Job Seeking, Social Media and What You Can Do – Now
I had an economic wake-up call this week. Big time.
A friend of mine and one of the smartest social media people out there, someone who has not only succeeded on the biggest stage possible, took a money-hemorrhaging business and turned it into a money maker in four years — was told about six weeks ago that we was “redundant” and given a pink slip.
In addition to making me really mad for my friend, this was a severe wake-up call for me. If my friend could lose his job, a star in an otherwise sinking ship, someone whom I admire greatly and think he’s a lot smarter than me — then I gave some serious thought to maintaining or establishing a market for yourself when we are facing severe economic times.
Quick note: times are horrendous and I am loathe to blog about this because I think that most recessions are 51 percent fiscal and 49 percent psychological — but this one hit home. So I came up with some suggestions that I think could apply to most people — to establish or protect your “personal brand” (and by writing “personal brand,” I know that I am inviting the wrath of Geoff Livingston).
So below are a few tips and those that I would encourage folks to consider as they would from the perspective of someone who does not know you personally, but can discover a lot of wonderful things about you online.
- LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn. I have not used this as much as I could or should since Facebook and Twitter are a lot more fun, but read any “How To Find a Job” book or article and it will tell you that the best start is by networking. It used to be hanging out around “Association of This and That” breakfast meetings, but now you can do it online. Seek out and connections that could benefit you. When I went back and checked my own LinkedIn profile, I had forgotten that I was linked to the DC Recruiters LinkedIn group. This group has never benefited me, but I have never reached out to them either.
- Two Faced-Facebook. I have written about this in the past, but consider setting up a second, open-to-the-public Facebook profile. Not the one with you doing kegstands, but the one with you in a business suit listing all of your accomplishments and muckety-muck friends (whom you will warn under penalty of death not to tag you passed out on the floor clutching a Bud Light).
- Blog, blog, blog. You have to be smart or passionate about something. It takes zero time to set up a free Word Press account, and about $100 a year to do a self-hosted Word Press account with your own domain (what I have done). Then, with a career/personal brand-building focus, start writing about, and connecting with others in your field or desired field. As an example, when I started this blog (erasing my last one..sniff) if you Googled “Mark Story” I was about #40, making me virtually (pun intended) invisible in search engines. Plus, there are a urologist, sports writer and photographer all named “Mark Story” (and the photographer grabbed “markstory.com.”). I checked the other day and was amazed that now, my LinkedIn profile is the #1 result and my blog is #5 and #6. I did not set out to do this, but it happened literally, organically.
- Play around with some other resume services out there. I tend to think that Monster.com is probably getting crowded, and there are a few executive recruitment firms out there that let you build your own online, schnazzy resume. Or you could just grab a domain that is your name (unless you are late to the game, like me) and build one yourself. You don’t have to be an HTML guru, just use WordPress as your content management system. If it’s good enough for Number 10 Downing Street, then WordPress could probably handle your resume.
- You might get mixed results now, but still try a recruitment firm. If you are an executive, there is a list of executive recruitment firms out there (some of which do not accept unsolicited resumes – they want to find you). Bottom line is that it better to have a bunch of people looking for you and you looking than just you looking for a new or even potential gig.
And for the most controversial statement of all (and this is based upon my early career experience in the recruiting field) remember that the initial, front-line search for candidates in a down economy is based upon a search for the negative. That’s right, I said “negative.” What I mean by this is the amount of resumes that are being sent and processed is increasing exponentially. Nine times out of 10, the person who is the gatekeeper and holds your possibility of an interview in his or her hands is a lower to mid-level person who links “God, I have to go through 300 resumes today.” Never — ever — give him or her a reason to exclude you. This individual’s job is to get to the “right” resume for the position and it means eliminating all of those that don’t fit. So if you do all of the above, you are in decent shape. Do be in better shape:
- Customize your resume to the position opening. If they use the word “new media,” swap out the words “social media” for “new media” in your resume. Write carefully (and for God’s sake, error-free) and tell a story using your resume (in the order in which the job description does) of why you are might for the position.
- List ALL of the above in your resume. LinkedIn profile, personal Web site, Congresional Medal of Honor, blog, etc. They are going to look for it anyway, so make it easier for them to find the stuff that you want them to find.
This is all just a top-line approach in what should be a semi-full time job in this economy. And one more note: when I was in recruiting in President REAGAN’S second term, the rule of thumb was for every $10,000 you want to make, give it one month. I think that if you do some or all of the above, you can shorten that time frame.
And I am happy to report that my pal did indeed land a new gig. I just Googled him, and he had 10,100 results. That’s some online presence. Good luck, pal.