It is very rare that a day goes by and I don't hear about job cuts or losses. Yesterday, I caught a bit of a story on CNN regarding employment. They stated that it now takes approximately 20 weeks to get a new job, if you can find a new job that is.
More than ever, it is important to make sure you are found online. A future employer may google you to find out more about you. Or, a recruiter or HR representative may be looking for prospects online, through referrals or people they know also in the field (who may know you!)
I am not an employment expert, but here are some ways to go beyond the job fair or job board that has helped me in the past.
1. Make sure you are on LinkedIN. Like the old saying goes, "it's not what you know, it's who you know". This tool is a great way to showcase your work resume but also professional affiliations. It allows you to stay in touch with old colleagues without having to update your address book every time some moves or changes positions. Above all, it connects you to people who may be looking to fill a role in their company and reach out to those they know first. Afterall, people value their friends' opinions and are more likely to hire someone that a friend recommends.
2. Google yourself. Did you come up in the first page of results? If yes, was it your LinkedIN profile, blog or website? Or, was it content that you wouldn't want a future employer to see? Keep promoting your online profile. Try to get organic links pointing to your profile or do some self promotion via forums and comments.
3. Showcase your expertise. Create a personal profile page that displays what you have worked on and what you know by creating a blog or connecting with like minded people on twitter. If you are up for a job against someone else, and your prospective employer googles the both of you - he or she may feel more comfortable about choosing you if your online resume supports what he or she already knew or thought. It certainly doesn't hurt.