Job recruiters are an important part of your search process. Do not ignore them. Getting noticed by job recruiters is a difficult task and is something that can make the difference between finding a career and getting a job. Job recruiters are a rare breed and speak their own language. Understanding that language and how get noticed by job recruiters is critical to your success in finding the career opportunity that you want.
Trudy Steinfeld of Forbes Magazine provides some interesting insights for college graduates that are equally important to veterans
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimated that 1.6 million students graduated with a bachelor’s degree this past spring. The newly minted college graduates of the Class of 2014 have rightly celebrated with their friends and families the important accomplishment of obtaining a college degree. This achievement should not be taken for granted. In the United States, only about 30% of the population has a bachelor’s degree. In a society where college graduates are perceived as underemployed and non-degree holding millionaire entrepreneurs have hero status, the value of a degree has never been more questioned. U.S Department of Labor analyses, however, consistently demonstrate that college graduates will earn $2.7 million more over their lifetimes than their non-degree holding counterparts.
Although these findings are encouraging, especially to parents, it is also clear that the competition for the best entry-level jobs is fierce and likely to remain so. With economic and political uncertainties, stagnant growth in several industry sectors, and changing employer expectations, new graduates should prepare for a rigorous and demanding job search. Now more than ever, new graduates must find ways to stand out from their competition and demonstrate the unique skills they can bring to a potential employer. In my work with college graduates I have seen firsthand many successful job searches characterized by candidates who found ways to stand out to a corporate recruiter. Many of my employer friends, most of who interviewed and hired thousands of students, have also shared strategies that help a candidate stand out. So what should you do to get the attention of the recruiter?
Don’t let your resume disappear into the black hole of the application process. The way to avoid this is to make sure that your resume reflects the key skills and qualifications the employer is seeking in the job you are applying for. The first thing an employer will do is vet candidate resumes based on a key word search. If your resume doesn’t effectively articulate what the employer is looking for than no matter how qualified you are, your resume is not going to rise to the top.
Establish a robust LinkedIn presence. You can get tips on building a strong profile on-line or through your college career center, but there are certain aspects of your profile you should pay particular attention to. Make sure that you highlight and focus on your skills and passions that relate to the jobs and employment sectors you are interested. Think carefully about your summary profile in particular. Using descriptive terms such “new college graduate” or “intern” won’t get you very far. Instead focus on the “elevator speech” approach summarizing what you can do for an organization.
Pay attention to obtaining endorsements and recommendations in your profile. These help articulate your skills matrix and validate your abilities and qualifications. Hiring mistakes are very costly to employers so additional information which supports their developing sense of your capabilities keeps you engaged in the process and helps in separating your candidacy from the rest of the applicant pack.
Leverage your skills in 140 characters or less. Twitter is becoming an important job search tool and has grown dramatically over the last year. You can enhance your visibility by tweeting interesting questions or observations and retweeting the comments of influencers in your field or employers you are interested in connecting with.
Engaging with recruiters in this way can demonstrate your industry knowledge and differentiate you from other candidates. Be sure as well to follow influential people in the companies and industries you are pursuing, alumni from your school and other trend experts. Make sure you retweet and “favorite” their tweets. If you consistently include interesting and clever, but professional comments you will get noticed. I have had several students land jobs because they engaged with decision makers from organizations in this way and that eventually led to a discussion about job possibilities.
Blogging is a popular way to build your professional reputation. Along similar lines, posting comments to on line articles and other blog posts of professional relevance can help you gain visibility and connect you with other professionals in your fields of interest. Employing organizations are increasingly scanning social media sites to find new talent and if you demonstrate strong writing skills and insights this will get you noticed.
Good old-fashioned networking is still incredibly important. Attend local or regional events and assume that almost everyone you meet might be a potential connection to a great job. Make sure that you can engage in conversation easily and demonstrate your poise, knowledge and confidence. People often want to talk about themselves – leverage this to build your professional network.
Participate in local service events. Many organizations are impressed with individuals who take the time to give back to their communities and usually these events are comprised of people from all different types of industries. During a park clean up or a school painting project, you might meet an important influencer who is impressed by your spirit and sense of teamwork.
The goal of these recommended strategies is to help you stand out as a potential candidate in a good way. I can’t stress enough that if you’re not thoughtful and strategic about how you “brand yourself” – in either the social media world or in face-to-face situations – you can and will get noticed in a “bad way”. Assume that all of your comments and photos are public and take steps to be protective of your personal brand. I recently heard Dan Black, who heads talent for EY say, “We look for GSPs – Good Smart People – first and then look for certain skills”. To help you get the job you want, make sure that you are one of the GSP’s that can showcase your skills and positive performance in the most effective, stand out ways.
Thanks to Trudy Steinfeld of Forbes Magazine
Go to www.TADPGS.com, click on the “Looking for People” tab, then view “Veterans Solutions” to see more for information on our Veterans Solutions for Employers. Please join our LinkedIn group, Veterans Hiring Solutions for Veterans and Companies at http://linkd.in/Sg346w. If you have specific questions about hiring veterans or the incentives for doing so, contact me at [email protected].