Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Your Career and You...It's All About Visibility
I just wrapped up a great online chat session (#PRStudChat) a few minutes ago with a group comprising senior PR professionals, former practitioners-turned-educator such as yours truly, and a whole host of current students and recent grads.
While the conversation was about social media's role in the corporate communication mix, that wasn't what caught my attention.
What I came away with was the realization that a lot of young people get it. They are "out there," engaged in online as well as face-to-face conversations with other young people as well as with veteran communicators for whom they might eventually work.
Are these activities paying off in immediate rewards...like a job? Not necessarily, but they most assuredly are boosting the young man's or woman's "credibility rating" as a communicator by the simple act of being "seen."
Job searching...actually even job maintenance (keeping your current job)...requires that you do two things:
1. Deliver more than is asked or expected. And volunteer (within reason, of course) to take on things you weren't asked or expected to do.
2. Be visible...in your workplace or in the community in which you hope to work.
Why? Because, most likely, if you're working, everyone is doing his or her job. But some of them are doing only what's required to get the job done. They're not looking for "more."
The result? Over time, they become invisible. Nothing special. Nothing notable. Nothing.
So, when (note, I didn't say "if") the time comes for a workforce reduction, guess who goes?
The same, in a way, holds true for job seekers. Regardless of how professional your resume looks, what makes you stand out from the herd? What are you doing to get and keep your name "out there"?
I got an email from an HR executive at a major PR firm in the Boston area yesterday letting me know that she was going to be away for a while. She's excited about one of my superstars at Curry College...a Communication major with a concentration in Public Relations...who will be doing an internship this fall with this exec's firm.
But she's also looking for other interns, and she asked me for recommendations. Immediately, a couple of faces floated up in my thoughts...a couple of students who have kept in touch since school ended and who are looking for a fall internship.
I will send their names along to her. Why? Because these future professionals have remained visible after the semester ended. I want to send nothing but the best to represent my college, and, as communicators, these young people have shown that they get it...they understand the importance and value of visibility.
My advice if you're reading this as a job seeker...or if you're employed, for that matter? Step outside your cocoon, and get your face/name/ reputation into the public. Get involved. Be seen. Network.
"As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish, I wish he'd stay away."