Landing that job of your dreams often means you’re competing with 250 applicants that flood the recruiter’s inbox, all resumes vying for being worthy of their undivided attention.
There are many factors that can interfere between you and that dream job. These include:
- who is screening applications;
- the screener’s own personal tastes and ideologies around what’s good and what isn’t;
- their knowledge of the sector;
- specific requests of the hiring manager which may not be advertised; as well as
- your (the candidate’s) proximity to the person who is making recommendations AND whether they know who you are and have you in their mind at the right time.
Mostly, these factors can’t be influenced. However, what you can have control over is the person making candidate recommendations i.e. typically the recruiter.
How do you get in front of recruiter’s eyes and have them see you as a top candidate worthy of being pursued? By developing a relationship that’s built on a mutual win-win and making it easy for them to present you as the leading candidate.
This way, when you do send your resume and cover letter, it will easier cross the line. But first, you have to figure out what it is THEY care about and want to see.
What Recruiters Want.
A recruiter friend once told me this. “In my job, I care about two main things: credibility and placements.”
Remaining credible in front of their clients is essential for placements to occur. This means that their candidates (YOU) must *WOW* their clients. Noone puts forward a poorly presented resume or someone with a photograph of themselves at a fancy dress party for their LinkedIn profile picture. Maintaining professionalism and credibility is essential, so view yourself as a vessel through which what you do makes recruiters look good.
By being the absolute best candidate that you can be, you’ll not only be helping them maintain a clean record of credibility AND helping them make a placement, but you’ll also be helping yourself in the process.
Leverage Your Social Media Presence.
The first step to building credibility is to create social proof and value.
Recruiters want to present top notch candidates and these days, what does not exist on Google doesn’t exist. This means you have to ensure that when somebody types your name into Google, a page or more of interesting, valuable and high-value content that’s niche relevant pops up and builds you an on-the-spot glowing reference.
Use social networking to build your personal brand, utilising job-seeking specific accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ so you can create a following of like-minded people AND use it to help win the attention of employers and recruiters.
Research suggests that a third of HR professionals have found that social recruiting has improved candidate quality. Why? Social profiles ‘back up’ your resume and job application, and provides input about potential cultural fit.
And, recruiters know that employers are more so these days looking for a good fit, so to enhance their credibility, only forward details of candidates who match the employer’s ways of working. Ensure your social media presence doesn’t compromise your chances!
Find Yourself A Mentor.
We all know that a resume is super important, but did you know that a mentor can give you an added edge and may even put you at ahead of other candidates?
Mentors provide a unique opportunity to understand more about the world of work. You can learn from another’s experience and mistakes and utilise their knowledge in reaching your own career goals.
AND, not only can mentors help you plan career moves, they can and often will endorse you personally and professionally, recommending you to the people that count.
The important thing is to find someone who you are comfortable sharing with, who has the attributes and capabilities you aspire towards and the viewpoints or ideas you find admirable as the right mentor can really put the icing on your networking cake.
Ensure Your LinkedIn Profile Is Doing Its Job.
Surveys show that 93% of Recruiters use LinkedIn as a search and contact tool during the recruitment process.
That means a huge number of people are right now using LinkedIn to look for someone with your skills and experience.
Many of my clients focus on their resume, forgetting that their LinkedIn profile is just as important, if not more. Make sure you have a strong, vibrant and interesting personal brand on LinkedIn, outlining your capabilities and experience in an easy to access way.
Incorporate as many key skills as you can think of to ensure that your profile always appears first when recruiters search for their next employee.
Common LinkedIn Mishaps.
#1 – You’re not connected to recruiters. Or anyone else for that matter;
#2 – You don’t have a headshot. Or it’s got someone’s shoulder in the background;
#3 – You have a boring headline;
#4 – Your profile lacks the right keywords which means you won’t come up in search;
#5 – You describe previous organisations and not yourself;
#6 – You never update your details, so contacts never hear about you;
#7 – You don’t get involved in groups or forums, so no one knows what you think;
#8 – You update your details too often. People get tired of seeing emails about you;
#9 – You don’t let people know you’re looking for a job…..so stay in your current role;
#10 – Your profile isn’t public so you can’t be found. Or… are you on LinkedIn at all?!
Expand Your Network On LinkedIn And Ensure Top Recommendations.
The interesting thing is that 31% of job seekers say a referral from their professional or personal contacts helped secure their current job! Statistics also point to there being a 40% increased chance of being hired compared to others if you have been referred and it is twice as likely that a referred candidate will be on the receiving end of an invitation to interview.
What does this have to do with LinkedIn? Start building your connections!! The larger your LinkedIn and wider network, the greater your chances of connecting with people who can help your career.
On LinkedIn, join groups and forums so that recruiters can find you through common groups, let connections connect you to ‘friends of friends’ and utilise the connection tool to fully maximise your social networking reach.
Networking for increased referral chances in the wider world is also advisable and very easy to do. Some ways to build your circle of career-minded friends could include;
- Attending social events organised by recruitment firms – call some in your area to find out dates and times and get your glad rags on ready to impress;
- Casual networking drinks – most people have had to find a job, meaning most people know a recruiter. Ask friends to connect you to the recruiters they rate;
- Pick up the telephone and call. This can be scary in the current climate of texting and emailing, but sometimes that personal touch to say “I’m really interested in working with you” can make all the difference. It can also give you the heads up on any forthcoming opportunities at other organisations;
- Follow organisations you’d like to work for and engage with their social media accounts – let their recruiters know you are interested in them specifically;
- Develop your research skills and find out who the recruiters are for companies you want a career with and interact with them via their social profiles.
Put Yourself Out There.
Chance encounters can happen anywhere, at anytime. But if you’re not ready for those moments, they might just pass you by.
Become open to discussing your career aspirations in any situation. You never know if the guy that walks his dog in the park at the same time as you is a recruiter that could offer you assistance, or if the lady behind you in the queue at the coffee shop could be your next mentor. Be ready to talk.
Secondly, be ready and able to explain what you do, how you add value and what you would like to be doing. Be able to tell them about your recent achievements too. Also, make sure you ask for a business card so that you can follow up and really make sure your details stick around so you are the first person they think of when that dream job comes up.
Give and Take.
The world is changing. We’re moving into a world of heightened collective consciousness. People are beginning to see the value of giving to others – and how mutually beneficial relationships not only helps others, makes you feel good and in turn helps themselves.
This means that when networking, take the time to understand why the person you are talking to is at the event ensuring the information flow isn’t all one way.
Build honest, transparent and trusting relationships based on mutual gain rather than hurriedly offering your ‘self-sales pitch’ before rushing on to the next person to do the same again.
Taking time to get to know the recruiter as person and building relationships to help achieve their goals may help make YOU the person they want to help first.
It’s All About Your State Of Mind.
Henry Ford is famous for his quotation “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
The right frame of mind is critical to your job seeking success and can be a subconscious differentiator when you’re networking. Use networking as an opportunity to get better at relationship building and also as a chance for you to tell the world what you have to offer. The more you do that, the easier it becomes for others to do it too, and the easier it becomes to be noticed by recruiters in a candidate rich market.