Career Report
September, 2009 — Issue 115

Job Hunting is All About Marketing

While career counselors advise that a key to successful job hunt is getting your résumé on the top of the pile, for the thousands of job-seekers out there, all of them screaming to be heard above the recession din, getting noticed is an increasingly complex challenge. So, what’s the best way to stand out from the crowd?

According to an article from The San Jose Mercury News, in interviews with job-market experts, pink-slip veterans from the 2001 dot-come bust and current job-hunters, the same truisms kept bubbling up: Job hunting is all about marketing yourself–and maintaining a vibrant social network may be the quickest path back to regular salary. On top of that, though, it’s often a big plus to know someone who knows someone.

“Part of the problem with using or Hotjobs is that that’s what everybody else is doing, too,” said Krista Canfield, spokeswoman for LinkedIn, a social-networking site favored by professionals. “There may be hundreds and hundreds of other people applying for the same position you are. But if you know someone, a personal referral is like a golden ticket that can put your résumé on top.”

Fortunately, technological advances today make building a social network easier than ever. “Things have changed so much since the last recession,” Ross Mayfield, co-founder of Palo Alto social-software firm Socialtext, told the newspaper. “Now there are hundreds of ways to project your identity and engage with others for free that didn’t exist six years ago.”

Instead of relying simply on what Mayfield calls “good, aggressive outbound activity,” like firing off online job applications, social-networking tools, such as LinkedIn, can help job-seekers “create in-bound activity, the article noted. Outbound means trying to get their attention, but inbound is creating ways for people to come to you.”

It’s a snap he pointed out: “It takes 30 minutes to create a Twitter account,” the microblogging tool that lets you use short bursts of text to have people, like the hiring manager at the firm you’re angling for, “follow” you through cyberspace. Mayfield added that “it takes 30 minutes to create a blog, and it takes maybe three hours to create a full profile on LinkedIn.”

By projecting yourself online—then having personal connections spread virally and even exponentially among friends, former colleagues, and professional associates—valuable job leads could sprout.

Cat Graham, a senior vice president of human resourses and recruiting for New York PR firm Ruder Finn, said “social networking makes up 80 percent of my recruiting work worldwide.” She suggested job-hunters “think about which company they want to work for, then look them up online.”

“Say it’s Wal-Mart,” Graham told the newspaper. “You’ll often find you can follow the HR people on Twitter and that could lead to something. And on LinkedIn it’s easy to find HR directors and managers and connect with them there.”

Mayfield reminds job-seekers that hiring managers nowadays will Google them first, so you know up front if your name has been taken in vain—or worse—in cyberspace. “It all starts with creating an identity for yourself on the Web,” he said.

Joanna Strober, managing director of a private investment firm in Menlo Park, Calif., knows firsthand the importance of networking. “I told people I was looking for this type of job, and one day got a call from a friend who said this firm was looking for someone. I sent in my résumé and referenced my friend.” Strober nailed it. In fact, she said, every job she’s found has been done that way.

Indeed, good social networking can work wonders in a job search. But career counselors also advise job-seekers not to ignore the value of other proven avenues, such as working with recruiters and responding to employment ads.

News from BLK

On October 1st Bob Larson, President Berman Larson Kane will address the NAPS conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on the topic:

Recession & Recruiting Lessons Learned on the Yoga Mat

10 Years on the Yoga Mat – 30 Years doing Talent Acquisition – How do you maintain a peaceful disposition when downsizing, layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions are the continuous buzz at your corporation’s water cooler? Your clients are living these cuts and your job orders and billings are challenged from every corner.

Your work force is in panic mode, budgets are being slashed, every expense is under double scrutiny and in the back of your mind, you’re not even confident your own job is secure. How do you smile and build/ restore confidence within yourself, your department and your organization?

Learn how Yoga Philosophies’: “staying in the moment”, “breath control”, “flexibility”, “relaxation”, “patience’s” and “just sitting” can bring a positive – sensible – realistic approach to organization values in these turbulent economic times.