Searching for a job used to be an analog thing — asking friends for recommendations, reading newspaper want ads, perusing bulletin boards, and pounding the pavement. The rise of the internet and social media changed all that, and both job seekers and recruiters now routinely leverage digital sources, and specifically social media platforms, as one of their primary search and placement tools.
Maybe this has happened to you or a friend, but a colleague of mine, a brilliant sales guy, recently went through a layoff when his division was dissolved. That was rough on him, but his network and social presence was so strong that he received a great offer almost immediately — but not through email or Monster. He was contacted through LinkedIn.
While your personal network has always held your best referrals, now social professional networks are starting to take over. And it makes a certain amount of sense in terms of demand for talent, as the visibility of your professional network is presented pretty clearly — so it’s good for recruiters and headhunters. But when it comes to the supply of talent, the question is: Are you set up for success?
Initial screening rounds during interviewing processes have drastically been reduced, courtesy of easy access to candidates’ profiles on LinkedIn and other professional networks. Recruiters connect with job seekers and view their profiles to find the right match for their clients. What used to be a mostly manual process has been reduced to a few clicks.
And that’s not even all of it. Now it’s common for software to be deployed to narrow searches, allowing recruiters to deal with not thousands of resumes and applicants, but a manual review of a short list of only 20-50. Up to 80% of large companies are currently using resume screening software that uses word matching and algorithms to sift out applications that don’t meet certain criteria.
But that’s just the first step. Companies know that when they hire someone new, they are taking a chance on that person’s present and future value to the company, and so they want to know that the prospective employee not only has the right set of competencies and talent, but would also be a good cultural fit with the company. They can’t afford to get it wrong, as the US Department of Labor suggests that replacement costs for a bad hire can be 30% of their salary (US Department of Labor, 2003), even if they are at lower levels in the organization, and some other more recent studies suggest that the figure can climb to as high as five times their salary. Serious risk is involved, so companies place a high value on getting the right people in the door.
So, given the importance of all the online and social factors in today’s market, it’s clear that having an attractive personal brand can turn out to be not just a contributing factor in helping you land a job, but the absolute most important factor.
What follows are some pointers that might give you the edge to make sure you’re found, matched, and placed by talent hunters.
1. It’s social, stupid
Some people think that the time of resumes will soon be over – and your social brand and online connections will be all that’s required to identify if you’re right for a job. According to research job seekers are regularly being contacted by recruiters through social media and this ‘social recruiting’ is turning out to be effective for everyone – recruiters and job seekers alike.
Companies like LinkedIn and BranchOut provide easy access to a job seeker’s social graph for referrals. Based on a research by Jobvite in 2014, it was found that 94% of recruiters were active on LinkedIn when compared to only 36% of the job seekers. Social media therefore provides a real opportunity to the job seekers if they only have a completed profile with the right personal brand showcased on it.
2. Do some translation
The real trick is realizing that in the online world, your personal brand portrays your resume, not the other way around. You have to do your homework and work with a coach or resume writer, including:
- Outlining what your mission is, your key skills, and your strengths. If you’ve not nailed down what you’re amazing at, then you’ll have trouble convincing anyone else why you’re worth the risk.
- Now you can analyze your online profile – does it highlight your key strengths? Is all the work you’ve done in the past clearly presented on the profile, or does it need more translation to be understood?
3. Now look at ‘the fit’
Do you know everything you can about your ideal employer? How does their culture fit with your style and behaviors? If you are looking for a lasting job opportunity, your recruiters will want to understand not just your expertise and value you add to the company, but how well you might mesh with the existing teams and their culture.
4. Don’t be afraid to promote
As Scott Cook, CEO of Intuit said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” Your network will only work for you if you give them content, ideas, and thinking that they can interact with and share. Things like blogs, videos, podcasts, and helpful information that your community finds useful and engaging. It’s often said that the currency of social media is what you are sharing, so be sure that if you decide to share content, it is 1) interesting, 2) useful, and 3) unique enough to merit attention.
- Reach out to create visibility within the connections of your company and to your future employees and employers
- Share useful and valuable content and be known to your network
- Engage in network activities to extend your reach and influence.
Social media has evolved into a primary job source and offer platform, above and beyond the job portals that have been around for a while. If you can build your personal brand and social identity to make it attractive then employers and recruiters are really going to notice.
It’s no longer only just about your resume. Your accomplishments, previous projects, and your network are all part of the path to a new job in today’s market. So if your experience, expertise and recognition from your past work isn’t clear, visible, promoted, and a good fit, then you might be kissing your job prospects goodbye and not even knowing it.
- Building Your Own Brand At Work
- Is It Time For A Personal Brand Makeover?
- Could Your Profile Picture Sabotage Your Personal Brand?
Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.