Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jump Start Your Job Search Part 3

As I stated when I started this series, thirty of my coworkers lost their jobs a couple of weeks ago. I thought, since I've been through this quite a few times, that I'd post some tips to help people get started and get past the grief and fear associated with loosing a job in the current economy. So, starting last Friday I posted Part 1 to get you started and yesterday I posted Part 2 to get you up to speed.

Part 3 – Get Known On The Web

This section is designed to put you into overdrive. There are some free or very cheap things you can do to enhance your exposure using the web. These tools haven’t been available to me in my previous job searches, so I’m just learning about them too. Please feel free to add more ideas and correct or comment freely.

  1. Step 18 - Write a blog. Pick a cause and begin writing. When you have 10 or so 300-500 word pieces, get going and make one or two posts a week. Be professional, share your beliefs, but be valuable. Check out Problogger for advice and instruction, as well as Wordpress, and Blogger to help you get your blog going quickly. I haven’t yet gone to the effort to try to make money blogging, but if anyone can help you with that it’s Darren Prowse at Problogger. If that comes easy to you, go for it.
  2. Step 19 - Market your blog. I recommend you start looking around for some tips and also beginning with LinkedIn, Twitter (see Step 9 from Part 1)and Facebook. There are actually several marketing tips you'll find just by searching for them. Don’t be troublesome about it, but once you’ve taken up a subject (other than your job search), people interested in that subject ought to want to read what you have to say. Remember to add value. Don’t push your blog on people, but “make it available” to them in the event they have some interest. Note: If your blog is about your search, your mom will probably be the only reader, and if she isn’t, I can’t help you.
  3. Step 20 - Read a self-improvement book. Any popular book will give you ideas, but I've mentioned several already that help with the job search: Rites of Passage; Now Discover Your Strengths; Go! Put Your Strengths To Work; Strengths Finder 2.0; Dream Giver, Next Gen Leader, Wide Awake, the Bible, What Color Is Your Parachute?; and anything suggested by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten at www.800CEORead.com. Some cost money but each is cheaper than a meal out. Besides, if you’re cutting it close, you can save the bucks and check out the local library. The first book I would recommend though is the Bible. You probably already have one. I believe it is the ultimate self-improvement book. If not, ask the nearest church if they will give you one, or ask me and I’ll get you one. Then, check out Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 and Philippians, Psalms, and Proverbs. And if you do contact me, I can help with some other passages that will help you know a good God who is in charge. I’ll be glad to recommend a friend in your area that can help with personal bible study. Just leave a comment.
  4. Step 21 - Create a web bio and link it to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. This is the place on the web where you want anyone looking for you to find you first. There are some sites that enable this easier than others. If you get a domain name, many of the services, such as Godaddy, (www.godaddy.com) and Netfirms (www.netfirms.com) have very inexpensive hosting arrangements that will help you create a professional appearance. Check out this page at About.com.
  5. Step 22 - Research the companies that could help you reach your desired outcomes. Don't just use search engines. Try Twitter and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is particularly useful because you can see people in the order of their proximity to you (by relationships, not geography) that are associated with the company. Once some of those people have been identified, ask them for information. If none of them are close enough
  6. Step 23 - Extend your introductions. Identify someone who could hire you and see if you can get introduced to them through LinkedIn. As your friends who are in the connection chain. You never know what will happen until you ask. One caution: a lot of people are Open Linkers which means they link to hundreds and thousands of people they don’t know personally. You may hit some limits with this behavior. But ask around and see what you can make happen. Don't let this process happen to you, make something happen all by yourself!
  7. Step 24 - Create a professional Facebook page. This is another low cost presence on the Internet that you can use to your advantage, if you’re careful. Avoid ultra-personal pages. Remember anything you say can and will be used against you in a job search. If necessary, use a separate profile and don’t open it up to the world.
  8. Step 25 - Monitor Twitter. Find people in your industry on Twitter and follow them. Go to Twitter Search, or use a tool like TweetGrid or TweetDeck and search for companies or common terms. When someone refers to one of those companies, ask them a question. You never know what you might find out. Search for the names of people in the industry and also ask your connections for names of companies in the industry. Be professional though because the world is watching. However, resist the temptation to click every link about issues not relative to your job search. If you can’t focus, drop this step. There are several job searchers and helpers on Twitter also. Start by following @JobAngels or searching Twitter for the hash tags #jobangels and #rtjobs
  9. Bonus Thought: Participate in LinkedIN Q&A and Groups. This will help build your network if done well. Remember to answer when you can add value. Don’t just agree with people. If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything. But if you do, please chime in. We can all use the help of an intelligent person like you. Then, if your answers are valuable, people will check out your profile. In some cases, you might use your profile page from Step 21 as part of your signature line. Don’t sell yourself though. Provide thoughtful, valuable answers to questions and people will check out your profile. Also if you have a business-related blog or if you are using Twitter to provide valuable posts to followers, include those links on either your LinkedIn profile or your Web Bio. Also, do not send people to a Twitter profile page that has a bunch of posts about what you’re eating or listening to. That will just detract from your web presence. If your Twitter posts are about your eating and TV watching habits, I recommend you change your Twitter-ways.

There you have it. Work this system, believe in yourself, maintain your focus, and don’t let fear force you to choke. Everything that happens in the next few weeks is designed to get you to chicken out. Don’t take yourself out of the contest by getting sidetracked or letting fear force you to choke. Don't let things happen; make them happen! Stick with this and be flexible and go for it.

And please let me know if any of this is helpful, share any suggestions or success stories. As my Dad always says, "We're rooting for you!"

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