There are several ways to search for jobs. You can send résumés and cover letters to targeted companies, respond to job offers you found in newspapers or on job search websites, network all around, and… promote your online profiles. Believe it or not, getting a job thanks to social media is possible! How do I know it? Well, I got my first job that way!
Quick recap: I graduated in December 2011 and started looking for jobs right away. I did everything the books said: target the position I wanted to get, target the industry I wanted to work in, target the companies I was interested in and then get in touch with them with a specific message. I sent a lot of applications that way but … nothing.
The problem? Companies receive tons of applications every day! They see thousands of résumés and read (when they read them) hundreds of cover letters. And most of the time, your résumé will just cross their desk from the printer to the trash with nearly no stop in between.
The reason? People are missing time. They want to know everything about you, the candidate, right away but they cannot get it all from the two sheets of paper you sent… One way to thwart this is to get their attention. Be everywhere they are, and where they are is also on the internet. Like these ads you see everywhere on the websites you scan. Once you search for a couch to buy, you will see ads for couches on most of other websites. This is targeted marketing, and more precisely this is called the push strategy. Search engines and marketers are pushing info you might be interested in, based on your prior researches, until you find exactly the couch you want. You may think that the benefits are only for them, but can’t you benefit from it too? In the end, you may get the best couch ever thanks to these ads…
Now think about it: what if your profile (your résumé) pops up in search engines every time a recruiter types in your qualifications, your key words or so-called tags? This is why social platforms such as LinkedIn can help. These platforms will allow you to build your online presence and tag yourself in order to match potential recruiters’ searches.
This post is the first one of a series of articles: a few ways to improve your professional profiles and to optimize your online visibility. This week, discover how to create a valuable LinkedIn profile.
1) Be complete
Have you ever seen this on your LinkedIn profile?
No? Well, make it your next objective then! Have you ever sent a half-completed résumé to a recruiter? No! This is the same for online profiles: they are your online résumés so keep them complete and up-to-date.
Be complete! Include all your experiences: professional and extra-curricular. The good thing about online platforms is that you are not limited to one of two paper pages, so take advantage of it! Add all your experiences as experience is always good, even if you think the position was not interesting or the company might not be a big and amazing one. Don’t be ashamed of your path: it influenced you and is part of what you are now and what you can be in the future. And this can apply to all social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, etc. As I wrote in my last post Chicken about social Media?, if you are happy and confident about something (a post, a picture, a presentation, a job…), share it!
I read the profile of a Translator the other day and at some point in her experiences, she added “2002-2007_ Extended maternity leave, mother of two wonderful boys”. Adding such information has several advantages. First, you put a name on a long ‘professional inactivity period’. Then, you give clear information up front: yes, you are a mother of two kids. If someone wants to hire you, he/she should take that into account right away. But, I totally understand that you may not want to share personal information, but then, you’ll have to find an appropriate answer to the question “and what were you doing between 2002 and 2007?” There is no point in lying or hiding. Remember that recruiters don’t have that much time to ask questions. They want all the answers already. Don’t miss an opportunity of getting an interview just because you were shy of sharing. You can just right “2002-2007_ Extended maternity leave”. You have the right to have a family and everybody will agree with that. But if you don’t say it, recruiters might just think that you were inactive because you were just not good enough…
Professional platform such as Linkedin will lead you through the different sections of a résumé. If you already have a paper résumé, keep it close and make sure to add the exact same dates and titles, then add a short description with your missions and the skills you developed. I learned that bullet points are more effective than descriptive summary: easier and much faster to screen! Share everything that can add value to your profile: share everything that shows YOU are valuable.
2) Be bold!
Do not hesitate to say what you can do. The job market is tough. You don’t want to look pretentious but you don’t want to under-sell yourself either. If you do not sell yourself, who will? If you can do something, then say it. You were writing articles, translating texts, and/or correcting typos for your school newspapers? Then write “copy writing, translating and editing”. Make a list of everything you can do, find the ‘professional’ term for it, then share it! Your profile will look more professional and these terms will help your profile pops up in searches. These terms are your tags or key words. They are used in the job description companies create; they are also used in search engines by recruiters. Use them wisely and fully!
3) Add recommendations
Saying that no one but you can sell you is not entirely true. You probably met people during your studies, internships, summer jobs, or exchange programs who would be more than happy to support you and to recommend you. Asking for recommendations on Linkedin is easy. Look at the top right side of your profile (available on both ‘Edit your profile’ and ‘View your profile’ pages):
Once you click on it, you will get the following screen:
The next step is easy:
- You select the position you want to be recommended for (intern, student, etc.),
- You select the person who could recommend you (One tricky point though: your contact has to be on Linkedin!)
- And you send the request!
One last good thing about recommendations via Linkedin is that you can check it before you publish it. When your contact writes the note, you receive a message asking you to validate it. You will then have the possibility to ask your contact to change some points if you think the note does not match your expectations.
4) Be obvious!
If you are looking for a job, say it! Not in your title like many students seem to do it but in your summary.
- Your title is your objective: write the position you want to get. When I graduated, I wrote “events, marketing & communication manager”. Why? Because I was looking for positions as events, marketing or communication manager!
- Your summary is the introduction you would write on a cover letter. The one that is not specific to a company but that is specific to your ambitions. This is the place to say that you recently graduated from such school, that you have skills in such and such and that you are looking for job opportunities in such and such countries, and in such and such industries. Be clear (and large) about your objectives. Today, there is no shame to say that you are looking for a job. If you read the figures lately, a lot of people are! Saying it will show that you are available, right now, and that you are ready to start up, right away!
Back to my personal experience now: a Belgian recruiter called me one day in February 2012 saying that he found my profile on Linkedin and Viadeo (French platform). He had been typing “marketing and communication” in the search engines of the two websites and my profile popped up in both of them. My skills were matching the exact skills he was looking for, and this is why I popped up: my tags were relevant. Also, my phone number was available so he called me right away. And he could read on my profile that I was living in Lille; he therefore asks for an interview one hour later in the city. We met that day, I visited the company two days later and was started the job the following Monday. And this is how I got my first job thanks to my social media profiles!
Check out the presentation:
Now is your turn to play!