by DJ Francis
In the midst of a recession, most marketers are preoccupied with keeping their current job. Unemployment continues to rise and job opportunities are scarce.
That's why you must take full advantage of any opportunities to improve your job prospects. The tips below illustrate ways for you to easily optimize job opportunities during a recession.

I know these suggestions work. Within the last month, I secured a new job at Critical Mass, an award-winning digital marketing agency. By following these simple suggestions, you can optimize your own chances of snagging that great new job opportunity.
Become a Google detective. My first step was to update my online profile. I revised my resume and LinkedIn profile, and made my other social networking profiles more professional by touting recent experience without seeming haughty. I Googled myself and edited any results I could in order to look exemplary to a prospective employer. In short, I viewed the summation of my online profile from my audience's perspective.
Reach out online. I ensured that communication avenues were open and primed. I reciprocated follows from local marketing professionals on Twitter and communicated my professional interests to friends on several social networking sites. I solicited advice from anyone I respected, both in my field and outside of it .... I had the mindset that virtually everyone had something to teach me in this new pursuit.
Make meaningful personal contact. Online marketing professionals can sometimes be too reliant on the online channel (myself included). However, don't forget the benefits of in-person interaction as well. I got one interview as a result of going to The Chicago Tribune's first Tweet-Up. Another time, I met with prominent blogger David Armano during IDEA 2008 to get career advice and ask his opinion about where online marketing and experience design was headed. (Coincidentally, David is VP of Experience Design at Critical Mass, and, while not directly involved in my hiring, was kind enough to give great advice and act as a resource to me and many other bloggers.) It wasn't easy to promote myself face-to-face, but I knew that personal contact would make a difference.
Strategically align your efforts: By the time I interviewed with Critical Mass, I had been writing a blog for over a year. And I knew that potential employers would be most likely to visit my blog directly before or after a meeting, so I thought carefully about the type of post I wanted to coincide with interviews. In the early morning hours before my first in-person interview, I released an e-book I'd been writing for several weeks in hopes of reiterating my expertise and ambition. Similarly, before my second interview, I delayed publishing one of my more inflammatory posts. In both cases, I aligned my blog content with the way I was marketing myself in person.
These tips - an updated online presence, online and in-person connection, and alignment of your assets - will all contribute to your landing that dream job. But there is one more piece of advice that is often overlooked, especially in marketing circles.
That piece of advice is to forget networking. Networking is the act of pressing yourself onto others in your field, often against their will. Networking as we know it is part of the old model.
Instead, eschew networking for providing value. I made the most valuable connections after I had answered questions on LinkedIn or re-tweeted a great article or connected two fellow bloggers who might not have known each other yet. Networking is about meeting people, but talking only about yourself; providing value is about fixing other people's problems.
And by creating solutions for others, you might just create one for yourself too. It worked for me and it can work for you too.
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DJ Francis is a Senior Content Analyst with Critical Mass and blogs at OnlineMarketerBlog.. Follow DJ on Twitter.

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image of Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author who recently published Everybody Writes 2. She speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing. Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn Influencer, a keynote speaker, mom, dog person, and writer.