Using SEO and Social Media to Turbo Charge Your IT Job SearchBy Chris Talbot | Print
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It's not enough to send resumes out in response to help wanted ads in your search for a new IT job. Smart candidates looking to move up and find new positions with career advancement potential are turning to web publishing tricks to bring recruiters and hiring managers to them. Here's how to use SEO and social media to bring employers and recruiters to your doorstep.
The IT job market has changed, and IT job seekers who can use SEO tactics to attract the types of employers they want to work for are bound to achieve better and quicker success than those who rely solely on traditional means of job hunting.
The key to finding the right job today is knowing how to bring employers to the job seeker rather than the job hunter going to the employer, according to David Perry, co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0 and co-founder of management consulting firm Perry-Martel International. It's all about leaving digital bread crumbs, he said. In other words, a job hunter should be active online in the right places and know how to lead employers looking for talent to them.
"These days, instead of running ads to find potential candidates or networking, most recruiters (corporate and third party), as well as hiring managers, use Boolean search terms with Google to locate the exact people they want to reach," Perry said.
"Want to be found? It’s easy if you have a detailed profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, or if you have a blog – all of these services/venues are keyword searchable. These are easy digital breadcrumbs to leave, which will bring job offers knocking."
It's a common perception that the best talent is already employed, and as the war for talent has morphed into the war for the best talent, employers and recruiters have changed their tactics for finding talent. Job hunters need to understand how to take advantage of those changes. Search engines and social media are now the vehicle of choice for finding passive candidates, Perry said. It's far more likely that a recruiter will find a candidate through a Google search than on a job board, he added.
"That or we’ll track you down through Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn. Keyword searches in 'communities of interest' have replaced the tedious telephone spadework that recruiters have long used," Perry said. And Perry should know all about head hunter tactics, as he's been focused on recruiting top C-level executives for clients for more than 10 years. He's also been dubbed the "rogue recruiter" because of his unconventional recruitment tactics.
IT professionals that understand how to bring employers to them are in a good position.
"That’s great for you as a candidate because having your phone ring is much better and easier than trying to make someone else’s phone ring," Perry said. "One of the secrets to long-term, full employment is constantly being on the radar of potential employers and head hunters."
For instance, a job seeker (whether employed or not) interested in finding new opportunities as a network administrator can increase their chances of being scouted by recruiters and human resources departments by proving their expertise online through a regularly-updated blog, by answering questions on LinkedIn (and becoming a recognized expert in network administration on the professional networking site) and by visiting key blogs of others and commenting professionally and intelligently on topical posts. According to Perry, he has seen this succeed a lot.
Joe Iovinelli, CEO of SmartSource, noted that talent recruitment has become much more sophisticated, but everyone has their own way of searching for specific skill requirements. While one recruiter may look for a Cisco Systems networking expert by adding "CCIE" to a Google search, another may punch in "Cisco Certified Internetwork Engineer." If a job seeker's online resume only includes one or the other, that resume may not be found.
"It's really critical that they put information on their resume like certifications and they spell things out as well so they don't limit their chances of being identified for an opportunity," Iovinelli said.
Job seekers also can't use online networking tools enough, Iovinelli said. He said some of the key tools to use are LinkedIn, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, HotJobs.com, Dice.com and SmartSource's own TecDirect.com (an online community of service providers).
IT professionals need to be specific about their skills when posting about them online, he said.
According to Perry, one of the most important things is to be professional and manage your online image so that it remains professional. When posting about topics that would bring employers to content job hunters have posted, he said to appear professional, intelligent and knowledgeable.
Using important keywords that recruiters would use (for instance, "San Diego, Cisco, network administrator" may be a search for a recruiter that needs a San Diego-based network administrator with experience in Cisco products) and using external links will boost the SEO of the job seeker and improve the likelihood of being found by employers, which is exactly what every job hunter wants.