Be the hunted – not the hunter

Getting the perfect job is no longer just about emailing your CV through with a cover note these days there are more savvy ways to help you land your perfect role.

Think personal brand, algorithm-friendly online profiles, relevant keywords, and video. Recruiters are likely to use a range of technologies to fish suitable candidates from the digital realm, so you need to make sure you’re there in the pool, you stand out the most and you have every chance of being reeled in.

Being ahead of the digital game

Using digital channels effectively and to your advantage means being ahead of the game with an updated, carefully angled online presence that appeals to employers. At the same time it can allow you to find and target employers who appeal to you.

Trade Me Jobs’ Head of Jobs, Jeremy Wade, says that employers and recruiters are increasingly using data science analytics to identify the perfect professionals, then plucking them straight from the internet into the interview room.

“Employers save precious time by accessing a pool of potential candidates who they already know possess a particular skill set and have particular experience.”

Jeremy says that having an online digital presence such as a Job Profile on Trade Me Jobs allows job seekers to either throw the net wide by providing the information, skills and attributes that a range of employers are looking for, or narrowing it right down to their dream role.

“This is a strategic way of future-proofing their own career path.”

Create a digital presence

An online survey conducted for Trade Me Jobs showed that when respondents found their last job, only half of them were actively looking for a job. Three out of 10 were keeping a passive eye out and another two weren’t looking at all.

“You can literally find your dream job without writing a single cover letter, simply by creating and maintaining a digital presence that’s geared toward what your dream employer is looking for. Likewise, as we’ve seen with these survey results, casually checking the job listings can also lead to great things.”

Jeremy says digital technologies have evolved at such rapid speed that not everyone will be familiar with what it all means, but the likes of the Trade Me Jobs app is an easy way to get to grips with it all.

The app allows users on any mobile device to upload their CV and cover letters so they’re ready to go as soon as a suitable job pops up. They can also see recommended jobs, add and discard jobs that interest them, save searches and receive email notifications.

Here are a few tips to get you started on your digital job seeking journey:

Online profile and personal brand

For most companies and organisations, having an online profile is an essential part of letting people know who they are, what they do and what they stand for. Jobseekers are no different, and your online brand should be a big part of your career-furthering strategy.

So how do you build a personal brand?

Consider social media as a modern form of door-knocking. It allows you to be seen in just the way you want to be seen.

Advertising your skills this way not only enables headhunters to find you, but you can take it further by establishing a personal brand to increase your visibility in all the right ways and find job leads by networking with people online.

To use social media channels effectively in your job search, update your information regularly and ensure it matches your CV.

  • Use relevant keywords.

  • Follow companies and people who you are interested in or may be interested in you.

  • Involve yourself in pages or discussions on key topics that are related to your profession.

  • Include real-time details of professional upskilling or even volunteer work that you’re undertaking.

  • Post details of a course or event you’re attending or tag yourself in a professional forum.

  • Post details of a relevant interesting TED talk or online seminar and show that you’re up with the latest trends in your industry.

But remember, social media can giveth and it can also taketh away. Many recruiters and employers use social media to find out more about potential employees.

This can be to your advantage if your profile’s up-to-date and people have left positive comments relating to your work. Or it could go horribly wrong if a potential employer finds the very unflattering, drunken photo of you with a politically incorrect caption that your mates posted at the weekend.

To avoid this, firmly separate your professional social media pages from your personal information. Use relevant privacy settings on all your personal pages, and keep an eye out for showing on both.

Keywords and an algorithm-friendly CV what does it all mean?

Before your CV lands on a recruiter’s desk, it often has to beat the digital filters. But how?

Because an increasing number of recruiters are using data analytics to sift through CVs electronically, it’s essential that your CV has the keywords they’re looking for.

Their job is to “find and engage” a very specific set of candidates, so searches might be based on keywords related to a specific qualification or skill.

To get past the first hurdle, use the role’s job description as a guide and include the skills and attributes the recruiter is calling for. That may include:

  • knowledge of a particular software

  • a degree

  • years of experience

  • even a past employer or a very specific skill set.

Remember that to make it past digital keyword searches (and to also show recruiters that you’re truly ideal for the role), a good approach is to customise your CV for each application so it has the best chance of making it through to the recruiter and getting you an interview.


Get camera-ready and show your potential employer what a sparkling (yet professional) individual you really are.

Video CVs are sometimes used by jobseekers to make their CV stand out from the rest, across a range of sectors, and supplement their personal brand. You can add video on social media accounts, professional networking sites and other channels that ensure you show up if a recruiter subjects your name to a Google search.

Some experts say a video is best used for creative or customer-facing roles, while others say they are appropriate for any sector as it shows the candidate has gone the extra mile to gain attention.

What you do in the video is entirely up to you, but creativity and authenticity are key.

As you can imagine there are pitfalls, but these are easy to avoid. Dress appropriately for the role and adjust your manner to suit. Be positive but don’t make it cringe-worthy.

Live video, such as Skype, is increasingly used by recruiters to meet out-of-town candidates before inviting them for an on-site interview. This has the advantage of overcoming distances, for everyone’s benefit.

Another way of whittling the pool of candidates down is asking them to answer a set of questions using their computer’s webcam for the recruiter to watch and re-play as required. Dress as though you’re attending an interview and set up a suitable background.

Always remember, technology is continuing to evolve at lightning speed, so make sure you and your career are ready to adapt to stand out in the fast lane.