Six easy steps to attract positive attention from employers.
In the past, self-promotion was deemed the mark of an overinflated ego and regarded as unprofessional. Then, the idea was to quietly do your work and rely on the world (a.k.a. employers) to recognize your talents and reward you for your efforts. Today, that subtle strategy cannot be depended on for career progress let alone to accelerate new opportunities. To expedite success and keep learning and be challenged requires an entrepreneurial approach and proactively taking initiatives to publicize one’s skills and talents. Only you can assure your future success; don’t be fooled into thinking that any employer is going to take care of your future.
An exciting opportunity at a current employer should be welcomed but not expected. Be proactive and assess your situation, determine what you want and develop a career-marketing plan to get you closer to your goals. It is definitely up to each individual to acquire the right blend of technical knowledge and skills so that they can develop solid experience and a proven track record. Everyone has to promote their interests to make new connections who can appreciate them and open doors to a new challenge through a hiring offer or referral to potential job leads. Counting on others for your promotion is wishful thinking. It could happen but the likelihood is remote enough that I highly recommend that if you want a promotion, you go after it by acquiring what you need, to be competitive and identifying who needs to know you that can make you the offer you want. This requires defining the employers where you want to work and cultivating insider networking connections within these organizations to meet and become trusted by those who can recommend you for the job you want.
Don’t despair that marketing yourself is a daunting task! You have more influence than you might think thanks to the wonderful world of social media. LinkedIn, Twitter and other social-networking platforms are the ideal way to gain exposure to prospective new employers. Using these can supplement your current connections and generate new contacts. By taking virtual relationships offline, you can deepen the connection, strengthen the relationship and learn about potential job leads while staying on top of industry and people news. Participating in professional discussion groups, posting comments on professional blogs, publishing an article or white paper and sharing it online are all ways to demonstrate your abilities and freely share your knowledge without asking about a job per se. It’s how to get on the decision maker’s radar screen as a trustworthy resource.
What historically was the way to get promoted internally and modern social networking are not that differrent. Both require proving ability and value to an organization as well as having the necessary soft skills. Think of this as transforming from a passive process of receiving a promotion to taking the reins and proactively promoting yourself to a larger employer market, not just your immediate colleagues. Long before a prospective new manager invites you to meet with them, they may already have forumulated an image of you from what a search inquiry revealed. If you have not Googled yourself recently, check out what others can find out about you online. Make sure that you have put your best foot forward by publishing the information you want others to see when they conduct a search about you.
Here’s how to find leads to the job you want next. Get started on attracting prospective employers to you and promoting yourself outside of your immediate contacts:
- Read guides on each of the social media and networking sites to learn how to open an account, SOPs and proper etiquette.
- Determine the best sites for you to get the exposure to connections you want to make. Be selective. Relationships take time to establish and grow. Remember that social networking is all about helping others. Go where the people you want to meet are hanging out.
- Lurk first. Yes, do not jump immediately but watch and observe the online site culture before introducing yourself and commenting and posting your ideas.
- Remember that anything you post online is visible to others and you can’t control who will “meet” you. Your management can access this as easily as a new boss. Be aware of confidentiality. Unlike applying for an opening by submitting an application or downloading a résumé. The good news is that you are not restricted to a single static document but can be evaluated on a range of accomplishments.
- Your comments and thoughts posted online are all real-time, not a job graveyard, not your career obituary. It is a clean new slate. Use social media as proactive career management, a chance to continually showcase your best work.
- Focus your interactions and keep your career goal in mind. Social networking is more than just a friendly chat; it is continuous exposure to potential new business opportunities. Participating in social media is executing your career marketing plan. Network purposefully.
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© Debra Feldman, 2010
Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for Networking Purposefully™ and expediting stalled job searches — executed with high energy and savvy panache — connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Learn more about her groundbreaking techniques that compress job searches from months into weeks. Contact Debra now at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent! Follow @Debra_Feldman on Twitter, join her Facebook fan page and connect via LinkedIn.