On two unrelated instances this week, I had requests from reporters to provide guidance for people looking for a job, and how they should go about using social media, to at least get an interview. On the other hand, also this week, I’ve trained a local recruitment firm on how to use LinkedIn to find quality candidates. These two experiences gave me both sides of the coin. The interesting thing was, that recruiters really struggle to find candidates, because of the way candidates present themselves. In my view, the job seeker has to better market himself, like marketing a product. Here’s a marketing approach to finding a job:
- First, decide what you’re selling. What are you good at? Start with being very broad about your skill set (Financial Services, for example), and gradually narrow it down, to your 1-2 specialties (Derivatives analysis, for example). Write a short summary of your career, the highlights of your career, using these broad, and narrow specialties term (these are called -KeyWords, and are used later to be found).
- Second, decide your market value. How much do you estimate, someone with your experience, education and skills earns, in your market place. You need to know how much you’re worth, objectively. This will help you narrow down your job search.
- Third, decide on where do you want to work? Some professions tend to have presence in certain areas of a country, a city, or sometime in a different country all together. Once you know where you want to work, it will be easier to go to the next step.
- Lastly, use the above information, to set yourself up on a few social networks, and start your self promotion. Here are some basic tips:
- Linkedin – Sign up, go to Edit Profile, and fill in the blanks until you get to 100% profile completion. Remember the following, when updating your profile: Photo – professional head shot only. No kids, spouses, sports activity, or full body shots. Linkedin is a business and professional network. Let the last 4 words guide you, when completing your profile. Title – not your job title – your professional title – what is your profession, and specialty? Put as much information as you possibly can, and describe your achievements. Brag a little – this is your place to shine!You’ll find, that you can brag all you want on your profile, but you won’t achieve 100% completion, unless 3 other people can verify what you’re saying is true. In Linkedin terminology it’s called: Recommendations.Without them, you can only achieve 85% profile completion. The easiest, and the least embarrassing way of soliciting recommendations is sending 5 completely unsolicited recommendation to people you’ve worked with (colleagues, managers, employees, clients, etc). Some people feel very uncomfortable to ask for a recommendation. I completely understand. However, my advice in this case would be – “GET OVER IT!” Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – this is the only way to make any kind of progress!Then, add some apps to spice up your CV. Show some character by using SlideShare to upload a presentation or a video of yourself, or your work. There are quite a few apps which can demonstrate your skills, capability, and even informal education. I love the Amazon app, which allows you to show case the books you’ve read. Relevant professional books can really give you credibility in your profession, as it shows that you invest in ongoing self development. Employers like it.
- Twitter. The set up is very easy, but the thought process should be more professional. Use your full name (as you did on Linkedin) and try to find a user name as close as possible to your name. Then use the “one line bio” space, in a similar way you’ve done your Summary section on Linkedin, but shorter. Build a sentence, and include keywords. This will come up when proactive recruiters and head hunters look for people. Use the same picture you’ve used on Linkedin, or at least very similar one. Use search.twitter.com to find relevant topics to your profession and industry, and go to wefollow.com to find relevant people to follow. Read these people’s tweets, learn the language and etiquette, and start tweeting yourself – Retweet interesting news articles from the people you’re following, add interpretation of the market and current affairs, etc. With time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Over 200 million people already have…
- Facebook. This is where it can get tricky. On the one hand, this isn’t for work, this is purely social, right? this is where you communicate with your friends, share funny things, photos, videos, etc… WRONG! This is one of the first places recruiters will go to find out who you really are, and what you really do with yourself. Make sure that:
a. Your privacy settings prevent people from seeing what you don’t want them to see.
b. You don’t put up things potential employers could find, and prevent you from getting an interview.
This seems kinda harsh, doesn’t it? Well – that’s the real world, sunshine! It’s very important NOT to judge a book by its’ cover, yet you must be aware that most people do. Make your “cover” pretty, and attractive, because you ARE being judged!
On the other hand, Facebook allows you to be more proactive in your job search – you can Like company pages you’d like to work for, and see their career pages – this is the place they would advertise their vacancies, sometime instead of any job board.
Another way of using Facebook to find a job, is to use BranchOut App. which searches the Web for jobs and then uses yourFacebookinformation to identify who you know at your target companies.
Once you’ve set yourself up on the social networks (you can do a lot more than what’s mentioned above: Setup your YouTube channel, a Google profile, Start a blog, and so on…), I recommend to spend enough time, to first understand the lingo and etiquette, but also participate in online discussions, contribute to the Answers section on Linkedin, monitor keywords on twitter, which relates to your industry and profession, using TweetDeck, or Hootsuite. Then jump into appropriate conversations.
When you see an advertised position on a job board – DON’T APPLY! Find out who is the Hiring Manager, and find them on Linkedin. Send them a direct message (upgrading to a Job Seeker account on Linkedin can really help in this case), and invite them for coffee. You could also identify other people in the organization, and ask them to forward your profile to the hiring manager.
Mix a bit of offline activity with your online credentials. If you’re linking to people, go and meet them face to face, buy them a coffee, and show interest in them. They, in return, will show interest in you, and would (in most cases) go out of their way to help you.
Last thought: Social media isn’t just to advertise yourself. It’s also a great way of learning about your industry, your profession, and learn about specific needs companies have. Then you take the proactive approach, and approach the decision makers directly. The major challenge jobs seekers have, and most are completely oblivious to, is that your CV’s are being read by computers, not people. When applying online on a job board, your CV is being uploaded onto a database, and a computer program is searching for matches between the job description, and the CV. Keyword search. In many cases, an advertised position can attract hundreds, and sometimes thousands of Resumes. Your chances of getting picked by a computer software, and to be short listed for a recruiter to glance at your CV, are unfortunately very slim. Your goal should first be to get the hiring manager to at least see your CV. Then, to get an interview, your CV (and online presence, ’cause recruiters look!) should really stand out.