As a recruiter with extensive experience sourcing candidates for roles, there are two pieces of advice I have for job seekers hoping to be approached by those looking to hire: 1) Be ‘findable’; and 2) Make it easy.
The obvious question is: how do you do that?
Being ‘findable’ online
With many recruiters and hiring managers searching online and approaching candidates directly about opportunities, the first step for job seekers is to ensure they will be found online. That means you need to be visible, develop your profile and ensure you have a polished and professional online presence that will attract potential employers.
Being visible on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean being present on all social media channels, blogging or posting daily Facebook updates. The most important step is to ensure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile that is optimised for visibility. It needs to clearly state your experience, skills and qualifications, have a professional profile photo and contain the right elements – because those elements will enable people like me to quickly and easily find you.
Presenting your skills
Given how time-poor recruiters and hiring managers generally are, it’s crucial to make your resume and profile as easy to read as possible. That means using short paragraphs and bullet points, as well as relevant keywords that will jump out at the reader. Embed rich data if it’s relevant and appropriate – anything that showcases your skills like presentations, articles you’ve written or awards you’ve won, that bolster your profile and could motivate an employer to make first contact. And of course, make sure your profile looks good – use a clean, uncluttered format that is easy on the eye.
Ultimately, the objective of your LinkedIn profile and CV is getting you an interview, so make sure you’re selling your skills in a way that makes you both findable and desirable. Without that, you’ll never get the chance to show them who you are in the interview room.
Finding and using keywords
A key part of making yourself searchable online depends on your use of ‘keywords’. Every job seeker needs to get these into their vocabulary, and into their CV.
Keywords are the terms that people like me use to search for potential candidates. They will encompass the key things we’re looking for and can include things like job titles and essential skills for the role – for example, ‘digital marketing’, ‘technical lead’ or ‘product manager’, or key technical skills like ‘agile’, ‘Six Sigma’ or ‘SEO’. These are the words that describe your unique selling points.
To get an idea of which keywords you need to include, carefully read job listings for the kinds of roles you’re looking for. How do they describe the role and skills required? Update your professional summary and role description to include these words as these are the words recruiters will search for and they will also help sell your skills.
Also search the online profiles of people in the kinds of roles you want. What words do they use to describe their experience? What’s in their professional summary? What supporting data are they linking to? You can use these as models for your own profile.
Remember that it’s important to use keywords for the job you want, not necessarily the job you currently have. You want recruiters to find you based on terms linked to the role you aspire to get.
Put yourself out there!
Having a LinkedIn profile is the minimum requirement for professional job seekers today – but don’t stop there. You should also follow companies that you’re interested in on LinkedIn as recruiters will often search the followers of a company they’re recruiting for – it’s a great way to flag your interest in an organisation, and it provides a mini talent pool that recruiters can dip into. You should also create a SEEK profile and upload an up-to-date CV as recruiters can access that database when searching for candidates.
If you’re more of a niche candidate with specialist skills, it would be a good idea to explore niche sites, groups and forums related to your industry as savvy recruiters will turn to these niche avenues to conduct more targeted specialist searches – for example, specialised social sites like Github and StackOverFlow for developers.
And finally, submit your details to a high quality recruitment agency that specialises in your type of work. Meet the recruiter and understand what they have to offer you. Getting your information onto their database will only increase your chances of being proactively approached with opportunities.