Finding employment in our current economic crisis is no mean feat. Where to find a job fast is on the minds of some three million people in the UK at the moment.
I am often asked if there are any additional methods beyond the traditional adverts, agencies and networking approach. The answer is yes. Searching for employment has never, in some ways, ever been easier. Or at least finding a suitable job; the rest is down to you and the quality of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and interview skills.
One of the growing new ways of searching for employment is through social media. Over the next three blogs I will discuss finding a job through LinkedIn, the professional businessperson’s social media site.
This blog looks at setting up a good LinkedIn profile and how it will help you to get recruited.
To start with, ignore most of the advice you have probably been given by friends and family. Your LinkedIn profile should not be your CV placed online, nor should it be a heady text of your needs, desires, visions and interests. If you really want to find a job then your profile should be as skilfully crafted as your CV.
Let’s start with the headings. In your ‘Professional Headline’ it is pointless putting the job title of your previous job. Instead you should indicate what it is that you do for a living. So instead of ‘Assistant Manager, Payroll and Benefits’ you might put ‘HR specialist in Payroll and Benefits’. This assumes, of course, that this is what you want to continue doing for a living.
The next section of job search importance for you to complete is the ‘Professional Experience and Goals’ section. There is a lot of poor advice floating around about what to put in this section. Some say that you should write it like a story in the first person. Others say that you should write about what you are looking for rather than what you have done. These two items of bad advice will not help you to get a job.
Instead write your entry in similar style to the profile at the top of your CV. This section should say what you are, along with your key skills. Make it rich with the things you want to do (i.e. probably the things you most enjoyed doing in your previous job) because by inference this will tell any potential employer what you want to do in your next job.
A typical entry for this section might read as follows:
‘An experienced Sales and Marketing Director within the pharmaceutical sector. Extensive exposure to worldwide markets, culturally sensitive and accomplished at researching, developing and implementing complex marketing strategies. An adept team leader used to handling morale issues and drawing out the best from the team whilst meeting demanding deadlines’.
Below that comes the specialities section. Most people either don’t know what to put in this section or they fill it with waffle. This is perhaps the most critical section of your whole profile. The golden rules are to keep it short, preferably use bullet points and it must be keyword rich.
In fact your whole profile should be keyword rich. That means that you should use the professional words you would expect to use in your everyday work. As a communicator, for me that means words such as, copywriting, proofreading, press releases, internal communications, external communications and so on. If your specialisation uses lots of acronyms then use them; software proficiency language such as Java, Perl, Python etc are very important. Project management skills such as Prince2 or legal jargon such as PQE 10 years are all important additions to your profile.
Going back to the specialities section, don’t overdo the specialities. If you put in lots of bullet points then you are hardly a specialist. As a general rule six bullet points should be the maximum. Your bullet points should reflect the types of keywords a recruiter might type in to their keyword search. Below is an example:
• New business startup & setup (& business rationalisation)
• E-commerce development
• Affiliate marketing
• Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
• Website design
• Article marketing.
The fourth and last section to be covered in this blog is ‘Experience’. This is the section where you list all the jobs you have done in chronological order starting with your most recent.
Again, some golden rules.
Don’t cut and paste from your CV. LinkedIn is a public site which is open to anyone and everyone. There may be things in your CV which should not be broadcast to a wider audience.
You don’t have to put down every job you have done. If you put lots of jobs, does this mean that you have no staying power? Probably not but it could look like that. You needn’t go back more than fifteen years (i.e. to around 1997). If you have worked for just one employer for a long time then split this up into the individual jobs you have done whilst working for that employer.
Having laid down these golden rules, it is important to put something in the ‘Description’ part of this section. Ideally this will include a one or two sentence description of your job at that employer. For example:
‘Responsible for providing full time management, communication, administrative and logistical support to the CEO of this rapidly expanding international organic produce retailer’.
Underneath that put some bullet points giving your key achievements in the job. Again, don’t put too many bullet points. As a general rule the most recent job might have up to six bullet points, but as you move further in to the past the number of bullet points will decrease. Make sure that in these bullet points you make the text keyword rich with language that will draw a recruiter to look at your profile.
If you follow this advice then your profile should look professional, be rich in keywords and prove a handy additional tool in your work search. One final point, don’t forget to put a good quality photograph into your profile.
Next time, we will look at how your profile helps LinkedIn find a career opportunity for you.Read More