One of the best pieces of advice I ever got early in my engineering career was from a Chrysler manager. He told me to never write anything in an e-mail if I wouldn’t want to see it on the front page of the Detroit Free Press. It was a rule I’d already broken. I only did it once.
That was in 1994. We didn’t have facebook, twitter, Google+, not even blogs. The information revolution had barely fired its opening salvo.
Apparently this lesson taught to me those many years ago has not gained traction, because I can look up just about anyone on facebook and get a full load of everything they’ve been up to since the beginning of time (you know…2004).
Let me ask you something, my friends. If this 46 year-old antique who still remembers the necessity of leaving one’s seat to change the TV channels can figure out facebook and twitter, do you think maybe your teachers, your parents, or your potential employers can figure it out? Would you walk into an interview and start the conversation with how drunk you got the previous weekend?
Because you’re doing it. I promise you that almost every employer you’d care to work for has figured out how to screen candidates with a little social website research. If you’re not getting any calls, you may want to take a quick survey of your twitter posts. Oh look, you think that your ex-girlfriend is a &%$#@ piece of trash. Wow. Can we hire you today?!?
That’s the negative. What you post online is public knowledge and for public reference. That includes what you text. Ask any former Detroit Mayor. Also what you scan. Agree with Applebees or not, this was a boneheaded move of classic proportions (as a side note, the pastor didn’t portray Christians in a very good light, either). Regardless, your freedom of speech ranks right up there with a company’s freedom to hire and fire who they please. Now for the positive.
Posting YOU all over
You guys…well, me too…have got the greatest opportunities to sell yourself than anyone in the Pac Man generation could have ever dreamed. If you’re still ending your job search with a few resume’s e-mailed to as many companies as you could find on Monster.com, you are trapped in the DOS 5.1 ages. You may get a job, but you won’t find anything that really matches your passion. In 48 Days to the Work You Love, Dan Miller explains to you how to hunt for the job YOU want, not the ones offered in places like Monster and CareerBuilder. It’s great advice. Read the book.
I will also take Dan’s advice but go a step further. You will still send out resume’s. But let’s give your soon-to-be employee something a bit more to latch on to. Remember, you have to be different than the hundreds of other candidates that may be applying for the same job.
A blog is the best way to tell the world about yourself. But don’t just make it your daily ramblings about your love life and what your cat threw up. Make it about your expertise. Are you a student at a culinary institute? How about a blog about your favorite dishes, including recipes and even videos. Is dog training your passion? Same thing. A blog (the Doggy Bloggy?) about training, problems with dogs, etc. Use videos here as well. Remember, an employer makes a hiring decision on 80% personality and 20% experience. That’s because they’ve hired their share of experienced jerks.
I don’t care if your blog gets readers other than your mother and roommate. This is your online resume. If it does get readers…well, there’s a chance at a side income. And a chance for a lot more potential employers to find you long before you find them.
Got the blog done? Why not? I waited at least five minutes. Okay, take some time when you’ve got an afternoon to kill. I suggest you go to BloggingYourPassion.com and pick up some advice. Don’t get wrapped up in the income side of it at this point. Remember, you’re promoting You, Inc. at this point, not your blog.
Google+ as your introduction
And let’s not leave out the all-important social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, and now Google+ are fantastic venues to market yourself. You do this by building relationships. I especially like Google+. The communities make it very easy to network and meet potential employers. Be casual, make friends. And make sure a link to your blog is on your profile. Here’s my warning: Do not be a spammer. There’s nothing more aggravating than the guy who never says anything but continually posts links to his blog. Would you walk down a street every day holding a big sign that says “Hire me” or “Buy my product”? I hope not. Don’t do it online, either. I’d block my own grandmother if I had to. People have been online long enough that they’re way too smart to fall for that any more.
Get the picture? Remember the power of YouTube. Make videos of you, being you, and doing what you love. Embed those in your posts. Have fun with it. Be creative (to a point). And present you to the world.
And if you need any more ingenious ideas like the Doggy Bloggy, let me know.
If you have a blog or are now going to make one, post it in the comments. I’d love to see what you came up with.