Ask The Experts is a new advice column that focuses on the perspectives of one career expert at a time. Each interview includes first-hand experiences and tips from qualified professionals.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Damien Wood, a former technical recruiter for Google. Damien earned his spot among the best of the recruiting community by starting small and slowly working his way up the ladder. He came on as an entry-level associate with no experience or degree and learned the tricks of the trade. After a year of working as a basic recruiter he decided he wanted to pursue a more technical position so he left the company and began working to help Google find the best of the best prospects. Damien currently works for PepsiCo and also runs his own photography and videography companies.
Damien shared with us a few tips to successfully navigate the world of online recruitment and hiring:
1. Maintain a professional presence online and be active in the community
Keeping your online identity professional and positive can go a long way. Damien noted that LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook are the go-to social resources for recruiters. According to Damien, LinkedIn is one of his most widely used tools when recruiting for PepsiCo. He also said that, in recruiting for Google, he would search through code repository and open source communities like StackOverflow or public GitHub projects to find members who were active in the community with help and critiques. For jobs outside of coding, staying active on LinkedIn with status updates and getting involved in group discussions related to your career field are some of the best things to do. If someone doesn’t engage in discussions and ask questions, Damien points out that “they may not be confident in what they do, so they don’t come across as an expert in their field”. While people looking for entry-level positions certainly aren’t required to demonstrate expertise, it is definitely beneficial for them to show an interest in their field.
2. Be patient, but don’t be afraid to follow up
We all know how stressful it can be waiting to hear back from an employer after a big interview. Damien claims that while it’s not ideal for job seekers, “no matter which company you go to, there’s always going to be delays”. However, he also said not to be afraid to follow up. Especially if time is a concern or other job offers are on the table, it’s a good idea to be upfront with employers and recruiters. Transparency about goals and obligations can help make the job search as efficient and painless as possible for you and the employer.
3. Customize your resume for each application
Building a resume can be tedious, and most people struggle through it once and call it quits. However, my talk with Damien surfaced a really valid point. You can get much better results if you customize your resume for at least the most important positions you are applying for, to better show off you skills and experience that are relevant to that position. I think Damien put it best:
“Don’t ever send a generic resume. Customize your resume for every single application. And the reason you do that is because not only does it stand out, but you can be honest with yourself. ‘Do I really want this job?’ ‘Is this something I’m really interested in doing or not?’, because you might end up getting a job that you don’t want. That’s not really the goal, especially if you’re a student. You’re working towards a goal, and you have a career objective. So I would say, be honest with yourself. What can I do and what do I want to do, and then prioritize and customize.”