Times have changed forever in America. No longer is there any loyalty in employment; a company is looking to lower their expenses and increase profits. One way to do this is by who they employ. Some options available are to:
The problem is much abuse has been going on through programs which were established to fill a hole that could not be filled domestically. In other words, if an American citizen could not be found to do the job (lack of skills or experience required), only then could a company find a foreign employee with an H1B visa.
However, the political climate is such that laws are being ignored by both parties (read, Foreign Competitors in the Next Cubicle). While this is a discussion for another article—probably at the back of some newspaper’s OpEd page—it creates a new dynamic in employment that will affect your present and future. How do you prepare for possibly being overlooked or pushed out because you cost too much? You must earn and/or save them more than they pay you, making you a smart investment. Let’s take a look at how you can add value, tipping the scale in your favor and also giving you an exit plan, should you need one.
Social media is now an accepted marketing strategy. Gone are the days when it was frowned upon and seen as just people sharing pictures, jokes, anecdotes and emoji’s. People talk online; often the talk leads to experiences with a product, service or company.
Just today, I received a post from NextDoor, (a neighborhood-specific social network), about how a neighbor hired a small company to pave his patio for half the price others quoted, and it was done perfectly, courteously and efficiently. He then posted the contact information for the company with a photo of his patio, in the event any of his connections needed the service. This is the power of social media marketing and companies know this!
Companies look for employees who not only understand the social-media landscape, but have proved they are capable of building it effectively. For example, when you take into consideration being “listed” on Twitter 156 times, plus connections, followers, friends, etc.—when all the possible dots are connected, my social-media footprint (the totality of its possible reach) is over 250K, with about 18K on LinkedIn. Therefore, an employer would see that as a possible 250K additional readers and followers of their content brought to the table. Moreover, since the ability to build a following effectively has been proved, they would come to the conclusion that I could add value their social strategy.
While building a strong social-media footprint is a powerful tool for your success, it’s only as powerful as what you are sharing. If all you are sharing are photos, events and location posts (the Halloween party, out to dinner and a picture of your food—which always baffled me; who cares what you ate) then what you own has limited value. You see, if the people following you are just people who see social media as a glorified chat platform to share stuff which would be meaningless in a business setting, when you share information about your business or company, it will fall on deaf virtual ears.
A company looks at what you share and with whom. If they see nothing but fluff and (from a business perspective) a waste of time, it won’t help you very much. On the flip side, on top of sharing personal stuff you have a blog and write articles regarding what you know and do, and share your unique perspective on how it can be done better or where you believe the industry is headed, this shows a keen business mind.
Companies want to hire thinkers, problem solvers and creative people. Anyone can be trained to turn a wrench, put certain data into a computer or read a script to a prospect; however, if something goes wrong, he or she won’t know how to adjust, or they typically won’t spot potential problems. A thinker will and is worth his or her weight in gold!
In order to a) protect your ideas and b) make sure your audience not only reads them, but then are able to learn more about what you offer, you need a website. A website is your marketing hub; social media is not. In social media, you own nothing. However, you are in control of your message, experience and database on your website.
You want to create a site where you can showcase your portfolio (projects you’ve worked on), experience, testimonials, awards, commendations and ideas. More importantly, you want a website where you are able to capture your visitor, so you can continue the conversation. After all, no one buys anything on the first go around; they are typically doing their homework.
The problem is there are many options to choose from when it comes to consuming content; hence if they are not reminded from time-to-time who you are and what you offer, when they NEED your skillset they will forget what they learned and you will lose (read, Don’t Pour the Whole Bucket of Water – A Drop at a Time Will Give You Better Results).
Moreover, your site must have impact; it cannot be a so-so website. If it doesn’t look like a million, they will feel you can’t help them make a million. The look, feel, quality of content and ease of use, with the right mix of calls-to-actions and conversion forms are essential for it to be effective. This is your store front; you need to make it the best it can be.
Examiner.com is a well-respected source of news and other content (sports, religion, education, etc.); it’s similar to Huffington Post. The majority of journalists and writers are professionals with a passion for the topic they report on in their local area. Many contributors have gone on to bigger and better things, like being hired by big media or on to become authors and business leaders. They have a readership of over 20 million; therefore, your exposure is greatly expanded. Plus, you get paid by how often your article is read.
While there’s no guarantee a spot may be open for your topic of choice, requesting to become a contributor will only enhance, not hurt, your portfolio and résumé. The benefits are many:
…will make you standout above your peers.
You will have to fill out a form, which you can find here (Examiner.com), submit a writing sample and answer some questions as to why you would be a good contributor. Well worth your effort!
So there you have it! Take control of your present AND future. Don’t settle for the status quo. If you have the ambition, work ethic and determination, you will not only increase your value as a product in the marketplace—commanding a hire salary and better benefits—you will solidify your position with your employer. And, you will have options. How do you think I became self-employed? But that’s a story for another day.