We all have pre-conceived ideas about people, we associate them to their place of birth, we assume future behaviours based on their nationality, religion and even sexual orientation. Stereotypes are common and people use them to help filter incoming information. We have all been exposed to it. People who have an accent when speaking in English can suffer discrimination at interviews and can easily be associated to their country of origin. The age is also a factor when we are being assessed for a job. The neighbourhood of the candidate can also give away his/her social position. These factors can influence your selection process, because some interviewers are simply biased.
I usually suggest my clients to avoid disclosing personal and cultural background information at interviews because I believe a selection process should aim at being unbiased. It is never totally impartial, but it should aim for it.
The great majority of the jobs available today in Silicon Valley are not posted online. They are filled internally or through referrals. The referral system works very well and is almost a risk free process for the employer. Two thirds of jobs are filled without even being posted on job boards! How can we compete with that?
The answer lies in your personal marketing techniques. How do you sell yourself online and offline? How do you brand yourself? We are brands and the more visibility we have, the more attention we will get, the more trust we will build and the more our perceived value will increase.
I have taught you how to make your Linkedin profile attractive, I gave you tips around dress code and now I would like to help you increase your market value by simply adopting a few techniques. When it comes to online branding, you must think through your online profiles, such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
I treat my Facebook profile with less professionalism than my Linkedin profile, but I still maintain a high level of excellence while managing it. I don’t make grammatical errors in my posts, I don’t post comments about my romantic relationships, unless it’s a compliment. I “follow” and “like” relevant posts that are informative and not simply critical. I don’t display much information regarding my political and religious views and I don’t use swear words.
The pictures that I post are carefully selected in order to avoid too much exposure and I don’t post a new comment or picture daily because I believe over-exposure is not aligned with high value products or people.
When posting on Social Media, the choice of wording is critical and grammatical mistakes are unforgivable. Some may think that I am overly cautious, but the truth is we have no control over Social Media and we have no idea of its reach. Anyone can access it from any given location. People form opinion in seconds! In a 1min conversation people will assume if you are trustworthy, if you have a high social status, they will assume if you are successful or not, they will assume if you are dominant or rather tolerant, they will take wild guesses regarding your sexuality, your career path, your educational background, etc…
My advice here is be honest, be bold, be innovative and edgy, but don’t expose yourself to a point of no return. Don’t attract attention by being loud or controversial, attract attention by publishing relevant content, posting tasteful pictures, creating awareness around a cause that is close to your heart, publish content that will inspire and connect people. Publish and post in different languages, you will reach a bigger audience by doing so. Join groups, forums and chats that will bring you food for thought, that will connect you with people who are working in the company you want to work for. Surround yourself with great content producers and influencers, coaches and leaders in their industry.
Lastly, but not least, brand yourself. Wear the brands that convey social power. It might sound superficial, but it works. People respect well-known brands, they admire those who wear them, they assume that those who wear them are highly ranked socially, sit in the business lounge even if you are not flying business (you can pay to use most business lounges), surround yourself with opportunities that will only be available in certain selective environment. Buy the red car, not the grey one, own it, adopt the life style you wish you had. Don’t max out your credit card in this process, but position yourself as a successful person. You might not want to play these competitive games, but this is the only game people play in places like California, in the most innovative work market of the planet.
Engage in networking events and be an aggressive networker, reserve two evenings a month for networking, continuously expanding your reach, your friends on Social Media and your connections. Join membership clubs, sports clubs, alumni clubs, expat clubs, women/men networking clubs and clubs that are linked to your country of origin, religion or hobbies.