—take your job search to the next step:
They’re checking you out online!
Have you wondered what hiring professionals look for when they “check you out” online? As I mentioned in last week’s blog, they are looking for a consistent message. When inconsistent messages are found, it raises suspicion.
Are hiring professionals suspicious of you?
Here’s a possible scenario. It goes something like this:
There’s a line on your cover letter or résumé: “I have a passion for project management.”
The hiring professional asks:
- Is that the message I’ll find when I check you out online?
- Are you a member of groups on LinkedIn that focus on project management?
- When you contribute to your LinkedIn groups, do your contributions demonstrate the expertise of a seasoned project manager?
- When you post on LinkedIn (you do this …right?) …is it about project management?
- Are you endorsed for Project Management?
- What about your recommendations? Do they recommend you as a PM?
- Are you reading books about project management?
- Do you go to the PMI chapter meetings? …or contribute to PMI groups on LinkedIn? (PMI=Project Management Institute)
“Well … as a hiring professional, I thought you said it was your “passion.”
Hmm … I’m not seeing it…so now I have additional questions and a choice: Either I write you off, or take a closer look.”
Do you get the idea?
LinkedIn is “business social” which contrasts the formality of your résumé.
Your LinkedIn profile should demonstrate professional care. It reflects your career as well as your future. If your LinkedIn “personna” appears lackluster, that raises yet another set of questions.
With the continued challenging economy, huge numbers of job seekers, and limited resources—companies can’t afford to make a hiring mistake. So LinkedIn has taken on greater significance for jobseekers.
Perhaps you’ve seen opportunities for temporary project work or consultant work. These are sometimes called the “try it before you buy it” approach. Grads, perhaps you have seen opportunities for limited paid internships. All of these approaches are geared towards making good hiring decisions.
Here’s what to do:
- Identify the central message that you want professionals to receive.
- Carefully select a single phrase that communicates that message.
- Choose two or three secondary messages that support and bring additional substance to your central message.
Together, your messages should bring a consistent picture of who you are, your career and industry outlook, and the value you bring to a potential hiring entity.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself to bring clarity to the messages you want to send. Try not to bypass this step. Take time to carefully think this through, get feedback from colleagues (Market test your messaging! If you aren’t getting calls, there’s a problem.).
- What kind of a role do you want?
- Who would you work with?
- What kind of activities would you perform?
- What industries could you work in?
- In what kind of a setting?
- What is most important to the companies that you hope will hire you?
- What are the natural attributes that you bring to the positions that you are applying to?
(Here’s a simple worksheet: How to Create a Consistent Message for Your Job Search)
Now check your cover letter and résumé. Do they both send the clear message that you are right for the jobs for which you are applying? (I’m assuming that you know to customize your cover letters and résumés.)
- Be completely honest in your content. And remember that hiring professionals look first from 5,000 feet and then focus on what’s most important to them with regard to skills, experience, and cultural fit.
- What books are you reading about your industry/expertise, career? Not reading – why not? Post something about the book you are currently reading on LinkedIn (look at what others in your interest groups are reading.)
- What kind of postings are you making on LinkedIn?
- What industry-related meetings do you attend? How about classes you are taking. Share your activities on LinkedIn.
- Check your LinkedIn Groups – are they the groups that relate to your career goals? Are you active in your groups? If not …that’s not good. It sends a mixed message: “I like this stuff, but I’m not really doing much with it.” So much for your “passion”.
- Do an Internet search on your name and derivatives of your name. If you find unwanted publicity, check out this article on Digital Dirt.
Check your cover letter and resume again to confirm that your online image is consistent with what you send to hiring professionals.
Build a bridge between your résumé and an interview.
I hope you understand that your LinkedIn Profile is a critical part of your jobsearch.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does my LinkedIn profile look and “sound” like my résumé? (It shouldn’t.)
- Does it violate the “overused list of words” for 2013?
- Does my headline reflect “Seeking opportunities” (NOT GOOD!)
- Is my picture appropriate?
Take your jobsearch to the next step.
Your LinkedIn profile has the potential to land an interview. Yes, it should verify what you put on your cover letter and résumé. However, it can do a LOT more. It should take your candidacy a step further in the process by bridging the gap between your résumé and a conversation.
If you are really serious about getting your LinkedIn Profile in shape then consider these two videos. They cost $7. You can download the transcripts as well. My clients have experienced an increase of Recruiter and HR views by over 250%. These videos show you how.
Email Marcia LaReau: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you getting interviews from your job postings? Are you getting job offers from your interviews?
If not the Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop can change that.
Have I left anything out? What are your thoughts? Please comment.