If you've noticed that getting a job seems more competitive, you're correct. And if you aim to be actively recruited, you need to pay attention to a major recruiting trend for 2014: top sourcing. Top sourcing focuses on finding only top-tier candidates in a particular field, meaning the recruiting process includes more strategic and narrowed search-and-evaluation techniques.
Additionally, global mobility penetrates almost every business market, leading to better-equipped recruiters who can more easily identify the very best workers with very specific sets of expertise. In some cases, it doesn't even matter if these candidates are seeking work actively.
In this environment, it's clear that job seekers need to evolve with these trends to apply their finest career presence and focus on top-notch professionalism for future positions.
Taso Du Val, co-founder of Toptal, a recruiting network of top technology talent worldwide, offers the following tips to become a top-sourced candidate in various stages of job search, from discovery to the interview stage.
Amp up your LinkedIn profile. This seems so easy, but you may find that even a few minor tweaks to your profile can alter the course of your professional life. Many talented and qualified candidates have either terrible LinkedIn and other online profiles or no online presence worth noting. This prohibits them from being considered for some job opportunities because employers can't find them online and are unlikely to connect with them regarding opportunities.
Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible to be found online and for hiring managers to home in on your professional expertise. Think about the keywords someone might use on LinkedIn or Google if he or she was looking to hire a person with your skills. Conduct your own search using those keywords and see what profiles LinkedIn's search engine delivers. Assess the most valuable aspects of those profiles and identify ways you can improve your description to be competitive.
Talk about more than your résumé. "Candidates who show up for interviews with nothing to talk about other than their résumé can seem boring and one-dimensional and miss out on opportunities to enhance their appeal," Du Val says. When you go into an interview, or even when you initiate a conversation with a potential employer or recruiter, try to have a natural interaction; make sure it doesn't sound scripted. "Ask at least half as many questions as you are asked, and aim to correlate your personal life with your professional appeal," Du Val suggests. "Discuss how your interests influence your profession in a positive way. Your conversation may even stumble upon missing points from your resume, and give employers a sense of your personality."
Bring empirical evidence and data to verify things you've done. Employers love proof. Your accomplishments may not be apparent outside of your company. If you haven't created an effective professional brand for yourself, for example by cultivating a social media presence that demonstrates your expertise, or by joining professional organizations where you have a chance to share your ideas with people outside of your company, it's unlikely many people will know what you have to offer. You may even have underestimated your own successes. However, you can still leverage all of your work to move forward. Du Val suggests that your body of work can become your "arsenal of experience" when articulated well to recruiters or hiring managers.
"Have something impressive to show employers," he notes. You may bring a hard copy of your work or tools to execute an on-site demo to illustrate how you are a good fit for the job. Live examples of your work can only enhance your appeal.
Even though a résumé may serve as your introduction, it is useful to create and share tangible, visual data or touch-points to convince the employer that you really are who you say you are and offer what you promise. Create a portfolio of information to market yourself effectively. This evidence and specific examples will help enhance the story you tell and illustrate how you deliver exceptional work.
Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers, is often quoted in major media outlets for her job search and social media expertise. Author of three books and a sought-after speaker and coach, she leverages her extensive background and successes to teach job seekers and entrepreneurs how to easily use social media marketing to accomplish their career and business goals. Salpeter also provides strategic advice and support regarding interviewing, résumé writing and personal branding.
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