Not so long ago the only way to learn about potential candidate’s skills and qualifications was to review his resume, put him through a skill test and check references. These days employers have many other avenues to assess candidate’s qualifications and determine fit. The proliferation of social networks and mobile technologies makes it possible for employers not only to review candidate’s past experiences but to also see what they are doing now, their current skills, their passions and who are they connected to.
For anyone currently seeking a new role or a career change it is critical to build an online presence to gain a competitive advantage over their peers vying for the same roles.
If a hiring manager Googled you right now, would she find you? And if she did, would she be impressed with the results? Like it or not, when you apply to a job, at some point during the hiring process you will be Googled and looked up on LinkedIn. Building an online presence and participating on professional social networks gives you more control over what appears about you and what you want to be found for. If you’re in the midst of the hiring process and someone wanted to look you up they’d simple search for your name. But if a headhunter was searching for someone with your skill set and you were nowhere to be found then you’d possibly be missing out on life changing opportunities.
Make it Easy to Get to Know You
We’re naturally attracted to people who are like us. Who have similar interests, hobbies and passions. Displaying what makes you unique is usually reserved for one line all the way at the bottom of your resume. But being active on social networks or even running your own blog provides a platform to showcase things you are truly passionate about. Keep it professional of course. There’s no need to over-share your love for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Focus on something that clearly showcases essential and relevant skills in your profession. Let’s say you’re an accountant and you run a blog providing accounting tips for small businesses, you can you use the blog to post an article or two of you working on your hotrod. Accounting and car restoration both require great attention to detail and patience.
If I was hiring an accountant, and all things being equal I’d make an offer to the most interesting candidate.
Speed Up Your Networking
It’s no secret that majority of jobs are landed through networking. Career self-help books, executive coaches and outplacement programs all emphasize networking. Building online profiles, participating and contributing value to online forums and Q&A sites provides you with many opportunities to connect with your peers, business owners and industry professionals. With the right approach your connections could multiply in a matter of a day or two.
Showcase Your Expertise
Have you re-designed a milk carton, built a compelling sales presentation or developed training? Share your accomplishments with your networks. It has never been easier to let the world know what you’re good at and what you’re working on now. Regularly sharing your expertise in blog posts, videos or PowerPoint presentations indicates that you still carry the skills you’ve listed on your resume. Skills that you used 10-20 years ago are irrelevant if you’re not using them today.
If you’re currently looking for new opportunities you know it’s a job in itself looking for a job. It can get mundane and demotivating, especially if you’re not getting results. Why not start a blog? Or build a PowerPoint deck? Or share your knowledge on Quora? These activities will help you break up your day, replenish your energy levels and boost your motivation. But most importantly, creating something new and unfamiliar helps you stay sharp. You get to exercises your creative thinking, utilize your existing skills or develop new ones.