Find­ing a job in the digital age

It can be quite daunt­ing if you are a so­cial me­dia novice, but em­brac­ing on­line re­sources in your job search is vi­tal in to­day’s mar­ket, says He­len O’Cal­laghan

Irish Examiner - - Life/style -

Last time you looked for a job was 20 years ago — Face­book and LinkedIn, tweet­ing and blog­ging weren’t even dis­tant dots on the hori­zon. But in re­cent years digital tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia has taken off across all spheres, in­clud­ing in the world of job-hunt­ing and re­cruit­ment.

CSO stats from 2015 showed 64% of Ir­ish en­ter­prises with 10 or more em­ploy­ees used some type of so­cial me­dia (Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube) to pro­mote their busi­ness whether through sales, PR ex­po­sure or re­cruit­ment com­pared with an EU-28 av­er­age of 39%. By 2016, 64% had be­come 67%.

“About 77% of peo­ple ap­ply­ing for jobs are com­ing through so­cial me­dia plat­forms. It wouldn’t sur­prise me if it was slightly higher,” says Re­cruit­ment Plus man­ag­ing director Anne Fan­thom.

It’s easy to feel daunted. Yet em­brac­ing on­line re­sources in your job­hunt doesn’t have to be so dif­fi­cult. For a start, there are web­sites to help with put­ting a good CV to­gether — ex­am­ples in­clude www.irishjobs.ie/ ca­reer­ad­vice/cv-tem­plates/, https:// www.re­cruitire­land.com/ca­reer­centre/cv/ and http://cvhelp.ie/.

Keep the CV short, ad­vises Fan­thom — bin the five-page ver­sions of your younger days. “These won’t grab at­ten­tion. Re­cruit­ing com­pa­nies are much more likely to scan through two pages.” Browse jobs out there — log onto Re­cruitIre­land.com, Irishjobs.ie; jobs.ie and mon­ster.ie. The next ma­jor step is to put your pro­file up on a pro­fes­sional plat­form. The big one’s LinkedIn — global ca­reer ex­perts Right Man­age­ment found 94% of job can­di­dates re­ported it as their top so­cial me­dia site for job hunt­ing. And two in three re­cruiters chose LinkedIn as their num­ber one site for find­ing can­di­dates.

“Build a very strong, pro­fes­sional pro­file. Man­age what­ever’s in that pro­file very care­fully,” says Fan­thom, who em­pha­sises giv­ing your pro­file a strong head­line. “It’s what peo­ple no­tice first — ‘20 ex­pe­ri­ence build­ing amaz­ing con­sumer brands’ is bet­ter than ‘con­sumer mar­ket­ing role sought’.” Re­cruit­ing com­pa­nies look­ing for can­di­dates on LinkedIn use key words and tag lines [re­lated to role they want filled] to nar­row their search. If look­ing for an ac­counts per­son, a key word might be SAP — ac­counts sys­tem the com­pany’s us­ing. “For the job-hunter, this means be­ing very spe­cific about words used in your pro­file (in­clude as many skills as you can) so as to help po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers find you,” ex­plains Fan­thom. For an ac­counts job, for ex­am­ple, make sure the words ‘SAP’ or ‘SAGE’ (ac­counts sys­tem you’ve used) ap­pear, as well as your qual­i­fi­ca­tions, e.g. CIMA, ACCA.

Do put a photo with your pro­file. “No photo is a bit sus­pi­cious,” says Fan­thom, who ad­vises a for­mal photo, not you on the beach with a glass of wine. “It has to be one you’d like a prospec­tive em­ployer to see and think ‘they look pro­fes­sional’. Be prop­erly suited — jacket/dress if you’re a woman, suit if you’re a man. A smile’s al­ways a good ice-breaker.” If cur­rently work­ing, be aware your em­ployer could eas­ily spot your job search on­line — don’t overtly ad­ver­tise you’re eager to move on. “Be very mind­ful around choos­ing pri­vacy op­tions on LinkedIn,” says Fan­thom, who sug­gests ‘in­ter­ested in hear­ing what’s out there’ is a bet­ter op­tion to tick than ‘cur­rently in­ter­ested in hear­ing about any­thing suitable for my skill-set’.

Use LinkedIn too to re­search com­pa­nies you’re in­ter­ested in, check if they’re re­cruit­ing and to see if any of your con­tacts are con­nected. ‘Fol­low’ com­pa­nies on your work tar­get list — so you’re up­dated on new of­fices, in­vest­ment, prod­ucts or ser­vices. Check a com­pany’s man­age­ment team via their on­line pro­files/me­dia coverage to es­tab­lish who/what is worth know­ing — and again to see if you’re in any way con­nected. “Re­fer­rals are more likely to get you an in­ter­view than a cold CV or ap­pli­ca­tion,” says Fan­thom, who urges reach­ing out to your con­tact: ‘I see you’re con­nected to A. I’m look­ing for a HR job and I see this com­pany is look­ing for some­one for that role. Who in the com­pany should I for­ward my CV to?’ So­cial me­dia sites like Face­book can be use­ful to let peo­ple know you’re back on the job mar­ket. And com­pa­nies do use Face­book for re­cruit­ing.

“If a com­pany’s look­ing to take on five tele­sales peo­ple in a hurry, they’ll stick it up on their Face­book page. It gets out in the public do­main very quickly.” If job-hunt­ing us­ing so­cial me­dia, make your on­line pres­ence em­ployer-friendly.

“A pro­fes­sional LinkedIn pitch will be un­der­mined by non­sense on Face­book or pho­tos of crazy par­ties,” warns Fan­thom. “Use a sen­si­ble photo on your Face­book pro­file, at least while job-search­ing — cer­tain sec­tors check your so­cial me­dia pres­ence ahead of calling you for in­ter­view.” In fact, a Ca­reerBuilder.co.uk study found 48% of re­cruiters use so­cial net­work­ing sites to re­search po­ten­tial job can­di­dates. Over half claimed they found some­thing that caused them not to take on the ap­pli­cant: 45% cited drink/drug habits; 39% were put off ap­pli­cants who spoke badly about pre­vi­ous em­ploy­ers/em­ploy­ees, while 38% weren’t im­pressed by in­ap­pro­pri­ate pho­tos. But one in three re­cruiters said they’d found con­tent that made them more likely to hire job seek­ers.

Fan­thom has fur­ther tips to help you utilise on­line re­sources in your job hunt: use In­sta­gram for your port­fo­lio if in a cre­ative role like pho­tog­ra­phy, de­sign or in­te­ri­ors; share video, pho­tog­ra­phy, copy or me­dia coverage that il­lus­trates your pro­fes­sional abil­i­ties; join spe­cial­ist so­cial me­dia groups to chat to oth­ers with sim­i­lar pro­fes­sional in­ter­ests.

But per­haps the best news for those who knew well how to get a job the old-fash­ioned way is Fan­thom’s bot­tom line assess­ment: vis­it­ing a com­pany with your CV and get­ting to talk to some­one in HR is still worth­while. “So­cial me­dia plat­forms might be a great way to meet re­cruiters but you only con­nect with some­one in per­son.”

‘Re­fer­rals are more likely to get you an in­ter­view than a cold CV

Anne Fan­thom, left, man­ag­ing director of Re­cruit­ment Plus ad­vises keep­ing CVs short.

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