LinkedIn is the world’s leading online professional directory of individuals and companies, but more than that it has become an invaluable tool for networking, job searching and personal branding. When someone googles you it is more than likely that your LinkedIn profile will appear in the first or second spot on the results page and as such it is important to keep your profile as relevant and up to date as possible. Our recent survey highlighted the importance of LinkedIn as a source of job opportunities. Many companies actively recruit on LinkedIn while recruiters are constantly trawling, on the lookout for passive candidates. Even if you are settled in your job LinkedIn is an avenue for recruiters to contact you regarding suitable (or better) career opportunities.
How to make the most of your LinkedIn Profile
How can I get the edge on my LinkedIn profile? RFC suggests the following simple pointers to make your profile the best it can be. 1) Update your photo Keep it recent, professional, and recognisable. As most people have their profile photo in colour, making yours black & white will help you to stand out from the crowd. 2) Customise your headline It is crucial that you tailor your headline to include your most important keywords so that you can be found by the right people. 3) Adjust your summary Try to imagine your summary from the point of view of a prospective employer viewing it. It is an opportunity to present and sell yourself. In a market where so many people compete for the same roles filling out a summary can give you an edge with a prospective employer. You can also use your LinkedIn profile to highlight anything that does not fit in, or had to be left out of, your CV 4) Insert contact instructions Don’t assume other LinkedIn users are as proficient with the site as you are. Be clear and share a link with some instructions or information regarding your preferred means of being contacted. 5) Join groups There are more than 1.8 million to choose from. Joining the right relevant groups will allow you to open contact with those who are not in your direct network (Make sure to adjust the groups contact settings to prevent yourself getting over loaded with e-mails). 6) Connect with potential employers Don’t be afraid to request connections with potential sources of employment. Strategically connecting with professional and personal contacts on LinkedIn will give you access to their connections which could include potential employers or clients. 7) Status updates Get in the habit of making status updates. One per day is more than enough. This is an easy way to share useful information make sure you stay in the minds of those in your network. 8) Prioritise your group activities Groups show up in your profile and demonstrate your interests. Select the group that is most relevant to you and get involved. Try to post your own ideas and get involved in discussions to generate interest from the right connections. 9) Download your network database Safeguard your important information, including the names titles and companies and e-mail addresses. This information will also prove useful in attempting to network outside of LinkedIn. 10) Use your professional gallery This can be used to showcase some of your work including presentations, documents and links to other resources 11) Alumni search feature This can be used to get a list of all LinkedIn members who went to your school. This can let you reconnect with old friends and make useful new connections 12) Manage your skills and expertise section carefully Remove information that is not relevant to your career and experience. Replace these irrelevant entries with currently relevant skills and expertise to keep your profile as fresh as possible 13) Pursue recommendations Do not underestimate the value of a well written and relevant recommendation. This is definitely one of the best ways of boosting your LinkedIn reputation Here are a few of the most common mistakes we encounter, and our suggestions on how to correct them. 1) Not using a picture Put simply, your profile is more likely to be viewed if you have a profile picture. Like an ad for a house, if there’s no picture, we assume there’s something wrong. Imagine yourself after leaving a networking event (with 50 business cards in your hands), it can be difficult to remember who is who and to put a name to a face. It stands to reason that a missing photo can lead to missing connections. 2) Putting up the WRONG photo. Your profile photo is meant to show that you are professional. Keep it clear, and in black and white, (save all of your dog and baby photos for Facebook). 3) Skipping the status LinkedIn is the right place to update your network about your professional progress and accomplishments in the form of status updates – It is suggested to update your status every few days to show your network that you are active and engaged. Remember, others won’t know what you what your accomplishments are unless you show them off. 4) Using the default connection request. If you want to develop valuable professional relationships with others in your network, tailor your connection request to make it more personal. Customizing it will make the recipient take notice. This can be done by researching the person and taking note of some of their achievements. 5) Neglecting the privacy settings Learn to use your privacy settings. If you are currently employed and you don’t want your employer to see the tell-tale signs that you are planning to leave (ie. connecting with lots of recruiters and having a massive influx of new connections), then you can adjust your privacy settings so that they are none the wiser. 6) Skipping the summary The summary is your chance to sell yourself. Most will write this as just an objective list of their experience and qualifications. By writing it in the first person to give it an edge and personality, you can gain an advantage over your competitors. 7) Removing past jobs or volunteer work Your latest job is not the only important one. LinkedIn in is not like a CV where you are trying to target 1 specific position. It should list your entire work history, because you don’t know what specific search criteria others may be looking for. There may be useful experience that you may have developed from volunteering positions. 8) Forgetting to lurk Having a profile is not enough. It is unlikely that potential employers will just stumble across your profile. You can lurk by joining relevant groups.
Edgar Schein at MIT has identified eight themes and has shown that people will have prioritized preferences for these. For example a person with a primary theme of Security/Stability will seek secure and stable employment over, say, employment that is challenging and riskier. People tend to stay anchored in one area and their career will echo this in many ways.
1. Technical/Functional competence
This kind of person likes being good at something and will work to become a guru or expert. They like to be challenged and then use their skill to meet the challenge, doing the job properly and better than almost anyone else.
2. General Managerial competence
Unlike technical/functional people, these folks want to be managers (and not just to get more money, although this may be used as a metric of success). They like problem-solving and dealing with other people. They thrive on responsibility. To be successful, they also need emotional competence.
These people have a primary need to work under their own rules and steam. They avoid standards and prefer to work alone.
Security-focused people seek stability and continuity as a primary factor in their lives. They avoid risks and are generally ‘lifers’ in their job
5. Entrepreneurial Creativity
These folks like to invent things, be creative and, most of all, to run their own businesses. They differ from those who seek autonomy in that they will share the workload. They find ownership very important. They easily get bored. Wealth, for them, is a sign of success.
6. Service/Dedication to a cause
Service-oriented people are driven by how they can help other people more than using their talents (which may fall in other areas). They may well work in public services or in such as HR.
7. Pure Challenge
People driven by challenge seek constant stimulation and difficult problems that they can tackle. Such people will change jobs when the current one gets boring and their career can be very varied.
Those who are focused first on lifestyle look at their whole pattern of living. They not so much balance work and life as integrate it. They may even take long periods off work in which to indulge in passions such as sailing or travelling.
The job interview is the best opportunity you have to gather facts about a job and to sell yourself to the potential employer. Though other factors such as your CV and references play an important role, the decision on whether or not you are hired will be based on the interview. The element of personal contact provides critical information. Will you fit in? Are you confident as well as competant? The impression you make at the interview will remain with the employer long after the details in your CV. Interview Advice Download our guide on interviewing which covers the topics below. Prior to Interview
- Things to take
- Interview Tips
- Questions you may be asked
- Questions you can ask
- Questions to avoid
- Closing the Interview
- Factors contributing to
- Negative Response at Interview
- Evaluating the Interview
- Negotiate your package
- Receiving a Job Offer
Given the turbulent world of the last few years a lot of people are coming under an increased amount of stress in general and also when looking to make a career move or change. We felt it might well be of use to you to have access to some expertise in how to deal with it so we’ve put together some information for you.
How to Keep a Job Search Discreet
The job market is generally tough right now but that doesn’t mean you’re have to stay in your current role and adopt the better the devil I know….. approach. If you’ve heard rumors of redundancies or you’ve simply outgrown your current job, it’s OK to look. The job market is more active than most people think. There are plenty of people who are leaving jobs and finding jobs. Of course, searching for a job while trying to stay employed is tricky. But if you manage it skillfully, you’ll be able to move on without burning bridges. Just follow these principles:
Do your homework
The first step to any job search is a thorough analysis of what you want and how you benchmark against the competition. Then reality-check that with the market. Are there jobs out there that have the characteristics you’re searching for? Do you have the right qualifications? To help you assess, turn to trusted advisers such as friends in your field or search consultants.
Consider internal options first
Once you know what you want, start your search inside your company. All too often people prematurely decide to start looking elsewhere instead of managing a creer move within the current organisation. There may be internal opportunities that will satisfy your needs, such as reshaping your job, moving to another team, or taking on a special project. If opportunities are limited or you’re certain you want out of the company, then take your search outside.
Keep it secret if necessary
Many people have to keep their search quiet. Perhaps you don’t have a strong relationship with your boss, or you worry about some of your colleagues finding you out, or you fear you won’t find another position and don’t want to risk the embarrassment. In these cases, it’s best not to let anyone at your current employer know you’re looking.
If there is a colleague you trust, however, consider sharing the news. Divulging your search to another person can help build momentum and make contacts. This will commit you to actually and properly look for a new job. Networking is the key to any successful job hunt particularly these days. You can network so long as you do it carefully. Be causal and say something like you’re always looking for good opportunities. Don’t say I’m dying to get out of my current role as unless there is a very obvious reason, like a company is closing down as its smacks of desperation
When to tell your boss
No boss likes to find out from someone else that one of her direct reports is looking for a new job. You should therefore tell your manager as soon as you’re comfortable doing so. There are risks: He may try to make it difficult for you to interview or give you a poor reference. He may treat you differently knowing you want to leave. But there are several upsides to having an open discussion with your boss. First, he may be able to help you identify opportunities inside or outside your organization. Second boss may make it easier for you to look for a new job. Third, you will build good will. Your boss will appreciate your honesty and the opportunity to plan ahead for your departure. All that said, if you know your manager will have a negative reaction, and is unlikely to support you, it’s best to wait until after you have an offer to inform her.
Interview on your own time
Most employers will want to interview you during normal business hours. Don’t sneak off for fake meetings or feign being sick. Fit the interviews into your schedule without cheating your current employer. If your boss tracks your every move, take vacation or personal time. If your manager is suspicious, explain that you have a personal issue you need to tend to.
Provide the right references
If your current manager doesn’t know you’re job-hunting, you obviously can’t use him as a reference. Provide the names of previous employers or give the name of a trusted colleague at your present company who is aware of your search and can speak to your performance. If a hiring manager insists on a reference directly from your boss, explain that you can provide one at the point of offer.
Don’t accept the counteroffer
Some employers will counteroffer when you announce you are leaving. We urge caution when contemplating these offers as these are usually vague promises about more money and more responsibility. In most cases when people accept the counteroffer, they end up leaving, or even being fired, shortly thereafter.
Leave on good terms
The convention for giving notice is one month. However some people, especially those in senior positions or who are in the midst of a big project, are contracted to give more. Anywhere between one month and two months is usually enough once you have really made up your mind. No matter how bad things are, don’t just walk out the door. Leaving on bad terms can be dangerous for future prospects.
Pre Interview anxiety?- Do NOT calm down
A Cover Letter should be typed, well-written and directed to a real person. Find out who the potential decision maker is and address the letter to that person. At least mark it for the attention of the HR Manager or Managing Partner.
Opening paragraphYour opening paragraph should pique the interest of the potential employer. Say why you are writing. Name the position that you are interested in, how you learned of the opening or organisation and why you are interested in the company.
Second paragraphThe second paragraph should create a desire to read further. Provide additional information concerning your education, experience, qualities and interests as they relate to the position. Expand on your CV rather than repeat the CV’s content. Tell the employer specifically what you have to offer the organisation and support your claim with proof/examples.
Closing paragraphIn your closing paragraph ask for action. Either indicate to the employer that you will be calling them within a specific period or desire the employer to contact you. Be sure to emphasise your appreciation for their time.
DO NOT make spelling mistakesThe advent of the spellchecker makes this inexcusable and reflects poorly on your application.
Don’t lieHiding periods of unemployment is one of the biggest mistakes. As innocent as the omission may be, the prospective employer can view it as an attempt to hide something.
Personal informationSuch as your religion, race, marital or family status, is irrelevant to job applications. Your prospective employer is not allowed to judge you on these criteria when making a hiring decision.
ReferencesDo not include copies of certificates or written references, unless requested to do so. This results in a bulky CV, which reduces the impact of information that is otherwise well presented. References are usually checked at the final stage of the recruitment process and therefore you are normally asked at interview for permission to seek references from the relevant party. If you want to mention references, put ‘References are available on request’ at the end of your CV.
Other notesIt is unnecessary to include a passport photograph unless specifically requested to do so. Don’t forget your contact details; it may sound obvious, however it does happen.
- Confine CV to 2 or 3 pages
- Keep your CV single-sided
- Never bind your CV
- Avoid fancy covers
- Make sure there is enough ‘white space’. Let your CV breathe.
- Don’t try to squeeze everything on to one page.
- Use bullet points wherever possible
- Try not to have 3-4 lines of text at one time as this makes your CV look dense.
- Don’t overuse underlines, italics and bold fonts
CVs should cover the following areas:
Include name, address, telephone numbers & email address.
Include third level and secondary schooling in reverse chronological order. When listing courses undertaken, list them in order of relevance to the position that you are applying for. Always limit these to what is recent and relevant.
This is an optional part of your CV, which will help your CV to stand out from the rest. It is a simple statement of 20 words or so which encapsulate your career aspirations. View it as an advertisement for the details that follow. It can also help you to focus on your abilities in your own mind. Imagine you only have 30 words to convince someone to hire you. Example: An effective thinker and achiever, offering proven leadership and communication skills. A genuine and direct approach with the ability to inspire others with a proven track record of promotion.
Work Experience and Achievements
The reader of your CV should be able to select your skills, ability and achievements with ease. Golden rule: keep it short! Work experience and Achievements include:
- Where you work
- What type of industry you work in
- What dates have you worked there from
- Your job title
- Your main responsibilities
A Curriculum Vitae is a summary of your skills, accomplishments, experiences and education designed to capture a prospective employer’s interest.
- Get you an interview by intriguing a potential employer
- Encourage the interviewer to focus on your achievements
- Help you to remember the key points that you want to emphasise at interviews
- Leave the interviewer with a clear reminder of what you could do for their organisation
What is it?
Essentially, the concept claims that with the advent of fast and easy global communications mainly revolving around the web, the world is getting ever smaller and information on any subject or anyone is more readily available and in larger volumes. This makes the competition for visibility ever more fierce.
It puts forward the idea that you are now similar to an FMCG product fighting for visibility in the shop window of your company or industry. You and your skill set are now a brand, similar to Coke or Pepsi. To be “known” in your organisation or industry requires a change in what we once did. Personal branding has been with us since the industrial revolution maybe under the term promotion, advancement or career development. It’s all about becoming more aware of who we are, what we want and how we get our “messege” out there particularly bearing in mind the various relatively new platforms such as you tube, Linkedin and Facebook. It’s a term that been around for over 10 years but gathered real pace with web 2.0 and in 2007 when Tom Peters wrote about it in The Brand Called You/Fast Company. Given the R word it is even more applicable now particularly when looking for a new job or change in career. So, how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd in today’s busy world?
How branding works
Roughly speaking, there are two steps in the process. Firstly, you need to understand what it is you want, and how your skill set matches up to what others have to offer in the market you’re after. In other words, as marketeers would put it, what your product offering and brand is? It’s not as easy as it sounds to reach this stage but with time and possibly some coaching very “do able”. Once this is achieved you move to step two. Here you must decide on what channels you’ll use to promote your brand. If you’re branding for an external move then typically, this includes a trip a recruiter(s), visiting some jobsites, talking to your network of friends, colleagues etc and less often some publicity by speaking at a seminar or relevant institute event. More recently, it could also include social websites such as Linkedin, Facebook, twitter, as well as having your own website and blog. Personal Branding proposes that you need more visibility than ever before to take account of:
- A. being a part of the information age
- B. the increase in contract, part time and project work over permanent jobs
- C. Increase in number of career moves in the career lifespan
- D. the rapid rise in unemployment and so increased level of competition for permanent jobs, contracts, projects or consulting business