wewez – Newly unemployed in January 2009, Teresa Basich of Los Angeles turned to Twitter to check out potential job opportunities. She began following others with similar professional and personal interests.
“I struck up a loose camaraderie with a contact on Twitter based on my interest in learning more about social media marketing and community management,” says Basich, who also created a blog to host her résumé and share her thoughts on professional topics. “I chatted with this contact regularly on both a personal and professional level.” Fast-forward one year and that connection led Basich to a dream job as content marketing manager for a social media monitoring technology firm.
Despite the bleak statistics–there are roughly 15 million people unemployed in the U.S., and about 70 million more with jobs looking to make a career move–you can land a job via the Internet. A survey conducted byCareerXRoads.com, an employment consulting firm, shows that in 2009, 13.2% of external hires were found through job boards and 22.3% were from a company’s website.
“Job seekers have more power than ever,” says Zack Grossbart, a virtual team coach and author of The One Minute Commute. “They aren’t relegated to another piece of paper in the stack of résumés–they can show off, brag and stand out.”
Don’t Spam Your Résumé
Poring over job board postings and relentlessly applying for jobs can feel very productive, but think quality over quantity. “You’ll have more success going after 20 positions that you target vs. 200 where you simply cast a wide net,” says executive recruiter Skip Freeman, author of Headhunter Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed Forever!
Tap online resources to research the companies you’d most like to work for and for positions that you’re truly qualified to fill. Use search engines to track information about a company and its employees. Make use of people search engines, such as pipl, Wink and PeekYou, once you have a contact for more information.
Don’t apply for more than one position at a company, or you’ll be out of the running because you won’t be seen as focused. When it comes to writing a cover letter (a must!), generic introductions won’t work. Tailor each letter to the open position, identifying your accomplishments and achievements. Anything you can quantify in terms of money, percentages or numbers will generally elevate your résumé above the hundreds of others vying for the hiring manager’s attention. This way you will establish your “value proposition”–what you’ll do to make the company more money or save the company money, says Freeman.
Polish Your Résumé Daily
It’s critical to upload your résumé online so new search technologies (like semantic job matching engines) will find you,” says Kathy O’Reilly, director of social media relations for Monster.com. “Hiring professionals almost always search résumé databases as the first step in their recruitment strategy, even before posting the job description.”
Outsmart the search engines. Make sure keywords in the job description are listed in your résumé. It’s not repetitive or plagiarism, it’s good sense: You need to customize your résumé to each opportunity. In addition to the keywords, add the skills and accomplishments that the employer is seeking into your résumé and online profile. This way you can attract hiring managers who have problems you can solve, says Miriam Salpeter, an Atlanta-based job search and social media coach. “Every job is the result of a problem–everyone hiring is looking for someone to solve a particular concern or issue.”
Update your résumé every day, even if it’s a tiny change, so that you’ll stay at the top of searches conducted by hiring companies and recruiters. Post your non-confidential résumé on two or three major job boards if you are unemployed–but if you are employed, make it confidential. (Here’s more advice on how to hunt for a job from work and not get caught.)
Look at other résumés in your field and notice if there is a pattern of certain words or phrases that you’ve left out. The goal is to polish your résumé and online profiles so that they look better than the pack. “Give your posted résumé a relevant title or name–most recruiters and hiring managers look for that,” says Freeman. “The title, ‘Biomedical Project Engineer’ will get my attention, but ‘Highly motivated individual looking for a job’ will likely get passed over.”
Though it sounds obvious, don’t use your company e-mail address or phone on your résumé. Make sure your personal e-mail address is professional–”mom2cutiepies” isn’t going to send the right message to prospective employers.
Be Easy to Find Online
Employers expect established professionals to have an online presence. If you’ve been working in your industry for 15 years but your name and accomplishments are digitally nonexistent, companies won’t take interest. Maintain strong profiles on LinkedIn and ZoomInfo, two top sites recruiters, human resource professionals and hiring managers go every day.
“LinkedIn is now more important than job boards for professional women,” says Susan P. Joyce, publisher and editor of the employment portal Job-Hunt.org. “Have a complete LinkedIn profile, which includes a nice professional headshot (the same headshot should be used for all social media) and three recommendations.”
You can follow on Twitter employees at companies you want to work for, and if you establish a following of your own, with hundreds or even thousands of followers, you’ll get employers to notice you.
A decade ago you could give someone your résumé and say why you’re qualified for the job. Today, Grossbart says, you need to show them. “Show your work with blogs, articles, portfolios, videos–anything you can use to prove you are the best person for the job.”
Instead of simply listing your speaking engagements on your résumé, provide links to your YouTube channel where recruiters can watch videos of your presentations or speaking sessions, and include links to Slideshare, where your PowerPoint presentations come to life, says O’Reilly. You can also create a video résumé and upload it to YouTube, but make sure it isn’t cheesy or too rehearsed. If blogging isn’t for you, perhaps start an online radio program.
Clean Up Any Digital Dirt
A 2009 Microsoft survey found that 79% of hiring managers and job recruiters reviewed online information about job applicants, and what they found influenced their selection process. It’s crucial to be careful about what you–and your network–post on the Internet. Don’t join online groups that could embarrass you. Even on Facebook, keep your information clean and professional. According to the Microsoft survey, 70% of managers rejected candidates based on what they found online.
Google and Bing yourself often to see what the search engines reveal about you. If you can’t delete negative information, bury it by posting positive content, such as answering questions on forums, commenting on blogs or creating your own blog and updating it regularly. “Do whatever you can to control the search results. The top five are what really matter and will make the image potential employers form about you,” says Grossbart.
Open Doors With Social Media
New opportunities and connections are right at your fingertips. “Think of the Internet and social networking as ways to constantly expand your circle of contacts,” says Salpeter. “It only takes one great contact to connect a job seeker to a great opportunity.” Expanding your network is key, since most employers still fill jobs via referrals–nearly 30% of all external hires. “The more people you meet–even virtually–who feel connected to you, the more likely you are to land an opportunity.”
READ FROM: forbes