Technology is changing the way people just like you navigate the often crowded waters of job seeking. Long gone are the days of simply opening up the newspaper and looking under the “Help Wanted” classified section, picking up the phone and speaking to the hiring manager directly about setting up an interview.
In today’s society, speaking to a hiring manager on the phone before submitting a cover letter and resume is pretty much non-existent. Not being able to make an impression on someone prior to them reviewing your history has put many job seekers at a marked disadvantage these days. With a flood of resumes in their inbox, hiring managers simply do not have the time to approach job searches like they did in the past.
What does this mean for a job seeker?
Simply, you need to find a different way to stand out in the hiring process. If you are solely relying on a solid resume to win you an interview—you are taking a major risk when it comes to your job search.
As we do every week here at NexGoal, the team has put together three tips in our “Three for Thursday” series for job seekers. The focus this week is on three technological approach changes you need to make in your overall job search as you leap back into the hiring process.
Re-define your social presence
If you do not know what having a social presence means, stop what you are doing and head over to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and create accounts right now. Social media has changed dramatically over the years, and while you may have sworn it off back when people were spending hours on who they should put in their Best Friends section on “Myspace,” it is time to open yourself up to a new way to connect.
Where should you start if you do not have any of these? For a job seeker, not having a LinkedIn account is a major no-no today. It is a great way to have a “live resume” available, connect with people you have done business with in the past, view job openings all across the world and even send messages to those working at a company of interest to see what the culture is like.
Having a LinkedIn account with a detailed work history, links to projects, published work and other key tasks you completed will give you an advantage over others in the job search. As for the other two networks I mentioned, Twitter and Facebook are often viewed as more interaction based areas, which you should capitalize on. Both provide you with the opportunity to interact with key members of any industry of interest to you in an open setting. From there, someone could reach out to you because they see you interacting with a different person.
The opportunities are endless on social media. Having a social presence has connected me to people I would ordinarily not have a chance to interact with. Sure, you have to take the good with the bad on social media in terms of “trolls,” but overall the good has outweighed the bad—and it isn’t even close.
Develop a brand for yourself
When it comes to personal branding, the phrase “Brand yourself before someone else does” always comes to mind. Establishing a social media presence gives you a “voice” for others to interact with—but it does not always provide others with a good idea of who you are from a branding standpoint.
Two years ago, Forbes wrote a great article titled “7 Things You Can Do to Build An Awesome Personal Brand.” I suggest you give it a read to see the entire list, but one thing really stood out to me that most people do not do—“Secure a personal website.”
The article stated about securing a personal website, “Having a personal website for yourself is one of the best ways to rank for your name on the search engines. It doesn’t need to be robust. It can be a simple two to three page site with your resume, link to your social platforms, and a brief bio. You can always expand on the website with time.”
As someone who has written for and operated quite a few websites in my day, this is a great way to think of what a personal website can do. For someone like me with the name Bob Evans, I am never going to rank in Google or search engines for my own name alone. However, if you Google “Bob Evans sportswriter” from my long-time freelancing positions, the first two results are links to my outdated Bleacher Report writer profile. Further down the list you can find a link to my Twitter account, as well as a couple of links to podcasts I was on as a featured guest. For your name, your website could be the very first search result when someone Googles your name!
I actually do not have a personal website live right not for the public to see. My personal sports sites have always been more important, but since joining the jobs industry I found the value in having a personal website—so it is currently in development. If you do not have a personal website, you can use services like about.me or Squarespace to make something simple today, though I would suggest reaching out to someone who does website design for a living to create one for a couple hundred dollars—a small investment now could pay off in a major way in the future!
Always be closing
Okay, so I’m not going to channel my inner Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross and rip every person in the room in an attempt to rally the troops to sell real estate. Though, Baldwin’s epic speech and “Always be closing” reference apply to much more than the sales industry.
For your job search, “Always be closing” refers to how you have set yourself up for potential decision makers to easily find out who you are and your job history. This means you need to have these items at the ready at all times—but how? You aren’t going to just walk around with copies of your resume to give out in case you run into someone at a bar, are you?
Since the answer to that is absolutely not, you need to take other measures. For starters, get business cards made if you do not have any. Seriously, you can go on VistaPrint right now and get 500 cards for under $20. If you do not have business cards, it is a laziness factor—not a financial one.
Having a business card is not enough though, you need to make sure the proper contact information is on there. No, I am not talking about your phone and address—links to all of your social accounts and personal websites need to be on there as well. Also, pay a few extra dollars and get a heavier stock business card. If yours bends in someone’s pocket or wallet after you give it to them, if they are anything like me it will get thrown away. I don’t want a bent business card sitting on my desk with all of the other business cards I have acquired networking.
On top of having business cards, you should also make sure to have an email signature that is optimized in the same way. If you reach out to someone about a job, make it easy for them to click your LinkedIn profile, visit your personal website and follow you on social from the first point of contact.
Doing the above does not guarantee you will get the job—but it absolutely brings you into the way job seekers are getting noticed in 2016. As a bonus tip to help stand out even more, once you have completed these three things before you apply for a job, you should have your resume checked by a professional.
We actually have partnered up with one of the top resume services in the industry, and you can get a resume critique absolutely free right now by simply clicking this link and uploading your most recent resume. It is a free service, and if they can help identify one thing wrong—it is well worth the 30 seconds.