Today is Job Action Day 2011. It’s the fourth year of this annual event sponsored by Quintessential Careers, a website with many, wonderful resources for job seekers. I’m delighted to be participating for the fourth time.
I’ll never forget how delighted I was when Dr. Randall Hansen invited me to participate the first time, at the suggestion of my friend and colleague, Lindsey Pollak. I’m equally delighted to add my blog this year to those of my colleagues and friends who will be writing in response to the various topics: skill up, start up, speak up. Please keep an eye on this post, as I will be linking to other Job Action Day blogs as soon as they’re all collected.
Quint Careers explains:
This year’s theme is: Skill Up, Start Up, Speak Up. (I’m focusing on the “Start Up” theme.) The Start Up aspect of the theme refers not only to tackling unemployment during the recession by starting a small business, but also developing a whole new mindset of being the CEO of one’s own career by having a portfolio of portable skills, a great network, flexibility, a project-mentality; not sitting at the computer visiting job boards, but getting out there and meeting people, knocking on doors, taking ownership of their career path.
I’ve been writing for years about exactly this topic… In fact, my 2008 post asked, “How can you thrive professionally when keeping up seems about as easy as holding water in your bare hands?”
My response, then and now:
While there is much we as individuals cannot control (e.g., the stock market, whether or not the industry we chose for our career will thrive in tomorrow’s economy and if layoffs will be necessary in our company), careerists still have a lot of power.
No matter what you call it, you are the CEO of your own career, and you are the only one who has the power to make sure you get where you want to go. My mantra has been (and continues to be): Drive your own career bus.
Driving that bus has gotten a little more involved in the past four or five years. It’s become more clear how important social media tools can be to help careerists create and share a professional persona with more people than we could have ever imagined in the past.
Not only can you have “a portfolio of portable skills, a great network, flexibility and a project-mentality,” you can take it to your audience without ever leaving your home or office. Before you get out and meet people, and knock on actual doors, you can take ownership of your career path by identifying and defining your value proposition as it relates to your target audience.
Once you know what you offer and define what is distinct and special about you, you can broadcast it via your own website (via a blog) and by answering questions on LinkedIn or Quora. You can meet and engage with people you never could have otherwise met via Twitter or Google+, and you can reconnect with old friends and keep in touch with new ones on Facebook.
At the same time, let’s admit it: this brave new social media world complicates things a bit. While we can access information about our interviewer before the interview and research organizations from the comfort of our homes, job seekers are accountable for so much more than ever before. Interviewers EXPECT you to know information they may only have hoped you’d be privy to in the past.
I spoke to a job seeker at an event recently. When I explained her LinkedIn profile needed to be written to appeal to all of the types of employers she is trying to attract, her face fell…She is trying to apply to very different types of jobs. “Now, it’s even harder,” she moaned.
It can be “even harder” now if you don’t know what you want to do, if you are unfocused and if you’re not willing to learn new things. But, if you take some time to focus, and are willing to learn how social media can propel your search, you have access to opportunities beyond what you’d ever imagine.
What can you do?
Learn how social media tools can help you.
Review details about using Twitter for your job search — and embrace the network as a useful resource to connect with others and extend your network.
Don’t miss out on what Google+ has to offer. Use your profile to highlight what you know and take advantage of Google+
And, once you learn how to use social media tools, learn how to become a connector — engage and interact, introduce and incorporate your new communities into your search process.
What I wrote several years ago still holds true today — if you don’t like traffic, change how you drive through it. Take the keys and drive confidently in the direction you’d like to go next, because you are the only one who can get you there.