Today most professionals are on LinkedIn, and other networking sites. Most employers are there as well, after all this is why the site was created. To put companies and candidates together. Of course, networking and sharing ideas were all part and parcel of what people do on these sites . Unfortunately, being heavily active on these sites myself, most people are now treating these sites as another Facebook. Seeing many posts pass my screen that involve politics, family photos, or useless meme’s that waste time but don’t help in my career or in growing a professional network. For those people looking to find a new opportunity on these sites, it not only muddies the water on content but can completely distract hiring managers, they are only human after all, from seeing your branding and message. The real question we all should be asking here, when looking for a new position, is how do I cut through all the clutter and get the attention of the right people at the right time? In essence, how do I conduct the most efficient and effective job search?
The answer to this question is as diverse as the people asking it. The one common thread to any of the answers is to know and understand your audience. Who are you trying to speak to and what interests them to start with. Seems relatively simple doesn’t it? However, this is the point that most candidates miss and it’s the most direct path to finding the opportunity that they are looking for. Twenty five years ago I started taking my career seriously. I knew I had an aptitude for relaying information to people and solving needs. So I went into sales, I walked into companies with a resume and asked if they were hiring. It took time and shoe leather, but it showed initiative and got the attention of hiring managers. Today, that doesn’t work anymore. The internet has changed the way we do everything. Now you post or email your resumes, there is nothing personal at all about the process.
Even back then there were recruiters. I didn’t know any and it is doubtful they could have helped someone like me just starting out. Had I known there were people, whose only job it was, that put companies in contact with applicants, I would have sought out there help in addition to my own efforts. For anyone that is serious about results, the use of many means to complete any goal, there is no reason to not use everything at their disposal.
Today the personal touch goes further than ever. Just sending a resume in does nothing for your brand, your talent or what differentiates you from the competition. There is no way to demonstrate what you bring to the table, your personality or problem solving abilities. If you are lucky enough to get your resume in front of the hiring manager, you’ve won half the battle. In reality, for most job postings, companies receive on average over 300 resume per posting. Most have the same skill set, same education and same format. Most companies spend less than 3 minutes on looking at the resumes. Is this a chance you’re willing to take? Is this a chance you can afford to take? Most will say no it isn’t, they need every advantage they can get in the market. Yet, most will never seek out a recruiter, or worse, most will never even entertain the thought of using one. Reasons vary from person to person, the most common are: recruiters never call back, they call too much, they are unprofessional and don’t understand the intricate details of what I do. While there are some recruiters that don’t take the time to hone their craft, just like any industry, there are many, many others that are professional and have backgrounds in the exact work you do. Using a good recruiter puts you back in control of your search. Recruiters are proactive, not reactive, to the market. They are networked with hiring managers and can speak to them about your background, personality and accomplishments. Just like you could if you walked in the door and presented yourself to the company. They have access to companies that you could never have, and they have a reputation of providing top-tier talent to those companies they work with. All of these factors benefit you the candidate in getting more opportunities to interview. That is the point after all, to get past the initial review of background, skills, and education and get to the place where the job is won, the interview. Branding yourself is important on all social media, but it is all for nothing if it doesn’t attract the right people. Recruiters work with you, on your goals, on your side, to present you in the best light and get you to the interview.
In looking at all the methods you have in presenting yourself in the workforce, none is more powerful than a vocal advocate that has the ear of the companies you want to work with. None. It’s like having a personal referral to every opportunity you are interested in. Trusted by the company, hired by the company to find the best talent in the market, and a tireless cheerleader for your career, a professional recruiter is essential to any serious candidate today. Sure you can do it on your own, there is no question of that. The real question is should you do it on your own?