It doesn’t matter how cool you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. When hunting for a job, you are a person in need of something that someone else has. That will never change. And until you get there you are a candidate on the sidelines, uncool and waiting. You hold your resume in your hand. You second guess every word, every bullet point, every comma.
The Internet comes along. It teaches us that nothing will ever be the same. For better, for worse.
The power shifts, just slightly.
The power shift! Good lord, I have so much power!
In the end, does any of it really matter? I wonder if anything has changed. Active networking and personal contacts, certainly, are as important as ever. And isn’t fate? A properly timed print-resume, or running into an old friend who works at a new company, or a chance encounter with a CEO in line while buying Dippin’ Dots.
Who knows, really, what it will all come down to. You certainly don’t. Either do I.
Hello, Dear Internet, Dear Job Market, and friend.
My name is Kevin. If you’re new here, let me introduce myself:
I’m a lifestyle blogger, five years running now, and I’ve had some (albeit limited) success. During this time, I’ve also been pursuing college. The official term is “nontraditional student,” but really, that just means I’m old. 28, I know, isn’t ancient, but at a private university, when I’m first into a classroom, I’m often asked for the syllabus.
In May, I graduate. We, my wife and I, are hoping to move back to the West Coast. Currently, we’re in sunny Rochester, New York. You know, sunny as in Sonny. As in, the mob boss from A Bronx Tale. As in dead. It’s 5 degrees outside with a negative windchill of 15.
We would love to move back home. Our family is there. Our friends are there. Mountains are there. Also, there is a better job market: Seattle, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, even Spokane.
Would I turn down an incredible job opportunity on the East Coast? I don’t know. Maybe.
In the next few months, I plan on chronicling my job hunt. Consider it an all access pass to professional uncertainty. The highs, the lows, the interview prep, the rejections. I’ll tell you which websites I’m using, what skills I’m building, et cetera.
The primary goal in the next five months: to get hired by a reputable company.
Every other goal in the next five months: unpacking what the heck that statement even means.
The Digital Self (Reinvented)
Okay. SO what the heck is digital reinvention.
I’m still figuring it out. Here’s what I know:
We all have a digital persona. Me, you, your pastor, your creepy uncle and his weird bowling buddies. Facebook account or not, you have a digital version of yourself that people can view without your permission. It’s like an artist’s painting hanging in a busy, crowded museum hallway that sometimes automatically updates. For most people, yes, this means Facebook. For others like myself, this means my blog, my twitter, my online portfolio, and yes, also Facebook.
What you say and how you say it (or type it), the quality of your pictures, what you Like, retweet and crowdfund, this is your persona.
It also the random crap that returns on Google.
For me, I have plenty of competition on Google. Search Kevin Carr and you’ll see what I mean. The first guy is a fiddler player. The second guy is a dating coach. Years ago, way back before I began an official career hunt (or should I say, CARReer hunt), I branded myself as The Number Kevin for precisely this reason. My name is too plain, and I would never win on Google.
Yes, I could’ve spent money buying search terms, or tirelessly link-building and SEO optimizing my way to the top, but I just didn’t care enough. And that’s okay. It’s not necessary for me. The Number Kevin works fine. My online portfolio with the ugly URL works fine (for now). Personally, I’d rather my future employers come up empty on Google. This will force them to focus on the links I have specifically provided for them.
Alright, so. You got that? Your online persona exists whether you want it to or not. If you’re looking for a job then it’s time to take control of it.
The Digital Reinvention To-Do List
How do you develop your online persona or personality?
I’m going short-hand, because I’m trying to keep these blog posts under 1000 words. Here’s my to-do list. If you’re looking to digitally reinvent yourself, everything here would be a good start.
- Search yourself on Google. Know what’s out there.
- Take a good long look at what’s on Facebook. Clean up your photos, delete some tags.
- Get on LinkedIN (I know, the nerdiest, emptiest social network, but, oddly, the most useful and important). LinkedIN will also help you take control of your name search on Google.
- Develop consistency within your online personality
- What type of content are you sharing?
- What type of value are you offering to friends, followers, connections?
- How often are you posting? (Consider it as talking: how often are you contributing to the conversation?)
- How are you staying on top of web trends and technology changes?
- Consider one of these online personality types (I borrowed these from Born to Blog):
- Dreamer, Storyteller, Curator, Teacher
That’s it for now. I plan on updating my CARReer Hunt weekly. Future posts will include more specifics of the stuff I just outlined above, as well as personal stories and frustrations of learning new skills, and the fight to stay relevant in today’s frenetic, ever-changing job market.
Random Picture of the Week
Me in a bobsled in Lake Placid (2014).
Song of the week:
- There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You —Ben Folds