Things to think about before you hit submit.
Your email fills up each day with job listings from various sites and recruiters. The potential and opportunity is palpable. You read the job descriptions and get a little thrill when your skill set and experience maps to one or several openings.
Then … the online application.
You start to lose steam. Enthusiasm wanes with each field you have to fill out in 250 words or less. You persevere, hit submit, but then never hear a peep.
Sound familiar? Read on as three local experts weigh in on how to land a job in the current digital recruiting space.
Keep it simple
Online applications are a way to manage the hiring process. Companies are inundated with applications and résumés so keywords are, well, key. Don’t try to impress a faceless recruiter with clever wordplay. Instead, put in the time and tailor your résumé to the job and job description.
“If you are filling out an online form and attaching your résumé to it, understand that the form itself just creates an account in a company’s candidate management system,” says Kim Talley, a management consultant and executive coach in Seattle. “It’s the top of the résumé that matters. Match the summary to the open position.”
She explains that the first person in the hiring chain is the “sourcer,” someone who does the initial big grab of résumés. The sourcer gives résumés a cursory glance, seeing whether you are local and have the relevant background — project management experience and Agile certification, for example. The sourcer passes relevant résumés to the recruiter, who further culls the pile before sending viable candidates to the hiring manager.
With that résumé relay in mind, rework your summary and entire résumé so it includes key terms and experience listed in the job description. Be clear and straightforward. As Talley says, “Your grandma should be able to pick up the role and the résumé and say, ‘This makes sense, this fits.’”
Seattle-area talent development coach Deborah Scaramastra goes a step further, pushing job seekers to figure out what their goal and brand is, and to pull that story together for hiring managers.
If you make it through the HR gauntlet, remember that a hiring manager can check out your online presence and digital footprint with the click of a mouse.
“You can include every keyword in the job description, but if the whole story doesn’t match, it doesn’t matter. Hiring managers can search across all sources — Facebook, Twitter, etc. You must have a compelling story of what you bring to an organization and have this messaging align across all platforms, not just LinkedIn,” Scaramastra says.
Update your digital self
In addition to ensuring that your professional story is consistent across platforms, make sure the information is up to the minute as well. Regularly update your Linked-In profile and acquire strong testimonials from former managers or clients.
Recruiters and hiring managers pay for LinkedIn’s premium service, which uses recommendations and endorsements to rank and stack you against other applicants. The more robust and relevant your profile, the better you rate, particularly when applying for jobs via LinkedIn’s tool.
Carrie Morris, a Seattle-area talent acquisition strategist, has a theory that when a job is posted online, the hiring manager often already has a candidate or candidate pool lined up. That makes networking critical.
“Talk to anyone who has a connection to the company. Ask who the hiring manager is for the role, and talk to them about where they are in the process,” Morris says. “If they are looking at 20 people, you need to be sold in by a friend. Ask if you can drop his or her name during the application process.”
Talley understands the power of connection. “Relationships are the most important things career-wise in this town,” she says. “And it’s not about hiring next week, but three or six months down the road.”
Develop a regular rhythm of connecting with your contacts, but make sure it’s authentic, she says.
“And if you didn’t land a job, but made a connection during the interview process, circle back if you’re interested in the company,” Talley says.
Morris, Talley and Scaramastra all agree that it will pay off in the long run if you take the time now to figure out your purpose and unique skill set, as well as your ideal role and employer. You can then approach the job search strategically, landing not just a job, but a job you love.