My sweet baby girl loves to play peek-a-boo with me. For those of you who haven't had a little kid around, it's the game where you cover your eyes and feign surprise upon seeing the other people. Sometimes we hide behind furniture. Sometimes we are lazy and just "hide" with our hands. No matter how we do it, it gives her no small measure of delight as we play the game. However, if you are playing this same type of game with potential employers you are going to end up with more frustration than my kiddo when encountering a locked cabinet. It's time to stop thinking "hope they find me" and start working " they WILL find me".
So, how do you make yourself as visible as possible for potential employers? Here are a few easy steps to putting yourself out there in a variety of venues:
1) Create a web presence: I hear from people all the time that they don't know what all of the hoopla is about www.LinkedIn.com , www.twitter.com, and www.facebook.com. As a result, they are waiting until they understand these sites better before they post a profile. As a job search coach, this makes me incredibly nervous for them since I know so many recruiters who have pretty much turned their backs on the job boards. I promise you job seekers-the time is now! These sites are very easy to learn and next to impossible to screw up on. They all have tutorials, classes, or guides on navigating their sites and making the most of your experience. How do you know that you have done it right? Well, easy-try going to www.google.com and search for yourself. If you can find some links to you, then so can recruiters.
2) Be realistic about privacy/security concerns online: I know several job seekers who are highly concerned about privacy/security issues. For many of these job seekers who are so convinced that someone will steal their identity if they post a profile, they limit their online job seeking to responding to published openings on corporate sites only. What they fail to remember is by having such a singular focus, they are putting themselves in a highly competitive pool of candidates where the average job posting may receive anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand applications. Do you really think an overworked, underpaid recruiter is going to go through all of those applications to find you, the proverbial needle in the haystack? Uh, no. However, you can still post a profile and not end up on Dateline NBC as the next cover story. Visit sites such as www.worldprivacyforum.org to better understand how to both protect yourself and make yourself visible to potential employers.
3) Don't be a lurker! While I'm going to encourage you to get out there and build a strong web presence, I won't encourage you to do it just to say "I have a profile on ...". You have to engage in the virtual conversations happening around you. While on LinkedIn, join groups and either get in the discussions or answer many of the questions posted on the site. Discovering Twitter and trying to figure out what to tweet out? Think newsworthy, timely, and value added. The great part about Twitter is that you can often re-tweet news articles that you read on sites like www.cnn.com all with the touch of one button. Finally posted a profile on Facebook? Go find connections, keep your status updated, and remember to update your connections on where you are in your search.
Bottom line is this-unless you are the only person in a 500 mile radius with your skill set, you are probably going to have to hustle to find your next job. Creating a robust web presence that highlights your accomplishments and gives employers a chance to find you is a great way of getting your search working for you. Happy posting!