Monday, 22 March 2010

What should you, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber have in common?

I know just a couple things about Nicki Minaj

1. She is an up and coming female rapper (another one) who I am hearing about more and more each day
2. She is of Trini origin - a Trini dougla
2. She got her break when she was discovered on MySpace by some big jefe record executive

I know even less about Justin Bieber except for

1. His name has been a Twitter trending topic for weeks now
2. He got his break when he was discovered on YouTube

How do you intend to catch your big break??

Before, it was the employer who pulled out the bells and whistles to make themselves attractive and accessible. Now, with social media, it's the prospective employees and the big-dreamers who are really putting themselves out there to get the attention of employers and dream peddlers. How are you using social media to self-promote?

Are you using a business-oriented social network like LinkedIn?
If your Facebook page currently has photos of last weekend's drunken club session, it may not be the best channel for promoting yourself professionally. Nix that idea IMMEDIATELY! Consider using a site like LinkedIn to sell who you are and what you can offer, while having the opportunity to network with people in your field. And don't just create a profile and leave it sitting there. Get recommendations from past employers/colleagues. Get out there and make yourself visible. Follow groups which are related to your field, get involved in discussions, post answers to questions - interact and exchange.

Are you following the RIGHT people?
We all have our interests. I follow travel tweeters, but I also follow a lot of PR/comms/social media marketing tweeters. Twitter may be like a huge chatroom for most, but make it a chatroom with a purpose and with an end goal in mind if you're looking to catch that lucky break.

Are you blogging?
Blogs are a great way to have your say and share your expertise, while putting yourself out there. But...

Are you mindful of the content you post online?
Don't use your blog to only be critical, divisive or just plain cantankerous. Offer useful solutions, show your creativity in resolving issues, show that you can be a positive part of a community. So while we may not always agree with what others may say, we don't have to be nasty about it. Offer contributions, not deconstruction! And F bombs may not be the best way to paint yourself fabulous, so don't use the F bomb on Twitter or elsewhere if you're not too pleased about something.

Is your CV current and innovative?
Ensure that your CV is current. Don't put outdated info on your LinkedIn site, which midway through a conversation you realise is not the whole story. Super fail. And depending on what you're looking for, and the audience you're trying to reach, why not integrate short video, or a podcast telling people about yourself. Though I think here, we are lagging in this area, it's an idea especially if you want to show yourself as on the cutting edge of your field. HR is using video conferencing, and social networks in some areas to recruit new hires. Why should you be limited to a standard CV?

Are you checking out who's checking YOU out?
So you have set up these social media channels to sell yourself but are you even checking to see if anyone is browsing the merchandise. Just as traditional marketers measure to see whether their message is getting across, you need to ascertain whether you are being noticed. So monitor your hits to your blog, who subscribes to your RSS feed, who's retweeting you, following you, who's connecting with you, who's responding to your discussion topics etc. Don't leave it to chance.

Are you getting the word out?
I don't think we have many mind readers out there so be vocal about your objectives and start exploring those avenues relevant to your professional needs. Let people know that you are looking for new opportunities. The more people who know you're looking, the greater the chance of you getting that job. If we can use social networks to find a date (more on this later this week), why can't we be honest about our professional desires? Get it out there!

Justin Bieber's mum used YouTube to post his performances for friends and family and inadvertently got him his dream job. Now he is all over Twitter. Why? I am not quite sure but there is really something to be said about using social media to follow your dream. Start building your networks now before you really need it. It takes time to build that network and that following, so don't waste time. Get it going.

p.s. Findind a G-rated/fit-for-purpose photo of Ms Minaj for this blog was a challenge. Be mindful of your content, right?


LOL sometimes you need reminders like these. Great points.

Even with Facebook I'm finding it hard to control the content, with tagging etc. As soon as a camera flashes, you have to pause and think "How this go look?"

One piece advice I heard was to liken the wall to a billboard on the highway. If you're comfortable with your message being visible to any and everyone, then post it.

That is good advice and something people really need to apply to their daily lives. One of these days I will email you a status update which was part of the inspiration for this post. I am always shocked and alarmed when I read it. (yes, I saved it cause it hit me for 6 one morning in my news feed!)

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