This is a post which I put together based on my own experience. Career change in a recession? Would that be a smart thing to do? This is the first of two articles, the first one dealing with managing your profile online and the second one focusing on inbound marketing in a recession.
Sometimes, and I am speaking from experience here, you don’t have a choice. Your company might make you redundant or close your office and you cannot move to a different location. Then, you are under pressure and have to find a job because you have a mortgage, a wife, a child or other dependants.
So what’s really going on in this recession job market? More people are now unemployed and more people are applying for fewer available jobs. So you end up with more competition than ever before. Recruitment consultants might only have one or two jobs available, but if you don’t fit their profile, you never hear from them again. While in the good times you would have got about 5 calls a day for different jobs from the same consultant. However, there are just not that many jobs out there.
Therefore, you need to stand out from the crowd. You need to differentiate yourself from the masses. But what works and what doesn’t?
First of all, in all honesty, do your homework and create a good CV or resume. This is the first thing to remember. Without a good, polished CV, you don’t even need to go out there and apply. Outline your key strength(s), key areas of expertise and make sure the hiring manager will not miss these when scanning your CV. Your profile must stick out to get the chance for a first interview. Career coaches and friends can help you to proofread it and give you honest, but essential feedback. A CV is something that is never finished and is always a work in progress. But that is an entire article in itself.
What do recruiters and hiring managers do if they get your CV? Probably the same we all do now and then, we take a look online and search for the person. Obviously, they will not want to see pictures of you on Facebook from when you were at a party being less than professional after a few drinks. They will not want to find you in an article about you in court – don’t laugh, that has happened before. So managing your online reputation becomes increasingly important. Be self-aware and search for your name in various spellings on a regular basis. Or set up Google alerts that scan the internet regularly for your name. You don’t want to find out too late that someone has spoken badly about you online or has posted pictures that could potentially embarrass you and ultimately damage your reputation.
In order to manage your online reputation, you need to create an online presence, and here are the first steps:
- If you have a Facebook profile, make it look neat and tidy, or restrict access to it. Make sure that your friends, in the case their profiles are publicly visible, don’t publish embarrassing pictures or videos of you. This is very important. Ask yourself the question, “Would I want to hire this person acting this way?” to help you filter them out.
- Make sure you delete any pictures, videos and or articles online that might give a wrong impression of you. Even if it is simply a bad review on Ebay, make sure to leave a reply telling your part of the story. This is reputation management. Every company should do it, and you should do it too. The intenet is huge and you cannot control what people write about you. But you can find the articles and make a comment on them.
- On networking sites like LinkedIn, point out your key areas of expertise. Think of LinkedIn as your online CV with recommendations from your contacts. If you get recommendations, make sure that they are from people you trust and that have something valuable to say about you. For example, if you have 30 recommendations, 25 of which are from your friends, family and people that report to you, this looks worse than having 10 from superiors and clients that say that you are the person they would hire. This is true of other networks, too (e.g. Xing, Naymz, etc.).
- Twitter is another great tool where you can get some attention (more about that in the next article), but is also a tool which allows for real time search. That means that if you are writing about how “bad your boss is” or “how boring your job is,” a recruiter will end up seeing that and you will be in big trouble. No jobs for you! Don’t treat Twitter as a messenger tool where you think no one will read it. Twitter is so visible and the constant number of updates make it rank very highly. So think twice before publishing anything there!
These are the main arenas in which to start creating and protecting your online reputation. The recession makes this even more imperative for recruiters have a more difficult choice of who they can recruit and you don’t want to be ruled out because of a silly picture or video on Facebook or a poor comment on Twitter.
Keep your private content private and protected and make sure your key strengths are visible online. For example, if you write a blog and you want to push your profile, write about your biggest achievements when on the job hunt. Or make your posts visible on LinkedIn (e.g. when you have won a scholarship etc.). Update your LinkedIn status message regularly and timely. More about that in my next article.
German-born Volker Ballueder, who during his high-school years spent a year living in the USA, now living in London, UK, holds a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA both from Aberdeen University. Also, he has a Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and wrote a paper on Emotional Intelligence. Whilst pursuing his career in Business Development, Volker runs his own consultancy for personal development training, career coaching, and online marketing consulting. In his spare time he spends time with his family, enjoys sports, cooking, and a game of chess. Check out his company’s website at http://www.cb-consulting.co.uk and his blog at http://www.volkerballueder.com.
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