Standing Out In An Online Job Search World

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I recently spoke at the Career Transition Institute in Columbus. I was speaking on the job search in a digital world. The trick with this is that the attendees were certainly not digital natives. Many had worked in the same company for years and for whatever reason were displaced and now seeking a job. When they last looked for a job newspaper want-ads and mailing out resumes is how it was done. Today there is an entirely new paradigm. Online is the way the job search world works and to succeed you get to participate.

The way I look at this is the same way I look at promoting entrepreneurial businesses. Tell your story, be real and create value. There is no doubt the people in the audience  had huge knowledge but they were not making it known as they were focusing on resumes and cover letters. Regardless of how good the resume is it is going to look like everyone else’s because that’s the game. If you want to succeed you get to be proactive and show who you are and what you will bring to the prospective employer. Here are a few tips I shared.

Tips For Standing Out In An Online Job Search

Know Yourself ~ Before you jump into search mode make sure you are clear what you want to do. Just because you have a degree in a certain subject or you did something specific in a former job does not mean that you are locked into that past reality. This is the time to decide what you really want to do with your life and create the path to getting there.

For example, I have an Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance. for the first ten years out of college I worked in banking. Didn’t really like it. Luckily I was downsized out of my job and was able to shift to something in economic development. What did it take from me? Going back to school and getting a Master’s degree in Public Administration, working in a retail job while I went to school and resisting every instinct I had to take a banking job. Not easy but worth it. What kept me going while I was looking? Knowing myself, what I was about and what I wanted.

As part of knowing yourself you also get to be specific about where you want to work, the types of jobs you want and you will begin to identify people who can get you into the job you want. These people typically won’t be people you know but those are exactly the people to target.

Create Your Outpost ~ Just like a business you need a place to point people to online. I like the idea of creating a blog where you can control what is there and show yourself how you feel makes the most sense. This could be a full blown website but it could be something simpler depending on your audience. You could opt for something like Medium, a YouTube Channel or you could use LinkedIn. Whatever makes the most sense for you to guide people to who who could assist in your search/hiring.

Create Content ~ Now it the time to begin creating content that represents you and the skills that you will bring to an employer.

The first thing you do is create content that positions you as an expert or at least someone who knows their shit. Format can vary. Whether it is written, voice or video for you to be successful you are Creating Value for those who consume your content. Ultimately this will be hiring managers or people who can influence the hiring process.

Next, make sure the content is unique. Content can have value and still look like everything else that is available on the web. Put your spin on it so that you stand out and people will be willing to share your content with people that can make a difference in your job search.

Be Proactive, Reach Out To Those That Should Know You ~ Now that you have content that speaks to your skills and what you are all about it is time to start to share it. In the Know Yourself phase you determined what you wanted to do and began identifying places you might like to work. From that you get to do some undercover work and find people you could begin to connect with. Message them and share something that might be interesting to them. You get to connect and let them become comfortable with you then you can ask for a call or a sit down.

To make this work you will be contacting a lot of people. The number of people you contact is up to you but know not everyone is going to reply, not everyone will be interested in what you send them, not everyone will want to meet. You should cast a large net so that for all that are misses you will find some people that are interested.

Be Confident and Persistent ~ To succeed in this game you get to show your true self and be confident in your abilities and skills. You will be putting yourself out there to people you don’t know and you will be doing this over and over again.  Sure it is easier to just send out resumes and apply for jobs on a job board along with hundreds of other people but this can set you apart. If this makes you feel uncomfortable you are doing it right. Trying new things is how you create new results. The key is to believe in yourself enough to get someone else to believe in you enough to hire you.