Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Using social media as job search and career development business analysis resources 13: thinking through your planned online professional image and message 4

This is my thirteenth installment to a series on the points of intersection between business intelligence and its gathering, and social media and related interactive online channels as sources of actionable information and insight, as they can be applied to job search and career development (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 397 and following for Parts 1-12.)

I primarily focused on blogs and on blogging as a means of fleshing out your online professional presence in Part 12. And I ended that series installment with some opening thoughts on how short message resources such as Twitter can be incorporated into a professional online presence in promoting your value and employability for jobs and careers development purposes.

The primary message that I sought to convey there about these limited message length resources was the importance of offering a simple single, clear message that can be squeezed into a 140 characters plus spaces, maximum length format. That is very important, but I begin this posting by complicating that goal and how it might effectively be accomplished.

• Your primary focus has to be one of conveying a single essential message as briefly and succinctly as possible – while making that message memorable enough so that readers will want to be able to connect to you through it.
• But at the same time you have to write your messages with awareness that the readers you seek to reach, who happen to see one of your messages, probably have not seen others that you have posted. So you have to write these succinct messages in such a way that they do not have to rest on a foundation of prior messages shared, for them to be fully understood.

What are your options in using a site such as Twitter in this?

• The oldest and most traditional answer to that is to post simple text-only content and to try to make it interesting enough so readers will in fact come back to read more, and even on an ongoing basis.
• An almost as old, and just as standardized an option is to add in hyperlinks and preferably very brief compact ones for the URLs included in them, so you can offer a fuller if still very brief and concise visible link label for your readers to read and click to. This turns your short messages into doorways to longer-format content that you offer, and to other interactive platforms and channels that you might be using. I will return to the issues of message coordination and synergy later in this series and simply make note of the importance of that here in this immediate context.
• And of course these links can lead a reader who would click through on them, to essentially any type of content resource that you can address online using a URL, or for brevity an IP address where that would work for you – and this means any content and format types that you have the capability and the resources to produce and to post online. And with the range of hardware and software resources readily and inexpensively available, starting with your cell phone for sight and sound video messaging, that includes a lot. (I will specifically address this type of content option later in this series too.)

And the last two points of that list highlight what can in fact become the most valuable reason why sites such as Twitter would make sense in this context – as doorways and bridges for widening your online visibility by increasing the number of points and venue options where others can find what you offer: your LinkedIn profile, any blog postings you might offer through your own blog or as a guest writer, et cetera that you might also be offering as part of your jobs and careers marketing.

• Social media in general offer their greatest value in jobs and career development, as with other arenas of use when they are interactive and when postings to these communications channels start conversations and wider participation.
• The 140 characters plus spaces limitation of sites such as Twitter make this a lot more difficult, if these channels are only used in and of themselves. But they can make great conversation starters and conversation invitations. Use them for that, as you primary goal when using them at all in this context.

And to put this into wider perspective, more informal social use of social media is often highly immediate-context oriented and it tends to lack the type of organizing focus that you would want in marketing what you can offer long-term, professionally. Casual social use of social media is largely one-off and disconnected from any larger ongoing purpose or agenda. When you use social media in order to achieve long-term important goals: job search and career development definitely included, you want everything you do through them to be mission and goals-focused. So you want to post your own content and respond to that of others according to an ongoing and considered strategy.

And with this noted I turn to the rest of the points that I stated I would be addressing next, at the end of Part 12 of this series, which I reorganize here for purposes of setting up the balance of this posting and for preparing for this series’ next installments:

• Effectively using resources such as file sharing sites, user-contributor publically shared wikis, and sites such as YouTube and other visually oriented social media channels,
• And how social media channels in general can be used coordinately to tell a more effective message and to share it more widely.

As I added at the end of Part 12, throw a wide net in identifying the range and scope of types of resources that offer social media connectivity opportunity and that might offer value to you from participating in them. And throw a fine meshed net in identifying the best (for you) specific resources in this pool of information sharing opportunity.

I begin this with file sharing sites and related resources, including publically accesible, download-access permitting cloud storage sites. Most of the time when I offer informational content as a business professional I either offer paper hardcopy as for example with my business cards, or I offer electronic files, and for that largely as online sited content. This blog is as good an example of that, at least for my communications, as any that I could cite here. File sharing offers people opportunity to share documents in formats that can be either read on-screen, or downloaded and printed without what for them would be extraneous clutter.

Focusing for a moment on the second half of that last statement, and on readily printable formats: unless a blog or web site or similar online channel explicitly offers printable versions of its pages as clickable options, printing from one of them generally means downloading and attempting to print both the specific content that you want to capture, and a great deal of more general web site template content as well, with menus to other pages and other extraneous details that are also showing. What should be a single page or less when printed can all too often become half a dozen or more printed pages from all of the additional unwanted detail and verbiage automatically included – unless the person who wants to download and print this page’s specific content is willing to copy and paste what they want into a Word document or other tool, correct any formatting mismatches and print from there. Good, well organized file sharing sites let you offer documents of whatever file format type in immediately usable forms, and whether that means viewing on-screen or printing, as for example with text or still image. And these sites also support the sharing of video and multimedia content files too. And this means more universally viewable file formats too, that will work for viewers regardless of what operating systems they run on their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

• Note: you still have to format and organize this type of content, and certainly for on-screen viewing with the expected screen size in mind (e.g. laptop or desktop computer, versus smartphone.

To take that discussion out of the abstract and general, consider consulting where effective marketing for that type of skill and experience essentially always includes offering brochures and other documents. When I began consulting I used a desktop publishing approach to craft printable two-fold single page brochures which I then had printed on heavy stock paper. This approach can still be useful. But online content, and particularly online brochure-style content that is brief and focused and appealing to the eye can be more effective now when offered online, and in both printable and on-screen oriented formats too – and with online there, including versions formatted for handhelds with their small screens.

• What could you offer that would help you to market who you are and what you can offer to a potential employer – that would help you to stand out from the crowd?

Effectively written and formatted documents such as brochures and white papers can fit that need, and certainly for select segments of your overall target audience that you would seek to more effectively reach.

I am not suggesting that any one individual should even attempt to use any and every social media channel out there in their jobs and careers campaigns, or even just all of the ones that I write of in this blog or in this series. I am suggesting that you need to think through your options when deciding, and that this is an exercise that bears repeating as needs and opportunities change.

I made note of wikis earlier in this posting and briefly make note of them again, to highlight the importance of identifying who you are as a source of content offered – and certainly when you seek to use this for your own jobs and careers marketing. If you are the owner of record of a wiki, or if you offer content to a wiki that supports contributor identifications such as contributor bylines, this is not an issue. But Wikipedia, to cite a very well-known wiki is written to anonymously. Think through where you can most effectively make your contributions if you wish to write to this type of site. (I have written a number of pieces for Wikipedia, but I also cite that resource as a reference all the time, so I see my slight contributions there as paying back for value richly received. But that probably brings up issues that fall outside of the scope of this specific discussion.)

And with that I turn to YouTube and other video and visually oriented channels and resources, and to video resumes and more. I will turn to these issues in my next series installment, and then proceed to discuss how social media channels can be used coordinately to tell a more effective message and to share it more widely. And effectively making suites of online social media tools work for you, with all of the value creating synergies that can create, can in and of itself become your defining marketing edge.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. And you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page too.

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