This is the first in a series of four posts regarding managing your career with the help of technology. I've chosen the title words very carefully as I wanted to talk about the life-long process of career management not to be confused with the job search process. Oh for sure, the job search process is a part of this but the management of your career should not start and stop with each job search you go through. I am eager to learn what has worked well for you. Please leave your comments and suggestions.
Let's start with who you are. A resume is the classic way of communicating this but it has 2 drawbacks. First, it overtly screams "I'm looking for a job" which may not be true at this time and is probably not something you want to let your current employer know. Career management is more about letting people know who you are and what you can do than it is about the occasional "hire me" sales effort.
Second, a resume doesn't say enough about the intangibles. One of the most important aspects that someone will consider about offering you a new job or new role is "Will he or she fit with the culture of the organization?" Your resume says very little about you as a person. What you're like, how you think, what's your passion, what you think about the critical issues in your field -- all important factors in how you'll be evaluated and all are something a traditional resume doesn't address.
Fortunately, technology and social media provide a number of helpful tools to let people know what you are all about. If you are in a job search there are a number of job boards around, notably, monster.com, hotjobs.yahoo.com and careerbuilder.com that allow you to post your resume for recruiters and potential employers to view. Enough said about job boards.
However, if you aren't in an active job search or want to go beyond just posting your resume you can make yourself known by creating a profile on LinkedIn or Facebook, both provide simple ways to promote yourself. LinkedIn tends to be more business and professional networking oriented and Facebook tends to be more focused on personal relationships and as a result LinkedIn tends to draw an older crowd. However, the lines between LinkedIn and Facebook are blurring and many people have a profile on both sites. Max Freiert has a great article explaining the differences in more detail.
A couple of other sites that may be useful are ZoomInfo and Ziggs. ZoomInfo compiles web references on people in the business world that are searchable by name or company plus it offers you the opportunity to add your own profile information. Ziggs allows you to add a biography in addition to a resume, answer selected interview questions and list your interests.
These are just some examples of social media sites and there are many more out there all with their individual pros and cons. Take a look at them and join and use the ones that fit with you best. You don't need to use them all, just the one(s) that meets your needs in terms of getting your message out, provides the services that you want and is the type of network you want to belong to and participate in.
But I'm not looking for a job right now. It bears repeating - career management is not just about a job search. It is preparing yourself for what you want to accomplish and making the world aware of your interest, availability and what you have to offer. Although you may not be looking for a new opportunity right now, who knows maybe a new opportunity is looking for someone like you. In any event you may meet some interesting people along the way who just might turn out to be some valuable networking resources when you are looking for a new job or who can become mentors and coaches.
I'm interested in advancing my carreer but want to stay with my current employer. Why should I go outside to social media networks? First, keep in mind that there is nothing stopping you from networking with current colleagues on these sites. These sites can provide a useful way to keep your information accessible to them and also for you to keep track of what's happening with your colleagues. Maybe that accountant you worked with on a project last year has just transferred to the division you are interested in - what a great networking opportunity. The bigger the company and more geographically dispersed it is the more useful these sites can become.
Isn't the Human Resources (HR) department supposed to look for internal candidates? Theoretically, yes. Practically speaking it is dangerous to depend on others to manage your career for you. Most HR departments don't have the resources or tools to do a really good internal search. At the risk of upsetting my many good friends in HR, HR is generally inclined to "check the boxes". That is, finding candidates the meet the quantifiable criteria rather than finding someone who can do the job. The hiring manager is the one that does that so why not use every available opportunity and tool to make yourself known?
In addition to the social media sites writing a blog or commenting on blogs is another way to show the world what you are really all about above and beyond the facts and figures of a resume. They are excellent ways to showcase your expertise, your depth and maturity, and basically show what kind of person you are. Blogging and/or commenting gives you a voice to communicate your message and to become recognized in your field.
Technology has opened up a whole new world in terms of ways we can connect with people we know and more importantly with people we've never met. Your career is important, use all the tools you can to make it a good one.
Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear how you feel about this and how you've found technology helpful in managing your career.
Upcoming posts in this series:
- Career Management With The Help of Technology: Networking (January 28, 2009)
- Career Management With The Help of Technology: Branding Yourself (February, 11, 2009)
- Career Management With The Help of Technology: Nurturing Your Network (February 25, 2009)
"Who am I?" photo by stevec77
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