Using web services to advance your career is not limited to “white-collar” or IT and business professionals. I sent a survey, Employees Seek Employers, to HR professionals from 20 different industries/services and 30 US states and there is a clear majority of respondents using web services to find candidates (75%) and every respondent is willing to accept other types of media for employment evaluations (to compliment or replace a standard resume and cover letter). This tells me a few things.
For many careers, it is necessary to get references to validate your experiences and skills – what LinkedIn calls endorsements. To accomplish this validation, LinkedIn has built a sophisticated, networked interface where your connections can endorse you. However, I find a few difficulties with their approach: early career professionals simply do not have many connections and have not yet developed many skills; there becomes a “popularity contest” where the number not necessarily the quality of endorsements and connections defines you (why else are the number of connections so prominently placed); and the interface is so impersonal – essentially anyone can endorse you and view your profile without consent. What am I driving at?
You cannot fully rely on a single web service when you are seeking employment, and some web services will work better for you based on your career type and stage. According to the survey, HR professionals are primarily using LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, and MonsterJobs to find candidates. As discussed above, LinkedIn works great for mid-career, higher-paid professionals (average age of a LinkedIn user is 42 and the average household income is over $88,000). MonsterJobs and CareerBuilder have a service with a more traditional resume approach and therefore might cater better for early career professionals and careers that require less professional networking. Echoing a suggestion in other blog entries, use your professional website as a landing page in each of these web services.
Most HR professionals would agree that the best way to represent yourself while applying to a job or getting found by a potential employer is to provide as much content as you can. Take an inventory of what content you can create and relates to your profession and provide it on your professional website. This might seem difficult if you have little employment experience, but with some self-reflection you should consider the following:
- If you are a recent college graduate, share sample papers, presentations, and projects from your courses that are a strong representation of your capabilities (74%)
- Create a video resume (53%)
- Write a blog (44%)
In parenthesis, the number of HR professionals willing to use it in an employment evaluation according to the survey.