Google+ is the second largest social network with 500,000,000+ members, but it’s wrongly ignored by many job seekers. Google+ feeds Google, and Google is where employers look for qualified job candidates.
Unlike LinkedIn or Facebook, any recruiter or employer can find your profile and read what you’ve posted there. You don’t need to be connected with anyone for them to see your complete profile, so having a solid Google+ profile gives you a more powerful and complete online presence, especially since Google breaks up your about page into several boxes — or categories — of content about you.
1. Complete the entire profile page
Google provides both the space and the ability to link to other web pages. Connect to your LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, blog, employer’s website or even your favorite posts on Brazen.
2. Make your about page easy to read
The Google+ about page provides an amazing amount of virtual real estate. Writing in first person, create short but coherent paragraphs and short bulleted lists. These make your page easy for someone to skim as they look down their screen — particularly if the screen is on a smart phone.
Leverage the formatting tools Google+ provides. You can make text bold or italicized and include bulleted and numbered lists, too. Don’t just create a large paragraph that lists every keyword that could be applied to you. Keywords are important; lists of keywords are useless.
3. Focus on your best keywords
This is Google, after all. Feed it keywords that’ll help your profile be found in Google searches. Recruiters usually know what they want, and they search using the keywords that’ll bring them the best results.
Job titles provide important keywords employers and recruiters use to search for people. Use the most appropriate job title for the job you have if you’re employed or for the job you want next if you’re unemployed. You can always change your mind and your profile later, but being vague or generalized won’t help.
Use whatever’s appropriate for your career goals. If you aren’t sure what to use, discover what’s best. Because the titles of the same job can differ from industry to industry and even employer to employer, search through Indeed.com’s collection of job postings to see what’s being used.
If more than one job title is used to describe the job you want, include the job titles you see most often. Plug the terms into Indeed’s Job Trends page to see which are used most often, and put the most frequently used terms in your tagline, like this: Investment sales assistant/sales associate.
Skills also provide useful keywords. Again, be as specific as you can. Focus on skills you have that employers seem to be searching for.
Match the language most employers use to describe a skill. For example, if “skill with Microsoft Office” is typically required in their job postings — and you have that skill — be sure to include the words “Microsoft Office” in your about page. Also include the names of the Microsoft products you can use, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook. This ensures the right keywords are available.
Include appropriate acronyms and explain what they mean. An employer may search on either the acronym or the term. Explaining the acronym adds more information about you, particularly when the acronym could have more than one meaning. For example, AIDS could be the acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or Aircraft Integrated Data System — two very different things representing different skills, experiences and industries.
4. Craft your Google+ tagline carefully
Pay close attention to the contents of your Google+ tagline at the top of the story box. That tagline is often included in a Google search result that links to your Google+ profile. Your tagline is also what Google shows people in the pop-up window when someone runs a mouse over your profile picture. It should create interest and encourage people to click through to see the rest of your profile.
Your Google+ tagline defines your personal brand. Don’t describe yourself with useless, generic terms like “experienced business professional” or “new college graduate.” General terms like those aren’t interesting or memorable and are seldom — if ever — used by a recruiter searching for qualified applicants. And those terms certainly aren’t distinctive personal brands.
Put Google+ to work for you, and you’ll have a stronger presence on the web that attracts recruiters and potential employers. You don’t have to chase the opportunities if they track you down first.
Susan P. Joyce is a visiting scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the chief technology writer, editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.