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So if you were going to be a superhero, which one would you be? Are you the angry type who becomes a hulk? Seriously, who can’t relate to that big green guy at one time or another when you’re really mad? Or would you be all techno clad, like Iron Man? Then there’s the old female standby, Wonder Woman, she was quite a gal in her day now brought dashingly to life again to our great delight. A quirky favorite is Mighty Mouse, the little guy who overcomes all the odds. I mean, here he is a mouse, and yet he ‘saves the day’, you have to admire him. He may not be in the Avengers movie, but who knows, we may just see an updated version of our tiny hero popping up again. Of course Superman is the perennial constant, year in, year out, he ‘wears’ well, like his molded suit, his mysterious parentage, his super powers with one flaw-Kryptonite. …

Defining your personal brand for Thanksgiving

On the eve of the most celebrated holiday in the United States, a non-denominational one that centers on being thankful as some of the first arrivals to our shores hundreds of years ago, we ruminate on what defines our personal brand.

How are you defining yourself on Thanksgiving? What is most important to you? It seems to be spending time with loved ones, there are more people traveling this year than ever before. Perhaps that means we’re going after the intangibles of the simple pleasures: cherishing relationships, savoring those good foods, and being grateful for the abundance in our lives. …

Your personal brand: Washed

I won’t call it slacking or semi-retirement; I’m working and doing lots of new things. I’m also doing old things in new ways. I’m definitely ‘washed’. What’s it about? Some new definitions of this word have meanings that connote a post drug induced stupor or a shortened version of the expression, ‘washed up’. This new usage has nothing to do with that.

It’s a state of mind and activity. Zach Baron came to his current state after years of toiling endlessly and climbing the corporate ladder. He got married, moved to L.A. from New York and has embraced a different lifestyle that includes golf, something he once despised. …

Although your mom probably didn’t tell you about personal branding, she indirectly helped you create your personal brand. Things like responding when spoken to, or sitting up straight, minding your table manners, are all parts of creating a personal brand, a professional presence. Chances are your mother encouraged you to get out there and play with the other kids in the neighborhood instead of sitting around watching television. No doubt she encouraged you to join some after-school clubs to learn new skills and meet others. Mom might have run into someone at the grocery store who mentioned something about you, which she quickly questioned you about, wanting to get the story straight. …

Refocusing your personal brand for 2018

At this time of year, we witness every imaginable emotion, from anger at people stealing packages from doorsteps to fear of possible terrorist attacks in crowded public spaces, to exultation at school age children organizing programs to aid poor families in need. We are barraged with a range of stories and incidents including the famous people we’ve lost during this year, to the heights of human accomplishment.

How do we bring this broad scope home into our hearts, to our personal brand? What does it mean about who we will be in this coming year, and how we will move forward with our own personal message? I say, forget about those specific resolutions, i.e.: go to the gym, take vitamins, and water the plants more often. Start the New Year focused on how to make your personal brand approachable, accessible and understandable by your public, your readers, recruiters, hiring managers, clients, customers. It has to be clear, simple and represent you completely for everything that you are: a multifaceted, fallible human being who can be brilliant, passionate, motivated and generous. Focus on what makes you unique and how that thread connects everything you’ve ever done. …

Looking for a job during the holidays

It’s that time again, search frantically for just the right thing to give all your loved ones and decorate your house, entertain friends, and oh yeah, find a job! How can you even enjoy the holiday cheer when you are in that uncomfortable position we so nicely call ‘transition’? Yet you know you have to. You can’t give up, and you certainly can’t miss the golden opportunities that this merrymaking season throws in your lap. So dust off your suit/dress, don that cheery scarf and get out there.

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Holiday networking

First of all it’s the perfect time to network. There are opportunities galore. Every trade association, professional group, charity, not for profit, and church has some kind of get-together to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Get out there and spread some cheer along with your ‘elevator pitch’. Remember to keep it short and sweet and mix it in with inquiries about the family and holiday plans. What about all your friends’ and family’s parties? Dig up Aunt Nellie’s favorite cookie recipe and bring along some treats to add to the festive nature of the goings on. You may have to rehearse a few bars of ‘Auld Lang Syne” in the shower, but you’ll be ready to croon when needed. Keep in mind that the New Year brings the new budgets; companies are gearing up for those new projects. They are actively looking for candidates at year end. This is an opportunity to get ready by bringing yourself up to speed on new developments in the market and companies that might interest you. …

Changing up your personal brand

A lot of job seekers find frustration out there in a market that has abundant opportunities. They can’t seem to get that offer that they’ve been looking for. But maybe that’s the problem: they are looking for work that no longer exists. While they’ve been unemployed, struggling, the market has been shifting, changing in that way winds turn when a storm is on the way. Take James, he is very experienced in sales with lots of contacts in international markets. James runs into Ken who knew him from his previous corporate life. Ken knows James is good, but he can’t afford to hire someone at James’s level of expertise. So James gets discouraged thinking he’s never going to find the right role. And he’s right: that position is no longer there for him. …

Being an exceptional interviewer

Interviewing for jobs has gotten much more intense recently. Companies subject you to multiple interviews in one day, assessment tests, and panel interviews with three or four people questioning you at one time. This can be exhausting. Sonya is completely stressed out by all the interviews she’s going to. She had to go back three different times to one company.

Hiring managers want to be absolutely sure they’re making the right choice. They want to feel secure in the skills you bring and in whether you’re a cultural fit for the firm. One of the most difficult aspects of interviewing is when you’re applying to a job where you may have some but not all of the experience required. …

Personal branding lessons our fathers taught us

Father’s Day makes us think about one of the first important relationships with an authority figure in our lives: our father. For some it can be a painful contemplation, perhaps rules and early discipline, or it may be an absence, a feeling that we missed out on something, or didn’t get to know that person well as an adult. They might remain a shadowy figure from our childhood whose image we can’t quite make out. …

Your brand and networking: Taking a risk

What makes it so hard to go to networking events and mingle? You leave work slightly early, you drive through some nasty traffic, or a downpour thanks to the early summer Florida weather pattern and you finally get to the event. You put your name on a sticky label and voila, let the games commence! But it doesn’t really work that way does it? You arrive and look for a corner to hide in, or spend time at the buffet eating everything in sight.

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As we head into Memorial Day and summer festivities, there’s no better time to take advantage of all the events out there made for networking. Networking takes energy and a certain amount of suspended disbelief. What does that mean? It means you have to create an aura around you of perky bright success and magnetism that will draw people to you. The best thing you can do is be funny, not at anyone’s expense mind you; well maybe some self-deprecating humor might work about your mismatched socks, your misplaced umbrella or stepping right smack into a puddle in the parking lot. How to maintain that upbeat attitude when in your mind you’re thinking, I just lost my job, I better connect with someone, what will happen to me? …


Marylou Ponzi Kay

Marylou Ponzi Kay is a career coach and HR consultant. She is the author of Powering Up Your Inner Brand, available at

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