It’s mid-January and for many of us our new year’s resolutions are still in full swing. For some it’s learning a new language, stopping smoking or living a healthier life style. For others the new year is a time to focus on their careers. Whether it’s getting that promotion, moving to a new role or finding that first job after uni, job hunting can be tedious, time consuming, disheartening and frustrating.
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As a dyslexic job hunter filling in online applications, remembering interview questions, timed psychometric tests and the thorny issue of whether or not to disclose, can complicate an already difficult process. While job interviews and testing may continue on as frustrating parts of finding a new job, the actual application process maybe becoming more dyslexia friendly.
Times are changing and the relevance of CVs, application forms and even grades are becoming less relevant. Many employers are beginning to embrace technology and look beyond traditional evidence of a candidate suitability. For instance, companies like Ernest and Young plan to stop using CVs or considering grades as part of its recruitment process.
I expect many more companies to follow suit; employers are now starting to recognise the value of a workforce filled with unique and diverse individuals, rather than relying on the status quo. That said, employers still need to sift through the 100’s of possible candidates. To do this, one resource many recruiters are turning to is LinkedIn.
It’s amazes me how many people I speak to that don’t have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile. In the last year myself and colleagues have been head hunted for jobs based on our LinkedIn profiles alone. Think about it, other than being active on LinkedIn, jobs have come to us without any application process what so ever.
There are also many companies that allow you to submit your LinkedIn profile rather than your CV; some allowing a one click application making applying for a job as easy as buying from amazon.
As someone that often finds the job application process a nightmare, being able to create an application that can be used multiple times is a god send. There’s also the opportunity to give recruiters an essence of who you are as a person buy adding details of volunteer groups you belong to, adding media from your portfolio and showing non-academy qualifications like certificates and online courses.
Many people excuse their lack of LinkedIn presence saying, ‘I don’t intend to change jobs, why do I need to be on LinkedIn.’ Whether you’re currently looking for employment or not, an up to date LinkedIn profile is something we should all have, as no-one knows what the future holds. If you start building your profile at the point of looking for employment, you will have missed out on a lot of the accumulative benefit and opportunities that being an active LinkedIn member brings.
If your new to LinkedIn or aren’t aware of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to maintaining your profile, fear not. We spoke to freelance marketeer, recruiter and LinkedIn evangelist, Naz Lewis-Humphrey. She gives us her top LinkedIn tips.
When it comes to LinkedIn there are some initial basics you need to remember and follow. Keep to these simple pointers from the beginning and you will soon reap the benefits from one of the largest online professional networks.
- It isn’t Facebook! Exactly as it says – a Professional Network. This is a platform and network where professionals connect, discuss and share. Not to post stories about their weekend, what their latest diet is, or to even find a date, there are more specialised sites for this! Your content and your feed is your business profile, it is how you would like future clients, colleagues and employers to see you and learn about you. Imagine it is an extended and live CV.
- Post a picture!! It is completely useless without one. Professionals like to see who they are communicating, dealing with or even buying from. Put a good clear head shot, not one from your holiday with your kids or dog. Again remember it is how you will be seen professionally. You wouldn’t turn up to an interview in fancy dress?!
- Accept connections. This is the whole point. Clients, customers and future prospects want to get to know you, meet you and connect. You never know when you may need each others services help or advice.
- Personalise your own connection invitations. When inviting someone to connect, make it personal and relevant. For instance – “hi Bob, great to meet you last week at the AGM, would really appreciate connecting. Hopefully we can catch up soon when your next in London etc.” It is far more meaningful and more likely to encourage contacts to want to connect. Even connections you haven’t met are more likely to respond if you individualise their invitation, for example “Hi Jane, just read your recent blog titled, ‘better sales skills’ and was really encouraged by the comments raised. Would appreciate any suggestions of further training suggested or content to explore. Many thanks and look forward to hearing from you.”
- DON’T SELL!! When you walk into a networking meeting or event, do you walk in and start selling your products or services? No one likes being sold to consistently. Become an expert in your field, write blogs and share content. Give your audience something to trust and the sales will follow.
Hopefully this has given you a good snapshot to get you started. Do research on LinkedIn, look at other profiles in your area or field, see what others are doing and what’s working for them. The best way to start with LinkedIn is to just jump straight in! Best of Luck!
Words by Sean Douglas with Naz Lewis-Humphrey
The Codpast is a multimedia production from www.extraordinaire.tv