First, don’t make assumptions.
These days, most career development professionals will make a point of telling you to get with it in social media. The idea is that your various profiles are a gateway to a new job. Heartfelt advice about whether or not to include pictures of your last drinking binge or photos of your unmade bed is the new career coaching.
But don’t ever get the idea that using social media effectively will get you a job.
Remember the Philosophy 101 question: “If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it?” The very same thing applies to social media. The odds that someone besides your mother and your own social network are actually going to look at you profile are quite low. For the most part, recruiters and HR folks look you up after they’ve come across your name, not as a way to find you in the first place. Just because you infuse your profiles with career information, you are not guaranteed that anyone will look at it or find it.
There are two aspects to the problem;
- Recruiters and HR professionals are not trained to find people using the internet. There is an emerging movement (called Sourcing) to get people some professional training. Only a small percentage of those who are charged with hiring have sourcing skills. Most don’t even realize that they need the skills.
- None of the social media sites (or Google for that matter) make it easy for you to be found. Building resumes that can be found (regardless of format) is still an emerging art. While you can get some good tips about making your resume friendly to an Applicant Tracking System, little is known about how recruiters actually scavenge the web.
The sourcers may find you. You have to make yourself find-able to the others. Here are a few tips that will improve your chances of being found:
- If (and that’s a big if) hiring managers come looking for profiles of people for jobs they are trying to fill, they will look for them exactly the way that you use Google. That is, they will search until they have what seems like ‘just enough’. It is imperative that your profile (and resume for that matter) contain the words that they will use for that search. Your best bet is to visit Google and search for people like you.
- Examine the LinkedIn profiles of other people with your job. Make sure that you include any relevant key words in your profile. Generally, key words are nouns that describe incremental details of your skills and experience. Your profile ought to have tens of them.
- There is some chance that an employer will supplement the resumes and applications it receives through job boards and its website. If you apply for a job online, make sure your social media profiles get updated with some of the language in those job descriptions.
- Have a really clear picture of the people you wish would find you online. Tailor the descriptions of your experience to match the kinds of things they are looking for.
It’s early in the social media discovery game. For the foreseeable future, you are going to have to keep your eyes open. Discovering the tricks of getting your resume (or profile) noticed is a time honored job hunter’s tactic. New technology, same game.