By now you understand finding the perfect job requires more than simply writing a resume and posting it online. In fact, if you are going to take the apply-on-line approach you should spend NO MORE than 2 hours per week at it. Less than 5% of jobs are ever posted online, so if you are going to find your next job fast you need to spend your time elsewhere.
The successful and savvy job seeker will develop a compelling personal brand and spend 75% of their time (or more) promoting it. Here are 7 key ways to promote your personal brand.
1. BUY PRINTED BUSINESS CARDS
I am consistently shocked by the number of job seekers who have absolutely NO way of letting other people know how to contact them other than by shoving a resume in their face. And no, the one's you print at home on your own computer are NOT good enough! Business cards are inexpensive. Sometimes you can even get free business cards from places like Prints Made Easy or free shipping from stores like Office Max.
As for what to put on your card? I recommend the minimalist approach. Put your name, email address, phone, and LinkedIn profile address. You don't need a title or a cute picture. Get a non-glossy finish and leave the back empty so people can jot down notes about you.
2. DEVELOP A CONCISE ELEVATOR PITCH
Give just enough information to make people want to ask you to tell them more. Don't focus on your past, instead focus on your future. Nobody cares you have 15 years experience in micro-processors. They want to know what you can do for THEM now! Be memorable, but not flippant or cutesy. Lastly, rehearse it at least 100 times out loud BEFORE you use it in a group. You want it to be polished, but not too formulaic. For more help on developing your elevator pitch, see my post on Jim Nudelman's 4 Step Process.
3. SHOW UP
You have business cards and a concise elevator pitch, but what good are they if you sit all day at the computer? Plan a strategy to show up in places where your target audience is (i.e. potential employers in key companies within your target industries) or where the people who know them will be.
4. LISTEN AND BUILD TRUST
Networking is NOT about you. It's about building a relationship. It's about helping people in your network of friends and colleagues connect for mutual benefit. It's about finding out what someone else needs and helping them.
5. COMPLETE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
This is one of the most important online tools you will have. A great resource for learning more about how to beef up your LinkeIn account is from Joshua Waldman with Career Enlightenment. Check him out. He's is THE premiere professional on this topic!
6. FOLLOW UP
Develop a press kit you can send if asked. Better yet, develop an online press kit using Visual CV or create a blog (I like WordPress). Online you can store video clips, PDF files, work examples and much more.
7. SEND A THANK YOU CARD
Every career coach from here to Katmandu tells their clients to do this. It's an inexpensive way to keep you on the top of someone's mind. Personal, hand written cards get past the usual gate keepers and are absolutely read by their intended recipient. If these things are true, then why is it so few job seekers actually do it?! I must meet with 10-15 people per week. You would think my mailman and I would be on a first name basis after that. The reality is, only about 1 in 100 send a written thank you card. Does it make an impression? You bet it does!
True, I don't have any job openings. However, I do get calls and emails all the time from people who have openings. If I have a handwritten thank you note on my desk from YOU when I get the call, how much more likely do you think I will be to pass along your name to a prospective employer?
Click on this Office Depot link RIGHT NOW and order some thank you cards. While you are at it, click on this link and buy some stamps online. Keep them at your desk within arms reach, and write thank you notes to EVERYONE you talked to that day - in person or on the phone. DO THIS EVERY NIGHT before you go to bed! Include another business card along with a note as to how much you appreciated their time. Trust me, it will make a HUGE difference!
I hope you can see these things aren't difficult. They aren't hard to remember. They don't require an advanced degree to implement. They are easy, and there are only 7 of them. You can implement this strategy in just one week by doing just one each day. Have fun, and happy hunting!