The days of sending a paper CV in the post are in the past, with some even arguing that the emailed CV is on its last legs, as there are now an ever-increasing number of glamorous job sites and social platforms catering to tech jobseekers.
These online platforms give you a better opportunity to showcase your ability to potential employers and, in tech recruitment, future employers want to see what you’ve already done.
However, if your skill-set is in high demand, but you’re happy in your current job, you may be unaware that you are inadvertently advertising your expertise to interested recruiters.
Job boards have been evolving since they first arrived on the scene in the early noughties, and they are still a highly-effective way of getting noticed. Job boards will undoubtedly remain successful due to their scale, their much-improved search algorithms and their CV-search facilities. The likes of jobbio.com has evolved the job board to do away with the CV entirely. It prompts jobseekers to write a short bio, upload an image, import their LinkedIn profile and outline ‘what makes them tick’.
But it is social media that is now taking the tech world by storm. Social media platforms provide an environment where professionals from all sectors can interact, communicate and share ideas. Most importantly, by using such sites in the right way, you can actively formulate your own PR campaign to push yourself into the limelight and tempt potential employers. By supplying accurate, up-to-date information, targeting the right audience and actively participating on your chosen platform(s), you can avail of opportunities like never before.
The biggest of these social media platforms, in terms of distributing CVs, is LinkedIn. Launched in May 2003, it took another five years to catch the imagination of Irish jobseekers. In May 2015, 51,775 profiles in the ‘Information Technology and Services’ sector with Ireland as their location were recorded as visible on Linkedin.
Make the most of your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn has revolutionised job seeking. Based on the above stats, most of you reading this are already registered on LinkedIn, so here are some quick tips to make the most of your profile.
- Aim to obtain the ‘all star’ profile status to increase your profile views.
- Use a professional-looking picture — first impressions matter
- Have a short, snappy, enticing summary
- Use tech keywords as much as you can to optimise the chances of your profile coming up in searches
- Fill in as much contact info as you can – potential employers need to be able to contact you
- Include all your jobs and make sure they match the dates on your CV – maintaining continuity and transparency is very important when trying to impress employers
- Put in appropriate skills under skills and endorsements – detail your expertise and show what you can bring
- Ask previous employers, colleagues or third parties for recommendations – this will greatly enhance the credibility of your profile and serve as proof of your skills.
Further exposure can be achieved by linking any websites, blogs, presentations, videos or any other promotional material, to your profile. The more material on your page, the more time an onlooker is likely to spend learning about how employable you are.
Having a full, well-written and visually pleasing profile is important, but you must still make a conscious effort to raise that profile. Activity on LinkedIn, and any social media site for that matter, is ultimately what gets you noticed. On LinkedIn there is a wealth of groups, discussions and pages directed at IT professionals, so be sure to actively participate, join and follow them. Contributing to conversations, posting regular updates and relevant material and even starting discussions (be sure it’s about a topic you are confident in) are great ways to shine the spotlight on your profile.
To connect or not connect, that is the question
Now, you need to connect with people. There are two opposing views on how you go about this, one is to choose your connections discerningly, or the other is to connect to as many people as possible. The one advantage of more connections is that it makes it easier for you to send InMails, however, it also means your newsfeed can get clogged up with posts that are not of particular interest to you.
Nowadays, internal and external recruiters are trained foragers of LinkedIn. By following the tips listed above you can increase the chance of your profile coming up in those carefully-worded searches.
What if you’re just too popular in the tech recruitment world?
If you’re lucky enough to have highly sought-after skills, however, you might want to do the opposite and make yourself harder to find.
For example, there is a shortage of developers at the moment, which means they are highly sought after by recruiters. A good developer, proficient in a rare language, could be subject to a waterfall of, possibly unwanted, InMails and connection requests. In order to reduce this activity, adjustments need to be made to the privacy settings of your profiles.
To reduce the visibility of your profile:
- Turn off your activity broadcast
- Choose who can see your activity feed
- Choose who can see your connections
- Select who can follow your updates.
This is all done under privacy and settings. On your profile page there is also a switch that allows you to keep any profile changes you make private.
There is, of course, a myriad of other sites for the tech job seeker. Twitter and Google+ have been popular with the tech industry for some time, while Spiceworks is a professional network specifically for the tech industry. It provides free apps, product reviews, how-tos and discussions. It has a careers section where you can create a portfolio to showcase you IT projects, search jobs and read tips.
Forums and blogs also present an opportunity to gain recognition in your particular area. They are a great way of interacting with the community in your skill-space, sharing ideas and helping each other out. Stack Overflow and GitHub, for example, are forums directed at developers, providing them with a discussion platform to share solutions. The next person you give advice to might be a hiring manager and a way in to the job of your dreams.
Explore the various options out there and discover what suits you and your needs best.
Tristan Dent is an IT Recruitment Consultant specialising in infrastructure and support at Hays Recruitment