So much has been made of big data for business – and rightly so, it’s a paradigm shift for traditional marketing and communications process. But less discussed are the benefits of social media and big data for individuals.
‘Thought leadership’ is the term we most often hear – how to utilise social to position yourself as an expert in your chosen field. But what about ways you can use big data and social media for the more basic aspects of introduction and interaction. Like, for example, getting a job? And of course, it can be used for just that purpose.
Here are five ways to utilise social and online data to better position yourself as the ideal candidate for any position.
1. Analyse the wording of the job ad
Everything online is about keywords and context. You might think job ads are less so, as they’re designed to locate candidates with specific skills, rather than have the job ad rank well in Google, but the key terms are still crucial, even in this context. How an advertiser words a job highlights the language they use internally, as well as the needs and possible pain points they’re looking for the right candidate to cover.
So let’s take a random job ad. Most of the time you’ll get a generic introduction paragraph about the company, then a basic description of the position title, then you’ll get into the needs of the role. We’ll use an ad for a content marketing job in the banking sector.
‘The role is to help build, execute and manage content marketing strategies. The successful applicant will deliver best practice strategies that cover all content forms, including video, blogs and tool. The successful applicant will have a deep awareness of market trends, emerging technologies and innovations that can be leveraged to meet customer and business demand.
The position is responsible for growing traffic, engagement and sales by identifying opportunities through insight, analysis and stakeholder collaboration. The successful applicant will think and deliver content stories, and will be able to deliver high quality storytelling that delivers the right content in the right format to the right channels, in alignment with best sales and servicing opportunities. The position will work closely with business stakeholders including Marketing, Product, and CX to understand business drivers, help articulate them as customer opportunities and develop strategies that will support business goals. They are responsible for communicating and managing stakeholder buy-in for strategies proposed.’
From this, we need to identify the main keywords of focus in the description, as these terms are likely to be considered highly relevant by the company, particularly in relation to this role. One way of doing this is to create a word cloud of the ad text to see which terms are mentioned the most – you can do this via Wordle:
From this, we can ascertain that the following keywords are of high relevance to this role:
Using this info, we can re-check the specific words against the description to see if we can qualify them even further with related terms:
– Content Strategy
– Content Marketing Strategy
– Stakeholder Buy-In
– Content Marketing Opportunities
This provides a good guideline as to what elements of the role you’ll need to be across; the crucial skills the company requires from this position. While the keywords identified in this example are the ones you’d probably have gleaned from a basic read-through, the word-cloud can highlight important areas of focus – an account position might focus on ‘compliance’, for example, a management job on ‘change’. The more text in the job ad, the better, as it will uncover the employer’s key points of focus for the role.
These are also the terms you want to highlight on your own LinkedIn profile, résumé, and any other social media properties that you’re using to build your professional profile. A good way to test this is to enter your own LinkedIn profile or résumé text into Wordle too and see what terms are most prominent and how they match up – if they don’t, might be worth reviewing your wording to see if you can update to match the relevant terms.
4. Look at the types of people they’ve already employed
LinkedIn gives you access to such a huge amount of data in this regard, more than most people might realise or even consider.
A recent discussion noted that as data depth on LinkedIn continues to grow, there may come a time where we’ll have a system that can accurately suggest a person’s ideal career path, based on their attributes and interests. That’s how much data LinkedIn has access to – the suggestion of assigning roles most likely to provide each individual with optimum job satisfaction, based on their interests and attributes, is no longer some crazy scheme confined to the realms of science fiction.
For the purposes of job search, one way to use LinkedIn’s data is to search for employees of the company you’re hoping to join. Using the advanced search functions, you can narrow down your search to job title and location.
From this, you can get a full overview of all the people you’d likely be working with, their career experience, their interests, etc. This info can give you great insight to the people the company employs and where you might fit (you may or may not want to switch your LinkedIn settings so you don’t show up as viewing all these people’s profiles, up to you on that front). It’s also advantageous if you know who’s going be conducting your job interview – checking out their LinkedIn and other social media properties can give you a sense of who they are, what they’re interested in, and how you can connect.
I read a post recently on LinkedIn where the author, Bronwyn Cook, switched telco providers based, in part, on her new provider paying attention to her Twitter bio, in which she professed her love for Bon Jovi. The new provider noted this and used it as a theme in their initial interactions, opening the door for further discussion and, subsequently, gaining them gaining a new client.
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