I write a lot here about how to use Web 2.0 tools to support professional development and career management. One area I haven't focused on as much is how these tools can support a key career management skill--job searching. Over the course of the next few days, I'm going to remedy that by sharing with you what I've been doing with Shari, (that's her to the left) a mid-career training professional who was recently laid off and is currently conducting her second job search in a year.
This series will NOT be about using different job search engines, although I'll certainly be mentioning those. Instead, I'm going to be looking at how you can use various tools to organize your job search and market yourself to potential employers. These strategies will work for both active job seekers, as well as those of you who should be engaged in passive job searching--creating an online identity for yourselves that will showcase your skills and talents and lead potential employers to contact you for possible job opportunities. I would argue that we should ALL be engaged in passive job searching, but that's a whole other blog post.
The series is going to combine best practices in job search and career development that I've developed over years of working with individuals and organizations on career management issues with the practical ways in which Web 2.0 tools can support that process. The topics I'll be covering include:
- Setting up A Job Search Dashboard
- Tools for Organizing Your Job Search
- Setting up an Online Portfolio
- Developing Your Personal Brand
- Tools to Support Branding
I'm hoping that by showing you how Shari and I are working through these issues, you'll get a better picture of how these strategies could work for you or for someone you know who is involved in a job search. I'm not going to get into a serious step-by-step. Instead, I want to give you an overall picture of how these things fit together.
My other purpose for writing this series is to show how to work with anyone in helping them adopt Web 2.0 tools. As you'll see, it's much more effective if they have a specific, compelling need and then we're able to show them how a tool or process will help them meet that need. It also helps if you can tie any new tools to tools that they're already using to make the process go more smoothly.
So let's get started by getting to know a little about Shari.
As I mentioned, Shari is a mid-career training professional with great skills and years of experience as a Training Manager. She's clearly talented and accomplished and has participated in a variety of professional development activities and certifications over the years. But despite her efforts, like many mid-career professionals, she's been laid off--for the second time in a year. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon and from my perspective is one of the key reasons why all of us need to learn how to be passive job hunters so we can be prepared for these inevitable downturns.
Shari's technology expertise is pretty typical. She's skilled in using the obvious Microsoft Office applications and in using the Internet for email, searches, etc. As a training professional, she's also used tools like Camtasia and Snag It to develop e-learning courses and recently began participating in an ASTD group blog where she's shared her knowledge of how to use the Buckingham Strengths model for training and development.
When I started talking with her a few weeks ago, she'd begun to explore the Google suite of tools--she had a Gmail account and had started playing around with Google Reader, although she had not gotten into some of the other tools, like i-Google or Google calendar. And best of all, she's excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities of the technology, so working with her to expand the tools she uses and apply them to her job search is something she's very interested in doing.
Shari lives in Oregon and I live in Philadelphia. We were connected through Christine Martell, who suggested to Shari that she might want to work with me. Because of the distance, our relationship is obviously happening via the phone and the Internet.
In my first call with Shari, we discussed her technological background as well as her key needs at this point. What I wanted to do was show her how various Web 2.0 tools might improve and/or complement what's going on with her job search, so I needed to understand where she's at and how the tools might help. Through our conversation, we identified the following needs:
- A streamlined, "one-stop shop" or job search dashboard for organizing and managing Shari's job search.
- An online portfolio where Shari could begin to organize her many work samples so she can showcase her skills and talents with potential employers.
- A blog to begin developing and expanding on Shari's personal brand and to demonstrate her expertise in some key areas.
- Strategies for identifying job leads and gathering information about potential employers.
We also discussed the fact that the tools and processes we develop for Shari need to complement both her personal style (she's a self-proclaimed talker) and her work habits. A particular concern for me was that I don't want Shari to be doing things unless they add value to her job search and fit in with her preferred ways of working. Otherwise she'll spend all her time working on mastering and dealing with new tools and processes, which takes valuable time and energy away from the real work--finding a new job.
As follow-up to the call with Shari, I asked her to share with me the job search sites and resources she was already using, as well as her resume. I wanted the job search sites so I could look at how to incorporate those into the job search dashboard and I wanted to take a look at her resume to get a better idea of the talents and skills she will want to showcase.
This gives you a feel for Shari and for the beginning of the process. Tomorrow I'm going to share how we're working together on getting Shari organized for job searching.