It?s about who you are, not what you do

Published: Feb 12, 2009

The fourth annual Women of Power Summit started yesterday in Orlanda, hosted by Black Enterprise, a popular resource for advice and news on business, finance, wealth creation and technology for African-Americans. This summit is aimed at women executives to network, give (and share) job advice and share experiences of growth and the journey up the corporate ladder. In this and subsequent posts, we will attempt to collate their advice and tips on the economy, finding a job, staying on at your current job and many more issues that are sure to be discussed by the 500-plus gathering of C-level women from all over the nation.

The first day was marked by a Power Networking Workshop, held by Debra Langford, the Executive Director of strategic sourcing and talent management for Time Warner, Inc. While I won?t go into the details of the entire workshop, she had two things to say in a nutshell:

  • Try to define yourself by who you are and not what you do. Don?t let your job or your employer dictate where you go next. This was also noted recently by Dawn Jordan, a former vice president with Bank of America and a blogger on The Wall Street Journal?s Laidoff and Looking blog, who said the fact that her former employer is not doing well these days is something she tries to not bring up in her cover letter or interview. To quote her, ?As difficult as it is, I don?t dwell on what image a recruiter or hiring manager may have of my past employers. I focus on creating a positive image about me. I make the most of what I?ve got, acknowledge what I?ve learned and demonstrate how my experience can help the prospective employer.?
  • Ms. Langford emphasized on the 30-second pitch, i.e., you need to be able to present your story in 30 seconds. Make the first 30 seconds so interesting for the interviewer that they want to continue listening. She called it the ?elevator pitch.? A useful tip: Use a stopwatch and a mirror to practice. It will not only boost your self-confidence, but also make you prepared for whatever the recruiter throws at you, not to mention the importance of eloquence.

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