Looking for a new job isn’t easy. Wouldn’t it be great to just walk into a business and hand in your resume, squeezing in a few minutes to show off your awesome personality? That’s a dream scenario; with the internet making everything more efficient (but less personal) it’s hard to get in those few minutes to really outshine the competition. Nowadays, most employers only accept online applications via email or job boards. It’s nearly impossible to know where your resume ends up, let alone connect with an actual person. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of “Thank you for your interest in this position, please DO NOT REPLY to this email”. That plus knowing that 80% of jobs offers are received through networking makes landing a job seem impossible. So what do you do to really grab an employer’s attention?
Well, let’s start off with a few stats. According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com:
- Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 percent use Facebook, 26 percent use LinkedIn and 21 percent use MySpace.
- One-in-ten (11 percent) search blogs while 7 percent follow candidates on Twitter.
- The top industries most likely to screen job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines include those that specialize in technology and sensitive information: Information Technology (63 percent) and Professional & Business Services (53 percent).
It’s obvious that employers are checking you out via search and social media prior to even contacting you. Do a quick test, Google search your name and see what comes up. Are you impressed with the results? Knowing this, it’s essential to not only keep your traditional resume up-to-date but ensure your online ‘brand’ is just as snappy. So where do you start?
Well, if you haven’t already – make sure your Facebook profile is set to private. You really don’t want that picture of you getting crazy at a party to be seen by a prospective employer (even if it was on New Year’s and you don’t normally get that wild). The fact is your online persona won’t come with explanations, so those not-so-professional pictures will really hurt your chances of getting a callback.
Join LinkedIn. It’s a great way to connect with previous employers and coworkers as well as highlight your professional accomplishments. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to get recommendations from connections. This will help employers get a good idea of your background, who you know and what you’ve done professionally; think of it as your online resume combined with a professional network.
Start networking on Twitter. Yeah, I know Twitter? Really? Believe it or not, connecting with employers on Twitter will up your chances of getting noticed. In fact, many job seekers have successfully used Twitter to find a job by simply networking. The rule of thumb on Twitter and other social networks isn’t to just push your message or agenda, but to engage in conversation. Follow companies that you’re really interested in and share topics relating to your particular industry. And remember to engage with retweets and @mentions. The more active you are in the conversation, the better your chances will be of building a reputable name for yourself. It’ll prove to prospective employers that you’re not only savvy but also an expert in your industry.
If you’re a creative professional, setup your portfolio on a network like Behance or Cargo Collective and connect with other creatives. It’s a great way to share your work as well as network with other creatives and employers. Even if you have a personal site, it’s a good idea to share your work on a popular network since many employers peruse these sites to recruit talent. Having been a part of the hiring process in a design firm, I can tell you that prior to even posting a job opportunity I would frequent networks like Behance to get an idea of possible candidates to hire. So do yourself a favor and get your work up.
Start blogging! Blog about your industry and profession; this shows employers your informed but also genuinely interested in the industry. Add a personal touch with fun posts about your life beyond your work. This is key, since it gives employers a feel for who you are which is much more than just a resume but a real human with a personality. Wordpress makes it super easy to setup your own blog so you have no excuse not to have one.
The unemployment rate is at 9.1%, making the competition fierce. So, you have to ask yourself – are you doing everything to get the attention of prospective employers? If not, get started!