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

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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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