A certain man, we’ll call him Patrick, was in dire financial straits. His business was failing, his wife had left him, and he was behind in his mortgage payments. Patrick’s desperation was so strong that he started playing the Lottery.
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After several months without winning the Lottery, Patrick became really desperate, and decided to go to church to pray. He sat in a back pew, so as not to disturb anyone else, and started praying. “Oh, God,” he prayed, “You can see how badly off I am. Please, please, please let me win the Lottery.”
A week later, he still hadn’t won the Lottery. So he went back to church. “God, this is Patrick. I’ve been Your faithful servant for many years. I really need to win the Lottery.”
Another week went by. Still no Lottery winnings. This time, Patrick didn’t even bother with church, he sank down to his knees in his living room. “Oh, God, are you sure you have the right Patrick? I’m Patrick O’Donaghue, and I’m from—”
Just then a blinding light filled the living room, and a thunderous voice said, “Patrick, my son. Help me out here. Buy a ticket.”
I tell this story to demonstrate the best-kept secret to job-hunting success: You won’t get anywhere without plunging in.
“What do you mean, Jack?” you demand. “I have a resume, and it’s posted on Monster.”
To this I say, Good for you. But what else are you doing to market yourself? Are you on LinkedIn? Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Do you post regularly to these sites? What LinkedIn groups do you belong to? What message are you posting about yourself?
If you’re going to get anywhere, you have to plunge right in. That means making sure your resume will show a prospective employer how you can solve his or her problem(s). Sometimes it means convincing that employer that his or her house is on fire, and that you’re the fire fighter.
How about your LinkedIn profile? Are you one of those people who doesn’t show your face? Do you understand why a picture is so important? And yes, I get that you’re worried about putting your picture out there. Just please be aware that LinkedIn advises that you are 14 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a photo. Let’s face it; humans are visual. And we want to do business with people we know, like, and trust. In the case of a LinkedIn photo, the adage is correct that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
And what else have you done to draw attention to yourself? Do you at least repost material you find that may interest your prospective customers or employers? Do you blog? YOU: “Who, me? Write a blog? Myself?” Yes, you. Writing isn’t the horrible fate you’ve always thought it was. When the teacher assigned a 500-word composition as a punishment, she or he never realized that you weren’t learning your lesson, you were learning to hate writing, to associate it with being punished.
So try. If you fail, try again. And again. Read blogs you like, and try to approximate what they do. Read everything you can get your hands on. You’re probably going to be using your native language, for crying out loud. Make your first attempts offline, in MS Word or some other word processing app. If you devote just 15 to 30 minutes each day to writing, you’ll get better. You’ll at least get good enough to write your own blog posts.
Do you post to Facebook and Twitter? On LinkedIn, have you joined any groups that interest you? Try answering a few posts, as writing practice for your blog.
The important thing through all of this is that you need to explore ways to get yourself known. The old way, where you just walked into the company and filled out an application, is no longer viable. Today’s world demands that you show your value, that you network with others. You need to take an active role in selling yourself. As the Lord said to Patrick, “Buy a ticket.”
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
About the author
A professional writer all his life, Jack Mulcahy started his career writing articles, corporate newsletters, marketing materials, and short fiction stories for various newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Jack combines expert interviewing, writing, and design skills to develop strong personal branding statements, LinkedIn profiles, high-performance resumes, and attention-getting cover letters that empower clients to showcase their skill set, value, and competitive edge by not only earning interviews through their resumes, but by elevating their self-confidence, interview skills, and ultimate employability and salary potential.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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