The Social Media Job Search: Is It All Over but the Shouting?

Posted on May 12, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Lately I’ve noticed an interesting trend when it comes to social media and the employment process. Everyone in the hiring world seems to have something they need, be it a job seeker looking for a job or a hiring pro looking to fill a position, and from both sides, I keep hearing that there is no one out there to fulfill these needs. Somehow there aren’t enough jobs, and yet when there are jobs, there aren’t people to fill them.

How can that be?

I spend a lot of time on the main social media sites. I joined as a career professional, and quickly found that many wonderful recruiters and job seekers are out there. As someone who spends his day trying to help job seekers through the job search process, I saw this as an opportunity to build connections for my clientele as well as for the candidates I meet on these sites. After all, isn’t that what these sites are for? To build connections?

But here is a typical day:

Job seeker: “Looking for PHP Developer position; willing to relo; 10 years exp.”

Recruiter: “Filling PHP Developer posting; must have 5+ years exp.”

Seems like a no-brainer, right? At the very least, these two people need to speak! But I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to be the conduit to make that happen, and I hear excuses from both sides as to why they don’t want to pursue it BEFORE they have even met!

On the one hand, the job seeker is skeptical of the recruiter and, I don’t know, maybe a little gun shy or something. So the job seeker is content to spend all day scanning job boards for positions that are likely no longer even open. Give the job seeker a name of yet another job board, and off they go happy as a clam!

On the other hand, the recruiter really doesn’t want to speak with job seekers after all. The recruiter would prefer someone currently employed or … something. Sometimes they actually seem to want me to screen these candidates for them instead of actually making a phone call and finding out.

I have to admit this is a head-scratcher for me.

To the recruiter: If you’re not there to recruit, what are you there to do? Talk with other recruiters?

To the job seeker: If you’re not there to actually speak with someone, what are you there to do? Shout out how no one is helping you?

Some wise soul out there might argue that this an old conundrum playing out in a new scene, and that is probably true. But it makes me question the ability of social media to really sustain itself as an effective job search tool. And let’s face it, in many regards, job seekers (those active and those “passive”) as well as career professionals are really driving the movement right now.

Of course, I am speaking in generalities here, and people love to tell the news media all the success stories they’ve heard of regarding job seekers finding leads for positions through social media connections, but as someone who is out there each day trying to help foster these success stories, I’m seeing mostly just disconnections. A lot of chirping with very little action behind it.

Believe me. I like a good idea, just like the next guy. I have certainly met some wonderful people through social media, but as a job search tool, sadly, I am not that impressed. And it’s not because the possibility isn’t there for it to be a good avenue. The problem isn’t the technology; its just good, old-fashioned human nature.

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The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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Recruiters Are Not “Employment Superheroes”

Posted on March 30, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Sadly, this basic concept seems to have eluded many job seekers out there. I’m not sure how it started exactly, but somewhere along the way many candidates began to lump recruiters and headhunters into the same category as social workers, believing that simply out of their own generosity they tirelessly look for just the right job to suit each candidate.

In other words, they are “employment superheroes,” out there doing the work for you.

Now don’t get me wrong…there are many kind-hearted recruiters out there who do care very much about candidates and who would like to see them achieve their goals.

But that’s not what the recruiter is there for…solving all your job search woes.

It’s pretty simple. A recruiter, typically, will only be looking for candidates who fit with the types of positions he or she is being paid to recruit for (or will be paid for if a suitable candidate can be found).

If you don’t fit with what the recruiter needs, then he or she can’t help you. The recruiter might keep your info on file and contact you if anything does come up, but basically it is time to move on.

I’m not sure why this relationship then becomes so complex for many job seekers. Instead they hang on every word the recruiter says. “He told me he would call me in a couple weeks.” “She said my resume doesn’t have enough business development in it.”

They can’t seem to capture the code words here for “I don’t have anything right now.” It’s kind of like the “let’s just be friends” speech so often given at the end of a dating relationship.

Instead of getting the message, the job seeker runs off to their resume writer screaming, “why did you short-change me on business development?” (Never mind that they are looking for a technical job.)

I also find that once many job seekers begin talking to recruiters, they stop putting much effort into their job search. Instead they play the waiting game. (It’s kind of like the job posting boards, where the resumes go in, never to be heard from again. Yet everyone keeps posting anyway and then waiting for something to happen.)

I’m not saying recruiters won’t contact you, but again, only if they have a specific position for which you are suited that happens to come across their desk, not because they are staying up at night worrying about finding a position for you.

This point is very important, especially now when position openings are few and job searches are taking longer and longer. So don’t just talk with one or two recruiters; talk with several. And find ones that work in your field or industry.

But whatever you do, diversify your job search approach. Networking! Group Job Hunting! Every year they consistently rank the highest in effectiveness for job seekers, and every year I have to spend hours convincing candidates of the benefits. Instead I hear, “I just know this recruiter is going to come through for me!” Ah, the employment superheroes…

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it! Or send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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Resume Writing Tips: How Far Back Do I Go on My Resume?

Posted on February 11, 2009. Filed under: Resumes | Tags: , , , , , |

There is a lot of information floating around about how far back a candidate should go on his or her resume. Frankly, much of it is conflicting. In recent years, the trend has been to include about 10-12 years of work history on a resume. For different reasons, many professional resume writers will not include any information for jobs prior to that range. They will cite issues like potential age discrimination, lack of employer interest, and space considerations. All are valid reasons, with the age discrimination argument as the possible exception, but that is a story for another time.

Generally, recruiters will ask you to go back further and add much more detail. This will expand the number of opportunities they have to place you, which may be good for their commission, but may not be so good for you, the job seeker.

You may have friends or colleagues that tell you to include anything and everything since you received your working papers. They will tell you that full disclosure is a necessity.

So What Do I Do?

Look, there is no hard-and-fast rule when preparing a resume. It really is more art than science. It primarily does depend on the type of position you are pursuing, the depth and breadth of experience you have, the quality of accomplishments, and many other facets. I like to include job details going back about 10 or so years and then provide a footnote that lists position titles and company names, nothing else. This strategy provides the reader some context for how you started out and how you got to where you are today. Most importantly, it does so without demanding more time of the hiring manager (who likely does not have it to begin with) and without taking up critical space on the page. And for those HR reps and hiring managers who like to practice age discrimination, which I feel is few and far between, you are not providing them dates by which they can estimate your age.

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it! Or send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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