I was at a local business networking event the other night and got to talking with a gentleman who had recently decided to go “independent” and start his own consulting business.
“So, how is business going?” I asked him.
He started to reply, then stopped, sighed and said, “You know the thing is that I’m great at the technical part of my job. I’m really good. The problem, is that I’m really bad at marketing myself.”
The sad irony is that here is a bleeding edge software developer and yet he had zero idea of how to network – a huge surprise to me in this era of blogs, tweets, and mobile messaging (to paraphrase the soon to be immortal movie, “Hot Tub Time Machine” – “no Facebook, no texts, no Twitter, how am I supposed to get in touch with you?” ‘Come find me!’ “That sounds exhausting.” Never before has it been so much faster, cheaper, and more effective to market yourself. I wondered if his problems were due to a lack of effort (doubtful, as this was his own business) or more likely, a lack of smart marketing. Was his voice just being lost in the void, in the masses of similar people trying to do similar things?
He was on the right track. Seattle 2.0’s events (http://www.seattle20.com/) are a great venue for what he was doing and I saw him working the room, but I wondered what else he was doing beyond that. Sure, I could find him if I went to his static page, but would I ever stumble upon his company by chance?
The same exact thing can be said about you in your job search. Posting your resume is great – in the short term. You get a burst of frenzied activity and calls in that first week, only to see the calls slowly taper off as recruiters move on to fresher pastures. Meanwhile your resume sits online, gathering virtual dust.
You can work to make yourself a desired target no matter where you are in your job search. You see, the holy grail of recruiting is attracting those passive job seekers. How do recruiters know who to target? Easy – the people who make themselves known. People who contribute regularly on their industry blogs and forums. People who post articles on blogs about their careers. People who follow subject matter experts on Twitter. Leave a digital breadcrumb and watch the recruiters follow you all the way home.
So get started – market yourself, the candidate, as you were a company. There are some great resources out there, at least enough to give you a beginner level understanding of how to market yourself. I’d recommend starting by picking up David Meerman Scot’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR (http://www.amazon.com/New-Rules-Marketing-PR-Podcasting/dp/0470113456).
Because trust me, somewhere out there is a recruiter with the perfect job who would love to talk to you. All you have to do is show us where to find you.