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What you SHOULD be sharing in your social media feeds — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

July 30th, 2013 Comments off

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A few weeks ago I talked about how to attract work and opportunities to you, instead of constantly begging for your next job. One of the biggest elements of attracting work to you is using social media to share the most interesting aspects of your life and work and show people “what you do and how well you do it.” Of course, it is worth taking some time to think about what you might share on your social media feeds that contribute to this end goal. Here are a few ideas to get you started in sharing the right kind of information.


Dog Days

Books by Douglas E. Welch
  
 

  • Short stories of your best work successes

These aren’t some self-serving stories about how you saved the day, although some may have that aspect about them. Rather you are sharing these stories to help anyone else who might be experiencing the same, or similar, issues in their own line of work. Depending on your work, this could be a post on how you solved a particular tricky accounting problem, solved a difficult problem with a hidden leak (if you are a plumber), made a car run better (if you are a mechanic) or created a great computer system that saved your company tens of thousands of dollars (or even a few.) As you can see, it doesn’t matter what type of work you do. We all have interesting stories to tell that can be tremendously useful to others. By sharing these stories, you not only show people the quality of the work you do, you also help them solve their own, similar problems. This alone could lead to a job or consulting offer down the road. I know it has worked this way for me.

  • What you are reading, watching, listening

Sometimes, the media we are consuming can be very illuminating about our lives and our work. For myself, I make a point of sharing what books I am reading, what blogs I subscribe to, what videos I am watching and the podcasts I listen to as I drive about on business and pleasure. I think that if people pay attention to these items, they can get a very clear idea about where my interests lie and it can do the same for you. Again, the best thing about this is that you are just sharing what you find interesting, not trying to promote yourself, so it is a nice, soft pedal, way of accomplishing the goal of letting people know you — and your work — better.

  • Your thoughts on work, industry and life issues

While you need to be careful about descending to the level of a “rant” in these posts, working out your job issues in writing can help you discover solutions to solve the problem. Don’t name names, but rather address the deeper issues involved. Create “what if” scenarios of what you might do to solve the problem if you had the power. Tell people how you personally dealt with a problem, even if you couldn’t change the situation yourself. You can, and should, also talk about issues in your industry and how you would address the problem. Again, thinking through these issues helps you in so many ways. You might hit upon a solution that no one has discovered yet. You might find a solution to your own work issues and finally, you might help someone else who is dealing with the same issues. Often people are helped just by knowing that they are not alone in their problems. If you can offer some commiseration with their issues, and perhaps even a helpful solution, you can develop a great reputation as a problem solver that can lead to large opportunities down the road.

  • Cool things that you discover in your life and work, online and offline

Finally, one of the greatest pieces of information that you can offer is the cool things that you discover both online and in your own life. As I read through my RSS feeds each day, I often find 2-3 items that are worth sharing with others. This often results in many ‘Thank you” messages being returned as well as people sharing the information with their readers/followers/Facebook friends.

These items can take several forms. Some might simply be for entertainment (witness all the silly cat pictures out there). Some might be useful answers to business problems such as new smartphone apps, new web services and new online publications. These items also can, and should, be elements from your own life. Interesting pictures you have taken, neat templates you created, interesting architecture, music, writing and friends you encounter in your daily travels. Don’t limit yourself to just sharing things that others create. Create your own “neat things” to share, too.

If you are feeling a bit stuck on what to share via your social media feeds, I hope that these ideas will spur you into action. I believe that it is through softer sharing, rather than blatant promotion, that we can have the biggest impact on our work and careers. Rather than jumping up and down shouting “look at me, look at me”, you can have much more impact instead saying, “Look at this cool thing I found. It helped me and it might help you, too!” That is certainly how I approach my own use of social media and I believe it can be very effective in building the career you deserve.

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Archive: Make your resume a blog — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

July 26th, 2013 Comments off

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You can find advice on how to build, design and send your resume almost anywhere. They will tell you how to format it, which font to choose and what information to include. Heck, even I’ve written my share of columns on resumes. Despite this, though, I want to offer one more bit of resume wisdom. In this age of ubiquitous Internet access, search engines and an increase in the serendipity of finding the right job for you, the next step may be to make your resume a blog, because, in many ways, your blog might already be turning into your resume.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  

Even in today’s high-tech world, resumes are still seen as relatively static, paper-based documents. Even if they eventually make it into electronic systems, in our minds we still see them as little sheets of paper that get shuffled around on someone’s desk. Just as the professionally printed resume has long gone out of style, I believe any form of printed resume is on its way out, as well.

In past columns I have preached the gospel of a portfolio-based approach to advertising your skills and work experience. Yes, I use the word advertising purposely, as that is exactly what you are doing. You are advertising what you know and what you do, in hopes of someone buying your services.
Part of building a great portfolio is documenting your interesting projects past and present and documenting them as soon after completion as possible. In some cases, you will probably want to do it even while you are completing the project. You want to capture the best “stories” about your project now so you can use them in your resume and in your interviews. It is these stories of actual work and projects that will best communicate your skills to perspective employers.

So, with these ideas in mind, one great way of exposing your work portfolio and resume to the widest group of potential employers is to put it into a blog. Sure, you will probably still have to produce the standard, one-page resume for those people stuck in the past, but producing your resume as a blog has many distinct advantages.

First, a resume blog allows all your stories to be slurped up by any number of search engines including Google, Yahoo and more. This increases the chance that someone might randomly stumble across you when they are looking for just the right person. Sure, an online version of your paper resume might do in a pinch, but you can do better.

Instead of having only one small description of each past job, I encourage you to post to your resume blog as often as necessary. Minimally, this would include a wrap-up after any major projects or accomplishments. Again, all this information becomes searchable and it helps to lock the stories into your mind so you can easily recall them during interviews or casual meetings with potential employers.

Now, go even further. Document any training you receive and your impressions of how it will be useful to your future work. Describe the hardware and software tools you use and why. The general rule is to include anything that would give a potential employer deeper insight into you and your work. The goal in all of this, beyond finding the best job possible, is to use the easy-to-use features of a blog to capture and share as much information about your work and skills as possible. The more information that is available, the better your chances of getting an interview and a job.

It is so much easier to update a resume blog than updating a paper resume and it can say so much more. Your resume blog can become the hub of your online portfolio, available 24/7 from any where in the world. Sure, you can then use this information to update your paper resume, but my hope is that paper resume will soon go the way of the 386 processor and dot matrix printers — useful in their time, but long, long gone.

Get your work experience, your skills and your career stories out onto the net where they can do you the most good. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Let it shine and help build the career you deserve.

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Privacy and the need to sell yourself in your career — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

July 22nd, 2013 Comments off

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Privacy is in the news a lot these days and it is a valid concern for all of us. That said, when you are trying to build the career you deserve, an excessive focus on privacy can make your careerbuilding more difficult, if not impossible. This is due to a large change in how we find jobs and develop our careers. The days of resumes and job fairs and networking are over, at least in the traditional sense. Today, you need to be spending every moment telling people “what you do and how well you do it.” If you insist on keeping every aspect of your life private, you are severely limiting the number of people that know about you and the opportunities these people may be able to provide. When it comes to your career, you can’t “hide your light under a bushel” and expect to achieve the career results you want.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  
 

Yes, the big world of the Internet can be a bit frightening sometimes, but you can, and should, engage in it in as many ways as possible. During our recent CareerCampSCV, I spoke with a number of attendees who were very concerned about keeping their social media activity private. For me, this has always seemed odd, as I believe that the main purpose behind social media is being seen, publicly, by those people who most interest you, are most interested in you and are most able to help you achieve your career goals. To keep everything private seems, for me, to defeat the entire purpose of social media.

That fact is, in today’s world, I believe you MUST be engaging in social media and you MUST be sharing “what you do and how well you do it” publically. The job world has changed dramatically and limiting your social media use is actively hampering your career. Who knows how many opportunities have never come to you simply because people don’t know the depth of your knowledge and skills. You can’t wait for job openings to be posted, printed in the newspaper or shared on a job board, You have to be positioning yourself to attract opportunities and social media is one great way of doing that.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you share EVERYTHING about your life on social media. Like any person who lives their life in public (celebrities, musicians, writers, etc) you need to actively pick and choose what you share. You need to develop your own public-facing persona much in the same way your favorite television or movie stars do. Does this sounds silly? It might, but it is also the new reality of your career.

Just as an actor must consider and cultivate their audience, so must you. We all have an audience, no matter what we do as a career. This is a new thought for most of us, but an important one. Gone are the days when you could survive in your career as a quiet little drone that toiled away in the background for 30 years. If you truly want to build the career you deserve, you need to be actively promoting yourself, positioning yourself, publicizing “what you do and how well you do it!”

What if you don’t want to live the public-facing life of an actor or celebrity? You are in trouble, because that is simply the way that life and career works these days. If you are not hustling to build your career then all you are left with is what other people offer you or what other careerists have decided they don’t want. You need to grow and adapt to this “new normal” or you risk having a career that is stunted and unfulfilling. I believe you deserve better, but it means you have to stretch yourself and your, perhaps outdated, understanding of how a career works.

Again, I am not saying that sharing your life and work publically is something you MIGHT want to do, I am saying that today it is a CRITICAL part of your job search and career. If I sound unequivocal, then you are understanding me correctly. The Internet has changed the world in many dramatic ways and it has deeply changed the way we approach a career.

If you want to build the career you deserve, you must engage in the world as it exists today and leave behind outdated concepts of job search, the nature of work and your career. The work world has moved on and unfortunately many of us have not followed. Don’t be trapped in century-old ideas about how you find a job. Use the amazing tools that are now at hand (and those yet to come in the future) to your best advantage. It is not in the past that you will find the career you deserve, but here in the present and out there in the future.

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