Balance Job Search Technology with In-Person Networking
by Career Transition Coaches Greg Moore and Ed Weirauch
Technology has clearly revolutionized job searches from online resumes and LinkedIn to resume screenings performed by a computer rather than a person. But really, technology only provides a foundation. What’s key is what you do with the gold that can be mined through online technology.
Technology’s greatest asset is its ability to open up a much wider realm of possibilities than was possible in the days before there was a computer on every desk. In those days, the Sunday newspaper provided the main source of job leads and in the bigger picture, maybe there was a handful of actual “help wanted” ads compared to the number of jobs actually available.
Today, just about every employer lists job leads on their websites. Job sites such as Monster.com are OK, but what you really want is to hook into a job lead aggregating site such as Indeed.com. First you’ll fill out your preferences (profession, titles, salary range and location) and from there, you’ll get all the job leads that match your preferences on a daily basis. That’s where you start.
Then what? Think of technology as a foundation for your search. You’ll find leads, some contacts and articles about prospective employers. Then you can really get to work. Here are some strategies for using the Internet as one tool rather than the only one you use.
Job Search Internet Strategies
- Establish a database, preferably through LinkedIn.com. Link with former colleagues, managers, college friends, relatives and others who you think can help in your job search. And be sure you actually know your connections. You want this online network to be a tool that effectively connects you to others rather than just a listing of names.
- Subscribe to a job aggregator such as Indeed.com. Barton Career Advisors offers an online aggregator to all its clients. You enter your relevant information: your profession, experience, distance you’re willing to travel, etc. and then like magic, you’ll receive a list of job leads as often as everyday. When you do get these, look beyond the list of leads. There might be a heading “other similar jobs…” click on that. Continue this string and your job prospect list will grow exponentially.
- Don’t forget to check websites of your professional organizations as well. Part of these organizations’ mission is to identify job opportunities for its members.
- Once you have identified a company, check its website especially under any “News” subheadings. That gets you insight on recent press releases so you can learn about their latest programs, products or developments.
- But that’s just a start which really, anybody can do. Look beyond that to third party sites such as Dunn and Bradstreet (www.dnb.com) and Hoovers where you’ll find more objective information. Look for trends so if/when you do get an interview, you can be well-spoken about what really makes the prospective employer tick.
- Here’s what we think is the greatest strength of LinkedIn. When you hear about a job with Company X, search your LinkedIn contacts to see if anyone already works for Company X, or if one of your contacts knows someone who works there. Now you can network to ask that contact for insight on the company and the specific opening, to recommend you to the hiring manager, or at least call attention to you. Your objective is to have an edge on all the job-seeking competition and this is a great way to get that.
- Attach your current resume to your LinkedIn site.
- Be sure to post a very professional picture of yourself. It doesn’t have to be a formal portrait; on the other hand, it shouldn’t look like a shot you took with your cell phone.
- Update your LinkedIn site periodically but not too often. Remember that all your contacts get informed when you update your site so be strategic about timing. Every three months is reasonable.
- Get testimonials from people you have worked with closely and encourage them to be specific about your strengths. Testimonials from former directors and senior corporate leaders carry more weight than your best work friend with whom you had lunch.
Remember that LinkedIn is a powerful tool not only for your use, but also for recruiters and hiring managers who are actively searching this site regularly.
Now to our most important technology message: get away from your desk. Use what you glean with your fingertips to connect in-person, to actively network and to make real job search progress. Here’s just one strategy: through your LinkedIn contacts, set up at least two in-person meetings a week for the next month. And remember, meetings over coffee, breakfast and lunch are far more common today than in a more traditional office setting across a desk.