Getting Plucked: A New Way to Land a Good Job

By Marty Nemko

Part of Careers For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Through the 1970s, most people landed their job by answering ads. Then, the dominant approach became networking: informational interviews, pitching friends, even cold-contacting target employers that were not advertising a job. But today, networking has a competitor: an online presence that’s attractive enough that recruiters pluck you out and invite you to apply for jobs. Here are three keys to becoming pluckable:

  • A compelling LinkedIn profile. Your headline should contain keywords that recruiters search on, for example, Fundraising Infrastructure Specialist: Donor management |Raisers Edge|Planned Giving. Your employment history should also be rich with keywords. Make your photo head-and-shoulders, no shadows, yes smile. Have at least three stellar references. Everyone has good ones. See if you can get three great ones.
  • Impressive posts on Groups. LinkedIn, Yahoo!, and perhaps your professional association probably have one or more forums on which you can post ideas, links to others’ articles or your own, and where you can answer group members’ questions. Recruiters often invite solid participants to apply to jobs.
  • Priming LinkedIn hirers. Many job seekers ask their LinkedIn connections for a job lead prematurely. That’s like asking someone to marry you before you know each other. When you’ve identified a Recruiter or hiring manager whom you’d like to consider you for a possible job or refer you to someone, read their LinkedIn updates, make an intelligent and/or kind comment or question, and then write a personalized request to connect with them on LinkedIn. If accepted, write a personalized inMail or email that explains why you’d appreciate the opportunity to chat about a possible job or for some counsel.

Careers for Dummies includes such specifics as sample reach-outs to potential employers.