Starting the end of 2008 I started noticing a change in my job search I noticed I was getting a lot of emails informing me “I found your resume online, and I believe you would be a great candidate for this position.” At first I didn’t really think a lot about it, since I had just lined up a new position at Integration Point. I wasn’t looking.
Early that next year I joined LinkedIn, and while I still would get a couple emails a week, I was now getting phone calls as well. I still wasn’t looking, so I kindly passed these opportunities along to friends and colleagues who I knew were looking. The one big thing I noticed was the job opportunities were getting better and better.
Not only was the pay offers going up. But the positions were a better and better fit to what I wanted to do. Many of the offers were first time contact from these recruiters and hiring managers, I hadn’t had conversations with them telling them about where I am, and where I want to be. They were getting this information from my online profiles.
Whenever people come to me asking for help in their job search, I ask if they’re on LinkedIn, and if not I suggest they join. I encourage them to fill in as much detail as they can about their past work experience, they’re professional associations, and education. I tell them to include as many specifics as possible. If they are a database administrator, I get them to include the specific versions of SQL Server they’ve worked on. List the specific tasks they’ve completed.
Why do I encourage verbosity here, but not on the resumes they send out?
This version of their resume needs to be search engine optimized (SEO). This version will bring traffic to you, you want to include every term that applies to what you’ve done, and what you want to do. Once the recruiter or hiring manager has found you, they’re either going to research you further (google), or they’re going to reach out to you. You have to be ready for both.
In a future post, I’m going to cover how you can exert some control over what Google says about you. For now, I’m going to stick with your online profile.
After you complete your master resume, you need to build some connections on linked in. Linked in will look at the company names you enter, and look for other people who have worked there. Use that to build connections with people you used to work with. Once you have the connections, you can provide recommendations and reference for them. Once you’ve written on their behalf, you can ask for references in return.
I prefer the pay it forward approach to reference writing. I’m willing to admit there could be a better way to get them. If you know a better way, please share!
OK, so now you have your master resume, and you have some people vouching for you, let’s take it to the next step. Are you contributing online anywhere? Are you helping at Experts Exchange, or another site that shows your technical abilities? If so, make sure you publicize those on each of your profiles.
Cross linking improves the chances the hiring manager will find this positive information about you. It will also feed google, giving it this positive information about you. It will show you go out of your way to share your knowledge with others. That definitely improves your chances of getting an offer for a position!
This is just a brief introduction to using online profiles to help build your career. There’s a ton of things you can learn to use these sites better. If you’re serious about making a change to your career, I can’t offer any better advice than to use your online profile to market yourself.
While I use LinkedIn throughout this post, the same fundamentals apply to all your social networking sites. You could apply these techniques to FaceBook or MySpace, but since those are more tuned to personal socializing, than professional socializing, You may not get the same results from those profiles as you would LinkedIn.
In this same vane, I want to cover how to control what Google sees about you, and how to separate your personal online self from your professional online self. It’s a difficult subject, but given the news stories of people being fired due to facebook posts, it’s something we all should consider. I’ll try to help with privacy settings on facebook, as well as keeping an eye on your Google results.
If I can help in any other way, let me know. That’s what I’m here for.