Have you Googled yourself lately?

Recently I was invited to participate in a Career Day to help prepare students as they entered the workforce. There were recruiters from companies conducting mock interviews, doing résumé reviews, and a wonderful organization, Save a Suit, outfitting students with new professional attire. My role was to check their online identities, and coach them on how to create high visibility and build positive reputations.

Thankfully, and maybe a little surprisingly, nothing that could potentially stall new careers was revealed when Googling the students — no “digital dirt” or “digital deal-breakers.” What I found primarily fell into these categories:

  • Facebook pages where privacy was set to “public” instead of “friends.” Even if there is nothing to hide, it’s a good practice to limit those who can see your wall and pictures.
  • No online references at all. When a recruiter has two good résumés in hand, the candidate who has positive online information has a better chance: mentions or photos that are evidence of community service/volunteer work; contributions to online professional discussions demonstrate your communication skills and knowledge level; official roles in local/business groups indicate leadership ability, etc.
  • Positive results — either accidental or deliberate. One student who proudly showed me all his highly visible mentions and properly keyword-ed profiles caused me to remark that he would be easily found when company recruiters searched for candidates in his specialty. “Recruiters? I’m going to be one of those talking heads on CNN,” he corrected me.

Heed these same guidelines as you engage the online community, either for a job or to grow your business or to connect with friends.   Comment on blogs – (You can start with this post!!)  participate in the discussions on LinkedIn. Becoming known for what you know; will increase your profile so your name comes up in that Google search by the headhunter, hiring manager or that long lost boyfriend!!!

“All business is now personal,” said David Armano, executive vice president of global innovation and integration at Edelman Digital, at the World Business Forum. He calls this ability for people to socially connect via technology the “third revolution,” and it’s a professional imperative to this well. So  Have you Googled yourself lately?

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, and thought leader focused on three interconnected areas:

  1. Social Media Branding  increasing sales & awareness by creating lasting impressions
  2. Recruiting  finding world class talent for leading business and non profits
  3. Job Coaching  providing solid solutions for finding a job

Email him at marben@marbenbland.conm

5 Winning Strategies for Getting More Business with Your Business Cards

I spent much of last week speaking at a conference, or in hotels, or in airports flying, or with family and friends as we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday.  In other words I met a lot of people.  And during that time I gave out about 100 business cards. Why business cards even at holiday events?   Because even in this time of social media dominance the low tech business card still rule they bring me customers and success every day.  And now with the evolution of the smart phone enabled Quick Response or QR codes the business card is  now  the gateway to connect instantly with all of my digital media.  That’s they are ALWAYS within reach.

While giving out about 100 business cards I only received 20.  Why?   Because most people either don’t have them (shame on you) or if they do — have terrible ones.  However, as you continue your job search, or launch your business or spread the word about your product or services      Here are 5 winning strategies for getting more business with business cards.

1. The American Express Business Card: Don’t leave home without them!  

Woody Allen said that 90% of life is showing up.  So don’t make the biggest mistake that most business card holders do— that is to show up without them.    Your business card is your brochure, your image, your information all in a handy, dandy palm sized piece of paper just right for your   prospective client’s hands.   And know because you forgot to bring them you blew a potential sale, an opportunity to make a great contact, or to get a key job lead.  In addition, you now feel uncomfortable because you might or might not get theirs, which is gold in any business or position.  Bottom line is: don’t leave home without your business cards.  Always carry them with you . . . Everywhere. Keep them in your car, your desk, your briefcase, your workout bag …you never know when you will meet that person who will turn your business around.

2. Vidal Sassoon Business Card:  If the Business Card does not look good you don’t look good.   

When I hand out my card, I usually get the exclamation, “What a great card!” or “Who did this for you, it’s incredible!” Does this happen to you?  It should because like the old Vidal Sasson hair care products ads indicated the look of your business cards is a reflection of you.  So if you are not getting complements you need to have your cards made by professionals.   If you aren’t creative, you need to hire a creative person ASAP to design a logo and card for you. Finding a creative person to design your card is much easier and cheaper that you may think simply Google business card printers and designers in your area.   Or just drop me a line at marben@mabenbland.com and I can recommend some outfits that can design and print a ‘knock-it-out-of-the-park’ card.

3.   The Joe Friday Business Card: Just the Facts

The most important item is your image — the look of your card. What image are you trying to present to your clients? I am a speaker, writer, social media brander and job coach — so no flowers or crazy colors on my card (see mine below).  Joe Friday the no nonsense cop played by Jack Webb in the TV show Dragnet would say “just the facts” to encourage witness to give just the basic critical information need to solve the case — not too much or too little.  I think the same is true in the business card world.  So that is why my business cards while pleasing to the eye are always in the Joe Friday mode: Just the facts here are the 8 facts that every business card must have to be effective.
1. Name of company (logo)
2. Your Name (first & last, no middle name or initial)
3. Title (Optional: I don’t include my title on my card)
4. Phone Number (include all your numbers cell and direct line. Don’t forget the purpose of a business card is for person to contact you)
5. Email
6. Physical Address (Optional: I don’t include my physical address as I want to drive traffic to my webite)
7. Web Site

8. QR Code (Optional)

4. The Business Card Golden Rule: It’s good to give and it’s good to receive  

So many people use business cards as an afterthought. I immediately ask for them within the first few minutes of meeting someone (or I offer my card). Why? It immediately gives me an opportunity to give them a compliment, it allows me to learn more about them, and it reinforces their name in my head so I can remember it. I usually receive the card and hold it with both hands and make a point of pausing for a few seconds and taking the time to really read the card. It can tell you a lot about that person and give you speaking trajectories to ask more questions — “I see you have an office in Hong Kong, do you travel there often?” “I see that your company is a subsidiary of Pixar, what is it like to work with them?” Most people just take the card and shove it into their pocket. Did you know it’s an insult in some countries to shove the card in your pocket and not take the time to read it?

5. The Business Card After Party:  The 24 hour Reach out and Touch Policy    

The biggest mistake must people make is to have no strategy for keeping in touch after receiving the business card.  After getting the card I implement my 24 hour reach out and touch policy. Where I try to reach out to that person with 24 hours of receiving their business card.  These are the ways I reach out and touch:

  1. Phone Call: Follow up call recapping  the meeting including follow up actions
  2. Email: Follow up email recapping  the meeting including follow up actions
  3. Contact Database: Immediately get that person’s information in your contact system

Now let’s get to winning with our business cards, my business cards front and  back are listed below.  Look forward to connecting with you and doing business with you.

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, thought leader and pioneer focused on three interconnected areas:  1. Social media strategies for small and midsize  businesses, 2. Talent acquisition optimization tactics for large companies and 3. Career management solutions for job seekers. Marben has worked with a wide  range of companies and industries from start-up organizations to Fortune 500  companies including Advanced Micro Devices, PPG Industries, Fiskars Brands, Eaton Corporation, S.C. Johnson, and Sara Lee. He is also spent a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in Operation Desert Strom.  He is the author of two  books, The Smart Job Search and The Opportunity of the Unfair Advantage. Today, Marben heads TheMarben Bland Group, an innovative consulting practice housing a collection of specialists dedicated to producing smart social media strategies, clever Talent acquisition optimization tactics and innovative Career management solutions for job seekers.

Are you Over Networked? -3 ways to create a sleeker, smarter and simpler network customized to meet your needs.

In this supercharged world of Facebook, LinkedIn, and a pleather networking groups we can find ourselves “Over Networked”
“Over Networked” – With Facebook friend requests from people you have never heard of.
“Over Networked” – With LinkedIn invites from Ex- bosses and co-workers that you never communicated while you worked with them, and you defiantly don’t want to communicate with them now.
“Over Networked” – With so many business cards from events you have attend and so little time or effort to do anything with them.
As a public service to all suffering from “Over Networked” syndrome let me suggest 3 ways to make your network –smarter, simpler and more customized to your needs.
1. Prune – Clutter in your network is like a clogged fire hose water may flow it will never be enough to put out the blaze. The most effective networkers know that a small tight network comprised of people who meet your needs as your life is constructed today. Simply go through your network throwing out those who don’t meet the criteria of your current needs. – Don’t have the time to prune? Do it on your next flight or the next time you are sitting around in a dull meeting or while watching an exciting football game.
2. Data Clean-Up – Of the contacts remaining after the pruning how accurate is the information? A great way to ensure your information is accurate is to send out an email requesting an update on what I call the “Big 5” basic data that you need for all of your contacts while providing an update on your information:
• Email address (personal & work)
• Work Phone
• Cell Phone
• Home Address
• Birthday-Month/Date
3. Constant Contact
Out of touch out of mind….to keep your network vibrant and strong you need to remain in constant contact with it. Here are some quick time efficient strategies to remain in constant contact:
• LinkedIn book updates – I am big reader when I read a book that want others to know about I use the “Reading List” feature on LinkedIn to update my network. This simple and quick act keeps me in contact with my network.
• Twitter status update – I use Twitter in a limited way to share information with my network regarding my professional activities. Tying Twitter to LinkedIn, Facebook is a speedy way to keep in contact with your network 140 characters at a time.
• Birthday Phone Calls – Earlier in this blog I urged the collection of what I call the “Big 5”,five basic data elements of information for people in your network. Using the birthday data simply make a quick call to people in your network wishing them a happy birthday. Don’t have the birthday information on your contacts? Facebook can send you a weekly email listing the birthdays of your contacts. If phone calls are not your cup of tea simply send an email.

Good luck in your efforts to create a sleeker, smarter and simpler network customized to meet your needs and avoid being over networked!

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, thought leader
and pioneer focused on three interconnected areas:  1. Social media strategies for small and midsize  businesses, 2. Talent acquisition optimization tactics for large companies and 3. Career management solutions for job seekers.
Marben has worked with a wide  range of companies and industries from start-up organizations to Fortune 500  companies including Advanced Micro Devices, PPG Industries, Fiskars Brands, Eaton Corporation, S.C. Johnson, and Sara Lee.
He is also spent a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in Operation
Desert Strom.  He is the author of two  books, The Smart Job Search and The Opportunity of the Unfair Advantage.
Today, Marben heads TheMarben Bland Group, an innovative consulting practice housing a collection of specialists dedicated to producing smart social media strategies, clever Talent acquisition optimization tactics and innovative Career management solutions for job seekers.

Today I Rise: A celebration of the champions of September 11th

Today I rise to tell you about everyday people – who became a part of American history.

Today I rise to tell you about excellent people – who gave their lives to save others. 

Today I rise to tell you about extraordinary people – who found themselves transformed into champions in a single day.

Today I rise to celebrate the champions of September 11th 2001.

It was a bright, clear, day…… the kind of day that the friendly skies were made for.  It was an Indian summer day, not too cold, not too hot……it was just right.    

However, as we all know the beauty of that day was marred:

  • Marred by men with deadly intent
  • Marred by planes crashing into buildings
  • Marred by death …. With the lives of Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers and Children….brutally and cruelly cut off way too soon.         

Today I rise to tell you about:

Army Colonel Bud Boone.  The 53 years old was on duty on September 11th, 2011 not on a field of battle but at office in the Pentagon.  He and hundreds were killed    when the high jacked American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into his office. 

A native of Milan, Indiana, Bud Boone graduated from Butler University, where he met the love of his life his wife, Linda.

Bud and Linda build a life of service together, she as a   second-grade teacher.  He, wearing the uniform of our nation.

However, Bud and Linda’s greatest service were as parents to their three children, Chris, 23, Andy, 21, and Jason, 18. 

In the ten years that have passed since September 11 Chris, Andy and Jason have taken up their father’s mantel and have become Dads themselves. 

Linda has continued shaping young second graders.  The kids she taught on September 11 are now in college, or have jobs or are in uniform protecting our national against another attach like the one that took her husband Bud.  

Today I rise to tell you about:

Regina Cervantes, “Reggie” as her friends call her was an EMT and one of the first responders at Ground Zero on September 11.  On the days that followed Reggie helped with triage and was one of the workers who helped dig out bodies in the mist of dirt, the dust and rubble of the World Trade Center.  

But now the woman who fought to save others is in a fight for her own life.  The minutes, hours and days of breathing dirty air took a toll.  Since September 11th Reggie has suffered from upper respiratory and sinus infections.  

Before 9/11 Reggie, 45 on that day was robust and active.  Now ten years after her heroic duty she has trouble walking and is in constant pain in her kidneys and lungs.  She can’t work and has had to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for medication.

Amazingly, Reggie has no misgivings about her service.  She will tell you she was just doing her job.  And she would do it again regardless of the outcome.      

Today I rise to tell you about:

Asia Cottom, who was just 11 years old on September 11th.  An excellent student Asia was selected to take a trip to California to participate in a National Geographic Society ecology conference.

Asia and her six grade teacher Sarah Clark were on American Airlines Flight 77 the high jacked aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon.  The same aircraft that killed Colonel Bud Boone.

On the night of the tragedy Asia’s mother told friends “my baby got her wings today”.   And she then added, ‘We have to live right so we can get our wings when it is our time.”  

Ten years later Asia’s mother and father continue to live right.  They launched a scholarship fund in Asia’s name to help students to achieve their educational wings.    

Today I rise to urge you to honor the memories of

  • Bud Boone
  • Regina “Reggie” Cervantes
  • Sarah Clark

 And young Asia Cottom

Along with the memories of the more than 3,000 people who died that day by moving beyond the dysfunctional politics that has recently afflicted our land.

Today I rise to urge you to follow the teaching of God and forgive those who attacked us that day… while never forgetting the pain and sacrifice of that day.

And finally today I rise to urge you to now rise with me and with your applause, clap loud, clap hard and clap strong to honor these champions and many more for their contributions to our freedoms.  

For today we rise

For today we rise

For today we rise

Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com


A Season of Wrong – Marben’s Address to the Class of 2011

 1 For everything there is a season,
   a time for every activity under heaven.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
   A time for war and a time for peace.

These classic biblical verses from the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes tells us that today is your season. 

  • Your season of celebration
  • Your season of achievement,
  • Your season of wonder and possibility,

Your season of one more lecture…. Namely the one from me today. 

I’ve attended enough of these ceremonies to know that commencement speakers are always scheduled relatively early in the line-up. There’s a reason for that.

It’s what Mark Twain called the “live frog” principle.

Twain used to argue, and quite convincingly, that one should swallow a live frog at the beginning of every day.

That way you’d know the worst part of your day was behind you.

Well, I may not be the worst part of your day, but I am the part of the day standing between you and that emancipation proclamation known as a diploma.

I’ve also attended enough of these ceremonies to know that what we commencement speakers say in these address is often forgotten and is more often than that wrong.

Wrong….because  The world changes

Wrong…because …..We just don’t know. 

Wrong…..because …..We are human. 

In this season of your graduation I would like for you to consider going with me to a place where we spend a considerable part of our lives……

That place is ………..Being wrong…. 

…..Think about it we are wrong and can be wrong about so many things. 

  • We are wrong when we: Drive 70 in a 55 mile per hour zone!
  • We are wrong when we:  Spent too much for that new outfit!
  • We are wrong when we:  Really eat more…….. than all we can eat…… at the buffet 


However, being wrong is not all wrong…… Being wrong truly opens up our world for so many possibilities.

So today…. in this season of your graduation…. I want to examine 3 things that I want to suggest we are wrong about ………and how you can be right about ……….as you move away from your season of graduation…….. to your season of life.  

The first thing we can wrong about is when we tell ourselves: that we are not creative.

Sure you might not be the next Picasso….JZ……or Lady Gaga …but then who knows …it doesn’t matter.   What matters as you enter the season of life is to not to close yourself down to the process of exploration.  

Failing is fine and necessary in fact, but avoiding experimentation or risk especially out of fear of what others may think is something that will choke off our creativity….. and that is wrong.

Former Apple marketing guru Garr Reynolds put it this way…..

“Failure is in the past….It’s done …It’s doesn’t exist….But worrying about “what might be”  are pieces of baggage that are heavy and will kill our creative spirit.   Take chances and stretch yourself.  You are only here on this plant once, and for a very short time at that.  Why not just see how gifted you are?  You may surprise someone…….Most importantly you.”

The second thing we can be wrong about is when we tell ourselves: that we can’t be a child again.

Nina my granddaughter has reintroduced me to a simple but wonderfully   effective word for unlocking mysteries, discovering the truth, and making corporate chiefdoms and political figures of all strip nervous.

That word?…….Is WHY

This is the magic of the word WHY

“Nina…. the world is a difficult place”


“Nina……try this ice cream it’s great”


And my favorite……..

“Papa WHY do you use all those big words when you make a speech?”

It’s wrong when we lose our Childlike wonder and ability to question –even when things are obvious. 

30 years ago Harry Markopolos was siting where you are with cap and gown in the season of his graduation from Loyola College in Maryland. 

After time in the Army, Harry went to work in the financial services field, he raised a family and earned a graduate management degree from Boston College in 1997.

In 1999 Harry was working for Rampart Investment ——–doing competitive research on a competing firm which was using a similar investment strategy as Rampart…. But they far outperforming them.  

I don’t know it was Harry’s childlike wonder or Texas style honesty but his  competitive research uncovered a secret —- The firm were that was far outperforming his……was running a Ponzi scheme.   

For a decade….. everyone thought Harry was crazy and flat out wrong.  As he fought a remarkable battle continuing to ask questions to alert authorities to the fraud:

  • But the government never acted
  • The firm continued its fraudulent ways
  • While unknowing investors…. lost everything 

Finally …. After 10 years Harry’s ” competitive research”  was taken seriously and all the WHY’s he was asking were answered 

Bernard Madoff Investment Securities – had milked it clients out of 150 million dollars.

In this season of your graduation…….. I urge you not to lose your sense of childlike wonder …..as you enter into the season of your life. 

It will sever you well…. As you question which ice cream taste best…… or which financial securities security firm to trust.  

The third thing that we can be wrong about is not understanding the value of “creative loafing”

Yes you are hearing it for a commence speaker I am saying it is not wrong:

  • To Idle
  • To Do Lots of Nothing
  • To Creatively Loaf

If you are like me I am obsessed with getting things done.  I am afraid to be unproductive. 

Yet it is the during those episodes of “laziness” of “wasting time” that the ideas both big and small can come.

Malcolm Gladwell is one of the best thinkers of our generation.  His books “Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers have sparked new ways of looking at:

  • How things become popular
  • How we make decisions
  • And how we become successful

Gladwell says this about the generation of ideas:  “Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.”

We can be wrong to think that the hectic pace of our lives is conducive to coming up with our best ideas. 

To keep that flickering candle burning we need time away from the fight. 

  • Take a walk
  • Go on a jog
  • To party

It’s is during those times that our creative spirit is energized our best ideas can flourish and our flickering candle can burn strongest. 

And it is during those times of rest….. that wrong ideas can be righted.   

It was a cold, grey December day.   Tried from work the small woman with silver frame glasses slumped into her bus seat to rest for the long ride home.   When she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger the woman was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance.  Rosa Park’s lonely act of defiance….. while resting began a movement that righted a wrong  ending legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.

For everything there is a season,
 a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to love and a time to hate.
   A time for war and a time for peace.

A time to be right and a time to be wrong! 

Members of the class of 2011 in this season of your graduation I hope you can remember that it is OK to be wrong as you enter the season of your life. 

But it is not OK to be wrong when we tell ourselves: that we are not creative.

But it is not OK to be wrong when we tell ourselves: that we can’t be a child again.

And it is not OK to be wrong when we don’t understanding the value of “creative loafing”


Class of 2011 enjoy your Season of Graduation and God’s Speed As you Enter Your Season of Life.












The Smart Job search formula: Confidence, Courage, Tenacity and Empathy

I had an interesting discussion with a client the other day. She is a seasoned professional with a strong background in sales who has been in the job market for almost a year.  We talked about the elements of my “Smart Job Search” strategy.  I proudly showed off my “new” cutting edge ideas for finding a job, we expanded our chat reviewing what we each believed to be the key traits and actions of top sales professionals. It was a great discussion, and one that I really enjoyed. We came around to an agreement that at the top 3 traits of an outstanding sales person is also useful for the job seeker…The Smart Job Seeker. So here are traits:

  1. Confidence & Courage – a strong belief in yourself, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone.

  2. Tenacity – A job search is challenging, and it takes a strong determination to keep a firm grip on looking for that right opportunity.

  3. Empathy – learn how to think like potential employers, hiring managers, and interviewers, if you feel what they feel, you will find more opportunities.

 So much more can be written about each of these three traits. And truly there are other success factors. But if you focus on these three, you’ll always be moving in the right direction. And the best thing about them? All three are personal choices. You can choose to embrace and exhibit these traits on the daily basis!

 Live each day with confidence, courage, tenacity and empathy!! – Now that’s a smart job search.

3 Ways To Increase Your Personal Brand

1. Understand and communicate your personal brand – Do a personal evaluation

Take stock to understand what you bring to the table, do a self evaluation to understandnot only the results you can bring to potential employers, but the strategies you employ to produce them. Answer the following questions carefully to mine for this information:

  • What energizes you about work?
  • What reputation have you attained – what are you known for?
  • What kinds of work fit your natural talent?
  • What challenges and settings are a best fit for your experience?
  • What do others say about your contributions?

To make the process easier, remember that you are identifying information that employers need in order make a hiring decision.

 2. No one has time to connect the dots; do it for them!

The hiring audience is just as busy as you are. Since recruiters often scan resumes quickly and on electronic devices, brevity is the key for conveying a strong brand.  Produce a resume that highlights your strong points with concise wording that tells you story effectively connecting all the dots.

 3. Being all things to all people isn’t good enough anymore.

If you possess a diverse skill set, that’s wonderful, but what do you want to do with it?

While a colorful background can serve as a conversation point, hiring authorities need to see how your talent supports a particular role in their organization.  Two tips that can help you focus:

  • To deliver a focused presentation, create one resume for each job type. First, identify each career goal, then write your resume centered around it.
  • Add supporting detail that describes the relevance of your other experience to that same goal, and minimize unrelated information to let the job type emerge as a focal point. Repeat these steps for each job type or goal.