If I lost my job tomorrow, I would be okay. Sure it wouldn’t be the best way to spend a rainy day in an economic downturn – and I really enjoy what I do – but I certainly wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it.
It’s not because there’s a line-up of people waiting to hire me, because, well, there isn’t. It’s because I’ve been proactive with my personal brand and feel confident leveraging my networks to get back in action.
There are lots of A-list blog posts about this topic, so I don’t want to talk about what you could or should do. Rather, I want to tell you what I would do.
I keep an active professional profile on LinkedIn (aka my online resume) which today sets me up with a bank of 230+ connections that I actually know and have within reach. I would connect with them first and foremost. Note that I don’t add random people to LinkedIn, which keeps it extremely relevant and useful.
Many things you read will say to search for people that work at companies you want to work for, but this isn’t what I would use LinkedIn for. I would work my direct contacts only and maybe relevant people they happen to know here and there.
I also keep this profile tailored to what my career objectives and interests are (not just what I am doing today), and leave a little to imagination to encourage real contact.
I spend more time today on Twitter than on any other social network. Whereas tools like Facebook allow me to amplify (or form) deeper relationships, Twitter has given me the amazing power of weak links.
Having a weak connection with 550+ people is like having 550+ “hey-buddies” at your office. You know who they are at a glance, but may not know anything else about them. It’s more than enough to say “hey” anytime you want, and just enough to someday ask for a stapler if you need one.
I would use Twitter as my primary means to meet people at my targeted employers. Over the years I’ve been able to interact with normally out-of-reach people exclusively through replying (@) or messaging (d) them on Twitter.
If it’s gotten me speakers, sponsors, referrals, and coffees, I think it can get my foot in the door at a company too. Even if that’s just an informational with someone there, it can go a long way.
By maintaining a personal blog and doing a reasonable job of promoting it, you build out a group of people that most certainly want to know what you think and what you’re up to (which is why you’re reading this, right?).
For the most part, yes it will be a sub-segment of your LinkedIn and Twitter connections. But it will be the sub-segment of those networks that will really go out of their way to lend a hand, will have a comprehensive understanding of the value you can bring, and will know what things fit you the best.
I would actually start the whole job recovery plan with a blog post to explain the state of affairs and the simple fact that “I’m looking for a new job”. From there, it’s like letting the job come to you.
There’s no magic formula in the end and certainly no guarantees. Still, there is something to be said about how much better off someone with a developed personal brand is versus the next guy when a bad situation hits.
The most successful job searchers today will be those that combine the non-traditional and traditional elements. You need to build up strong networks and a kick-ass resume. You need to be addicted to Twitter and to handing out business cards. You need to write on a blog and handwrite letters.
Today was the third time I tried to do this. The first 2 times were #epicfail, and I think I even called Rogers at some point to figure it out.
Each time I was told “nope, sorry, can’t do it”. Can’t do it? No way. I refused to give up my current photos, contacts, and (most importantly) username. I use ‘skanwar’ everywhere, except on Xbox Live (but that’s a story for another day).
I tried desperately again today because I was at the checkout page for a Flickr pro account. I have 300 photos from Twestival TO that deserve to be uploaded in their full quality. And it’s been way too hard to find a way to batch resize them.
What doesn’t work:
The ‘link to your existing Flickr account’ option at the bottom of the Rogers login screen
Adding your Rogers email to your list of addresses in your existing account’s settings
Calling customer service of either companies to link the 2 accounts
Make sure you are signed in with your existing Flickr account, and then click the option to sign-in with the one you want to transfer it to
Use your @rogers.com credentials here, you don’t need to do anything on this account otherwise
Bingo! You’re pro.
Warning: This is an irreversible process from the looks of it. So if you plan to cancel or hop telcos, then don’t do it. Post in comments if you know a workaround.
Update: If you ever cancel your Rogers Internet services, then you will just be downgraded to a free account. It will be the same impact as if you just stopped paying for pro on a normal account. Not to worry.
That’s what I would be thinking too – especially after that big parade about not wanting to fail. I want to apologize for not posting for the last 10 days, but I have the best excuse in the history of best excuses.
I was working away with a team of social media rockstars on Twestival Toronto, which took place at CiRCA in Toronto on February 12. I already told you why it was important to me, so I just wanted to share the results with you.
Brought out more than 450 people
Raised over $10,000 for charity: water
Were the #2 trending topic on all of Twitter for the night
Had free Molson beer and hung out with the Raptors girls, among lots of awesomeness
Made it on CBC, City TV, and many other media outlets
All in a matter of weeks. What matters most though? TO just funded 2 new clean water wells in developing nations and will change the lives of just over 600 people.
To be involved was nothing short of a geek’s dream come true. Do me a solid: read the concluding note and watch the video below.
It’s not news that I’m working behind the scenes on Twestival Toronto. If you follow me anywhere, you’ve seen it across Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, and then some. I want to tell you why I got involved.
The underlying concept is the most amazing thing I have ever seen happen through social media. Day to day in my life I’ve felt like a sitting duck in a line-up of 6 billion. We have so many deep-rooted global problems and even more ways to connect with one another on an equally epic scale, but we don’t put 2 and 2 together nearly often enough.
With Twestival, there are 175+ local communities mobilizing across the world for a single worthy cause (and fundamental human need). From Bangkok, to Bangalore, to Boston, people are getting engaged, reaching for the milky way, and working hard to make a difference.
Now this isn’t anywhere near the first grassroots event to take place, and not even the first that has a charitable cause at its centre. But it’s the first that has stuck out to me enough to not only want to attend, but to do everything in my ability to make it successful.
Success here means funds raised for charity: water and awareness that something we take for granted all too much is not a common luxury. That is first and foremost. People experiencing a unique glocal event and having an awesome time. That’s a close second.
Think of it as Live Earth concerts meets the Internet.
Every once in a while I am inspired by examples of social media for good. My friend Verne and team at Daily Challenge were the first such example for me. #hohoto followed shortly after that. TwestivalTO put me over the edge.
It’s been a wicked experience working alongside Sarah, Casie, Erin, Rahim, and the entire team. We’re almost there and I hope you’ll be joining me at CiRCA on February 12.
Now before I elaborate, let me clarify. By young marketers, I’m mostly talking about aspiring marketers. By aspiring marketers, I really mean marketing students. And by marketing students, a good portion of those I was with this evening at the University of Toronto’s marketing event.
Don’t get me wrong, the event was absolutely enjoyable. Students heard from Sean Moffitt, who keynoted after one tweet led to another (link has his blog post with similar content – kickass Sean), and also met folks in the industry. I would do it again.
But the audience didn’t all get it.
Back in the day when I was trying to demystify the black hole that is marketing, I fought for any opportunity to engage. That’s why I jumped on board a start-up creative marketing agency and attended local meet-ups with AMA Toronto, CaseCamp, etc. as a student.
When a marketer got in verbal reach of me, I went for it. I threw out my hand, I squeezed into a conversation, and I got in their way enough that they couldn’t ignore me. No hesitation, no second thoughts.
Today, there were only a handful that took that leap of confidence. When given an opportunity to ask an open question, hesitation. When given a choice to network versus listen, second thoughts.
Everyone got something out of the evening, but I commend those that made the most out of being face-to-face. If you didn’t raise your hand, leave with a to-do note, or email someone yet with a follow-up, I challenge you to think again about what you were trying to achieve and how else you’re going to do it.
If you’re reading this, then all’s not lost. It won’t take you long to find any of us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or elsewhere. What’s there to lose?
And that applies to anyone attending anything anywhere.