When we're all so committed to being online, it seems surprising that many professionals and managers, along with those giving careers advice still haven't realised that a professional social media strategy is now a must.
Increasingly, having an online presence is not a nicety but a necessity, and that applies not just to those looking for a new job, but also to everyone who has one. You ignore your online profile at your peril.
Five years ago employment and outplacement consultants could get away with offering career planning mostly based on CV development and interview techniques to their clients, but now that's simply not enough in a business environment that has been changed so fundamentally by the Global Financial Crisis.
The crisis of the past 5 years has injected thousands and thousands of similarly capable people into the job market at a time when the number of jobs they would normally have gone for were simply vanishing.
Its been a painful experienced for many, especially those who even a short while before hadn't been planning on changing jobs at all. And things are especially hard if you're high up the corporate tree. To reach that level you'll have had to focus on building up a business, your organisation's business and profits, not planning your career. And when you do find yourself on the wrong side of the corporate door, you may imagine, at first, that the job market won't have changed that much.
But all that time spent working for one company has insulated you against many of the changes that are happening in the world of work.
New ways of doing things, companies with a different ethos, or a more cutting edge approach - they all mean you could be facing a potentially huge skills gap, and a very steep learning curve.
The need to create an online presence can come as something of a shock for somebody who hasn't had to go out looking for work for the last 5 or 10 years. When they did, they probably did so with CV ( Resume ) in hand.
But incorporating a social media strategy with the technology available can leverage up your profile and give you the competitive advantage you need.
In fact, how you master social media can have a direct impact on your success, and make the difference between getting a job, being left on the shelf as an also-ran, or finding new business opportunities you hadn't considered before.
Having a LinkedIn and Goggle+ profile, a Facebook page and your own personal website, which are all part of an effective Social Media Strategy is important because:
1. It gives you a presentational format that's easy to update. No messing around generating and formatting paper-based job histories, lists of achievements and interview-ready interests. Just structure your page or site, add to it or amend it as and when you need, and you have what is in effect a living CV.
2. It's far more comprehensive than a CV, which is very constrained - just a few sides of A4 against potentially many pages of material you can offer up online.
3. Online you can add value and interest to your profile. By including articles, blog posts, videos and audio posts you can demonstrate the quality of your ideas, thought leadership and add to your credibility in ways that just aren't impossible using conventional CVs and applications.
4. It can give you personal brand recognition. Get it right and you can create your own personality in cyberspace just by expressing your views and highlighting your expertise online.
5. Online you have 24/7 global presence. Anyone can find you, at anytime. So even if you don't know about them, they can know about you and connect with you.
6. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are all about connections. Use them wisely and you will be able to build up connections with others who may offer up the opportunity you want, or may know someone who could. Add in the potential to join and contribute to special interest groups and you can raise your profile in the sector further still.
7. It's effective. Given the ubiquity of LinkedIn profiles and Facebook pages, recruiters are often turning to them as first choice options when looking for new employees.
8. You have immediacy. Anyone can respond to you immediately and in a fast moving world that's important.
9. Having an online presence is motivational. By regularly taking action to improve it, either adding content or enhancing what's already there, you always feel as though you are doing something positive while keeping you focused on what you want to create and achieve.
10. Your online presence tells the world about you, the person you are, your skills, your interests, your history. And that's important, because employers today want professionals who are not only capable and experienced, but also can help their organisation and brand get recognised. That means they are increasingly looking for individuals with strong social capital - the depth and range of the networks you have and the people you know.
Having an online presence, may ultimately bring about the end of the CV, as more people update their profile on a regular basis so as to provide an up-to-the- minute, and immediately accessible, picture of who they are and what they're about.
I believe that even if you previously thought Social Media was something best left to your teenage offspring, mastering it, having a social media strategy has to be a serious priority, and it has to be done carefully otherwise there is a risk of damaging your personal brand. This is why building the right online presents is just part of the work I do with our clients.
So, if you are looking around for outplacement services, or careers advisers you need to find ones that embrace this new reality. Get in touch and request a free consultation and find out what your professional future could look like.