4 Proactive Job Hunting Tips To Stand Out From the Crowd
by Will Staney
For a couple years now I've worked at VMware building out social recruiting strategies and programs as well as training recruiters on how to find candidates and engage with them in more of a human, relationship focused way using social media. In this post I spill the beans on a few of these tactics that can be flipped around and used by job seekers to find and build relationships with recruiters and key contacts at organizations you are looking to find employment with. Whether you are currently on the job hunt or not, these are some useful tips for getting inside a social savvy recruiters head that will help you throughout your career.
This first one is a no-brainer and I'm sure you've all read a million blogs about personal branding.
However, it is the necessary first step. After all, you are the product you are selling in your job search. Be regularly active on the sites where recruiters are living such as Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Actively post about your professional endeavors and projects highlighting yourself as an expert in your field. This doesn't mean you shouldn't get personal on your social networks, but you should also always be cognizant of what your audience is seeing (and the risks involved) so consider your audience and privacy settings before clicking that share button. Always remember that a potential employer can possibly see whatever you post on the Internet.
But remember, employers are starting to care more about you actually having an online presence than not having a bad one.
2) Spit it back at them.
Recruiters are out on social networks trying to find you, so go out and and find recruiters. If you just applied for a job at a company for a marketing job – search for the recruiters hiring for marketing jobs at that company. Every recruiter is on Linkedin…start there. Find people who work at the company and even in a similar position and network with them. Ask them how they got there.
Use Social Media and Social Directories to Find People to Network With
Twitter: Use Twitter Search itself to find conversations mentioning the keywords you search when they use in them tweets, hashtags, and narrow down by geographic location. One of my favorites is a Twitter directory called Twellow. It's like the Yellow Pages for Twitter and can be used to find people who are influential in certain industries or topics that may be making hiring decisions. You can find and follow employees at your target companies as well.
Facebook: Search Facebook itself by keyword and find events (for in-person network), groups to network with others in your industry, and even public status updates to find conversations in real time! Also, check out the BranchOut app on Facebook. It's the largest professional network built on top of Facebook so it allows you a safe way to connect with professionals (without becoming Facebook friends) but still leverage your personal social graph on Facebook to find jobs and people at particular companies.
Why use Facebook in your job search? Well, according to Jobvites Social Recruiting Survey, almost twice as many people found jobs using Facebook than Linkedin. Why is this? Think about the people who are most likely to refer you to a job. It's not that guy who gave you a business card at a conference that one time that you connected with on Linkedin. It's that friend you went to college with, your uncle in the banking industry, or your old friend from high school. These people can really vouch for you and are comfortable reaching out to their network for you to help you land that job. Your personal network.
3) Get creative
Go above and beyond if you really want that job! Do things that will get a recruiter or company’s attention. Recruiters receive resume after resume as well as emails just like the ones you've probably seen blasting out on CareerBuilder or Monster so get creative! Including something like a clever video resume or a link to a website you created highlighting your skills in your cover letter or resume can really give you that ability to separate yourself from the heard!
Did you see that "Google Please Hire Me" video resume to Google by Matt Epstein in September that became a viral video? That guy got 80 interviews and a pretty sweet gig out of that. Read more about that here.
Also, anytime you can get creative in your job search using the product of the company your looking to get hired at…well, that's a winning combination! At SlideRocket, a division of VMware, an applicant (and now employee) Hanna Phan did just that. Watch her presentation below and check out Hanna's story here.
Within weeks of this being virally shared throughout VMware, without even landing the job officially yet, she already began building a fan base! Talk about a great first impression, right?
If you are a web developer – build a website that highlights you in the position you want at the company you want. It’s so much easier to share a link to a recruiter or company employee on social media than it is a paper resume (and it's more likely to be seen as well)!
Recruiters are so bored with the basic resume that when something compelling comes at them, they WILL remember you. If they get a lasting impression from you, and you don't qualify for that immediate role, they will think of you for the next position that comes along.
4) Resume Blasts are a thing of the Past
This is a mindset recruiters still need to break as well. Just as the days of recruiters blasting their jobs on job boards hoping the perfect candidate applies are over also are the days of career seekers blasting out their resumes hoping that perfect job comes calling. In this job market, in the days of social media, that just doesn't cut it anymore.
Start your job search by researching and identifying 10-15 companies whose culture and vision match your own and proactively reach out to people at those companies. Learn about the manager of the department you want to work in and even their leadership. You landed the interview? Great, now ask the recruiter for the names of the people you are going to be interviewing with and do some research like I mentioned in point 2 above before you go in there!
There is so much information now right at your fingertips! Most employers have entire sections of their website and social media channels solely focused on what it's like to work there. For example, check out our VMware Careers channels to the right of the blog to learn more about what it's like working at VMware.
We recently recorded a LIVE show on VCTV on this very topic and you can watch it here:
Will Staney is a versatile sales and marketing professional with an expertise in new media strategy and implementation. Currently Will holds the position of Talent Acquisition Web Strategy Manager at VMware where he is responsible for building out and implementing the corporate Employment Web Marketing and Social Recruiting Strategy for Silicon Valley's "Silent Giant". Over the past two years will has trained an entire global staffing team and implemented social media strategy and adoption throughout the organization that has dramatically changed the way they find top talent and spread awareness of their employer brand online.
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