How to Attract Online Recruiters
If you’re thinking of looking for a job this year, or are already searching for one, be warned: for some job seekers, the rules have changed. Technology and social media have clearly altered the way some employers consider candidates, as more emphasis is being placed on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in the recruiting process, according to an article in The New York Times.
One of the most important questions that many job seekers can ask these days is this: How searchable am I? That can be especially noteworthy since some employers aren’t even bothering to post jobs, but are instead searching online for the right candidate, said Barbara Safani, owner of career management firm Career Solvers, in the article. Not having an Internet presence can be damaging to one’s career, she added.
Safani is among those who recommend that job seekers spend serious time detailing their skills and experience on commercial sites like LinkedIn (BLK LinkedIn Page ) and Twitter, with an eye toward making their names a magnet for search engines.
“Having a blog can be a good way to show that you are a thought leader,” while improving your professional visibility, she explained. And consider YouTube as a way to enhance your searchability, she added. If an employer comes across a video of you giving a speech or a training presentation you may gain advantage.
The article also pointed out that more companies are turning to Twitter as a way to broadcast job openings, so you should use it to follow recruiters, industry leaders and individual companies, said Alison Doyle, a job search specialist for About.com. She said that by linking to articles and sharing your expertise on Twitter, you can enhance your professional reputation – though you should beware of the site’s potential as a time drain.
On Facebook (BLK Facebook Page), “liking” a company can mean receiving early notice of job openings and other news, the article noted. But privacy concerns make Facebook tricky, Doyle said. Make sure you understand who is receiving which of your posts, or resolve to be thoroughly professional on Facebook at all times, she said. Be aware that hiring managers may see what you post on any major social media outlets.
And while old-fashioned, personal networking and targeted contact with companies can still be effective ways to land a job, online networking now supplements it in many fields, according to the article. Both Safani and Doyle pointed to LinkedIn as a very important Web tool for making these connections. The site offers premium services for a fee, but almost all of the main features for job seekers are free. Spend a few minutes on the site each day making new connections, Doyle advised, and keep your profile up to date.
To improve the chances that a connection request will be accepted, especially from someone you don’t know, send a personal message along with it, noting, say, your similar backgrounds, advised Nicole Williams, a consultant who works as a career expert for LinkedIn.
Share links and advice with people in your Linkedin network before asking for a favor like an introduction to a hiring manager. If you are seeking a particular position, Doyle said, you might say: “I’m interested in this job. Do you have any information that you can share with me?”
Joining industry groups on LinkedIn can build your visibility too. Also, make full use of the skills section of Linkedin, Williams advised, and the more specific you are, the better. Instead of saying that you have marketing skills, note the exact areas—direct mail campaigns, for example. LinkedIn can direct you to companies that are seeking these skills so you can follow them. Listing your skills could also bring you to the notice of a recruiter.
Be aware, too, that an employer may be viewing your application via a mobile phone, the article noted. Mobile traffic involving job search more than doubled in 2012 over 2011 at the employment site Indeed.com, said Rony Kahan, a co-founder and C.E.O of the organization. So make sure you know how your résumé and cover letter look on a small screen. Résumés should be in a PDF format so they can be viewed on a variety of phones.
Finally, according to the article, in the age of online applications, one school of thought holds that cover letters are a waste of time, but Doyle disagrees. Cover letters are still a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition, she said – and the rise of applications via cell phone just means they should be more concise, and specific to the job at hand.