing a business, university workload or just the activities of a busy day, effective time management can mean the difference between a successful day, and one which generates poor results. Even days and weeks may seem like little or no time to do the necessary task to maintain the efficiency in operations.

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Over the professional career, it has become apparent that when questioned, many people have put this down to the list of tasks increasing, that it was not enough time to do the particulars on the agenda, and that certain individuals were having to miss out on their lives because of work tasks. However, after having a different viewpoint to this, many people quickly saw that it was not the time that was at fault, but how they managed their time.

While at a seminar, there was an audience who were suffering from not being able to manage their time. Some were lacking the time they wanted with family, some wanted to pursue other external goals, and some just wanted to have more time to themselves. Each and everyone proclaimed that they were taking on too much, and that they were deprived of time they wanted.

Here, using a jar, the demonstrator on stage filled it with rocks. He continued to put rocks in the jar until it had become full, where no more rocks could be fit in. One completing this, he turned to the audience and asked them, “Is the jar full?”. The audience looked at each other puzzled.  “Yes” they replied.

The demonstrator reached under the desk and took out a small bag of gravel. He began to pour the gravel into the jar, where it filled in the smaller gaps left by the larger rocks. After filling the gravel, the demonstrator turned to the audience and again asked, “Is the jar now full?”. Being cautious, the audience assumed it wasn’t, and a girl from the audience spoke out claiming “No”. The demonstrator smiled, and nodded, “Good”.

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He then reached under the desk again, and took out a small bag of sand, and again repeating the process poured it into the jar filling in the even smaller spaces left by the gravel and the rocks. After emptying the bag into the jug, it has become somewhat apparent it was full. Again on this occasion, the demonstrator turned to the audience and asked again, “Is the jar now full?”. The audience again, assumed this was again a trick question. A man in the front row answered “No”. The demonstrator asked again, “Are you sure?”. No one answered but they nodded nervously.

The demonstrator again reached under the desk, and brought out a jug of water, and again poured this into the jar which already had the large rocks, the gravel and also the sand.

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As confusing as it may seem, not many people understand the morale, or as a matter of fact even know what to take away from this story. The demonstration was based on changing ones mindset. One must assume that just because there is a long list, this automatically means it will take a long time to work through it.

Notes: 

Rocks Important/Critical Must Do’s.
Gravel Tasks when are less important and can be done in between the rocks.
Sand Tasks which are the least important and can be delegated or can be completed with more flexibility.
Water Tasks which are near enough unimportant and can be left if not done.

Perhaps it may be easier to consider having large rocks as ones important and urgent matters, followed by gravel as their second most critical, the sand the third, and then the water as their least essential. With that being said, its also useful to understand, that if one was to focus on the gravel and sand first, it makes the rocks if not impossible but very difficult to be accommodated for.

What is priority for others, may not be a priority for you….!!!

As well as understanding the importance of scheduling, its also important to understand that some tasks are important for different reasons, and also for different people.

For example a task which may be important for a Regional Manager, may not necessarily be the same for a Store Manager and vice versa. With many organisations, its common to see jobs being delegated down, but this should not interfere with what are the immediate priorities.

Time Stealers

The term “Time Stealers” is not something which is formally used in the business environment, but it is one which makes more sense when put into context. This can again be used in any form or manner, whether it be professional work, university or anything which is organised or scheduled.

Time Steallers are the very elements of ones day which are used up with not necessarily useless tasks, but ones which do not provide any efficiency, or are repetitive with very little value.

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For example some of the most commonly stated time steallers are,

People – Disruptive individuals who consume most of the time through repetitive tasks and assistance. 
Meetings/Calls – Most meetings and calls are meaningless. Many focus on disciplining the ideology or creating a sense of repetitive information which can easily be extracted from documents and other forms of statistical data.
Dead Time – This is very much commonplace in retail, where quiet periods and time during the day when there is no activity is classified as “Dead Time”
Email/Paper – Emails are very similar to Meetings and Conference Calls, where they are time consuming but provide no value to the time that is spent on them. 
Mental Discipline – Mentally one should be strong enough to schedule their own time effectively. If this fails then all else whether mentioned above whether avoided or not does not make any sense. 

One way to overcome these Time Steallers is to outline what what proportion of ones daily rate is used on these activities, and then following on creating a plan to either eradicate or solve these on a permanent basis.

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Another tool which can be used to better manage time is a effective Daily Planner. This could be different depending on the tasks which need addressing, some which are,

Flexible Tasks – Must be Done Today, and appear in a list form
Notes, Ideas, Reminders & Messages – These arise during the day and may need to be addressed straight away or can be left for a later date.
Fixed Tasks & Fixed Appointments – These are more structured for tasks which require stability in the agenda.
Flexible Tasks & Time Fillers – Task which can possibly be completed today, but in some cases must be done on the day they are assigned.

Lastly there is another tool which is widely used by many leaders and managers alike to stay on top of the priorities of the day, rather then fall back on their workload.

This framework looks to outline a grid which ones can use to categorise their tasks in order of Importance & Urgency.

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Urgent/Important – Crises situations, Urgent problems, Project deadlines.
Non – Urgent/Important – Preparation, Strategic planning, Relationship building.
Urgent/Unimportant – Interruptions, Part of mail or phone calls, Some reports.
Non – Urgent/Unimportant – Idle time, Leisure, Some mail or phone calls.

Most importantly, its critical to understand that without time management, there is no success with the presence of major failure. If one does not prepare and plan, then they are surely preparing themselves to fail!

 

*** Happy Reading @ The Kingsmans Journal ***

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Advice No School Can Give You!

Education is key to success as people have always said. And to some extent it is true. People who graduate from university are more likely to attain a better job, a better salary and are also more likely to be considered for promotion.

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But over time, conversations with both peers and student alike bring to mind lessons which were learnt outside of the academic setting. In school the lessons are taught based on a curriculum. There is little or no exposure to what life has to offer. Following are just some of the advice once passed down from my father, which I would like to rely to individuals who may be misled with the same assumption, that life is as described by educational institutions far and wide.

 

Life is not fair

This is reiterated time and time again by elders. People speak from experience. Just because school has a rule where fairness is promoted, and everyone has an equal chance, doesn’t mean this will be the case in life.

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There will be several occasions where one will lose out, due to their popularity, their experience, their age or even their gender or colour. Although wrong, this hasn’t stopped the modern workplace or society from continuing with these discrimination. All one can do is be prepared for it. Just remember that life will throw challenges, and these challenges are not going away.

The world will not care about your self-esteem, it will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself!

Just because one graduates with a first class degree from a top institution does not qualify them for a amazing job. There are numerous individuals who are smart and talented but end up working in a junior position, under someone who less educated.

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But the cycle is the same for everyone. Unless one can demonstrate their worth and experience, the degree classification or what university one goes too really hold little or no weight.

 

 

You will NOT make £40K a year right out of University! You will not be a vice president with a car & phone until you earn both.

Many student who finish university are told from the beginning, that if they don’t pursue higher education they will fall back in life. These students are lured into university with assumptions by people that once you go to university, attain a degree, its sets you up for a position as Vice President at say Apple or Microsoft.

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The alternative which means not going to university strikes fear, that a person without a collage degree will not progress further then a sales assistant who supposedly will spend the rest of their life operating a checkout.

The truth of the matter is, none of these are true. Some will have to spend more time learning the trade for which they studied, because the theory means nothing unless one can carry out the role. This is true for management students, where many spend three years or more learning to manage business assets and people, but when they reach the interview its as if they are yet to learn what it means to be a manager.

 

 

If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss!

Teachers can be harsh, and sometimes detention can be the worst. But if one is worried that their extra pile of homework is their biggest concern, perhaps they should be prepared for then the boss will expect them to bend upside down to even carry the work load which makes homework look like a breeze.

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This is a lesson learnt the hard way, where seeking an extension for an assignment is one thing, but owning up to the boss regarding a loss of millions of pounds is quiet another.

 

 

Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity – your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it opportunity!

Once the idea of sitting in a comfortable leather chair, ordering around others and having a company car, mobile phone and laptop are instilled in ones mind for years, and reinforced with ideas by professors and teachers telling you this is your future, its difficult for one to accept that there is a harsher reality which they have to face.

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Many students who study subjects such as Medicine, Engineering and even Finance have to seek alternative careers due to the lack of opportunity or the lack of quality in their grades. But what else can they do? Here the dilemma that working in the likes of McDonald’s or KFC appears as degrading. Well this may be the case, but remember that our grandparents who may have gone through tougher times regarded the same work as opportunity to put food on the table. No one should consider this below their dignity!

 

If you mess up, its not your parents fault! Don’t whine about them, learn from them!

Countless times, have I come across the youth blaming their misfortune on their parents. Some say that they parents should have done this, and done that, but in reality there’s no logic to it. One should learn to make the most of their life lessons, learn from their mistakes and make sure that it helps them better themselves. Whining will not get anyone anywhere!

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Its key to remember, that before one was born, their parents would not have been as boring as they may appear now. They got that way from paying children bills, cleaning their clothes, and listening to their children talk about how cool they thought they were. So before we try and save the rain forest from the parasites of our parents generation – we should try delousing the closet in our own bedrooms first.

 

 

School may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades, and they will give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This does not bare the slightest resemblance to anything in real life!

 

Life has always been a dog eat dog cycle. This doesn’t mean its not a nice thing, just means its not as nice as its made out to be. One should be prepared to to take the bad as well as the good. Winning will not be easy, and it won’t always come coupled with a reward, but losing will always be highlighted. In school there would be second chances, in life there is usually just one.

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Another assumption is drawn upon the lifestyle one has while as university. Where the year is divided by semesters, and the summers are spend at home lazying around, well that all goes out of the window. Summers are generally the busiest, and there are very few employers who are interested in finding yourself. They expect that to be out of work time activity.

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Lastly, television also blurs ones perception of what it means to live in the real world. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to work and do their jobs. Its not all sitting in Starbucks or Costa, sipping away a frappachino with the laptop. And it may pay to take the advice of Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, who suggested in his version of life rules, that one should be nicer to nerds, as the chance are that most of us will end up working for one.

*** Happy Reading @ The Kingsmans Journal ***

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The Power of Rhetoric

Rhetoric seems like a simple subject at first sight. It simply refers to the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially when it concern exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques. But how is it relevant when referenced to presidential elections, company slogans or the mastermind rhetoric campaigns of notably Stalin, Hitler and the Third Reich?

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From the earliest times in history, rhetoric has been a major abstract to understanding and controlling people and their minds. How one appears, or what they represent, how they carry out a certain role or what a brand means are all hidden behind the practice of effective rhetoric. The modern example of this for the basis of the argument, can be viewed in the US Presidential Elections.

There are however numerous aspects of rhetoric which must be executed effectively or must be at the centre of the campaign. These can determine how successful one is, or how one conveys the message of their suitability for the role. As the dialogue progress through these points, bare in mind that these can also be applied to other products and scenarios, of course with a little fine tuning and putting into context.

Money

The saying that “Money makes the world go round” really holds weight here. As with any campaign financial backing is a key element to success. And this is very much the case when it comes to political office.

Over the course of decades in the practice, the nature of marketing campaigns have become ever so dear, where the amounts which were once in single figures but amounted to millions, are now rising higher to hundreds of millions.

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Some of the most expensive campaigns can be traced back to 2004 with his presidential campaign racking up to $370 million. But it was Mitt Romney who was the big spender, spending near enough $845 million for his presidential campaign. Now the same can amount to budgets ranging to over almost a trillion dollars. This was the case with Barack Obama in 2008 spending a budget of $780 million, and then smashing this again in 2012 while campaigning for his second term with $875 million.

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Although money is a key element to success when standing for office, this is also symbolic, where the President should appear as someone who is wealthy and successful, and in some ways is the living embodiment of the “American Dream”. Most of this was apparent during the Kennedy campaign, where money was being pushed heavily after his brother was out of the initial race against Nixon. It is pretty clear that the process of marketing a brand of in this case a candidate requires significant capital.

 

 

Influence & Look

For many people, their leader is more then someone who sits in Parliament or the White House. The general public view their leaders as their saviours, as their answer to all their problems and one who is worthy of leading them to greatness and prosperity.

Best example of this can be seen in the rhetoric used in the imagery portrayed. Hitler and the Third Reich were perhaps the masters of conveying their message in this way, where Hitler was frequently illustrated as a Emperor, or one who was almighty and powerful, meeting the criteria to be referred to as “The Führer”.

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Well in reality, this is all conjured up as a image by the media and propaganda surrounding the candidate. Being seen with the right people, and representing the right kind of group identity can really make a major difference to how the electorate would see their potential President.

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This was very transparent during the Hillary and Trump campaigns of 2016, where Hillary was endorsed by many high profile individuals such as Madonna, Beyonce, Elizabeth Banks, Lady Gaga, George Clooney, Robert De Niro and many more, having a major influence.

Star power is essential to making an impact on the audience, and it becomes critical when the target audience consists of mainly the younger generation, where such names and celebrities will influence more significantly.

 

 

 

Religion

 

Religion is a central part of many peoples lives. Some people believe that certain aspects of their life, their family and even their everyday duties are tied to what their fair prescribes. This is also a key element when one looks at marketing a candidate.

Simply being American, British or home grown is not enough for success when fighting for an election. One must be considered a god loving and fairly religious person. This means that the people must see the President as one who has religion at the heart of who they are as a person.

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This was very transparent during the Obama administration, where there are countless pictures of Barack Obama at a synagogue, mosque or church, and simply in the presence of people who were representatives of faith and religion. He was also in light for controversy after his meeting with the Pope.

Message here is, that people must see their leader as one who is supreme and strong, but weak enough to be a god loving and god fearing man. This build credibility for some that the candidate is empathetic to religious values and believes in upholding them.

 

 

Family

Another important observation people would make is the status of the candidates family, and how they are towards their family.

The US elections in particular are known to have their candidates showcase their children and family on stage during their public speeches. This not only represents that the candidate is a family man, but also that they are loved and know how to uphold family values.

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This was significant during the Obama campaign, where for the first time the First Lady Michelle Obama was very much in the same spotlight as her spouse. She was a well known individual, and with the countless humanitarian entities which she was endorsing, she continued to grow as a independent person to the President.

Likewise, Diana although not elected but was a separate entity to Prince Charles, which led to the young Prince William also gaining early exposure.

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And lastly looking to more recent times, Trump and Hillary Clinton were also very vocal and open when introducing their families. Donald Trump was very much in the spotlight with his wife and her controversial past, and Hillary was looking to leverage the popularity of Bill Clinton, the former President himself.

 

 

Message

The message is probably one where many candidates and entities have failed in the past. This is where the intention is portrayed into a missions statement. What will the people get from electing a specific person? Why should they elect? What does this person stand for? Much of these questions are self explanatory as the campaign moves into the later stages, but it can be surprising how this also changes over time and conveys different levels of support.

Obama is possibly on which has been talked about the most. When he came into the scene, his message was clear and concise. Obama focused on helping the individuals in society which were forgotten. He also considered the past few years where George W Bush had raged wars in the Middle East, opened up Guantanamo Bay and had overlooked the devastation of hurricane Katrina. He proclaimed his agenda was one for “Change”.

Likewise, Donald Trump also portrayed his message clearly when asking for the Mexicans to go back to Mexico, that they were criminals and rapists. Well that also surprisingly gathered support and got him enough support to make his mark on the White House.

The recent elections have illustrated, that in some way or form, the message can be seen as off putting, as was the case with Trump, discriminating against Hispanics and Muslims, and making utterly degrading comments about women and ethnic minorities, yet he was able to win the election against on which was campaigning for a different America. A similar kind of upset can be seen in places like the UK and the Brexit issue, and also across other part of the world such as sections of South East Asian and the Middle East.

*** Happy Reading @ The Kingsmans Journal ***

 

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Challenges of Remote Management

Management as a whole is a challenging role. Not only does it mean one is responsible for their performance, their teams performance but it also entails other aspects such as profit and loss, management of resources and the list goes on. One may argue it is as if one is running a business, without having the profits directly funnelled to them.

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But what of remote management? What challenges does one feel when they are away from their direct reports, and are having manage them in all the aspects mentioned above, but without any face to face interaction? Well the following explore some of these challenges, and also on how to overcome them.

Getting The Right People

Whether its remote, retail or performance management, the key differentiating factor between success and failure can be potentially the people one employes. This does not mean if its a sales position, it requires the best sales professionals, but it comes down to how effective the team is when working from a remote location.

A perfect example of this is the 2010 Real Madrid signing, which consisted of some of the best players in the world, but they failed to win any silverware, all due to a lack of team chemistry.

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Best Practice:

This means when a team is collaborated, making sure that this team is not only one possessing the chemistry to gel together, but is also highly motivated and cooperative, and is also significantly equipped in time management and handling tasks which will ultimately deliver results.

Communication

Another obstacle of remote management is the clarity of communication. As the participants are not located in one place, it is very difficult to get these people to achieve a common goal. This means that when it comes to regular updates, accomplishments or challenges, these are less likely to make it to the other side unless a robust and effective communications channel is in place.

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Best Practice:

With that being said, there is no reason in the modern digital age why these can’t be addressed. With the growth of such online tools as WhatsApp Messenger, Teamviewer, and Good Enterprise Email, these challenges are less about how far people are, and more about whether they have a stable internet connection. Even interviews and meetings are not more or less carried out virtually through the likes of Skype and other similar video conferencing software.

Understanding Issues

As well as communication, this can also go hand in hand with misunderstandings over what is being requested, and what is being understood. For example, the question of how must one explain an issue easily, without actually being able to show it directly?

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Tricky as it may sound, the Japanese refer to this as the concept of “Going to the Gemba”. In English, this means physically going to the part of a factory, process or simply the supply chain where the problems lies, in order to fully understand what is the problem. The military also refers to this as “Ground Truth”. Without overcomplicating it, this is something which one who is remotely based is unable to do.

Best Practice:

This is something which can be overcome through video conferencing as well, but its only dependant on what it is. If its showing something simple then yes it would work, but if its something which could take more then just one explanation, such as teaching a software or explaining a complex mechanism, then this could appear to be more challenging. The problem multiplies if the team are across different regions, where the language and culture of both work practice, deadlines and punctuality and the way one expresses courtesy may be very different.

Monitoring Activities

Whether its a office or a retail store, unless its highly regulated it can get difficult to keep track of tasks and activities. With that being said, it’s no surprise why remote management suffers from a more elevated version of this.

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Best Practice:

In order for remote management to play its part, and a remote team to function, it is critical for each member of the team to know exactly what each and every colleague is working on, and what is the status for progress. This is not just so everyone is in tune, but it’s more so because it could be the case that as a team works collaboratively, their input could be required on more then one aspect of a project.

Again, it is critical that a team is in constant communication, this could mean staying on a WhatsApp Group, providing updates of what is the progress, and also checking up on other members if they are on deadline or need any support. From personal experience, this really works effectively as a communications channel.

Team Building

As a manager it is critical that as part of the process of managing and assigning the specific roles and responsibilities, one should look to build on their team and colleagues. What this essentially means it that the team needs a constant push and reminder that they are to work collaboratively. Furthermore, team building also address both the development of the members as well as working on how they are as a group, and how their chemistry can be improved to bring about better results.

 

Team Building

 

But with remote management, how does one do the usual activities of shared social interactions on the margins of work and projects, when these members are only connecting remotely? That deep sense of personal connection and shared responsibility that a great team feels is very hard to approach when they are physically remote. Even the little things like a chat at the coffee machine are missing.

Best Practice:

This could be addressed by creating online tutorials and interactions. It may sound strange but it would be the only way that a remote team could have close to a catch up. Setting up say a Facebook Page with the team members, allowing them to share their personal achievements such as having a baby or achieving a qualification can create a closer bond between the team. Likewise, having a WhatsApp messaging group can also prove to be useful in strengthening the teams inner relationships.

Lastly, having a catch up call discussing outside business rather then a conference call about work can also create a more friendly atmosphere, this would help eradicate the feeling that these individuals are just for work, and it soon becomes more of a positive and friendly group.

*** Happy Reading @ The Kingsmans Journal ***

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Rise Above The Competition With Interview Success

Interviews can be daunting. Especially when it involves the the unusual format of either group activities or presentations. But there are is a specific path and mindset which is required to master the art of such assessments.

The top search results from Google when searching for interview tips brings up a couple of results, all suggesting very similar pieces of advice. Some of these include the universal traits for success, revolving around, dressing for success, researching the company, arriving on time, discussing ones strengths and weaknesses, and lastly as a formal follow up with a thank you note. But these are the very basics, and are only scratching the surface of the forms a mindset, and ultimately a strategy to ace the interview.

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Although these articles look to provide a insight into the interview process, the one challenge many candidates have is that besides themselves, there are also 10 million other interviewees who memories these tips, meaning this advice cannot really serve as a winning formula. It will allow one to keep pace, and stay afloat, but if its a matter of beating the other candidates and getting the job, is there something else which needs to be explored?

sia-licence-hub-interview-questions

 

Thats exactly the question this article is set out to answer. Drawing upon the countless interviews from both a personal experience, as well as taking part in interviewing and hiring candidates for commercial and business settings, there are 5 different techniques which have been filtered into what the follow will discuss. These take into account that an interview pits the candidates against each other, and ultimately the one who stands out and holds more weight will outmatch everyone else.

 

Creative concept of the human brain, vector illustration

 

One must understand that the interview process is not mastered with ample amounts of paperwork and presentations, but through a optimal interview mindset mindset. What this means in simpler terms, when assessing the candidates, theres a degree of difference in how they perform, but ultimately there is a certain baseline which one must excel above.

To put this in context, if 5 candidates are interviewed for a job, and all 5 are below the benchmark, none of them will get the job. Likewise, if in the same situation all are amazing, only the best candidate will be considered for a second interview. If say only 3 of the 5 are amazing, this does not mean that all 3 will be considered, or that the organisation will create 3 positions when they are hiring for 1. In every scenario, only 1 person is considered for the position, meaning if one must outperform the competition.

brain-arrows

There are major implications on the message the candidate may be sending to the hiring manager, as well as their strategy. Candidate tend to focus too much on explaining why they are best qualified for the role, where as the best candidates understand the importance of positioning themselves amongst the competition who are most likely to go up against them. Besides this, the mentality and approach one has towards an interview is determined heavily by the mindset of a candidate.

A candidates mindset should not revolve around, “I’m going to convince them I can be great at this job”, but should rather be base on the statement, “I’m going to convince them there’s only one kind of candidate who can do this job the way it should be done, and I’m the best example of that type of candidate they’re going to find”.  Following on, there are ways to identify the different types of candidates in an interview scenario. These can be seen as way to outmatch the competition by leaving a distinct image for the hiring management.

 

 

 

 

Categories of Candidates

 

Its difficult to know the competition, unless the hiring manager hands over a list of everything they are looking to interview. Well, thats not likely to happen. So the alternative to this is to know the type of individuals which are likely to be putting themselves forward.

better-blog-categories

For example, applying for a Marketing Communications Manager role at a health care technology company can bring about numerous different types of candidates. In this case there are really 4 types of candidates which would make up the competition.

 

The Audience Expert
This is the candidate with deep health care industry expertise who truly understands the customer and the market. Whether they’ve worked in the industry themselves or have worked for companies that sell to the industry. Typically this person lacks some depth on the marketing or technology fronts but makes up for it with a uniquely strong understanding of the industry.

 

town-hall-microphone

 

The Functional Expert
This is the candidate with exceptionally deep marketing communications expertise. Someone who has exceptionally strong experience in the discipline of marketing. Normally this candidate has little direct experience working in the industry and may lack a deep understanding of the audience and technology.

Genius baby

The Technology Expert
This is the candidate who has a strong understanding of the product or technology the company is selling. Sometimes this is an internal candidate or someone who has worked at a close competitor. Their unique technical advantage is most likely offset by a below average command of the functional discipline, in this case, marketing communications.

 

Modern Business World

 

 

 

 

The Jack of All Trades
This candidate, as the name suggests, has a little bit of everything. A bit of marketing communications expertise, some experience in the industry and some technical or product knowledge. Not great in any one area, but ok at all areas.

jack-of-all-trades-jpeg-300x233

 

Its critical that one builds a clear and transparent picture in the mind of the types of candidates which are likely to be amongst the competition, as this would not only help in the preparation for the interview, but will also have a huge impact on the entire positioning strategy and messaging narrative during the interview process itself.

Once the competition is identified as well as clearly categorised and labelled in the mindset, its time to find out where the candidate ultimately fits in within the equation. Would he/she be considered one of the types mentioned above? A combination of two? Or something entirely different?

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Once these questions are answered, now it comes to building an argument for why the candidate is the best possible fit for the company and the role.

If after carrying out the exercise, one is unable to understand where they fit in the category, then it’s can be considered most likely that the categories have not been formed up in the current manner, and might require some revising.

 

 

 

 

 

Build An Argument 

 

As the core of the whole process, its critical that a successful interview strategy is having a effective argument to why one should be considered for a position. This does not mean listing the experience and skills from ones generic CV, but identifying that the narrative should be less about the candidate personally, and more around how their specific category is far superior to the ones competing.

Building The Argument For Agile Implementation Lego Edition Inside Build Legos

What this really means is that one should argue for the category the identify themselves as, rather then their candidacy, putting them in a stronger position to provide the interviewer a structure and framework which would guide their thinking. This also holds the benefit of outlasting he after effects of the interview, as it will stick in the mind of the hiring manager more then a story of the individual.

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Following is a brief example of what an interview conversation would look like if the categories were explored.

 

Example: 

Candidate:
My guess is that throughout the course of the interview process, you’re going to meet four types of candidates; audience experts, functional experts, technology experts and then maybe a few people with a basic command of all three.

Interviewer:
Ok, go on …

Candidate:
In my experience, and based on my understanding of where the company is today, I think it’s absolutely critical for the Marketing Communications Manager to have deep understanding of the market and customer needs.  

Interviewer:
I can’t argue with that, but why do you think it’s so important?

Candidate:
My observation of the market and of your competitors is that they aren’t speaking in the language of the audience. They aren’t authentic in their communications which means none of them are really getting their message across. Sure, it’s great to understand the technology, but anyone can learn that quite quickly. It’s also important to have great experience in the discipline of marketing, but that’s just table stakes – everyone needs that. What will really move the needle for you is a marketing communications manager who truly understands the customer.

Interviewer: Is that you?

 

This is one which is solely focused on the argument for a marketing manager, but what is critical in any category is the level approach which is focused on not just getting the message across to the interviewer, but is also bent on eliminating the chances of any of the competition getting any consideration at all. The next steps after making a compelling argument, the candidate can now focus on exemplifying the qualities which complement the role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exemplify The Qualities

In this section of the interview, one must simply look to draw upon a story to provide examples of why a certain type, preferably their own type of candidate would prove to have all the relevant benefits for both the role and the company.

 

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The following is another example of how the conversation may continue.

Candidate:
What makes me uniquely qualified for this role, is that I bring a depth of experience with the audience you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. In addition to having marketing communications expertise, I worked in the health care business for 5 years. I was the audience. I understand how they think and how they talk. I truly understand their needs and that will lead to more impactful communications.

Interviewer:
Ok, so what would you do exactly?

 

Reinforce The Message

 

Although this dialogue has been focusing on trying to set the scene for an interview which would lead to success, its practically impossible to force an interview to go any way one would want. But what a person can do is be prepared with the correct forms of narrative, and focus on reinforcing the message throughout the conversation.

some-day-laura-im-gonna-punch

This can be clearly see in the political primaries which take place in the United States. Regardless of what the candidate is asked, they will find a way to bring the answer back to where they are seen as a strong candidate and a winning message.

For example the matters of economic reform to bolster the middle class, tighter immigration policies. When the debates and questions are over, very few people remember the details, but we all remember the categories.

Its best not to avoid questions, but to make sure that one has answers lined up for any questions which may come up. This doesn’t mean just giving a single worded answer as a formality, but making sure that the answer is single and powerful in illustrating why the category being represented is the best.

 

 

 

 

Proving A Point

 

Rounding off these critical points to achieving success in an interview, its is also critical enough that one should have a serious attitude to winning their dream job. If this is someone who badly want the role and has enough of a fire to go the extra mile, one should consider topping up their interview by delivering some form of asset or document to complement all that has been said.

This means that all the points which have been discussed and presented, are all contained in a document stating a series of tasks which he or she would complete, alongside the estimated timescales. It goes without saying that to create a great plan requires a degree of investment, but its better to start early then late as it can also benefit from proof reading and a level of detail. Might be worth having a look at a 30-60-90 Day Plan, as it can provide some insight into what a good plan should look like.

tax-planning-2

Below is a somewhat example of how one could finish of the interview for a marketing communications manager role.

Candidate:
I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and I hope I’ve made a compelling argument for why I’m uniquely qualified for the role. I took the liberty of writing a sample blog post on a topic I know your audience cares about. I think it provides a good example of how well I understand the audience, and how communications, when written in a tone and language the audience understands, can be extremely powerful.

Interviewer:
Wow, ok … I’ll take a look.

10-28-11-4-ways-young-professionals-can-stand-out

The overall message throughout the article has been simple, if one is to achieve a greater chance of getting an interview, it is important that they stand out. For this to happen they would have to do something completely different and new, in order to stand out from the numerous other candidates.

Every article on the internet will provide one with the steps to attain success in a n interview, but in order to a candidate from the competition, they would need to build a strategy and story which positions them to success.

*** Happy Reading @ The Kingsmans Journal ***

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The Marriage of Colour And Marketing

When marketing a entity or brand, there’s more to the practice of imagery and message then it may appear. Organisations spend million on their marketing activities, and now with the burst of social media, this may have even risen to billions with the sophistication needed in conveying a message across the numerous platforms.

colours-of-the-world

There is however a deeper understanding of why marketing has a complex background. The images and messages may seem as logical aspects of a campaign which need to be tailored and drawn up to precise detail, but one must also understand how important it is to get even the colour of text, shapes and images right in accordance to how the rhetoric of the brand must be.

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According to The New Yorker, the reason Facebook is primarily blue, comes down to the fact that Mark Zuckerberg himself is red-green colourblind. This in turn means that he can see the colour blue the best.

“Blue is the richest colour for me; I can see all of blue”

– Mark Zuckerberg –

The visual senses in the human body are the strongest and most developed. Hence its no surprise that humans conduct 90% of their assessment and perception of products through this primary channel, focusing on colour alone. Although this may not appear as scientific in the case of Facebook, but colour can have a actual impact purchasing decisions.

 

 

Name The Brand

 

How many people can claim they know their brands really well? Perhaps brand that they use on a regular basis and have managed to become accustomed? Well, below are some examples of brands which are very much ingrained in the consumer mindset. So much so that just the mere colours of these brands are enough for some people to recognise who they belong too.

Before getting into the details of this art of colour and marketing, here are some examples of actual experiements carried out first hand to illustrate  how powerful colour alone really is. Based on the colours below, how many can guess which company these are associated with?

Example 1

 

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Example 2

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-18-26-28

 

 

Example 3

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Example 4

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-18-26-49

 

Courtesy of Marc Hemeon the Youtube designer, these not only illustrate the human mind as a conditioned and educated machine, but also shows how colour alone is powerful enough to a brand or image.

Answers: Example 1: Facebook, Example 2: Google, Example 3: Flickr, Example 4: LinkedIn

 

 

 

The Colour Spectrum

So whats the reason behind these colours, and what difference does it make to the viewer what colour they are viewing? Well there are different colour which trigger different types of feelings within the mind. This is not only a tool marketers can use, but its also essential that the spin which is placed on the company logo or the banner for the up and coming product portrays the right breakdown of colours which are best for the company image.

Just to present a few examples,

Black

the science of colors in marketing: black

Green

the science of colors in marketing: green

Blue

the science of colors in marketing: blue

 

This brings to mind the story of how hyperlinks now appear as blue. This has however got nothing to do with the blue in terms of marketing, but still illustrates how it has become the norm for constructing hyperlinks, all based on the characteristics of how a computer system appeared. The full story goes something like this,

“Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue. Mosaic, a very early web browser, displayed webpages with a (ugly) grey background and black text. The darkest colour available at the time that was not the same as the black text was that blue colour. Therefore, to make links stand apart from plain text, but still be readable, the colour blue was selected”

 

 

Emotion

When this theory is put into context, its apparent that the major brands on the market today have utilised this very effectively. The image below makes it obvious why such brands have chosen specific colour to convey their message, and in turn triggering a specific message.

 

the science of colors in marketing: color guide

 

 

 

Purchasing Decision

 

This use of colour is not just about embedding a message or a brand, but can also significantly influence how one chooses to spend their money and purchase an item. The analytics company KISSmetrics has drawn up a very accurate illustration of how the science of this really works when it comes to purchasing decisions.

the science of colors in marketing: buying

The diagram is on display above, however it might be worth drawing ones attention to the colours green, where it represents wealth, and this can be seen in both the media when linking it to the colour of money, and also the colour black, as it is used frequently for luxury products.

However, it may all prove to be a great source of knowledge, and the understanding of all this scientific study behind colour in entertaining, but there are some actual things which can be applied to a website or an app which can make a huge difference to how one targets their market. This again is drawn upon by the diagram above.

If one is looking to build an app mainly targeted at the women in the market, perhaps taking into consideration the colours Blue, Purple and Green would be a good choice. This is due to scientific study which suggests these are the most admired colours when it comes to this segment of the market. Also its worth remembering that for the same scenario, staying away from the colours Orange, Brown and Grey would be advised, as again these are suggested as colour which women hate.

 

the science of colors in marketing: women

 

If the same scenario was applied at targeting men, it is advised that the colour schemes to consider are Blue, Green and Black, as these are again the preferred colours. On the turn side, the colour Brown, Orange and Purple are very much a negative conductor and may put the male segment off the product, or in this case the website or app.

 

the science of colors in marketing for men

 

A further insight into the power of colour can be extracted from a experience by HubSpot. The experiment was designed to find out whether by simply changing the colour of a button would make a difference to the conversation rate. This led on to a hypothesis choosing to display two colours, green and red.

The intuition for green was,

“Green connotes ideas like natural and environment, and given its wide use in traffic lights, suggests the idea of Go or forward movement”

And for red their thoughts were,

“The colour red, on the other hand, is often thought to communicate excitement, passion, blood, and warning. It is also used as the colour for stopping at traffic lights. Red is also known to be eye-catching”

the science of colors in marketing performable

 

According to the experts at HubSpot, their money was on Green winning as the more friendlier colour. When in fact the Red outperformed its competition by 21%. It should be duly noted that apart from the colour of the button, nothing else was changed on the page.

“21% more people clicked on the red button than on the green button. Everything else on the pages was the same, so it was only the button colour that made this difference”

 

 

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Not only does this result puzzle some experts within the close arena, but it also raises the question whether there is a need to revise much of the research carried out before this study, and if their guesses were also the same as predicted here? Would these opinions raise a more definite answer? Perhaps not.

Other companies have also conducted numerous experiments bent on finding how to improve the conversion rate on their websites and applications with the change of colour. How unclear the results, there was a huge change that was apparent. Some have also grazed up a hypothesis that for social media sharing, there is less of a barrier to signup in correlation to the colour used for the button. This again also produced a difference which was less significant.

 

results

 

Besides the countless studies in place, it is beyond difficult to simply generalise the result. Whatever change is made, its perhaps wise to consider the experiment as a hypothesis before the actual result is determined through the experiment. Opinion is after all an opinion, and is many aspects data always beats opinion on the ground of scientific credibility.

*** Happy Reading @ The Kingsmans Journal ***

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