Anyone conducting a job search today knows that you'll need to be as visible as possible -- both through your personal network and your online presence. Close to 100 percent of employers and recruiters are now turning to sites liked LinkedIn and Facebook to source candidates, check out their skills, and vet them as to their suitability for the job.
Moreover, due to the issues involved in dealing with the volume of potential applicants and their resumes, many firms are forgoing advertising altogether. Depending on their size and their current supply of job openings, companies may either turn to employees for referrals or go directly to the Internet. Consequently, although a position may not be posted, recruiters and hiring managers might well be looking to find someone with your skill set. And they'll likely be looking online.
As with other aspects of the job search process, branding yourself effectively on the Internet is critical to your success. But how will you land at the top of the list of attractive applicants?
The following is a checklist of items that will help you ensure you're making your presence known:
- Make certain you're presenting yourself as the candidate of choice. Identify the current needs of the marketplace and position yourself in ways that will attract attention. Pay special consideration to job requirements that appear frequently in the postings for your line of work. Also note the order in which they're listed. This will reflect the current demand for these types of abilities and experience and how greatly they're valued in today's market.
- Become highly searchable. Know the keywords for your line of work and make sure that each of your online profiles is well populated with these sought-after skills. Also be aware that you're presenting your skill sets in contemporary terms. Mature jobseekers might well possess the skills required for the position, but may be using outdated terminology that doesn't "read" well to recruiters.
- Highlight your unique qualities. You'll need to set yourself apart from other candidates, so stress the ways you'll add value and outperform the competition. Use phrases like, "possess a unique combination of X and Y" to make yourself stand out.
- Be sure that each of your profiles is 100 percent complete and that you're presenting a unified brand. You'll want your LinkedIn profile to support what you're highlighting on your resume, etc.
- Set up a Google alert for your industry, target companies, and desired position. Keep up-to-date on the latest trends and developments so that you can speak to these newsworthy events in interviews and networking meetings. You might also consider creating an individual website/blog wherein you write articles that reflect your knowledge of the field.
- Be proactive and build connections with key people. Reach out to industry leaders and decision-makers on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Moreover, aim for a minimum of 500 LinkedIn connections. With 500 plus connections, the LinkedIn algorithm will select your profile to appear more frequently in search results, thereby, greatly enhancing your chances of being found.
- Gather "social proof." Social proof is the accumulation of testimonials, endorsements, and recommendations from managers, coworkers, and others who will attest to your skills and abilities. These valuable references act as ways recruiters, HR representatives, and hiring managers can vet you prior to contacting you for an interview.
- Finally, make sure to Google yourself so that you can review any online items recruiters are likely to find. Remove references and/or photos that might deter someone from bringing you in for an interview. You can be certain that any entry employers might deem as negative will eliminate you from the candidate pool.
So make certain you're projecting the attributes and skills employers are seeking, determine the features that will distinguish you from the competition, connect with leaders in your field, and use the Internet to your advantage. With a strong combination of personal networking and online savvy, you might just land the job you love before you know it!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide that shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success. Updated in 2014, it's packed with even more critical information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools they need to gain the edge over the competition and successfully navigate the modern job market. Visit her website at FeistySideofFifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!