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How to Get a Job Without a Resume - GetResponse

How to Get a Job
Without a Resume
Build an online personal brand that
draws opportunities to you.
By Isa Adney
В About the Author
Isa Adney is a college and career expert and has a Master’s
in Human Resources Development from University of Illinois.
She shares free career advice on her blog,, and is also the author of the book
Community College Success (NorLights Press, 2012). Isa
speaks to colleges and student leadership organizations
around the country, teaching students how to network for
college and career success. You can learn more at
A huge thank you to Jason Dorsey for lighting up when I told him the name of
this book and encouraging me to write it. Jason, your advice was invaluable to
me and I’ll treasure that note-filled napkin forever.
Thank you to Krizia Capeles for asking me for advice on how to start a blog. Your
thoughtful questions and exuberance confirmed that there were students who
would want the ideas in this book. I wouldn’t have done this without you.
I want to say a special thank you to my Millennial Advisory Board: Zeeshan
Abdullah, Nick Chen, Derya Demirtas, Cynthia Hass, and Nicole Simmons for
taking the time to preview this book and help make it infinitely better. You all are
going to change the world one day and I feel thankful to be able to say “I know
And finally, thank you Jeremy for editing this book and taking the leap to leave
your first job out of college and help me pursue this dream.
 This book is dedicated to Allison Jones – the Twitter follower who
changed my life.
В В© 2013 by Isa Adney International, LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without written permission from the author,
except for the inclusion of brief quotations in review.
The best way to share this book is to tell your friends to grab a free
electronic copy for themselves at
Author’s Note
I have forgone traditional formatting and styling in order to help the
reader more easily scroll through this book via computer, tablet,
ereader, or smartphone.
With this in mind, I also tried to keep the book as succinct as
possible. If there are any areas where you have more questions,
please feel free to continue the discussion by connecting in any of
the following ways:
• Email [email protected]
• Tweet @IsaAdney using #AskIsa and #withoutaresume
• Post a comment or question at
Throughout this book I only recommend social media channels,
websites, and books that I have found personally helpful in my
journey. Any website mentioned is only mentioned because I think
it’s helpful and not because of any paid relationship. All opinions are
my own.
В Table of Contents
Why Resumes Aren’t Enough…………………………………………………5
Chapter 1
What Do You Want?……………………………………………………….…13
Chapter 2
The Two Magic Questions……………………………………………………17
Chapter 3
Your Personal Brand…………………………………………………..………20
Chapter 4
Content is King…………………………………………………………………24
Chapter 5
Social Media……………………………………………………………………36
Chapter 6
Personal Website…………………………………………..……………….…53
Chapter 7
How to Turn Internet Relationships Into Real Opportunities………...…58
Chapter 8
How to Choose the Right Opportunities…………………………….……69
Work Hard, Learn Hard………………………………………………….……71
Additional Information……………………………………………………….74
 “It had long since come to my attention that people of
accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to
them. They went out and happened to things.” —Leonardo da
Why Resumes Aren’t Enough
T here is almost nothing as demoralizing as the online job hunt.
When I graduated college at the top of my class, I thought companies
would be fighting each other to have my brilliance and potential in their
I know, I know; feel free to laugh at and judge my millennial-style ego.
Instead, I found myself applying to and interviewing for countless jobs that
had never been in my senior-year-of-college plans.
I was interviewing to be a future payroll specialist, medial sales rep, dog
food saleswoman, and theme park character.
Like many recent graduates, I ended up taking a low-level hourly job to
help pay the rent when the salaried jobs passed me up for more qualified
But luckily, my first hourly job was in an industry I was very interested in –
higher education.
Within three years I went from working for ten dollars an hour in an
admissions office to working from home. Suddenly I had a business where I
 spoke around the country, consulted with companies at which I’d once
dreamed of being employed, hosted a television show, and got more
than half a dozen job offers (including one to be a CEO of a well-known
I came from a low-income family and was the first in my family to
graduate with a bachelor’s degree, so when I first started I had zero
connections and no idea what I was doing in the professional world.
Going from ten dollars and hour to my dream job didn’t come
automatically– it came from gritty hard work and grassroots personal
They say, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.” I never knew
what that really meant until I started engaging deeply in something I
cared about and sharing it online. Once I did, amazing people who
cared about the same things I cared about started reaching out to me.
The opportunities that resulted were astounding.
Whether you dream of being your own boss, saving the world as a nonprofit leader, being a life-changing educator, or finding a job at that
perfect-fit company, building an online brand can help you get known,
be recognized, and get job offers. Oh and your resume? It will just be a
formality; they will barely glance at it because they’ll already know and
want you.
This process is vital even when you don’t need a job or already have one;
the economy is tumultuous and careers are constantly evolving and
dissolving. You’ll need to be prepared to have dozens of jobs over your
lifetime. That preparation starts now.
The best opportunities will come your way because of the things you
did when you didn’t need a job.
Building an online presence and personal brand that attracts
opportunities is all about adding value in your desired industry. You add
 value when you grow your skills and share them, even when you’re not
getting paid for it.
When you do that, the key players will find and want to work with you;
they’ll see the work you’ve been doing online and take you seriously.
Building an online personal brand gives you the opportunity to
garner instantaneous credibility.
I’ll be honest with you, this is much harder than formatting a resume. But
the rewards are sweet and yield results that you can’t even fathom when
you begin.
There are many ways to build a compelling career, and I won’t pretend
this is the only way or that I have all the answers. But I have learned a lot
over the past few years and can hardly believe I have my own business
and online brand. Just a few years ago I was unemployed, thought social
media was just a tool for sharing your latest haircut, and felt genuinely lost
when it came to knowing what to do with my life.
But I had a dream. A burning desire to do something with my life, even if I
wasn’t sure exactly what it would be. And that desire led me to reading
many books and meeting with dozens of people to learn everything I
could about how to get where I wanted to go.
It took me years to learn all of this, and I know I still have much to learn. I
want to try to shave off some of those years for you and give you a head
Over the past few months I’ve had many of my blog readers1 email me
for career advice. I was so inspired by their desire to make a difference in
the world that I decided to share what I’ve learned about building a
career in the 21st century in this free ebook.
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 1
I write the blogs &
В When I graduated college, I read all the popular books out there that
promised to help me figure out what to do with my life. I was comforted
by the ones that confirmed the “20-Something Crisis” was real. However, I
was always left wondering, “Okay, now I know why I feel this way, but
what the heck am I supposed to do?”
This book will share exactly how to build an online presence and personal
brand, step by step, even if you have absolutely zero technical skills. It will
also teach you the strategies I developed to build a network of incredible
mentors and friends who can teach you everything you need to know
about your industry and help you get where you want to go.
There are skills, talents, and changes only you can bring to this world. Your
resume is no longer enough. To share your talents with the world, you have
to know how to package and communicate them online and in person in
a way that stands out.
It’s competitive out there; everyone is trying to do this – but not everyone
knows how to do it right.
I want to teach you how to brand and market yourself the right way so
that we can all benefit from the great things you have to offer.
I started my online presence a few years ago after deciding to write a
book; I read a book about how to get a non-fiction book published and it
told me that I had to develop an online brand if I wanted any chance at
getting published. So I started a blog. I got up early and wrote once a
week before work. I tweeted my blog posts.
And I did that for almost a year without anything happening.
This is not a “get a job quick” scheme. I don’t want to pretend my success
happened overnight. No one’s success does. And for millennials like me,
that can be the hardest part. We are so used to everything happening
fast. We want to be something and we want to be something now.
 You can be something sooner than you think, but it won’t happen
tomorrow, or even next year. Only those who commit to continually
improving their skills and learning their craft year after year are going to
be successful. The journey is hard, but it’s also an adventure. Saying yes to
that adventure is the only way to grow towards your goals.
So there I was, blogging week after week, working long hours in a
community college student life department, mopping the floors after latenight events, picking up confetti on my hands and knees, and lugging
trash bags full of pizza boxes to the dumpster.
But during that first job I also soaked up everything I could. I listened to the
students and learned about their struggles and hopes. I gave them
advice and crossed my fingers that it would work. And it did. Those
students inspired my first book, Community College Success.
Writing that first book, even though I had no idea where it would take me,
was invigorating. It gave me a project to work on that I really cared
about. It inspired me to do more with my life. And it gave me the energy
to continue to build my online presence and build my network.
A little over a year after starting my blog and a few months before my
book was released, something incredibly normal and seemingly
insignificant changed my life.
I got a new Twitter follower.
This happens every second of every day. Some are real people. Some are
fake. And most don’t change people’s lives. But sometimes, just one, can.
You can go to dozens of networking events, do hundreds of informational
interviews, and spend years building your brand on your blog and social
media channels with nothing significant happening. But I want you to
remember throughout this book that it just takes one. One amazing
connection. One life changing opportunity.
В One day, I was followed on Twitter by someone who worked in the global
education industry. She read my blog and we started interacting. I
decided to reach out to her to set up a phone call because she seemed
cool and I thought I could learn from her.
We clicked immediately, and it just so happened we’d be in Boston
during the same upcoming weekend. We met in-person a few more times
and our conversations about our shared love of education eventually
turned into a job offer. A few months after our first phone call, Pearson,
the company she worked for, became my first consulting client; this gave
me the financial stability to be able to leave my traditional job and start a
full time business.
I’ll share more of this story throughout the book, but the key to remember
here is that this didn’t happen because I had a standard Twitter profile or
online presence. Since I was working on a book, I had become more
intentional with my social media – I was building a brand. I had a blog
and was sharing original content on my Twitter, not just what I had to eat
that day.
Just having an online presence isn’t enough. It has to be a strategic
online brand that represents your unique skills and passions.
In addition to my blog and Twitter, that year I had also been sharing
college advice videos on a YouTube channel for students who have a
more visual or auditory learning style. A few months after Pearson asked
me to be a consultant with them, a local cable station2 emailed me
asking if I’d travel to their location a few times a year to host their new
college success TV show.
Me?! A TV host? I had started my YouTube by literally reading my blog
posts on camera. I had never been in front of a “real” camera in my life.
But the producers had connected with my passion and wanted to work
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 2
TCC22 is the cable station in Tallahassee, FL where I host The SKiNNY on College Success. You
can check it out on my YouTube channel at
В with me. With my second client on board, I felt like I had a real business.
And, well, I actually did.
Who would have thought? While I love a funny cat picture, it turns out
social media and other online tools can add so much more to your life.
Social media can help you reach your career dreams in the most
unexpected ways.
However, this book isn’t about being a social media maven - it’s about
leveraging a digital presence in order to build credibility, grow your
network, and open doors to life-changing interpersonal relationships.
Your ability to build your online presence is more important now than ever
before. As Thomas Friedman recently wrote in The New York Times:
“This huge expansion in an individual’s ability to do all these
things [on the Internet and social media] comes with one big
difference: more now rests on you.
“If you are self-motivated, wow, this world is tailored for you. The
boundaries are all gone. But if you’re not self-motivated, this world
will be a challenge because the walls, ceilings and floors that
protected people are also disappearing…We’re entering a world
that increasingly rewards individual aspiration and persistence and
can measure precisely who is contributing and who is not.”3
The only people who will really have job security in the 21st century
are those who use their personal brand and online presence to
consistently contribute to an industry, even when they’re not getting
paid for it.
Much of your contributions may happen offline, but the best way to let
the world know about those contributions is sharing them online. The
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 3
Quote from:
В process is continuous, and while it requires a lot of hard work and
dedication, once you get going it can actually be a lot of fun.
So let’s jump right in, shall we? You’ve got too much talent not to share it,
and new jobs have already been created since you started reading this
chapter. Let’s get you one!
 “Discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.” Jim Sundberg
Chapter 1
What Do You Want?
T oo often when we graduate college we think we’re supposed to
jump right into some salaried position to prove that our college degree
was worth it. It’s easy to forget to stop and ask ourselves what we really
want out of a career.
Finding the right career is a first-world problem we are lucky to have. We
have choices. We have options. It’s an unthinkable blessing.
But the amount of choices we have does make it confusing. The choices
are constantly changing as the economy evolves, technology improves,
and new jobs are created every day.
The only way to begin to make sense of this sea of choices is to know
what you want before you dive in. You may not get exactly what you
want, but your desires shouldn’t keep you from being open-minded to
opportunities that come your way.
Having no idea what you want is the surest way to getting stuck
somewhere you don’t want to be.
What you want will change as you change, but a successful growth
process requires direction.
When I was in college, I attended my first student conference as part of
the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship I had won. At the time, I wasn’t sure of
В my direction, but meeting with the other scholars opened my eyes to
what could be possible. They all had dreams of changing the world with
their ideas and talents, and for the first time I allowed myself to believe
that I could pursue more with my life.
In the bookstore of the university where the conference was held, I
bought a magnet with a Thoreau quote that had stopped me in my
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life
you’ve imagined.
Six years later, the magnet is still the only thing on my fridge, and it serves
as a daily reminder to keep going for what I want – that my dreams are
Your dreams are possible too.
We often are hesitant to define what we want because we fear the
failure of not reaching our dreams.
But I have learned that even during the greatest sense of rejection, pain,
and failure – all feelings that will come with the pursuit of a dream –
regret is never on that list.
Pursuing a dream is a true adventure, and there is nothing more exciting
then working and fighting for something you really want, even if that
dream changes. Failing over and over again in pursuit of your dreams
beats drudging through a job you hate any day.
So do you know what you want?
It took me a while to figure it out myself. I knew I wanted to work with atrisk students while I was in college, but once I graduated somehow my
initial dreams got buried in the urgency of needing to pay my bills.
В During the three-year period after college I felt more lost than I ever had
before. I cried often, consumed a shameful amount of Oreos4, and tried
to distract myself with Full House reruns5. I felt like I had lost that light,
optimistic self I was in college and I didn’t know what to do to get her
But despite the frustration and confusion, I never stopped learning and
growing in my job. I learned what I didn’t want, which is just as valuable,
and after interviewing dozens professionals with jobs that I thought were
interesting, I finally figured out what I wanted.
However, knowing what I wanted didn’t mean I knew exactly what I
wanted to do. And that’s okay. Knowing what you want is the first step.
I figured out that I wanted freedom, to be my own boss, and the flexibility
to travel. Most importantly, I wanted to be able to help others succeed.
I learned that I’m fascinated with people and wanted a life where I could
surround myself with awesome people. I learned I like to share helpful
information through writing and speaking and wanted to share whatever
knowledge and life experience I gained to help people grow and get to
where they want to go even faster.
So as you can see, I never could actually answer the question “what is
your dream job” in a few words. I learned as I went along how to describe
it. I learned that how I wanted to feel in my day-to-day life was even more
important than the exact job title; I wanted to feel invigorated,
challenged, and free.
But it wasn’t until I started making those distinctions, writing them down,
and constantly refining what I really wanted that exciting things started
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 4
Don’t worry Oreos, you’re my sad food and my happy food. I still love you.
5  “You
got it dude.”  15
В I want you to take a few minutes and go to the What Do You Want
section on page three of the workbook you received with this book and
answer the questions about what you want out of this next stage of your
life. Not what your parents want. Not what your friends want. Not what
you’re �supposed’ to want. Not what you think you want. But what you
really want.
Don’t think. Just write.
 “The better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the
rest of the world.” - Toni Collette
Chapter 2
The Two Magic Questions
T he two most important questions you need to answer before
building your personal brand are:
1) Who are you?
2) What does the world need?
You are more unique than you realize, and there are problems in the
world your particular blend of experiences and skills can solve. The secret
to a personal brand that draws jobs and amazing opportunities to you is
one that has answered both of these questions and found a way for them
to relate to each other.
Who are you?
Take some time to consider who you are. What was your childhood like?
What defines you? How do you define yourself? What is your identity?
What are your core values? What are your best personality traits? What
are your talents?
You will continue to grow and change, but you are more in control of that
process than you may realize. Those who create themselves into the
people they want to be do so intentionally.
What does the world need?
 Once you’ve got a basic handle on what you want and who you are at
your core, the key to personal branding is taking it a step further and
figuring out how that matches with what the world needs.
And I’m not talking about solving global warming or world hunger
(though, hey, the sky is the limit!) I’m talking about filling a need in your
community, your area of interest, and your current economic
environment. You could be the greatest VCR6 repairman in the world but
unfortunately we won’t need your services.
Think about your own life and how many services have changed since
you were a kid. Remember when you used to need a Blockbuster card to
rent a movie?
We see jobs becoming extinct all the time now. And yet it’s not a new
phenomenon. Technology and innovation have been overturning
economies for centuries. But we are in the midst of one of the major shifts,
and it seems to be changing things faster than ever before.
To be ready, you have to get really good at listening to what the world
needs and creatively thinking how you can fill that need.
The good news is that in a fast-paced and rapidly changing economic
environment, all of the needs haven’t been met yet. There is still room for
you. You just have to be a really good listener.
Getting online is the best way to start listening. We’ll go through how to
listen with each social media channel in the next few chapters. Once you
figure out the need that you want to fill, you’ll use each social media
channel to be a part of that conversation and work towards becoming a
thought leader.
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VCR’s were these large black boxes that used to play these things called “videotapes” that
played movies. ;)
 To start – locate some online news sources in your industry. For example, I
subscribe to Lumina News, which sends me all the top news in higher
education each day. See if something like that exists for your industry;
subscribe immediately and read daily.
Keep an open mind and be creative. There is a place for you.
And while I’m a huge fan of people who are able to use their talents to fill
a really global pressing need or cause, when I ask you to think about what
the world needs, it doesn’t mean you have to do something inherently
In the end, if your pursuit is not in your sphere of interests or talents,
you’re not going to be very successful. You’ll have the energy and
creativity to be able to offer much more if you choose something that
truly fascinates you.
For example, I recently interviewed a college student who developed a
personal brand as “the duct tape guy” with his how-to-make-stuff-out-ofduct-tape YouTube videos. He loves what he’s doing, he’s bringing joy to
a lot of people who enjoying crafting things out of duct tape, and he’s
attracted exciting sponsorship opportunities from duct tape companies.
His personal brand is turning into his dream job!
Your world is important. Your happiness is important. When you find work
you can really thrive in, you’ll be giving your best to some community, and
that community matters. Be open to what that can be.
When you match a need to your unique self, people will begin to know
you for that thing. They will remember you when that topic comes up.
They will refer you. They will follow you. They will hire you.
Answer the questions on page four of the workbook to start to brainstorm
your niche in the world.
 “How did Marissa Mayer score the position of CEO at Yahoo?
According to Laura Ries, it was because she has what most people
don’t – she has a brand. �As Google’s 20th employee and first
woman engineer, she is a brand. Marissa Mayer is the woman that
made Google successful.’” – Lisa Quast, Forbes Contributor7
Chapter 3
Building Your Personal Brand
P ersonal branding is popular in the career space right now, and for good
reason - it works.
This section is all about how to build that brand, step-by-step, social media
channel by social media channel.
In a nutshell, here is the first thing you need to know about personal
Your personal brand is a way of communicating the unique value
you can add to others.8
Your personal brand is as complex as you are, because it is you, not a
fabricated version of you. You become a personal brand when you are
intentional about the way you come across both in person and online
and the direction you take in developing yourself and your skills.
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 7
8 В Fill
out page five of the workbook to create a personal brand statement that will help guide
your ideas throughout this book. В 20
В The most important benefit of having a well-developed personal brand is
that it makes it easier to connect with new people. Once you are clear in
who you are and the value you can bring to other people, it becomes
easier to find your unique role and start interacting with people who share
your interests and can give you opportunities.
No matter how technological our world gets, opportunities will
always happen through people.
An intriguing personal brand draws people to you. It gives you something
to talk about. It helps you find the right people to talk to and makes
people want to talk to you. A personal brand is what sets you apart.
In the following chapters we are going to dive right in to how to use a
variety of social media channels to build your personal brand. While the
best way to get opportunities is through other people, the best way to
widen your network and meet the right people is to have a stellar online
When you have a strong online presence that communicates what you
care about and the value you can add, you can email a stranger and
with a quick click of the links at the bottom of your email signature they’ll
feel like they know you.
When you have a good online presence, people you would love to
connect with or work with will want to talk to you, and you will find yourself
gaining access to people who can change your life.
Recently, I emailed some professionals I was connected with on Twitter
and LinkedIn and asked them to answer four short questions for a blog
series on what high-level professionals have learned from their first jobs.
Some people I knew very well and knew they’d get back to me, while
others I considered a long shot.
В I was shocked when the person whom I considered to be the biggest long
shot emailed me back and said he’d be speaking in my area in a week
and would be happy to meet with me in person!
When we met, he told me it was because of the websites on my email
signature (see screen shot below). He said that because he was able to
get a good picture of my online brand he decided he would get back to
me and offer to meet with me. I was floored.
We never even got to the interview I had in mind for my blog, because
instead, he was so intrigued by my personal brand that he wanted to find
out more and give me advice on how I could take it to the next level.
This guy, by the way, is a millionaire. I couldn’t believe he was taking the
time to help me.
В As he wrote down life-changing advice onto the restaurant napkin, I
remember thinking in that moment, wow, this is only happening right now
because of what I have online.
Building your personal brand online is no good if it only happens online.
You’ll know your online personal brand is working when unbelievable inperson opportunities start coming to you. Your online personal brand will
give you access to people you never dreamed of meeting. And it will
uncover opportunities for you tomorrow that don’t even exist today.
 “The best way to be an authority is to be an author. Create
content.” – Tim Devaney and Tom Stein, Forbes Contributors9
Chapter 4
Content is King
T he quickest way to build an online presence and establish yourself
as a thought leader in your desired industry is to start developing content.
You may not feel like you have any expertise, but that’s okay! Beginning
your content creation can be as simple as starting a blog and linking to
the best articles and latest news developments in your desired sphere. As
you read more content, you’ll gain a better understanding of the kind of
content you would be best at developing.
As we move through these next two chapters on social media, the book is
going to switch gears into a more fast-paced, action-focused format. In
this section I’m going to list some of the best ways you can start
developing content. And in the following chapter I’m going to pack in the
best social media practices I’ve learned as well as share ideas for you to
make the most of your personal brand on each platform.
When I started crafting my personal brand online I felt completely lost. It
took me years to figure everything out and make it work. I want to share
with you everything I’ve learned so far so that you have plenty of ideas to
get started right away and (hopefully) feel a lot less lost than I did.
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 9
 Unless you want to have your own business, you don’t necessarily need to
activate your personal brand on all of the platforms I’m going to outline
for you. However, I think it’s a great idea to try them as many as possible
and then narrow down to the ones you find are really working for you.
Are you ready?10 Let’s start with content options, as having a content
strategy will serve as the foundation for adding value on the other social
media platforms.
В Why В Start В a В Blog? В В How В to В Start В a В Blog В Topics В to В Write В About В Best В Practices В Why Start a Blog?
Having a blog, especially with a URL that identifies how you can add
value, legitimizes your personal brand in other people’s minds almost
instantly (e.g. one of my blog addresses is
Blog articles give you something unique to share on your other social
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 10
See page six of the workbook for a space to write down the ideas you get for your personal
brand and social media platforms throughout the rest of the book.
В media channels and establish you as a thought leader in the area you
choose to write about.
You can also expand your network by reaching out to industry leaders
you admire and asking if you can interview them and feature their
successes on your blog. (Always keep the tone positive and ensure them
that you’ll let them read and approve the article before it is published.)
A blog URL will enhance your business cards, your email signature, and the
�about’ sections of all your social media platforms.
Every article you write has the potential to show up in Google searches
when people are looking for content like yours and people like you.
How to Start a Blog
• Choose your favorite blog-hosting site - there are many out there. My
favorites are and I like the features
WordPress offers best, but I found Blogger much easier to navigate as
a beginner. Both are free, and they each offer the option to pay for a
custom URL (e.g. instead of it’s
The cost is annual and usually under $10. Having a custom URL is
professional; I highly recommend it and think it’s worth the money.
Note: If you are more of a talker than a writer, consider
• Choose a pleasant and professional looking layout for your blog from
the templates the site offers.
• Google “how to” articles about your blog hosting site and read a
book about blogging.11 The knowledge will boost your confidence.
• Start writing!
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 11 В My favorite books about blogging are in the Recommended Reading section at the end of
this book. В В 26
В What to Write About
• Your thoughts, questions, and opinions about your desired industry.
• Interviews and/or profiles of industry leaders that elucidate advice and
best practices.
• Links to the latest articles and resources on your topic.
• Book reviews of the latest content in your area.
• Stories of people in the community you want to help.
Spend time with your target audience and listen to their problems; think
about articles you could write to help them solve those problems.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it short and simple.
Best Practices
Invest in a custom URL that establishes you as a thought leader in your
industry and makes your personal brand clear. Think of your URL as the title
of a book you would write; it should clearly and succinctly express the
value you are adding to others.
Keep your posts short and sweet. Our attention spans are short and
getting shorter. We don’t like to read in one place for very long online. If
you have a topic that requires length, try to break it up into shorter posts
that can be released throughout the week.
Constantly work to improve your writing. A lack of communication skills is
one of employers’ biggest complaints. Improving yours will make you
stand out. See the recommended resources at the end of this book for my
favorite books on writing.
Write in very short paragraphs and use bold to make it easier to read and
scroll online. Notice how I spaced this book and check out how I use bold
on or
В Try to post at least once per week. Whatever frequency you choose, be
Be humble throughout your posts. While you want to establish yourself as a
thought leader, you never want to act like you know it all. Use your blog
as a way to spark discussion and conversation, not to state “how it is.”
When featuring others, praise and don’t criticize. Use criticism only if
something has happened that goes against the values of your personal
brand and if standing up to it will serve to further your cause and establish
you as a thought leader. Be very careful when criticizing; when possible
run the article by a trusted mentor who is an industry leader first.
Curate good content. We are in an age of information overload anything you can do to curate the best content will be valuable to your
Be creative. You have a unique voice, style, and opinion. Make the most
of it and do what excites you.
Be exciting, entertaining, and edgy. The value of a blog is not in making
money or getting a ton of visitors. Its real value is in putting out helpful
content that draws the right people to you. The only way it will draw
people in is if it’s truly helpful and interesting.
Write content that you would want to read. Make it fun. Make it
compelling. Write headlines that make people want to know more. Be
Blogging is one of the fastest ways to share your voice and begin to
create original content. In many cases having a blog is good enough, but
many people want to take that next step and get their work published.
One of the most popular questions I get is “how did you get a book
published?” so I want to end this chapter with a quick section on how to
get your content published outside of your personal blog.
В Why В get В Published? В How В to В get В Published В What В to В Publish В Best В Practices В Why get Published?
Being published doesn’t mean you have to write a book. When your work
is published in any kind of outlet outside your personal blog it helps you
stand out as a thought leader in your industry. It’s like having proof that
someone else acknowledges your voice as valuable, which naturally
increases credibility.
When you get articles published on industry websites and recognized
media outlets, those notable sites may come up when people Google
you, which will further establish credibility. Getting published is a great way
to begin to establish yourself as a thought leader, get speaking requests,
and connect with people around the world who are reading your
It’s important to remember that most authors don’t make a living off of
their published writing; but those who do it right can make a living off of
the opportunities that result from the kind of credibility that publishing
В How to get Published
There are great blogs and online news sources that accept article pitches
from the public, and you should be submitting! Don’t worry if you get
rejected the first few times – keep trying. Also consider submitting letters to
the editor.
Email editors of smaller blogs or sources in your niche industry and
volunteer to write a free guest post. They’ll love this and you’ll get your
name out there.
If you want to learn more about how to publish a book, start reading
books about it (there are many out there) and ask other authors for their
And if you just want to get your content out there, check out Amazon’s
Create Space resource for self-publishing a hard-copy or ebook
What to Publish
Similar to your blog, you want to think of things you can write that can
add value to others and solve their problems. Writing for other sources
will typically require more formal writing. The best way to know what and
how to write is to model the industry-related articles you find most
When it comes to publishing a non-fiction book, you want to make sure
you have an innovative concept, are an expert in that topic, and build a
platform where you’ve been writing, speaking, and doing work in that
В Best Practices
You don’t need stellar writing skills to write a good blog, but when it
comes to getting that extra legitimacy of getting published, you have to
work on becoming a really good writer. I’m constantly trying to improve;
my favorite books on writing are in the recommended resources section
at the end of this book.
I want to end this section on publishing by letting you in on a little secret –
most professional published writers hate writing. Whew, there, I said it. The
writing process is hard, even for those who make millions as authors. It
never gets easier. Professional writers are just the ones who sit down and
slog through it.
The best way to get published is to commit to writing often.
В Why В use В Video В В How В to В use В Video В What В to В Film В Best В Practices В Why use Video
YouTube is a great way to get your content out there and help you
establish a more authentic online presence where people can see and
hear you, and thus better feel like they “know” you. Having a YouTube
video of yourself makes you more “real” to people who might first meet
you online.
If you are a great speaker, then you might want to consider vlogging (e.g.
sharing helpful content via video instead of a blog) and make your
YouTube channel your content hub (or you can embed your videos in a
Having even one video of yourself to attach to your email signature and
other online profiles will help others get a better sense of who you are. If
done well, industry leaders and people you admire will trust you much
В How to use Video
• Sign up for an account on if you don’t already have
• Set up your channel by ensuring you have a professional picture and a
description of what kinds of videos will be on your YouTube channel.
• To film, you can use a laptop cam (this is what I use), the video function
on your digital camera, or a professional video camera. Having some
sense of quality is helpful, but no need to buy any fancy equipment.
• Make sure you’re filming in a well-lit area with a non-distracting
• People have very short attention spans, so focus on making your videos
as short as possible – no longer than three minutes unless absolutely
necessary (though keeping in mind that most people will stop watching
after three minutes).
• Having a Macbook Pro and iMovie made shooting and editing videos
very easy for me, but I’m sure there are many other computers and
programs that can work great. YouTube is also always adding new
editing features that make it easy to upload your video and then edit
from there (e.g. cutting out the parts where you are turning the
camera on and off).
What to Film
• You can start by doing a short and more conversational version of a
blog you’ve written and embed it with the written blog as an option for
those who’d rather watch a video than read (that’s how I started).
• If you ever have the opportunity to speak in your field, ask a friend to
film it. Then, pull together your best moments and post it on your
channel (final cut should be no longer than three minutes).
• Use humor to create a short video that gets a relevant point across to
your target audience.
• Share advice or best practices based on your experience and
knowledge gained so far.
Consider a creative way to communicate your “about me” section of
your personal website in video form (see chapter 6 for info on your
personal website).
Best Practices
Be creative and use humor when relevant.
Ask for honest feedback before you post your first videos. Being good on
camera takes practice and you don’t want to post anything that is
awkward or boring. Watch your favorite YouTube videos and ask yourself
why you like them.
Find someone who is creating videos similar to the kind you want to start
with and use his or her videos as a model.
Use appropriate tags to help people find your video when they are
searching for your topic.
It’s best to wear basic, fitted clothing with no logos. Solid colors are best,
and try to avoid stripes and busy patterns.
Lighting is really important for clear videos. Try filming in front of an open
window in the afternoon, or grab a 3-bulb floor lamp for your filming area.
Focus on adding value with your video; be able to answer the question:
what will someone gain from watching this?
Now that you have some kind of content, whether it’s a blog, a published
article, a book, or a YouTube channel, it’s time to share it!
Some people will find your content via Google search, but the best use of
your content is to share it yourself on social media.
 In the next chapter, I’ll take you through everything I’ve learned about
the social media channels that have helped me the most in my business
so far, along with some ideas to get you started.
Remember, you don’t have to do all of this – only you will know the
combination that is best for your goals. I want to make sure you have all
the tools you need in order to choose the best channels to get your
talents out there and draw the right opportunities to you.
 “A recent study by Office Team shows that more than one-third of
companies feel that resumes will be replaced by profiles on social
networks. My prediction is that in the next ten years, resumes will be
less common, and your online presence will become what your
resume is today, at all types and sizes of companies.” - Dan
Schawbel 12
Chapter 5
Social Media
S ocial media has completely changed the way we interact with
the world around us. Today it’s one of the most important tools in finding a
job and creating an amazing career, yet it’s rarely taught in college
career centers.
This section is meant for you to use and reference throughout your journey
as you try new social media tools. This is a constantly changing world, and
as I write this, there are probably new social media channels and features
being added. So for this section I’ve chosen the channels that have been
around for a while and that I’ve found personally and tremendously
There are many more, and I’m sure many things I still have to discover. I
hope as you discover more about how to use social media to find a job
and build your career, you’ll share what you learn with us on Twitter.
Simply use the hashtag #withoutaresume.
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 12 В В 36
В The best way to start using social media professionally is to find industry
leaders whom you admire and watch what they do. Model those whom
you want to be, but don’t be afraid to tread new ground. This is all still
new; there is much to be discovered, and there are many opportunities to
be gained.
Remember that building your social media presence is a process that
takes a lot of persistence over an extended period of time. But trust me,
the opportunities will come, and often from the most unexpected places.
Using social media to find a job isn’t about asking people on social media
for a job. It’s about adding value, making real connections, and learning
invaluable things that propel you forward.
В Why В use В LinkedIn?
How В to В use В LinkedIn В What В to В Post В Best В Practices В Why use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the only social media channel in this book that I recommend
everyone uses no matter what your goals are. LinkedIn is the new resume,
and if you don’t have one, you are missing out on a ton of benefits and
В LinkedIn allows you to keep track of and connect with people in your
industry from around the world and gives you access to people you might
never have had access to before. It also allows you to search for jobs, stay
on top of industry-related content, and connect with other professionals
on a daily basis, even when you’re not looking for a job.
Studying LinkedIn profiles can help you learn a lot about career paths and
leaders in your industry; some of my greatest mentors were first LinkedIn
Building a LinkedIn profile is the single best way to establish your
professional online brand.
How to use LinkedIn
• Go to and create your profile if you haven’t already.
• Upload a professional headshot of yourself. Look to leaders in your
industry to see what their LinkedIn profile picture style is. When in doubt,
be professional.
• Begin to search profiles of people in your industry (you can start by
clicking the �advanced’ people search and type in names of
companies you’re familiar with) and begin by studying how their
profiles are formatted, what they say, and where they got their start.
• Once you’ve studied the profiles, begin to create your own. Keep it
simple and focus on results. Include your education, special courses,
relevant job and leadership experience.
• Have an industry mentor or career center staff member at your college
look over your completed LinkedIn profile and ask for feedback.
• Once your profile is ready, it’s time to start connecting with people.
LinkedIn offers a few ways to see who you already know on LinkedIn start there.
• When you request to connect, it’s always best to write a personal
• Hover your mouse over your college on your LinkedIn profile in order to
find your college’s page through the alumni tool. Then, search for
alumni who work in your field. Send a personalized request asking to
connect with them in order to ask advice.
Review the connections of the people you’re connected with and ask
to be introduced to anyone whom you’d really like to know or meet
Whenever you see a job or internship posted online that you’d want
before applying online search for employees who work there on
LinkedIn. See if anyone in your network is connected and ask for an
introduction.13 Once they connect with you, ask to meet in person or
via phone for advice. Sometimes you’ll make such a good impression
by doing this that they’ll suggest you apply for the open job or
internship with their organization.
Search the Groups section and request to join industry-related groups;
many group members allow you to connect or message them directly
just by being involved in the same group.
Email your advisors, professors, and current and former supervisors who
have LinkedIn profiles and ask them to submit a recommendation for
you on your profile.
Review your contacts and recommend anyone whom you’ve worked
with. Most will want to return the favor, and nothing looks better than
others praising your work.
What to Post
LinkedIn has a version of a “status update,” and it’s best to use this to
share your relevant and professional blog posts and other industry news.
Continue to update your LinkedIn profile as you gain new experiences
and skills, and as LinkedIn adds new features. I was recently able to add
video links to my profile which I highly recommend if and when you are
able to use that feature.
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 13 В See p. 75-76 for a sample script on how to ask for an introduction. В 39
В Best Practices
Always write a personalized message when you request a new
connection.14 If you can’t think of anything personal to say, you’re
connecting with the wrong person. This is the place to tell potential
connections why you admire them and that you’d like to learn from them.
When posting status updates on LinkedIn, keep it very professional. This is
not the place to share personal life details – only professional.
When requesting an introduction to expand your network, make it very
clear why you want to connect and exactly what you’ll be pursuing.15 No
one wants to pass along a contact if they feel that person is trying to
spam or take advantage of someone in their network. Be genuine and
Be yourself. Being professional doesn’t mean being a fake or cold version
of your true self. The best professionals bring their humor and personality to
their professional persona. Bring that out in your profile and in your
requests. A generic-sounding stuffy request will be ignored just as much as
the default request.
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 14 В See p.75-78 for sample scripts for reaching out on LinkedIn. В В 15 В See p. 75-76 for a sample script for asking for an introduction. В В 40
В Why В use В Twitter?
How В to В use В Twitter В What В to В Post В Best В Practices В Why use Twitter?
I’ll be honest: Twitter was the last social media channel I came to
understand. I just didn’t get it at first. But once I learned it, it quickly
became my favorite. Twitter is one of the best channels for connecting
with new people in your industry because of its public and
interconnected nature.
Twitter started the use of #hashtags, which allow you to click on the
hashtagged word and follow a stream of what everyone is saying about
that topic. It’s a great way to meet people of interest and participate in
Twitter chats which use the #hashtag feature to bring together a smaller
community at a specific time.
Twitter also makes it easy for you to spread good ideas through retweets,
stay on top of industry news, and have access to many of the top leaders
in your industry who use Twitter to connect with fans.
Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, people don’t have to “accept” you in
order to connect. You can interact, connect, and build relationships with
В new people very day.
How to use Twitter
• Choose a good up-close head shot as your picture. Professional is best,
but it doesn’t have to be as professional as LinkedIn.
• Write your short headline. Keep it simple, with a few professional points
and a few personal or fun points. This is a great place to link to your top
website (e.g. personal website, blog)
• Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people you’ve connected with; click on
their “contact info” tab below their picture and see if they’ve shared
their Twitter handle; if so, follow them.
• Using Twitter’s search function, type in industry key words and look
through both the “Tweets” and the “People” categories to find industry
leaders and interesting people in your field. Read their headlines and
start by only following people who really interest you.
• Look for any specific people or companies that interest you and start
• Follow companies you’d like to work for.
• Begin tweeting!
What to Post
• Start by listening first. Read the tweets of those you’ve followed and
notice what they’re talking about and how they interact with each
other. Take time to learn Twitter and understand the community.
• Start by replying to the tweets of others that you find interesting. Hit
reply at the bottom of their tweet and then respond. Focus on positive
interactions that will compliment the people you follow and make
them feel good.
• Twitter is a great place to share links to your blog posts and videos!
• Keep up with your industry news and tweet out links to the articles that
you find really interesting.
 • Share your own personal quotes or things that inspire you, but do so
• Be professional, but don’t be boring. Have fun.
• Stay positive and respectful; leave the complaining and ranting for
personal texts to your friends.
• When you really know your topic, feel free to reply with opinions in a
respectful way that encourages dialogue.
• When you go to conferences or events, find out what the hashtag is
and use it! Tweet great quotes the speakers say and share the
• When someone tweets something you really like and think would be
helpful to the people who follow you, retweet it, but do this sparingly.
It’s more important to interact directly or tweet your own original
Best Practices
I have found Twitter’s best use to be in its interactions. Simply tweeting out
Facebook-like status updates without ever reading and replying to what
other people are tweeting is a waste of time.
Reply to people’s Tweets. Sometimes you can tweet and tweet and
wonder if anyone’s listening. The best way to get listened to is to listen first.
Read what people are saying and respond. Have genuine interactions.
I’ve met some of the most amazing friends (and clients) through Twitter
You don’t have to follow everyone who follows you. If you follow too many
people and aren’t able to read Twitter that often your newsfeed will go so
fast that it will be too overwhelming to interact. In the beginning, keep
your follow-list small to allow you to genuinely interact.
If someone’s tweets start to annoy you or they aren’t really helpful, feel
free to unfollow them in order to keep your follow list to people you’ll
actually interact with (just be sure not to burn any important bridges).
В Find Twitter chats that interest you and go! As you begin to follow people
in your industry, you start to notice the popular hashtags they use, and
those will often lead you to a chat stream. You can also Google search
“[your industry] Twitter chats” and see what you can find. These are great
ways to find good people to follow and make a ton of new friends.
Don’t fret about how many followers you have. Building a following on
Twitter takes a lot of time. Many people who have lots of followers are
either 1) Famous 2) Been on Twitter for a LONG time 3) Bought followers
(yes, you can buy followers – I do not recommend this). Take your time
and focus on quality over quantity. When it comes to using Twitter to build
a personal brand, genuine interactions with a few of the right people can
carry more weight than having thousands of surface-level followers.
Do not use Twitter for self-promotion. Simply robotically tweeting out your
content will not work. Twitter is about sharing relevant information in a
timely manner and interacting with people. Be human, and be yourself.
 Why  Start  a   Page   How  to  Start  a  Page  What  to  Post  Best  Practices  When I’m talking about Facebook pages I’m talking about the pages you
“like” not the people you “friend” (I offer a few tips about your personal
Facebook profile at the end of this section).
Why Start a Page
A Facebook page is a great way to separate your personal Facebook
profile from your professional brand. A Facebook page is a helpful place
to share your blog posts, helpful articles, and other relevant industryrelated information without bombarding your close friends.
A Facebook page is a great way to connect with people who share
similar interests but whom you may not be close enough with to “friend.”
When you have a Facebook page it establishes you as a community
leader. You’re leading a conversation and have created a space for
people who want to learn more about the content you have to share.
That looks good.
В How to start a Page
A Facebook page requires commitment. Before you start one, make sure
you’re committed to keeping it up. You don’t want to have a Facebook
page that people go to and see you haven’t posted in six months – it just
looks bad. Before you start ensure you’re committed to posting at least a
few times per week, if not once per day.
• Go to and choose the type of page
you want to create. Unless you’ve already started a business, you’ll
most likely choose the “Cause or Community” category.
• Name your Facebook page very carefully and under settings be sure
to create a custom URL (e.g. my Facebook page is named after my
blog, Community College Success, and my custom URL is Your page name should be original and
clearly communicate what the page is for. If it’s going to be a place to
share your blog and create a community around that industry then
naming it after your blog is a great way to start.
• Go through any tutorials Facebook offers when it comes to the set-up
phase and get your page in order by doing things such as:
o Choose a nice cover photo that communicates what your page
is about. Be sure to respect copyright and use pictures you own
the rights to.
o Choose a professional profile picture for the page. People want
to interact with people, not logos, so use a picture of yourself. This
picture can be more playful than your LinkedIn profile; consider
having someone take a picture of you doing something related
to your blog or industry.
o Write a brief description of your Facebook page that clearly
states what it is. If relevant share links to your blog or personal
o Search for “Networked Blogs” on Facebook when signed into
your personal account and follow the directions to register your
blog on the app, which will link your blog to your Facebook page
and automatically share your posts!
Once your page is set up, you’re ready to start getting likes. On your
home page you’ll see the option to invite your friends and email
contacts to like your page. Asking your friends to help you out and
build your audience initially can be helpful, but don’t rely too much on
your personal friends. A Facebook page that just replicates your
personal Facebook following won’t be that helpful. The goal of your
Facebook page should be to build a new community around your
common interests and industry.
Just like Twitter, building a following happens slowly for most people.
Focus on quality over quantity.
Download the Facebook Pages Manager in your app store so you can
post directly to your page from your Smart Phone.
If you have a personal Facebook profile, you can go to the settings
icon in the top right-hand corner and click “use Facebook as” and
then click on your Facebook page. This is where you can continually
edit and monitor your page.
What to Post
• When signed in as your page, search for similar pages and industry
leaders and “like” their page. Your page also has a newsfeed where
you can keep up with the industry, share relevant status updates, and
interact. Start by observing what other successful pages in your industry
are doing.
• This is a great place to share links to your blog and videos. When you
do, don’t just share the link but include a helpful tip or teaser regarding
what they will get when they click. Most people don’t want to “leave”
Facebook when they’re browsing, so you’ll have to be clear why
clicking will be worth it.
• Embedded pictures are often the most popular on Facebook, so be
creative with your camera and take relevant photos. You can also
make your own memes at
 • Share helpful tips or inspirational quotes that you personally find
intriguing. If it doesn’t interest you, then it won’t interest anyone else.
Best Practices
Self-promotion doesn’t work. Social media sharing should be social and
authentic; no one likes the guy at the party who only wants to talk about
his business. Start genuine conversations, respond to everyone who
comments when possible, and interact with people and organizations on
your Page’s newsfeed.
Keep your Facebook page positive and focused on its purpose.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s still Facebook and people respond best
to “human” sounding status updates. So have fun, be creative, and show
your personality.
Keep up with your Facebook page weekly. If you try it for a few months
and it isn’t for you, delete it. It looks unprofessional to have a page that
hasn’t been updated in months. Avoid what I call “Internet dust” and just
get rid of any social media channels you can’t keep up any longer.16
Stumbling upon an old page makes it seem like that person has simply
“given up.”
Your personal Facebook profile is all about you, but your Facebook page
is all about your AUDIENCE. Before you post ask yourself “will this add
value to someone’s day?” If the answer is yes, then you know you’re using
your Facebook page correctly.
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 16 В Blog and video content do not need to be deleted if you stop updating, as people can still
benefit from the content through Internet searches; just be sure to do a farewell post to explain
why you’ll no longer be posting new content.  48
В A few tips regarding your personal Facebook profile
Make a conscious decision about your Facebook profile and how you
want to use it. The worst mistakes people make on Facebook come from
not being intentional about their decisions and the consequences. You
are free to use your personal Facebook however you like and post
whatever you want, but not without consequences. As long as you know
what those consequences are and are comfortable with them, then
you’re good to go.
Never assume your personal Facebook profile is as private as you think.
At the very least, your personal brand is being communicated to your
close friends and family, and they are important people in your network
too. Focus on giving a positive impression and adding value to their day
through your musings, pictures, and natural humor.
Employers are Googling candidates. If you don’t want a certain picture of
you to come up, then just don’t post it. If it’s not an impression you’d want
to give a potential employer, it’s probably not an impression you really
want to give off to your friends either. You don’t need to be stuffy, but you
should seek respect from your close circle as well as your professional
If you decide to keep your Facebook profile very personal, be intentional
with your privacy settings and who you accept as a friend.
If you decide to accept Facebook friends more widely (e.g.
acquaintances, co-workers, business contacts who become friends, etc.)
you will want to be very thoughtful about your Facebook posts.
Have fun with Facebook and share your life in the way that you feel most
comfortable with; just do so thoughtfully.
Think about the posts on your newsfeed that drive you crazy. Make mental
notes and avoid doing those things.
В Treat your close personal Facebook contacts with respect and post things
to earn their respect. They are your network too and you never know
when they might think of you for a job or opportunity. You’re always
making an impression.
When in doubt, it’s best to keep rants, negative thoughts, and complaints
for in-person interactions or texts with close friends and family. These tend
to top the lists of what annoys people the most on Facebook.
As you clarify your personal brand, determine if sharing political or
religious opinions will draw the right people to you or draw them away. For
example, I choose to keep my political and religious opinions to myself or
among close friends and family since my personal brand is politically and
religiously neutral – it’s about helping people from all walks of life with
college and career. However, if your personal brand is linked to political
or religious issues, you might make a different decision. The best way to be
sure is to notice how industry leaders in your desired sphere address those
issues online.
Use your Facebook to deepen your personal relationships. Write on
people’s walls with compliments, wish people happy birthday, and
Facebook message people to set up in-person coffee or lunch dates.
Social media is at its best when it enriches your in-person connections.
Instagram, HootSuite, and
Pinterest, Oh My!
There are so many social media channels out there and many more to
come. The ones I’ve mentioned already are those that have helped me
the most with my personal goals, brand, and industry for the past few
years - but there are many new ones that have helped me since, and
 others that you probably know of that I don’t! Below are a few quick tips
on the other three social media channels I currently use, as well as some
ideas for how you can use them for your personal brand.
Currently Instagram is my favorite personal social media channel. I love
filters, I love pictures, and I just love Instagram. I don’t use it for my business
or personal brand directly (aside from documenting my travels), but it
doesn’t mean you can’t. Instagram is new and many businesses are
finding really creative ways to use contests and share creative images.
Follow companies in your industry and take note of what they’re doing.
Interact. Enjoy. And try out the new video feature!
I highly recommend signing up for a HootSuite account at
HootSuite is a great place to schedule tweets or Facebook posts when you’re
unable to post in real time throughout the day because of previous
engagements or work. It also allows you to set up streams to follow particular
people or topics. For example, I’ve set up streams to watch anytime someone
posts the phrase “Community College,” as well as top industry leaders whose
tweets I never want to miss. Play around with all its features – it’s incredibly
Pinterest is the social media channel I use the least, but when I use it, I’m on for
at least an hour. I use Pinterest purely for personal reasons – it’s where I gain
fashion and food inspiration. However, I wanted to mention it here as it has vast
potential if your personal brand or desired industry has a strong visual element
(e.g. fashion, food, decorating, art, etc). It’s worth exploring.
В Oh My!
New social media channels are popping up everywhere. Some have a
short life span while others take over. You just never know! Explore new
channels, have fun with them, and learn every day. There are always new
features and things to explore.
Social media is a great way to build your brand, establish credibility, and
draw job opportunities to you. However, posting “I need a job” on social
media isn’t the way to do it. When you add value, people will want to hire
you to add value to their company or their brand. Or maybe you’ll want
to become a freelancer, consultant, or entrepreneur and be your own
boss! The possibilities are endless.
Social media also doesn’t have to rule your life. As we’ll talk about in the
following chapters, social media is a bridge to personal connections and
real opportunities. As you try things out, you’ll be able to decide which
channels work best for you and develop a rhythm that makes it seamless,
genuine, and rewarding.
 “According to Workfolio, a newly launched company that develops
applications for professional visibility, 56% of all hiring managers are
more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other
personal branding tool - however, only 7% of job seekers actually
have a personal website.” - Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes Staff17
Chapter 6
Your Personal Website
wanted to give building your personal website its own chapter
because while it is the most beneficial tool to communicate your online
brand, it can also be the most daunting.
Why have a personal website?
A personal website sets you apart by establishing almost instant credibility.
It shows you are serious about your career, understand technology, and
are dedicated to adding value as a professional.
A personal website also provides one place to bring everything together
(e.g. your blog, your social media channels, your LinkedIn profile, etc.)
and becomes the best link to share on all of your social media profiles and
business cards.
When you have a personal website, you control the first impression people
get of you online. It’s the “hub” that clearly states who you are, what you
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В offer, and how to connect with you.
How to set up a personal website
Ok, I have a confession: I’m not a coder and I know very little about html.
The good news? You don’t have to have advanced web development
skills to create your own website! Here are some options:
• - one option (and by far the easiest) is to visit and
sign up for a profile (you can see mine here: If this is going to serve as your primary
website, I highly recommend investing in the option offers
where you can get a personalized URL (e.g. instead of it would be makes it
so easy to set up a beautiful and professional looking personal website.
Just upload a large professional picture, choose your favorite font and
layout, type out a brief description that explains who you are and what
you do, and then start linking all of your social media sites and contact
information! That’s it. No technical knowledge required!
• - Another alternative that may fit your needs is using your
blog as your personal website. In addition to the blog feed, blogger
(and other blog hosting sites) have a “Pages” option that allows you to
add relevant pages to your blog like an “About” and “Contact”
section. Add an “About [your name]” section and write a short bio and
link to your social media sites (especially LinkedIn). Then the link to your
personal website would be (Keep in mind
for this option you’ll definitely want to make sure you have invested in a
customized URL for your blog).
• – My personal website ( is separate from
my blog and yet is actually hosted on a blog site, WordPress. If you
prefer, you can use a blog-hosting site to create your own personalized
website that is separate from your blog (e.g. it would have its own URL).
o Consider your goals and priorities before building a personal
website from scratch (i.e. not on easy sites like
Depending on your goals, you might want to invest in getting
В help to build your first website. For example, since my goal was
to have my own business, I decided to invest in a web hosting
site called for which I pay $20/month for
them to make building my site a lot easier, and offer 24/7 tech
support with people who answered all my questions along the
way. My website took over a year to get where it is today, but
now I don’t have to think about it. I had a lot of help in the
beginning, and once I got the hang of it, it became really fun;
you feel such a sense of accomplishment when you learn new
tech stuff.
o If you try to build your own personal website, many answers to
your tech questions are out there online, as many people are
happy to share how to do everything when it comes to
WordPress and other sites. Just type in your question to Google
and start learning. There are also many helpful tutorial videos on
If you are planning on starting your own business (and doing your own
website is just driving you mad) you may want to consider hiring someone
to create a unique website tailored to your needs. However this can be
very expensive so try the inexpensive options first until you have the
capital to invest.
What to have on a personal website
• At minimum your website should have:
o A custom URL that is, ideally, If you have a
common name try using your middle name or adding a word
that defines your personal brand and what you do.
o A homepage that clearly explains who you are and what you
o An “About” page with your brief bio. When in doubt, write your
personal website in third person so it doesn’t seem like you’re
�bragging’ about yourself; the bio should clearly state your
greatest accomplishments and current projects. Also include a
link to your LinkedIn as a way of showcasing your �resume.’
o A “Blog” page that links to your blog.
o A “Contact” page that lists your email and other ways to
connect with you via your professional social media channels.
If you have any relevant projects or work hosted on others sites you’ll
want to add a page where you can share or link to those (e.g. I have a
page that links to my book on
If you offer any services like consulting or public speaking you’ll want to
have a page that clearly explains what you do, the results you’ve had
in the past, testimonials, and the best way to contact you.
If you plan on writing for other websites or pursing TV, radio, print, or
online media opportunities you should definitely have a “media”
section of your site that includes the logos of the sites where you’ve
been featured and links to the articles when available. There is still
nothing that speaks to your instant credibility more than being able to
show you’ve been featured in known media outlets.
Keep your text concise. Like all web writing, people don’t want to scroll
or read much. Keep it simple.
The sky is the limit with your personal website, which is why it can be
such a great resource. Browse websites of the leaders in your industry
and notice how they format their personal websites and use them as a
model in the beginning. But of course, don’t be afraid to be unique.
This is a new era, a new economy, and we are a new generation. Be
creative and make your website work for you.
Best practices
Get a personalized URL! When people search you, you want your personal
website to be the first thing to come up. Get a personalized URL with your
name (or, if you’ve started your own organization, the name of your
business, cause, or non-profit).
Ask mentors who are familiar with your industry to review your website and
give you feedback. Don’t do this alone. Ask for advice every step of the
В way.
Use clear images that you own the rights to. There are some free photo
sites out there: for my blog I use Stock Exchange (, and sometimes I
purchase an image I really love on Always read the fine
print and ensure you’re using the images legally. Ideally, it’s best to use
your own photos, not only to avoid legal issues, but to also add interest
and originality with a personal touch.
Use high-resolution photos of yourself that communicate your desired
brand image. If you don’t have any already, arrange to have a photo
shoot! Dress in your nicest and most professional outfit and be a model for
a day. Ask around to see if any of your friends are aspiring professional
photographers and offer to share their photography site on your website
as a thank you for taking your pictures. Or if you own a decent digital
camera ask a friend to take some pictures of you at a nice location
(choose a cool public place you have access to. I always think cityscapes
make really cool backgrounds, and of course anything relevant to your
brand – I had my pictures taken at my community college alma mater).
Pay special attention to lighting; the best time of day is late
afternoon just a few short hours before the sun goes down. If you’re
planning on doing media, writing a book, or starting your own business,
investing in a professional photographer to take a few headshots can be
a good idea (this is what I did). But when starting out, there are plenty of
inexpensive ways to get the job done.
Share your site on your business cards. Your personal website is the most
important URL to have on your business card. A simple business card with
your headshot and personal website URL is intriguing. Keep your cards
professional but don’t be afraid to make them unique and use a design
that shows off your brand. I’m a huge fan of for designing
memorable business cards.
 “Social media lets me communicate directly with executives I don’t
know otherwise…Sooner or later this access to people I’d normally
never meet in my corner of the world, leads to an
actual meeting
whether formal or informal.” – Lois Geller, Forbes Contributor18
Chapter 7
How to Turn Internet Relationships
Into Real Opportunities
S orry if you skipped ahead to get to this chapter because you
thought it was about how to master online dating. However, this chapter
will teach you how to leverage your online personal brand to generate
real-life connections, opportunities, and job offers.
It’s how you use your brand to reach out to real people that will set
you apart.
If you reach out to a stranger without any kind of online presence, your
email will be ignored. But when you reach out to someone you’ve been
following on Twitter, connected with on LinkedIn, or interacted with on
Facebook (and showcase your personal website at the end of your email
signature), you’ll get a response back almost every time.
Your online personal brand sets you up to live the adage “it’s not who you
know, but who knows you.” If you do your personal brand right, you will
start to be known for something and people will start reaching out to you.
It won’t happen right away, but when it does, you’ll be amazed at how
your life can change.
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 However if you’re not prepared, the opportunities could be lost. You have
to know how to leverage other people’s interest in you into real career
There are two main scenarios I want to prepare you for: what to do when
someone reaches out to you, and how to reach out to someone yourself.
When Someone Reaches out to You
As you build your personal brand you’ll be amazed at the people who will
find you because they too are engaged in the industry. They may ask you
to write a blog post for their organization, invite you to an industry event,
ask you to speak at an industry event, or ask for your expertise.
First step: make sure all of your social media channels and websites
make it very clear how to contact you.
When someone reaches out, start by researching his or her organization
and personal brand. When you have a blog or other aspects of an online
brand you will get spammy offers, so be sure to vet everything that comes
your way. Once you’ve done your research and realized the person who
is reaching out to you seems like a good person to connect with, set up
an in-person meeting.
When the connection doesn’t live locally, ask to set up a phone call. If
you’re a millennial like me, you probably prefer to communicate via
email, text, and social media, but when making a new connection, resist
this temptation. Get uncomfortable and arrange a 15-minute phone call,
Google Hangout, or Skype meeting. You will bond much more and
develop a great connection.
As great as social media is, connections are most deeply solidified
when we spend face-to-face time with someone. Do everything you
can to make that happen. It’s worth it.
В Before the meeting, research everything you can about that person
(they’ll most likely be doing the same of you). Prepare a few questions to
find out more about what they do and what makes them tick.
Also prepare questions that encourage them to share their story and their
goals. Having questions ready will lessen your nerves and keep the
conversation where it should be. Focus on listening to the other person.
As you get to know the person, take notes if something they say piques
your interest or gives you an idea for a way you could help. When you’re
starting out, always be willing to do stuff for free: speak, help, write, etc. It
will pay off in the long run.
Add the person’s contact information to whatever organizational system
you decide to use to keep track of your network. I use and
love collecting people’s birthdays. You’re a grown up now and you don’t
want to just rely on Facebook to keep track of the people you know.
Develop a system that works for you. And always be sure to connect with
everyone you meet on LinkedIn.
Follow up with a handwritten card after the phone call telling the person
how happy you were to meet them. If you thought about any ways you
could help this person, share what you’d be willing to do.
I had dozens of these phone calls throughout my first year of developing
my online personal brand, and only one of those calls changed my life.
But here’s the thing – it only takes one. Most likely it won’t be your first
connection. More likely it will be your 50th.
Call number twenty-two may seem like nothing, but then a few months
later that person could change your life. You never know, so the best
strategy is to connect with as many people as possible. Every single one
won’t lead to an immediate opportunity, but you will make real friends
and build a network of people who will often make a significant impact
on your life.
В Finally and most importantly: when you connect with people, focus on
learning from them and adding value. Do not expect for them to
change your life – think about how you can change theirs.
People can smell insincere networkers a mile away and it simply doesn’t
work. Only connect with people you are genuinely interested in, think you
could learn from, and enjoy being around regardless if they could ever
“help” you in any way. Focus on others first and you’ll be amazed at what
will come of it.
When You Reach out to Someone
While it’s very exciting when people in your industry start reaching out to
you because you’ve built such a great brand, it takes a while for that to
start happening. The most effective and immediate thing you can do is
start reaching out yourself.
This is where all the work you’re doing to build your online personal brand
pays off.
The single greatest benefit to having a good online personal brand is
establishing the kind of credibility and instant trust that allows you to
build relationships with people all around the world.
Your online personal brand establishes you in your field and gives you the
opportunity to begin to do the work you really want to do before you’re
hired to do it. But the real power of your online brand is to get people to
talk to you who would never talk to you otherwise.
No matter how technological our world gets, opportunities happen
through people. That’s why blindly sending out your resume doesn’t work
when it comes to finding a career you really love. The best opportunities
are never posted online; they are happening amongst friends.
So your goal is to make more friends. See, I told you this would be fun!
В Who to reach out to
People you want to be - Start by making a list of your dream jobs or dream
companies to work for. Then, start searching for people online who have
those jobs that you would love to have, or who work at the companies
you’d love to work for. Follow them on Twitter and start interacting. Ask to
connect with them on LinkedIn, and in the personal message explain why
you admire them and that you want to learn from them.
People you want to work with – Think about organizations in your industry
or other leaders who share your common industry-related interests and
goals. Follow them on social media and work to set up phone calls with
people you think are really cool.
People nearby – Consider the organizations in your local area that interest
you and start setting up coffee meetings with staff members whose jobs
you’d love to have or whose work truly interests you. The strongest bonds
are developed in person, and you may discover opportunities for work or
volunteering right in your backyard.
People who are interested in you – My first life-changing phone
conversation happened after I reached out to the woman from Pearson
who was following me on Twitter. When we talked, she told me she was
planning on reaching out to me, but she was impressed that I reached
out first. Never wait around – jump at the opportunity to make a
connection with any professional who seems to take an interest in what
you are doing.
Journalists in your industry – Getting media coverage works wonders in
helping you develop online credibility. One of the best ways to have the
opportunity to get featured in the media is to start building relationships
with writers in your industry. While getting featured in the New York Times
would be awesome, that usually takes a long time. Instead:
В o Start by looking for smaller media niches that are focused on your
topic. Read articles in your industry that interest you, and email the
writers why you liked their work. Trust me, most writers’ inboxes are not
overflowing with praise for their work (most people just don’t take the
time). They will feel instantly endeared to you when you show you
read and appreciated their work.
o Follow journalists in you industry on Twitter and retweet the articles you
like (journalists thrive off RTs). Once you’ve been reading them for at
least a few weeks and built up a rapport, reach out via email
explaining why you love their writing, why you admire their work, why
you’re invested in the industry they write about, and request to speak
on the phone for a few minutes to learn more about how they got to
where they are today and any advice they might have for the work
you do in the industry (niche journalists are often well informed).
o Then in your follow up, provide a link to your blog, ask if their
publication ever needs guest articles and offer to be a source in a
future article about the industry you care about.
Conference & professional association leaders – One of the greatest ways
to get the most bang for your networking buck is to build genuine
connections with the top leaders and connectors in your industry. In
addition to executive leaders, some of the best people to know are those
who run the conferences that bring people together. Conference
organizers and professional association leaders often know “who’s who” in
your industry. Connect with them, and they’ll connect you with so many
others. Start by asking their advice on how you can get involved in their
professional association and upcoming conference. Asking what you can
do to volunteer at their next event is the best way to add value to the
organizer and build a genuine rapport.
People to feature on your blog – Think about industry leaders who would
make great subjects for your blog. Reach out to them explaining why you
admire them and what you’d like to write about. Always explain that 1)
 the article will be positive 2) you’ll only need a 15 minute phone call for
the interview and 3) you’ll send the article to them (and their PR
department if they desire) to review and approve before it goes live.
What to Say
If you only get one thing from this book I hope it’s this: the best way to
build your network is to reach out to people you admire and tell
them why you admire them.
Most people, especially as they move to higher positions in their career,
rarely have others genuinely compliment their work, ask to learn from
them, or appreciate what they do for the world. There is nothing more
uplifting, and that is the single greatest gift you have to offer when
networking when you’re young. It’s about making other people feel
good, which is why you should only reach out to people you really
admire. If you don’t admire them or want to learn from them, then you
shouldn’t connect.
Keep your introduction emails brief and make sure your email signature is
full with links to your social media sites and personal website so they can
explore who you are.
Open the email by explaining how you found their contact information
and then jump right into why you specifically admire them.19 I can’t stress
how important this is. I get many emails now from people who want to
learn from me, and it’s the ones who show they’ve actually done research
and understand my work whom I respond to.
The ones who jump right into who they are and what they want seem like
they just copied and pasted the same email to dozens of people – those
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 emails get deleted. It may seem harsh, but while I’d love to help
everybody who contacts me, I just don’t have the time.
The professionals you’ll reach out to will be in the same boat, so the best
way to get their attention and pique their interest is to focus on
complimenting them right away; show you’ve researched them and
understand their work and their passions. But again – this must be genuine.
If you find yourself struggling to explain why you admire them and
appreciate their work, then you’re reaching out to the wrong person.
After you’ve clearly established why you think the person you’re emailing
is amazingly awesome, write a few short sentences about who you are
and why you are reaching out. You should clearly state why you’re
interested in their industry and why you want to connect. The best reason
to state why you want to connect with professionals is to learn from them.
If they think you’re emailing them because you only want them to do
something for you or get you a job, your email will be ignored.
Ask people for advice. People love to give advice and pass on their
wisdom. With the exception of a few highly popular and coveted jobs,
most people do their work without anyone ever reaching out saying they
want to learn from them. I believe mentorship is one of the single greatest
forces in the world, and nothing makes someone feel more valued then
knowing they have been able to pass on their knowledge to help
Every really successful person got to where they are because someone
else mentored them, and they are itching to give back. Giving back and
giving advice gives us the kind of value that money can’t buy. You can
give someone the most beautiful gift by asking for their advice and then
taking it.
Never ask for a job. Focus on learning from the people you meet and
finding out more about their journey and their life. Only once you’ve built
a genuine rapport should you take the next step in exploring job
opportunities. Even then, you should still never directly ask for a job.
В Instead, in a follow up email or phone call explain how much you
appreciated their advice, what happened after you took their advice,
and then ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing advice on one more thing:
explain that you are looking for a job or internship in their industry and ask
what advice they have regarding the best places to look and any people
you should know.
If you’ve done the rest right, they will feel so invested in your success and
will bend over backwards to help you. If they have an open position,
they’ll want you. Your resume at that point will just be a formality.
How to Follow Up
When possible, always send a handwritten card. I recently interviewed a
Disney executive who said the best way to stand out is to do the opposite
of what everyone else is doing. Handwritten cards stand out more now
than they did 10 years ago because most people send emails.
Thank the person for their time and advice, and mention something they
said that meant a lot to you and explain why.
Making new contacts should never feel like a job interview. Thus, when
you follow up, don’t try to �sell’ yourself. This kind of networking is all about
the other person. Your number one focus should be making them feel
important. Ask yourself how you can make their day.
Consider how you can best continue the connection. If you met with
someone whose job you’d love to have one day, ask if you could do a
job shadow for a day to learn more about what they do. If you met with a
potential partner, offer to do a project for free. Brainstorm a way you can
add value to that person, even if it’s as simple as sending an article about
a topic you both had discussed.
В Look through your contact list at least once a month and follow up with
the people you really want to continue a relationship with by sending
them helpful information or letting them know how you are doing in
regards to how their advice helped. When you do this right, you’ll turn
strangers into proud coaches for whom your success will feel like their
Your Story in Person
I want to end this section with a few tips about how to translate your
online personal brand in person. Bringing your personal brand to life is the
final and most important step.
The best way to practice communicating your personal brand in person is
to volunteer to speak publicly. Public speaking is the single greatest way
to network. When you speak in front of an audience, you become a
celebrity in that moment. People will come up to you.
I could write another book on the benefits of public speaking, but the best
way for you to see its benefits is to just do it. In short, be vulnerable,
entertaining, brief, and helpful. Keep practicing and ask for feedback.
Speak for free as many times as you can.
When meeting new people, be real, honest, and vulnerable. There’s no
need to cry-out your life-story, but don’t shy away from sharing personal
relevant details about the things that have made you who you are today.
Your life and personality is what makes you unique. Don’t worry about
trying to create some sort of robotic “professional self.” A personal brand is
about being known for something. You won’t be known for anything if you
try to hide who you really are and the things in your life that define you. Be
open about those experiences, as long as they’re relevant and end on a
positive note. People will relate to you even if they haven’t experienced
what you’ve been through.
В The best personal brands connect some aspect of your life
experience with your career goals. Make these connections clear and
don’t be afraid to show your passion.
Don’t pretend like you have it all figured out. Never stop acting like a
student. Let your curiosity shine.
No one wants to help someone who thinks they don’t need any help
because they’re just so awesome. You are awesome, but don’t ever talk
about it yourself; let other people do that for you.
Your online personal brand will draw people to you. But the real change,
the real opportunities, and the real rewards comes from what you do to
make those people your friends and discover how you can add value to
their lives.
The good news is that networking is no longer something just done on the
golf course. It’s in your hands. And it’s a lifestyle that cannot only catapult
your career, but will add value to your daily life in a way that goes far
beyond a job offer. As our social lives continually become displaced
online, there is still nothing that compares to real human connection. It
happens to be one of the most important aspects for a truly great career
and a truly happy life.
 “Employment is over...Each of us is responsible for our own career.
We are CEOs of small businesses, even if we’re full-time salaried
employees.” – Liz Ryan, Bloomberg Businessweek20
Chapter 8
How to Choose the Right
A s you continue to build your online personal brand and meet lots
of interesting people, opportunities will begin to come your way. Some
paid, some unpaid, some instantly exciting, some you may not be so sure
about. Choosing the right opportunities and early steps in your career are
vital. Below are some of the most important things I’ve learned about how
to choose the right opportunities in the early stages of your quest to work
your dream job.
Choosing the right people is more important than choosing the right
job. The people you work for can often affect your job satisfaction much
more than the work you’re actually doing. Your boss will affect the
projects you’re able to take on, the freedom you’ll have, and the ability
to move up or forward.
In The Start up of You, billionaire venture capitalist and founder of LinkedIn
Reid Hoffman explains that he and his team will often invest in aboveaverage people with bad ideas before they’ll invest in average people
with great ideas. He explained most great companies aren’t born of first
В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В В 20 В
В 69
 ideas – they’re born of great people who make lots of mistakes and
understand how to continually tweak their ideas until they work. Choosing
the right people to work with is one of the most important choices you’ll
make in your career. Don’t be afraid to be picky. Find people who
challenge you and believe in your potential.
Choosing the right organization can also be more important than
choosing the right job. If you know you want to work for a particular
company, and especially if it’s a large corporation, making connections
within the company and getting the experience there is vital. Get your
foot in the door any way you can.
Focus on opportunity more than salary. Consider the job offers that
give you an opportunity to have lots of responsibility and do projects that
excite you. When you’re invigorated by your work, you’ll accomplish more
and set yourself up to earn more in the long term. Choosing a job just for
its salary can lead to the kind of drudgery and slog that will leave you
feeling stuck, wondering where your life went. There are many popular
post-grad jobs that can be tempting because of their entry-level salary,
but most don’t offer opportunities for growth or career progression. Focus
on long-term opportunities to do work that interests you.
Do work for free. In the first year or two of exploring your personal brand
and what you really want to do with your life, be willing to work for free.
Not any work, of course, but work that you really want to do for the rest of
your life. Take on projects that excite you and that will add to your
experience and help you grow. Take on the unpaid opportunities that will
help you meet important people, grow an important skill, lead an
important project, or gain vital feedback.
 “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in
overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison
Work Hard & Learn Hard
T he great myth that endangers the millennial generation is the
belief that we’ll get our dream jobs right away. When we don’t, it hurts,
and can threaten to stunt us before we reach our potential. Real success
takes really hard work over many years. There’s simply no way around
The best personal brands stem from incredible work, skill, and persistence
over the long term. You can have the best marketing in the world, but if
your product isn’t any good people will ignore you. Knowing how to
market yourself is paramount, but the marketing must be the tip of the
iceberg of skill that you offer.
The best way to continue to build your personal brand is to focus on
getting better at the work you do.21
Even when you find work you love, the work will still be hard. It will be
invigorating, but it will be hard. It will make you happy, but it will often
make you cry (or scream). It will be one of the best aspects of your life,
but some days it will make you feel like the worst.
We thrive off challenges, but it doesn’t mean the challenges are always
fun. Working towards a dream is one of the most challenging things there
                                                        21  See So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport  71
В is. There are tests along the way and a million points where
everything will seem like it’s telling you to give up.
There were times where I literally cried all over my computer while I
worked. Even when everything is telling you to stop, just keep going. What
kept me going in the moments of despair was the belief that the work
(and the tears) would pay off.
Hard work pays off. But hard work alone isn’t enough. I’m sure you know
many amazing people who’ve worked hard but may never have been
able to get where they wanted to go. Those people most likely only
lacked the ability to communicate their personal brand and focus their
work ethic towards a goal that would benefit others.
The best way to continue to stay focused, continue to build your personal
brand, and channel your hard work in the most effective ways is to
develop a habit of continuous curiosity.
Successful people are always learning, soaking up the world around
them, and figuring out how they can fill a need and make a difference.
You have something unique and important to offer the world. The more
you learn, the more you’ll come to understand yourself and what you can
I chose to give this book away for free because I believe in what you
have to offer. I know that if you read this book until the very end then you
are someone who deeply wants to contribute to the world. I know how
hard it is to want something so bad it hurts, and how emotionally draining
it is to try to be successful and feel like you’re never going to get there.
I don’t want you to feel alone. I want you to pursue a career that
invigorates you. Because when you do, we all win.
So if you really liked this book and want to repay me, there is only one
thing I ask:
 Get going and be fully you. It’s the greatest gift you can give.
What are you waiting for? Your adventure awaits.
В Additional Information
Sharing this book
If you really liked this book and would like to share it with your friends,
please share on social media or via email
and your friends can download the book the same way you did!
Let’s be Friends
I’d love to connect with you on social media! You can find me at:
Be in a follow-up book
There is a chance that an extended version of this book could get
published traditionally as a paperback, and if so I would love to
include your story! When you use the content in this book and have
a great result, I would really love to hear from you. Please share your
success stories with me at [email protected] If your story fits in with
the extended version, I’ll contact you with the next steps.
See me Speak
To check availability to have me speak at your college or
organization, you can request a free customized speaking proposal
В Resources
Sample Scripts for Online Networking
Please note these are only examples to provide you with the right tone
and a model to follow. The best messages are going to be unique and
genuine to you.
When asking someone to connect on LinkedIn
The best connection requests will mention why you are reaching out to
them, what you have in common, and why you think they’re great. The
key here is to show them you’ve done your homework and that you know
who they are.
It shouldn’t look like you’re just blindly trying to connect with people. The
reason should be clear, and it should be evident you really do think
they’re cool. If you struggle to write why you think they’re interesting then
you either haven’t done enough research yet or it’s simply not someone
you should connect with.
Hi [insert first name here],
I’m a big fan of [mention briefly why you love the work they do or the
company they work for]. I’d love to connect and be able to learn from
[your first and last name]
When asking for an introduction on LinkedIn
When you want to connect with someone you don’t know, and someone
in your network is connected to them (i.e. the people who show up in
 searches as a “2nd connection”), you can ask the person you’re already
connected with to “introduce” you.
Next to the “connect” option there should be a drop down menu that
allows you to choose the “get introduced” option. There you’ll have to
craft a message to the person you want to introduce you to this new
To make this script less confusing, please consider the following key:
Person A – the person you’re already connected with
Person B – the person you want to connect with via an introduction
Hi [Person A’s first name here],
[Open the message with something personal about Person A, ideally
congratulating them on a recent accomplishment or new endeavor.
Show them you’ve been reading their updates].
I wanted to ask you a huge favor. I really want to connect with [insert
Person B’s full name here] and see that you are already connected with
her/him. Would you be willing to introduce me to her/him?
I really want to connect with her/him because [here you need to clearly
state why you think Person B is great and why you want to connect with
her/him. Person A needs to feel like you aren’t going to spam Person B or
take advantage of them. Person A will only introduce you to Person B if he
or she feels it will be helping both of you and not annoying Person B. Show
your genuine interest and be transparent.]
Thank you so much for your help. It means a lot to me.
[your full name]
В When setting up an appointment via email
Hi [first name],
It is so great to connect with you on LinkedIn [or wherever you first
I’m really fascinated by the work you do [get specific here about why you
think this person and their work is interesting] and would love to learn more
about your journey as well as any advice you might have for me. As a
young professional, it’s hard to find good mentors and I would really love
to learn from you.
Would you be willing to meet with me in person [if the person doesn’t live
nearby, offer the phone and a Skype/Google hangout option, and do
whatever they prefer] for fifteen minutes so I could ask you a few
questions about what you do?
Let me know what week looks best for you and I can send you some
possible time frames.
I know you’re busy, so I truly appreciate any time you can share.
Thank you so much.
[your full name]
[current job title only if relevant]
[your email]
[your phone]
[link to your LinkedIn profile]
[link to your personal website
 Once they email you back saying they’d be happy to meet (or
connect via phone), make it as easy as possible for the both of you to
connect. Start by giving 2-3 day and time blocks that you are free, and for
in person meetings, always offer to meet at their office or whatever
location is most convenient for them.
Hi [first name],
Thank you so much!
During the week you mentioned I’m free:
Tuesday 8/27: All day
Wednesday 8/28: 10am-2pm
Friday 8/30: 3pm-5pm
Please let me know if any of those times work best for you for a fifteenminute meeting. If not let me know what other days/times might work best
for you.
[For in person:] And of course let me know where we should meet – I’m
happy to go wherever is most convenient for you.
[For phone:] Let me know the best number to reach you, or if you prefer to
call me. My cell is 555-555-5555.
[For Skype/Google Hangout:] And please let me know what your Skype ID
is so I can add you. Mine is JaneDoe.
Thanks so much [insert first name here]. I’m really looking forward to
meeting you.
[your full name]
[copy signature elements from previous email]
В Resources
Recommended Reading (p.1)
These are books I’ve read many times and truly love. They have all contributed
to my business and my life in countless ways and I am so grateful to the authors
who wrote them.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Never Eat Lunch Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
Little Black Book of Connections by Jefferey Gitomer
Power of Hard Work
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin
So Good They Can’t Ignore you by Cal Newport
Figuring out What to do with Your Life
What Should I Do with My Life by Po Bronson
Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
StrengthsQuest by Donald Clifton and Edward Chip Anderson
Writing & Blogging
Writing Tools by Roy Clark
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
The Elements of Story by Francis Flaherty
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
ProBlogger by Chris Garret and Darren Rowse
Publishing a Book
How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent and How to Write a Great
Query Letter [Kindle] by Noah Lukeman
How to Publish Your Non-Fiction Book by Rudy Shur
В Resources
Recommended Reading (p.2)
Being Young & Successful
Secrets of the Young & Successful by Jennifer Kushell
Shake the World by James Marshall Reilly
Making Good by Dev Aujula and Billy Parish
Social Media & Personal Branding
Social Boom! By Jeffrey Gitomer
Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel
Growth & Success Habits
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell
Success Magazine (subscription required)
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Public Speaking
Resonate by Nancy Duarte
Slideology by Nancy Duarte
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Lifestyle and Career
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