The Great Lockdown and Virtual Personal Branding

We are all facing the loss of normalcy as we collectively share the experience of the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.  The International Monetary Fund’s (I.M.F.’s) Gita Gopinath is calling this The Great Lockdown. According to Gopinath, global growth fell to -3%, this figure is a downgrade of 6.3% points from January 2020. She further writes about a forecasted rebound to 5.3% in 2021, that’s a relief.   There is a new normal settling amongst us, we must all become more adaptable and flexible with how and where we work and live together. With that our virtual participation must become braver and bolder in our professional and personal ventures.

Zoom Networking and Collaboration

Networking and collaborating over video gatherings is now as much of a must for executives looking for fresh gigs as much as it is for angel investors looking for scale-ups and start ups to invest their money into. NACO (National Angel Capital Organization) hosts a weekly conference via ZOOM called, Innovation in Crisis. Their CEO, Claudio Rojas leads a round table of guest speakers and invites LinkedIn members and potential investors to join his weekly ZOOM broadcast. You quickly learn while listening to his guests that this pandemic has kick started a wave of innovation, angel investment, entrepreneurialism and government investment. Job losses have catapulted would be entrepreneurs into starting and scaling up new ventures and broken their fears of trying somethings new. Last week, Claudio’s guests ranged from the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains through to CEOs and founders of start ups like Dr Kamran Khan Founder and CEO of BlueDot whose company was amongst the first to raise alarm about infectious disease outbreak and to unleash an algorithm that could pin point where infectious disease may spread. Janet bannister also joined the conversation, she is managing partner at Real Ventures and one of the founders of Kijiji, she also holds seats on boards of myriad other venues like Communitech and Vector Institute. Here we are, facing COVID 19 along side of record-breaking levels of unemployment and the innovation sector is headed for an upswing. This is truly remarkable.

Webinar Training and Recruiting

Gatherings like NACO’s and other modes of showcasing over video are the best ways to network and get involved with boards and organizations in need of leadership talent and guidance. Many executive recruiting firms like Robert Half and Farber Group are hosting weekly webinars to show case and support senior level executives through their candidate and job searches. Webinars and video events are terrific means of lead generation too, you will be asked in many virtual gatherings to fill out forms that ask a few pointed questions aimed at gathering market intelligence and prospects. Sandler’s sales training has shifted to Video. The complimentary webinar I joined of Sandler’s was called “ How To Succeed At Selling Remotely”.

 Virtual Recruitment and Candidate Sourcing

What does all this video content and collaboration mean for job seekers employers and recruiters? It means that virtual recruitment and candidate sourcing and job seeking must become part of our new normal. It means we cannot afford to be camera and microphone shy. It is giving us a sense of our shared virtual dexterities and helping us build courage around presenting ourselves across these mediums.  The only thing keeping hiring cycles moving is video , without ZOOM and SKYPE we recruiters and our clients would not have a means to screen candidates and our candidates would not have a way to investigate potentIal job opportunities and to learn the cultures of said organizations they are targeting and being targeted by.

Rise of the One-Way Video Star (!)

What is coming is a whole new paradigm of cultural and team expression over video. According to the New York Times and CTV News, Traffic on Instagram and the internet at large is up as American’s and Canadian’s are trolling for content to consume while living and working in isolation. More and more of us are working out with our favourite gym coaches over Instagram Live and YouTube while team meetings and work along side of professional networking gatherings are being held over FaceTime, SKYPE and Zoom.  More and more employers and recruiters are going so far as to develop One Way videos. This is a set up where a set list of 5-6 questions are crafted by a hiring committee and sent to candidates to answer. A video template of sorts is created for candidates who literally step into a predetermined framework and start answering pre-recorded questions. This enables interviewers to quickly sift through candidates who all answer predetermined questions while sitting in a staged video backdrop, often called a welcome room, it is similar to Green Rooms used for special effects in film and animation

Googling for Inspiration

Now is a perfect time to define your virtual brand more clearly. Now we can all find and participate fully in round table venues for video as well web conferences that attract investors and fresh audience participation. Podcasts are also good sources of ideas and opportunities. LinkedIn boasts many of these in its new feeds as does Facebook. Google searches will present these as well. Try playing with search strings like these to find content and collaboration opportunities via GOOGLE or BING  “video OR Vlog OR ZOOM OR SKYPE “ interview OR executive search “ “retained search” “innovation” “ finance OR investment” “ panelists” OR “ Angel invest*”OR ”innovation OR “tech*” incubator OR “scale up” OR “start up” “podcast” “webinar” “video”

Branding on PAR – Problem, Action, Result

Putting ourselves out there into forums where conversation is supported and fostered is key to supporting our professional and personal growth as virtual personalities and leaders.  Making sure our LinkedIn profiles are up to date with real career examples and content will make our executive profiles more desirable to prospective clients and employers. Karen McElroy, CEO at Boardroom metrics suggests written examples of PAR. PAR stands for, Problem – Action – Result, together they support ways for us as opportunity seekers to describe and share the most compelling details about ourselves. PAR alongside of references and testimonials written on LinkedIn or our websites support our ability to attract the work we want to do most.

Personal Branding 2020 – Bold, Brave and Virtual

Our normalcy has changed. Loss of the old means getting comfortable with what’s new. When it comes to personal branding, that means getting comfortable with our virtual personal brands. Fortunately, there are an endless number of virtual opportunities for doing that. So go for it. Be bold. And brave. And virtual!