A New Year… New Strategies

2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Happy New Year, everyone!  And as the saying goes: ‘Out with the old … in with the new.”  As we begin a new year of challenges, and a new year of blessings; I pray that you and your loved ones are well. 

Hebrews 8:13 – “In that He says, “A new covenant, He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

With media reports of the first decline in unemployment in over three years; it appears that employers are hiring in 2012.  As  the competition increases, we must implement new strategies to get hired.  This year I’ve decided one of my resolutions is to expand my personal e-brand.  While researching this process, I’ve discovered some good and bad information out there.  This leads me to discover that this process of good e-branding is a personal journey.  Because anyone can put up a website and post a resume.  The objective is to be more creative in presenting ourselves. There are many books and publications regarding the subject out there.  But, in reading them, I realize that not every one of us wants to get a book published or sell a tangible product. Many of us, as jobseekers, just want to know how to increase our visibility in a competitive market place and get hired.  To do so, means promoting and seperating ourselves from the masses.  Think of yourself as the product.

Therefore, over the next few weeks and months, I will share my findings with you … things that work, or don’t work, and some things that I might find useful.  (That is, in my humble opinion, anyway.) Personal branding has become a booming industry. You can find hundreds of posts and videos about the subject on the internet.  Many of them are by self-proclaimed experts, some by seasoned business or social networking marketing gurus.  But, in the end, none of them are experts on you, your brand, who you are as person … particularly your values, and career goals. You have to determine what works best for you.

That said; let’s start with your goals. Who are you, who/where do you want to be, what are your goals? Start by making a list of your current skills, what skills you’d like to gain, what is it that you really like to do, what top skills are you really good at, what’s your job objectives.  Employers are seeking the best of the best.  What makes you best at what you do?

This will give you the basis for your value statement.  Your value statement is like your pitch line, your sales description, your personal branding statement … How you will sell yourself to hiring managers, recruiters, employers (e.g., the prospective buyer).  This is also known as your Value Proposition.  It is a precisely written paragraph, or two, as to what you offer and why you should be hired. If you’re anything like me, I am not my most favorite subject.  I’d much rather hear about what my colleagues and friends are up to than to toot my own horn. But, then that’s an old school of thought.  Time to refresh, and renew!   

Mark 2:21 – “No one sews a piece of unshrunk (new) cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse..” 

It’s a New Year, a new day, and certainly a new market place.  As the market place changes, so must we.  We can no longer rely on career longevity at one company.  These days we must be proactive and take ownership of our career path.  

I resigned myself to perfecting my value statement by writing it in third person.  Then, revised it a couple times.  That way, you can be more objective about how you would sell this person’s skills/work experience to a prospective employer.  First, review your resume and list all of the skills and accomplishments that you want to highlight about the candidate that you just read about.  (More on resumes later.)  Now, formulate that list of accomplishments into a paragraph.  Your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect.  The important thing is to get started on it, now.  Once written, it can always be revised over time. Many times, if need be. It may help to have a mentor, someone who is familiar with your work ethic to review it and provide feedback as well. Once you are satisfied with your Value Proposition, you can use it on resumes and professional networking sites as your header (i.e., headline).

That leads me to the subject of social networking.  As I’ve mentioned before, LinkedIn.com is the most popular professional networking website.  Often times, hiring managers and recruiters will use such sites to research candidates before posting jobs to the internet.  It’s no longer enough to post your resume to job search sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Simply Hired, or Indeed.com.   Although, you should post your resume or CV to those as well; you need to have a professional web presence. 

Note, I mentioned a “professional” web presence.  Sure, you can have a Facebook page where you can update your friends and share family photos.  But, you should also create a separate portal to highlight your career, your job search and professional brand.  In fact, Facebook provides a fan page where you can do just that; again, this page should be separate from the one you share with our personal audience.  Be sure it portrays the image you want a prospective employer to see.  Again, LinkedIn is the most frequently used professional networking site and the perfect place to start with your professional profile.

Once you’ve placed your Value Proposition on LinkedIn.com; you should also post your work history using your resume as a guide.  Then, you’re ready to duplicate your efforts to other social networks.   To get started, at the very least, you should post your professional profile to the following sites:
                a) LinkedIn.com
                b) Twitter.com
                c) Facebook.com

You always can expand on your web presence as your schedule permits.  Other sites might  include Flickr.com, Yahoo.com, FriendFeed.com, and YouTube.com, etc.  It’s important to manage your online persona and keep it current.  Update your profile often, so search engines will index it and your profile will be among the top search results.  When you add new skills, employers, certifications or degrees to your resume, it’s important to update your professional profiles as well. 

With the onset of economic recessions, corporate outsourcing and downsizing, particularly when I was laid off after 9-11; I realized that my next job would be just that… My next job in what could possibly be the next of many in a chaotic market place.  Most of us will change jobs many times over our careers. Others may change careers a few times in our lives. The job market is a new world.  Competing in it is a new challenge, a new battle field if you will.  As the New Year brings on new challenges, we can prepare for the battle one step at a time … Together.  For we know that ‘with God all things are possible.”  [Matthew 19:26]   

Revelation 21:5
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

 What are your favorite personal branding and job search strategies?

Have a blessed day in Jesus’ Name,
Kim

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