The availability of the Internet and technology has dramatically changed recruiting today. Consequently, to be effective, the methods you use for your job search must change as well, to meet the new requirements. Contrary to popular belief, a job search today is tougher than in the past. The Internet has had a major impact on the process, in many ways that were not expected and are not understood.
Learn the New Hiring Process
For decades we had a standard process for finding a job. Find an ad in the paper (or through a recruiter or your network); type up a cover letter to go with your one-size-fits-all resume; put them in an envelope sent via regular mail; and interview for the job. We didn't usually have much competition, and the process was clear.
Not so simple today!
Like it or not (and many don't like it), meeting the new needs of today's job market means we must become more visible to the world, enabling recruiters to find us and also to find good information about us that supports our job search.
Recruiters do extensive research on the Internet.
Recruiters typically research job applicants before inviting them in for an interview. They are looking for:
- Visibility -- are you up-to-date in your understanding of the importance and the use of social media today?
- Verification of facts -- does the information on the job application or submitted resume match the information on your LinkedIn Profile?
- Personality/fit -- does your personality, as demonstrated in your online visibility, seem like a good fit for their organization?
While public visibility is not comfortable for many of us, a lack of appropriate visibility in the right places makes a job search incredibly more challenging. No visibility -- or only bad visibility (nasty photos or posts on Facebook, for example) -- can ruin opportunities.
5 Keys to Successful Job Search Today
Too many job seekers confuse invisibility with privacy. You should absolutely protect your privacy (like your birthday!). No question!
However, establishing appropriate visibility for yourself is essential today. Put the technology to use to help you stand out in your job search to find a good job.
1. Be visible where employers are looking.
For most professions, a solid LinkedIn Profile is essential today. The LinkedIn Profile provides professional visibility in the website that is the most popular with employers. Done right, your LinkedIn Profile won't put your privacy at risk, but it will enable potential employers will find you.
Recent surveys of recruiter activity have found that they consistently -- more than 90% of the time -- use LinkedIn for both recruiting and fact-checking. Your submission will be compared with your LinkedIn Profile, which is assumed to be accurate.
If you don't have a Profile, the assumption made is that you don't understand how important LinkedIn is or how to use social media for business. You look out-of-date (and, thus, less desirable for many jobs).
Consequently, LinkedIn is not optional for most jobs.
For more information, read Why LinkedIn Isn't Helping Your Job Search and LinkedIn Professional Headline Mistakes that Ruin Opportunities.
2. Leverage search technology to be found.
Find and use the right keywords in your LinkedIn Profile, job applications, and resume submissions so you will be found by employers looking for people with your skills and qualifications.
- Having a LinkedIn Profile, even an "all-star" profile, won't help if that profile doesn't include the keywords used by employers to find qualified candidates like you. Look through the your target job requirements to find the terms consistently used -- skills, tools, experience, location -- and include them, as appropriate, in your LinkedIn Profile.
- When you submit an application/resume through a website in response to a job posting, be sure your submission contains the terminology (the keywords) used in that posting. For example, assume that the job posting specifies that the job requires someone who holds a "current Professional Project Manager certification." If you hold that current certification, include the phrase "current Professional Project Manager certification" in your submission.
For details, read Be Found to Be Hired: The 20 Best Keywords for Your Job Search.
3. Provide "social proof" of your skills, knowledge, and maturity.
LinkedIn Groups are excellent venues for sharing your knowledge and demonstrating your written communications skills. You can join up to 50 groups, so find groups for your profession, industry, location, school and/or corporate alumni, and other groups that interest you.
Observe the group to see if it is active and useful or not. See how people participate (asking questions or posting discussions).
Ask good questions and post good information, written by you or someone else, in the appropriate group discussions. Comment carefully on questions or discussions posted by other members. Learn and share and show potential employers "social proof" of your knowledge, skills, and maturity.
For your professional visibility (vs. personal entertainment), don't be goofy or nasty. If you must "rant" about politics, sports, or religion, don't do it on LinkedIn, and use a name (and email address) different from the one you use for LinkedIn and your other online professional visibility.
4. Be reachable when found by a recruiter.
Again, our concerns about protecting our privacy can get in the way of being reachable when an employer or recruiter has a potential opportunity.
As a long-time "privacy Nazi" I am a strong proponent of protecting your personal information -- specifically your home address and home phone numbers (as well as your birthday, SSN, etc.).
However, if a recruiter or potential employer is interested in contacting you, don't make it difficult for them. Include an email address (NOT your work email if you have a job!) where you can be reached and, possibly, your cellphone number or the number of a private voicemail service. Add the contact information in the appropriate section on your LinkedIn Profile, and you might want to also share it in your Profile's Summary section.
For details, read To Be Hired, Be Reachable for details.
5. Practice "defensive Googling."
Knowing what employers find when they search for you on the Internet is very important, today. Do a test on the name you use on your resume to see what you find. Do you share the same name as a porn star, but you're not looking for that kind of work? Or, do a hundred other people have the same name, even on LinkedIn?
Then, change your name to something that will stand out from the rest of the people who have your name. Claim that version of your name with your LinkedIn Profile, and then use it in your professional communications -- resumes, business cards, etc. Add (or remove) your middle name or middle initial .
Through defensive Googling, you can know what is there, and address any problems that occur.
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Susan P. Joyce is president of NETability, Inc. and the editor and chief technology writer for Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. This piece first appeared on WorkCoachCafe.com.