Long gone are the days when supply outweighed demand and job seekers had to go an extra mile to stand out and appease recruiters and hiring managers. While top headhunting firms are now recognizing the need to differentiate in order to engage potential candidates, outdated advice to job seekers still abounds.
 
Let’s take for example an article that recently ran on Market Watch, an online financial news resource, a subsidiary of Dow Jones, along with the Wall Street Journal no less.
 
In its attempt to provide advice to job seekers on how to better optimize a LinkedIn profile, this article is the epitome of all that is wrong with the recruitment industry.
 
ADVICE #1:
Rule No. 1: “Your LinkedIn profile should be public”.
 
How interesting and self-serving (not for you of course; the priority here is to make a recruiter’s life easier). Rule #1 for you to be found is not to focus on optimizing your career, not to build an impressive portfolio of achievements, but to publicize a LinkedIn page. It will come as a surprise then that some top professionals do not even have a LinkedIn page (gasp!). How do they even manage to “score the next great gig”?
 
ADVICE #2:
Most people spend so much time crafting their pitch, they forget about how they appear in a search result. “It’s the first thing that recruiters look at”.
 
If you choose to have a social media presence, as most of us do in one form of another, it is certainly important to be mindful of its impact on your job search. That aside, don’t worry about missing out on recruiters who put looking at your social media profiles as first task. If a recruiter’s number one focus is not on your experience and accomplishments, it is a predictor of the lack of focus you will receive thereon after.
 
ADVICE #3:
The title should be razor-sharp. “Don’t write senior analyst at Ernst & Young, write hedge fund financial analyst at Ernst & Young”.
 
One of the world’s top travel companies called G Adventures uses the title of “CEO” for its tour guides. And you know what? True headhunters who operate in that space will know that, as will the true headhunters who operate in yours. You do not need to customize your title for uninformed recruiters – you are better off flying under their radars.
 
There were numerous other gems about recruiters punching in keywords, recoiling at buzzwords, “looking for reasons not to court you” and getting nervous over parts of your LinkedIn profile. There was also advice dedicated to older job seekers (anything from over 10 years ago is a no-no on your CV, unless you are applying for a job of Chief Executive Officer!).
 
Dear recruiters whose views were well-represented throughout the Market Watch article, the days of your reign are fortunately coming to an end. You make it difficult for recruiters who work tirelessly on self-improvement (not candidate optimization, believe it or not!). Yet, your old school ways and inability to perfect the recruitment craft are catching up with you and job seekers are taking note.
 
Dear candidates, please know that the views represented in the article quoted throughout this post are not representative of all recruiters. You do not need to change your profile to be more searchable and your experience and career path should definitely not be reduced to a bunch of standard keywords.
 
Personally, I would not want to be spammed by individuals who believe that “Most hiring managers don’t want to hire someone who’s smarter than them”, would you?
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