Maximizing Clients’ Visibility through Online Technology
Career Professionals of Canada’s Career Innovators Mastermind Group recently completed a comprehensive analysis and review of existing and emerging online technology. The study focused primarily on maximizing clients’ visibility through social media (online tools) and social networking (online networking). Here is a snapshot of their recommendations for Canadian Career Practitioners.
Keep up with innovations in online technology
In general, many Canadians are conservative about leveraging online technologies. However, we need to be open to the fact that recruiters and employers increasingly value and employ virtual tools and resources. As the labour market evolves, approaches to career planning, career transition, and career management are advancing at a rapid pace.
Regardless of one’s opinion about the merits of online technology, to be relevant, practitioners must stay current. The question then becomes what tools and resources will take hold and which are simply a fad? Because many emerging online tools simply do not take off, practitioners should not devote an inordinate amount of time and effort into every new idea that comes along. Nevertheless, it is important to know about technology and various avenues available to clients.
When it comes to serving clients, a universal approach to technology is not recommended. From time to time, it may be appropriate to tap into a product when it makes sense and if it has the potential of producing a positive outcome for a client. A range of useful options can inspire clients to “think outside of the box” and adapt their career development to their style and interests.
It is worth noting that even the most preeminent social media tools and online networking sites may be ineffective for a great number of clients. The skillset and capabilities of each Canadian is unique and the ability to use technology varies greatly. Some clients involved in blue-collar, trades, general labour, or entry level positions, for example, may not benefit greatly from online tools and sites.
Communicating on the internet can be useful if handled correctly, but can sometimes hurt a client’s image if not managed in a professional manner. For some, the technology may not be practical or effective. It may not be appropriate for a client who has weak writing skills or displays significant discomfort using technology to communicate online. A haphazard or poorly thought-out online presence can appear mediocre and amateur.
Exploit only the most effective social media sites
Members of the Career Innovators Mastermind Group periodically confer with recruitment firms and employers across Canada. They have found that most primarily resource and research candidates through LinkedIn over all other social media sites. This social media giant continues to grow and is increasingly used by recruiters, human resources professionals, and company managers to source and vet candidates.
Facebook and Twitter might be appropriate for some clients, but both can be detrimental for those clients that post details about their personal life and personal opinions. For this reason, the primary online platform to promote amongst most clients is LinkedIn. For online visibility, the practitioners should encourage clients to “work” the features of LinkedIn. Ensure that the client’s online profile is suitable and authentic. Encourage clients to participate in discussion groups and connect with people when appropriate.
Consider blogging and commenting for additional exposure
Certain clients who have exceptional writing skills could benefit from blogging for their career development. For those clients who are able and interested in blogging, the process need not be time consuming. This misconception originated from the inception of blogs, where it was assumed that they needed to be updated daily. A person can display knowledge, ideas, and content through infrequent blogs, short posts featuring a single idea or paragraph, or even imagery or photos of interest. For those clients who might find a full-blown blog too much of a time commitment, then commenting on blogs or articles in their field may be enough to raise their exposure on the internet.
Explore online websites, resumes, and portfolios
Some resumes found online are highly interactive. Although Canadian recruiters tend to be quite traditional in their approach to resumes, some are open to the idea of a “creative resume”, assuming, of course, it is done well and does not take too much time to review. However, few clients have the ability to design interactive resumes. Moreover, only a limited number of occupations require stylistic resumes.
For some clients, it is sufficient to use an online website, resume, or portfolio building resource. These services are becoming widely available on the internet. The sites provide templates so that the individual does not need to invest heavily in incorporating graphic design. In recent years, career experts have been promoting the use of such types of personal websites.
With the internet being so readily available through smartphones, tablets, and workstations, there might be some benefit to directing prospective employers to an online resume. Portfolio development sites are wide ranging – VisualCV, Re-vu, IntRvue, civimi, carbonmade, FolioHD, and Crevado are just a few. The question remains, which will rise to the top and which will disappear?
For those clients who are interested in an online resume, there are some benefits. The resume can allow a person to feature his or her personality and career progression. Although most of the same information can be included in a LinkedIn profile, a website can increase exposure. The use of such a technology demonstrates an understanding of the power of virtual and visual media in today’s economy. Further, potential employers may feel that a candidate who has an online presence is more motivated to develop their career than others might be.
There might be little harm in having a static online resume for recruiters to access with a link. If a prospective employer is curious, they could by all means go to the link, and if not, they can disregard it just the same. Still, it is best to determine if a website is appropriate based on individual client needs.
Emphasize in-person networking for career development
Online visibility is important, but it must be used along with person-to-person activities. Generally, the best way to help a client be more visible is to help them become active in networking, volunteering, and contributing to their field of interest in other ways. The importance of growing and maintaining one’s visibility in person must be emphasized. However, behind those activities an interesting online presence can fuel conversations, help people be remembered, and actually boost a client’s confidence.
Thank you to Career Professionals of Canada’s Career Innovators Mastermind Group for researching and compiling such rich resources for the industry.
- Sharon Graham, (facilitator)
- Caroline Dafoe
- Lotte Struwing
- Mary Whitaker
- Skye Berry-Burke
- Stephanie Clark
- Tara Orchard
Sharon Graham is CANADA’S CAREER STRATEGIST and author of the top-selling BEST CANADIAN RESUMES SERIES. Founder and executive director of CAREER PROFESSIONALS OF CANADA, Sharon is committed to setting the standard for excellence in the industry. A leading authority on resume, interview, employment and career transition, Sharon provides career practitioners with tools and resources to enable them to provide exemplary services to Canadians.