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7 Social Media Habits That Disqualified Real Candidates, According To Hiring Managers

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Thursday, March 22, 2018
Updated: Monday, March 5, 2018

7 Social Media Habits That Disqualified Real Candidates, According To Hiring Managers

by Elizabeth Mack

In 2017, 1.96 billion people worldwide were social media users; it is projected that this number will increase by .54 billion to a whopping 2.5 billion this year. Being that 81% of the US uses social media, chances are, you are active on at least one account.

Whether you post regularly, once a week, or every now and then on social media can not only affect your public persona but determine whether or not you get the job.

But what posts will keep you in the running? And which are potential red flags? Hiring managers share with us examples of what job candidates should stay away from when posting on social media. Take a look at what they had to say.

What are one or two real examples you’ve seen on candidates’ social media accounts that kept them from getting the job?

Not using their real name and/or [using] offensive photos.” –Natasha Taylor, Recruiting & Hiring Manager for Rhino Staging

“[Job candidate] applies for regional director. It seems like a good fit…[O]n social media, [he] posts a rant stating that people who watch football or participate [in it] are pieces of expletive, callous foul…football causes brain damage, and those who watch it are complicit…His social opinions colored his effectiveness as regional director and could make people feel uncomfortable.” –Erica Holloway, Hiring Manager for Digital Media Academy

“I don’t necessarily look at every candidate’s social media accounts. I usually do when I’m skeptical on whether or not to bring them in. For example, if a candidate seems underqualified, things I’ll look for include whether or not they’ve been involved with the community and learned skillsets that would apply. First example, I looked at a candidate’s Facebook page and saw that he was really into music but some of his pictures were rather strange. He would post a lot of things that were hateful and cuss a lot or would brag about his drug usage and very derogatory topics. I automatically deemed him unfit for this work environment. Second example, I had a candidate whose Facebook was full of insulting picture towards women and a lot of inappropriate pictures. I didn’t think that would be a good fit either.” –Rebecca Del Cid, Hiring Manager for BrandRep

“We don’t typically look at candidate’s social media pages due to HR protocols. But if we did, I would definitely look at their pictures and how they present themselves and the language they use.” –Sarah Schroeder, Hiring Manager for American Marketing & Publishing, LLC

"We can’t keep them from getting the job based on their social media accounts; that would be discriminatory. Potential red flags to look out for are excessive drinking, acting in a manner with friends, excessive drunk pictures, and overly aggressive posts about politics and religion... [It shows there] could be a cultural problem [and the candidate] might not be able to work with other people.” -Melissa Richardson, Hiring Manager for Deacom, Inc.

Job seekers, keep this advice in mind the next time you post on social media; your job candidacy may be affected by it.  


This content was originally posted by our partners at and can be found by going here.

Tags:  Business  Career  personal branding  socialmedia  women  WomeninBusiness 

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Posted By Julie McReynolds, Thursday, March 8, 2018
Updated: Monday, March 5, 2018

Why You Should Dress Well Even When You're Unwell

By Annamarie Houlis

For me, dressing well sometimes means putting on an ironed dress with jewelry and a favorite pair of heels. Other times it means putting on a well-fitted pair of jeans and plunging into the pile of casual sneakers that have somehow made their way into my closet. It usually means unchipped polish on my fingernails that match my toes and brushed hair that I took the time to do. Sometimes it means makeup, and other times it doesn’t. It always means, however, dressing for me and not for anyone else.

Dressing well is subjective, and so there’s no point in dressing for others — I dress well even on days that I don’t leave my apartment, consumed in work because it makes me feel good. And when I feel good, I do good work.

A gamut of research actually suggests that clothing that improves a woman’s confidence can actually benefit her mental and physical health, too. So we might all want to dress well even when we’re feeling unwell. Here’s what it could do for you.

1. Your style innately affects your performance.

Scientists call the phenomenon “enclothed cognition,” which is the effect of clothing on cognitive processes. Adam Hajo and Adam D. Galinsky, professors at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, explain in their research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that enclothed cognition “involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors — the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them.” They asked subjects to perform tests while wearing a doctor’s lab coat, a painter’s coat, and no coat and found that the subjects’ sustained attention increased the most while wearing the doctors’ coats.

This suggests that how you dress could affect how well you perform. “If you associate those clothes with power and confidence, it’s going to have a huge impact,” Galinsky told The Washington Post, noting that one’s perception of power is subjective, so not all clothes will have the same effect on all people.

2. Your style reflects your mood and vice versa.

Your clothing choices can shape your mood. Professor Karen J. Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire, writes in book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion, “When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.” For example, when you put on a pair of yoga pants, you may feel more inclined to relax; when you put on a dress or a pantsuit, however, you may feel more prepared to walk into a meeting and give a presentation.

Likewise, the mood you’re already in may shape your clothing choices. Pine also cheekily writes: “Women are more sensitive to different moods than men and in their study, a woman’s mood was more likely to influence her choice of clothing. Perhaps that is why we women need to have more clothes, to match the multitude of moods to which we are subject? Or, if not, it seems a rather good excuse!”

3. Your style can improve your overall health.

A clothing line called INGA Wellbeing creates fashion-conscious clothing for medical patients, and some of the pieces in the line even boast openings to accommodate medical devices like IVs, drains, and monitors. The innovative garments intend to help patients regain their independence by empowering them to dress, move about and socialize, which in turn should promote a speedier recovery. “What we wear during medical treatment has a profound effect on how much we want to move around, or engage with friends, loved ones, and even our careers,” the website reads. “This, in turn, has a significant impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.”

A nurse-led campaign #endPJparalysis founded by Professor Brian Dolan found supporting data that patients wearing “normal” day clothes in the hospital spent 0.75 fewer days in the hospital than patients who wore gowns or traditional pajamas. This suggests that, if you’re feeling unwell, dressing well might empower you to get up and get going throughout your day and be a more productive worker — this effect on your mental health could more quickly improve your physical health, as it did with the aforementioned patients studied.

This content was originally posted by our partners at and can be found by going here.

Tags:  Dressing  personal branding  women  WomeninBusiness 

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Executive Presence?

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Executive Presence Matters?

By Vivian Hairston Blade

Patricia was considering the candidates from the final round of interviews for her open senior manager position. She asked Ron, her Human Resources partner, to review the applicants with her as she made her final decision.  Both candidates were well qualified with the skills and experience needed for the role, and had a track record of execution. But, the success of this person was largely going to depend on their ability to gain respect, trust, and influence.  As they discussed Shannon’s fit for the job, Patricia expressed her concerns. “Shannon certainly has the credentials for this role, but I don’t think she has the executive presence necessary to drive our strategic priorities.”  Ron tended to agree with her.  “Yes, I know. Something about her makes me feel she’s just not strong enough for this senior level position.” Though Patricia and Ron agreed on this gut feeling, they couldn’t exactly put their finger on why they felt that way.

“Executive presence” is a commonly used, yet nebulous term. Executive presence often is thought of as just your ‘presence’, or the way you carry yourself.  But it’s so much more.  People often use it without being able to articulate exactly what it really means or how to fix it. It’s so challenging to describe executive presence because it’s not a single dimension.

What is Executive Presence?

Executive presence is a combination of demonstrable outcomes and soft skills that come together to comprise your complete package.  Executive presence is the leadership or executive level capacity others see in you.  It is your package of business savvy, relationship savvy, and professional style.  Even if you are an emerging leader, others can sense your executive presence capability.

Executive Presence is comprised of four key dimensions:

·         Business Intelligence – Your application of business & industry knowledge in your work.

·         Business Impact – Your track record of impact on company growth and key priorities.

·         RelationshipsYour ability to build strategic relationships & influence others.

·         Reputation - Your personal brand around your outcomes, leadership style, and professionalism.


Why Executive Presence Matters

When the combination of these four dimensions are strong, your executive presence will be identified as strong. You also will feel confident, and be seen as both confident and competent. Leaders are expected to be well-rounded in their business acumen, meaningful contributions to business outcomes, and leadership skill.  Your executive presence shows your ability to fit the character of these expectations at successive levels in your career.  

Executive presence is critical in the success of your career.  The impressions you leave can directly impact your ability to move up in the organization, or to be trusted with important responsibilities. It impacts your ability to earn Invited Reach, where leaders reach out on your behalf as advocates and sponsors to make opportunities available to you.

Who can you think of that has strong executive presence. What are the characteristics that give you that impression?  How do you believe executive presence may have impacted their success?

Like your technical skills, executive presence is a skill that takes work, practice and commitment. Your executive presence will be evaluated. Make sure it’s on your list of things to work on. 

Attend my session at the NAWMBA East Region Symposium for insights on what’s missing in your executive presence, and for tips on making significant improvements. Register by going to 

Tags:  Business  Kentucky  leadership  Louisville  mba  MBA Women  NAWMBA  personal branding  Professionals  WomeninBusiness 

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The 4 Paths Out The Paradigm (Or, How Not To Have A Boring Brand)

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Saturday, July 29, 2017

Recently I met a potential client at their law office. As I creeped through the downtown traffic and entered a parking garage, I had a a deja vu: I’d done this before. Not in another life or in a dream, but this exact situation. After all, aren’t major law firms ALWAYS downtown?

I entered the elevator, selected their floor, and made my way to their lobby. There on their double doors, just as I expected, was their big ol’ law firm logo (also the firm name followed the typical use of surname, surname & surname). Entering, I immediately spied another expected and oversized logo, this one partially obscured by their receptionist, also expected. Then to my mock astonishment, I was asked to sign in.

I signed my name “Harry Potter” and looked to see how comfy the chairs looked, and right on cue was instructed to have a seat in a very waiting-area-like waiting area. Guess what? They even had magazines! I was two sentences into an outdated Bennifer article when my contact appeared. He was attired in grey suit, blue tie, white shirt. He led me to a conference room lined with law books. I think the date on the spine was 1982. Or 1882. He offered me coffee or water.

Downtown digs, receptionists, law books, scales, justice statues, corporate art, mahogany desks, suits and ties — with tie tacks. Yep, even their accessories had accessories.

This, my friends, is the law firm paradigm.

Call it whatever: prototype, model, template, system, pattern.

I call it cliched, vanilla, stereotypical and boring.

Not to pick only on law firms. I work with companies in hundreds of verticals, and I see lots of instances in which they've innately adopted the cliche model. My job is to break 'em out of that mold.

Not all paradigms are bad: There are literally dozens of transactional paradigms we encounter every day, from the coffee shop to the gas station to the bank. Think about it: No matter which coffee shop you walk into, you know how the transaction is gonna go down: Wait in line, order a coffee-based drink and maybe a scone, pay, wait for your drink (probably staring down at your phone while doing so) and either sit down and whip out the Macbook and jump on the free wi-fi or skedaddle because you have more important places to be. If it didn't, and we all had to learn a new custom of ordering, it would take forever to get that latte.

Paradigms are a necessity for everyday activity, like traffic patterns; knowing red means stop, green means go, and yellow means “floor it.” We know we drive on the right side of the road, we know to yield, we know to look both ways at an intersection. We use our turn signals to indicate a turn or lane change (well, the civilized among us do). In this case, the paradigm is critical.

In brand strategy and customer experience, however, not so much.

Not to say one’s brand shouldn’t appeal to certain expectations. A brand often must appeal to to them on some level. After all, when a potential customer seeks you out as a possible solution, they don’t jump on Google and search for what you’re not. But the vast majority of organizational brands don’t adhere to the paradigm in order to appeal directly to their client base. They do so because they modeled their business after others in their field, who previously modeled their business after others in their field prior to them because they were successful. And so on and so forth. Kinda like Darwinism, but without the actual evolution.

So take a long, loving look in the proverbial mirror. How guilty are you and your company of modeling your brand after others in your vertical, without question, just because it’s always been that way? Have you inherited, of your own accord, something exciting or something stale?

If it’s the former, beat it, you’ve got other problems to solve. If the latter — and odds are that it is — read on. I’ll tell why you need your brand to evolve, a few ways to do so, and explain how to know which way is the right way for your organization.

Your Brand’s Effect On Your Customer’s Psyche

  We’re all chemical creatures. In the decision making process we are often conflicted and we attempt to make a choice logically, weighing the pros and cons. But I postulate that our logical decisions are anything but, and our want often overrides our perceived need. We want what we want and we justify with logic. In the sales process, any leg up on our competition can be the difference between landing the gig and landing on your butt.

The opposite of boringness is novelty, and novelty is a powerful tool in your sales arsenal, so diverge from the expected and stimulate your customers’ brains. When people experience something new and exciting, the SN/VTA (Substantia Nigra/Ventral Segmental Area), or “novelty center”, of the brain is activated. The SN/VTA is closely linked to the amygdala and the hippocampus, both of which play large roles in learning and memory. The amygdala responds to emotional stimuli and strengthens associated long-term memories, while the hippocampus compares stimuli against existing memories.

In a nutshell, novel experiences stimulate the SN/VTA, causing it to produce higher levels of dopamine — that infamous neurotransmitter that gives us feelings of pleasure. (That’s why they call it dope.) When people encounter your brand, are you making them high or making them bored?

Four Paths Out of The Paradigm

The path you take out of the boring box depends on what you can get away with in your industry, your specific niche within it, and the personas of your desired clientele. Clearly, a gutsy advertising agency can get away more of envelope pushing than a CPA firm, at least from a sum total perspective. However, there is an opportunity for all brands, even in the most conservative vertical, to push that proverbial envelope an equal percentage. In other words, in a sea of beige, even gray can stand out.

Path 1: Disrupt the Paradigm

The riskiest (and therefore possibly the most rewarding) brand strategy is to do things completely different than others in your field from the giddy-up. Not for the risk averse, this approach requires that the end product or service is so stellar, so world class, that you can get away with doing things your way. You’ll question every single process and platitude that you were supposed to inherit. Most of the .01 percent of entrepreneurs with the guts to go this route are either immensely wealthy or complete failures. Not for the squeamish.

Path 2: Mash-Up The Paradigm

This creative approach requires borrowing the processes and experiences from other industries and combining them with your own. Many major law firms have borrowed ideas from architecture firms and ad agencies (think replacing the mahogany desks with glass and steel or bauhaus-era industrial design and edgy art in their offices. Or, movie theaters that serve cocktails and gourmet food). The advantage of this path is you’re able to stand out and be familiar at the same time. You get to be novel, but not confusing.

Path 3: Acknowledge, Then Switch The Paradigm

Utilizing this brand strategy takes some finesse. If it looks like a skunk, and smells like a skunk, it must be a skunk, right? Not always. On the outside, your brand seems like the very pinnacle of an organization in your field. But once they engage a little more, they find that you actually do things a bit differently and better. Once in the door, be sure to pepper your customer experience with unexpected delights and they’ll be hooked on your brand and your lame competitors just won’t do.

Path 4: Be The Paradigm

If you’re on the risk averse side and insist on playing by the rules set by your industry, then you better own it outright. That mahogany desk? Make it bigger. Make it even more mahogany-ier than any of your competitors. You wanna be vanilla? Then store bought ice cream will never do, you gotta churn your own. Gotta grow your own vanilla beans, make your own cream. Hell, make it French vanilla! Own that arial font. Be the archetype. Be the epitome. Be the perfect example, the gold standard, the ideal, the exemplar, the model. Be the beige. Come see me if you need more help. You won’t have to go downtown, sign in, or read Bennifer articles. We’ll serve the sorbet, and it won’t be vanilla.


About the author: Mark Palmer

Mark may very well be a mad genius. He is the mastermind and co-founder of OOHology, and has been putting his smarts to work for clients for over a decade. Combining high-level strategic thinking with a fine artist’s attention to detail, Mark deftly juggles multiple areas of expertise. Mark boasts an eclectic background, including a degree in Art & Sculpture, and several successful startup ventures.

Meet Mark at our 2017 Annual Conference and Career Fair. Register now!

Tags:  Business  leadership  management  NAWMBA  NAWMBA2017  personal branding  Professionals  women 

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Building and Championing Your Personal Brand: Your Compass to Achieving Greater Success with Greater Ease

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Thursday, July 20, 2017

“Mine your truth so you can own your truth, speak your truth, dress your truth and live your truth out loud in a clear, focused and empowered way.  If you take ownership of your unique genius and BE your uniquely savvy self, you will achieve greater success, confidence and fulfilment with greater ease.” – Kim Peterson

Regardless of your status or position in business, I have the secret sauce formula to help you advance with more fulfillment, confidence, and ease!  


Perhaps you’re trying to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. Perhaps you are a solopreneur bringing your brilliant products and services to the world and you want to take it to the next level, but there’s a problem -and you’re not alone.  

The problem:  You desire to make a bigger contribution and accelerate your levels of success but for some reason, decision makers aren’t noticing you, you find your inner confidence waning and you’re unable to gain traction.  

Do you sometimes ask yourself these kinds of questions?

  • How can I get seen and heard for all the right reasons?

  • How do I maximize and align my unique strengths and talents for greater fulfillment and success?

  • How can I dress to better communicate my competence, experience and value?

  • What can I do to speak with increased confidence and clarity so my voice is heard?  

  • What is my unique value of proposition and how can I convey that with clarity and consistency?

  • What are my core values and my WHY?

If yes, read on.

Personal branding is a marketing process that holistically packages you for visibility and positions you for promotion, leadership, and success by harnessing your unique genius in a clear, focused and powerful way.  …It is also a journey of self-discovery.   

Uniquely Savvy’s approach to personal branding unearths and affirms your authentic brilliance in a way that positively shapes your brand’s cohesive identity and reputation.  Inner confidence is regained as this packaged identity helps you be a more effective leader, differentiates you from your competition, increases your influence and acts as a proxy when you are not around.  Ultimately it supports you in attracting the right network, career, and client opportunities.  

Do you want more of that?

If YES, consider these 5 key concepts as you begin to build and champion your personal brand for business:

  1. YOU are your brand!  
    More than simply your reputation, your personal brand is the sum of your unique skills, talents, abilities, character, core values, vision, personality, passion, professionalism, experience, wardrobe, and appearance – and more.  

  2. Your personal brand message is always being communicated both verbally and non-verbally -online and off! For ease in understanding, consider this:  You tell others who you are and what your brand represents through the way you SPEAK, ACT, LOOK and LIVE out loud…in the boardroom, at the water cooler, in client meetings, networking, and YES, even in the parking lot.

What experience do you want others to have of YOU as your brand? Below are some tips to help you elevate the brand experience you offer clients, management, colleagues, and your community:  

SPEAK- Speak with confidence and impact by designing an authentic, clear, and cohesive elevator speech that articulates who you serve, the value you represent and the and the results you deliver.       

ACT –  Remain in integrity to who you say you are. Consistently doing what you say you will do, acting in a manner that is professional and upholding your brand’s expressed values will inspire trust and confidence in prospects, clients, decision makers and beyond.

LOOK – Because YOU are your brand, consider your wardrobe, appearance, and marketing collateral as your “brand packaging”. Does the language of your look accurately communicate the right message?  If not, what might you add, change, modify or create? (…Have you watched Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on body language?)

LIVE - Showcase your skills and lead with strengths by aligning yourself with the right organizational roles and volunteer opportunities.  Hone the art of being discerning so you can say “NO” to the opportunities that really don’t align and “YES” to the opportunities that do. Put systems and boundaries in place so you can bring the best of your talents, value and energy to the brand experience others have of you.      


          3. Brand Ownership Positions You to Attract Aligned: Talent, Clients & Opportunities

Being your authentic self and aligning your values, speech, actions, and appearance accordingly will build a cohesive personal brand that will attract like-minded people and opportunities for advancement and repel nay-sayers from you.  In either case, you win.

                       4. The process of personal branding supports you in regaining your confidence, provides clarity, elevates your personal effectiveness, and enters you into a positive                           cycle of energy, success and fulfillment.


                      5. Brand Ownership Increases Your Bottom Line.

                         When you have taken measures to invest in and hone a “total package” approach your brand reputation likely includes being known as reliable, results oriented,                                confident, articulate, and as one who looks the part – to name a few.  Opposite of “faking it ‘til you make it” you’ve demonstrated consistency or mastery over key                              soft skills which lead to increased productivity and efficacy as a leader.  As such, you are afforded a higher salary or fee schedule and are often promoted to                                      command positions.  

Do you want more of any of the above?

If YES, spend a few moments to take this assessment and determine your next steps:

  • On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate yourself in terms of being in alignment with your desired personal brand identity/reputation and the experience you offer?

  • What would it mean to your success if you invested time, energy or targeted focus to develop just one area of your personal brand?  

  • What’s next?  What one small step are you willing to commit to and take today?  

Social Media Handles


FB: UniqueySavvy


Twitter:  @uniquelysavvy


Meet Kim in person at our 2017 Annual Conference and Career Fair where she will be presenting this very topic! Register by going to this link!

Tags:  leadership  MBA Women  NAWMBA  personal branding  WomeninBusiness 

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