Todd Bavol: If you’ve been frustrated with sending your resume out to countless sources with no response or if you’ve been searching the job boards with no success, you’re going to enjoy today’s session. Today, we’re going to focus on providing you with some stealth moves to power your online job search.
I’m Todd Bavol and I’m the President and CEO of Integrity Staffing Solutions. I’ve spent the last 20 years providing advice and career tips for folks to really supercharge their job searches.
I have written five books on the topics of online job search, including focusing on interviewing skills, how to write an effective resume as well as online job searching. And I’m going to share some of those important skills with you today.
People often ask me, “Why use the ‘Job Search Ninja’ moniker?” And I chose that moniker because the ninja really wasn’t born with ninja skills. They had to practice and learn. Just like a job seeker today, it’s a competitive market out there.
Ninjas were excellent at researching and studying their prey or their opponent before going into battle and they really created a strategic plan that help them win. And that’s one of the most important things you can do as a job seeker especially when it comes to the online job search today.
So we’re going to focus on a strategic plan. And our strategic plan today focuses on two key areas. First, we’re going to help you uncover your inner warrior to really uncover some methods that are going to help you be found online. We’re going to talk more about why that’s important in a moment.
Second, we’re going to provide you with some super-powered ninja-like skills that are going to help you really take advantage of all of the technology that’s out there today on the Internet.
So going first into the strategic plan with uncovering your inner warrior, we’re going to uncover a secret here. What is the best-kept secret to productive online job searching? And most importantly, what you’re going to find is it’s not what you think. It’s not about knowing the job boards. It’s about – not about finding jobs. It’s all about being found.
Over 80% of recruiters every single day are looking for people just like you online. They’re not waiting for you to respond via the Internet or job board. The critical thing to know there is that recruiters today want to find passive job seekers. The way to appear passive is to make sure that you can be found online.
Recruiters take courses such as Advanced Recruiting Techniques and other courses which help them learn the skills to find people just like you every single day. What we’re going to do today is give you a few tips on how YOU can set yourself up to be found on the Internet.
So if we look at the first step, there’s five key steps to unveiling your own inner job search warrior. The first step is before you hope to be found online, you’re going to want to clean up your online persona. It’s really important that you make sure that when you’re ready to be found that what people find – the recruiters find online, is information that you want them to find.
Let’s face it. You playing beer pong is not something that you want a recruiter to see. So let’s clean that up. We’re going to start there.
You want to make sure also that you realize that every single thing you like or that you comment on on the Internet is searchable. And when a recruiter finds you online, they’re going to dig deeper. So they’re going to be looking at all of those things. So we’re going to pay attention to how you can clean that up pretty quickly.
And lastly, I want you to do is search online on Google with your own name. Go several pages deep and see what a recruiter today would find out about you.
The next step we’re going to take is we’re going to create some spin. We’re going to delete those unsavory posts, those pictures, et cetera. We’re going to talk to our friends who’ve tagged us on pictures and say, “Hey, do you mind taking that down?”
You’re going to want to contact any sites that you commented on where maybe you were – today, looking back, you wouldn’t have made the same comment knowing that a recruiter is going to be looking at that online. So we’re going to contact those sites. We’re going to ask them to take that information down.
Another thing that you can do is create a blog and start blogging about your job search, your career and other things about your profession so that when someone searches your name online, it’s going to push those unsavory topics down lower.
And last, we’re going to work on rebranding yourself. You want to start posting things and putting stuff out there that you want an employer to see – things that would make you appear to be a productive and quality employee for them.
The next step is using Google’s “Me on the Web” feature. You want to know any time something shows up about you on the Internet so that when a recruiter is searching for it, you see it before they do.
So one of the things you’ll want to do is go on to Google, go to the Google dashboard and just go ahead and look at the “Me on the Web” feature. Here you’re able to set up alerts on yourself so that any time information comes on the Web about you, you know it before they do.
When all else fails and you have to clean up some things on the Internet that maybe you’re not too proud of, there are reputation managers who can help you for a very low fee. Reputation.com is a good one as well as ReputationManagementConsultants.com. You can work with them and they’ll help get some of that information off.
So now that you’ve cleaned up your online persona, now we can start working on some of the things that you can do to set your persona up so that you can be found by the recruiters who are looking for people to hire into positions.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to think about your profession and write down as many key descriptors as you can that represent that position.
So for example, if I was an accountant, I might write down words like “tax”, like “auditing”, “general ledger”, et cetera. So you want to take that step and write down everything you can think of that’s critical to your position.
The second step is to go to the job boards. Do some searches for jobs in your category and look at what keywords companies are putting down about their positions.
Here we have an example of a job description that goes through and I’ve highlighted some key things here and you’ll notice that I didn’t just highlight the skills necessary for the job. I also highlighted things such as the values that a company has, the personality traits that they’re looking for, things that they – that are important to them as an organization and what they do.
I want you to write down all of those things. And you’re going to build a really strong worksheet off of this list.
The next thing that we want to do is we want to download the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook. This is a free download that anyone can have access to and this is loaded with thousands of job descriptions, going over very, very key characteristics of every job. You’re going to get a lot of good information from this that you’ll be able to build your keyword library from.
Step four. This is a really cool feature. If you go to Google AdWords, this is what companies use that advertise online. They go on and they advertise under Google AdWords. Well, you, as a consumer, can go on to Google AdWords and put in these – some of these keywords that you’ve discovered into the AdWords formula.
If you go to Adwords.google.com and you choose the Keyword Tool, you can just start entering some of these keywords that you found. And what you’re going to find is you’re going to see how many searches are done locally and nationally for those keywords.
So for example, if you’re a marketing manager, you can put in “marketing manager” as your word or phrase and what will come up are all the different combinations that people search for. These are the same searches that recruiters are using to find you.
Now, the next thing you want to do is now that you have all of these keywords and you have a pretty good understanding of what keywords folks might be using to search for you online, you’re going to want to know where and how to promote yourself.
One of the best places to do, pick prime real estate. Right now, over 80% of recruiters are using LinkedIn. Start there. I want to give you a couple of tips on how to maximize some of these prime real estate.
The first thing to do is make sure that your profile is 100% complete. If it’s less than 100% complete, chances are you’re not going to come up high in the search results.
The second thing is choose a URL in LinkedIn that’s customized to you. When you go to LinkedIn, just go to the Custom Profile and go to the Settings tab and put in a custom URL. At the end of the URL string, you can simply use your name and then whatever your job title is. So again, if you’re a marketing manager, it would be the common LinkedIn string plus your name plus “marketing manager”.
Now, let’s talk about why that’s so important. When you put in these keywords in your LinkedIn profile, these keywords all show up in the algorithm that LinkedIn uses as well as Google. So these are the same things that recruiters are searching for.
What you want to do is in your LinkedIn profile in the Professional section, in the Headline section, in your Skill Categories, your Job History, et cetera, all of those keywords that we pulled out earlier, you’re going to want to put into each of these sections.
Here’s my profile here. You notice in the top area, I have “Visionary CEO, Strategic human capital strategies”. These are key functions or keywords about what I do. So if somebody were to do a search on Google for me using those keywords, I would come up on the top of the search engines.
A couple of other tips. Make sure your recommendations are plentiful with keywords. Now, how might you do this? Even if I was recommending someone else that had worked for me in the past, I could still promote myself through that recommendation by saying, “As a marketing manager at ABC Corporation, I had the chance of working with (John Doe).”
Well, what have I done there? I’ve again tied my name to the keyword “marketing manager”. This again pushes you up in the search rankings when recruiters are searching for you.
You also want to join groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to the job that you’re applying for or searching for. So accounting groups if you’re an accountant, marketing groups if you’re in marketing, sales for sales. It’s really important.
And then participate in the question and answer sessions that go on in those groups and again, take that bank of keywords that we talked about earlier and use them in your conversations online. Again, this continues to move you up on the search strings.
Why is all this so important? Because LinkedIn’s algorithm is pretty poor. So recruiters are turning to Google to do their searches. So for example, right here, I put a search in for “bookeeper Bala Cynwyd”. Well guess what? (Terry Vandernoot) and (Patty Gallagher) would be two very lucky people because they happen to be bookkeepers who are on LinkedIn and they would be the first two people I would reach out to if I were a recruiter.
So they – and you notice, they are the top two rankings on the search engine. So this is something that’s really going to help you. It’s going to take some work on the front end but you’re going to drive yourself higher in the search engine results.
Few bonus tips for LinkedIn users, use the Follow Company function. This is a really important function because you could see who is leaving and joining the company. Why is that important? Because if someone’s leaving a company, that means job opportunities are going to open up. So if I’m an accountant and I see people leaving the organization who work in that job category, I know that jobs are more likely to be opening.
People that are joining the company are important as well because if I see a company that’s hiring a lot of salespeople and I’m an accountant, I know that further down the line, they’re going to need accounting people. That’s why it’s important to stay engaged and watch what companies are doing.
Additionally, you’re going to want to look at the groups that people belong to on LinkedIn. Oftentimes, folks say, “Well, I don’t connect with a lot of people on LinkedIn. I don’t have as many contacts as other people.”
Well, guess what? If you simply see what groups they belong to which is generally on a public profile, you can go ahead and join that group. And once you’re a member of that group, you instantly have a connection with them, a first-tier connection, so that you can communicate directly. It’s one of the key things with LinkedIn that a lot of folks don’t know.
So, now that we’ve done that, the other important thing to do is to be social. Start using Facebook and Twitter for your job search. Use those keywords in your tweets and on your posts on Facebook because those are also searchable when recruiters are looking for professionals like you every single day.
The last thing that I recommend from a “be found” perspective is to build your social media resume. I’ll tell you, nowadays, it’s so easy to create a blog or a virtual CV online. It’s easier than ever before. It’s really point and click. Don’t be overwhelmed by it.
FatCow has a very great interface for creating an online blog or for webhosting. It’s about $3 or $4 a month. And you can go on and within a few minutes, be set-up. And what do you want – going to want to do on this? You’re going to want to post about your job search, talk about companies that you’re interested in working for, put your virtual CV up there, your resume online. Again, it’s searchable and it’ll help you be found.
So now that we’ve talked about some of the ways to be found, now we’re going to go to some of the other traditional methods, the more passive ways to find jobs. And that’s directly on the job boards.
I break the job boards into three key areas — job aggregators, the big boys and niche sites. When you think about job aggregators, those are sites like Indeed, Simply Hired, et cetera. Those sites pull together all the job postings from across the Internet so that you can find jobs in one location. So, it really takes the clutter out of the Internet job search for you.
Indeed is happens to be my favorite. You can also set up job alerts on Indeed which will help, every time a new job is posted, you’ll get an email saying that a new job in your category is open.
Monster and CareerBuilder are two sites that you definitely want to work with because they are the biggest. The key though is remember, it’s quality over quantity. Before you post your resume on Monster or CareerBuilder, first look at the companies that are hiring, the key companies that you want to work for.
And look at their job postings. Go back to those keywords. And make sure you update and customize your resume so that when they do a search online on CareerBuilder or Monster, your resume is going to come to the top of the list. Also, the algorithms within CareerBuilder and Monster will also tag your resume as someone who’s a good fit because you have the searchable keywords.
If after about 30 days, you haven’t had any response on CareerBuilder or Monster, go back in, do another search for job postings that are relevant to the type of work that you’re looking for and rebuild your resume. Put in some new keywords, freshen it up. Don’t just leave your resume sitting out there or you’re not going to get the responses.
Niche sites are excellent. There are niche sites for probably every skill category, from warehouse positions, labor positions, accounting, marketing, advertising, public relations. There are thousands of niche job board sites that are really focused on people in your skill category.
There’s a couple of great place you can – places that you can go to find a niche job site that matches your category. One is InternetInc.com. Another is JobBoardReviews.com. Both of those are great sites to find a niche board that matches your skill category. I’m a true believer on the niche sites. If you’re going to work with job boards, really go to them that are focused on your specific skill category.
And by the way, don’t forget craigslist. It’s free and a lot of cool unique smaller company jobs are posted on craigslist and it’s a great place to find a job.
So, some tools and tactics when you’re using online job boards, create a list of about 10 to 20, maybe more key companies that you want to work for. Set up your Google alert to tracking those companies, really get to know them and understand them and track their job board activity through Simply Hired or Indeed.
Set up your job alert so anytime a new job posting, whether it’s in your category or not comes on, you know about it. Watch their traffic on LinkedIn, it’ll really help.
Use the big boards to watch for trends. Again, if you see a company that’s hiring in one category, it means that something else is bound to be happening such as the company that’s hiring a lot of salespeople is going to need accountants down the road.
Remember, quality before quantity. And do a reality check. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your time applying to those jobs that you really know you’re not a good fit for.
Now, couple of things on the job boards, there’s a lot of scams going on in the job boards today probably more than ever before. And there are some things you’re going to have to watch out for.
There’s a lot of jobs that are posted that are – that are from scammer, those that are looking to collect your valuable personal information. So how do you avoid that? How do you cut through the clutter and really find those jobs that are real postings? Well, here’s a couple of things that you want to look for.
Anytime that a company on a job posting or in a response to your resume ask for your personal banking information or any information such as you scanning your identification to them before you’ve even completed an application, that’s a job posting you’re going to want to stay away from.
If they have a contact email address that’s like @yahoo.com or @gmail.com rather than a company name at the end of their email address, it’s probably not an organization that you want to partner with.
Misspellings and grammatical errors in their job posting, those are things that don’t necessarily mean it’s a scam or it just means it’s a poor posting most likely, but oftentimes, those are indicators that there might be a problem.
Also, Monster list descriptive words and job postings that are tip-offs to fraud, package forwarding, money transfers, wiring funds, anytime you see these key indicators in a job posting, it’s probably a good thing to steer away from them.
Work-at-home jobs are another category that often a lot of fraud is seen. So really be careful and wary about work-at-home job postings – especially unpaid job boards.
Couple of other job posting tips and responding them, good employers use good grammar. I’m going to reiterate that one. Good employers use good grammars. So, companies that use poor grammar or incomplete sentences in their job postings, stay away from those.
If the employer takes no time to describe the job opening, it doesn’t mean that it’s a scam, it just might mean that that employer really isn’t taking the time to find the right fit. And that might be a job that you don’t want to get involved in because they probably have high turnover.
Additionally, are they sharing information about themselves, information that gives you a good insight into who they are, what they’re looking for? Because you can really use that information to your benefit.
And lastly, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So, you’re going to want to stay away from those jobs that sound like the dream job, okay.
Some really cool tools that I want to share with you before we finish today. My favorite tool at the moment is WANTED Analytics. It’s WantedAnalytics.com. It’s probably the coolest thing out there for a jobseeker. It’s really an all-in-one shop.
When you go to WANTED Analytics, you can put in your job description or your job titles. So if you’re an accounting professional, just put in “accounting”. What’s going to come up on WANTED Analytics is a hiring scale. And it’s for every city in the US. It’ll show you based on a normal scale where does your – what is the job search environment right now for you in that market.
So it’s going to show it either easy or more difficult. And it’ll also show you where it’s easier or more difficult to find work in that category across the country. So if relocation is a possibility for you, WANTED Analytic’s a great tool.
The next thing that WANTED Analytics will do is it’ll show you how many potential candidates there are in your market searching for a job right now. So you get to know what your competition is like. That’s really important. You – it really gives you a good idea of what you’re up against.
Lastly, it’s going to show you every business currently that’s hiring in your market for that job title, pulls it all together in one place. But more importantly, it’s going to show you everyone who’s hired over the past 6 months or 12 months in that job category as well.
Now, why is that important? Well, if somebody hired 6 to 12 months ago in that job category and it’s a – it’s a job description that really fits what I’m looking for, I’m going to market myself to that company. I’m going to start following them on LinkedIn. I’m going to start researching information about them because the chances are, they’re going to be hiring again.
Lastly, WANTED will also give you a good idea of what the salary range currently in the market is based on the current climate for the work that you’re looking for.
So, I want to recap what we’ve covered today. We’ve gone over a lot of information in a short period of time.
First, it’s not about finding a job. It’s about being found. You’re going to have to practice pulling out your keywords, really finding all those identifiers and building that arsenal to start putting across your social network as well as on LinkedIn.
You want to clean up your online persona. When you’re found, you’re going to appear like you’re a real black belt because it – what you want to make sure is people are not finding information that you don’t want them to find online.
Next, know the search techniques of recruiters. Do some research online. The technique is called Boolean. It’s Boolean search, B-O-O-L-E-A-N. There are some great groups on LinkedIn as well as some free groups that you can join that teach how to actually use that technique on Google and other search networks.
You want to promote yourself online. Make sure that you’re blogging. Make sure that you’re tweeting but not just about things that you like personally, things that you do professionally. Be seen as a professional in your network.
Master LinkedIn, it’s a great tool. It’s probably the top – number one tool out there right now. And master the job boards. And stay away from the scams. And don’t waste your time. Remember, quality over quantity.
So make sure you’re a job search ninja. If you want to follow my tips, I tweet daily @jobsearchninja. You can ‘like’ me on Facebook at Facebook.com/integritystaffingsolutions. We have job postings and job tips every single day or connect with me at LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/toddbavol. And I look forward to helping you.
Thanks so much.