Would you invest a few additional hours per week in your job search to get employers to call you for advice in your subject matter expertise?
Even in the midst of the toughest job markets in our lifetime, job seekers have one of the greatest opportunities to enhance their career.
With unemployed workers totaling 5-6 times advertised jobs, you might ask how this is possible?
Stand out …
With hundreds, or even thousands applying for each job posted …
With companies employing dysfunctional methods to choose new employees …
… how can a candidate stand out today?
Regular readers will notice this is a common theme of this site – using different tactics than the norm, different than “everyone else”, in order to stand out and gain the attention of employers and recruiters. There is such a strong opportunity to stand out today to capture employer and recruiter attention that this strategy is changing job search.
Social Branding Evolution, not revolution
However, candidate social branding adoption has been slow – It’s so foreign to traditional job search and since there isn’t an immediate result. The payoff can take months but if done correctly, once social branding results start it builds a steady stream of opportunities from employers seeking your advice and help.
Social branding creates this phenomena – by giving candidates a communication channel where they can gain the attention of managers and CEOs by understanding how they find answers to their problems. At the same time, social branding gives managers and CEOs the ability to source answers and help from subject matter experts … namely you.
Social branding is recession-proof, as discussed in “5 Ways Social Media Gives Job Seekers an Advantage in a Recession” at http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/11/26/5-ways-social-media-gives-job-seekers-an-advantage-in-a-recession-2/.
Social branding, or using Social Media to create a personal brand, is the most powerful weapon in the job seekers’ arsenal. It gives candidates these “superpowers”:
- The ability to form a consistent first impression with employers
- The ability to promote yourself as a superior candidate to employers/recruiters, while at the same time promoting yourself as a superior employee to your current company.
- Enabling organizations and recruiters to seek you out and find you
- Enabling organizations to find you when they first encounter the problem – before they’ve considered hiring an employee to fix the problem. Hmmm … doesn’t this make you the only candidate? The candidate to measure others by? The ability to bypass HR?
- The ability to amplify strengths and shrink weaknesses
- Combating ageism
- Beating recessions and job market contraction
- Finding the audience that is interested in your work
- Natural networking – The ability to encourage contacts within your industry/function to connect to/follow/friend you, all without trying to network
… The ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound? No, but with all of the other superpowers, who needs to leap building?
Convinced that Social Branding can set you apart from other candidates? Where should you start?
7 Steps To Social Branding
There are hundreds of social media sites out there. What gives candidates the biggest bang for the buck? Where will candidates get the best results and the best return on investment of time/resources?
- Assess and Plan: Before you begin a social branding campaign, make sure you are prepared so you don’t waste the time and resources you invest. Have a strong fishing resume, vision statement, clear goals, personal branding statement, and target companies identified. Don’t expect immediate results and be willing to commit 6 months minimum – Social branding campaigns take time to set up and time to affect search engines.
- Inventory and scrub: Make an inventory of all social networking/media presence. Read, evaluate and scrub all content that you’ve produced or that refers to you. This includes tweets, Facebook status, Myspace, Linkedin status and group discussions, videos, pictures, comments and other social media content. Run Google searches to identify all references, both positive and negative. Remove all the negative content you find (but keep track of the URL) if it’s removable – You can now remove your past Tweets, but you still can’t remove what others Tweet about you.
- Build your networks I recommend building your networks to include industry/job function contacts beyond your personal contacts to minimum critical mass (at least 500 contacts):
- Linkedin for business, technology, engineering, science, education, government, health care administration, law, non-profit
- Facebook for design, small business, consumer marketing, advertising, writing/publishing, video, non-profit
- Myspace for music, art, photography, design, video
- Flickr for photography, art, graphic design, video
- Twitter for all of the above
- Choose your content: What content will you produce and market? Written, video, podcast, webinar and internet radio content is ideal for those in non-creative fields. Choose the media that presents your strengths – if you aren’t comfortable in front of a camera, consider alternatives to video; if you’ve got an annoying voice, podcasts might not be your best bet. For those already in the creative arts, your career is creating content – so collect digital examples of your work.
- Choose your platform: There are hundreds of platforms you can use to publish social media content – blog platforms are some of the best and easiest. These considerations can lead you to the best choice for you:
- Are you technical? If so, WordPress is your best choice. There are thousands of plugins and widgets available (many free) to easily modify your site. If not, consider Tumblr, Blogger, or Posterous – these sites offer fewer options but they are simple to set up and use immediately.
- Is it more important to control the look of your site? If personalization is more important, choose one of the platforms I listed above (WordPress, Tumbler, Blogger, Posterous).
- Is it more important to have a site that helps markets your content? If want a site that helps you market content and you’re willing to trade off controlling the look & feel of your site, consider [re-established sites that will give you a free “sub-site” in exchange for allowing ad publication on your content pages.
- Is extreme customization important? For instance, if you’re a designer, the site design may be the most important part of your content. It’s more complicated (and can be expensive for those who aren’t solid web programmers/designers), but designing your own site gives you ultimate design choice and flexibility.
- Is your own domain name important? If so, choose a domain name related to your subject matter expertise – employers search for answers to questions at the beginning of the process, searching for candidates by name secondarily (social networks cover you for name searches). If owning your own domain isn’t important, there are easy (and free) options available by all the major blog platforms.
- Will you use your site beyond your job search? If you are publishing content just to help your search, and that’s it, make the simpler choices listed above. Instead, spend your time creating and marketing content rather than creating the platform.
- Publish and market content: Post your content on your platform of choice. Begin marketing by tweeting, posting Linkedin status updates, Facebook updates, etc. Continue marketing by choosing other industry sites that allow users to publish content and republish summaries and links to your content. Find other blogs and content sites in your space and comment – adding your comments to their content (along with a link to your site in your signature block) helps you build your subject matter expertise and builds interest in the original author’s content.
- Schedule: Schedule your content on a calendar. Plan your content creation and marketing time, so you can make it work within your schedule. Start slowly and don’t over commit so your social branding overwhelm you (and so you won’t quit).
Readers – is it worth it to commit a few hours per week in exchange for employers and recruiters actively searching to find you?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?
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Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.
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