You’re an IT professional on the prowl for a new career. As you scour the web for job postings, you confidently check off each skill you’ve mastered, each position that you’re more than qualified for. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel! But the days pass, and you still haven’t heard from a recruiter. What gives?
It’s all about marketing. Many people, especially developers and techies in general, struggle to sell themselves to potential employers. Maybe it’s modesty, maybe it’s a confidence issue. Either way, sometimes we have trouble putting our best foot forward to the detriment of our visibility to recruiters. Perhaps tooting your own horn doesn’t come naturally, but it’s important that you learn.
Spruce Up Your LinkedIn Profile
When social media shoved its way into the professional world, some of us rolled our eyes. However, LinkedIn has proven to be an invaluable tool for job hunters since recruiters utilize it so heavily. At the very least, it’s an excellent way to make contacts.
Set aside some time this weekend to show your profile some love. Update your skills, experience, certifications, and anything else that could catch a recruiter’s eye. A professional profile picture goes a long way, too.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see is no photo,” LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams told Forbes. “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”
Showcase Side Projects
Many people work on side projects after work or on the weekend and never think to highlight those when applying for a job. But why shouldn’t you? If you’re using your tech skills to create something great, it doesn’t matter if the process didn’t take place on someone’s dime.
Let recruiters know about that “silly” app you’ve been developing on the side, or a business plan you’ve been playing around with. Your enthusiasm for the craft won’t go unnoticed.
Make Good Use of Keywords
Anytime you submit a resume or post one online for a particular position, make sure you’ve made good use of keywords you found in the listing. These buzzwords are there for a reason, after all. Employers use them to identify insiders–people who know the industry and have been around the block.
Within the tech field, there might be quite a bit of keyword overlap from listing to listing, but you shouldn’t rely on a one-size-fits-all attitude when submitting your resume. Use keywords as building blocks to tailor your resume to each individual job post to better your chances.
Build an Online Presence
Even after you’ve cleaned up your LinkedIn profile, your quest for online visibility has just begun. The stronger your presence is online, the easier it will be for recruiters to find you. Makes sense, right? Just make sure what you’re putting out there is valuable.
Contribute to your company’s blog or, better yet, start your own. Many online tech magazines regularly accept articles from guest writers, and we can’t undermine the importance of an active, interesting Twitter account. Whatever you do to get published, make sure you’re sharing it on your LinkedIn profile.
Reach Out and Follow Up
Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to wait for them to come to you. Take the initiative to reach out to the companies you’re interested in working for and show them that you mean business. Regardless of the response, at least you’ll know where you stand.
And speaking of response, don’t take that for granted. Once you’ve got a recruiter’s attention, it’s up to you to keep it. Follow up to keep your relationship going.
Finally, be confident. There’s no way for a recruiter to believe in your skills if you don’t believe in them yourself, so don’t be afraid to show off a little. You’ve worked hard for the qualifications that make you a great fit for their company.
They’re looking for candidates who know their stuff, and you often only have one chance to prove that you do. Make it count.