While I wouldn’t go as far as claiming that the traditional resumes and cover letters are DEAD – as most people still find jobs the old-fashioned way; in today’s day and age, you should not rely on them solely when searching for a job or your next assignment.
Whether you are a consultant, writer, editor, marketing professional, designer; even if you are not looking for new opportunities right now, there are some things that you should be doing to make sure you are always able to find work quickly, if you suddenly find yourself unemployed. Sure, you still may have to write that resume.
But to get a job in today’s economy you need to stand out. And having an online presence and a big social network can make you stand out from 1,000 resumes.
If Your Prospective Employers Google You, What Information Will They Find?
For many positions, people will not hire you based on just your resume and cover letter. They will use a variety of approaches to learn more about you and your accomplishments.
One approach may be to “google you”.
And if they do, what information can they find about YOU?
The reason you have to start NOW is simple: you cannot build an effective online presence overnight.
DO NOT wait till you are suddenly in full PANIC MODE (having just been downsized or fired), to start a blog, learn to Tweet, shoot video, become an expert writer for Ezinearticles, or whatever; and do it effectively enough to attract attention from potential employers.
Sure, it’s easier to just type a few sentences reciting your work experience in reverse chronological order, and email it or snail-mail to a prospective employer in response to a job ad. However, rather than editing your resume for the 20th time, spend your time creating your website, social profiles and/or a professional portfolio, so that when you network you can give the URL to your past work experience. It’s got way more info than your resume and will be more interesting to view.
It takes time and effort, as well as some (minimal) computer skills to build an online presence, but you should look at it as an INVESTMENT IN YOUR FUTURE.
Taking the 10 steps outlined below will help you:
- Build a strong personal brand.
- Proactively drive your career.
- Establish yourself, prove yourself and position yourself as an expert.
- Open up new opportunities you never thought of before.
- Build partnerships, alliances, and friendships.
- Learn new, highly marketable and in-demand skills.
- Build an online business (if you want to)
- Build passive income streams (if you want to)
- Become more fulfilled with life (I know this happened for me, and many others, so why not YOU??).
10 Things You Should Be Doing TODAY to Make Sure You Are Never Out of Work Tomorrow
The following are the steps to take to make sure you are never looking for a job or more work – the work will come to you instead!
1. The first thing I recommend you do is Google yourself. Just type your name into the Google search box and see what comes up. If there is no information about you on the first page of search results, that’s not a good news for your future career.
2. Define your focus. You will need to define your niche/ area of expertise, and unique selling proposition. Even if you already have a professional niche, or consider yourself a generalist, you need to find a unique angle, something to position yourself as the go-to-expert.
3. Build a website and write a blog. While there are many websites that offer free blogging, such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com, I recommend that you build a WordPress-powered website on your own hosting account. You don’t have to call it a blog, just because WordPress is a blogging platform. Call it whatever you want: an Online Cafe, E-Club, online magazine, virtual encyclopedia, or whatever else you want.
a. Choose and register a domain name
b. Choose a hosting provider and set up an account. I use Hostgator.
c. Install WordPress. Many providers (including Hostgator) provide easy, one- click installation.
d. Pick and install a theme. There are many free themes available on the WordPress.org website. For a more polished look and support in case of problems, you can purchase a professionally designed theme for under $100. Themes I recommend: Thesis, Woo Themes, Studio Press themes, and Elegant themes. You can also find many great themes on ThemeForest.com.
4. Set up your social media profiles with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. These three are not the only ones, but they will give you a good start. Continuously grow your network by consistently producing valuable content. Link to articles on your site. Share other people’s content. Be active, comment, leave feedback, and answer questions.
5. Provide valuable content. Take your expert topic and deliver valuable, relevant and compelling content. Write articles, ebooks, newsletters, white papers, reports, and industry rankings. Especially effective and viral are How-to-guides, step-by-step tutorials, top 10 lists. But it’s not just about writing. Valuable content includes photography, graphics, video, audio, presentations, charts and graphs, and more. If you are a designer, design a WordPress theme and offer it as a free download (with a credit back-link to your site). If you are a programmer, write a plugin or widget. If you are a teacher, create a video explaining a difficult concept.
6. Recycle your content. And I don’t mean putting your old articles into recycle bins – whether electronic or real. I mean always looking at everything you have written to come up with new ways to put them to work. So, you’ve come up with a 10 fresh and exciting ways to do something, and you write an article. A single article can do so many things:
- Submit your article to an online directory, such as Ezine articles.
- Modify the article to submit it to a press release service.
- Post the article on your website or blog and tweet it.
- Re-write it and make into a Hubpage.
- Make a Squidoo lens.
- An article can be submitted to a local newspaper.
- A generic article can be re-written from a different angle and sent to professional or special interest publications.
- Compile a set of articles to create an FREE pdf and upload it to Scribd.com.
- Compile a set of articles to create an ebook or even a physical book, and offer it on your website or sell on Amazon.
- Include the article in your E-course.
- Read the article in front of a mirror a few times, then record it with a webcam or camcorder, and make a video clip, and post it to Youtube.
- Make a slideshow presentation, record it using a screen capture software, such as Jing, Snagit or Camtasia, and post it to YouTube.
- Read the article, record it, and make into a podcast.
- Rewrite your article and offer it to other bloggers as a guest post.
- Rewrite your article and submit it to even more directories, using automated submission service.
Tip #1: If your title can entice a person’s curiosity you’re already halfway in getting a person to read your article. Use statements and questions that utilize keywords that people are looking for. Provide titles or headers that describe your articles content but should also be short and concise.
Tip #2: You need to craft your “resource box” or “about the author” section, so that people are inclined to go online to find out more about you or your offerings. A boring resource box will never get a job done. Be fun and creative but at the same time show that you have a great deal to offer.
7. Get creative with your distribution channels:
- Video: YouTube, Vividler, etc.
- Audio: record podcasts
- Presentations: Slideshare.com. This is like a YouTube for PowerPoint presentations. Anytime you create a presentation, upload it to SlideShare site.
- Articles: Ezinearticles.com, Articlebase.com, and dozens of others.
- PDF/Word/Powerpoint: Scribd.com.
- Pictures – you, your products, events, etc.: Flickr.com
- Seminars online and in the “real world”. Gotomeeting.com. Record your seminars and offer to your subscribers.
- BlogTalkRadio allows anyone, anywhere the ability to host a live, Internet Talk Radio show, simply by using a telephone and a computer.
- Send your best articles to print newspapers, magazines and newsletters.
8. Write and publish a printed book. A printed book is considered the best recommendation anyone can have. When writing your content, think in terms of writing chapters for your future book. In a couple of months, a year, or two, you’ll have enough of material to get it published.
9. Do seminars and public speaking. Great way to build credibility super fast. Speaking in public will take the previous steps to the next level. If you don’t feel you have what it takes, join your local Toastmasters, or read the book “Get Your Money Where Your Mouth is” by David R. Portney.
10. Help as many people as you can. Don’t make it all about you. If someone asks you for help, recommendation, a guest post, etc. – always say yes.
I’ve Created Great Content, Now What?
Rather than stand back waiting for you and your content to be discovered, take a proactive approach.
Compile a list of companies you want to work for and then develop a strategy for delivering your content to them.
Social media, and Linkedin in particular, is a tremendous resource for developing your prospect list. Use search functions to locate companies who need what you have to offer. Visit their websites to determine fit and search Linkedin further to discover who the hiring managers are.
If you do the things outlined above, after a while you may find that a whole world of new opportunities is opening to you.
You may find new employers, friends, and partners.
You may wish to explore starting a business online, building passive income streams online, selling your own products and services, etc, etc.
But that’s a topic for a different article or, better yet, entire book.