It’s no secret that most job searches are conducted online. But for many people, the key to a successful online job hunt may still feel like a mystery.
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. recently published information to their Careers Website on the four steps to a successful online job hunt plus advice from PNC recruiters, making the process more accessible to candidates of all kinds.
Many roles are found through referrals — getting a connection to introduce you to an open role and putting in a good word that you’d be a strong fit. This process starts by building a strong digital presence that allows you to grow professional relationships.
To strengthen your digital presence:
Post a career-appropriate photo. Make a strong first impression with a professional-looking headshot.
Keep your profile up to date. Make sure your LinkedIn profile includes your most recent job responsibilities and accomplishments. Be sure to include any volunteer experiences or passion projects — you never know what will make someone want to connect with you.
Be active on professional networking sites. This means not only engaging with your connections’ posts on LinkedIn, but regularly writing your own posts.
Connect with current and former colleagues. This provides a foundational network for you to leverage and to find mutual connections whose experiences align with your career goals.
Once you have a digital presence you’re proud of, how can you use it to build relationships? PNC says successful networking comes down to not being afraid to make initial contact with someone.
“Opportunities begin by making connections,” said Callie, a Technology & Innovation Recruiter at PNC. “Introduce yourself to someone in a role that interests you. You never know where that connection could lead!”
To grow your professional relationships using social networking:
Follow people and companies that interest you. Don’t be shy about reaching out to schedule an informational interview.
Ask for introductions from mutual connections. If there is a professional you’re hoping to connect with and you see that you know someone in their network, reach out for an email introduction.
Most of all, be genuine as you approach online networking.
“Be yourself, and be confident. It’s what makes you unique,” said Cara, a PNC Campus Recruiting Manager.
Once you’ve made a good impression on your personal network, it’s time to hone your skills for communicating with your prospective employer. As PNC says: “Your resume is your first impression. It tells an employer who you are, what you know and how you can add value to your company.” Spending time ensuring your resume is in top shape is important to getting your foot in the door.
The company says your resume needs to:
Tell a recruiter who you are and how they can contact you.
Show you have the right education and credentials.
Indicate what you do and how you can add value.
Showcase your additional skills.
Speak to your community involvement.
Quantify your successes to help strengthen your candidacy.
How can you achieve that while standing out and looking professional? Be sure you’re following these fundamentals:
Keep your resume between one and two pages.
Include up to 10 years of relevant experience.
List jobs in reverse chronological order.
Use a bulleted format for easy reading.
Use the correct verb tense (present tense for your current job and past tense for others).
Add your LinkedIn profile URL next to your name and contact information.
Be sure to proofread your resume for spelling and grammatical errors before submitting it. Also, double check your contact information for accuracy — no one wants to miss an email because they routed a recruiter to an old inbox.
PNC also encourages incorporating your transferable skills into your application — whether your resume or your cover letter. Transferable skills are the aptitude and knowledge acquired through personal experience. They can be applied to any job at any level and are the building blocks of success.
The five types of transferable skills are Soft, Analytical, Technical, Organizational and Personal. Here are ways to identify yours in order to add them to your application:
Determine your actual work versus what is written in your job descriptions; your transferable skills are what fill in the gaps.
Conduct an honest self-assessment of your strengths.
Enlist the help of your manager, peers, friends or family for additional feedback.
Once you’ve determined your transferable skills, market them while you’re on the job hunt:
Share relevant, actionable examples in your resume or cover letter.
Reference “stretch assignments,” if applicable.
Write a career objective statement or summary that highlights them.
Add all applicable skills to your LinkedIn profile.
After the application comes the interview. A virtual interview comes with its own set of rules — including unique ways you need to prepare to set yourself up for success:
Keep your usernames simple and professional. Your first and last name is a great way to start.
Connect with your interviewer before the call. Make sure you get their phone number, email address and usernames ahead of time in case you experience technical difficulties.
Test it out. Do a test call with a friend to get comfortable in front of the camera and to test how you sound and look.
Find a space. Find a quiet, private place to complete your call. Check your background, and make sure there’s nothing behind you that’s distracting or inappropriate. Having a simple, clean backdrop looks professional and keeps the attention on you.
Sign on early. Make sure your technology is working properly, and shut off any notifications on your computer.
Here are ways to set yourself apart once the video interview is taking place, according to PNC.
Be sure to make eye contact by looking directly into the webcam instead of looking at the screen. It may feel awkward, but looking at the camera will make you seem more connected.
Speak slowly, and articulate your words. This is especially important if there’s a delay due to internet connectivity issues.
Stay calm, even if there are technical glitches. Employers understand — and they want to see how you handle pressure.
While the online job search may feel intimidating, you’ve learned the formula for success: Demonstrate why you’re a good fit for the organization and, if possible, get others to support your claim. With luck, you’ll be on your way to a virtual onboarding in no time.
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