Sep '11 - Jan '13
I've been seeing a lot of recommendations recently about having some sort of online presence when you go job hunting. It ranges from simply creating a LinkedIn profile to having a complete website at www.your-name-here.com. Given that there are so many ways to locate, contact, and put yourself out there for potential employers, I wonder if there is any sort of general standard or expectation regarding an online presence for today's job seekers. I think there is a benefit, but it is going to depend on your circumstances and your level of activity in the job-search-o-sphere.
The Casual Seeker: You are someone who most likely has employment but is looking for something better. You are content to stay where you are, but you might prefer a change of pace. I'd recommend getting involved in social sites where you can be heard. The point isn't to be actively begging for a job but rather to get your face and name out there and make some connections with people who might be willing to hire you in the future. Participate in online discussion boards and forums, maybe even write a blog. Work on updating your portfolio and resume, you want to be ready so when the time comes for you to take on a more active job search you'll be ready and thanks to your casual participation you'll be a household name ... or at least a recognizable one.
The Active Seeker: You are someone who I see as the next step up from The Casual Seeker. You are seeking a better work environment, better pay grade, more responsibility, change of scenery, etc. In addition to being active participants online, you are actively looking for and applying to job postings. You are contacting your connections on social media sites looking for referrals and information about unpublished openings. Create a website to post your resume, portfolio, design philosophy etc. Make the www.your-name-here.com easy to remember so potential employers don't have to reference your resume, or business card in order to type it in their browser of choice.
The Starving Graduate: Your time is precious and your resources are few. You find that online job postings are useless as everyone is looking for experienced professionals. You've moved back in with your parents and spend most of your time on facebook commenting on your fellow graduates' walls who just landed your dream job ... which at this point is any job. Get it together! You just graduated with a degree that trained you at critical analysis and creative problem solving. Because the profile of The Starving Graduate is autobiographical and intentionally hyperbolic, I don't have any advice for you other than that. Even if I did, I may just keep it to myself because if there is just one opening for an intern architect out there, I hope you're still on facebook when I post about my new job.
So that last line is obviously given tongue-in-cheek, but it does occur to me that for the most part, we recent graduates still largely rely on sending out unsolicited portfolios and cold calling. I still think an online presence will be helpful regardless; all of the benefits for the casual and active seeker can be appropriate for the recent graduate. Yet even then, it seems that the online is only secondary to a handshake and a cover letter/resume/teaser portfolio/business card. And most likely looking up someone's online portfolio is only an added step that few employers are going to take.
So with that, I acknowledge that my view is biased, most likely naive, and open for reinterpretation. Any of you fellow -nectors have a different opinion or experience?
Commentary on looking for work, portfolio and resume design, networking, social media and the job search, interviews, dealing with rejection and the joy of landing a job.