Privacy vs. Visibility for Successful Job Search

WorkCoachCafeAppropriate online visibility is required for successful job search today. Unfortunately, too many job seekers are avoiding any and all online visibility in an effort to protect their privacy. Very bad idea!

Today, this lack of good, positive visibility makes a job search much longer for too many people.

Visibility Is NOT Optional for Job Search Today

We all do research online when we are considering renting or purchasing something, even going to a restaurant or a movie. We are protecting our investment. Not surprisingly, recruiters and employers do the same thing. They research job applicants and job candidates to see what they can find out.

Countless studies, going back as far as 2010, have shown that the vast majority of employers and recruiters research individuals for two main reasons:

1.) Employers search to find qualified job candidates.

Today, employers typically find that searching Google and LinkedIn for people with specific qualifications is more effective than posting a job. Posting their jobs is NOT an effective method of filling jobs today for many employers.

In response to a job posting, too many unqualified applicants bury employers under a flood of resumes. The average number of applicants for most jobs is 250, with fewer than 50% actually qualified for the job.

When qualified candidates are found through search, employers and recruiters reach out to them to see if they are interested in new opportunities.

This means that if you are not visible in LinkedIn (which is one of Google’s trusted sources of information about individuals), employers will not find you to recruit you. This is why a complete (a.k.a. “All Star”) LinkedIn Profile containing the right keywords for you is not optional today.

For more information, read: To Be Hired: Be Found Where Recruiters Look and To Be Hired: Be Found — Your Best Keywords

2.) Employers search to vet job applicants.

With those 250 resumes to dig through, a recruiter’s toughest job becomes separating the qualified applicants from the rest of the crowd. So, when employers are sifting through the job applicants, recent studies have shown that they usually (more than 90% of the time) Google applicants to determine who to interview.

  • If they cannot find you in a Google search, you are demonstrably out-of-date , and employer interest usually evaporates quickly.
  • If they can find you, they check to see if the information supplied in the job application matches the information made visible in the LinkedIn Profile and other social media, like Facebook and Twitter. If the information matches, you’re good. If it doesn’t, you’re out.
  • If they find someone else who has the same name you do with a history indicating they aren’t qualified for the open job, you probably lose the opportunity.

Successful job seekers are visible and find-able in LinkedIn, proving they are up-to-date and verifying the information provided in their job applications.

Required Online Visibility for Successful Job Search

According to recent studies, LinkedIn is the site used by the vast majority of recruiters and employers (more than 94%) to find or vet people for their open jobs. To be found in LinkedIn:

  • Complete your LinkedIn Profile so it has “All Star” status — unless your Profile meets the criteria for completeness, it will not be included in the vast majority of LinkedIn searches, which means recruiters have a lower probability of finding your Profile.
  • Be sure to include a good headshot photo in your LinkedIn Profile (just you, no pets, no kids, etc.). People who have met you will recognize your Profile. Those who haven’t met you will be 7 times more likely to click your name (and photo) in LinkedIn search results when they see it.
  • Describe your most recent jobs in enough detail to include relevant keywords (like job titles, technology, software, education, certifications, and other terms relevant to your professional). List and quantify your most important accomplishments in those jobs, and brag about both current and former employers.
  • Join the LinkedIn Groups that employees of your profession and/or target organizations would join. Be carefully, positively, and professionally visible in those Groups.

Unless you are extremely careless, LinkedIn provides excellent professional visibility without the privacy risks of Facebook. LinkedIn is not the hazard that Facebook is. If you can’t be found in a LinkedIn search, you are invisible to all of those recruiters searching for you or for people like you.

For more information, read Online Reputation Management, 5 Very Important Reasons to Have Your Photo on LinkedIn, and Secret Way to Boost Your Value: Brag About Your Employers.

Protect Your Privacy While Having the Visibility Necessary for Successful Job Search

No question that we all need to be careful about what we post online today. Too much “private” information is made very public by phone companies and local governments — home addresses, phone numbers, the values of our homes, etc. But, many of us make ourselves too visible online, from posting our birthdays on Facebook (NO!) to being angry and nasty to others in social media, particularly on LinkedIn.

Provide enough information that recruiters and potential network connections can reach you, but don’t include your home address or phone number. And NEVER make your birthday visible online. Your birthday is a gift to identity thieves. Replace your real birthday with April 1, 1901 or some other nonsensical date that you can remember.

More About Being Visible for Successful Job Search

To Be Hired, Be Found Where Recruiters Look

Be Find-Able to Be Hired: Your Best Keywords!

To Be Hired: Be Reachable

3 LinkedIn Success Factors

Keep Your Birthday Private

5 Essential Components of a Successful LinkedIn Profile

Why Isn’t LinkedIn Helping My Job Search?

5 Very Important Reasons to Have Your Photo on LinkedIn

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About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoachCafe.  A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org and is a columnist on HuffingtonPost and LinkedIn.  Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.

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