Companies may be hiring more now in some sectors as the economy continues to recover but they are still running lean. People inside of organizations, happy to be employed, are working hard...very hard indeed just to keep their situation.
I delivered a webinar today to UCLA entitled Digital You. It was about using three key online tools that combined together would give any executive or professional an edge in the competition to be seen and heard.
Someone reminded me that five years ago I was passionate about being on Linkedin.com and now I was telling people to move on to other sites and tools. They asked, "Why was that?" I explained using the analogy of the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass telling Alice as they were running that in order to get anywhere they had to run twice as fast.
Technology is like that. What's new today will be used by everybody in 4 years or less. Everybody (reaching for 200M) is on Linkedin.com now and that's a good thing for networking but not for personal branding. Linkedin is a template-based site as is VisualCV and they have you fill in their blanks. You end up looking just like everybody else. I described it as an online MBA resume book. Good people look at it but you can get lost in the shuffle. You are running, so to speak, to stay in the same place.
Using new tools like personal profiles (flavors.me, about.me/pattiwilson ), personal presentations (sliderocket.com) and personal pages using website builders gets you moving twice as fast as others vying with you for visibility, eye-balls, and market share online. I personally use Weebly but there are others that are great too ( here is Wikipedia's list of top website builders).
Is this more work? Sure. Do you want your career to continue until you retire? Then run twice as fast to get somewhere and keep doing it. The good of all this is that once it is in place the only maintenance you do is blogging or updating when you change positions, write articles, are interviewed by Wall Street Journal or other notable events worth capturing ongoing.
There is a downside. One person asked at the end if this required that you have a very clear, defined, well-positioned brand, value proposition and career target. Yes, it does and that's is the most difficult part actually. Once you have clearly defined yourself the content, images, and look all falls into place. My mentor, Richard Bolles author of What Color is Your Parachute said, in describing this process, "this is the hard part. This is where you have to think, people"... and run faster.
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