9 Ways To Become More Influential

“La Vache…”

Want to become more influential? Of course you do because making a difference matters. An often debated question. Perhaps your journey should begin with a quick examination of this statement: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”.

In a single stroke, the Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki cuts through the dross of professional and spiritual materialism. The enigmatic space from which these words emerge show without showing the true meaning of becoming more influential. It is true that you do not need to be a Zen master to be an influential person. However, like in most things, influential people have a profound impact on everyone they encounter. They do so because they are not seeking to persuade or cajole. Their true legacy is achieved because they use their power to alter themselves first.

“Isn’t it better to cultivate the flowers in your heart…”

Highly influential, John Lennon stated, “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world…” For people like John, changing the world is child’s play. The rest of us are mesmerized by his ingenuity, creativity, and genius. What we don’t see is the complexity, the emotions off stage, the drive to push forward and the need to instigate positive change.

Ever wonder what pushes certain people to achieve things unimaginable to the majority? In my humble view, it is love, which is the axel grease of an influencer. There must be a deep current of joy and being. If there is not, the influencer can implode when they discover they are also ordinary beyond the power of their talents. Another striking marker of influential people is their total absorption. They remain true to themselves by staying focused.

Here are some tips on how you too can become more influential:

Be True
It is not as hard to be an influencer as you think. You do not need to sit in a lotus position every evening before retiring and sleep. However, it is hard to keep our mind pure and to practice the path of well-being in a state goodness.

Great influencers don’t follow blind trends
Do not denounce others when they are filled with negative emotions. Hatred should never be in your bag of tricks. Recrimination and scapegoating wouldn’t even enter an influencer’s mind because their hearts are pure. They understand the principles of karma, are unafraid of making a mistake, and readily change their approach to problem solving when the facts support a mental shift.

“Are you always on the same line as everyone else…”

Embodying The Power Of Grace
Grace is a power which is always present. However, we must call on this power and make it manifest. When we do so, we can leverage the moment and go outside rituals and routines, which embody the status quo. Influencers understand nothing can stay the same. Everything is bound to change such as the weather, our bodies, our societies, and even our universe. Influencers tap the eternal dream machine in every human heart. Think the Wright brothers or Steve Jobs. They were told by naysayers that their dreams weren’t feasible. So, they laughed with their inner being and went ahead and changed our world anyway.

It is so easy to be conventional
But how boring! We were not put on this planet just to consume food and leave our debris for others to clean up. We were placed here for a purpose. Unless you discover your real purpose, you won’t be capable of influencing anybody including your self.

Great Thoughts Inspire Conversation
When great minds speak out, it’s not just a ripple in a pond. It’s a call to action so we can implement change and make our lives intrinsically better. Take this small chestnut from Epicurus: “One must practice the things, which produce happiness, since if that is present we have everything and if it is absent we do everything in order to have it“.

Applied to a professional environment, the head Koi of any organization owes it to his or her team to give people the power to explore new ideas and to think and act differently. It is hard for corporate cultures to embrace this concept. The problem here is that the gray suit mindset seeks to codify, stifle, and embrace the platitudes of routine by chanting a mantra of profitability at any price.

A great mind would never advocate such an approach. Such leadership seeks to stimulate another path among his or her workforce. They would encourage us to devote our time and energies to work for fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

The Power Of Networking
Clearly, influential people understand the power of networking and making connections. The dilemma is, how well can you build authentic relationships? Nobody wants to feel used. So giving and sharing must hold no strings. It must be reciprocal. Relationship building of this sort is more than a connection. You are fostering a community where the members share their professionalism and friendship.

Welcome Disagreement
Influential leaders welcome diverse points of view. They do not scream nor do they throw donuts. They recognize their own humility. Cultivating divergent viewpoints is healthy in any debate or discussion. New ideas are stimulated in this environment. Sharing ideas inevitably generates the best solutions. So why be selfish? Who cares at the end of the day if the original idea is yours or someone else’s as long as it’s the best way forward for the team as a whole.

Avoid Ignorance
Be Proactive. Our tragedy is that we all scream out, “I am proactive, I am proactive“. Why? Because we have been taught to do so for fear of being weak in the eyes of others. We’re even willing to risk it all because we think it is essential to our well-being.

If this is your attitude, check out what the Tibetan master, Chogyam Trungpa says: “When we talk of ignorance, it has nothing to do with stupidity. In a way, ignorance is very intelligent, but it is an intelligence that works exclusively in one direction. That is, we react exclusively to our own projections instead of simply seeing what is there“.

The wise guys and gals among us don’t fall into this snake pit. They actively seek out new approaches to enhancing our future by living in the present. If you can identify the next big thing, what are you wanting for?

Expect The Best
Influencers expect the best. They believe in their own power, but also believe in the power of others to shape the conversation. Because they are not selfish nor self centered, they reach out, mentor and inspire others. They truly believe that we have the power to change the world for the better.

Every person you admire and respect, had similar feelings as you do. The only difference is that they believed that challenges could be overcome and that a force of well-being could be tapped at will and embolden others. You see, at the end of the day, they didn’t try to become an influencer. They didn’t need to. They just tried to be all they could be and shared their inner wealth. By doing so, they gave us the power to dream and manifest our own destiny.

Join The Conversation. What do you think?

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Photographs: ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

How To Gain A New Sense Of Harmonics

“Because choosing the right cocktail is not enough…”

According to the New York Times, more MBA candidates are hiring coaches in order to learn to be audacious. Rather than creating a more level playing field, the advantage has shifted to those MBA candidates savvy enough to engage professional assistance. So what should you do? Perhaps the time has come to contact MBA coaching Paris: CAREO.

It is no longer enough to have an excellent track record. This has become a sine quo non. Bog standard won’t get you accepted. You will need to be audacious. You will need to know how to differentiate your profile. So we’ve decided to cut out some of the guesswork and give you a leg up. Start by following the steps listed below Get inspired, and your MBA application will stand out like a diamond in the window of Cartier.

| Step 1: Choosing The Best Business Schools|
Choosing the best business schools is easier said than done. We advise consulting the rankings such as those cited in the FT, US News, and BusinessWeek. Recognize that rankings are essentially beauty contests. However, the rankings are a good place to start and identify where you think you might want to be. Some candidates prefer a one year program and others prefer a two year program.

Identity between 4-6 MBA programs geared to your professional objectives. Sometimes, the usual suspects are not necessarily the best fit. Besides investigating online, which is relatively an easy affair, try to visit the campuses you hope to enroll in. MBA campus culture varies at each business school. Get beyond the cocktail-marketing brochures. Get in touch with real alumni. Contact the school and ask to speak either with admissions officers or the school administration. Feel out your prospects. You are about to embark on a marketing offensive in a highly competitive and saturated market.

| Step 2: Analyze Your Profile |
Conduct a type of SWOT Analysis of your profile. Identify your strengths both inside and outside the workplace. Try to list points that make your candidacy shine. Be clear in your mind as to what you hope to achieve. List your real developmental needs. What do you really want to gain from an MBA aside from acquiring another diploma? You will need to build a strong case as to why the schools should accept you rather than someone else with a similar profile.

“When you’re still undecided…”

| Step 3: Handling The Entrance Exams |
Make yourself a study agenda for the required entrance exams, which concern you. For the majority of MBA candidates, this means tackling the GMAT & TOEFL. The number of schools, which will accept your profile without these exams, is extremely limited. Test prep should be taken seriously. Plan on taking the exams more than once. Most people do.

| Step 4: How To Study |
Determine whether you can prepare by yourself or need help. Most people enroll in organized Test Prep centers where large group classes are the norm. Some organizations are better than others. Look at the results of the organization you wish to enroll. The quality of the teachers coupled to your own sweat equity will determine your test prep success. The key here is practice, practice, and yes, practice. Average GMAT scores at the top MBAs are +680 (GMAT) & +105 (TOEFL).

| Step 5: Learn To Build Persuasive Essays |
Once the GMAT & TOEFL are out of the way, the time has come to tackle the MBA essays. The essays must engage. Think storyline. Build the type of content, which makes your profile stand apart. Everyone of us is unique. However, as George Orwell might have said, “Some of us are more unique than others”. Differentiators will set your MBA application apart from the pack.

With so many applicants, the schools are spoiled for choice. Make sure that your professional objectives are clear and concise. One way to convince the Admissions Committee is to go outside the box with subjects on non-work related activities, which demonstrate your vision, achievements, and skills.

Most schools field different questions. This is done on purpose so that you do not copy and paste. Getting the essays right is not just about writing. Essay writing is really an exercise in strategic marketing to a highly targeted constituent audience. The MBA Admissions Committees will give you no slack. Therefore, you must be persuasive.

| Step 6: How To Train For Your Interview |
Interviews are not required for every MBA applicant. However, most of the top schools have made this part of the MBA application process. The point is to meet the person behind the written word. To go to an interview unprepared is sudden death. We advise serious training with someone in person. Practice until you are comfortable and can manage the unexpected.

| Step 7: Find A Unique Sense Of Purpose |
For inspiration, take Mohammed Ali’s advice: “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Although you can sting, you should prefer to float like a butterfly. Manifest your own beatitude. Believe that you can give joy to many. By doing so, you will show that you have the perception to think beyond your own sand box. A butterfly serves its purpose with a fruitful and productive life. You can too. It is just a question of direction and will. As human beings, we feel the need to do more than just drive to the office in the morning doing the same old, same old.

“When you’re looking for a whole new sense of harmonics…”

Many of us are truly blessed and do not lack a sense of prosperity. Wealth is such an open-ended term. It is not about bags of gold. It is about health, humour, and love. As they say in social media: share the wealth. Prosperity is about the privilege to access opportunity. Harvest the resources at our command. It does not mean living in a dwelling so large that you need a GPS to find you’re way from room to room.

There is a beautiful verse in Sanskrit, which will give you a whole new sense of harmonics. It is from the Gunaratna of Bhavabhuti:

“For the wicked, knowledge is used for conflict or war, wealth is for pride and vanity, and strength and power are used to oppress or torture others. For a noble person, it is completely different: Education is for knowledge to make everything better, wealth is for charity, and strength or power is solely for protection.”

There is much food for thought here.

I therefore urge you, if you are planning to do an MBA: Become audacious. Jump and be free of the expectations of others. Find your true fulfilment and a transformational educational experience in the bargain. If you have wealth or resources, then share them with those in real need. If you are strong and have a sense of purpose, then use your strengths in the service of your community. By doing so, you hold the keys to business leadership in the real meaning of the term.

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Article Title: How To Gain A New Sense Of Harmonics
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO:

How To Overcome Your Worst Fear

“When the sun gets in your eyes.”

One of our worst handicaps is to be overcome by fear. Whether it is fear of the unknown or fear of tackling obstacles, this emotion can be crippling. Nobody is immune, and it is a classic drama set up and perpetuated by our own minds. Although the mind can be a great tool when properly harnessed, left to its own devices, it can and often will run amok.

Sometime ago, a dear colleague shared with me a small parable on the power of fear warbled by a great sage. Even though the actual story took place in India and is set within a distinct cultural context, the message is universal. Give in to fear, and you are cooked.

The Road To Nowhere
“Many years ago, a hermit returning from the Himalayas met the Goddess of Cholera on the road to Chitta. It is a small village buried in the deserts of Andhra Pradesh.

She had just returned from a Kali festival, where the villagers had partied and sang devotional songs long into the night under a canopy of evening stars. While the people sang, there was joy. Their minds were focused. Under such conditions, fear could not penetrate their hearts. So, the Goddess set about her task and then took a nap under an old pipal tree.

When she awoke the following morning, the Goddess found the population in a state of shock. News rapidly spread throughout the village that 10 people had died during the night. Many others were soon diagnosed in critical condition. Even the local physician was perplexed. What type of epidemic could strike a whole community with such lightening speed? Prior to yesterday not a soul had so much as a cold.

“Because everyone loves a good shadow play…”

The mayor quickly called an emergency session of town elders. Some came. Others got away. Of those who attended, each member began to speculate. Was the water contaminated? Were there some mysterious spores in the air? Whatever the reason, panic ensued. Some ran through the streets thinking it was Godzilla. Others barricaded themselves in doors or hid in basements. No matter what action plan they implemented the same nagging question held ground: How could there be so much happiness one moment, and then the pallor of death in the next? Under such conditions, was it any wonder that fear was rife in this normally placid village.

As the Goddess was getting ready to continue on her tour of this desert region, she came across a very concerned hermit who lived in a palm frond shack just a stone’s throw from where she spent the evening.

Unafraid of the Goddess, the hermit shyly approached and begged for a brief audience. She quickly consented.

“How many souls have you gathered into your lap? asked the hermit.

“Only the number in my hands”, she replied.

The hermit nodded his head when he saw the number. Despite his intense spiritual sadhana, he still couldn’t fathom the reason. What the hermit couldn’t know was that the Goddess did not relate the entire story. Witnessing the anxiousness starting to manifest on the his brow, she decided to take this stoic ascetic into her confidence.

“Truly speaking, prior to the festivities, there were hundreds of casualties before I had arrived. When the party was in full swing, every mind was concentrated and focused. The moment everyone went home, the community reverted back to its former mindset and anxieties. It was at this point I set about my business which was to take only ten souls; the rest died out of panic and fear!”

“What were they afraid of?”

“That’s the thing. Nobody knows. Fear only lurks in the shadows. It cannot be exposed to the sunlight. In the light, everything has clarity and is stripped away. The villagers had become so afraid, they locked all their doors and windows, blocking out any trace of light. Is it any wonder that they cannot see what is so clear to you and I?”

“Within every challenge lies the solution…”

Understanding Your True Nature
The sage who narrated this story to my colleague used the above parable to further explain a crucial lesson for anyone interested in real Spring cleaning:

“Man is Aathmaswarupa (self-embodied), that is Abhayaswaruupa (fearlessness-embodied). If only everyone knew their real nature, then there would be no room for fear or cowardice.

The main aim of cultural education should be to teach people how to cultivate mental calm and courage. If each individual feels kinship with everyone else, then the world is indeed blessed. There is no room for fear. When we are born, we all cry out, Ko’ham, which is Sanskrit for “Who am I”? When we depart this world as each of us must, we should utter So’ham, which is Sanskrit for “I am He”. See Me in each other, and your hearts will always be filled with an ever lasting divine flame. Fear can never enter here for it is my abode.”

Much food for thought as we ourselves tackle new challenges and clean out our own inner closets.

Article Title: How To Overcome Your Worst Fear
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

How To Identify The French Touch

“Some claim the French Touch is in the tap water…”

Fashionistas love the French Touch. Who doesn’t! Invited to a charming restaurant, I jumped at the chance to pin down the undefinable. We foregathered at a rather discrete gem at the far end of the rue Saint Honore. At the table were a distinguished cast of cognoscenti. With cocktails in hand, we set about our business.

Table talk centered on a host of topics. One pundit wondered whether you had to be born here to craft or brand the French Touch. Another stipulated that it was not an issue of ethnicity. She said, “It is a question of expressing a style vernacular suitable to our distinctive culture and heritage”.

A blue suited fellow exclaimed, “There’s more hear than meets the eye. Are we focusing on style or mere fashion?”

I could feel his lament for I knew how much he treasured French artisans and their distinctive sense of craftsmanship. His view was that craftsmanship has suffered in recent years. However, one great thing I have always loved about this country is its capability to renew its traditions. Style must be contemporary to be valid.

The hotter the debate got, the more I mused that we were arguing over terminology. I wondered what Molière, the French dramatist would have brought to this round table. Hey, Paris has a latin soul, but it was nothing several Mojitos couldn’t cure. As the starters arrived, the general consensus was that identifying the French Touch is similar to spotting a sea dragon riding the wind.

Our guests, I might add, were not hide bound bores. Quite the contrary. They relished innovative design, new players as well as more established houses. Off the record, one Lagerfeld disciple added: “Luxury brands like any other retailer deal in bottom lines. Fashion is a world driven by constant change. However, we must set the mood and the tone. Stagecraft fuels the imagination and gives special meaning to the fashion shows in Paris.”

It is true that Creatives directing major brands try to cajole and persuade an ever-fickle public. Magazines such as Vogue focus on shaping taste and generating desire. However, despite the glossies, predicting the next big thing is akin to watching the weather forecast.

Some of our set claimed that fashion is designed in a showroom. Others stipulated that it was branded in the street by savvy souls who know how to put it all together. In reality, the French Touch draws its inspiration from multiple sources. Where the concept of timelessness was once a by-word for quality, today French luxury is the effervescence of shooting stars. Take a journey over to Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Elysees showcase. Engage with the current zeitgeist.

“It’s hard to beat the French Touch when it comes to style…”

Real style is intangible and is intrinsic to a person’s persona. The concept of The French Touch is not any different. It is easy to identify, but quite difficult to replicate. It is as one lovely figure among us noted, “a state of mind”. The French actress, Marion Cotillard encapsulates the French Touch to perfection in Woody Allen’s film, “Midnight In Paris”.

Lea Seydoux is another beauty who radiates the French Touch.

Just imagine you are dining with her. She is sheepishly looking at you with those hypnotic eyes, and then says in that most Parisienne of voices: “Mon chou would you care to share a bottle of Foufoune. If this happens to you, you are done for. Cuite. Take it from me, you’ll fall in love and most likely live here for the rest of your life.

For those who aspire to capture this French look, study Audrey Hepburn for guidelines. Although she was not French, she was not born in the States either. There is something quite mystical about her persona. She captivates. In her film with Fred Astaire, she causally remarked, “I am not beautiful; I have a funny face.” Ever the gentleman, Fred Astaire responded, “What you call funny, I call interesting.”

Audrey knew she had allure. Her clothes personified her character not the other way around. She was an ambassador for Hubert de Givenchy, and wore his clothes with panache. However, because her beauty was so natural, she was just as much at home in a pair of jeans. This is not just style but real class.

Perhaps the best personification of the French Touch is Ines de la Fressange. Several years ago, she published La Parisienne, which was an international best seller. The book oozes with French style cues. Today, Ines is 50-something, and just as captivating as when she modeled for Chanel. She is living proof that the French Touch is not about age. It’s about being classy.

Visitors and designers alike claim that in this city men and women dress better. They certainly carry themselves differently. Body language also impacts on how someone can make clothes and accessories stand out. This is where that certain je ne sais quoi comes into play.

“Because you want a touch of class in Paris…”

That something special is well articulated in Ines book. It is also lovingly captured by fashion photographer, Scott Schuman. He has the uncanny knack of demonstrating how personal and organic the French Touch, really is. Anyone can look great; it is a question of attitude, not money. Visit his website, The Satorialist. There are reams of pictures taken in Paris, which encapsulate the French vibe.

I have another dear friend who claims that The French Touch is in the tap water. Drink the water at will he laughs and “voila”. Here, I am not so sure. The “Chateau Robinet 2015″ is barely drinkable. Perhaps, the water he was referring to, came from Reims in bottles, labelled, Bollinger. Baudelaire claimed that all French women had beautiful legs because they spent half their lives walking up and down countless flights of stairs.

Someone remarked to me just the other day that everyone should have an uncle called “Christian”. It is true that Dior had certainly added to the modern vocabulary of contemporary woman. His feel for shape and color were unique. He knew how to drape fabric across a woman’s body. His genius was to let a woman’s body speak with its own voice without calling attention to the clothes. Elegance is always a point of subtlety.

Away from the world of haut couture, Paris has a vibrant street style culture. It draws from native and foreign influences. Some of the current trends are drawn from workwear and vintage military apparel. For example, a trend gathering steam is the craze for French vintage military jackets. Those sailor shirts made popular by Coco Chanel are back big time. Times at Saint James couldn’t be better. Designers have been borrowing workwear concepts for ages. Jean-Paul Gautier is just one of the best.

Want to laugh?

One of our readers was asking what color do dapper French gents prefer for shirts. At first, I thought this was an existentialist question. I was about to consult my annotated copy of the Being & Nothingness by Jean-Paul Satre, and caught myself saying, “Wait a second. Color is personal”.

The French like the Italians are fond of blue and white stripes of assorted persuasions. This classic can be worn with or without a tie. Speaking of ties, the bow tie has made a smashing comeback. This would have pleased my father no end. I find that bow ties are not only great in summer, but pass muster all year round. In case you would like to start fostering a collection, why not head over to Charvet near Place Vendome. Talk about the French Touch!

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Article Title: How To Identify The French Touch
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

Why The Fundamentals Are Keys To Social Media Management

“Because you love a good story…”

Managing social media demands perseverance. Analyzing trends and tactics can feel like reading tea leaves. To get relevant traction, read the experts. LinkedIn features many. One thing however, is certain. Your social media team must be passionate about being wired.

Key 1: Social Listening
This will not come as a surprise to astute marketing experts. Listen to your customers. Analyze your sector. Pay attention to firms, which shape trends. Then, examine the online behavior of your target audience.

According to intelligence reports, +60% engaged in marketing use social listening strategies. What is surprising is that many marketing experts secretly feel that their social media tactics are ineffective. So what is the secret to actionable social marketing? The term is engagement.

Engagement is more than posting tweets at red lights. Dont’ flood Twitter with dross. Make the messages tight. Add visual content. Tell a story. Give people a reason to follow you. Use Tweet Deck to time the delivery. Times should be calibrated to market where you operate. Respond to follows, retweets, and favorites. The more you dialogue, the more compelling this channel becomes in your social strategy.

“Because you love simplicity…”

Blog Content
Content marketing on your blog demands compelling story telling. Every major brand that works has a story to tell. The best have a heritage to draw upon. Keep the voice dynamic and youthful in spirit. Use videos and image rich content. When you understand need, you recognize people don’t buy products. They buy value propositions, which change their lives. Therefore, make your messages meaningful.

In our experience, viewers love what is termed, a value exchange. People are after all, people. They crave entertainment and excitement. Give them the old pizazz.

“When it’s hard to say goodbye…”

Key 2: Adverts v. Sponsored Posts
The lure to advertise on social media is overwhelming. Everyone believes, if I only had a banner… Google Ads and others can make a difference. It will depend on which keywords you feel are worthy of investment. Other social media platforms offer sponsored posts. Which ones to choose depends on where you think your clients live online. Facebook clearly tops everyone’s list. Be aware that certain audiences find adverts an annoyance, not a call to action.

Depending on your market, advertise in a magazine or newspaper online. In fashion, the adverts constitute part of the reader’s pleasure. Everything online should be a call to action. If you have the budget, go for it.

Use advertising to enhance your brand, but do so with discrimination. Case studies indicate that content driven posts are more effective. They generate dialogue and speak to actual desires. Begin with classic channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. Studies indicate using a mix. Keep the channels linked, but do not repeat the same content.

Since financials matter, where is your money best positioned? To sponsor a post can gain attention in search engines. This does not imply that people will read the post or act on the story you are selling. A content driven story is different. Readers appreciate when nobody is actively selling them something. They are attracted to the message. Your call to action is implied. In other words, your content adds meaning to their lives. This is the ideal value proposition. Authority and credibility convert calls to action into sales.

Here’s a few pointers to get started:

a) Establish measurable marketing goals
b) Set your budget
c) Know your audience’s needs
d) Pick the channels
e) Research appropriate advert types
f) Examine similar concepts used by your competitors
e) Optimize your landing pages

Key 3: The relationship between email and social media
Email marketing is commonplace. It takes the form of newsletters. That is why firms encourage potential clients to sign up. The recipients will not always read your updates or promotions. It is still a great way to reach out.

Subscribers also enhance your database. This enables you to calibrate future offers and share your content across relevant social media channels.

“Because some part of us never grows up…”

Key 4: The Social Media Team
Typical social media teams tend to be small. They can even be just one person. Budget plays a role. Examine firms whose social media strategies you admire. Learn how they play their audiences. Adapt your social media positioning accordingly to your business model.

Then ask yourself, what do you really hope to accomplish? There shouldn’t be any mystery. Focus on basics, quality, and strategy. Make your website, blog, and other social media channels engaging.

Key 5: Measurement
Goals should be calibrated. Focus your brand awareness on lead generation. Feature social icon bars. The more people follow and share indicates that you are doing the right thing. If possible, become an influencer to get recognized what you do best.

Social media is no longer an option. It is a highly charged atmosphere where persistent engagement is essential. If you get the mix right, your target audience will react and join the conversion. Ultimately, you will have reinforced your brand awareness and drive sales.

Article Title: Why The Fundamentals Are Keys To Social Media Engagement
Photographs: (1)maninpink (2)lookstoinspire (3)archival, curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane


Interview Prep Is More Than High Stakes Poker

“Because you’re waiting for the sun…”

Standing up to an interview can feel like the Spanish Inquisition. So how do you proceed? By understanding human psychology. Learn how to drive the interview. In any interview scenario, focus your strategy on selling the product. Scupper the idea of getting up close and personal.

Most people get stressed out of their heads by the interview. Simply put, nobody wants to feel that they are standing up to a police grilling. Some of the questions are classics and others are positioned to psyche you out such as Tell me about your favorite lost weekend and why?

Start by by analyzing the interview process. When the interview is broken down into components, it will no longer feel like torture. It will feel like high stakes poker. Swallowing a cocktail of Rescue and Grey Goose on ice won’t give you courage. Solid coaching and practice will.

Let’s start by deconstructing the interview inquisition. First, there are no thumbscrews. It is a battle of wits and chemistry. You might be a rhetorician like Seneca, but if there is no sale, you loose. Keep your objective in mind. Examine your motives. Play the interview as a game. Your success lies in the details. However, do not drown the interviewer with unnecessary minutia. Lay out clear points. Imagine you work at Cartier showcasing prospective clients precious stones.

To hit your target, know the parameters, i.e. the added value you can deliver. Vary your message delivery. This sends a clear signal to the interviewer that you understand the game and its arcane rules of selection. There are volumes written on strategic interviewing. Familiarize yourself with some techniques. Research the position you are seeking. Know the title and the job function. Match your experience to the firm’s wish list.

“Remember, first impressions count…”

Last week, we had a client who was interviewing with a major player in cosmetics. He already anticipated one of the key questions: Why would a guy want to work in cosmetics? The position in merchandising was to promote a woman’s beauty products.

This question is challenging and makes several assumptions. First, can a man really know about beauty creams? In fairness to his quick study prior to the interview, he understood his handicap. He also had to prove why he was the best person the firm could select for this posting. The interviewer’s intention would be to get him flustered.

Providing he was tops, he stood a chance. However, what happens when the interviewer has made up his or her mind before the interview. No one can “win” in a scenario where the result is predetermined. This is why we always counsel clients: address your worst fear, then go forward with confidence.

“Sure, I’ll take the job…”

Interviewing well demands intense prep. It means practice. It implies finding your stride under pressure. Another “faux pas” is first impressions. Presentation is not superficial. Body piercings may be all the rage in the hood but not at an interview. Life is a game. Do not focus on the consequences. Relax. Master your brief and leave the outcome to the Big Boss. If you do so, you will get the results you seek.

May the force be with you.

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Article Title:Interview Prep Is More Than High Stakes Poker
Photographs: (1)szshap (2)gentlemenofthestreet (3)uh-la-la-land

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration, visit CAREO

MBA Admissions: How To Master Personal Branding

“Because you’re worth it…”

If you are headed over the cliff driving a vintage Vet, then clearly you are not thinking about personal branding. Howling Wolf is belting out a tune and the wind is in your hair. Is this what we need to do to get career clarity? You know that if nothing is done, there will be fanfare but not fluttering banners and trumpets. Taking five is the logical thing to do under these conditions of personal branding.

You want to stop or at least slow your emotions down. Somehow your nerves freeze and you cannot find the control panel. This is the exact predicament professionals find themselves in when it comes to career change. They are afraid to call out. Further education is probably indicated according to some reports in the press. We just need a nudge in the right direction.

Perhaps the sort of personal branding we need is to add an MBA to our quiver. MBA Admissions however has a specific set of requirements. Personal branding techniques can kick off the process with a professional evaluation. Call it a SWOT analysis of your career evolution to date. It also indicates that an overdue change in attitude is in order.

Start by giving thanks for what you have and who you are. Self love is not narcissistic. It demonstrates self appreciation. The first step to personal branding is as simple as that. You do not need to wear a necklace of garlic to ward off demons of your own making.

Visualization techniques are quite persuasive. Ask anyone who practices yoga. If you know where you would like to be, then you can navigate your Ferrari to any destination with safety.

“When life is more than a road movie…”

One of our clients said recently that she wanted to move into management consulting. She was afraid however,that her background in operational marketing was inappropriate. From the start her problem was clear. She had not convinced herself that her goal was attainable. She was even unsure whether an MBA was the best way forward. If you don’t convince yourself, how do you expect to convince somebody else? The fine art of persuasion as they say in personal branding, begins at home.

At our first meeting, we talked through her goals. By cutting away the emotional dross, she saw the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Not only was there a solution; there were several. Afterward, we trained and she regained her composure. Did she loose her self confidence? Not really; It was misplaced. By clearing her mind, her vision became tangible.

Now, she could taste success. It was just a question of enacting an action plan. Her bridge to nowhere had no real foundation. Since it had been self-imposed, it was easily destroyed. It was nothing more than a shadow. If you find yourself at a similar crossroad in personal brand management then answer the following question: Where does the source of your vision come from?

The answer lies inside your heart, but we often need a catalyst to make our vision concrete. Don’t make the cardinal mistake that Nasruddin did. He went out of his house looking for light in the pitch of night while he held a torch in his hands. The right catalyst enables you to build a strategic road map. An actionable plan delineates developmental needs. Personal brand management also highlights your strengths for future success.

Any one can point out what you might have done, but this is a fruitless exercise, which creates a state of dependence. By expressing your career goals in a concise fashion, you gain the root of leadership, which lies at the core of all professional endeavors. You will feel a sense of freedom and lightness of being. After that applying for a top MBA becomes a snap if this is what you choose to do.

Article Title: MBA Admissions: How To Master Personal Branding
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO Whitefield Consulting Worldwide

READ MY LIPS: How To Craft A Great Resume

“Opportunities like this, only commence in a great while…

Build a drop dead resume and you are one step closer to gaining that coveted interview. Although learning to grab the recruiters attention is not rocket science, it does require a keen sense of personal brand management. Recruiters are tough birds and hold to a tight brief. Based on their first glance, they decide whether to take the process further. The amount of time they initially spend on an unsolicited resume is too short for words. Some people claim it is between 6-12 seconds. That is not much time to sell your profile. Clearly, a distinctive personal brand management strategy is in order.

So what should you do to avoid classic resume writing pitfalls?

Start by building a targeted resume platform. This type of resume should be proactive and not a mere list of skills and accomplishments. Also recognize that different cultures require specific CV formats. If you choose to “break” the cultural rules of the work environment in which you intend to position your candidacy make sure the tactics you choose are effective.

When decisions are made to go forward on a resume, it is because the recruiters found their essential wish-list scanning your document. Recruiters do not read a CV unless they have a compelling reason to do so. Therefore, it is necessary to underscore key points to guide the recruiters eyes.

“What do you say…”

Attracting The Recruiters Attention
Some studies on the subject refer to this process as building a CV heat map. It is similar to constructing a web page. Grab somebody’s attention, and they go further. Failure to attract and your resume is toast.

To fine-tune your CV, you will need to establish a clear visual hierarchy. Use only relevant information relating to the job you want to apply for. Do not use a shotgun technique. It will go nowhere. Pointers under job positions should bullet MBOs, i.e. management by objectives. This means use active verb forms to accentuate sought after skill sets.

Use terms such as “managed, led, created, analyzed”, and so forth. The verbs you choose need to be allied to skill sets you possess, matching the job requirements. Research the position you are looking for. If you build the match, you should in theory, be called to interview. Then you get the joy of “selling” the product you created in person.

What not to put on the resume is as important as what to put. As previously mentioned this can be dictated by culture and expectations. In France, recruiters look for photographs, gender, driver’s license, nationality, and even age.

In the Anglo-Saxon world these points are deleted from a resume unless specially asked for. Why? They are considered discriminatory. Does this mean that Anglo-Saxon recruiters don’t discriminate? No, it does not. They just do so in more discrete ways.

10 Essential Resume Writing Tips
1) Do not list an objective unless asked to do so. Save this for the cover letter.

2) Drop all irrelevant work experience
Deciding what is irrelevant can be a bit tricky. It is determined by your age and experience to date. When someone is in his or her 20s, they want to highlight everything they have done, which can include previous “small” jobs or clubs. Be careful, which ones you list. Most are unsuitable. We have all done small jobs. My father referred these as “character” builders. These positions include babysitting, head of the glee club, or waiting tables at Rosie’s Diner.

“Everyone needs a great resume to start with…”

3) Personal Information
At the interview, you will undoubtedly can be required to divulge age, marital status, and other personal details. Initially, they have no place on a resume because they do prejudice judgment. Whether you are married or not is immaterial. Neither does it matter if you have a dog or fish license.

Depending where you live and where you want to work, you could be asked whether you have a valid work permit. If you want to work in the UK or within the European Union, this is certainly a key point. You can put this detail in your cover letter. Let it be understood that you have the appropriate working papers.

4) CV Length
There are various schools of thought here. One school holds to the one-page resume format. The other school favors a two-page CV. Judgment here is crucial. For most people, a one-page CV is sufficient.

Make your professional “story” short and concise. Once again, only describe and list essential points. They must be relevant. For example, if you are applying for a position in finance, and you describe a marketing related experience this can send mixed signals. If it is irrelevant, alter or drop the description. Secondly, I cannot stress enough using bullets and MBOs.

5) Outside Interests
This category gets people every time. In France, everyone wants to know your “passions”. However, they have no place on the resume unless directly tied to managerial or leadership functions. For example, if you engage in community service work, this could add + points to your profile if handled adroitly. On the other hand, the fact that you play polo, go skydiving, or collect rare butterflies is irrelevant.

6) Questions of Age
Age cuts two ways. We have all been through this. Either you are too young or too old. It seems that you can never win on this. On no account list your age. At an interview, you will have to face this.

For handling this delicate question, there is another strategy. This issue is of particular importance when it comes to listing graduation dates. Under the education category list essentials. Do not add a dozen training programs or workshops. If you list too much, someone might think that you are over qualified for a job. Use your judgment. We had a client last week where this issue was of paramount importance. We advised weeding out of certain details so that a future employer was not distracted from the essentials.

7) Which “voice” should the resume be in?
The issue of voice concerns writing in either the third or first person. Avoid third person because it will put into question, who has written the CV. Having stated this, avoid using sentences such as “I manage a team of X”. This detail should be written as follows: Managed a team of X on the Y project

8) References & Recommendations
It used to be that people would list “references” and either list names or state “to be given upon request”. Put neither. If someone wants references or recommendations, they will ask at your interview. Remember, references cut two ways. You want to be sure that the person, who recommends you is aware of the fact that they will be contacted.

9) Issues of Email
Email addresses should be simple and straightforward. Please do not list batman@hotmail.com Use a legitimate address whether it is Google, Yahoo or Bing.

10) Concerning Telephone Numbers
We suggest listing only one. Put the country code in parenthesis if you are applying outside your home base. The choice of landline or mobile is up to you. If you use a mobile, be sure when you answer you are not in a crowded place. Offer to return the call at a more suitable time. Otherwise, let them leave a message.

Do not list current business contacts. If you list a current business contact number, you risk being called at work. This can be most embarrassing for reasons I will not insult your intelligence. All professional environments monitor incoming email and phone calls.

For A Free Professional Evaluation

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Article Title: READ MY LIPS: How To Write A Great Resume
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

Close Encounters Of Personal Branding

“Because you have a touch of class…”

Now a DJ might very well save your life if you’re a big music fan. However, personal branding is more than finding the right sound track. Because career management matters, you need to master the tricks of the trade. The question is how to grab someone’s attention. Your birthday suit might turn heads at the Pamplone beach in Saint Tropez, but is this the type of attention you really want?

Let’s start by changing your approach to personal branding. Start with a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain. The smell alone of this roast will show you why personal branding is most feasible when we are clear-headed.

In our view, personal branding has several components. This includes a well-written CV, updated social media profiles, and paying attention to your appearance. Think of personal branding as an exercise in product management. It constitutes the sales pitch and raises the bar of your attractiveness quotient. Is your profile engaging to an anonymous reader? If it isn’t, then a serious rethink is in order. Perhaps, you should start by deleting those Facebook photos of that lost weekend in Capri.

Take for example, someone I was counseling in the hospitality sector. The first faux pas was a three-page CV. Nobody is going to read this. Measure each word. Tailor your skills and achievements to the type of job you are seeking. If you are required to attach a photograph, make it a pro show.

Using social media today is old hat. Everyone does. The question is how. You can start by studying LinkedIn strategies for sound advice. Otherwise, hire someone to help you harness the power of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any other social media you feel valuable to personal branding.

Dealing With Age
Someone once quipped that “youth was not a guarantee of innovation nor age a sign of wisdom”. Although questions of age are shallow and discriminatory, be prepared. Some firms will not hire people of a certain age. Others value experience. Make sure you demonstrate how indispensable you can be to the organization you desire to join. If you do, you should land an interview.

The Impact Of Physical Appearance
This almost sounds trite. No matter what you might think, first impressions do matter. They counted when you were young and inexperienced; they count even more in today’s youth inspired culture. People are drawn to packaging. If you think of your appearance in this way, you will better understand the necessity of dressing for success. How you dress reflects the inner you. It is not as superficial as you think. This does not mean that you should be a show pony.

“This may not be the attention you wanted to grab…”

If you have questions on what you should wear or how to rebuild your wardrobe with panache, I counsel finding a professional look that suits your personality and the field you are intent on entering. It is as simple as that. Don’t overdress. However, make sure you fit the corporate culture you want to be part of.

According to a survey published in Paris, the stats are revealing on how people are judged. HR pros state that you are judged in the first 30 seconds. A favorable impression sets the tone for the substance to follow.

Look at the breakdown on a scale of 1-10:

  • General Appearance: 8
  • Manners & Speech Articulation: 7
  • What you actually say at the interview: 5
  • Chemistry: 7
  • Now you can state that first impressions are not fair. However, let’s be honest. When has any interview or judgment process been fair?

    HR people have a list of written and unwritten criteria. Offering you a cup of coffee is just good manners. If you pass muster, then you are called back for successive interviews. At this stage your personal branding strategy should shift gears. Focus on your competencies and added value. Dressing well just states, you are one of team.

    In general, women pay closer attention to social indicators than do men. Creating the right style voice depends on the organization. All corporate cultures have a dress code. Dressing well should begin when you are young. Pay attention to color and accessories. The key colours for suits are midnight blue and anthracite grey. Shirts can be white, blue and even stripped. Ties should be sober. Jewellery for women should be discrete and unfussy.

    Hygiene is paramount. This includes hairstyles, nails, teeth and complexion. Your personality is best exhibited by your demeanor. See your clothes as an investment. Get the most flattering cuts for your body morphology.

    The next important factor to getting a “yes” is your attitude. How you feel about yourself will radiate. Be proud of yourself and what you can do. Know your profile attributes. Personal branding means making a sale. Do not put yourself down even to yourself. A positive attitude carries a certain energy vibration. Even the most unspiritual human being will pick up on it. Exude confidence. Every one likes a success story. Do not confuse confidence with arrogance.

    “Because you want your profile to stand out…”

    The real trick to personal branding is to be light on your feet, seize opportunities as they present themselves, and think like an entrepreneur. Some professionals take charge of career change by actually launching their own enterprise. If you choose this path, no one will ever tell you that you are too young or too old. Not a bad option, when all things are considered. Just think, you even get to decide which coffee to drink at the office.

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    Article Title: Close Encounters Of Personal Branding
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane

    How To Give Style To One’s Character

    “When sitting’ pretty is more than a hat trick…”

    Sprezzy gentleman clearly love indulgence. “Giving style to one’s character is a great and rare art.” Thus spake the sprezzy Zarathustra. Nietzsche always did have a way with words. However, it is not to Friedrich to whom we should turn for a concise definition of sprezzy. It is to the Italians. Sprezzatura [sprettsaˈtura] is an Italian term originating from The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione. He defines the word as “a certain nonchalance, in order to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought”.

    Clearly, this is easier said than done. Were you born in Milan, the sprezzy DNA is in the Brunello. Given that good taste varies, “one person’s sartorial splendor is another’s nightmare”. The Italians however, are historically and culturally well endowed aesthetically speaking.

    “Because you love to stand out in a crowd…”

    Not long ago one of sprezzy colleagues tossed me a treatise to review: I Am Dandy by Nathaniel Adams and Rose Callahan. Their book is a tribute to male individualism. It constitutes a photographic essay on the diversity of sprezzy. Every distinctive personality portrayed understands, to be sprezzy you need not be Italian by birth.

    Speaking of dandies, the term is often associated with peacocks whose sole pleasures in life are indulgence and indigence. Nobody I know is living the life of Dorian Gray. Today’s interpretation is elastic. In my own humble opinion, defines someone who cares about an authentic style vernacular. Dandies are people such as James Sherwood, Nicholas Foulkes, G. Bruce Boyer and Nicolas Wooster.

    For a further take on masculinity, examine the comment by Beau Brummel: “If people turn to look at you on the street you are not well dressed”. There is more to this gent than meets the eye. Some males clearly dress to be noticed. Others are subtler. They use dress as a coat of armor steeped in confidence. Ultimately, clothes are a language in a similar way that an author takes mere words and turns letters into prose.

    “Dress well and the next dance is all yours…”

    Style writer Glen ‘O Brien stipulated, “If there is a cardinal sin in our world it is not self-absorption, but mass absorption, the dissolution of the individual into the mass. The silent majority. The crowd attired in team jerseys. The mob, the throng, the flock.”

    I love this quotation because it speaks to the heart of what constitutes luxury brand management. I won’t name names, but all lovers of bespoke know exactly what I am talking about. Real luxury is about uniqueness, not mass marketed trinkets and trash.

    Another point, I Am Dandy brings out is the multidimensional characters of those who love to dress well. Some are lawyers, designers, real estate agents, fashion writers, and musicians. Loving fine clothes crosses all professions. Its sole signifier is excellence. I admire the people Natty Adams interviewed in this splendid volume. In previous generations, men looked up to style icons such as Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire and even the Duke of Windsor. Today, sprezzy gents find inspiration in style blogs and on the street.

    If you are seeking inspiration, why not look up Karl Matthews the next time you are in London. Karl is sprezzy down to his tattoos. His attention to detail will release your true personality. He makes sprezzy as easy as stuffing a silk square into his breast pocket. Trained on Savile Row, this tailor can help you release your inner spirit without shame.

    In Paris, I have had the pleasure of discussing with spray gents the pleasures of fine clothing and craftsmanship. This motley crew is usually found at a shop buried in the wilds of the seventeenth. The shop is named after the owner. He would never refer to himself as a dandy. However, one look at this sprezzy shoemaker and you recognize his sartorial nonchalance is a result of decades of study. Spend an Saturday afternoon with Stephane and he will speak at length against vulgarity, exhibitionism, and philistines in general. He will also share with you why elegance is the antidote to mediocrity.

    “When you’re dying to impress at Pitti…”

    As an eager explorer of all that is beautiful in this world, I urge you to collar a copy and spice up your universe. Who knows maybe you’ll wind up featured on Scott Schuman’s style blog the Satorialist!

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    Article Title: How To Give Character To One’s Style
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

    Great CV Writing Is More Than You Think

    “Because we all know the story of Minnie the Moocher…”

    Great CV writing is more than you think. A well written CV must influence and persuade because we all know the story of Minnie the Moocher. Like most professionals, I have written more resumes than I can shake a stick at. I’ve read more CVs than I care to mention. Frankly, knowing what to put on your CV is an invaluable asset. Just think, search engines will pick up your credentials more quickly if you build a targeted profile on LinkedIn.

    Learning how to write simple honest prose is almost a lost art. Most people cannot write well, let alone convince in a concise space. I admit, it is harder to let your personality shine through when you reduce your life to a series of bullet points. So why not take some pointers from the masters of content marketing?

    Each time I assess a hard copy CV, I start shaking my head. Why the usual chronological list of events? Why do I not feel the person and the power the person can execute for a particular job? Where does this person’s UQ (read uniqueness quotient) stand out?

    The reason is clear as moonshine: most CVs resemble cookies bought at a supermarket. They use the same tired words, share an identical structure, and read like the warning notices stuck in pharmaceutical products. Can you show how you react under adversity on a CV? Can you communicate the challenges you have overcome? What are your real accomplishments?

    “Sometimes a stiff drink is indicated…”

    Think carefully: Do you own your career decisions (honestly)? How does a future employer interpret the usual catch phrases: team player, motivated, hard working, or innovative?

    Why not try another approach? Examine the 4 Ps before putting pencil to paper: personality, performance, persistence, & persuasion. Pretend you’re Bill Clinton. Snake charm and seduce through tightly controlled prose. Make someone want to meet you. Short sentences work wonders. Support strengths with concrete outcomes. Write with no fear of rejection. Forget apologies. Do not be defensive.

    Each stage in a person’s development will include and/or feature a different template to sell your expertise. Forget most online or book models. This is bog standard, and will not get your profile noticed.

    Hard Copy Options
    Which is better: a one or two page CV? Both have their advocates. Unless demanded, go for two. It will give you room to move. Assume the role you want to play. Express key attributes that are emotive and compelling. Use terms that prove that you can sell snow to the Aleutians. Forget the competition. You cannot control what someone else writes, but you can control what you do.

    Take control. Reducing your life story to two pages might seem demeaning. Note however, that this is a game. Play the game, make a strategy, and keep the freshly squeezed OJ going.

    Show your CV to people you trust. Get objective feedback. If you can obtain professional assistance, do so. Don’t stint. Career management is about gaining the tools to empower yourself. It is a perfect path to self-reliance. By doing so, your profile will stand out of a pile of rubbish like a diamond in the mud.

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    Article Title: Great CV Writing Is More Than You Think
    Photographs: curated by ES

    About The Author
    Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

    For further inspiration
    Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane