How is the job market changing with new technology? What does that mean for my own career? These days it seems that a job search is as much about LinkedIn and Twitter as it is about CV and cover letter. Therefore, it’s vital that your professional identity is reflected on the Web. Here are some thoughts that’ll help you maximise your potential online.
Relationships > spam
When we use the Web professionally, it’s often to achieve something like a new job. If that’s the only time you use it, people know you’re after something. For example, as I’m a final year student, I’m fairly frequently sent job descriptions from recruiters, which I’m
likely to ignore (see a rather more opinionated piece by Zeller 2014).Instead, why not use the web to build longer term relationships? Recently I’ve been conducting research for my dissertation. As I’d build up my network previously, I was able to ‘activate’ it and generate an impressive response.
Take the long view
This is not an easy thing to achieve. Building and maintaining a network requires time and effort. All of the time you should making a conscious effort to add people to your network and maintaining existing relationships (see Don Tapscott 2014 for more detail about this). However, whenever it’s needed your network will pay dividends in unexpected expertise and insight. You might not even need to use your network, they might find you!
What makes you, you? It’s a cliché but very relevant to your professional self. For example, I’m an undergraduate student, there’s 1.75 million of us (Universities UK n.d.). At the University of Southampton? 17,485 (Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2016). Studying Web Science? Around 20.
The point here is to understand what makes you unique. Give reasons why someone should become part of your network. What interesting projects have you worked on? What causes are you passionate about? In essence, why should they spend time on you? Take a look at some ideas William Arruda (2015) has for standing out. The answers to these questions are what your online profile should focus on.
Years to build a reputation, seconds to destroy it
Finally, a note of caution. You may have heard of the Justine Sacco case (for more background, see Ronson 2015, Pilkington 2013). In brief, she sent a racist tweet and became a worldwide sensation as her life was torn apart. My point from this example is that you have to be consistent and careful with your online profile. It only takes one tweet…
I hope these ideas are helpful to you. The key thing is to not give up, this is a long term process.
Word count: 418
Arruda 2015 ‘10 Outstanding Ways To Stand Out In A Job Search’ https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2015/11/11/10-outstanding-ways-to-stand-out-in-a-job-search/#72b4882f4d5b
Higher Education Statistics Agency 2016 ‘2015/16 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile’ https://www.hesa.ac.uk/files/student_1516_table_1.xlsx
Pilkington 2013 ‘Justine Sacco, PR executive fired over racist tweet, ‘ashamed’’ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/pr-exec-fired-racist-tweet-aids-africa-apology
Ronson 2015 ‘How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life’ https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=1
Tapscott 2014 ‘Five ways talent management must change’ https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/10/don-tapscott-talent-management-millennials/
Universities UK n.d. ‘Higher education in numbers’ http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/facts-and-stats/Pages/higher-education-data.aspx
Zeller 2014 ‘Stop the Recruiting Spam. Seriously.’ http://recruitingdaily.com/recruiting-spam/