Financial Literacy - Careers
career
21st century job-hunting techniques

If traditional resumes are more your style -- or the employer's -- you can easily create a plain document and save it as a PDF file.

"We don't think it's the preferred way of doing it, but in those instances when the employer is demanding a word document or PDF, you can easily create one and then send that along in an e-mail as you would ordinarily," he says.

The best part about VisualCV is that job seekers can create and keep their resume online for free, similar to setting up a profile on Facebook or MySpace.

Blog to create your brand

What was once really novel is now nearly universal. Just about everyone has a blog, and yours could help you get a job. There are a few caveats, however.

For the blog to be useful, it needs a base of readers. That means it needs to be well-written and interesting, which can take some time and effort. For a blog to effectively dovetail with your career, it should be related to your industry or the industry you're targeting.

"When I talk about LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter and blogging, it begins from the question of, 'Why am I participating in any of these online technologies?' One answer is that it is to grow my network, to nurture relationships. And the other is that I want to share my brand with other people," says Jason Alba, CEO of JibberJobber.com and author of "I'm on Linkedin -- Now What?"

Building your personal brand is a recently popular catchphrase. It basically boils down to  being recognizable as the person who does whatever you do well. And blogging is a way to get your name out there as the expert about a particular topic.

Once a blog gains traction -- it can take up to 8 to 12 months -- it can get the attention of employers, potential clients or even TV producers, according to Lorne Epstein, founder of Inside Job, a Facebook application for job searching.

"My sister-in-law was recently on a PBS program called 'Nature' -- they found her through her blog. She's kind of a cat whisperer, and they were looking for someone that is an expert on cats. The fact that she had a blog was how they found her," says Epstein.

Making a name as an expert source can be a great way to attract clients, and blogging can also be an informal way to build a network of contacts that may be a gold mine when it's time to look for a job.

That was the case for Ryan Burns. He started "Going to Seminary," a blog about his family and education.

"Being a freelance Web developer, I invested a fair amount of my free time building an audience and focusing on (search engine optimization) for the site. As the site grew, I began to look for advertising revenue, and I contacted a Bible software company about the possibility of an affiliate relationship," he says.

When it turned out that his freelance income couldn't pay the bills, Burns turned to his blog and posted his resume. He also posted updates about his job search on Twitter.

Within a couple of days, his friends had asked questions about what he was looking for and had passed his name to their employers. But the software company he'd originally partnered with ended up hiring him.

"Since I was on their radar and I was doing ads for them, they saw the link, and the next thing I knew, they were calling me. They had already seen what I could do," he says.

"The vice president of marketing said that he was impressed with what I had done, marketing my seminary site and other work, and offered to fly me out for an in-person interview. Two weeks later, I accepted a position in the marketing department," says Burns.

Although it takes time to develop a strong blog with a significant readership, it's a more personal way to use social networking.

"There's a sense of community built around blogs. People come to your blog and get to know you and what you're about. When you put out a post that you're looking for a job, people feel like they have already invested something in you and feel comfortable recommending you," says Burns.

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