Here are five action items to help job seekers land an opportunity:
1. Seek speaking opportunities. Even if you’re unemployed, you’re likely an expert in some subject, so you should be able to identify organizations interested in hearing you speak. Start locally by finding the Kiwanis and Chamber of Commerce in your area. Identify local chapters of your profession’s organizations. Join, attend regular meetings, and volunteer to share what you know about topics that interest the membership.
If you don’t feel confident in your public speaking skills, Toastmasters groups are terrific places to practice. In addition to improving your communication skills, participating in Toastmasters will naturally expand your professional reach and potentially result in some great contacts.
Benefit: Speaking in front of a group automatically gives you credibility. When you deliver useful information or new ideas, you solidify your position as the subject expert. The combination of these could help you find the perfect audience for your job search.
2. Use the Events application on LinkedIn. It’s easy to activate this application, and using it may give you some ideas to help find those speaking opportunities we talked about. Edit your LinkedIn profile and select “Add Application.” Choose “Events” from the list and add it to your profile. This tool allows you to browse events highlighted by professionals in your network and to share information about conferences, speaking gigs, and programs you plan to attend.
Benefit: How often do you find out about a conference or speaker only when it’s too late to attend? Instead of hearing about a great event afterwards, this application creates an entire network of information scouts so you have a chance to learn about and attend professional programs where you’re likely to meet new contacts. If a member of your network you’ve been wanting to see or meet is planning to go to a particular event, you may choose to join him or her, creating a chance to talk and learn new information. This app provides a great way to extend your network—and it’s a helpful reminder to get out of your home or office.
3. Use Quora.com to demonstrate your expertise. Quora is a social media website where you can ask and answer questions. The site is not as established as LinkedIn, but it’s gotten a lot of buzz, especially in the tech community. For example, a recent question asked how to get in touch with someone at a popular blog site, and the founding editor of the site replied to the inquiry.
Benefit: If you have a career-related question or are seeking potential networking contacts, it’s possible to attract attention from significant players in your targeted field by participating on Quora. Alternatively, if you have expertise to share, you can answer questions and establish yourself as a go-to expert in your industry.
4. Create a website. Use it to showcase your accomplishments and tie together your relevant social networking profiles. Consider blogging on the site to further enhance your reach and opportunities to demonstrate your expertise.
Benefit: Registering and building a site at yourname.com helps you rank for your name on search engines and gives you some control over what people learn when they Google your name.
5. Join a new group. Use social media tools or your local resources to find a group or activity that’s unrelated to your job-hunting goals. This could be a weekend hiking group, a book club, an industry meet-up, or whatever interests you. Participate actively and enjoy it!
Benefit: Job hunting is a full-time job, and it’s difficult to know when to take a break. Getting out and doing something different can stimulate new ideas and creativity that constant job hunting often stifles. If you don’t have any go-to hobbies, think about expanding your horizons. Is there anything you have always wanted to learn?
Use social media tools, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, to search for groups of people interested in the same topics as you. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that LinkedIn hosts close to 1,400 soccer groups. Some are professional, while others are opportunities to share personal interests. Either way, those group offer opportunities to meet a lot of different types of people.
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer and owner of Keppie Careers. She teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success. Connect with her via Twitter @Keppie_Careers.