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Unleash Your Job Search - 1/10/2012 -

Here’s a new twist on association career development in a digital world.

By Brian Davis

Alexis Grant can tell you how she got a job by telling people how to get jobs. Here’s what happened: Reviewing Grant’s resumé for an open position, a manager at an international magazine clicked a hyperlink directed to Grant’s blog. The blog spotlighted a few of her skills—the conversational tone in her writing, sound job-search advice, and a bit of comfort with video blogging. She got the gig.

The job-search tip from this experience? Hyperlink your resume to a blog or article that you’ve written, Grant says, speaking at a recent Association Media & Publishing Lunch & Learn on Career Development in a Digital World. You’re helping employers find the information you want them to find, she explains.

Grant, now a self-employed social media strategist (though not exclusively), delivered stories that bore out the effectiveness of her tips. She explained how to put social media platforms to work for your job search and professional development. "Just applying is going to get you at the bottom of the stack,” says Grant. "It’s all about how you can make the person who matters notice you.”

Furthermore, Grant stresses the importance of cultivating the right relationships and the right network for a job search when you’re not job searching. "Prioritize building your online network so it’s there when you need it,” says Grant, who connects and networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, and especially Twitter, where she had 4,735 followers as of this writing @alexisgrant. Then, when the job you want emerges—an important point to Grant—reach out to the person responsible for hiring that position.

"It’s easier than ever to access people you don’t know,” says Grant, who estimated she’s probably three times as likely to respond to someone she doesn’t know when on Twitter versus other platforms. "It gives you more power than you’ve ever had before.”

Now, suppose you land the job you want. Does it have to be your only job?

Hail the Side Gig

Grant sees an alternative to what characterizes traditional professional growth, such as holding one job, feeling comfortable only if that job is full-time, and making sure to stay at that job for a "respectable” period of time. In fact, she appreciates reasons for holding multiple jobs, none of which are full time, and even job-hopping.

She understands the reasons for and perks of full-time jobs. But she also lauds the benefits of holding a "side hustle”—new skills, more networking opportunities, and more money. In fact, Grant thinks maintaining one or more side gigs can be more secure than a full-time job.

"Where’s the stability in full-time jobs now?” she asks in one slide. More than one job means more than one income stream in the short term and a long-term safety net if one job doesn’t work out.

She lives this way, too. "I call myself a slasher,” she says, referring to an increasingly common term for people who maintain multiple jobs. Grant is a journalist (worked as a full-time journalist for several years and still freelances), social media strategist, and an entrepreneur. She says she "pulls money from different buckets.”

"Job-hopping will no longer kill your career,” she maintains. "Employers like go-getters, and as long as you can explain why a career jump made you more valuable, they’ll get it. People hire you because they like you.”

Access Alexis Grant’s slideshow for the November 2011 Association Media & Publishing Lunch & Learn.

Brian Davis works as an editorial coordinator for the American Health Lawyers Association. Association Media & Publishing thanks him for offering to cover this event for members who were unable to attend. Give Brian a shout on Twitter @bcdwrites.


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