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Are you looking for a job? You'd better get your "digital brand" in order. That's the advice of Colleen Aylward, a recruitment strategy expert, who says that your online presence is your most important job search tool.
"It's now up to you to gather your data, polish it up and position it where people will find you," Aylward said.
That place is increasingly on social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn . Having a personal website can also help as well, Aylward said.
"Things will never go back to the way they were," she said. "The world is an online community now, and the future of your employment status is highly dependent on your ability to adapt."
Aylward offered these tips to those looking to build your online job hunting brand.
- "Streamline your strengths with specific examples," Aylward said. "It’s not the interviewer’s job to figure out what your strengths might be; it’s the candidate’s job. The days of clever cover letters opening doors are gone. Those resumes and online profiles better be stronger than ever and packed with data and specific accomplishments."
- "Don’t waste time with external executive recruiters. They don’t find jobs for people," she said. "You need to get in front of the internal corporate recruiters who are searching for you online. So help them do their job by researching companies online yourself, as well as locating jobs yourself, introducing yourself to a prospective employer and conversing directly with hiring managers — online."
- "Remember, it’s all about them, not you," warned Aylward. "Get out of the mindset that matching yourself for a job or interviewing for a job is about you. It’s all about what you can do for them. That means defining your strengths and determining specific areas where you can solve their business problems. And be prepared to demonstrate that you have kept up with technology, industry changes and how the economy has affected them."
- "Employers think that if you can't sell yourself, you can't sell their product. If you can't market yourself, you can't market their company," explained Aylward.
- "Full disclosure trumps coyness," she said. "Today, employers and recruiters use a combination of touch points to research your accomplishments, your popularity, your personality fit, your writing skills, your community involvement, etc. — upfront — before they decide whether you’re worth an interview." Make sure your information is easy for them to find.
- "You will need to perform due diligence on employers you wish to target," said Aylward. "Find employers you are interested in, and do enough online research about them to have an intelligent conversation with their CEO."
- "Don't worry if your online 'brand' is tarnished," Aylward said. "There are easy ways to fix this. Luckily, search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) constantly index new content on the Web. The more new content you contribute on the Internet, the faster you push the bad stuff down to the pages no one ever gets to in their searches. "
Colleen Aylward has led the executive search firm Devon James Associates, Inc. for 19 years and is founder of Recruitment, Inc., a spinoff software product company in the human resources and recruitment market.