Veteran recruiter Joe Turner describes online routes to the short list when professional talent scouts are looking for candidates.
I was a recruiter for more than 15 years, so job seekers often ask me for advice on how to meet recruiters and how to make working with recruiters a beneficial experience. My reply is not always what they want to hear: Top recruiters don’t want to meet you. They don’t want you to call them, and they don’t want you to send your resume to them.
They are already wired into their own network of potential candidates in the fields they cover. If they’re doing their jobs correctly, they already know all the top candidates in their fields or know where to find them. In other words, if they want to meet you, they’ll find you.
But these are the people you want to meet! These are the executive search firms that will introduce you to a company or corporate recruiters who want to fill open positions.
There are ways you can increase the odds that they will find you. By making sure you are visible in the places recruiters look for new talent and by optimizing your profile to appear high in their search for candidates, you can increase the odds you’ll become one of those candidates recruiters in your field seek out.
1. Build and update a LinkedIn profile
“If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” That‘s the motto of many recruiters today. And for many of them, “online” means one place: LinkedIn. According to a recent survey of U.S. hiring managers, 66 percent used LinkedIn to find job candidates for openings, 23 percent used Facebook, and 16 percent used Twitter.
If you haven’t done so already, visit both LinkedIn and Facebook to establish a profile page that describes who you are. Keep it professional, but make it an expression of your professional personality. Whet the appetites of visitors to your page. Update it regularly.
2. Advertise yourself with a Unique Selling Proposition
Describe yourself with a brief sentence – a Unique Selling Proposition. A USP is a one-sentence description that says who you are, what your biggest strength is and the greatest benefit you bring.
“Hands-on Operations Manager with strong people and team-building skills who has helped produce revenues of $2.8 million with a 22 percent margin for my previous employer.”
Place this sentence in your profile header as a starter to explain what distinguishes you from others in your field. Include your previous employers as well as the briefest descriptors about you.
3. Add your LinkedIn profile URL to your resume
Once you’ve built your profile, make sure you make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find you on the Web. Add this link directly to your resume right under your contact information.
4. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations
Amassing recommendations is like stockpiling referrals before you need them. Once again, you want to make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers. A great way to provide them with good feedback about your work is with LinkedIn recommendations. A recommendation is merely someone saying something good about you. Make a list of your past (and present) bosses, supervisors, colleagues and clients. If they’re on LinkedIn as well, they can provide you with a recommendation. Don’t be afraid to ask, since most will be more than glad to do this for you. When they’re done, you’ll have a number of professional recommendations easily seen by anyone who visits your profile page.
5. Make yourself an expert
You can also employ tools like LinkedIn and Facebook to extend your network. You’ll find hundreds of groups on LinkedIn beyond the obvious ones dedicated to alumni and job search. With a little searching you’ll also find groups of people dedicated to the advancement or discussion of their particular profession or industry as well as people seeking solutions to specific problems.
Recruiters will often monitor groups relevant to the industries in which they specialize and keep an eye on outstanding members. Once you’re a member, you can initiate new discussion threads for others to join. You can ask and answer questions; if members of the group deem your answer the most relevant or helpful, you gain visibility within the group. Recruiters definitely notice these people, since they prove to be the movers and shakers within their profession. They make the short list for a check on your profile and a potential e-mail or LinkedIn direct message to your inbox.
Start with LinkedIn as a tool to gain the attention that will merit a call. Then you can move to incorporate both Facebook and Twitter into your job-search marketing.