Online networking for cautious candidates

The job market may be shrinking fast, but you don't have to give up on your dream move altogether...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

It would be quite understandable if would-be candidates were steering well clear of the recruitment market at the moment. Relatively few companies are hiring, while the jobless count is growing by the week – which probably means more candidates for fewer jobs. Equally, showing signs of itchy feet may come back to haunt you during your company’s next round of redundancies. But although the situation doesn’t look too promising, there are ways to dip a toe into the market...

One such option comes from VisualCV, a company with an ambitious aim to ‘reinvent the resume’ (or CV, as it’s better known here in the motherland) by getting us to move our CVs online. In effect, it’s a lot like having your own website – the format lets you add in photos, video, and links to your handiwork to your heart’s content, but without having to do a crash course in XML, CSS or any other fancy three-letter technical acronyms first. So even the most IT-illiterate jobseeker can build up an online profile that looks reasonably smart.

Crucially, this is also likely to show up near the top of search engine listings – so you can use it as the basis for your ‘professional brand’. Even if you don’t have all sorts of embarrassing photos of yourself on the internet, there’s a lot to be said for putting your best professional foot forward online – after all, many employers will run a Google search before they hire you these days. And since companies can build a CV too, to manage their own online brand, the site can also be used as a networking tool – like a prettier version of LinkedIn, or a work Facebook (and given the ludicrously exorbitant values attached to these two, we can understand the positioning).

In fact, VisualCV now wants to cash in on this by turning the site into a recruitment marketplace: a new service called Career Connection allows candidates to confidentially share their CV with companies they like (and vice versa). If the company ends up making a hire, they pay a small fee (just $1,000 for someone on a salary of $100,000 – the hope is that because this is much cheaper than a standard recruitment fee, it’ll prove popular with employers). This makes life easier for ‘passive’ or ‘stealth’ job-seekers (who are not actively looking to move but are open to the idea) – they can make their general interest known to certain companies, without having to apply for a particular role.

Given the current state of the market, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more jobseekers operating like this in the next year. Indeed, the site already has one high-profile candidate, a certain Barack Obama – although we’d like to think he’s not looking for a move just yet...

In today's bulletin:
US hedge fund Paulson books £270m profit on RBS slump
NHS IT system on critical list
No news is bad news, says Sarkozy
Online networking for cautious candidates
McDonald's to open 1,000 new stores

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