(This article appeared previously on AOLJobs.com)
Are you brave enough to go digital for your career? That's a question digital business advisor Mike Moran
asks in a recent column on the Biznology blog
Moran's column is geared toward skittish marketing people, but has merit across all fields for today's unemployed and many of the currently employed who are shirking their own digital growth.
Today, there are plenty of employed people who are hanging onto their jobs for their dear lives because they know their positions are becoming more technologically advanced and they haven't updated their skills. Similarly, an increasing portion of today's unemployed boomers were laid off because they don't have the necessary digital or tech skills and are poorly positioned to land a new job in their field.
Don't Be Intimidated by Digital
Moran's advice: You can't keep up with everything so just start to keep up with something — anything.
My advice: You can teach an old dog new tricks. Pick a trick and learn it.
(MORE: How to Use Social Media to Find a Job)
A secret about digital channels from Facebook to Pinterest — they're generally easy to learn and use. But here's the problem with most digital platforms: their tutorials are awful. The secret is to find tools from books at the library to YouTube training videos to actual courses on services such as Lynda.com and just start experimenting.
To get you started, here are three key social media platforms you should no longer ignore, plus ideas for getting started in easy, non-threatening ways.
This service has a large female following and is a great tool if you're interviewing for a job that targets women aged 25-54. Pinterest
is also very popular in wedding and event planning and should be a “must have” for any would-be event planner, catering service, or hospitality facility.
How to get started
Open a free account on Pinterest.com
, preferably with your own name so friends can easily find you. If you're, say, a budding photographer, you might want to name the account something like MarySmith'sPhotography. For the average Jane, create a board of pet photos and learn to pin your own photos. Try another board of family favorite recipes.
(MORE: How Pinterest Can Boost Your Career)
Don't have a pet or like to cook? Try a board of inspiring quotes found on other Internet sites. Finally, create a board of wish-list purchases from items you find on Etsy.com
or other shopping sites. This will get you used to re-pinning and get you to load the “pin it” icon on your browser toolbar.
Lastly, find two to three people to follow on Pinterest. You can now add your Pinterest profile to your resuméeand have a sense of how Pinterest works and might be used.
This service teaches you how to be short and sweet by limiting all posts to 140 characters or less. Twitter
is used widely by reporters to get leads; authors; politicians and pundits and is a great reference tool to learn from experts of all kinds.
It's a must for any public relations or communications professional and can be the most amazing personal reference librarian for delivering latest news from top experts you follow in any field of interest from economics to landscaping. I follow many experts in the marketing and social media space including Mike Moran, whose Twitter handle is @MikeMoran so people can easily find him.
How to get started
Create a free account on Twitter.com
. Pick a name that is either your own or one that demonstrates expertise. For instance, mine is @MarketingPlaza
and was started to build my marketing communications business.
Make sure to upload a photo so you don't look like a rookie, and fill out your profile so Twitter can better understand your interests. It will immediately suggest people to follow. Start following them.
Look up the names of key experts or authors in your industry. You'll be surprised how many have Twitter accounts. Start following them as well.
After you find a dozen or so people to follow, log into your Twitter account regularly to scan your news stream. Click on at least three to five links daily or weekly and start learning from the experts.
If you get a bit braver, start re-tweeting those expert links on your own Twitter feed. Don't worry about tweeting original content or about having followers. This is about becoming familiar with the platform. After you've built some confidence, you can add Twitter to your resumé.
(MORE: Avoid an $80,000 Facebook Mistake)
Started in 2003, Skype
is not new, but many still don't know how to use it, don't have web cams, or don't see a need for the service. Skype became an instant hit with those who have relatives overseas because it allowed for free or low-cost phone and video calls. It's also a boon to parents of college kids who want to see a face rather than just hear a voice.
Increasingly, employers and recruiters use Skype as a phone screen to see a potential employee, test the employee's familiarity with the digital medium and save the cost of flying employees in for face-to-face interviews for relocation jobs. I had several Skype interviews with a recruiter and was scheduled for follow-up Skype interviews with a potential employer when I landed my current job.
How to get started
As with the other services, create a free account. Use an account name that is preferably your own name so a hiring manager can easily find you. Consider Skype as a new phone book. You don't want to be hard to find.
Next, identify a sibling, friend or child who is also willing to learn Skype or who'll play along for your sake. Once they also start a Skype account, test finding them and initiating a call. Then test getting a call.
Skype is easiest with the newer computers, laptops, or iPads that come with built in webcams, but if you don't have a new computer, get yourself to an electronics store to invest in a webcam.
Next, right under your email address, add your Skype name on your resumé and you'll automatically look more hip and become easier to interview by recruiters and employers.
Gain Familiarity With Other Platforms
There are many more digital platforms to consider from LinkedIn and LinkedIn Events, to Google Plus, Google Hangouts, Facebook business pages, Facebook contests and, of course, Instagram. The key is not to get good at all of them, but to gain familiarity with some of them.
Is digital media overwhelming or scary? Mike Moran says: “Maybe. But it is less scary than failing. Because that's what happens when you are too petrified to go for it.”
So next time you're wondering why the job market is so tough or why it's taking you so long to land a position, consider whether you've availed yourself of digital options to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
As Moran concludes: “…the most important key to success is not knowledge. It's bravery.”
Employers want people who can help move the company ahead by being growth-oriented and willing to use new technology, new techniques and attempt new ventures. Displaying digital capabilities on your resumé and profiles is a great way of showing that you're not afraid to embrace the future and all its potential.
Rhona Bronson is an AOLJobs.com contributor. She has spent more than 30 years in marketing and communications positions with well-known consumer product and media brands. After being laid off as a Senior VP of Marketing in 2009, she started a marketing and consulting company in North Jersey. She later led a marketing group for a regional newspaper in South Jersey. Laid off again in 2013, Bronson conducted a focused job search resulting in her newest position as Director of Marketing for the Delaware River and Bay Authority.
Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:
Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,
"Every time I read a post, I feel like I'm able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it's so great."
Your generous donation will help us continue to bring you the information you care about. What story will you help make possible?
This article is reprinted with permission from AOL.com. © 2013 AOL.com. All Rights Reserved.