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Online Community Roundup: Jobseekers Edition

I’m in a unique position where I straddle a few different roles. My role as Chief Community Officer for JobAngels puts me in contact with jobseekers around the world who need help finding work. But this is currently a part-time, voluntary role so I’m also seeking work myself. I’ve chosen to put myself out there through Gravit8 and offer services to help organizations build communities and think about their customer relationships differently. As a starting point, I laid out what types of work I’m open to on my Hiring Chris page: www.gravit8.com/about-gravit8/hiring-chris/.

If you’re out there and looking for work, think creatively about your options. You don’t have to go down the same path (I fully understand it may not work for everyone), but if you’re looking for just a full-time job you might be missing opportunities. To this point, read Connie Bensen’s latest post: Reinvent to Find New Opportunities (I’d like to think that I inspired bullet #3). But the truly juicy nugget is bullet #4:

Put yourself out there. There are many seeking jobs. You need to TELL potential employers that you’re interested & how you can contribute to their business objectives. How do you know who the potential employers are? Look around because they’re everywhere. Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn make it easier than ever to connect with everyone at a company no matter their position. (Tip for LinkedIn – if you don’t know someone’s email address, use Groups & select one that you belong to. Add a note as to why you want to connect.) This is the time to stand out from the crowd. Make your success happen.

I’ve learned through my own experience and experiences of others that waiting for others to make the magic happen for you isn’t a gameplan for success. I won’t lie…putting yourself out there takes courage. I still struggle with it at times. But here are a few strategies I use which have been successful:

Know what makes you unique. Don’t think one singular talent or skill, but think cumulative. For me, it’s my combined background in association membership development, experience working with clients on developing actionable websites, in-depth knowledge of social media and growing expertise in business anthropology. See how each of these particular elements add to create something special? It’s the same for you.

Know how your unique professional self can help an organization solve a problem. One sure way to distance yourself from the jobhunting pack is to not think about employment from your own perspective, but approach from an employer’s perspective. Think how you can help take away a pain felt by a prospective employer. Your reputation for being indispensable begins with tackling problems that clear the way toward increased sales or reduced costs.

Know there is strength in partnerships. If you’re open to the idea of being flexible and pursuing contract or consulting work, realize you don’t have to go it alone. Find other agencies or consultants who could benefit from your unique services and pitch the possibility of collaboration. Just remember the first two points above also apply here: know what makes you unique and how you can help them solve a client problem.

Don’t sit around waiting for magic to happen. Realize that you do have something unique to offer either an employer or a partner. Think about what that might be and then go get it. And let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you.

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JobAngels And The Potential Of Social Media

When an opportunity to make a positive and revolutionary change in the world lands in your lap, you just have to leap on it and grab hold with both hands. For me, this opportunity takes the form of JobAngels. It all started with just one tweet from Mark Stelzner who asked what would happen if one person would help just one other person find work. In less than 140 characters, it simplified what is the most critical issue facing millions of people.

Not that the answer to this pressing problem is simple. Finding work at any time can be a frustrating experience; add a crappy economy to the mix and it can be an excruciating, soul-devouring exercise. I witness this happening to the handful of people I’m working with currently as a JobAngel. Our identity is often intertwined with our working persona so when we lose our job, we don’t quite know how to cope with the change. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride where you really don’t know how far down you’ll go.

What does this have to do with social media? As it turns out…EVERYTHING. When you lost your job and a part of your identity, the worst thing you can do is become a hermit. This is a time when your social network is a gift. You need to know what there are caring people out there who do give a damn about you, who will lend you support when you need it, who will connect you to others who can help. Of course these aren’t new things, but social media increases the potential for widening and deepening personal relationships in new – and extraordinary – ways.

Back to JobAngels…I’m the Chief Technical Officer, which is really just a fancy way of saying that I’m the person who makes sure all the technology works well. The soon-to-be launched community site that I’m developing will hopefully incorporate the best of what makes social media special. We want for folks to have the ability to build meaningful relationships with others, share resources and information, and ultimately connect them to work that matches their talents and passions. Plus, here’s my personal hope that will be the cherry on top of it all: that we demonstrate the potential that social media has to make this world a better place.

There will be much more to come as I offer some experiential lessons on how this online community continues to take shape. I think there will be many ideas and practices that you’ll be able to incorporate into your organization’s own community strategy. Oh, and if you’re willing to be a JobAngel (or especially if you need help finding work), reach out to me or connect with our team. We’re at Twitter (@jobangels and #jobangels), LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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