Job seekers, and even those of you who don’t know you’re looking for employment opportunities yet, let’s get your job search strategy right the moment you decide you're in the market. The fact is, by the time you decide you’re going to look for new opportunities, you are already behind. Why? You need to be in a constant state of “I’m open” to positions, even if you’re just a passive candidate. You also need to leverage technology tools so that you can be found. If you’re not proactively managing both fronts, you’re failing at a job search that hasn’t yet begun. The good news is that you can get in front of this challenge by learning what you need to do to be successful at job hunting.
Everyone should take these steps as part of managing a personal brand. The point here is that a recruiter, human resources manager, hiring manager, or technology system is going to search for your name, and you need to have a digital footprint. This is the basic, bare minimum effort to be found.
1. Create a well-written LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn profile should highlight your accomplishments in a clear way. You’re not writing tasks to write. Every word has a purpose.
2. Go through your social media accounts and focus on meaningful connections.
For example, your LinkedIn should be people who have a vested interest in your career and can help you with your job searching or networking. I suggest avoiding connecting with people that you don’t know personally.
3. Your resume should be available in PDF, and you should upload it to your g-drive or Dropbox so that you have a shareable link.
This link should be in your email signature. Another option is to create your resume in Google documents.
4. Google your name and remove any content under your control that you wouldn't want a hiring manager or recruiter to see.
Job Search Strategy 101
These are tactics that plant the foundation of your job search. You’re intentionally putting effort behind getting active in professional groups or interacting with similar professionals or influencers in your domain of expertise.
5. Put yourself in places where potential employers can find you.
Recruiters use a technique called sourcing to find candidates. There are different ways to source talent depending on the role and what the background of the talent needed might be. Sourcers are now getting creative by using custom google search engines (click here for an example) or tools that literally comb the Internet looking for open source information you may have posted about yourself online. Give yourself the advantage and put yourself in places where you would like to be found. I also recommend investing in a professional photographer to take your headshot.
That means you should have profiles beyond just LinkedIn. Create profiles on websites that align with where recruiters might be looking for you: Indeed, Github, TheMuse.com, Angellist, and various specialized professional are good sites for job seekers to start developing an online presence.
6. Make your information accessible to hiring managers and recruiters in locations where you want your job to be.
If you’re looking for a job in a different city, state, or country, make sure that your profile is accessible for a recruiter in that location. You may need to update your location or your headline to say that you’re relocating; it's not enough to simply only respond to job posting or look on job boards in that location. Consider translating your resume to a different language if you’re looking to move abroad and clearly state your work authorization needs.
7. Upgrade your accounts to job seeker or premium as needed.
This helps with getting your profile to the top of the list when recruiters are sourcing. Some job boards and job listings are only available to applicants who are willing to pay for access, too.
Let the Internet work for you by using a site like If This Then That (IFTTT) where you can create a “recipe” and have job posting results automatically emailed to you or compiled into a google sheet once they are available.
Next level job search strategies
Your online job search might require a little something extra. Using a combination of technology and professional strategy, these tools can give you that extra push.
8. Look internally.
Is your next job right in front of you? Maybe there is an amazing development opportunity at your current company that you haven’t considered. If there aren't any job openings that appeal to you, perhaps you can create your next role. That way, instead of having to cut your teeth somewhere new, you could do something different at a company that is already familiar to you. This is so much easier than having to work on these strategies, all of the interviews, and time you’d need away from work searching for and interviewing with potential employers.
9. Use a job search bot.
This bot will comb though the internet looking for job openings and email you relevant positions. It even interacts with you, and you can customize your search on the fly.
Create your own job search bot for recruiters. Esther converted her resume to a bot that interacted with people who wanted to learn more about her. She populated a program she wrote herself that would allow a recruiter to ask basic questions about her profile. Check out her story. I personally tried it, and it took about one day of messing around to get the bot to work. (I recommend having patience—it’s a process!)
10. Prioritize your online job search, rather than trying to find job opportunities in person.
Networking events are often a waste of time. You give up a valuable evening to rest after a hard day of work, and you’re in a room with 50 strangers. You are all grabbing business cards without too much meaningful connection, and suddenly, the evening is over. You get home, and you can’t remember who said what. I stopped going to these types of events about eight years ago, because it was a lot of card exchanging and not a lot of meaningful connection.
Instead, focus on your digital search. You'll find plenty of opportunities to network and search for job listings online.
Your job search is about more than having a resume and emailing it to a recruiter. You have to “exist” in an ecosystem where technology and bots are playing a significant role in how companies recruit talent. It’s important to know how these technologies work, because it’s the only way to survive and thrive in an ecosystem with bots and automation. I know how frustrating this can be (and feel) if you you feel that you’re resume is getting lost among the crowd. Try out these strategies to stay ahead of the game!
Emily Chardac is a people operations leader designing the future of work. Throughout her career, she has designed and implemented best in class “people products” from Silicon Valley to Wall Street. Emily focuses on the employee experience from hire to retire and everything in between. Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyChardac.