The Wall Street Journal Careers Section published the following articles on January 24th describing the challenges and sense of futility job candidates encounter when applying to a prospective employer:
Both articles highlight relevant trends in personal brand differentiation and demonstrating digital strategy / digital marketing expertise.
Bottom Line. Becoming an expert is one thing. Demonstrating that expertise online to a potential client or employer is another. Because, it doesn't matter if you're trying to earn a digital marketing or social media marketing position or another position in an unrelated industry.
Either way, your online presence must be FINDABLE and HUGE.
Clients or Employers Conduct Online Due Diligence
Is Your Online Presence Visible or Invisible? Clients and employers use online search and social networks in hiring evaluations. Key themes emphasized in both Wall Street Journal articles included:
- How The Internet Reinforces a "Show-Me-What-You-Got" Mindset
- Why Clients and Employers Want to Understand How You Think
- Too Many Job Candidates / Self-Proclaimed Experts, So Little Time
- How Employers / Clients are Using the Internet Evaluate Talents and Skills
Your Online Activity Represents How You Think. Your resume does not. The opening paragraphs of the No More Resumes, Say Some Firms article reinforce this growing notion especially among employers:
"Union Square Ventures recently posted an opening for an investment analyst. Instead of asking for résumés, the New York venture-capital firm—which has invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga and other technology companies—asked applicants to send links representing their "Web presence," such as a Twitter account or Tumblr blog. Applicants also had to submit short videos demonstrating their interest in the position."
"Union Square says its process nets better-quality candidates —especially for a venture-capital operation that invests heavily in the Internet and social-media—and the firm plans to use it going forward to fill analyst positions and other jobs."
"Companies are increasingly relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, video profiles and online quizzes to gauge candidates' suitability for a job. While most still request a résumé as part of the application package, some are bypassing the staid requirement altogether."
"A résumé doesn't provide much depth about a candidate, says Christina Cacioppo, an associate at Union Square Ventures who blogs about the hiring process on the company's website and was herself hired after she compiled a profile comprising her personal blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, and links to social-media sites Delicious and Dopplr, which showed places where she had traveled."
"We are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think," she says."
Rage Against the Machine
A Two-Front War: Other Candidates and the Company's Online Applicant Tracking System. The accompanying WSJ video shares why optimizing a resume for keywords is vital. Your resume can be unfairly weeded out by a machine's keyword algorithm (even with internal referrals).
Show Clients and Employers Differentiating Content
Show Me, Don't Tell Me. This excerpt from Adam Singer's September 2011 blog post, How to Start a Career in Social Media, bears repeating. The excerpt validates the WSJ article Union Square Ventures example (direct quote from Adam's blog):
"A friend of mine Eric Friedman tells the tale of his job interview with renowned VC firm Union Square Ventures in New York. During a pivotal second round interview Eric sat down with one of the partners, Brad Burnham and presented his resume. Brad told Eric to hang on to it as he just wanted to chat. When Eric pressed him as to why, Brad responded with something remarkable which went like this: “You can work really hard on crafting a well written, organized, resume with bullet points of accomplishments – but you can’t fake 500 blog posts.” On the web, it’s “show me, don’t tell me.”
Courage, Creativity, and Dedication Produce Differentiating Content. David Meerman Scott wrote this great blog post titled, Courage. He states the hardest part is starting:
"The tough part is the courage both to begin and to sustain the content creation effort.'
Do The Work. Publishing great content lurks inside all of us. Here are some examples David suggests pursuing:
- Writing (i.e., a blog, eBooks)
- Doing Videos (i.e., how-two, reviews)
- Shooting Photos
- Creating Infographics (i.e., visualizing data)
Start It and Ship It. In 2012, I'm focusing on additional writing not only via this blog but also through creating and publishing a promotional eBook.
It's time to start. I've mapped out enough ideas.
And, I have to have the courage to see what happens.
Additional 2012 calls-to-action for execution and experimentation:
- Publishing mindmaps about how I approach a problem / story
- Shooting and publishing videos (as part of my book reviews in this blog and in my Amazon book reviews)
- Networking with social media thought leaders by meeting them face-to-face
Becoming a Thought Leader Requires Courage. You can't hope someone picks you. You have to pick yourself. But, self-proclamations aren't enough. You have to do the work to back up that claim.
Therefore, achieving this goal requires more effort. And, I'm reminding myself to focus on one thing at time.
Because, starting is everything.
Your Turn. How are you going to show your expertise / your art to a potential employer or client? How are you going to differentiate yourself among the masses?
Please share your thoughts in the comments. And, I hope you'll return next week for Part 3.