Thursday, December 1, 2011

What is a "web presence" anyway?

In job search, I'm often amazed by how many people still labor under the delusion (and yes folks-sorry, it's a delusion these days) that to find a job all you have to do is post a resume on a traditional job board and the offers will come rollin in.  Alas, that just doesn't seem to be where the market has been taking us for the last few years as surveys like Jobvite's Social Recruiting Survey tell us.  The numbers may have varied a bit over the last few years, but bottom line is that for many employers they are shifting their talent acquisition focus from these large job boards to smaller, niche boards..and for some, away from job boards altogether.  So, what does that mean for Joe Jobseeker?  Well, it means that for those employers remaining on the boards, the competition to get their attention has just increased dramatically.

What's a smart job seeker to do? 

Diversify!

One way of doing this is with a robust web presence.  But what the heck is a web presence anyway?  Wikipedia has a nice little definition on their site.  Bottom line is that it's the footprint you leave behind online through social networking profiles, tweets, news posts, articles, blog posts, and sometimes even purchasing activity.  Curious what your web presence says?  Try getting onto a search engine like Bing and look for yourself.  You can also go a bit deeper to sites like Spokeo or Pipl to see what others may find about you if they do a deeper dig.  Regardless of where you look and how you look, you gotta look.  You need to both know what your existing web presence says about you as well as understanding the incredibly vital need to HAVE a web presence that exists outside of subscription sites.  What do I mean by subscription?  Well, if an employer has to pay to view your resume/profile/contact info, there is a chance you may not get contacted.  So explore a wide variety of platforms to share your professional info and appropriate contact data like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Skype, Quora, Google Profiles, etc to build your trail across the web.  Once you are on those sites, then be active.  You can't simply build it and they will come.  You need to tweet, post, update, whatever on the various sites.  How do I know?  I ran a little experiment for the months of October/November (that conveniently coincided with me being incredibly busy)...I posted far fewer updates, tweets, etc and as a result, I found my previously strong web presence diminish a bit.  In running a search for me, I no longer rank as the top result on my search page.  Obviously that would fall into the use it or lose it category, so make sure you use it! 

And don't get me wrong-I'm not saying that you should ignore traditional job boards.  Still include them in your mix for those employers who still use them.  However, bottom line is this: you want to be found in as many places as possible with a content/keyword-rich profile so that when an employer searches for you by skill set, geography and/or name...you are found before your competition is.  That's it!  Good luck and happy hunting