21st Century Job Hunting | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

21st Century Job Hunting

For many fields, the 21st century job seeker benefits from having an online resume. First, get a blog. Blogger and WordPress are free online hosts for blogs where you can post your resume. Have pages that link to different projects or a page of great comments from your references. Focus the content toward your ideal job.

The Resume
For many fields, the 21st century job seeker benefits from having an online resume. First, get a blog. Blogger and WordPress are free online hosts for blogs where you can post your resume. Have pages that link to different projects or a page of great comments from your references. Focus the content toward your ideal job.

Take advantage of LinkedIn, a site perfect for job seekers. List your experience and education, then connect with people you know in your field. It's essentially a virtual resume. Checking your references can be instant and interactive. A little time invested can lead to introductions to other professionals at a company you would like to work for.

Study your prospective employer. You might be interviewing with an old-fashioned firm that expects a hard copy of your resume on heavyweight paper. Or your potential boss might expect a cell-phone bump to instantly download your stats. Be prepared for any possibility. Along the same lines, have several versions of your resume available. Tailor one resume to emphasize your skills and knowledge, and another one that is a traditional chronological list of your experience. Always have an extra copy of your resume when you go to an interview.

CNET.com suggests a free software program that can help. It gives its highest rating to JobTabs Job Search and Resume 2011, a program that helps you write a resume and even organizes your job search. You can get a 14-day free trial. Download at http://www.www.jfp.ms/work/resumes.

The Internet offers many online resume builders. Some are free. Also, many employers such as the U.S. government have online resume builders targeted specifically for particular jobs and career fields. To see how it works, start a profile at usajobs.gov.

While you can post your resume on Monster.com or other similar sites, you might come closer to hitting your target if you post on a site aimed to your field or industry. For example, the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants offers accountant job seekers a place to post resumes at careers.ms-cpa.org. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (http://www.sme.org/jobsconnection) and Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association (msra.org) offer similar services.

Don't forget your college's alumni association or other organizations you belong to. Chances are those groups have websites that allow you to post a resume.

Your Platform
Beyond a resume, job seekers and all professionals need a platform—a modern word for brand. If this seems overwhelming, companies such as FirstDigital are popping up to help you create your personal branding. The company helps you with resumes, online multi-media presentations, job aggregation from multiple sites plus a snazzy website. Even if you decide not to use the service, take a tour of the site at firstdialog.com/home and get some ideas you can use when developing your platform.

A platform is part mission statement, part personal vision. It is a combination of your social media presence, your professional demeanor and your future aspirations. To build your personal brand, choose how you wish the world to see you as a professional. Become an expert. Then consider teaching classes, writing magazine articles, blogging or being a guest speaker.

"Emerging is when you use a platform to come into your own," marketing guru Seth Godin writes on this blog at sethgodin.typepad.com. "Merging is when you sacrifice who you are to become part of something else."

Scott Ginsberg, who calls himself NameTag Scott, suggests authenticity and approachability as key concepts in creating a personal brand. "If someone can't approach you, how can they get behind you?" Ginsberg asks. He wears a nametag as part of his philosophy.

When developing your brand and your platform, Ginsberg says to follow the three Cs: credibility, consistency and commitment. These qualities show in your work, your tweets and your personal interactions. You can read more of Ginsberg's tips at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.

Online Mistakes
You could argue that a resume is passé—a potential employer can learn most everything about you with a Google search.

That means the night you got drunk in college and your roommate took a picture of you hugging the commode could hurt your chances of getting a job. And while everybody has something to hide, a casual attitude about your social-media presence will strike many managers as irresponsible behavior they don't want replicated in the workplace.

But social media can also let people see your intelligence, activity, contributions and humanity, says Sean Lindsay, co-founder of Viximo. In a September article at Boston.com, Lindsay said two things would be worrisome online:

• Negativity: abusive interactions, consistently pessimistic attitude
• Absence: a total lack of presence on any sites

You can increase the chances of potential bosses or clients finding good information about you when they search for your name. For your blogs and personal website, understand SEO– search-engine optimization. Use tags on entries that highlight your good qualities and expertise. Yoast.com provides a good overview of how this works with technical details.

Set up a Google Alert so that anytime your name shows up online, you know about it before your mother or supervisor sees it. Fill out the fields at google.com/alerts, and start getting emails whenever your name is in the news or on the blogs. It won't prevent bad information from getting out in the public, but at least you can manage it and be prepared to challenge it or defend it.

Sites like http://www.reputation.com claim to be able to help fix your public image—and help you guard against "digital discrimination." But the best prevention is to watch what you put out there in the first place. Feel free to have an edge and be opinionated—dynamic employers like engaged people—but know that constantly complaining about having to work hard may well keep you from being paid to do so.

Keys to Your Platform:

• Credibility
• Consistency
• Commitment

Source: http://www.hellomynameisscott.com

Support our reporting -- Follow the MFP.