(This is part 3 of The Sher Way to “Simplifying Your Job Search through TRUST” which is an acronym for Take Inventory, Resume, Understanding Social Media, STARS, Trust the Process)
The biggest challenge for the over-40 job seeker is often technology, and this is most prevalent when one hasn’t had to look for a job for a long time.
The one “given” regarding social media today is to make sure your on-line presence is appropriate. There should be no illicit pictures, no political rants and no inappropriate comments. The reality is that the “background check” today can be accomplished without ever having to speak to a person (although that is still done). Our lives are pretty much out there for all to examine and that is exactly what a recruiter or hiring manager will do.
The number one social media site for business is LinkedIn® and that is where recruiters go first to look for the best candidates to fill their open positions. In fact, most professionals will go to LinkedIn for many of their business information needs and to prepare themselves for meetings. Here are 3 areas of focus for you to have the most impact with this important tool:
Build a robust profile:
The LinkedIn algorithm, used by recruiters, is an automated search formula that determines which profiles are found during a search. There are several factors that make one profile stand out over another. It is important that you use the dropdown menu to “Add a Profile Section” and fill in as many sections as you can. A good, full profile scores well with the algorithm. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to make a great first impression with a picture that shows you to be both professional and approachable.
Use Key Words and Phrases
Consider how you would use Google® when searching for someone or something of interest. Recruiters use LinkedIn the same way. They input key words into the search bar and the result is a list of potential candidates to fill their position. Just like a Google search, they’re probably not going far beyond the first page of results for their “answer”. So, check yourself by putting in key words for your professional area of interest and see where your profile appears. If it’s not on the first page, see what the profiles of those there look like and try to edit your profile to mimic what you see. You can improve the likelihood of being found with the right key words.
Landing your next job is not a spectator sport. In addition to actively networking with live conversations, you need to get involved on LinkedIn. Each time you change something in your profile, your network is alerted which keeps you top of mind. Also, posting content or commenting on other’s content increases your visibility and helps with the algorithm as well. A great area to do this is in the groups you join, and you can join up to 100 of them. Focus on a manageable number and post or comment on a post, at least, two times a week. Recruiters and hiring managers are in these groups as well. The more value you contribute, the more interested they will be to look into your background through your profile (see point 1 above). You should also follow the companies you are interested in as well.
A lot has changed since many of us have looked for a job and the impact of social media is arguably the biggest change of all. Regardless of your technological comfort-level, you need to understand it and use it to your advantage.