If you’re looking for a job, you’re probably using job boards and social networking sites. Having an online presence is an effective way to find a new post, but with the overwhelming amount of sites available, and the millions of potential candidates squeezed in next to you, how can you leverage these sites to secure your next position?
As recruiters, we have a unique perspective on the hiring process. We know what employers are looking for, where they look and why they choose certain people. Here are some insider tips for making these sites work for you.
Building Your Brand
Every post, profile, picture or tweet you put online is a reflection of you. Job boards and social media sites allow you to reach thousands of potential employers. How do you want to position yourself to this audience? What do you want to communicate? Is there anything online that you don’t want hiring managers to see (an unflattering Facebook picture or a blog bashing your former colleagues)? You want to present a consistent, professional brand online to attract top employers.
Utilizing Job Boards
Monster and CareerBuilder are the predominant and most popular of the general job seeking websites. They offer an avenue to search and apply for hundreds of positions while putting you in front of recruiters, hiring managers and company leaders. The downside of these sites is that you are one of countless others looking for positions. The key to using job boards is to set yourself apart. Your online resume should containsearchable key words as well as list specific accomplishments and experience and include accurate dates and company names. Avoid general terms, wishy-washy language and vague dates. This is your “first impression” for many hiring managers — make it a good one. There are also job boards that target specific industries; Diceis geared towards professionals in the technology sector. While Monster and CareerBuilder are great general sites for mainstream positions like accountants, administrative assistants and IT managers, Dice targets the application side such as .NET developers, software engineers and dual-role positions.
Job aggregators, like Indeed and SimplyHired, pull job listings from all over the web, allowing job seekers to do one-stop searching. These are handy sites for active job seekers who want to easily investigate multiple positions.
Many professional associations, user groups and trade organizations also list jobs and allow members to post resumes on their websites. For example, the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) has local job listings on its site, and members can post resumes for free. Contact your groups to see if there are opportunities in your industry.
TheLadders is a job board that caters to senior-level executives and is an excellent resource for people seeking management positions. The site has a free service that gives job seekers limited access to listings, but they can’t apply for jobs. With the paid service, job seekers can indeed apply for posted positions, gain access to a career counselor, get help with resumes and cover letters and search for recruiters. Many job seekers can benefit from these resources to help hone their job search skills. TheLadders, which previously had focused on professionals with compensation of $100,000 or more, recently announced that they will be expanding their services to include candidates at all levels and industries, and companies will be able to post their open positions that offer a compensation of $40,000 or greater.
Leveraging Social Media Sites
Although there are several social media sites on the web, LinkedIn has emerged as the leader in professional networking, with more than 120 million members. If you’re looking for a job, you should have a profile on LinkedIn. Think of your profile as an “extended resume,” where you can list your work experience, jobs, skills and accomplishments and a photo. Make sure to keep your profile consistent with what’s included on your resume and/or posted on job boards. LinkedIn users can also join groups that cater to specific industries, trades and interests. These groups allow you to follow news and trends in the industry, participate in discussions and respond to job inquiries. People are also able to post “recommendations” to your profile, which are similar to online references, so ask trusted colleagues to contribute a recommendation. Through these endorsements, hiring managers can get a feel for why others like working with you. It is important to keep your profile current by frequently updating your experience and recommendations. You don’t want it to be outdated.
LinkedIn is also a great site for passive job seekers; those who aren’t currently looking for a job should also build a profile on LinkedIn. You never know when an opportunity may arise. Employed people can have a presence on LinkedIn without raising the suspicion of their employers because it can be used for any kind of professional networking, not just job-seeking.
Facebook, the most popular social networking site, is now offering a service called BranchOut that is geared toward professional networking. Since Facebook has traditionally been purely social, many people are skeptical of using this application for professional use. The advantage is that there is a built-in network of millions of users.
Many professionals also use Twitter for professional networking. Although tweets can’t give your resume direct exposure to hiring managers and recruiters, with the right tweets, you can build a following on Twitter and can follow others in your industry.
Regardless of which sites you use to find your next job, it is important to remember that you are building your brand and, ultimately, selling yourself. Raise yourself above the noise and attract attention by fine-tuning your resume and keeping your information current and consistent. By staying active online, you can be on your way to landing your dream job.
Rob Byron is a Principal Consultant in the Information Technology Permanent division at Winter, Wyman. Winter, Wyman is the largest and one of the most recognized staffing organizations in the Northeast. Find out more on the Winter, Wyman blog or follow on Twitter @WinterWyman.