No; I am not talking about having inappropriate postings on FaceBook. Everyone is wise to cleaning up or managing visibility of social media postings which could jeopardize your job search.
Your Online Footprint – Build it and they will come
I am talking about simply NOT having an online presence that is relevant and conducive to your career.
Here is the classic example. When I am talking to a potential client, I ask about their LinkedIn profile and usually hear, “Yeah; I have a profile but don’t do much with it.”
That is exactly the problem. It is not sufficient to simply have your profile posted, even if LinkedIn gives you an “All Star” status.
The Profile is just the beginning, folks.
Most people incorrectly remember Kevin Costner’s famous line as, “If we build it they will come”. In the movie, Field of Dreams, he plays an Iowa corn farmer who hears a voice telling him: “If you build it, he will come.”
He interprets this as an instruction to build a baseball diamond in his fields; after he does, Shoeless Joe Jackson and other dead baseball players emerge from the cornfields to play ball.
The “s/he” in your job search is a recruiter searching for your exact background and skillset or a LinkedIn savvy hiring manager using the search function to locate a candidate with your experience and strengths.
Employers won’t contact you unless you make it worthwhile.
A completed profile is great but there is so much more to LinkedIn and you may not even know about all the benefits so here are three which can be used to skyrocket your job search success with as little as 20 minutes a day.
LinkedIn is Critical to Your Job Search
- CareerBuilder’s 2016 survey revealed that employers using social media to screen job applicants has skyrocketed to a tremendous 500% over the last decade and
- Over 92% of recruiters will Google you before reviewing your resume and cover letter.
Translation: If you’re looking for your next position or changing careers, you must not only have a completed LinkedIn profile but engage with others, making strategic new connections, joining groups and sharing your knowledge.
In short, you need to position yourself as a thought leader with credibility, knowledge and experience worth pursuing.
Where to begin?
Yes; I did promise you can do it in 20 minutes a day!
CONNECTIONS: Make sure your connections are relevant to your industry, profession and career search.
One young and ambitious client of mine, a recent grad, was proud of his 500 connections. When I asked him who they were and how they could help him find his first professional position, he shrugged and explained that they were all Facebook friends.
That works if his friends are recruiters and hiring managers or connected to some; however, he ended up deleting more than half of those connections and started seeking out people in the profession he was interested in, recruiters and leaders of companies he was targeting.
Do you need 500 connections? Well; you tell me. The more connections, the more likely someone will see your profile, even if it is a 2nd or 3rd level connection. The more, the better.
ALWAYS send a customized invitation and don’t rely on the default “connect” button. Many of the people with whom you need to connect are getting selective and may not accept your invitation without knowing why you want to connect.
GROUPS: Although LinkedIn allows you to join 100 groups, I encourage clients to strategically seek out the groups that will be most beneficial to their careers and join no more than 10, focusing on posting and engaging heavily within 5-10 groups.
Since you will receive emails with group discussion updates, having a large number of groups is just not manageable.
By being actively engaged in 5 – 10 groups, you will be seen more frequently by your group members.
Think: big fish, little pond.
Engage on a Frequent and Regular Basis.
When first accepted by the group, start a discussion by introducing yourself and saying that you look forward to sharing information with them as well as learning more from the group.
Let that be your motto: “Give” more than you “take” in terms of information and leads.
Post one update daily to develop your reputation.
This can be something you write or an article you received from another resource such as an e-zine or professional online journal via a hyperlink.
You can also share others’ articles and comment or ask a question to stir up some engagement. Best times to post are commuting times, lunchtime and between 10pm and 11pm finds. (Tip: You can share the same update in all your groups.)
CHECK WHO HAS VIEWED YOUR PROFILE – DAILY:
You will find that the more actively engaged you are on LinkedIn, you will have increased viewers. These may be people who can lead you to your next position so follow through with them by sending them an invitation (if you are not already connected) saying, “Thanks for reviewing my profile. How can I help you? I would like to connect and talk about mutual interests.” Once connected, your messages can be more direct and regarding your job search.
You can suggest a telephone call or coffee, if the connection is local.
BUILD, GROW and NURTURE your online digital footprint
Since the recruiters will Google you, get into the habit of doing this regularly. Ideally, you want to see LinkedIn (or website if you have one) be the first reference on page 1.
You can also set up a Google Alert so you’re notified via email any time your name appears online. If you come up with some digital dirt on yourself, you can address it quickly to ensure that your public and digital reputation is professional.