Cracking the Social Recruiting Code: 4 Proactive Job Hunting Tips To Stand Out From the Crowd

For the past couple years I’ve been building out corporate social recruiting strategies and programs as well as training recruiters on how to find candidates and engage with them in more of a human, relationship focused way using social media. In this post I spill the beans on a few of these tactics that can be flipped around and used by job seekers to find and build relationships with recruiters and key contacts at organizations you are looking to find employment with. Whether you are currently on the job hunt or not, these are some useful tips for getting inside a social savvy recruiters head that will help you throughout your career.

1) Personal branding 101

This first one is a no-brainer and I’m sure you’ve all read a million blogs about personal branding. However, it is the necessary first step. After all, you are theproduct you are selling in your job search. Be regularly active on the sites where recruiters are living such as LinkedinTwitterGoogle+ and Facebook. Actively post about your professional endeavors and projects highlighting yourself as an expert in your field. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get personal on your social networks, but you should also always be cognizant of what your audience is seeing (and the risks involved) so consider your audience and privacy settings before clicking that share button.

But remember, employers are starting to care more about you actually having an online presence than not having a bad one.

2) Spit it back at them.

Recruiters are out on social networks trying to find you, so go out and and find recruiters. If you just applied at a company for a marketing job – search for the recruiters hiring for marketing jobs at that company. Every recruiter is on Linkedin…start there. Find people who work at the company or in a similar position and network with them. Ask them how they got there.

Use Social Media and Social Directories to Find People to Network With

Google+: Search Google+ itself by keyword or use the directory findpeopleonplus.com to use filters to find users that work at specific companies or who have particular roles.

Twitter: Use Twitter Search itself to find conversations mentioning the keywords you search when they use in them tweets, hashtags, and narrow down by geographic location. One of my favorites is a Twitter directory called Twellow. It’s like the Yellow Pages for Twitter and can be used to find people who are influential in certain industries or topics that may be making hiring decisions. You can find and follow employees at your target companies as well.

Facebook: Search Facebook itself by keyword and find events (for in-person network), groups to network with others in your industry, and even public status updates to find conversations in real time! Also, check out the BranchOut app on Facebook. It’s the largest professional network built on top of Facebook so it allows you a safe way to connect with professionals (without becoming Facebook friends) but still leverage your personal social graph on Facebook to find jobs and people at particular companies.

Why use Facebook in your job search? Well, according to Jobvites Social Recruiting Survey, almost twice as many people found jobs using Facebook than Linkedin. Why is this? Think about the people who are most likely to refer you to a job. It’s not that guy who gave you a business card at a conference that one time that you connected with on Linkedin. It’s that friend you went to college with, your uncle in the banking industry, or your old friend from high school. These people can really vouch for you and are comfortable reaching out to their network for you to help you land that job.  Your personal network.

3) Get creative

Go above and beyond if you really want that job! Do things that will get a recruiter or company’s attention. Recruiters receive resume after resume as well as emails just like the ones you’ve probably seen blasting out on CareerBuilder or Monster so get creative! Including something like a clever video resume or a link to a website you created highlighting your skills in your cover letter or resume can really give you that ability to separate yourself from the heard!

Did you see that “Google Please Hire Me” video resume to Google by Matt Epstein in September that became a viral video? That guy got 80 interviews and a pretty sweet gig out of that. Read more about that here.

Also, anytime you can get creative in your job search using the product of the company your looking to get hired at is s a winning combination! At SlideRocket, a division of VMware, an applicant (and now employee) Hanna Phan did just that. Watch the presentation and check out Hanna’s story here.

Within weeks of this being virally shared throughout VMware, without even landing the job officially yet, she already began building a fan base! Talk about a great first impression, right?

If you are a web developer – build a website that highlights you in the position you want at the company you want. It’s so much easier to share a link to a recruiter or company employee on social media than it is a paper resume (and it’s more likely to be seen as well)!

Recruiters are so bored with the basic resume that when something compelling comes at them, they WILL remember you. If they get a lasting impression from you, and you don’t qualify for that immediate role, they will think of you for the next position that comes along.

4) Resume Blasts are a thing of the Past

This is a mindset recruiters still need to break as well. Just as the days of recruiters blasting their jobs on job boards hoping the perfect candidate applies are over also are the days of career seekers blasting out their resumes hoping that perfect job comes calling. In this job market, in the days of social media, that just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Start your job search by researching and identifying 10-15 companies whose culture and vision match your own and proactively reach out to people at those companies. Learn about the manager of the department you want to work in and even their leadership. You landed the interview? Great, now ask the recruiter for the names of the people you are going to be interviewing with and do some research like I mentioned in point 2 above before you go in there!

Do you currently use social media in your job search? What are some creative ways you have seen either job seekers or recruiters use social media?


Using Social Media in Your Job Search

As you probably know, each week I reach out to our recruiters at VMware to provide me with a tip to share with our communities. This week’s #careertip is brought to you by another brilliant VMware staffing professional, Kylie Tobin. Kylie is a recruiter in Cork, Ireland:

“My career tip is how to enhance your use of social media. It has never been more important to create a strong, professional online presence. More and more employers are using social media to find potential candidates. Make sure your profile is up to date specifically LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook, Twitter etc. On these sites highlight your career-oriented professional self, get recommendations from colleagues, start discussions in relevant groups, Be Active!  and provide links to these on your CV/resume.

Use social media sites to help you in your job search. It is important to have the right key words on your profile this will increase your position in searches (search yourself using key words that a recruiter may use and see where you come up in a search) check your spelling and presentation, have your contact details clearly visible, update your education, qualifications and skills, expand your network connect with people whom you worked with previously (they could be working in your preferred company now), and have a nice picture!

Once you have identified target companies connect with people in these companies especially with those you are interviewing with. Research the company and the people. Use this knowledge in your cover letter or the interview. If you have something in common with the interviewer then use this. I recently interviewed a candidate who knew I had been in Australia and I was really impressed he had done his research.  It can be a great way to make an interviewer remember you!

Remember if it is on the internet then potential employers will see it, if you don’t want people to see it then don’t post it or make sure to take the time to set up your privacy settings appropriately on Facebook and Google+ .”

Follow  Kylie on: 

BranchOut is No Longer “Friends Only”

Not even a month ago I posted a blog called BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook and a New Recruiting Tool? and I can say to you now–you can remove the question mark!

BranchOut just soft released a new connections feature allowing users to connect with people outside their Facebook network and share work history and education information with other Branchout users–even if your not Facebook friends. That makes this an even better tool for recruiters to connect with both passive and active candidates without worrying about ‘getting too personal’.
Rick Marini, CEO of BranchOut, told Recruiter.com,
“BranchOut heard the requests from recruiters that wanted a way to connect with other professionals within Facebook, in a safe and secure way, and I am very excited to announce the launch of BranchOut Connections. BranchOut members can now share their work history, education and skills data with others members, without becoming Facebook friends.  This is an important step for BranchOut to provide robust career networking functionality within Facebook.”

In my previous post I reflected on the reluctance of many recruiters to connect with job seekers on Facebook saying, “Recruiters have been really slow to begin utilizing Facebook as a recruiting tool because they are afraid of mixing business with personal life”. While I went on to stress that the lines between business and personal in the web 2.0 world is becoming more blended and recruiters should be more open to utilizing Facebook’s larger network to connect, this was a real obstacle that Branchout was facing. Even if recruiters wanted to connect with candidates…candidates may be afraid of connecting with them for those same reasons.

On Linkedin, professionals don’t think twice about connecting with colleagues or recruiters because there are no pictures tagged of you from that party last Saturday and your mom isn’t posting embarrassing comments on your wall that could potentially seen by a potential employer. Facebook tends to be a place for your personal contacts outside of work [You can set individual privacy settings for specific groups of connections or individuals you are connected to on Facebook but most people don’t take the time do it (only 1 in 5 users even take advantage of this feature) and it can be quite cumbersome to maintain.]

The post by Recruiter.com put’s it very well…

Recruiters always want to leverage the hundreds of millions of user profiles on Facebook. However, recruiters often find that recruiting on Facebook is like trying to fix a muffler with a toothbrush. BranchOut makes Facebook the right tool for recruiting and professional connection. BranchOut essentially overlays a professional platform on top of Facebook – adding user data fields for work history and professional description. It turns your existing Facebook friend network into a Linkedin-esque  professional network for work related discovery.

However, because BranchOut leveraged the Facebook friend mechanism as the exclusive method of connection, recruiters were still left in a bind. Users were beholden to expansion of their network through Facebook friending – which to many is as intimate of an experience as inviting someone into your home.

BranchOut plans to launch more fully developed recruitment services in the near future, but now may be the time to start connecting. The early super connectors in any social network become the network hubs of the future.

Do you think this new feature will make BranchOut an even more viable competitor to Linkedin? If you’re a recruiter, I’d love to hear what you think about this new feature and if you plan to or currently use Branchout. Please comment below.

BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook and a New Recruiting Tool?

BranchOut, the fast growing professional network on Facebook is beginning to gain some traction but could it become a threat for Linkedin? They recently made it even easier to create a full resume on their site by syncing your Linkedin profile. I’ve been introducing this application to a lot of people in my Facebook and Twitter networks and so far the reaction has been very possitive. I just got a tweet back from one colleague that just joined it 30 min ago that said:

jakefrick: @willstaney 10 minutes later, i don’t know if i’ll check my linked in ever again

Of course, he was being sarcastic but there could be some truth to this. The average Linkedin user spends 15min a month on the site. If you’re a recruiter trying to send a message to someone on Linkedin about a job your trying to fill within a month…I hope you sent it during that 15 mins. Facebook users (almost 600 million strong) spend an average of 50 minutes on Facebook….a day!! You are much more likely to get a quicker response and more updated information on a social network that users spend that much time on.

BranchOut describes their solution like this:

BranchOut helps you expand your career network to include absolutely everyone you know on Facebook. It’s an incredibly powerful tool — but also a lot of fun to explore.

Every time a Facebook friend joins BranchOut, you see where they used to work, where they work now, and where their friends work. You’d be surprised how many connections you have at companies you’ve always wanted to work at — all through friends of friends. If you’re looking for your dream job, these connections can open the door.

Not only that, you can help your friends get the jobs they want and make yourself look good while you do it. Have an open position you need to fill with the perfect candidate? Post it to our job board and take the guesswork out of hiring. Your friends can recommend people they know and trust.

I’ve been researching this app a lot and there is a lot of buzz in the recruiting industry around it. I think there is a real benefit here. Think about the people who are most likely to refer you to a job. It’s not that guy who gave you a business card at a conference that one time that you connected with on Linkedin. It’s that friend you went to college with, your uncle in the banking industry,  or your old friend from highschool. People who can really vouch for you and are comfortable really reaching out to their network for you to help you land that job.  Your personal network. With the amount of users on Facebook this is a huge untapped resource for networking with people to help you find jobs at companies your friends or mutual friends work at. I was surprised I had 5,000+ PERSONAL connections at companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, VMware and other great companies to work for!

Recruiters have been really slow to begin utilizing Facebook as a recruiting tool because they are afraid of mixing business with personal life. Well, I say to that: In this day of age and in the generation to proceed us…there won’t be that much distinction between worklife and personal life. I don’t know why we pretend there is now! You commonly become friends with people you work with or end up working with friends. I wouldn’t post ANYTHING online that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my boss seeing (or my mother for that fact…though she’s my Facebook friend too. And why not?). Anything you post on the internet runs the risk of being public or coming back to bite you so just use common sense.

Now think about it from a recruiting stand point. Companies spend big money on recruiter licenses to be able to search for and send messages to users on Linkedin. On Facebook…you can message just about anyone you want whether your friends or not (unless they turned that privacy feature on) for FREE. The facebook social graph is so much more complex because of it’s sure size that 6 degrees of separation works even better than on a smaller network like Linkedin.

As far as BrachOut goes, though, I think Linkedin really might have dropped the ball on this one. For years I’ve been wondering when a Facebook app for Linkedin would come out.  A colleague of mine, Simon Salt, Founder and CEO of Incslingers wrote a blog about this. Do you think Linkedin missed the boat by not integrating with Facebook sooner? It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Check it out here:

Has LinkedIn missed the boat now we have BranchOut?

So, what do you think? Will BranchOut end up being a major competitor for Linkedin? Will Linkedin surprise us with an integration with Facebook much like they did with Twitter? Comment below.