In a recent post, we compared the Lana Turner discovery and the modern version of “being discovered” as told by Jenna Fischer (Pam, of NBC’s The Office.) “A friend …asked me to play a small role. It meant lots of rehearsal for very little stage time and no pay. Along the way I questioned why I had agreed to do it. But, it was very funny and he was a friend, so I agreed. After our 3rd performance, his manager approached me and asked if I had representation. I said, no. She offered to represent me saying she thought I had a real future in television comedy. Naomi is still my manager today. “
Today we cover how to make sure your resume and your skills are in place for being “discovered” by recruiters. A Chicago Tribune business article recently offered creative ways to get in front of managers who might be hiring. One of them is my personal favorite, which is to position yourself as an expert. Gail Marks Jarvis writes: “To stay visible while looking for work, consider volunteering in an area that might provide contacts or experience. Also speak, write articles or teach a class, maybe through adult education or a university extension service.”
Volunteering as a job search strategy works best if your heart is in the volunteering project. It’s important to find a cause or organization that matches your personal values; a mismatch will make it hard to show up and do your best for no pay. In order for the opportunity to benefit your job search, it’s also important that you find a way to use your professional skills. If you’re a network administrator, work on the network. If you’re a marketing expert, help with the outreach strategy.
One Jacksonville woman had volunteered for years for an environmental cause that was very important to her. Her persistence, skills and commitment to the cause impressed the chair of the board of directors. He was so impressed that when they created a position for a development director, he encouraged her to apply.
Your social network profiles may also provide another way to make sure your skills are discovered. Harry Urschel, writing for the Career Rocketeer blog, says that your LinkedIn profile can be one of the ways recruiters find you. Urschel writes that recruiters search for candidates the way we search for anything on the net: using keywords. “So… take the time to think about “what are all the possible search terms someone might use to find someone like me?” Then make sure all those words are somewhere in your profile. If someone is looking for a ‘Payroll Manager,’, and you were a ‘Payroll Supervisor,’ they may not find you if you don’t have the word “Manager” in your profile. Incorporate the different terms in your job descriptions if you can. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to simply have a list of additional keywords somewhere at the bottom of your profile. Be honest about your background, but make sure you turn up in the appropriate searches!”
In a piece of what should be way-too-obvious advice, Urschel also recommends that you place your contact information in an easy to find place on your profile. You don’t want any barriers between you and a recruiter with an opportunity.
For more ideas on a LinkedIn profile that works, check out LinkedIn’s own tutorial.