How to Avoid Being a "Digital Ghost" in Your Job Search
By Crystal Rothberg, Practice Manager of Workbridge San Francisco
I recently visited a social media client and in our discussion, the hiring manager said he did not want to interview ‘Digital Ghosts’. I asked him what he specifically meant by this term ‘Digital Ghost’ and he stated that if a candidate had less than 100 connections on LinkedIn or wasn’t active on Github or didn’t have Facebook/Twitter, why would they be a good fit to work for a social media start-up? His thought was if candidates are passionate about social media and technology, they would be active users of these sites in their day-to-day lives.
Now, do I agree that you should disqualify a candidate because of this? No. I think there are plenty of people who shy away from social media because of privacy issues and other personal reasons. However, I do believe having a strong online presence can only help you with your job search – specifically having robust LinkedIn and GitHub profiles when looking for a Software Engineer or Operations (DevOps) job.
In regards to LinkedIn, upload a professional (with personality!) picture, create a strong headline, be detailed in the summary and add information from your resume into description of each job you listed. A good gauge of this is your Profile Strength that LinkedIn provides for you – the more content you add to your profile, the higher the strength. Don’t forget to use keywords that are searchable for a hiring manager or recruiter.
Also, with each job, ask for recommendations from your coworkers and supervisor. While it may seem forward to ask for recommendations, I find that most people do not proactively do this for you, so just ask. The best case scenario is that a potential hiring manager knows the person who recommended you, which adds value to your personal stock. I hear many times of hiring managers pinging a mutual connection of a candidate before an interview to get ‘the scoop’.
Finally, connect with people! Connect with your coworkers, friends, people you interviewed with, or someone you met a meet-up. Add yourself to relevant groups as well. All this increases your profile’s visibility.
When looking for Software Engineers and DevOps Engineers, most hiring managers are now using Github and therefore, it’s important to grow your presence on this open source code repository and revision control site. With the ability to see your work, we are shifting away from just using a resume to land an interview. I’ve also found that hiring managers gauge the candidate’s passion for technology on whether or not they use Github actively. To state an obvious point, hiring managers want to hire people who love what they do – and contributions to the open source community is a great way to show this.
Github can also help when your resume isn’t as ‘textbook’. For example, we were recently representing a candidate whose only experience were short term Ruby on Rails contracts. The hiring manager was reluctant to interview based solely on the resume. However, after reviewing the candidate’s Github account, he brought the candidate in for an interview and eventually ended up hiring him.
The moral of the story is that in the modern era of the Internet and social media, the job search isn’t just a cut and dry resume and cover letter anymore. It’s important to be aware of what hiring managers value highly in their talent acquisition strategy and working with a recruiter can help with that, but no matter what, always make sure you do your research.
We love these success stories at Workbridge and I feel like are many more out there.
Have an interesting job search success story? Share it in the comment section below!