You apply for a job - you need a CV, right? Well yes, but today it's not all you need. Approaching a job with just a CV is 'good enough' but it's hardly amazing.
If you're after a really special job (and don't tell any employer that every job isn't really special) then you need to market yourself. Hard. Online.
Make your LinkedIn profile shine
For professionals, being on LinkedIn is no longer optional, it's essential. Making sure you have an up-to-date, well-written LinkedIn profile is every bit as important as polishing your CV.
The good news is that LinkedIn has really beefed up what you can do with a profile now. Gone is the simple paragraph of text (well, actually it's not gone but now it's just part of what you can do). Now you can add 'sections' to your LinkedIn profile which allow you to break down the page into the following:
- Skills (a bulleted list of core skills, with how long you've been doing each next to them)
- Certifications (professional qualifications)
- Publications (any books or papers you've written)
- Experience (your work history)
- Languages (whether you speak different languages
The resulting page, once filled in, can be very impressive. Our recommendation is to prepare all of your text offline, with as much care as you would your CV - after all, this is potentially going to be exposed to a far, far bigger audience.
There's a set of simple rules when it comes to LinkedIn connections:
- Only connect to those you have met or spoken to
- Connect immediately you meet or speak to someone
Potential employers will see the number of connections as a benchmark of your experience - and especially like it if you share connections. However, it's worth being prudent - you only want to be connected to people you know and who are relevant to your career.
One way to get recommendations is simply to ask. There's nothing wrong with that - almost everyone is happy to recommend someone they like or who has done a good job. Another way to get recommendations is to give them - it's always nice when you receive a recommendation and, in many cases, people you've given a recommendation to will give one back.
LinkedIn is the core place to get right and, for many, will provide enough of an online presence to impress employers. Another good place to get noticed is Twitter. If you think about what employers want, a key attraction is an employee for whom their work is more than just a job. It's something in which they are really interested, a subject in which they are invested. Put it this way, who would you employ - the person who has a smart CV, or the one who has a smart CV and 500 followers on Twitter all chatting about that person's core competency?
One of the great things about sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter is that they have their own audience already - communities of people who may well stumble across your pages. But another potentially great thing to do when marketing yourself to employers is to create an online CV.
The very least you can do is to create an 'about me' page, which is free and easy - although admittedly lacking in functionality. But consider creating a short YouTube CV. This might sound like a gimmick, but it's great for employers to see someone before they interview them.
If you're happier putting together a PowerPoint slide deck than appearing on video, then consider creating a presentation and hosting it on a website such as SlideShare.