7 Things You Need to Know to Win the Digital Job Hunt
The web has widened the job market for everyone. Even the novice can easily navigate digital want ads once they know where to look. By taking advantage of the best digital employment and networking sites, savvy job seekers boost their careers and pocketbooks.
After conducting a traditional background check, a common next step for potential employers is to search informally on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, photo and video sites such as Flickr and YouTube, and general search engines like Google
If you are already on social networking sites, be sure to clean up your act with these simple steps:
- Make sure all information, and particularly professional information, is accurate. In addition to checking all sites you are on, do a comprehensive Google search of your name. You can also set up a Google Alert, so you are notified by email each time your name appears online.
- Complete Facebook’s work history option and check its public search listing.
- Check LinkedIn’s contact me option.
- Build your online profile from the recruiter’s perspective and use keywords tailored to the field and position(s) you are trying to obtain.
- Adjust your Facebook privacy settings to your life. If you are entirely amicable, never inappropriate, be visible to “Everyone.” If you enjoy taunting your friends and posting NSFW content, you should limit your visibility. Remember, you can create separate professional and private networks.
- On all sites where friends can post with photos, videos, tags and comments, including Flickr and YouTube, search everyone you know to ensure all images are appropriate. If not, have that content removed. Then adjust settings, if possible, to control your online image in the future.
- Don’t forget to go through all of your tweets on Twitter.
Digital Job Hunt
Using the same keywords you use on your resume, conduct your job search on online sites. Be sure to adjust the keywords on your resume to match successful search terms. There are a number of good digital job posting sites:
- CareerBuilder offers positions from over 300,000 employers. Job seekers post resumes and establish profiles visible to recruiters from across the country.
- CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and offers to help with resume writing, interview skills, education and training as well as an extensive job opening database. Information on eligibility for loans and grants is provided under its Financial Aid section, and resources to help with re-training and additional certification are also available.
- Craigslist job postings are an excellent resource for finding work with smaller companies, contract work and telecommuting jobs. The site is organized by metropolitan areas, so telecommuters and those willing to relocate will have to repeat their search several times to cover the whole country.
- Monster lists over one million searchable jobs every day. Job seekers can also post resumes which Monster representatives match to open positions.
- USAJOBS displays all open federal government positions – job seekers can search by keyword, city, zip code and job skill.
Many recruiters begin their search on social networking sites. If you are not on, get on with these tips:
- Establish a presence on LinkedIn, the professional social networking site. Take time to include your detailed work history. Be sure to check the “contact me” option, so recruiters can easily reach you.
- Open a professional Facebook account. Make it visible to “Everyone” and enable the public search listing. You will want to keep this as professional and mature as possible, so if your friends want to post on your wall, warn them to keep it clean.
- Today’s employers want web savvy workers. Consider increasing your web presence by linking with others on LinkedIn. Qualified but unknown candidates can develop good name recognition by participating in its group discussions. One young attorney became the highest rated employment-law expert on LinkedIn simply by conscientiously answering legal questions posed by other LinkedIn participants.
Old School Job Hunt
Job seekers are wise to remember, and implement, some tried and true job hunting techniques:
- It’s not what you know, but whom you know. More people are hired on personal recommendations than any other way.
- A few days after you send it, follow-up your resume with a phone call, or if appropriate, an email. Employers want you to want them.
- Seek out and sustain good relationships with multiple recruiters and human resource managers.
- Send thank you notes, even if only by email. Your consideration will be read as conscientiousness, a quality desired by employers.
Recruiters and human resource professionals will often rely on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter applicants keywords and their surrounding context. When writing your resume, remember to include the following:
- Main keywords. For example, a geographer should include “geographer” in their resume. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the number of people who forget.
- Add context to your keywords. For example, a geographer with 10 years experience should include that information in close proximity to the keyword. Modern ATS will distinguish between a geography degree and geography experience.
- Be sure to include your detailed experience, using the largest diversity of buzzwords you reasonably can. For example, a GIS professional should also list the keywords geographic information system and digitizing.
When it comes to layout, simplest is best. A complicated format may confuse the ATS and cause your resume to be discarded. Avoid the following:
- Headers and footers
- Graphics and logos
- Grammatical and syntactical mistakes; modern e-language has left our writing sloppy, so be careful to prepare your resume as if it were for your high school English teacher.
With advances in communication technologies, employers today expect employees to be accessible and responsive. Follow these tips on staying connected:
- Ensure you have easy access to a computer with a good internet connection. Recruiters are increasingly relying on email to reach job candidates.
- If you can afford it (and even if you can’t), get a smartphone. Android, Blackberry or iPhone. These devices make checking email and texts frequently as easy as making a call.
- If you really can’t afford a sufficient mobile device, be sure to check email frequently (at least three times per day) while on the job hunt.
Thanks to the digital age, finding a job or the right job candidate has never been easier. For further information on how new technologies are changing the way we seek and find work, read these articles by The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.