As the owner of a top-recruiting firm in the ad industry, here are six imperatives to optimize your professional presence online.
Flesh out Your LinkedIn Profile
The mother of all professional social media sites, LinkedIn is the go-to place for many internal and independent recruiters to find candidates for their recruiting assignments as well as do background checks of others. Anyone who's anyone has a LinkedIn profile, except for that troll living under a bridge. There are several things you should do to get the most out of your LinkedIn presence:
- Be findable. I used to think my LinkedIn profile should be a quick summary of the highlights of my career. How wrong I was. Think about searchability when you populate your profile with information. Pack as many keywords in as you can so that every facet of your career is represented, not just titles and places you've worked. This will up your chances of being found. LinkedIn's search function is still rather crude compared to the likes of Google, so you have to be direct and complete on the site.
- Be reachable. I put my office phone number right in my title to make it easy for people to reach me. I have nearly 3,000 connections through LinkedIn and belong to several LinkedIn advertising groups. However, I still consider recruiting a full-contact sport, so I prefer to talk to or meet a candidate personally. LinkedIn is a passive method in comparison. Many internal corporate recruiters claim to have a candidate in their database if they simply made contact through LinkedIn. But in my book, nothing beats a good old-fashioned conversation.
- Provide contact information. If you want to be reached, make it clear on LinkedIn how to do so. If you don't, go ahead and say so. I'm often astounded by the number of professionals who explicitly state in their profile "looking for new opportunity" yet don't supply any direct contact information. Fill in the contact info window, which is found under your summary and above the activity section. That's what it's there for. If you don't want calls at the office, supply your cell phone number. Prefer an email? Put it in there.
- Add a link to the contact info on your website or portfolio. This advice is directed more toward creatives. Don't have a website or online portfolio? Get one. Your peers did. Sites like Carbonmade make it easy to put your best work forward. I'm also seeing more account and strategy professionals with terrific websites even if it's just a link to a nicely designed timeline-style resume.
- Say cheese! Be sure to add a picture. Profiles without one usually aren't very thorough, and it raises the question: what are you trying to hide?
What About Facebook and Twitter?
In my opinion, Facebook is more of a social than a professional venue. Most of my Facebook contacts are friends, though there are some business associates as well. Here, the lines are blurred, and, therefore, it's less direct and useful for job or candidate searches than LinkedIn. Some people solve this by having a professional page and a social page.
Twitter is useful but time-consuming. You have to have a lot of followers and need to tweet often to make an impact. I heard of one person who landed a plum job by learning about an opening through Twitter. Still, it's a relatively low-odds medium.
Job Boards Are for Losers
Referrals or word-of-mouth recommendations are more effective than any job board. Network, make it known that you're looking and contact everyone you know so they know you're in the market for something new. Job boards are cluttered and time-consuming for recruiters to navigate and, if over-utilized, can make you appear desperate. I remember talking to a leading New York agency about a candidate whose résumé was all over the job boards. They had the impression that the candidate was over-shopped and under-qualified without even having a conversation with him!
I no longer have a subscription to Career Builder as I found many of the candidates posting their résumés there were either unemployed, desperate or both. OK, maybe not everyone, but many. I much prefer referrals or word of mouth.
With these ideas, you will have a more powerful impact online. And, you won't end up like that troll under the bridge.