Market YOURSELF on the Internet

Ever tried Googling yourself? Embarrassed with what pops up? If you are, that is a major problem –  chances are a potential employer (or two, or every single one) has done the same thing. Welcome to the modern world. Everyone has some form of a digital imprint, and the savvy student knows exactly how to put your best digital foot forward 🙂

So how else can you promote yourself online? Well, let’s use the basic principle of marketing and apply them here. A quick situational analysis, like a Porter’s 5, should work nicely.

**Quick caveat: These are generalizations, that definitely depend on industry, personal work experience, and the positions that you are applying for.

1. Bargaining Power of Customers: HIGH. If you are selling yourself, then the buyer would be employers. Here are some questions to ask: Are there many employers looking for your qualifications? In the current economic crisis there are generally fewer positions than applicants, meaning bargaining power is high. In this case, it’s necessary to do everything possible in order to make yourself visible and memorable – that means not just creating an account on all the online channels, but regularly tweeting, responding to people, researching and learning about your specific industry.

2. Bargaining Power of Suppliers: MEDIUM.

In this case, you are selling the skills you got from whoever taught them to you. One way I interpret this is : how much clout does your school have? Or your teachers? If it’s not too much, than you would hope to get jobs that give you excellent experience to make up for it. On the other hand, whoever supplied your education will most likely have resources to help you find a job: Look for alumni networks, ask your peers how they got where they are, and connect with your favourite professors. The internet is a beautiful tool to accomplish all these connections 🙂

3. Threat of New Entrants: HIGH.

How many people are going to learn what you know in the future? This is a worry for people in growing industries, like Sustainability for example. Best way to address this is to constantly improve on your professional skills and take advantage of the extra time you’ve been playing the game before them.

4. Threat of Existing Competition and 5. Threat of Substitutes: HIGH.

How many people do what you do? Probably quite a few. But don’t be discouraged by the number of competitors! Every person IS different from another, and no one else will have the same combination of natural ability, life and work skills as you! It is imperative to broadcast how you differ from your competition if you want to be remembered by potential employers. This goes for the interview, as well as your online profiles.

Takeaways: So how do you use the internet to work to your advantage?

There are two major advantages I see to having an online presence:

1. Exposure. By having an online presence, people who are in different parts of Vancouver, Canada and elsewhere have a way to connect to you. You never know who is surfing the internet looking for candidates just like you.

2. Ability to communicate with all types of players. This is a dismally overlooked part of job searching and establishing an online presence in general. Being online doesn’t just mean that potential employers can find you online; it means you have a way to connect with your fellow job-seeking peers, you can research and keep track of companies that interest you, and even discover positions you never even knew about. Speaking of which…

3. Shows you possibilities you never even knew about. About a year ago, I started up my Twitter account and dutifully started following companies in my favourite industries: Food and Tourism. Little did I know, but there is such thing as ‘Food Tourism’ and it’s a big industry in Vancouver. You can only imagine how blown my mind was. The point of this anecdote is to demonstrate that the more you research, the more knowledge you obtain and the closer you come to finding those perfect-fit jobs.

Happy hunting!

Shiv 🙂

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