I had an interesting experience today which demonstrates why personalizing your job search process is more effective than a mass marketing approach.
I was meeting with a friend who is looking for his next job and giving him some one-on-one coaching using the Selling Yourself Into a Job system when, during a break, a woman at the next table asked if I was a recruiter. I explained what we were doing and she said the reason she asked was because she was a recruiter from a large, national retailer. We began to discuss the job search and recruitment process and we both agreed on one fundamental principle: an individual, personalized approach work best for both finding a job and finding an employee.
My new recruiter friend said that she avoids searching the job boards for suitable candidates because there's too much “noise” and false information on them. She prefers to use LinkedIn to locate candidates for the position she is trying to fill. This is because she can customize her search using specific criteria that she comes up with, vs. the search criteria the boards allow you to use. She mentioned that the information posted by suitable candidates on LinkedIn tends to be more accurate and a better reflection of their true personality, experience and job skills. She's also able to get a better picture of their qualifications by the Groups they belong to and other people they are “Linked” to.
I asked the recruiter about recommendations she has for people in the job search process on how to improve their LinkedIn profile. She was more than happy to help and suggested the following:
- Make sure your profile is complete. Include a brief summary of your skills and expertise, an accurate and up to date description of your work experience and information about your education.
- Include additional information about your interests and things you do outside of work. This gives recruiters a complete and well-rounded picture of you and how you might fit into their organization.
- Spell check and grammar check your posting. Nothing will turn off a potential employer faster than bad writing, especially by someone who claims to be a “good communicator.”
- Include lots of key words relevant to your job skills, experience and area of expertise. Recruiters use these to locate potential candidates.
- Get recommendations, but make sure they are accurate, descriptive and sincere. Recruiters can spot a phony or coerced endorsement right away and will discount it immediately.
- Join groups related to your employment objective, job interests and skill set. These help you improve yourself in each of these areas by learning from other like-minded people with more or different experience. Also, be active in the groups by sharing your knowledge and by commenting on other people posts. Good candidates will have as much to offer as their peers.
Talking to my new friend was a pleasant and informative experience and taught me three valuable lessons:
- Focusing on your LinkedIn profile and optimizing it is much more effective than spending time on the job boards during your job search process.
- There are a few good ways to tune up your LinkedIn profile to make it more attractive to recruiters and potential employers who use LinkedIn to locate job candidates.
- Recruiters and employers have just as many challenges as job candidates do in the job search process. The only difference is their perspective.