Well, sorry for being so dramatic, but I couldn’t help it. I just read this gem of a post from financial productivity blog, Get Rich Slowly. Wait till you hear the title of their blog post – 10 Essential steps to take BEFORE you’re laid off. I told you I wasn’t being so dramatic!
Some of the 10 steps, outlined by Kevin Merritt, echoed some of the oft-repeated themes on this blog. In particular ways to use social media to find your dream job! You know where I’m going with this. So, here are three essential steps you can should carry out whether you’re looking for a job or looking to keep one.
Rest assured, these three steps will help position your online professional brand in as little as 10 minutes. Here goes.
Step 1: For Pete’s sake, get yourself a LinkedIn profile
If you’re not on LinkedIn in this day and age, you’re probably reading the wrong blog. Well, don’t worry, if you don’t have one – just go get yourself one. It’d take all of 5 minutes to get yourself all set up.
Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool. Be honest, genuine and show some humility, but also make yourself stand out in a crowd. Optimize your profile for the five-line preview that comes up when someone conducts a search.
And, as Kevin recommends, optimize your profile. Guy’s post on a LinkedIn extreme makeover edition is still the gold standard when it comes to tips on hacking your LinkedIn profile in the shortest time. Take a read. If you’re from Marketing/PR/Sales/Business Development, feel free to use my LinkedIn profile as an example.
Step 2: Learn to use LinkedIn the right way
Now that you have that shiny new LinkedIn profile, all set to shine when someone searches for that elusive marketing consultant, you may want to proactively enhance your professional brand. You know, give LinkedIn a real workout. And, that’s where I jump in to provide an unsolicited pitch for the LinkedIn Blog (OK, I manage/edit the blog) and I’m proud of the content that over 50 of my colleagues have helped create on topics that range from examples of users sharing tips on winning that million dollar client – thanks to LinkedIn (I, kid you not!) to breaking news on product functionality such as LinkedIn’s next-gen search.
But, I digress. Before you get all professional on LinkedIn, there are simple steps you can take to add to your professional street-cred. For e.g.: let your online network resemble your real-world network
Future employers aren’t dumb. They’ll detect that you only decided to invest in updating your profile and expanding your network and references after you lost your job. Do it now. Like physical networking, developing your virtual network takes time too. Set goals. For example: “I want to have 100 contacts by the end of the year and 250 contacts by this time next year.”
Here’s the best part. This simple task of importing your existing email contacts to LinkedIn shouldn’t take you a whole year, rather a few minutes. Ready. Set. Import.
Step 3: Get a blog
I know this would go against the other commandment – “get a life” but rest assured if you learn this valuable skill you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from among millions of other talented individuals. As I’ve said before, think of a blog as your competitive advantage. An insurance package that you break into, in case of an emergency. And, guess what, this may be just the right time for you to spend an hour a day (even once a week would suffice) sharing your thoughts on professional stuff.
Your blog is your living resume. It shows how you think. It shows how you write. It shows what’s important to you. While it is fine to blog about personal topics, devote half of your posts to professional content. What is that you do by trade? Mentor us through your blog. We employers love hiring mentors — they raise everybody’s performance.
Readers of this blog, may recall the blog discussion I had with Adam Darowski on exactly this topic almost 20 months ago – Your blog is your resume. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead. Prove your professional mettle on your career blog. It just may save your job or find you one!
Questions? Tips? Leave a comment.