Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why use Social Branding to search for a job when you’ve already got a job?

Searching for a job while you’re employed is the best time to job search. Even though the job market is tough, there are great opportunities out there for people who can help companies solve their problems.

Sure the economy stinks, and the job market is even worse. Why search now?

During rough economic times, more companies have problems. In good times, companies are more likely to continue with current strategies, adopting a “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. Not so when times are tough. Companies are more likely to shake up management and staff when underperforming, in order to apply new strategies and acquire new skill sets to implement changed strategies.

Candidates who search for a new position while currently employed allow themselves time to find the “right” opportunity, greater resources, less workload/travel/commute, better upside, and acquisition of new skills/experiences. Employed candidates have the ability to take their time in a search, as they can compare jobs to their opportunity cost – staying put.

There’s also a bias in employer psychology…there is often an employer preference towards candidates who are currently employed (yes, there’s exceptions to this).

So why isn’t everyone searching? Maybe they are….according to certain news reports, the majority of US workers are searching or at least open to a new position.

Many candidates are nervous today, that they might get discovered by their employer, that job search might take away from their current position, that they don’t have time to search due to increased work or family demands. So while current research reports show increased worker dissatisfaction (based on a Harris Interactive Q3 poll), many people just don’t take the time to search, hoping things will improve in their current position.

Typically, the employed workers who do search, do so passively, having recruiters look for them or spending a few hours per week scouring job boards. These methods aren’t all that successful when there are 6 times more unemployed than advertised positions, per recent BLS reports. Most currently employed candidates have to be careful accessing their network, as rumors back to their employer or clients can create unacceptable career or deal risk. There’s a better way.

How can currently employed candidates effectively search for a new position, while protecting their existing position and business deals?

Use Social Branding to create a “Pull Campaign”:

Traditional job search methods of sending resumes, applying for posted positions and using recruiters are all “Push Campaigns”, where you’re asking specific audiences to consider you for a job. A Pull Campaign builds an inbound opportunity pipeline of business leaders and managers who seek your expertise to solve their problem. Successful Pull Campaigns encourage employers to seek out your expertise, rather than you searching for a job or going through a recruiter (Push Campaign).

In one great way to run a Pull Campaign, the candidate brands him/herself as expert in solving a specific business problem. One very effective way is “Social Branding”, branding as a subject matter expert online - in demonstrating how you solve a defined problem or exploit a specific business opportunity, business leaders find you.

When today’s business leaders have a new problem, they first do their own due diligence…online, using search engines. Even before asking their peers, their teams, their paid advisors, business leaders due their own quick research to understand thought leaders’ views, understand terminology, understand what questions to ask. Failure to do due diligence today risks looking unprepared and few managers or leaders will risk setting such a bad impression.

A successful Social Branding strategy depicts the candidate as a thought leader via a first page Google ranking, someone whose opinion should be sought for a specific business problem or opportunity. Successfully branded Subject Matter Experts and thought leaders can build an inbound stream of emails (Pull Channel) from business leaders and managers who seek help with their problems and opportunities – those specific problems and opportunities that the candidate has the unique ability to solve.

Candidates…if you’re searching for a new position, especially if you’re a passive candidate…aren’t these the conversations you want to have?

There have never been more options available to build Pull Campaigns and Social Branding strategies. There are hundreds of free online tools to help. Linkedin and Facebook are the first step of many that include social networks, blogs, groups, forums, comments, questions, answers….and marketing all of the above to increase exposure and Google ranking in the same way businesses do.

While this has never been more possible, unless a candidate has an incredibly unique Subject Matter Expertise, it takes time and resources. The more general your SME, the greater the time and resources it should take to brand yourself online. Savvy candidates find a good balance to create a Social Brand broad enough to find an audience, yet narrow enough to provide a cost effective ROI. For example, branding yourself as “Developer” is broad enough to reach a wide audience, but too expensive to gain traction on Google rankings…many companies have invested millions to own first page results.

Currently employed candidates…how can you brand yourself to reach the right audience, yet be cost effective?

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (phil.reCareered@gmail.com), and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to phil.reCareered@gmail.com to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".

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