Getting Noticed in the Job Market May Require More than an MBA or a Resume
SummaryIn this article, Emma Collins describes a trend that most Pharmiweb readers should be aware of - the use of social media and other online tools for recruitment. Job seekers today face a much different world than they did even five years ago, and web-based strategies are one of the most important new developments.
Emma Collins recently edited this year's top academic institutions offering MBA degrees online, and has made a career out of giving advice to professional students. Feel free to forward this article to anyone who might be able to benefit from a new job searching perspective.
Most of today’s recent college and masters degree graduates are highly connected online. What many may not realize is that social networks and web presences can be used for much more than simply making friends and building personal connections—in many cases, they can also be leveraged to land a dream job. The recruitment sector has gone largely digital, with hiring managers increasingly scanning LinkedIn and Twitter or searching through blogrolls to identify candidate pools. While sending a resume and cover letter may still be effective in some sectors, as a primary job search method it is fast becoming outdated. In today’s still-tight job market, knowing some of the inside tips and tricks is all but essential to standing out in the crowd, making the right connections, and landing the interview that just might be “the one.”
In most cases, job seekers already have the right arsenal. The trick is learning to use it properly. “Although many students are all over social media with their friends, many are not leveraging social media in their search and often not using the networks that are aligned with their specific career goals,” Forbes said in 2012. Maintaining a presence on various networks is important, but it is not the end of the road. Yes, employers tend to Google job prospects and potential hires—but getting to that point usually also requires a bit if savvy. Most modern recruiting and HR managers are not only researching candidates online, but in many cases are also finding them there.
“It's not enough—for most professionals, anyway—to just look in the paper and see what's available. You have to take it a step further now,” Allison Doyle, author of Internet Your Way to a New Job: How to Really Find a Job Online, told financial literacy website Bankrate.com. "Now you're looking at the social media involvement with LinkedIn.com and Twitter and Facebook, where people are both connecting and applying to jobs as well. It's really changed the nature of job searching,” she said.
The pharmaceutical sales rep industry is a poignant example. According to recent reports, as many as one in four medical and pharmaceutical sales reps found their most recent jobs through connections fostered online, which gave them clear openings to forward resumes and other application materials as something of known quantities. “70 percent said they use social networks for job prospecting,” MedCity News said of new hires made in 2011. “44 percent use them to connect with current or former managers, and 55 percent are part of professional groups within the social networks.”
In order to make social networks really work for recruitment, though, job seekers need to do more than simply maintain their profiles. In most cases and in most industries, they also need to put in some legwork to really make themselves—and their interest in their field of expertise—stand out.
A lot of this is wrapped up in KLOUT scores. KLOUT assigns a numerical score to individuals based on how often their names appear in comments, posts, and retweets throughout cyberspace. “Conventional wisdom is that the higher the score the larger you are known on various social media networks. This can be especially helpful in jobs that involve communications, marketing, technology, and the arts, but increasingly other industries are getting more active as well,” Forbes has said.
It is also important to aggressively leverage networks, even those made up primarily of friends. Posting updates to Facebook or Twitter that let your connections know (1) that you are looking for a job; and (2) exactly the sort of job you’re qualified to do can reap great returns.
In many cases, it is also acceptable to reach out to hiring managers and HR professionals through the web. “Figure out who you need to know to land a certain job—likely the hiring manager—and make that connection, whether by getting them to follow you on Twitter by retweeting their tweets, or growing your LinkedIn network until they become a third-degree connection. Twitter in particular offers opportunity to connect with professionals who might not otherwise give you the time of day,” U.S. News & World Report advises.
Gone are the days when simply having the requisite skills could make a person a compelling candidate, particularly for entry-level work. In most cases, the market is simply too saturated—too many people with equally strong resumes clamor for the same positions each time a job is posted. Using social networks appropriately can enable savvy job seekers to avoid some of the crush by getting employers to notice them before opening the floodgates to the wider world. Though conducting an online job search can be trying at times, the rewards often prove well worth the effort.