Most of us are at that stage where we are actively job hunting for next year. The economic outlook may be improving but competition is fierce and I’m busy trying to make myself stand out. And to stand out these days it’s an absolute necessity to have a heavy online presence. Websites like about.me and LinkedIn are redefining job hunting in the digital age, LinkedIn is the market leader with 332 million users; Nik Nyman pointed out in his blog that “94% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates”.
The first thing I was told on my first day at my internship was that I had to network relentlessly and LinkedIn was the tool to use to advertise myself. You set up your profile and list your skills and experience and your colleagues and network endorse your skills, so potential employers know your skills/experience and have references to back it up. It’s an effective setup that is becoming increasingly popular amongst most employers. In the end I managed to get endorsements from 8 or so senior investment professionals and when I apply to corporate finance roles later in the year, employers can see my LinkedIn profile and see that I’m good enough to be endorsed by respected professionals.
Another way to increase your professional presence is to follow employers on Twitter and Facebook and engage with them regularly. In the past when people would go to an interview you would have to demonstrate why you wanted to join but online engagement has made this much easier and increased our visibility to employers. Searle (2006) points out that engagement can create “positive reactions to the firm” and “shape new employees psycholocial contracts” with the firm.
It isn’t just about creating LinkedIn profiles, prospective employees must engage with brands and market themselves like products to stand out, we must understand that we are a commodity in the labour market (a bit soul destroying, but essentially the reality) and differentiate ourselves.