Typically when one thinks of inbound marketing, social media or search engine optimization, it’s framed in a business-to-business or business-to-consumer sense. How will I establish my brand to grow my business? How will I market my product/service to reach the people who need it?
This same theory can be applied effectively in an employer-job-seeker model as well. It can be used to market yourself to future employers, and it’s so effective that at the very least, you will grow your professional network. At it’s best- these strategies can help you find your “dream job”.
I read an article this morning about how many people in the Rochester area are still searching for jobs. Good people, educated people, people who have been using every possible method of searching for a job yet still come up dry. The article mentioned several people, by name, and detailed their education as well as respective careers. It mentioned how they had been on countless interviews. It also mentioned how it is important to focus your job search so you find the jobs specifically looking for a certain skill set that you possess. This would assure that employers were getting someone truly qualified for the job, and help employees find the best job for their skill strengths. A win-win that creates a unique well-oiled business machine.
It got me thinking. In this age of the internet and Google, wouldn’t it be great if I could go to Google and search for someone to hire? So I tried it. I googled “Rochester NY + I need an employee to write press releases” and like magic….. A ton of profiles on a popular professional social networking site (Linked-in) popped up. The second result was someone who was “self-employed” and had years of experience writing press releases. Amazing! This is not news, I’m sure. It was so perfect because I do need someone to write press releases. Not someone who had general marketing experience, or experience writing radio ad copy, or designing billboard graphics. Just press releases. A very specific skill set.
Google is so simple. There are a ton of job sites out there. But if every employer could just….Google it. That would be so easy for the employer and for the potential employee. One site. The end.
So, in that same vein, it would be remarkable for the driven, but out-of-work potential employees out there to be able to optimize themselves. Personal branding.
Anyone can do it! So I’ve compiled a list of helpful tips on how you (the potential awesome employee) can brand yourself so that your future dream job will find you!
1)Linked-In: get it. Do it right now if you don’t already have it, if you do have it, make sure you get involved ASAP. By getting involved I mean participate in group discussions. Show off your expertise! If you can’t find a group about what you are an expert at, start your own. Search through Linked-In and invite people who are in your industry. Engage in professional dialogue with others. Answer questions, and ask questions (professionally related of course) to other people in the area who are in your industry. All of this will showcase that you know your stuff and you are passionate about it!
2)Facebook: don’t roll your eyes at me just yet. This is not just a platform for playing FarmVille or catching up with your high school buddies. It is a unique and powerful marketing tool. Make sure your profile is clear of anything you wouldn’t want a future employer seeing. Personal stuff is fine! Employers want well rounded people who have a positive personal life as well as professional life. Discuss your professional passion, interact with like-minded people who have the same goals. You will find that there are others out there who are in the same position as yourself and in doing that you will find comfort AND show that you are driven to succeed.
3)Twitter: follow companies you have either worked for in the past or you would like to work for. Follow other companies that are related to your field. Post links to cool articles about the industry you are most knowledgeable about. If you aren’t informed, make strides to become the expert on the latest news in your profession. Re-tweet articles others in that field have posted. I got a message a couple months ago on Twitter from a professional who worked in another industry but desired a career change. This person asked me for advice on how to break into the market- more specifically about how to get involved in Radio Advertising (I used be an account exec for a well-known radio corporation). I thought that was so cool! There are lots of other people out there far more qualified than myself to give career advice, but I did what I could and tried to steer this person in the right direction. That shows drive, and guts. I’d definitely hire someone that motivated if he/she had the skills I were looking for.
4)Blog/website: this is my favorite. There is no better way to highlight your expertise and passion than writing about it. This not only keeps you sharp, but shows that you are the go-to guy/gal in your profession. This sets you apart from others as someone who cares about giving your fellow professionals remarkable and useful information they can use to better themselves. This is your soapbox. Stand on it and tell the world why you are the “world’s greatest” at whatever you do.
- Don’t forget to use tags. This is helpful for Google.
- These articles need to be re-posted on your Facebook (add a note to summarize your article, then post with a link to it), your Twitter, and your Linked-in accounts.
- Provide links on your site to other company/industry related blogs. Ask those blog owners to link to your blog. Start commenting on those blogs. One hand washes the other, and linking/participating equals flattery of the highest form. It shows you are genuinely interested and they will usually return the favor.
- Engage your readers in the comments. Finish each article with a call to action or a thought provoking question and invite them to respond with their thoughts.
- Respond to comments even if they question your expertise. It’s okay to engage in healthy and professional debates. It just shows how passionate and knowledgeable you are. Employers want passion. And knowledge. Make sure what you say is correct.
- Make sure you do your research and cite sources if you are writing something technical.
- Make sure your contact information is visible.
- Don’t set your comments to be moderated. This prevents people from speaking their mind and prevents a real discussion from occurring.
5)Optimization: finally, you want to make sure all of your of your social media accounts are connected. Linked-in should link to your articles, Twitter, and Facebook. Tweets can be linked to your Facebook and be displayed on your blog as well. Buy a URL to personalize your blog further- in most cases, it’s dirt cheap. Make sure your URL is something that is simple, but describes what you do- I.e. http://xyzindustryexpert.com. Keep it as simple but descriptive if possible. Make sure all of your pages have titles and tags. Those are secondary as long as you create remarkable, original content consistently (once a week if possible).
Here’s a helpful little info-graphic for those of us who are visual learners:
There are lots of other ways you can brand and optimize yourself to help future employers find you, their ideal candidate, in a timely fashion. When this is applied to a B2B or business-to-consumer model, it provides the gold standard of customer service by showing the target audience “hey, I am right here, where you are already looking, waiting to provide you the best service/product that you need!”
And when these methods are applied in a job-seeker-to-potential-employer model, it provides the gold standard of hard work! It demonstrates that you are a skilled, driven professional who is the expert on whatever it is that you do. This makes for an excellent employee and raises knowledge base in the entire industry altogether. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone like that?
One last note: There is a school of thought that employers do not want to hire people who are out of work.
I find this to be utterly ridiculous on the behalf of whatever employer would think like that. There are plenty of good people out there who are unemployed but searching desperately for a job. People who were the unfortunate victims of lay-offs, budget cuts, and the economy hitting rock bottom in 2008.
As long as you’re still actively keeping up on what is going on in your field, there is absolutely no reason for an employer to assume that you’re a dud or that there is something wrong with you.
And if they do, to heck with them! You don’t want to work for a company like that anyway, they will probably treat you like garbage and not the invaluable employee you are.
Make sure you volunteer or “intern”. If a company is not hiring, ask to intern or shadow. Network as much as possible. Linked-in has some great features that you can utilize to become informed about local networking events.
Work with local charities, help organize events for them- there is no shortage of volunteer positions ever. This shows your leadership abilities and your commitment to working in some form. It also shows compassion. All qualities that good employers want in a potential awesome employee.
Then write about your experiences and how they’ve helped you grow as a professional. Put these volunteer opportunities in your resume to show that employer that although you are not employed, you are definitely employable! What have you done thus far that has helped you get your name out there? What has worked and what hasn’t worked? I am genuinely interested to know. And if you’re an employer reading this, tell me, what do you look for in an ideal employee?