Posted by Robert Half on Friday, November 29, 2013 - 00:00 | Follow me
When looking for jobs, search creatively. Sure, the big-name job boards are a good place to start looking for work, but if you’re racking up hours online and coming up empty, it may be time to consider a more focused approach. As Sydney J. Harris, late columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote, “Winners focus, losers spray.”
Most people act randomly, hoping to hit the employment jackpot at the usual job sites. Success, however, requires strategy and focus. As preparation for your next jobs search, consider these four online strategies:
1. Go for Quality
As you likely know, your professional network is a key source of job leads. But if you aren’t connected in a meaningful way to your contacts, they won’t be of much help to you. As Robert Half Technology Senior Executive Director John Reed explains, “Quality connections take time to establish, but they are a valuable career safety net.” Reflecting this point is a recent Robert Half survey, in which 63 percent of IT workers polled said they place quality over quantity when it comes to having a professional network that helped them succeed.
Start by weeding out poor connections on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Make your settings specific so those poor connections don’t blur your focus. While sifting through your contacts, keep in mind that someone outside your field can still be helpful, presenting you with opportunities or introductions that you may not have access to otherwise. Home in on quality connections to ensure those remaining in your feeds actually matter to your jobs search.
2. Be Seen as a Candidate
Hiring managers frequently observe that when they put out job notices, they often hear from friends and colleagues whom they didn’t realize were looking for new positions. In our distracted society, your online connections may not be paying attention to you all the time, especially if your social media post history doesn’t reveal you’re on the market.
Get ahead of the game by posting notices about your availability. If your existing connections know you’re looking for jobs, your search may be easier.
Interacting in industry groups on Facebook or LinkedIn also lets people know of your expertise in your field. When you contribute advice or insight to the conversations, people take notice, and you may even emerge as a thought leader, making you an even attractive candidate to employers.
3. Image Is Everything
The internet presents a distinct image of you, whether it’s positive or not. Potential employers may ignore your resume because of questionable photos, videos or comments they find associated with you on social platforms. In fact, a Jobvite survey reports that 42 percent of recruiters are influenced by the online reputations of job candidates.
On the other hand, you can have a squeaky clean image but appear unprofessional if your profiles are unfinished. LinkedIn underscores this, indicating that users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to be contacted for jobs. Select two or three appropriate social sites and craft robust profiles there rather than strewing the web with your name.
4. Search Smarter, not Harder
In addition to the popular jobs search engines, these resources can help do some of the legwork for you:
- Google Alerts: Create job keywords that will alert you daily of new postings. Again, specificity is your friend.
- LinkUp: Search for specific jobs in geographic locations, with access to more than 20,000 company websites.
- SimplyHired: This search engine provides email alerts and lets you save your job searches. Categories include companies that hire veterans, those rated for diversity and eco-friendly businesses.
Using the above tools and tips can help you drive a lot of positive attention your way, especially if you do a good job of presenting yourself as an organized professional who can make a positive impact. Chances are you’ll see even more interest if you position yourself as a quality candidate who is a precise match for a specific position.
In other words: Stay focused, don’t spray.
Looking for jobs? Search going slowly? Check out our services to explore employment opportunities available through Robert Half's specialized staffing divisions.