I got a request through LinkedIn for advice. A certain Joshua A. Agustí, an aspiring,  young recent college graduate in Chicago looking to begin his career in Training, Human Resources Development, and an Organizational Development practitioner. He told me he is interested in combining his knowledge and skills to increase human capital for businesses/organizations on a global scale.

I thought, fine. I’m probably one of many that Joshua has sent his email to. Nevertheless, I admire his ambition and the simple fact that he’s taking the trouble to ask. And, as you’ve read below, helping people is what life is all about, isn’t it? I thought to share my answer here.

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Hello Joshua,

Thank you for your message. I’m honored that you consider me a valuable resource and have taken the time to ask my opinion.

Having said that, I’m not sure how I can help you. What I mean is, 1) I don’t know you very well, and 2) objectively you seem to be doing many things right. Your LinkedIn profile is well-developed, you belong to all the right LinkedIn groups, and your intern experience at LCW and now at Aparecio I’m sure has been putting you in touch with the right people. Just off the top of my head, however, and without knowing more about you, I would recommend the following:

1) Be more personally active: Don’t be afraid to show yourself. State your opinion, give your perspective. Even though I see that you’ve got a great LinkedIn profile, I don’t see that you’re particularly active in the groups. Ask questions, make observations, comment on the posts of others. Be visible. And authentic. I’ve found Twitter to be a great tool for this (more on that later).

2) Be involved with clients’ networks: Even though you seem to be well-networked among OD professional groups, don’t forget: that’s where all the sellers are. In order to get work, you need to be where the buyers are. That means joining groups that are focused on potential client issues: HR, HRD, and line manager groups (project managers, supply chain managers, etc.).

3) Have a social media strategy: LinkedIn is but one part of the puzzle. In order to complete the picture, it’s good to have an overall social media strategy. What I do is I focus on my blog. My Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts are mostly designed to steer as many readers as possible to my blog. My blog is my personal home page. Anything you need to know about me professionally is in that one place.

4) Use social media tools to their fullest: Using the various tools to strengthen each other works wonders, but so does using a tool thoroughly. A good example is the weekly Twitter chat #lrnchat. It’s a great place to meet people and to learn more about the learning profession. Read more at: http://lrnchat.com/. There are more tweet chats, you can find a good list here: http://www.meryl.net/2009/05/06/list-of-twitter-chats/

5) Align yourself with high-profile people: How you do this is up to you, but consider sponsoring a speaker or hosting a high-profile corporate figure. Last year I worked with a colleague to bring Rev. Jesse Jackson to Europe. This gives you an anchor to make yourself known. Aside from the inspiring experience it was hanging out with “the Rev” for a whole week, it was great for my profiling – “Oh, you’re the guy who brought Rev. Jackson here!”

6) Develop your own “brand”: It sounds easier than it is, but make sure that when people think “Joshua Agusti” they think “focus area,” whatever that might be. It requires an enormous amount of focus, concentration and consistency. But if you want to be successful, make sure people remember you for what your value is. Continuously build that value by learning, growing and expanding your qualifications. Become licensed in psychometric tools, assessment methods and leadership evaluation tools. Not only does this build value in you, it also helps introduce you to people who can help you.

7) Profile your uniqueness: Especially if your brand is truly unique, you should make the most of it. And I don’t mean “unique” in the sense that it never existed before. Quite the contrary: it could be as common as dirt. But unique in the sense that your target group has never heard of it before. That means making new combinations, a new twist on something old, for example.

8 ) Promote your passion: It’s a lot easier if you feel good about it. And your passion will sell itself.

9) Don’t invest in your “career,” invest in YOU: Your “career” will happen the way you want it to. Don’t be concerned about fitting to a prescribed (or “pre-ascribed,” they’re both applicable) pattern. You can make it what you want. We’ll all be better off for it.

10) It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it: Speaks for itself.

That’s it for now. I hope this helps. If I think of anything else I’ll send it along.

Yours,

Leo

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