Today’s career environment is different, at least for the information workers. What’s different is that there are more ways to influence getting a job than in the past. You probably already know that the old saying is true: “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Well, the people you know has expanded a bit, thanks to social networks, and what people know about you has grown, too, thanks in part to the various tools you can employ in social media.
What follows are some ideas on building your online presence with your career in mind.
Your Blog Is A Resume
If you’ve not considered this yet, let me explain that my blog has been responsible for HUNDREDS of inquiries over the years. Why? Because people who might want to know about using video, or blogging, or making podcasts, or tying this all together into a strategy see examples, almost daily, of what I think, what I know, and how I’ve accomplished some of this in my own life and career.
Blogging about this stuff is like writing out my experience for a resume line by line. (Only less boring).
Use These Tools for You
The story of our work lives, and the story of what we do after work when we’re expressing our passion can now be captured in ways we didn’t have available to us before. With free tools, free or inexpensive distribution, you can share your accomplishments with the world, and with Google, which most prospective employees use as a matter of course these days in their hiring diligence.
Elements to Consider
Once you start thinking that way, about your blog as a way for people to know more about you, what you stand for, who you are, you might consider doing a few things.
- Consider adding a picture of you on the main page. I admit that I take this to the extreme, but whatever. You won’t ever NOT recognize me at a conference or a social event, and that’s my goal.
- Make your ABOUT page robust. I write a lot about who I am, where to find me, what I am passionate about, and other things on my about page. In my case, I even have a speaking page, so that people know what I speak about at events (or some of what I speak about).
- Make it easy to contact you. My email is right there on the blog, as well as my phone number. People use them both all the time, and these bring me interesting opportunities that don’t always land in the comments section.
- Consider WHAT you talk about in your blog. Even if you don’t consider your blog your resume, Google will help your prospective employers figure out your web presence.
The Social Media Resume
Listing your previous jobs and titles is not nearly a full picture of who you are, what you know, what you’re capable of, and who you know. There are other ways to do this. You might want to give more thought to posting more information about you online. There are ways to do this that don’t seem as threatening to current employers, by the way.
If you haven’t considered using LinkedIN, that’s a baseline. But LinkedIN is still a resume of sorts, only with a few (really useful) features added in. LinkedIN can be explained to wary employers as a way to network with fellow professionals in your field and to find people who share interests. But don’t stop there.
A few people have talked about a social media resume. My first exposure to it was Bryan Person’s post about it, with a link to his own social media resume. I’ve not employed this specifically, because I feel my profile on LinkedIN covers all that ground, but I could see someone choosing to split out their professional credentials from their social media experience, and then this would be the right tool.
Social Networks for Networking
First, I have to say that I have a problem with the notion of traditional networking, in the social sense. I perceive networking to mean those cocktail gatherings where you stand around and ask each other what you can do for each other. Though I understand it’s usually genuine in intent, I’ve rarely found the right kind of relationship by doing the cursory dance at these events. Too shallow for my tastes.
Online social networks are different, insofar as we have the opportunity to know more about someone through repeated interactions. If you and I are friends on Twitter, I get to see what you deem interesting enough to post into a box. If we’re friends on Facebook, I might learn a LOT about your interests and the like from what you put on your profile, which groups you belong to, your other posted media.
One more thing about Facebook: the repeat question of whether or not it’s for business is only coming from people who aren’t in there messing around with it. It’s not the best thing in the world for businesses, and I can tell you lots of things I hate about it, but it’s a way to find a more enriched profile of someone than what you get on LinkedIN, and that’s the value statement there.
I think social networks, blogs, and all these various places like Seesmic, Utterz, Flickr , are great touchpoints to understanding someone’s personal interests, tastes, and learn about their professional proclivities as well.
The Bonus Round
You might consider putting up a video about yourself. There’s something different and more intimate about making video, and people can see even more about who you are, how you act, in a video.
One friend, Ben Yoskovitz, made a startup out of the idea of video in recruiting. It’s brilliant, really, because it adds that piece that’s missing.
And making video isn’t especially hard these days. You can use a Flip video camera and pop a video onto YouTube without a lot of effort.
Now, making a GOOD video is another matter altogether, but then you might consider getting some help from a local expert. I’ve got friends in video all over the place, so if you want a little help with that, let me know.
A Note About WHERE to Find Jobs
This has changed a great deal over the last few years. Popular blogs and websites now have their own job boards (37 Signals, TechCrunch, and tons of other places, for instance). It’s not just the world of Monster or HotJobs. Now, people and individuals are becoming hubs for jobs. Oh, and don’t forget Craigslist.
At any one time, I have someone pinging me for either a social media position that’s open, or a software engineer, or someone with an Internet skillset that isn’t easy to find by sifting through resumes. So, be attentive to that as well. Sometimes, jobs aren’t circulating in the traditional places, so the folks who might want to find you, are the same ones spending time online.
Did We Miss Anything?
What didn’t I mention that you’re curious about? What are YOUR tips and ideas that you want to share about social media as a career tool? Want to share a success story?
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.
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