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Enhancing your career potential in the Web 2.0 world
Is your resume new media ready? Do you know what makes a curriculum vitae (CV) tick in the social media space? Are you sending the right messages for recruiters trawling the web? Is your career Web 2.0 proof?

Web 2.0 and recent trends

RECENT SHIFTS in the Web 2.0 world like content co-creation, transparency and individualised information impacts the way job searches and careers are defined. Trends indicate the need to adopt and leverage new media or social media channels for improving accessibility, creating a brand image and enhancing the potential of getting a job. Blogs, podcasting, wikis and social networking are no more mere buzz words but effective tools to get a head start in a complex web world. Jobs opportunities are also varied and exciting as compared to few years ago. Instead of regular 9-6 assignments, you have options of flexible timings, earning revenue from blogging, syndicating content, selling digital photographs, person-to-person outsourcing ventures among others.

For a management student, it opens up numerous opportunities to build awareness, cultivate communities, contribute to relevant discussions and improve chances of a long term career growth.

A recent study by McCann Universal shows that new media platforms are gaining momentum. 57 per cent have joined a social network, making it the number one platform for creating and sharing content. Blogs are a mainstream media world-wide and a collective rival to traditional media. Video clips are the quickest growing among the platforms. In India, new or social media has caught on well and the medium cannot be overlooked anymore. According to a leading Internet consulting research firm, "Google’s (GOOG) Orkut is the most popular social networking site in India, with a 64 per cent market share. Facebook is also winning many Indian fans, especially students. By 2010, the total number of Internet users in India will grow to 100 million, from 42 million now. This will surely enhance virtual hangout plays like the social networking sites."

The Internet will continue to dominate how recruiters search for potential candidates. A United Kingdom Job Forecast survey found that 60 per cent of recruiters will start or continue to utilise the web as part of their recruitment strategy. A survey by CareerBuilder.com indicates that two-thirds of these employers have rejected candidates on the basis of what they have found. So, it is vital to have a presence online and be aware of the image you are portraying.

As students, there new tools are an asset if leveraged wisely. So the question is: what should be the way forward? Do we start a blog? Can we open pages on social networking sites? Should we create Web 2.0 Curriculum Vitae (CV) ?

Getting started with New Media needs clear thinking and careful action.

To ensure success, you need to begin by introspecting on your career goals, what you want to achieve, your core strengths and attributes, your image among stakeholders and what you stand for. This evaluation helps you define your career new media strategy and outline the success metrics.  

Building your career new media strategy

In today’s world, the ubiquitous CV is not necessary anymore! Rather, it needs to blend elements from new media to enable better search results and for impressing recruiters. A simple online link on Google pages works well. Your CV can extend itself as a blog, but again think before you use this medium. Blogs require brevity, relevance and regular updating – do you have the time to spare and do you have an audience in mind? YouTube video CVs are another good idea if you are sure of how to present yourself on camera and carry a crisp message on your offerings. Increase your web presence and tagging to keywords, which relate closely to your image and expected job preference. Remember, a Web 2.0 CV is a value-add to your existing profile and not a replacement.

While social networking – choose your sites carefully. Having a page on Orkut provides a different picture than being viewed on say Linkedin, a business networking forum. Similarly, Xing has a unique audience profile as compared to Facebook.

On the web, collaboration is a sure way to improve your chances of better opportunities. Be useful and relevant to others; maintain decorum while communicating online, help others get successful and it adds up in the long run. Sites like Linkedin have options to ask and respond to questions, an excellent opportunity to showcase your knowledge and potential.

Be credible online. Do not post information which is ambiguous or not verified. Know yourself and be yourself.

Test your strategy with your peers and stakeholders before you go public. Get feedback on how it matches with your objectives.

Finally, market your profile through social networking sites which align to your image, alumni networks and collaboration tools among others. Do not miss an opportunity to talk about it offline either!

Remember, it takes time to shape a new media strategy; be willing to experiment and be patient.

Aniisu Verghese has ten years of experience in the evolving internal communication, online media and new media domains. He currently works as an internal communication expert for a global management and consulting firm, where he oversees employee communication and internal branding. Verghese has worked for organisations like Leo Burnett, Saatchi and Saatchi, i-flex solutions and Accenture.

He has won several employee communication awards and writes regularly for management and industry publications. Verghese is passionate about engaging fellow communication practitioners and students through workshops and presentations. He advises students on career building and personal branding.

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