Where do recruiters go today to get a well-rounded view of an executive job seeker? Before you are even considered as a candidate, a recruiter wants to see that you look competent online. How do they determine that? 1) Reading your LinkedIn profile, 2) browsing your Facebook page, 3) looking for a blog or website, and 4) checking if you are tweeting (which shows that you at least know what tweeting is).
Going social in a job search today means more than attending face-to-face networking meetings and reaching out to your contact list. If you don’t have a digital footprint, you may be passed up. There are exceptions, of course, and some small companies or nonprofits may overlook the social media aspect of recruiting, but that is more likely to occur with people who work at levels below managers; at the executive level, it is very rare today. Employers need people who are comfortable online, and digital recruiting is the best way to find them.
Seasoned executives appear “younger and more technically savvy” if they show good social media skills and digital communications. Employers are looking for proof of who you are online, even if your “old-fashioned” network helped you get your foot in the door. The employment decision will at some point be funneled through the hiring office that will turn around and search for you online.
BEFORE you even begin a job search, you should make sure your online presence is well developed—even if it’s only LinkedIn. Google yourself and see what comes up. Frequently executives find out there is another person with their exact name in the same field that could be a competitor or have a less than stellar reputation. Make sure you know what is being said about you and others with your name so you can circumvent any questions or inquiries.
1. LinkedIn – Your profile is your calling card to the new generation of recruiters. Enhance or improve it so that you present yourself as a solution to an employer’s challenges. Make sure you have a professional photo (recruiters won’t look at profiles without one). Network by searching for friends and colleagues and requesting connections. Ask key people to post recommendations.
On the flip side, you can use LinkedIn to find potential companies you may want to work for. Check out their company pages. Some even have a LinkedIn button where you can apply and upload your LinkedIn profile.
2. Facebook – Set up a free profile page if you don’t already have one. And if you are doing work as a consultant, or developing a small business, make sure you have a company page as well. Reach out to friends and business colleagues to build your “friend” base. You never know “you knows who” and might be a good resource. Companies also have Facebook pages so you can do research yourself on potential employers.
3. Personal website – You may want to consider a personal website under your name like JohnBrown.com. A website is a place to demonstrate your professional expertise. You can expand on accomplishments that didn’t fit on the limited space of a resume and link to any work of yours that appears online, i.e. professional awards, white papers, published articles, etc. You may not even know what’s published so enter your name into an online search engine to see what comes up.
If a personal website is more than you want to tackle at this time, think about creating a blog. Blogs are great for writing what you know about your industry, showcasing your brilliance and expertise in specific areas. Your blog may show up when Googled, and your posts could be discovered by not only recruiters and hiring managers, but other industry experts and companies that are looking for industry experts.
4. Twitter – So let’s say you are over 50 and think tweeting is for kids or celebrities. While Twitter doesn’t carry the same weight as LinkedIn on a professional level, the modern job seeker cannot avoid it, no matter what your age. It also has its limitations because you have to say it “all” in 140 characters or less. Regular posting on subjects you are familiar with or an expert in helps employers see that you are keeping up in the digital world.
On the other hand, you can follow tweets of companies you are interested in. It is amazing the amount of job openings that are tweeted on a daily basis. Also, following colleagues who might twitter about companies and/or jobs is another strategy of using Twitter.
Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, shares his opinion along with many employers: “The online world is the new talent pool. If you aren’t in that pool because you don’t have profiles on the networks, then you won’t be found and aren’t as employable.”
Back to my earlier point, employers want executives who are comfortable online, and digital recruiting is one of the ways they find and research you.