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There was a time when the only way you could get a new job was to go out and find one; unless you made phone calls, read job ads and sent applications, you were going nowhere. With the advent of social media, that is no longer the case. You still have to work at it, but now you’re not the only one doing the searching. Now recruiters and hiring managers are looking for you too, or at least, they’re looking for someone like you.

There are a few things you can do to make sure you stand out.

Build a full LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the most common place for a recruiter to reach out to you so it’s important to create the strongest possible LinkedIn account. This is particularly important because LinkedIn’s search results are ordered based on both your connection to the person searching and the completeness of your profile.

Imagine you and another candidate have exactly the same skills but you have twice as much experience. If your profile is only 75% complete (based on LinkedIn’s ‘Profile Strength’ indicator) and the other candidate is at 100%, they will always appear ahead of you in search. Recruiters may never see your profile because a less qualified rival is always a few steps ahead.

Talk, write, tweet, snap

Recruiters will look beyond LinkedIn to the likes of Twitter, Facebook and any other online presence to find candidates others might miss. If you want to give yourself the best chance of being sourced via social media, you need to make sure that all publicly searchable information demonstrates your value as a candidate.

Be sure to include your job title or skills in Twitter and Instagram bios and post images, thoughts, blog posts and articles that demonstrate your expertise. A Twitter account or blog feed filled with industry insight and expertise will be far more effective in drawing a recruiter’s interest than a line on your CV saying you have a lot of industry experience. Recruiters and hiring managers want to find skilled people who can hit the ground running – if you prove that before you’ve even met them you’re already at the front of the queue.

Use the right keywords

Recruiters often use Boolean search techniques to identify potential candidates on LinkedIn (and other networks). This involves creating complex strings of keywords that are entered into the search in order to identify candidates with specific skills and experience. For example, a recruiter looking for someone with digital marketing skills might use a string that includes keywords like ‘Digital marketing’, ‘SEO’, ‘social media’ or ‘online advertising’.

If you want to be found by recruiters looking for those roles, you need to make sure that you list all of your relevant skills and that you think about the phrasing a recruiter might use. ‘Digital Marketing’ and ‘Online Marketing’ might be interchangeable to you but if you only use one you might miss out on searches for the other.

Network

Building up your connections on LinkedIn is vital because, like profile completeness, your ‘connection’ to the searcher has a big bearing on your search appearance. However, search isn’t the only way to find people on social media. Social networks want you to meet other users organically, so they set up the system to connect you with people you might already know or want to know. That’s why you spend 10% of your social media activity dismissing notifications about people you might know.

Recruiters often use these tools to expand a search they’ve already made. If they find a candidate that might be a good fit it makes sense to check out that candidate’s connections rather than starting another search from scratch. In other words, you should network on social media for the same reasons you network in real life – you never know who you might meet.

Don’t be shy

Finally, don’t hold back information or be shy about updating your social media profile. If you complete a successful project, get a new job, or find something work-related online – share it. The more information there is out there that shows off your potential, the more likely it is that a recruiter will come across your profile. Don’t restrict your potential because you want to appear modest – how will recruiters and hiring managers know you’re successful if you don’t tell them?

Don’t want to wait to be found? Find your next job!

Article sourced from todays’ Irish Times.