The world of a job seeker has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.
Gone are the days when we aggressively scanned the Sunday jobs section in the newspaper,and faxed off a dozen resumes to company HR departments. Today, there are new tactics and online tools that better equip job seekers for success in a highly competitive market.
For people interested in securing a job with a government contractor, Kathleen Smith, the chief marketing officer at ClearedJobs.Net, offered some important advice during yesterday’s GovWin GovCon Careers Webinar, “Getting Back To The Job Hunt.”
Watch the video presentation from this event below:
Shattering the Myths
Smith said that were a few myths people searching for jobs still operate under. Saying that “today’s job search is different,” she noted that “technology will control your access to employers and their access to you.”
For example, instead of relying on newspapers to identify opportunities and faxing your resume to human resources departments at various companies, the way you will find jobs that are right for you and be identified by employers is through keywords. Keywords highlight the requirements a particular employer is looking for as well as your skills and accomplishments.
This ties into the importance social networks are playing in the job search process. Many people seeking a new job after many years either out of the workforce or out of the job market believe that employers are “just going to have to find me the way I am.” However, employers use social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to find and screen candidates. So, establishing keywords around your skills, building your online reputation and managing you as a brand are very important.
Of course, when faced with all of these technologies, a mentality that things are too hard can creep in. Smith says that people need to remember they they are “always learning new skills.”
Remember, a job search today will require new thinking. It is not just about what you do; it is about who you are, what you have to offer and how you package yourself. A job search will be an evolving project. And if it helps your thinking: Given the amount of time we spend at work, a job search is a quality of life search that requires your best effort.
LinkedIn is Essential for Job Seekers and Employers
LinkedIn is one of the most important tools for the modern-day job seeker. A network of millions of people all over the world, LinkedIn allows you to highlight your skills and value to a potential employer.
Smith says that to effectively use LinkedIn, you need to “craft your profile properly,” which means including:
A professional picture and detailed summary
A list of accomplishments to show your value
Links to any blogs, Twitter accounts or websites you are associated with
Smith also advises updating your LinkedIn profile “at least monthly” and “more so if in an active search.” This also means providing professional “status updates at least two to three times a week.”
Your network is part of your brand. As such, you need to reach out to all your past colleagues, professional contacts and friends and establish a connection with them on LinkedIn. This is one of the best ways to find out about opportunities.
But don’t just send the same message to each person in a chain email. Personalize your communication and find people you can write recommendations for who can return the favor. Positive recommendations are an excellent way to stand out to recruiters.
Facebook and Twitter Play Important Roles
Whether you are an active user of Facebook and Twitter or have never used the sites before, both are helpful in establishing a positive online presence. Smith says that Facebook users need to be sure to “set up the lists of people you share information with between your close friends and the general public” so potential employers only see relevant information and not too many personal details.
Also, when using Facebook and other social networks, be sure to “like” companies, organizations and government agencies that you are interested in. Smith says it’s important to “be part of key trade association groups in the industry” and customize your bio to include skills and keywords that recruiters can search on.
Last, on Twitter, be sure to “follow companies that you are interested in and/or their job posting feed” as well as follow and connect with recruiters. Sharing professional information is important, but Smith says to focus on “quality, not quantity.”
Put Aside Fear and Promote Yourself
Embracing and implementing new technologies and tactics in your job search can be an intimidating process. But as Smith says, “You really need to take a first step.” So get online, create your online profiles and get started highlighting who you are and what you are capable of in the workplace.