So you have finally decided to see what is out there when it comes to the job market—congratulations!

If you have been out of the job seeking game for a while, we have something to tell you. Finding a job today is no longer just about having the best resume and writing a fantastic cover letter. You need to stand out from the crowd, especially given the technological approach to job seeking.

Thanks to online application processes, hiring managers and recruiters are sifting through hundreds of resumes to find that “needle in a haystack” candidate they want to join their company. With all of the resumes piling up, it makes standing out with just a great resume and cover letter difficult.

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How can you stand out? It is simple. Marketing.

In this week’s “Three for Thursday,” we will take a look at three ways job seekers can better market themselves to stand out in the overwhelming sea of resumes hiring managers are viewing each day to identify the perfect candidate. Just because you may have been out of the job seeking game for a little while, doesn’t mean you have to stay behind the curve when it comes to getting your name to the top of the resume pool.

Create or Update Your Digital Presence

Often known as your “digital footprint,” if you have social accounts or a portfolio website, make sure they are all up to date with your latest information. To many, the most important would be LinkedIn because it acts as a living resume and has an integrated job seeking function on its website. Also, depending on which security/privacy functions you have turned on, any updates you make to your profile will be pushed out to your connections (John has updated his job title, etc.), which could spark someone to let you know about a job opportunity.

However, LinkedIn is not the end all be all for job seeking. I recently attended a webinar that stated 83 percent of job seekers are actually on Facebook, which makes sense because most people spend a good portion of their day on there. Also, over 40 percent of job seekers are active on Twitter as well, and while most people do not like Twitter because of “Twitter trolls” and the need for everyone to think every single thought is gold and will not offend anyone, it has a ton of value.

How can you find value in Twitter? Search some of your main job functions and spark up a conversation with someone who comes up in the search results. Personally, the connections I have made on Twitter over the years have led to numerous opportunities that likely would have not been there without it. Also, recruiters are very active on social media—especially Twitter—so, not being active on there could mean you are missing out on someone trying to engage you about an opportunity.

Finally, for the love of all that is good—keep your portfolio website updated. When a prospective employer wants to learn more about what you have done, they want to do it in real-time. If you can instantly respond with, “absolutely, I have samples of my work at (insert web address here)” you will stand out from the crowd. Now, I understand not everyone has work to display on a portfolio website, and that is okay. But for those of you who work in fields where it is needed, get on it now!

Define Your Marketing Message

Everyone says they understand what marketing is, but very few understand how to execute it properly. Take the social presence section for example.

Once you have updated your website and social accounts, what comes next? Most think that simply posting on social media or connecting with a few people on LinkedIn is enough, but it isn’t. Like any marketer, you need to set a plan and define your marketing message.

In this case, your marketing message is centered on who you want to be in the social community. Do you want to become a leading voice for your area of expertise in the job world? Okay, great—how are you going to do that? You can start writing blog posts, share videos explaining how to do things, interact with other thought leaders, start a podcast and much more. Simply tweeting about something every once in a while will not get your name out there, you need more interaction than that.

What does this have to do with job seeking, you ask? Put simply, if your name is out there more opportunities will come knocking at your door. If people do not know you exist or know you are an expert in your field, how are they supposed to find you to discuss a job opportunity? You may get lucky and they find that resume in a stack of others on their desk, or you can stand out when they are talking about their field in social media and come across your profile.

So, what is your marketing message? Well, that is on you to decide—but make sure you have one.

Network Early and Often

People often forget the value of networking while they are employed.

This actually came to mind because a member of the NexGoal team attended a networking event with the Sales & Marketing Executives of Cleveland this week. He was active on social media and included our company Twitter handle (@Nexgoal for those of you who are not following), and all of a sudden our social media account was blowing up for a few minutes.

Indirectly, just by saying he was heading to the event and asking if anyone else was attending, our social account was suddenly being followed by people who may have not known about us before. And that is the whole point to networking, getting out and making connections with those you may not know or who may not be aware of your business.

It also reminded me that I have not been to a networking event in quite some time. This happens to many of us because we get comfortable in our fields and current jobs and do not see the value in getting out and making new connections. Well, this is a flawed way of thinking—for both of us.

If you are not on the networking horse, it is time to get back on and get to one soon. I am going to be looking for a Digital Marketing one in the Cleveland area in the near future, so if you know about one, please feel free to let me know.

Final Word

Marketing yourself encompasses more than just the three items listed above, but these are good places to start. Getting endorsements from people you have worked with and taking assessments to gain certificates are easy ways to stand out in the digital world, and are just two more ways you can better market yourself.

When it comes down to marketing and your job search, you need to take as many positive steps toward standing out as possible. If you do not know where to start, my final piece of advice is this—locate the person you want to be who is already at that point in their career, and do whatever they are doing.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so adopting this strategy when it comes to marketing yourself could go a long way in getting to the next level in your career.

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