When starting out on a job hunt, savvy seekers use search engines and social media to identify opportunities of interest and then use the descriptions that they’ve found to help tailor their résumé for that specific goal, says career coach and certified resume writer Debra Wheatman.
“After learning of an opening, it is advisable for a job seeker to determine a way to ‘network’ into the company as opposed to simply applying online and hoping that a hiring manager or HR representative reaches out to arrange an interview,” she adds.
With the number of submissions companies receive via online channels, it’s imperative that job seekers try to establish connections that might provide the inside track.
“Many companies support and encourage employee referrals and are a great way to enter a company,” she says.
The president of Careers Done Write recently checked in with us to share some of her insight on today’s job markets and what job seekers can do to improve their chances of landing a position. Here’s what she had to say:
These days it seems there are so many online job sites out there, not to mention social media sites like LinkedIn where job seekers can search for jobs – what’s your advice on getting started in the process without getting overwhelmed?
LinkedIn is a great start if someone is just getting up to speed. It is a good way to build a network of connections. Once a compelling profile is set up (with a picture), users should start connecting and joining groups with the understanding that participation is key to generating a return. Many LinkedIn profiles have titles, companies but no detail. It takes work, but you will get out what you put into it. There are a lot of resources available to help people who are just getting started on LinkedIn or any other social platform. LinkedIn has some features and tools that allow for people to identify and connect with others they know, as well as the broader community, making it valuable for job search.
What do you think are the most common mistakes job hunters make when conducting job searches online?
I find that job seekers spend too much time searching online. Networking remains the most critical and useful way to search for new opportunities. Searching online should be part of the overall search strategy. But I do find that people make it most or sometimes the entire strategy, which is counterproductive. Identifying and ultimately securing a new opportunity requires establishing meaningful and thoughtful connections. Especially in today’s market, it is critical for job seekers to be proactive and engaged in the search process.
How important is social media to a job search? How are both employers and job seekers alike using it today?
Social media is important and here to stay. Job seekers are using tools like LinkedIn and other social sites to conduct research and establish connections as part of the overall search strategy. Employers also use social media to research candidates and review information about professional histories, review sample work products and read reviews from others that have worked with or interacted with a job seeker.
How should job seekers edit, augment and/or cleanup their social media profiles before starting off on a job hunt?
I always tell people that once they post a message or picture, it is out there to stay. Be wise about what you post online. Things of a personal nature do not need to be broadcast for the world to see or read. Be smart about what you share to keep your online reputation clean. I recommend establishing a professional online brand using a professional photo. If there are pictures of someone that are questionable, I recommend removing those. SimpleWash is a tool that can be used to clean up embarrassing comments or seedy status updates that might be contained on a job seeker’s profile. The app is especially useful for young people who sometimes post before thinking about the longer-term ramifications.
What should job seekers do when submitting applications and résumés via online job boards to make sure their name rises to the top of the pile?
Job seekers should always aim to tailor a résumé and cover so that their background and achievements are targeted for the position for which they are applying. It should be noted that if a candidate has to redo the résumé completely to apply for a role, it is likely not a good fit. Some tweaks or revisions to a résumé and cover that highlight essential elements of a person’s background and achievements should be undertaken to ensure the candidate is highlighting key points and examples that set a strong tone as a positive fit for a position.