So last week I did a lot of “spring cleaning” of my Internet footprint. This past week I added a lot of things to my Internet reputation to put myself out there to potential employers.
First, I create a LinkedIn account.
I’m not sure why I have been so resistant to LinkedIn. I think mainly it is because I did not know the first thing about being part of a social network geared toward the professional world. Once I created an account, I was immediately connected to former co-workers from Campus Housing and Student Development Services. I even was able to connect with former supervisors and professors. Looking at the profile of my former co-workers helped me to begin to create a profile that spoke to the duties I had in other jobs, as well as how to tell people the type of employment I am currently looking for.
Secondly, I began to network
As well as connecting to former supervisors online, I also began to connect with former supervisors in other ways. I regularly have lunch with my former mentor from the Cook County Juvenile Probation Office, I recently had a nice run-in with a former supervisor and I have been in e-mail correspondence with another former supervisor. In every “how to find employment” type article I have read in the past few weeks, all mention the importance of networking. I must say that “social networking” is a lot easier for me than “professional networking.” It feels awkward for me to talk about the skills I have instead of what I ate for lunch. Sometimes I feel a little narcissistic! Hopefully I will get use to it.
Third, I spruced up my résumés
I know the importance of having different résumés when applying for different forms of employment. However, I would send in the appropriate one along with a customized cover letter without thinking twice about it. Because I have been networking more, I have been able to show my résumés to people who are currently in the career field I am interested in. I have been given some great advice about things I should highlight in my résumés. Now, when I send in a job application, I try and tweak my résumé just a little bit to appeal more to the specific job I am applying for.
Not going to lie, looking for employment has been difficult, but as my mother always says, “Nothing is going to change if you change nothing.” So strengthening my professional reputation is my attempt to change. What struggles do you find when looking for employment? What has worked for you in the past?