Don't you find it frustrating when friends or family who have known you for years, suddenly say, so kind of work do you do again? Well, imagine trying to launch a job search in today's competitive, crowded marketplace without any online presence or brand reputation.
Whether you like it or not, in order to "make noise" and be found by active hiring managers, eager employers and scouring recruiters, you need to engage a wide variety of social media tools and online networking resources. Here are five, free, easy-to-use social media tools that will take you from invisible to digitally distinct.
As you will be conducting a fair amount of your job search through the Internet and email communications, make sure that your email signature serves as your digital business card.
-- Include key information like your title, personal brand statement, phone number, Linked and VisualCV url links.
-- You can even include your professional headshot to make a connection with your email recipients.
With more than 40 million members from around the world that includes top Fortune 500 executives and recruiters, you need a robust, active LinkedIn profile to help you nurture and support your professional network.
-- Use a branded headline (title header) to attract visitors and catch the eye of proactive recruiters and headhunters. Make it specific in terms of profession, industry, expertise and geographic location.
-- Take advantage of the update status feature to keep your connections apprised of your career activities and use it as a tool to share information and inform them of mutually beneficial networking events.
-- Request and add recommendations from former colleagues, bosses, mentors and respected professionals in your field. A third-party testimonial can go a long way.
-- Transform you elevator pitch into a compelling summary on your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to use relevant , acronyms and industry jargon as they relate to your areas of expertise.
-- Join groups and get active in the discussion - be willing to share your opinion, expertise and advice. Discussion forums are a very popular place for recruiters when it comes to seeking passive candidates.
Don't just get a twitter account and go silent - even I am guilty of this one at times:) Identify and follow the trend setters and thought leaders in your target industry, but be a giver and receiver of information. If you come across an interesting news article or blog post, don't be afraid to retweet as long as you give the original author full credit.
Whether you choose to host a website with you own customized url (with your name), design an interactive portfolio or build your VisualCV, you have to provide interested employers and recruiters a variety of opportunities to learn more about you.
-- Depending on your field, upload video to highlight your speaking experience and presentation skills.
-- Include visual charts, Word/PDF documents, and links to showcase published works, articles, white papers, writing samples; you should also have downloadable versions of your resume in standard presentation and text formats.
Now I will admit that I have two Facebook profiles - one for personal and professional purposes. Why a Facebook account in a job search? It is another venue to promote your personal brand, join company pages, participate in industry and profession-specific networking groups, and re-connect with former colleagues and classmates.
--Keep your profile updated and link your other social media activity to your Facebook to keep the content fresh and current.
-- Take advantage of the "What are you doing" feature and routinely engage others in conversation and discussions.
-- Use advanced social media tools to link your Twitter posts to your Facebook.
Now all these steps look like a tall order to follow, but keep in mind that if you are unemployed, you will be realistically spending between 35 to 40 hours a week in job search activities. Now, before you make a pact to glue yourself to your computer and Blackberry, remember that your online activities should only be a PART of your job search strategy plan - not 100% of it.