Tips for Improving Your Job Search

Photo Credit: Gustavo Quiros

“Finding a job is the new online dating”

On Thursday, April 6 ReferralMob, located on Newbury Street in Boston, gave an informative, and comic, presentation on the do’s and don’t’s of the job search and how they parallel online dating profiles. ReferralMob helps match potential job candidates with the companies who utilize their service. It’s essentially the hiring process made more convenient for big companies. They post the job through ReferralMob giving them criteria they are looking for, and then ReferralMob takes it from there. People looking for jobs can either come right to the site, sign up, and begin applying, or they can be referred for a job by someone who is already using the site. The atmosphere of the website and job search is personal, it’s welcoming, you can apply for up to 10 jobs per minute, and you can potentially make money.

The way it works is like this: it’s free for companies to post a job on the ReferralMob website as many times as they like. If candidates match, then ReferralMob passes them along to the company; if not, then they are turned away. If a company using the services ends up hiring someone then they pay $2,750. $500 goes to the hired candidate, $500 goes to the referrer (if there was one), and $1,750  gets paid to Referral. It’s a nice way to get people involved with the website and in helping others find jobs. You can make a lot of money being a mob referrer. Their biggest goal is to be good to people, because during a stressful process like job searching that’s all we really want.

The whole talk connected finding a job to searching for a mate in the online dating world. According to CTO Joel Schwendt hiring is the new online dating because of all the kinds of factors that go into the selection of job candidates.

The presentation then went on to offer the attendees very valuable information that they can carry forward with them. For example, it’s all about appearance and how you project yourself.  

Profile pictures are really important on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. The picture is what initially draws people in. Therefore it should be professional. In it, you should appear personable and people should want to talk to you.

Some tips for achieving this feat are to

  • Keep it simple
  • Use a recent photo & keep updating
  • Don’t go for shock value with crazy backgrounds  
  • Don’t upload a photo with someone else cropped out

If you follow these tips, you can get up to 12 times the number of responses because of your profile picture. Social media tools can either help or hinder you depending on how serious you decide to use it.

Next came the purpose of headlines on LinkedIn–e.g., what should go in it. Basically, in this paragraph you should be describing your greatest strengths.  Try to inject personality, but not too much and do not be crazy wordy.  

In summary

  • Stick to 3-5 short paragraphs
  • Highlight top skills
  • Describe passions

Moving on, we heard about the dreaded cover letter. The thing that people put off until they absolutely have to because it’s tedious and tiresome. Did you know that even after all the work you put in only 10% of cover letters are even read?

It’s frustrating but very valuable to know. Also the good parts of your cover letter don’t have to be wasted, you can put the meat of it in the summary on LinkedIn or in your resume. In such summaries you want to write how you speak and come across as approachable.

It’s important to leave out the details of your life story and avoid the uses of jargon, buzz words, or empty phrases. Make it tight and concise but engaging.

Finally, when writing things like this, be aware and try to use action words that can be considered SEO and Key Words that are easily searchable. Why should you do this? Well, it’s because when you apply for a job your application and resume go into an applicant tracking system and then are filed within a database. Therefore, you MUST be searchable or the company will never be able to find you.

We’ve all been in that position when we apply and apply to jobs, and we never hear back. This is very frustrating, but there could be an explanation. According to Joel big companies sometimes do a thing called ‘ghosting.’ It doesn’t mean they have a lack of interest in you, but rather that the job opportunities they are posting about don’t really exist at the time. Why would they post jobs they have no intention of hiring for? Well, companies do it to appear bigger and spark more applicants, and then they end up increasing the pipeline and hiring pool for when they do decide to hire for specific roles.

Going forward Joel encourages his audience to check out ReferralMob as a valuable tool when beginning the dreaded job search. He urges us all to remember to invest in ourselves, don’t forget to network, and be upfront with your expectations even when topics like salary seem awkward. Companies value transparency and solid communication. If you can do both of these things, then you are well on your way to being hired.

NewCo Boston is one of four signature industry-wide events MassTLC hosts throughout the year – the others include: Boston/TechJam in June, the Mass Technology Leadership Awards in September, and TRANSFORM in November. Check out our events calendar for details upcoming MassTLC events.