Are you looking for a new job or a promotion? Are you expecting to change jobs or careers before you retire? Could you possibly get laid off?
If your answer to any of these questions is "yes," are you prepared?
According to the JobVite "Report on the Social Job Seeker" in 2012, "69% of employed Americans were actively seeking or open to a new job. 88% of all job seekers had at least one social networking profile; 64% had two profiles and 44% had three."
So it comes as no surprise that recruiters are turning to social media to fill jobs. A study from Software Advice confirms that Social Media Dominates Recruiting Channels.
At first glance, it might seem unrelated to social media that employee referrals still have the highest probably to result in hiring. But there is a connection: to get a referral, you need a good reputation and it helps to have "paid-it-forward" aka build a network before you need it. How can you do that?
Build Your Own Brand
One important avenue is social media. Social media gives you the opportunity to build your own brand, to establish yourself as a qualified resource, maybe even a thought leader, in your area of expertise.
A good example is Timo Elliott, a business intelligence thought leader at SAP. Timo Elliott has built his own brand as a BI expert: he has a popular website, a blog and active social presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Timo is respected inside of SAP, as well as by partners and clients.
Timo has, what I call, a portable brand. If Timo decided to leave SAP, it would be easy for him to find another job.
Of course, this is not only due to his social media presence, but it plays an important part, a part that requires a strategy and diligent execution. Do you have one?
5 Steps to Creating Your Brand
- Identity: Decide who you want to be (on social media). What is your goal? Who is your audience? What type of content will you share?
- Profile: Write a 100-word-bio and condense it to 160 characters. Use this "business card" on all your social channels.
- Audience: Fish where the fish are. Use (free) reports to identify which channels your target audience uses (e.g. Pew Research Center).
- Content: How and what do you like to create? If you like to write, a blog might be a good idea. If you dislike writing, maybe you enjoy creating videos or Infographics? Pick something you enjoy as content creation will require your ongoing commitment.
- Consistency: Engage regularly, at a minimum. Post 1-2 tweets a day. 1 LinkedIn status update a day, one blog a week. Tools like Bufferapp let you queue up content as you read it (via a browser extension). Add your own insights before sharing to add value; don't just amplify.
The Top 5 Social Platforms for Career Management
- You can't afford not to be on this professional network if you work in the B2B space. It's the place where people go to get a virtual first impression of you. First impressions matter. Make it a good one.
- It's key to have a (good) picture, meaning the picture actually is in focus and fits the space LinkedIn provides. If you don't have a picture, it undermines trust. Why would someone connect with you, share their identity, if you are hiding yours?
- Complete your profile. Be creative in the line right below your name. It's a branding opportunity. Instead of posting a job title, you could say things like "Marketing Executive" or "Sales Representative with $40m revenue a year."
- Your background summary is one of the most important parts on your LI profile. It's your chance to position yourself as a leader, team player, expert etc. If you are looking for a promotion or a new job, write the summary in a way that positions your experience as the ideal candidate for the opportunity you are seeking (without lying). This summary tells other people how you see yourself. Did you single-handedly turn around the last company you worked for or are you a team player with a mission? Don't come across as narcissist, but don't undersell yourself either.
- You need recommendations. Third party endorsements are much more credible than what you say about yourself. Offer people bullets on what to write if they are too busy. Also, pay-it-forward: be generous in your praise for those you respect and recommend them. And don't do it because you expect them to reciprocate.
- Add (changing) content to your summary section and add projects that show engagement beyond your current job scope.
- Join relevant groups and participate in one or two regularly, building trust. Recruiters, employers, and peers will notice you.
- If you get offered to blog on LinkedIn, and like writing, go for it! #SEO
- Have a (good) picture and background picture. Check on your mobile device that they display well on the app.
- Have a profile description. Who are you? What will you tweet about? Why should I follow you?
- Add a URL to your blog, LinkedIn profile or other relevant page to your profile..
- Follow potential employers and recruiters. Follow individuals at brands you target for job to build personal ties. Follow influential people at your current job, if you are looking for a promotion.
- Use Twitter to connect with peers to build your thought leader brand, stay on top of trends and learn about jobs at other companies.
- If you are serious about establishing yourself as a thought leader, your blog will be your crown jewel. It will demonstrate your expertise and provide original content for your social activity. Syndicate your blog to reach a wider audiences, changing the blog title.
- Blogs are easily discovered by recruiters and future employers, as well as help raise your profile at your current job; not least because of the reputation and engagement you create with prospects and clients in your industry.
4. Branded and Internal Communities
- As SAP Community Network (SCN) members know, SCN is a great way to connect with the SAP ecosystem: SAP customers, employees, partners, and analysts answer and ask questions, learn, share and network. People share real-world relevant content, not theory.
- Active SCN members who have built a good reputation can become SAP Mentors (providing access to the "SAP inner circle") and it's not unusual for them to get approached with job offers.
- Paying-it-forward is always a good strategy! And when you help others, you usually learn yourself. That makes you better at your job.
- Similarly, company internal communities can help raise your profile at your job. By sharing best practices and industry expertise with your colleagues, you first of all put yourself on the map, but also gain a reputation as an expert and team player. Soon, people will think of you when they need certain expertise and your value rises.
5. Google Plus
- Fill in your "About" page diligently to tip Google search results in your favor.
- Use Google Hangout On Air (HOA) to record interviews with experts to fuel your social media activity.
- While Google+, like Twitter, allows you to connect with relevant people and brands, I find, the most rewarding engagement on G+ happens in communities. A G+ group I participate in puts on member-hosted HOAs regularly, on topics that bubble up in the community as "knowledge gaps."
Stay Current. Stay Employable.
Beyond simply being found by recruiters and building your own brand, there is one more reason why social media needs to be part of your career tool kit: you can't afford to let your skills obsolete in the age of digital transformation.
Let me borrow the words of Ray Wang of Constellation Research to explain:
- "Forget millennials, Gen-X, Gen-Y, baby boomers and others. How we communicate, the values we share, and how we interact with technology stem from our digital proficiency.
- Digital disruption is more than just a technology shift. It's about transforming business models and how organizations engage.
- We must invest in digital artisans. Concurrently, a market will develop for those who can spread the digital business gospel and infuse digital artistry into organizations."
Last, before you set out on your digital career management journey, be sure to set clear and measurable goals. Focus and put quality over quantity!