You don't need to look far to find the same advice coming from many quarters: get yourself a strong personal brand, use social media to the fullest, and network like crazy to get your next job. Those who train recruiters how to recruit offer them the same advice about how to source the best candidates for their clients. The truth is simple: social media works well for both the job search and hiring process.
There are some who claim with justification, however, that it isn't time effective. Worse, when not used the right way, everything from job boards to LinkedIn enables recruiters to passively wait for candidates to find them, and enables job hunters to indulge the false belief that simply responding to online ads or posting a profile constitutes a credible job search. Passivity in this context can be a form of laziness, and counterproductive to fulfilling your aspirations.
Case in point: Brett Harwood, a solo West Coast recruiter who has built sales organizations for companies throughout the U.S. and beyond. He doesn't waste a moment of time. Over the years he has amassed a large database of people with whom he has interacted, and he knows who to call for what. When asked how he goes about the work of finding great candidates for his clients his answer is simple: "I pick up the phone and call lots of people."
When interviewed for this article, he related that it all boils down to number of calls and metrics. Fifty calls a day, for three days will produce three quality candidates who are interested in the position he is seeking to fill and at the same time pass his rigorous screening interview process. And, over time he has established a record of placing one of every three candidates he puts forward.
If you want me, call me. Harwood has a couple pieces of valuable advice for job hunters:
First, do what he does: pick up the phone and directly call the people you need to access in order to be considered for the position you crave. Explain who you are, why you want to work for them, and why you should be considered in less than 30 seconds.
Up to twenty people send him their unsolicited resumes every week, but more often than not they are trashed rather than read. "If you want my attention, don't send me a mass mailing. Call me, and I'll talk," he advises. Moreover, he suggests that hiring managers have much the same attitude. If you want to stand out from your competition, do the research you need to do on LinkedIn and elsewhere, figure out a way to get past the gate keeper, and talk directly to the decision maker.
Show your stuff. Harwood offers a second piece of advice: Make a short two minute video of yourself and post it on YouTube. Talk about your passion, your accomplishments, your skills, your ambitions, and why you are valuable to a potential employer. Make it a great presentation, and don't settle for mediocrity. Then, put a link to it at the bottom of your resume, with a short line like this: "To learn more about me, check out my short YouTube profile."
The video accomplishes two things: First, it shows that you are innovative and go "above and beyond" what most of your competition is doing. Second, it gives the viewer a real opportunity to gauge who you are as a person - your body language, enthusiasm, and ability to communicate effectively.
Of course what this recruiter isn't saying is that for every 150 calls, 147 will lead to the "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow. It means there will be hang-ups, and rejection, and you will encounter road-blocking gatekeepers who are effective at their jobs. It means that you will have to develop some thick skin, passion for your mission, and tenacity to reach that one hiring manager who will appreciate all this about you and recognize the value you present.
These days, Harwood might well be considered an oddity among his peer recruiters who rely so heavily on the internet. But his success is living proof that tried and true methods still work. And, if you are the kind of person who has the drive and perseverance, his suggestions can propel you down the road of success as well.
Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help mid-career job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.
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