Chicago Sun-Times Features GiveBrand

August 20, 2012

I'm excited to announce the launch of my client GiveBrand, a personal branding tool for job seekers. GiveBrand was the lead business story in Saturday's Chicago Sun-Times. Read the full text below, or view the original article here. Please help spread the word about GiveBrand to your networks and sign up here:



Sandra Guy | August 12, 2012

Others help build your resume

A Chicago-based website launching Saturday offers job seekers a way to capitalize on their social-media skills by using wordplay and crowdsourcing.

The site,, lets a job seeker’s friends, colleagues and even detractors post one- or twoword descriptions that highlight the person’s skills and personality traits. The process creates the job seeker’s online “brand” — ideally, a profile that shows off creativity, teamwork, initiative and other hardto- pinpoint smarts, rather than a list of job titles and descriptions, and more authentic insights than the job seeker could write about himself.

The website generates a “word cloud” so that as more people agree on a phrase — such as “team builder” or “trustworthy” — that phrase or word grows larger.

Nicole Crimaldi, founder and strategic content director at consulting firm MCG Media, and an adjunct professor of career development at DePaulUniversity, said she got a kick out of seeing descriptions of her such as “motivator” and “leader” balloon in size as she pre-tested the site.

“I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of highlighting those words about myself,” said the 28-year-old Wicker Park resident who blogs “The site can point out attributes about yourself that you might not have put in a LinkedIn profile. It is like having built-in references.”

People may weigh in on a job seeker’s profile with three actions: A tag— Writing a key word or phrase that describes the job seeker’s skills and traits; A vouch— Clicking on a tag that someone else has already written to indicate agreement; An endorse— Writing a note to describe one’s tag or vouch, such as “I was on Nicole’s team and watched firsthand as she led the account win.”

Crimaldi has become an expert in social media networking since she started her career-advice blog four years ago. She built her reputation by telling others about the blog, taking online marketing courses and speaking for free to alumni groups, university classes, professional associations and other gatherings.

Paige Worthy, GiveBrand’s content strategist, likes that her constantly evolving profile “feels fun, social and organic.”

“I can see my profile change and grow as people add on to it. It puts a social twist on your resume,” the 29-year-old Lincoln Square resident said.

Worthy said GiveBrand is probably best for people who aren’t panicked to find recommendations, because the profiles expand over time.

The site allows networking, too, by letting users search for tags to find others with similar skills. Users also can share their profiles with recruiters, hiring managers and potential clients.

GiveBrand’s co-founder, Russ Trpkovski, said he wanted to let job seekers use their networks to “show proof of what they are about and what they’re good at.”

“A person’s brand is how others perceive you,” said Trpkovski, a Gold Coast resident who brainstormed GiveBrand with technical developers Boban Jovanoski of Germany and Dalibor Nasevic of Macedonia.

“Social recruiting is the future,” Trpkovski said. “We’re trying to take it to the next level.”

Liz Gerber, a professor of design and director of the Creative Action Lab at Northwestern University, said any public commentary, even by invited guests, has risks, since postings on people’s Facebook pages don’t always impress or look professional.

“There needs to be more transparency about who is doing the recommending,” she said. Yet Gerber said the Givebrand model dovetails with employers’ increasing demands for creative workers who can do more than assigned tasks.


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