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Feels like this should be a hushed whispered conversation, but out of 45,000 people there must be a fair number thinking about their next career step.

If you are going to conference and handing out business cards or even a cv what are people going to find about you when they jump on line and search for you to follow up on discussions?

 “Standing on a street corner waiting for no one, is power.” Said poet Gregory CorsoHe was writing at a time before the explosion of the net and social media but his sentiment of putting yourself out there under your own control is perfect for the change to career management that we are witnessing globally.

Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal had a number of pieces on recruitment.  The message was that access to information through social media has made the traditional CV of less value.

As the economy picks up and people return to career planning instead of career survival, being discoverable is going to become the name of the game. Social media is the tool to provide a street corner which is more 42nd St than Sesame St!

Professional’s  focus around social media has, for some been about control and restrictions, managing risk and PR disasters.  As a result many people have steered away from having a social media presence.  However, now that recruiters have embraced social media as a new communications channel, it is our turn to do so, for our own personal profiles and career development.

The traditional model of candidates reacting to job adverts is being added to, by proactive searching by recruiters, hunting out the perfect candidate who matches all the multi dimensions their client is seeking. The Prince found the foot that fit the slipper because he went to everyone in the kingdom in person, this is clearly not an option outside of a fairy story!

If your profile, your expertise and your brand value are not out there on the corner, the dream job recruiter is not going to find you even if you are the perfect fit.

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all popular sites for searchers when it comes to hunting out the perfect fit.

Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding in the US and founder of the Personal Branding Blog, believes that those who do not have an online presence within any of these websites will not appear to be relevant to employers, and will risk being passed over for more “savvy applicants that have more ‘visibility’”.

None of this is to suggest that face-to-face networking is any less important.  Seth Apple is a practice development manager at a US law firm and he recommends that associates and those seeking to build their careers inside and outside their firms should send out “Reverse APBs”. Instead of an APB being a call out for a missing person these APBs stand for: Attendance, Participation and Branding.  Social media can again be a valuable tool in these activities and achieving the desired visibility.

Becoming discoverable is less work and a lot less daunting than you might think.  As an experiment, if you Google “Jennie Vickers” you get about 2,800 hits. Have a go with your own name and then try these 5 things and search again 2 weeks later:

  1. Have a conversation with someone you trust and talk about your work passions, your ambitions, your goals, the work you are most proud of and then listen when they reflect it back to you. Out of a good conversation will emerge your strengths and your passions then capture them in a few words or concepts which describe your expertise;
  2. Get linked In with LinkedIn. If you have a profile go in, make more connections, talk about the expertise and strengths identified in step 1, add an update every day for 5 days about something relevant to your expertise, add some skills and accomplishments and bring your profile to life.  If you are not LinkedIn then get started and do not restrict people’s ability to ask to connect to you.  You can decide who you connect to but do not make it hard for people who want to;
  3. Start up a blog. WordPress.com gives access to a free blog builder and the set up is fairly simple and if you cannot work it out ask your kids to do it for you and then get writing. Even my guide dog friend Luke has a blog and that took about an hour to set up (I am still waiting for him to write his first entry but he has lost 9kgs!);
  4. Start asking for recommendations, endorsements and testimonials of your work and add them to Linkedin; and
  5.  Take a crack at twitter by re-tweating useful information relevant to your expertise and then when feeling courageous, start to put your own useful advice out there.

For many who embrace this “being found” concept, even these 5 simple tasks might seem daunting.  “Executive as Expert” ” is a programme which has developed out of the need to assist time poor, media shy business executives make the transition from career management by reaction, towards expertise positioning, using the web and social media. Ask a Zeopard if you want more information.

So finally, if making yourself visible on the web-street corner is not for you then I caution you with the words of author Diana Gabaldon who said “…sitting and waiting is one of the most miserable occupations known to man – not that it usually is known to men; women do it much more often.” If you do not want to be miserable, stop sitting and waiting and get out there onto the web.

Happy job hunting.

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