At this point you have a basic command of the social media tools and how to use them to locate and find a job. Most of the material covered over the past couple of days will be relevant long after you find a job or make that career change. By maintaining a blog, increasing the power of your network, and becoming an expert in your field, you will increase the value of your personal brand. You’ll find that opportunities will begin to look for you, you’ll be able to demand more money, and you will have better control over your career. At this point, I would like to leave you with a few more tips that have worked for me. Hopefully they will work for you…
Personal Branding Kit
As I’ve mentioned before, and I’m sure you already know, the job market is extremely competitive right now. In order to receive any attention you must stand out. A year ago I applied to work for a local marketing firm. I don’t have a marketing degree, had little to no experience in marketing or advertising (as a profession), there was no position open at the company, and my experience up until then had been in finance. However, my passion is using marketing strategy to make positive changes, and I wouldn’t settle for a job where I wouldn’t be happy. This is what I did to stand out among the competition:
- Found the name of the president of the company
- Researched both the firm and the top personnel
- Tailored my résumé to match the company mission and objectives
- Asked a graphic designer friend to professionally layout my résumé
- Included a list of references
- Wrote a custom cover letter and addressed it to the president (including examples of how I could add value)
- Printed copies of previous writing samples and case studies
- Created a CD with a PDF portfolio including résumé, cover letter, writing samples, references, and a link to my website
- Packaged everything in a FedEx package and shipped it overnight addressed to the president
My friends thought I was crazy for paying for overnight shipping for a set of documents that was going to travel fifteen or so miles. However, I shipped the materials Tuesday evening and received a call to schedule an interview Wednesday morning. That’s where I’m working today.
My only advice for the interview is to be yourself. Some questions might be difficult to answer. However, if you go into the interview with a clear understanding of yourself, the company, and the position, you shouldn’t have any problem answering anything they ask. Please check out the company website and do some research on the industry before you go to the interview. If you can express that you have thorough knowledge of the industry and the company’s unique position within the industry, you’ll stand out. The main things the interviewer wants to know are that you are competent to do the job and the right fit for the company. Just in case you want some practice, here are some questions that might be thrown your way:
- How would you describe yourself?
- What do you know about his organization?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years? Twenty years?
- Why did you choose this organization?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should we hire you over anybody else?
- How would a close friend describe you?
- Describe a situation where you found it difficult to work with somebody. How did you handle the situation? Looking back, would you have done differently?
- Do you think we would get along? Why?
- If you were an animal, what animal would you be? (Seriously, I was asked this question)
Final words on LinkedIn
I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that one major strength of LinkedIn is the ability to provide and receive professional recommendations. It’s a good idea to ask people with whom you’ve had positive work experience to write a recommendation for you. Also, you should return the favor. Endorsements go a long way when a recruiter is checking out your profile. It shows that you have made a positive impact in your past and are likely to do so in your future, brining value to the company. Also, other people will highlight specific traits about you they observed that you might not be aware you had.
Stay relevant, but have a life
Stay relevant by staying at the top of your game. Take refresher courses, read books that cover current trends, subscribe to magazines, follow blogs that cover your topic, talk to others who know about your industry, write papers, analyze stuff - do whatever you have to do to stay at the cutting edge. I read at least three books per month, subscribe to a couple magazines, and stay up on trade publications. Not everything I read is related to marketing or entrepreneurship. I like to break it up and read for fun too. But you also need to make time for yourself to do things you enjoy outside of work. If you can adapt to changes, you have staying power. Respect comes with expertise, but remain approachable. Things change all the time. Embrace it and be ready for it.
Be of service to those in your network
If you help somebody accomplish their goals, they are much more likely to help you accomplish yours. You don’t have to keep score. That’s not what it’s about. But if you are truly an asset to somebody, they will want to see you succeed. If they don’t want you to succeed, it might be time to reevaluate your network. Be open if somebody has a suggestion for you. They might be trying to make you better. Ask your network what you can do for them, but don’t overextend yourself. I keep a copy of my closest friends’ résumés in case I come across an opportunity in which they might have interest. Those same people help me out when I need it. Friends, colleagues, and potential employers want to be around people who bring them value. Be added value and you make yourself irreplaceable.
That’s all I have for you today. I honestly hope that using social media tools effectively will help you land that job you want, allow you to change or explore careers, or reach whatever goals you have at this point. If you have any success stories, please feel free to share. If you don’t, let me know what worked and what didn’t. How can we make this more useful to you? What other topics would you like to know about? Tomorrow we’ll finish up this 101 with an interview from a career counselor who will provide job searching insights outside my scope of knowledge. Again, if you found value here, please subscribe to the RSS feed, share with friends, StumbleUpon it, Digg it, or whatever you need to do. For additional reading on social media and personal branding I recommend the following books:
Me 2.0, Dan Schawbel. 2009
Social Media 101, Chris Brogan. 2010
Job Hunting Series
- Day 1 - Intro To E-branding
- Day 2 - Maximize your network
- Day 3 - Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube
- Day 4 - Final tips
- Day 5 - Interview w/ Alex Anderson