Some people never get contacted by a Recruiter, while others seem to be deluged by invitations to connect along surreptitious phone calls. What makes one prospective candidate more appealing than another, especially when backgrounds and skills sets are fairly comparable? Even in this current recruiting landscape good people are getting overlooked.
The answer is that it is a matter of an online persona and personal branding. Those getting the calls have crafted an image of desirability – and it probably did not happen by accident. Recruiters are often looking for the “passive candidate” – the person who is not actively pursuing a new position, but would be willing to consider the right opportunity. To be identified as that “passive” candidate to be sourced and eventually recruited, you need to evaluate your own online persona.
- Assess Your Marketability by searching for your job title and industry on LinkedIn. Does your own profile appear in the search results? How do others with your title and experience stack up against you? Are there differences in your profiles? Is someone using a better headline – what about their professional summary?
- Visit a job board like Indeed or ZipRecruiter. Search for your job title and industry. Are you using the keywords that are in those posts for the position you either have or want? You must know if the talent that companies are seeking equates well with what you have to offer. – And, if you have adequately described your skills and experience in a way that is desirable to recruiters and employers.
- Update your LinkedIn Profile 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn – more than any other social platforms combined. Take a good look at your profile. How old is that photo? Have you added certifications, new software, noted that you attended recent business events or incorporated current buzzwords or technology trending in your industry into your descriptions? Have you had a paper published…spoken at an industry event? This is where it is most acceptable to acknowledge these achievements. Start posting updates in your activity feed – share content your audience will find interesting. Continuously add to and refine your network to include people who will enhance your professional credibility and lead to others who may see your name come up in searches or shared posts.
- Is your Resume Current and Readable by an ATS? An ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is currently used by 98.8% of the Fortune 500. It automatically sorts, scans and ranks resumes for keywords. Seventy-five percent of qualified candidates have been rejected by an ATS because their resume is not ATS friendly. Only submit Word or PDF file formats; use a standard font (arial or verdana) and keep font size to no less than 10 point. Never submit a jpg or png format and stay away from graphs, multi column content, photos or design elements. A traditional left format layout may seem boring, but is often an advantage.
- Audit Your Digital Footprint If you are on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. make sure that your profile or content cannot be perceived negatively in any way – be it a photo, comment or something where you’ve been tagged. While you don’t want to necessarily hide who you are or what you believe politically or personally, be aware that anything too controversial may be a liability to certain employers.
- Don’t be too Easy! If you do get a LinkedIn message, it’s perfectly okay to screen the recruiter. Does s/he have testimonials or google reviews citing their capabilities and ease of working with them? Some recruiters thrive on the chase – the too easy candidate loses out. It’s good to have a few recruiters in your connection list. Besides sharing opportunities with you they are good sources of compensation trends and what skills are most in demand. Work to have a recruit partnership that may carry out over your career.
People think recruiters are paid to find the needle in the haystack when in reality, their goal is to find the superior needle in a pack of needles – the sharpest, strongest, most versatile, best one for the job. It’s kind of a talent courtship – being elusive enough to make a recruiter pursue you, but also being findable because you stand out from the all the rest.
Don’t wait to get recruited – you can be proactive now.