Being a good employee is no longer enough to capture an employer’s attention in the digital age. It has become effortless to outsource jobs that we have grown accustomed to being completed in-house. To make it worse (or better, depending on how you look at it), with the rise of globalization and remote work, when employers hire in-house, you now have to compete with everyone in the world for a position. So it is now on you to make an incredible first impression, and sometimes that impression is made before you even receive the first phone call. Did you know 79% of employers and recruiters use what they find online to determine who is worthy of an interview? Your digital footprint is JUST as important as a resume.
What is your social media telling employers about you? If your employer can not find you on social media, what does that say about you?
The job market is changing, and if you do not believe me, you should read “The Start-Up of You” by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. The book explains that it is time to network, specialize, market yourself, and treat your career as if it were a business. Businesses specialize within a niche to differentiate themselves from the competition. If it works for them, it should work for you too. Research suggests individuals who specialize are worth more in the job market and more problematic to fire or replace in the workplace. It is essential to take the time to invest in yourself and let your skills be seen quickly by those around you. Your profile will stand out from the rest of the applicants, and employers know precisely how they will fit on their team. It also allows recruiters to find you in online searches better, allowing them to bring positions to you even if you never applied. There are two things you should focus on to make that happen.
Narrow Your Focus
Think of your profession like a dartboard. Each level of specialization brings you closer to that bullseye, but you do not always need to hit a bullseye to win the game.
Start by reading job descriptions that fit the industry you would like to focus on (bonus points for a specific position). Take note of common skills, qualifications, and desired certifications/experience. Then look at your resume and professional profiles to compare. How many of these skills do you already have? Can they be easily found on your professional profiles and resume? Or would I need to call you in for an interview to see you’re qualified? If the latter is the case, it is time to consider an overhaul. If you are serious about entering a particular sector and can see yourself thriving there, it is about time you get specific.
An ordinary step people take is to change the wording (without lying) of previous positions to focus on the skills they are looking for prospects to have. Minimum wage jobs typically have a bad reputation, but this technique can help you enhance your profiles if these roles are crucial to your listed experience. Let’s say phone skills are routinely mentioned on job listings within an industry; explain how that minimum wage job helped you develop your phone skills instead of a generic description of the position.
If you want to take it to the next level, receive a certification in skills that are routinely asked for from position to position. If you are serious about sales and want to stand out above your competition, you can receive certifications in the art of negotiation. If you know you want to enter cloud service sales, many companies offer certificates for their products. You can show your employer you have the skills for the job and understand the role before they even call you for an interview. This step will require a lot of work and creativity, but I am confident you will figure it out. You want to show people this is what you want to do, you are meant to do it, and you are/will be good at it.
Develop A Personal Brand
After narrowing your focus, it is now time to compile it and broadcast it to the world. The best way to do this very thing is with a solid personal brand. There are numerous ways to develop a personal brand, but in the information age, it is wise to have a digital footprint to greet those looking for you. We already know 79% of employers are looking for you online before calling you in for an interview, so having a robust presence is imperative. If you are not a big social media person, invest in creating a digital resume or personal landing page that appears when your name is searched.
If you are a social media person, be sure to create separation from personal and professional. Your professional account will act as a digital network of professionals in your industry. Regularly share content about your industry to show you know what you’re talking about and keep yourself front of mind with your network. These can be articles other people have written, bonus points if people within your digital network. It can also be your content, such as a blog or a podcast (no need to post super regularly, but something to greet people). To do branding well is a skill some people go to college to learn, but you can get a leg up on them if you start here or attend good old YouTube University. I made a video on my youtube where I asked a few people some specifics about branding feel free to check it out. If you do not want to be a part of all the social media platforms, at the very least pay attention to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Deserves Your Attention
Don’t believe me? Well, let me offer you a statistic.
HubSpot ran a study on lead generation for Twitter, Facebook (including Instagram), and LinkedIn. They found that Twitter, on average, had a conversion rate of about .69%, Facebook had a conversion rate of .77%, and LinkedIn had a conversion rate of 2.74%!
Do you believe me now? LinkedIn is not only where the money is but also where you can potentially receive the most bang for your buck. LinkedIn is by far the best place for businesses and individuals to post to advance their professional careers and convert customers, but why does no one post?
Let me give you a rundown, LinkedIn posts receive over 9 Billion impressions a week. Nine billion with a b, you read it correctly. The exciting thing here is only 3 million users share content regularly. Meaning, most LinkedIn users are passive; nearly 95% of their users are “passive”. They just scroll, like, and comment without generating value to their connections or “followers.” LinkedIn does not have enough content for how many people are actually on the platform. So the posts on the platform typically promote organically and do the best they can to retain attention.
There is a content Vacuum on LinkedIn, and very few people are taking advantage. There are some “LinkedInfluncers” out there, but this is your opportunity to find a way to generate consistent value to your network. This is your opportunity to do some out-of-the-box thinking, and ask “what type of content will my potential customer find valuable?” If you provide value in a vacuum, you will receive organic promotion and an engaging following.
Focusing on the points I discussed in the article, they will take your career to the next level. This is just the surface of this topic, and you will have to do some additional research because your digital footprint is key to success in this current market. The job market is innovating, and you must think ahead to get those positions you want. Other people are innovating, and you do not want to be left behind. People are placing QR codes on their traditional resumes that link to a more detailed video resume. We are transitioning to the point where the candidate with the most available information will win the interview and ultimately have a higher chance at the position. Remember, the snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.