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Do you search for contracts or let them find you? According to a Quick Poll conducted last September, 86% of independent contractors actively search for jobs rather than wait for opportunities to find them. The survey also revealed, however, that none of the respondents diversify their job search to include the full spectrum of sources.
Last November, we shared an article called The Secret to Making a Recruiter Find You that provided a few options on where you could search for jobs and create an online profile, such as job boards, job aggregators and social media. There are also other great options such as niche job boards related to your skill set and the company or agency website with which you'd prefer to work. While most job seekers seem to be using at least one of these sources, few, if any, are using them all. Here's why we believe it's important you diversify to as many places as possible.
Every time you apply to a job through any job board or job aggregator, you create a profile. Unless you specifically ask that your profile not be shared with others, it will be available in a database for recruiters to see. Great! But, every recruiter and company has their preferred database. You may not know it, but a license for a recruiter to access any database comes at a cost, and usually a high one at that. As a result, most recruiters are limited to a select number of databases. If you're applying to jobs and creating profiles on only one site, and it's not a recruiter's list, they may never find you.
But surely they'll find me on LinkedIn! Yes, if your profile is filled with the right key words, you should be easy to find and may come up on a Google search, but even LinkedIn has its limitations for recruiters. LinkedIn intentionally puts fewer features with the basic search functionality, in hopes that recruiters will pay the extra money for their Premium profile or their LinkedIn Recruiter service. These too come at higher costs which may not be justifiable to a recruiter and their organization. Although you can almost guarantee they're trying to find you on LinkedIn, it may not be as easy as you'd hope.
No matter where you decide to put your resume, remember that if you want to be found, you have to meet the recruiter half way. It's surprising how many contractors who want to learn about opportunities make it difficult for the recruiter to obtain their contact information. If you're serious about wanting to hear about new gigs, include at least your email address and preferably a cell phone number, not just in your resume, but also your profile summaries and any fields that request them. On LinkedIn, review your settings and ensure you have selected to display your contact information. A recruiter would prefer to call or email you directly, rather than use the inMail service. This also comes in handy because some services will provide your resume along with your name, but strip your contact details to tease the recruiter with your skills, and then charge for your information. Having those details readily available on your LinkedIn profile lets them search you out on the social network to get in touch with you much more easily.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, always keep your profiles fresh with your preferred agencies. Most recruiters will start immediately with their company database before even going out to external sources. When they already have your most up-to-date experience and know how to get a hold of you right away, you jump to the top of the list. You can simplify this process by providing all of them with one link to a cloud resume or personal website. Update it once and then everybody has your most recent data.
So how diverse is your job search? If you'd like more diversity in the people calling you and the opportunities coming your way, set yourself a goal to create just a few more profiles this month. You may be surprised at the results!