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Your social presence is the new job security

on May 7, 2011

“You cross me and you’ll never work in this town again!”

I don’t know for sure, but I get the sense there was a time people really took that threat seriously. It’s never happened to me, but I’ve heard the line before, mostly in movies, and it’s often addressed at people in show business. The people who uttered those words were seen as industry gatekeepers that could make those kinds of threats.

Thanks to social media, we can communicate with anyone, demonstrate our influence and connections, and completely sidestep gatekeepers. We’ve seen time and again people succeed without the need of gatekeepers. Realizing that gatekeepers are no longer necessary for building success, are they also powerless to destroy people’s careers?

Justin Bieber’s career will last longer than Leif Garrett’s

Leif Garrett was a teen idol and a superstar. His career was completely controlled by gatekeepers. When his time was over, and his promoters no longer gave him a stage or venue to be seen, he no longer had a voice.

Conversely, with a Twitter account  of 9.4 million followers and a Facebook page of 26.6 million fans (as of 5/6/2011), Justin Bieber has achieved the pinnacle of job security. All the gatekeepers in the world couldn’t end his influence. As long as Bieber wants to, and Twitter and Facebook stay in existence, he can stay relevant.

What does that mean for you?

Increased social presence translates to increased job security

None of my friends feel their company is providing any level of job security. I’ve never felt it. That concept was from my parents’ era.

That doesn’t mean job security has evaporated. It’s just your company isn’t going to give it to you. You need to create your own sense of job security through increased social presence and a strong personal brand. Someone who has a successful blog, podcast, Twitter presence, and/or Facebook following has obviously figured out how to connect with a community, and it’s extremely attractive to potential employers.

“This person is obviously an online influencer who could benefit our company.”

No longer is our career potential limited by the boundaries of the organization. Sure, your boss could fire you and take away your income, but he or she can’t take away your social influence.

Want to protect your future? Focus on your social presence. Specifically, the number and quality of your personal industry relations.

What is the industry’s perception of you and your work? Hard to really know, but the answer depends on how much you engage with your industry colleagues and how much content you’re publishing for them to see and value.

The days of relying on one company to always provide you a job is a faint and distant memory. Your personal brand and social influence, based on your connections, depth of relations, and published content, are the assets that can protect your career for the future.

Stock photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Jaffe May 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Totally agree… I've long viewed the size and quality of an individual's online influence as a guarantor not of a job, but more importantly, of income.

A well tended internet presence is like any other asset portfolio, and, I think, probably should be balanced and evaluated periodically. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on redundancy in terms of relationships (same people-connections on multiple platforms) and in terms of content.

Luke Filose May 12, 2011 at 5:02 am

Interesting insight, David. Here's a question – is there a worry that employers might question your loyalty if you spend a significant amount of your time, or even appear to do so, blogging or tweeting to build your own personal brand apart from your “day job?” I don't worry about that, but then again, I don't use social media as much as I “should” according to your guidance for job security. But I know that if I were supervising someone and they always seemed to be blogging, I would wonder how committed they are to my company.

sam li May 18, 2011 at 3:09 am is a direct store of Chuanglong Technology (HK) Share Co., Ltd. who is a firm specializing in manufacturing and exporting CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras.

Noel McDermott May 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

great stuff, very good advice for everyone. Certainly I work with this in my consultancy and supervision of professionals in the psychotherapies and health/social care sectors

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