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Finding your next job - The Next Step Project
For Job Seekers

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2. Building your presence

Let the world know how amazing you are: showcase your accomplishments and personality

Why it matters

In a world where in-person coffees aren’t an option, your online presence is essential. By building your online presence and leveraging your network to identify sponsors, you increase the chances that someone who might not have known about you now does - and the chances that they’ll push for you when a role that works for you lands. This is critical for mitigating much of the bias that pervades our hiring process and and women in their careers.
As Telle Whitney, former CEO of has said:
It’s not who you know, or what you know. It’s who knows what you know.
This is also a time to identify what skills you’re excited to build out to set yourself apart from others.
As a note - while we focus on LinkedIn here as one key space to build your presence, there’s many other platforms (e.g., Twitter, Instagram) to consider and leverage, too.

What to remember

Own your accomplishments
It can be deeply uncomfortable to feel like you’re “bragging” about yourself - but you’re simply stating what you’ve done. If you don’t tell the world what you’ve done, who will?
You’ve been networking your whole life
You just didn't call it that. Ever asked a stranger at a restaurant what their favorite dishes are and why? You’ve networked! All it means is finding people and talking to them about something specific. The only difference now is that instead of dishes at a restaurant, you're asking about opportunities at someone’s company or in their field (and who knows, maybe they’ll share restaurant tips with you, too!).
Take it one chat at a time
Networking is important, but you’ll need a slow and steady approach to make this manageable for yourself and to prevent burnout. Gauge what’s a reasonable number of conversations (phone calls or video) for you and schedule accordingly, as much as possible.
Privacy settings matter
The first thing a new connection or potential employer will do is Google you. Be sure your private social media and web presence have a level of privacy you are comfortable with.
Everyone can see LinkedIn activity
No, not in a creepy way. But comments, likes, etc. on LinkedIn are all visible - be thoughtful about what you decide to post and why.
Brag, don’t buzz
, but avoid overusing jargon and corporate-speak that obscures your personality and hides your real experience behind phrases that don’t mean much. This will help set you apart from everyone else!

What to do

Create a work support squad
This is a group to keep you motivated, hold you accountable, and help you strategize. Start with those you trust most, then work outwards.
Build out your LinkedIn (LI) profile
To highlight your accomplishments - including volunteer roles - and by adding new connections (e.g., former colleagues). See linked resources below in the More Resources section.
Reach out to existing networks
These can be alumni groups and professional organizations, along with personal friends. This is key to helping you be more visible and more informed. It’s also critical for securing your next job. Focused professional networks, like , , , , are great places to start.
→ For BIPOC in or looking to move into the Tech space, be sure to check out Plato HQ’s .
Rethink "networking”
To include learning more about your industry and about roles and opportunities, not just asking others for help. A few ways to do this include:
to start engaging with folks.
Attending industry conferences (many of which are now free!) and webinars
Sending a short note to the presenter(s) whose topic interests you via Linkedin about something you are looking forward to learning or something you learned.
This is an easy way to make a connection with a leader in the industry - because there’s a built-in excuse for the message - and add them to your network. Credit to for this great tip!
Learn the language
As you conduct informational interviews and read job descriptions, take note of the way things are described and how the people in those roles speak about what they do. This includes checking out LinkedIn profiles of staff in the roles you’re looking at to see how they describe their work. Correctly using the phrasing established in your industry signals to a new connection or potential employer that you understand the work they do.
Identify skills to invest in
Especially as you assess what you might be interested in and based on your networking conversations.
Add yourself to talent lists & groups
This includes LI groups specific to your industry, your previous company, and affinity groups. It also includes company talent lists (e.g., , ) and .

What to leverage

Webinars focused on navigating layoffs, improving communications, etc. One resource is
to target specific skills to build
LinkedIn profile reviews from friends and former colleagues

More Resources

Tips for building your brand and LinkedIn presence
[Rev] [a little long, but worthwhile if you want to really geek out on LI]

Tips on networking

Tips for improving your LinkedIn profile

Tips for updating your resume
[The Balance Careers]

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