18 October 2015
Over the years, there has been a gradual shift in how financial firms are utilizing social media to find qualified candidates. What was once common practice for job seekers to apply to a company before hearing back, the advent of social media has changed how easily companies can connect with job seekers. Mitchell Peskin, Partner and Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division has witnessed this transition—particularly how financial institutions have begun using LinkedIn to find the best candidates. “Today, if you’re in the market for a new job and you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you will find yourself at a disadvantage compared to your peers that do,” says Mitchell. “I encourage job seekers to use your tech skills to your advantage by emphasizing certain aspects of your professional background on LinkedIn to grab the attention of prospective employers.” Investing the time to address the following three areas in your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts can make the difference between being overlooked for a position and being sought after for your unique skillset. Use a professional picture and accurate summary Believe it or not, your profile picture plays a major role in a hiring manager’s decision to look further into your LinkedIn profile. “If you want to be seen as a legitimate professional in today’s job market, not having a photo on your profile may be an instant deal breaker for companies interested in your talent,” says Mitchell. While you don’t need to have a professional headshot, a well-polished picture with an appropriate background setting will help you make a positive first impression on most hiring managers. In addition to your profile picture, your professional ‘Summary’ is also one of the first things an employer will see. Therefore, including an accurate summary of your career goals or past accomplishments will help companies get a better idea of who you are as a financial professional. For example, if you were interested in learning more about a specific product or system in your sector of the Financial Services industry, you should emphasize this point in your professional summary. The more information a prospective employer can take away from your profile, the easier it will be for them to determine if you are a good fit for their organization. Include a detailed professional background For job seekers who are serious about landing a new job, listing specific skills you possess is one of the best ways for a recruiter or hiring manager to find your profile on LinkedIn. According to Mitchell, “Hiring managers are most interested in where you’ve worked, the school(s) you’ve attended, and specific product knowledge you have.” Candidates should clearly highlight any product knowledge (e.g., fixed income, derivatives, etc.) or systems skills (e.g., Advanced Excel, etc.) they possess. Similarly, using the right buzzwords in your job responsibilities as they relate to the type of role you’re interested in will increase the odds of your profile getting noticed. “If you were in the market for a role in Quantitative Valuations SQL, VBA, or expert Excel skills, are some of the buzzwords you should list in order to connect with professionals interested in your skillset.” In the end, since product knowledge is essential to being an effective financial professional, the more you have listed on your profile, the better your job prospects will be. Clean up other social media profiles While hiring managers and recruiters in the Financial Services industry are mainly focused on your professional background and the value you can add to the organization, it’s typical for companies to search other social media sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) to get a glimpse of your personality and level of professionalism. Therefore, you should be aware of what your profiles say about your interests, and understand the impact your posts or tweets can have on your job search. Before starting your job search, clean up your social media pages to reflect your utmost professionalism.