Looking for a job? Why aren’t “job creators” finding you, instead?

Several clients of mine have recently filled search marketing, social media marketing and community management positions. I’ve been reviewing stacks of resumes from scores of candidates representing the full spectrum of skills and experience. But, even in the current labor market, finding the right candidate is hard. If you’re one of those candidates — or will be when you graduate next month— there’s one thing you should know before you send out your next resume. What is it?

The first product you must market is you.

What do I mean by you’ve got to market yourself first?

Well, for starters, you’ve got to walk the talk. If you’re a search marketer, can I find you when I search your name? If you’re a social media guru, where can I connect with you? Do you have a website or a Twitter account or a LinkedIn profile? In one recent case, I went through a dozen resumes of “social experts” and only found 3 candidates who had Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. Only one had a Google+ profile (though, to be fair, I can’t blame them for that). Only one had their company website listed on their LinkedIn profile.

Now, it’s hard to keep up with all the change in social media and online marketing. No one expects you to be expert in everything. As my Biznology colleague Frank Reed pointed out a little while back,

“If you are not a jack of all trades or a master of one area of the online space, then don’t say you are. Don’t give up, either.” [Emphasis very much mine.]

Frank’s right. You don’t have to do it all. But just having an email address doesn’t qualify you as an internet marketer, either. If you live your life in the social sphere, show me. If you’re a private person who uses your skills to benefit your business, show me that instead. But if I can’t find you anywhere on the social or search scene, I suspect you’re not as “expert” as you claim.

What about the classic catch-22, “You can’t get the experience without the job and you can’t get the job without the experience”?

It’s a fair question.

Happily, these days, it’s also not as big a problem as it used to be.

Obviously, your first option is to do what I’d mentioned above: Show what you can do by promoting yourself.

But, if you’re more the private type or want to hone your skills in a broader way, consider donating your time and budding expertise to a local charity or community service initiative.

I recently interviewed a fantastic candidate fresh out of college who’d built a complete search and social marketing campaign for her sorority’s community service program. It included a simple blog on Tumblr, a Facebook page, and a Twitter stream. She’d even wrangled a couple hundred dollars in budget from one of their local business sponsors to do some paid search marketing for the program (and so impressed the business owner, he gave her a couple hundred more to run a campaign for him). The result: Greater participation from the student community, record high funds raised and some extremely satisfied local sponsors.

Getting your foot in the door in days gone by was challenging. Unless you had access to someone else’s money, building a portfolio was next to impossible.

But the gatekeepers so common in the old days—big publishers, broadcast networks, giant advertisers—now want to find guerrilla marketers, folks who can do a lot with a little, to do a lot for them.

So the question is, what are you doing to make sure you’re easy to find?

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Tim Peter

Tim Peter built his first website in 1995 and loves that he still gets to do that every day. Tim has spent almost two decades figuring out where customers are, how they interact with brands online, and delivering those customers to his clients’ front door. These efforts have generated billions of dollars in revenue and reduced costs.

Tim works with client organizations to build effective teams focused on converting browsers to buyers and building their brand and business. He helps those companies discover how marketing, technology, and analytics tie together to drive business results. He doesn't get excited because of the toys or tech. He gets excited because of what it all means for the bottom line.

An expert in e-commerce and digital marketing strategy, web development, search marketing, and analytics, Tim focuses on the growth of the social, local, mobile web and its impact on both consumer behavior and business results. He is a member of the Search Engine Marketers Professional Organization (SEMPO), HSMAI, and the Digital Analytics Association.

Tim currently serves as Senior Advisor at SoloSegment, a marketing technology company that uses machine learning and natural language processing to improve engagement and conversion for large enterprise, B2B companies.

Tim Peter’s recent client work covers a wide range of digital marketing activities including developing digital and mobile marketing strategies, creating digital product roadmaps, assessing organizational capabilities, and conducting vendor evaluations for diverse clients including major hospitality companies, real estate brands, SaaS providers, and marketing agencies.

Prior to launching Tim Peter & Associates, LLC, a full-service e-commerce and internet marketing consulting firm in early 2011, he worked with the world’s largest hotel franchisor, the world’s premier independent luxury hotel representation firm, and a major financial services firm, developing various award-winning products and services for his customers. Tim can be reached at tim@timpeter.com or by phone at 201-305-0055.

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