This week DICE.com came to visit me for a video interview on job search for technical talent in today's market. A big take away for the interviewer was that job seekers needed to break out of comfort zones and "get out there; be found on the Internet." Recruiters operate on-line today. If they can't find you on-line, you are at a competitive disadvantage. And the disadvantage is GROWING by the day.
Check out this just-issued chart by JCSI. They state that more than 50% of recruiters will use social media to find candidates, get referrals and post open positions in 2010. If there was a chart that showed what recruiters were doing in the tech space alone, I'd guarantee the numbers would even be HIGHER!
There were Smart Dinosaurs, Too
I was at a cocktail party over the holiday and happened into a group of engineers. One of them had been looking for a job for some time. We got to talking, and I saw some classic brainy-engineer patterns start to emerge. To him, being "excellent" at what he did was the way to get a job. Doing anything that might look like he put an ego-centric spotlight on himself was fully distasteful. Never would he get on "LinkedIn," or other such network.
That way of thinking is dated, and in my book, dumb. That is, if you want to get a great job, as fast as possible.
It can be very cool to be found and engage with other engineers and thought leaders in your field today. Check out the string on Twitter dedicated to just about any subject of substance, and you will see substance in the discussion. There will be hyper-links to the freshest content and research on that subject. There will be opinions, debates, and cult-like passion too.
What is a modern approach for a Smart Job Seeker?
- Be found on-line. Being on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will elevate your name (SEO) in a Google search by simply just being signed up on those networks. You don't have to play the stupid games or tell everyone when you opened the refrigerator. Just get on these networks with a name that is close to your exact name as possible. On LinkedIn, have an up-to-date profile ... this is your modern resume. (Advanced job seekers should also get recommendations up there and be "connected" to past colleagues and anyone else who may know of a job opening perfect for you!)
- Don't go it alone. Enlist an army. Tell everyone you know what type of position you're looking for. If they don't know, they can't help.
- After you master knowing with confidence what your value proposition is, and being able to tell others what it is (A quick definition of "value proposition" is "Benefit exceeds the cost." What is the benefit you would bring to a company or a position?) SPEND EVERY MINUTE RESEARCHING AND THINKING ABOUT THE COMPANY(IES) YOU WANT TO WORK AT. When interviewing, make it about THEM. Show that you understand, passionately, what business they are in, who are their competitors, what are their opportunities and challenges, and what it takes to be successful there. The social networks make that type of research today fun and easy. Turn the tables and be the master of the networks. Put them to work for you. Use them to find people who work at the company you are interested in. Watch, and engage with what they are saying -- start a dialog with them on-line. Use these networks to "eavesdrop" (ie Twitter Search Column) on the conversations your ideal company's customers, competitors and employees are having about the company.
For added points, read the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." I know, the title makes me want to barf as well. But especially for the soft-skill/interpersonally challenged set, it is a SUPERB guide to making connections with people and selling (in this case, you will be selling yourself.) It tells you tricks that can help you greatly, like being sure to remember people's names, and to say their names when talking to them. (The sound of one's name is music to people's ears.)
------------------ Talk Back ------------------
Engineers -- what have you done to get a new job, or a better job, in this modern job market? What do you think of these tips?
To those who find these tips as basic, I hear you! It never fails to shock me, however, to see the look on people's faces who haven't been thinking in these terms.
-- Polly Pearson