Looking for a Job Isn’t a Full Time Job – But Self-Promotion Is

Detail of "Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone, 02/1931" from National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 541927 via Wikimedia CommonsGood news!  Unemployment has dropped to a three-year low of 8.3%.  That means the economy’s all better now, right?  Right?

As it turns out, there are still some folks out there languishing in unemployment.  Since there simply aren’t enough jobs to go around, it’s tough to find enough job applications to fill a full day of job searching.  When it comes down to it, if you have a somewhat specialized career (as many people do,) you’re going to have a tough time filling an entire day job searching.  To quote “Ask a Manager:”

If anyone is really spending 40 hours a week on a job search, stop and regroup. Focus on the essentials instead: applying only for jobs that are truly a strong match, writing great cover letters, having a resume that focuses on your achievements rather than just responsibilities, and making sure you’re tapping into your network.

So, under circumstances that simply don’t open up enough opportunities for employment, what else can you do to increase your chances of getting a job?

Even though you can’t apply to jobs that aren’t there, you can invest time in self-promotion.  By promoting yourself, you may increase the likelihood that you’ll be hired when the opportunity does arise.  So, what can you do that’s free, quick, and powerful at self-promotion?  Here are my top suggestions:

  1. Create a LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn is social networking for the business set.  What makes LinkedIn so useful for looking for a job is that it will quickly get you to the top of web searches for your name.  Employers also love to look up interviewees on LinkedIn.  Finally, there’s a job board on LinkedIn and plenty of discussion groups to join.
  2. Congratulations – you’re a blogger and a twitterer now!  There’s a ton of free blogging software on the internet – I’ve used and been happy with both WordPress.com and Blogger.comTwitter is also free.  Go, sign up, and start writing up content.  Here’s the secret to using these services to self-promote: write interesting, worthwhile content that’s pertinent to your industry in your own authentic voice.  If you’re a bad writer, then link to good, pertinent content and add a short commentary.  Remember, spell check and grammar check everything.  It won’t catch all mistakes, but it will help.  This will give material for your potential employers to research, and having a grasp on current technology is a plus in about every employer’s book.  Focus on quality ideas and content.
  3. Most importantly, be a good resource to others.  Help people fix their problems by using your knowledge and skill.  People are attracted to what you can do for them, and people tend to reciprocate when someone helps them.  Be a genuine person.

You can fill up a whole day in self-promotion activities, even when you can’t fill a whole day in job applications, and it just might open up an opportunity.

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