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Raising Visibility During a Job Search November 8, 2011

Posted by Tim Rodgers in job search.
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I was taught that it’s a virtue to be humble; keep a low profile, don’t blow your own horn, and wait for others to notice your talents. That’s not considered an effective strategy when you’re “between jobs” or otherwise actively looking for a new position. At a local networking meeting I attended in early 2009, one of the facilitators stood up and asked how many people were “in sales.” A few people raised their hands. The facilitator shook his head and repeated the question. A few more people raised their hands, but now he had everyone’s attention: “If you’re looking for a job, you’re in sales.”

The thing is, not everyone is suited for sales, and it can feel particularly unnatural when the thing you’re selling is you. The idea is to leave a favorable impression that ideally gives people some insights about your talents and what kind of contribution you would make. You want to be recognized as knowledgeable and authoritative, someone worth listening to.

For those who are reluctant to blow their own horn, here are three suggestions:

1. Certainly it’s important to attend networking events and meetings of professional societies, and the informal “cocktail party” conversations with the people you meet there can hypothetically give you a lead on a job, but the odds are against you. It’s unlikely that you’ll have a 1-on-1 with everyone in the room. You can increase your visibility by asking a question in front of the entire audience during open Q&A sessions, such as those that typically follow a presentation by a guest speaker. Raise your hand, stand up, walk to the microphone, and introduce your question with a passing reference to your credentials (“When I worked in China …”), but resist the temptation to answer your own question. Listen, follow-up with another question that shows you were paying attention, thank the speaker, and walk back to your chair.

2. LinkedIn is a great networking resource, and unless you’ve been under a rock for the last five years you’re already active, but there’s a little known feature that can help enhance your online reputation. Under the “More” tab on the main page is a pull-down menu that includes “Answers.” LinkedIn members submit questions in a wide range of categories, and anyone can answer, regardless of whether they’re connected. What makes this useful is that your answer becomes part of your LinkedIn Profile (which should be already referenced in your resume). Choose questions that give you an opportunity in your answer to demonstrate your knowledge and credibility, illustrate your thinking process, and even show your writing skills.

3. Speaking of writing skills, consider blogging, especially if you’ve got some time on your hands. Write about the things you’re passionate about, not just the things you know. There’s something about blogging that reminds me of the journals we used to keep back in college, and your reading followers might not be a very large group, but it’s a fairly safe and controlled way of sharing more information about who you are, and isn’t that really what “selling” yourself is all about?

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1. Sales Techniques for Better Interviews « Managing in the 2000s - September 12, 2012

[…] Sandler Selling System). This reminded me of something I wrote about in an earlier post (see Raising Visibility During a Job Search), when a facilitator at a different networking meeting pointed out that anyone who is looking for a […]


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