Is Judgement By Appearance Rife In Social Recruitment?

Is Judgement By Appearance Rife In Social Recruitment?

Is judgement by appearance exclusive to social media recruitment?

Or is it rife in all parts of the recruitment process?

3aae0e8b-6ea3-43d7-9a3a-52ae3479fefb-large

Isn’t it human nature to look at something and make a snap decision based on how it makes us feel?

For example, I recently considered walking into a shop but the group of men standing outside made me wary and instead I moved on. Their appearance made me feel uncomfortable. I reacted on instinct. It even surprised me as I am far from shy.

After the following Twitter exchange, sparked by my blog The Facebook Social Recruiting Dilemma, and seeing the cartoon above, this post was inspired.

judgement by appearance

 judgement by appearance

I think Facebook is a brilliant addition to your social recruiting. In training though, I always warn that photos can be deceptive. Mine suggest that I am dog obsessed and guzzle red wine by the gallon because I am often snapped when I am out, red wine in hand. In reality though, I rarely drink these days …but I am dog obsessed 😉

 

Is judgement by appearance exclusive to Facebook?

In my experience definitely not. I regularly see the reaction of my trainees to LinkedIn profile pictures, photos that appear on the ‘professional’ social network.

It’s involuntary but it’s there and it’s definitely not because they’re being ageist! It’s about posture, angle of shot, expression in the eyes and so on. Or it’s over daft things like a profile picture where they are wearing sunglasses inside the house or selfies, especially when they include a view down their top.

Heading to Twitter, judgements are soon made based on the content of tweets that they see… and Twitter users know that the site is public.

And are job seekers really powerless? Surely they’re in control of their social accounts and capable of giving them an audit?

Facebook even shows you how, right there under the padlock. And then there are the 20,400,000 articles that come up under a job search tips online reputation search on Google

Even while writing this more advice appeared online from my new follower – note number 5!

 

Is judgement by appearance exclusive to the social media part of recruitment?

Don’t we judge appearance at interview? If not why did this happen as I began typing my query into Google?  (I even cleared my browser history to be sure!)

judgement by appearance

Attire, posture, handshake, smile and so on are all assessed. Isn’t this part of the selection process?

I’m in no way saying we should judge someone by their appearance, I’m just asking the question, isn’t it simply a fact of life? From the subconscious? An age old instinct?

Hey, I’m no expert and (probably) worse, I am one of those highly intuitive people who ‘just knows’ if someone is right for a role… and that’s probably worse than judgement by appearance.

 

The fact is, it’s 2015 and social media has infiltrated every part of our lives.

Facebook turns 11 in February, LinkedIn is 12.5 and Twitter is 9 in March, and these top 3 sites are where job seekers AND recruiters/HR/Hiring Managers will be seen.

You will be judged on how you choose to portray yourself online and on what you say.

This will work for you or against you.

You decide.

 

 

P.S. For clarity…

I will never condone judgement that is based purely on appearance. The way I teach recruiting on Facebook & all social media, is about gaining access to new pools of talented people and attracting new people to your job opportunities, not about making superficial judgements from photos.

Further reading:

 

 


The Searchologist School

 


 

3 Tools To Use Before You Guest Blog

3 Tools To Use Before You Guest Blog

Being asked to guest blog is an honour but should you?

I don’t know about you but I struggle to write a fresh piece of content in under 3 hours. Plus, I have to feel inspired, which is tough some days.

So what do you do when asked to guest blog?

Well, sounding callous, park your ego for a moment and work out what’s in it for you. Yes, you. Because your free content is helping them too.

I understand though, I love hearing compliments of my writing. In fact, I’m mystified because English was far from my strongest subject at school. And I get that being asked to guest blog is a huge stoke to my ego but, and it is a big but, will I get the return on my investment of time and energy.

Thankfully, there are tools around that can help you work out the potential reach of your efforts.

 

1. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is free and super easy to use. In this example, I’ve typed in themuse.com and looked for my first post. You can also search by an author’s name using, for example, author:katrina collier

guest blog buzzsumo

 

What I love is the way you can easily View Sharers, which gives you the opportunity to thank them and engage with a new audience.

guest blog buzzsumo sharers

 

2. Keyhole

With an initial free trial, Keyhole‘s real time tracking could be worth a try too and could be super useful for providing insight into your own blogging too.

Keyhole guest blog

 

Using the same guest blog as an example, you’ll see above that you get details about its reach and, below, that sharers are ranked by influence, which helps you know where to invest your time engaging. guest blog keyhole

Keyhole also shows you were your post reached geographically. So I know, for example, that if I wanted to engage in South Africa I need to change my hashtags or look to engage local influencers to increase visibility.

guest blog keyhole

 

3. Like Explorer

For simplicity, I don’t think you can get better than Like Explorer. It does what it says on the tin. There are variances in the stats, and I know my post has been shared on Pinterest multiple times, but it gives you an idea of reach, with ease.

guest blog like explorer

 

How about you, what are your favourite tools for checking posts?

 


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5 Chrome Extensions

5 Chrome Extensions That Will Change The Way You Job Search

5 Chrome Extensions To Amp Up Your Job Search

Today’s recruiters (the good ones, anyway) understand the power of social recruiting. They know that, to attract the top talent, they need to do more than spamming people with job posts. They have to look beyond LinkedIn. In fact, they often use tools most of us haven’t even heard of before to get the right leads to the right people.

But why should they have all the fun?

If you’re looking for a new gig, these five recruiter-approved Chrome extensions should be part of your search.

Please read the original article, and my first guest post, on The Muse: 5 Chrome Extensions That Will Change The Way You job Search.

 

 

If you are finding it hard to get a job, check out All The Secrets Of Social Job Search, and take control of your job hunt.

 

 

Agents Stop Misrepresenting Candidates!

Agents Stop Misrepresenting Candidates!

Stop reformatting CVs and misrepresenting candidates

I’m not about to go into the good, the bad or the ugly of CVs. Nobody likes writing their CV.

It’s hard to sell yourself. It’s hard to reduce years of experience to just a few pages. What do you leave in? What do you take out?

After spending hours perfecting our CV, the last thing we want is someone changing the formatting and font before submission. Or worse, to find ourselves sitting across from the interviewer wondering whose CV they’re holding.

It irks me so I took my rant to Facebook and discovered I wasn’t alone.

 

It’s one of my pet hates when applying for jobs and having been stung in the early days I always ask to see what they are submitting before I agree it goes anywhere. I’ve also, when I’ve been on the hiring side, presented interviewees with their CV from an agency and asked them to comment on the appalling spelling and obvious errors. Most are mortified but hopefully they learn to better protect their own best interests by asking to see the finished article in future.

But why should they have to ask for the finished article when they’ve already spent hours perfecting it?

Should recruitment agents reformat CVs or leave them alone?Click To Tweet

 

5 reasons to leave CVs alone!

1. Your candidate isn’t a robot

They have their own style and their own manner, and that is reflected in their CV. By changing it to your recruitment agency’s (usually out-dated) format, you’re depersonalising the applicant.

If your candidate has taken the time to choose their font, the sizing, the spacing, their preferred choice of bullet and so on, who are you to take that away from them.

Do you tell them what accessories they may or may not wear to interview?

 

2. Your client isn’t a robot either

 I recently saw a HR person on a train yawning her way through a dozen (yes, a dozen!) formatted CVs. All from the same agency for a Financial Director role. It made me wonder whether the recruitment company spent more man hours re-typing the dozen CVs than actually doing pre-selection.

Your client doesn’t really like reading CVs, so why make it harder? Take the time you’re wasting reformatting and screen better. A cover page with your summary, is enough. Stop there. Be kind to your clients and give them some variety.

(Of course, I don’t mind if you correct spelling errors!)

 

3. Times New Roman is extremely difficult to read!

Go look at some of your favourite websites, what font do they use?

Facebook and LinkedIn use Helvetica, Twitter uses Gotham, and Google uses Roboto (yep, made me laugh) and all of these are from the Arial family. Arial is what you’re reading now. They choose these fonts because they’re easy to read on a device or screen.

So unless you’re hand delivering printed CVs, please stop changing your candidate’s font to old fashioned Times New Roman.

 

4. You don’t have the candidate’s permission

 

 Why do you think recruiters always insist you send your cv in ‘Word’ and not PDF? So they can b*gger about with it…

 

 It’s surely not the way the candidate intended to be represented.

Job seekers don’t want you to mess around with their CVs. They don’t want you to remove their personality. They don’t want to risk you screwing up their chance to make a winning impression by reformatting it or adding in spelling errors.

Be respectful, and leave their CV alone. They could be a client one day.

 

5. You don’t have the client’s permission

I’m amazed at how many hiring managers have been convinced that this practice is the norm. Well it isn’t.

Have you actually asked your clients how they would like to see the CV?

I bet most would like to see the original, full of personality, because it will tell them so much more than the bland version you’re supplying.

 

What do you think of this practice?

 


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3 Twitter Mistakes Are Costing You Followers

3 Twitter Mistakes Costing You Followers

Twitter mistakes to stop immediately!

If you are a regular reader, you’ll know of my love of Twitter and, judging by their recent results, I am far from alone. When used the right way, it is a truly social platform but if you are not gaining Twitter followers or worse, losing them, you may be making these three mistakes.

 

Twitter mistake 1: you misuse the favourite button

Rolling through another users tweets and hitting favourite, after favourite, after favourite, isn’t the way to gain attention. Well, not the right attention.

Twitter mistakes

It only chokes up their notifications and it doesn’t help them. Though the favourite shows on the tweet, it doesn’t extend its reach to more people.

And though favourites can also be seen on your profile, how likely is someone to go there and look? Retweets are much more powerful!

[Exception: it is possible that the user is using the IFTTT rule that sends Faved articles to Evernote but…]

Favourite the right way…

Twitter mistakes

Rose has used the favourite button to acknowledge my #FF (at the bottom) and then faved and retweeted my blog post. That’s lovely, I appreciate that. I’m a fan and following Rose now 🙂

The favourite also makes a great conversation ending.

 

Twitter mistake 2: you @handle others irrelevantly

Is there anything more annoying than being tagged in a self promotional tweet? Especially, if it isn’t of any relevance.

twitter mistakes

 

Because I have met this particular person, its irrelevance irked. Looking at his profile and seeing tweet after similar tweet, didn’t improve my perception of this person either.

Share relevant information, with the right people, and your mutual topic of interest will get you RTs… not ignored.

These @handles are perfectly fine:

The thank you…

and the HT (hat tip)… no selling, simple appreciation.

 

 

Twitter mistake 3: you broadcast

Twitter is about sharing valuable content, RTing, paying it forward, being thankful and so on. Blatant broadcasting like this doesn’t work.

Twitter mistakes

I’d shared this man’s blog and a simple thank you would have been much better than a thank-you-go-sign-up-to-my-blog tweet.

It reminds me of those annoying pop-ups you get when you’ve just landed on a website and haven’t even had a moment to decide if you like the content and want to see more.

If he’d said, “Thank you, what did you like about it?” he’d have started a great conversation, become known, become trusted. Instead, I ignored his tweet and didn’t follow him.

Confused? Grab my Twitter eBook here, or give me a call and book a one-to-one.

 

What twitter mistakes would you add?

 

 


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Yearning For A Career Change?

I have changed career 5 times but I got there!

This week after having a lot of fun on the Facebook recruiting #RecHangout, I went straight onto @JobRecChatSA‘s Twitter chat, hosted by Tim Barry, Vanessa Raath, & Wesley Madziva, on the topic of Career Change.

As I’d already been feeling reflective about the amazing month I’ve had and feeling so in love with the career I am creating for myself, it was the perfect topic! Especially question 4: “What advice would you give people thinking of a career change?”

…and if you’re thinking, “I’m too old” I started chasing my dream at 38 and then there’s this:


If while you are lying on your sun-lounger on your summer holidays, you start thinking about your career and perhaps about creating your own new career path… just do it.

Career Change
If your dream is to start your own business, here are 5 character traits that I now own and you’ll need to too.

1. Self-worth

Noun meaning: confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

The greatest gift I received last week was a client saying, “I love how you truly don’t care what anyone thinks, you’re just you.”

This has been by far my greatest journey. A turbulent childhood left me riddled with self-loathing and you just can’t go and chase down your dreams, if you don’t think you deserve them.

Thankfully, with the help of three very special people, I have been able to step into my fabulous. There were many along the way who told me I was fabulous, but the magic only happens when you believe in yourself. When you feel truly worthy.

If you really want to own your life and create something happy & magical, believe in yourself. If this takes outside help, get it. You won’t look back.

2. Courage

Noun meaning: the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.

Fear holds us back in so many ways. It paralyses. It’s sneaky. It can disguise itself in distractions and lethargy. It can play tricks. Ignore the nay-sayers, especially the one in your head.

The greater the fear faced, the greater the reward. And often, what you think will be absolutely terrifying, isn’t.

I used to say to my ex-husband, “You’re the performer, I could never be on the stage” Now we laugh at the irony because I faced my fear and, you know what, I love it. Where’s the stage? I am there!

How’d I do it?

  1. Determination – I made myself because deep inside I knew I had something to say.
  2. I have a vision board and on it is a picture of a woman owning the stage. I see it every day and I set myself the goal to take small steps. To lose the cards. To step away from the podium. To ask the audience to raise their hands (OMG that was the most amazing moment!) and so on.
  3. Amy Cuddy’s Power Pose. I tell complete strangers about this. It works, simple. Watch Amy’s TED Talk.

 

3. Judgement

Noun meaning: An opinion or conclusion

The judgement of others, though well intentioned they may be, can send you off course. You may find you need to shed people.

Earlier in the year I had a coffee with a friend and the owner of the café was looking for staff, so out of nowhere my “friend” went, “Katrina needs a job, she’d make a great waitress.”

I was mortified. I was angry. Just because I hadn’t earned money that day didn’t mean I was unemployed!

Worse, I stayed angry, and I started doubting myself. Then, thankfully, I realised it wasn’t my stuff, it was hers. She can’t understand my “career-style” because she’s an institutionalised teacher.

Watch out for judgement, by you, by others.

I love my (true) friend Laura’s post about the cost of judgement, it’s worth a read.

4. Pure

Noun meaning: without any extraneous and unnecessary elements.

Though Katrina is a version of Katherine, which is from the Greek katharos, meaning pure…that’s not what I meant. 😉 I mean stay pure to what you want to do.

I have known from the start that I want to show companies and job seekers how to use social media for recruitment. But if I get pulled away from this and end up doing other things, I become disgruntled because what I love is social recruiting, it’s my gift.

It’s better to be honest and play to your strengths. Call in others to help or collaborate.

5. Gratitude

Noun meaning: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness

The path of your new career will have ups and downs but if you remember to be grateful for even the tiniest of things, it will be so much easier. It will firm your resolve that this is the path to be on.

This month I can feel grateful for the huge things, like speaking at TMA’s Social Recruiting Conference in NYC, and also be thankful for the tiny things, like that while I type this my spaniel is kicking me in his sleep, reminding me it’s late. Reminding me I do this to spread my love of social recruiting and to work the hours I choose, from home, so I can have my 2 beautiful dogs.

When you feel at your lowest. Stop. Breathe. Be in the moment. Be thankful for the roof over your head, the food in your fridge, the laughter of friends and family, the kick from a furry friend. You’ll soon be back on track.

Will you be dreaming of a career change these holidays?

 


The Searchologist School

 


 

Better LinkedIn Connecting Starts Here

Professional networking site LinkedIn often feels unprofessional

If I had a penny for every piece of unprofessional networking I see on LinkedIn, I wouldn’t need to work. I don’t mean sharing a joke, I mean rudeness.

Whether you’re a job seeker or recruiter how you behave on there affects your reputation and response rates. And though you mightn’t think it does, those non-personal messages you’re sending are ruining the place for everyone.

We all know it’s the professional networking site, right? So wouldn’t it make sense to act professionally?

This week’s 5 tips are based on an expectation that you know that addressing someone by name, showing that you’ve taken the time to read their profile, and being polite, will all work in your favour.

 

5 better ways to connect on LinkedIn

1. Tailor your LinkedIn invite to connect!

Sending an unexplained LinkedIn invite is one of the biggest turn offs to other users because it’s rude. Simple as that.

Connecting to someone gives you access to their contact details and the ability to message them freely. This is why people are wary of accepting blank invites… that and all the spambots. [Can you spot a fake profile?]

Not only that, do it too often and you’ll see one of these:

LinkedIn

Yep, recipients can hit “I don’t know” and too many of those will put you in LinkedIn Jail.

So add a personal touch, as you would in real life.

 

2. Look to see if you share a group.

Did you know that you can send a message to another LinkedIn group member for free?

It’s really easy too. In the group, click on the Members tab, search by name and you’ll see the option to send a message. Keep it relevant and professional, and your response rate will improve.

LinkedIn

 

3. Try Twitter

I appreciate that’s hardly connecting on LinkedIn but Twitter is a truly social network.

Are they using it?

Have a look under Contact Info and, if they’ve added their Twitter handle, click through and see if they’re using it.

LinkedIn

Then you could follow them, RT, answer a question… gently open a conversation.

Following the appropriate social media etiquette, of course.

 

4. Could a friend introduce you?

I love Chrome plugin Discoverly and have mentioned it before in my post on increasing your employee referrals.

If a LinkedIn user uses the same email address for their Facebook and/or Twitter profiles, you’ll see your mutual connections.

LinkedIn

Could a Facebook or Twitter friend introduce you?

If not, you can mention your mutual connections in your invite to connect, making it warmer and more personal.

 

5. Try Connect6˚

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 20.13.48Connect6 PeopleDiscovery tool is a fabulous addition to your recruiting. Currently in Beta, Connect6˚, will show you other places where people are hanging out online.

And, if they have them, you can gain contact details. For free. [while in Beta]

Remember though, just because you have their contact details doesn’t mean they’ll respond.

Improve your chances by ensuring your message is relevant, personal, is written in the “what’s in it for them.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your number 1 tip for better LinkedIn connecting?

 

5 LinkedIn Job Hunt Must Dos

5 LinkedIn Changes to Make When You’re About to Be Laid-Off

In the last few years, I’ve been asked often what I thought a contact’s LinkedIn job hunt strategy should be before and after their job loss. Here’s what I’ve come up with as a working strategy for changing your LinkedIn profile when facing an impending layoff.

 

A separate identity.

In my opinion, the most important thing is to separate yourself from your current employer and to use LinkedIn to create a separate identity for yourself to use as you job-hunt. If your brand is Sales Rep for Sudden Death, that brand becomes much less valuable when you’re no longer working for Sudden Death.

You need to create your own brand and identity that you can start living out now and proudly take brand to prospective employers and recruiters when your current position runs out.

And if you create that brand before the separation, your new identity will be available and established by the time you really need it. Of course, this works in other areas as well, such as leaving college or starting your own business before quitting your day job.

You can use LinkedIn to rebrand and better position yourself for connecting with prospective employers and recruiters as you search for a new career. This is what I think you should change when dealing with a pending layoff.

 

1. Turn off LinkedIn profile change announcements

You’ll be doing some work tweaking your profile for your new brand. You don’t want to announce each change to all of your connections, which is the LinkedIn default, so turn it off. You’ll also avoid annoying your connections and alerting your company that you’re on the market.

This article will show you how to hide your LinkedIn Job Hunting Activity from Your Connections and clarify what is and isn’t turned off!

LinkedIn has also recently added the following notification button to the LI user profile edit screen (right-hand column underneath the Recommended for you area). Make sure this setting is set to No for killing profile change broadcasts.

Linkedin Job Hunt 

 

2. Modify your Summary

If you’ve received a layoff notice, you’re going to be on your own in a few months anyway and representing yourself, not your company. You’ll need a separate identity that isn’t linked to your current employer.

If your Summary is company specific and an ad for your current employer, change it to reflect who you are and what you bring to a new organisation. Modify your summary so it’s all about you and what you bring to the table rather than about your relationship with your current employer.

 

3. Modify your headline

By default, LinkedIn takes your headline from one of two places:

  • The title from the top entry in your Experience section.
  • The first few words from your Summary write-up if all the entries in your Experience section have end dates on them. I discovered this when I recently helped a college student change his LinkedIn profile and all of his previous on-campus jobs had ended.

Your LinkedIn headline is editable, which means you can use your own 120-character statement to “sell” yourself. So instead of having your headline default to “Head Sausage-Maker for Cat-Gut Sausages”, you can change it to something that reflects your goals and experiences, such as “Sausage-Making Management: SME and Industry Expert, Sausage Materials & Control”.

If you’re a Subject Matter Expert (SME), I’d recommend putting that in your headline. Check out this article that shows you how to change your LinkedIn headline to showcase your personal brand.

I also recommend against putting in a clause like “Looking for Work” or “Open to New Opportunities” in your headline. IMHO, that makes you look desperate and could be a red flag that you’re out of work or about to be out of work.

You want a headline that confidently announces who you are and what you want.

 

4. Rearrange your LinkedIn profile sections

Another unappreciated LinkedIn feature is that you can move profile sections within your profile. If you’re not happy with the standard LinkedIn profile layout of Summary, Experience, Organisation, Publications, etc., you can rearrange how those areas show up on your profile by using what I call the LinkedIn Magic Up-Down Arrow. The Magic Up-Down Arrow looks like this.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 14.49.16

It’s obviously positioned in many section areas and individual entries on the profile edit screen.

Using this arrow, you can do two things:

  • You can move specific LinkedIn sections around in your profile. If you want to move your Publications area to the top of your profile, you can. If you want to move your Skills and Endorsements area more towards the top of your profile, you can. The arrow allows you to rearrange how general LinkedIn sections are presented, displaying your strongest areas first.
  • You can move individual items around within a section. You can rearrange your Experience entries so that a part-time job or side-business shows up first and your soon-to-be ex-employer shows up second.  You can also rearrange the entries in your Skills and Endorsements section to highlight your strongest skills, rather than having LinkedIn arrange them by the number of people who’ve endorsed you for each skill (the LinkedIn default).

 

5. Add a picture to your profile

People are more likely to contact you if you have a profile picture. The type of picture is under debate with the online community but some basic rules apply, including:

  • No selfies
  • Make sure it’s a well-lit shot. Don’t sit in the dark and make sure it’s not over-exposed (avoid the halo effect).
  • Head shots are best but no extreme close-ups
  • Make eye contact with the camera.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the work you are seeking
  • Smile
  • Some people say a laughing shot is more relatable but be careful you’re not grinning like the Joker

If you have a Gravatar photo, use that to create a consistent image of yourself across all social media.

These are some starter ideas for how you can modify your profile to position yourself for an impending layoff or after you’ve been laid off or downsized and are looking for another position. These changes will put you on the path to creating a separate identity that cuts your dependency on your former or current employer while you’re job hunting.

 

What do you change when job hunting on LinkedIn?

Joe Hertvik LinkedIn Job Hunt

By Joe Hertvik (@joehertvik). Joe is the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a content strategy company that services the B2B software industry. He frequently writes about LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media networks on his blog at joehertvik.com. Contact Joe at joe@joehertvik.com for more information or a quote for services.

 

 

>> Take control of your job hunt and get off the emotional rollercoaster with All The Secrets Of Social Job Search

 

Stop Making These CV Mistakes!

Want interviews? Then stop making these 5 CV mistakes

Last week a Facebook friend shared a photo of job seeker Gerri Spiers who, in sheer frustration, had taken to standing at various London stations sporting a sandwich board.

Thinking her gutsy (because there is no way I’d do that!) I shared the photo on LinkedIn. Within moments of posting the picture, Kate Ball popped up and said how fabulous she is… but her LinkedIn profile didn’t reflect this at all! So thinking her CV wouldn’t either, I called her.

Gerri Spiers CV mistakes

 

Her CV was as expected, sadly. And Gerri is far from alone in having a resume that is a disaster zone.

They are far from easy to write – it’s hard to blow your own trumpet. And there is just so much cr*p information around telling you what you should and shouldn’t do!

Gerri had received advice from a company working with the Jobcentre but it was outdated. Her CV had become a dull list of skills and she was confused. Gerri’s didn’t have all of these, but these are the 5 CV mistakes I regularly see.

 

1. Your CV is focused on you

“Huh? But it’s my CV….”

Yes, of course it is but this CV mistake is about your opening statement. The company doesn’t care what you are looking for… they care about what value you’re going to bring to the company and whether your skills are what they need.

 

So we changed:

A highly motivated, confident individual with exceptional multi-tasking and organisational skills. Able to exhibit confidentiality, discretion, tact, diplomacy and professionalism when dealing with HNWIs, CEOs and Directors. Possessing a proven ability to help them to make the best use of their time by dealing with their secretarial and administrative tasks. Ready and qualified for the next stage in a successful career. Currently looking for a suitable PA position with an ambitious company/person.

 

To:

Accomplished Personal and Executive Assistant with a wealth of experience supporting Lords, Knights and other high net worth individuals. A confident, discrete, professional and motivated individual with a proven ability to create time efficiencies and iron out creases. Experienced working in-person and remotely, both domestically and internationally.

 

With seconds to grab attention, tell them who you are and instil confidence. I have done that here with the use of accomplished, wealth of experience, and proven – because this is true of Gerri. You’re applying for the role, so it’s a given that you’re available.

 

2. Your CV contains too many personal details

When I started out in my career it was expected that we would detail full address, home number, D.O.B., etc but, please, don’t do that now. You don’t really know where your CV will go online, so protect yourself and only add your mobile and email address. Add your city if location matters to you.

 

3. Your CV is a list of skills

Which means recruiters and hiring managers are going to be underwhelmed and close it in seconds. This is the biggest CV mistake I see by far!

The easiest way to ensure your CV is engaging is to think, “so what?” as this will bring out the benefit of doing whatever it was you did. [Thank you Papa Smurf for teaching me this!]

For example, we changed:

  • Organised an overseas event for all Directors, including liaising with global leaders. 

To what it actually was – an interesting project! Sure it’s longer – but it’s her recent valuable experience and easy to scan.

  • Project: World Economic Forum, Davos Switzerland
    • With little notice and zero margin for error, organised back-to-back meetings with high net worth individuals for the Chairman and 2 Directors.
    • Gained diary access and, liaising with over 100 PAs to people like the Heads of Google and Facebook, successfully secured meetings.
    • Calmly dealt with last minute schedule changes and challenges surrounding booking venues for VIP meetings, surpassing the Chairman’s expectations.
    • Kept accurate record of contacts and declines, and ensured the Chairman and Directors had information packs, including photos and email correspondence, prior to each meeting. 

 

4.  You’re ageing yourself

This won’t apply to all readers, obviously!

Personally, I don’t care if a CV is 2 pages long or 4 pages long, but I do care if I am reading it and thinking, “I was in 6th class while he/she was doing that!” …because I am a 70s baby.

Ask yourself the question, “does what I was doing 12 years ago hold any relevance to the role I am applying for today?” No? Then take it off and simply add “Early career history available on request.”

I understand we’ve all been drilled into thinking that HR will reject us if we don’t add everything and have gaps but park that idea. It’s 2014, we are all time poor.

Use your CV to get you in the door. Use a modern font, space it out, keep it concise but benefit led… and if HR ask for more information, tell them, in person.

 

5. The little things…

  • Full stops at the end of bullet points.
  • Typos.
  • The wrong their, there, or they’re or similar.
  • Missing capital letters.
  • Missing commas, apostrophes and so on.

Easy to solve!

Read it out loud – every single word. Ask someone else, like an older friend or relative, to read it – out loud. And don’t rely on spell checker.

 

What have I missed?

Probably plenty. Writing a resume is personal and everyone has an opinion on what the greatest CV mistakes are…. so, when reading your CV, ask yourself this final question, “Would you hire you?”

Within a day of refreshing Gerri’s CV and LinkedIn profile, she has gained interviews and is getting plenty of positive feedback. I’ll keep you posted on progress!

 

 

>> Take control of your job hunt and get off the emotional rollercoaster with All The Secrets Of Social Job Search

 

The No. 1 Thing That Will Improve Your LinkedIn Networking

LinkedIn networking: you can stand out with ease!

Of the last 30 invites to connect I have received, only 2 added a personal touch. I accepted just 11 because I feel that if you’ve not even looked at my profile or used some manners, you’re probably a spam bot.

Could the hiring manager or the great applicant that you’re trying to connect to feel the same?

Continuing to be stunned by LinkedIn networking rudeness, I tasked my friend and coach, Laura Borland, to come up with one simple way to improve communication and networking on this professional network. She’s hit the nail on the head!

 

The number 1 way to improve your LinkedIn networking

“Why is it there are some people it’s really easy to connect and talk with, and then there are others who just look at you like you’ve just rocked up from a different planet? It’s a big question with many answers. It can be about attitude, desire, values, what we believe and think.

But here I am going to talk about, not just the words that we use, but our style of communicating. You get an e-mail from someone and your instant reaction might be that they were curt or rude, or there was too much detail, or they were a bit too friendly… You get the picture – we’ve all been there. It can make you switch off to what they are trying to communicate..

Or, if you are the person who cannot be understood and you’re going round and round in circles it can leave you feeling frustrated, offended and disillusioned – amongst other things.

 

Communicating effectively can be tricky business.

As simplistic as it may sound, we all have our own individual way of communicating. But when we want to be heard, especially when we want to achieve an outcome, it can be worth adapting how you communicate, so that the other person can hear you.

But we can only do this when we are aware of what our preferences are. Are you direct and to the point? Or friendly and all about the connection? Or maybe you look to create a nice experience for the other person? Or maybe you are all about the detail and that facts?

Let me give you an example. If this is the kind of e-mail you write……

Hi James,

It was so good to see you at the meeting last week. You were looking great. Am really pleased that things are going so well with you.

Our conversation has given me this amazing idea that I would love to get your thoughts on. How about we meet up next week for a coffee and I can tell you more . Unless your curiosity gets the better of you and you would rather meet this Friday about 4ish? ☺

Look forward to hearing from you,

(Your name)

 

How would you feel receiving an e-mail like this?

James,

Just dropping you a note to say that I have a proposal I would like to discuss with you, that will help you achieve some of the objectives you talked about last time we met.

I would like to get your thoughts on this. When would be the best time to meet?

Regards

(Your name)

 

Two totally different styles.

Once we truly begin to understand that we all communicate differently, we can stop taking others so personally.

They are not doing it to wind you up, they are just speaking their language, from their perspective, in their world.

So if you are on a site like LinkedIn, which is all about connections, it is worth using your limited 290 characters [in your LinkedIn connection request] to mirror some of the language that the person uses to describe themselves in their profile.

 

Talk to them in their language and you will have much more success.

Not sure what your language is?

Look at the communications you have that engage you and then the ones that wind you up. They will begin to give you some clues.

Good luck and have fun playing with it!”

 

Laura BorlandLaura Borland is a creative and successful coach and Certified Innermetrix Consultant, with a wide range of experience of working with leaders, business owners and private individuals. She combines a natural inquisitiveness with insight and a desire to support transformational changes in organisations and people. Connect with her at LauraBorland.com

 

 

 

5 Ways To Improve Your LinkedIn News Feed

“My LinkedIn news feed is full of crap, is there a solution?”

I will confess I giggled at the directness when an old colleague asked me about his LinkedIn news feed! I feel the same. Thankfully there is plenty you can do to improve it.

 

1. Take control of your updates

Does your LinkedIn news feed look frozen?

The most important thing to know is that every single day you need to reset your updates to Recent from Top – and you need to tell as many people as you can about this change because it does impact on your status update’s reach. More here.

Every day – hover on All Updates and change it to Recent. Every day.

LinkedIn news feed top

 

2. Customise your LinkedIn news feed

Under All Updates on your Home page, to the right of Pulse, you’ll find the option to Customise what appears in your feed.

LinkedIn News Feed customise

 

Sadly it’s far from perfect. LinkedIn offered me this job even though I have unchecked Job Opportunities… I mean seriously! Though just having had yet another birthday maybe I should be grateful they think I am a junior!! 😉

LinkedIn news feed fail

 

3. Hide people and updates

It’s so easy to hide people… so if they’re annoying you, hover to the right and hit hide. It doesn’t impact on them negatively, it simply stops their updates appearing in your news feed. Even sponsored updates!

Hide linkedin news feed updates

 

4. Remove the worst offenders

There is nothing wrong with removing an annoying connection – and they won’t be notified! There are two ways to remove a connection.

 

1. on their profile, under Send a Message

but of course they will know you’ve looked at their profile.

LinkedIn news feed remove connection

 

2. Under Connections

On your main menu click Connections (previously Network) and search for the person in question. When you scroll over them a drop down menu will appear, click more and remove connection. Doing it this way maintains complete anonymity.

LinkedIn news feed remove connection

 

5. Play with Pulse

I used to love LinkedIn Today and I used to find it a hub of great news, from around 500 global sources, for sharing and commenting on. Not anymore. Pulse is mostly full of influencer posts and just 40 outside publishers are included.

I’ve just un-followed all channels and influencers and it’s like a breath of fresh air. Now Pulse offers up outside links instead of just LinkedIn content. LinkedIn promotes their posts over others in your feed because they want to encourage you to blog on their platform as they try and increase engagement. And I can always go into Pulse by my own choice if I think I am missing anything.

 

Got any tips to add that will clean up your LinkedIn news feed?

 

 

How To Be A Social Spammer On Twitter & LinkedIn

Would they call you a social spammer?

In an effort to clean up spammers, Twitter and LinkedIn are making it easier than ever to block users and report spam. But I bet you don’t think it applies to you, right?

 

The Twitter Social Spammer

Of the two, Twitter is by far the more social network. It’s a place for personal and professional play where broadcasting is less tolerated.

Broadcasting is traditional advertising and we’re surrounded by enough of that without seeing it on Twitter. The biggest no no is @handle-ing someone. This is what it looks like:


It matters because those irritated by the lack of social media etiquette, can easily report the tweet or worse, block the user and report spam.

Many times you won’t even know you’re getting it wrong but signs are:

  • You have had no other interaction with the user you’re @handle-ing
  • You have fewer followers than you’re following
  • People aren’t engaging in conversation

The way around this is simple, using the above as an example…

  • Have a complete and appealing Twitter profile – mention the event in the bio
  • Follow me – I’ll see that in my notifications & check out your profile
  • RT one of my (thousand) dog snaps or reply with something nice

For example, @embedle followed me on the weekend. I checked out their profile and, by my own choice, am now using their seriously cool tool for meeting new Twitter people while browsing web pages.  No hard sell, just followed me. [It helps that their product is cool]

If you wonder if you’re getting it wrong, grab a copy of The Essential Guide To Recruiting On Twitter.

 

The LinkedIn Social Spammer

Over the weekend I received 5 unexplained invitations to connect (yawn) and as my analogy of walking up to a complete stranger and giving them a pitch, without so much as a hello, is having zero impact… an example of why you look like a spammer.

A few weeks back I received one of those blank LinkedIn invitations that says “since you’re a person I trust…” which means that it was sent from a mobile so makes me more forgiving.

I looked at his profile, and ran my usual thought pattern.

  • Does he look like a spam bot? No
  • Do we have shared connections? Yes
  • Does he have a product that my clients might like? Yes
  • Does it make sense to connect? Maybe

 

In this instance, I accepted, replied and and got this, “Thank you for your message. I am networking and educating about our revolutionary service called [blah, blah] I am the Account Manager in your territory. It’s an innovative way for employers to find the best candidates for a job….. [blah, blah, blah]… when you sign up.”

Wait a minute…. sign up?

Ok, on the outside it could be useful for my clients but… a 187 word reply with no mention of looking at my profile or taking the time to ask first. Unimpressed, I replied and gave him my walking up to a stranger analogy. Politely 😉

He replied with “Sorry, I didn’t mean to try and sell you on anything right away. I just wanted to let you know what we were doing with [blah, blah] Can I ask what kind of business you are involved in?”

Seriously? This is an exchange on LinkedIn and I am pretty confident my profile is clear… so I didn’t reply.

Then 6 days later I got this, “I wanted to ask what kind of business you are in? Are you involved in hiring people? We are offering clients to try [blah, blah] for a month for free.”

Annoyed, this time I did reply, “You can see my LinkedIn profile right? In under 1 minute you could work out what I do. Please don’t ask me to explain to you what I do when it’s all here to be seen… especially when all you are wanting to do is sell your product.”

He’s since read my profile and apologised but, I won’t be using or recommending his product because he came across as lazy, pushy and inconsiderate.

LinkedIn social spammer

And LinkedIn is making it even easier to report people as spam. Even genuine people.

All sides of recruitment are guilty of similar and I hear complaints about this all the time.

Before you send your connection request, read their profile, and take a moment and think:

  • How do I feel when I receive invitations to connect lacking a personal touch or explanation?
  • How does sending this make me look? Lazy? Unprofessional? Rude?
  • Will I be blocked because I look like a spammer? i.e. Do I look genuine with a completed profile and photo?

How inconvenient will it be if you end up blocked on either network?

It’s just a matter of courtesy and remembering that you catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

 

Even Dilbert is checking out your online persona!

Is your online persona up to scratch?

Judging by the popularity of this Dilbert cartoon, we can all identify with the possibility of something not so great being spotted in our online persona!

And I as I always tell my HR and Recruiting clients, don’t think it’s a one way investigation.

Oh no, today’s job seekers are checking you out too! In fact, they are doing this before they reply or apply.

Job seeker or recruiter, what are you projecting out there? Is your online persona how you want it to be?

 

1. Check Google

Before you search for yourself on Google, I recommend you clear all your history & cookies etc so you get a truer result. (As this can be a pain, I use Firefox just for this purpose.)

Anything untoward come up?

Next, check Google Images. Again, anything come up you’re unhappy with?Katrina Google Image Search

Action: if you can’t get an image pulled and would like an image to fall on page 2 do not click the link! Instead, you’ll need to follow the link of all the images you’re ok with until it disappears. i.e. make the preferred pages more popular!

 

2. Check LinkedIn

When you searched for yourself on Google, you may have noticed that your LinkedIn profile was high in the results. Is it showing you at your shiny best?

Have you got a great profile picture? (No? Read this) Does your headline tell a story? Would you hire you / work for you?

LinkedIn Updates on mobile appAnd what about the updates you’ve been sharing, do they reflect well on you?

Though LinkedIn has removed Recent Updates from the desktop version (and is doing all in its power to reduce the number of views they get -> a must read about this) they do still show on the mobile and iPad apps.

I recommend checking your recent posts and comments to ensure you’re not saying things that could be misinterpreted.

On the desktop version, on your Home page, under the menu All Updates, click Your Updates, and check you don’t want to delete anything.

 

LinkedIn Updates on Desktop

 

3. Check Facebook

At no point in the recruitment or job search process do I think you should add someone as a friend on Facebook, as frankly, adding a stranger as a friend would be creepy.

But, thanks to Facebook’s Graph search, it is easy to find people so take control of your profile and lock it down. After being caught out myself last year, I made this short video that explains how to lock down your Facebook profile.

 

4. Check Twitter & Google+…. and anywhere else you hang.

It’s amazing how just 140 characters can lead to a monumental faux pas. You’ve seen the press. Check through and if you have any hesitancy about how you’re projecting yourself on any site, delete the comments!

 

A social media rule of thumb…

1. Think! How does this status or tweet reflect on me?

2. Choose carefully where you share your post:

  • LinkedIn is like your work conference – and public.
  • Facebook is like being at the pub – check your settings to ensure it is private!
  • Twitter is like a cocktail party – and public.
  • Google+ is like work drinks – and public.

3. Final check, would you say it in front of your grandmother?

 

What advice would you add?

 

LinkedIn Profile Picture Perfection

What message is your LinkedIn profile picture sending?

Some weeks back an update appeared in my LinkedIn news feed that said, “I am finding more and more often that people are overstepping professional boundaries, finding my personal social media and sending me inappropriate messages.”

None of us like to be on the receiving end of inappropriate behaviour and I in no way condone it. Yet, I was surprised that this person hadn’t realised it was due, in part, to their sexy-selfie profile pic.

What message is your LinkedIn profile picture sending? Would you work for you? Would you hire you?

 

Back in 2012, I came across this great post by redcanary, Is Your LinkedIn Photo Revealing More Than Just Your… Assets? and simply love their 5 tips:

  • Would your mom have the picture framed in her house? If yes, you’re probably in the clear.
  • Are you holding a mysterious drink? I hope you’re a bartender!
  • Does the picture really look like you? It’s great that you can Photoshop yourself into looking like Angelina Jolie but a contact might be surprised when she doesn’t show up for the meeting (and a little disappointed).
  • How much skin are you showing? If you could catch a cold you might want to grab a sweater.
  • What’s going on behind you? Bars and party pics can be prone to incriminating photo bombs so watch your back – this photobomb will cost you!

 

To these, 5 of my own (I see all too regularly)…

  • In real life, do you look like a logo? No? Then come out from hiding!
  • Did you take your LinkedIn profile picture using your webcam and is it angled up your nose?
  • Are you wearing your sunglasses inside?
  • Are you a lifesaver? No? No speedos on the beach then, sorry.
  • Did you attempt to cut the person next to you out of the pic?

When it’s time to update your picture, if you’ve forgotten where else you’ve used it, carry out a Google image search. If using Chrome, simply right click and select search Google for this Image. In other browsers, save the photo and upload it to a Google Image search.

 

LinkedIn Profile Pic

 

Some great posts to help you nail your LinkedIn profile picture:

 

What’s the worst/best LinkedIn profile picture you’ve seen & why?

 

 

You bet it matters that LinkedIn updates are reset Top!

Wondering why so few see your LinkedIn updates?

I’ve been asking around and it appears that LinkedIn reset your Home page’s updates to Top each day. At a guess, the majority of LinkedIn users probably don’t know or care but it will be impacting on how far your posts reach.

 

That matters, if you are using LinkedIn updates for business, recruitment or job search!

On their website they state that Members come first at LinkedIn. If this was truly the case they would not pull stunts like this.

Let me explain.

LinkedIn Updates Top I have 2221 1st level connections, and on Friday I shared my latest blog post and was shocked to see that it received just 63 views.

This got me thinking.

When I wrote about this in December last year, pre this latest game, my posts – without any interaction – would be viewed by a few hundred on average. With likes, it would quickly escalate.

 

 

When set to Top not Recent, the posts in my feed had 3-4 likes each.

LinkedIn Updates TopExperimenting, I posted my blog again but this time I immediately asked several people to ‘like’ the post, because this would pass the post on to their connections’ feeds.

The result so far is disappointing. If this had had 5 likes in the past it would have had nearer 800 views. This shows how damaging member updates being set to Top is to you!

For companies losing their Products & Services tab on the 14th, who are being advised to instead create Showcase pages and share updates, this move seems counterintuitive!

Why share updates that hardly anyone is going to see because members’ news feeds are set to Top ( …at least free service Facebook tells you when they change it! Yes, I know it has other pitfalls)

 

Does LinkedIn updates being set to Top affect Showcase pages?

I advise my clients to post on their Showcase page and ‘like’ it from their mobile app, in that way they have liked it as themselves and the post goes into their news feed for their connections to see.

Pre the change I would receive about 500 impressions now it’s around half! 🙁

If you missed it, here is my rant about LinkedIn’s removal of Product & Services, action needed. I also recommend you read Jez Styles’s great post on the matter, where you’ll see this great comment from Janet Aldrich

 

Recommendations on the P&S pages are linked to the people providing them, to provide verification.  There is no room and no way to provide that same function on the Showcase pages, not to mention that you have grand total of *200* characters on a Showcase page to explain your product or service. Oh, yes, and one photo. This is a poorly-thought-out move on LI’s part — or a deliberate attempt to alienate people (which seems rather unlikely).  Really stupid.”

 

Why is LinkedIn setting updates to Top?

In pure conjecture, I think LinkedIn is trying to persuade you that Promoting a post would be far more successful. It would certainly be beneficial for their shareholders who are unhappy with the recent fall in profit.

So here is a look at one I ran recently. It was highly targeted with a total expected audience of 12,214. It received 6387 impressions, which supports my theory that nearly half of members have profiles but don’t visit.

Promoted post LinkedIn Updates Top

The 48 clicks cost me $202 which compared to my similar campaign on Facebook, was a lot!

As a business, my LinkedIn posts now reach fewer, promoted posts are too darn expensive compared to the alternatives, and I fear being hit by SWAM, marked as spam, or ‘I don’t know-ed’ and blocked.

 

What can you do to counteract LinkedIn updates Top?

  1. As I can’t imagine LinkedIn will change this any time soon, you need to get your posts to be Top posts…. see if you can gather a number of enthusiastic souls who will be happy to jump in there and like, comment and share your updates, immediately.
  2. Try running campaigns in other places so you have a comparison. I now have the ability to target Facebook PPC adverts at job titles, so you should too. Give it a try; run one of those and an interest based one and see what works. Could a Google Adwords campaign help?
  3. Consider carefully the investment of time you put into Showcase pages. If you’re time poor maybe focus updates on your Company pages alone and, of course, running around getting lots of people to like, comment and share it….
  4. In an attempt to cause a stir, I have added a question in the LinkedIn Community Support Forum. If you’d like to help raise awareness, the link is here.

 

For pure amusement, if you’d like to ‘like’ my earlier update it can be found here... I wonder how many likes it’ll take to reach levels of old?

I’ll keep you posted!

 

7 Ways To Look Confident When Networking

Do you feel confident when networking?

This is a guest post by Alicia Cuello, a specialist in non-verbal communication and founder of Underlying Communications.

Ever get nervous walking into a room full of people you don’t know?

 

7 Ways To Look Confident When Networking

 

It’s normal to feel nervous.

When under stress your body will find a way to lower its anxiety. Unfortunately how it does, is not something you can control. But by the end of this post, you’ll know a simple and effective way to hide your nerves from others.

When we’re out networking, first impressions matter… a lot!

The statistics on first impressions vary, with one article stating people form an impression of you within 5-7 seconds of seeing you. That’s the power of body language. You have to be switched on and appearing confident as soon as you arrive.

Here are 7 tips to help you come across as confident and/or the right fit for an organisation.

 

1. Polish your shoes

We all know we need to dress professionally for networking but often people overlook their shoes. People will look at your shoes, women will even look at the back of them! So give your shoes a good polish. [Editor: gulp!]

 

2. Stand tall

Confident people take up space.  Stand tall with your shoulders back and have a strong stance. Your torso is your biggest body part and the first part people see when you walk in a room, so show if off! Stand with your legs slightly apart to give balance, take up more space, and therefore look more confident.

 

3. Make eye contact

Eye contact is extremely important because it helps people determine if they can trust you. People need to know that they can trust you before they will even consider interacting with you. If you are uncomfortable making eye contact, read my recent post Wanna Connect with People…Use Eye Contact.

 

4. The right handshake

The right handshake can be tricky.  Shake too soft and you come across as lacking in confidence.  Shake too forcefully and you come across as aggressive.  In general your handshake needs to be firm and convey respect for the other person. What does your handshake say about you?

 

5. Face them

When you meet someone, face them from head to toe.  By facing the other person you’re showing respect and it’s a quick and easy way to connect. Once you connect, angle your torso away just slightly to lessen the intensity of the interaction.

 

6. Have a positive attitude

This has to be my number 1 tip for job seekers – a positive attitude increases your confidence factor tenfold!  And most employers will tell you, they would rather hire a candidate with a good attitude over the one with a bad attitude.

 

7. Hide those nerves!

The next time you find yourself with a bad case of nerves, scrunch your toes, open and closed in your shoes (assuming they are close toed, of course!). This gives your body a place to release some of its nervous energy, which is really all it needs.  Easy, hey!

 

What confident when networking tips would you add?

AAlicia Cuello Confident When Networkinglicia Cuello is a professional trainer and speaker on non-verbal communication.  She is the founder of Underlying Communications, working with individuals and organisations to determine how to maximise their interactions with clients and co-workers.  She believes by applying the right body language anyone can increase the number of positive interactions they experience by being seen as safe and relevant.

 

 

>> Take control of your job hunt and get off the emotional rollercoaster with All The Secrets Of Social Job Search

 

 

School Leavers, Apprenticeships Rock!

School leavers need to know that apprenticeships rock!

apprenticeships rock AIAI’ll confess, my experience of recruiting school leavers is, ah, non existent.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that up until last Friday, I’d have avoided them like the plague. Which is definitely a reflection on me and my lack of involvement with students and not on them!

So what changed?

Well, last Friday I had the good fortune to attend AIA Worldwide’s School Leaver Psyche event, which revealed the results of research undertaken by AIA Worldwide and The Student Room from 4,475 respondents aged under 18.

 

Two great write ups of the event include:

The 5 things I gleaned from the event are:

 

You want to solve the STEM skills gap, attract school leavers & train them

With my background in tech recruitment and my knowledge of the mahoooosive shortage of techies, I found this really exciting news. We heard from an IT Apprentice’s uncensored mouth. Ed, who is currently completing his apprenticeship at Modelez, shared such natural enthusiasm for the opportunity to learn tech on the job whilst earning money.

He later confided

I have chosen to complete a foundation degree on the side, as a just-in-case fall back but really it’s pointless because what we are learning is already out of date, which of course reinforces that my apprenticeship was a smart choice.

 

Want to attract school leavers? Do this…

  • Get into the schools. The overall consensus is that Careers Advisors are doing a lousy job and that information is not reaching students. For example, 18% of students think an apprenticeship is unpaid! Try offering to help teachers with class plans or business studies; find a way to get into your local schools.
  • Peer-to-peer networking is important with kids, the more you show them the more they will pass on.
  • Persuade the parents! Parents are being heavily influenced by the Government and Media that University is the only way forward, so they need to be shown that there are other ways and why they are great too. Try using LinkedIn to target the parents.
  • And don’t forget to engage your own business leaders, the more bought they are into the process the better.

 

Give students more information

apprenticeships rock

After parents, students go to job websites, company websites, career advisors and then their teachers for advice.

One or two lines of information about the role on your careers website simply isn’t enough. Give them more. They want to know what they’ll be doing, that they will learn, grow, be challenged and be supported. Money matters too.

  • 94% want a clear job description
  • 95% admit they want help – job search tips, interview advice, FAQ and so on.
  • 53% would like ‘a day in the life of’ insight
  • 47% want to hear via social media
  • 46% want to meet you face-to-face
  • 45% want career direction

The students also sort information from Apprenticeships.org.uk and The Student Room. And I was sitting next to Chris Orthodoxou, co-founder of Class Careers, which looks great too!

 

Attract the kids on the social channels they’re on

  • 91% use YouTube daily or weekly
  • 42% use Twitter daily
  • 42% use Snapchat daily
  • 50% use Facebook & Instagram weekly
  • 28% use WhatsApp daily
  • 94% use forums at least once per month
  • 9% use LinkedIn (vs. 44% at Uni)

And don’t forget mobile.

apprenticeships rock

In fact, 51% would pick their phone over a laptop or tablet and 50% would complete an application on a mobile!!

 

2 golden nuggets to implement right now…

  1. When you’re talking to school leavers tell them the salary they can expect at the end of the apprenticeship.Ed said that he rarely heard what the final salary would be or was given a wide range like £25 – 40k. He was calculating the risk and he needed to know. He was did the maths. £9k of university fees per year + £9k in living costs = huge student debt and a potential to earn a graduate salary of £18k versus earning an apprenticeship wage whilst learning on the job, which creates no debt and leaves him earning a higher salary at the end of the 4 years than the incoming Grads.
  2. Kids of today want to work for companies who make products they want to use! Stand out, share the cool things you’re doing. Let the students hear from other apprentices, graduates, and entry level staff. Share the excitement of what you’re doing through the voice of your employees. I felt really inspired at the end of the event to have spent time with bright, enthusiastic students who were standing up for what they believed in, an apprenticeship over a degree!

 

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned recruiting school leavers?

 

 

To Blog To A Job Or Not To…

How to blog to a job!

Back in 2012, I wrote a piece for Jobsite titled Blog Your Way To A Job and as it’s National Careers Week 2014, it seems a great time to revisit it.

Blogging helps you stand out in the crowd. For example, Matthew Fryer uses his blog, QlikView Addict, to demonstrate his expertise.

 

I wouldn’t go as far as saying my blog has won contracts for me but it has certainly contributed. I’ve avoided most technical interviews because my blog has demonstrated my technical ability and experience in advance. I’ve also found complete strangers have introduced themselves to me at trade shows and events, telling me that they read my blog. That kind of exposure means work tends to find me and so I’ve done very little in the way of actively looking for my next contract.

 

How to start

I’m regularly asked, “…but how do I get started?” which is not surprising because blogging takes courage, commitment and a passion for what you’re doing.

By courage, I mean that you are putting your thoughts, beliefs and view of life down on paper (ok not paper… but you know what I mean) And people will disagree with you and that is perfectly ok. Let them. It’s ok to have an opinion as it encourages conversation. Do you want to be a leader or a sheep?

By commitment, I mean that to gain traction you need to commit to blogging regularly. This is something I have struggled with and you won’t be alone if it takes time to get into your flow. And that’s ok too. What you will find however, is that once people know you post on a certain day at a certain time, you’ll gain more readers. Readers = traction.

Passion for what you’re doing is key. If you don’t love what you’re writing about, you won’t.

Blogging is playful, it is creative. You’ll know when you’re writing something great because the words will flow and you’ll feel moved, be it in anger (like my rants) or in happiness or anything in between.

Recently I was asked a great question about blogging from someone who is really passionate about what he does and solving problems for others but hates writing. That’s ok too and I suggested he try using a vlog or creating podcasts. (Read my full reply here) Video blogs (vlog) or podcasts are a great alternative if you’re time poor too!

 

6 things I have learned about blogging

 

1. Have notepads everywhere

My ideas come to me in the strangest places and if I am out walking the dogs, I record audio notes on my phone. Perry Timms, who also has the best blogs arrive when he is in the shower, has a request for all you engineers to come up with the waterproof whiteboard! Seriously, they would sell well.

 

2. Be yourself and write for your reader

I write frankly and I always write with the intention to inform and educate my reader. I am true to my beliefs and values and I think this shows. So don’t fake it, be true to yourself and help your readers.

 

3. Give yourself space to create

Don’t be surprised if you allocate a set time to blog and then go blank. Don’t fret, simply get away from your computer. Go for a walk or a run and just think what you think. I highly recommend Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way if you’re looking to open up your creativity (…and no, I can’t draw either!)

 

4. Commit to a date and time

As mentioned, one of the hardest things for me but I decided my new habit in 2014 was to post on Tuesday’s at 10am and on Friday’s. It’s not always easy but it’s helping. You may decide once a month is enough and that’s fine too.

 

5. Use Google Alerts, Feedly & Evernote

Create a Google Alert using your key industry terms and be kept up to date on trends. And use Feedly & Evernote to keep track of blogs that you like to read. Then if you’re really stuck you can be inspired by others. N.B. I don’t mean plagiarising, I mean inspiration – people want to hear your take on a topic!

 

6. Add a commenting platform

Give people the option to comment or even disagree. That’s great, you want that. I use Disqus, here on WordPress and also on my Tumblr blog. And while writing this, just came across this post arguing the case for WordPress’ own commenting platform. Either way, do have one.

So what now? Just start!

 

If you’re a blogger, what would you add?

 

 

 

Before You Jump On The LinkedIn Publishing Bandwagon

Wait! LinkedIn publishing needs careful consideration.

So LinkedIn is opening up its publishing platform to 25,000 people and, in due course, to all of us mere mortals.

It explains why they removed your Recent Updates from the desktop version, which is the version used by the majority of recruiters. When you’re granted access, LinkedIn will display Posts published on their platform exactly where your Recent Updates used to be, hmm.

Courtesy of ReadWrite, you’ll publish content like this:

LinkedIn publishing

So 5 questions before you jump on the LinkedIn publishing bandwagon!

 

1. Who is going to see your post?

Unlike the current Influencers, your content will only be shown to your connections and subject to the usual likes and comments pushing it out further. As I’ve written before, I am yet to be convinced that many people even see your current updates.

Posts are public though, so will show if someone searches for your on Google et al. And LinkedIn state that they:

 

may also independently distribute your posts as part of aggregated LinkedIn content (e.g., “Best of LinkedIn”) beyond your network and even beyond LinkedIn (for example, on trusted partner sites).”

 

And, of course, the more engaged you are on LinkedIn the more success you’ll have, which is clearly what they’re trying to address… the 52% of members who don’t visit the site once per week (in comparison, 60% of Facebook users visit daily!).

It makes me wonder…

  • How many connections do you have?
  • Will they see your content?
  • Without Google Analytics or Jetpack, how will you know what search terms they used to find your post?

 

2. Can you commit to posting original content, consistently?

This is important.

Google doesn’t like duplicate content. So if you are already blogging, simply copying and pasting your work into LinkedIn will work against you. Blogging on your own site is important for so many reasons like SEO, Authorship etc so that must be maintained.

Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging, but it takes time and commitment. There’s nothing worse than seeing a blog showing that the last post was published in 2012… so imagine what your LinkedIn profile could look like.

  • Can you write something new for LinkedIn regularly?
  • If you get a new job, will you keep it up?

 

3. Who are your readers?

Here on The Searchologist, I know that my readers expect content on social media, recruitment, and job search. This is because they have followed a link that explained what they would hear and they’ve hung around because it’s of interest. And because I can use Google Analytics and Jetpack and tailor my writing accordingly.

But my 2112 LinkedIn connections are an eclectic mix of people built up over 8 years and I will have to think carefully about what I publish… because I don’t want people to hide me.LinkedIn publishing

And it’s easy to hide someone too…

I guess I could write mainly about job seeking and career advice but I guest write already on sites with a higher potential circulation, hmm… So:

  • Who are your connections?
  • What will they want to read?

 

4. Are you ready?

Much as I am sceptical about viewing stats, I also wouldn’t start blogging on LinkedIn. The lovely thing about starting blogging for the first time on your own site or on Tumblr, is that reader numbers will be low.

I was recently asked, “how do I get started?” and my advice was to just do it. Be yourself, be genuine, don’t worry about what people say. But, if you’re feeling unsure about how you’ll be received, use your own site to get going.

It took me a while to find my way and even today, I am always touched when people say, “I love your writing”. For 2 reasons, I bombed at English at school, seriously, and it’s so personal.

  • Do you feel confident to write on LinkedIn?
  • Will you be upset if it fails or you receive some negativity?

 

5. Can you be genuine on LinkedIn?

I encourage you all to write in your own voice, to be yourselves, to have an opinion. But if posts sit at the top of your LinkedIn profile, for any visitor to see, will you curb your tongue.

I write liberally here and I am proud of my LinkedIn endorsements for Blog Ranting… but would I hold back if I were looking for work?

If you decide LinkedIn is the place for you, you’re going to want to have an opinion so your post gains traction and is shared. But…

  • Will you be genuine or will you temper your writing to reflect a more professional appearance?

I best rant here 😉

P.S. Right now, you can share your blog posts as a personal update, add them to your Company page updates, add a Showcase page as a collective of your blog posts, and add Publications to your profile. Share blog posts in groups with caution, many group managers don’t like it and you’ll be hit by SWAM.

 

Further reading:

 

 

 

Out Of Love, Interview Disasters!

It may be Valentine’s but we’re out of interview love

The initial excitement. The racing heart. The anticipation. The rose tinted spectacles.

The bursting bubble.

The reality.

The interview disasters!

 

Kate Ball Interview DisastersWith many thanks to Kate Ball, Global Recruitment Manager at Gorkana, for the idea behind today’s post. Kate was going to start with the time when she fell over in an interview and had to be helped out of the building but this is actually more shocking… but less funny 😀

 

In a final stage interview for a large Financial Services company, a woman unexpectedly walked in 25 minutes late. Without introducing herself, she peppered me with questions without giving me long enough to even answer! When it was finally my time to ask a question, I queried them about their numerous negative remarks and reviews on Glassdoor, as I was interested to understand how they felt this impacted upon their recruiting efforts. She cut off the Head of Recruitment and said, “oh I wouldn’t worry about that, we’ve just hired a new Social Media person to make it all go away.”

When I suggested that censoring criticism may not be the most effective way to move forward she gave me a look of disgust and said, “oh you’re one of those bleeding heart liberals that thinks all opinions are valid regardless of who they belong to are you?” I left and I wouldn’t have taken that job even if they’d tripled the salary!!

 

Clare Haynes Interview Disasters

Now you’d think being asked in interview, “are you planning on breeding anytime soon?” would be the most humiliating thing Clare Haynes, Specialist People Developer at Wildfire, could have endured in interview… but no.

 

Heading for an interview in a neck-to-floor navy blue button-through dress,  when I stood on the hem at Goodge St tube station, and ALL of the buttons popped off! Cue panic and a mad dash down Tottenham Court Rd… I attended interview with 25 safety pins in place of buttons thanks to a chemist and the loo-changing room in a coffee shop! I got the job though! And learned, be early… very early!

 

Tony Melling Interview DisastersAnd now for a few from the other side of the table.

Tony Melling, Talent Attraction & Selection Advisor at Swinton Insurance and avid social recruiting blogger, shared these gems…

 

I’ve had somebody turn up stoned and slide down the chair as it went on! Another one arrived wearing mismatching shoes, intentional?! There have been a fair share of dirty suits or lunch stains on shirts. But the corker, the guy who turned up smelling of booze and then shared the paperwork for his drink driving conviction as proof of ID!

 

Vicky Jones Interview DisastersVicky Jones, freelance Marketing & Events Manager, shared a tale of woe, which could easily happen to us all, unfortunately.

 

 

A man came in for an interview for a sales job in the company I was working for, and unfortunately he’d stood in some dog poo en route. But instead of laughing or making a joke about it he just went bright red, came out in sweats and simply fell apart. Not quite the reaction you’d expect from someone presenting for a customer facing sales job. He didn’t get the job but I don’t think it was because of the poo 🙂

 

The final one, is one of my very own! I’ll confess, it took me a while to adjust to living in Britain and adopting a more, umm, British attitude to being interviewed. 

11 years ago I had a wonderful interview and right near the end it got really chilled and chatty. In fact, we were talking about the worst interview responses they’d ever heard. On hearing one in particular I replied, “oh what a w*nk.” I nearly didn’t get a 2nd interview and they really made a big deal about the fact I was granted one. But did get the job… and I’ll never swear again in interview, not even a little one! 😉

 

What’s the worst interview disaster you’ve had, on either side of the table?

 

 

>> Take control of your job hunt and get off the emotional rollercoaster with All The Secrets Of Social Job Search

 

 

Job Seekers, don’t make this mistake. And Recruiters… really?

Is this the candidate experience you want to give job seekers?

Last week the weather here in the UK was particularly vile. Hard to miss really, especially if your office is located on a business park west of London.

So imagine the candidate experience, dear Corporate Recruiter at large Telecoms provider, for your applicant to drive all the way to your offices for a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager to then find out it was just with you.

Wonder no more, here’s your missing feedback:

 

My trip to [client location] was a waste of time! 5 hours driving on a motorway under torrential rain, with 60 mph winds, only to meet 2 young lads who spent more time telling me how critical their role [as a recruiter] was than actually getting me to talk. By the time it was my turn to say anything I was totally bored and disinterested.

 

Or put another way…

  1. Don’t tell the job seeker that the interview is with the hiring manager when it isn’t! Just how many people will they tell that you’re a liar? How will the candidate experience impact your future talent attraction?
  2. Though I know how hard internal recruitment is, I don’t think your applicants care, especially after a 2.5 hour drive in horrid weather conditions. Have some respect.
  3. The bit omitted from above… save your time by asking the hiring manager what they’re actually looking for AND pass this on to your applicants via the advert and in discussion, so you’re not interviewing someone unsuited to the role.
  4. It’s 2014, do you really need to ask applicants in for a face-to-face pre-screen interview when you could use Skype or Google+ Hangout?

 

And now lovely Job Seekers, learn from this tale of woe!

  1. Grill the recruiter. It is their job to know this stuff.
  2. Ask who you will be interviewing with – get it in writing if you’re not sure you’re getting the truth.
  3. If it is simply an initial interview, explain where you live, explain the time involved, and ask if it can be conducted via Skype or a Hangout.

I know recruiters that this is blunt but the market is picking up and you want to hire the best people, right?

 

 

Networking to a job, properly

Networking to a job is an art; these will help you.

Next month I am speaking to a group of Job Seekers about online and offline networking and to ensure my ideas aren’t too, ah, direct, I’ve been doing lots of reading.

Today’s 5 simply has to include some of the great posts I’ve seen out there!

1. Mashable

mashable networking to a jobTake Your Networking to the Next Level: Build Actual Relationships. This is a great post for job seekers and makes a lot of sense.

I would add to their first point – don’t be lazy or even rude, when asking to connect on LinkedIn explain but take the time to explain why!

Read why I think it’s so important here and here. And everybody read point 2. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

 

2. adknowledge

effective networking to a job5 Strategies for Effective Networking in the Digital Age.

This post will even show you how to write a personal note in your LinkedIn invite to connect, how fabulous is that!

Points 2, on Meetups, and 3, on meeting someone new each week, are great advice as is this statement in point 5, “When networking, it’s always best to give more than you receive.”

3. Brazen Careerist

Great advice from Dorie Clark, 4 Clever Ways to Connect with Powerful People. 

There is definitely a recurring theme in these 3 posts, give before you get. And I love point 4, make yourself interesting… what do people find interesting about you? What do you simply love doing, sharing, knowing?

 

4.: Social Media Examiner

How to Network with Influential People Using Twitter from Social Media Examiner. It’s by Jason Kosarek, Digital Strategist at LyntonWeb, and is a thorough and brilliant read.

I would add to that, don’t hijack tweets. To explain, here is an example.

 

Twitter networking to a job

The reason I call this a hijack is:

  • It is broadcasting – the user in question jumped on our tweet and immediately tried to sell us something!
  • It shows lack of research – a quick look at Tim & Roman would have shown they know plenty already.

 

So what this user should have done is engaged in the conversation by answering the question, which is perfectly fine. By engaging, showing expertise, etc… we’d have been interested and then most likely looked at the user’s profile and clicked to find out more.

Now, I’m not interested …and nor it seems are Tim & Roman as they haven’t replied.

5. Forbes

networking to a jobThis is a greta post by Michael Simmon, co-founder of Empact, The One Thing You Should Do After Meeting Anyone New.

Though aimed at the entrepreneur, his words are wise for all and it’s well worth your time.

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favourite tip for networking to a job?

 

>> Take control of your job hunt and get off the emotional rollercoaster with All The Secrets Of Social Job Search

 

Beware the ubiquity of social media investigations!

How would you fair under a social media investigation?

This is a guest post by David Hunt, written from his experience job seeking.  

Job seekers beware, even non-HR People will vet you on social media!

I recently had a chat with an old high school friend, who now runs a successful oral surgery practice, and he asked how my job search was going.  After mentioning my part-time contract as a step forward, I spun off a one sentence comment about my blog, The Perils of Social Media.

He pounced.

He warned me of the dangers of having a social media presence and how that might affect my job search, particularly if I am deliberately out there like I am on my blog.

And here’s the kicker, my friend was never interested in computers in high school and  I suspect he’s still not a tech geek.  Yet even he uses social media to vet candidates.

He never ceases to be amazed by just how much inappropriate material he finds including racy pictures, smoking pot, alcohol-induced posing, and so on.social media investigations

He sends those CVs to the circular file.

Wow!

Recently I was looking at a LinkedIn profile when I noticed the profile picture of another in the ‘People Also Viewed’ box. She was a young woman, a Liaison-something-or-other, I don’t recall her title exactly, but I do recall that her exposed skin and cleavage made me question just what kind of liaisons she was involved in!

Even though the profile text revealed nothing untoward, the picture itself was so risqué I brought it to the attention of the editor of 40pluscareerguru, Neil Patrick. He replied,

 

Many younger people think that whatever’s good for Facebook is good for LinkedIn; they don’t grasp the distinction.  Nor do they grasp that social media investigations sweep up – and deliberately include – what is ostensibly “personal”… because it’s put there of a person’s own volition and thus is taken as a reflection of character.

 

So despite innumerable articles about hiring managers and HR checking people out, some people just don’t hear the message.  Two natural questions then come out:

  • Why are some people not grasping this message?
  • What can be done to make them understand this critical role of social media/internet investigation in the job search?

And to point to the other half of the equation, addressing those doing the searching:

  • How do we get them to understand that there needs to be some tolerance and “cutting of slack”, especially for younger people who have grown up immersed in this let’s-show-everything-we-do-to-the-world environment?

 

Relevant to this last question is this quote from my first article on this topic:

Hiring managers and human resources people search the internet for indications about a candidate’s personality, character, and human failings – and then are shocked and horrified to discover candidates have personalities, characters, and human failings.

 

David Hunt social media investigationDavid Hunt, PE, is a senior-level Mechanical Engineer seeking a new opportunity, ideally in medical devices or defense. He blogs at davidhuntpe.wordpress.com and tweets at @davidhuntpe, opining about Human Resources, Economics, and more, and he writes engineering case studies that demonstrate his experience, wide-ranging interests and intellectual breadth. David hopes to get people to understand that companies hire and employ people, not assets, capitals or resources.

 

New Year Resolutions!

How are your resolutions going?

That good, huh. Well the good news is you’re not alone!

resolutionsIn this fabulous post from Buffer you can read why it’s better to make a new habit than to create a vague resolution… it’s a brain thing.

My new habit is to bring you my Friday Five which will be, you guessed it, 5 things that caught my social recruiting attention during the week. Unlike this post, they’ll be centred around HR, Social Media, Recruitment & Job Search with the intent to add to your armoury of skills.

But as it’s only the second working day of the year and many of us are yet to get back to work, I’m a little off topic… 😀

 

Number 1, has to be the article above, I do love it. And thanks to my new Twitter follower @GoalsOnTrack I have the groovy software to keep my new habits on track. Definitely worth checking it out.

 

resolutionsNumber 2, If you want a better way to make a change this year, check out this blog Choose you words. Choose your life from my friend Laura Borland. What started as a random playful conversation became a wonderful adventure.

If you chose 3 words that became your anchors for the year what would they be? I’ve chosen mine and am looking forward to seeing the results.

 

 

Number 3 is included due to these words, “In the midst of my highly distracted life, I started a new practice that was quite different from the way I behaved up until that point….”  It’s a moving article by Rachel Stacy Stafford and at this ‘New Year, New You’ time definitely deserves its place.

Highly distracted, yep that’s me! So another of my new habits is to have a digital detox Saturday and focus on what matters. I expect it to be a good challenge!

 

resolutionsI bet Justin Futers, my number 4, is counting his lucky stars that he was able to see in the New Year after being hit and trapped under a car for 30 minutes and escaping with just cuts and bruises! (Photo: Solent News)

I’m a pedestrian, driver, public transport user and cyclist, and before anyone has a rant about cyclists, I think we could all do with being a little more considerate of each other. Another new habit?

 

Finally, as the decorations come down and the cold reality of January takes hold, number 5 is here to make you smile. Big thanks to Rachel Cook for sharing Mashable’s post, Tom Hiddleston vs. Benedict Cumberbatch: The Dance-Off, on LinkedIn earlier.

It made me laugh… a lot.

I hope ‘Dance like nobody is watching!’ will be one of your new habits in 2014! 🙂

 

What would 2013 have been like without others?

Life without others would be poor indeed

Doug.Shaw_Last week I received a beautiful hand made Christmas card and set of Stop Doing Dumb Things cards from Doug Shaw.

This particular card sums up my 2013, though it should really say, “people and dogs” 😉

As 2013 draws to a close, I am thankful to the many people who have been along for the ride over the year. Including friends, family, clients and connections, new and old.

2014 is already looking exciting. Quoted in Identified’s Social Recruiting Predictions & Trends for 2014 (and watch out for an upcoming interview and webinar on G+), speaking at TMA’s Social Recruiting conference in NYC in July, and social recruiting workshops planned in Australia, I already have much to be grateful for.

 

And the year is yet to begin!

So to have just been named by Work4 as a thought leader that is changing the recruitment industry is an unexpected honour. I’ve never really considered myself a thought leader, more someone who is determined to create a new path.

As an early adopter of social media, I’ve always been ahead when using it for recruitment. I saw social media as a better way for my clients to recruit and for my job seekers to connect to hiring companies. I’ve loved watching social recruiting evolve, especially over this year.

But I couldn’t have created Winning Impression alone.

Leaving the security of a pay cheque to become a solopreneur requires passion, stamina, deep rooted self-belief and a network of supporters. People who encourage and cajole, a network I feel incredibly grateful to have.

mini-miracle-jarIt would be a very long post if I were to name every person who has touched my heart and helped me this year, let alone over the last 4.

You know who you are.

I keep a note of your kindness in my bright jar. Each one is a memory, a moment, a comment or a delight that has inspired me during the year. The minute, the massive, they are all there.

On the 31st, I will read them again and I know that I’ll be incredibly moved as I look ahead to 2014!

 

 

But why ‘people and dogs’?

BanjoWell, for my non-dog-loving-think-I’m-a-little-obsessed readers, because they remind me to stop.

Nothing like a head butt from your furry mutt to remind you to do that! Or this look on the left to remind me that I’m writing this on the weekend!

But also because they ensure that I get out and appreciate life. They give me time in my day that is free of thought and enables creativity. And as we walk past unhappy commuters, they remind me just how lucky I am to do what I love.

 

 

 

As you look back over your year, who are the people (and furry ones) who have enriched your life?

As you look forward, I hope you are inspired to get your own special jar and that it fills with magic moments & memories during 2014.

 

 

Christmas, an awkward time for job seekers

Christmas is often a hard time for job seekers

awkward for job seekers When I saw this this morning, I had a good laugh.

Because to me Christmas is an awkward time… by choice.

I choose to have a Christmas that is far from the norm.

This makes me happy but also leads to some rather interesting conversations where I receive unexpected pity because people don’t understand my being ‘different’.

Sadly though, there are many having a tough Christmas this year who had no say in the matter whatsoever.

You’ll have heard of Blockbuster’s sad demise no doubt. But what about those who don’t know if they’ll have a job in 2014, including workers at Sharp, Sunderland City Council, HP and more.

 

What do you do if you’re facing redundancy?

I asked some experts for their advice.

job seekersThe last thing someone should be doing at this time of year if they’ve been redundant is spending lots of money on buying into the commerciality of Christmas. They should use this time to step back & think of what it is they’d love to do and see how they can achieve it. It’s too easy to just get back on the roller-coaster of looking for another job, without giving enough thought to what job they’d like to have, in an ideal world.

So sit back, get a blank sheet of paper & start to brainstorm as to what your future could look like. Enjoy this downtime and spend it with family & friends and recharge your batteries ready for the New Year ahead. Set a small monetary limit on gifts you buy family and friends. They’ll totally understand. You can then start to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas rather than getting caught up in the frantic commerciality of it all. – Mary Waring – Chartered Financial Planner  @MaryWaring

 

job seekersIf I was advising an employee about to be made redundant, I would strongly advise them to read carefully what the financial arrangements are and when the final date of working will be. Many people confuse consultation with dismissal and particularly if they are sent home on ‘gardening leave’ think they are not being paid. I have seen people worry themselves to death not understanding the size of the cheque to come. I would also advise them to consider signing on. Many people delay this and the gateway to a lot of benefits is via the Job Centre. While people on a ‘statutory plus’ package may not feel like signing on – anyone getting the bare minimum will be wise to do so. – Annabel Kaye – Employment Law Specialist @AnnabelKaye

P.S. Annabel’s post Has Santa got the sack for you this Christmas? is worth a read.

 

…and if you are a friend or family member something to think about.

job seekersThe ‘other half’ can present real issues for people made redundant, particularly if they are a worrier or have a scarcity view of the world, The person facing redundancy may be being nagged unrealistically, have to deal with lots of emotion when they themselves need support, be being pushed in a direction they don’t want to go, have a load of resentment heaped on them if they say ‘we can’t afford..’ or, even worse, they may find it difficult to prevent the partner spending too much! Teenagers are very unsympathetic to financial restraint too! They see it all as part of the adult plot to prevent them from having everything their friends have.

So yes the attitude and behaviour of family can make it all much harder.. or there again, can do all the reverse things and make it easier.. with great support, understanding and practical measures. – Mary Hope – Career Coach @MaryHopeCareers

 

 

May your Christmas be filled with happiness however you choose to spend it

 

 

 

Who’s viewed your LinkedIn updates? That few, huh.

Why so few LinkedIn updates views?

Ooh look a new LinkedIn feature. Overnight, Who’s Viewed Your Updates appeared in the right hand column of my Home page.

On the plus side, I can now see the stats for my LinkedIn updates and change the content I share to engage better with my audience, oops, I meant connections. That is a good thing, thank you LinkedIn.

But…. really? Are so few seeing my posts?

Take the screen shot below, that is pretty typical of a post that nobody has liked or commented on… doing the maths 172 connections saw this post  /  1958 connections x 100 = 8.78% of my connections see my posts.

You may remember in my blog Are your future recruits really on LinkedIn? that I bemoaned the loss of Signal. If job seekers no longer have the ability to search status updates for jobs, and these stats reveal how few are even seeing your updates, what’s the point of using it to share your jobs? Especially if you have a small network!

 

LinkedIn Updates

Looking at an example with engagement this time:

LinkedIn Updates

(Ah, the irony that this happens to be a post about a job seeker using a Facebook Ad to direct people to his LinkedIn profile)

Yes, the user interface is nice. You can hover and see who of your connections has liked the post (in case you missed it in your notifications) and who of your 2nd & 3rd degree connections has liked it too, which could lead to a new connection.

LinkedIn Updates

LinkedIn Updates

 

 

But even with likes and comments, only 690 people saw the post.

On a good note though, it has shown me that my connections like humour as this is the most successful of my last 18 posts:

 

LinkedIn Updates

LinkedIn Updates

But this still only reached 339 of my connections, 474 2nd level and 121 third level connections. Varied connections. People with many different areas of expertise built up over the years.

Now you can see your stats, is it proving effective to use your LinkedIn status to promote your jobs?

I would genuinely be interested in hearing what results you’re getting and whether your network is a complete mish-mash of fabulous people like mine or honed to the specific skills you recruit for.

My connections appreciate humorous LinkedIn updates, yours?

 

Update 31st May: If your LinkedIn updates are being seen by next to nobody, this is why: You bet it matters that LinkedIn updates are reset to Top

 

 

Job seekers, you posted what?!

Are you sharing too much online?

Though US centric, I’m loving this infographic from Online Paralegal Programs.

Aimed at job seeker or employee behaviour, I am sure the reverse is also true. Are you confident you’re shining online?

With Graph Search you can be found more easily so make sure your Facebook profile is locked down!

FIRED-FOR-FACEBOOK
Source: Online Paralegal Programs

 

 

>> Take control of your job hunt and get off the emotional rollercoaster with All The Secrets Of Social Job Search

 

Is it LinkedIn stalking to view a profile multiple times?

What makes it LinkedIn stalking?

The most clicked on area of LinkedIn is ‘who’s viewed your profile’ and as I love to know who has stopped by, I regularly have a peek.

And do I care if people drop by multiple times? Not really.

I’m more bothered by the people who choose anonymity but that is lessening as LinkedIn encourages non-paying members to change to ‘full exposure’ in order to see who has viewed their profile.

So I found my connection’s update intriguing.

I read an article about people who constantly view members profiles. They say it’s a form of cyber stalking. So what do you do as your next step? I mean you are not even linked into this person. Do you push it to one side or do you do more drastic measures? What would you do?

Cyber stalking, really?

If I choose to create a public LinkedIn profile then people are going to look at it and potentially the same person may look at it more than once. If I’m not connected to them then how much are they going to see anyway?

This is how you check.

Go to your LinkedIn profile and click the link as shown circled in this screenshot.

You will then see your public profile, the one that will come up on Google etc. If you’d like to limit the information available follow these steps….

Katrina Collier LinkedIn stalking

Go into Edit Profile, click the edit next to your public link (marked with a circle in the screenshot).

LinkedIn stalking

Then tick or untick as you deem relevant.

But before you do, if you are actively looking for a job or building your business wouldn’t you prefer to be found?

 

LinkedIn stalking public profile

That said, once you have connected to people they have a whole other level of visibility and that’s where I do think you should take care. Your connections can see the following information.

contact info LinkedIn stalking

 

I recommend using your business email address or a personal one you don’t use for other things and I definitely don’t think you should include your full address, full date of birth or your home telephone number.

LinkedIn cannot block people from viewing your profile so the onus is on you to reduce your shared information or even remove yourself, if it’s bothering you.

 

So is it LinkedIn stalking to view a profile over & over?

 

Lacking confidence in your interviews or meetings? Watch this!

Discover the power pose and nail those meetings!

There is so much information out there on what you should or shouldn’t do in your interviews or meetings that it is so refreshing and brilliant to come across 21 minutes and 4 seconds of pure dynamite.

I am sharing this video here because I feel it will change the lives of those who watch and implement Amy Cuddy’s advice, especially my job seekers.

 

Powerful, hey?

Please pass it on.

 

 

How To Lock Down Your Facebook Profile

Have you locked down your Facebook profile?lock down your facebook

With the regular changes to Facebook it’s easy to get confused about what is or isn’t public.

This short video will show you how to check what the public sees, how to keep things private and how to lock down your Facebook profile.

You may be surprised to find posts that aren’t just for your friends’ eyes… well I have been!

 

 

Do you lock down your Facebook profile?

 

Job Application Covering Emails

This has proved to be a popular post, so I’m giving it an overdue update!

Three years may have passed but Job seekers, I still think that your covering email is important! You’ll always hear contradictory opinions; some think they matter, some think they don’t.

Would you rather send an application without one and potentially miss an opportunity or include one and avoid jeopardising your application?

Your job application’s covering email is still your first chance to make a winning impression and it is especially important when your application is going directly to a hiring company.

As most job applications are made via a website these days, what follows is my idea of a succinct online covering email. With special thanks to Mervyn & Jobsite for the video!

 

1. Address your covering email correctly

Leave your text speak for your phone & friends! Applications starting with ‘Hi there’, ‘Dear Sirs’, ‘attached CV’, ‘Pls contact me’ etc are heading straight for the big bin in the sky. (I’ve sent two ‘Hi there’ emails to the trash today already.)

If you can see who posted the role, use their name! Start with ‘Dear First Name’ or if you wish to be more formal ‘Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Surname’ (for women, if you don’t know, use Ms).

If you do not have a name, start with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.
 

2. Start your opening line positively and avoid using I

The best one I received simply stated, ‘Please find attached my profile for consideration for the [job title] role.’

My favourite is similar, simply ‘Please find enclosed my CV in application for the [job title] as advertised on your website.’
 

Social Job Search

 

3. State briefly the skills that you have that make you a good match

I think this is where most get it wrong. You want your CV opened and read so this part needs to be short, sharp and inviting.

Point out briefly where your skills have been gained.
 

4. Add a note of how to contact

State that you welcome the opportunity to discuss your experience and make it easy for them to reach you by supplying your mobile number.
 

5. Sign off courteously

Use ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Best regards’ or, if you wish to be more formal, use ‘Yours sincerely’. You may like to include links to your (professional only) social media profiles.
 

6. Check your spelling!

…and check it again, and check it again. By hand, don’t trust spell-checker… we’ve all seen the trouble that auto-correct can get us into!

Your covering (letter) email is as important today as it has ever been, even in this world of instant communication. To ensure a positive reaction, write yours with thought and due care.

 

Grab your covering email template here.

 

Job Search Roller Coaster 2

 

I Judged Your Online Reputation!

Is your online reputation spotless?

To Google: a new verb meaning to research something via all online search engines.

Seen this advert on LinkedIn?

online reputation

They have a point, it’s quite likely that you will be Googled, whether you’re a job seeker or an employer.

The advert takes you to an online reputation manager; it appears that there is money to be made from another’s faux pas and that how you are perceived online does matter.

You’d think by now that people would realise this, right? Nope. It seems the more prevalent social media becomes the less understanding there is of the implications of writing a flippant remark.

 

Example 1.

online reputation

This was shared on LinkedIn yesterday and my first instinct was to add a comment of, “Ooh, yes please Liam!” but I thought better of it.

Why? I don’t know who will see it. I don’t know whether they’ll understand my humour. I don’t know how it will reflect on me.

So I took it over to my closed Facebook network instead…. whilst there, I saw the latest massive social media faux pas making the news!

 

Example 2.

I recommend that you take a few moments to read this brilliant post about the tweets of a young female driver [gloating] that she’d knocked a cyclist off his bike, which led to her being caught by Norwich police… even though she had closed her Twitter account!

Norwich Police tracked her down on Facebook. It’s easy too with Google Image search.

Social Media 1 : @EmmaWay20 0

Want to see dignity and an awareness of reputation? Watch this BBC clip of the cyclist Toby Hockley, Toby is clearly thinking, “watch what I say”. I respect him enormously for keeping his dignity, I’m not sure I’d have been so polite.

Besides being in trouble with the police and a viral laughing stock @EmmaWay20 has also jeopardised her future with her current employer…. all this from a flippant tweet.

 

A flippant-avoiding rule of thumb.

To avoid trouble think of everything you say as being recorded and:

1. Think! How does this status or tweet reflect on me?

2. Choose the appropriate network:

  • LinkedIn is like your work conference – and public.
  • Facebook is like being at the pub – check your settings to ensure it is private!
  • Twitter is like a cocktail party – and public.
  • Google+ is like work drinks – and public.

3. Final check, would you say it in front of your grandmother?

If you want to check your current online reputation?

1. Google yourself.
2. Set up a Google alert.
3. Set up a Twitter alert.
4. Untag yourself from any photos that may not show you at your best.

…and continue to follow the rule of thumb.

 

Have you had a social media remark backfire on you?

 

The LinkedIn Recruiter & Job Seeker Disconnect

The disconnect between recruiters and job seekers use of LinkedIn is clear

As evidenced in this infographic from PCMag.com, which confirms the LinkedIn Recruiter Job Seeker disconnect.

I’ve blogged about it before, discussing poll results that revealed that 57% of the 629 respondents primarily used LinkedIn for networking and only 14% for job seeking.

So in another attempt to narrow the gap, it’s worth pointing out  a few things.

 

3 stark facts for LinkedIn recruiters.

1.   There are 11 million British LinkedIn users so circa 2/3rds of Brit workers aren’t using it.

2.   49.5% of LinkedIn users have incomplete profiles.

3. LinkedIn delivers search results in the following way (With many thanks to Andy Headworth for sharing this last year):

  • 1st level connections – with 100% complete or nearly complete profiles, with most in-common connections & shared groups, in descending order.
  • 1st level connections – with 100% complete or nearly complete profiles, in descending order.
  • 2nd level connections – with 100% complete or nearly complete profiles, in descending order.
  • 3rd level connections – with 100% complete or nearly complete profiles, in descending order.
  • People you only share a group with – with 100% complete or nearly complete profiles, in descending order.
  • Everyone else with high profile completeness.
  • Everyone else who have low profile completeness.

I love LinkedIn and think it has many, many benefits but to recruit the best and be ahead in recruitment, you need to fish on all the social media sites available to you.

 

3 stark facts for non-LinkedIn job seekers:

1.  77% of all job openings are posted on LinkedIn and 48% are only posted there!!

2.  97% of HR & Agency recruiters are using LinkedIn to recruit.

3.  As per number 3 above – fully complete your profile, get connected and join groups.

 

2/3rds of British workers aren’t using LinkedIn. Stand out from the crowd by getting your 100% complete profile loaded up, getting connected, joining groups, and keeping an eye on the job discussions in those groups and on the paid jobs section.

linkedin recruiter job seeker disconnect

 

Do these stats resonate with your experience of LinkedIn?

 

 

Make Your LinkedIn Headline Stand Out

LinkedIn headlines matter

The choice of words makes the difference between your reading or not reading an article.

It has mere seconds to get your attention.

The last time you were choosing a newspaper or magazine to read, were you drawn to the one with the alluring picture and attention-grabbing headline?

 

Why do so few people put any thought into their LinkedIn headline?

Your LinkedIn headline is seen often too, so it is worthy of your consideration. It shows:

  • In search results… and it affects where you fall in them.
  • In the News feed of your connections and your connections’ connections.
  • In ‘Who’s Viewed My Profile’ – the most clicked area of LinkedIn.

If you’re serious about getting noticed on LinkedIn make the most of your headline.

Looking through the list of people who have viewed my profile recently, it took me 6 pages, around 120 people, to find you some that really jumped out. The majority of people have just used their job title or worse hidden their profile, partially or fully. (What a lost opportunity!)

 

Here are the ones I thought stood out.

LinkedIn headlines

Kate’s headline is curious and I feel compelled to click through and read more. The drawback is that it tells you little about her and it certainly doesn’t tell you what a talented in-house recruiter she is (…and for some excellent Employer Branding have a look at Kate & her colleagues in action!)

LinkedIn headlines

Dom is certainly telling a story and who wouldn’t be captivated by the word prosperous?

LinkedIn headlines

How about Jeremy’s? Love his use of the word supremo and I’m also drawn to the angle of and colour in his profile shot.

 

However, here’s my personal favourite:

LinkedIn Headlines

This headline stands out to me for 3 reasons:

  • Rachel has included her name in her headline so that those who are outside of her network or 3rd level non-paying members can easily see who she is. (i.e. they don’t just see Rachel C. or LinkedIn Member)
  • She has included her job title and specialties – so will appear high in the search results, especially as she also has a fully completed All Star profile.
  • Rachel has included her industry experience, giving swift insight into her strengths.

Rachel has used dashes to break up her headline but you could also use the | located above the backslash key.

This is how I use it.

LinkedIn headlines

 

May I also suggest that you avoid using “open to opportunities” or “looking for next role” and that’s because I feel it reeks of desperation. It is a difficult one, I know, and that is just my opinion.

If you’ve got a fully complete LinkedIn profile, a strong headline and are keeping active on the site, you’ll receive approaches anyway.

Final thought, and I’ve written about this before, LinkedIn is a networking tool. Are you really making the most of your opportunities if your profile is hidden or partially hidden? Does it really matter if you’ve had a look at another person’s profile and they know it?

If you decide that you’re open to connecting, new conversations and opportunity, change your visibility in your Settings, under ‘Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile’ to fully visible.

 

LinkedIn headline

 

Edit 15th May: This post has evoked some great comments over on LinkedIn, thank you everyone. Loved this gem from Darren Ledger, try out the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyser. Very useful! Thanks Darren.

 

What do you think makes a great LinkedIn headline?

 

How To Use LinkedIn Tagging

Stand out with LinkedIn tagging

Overnight the ability to tag people & companies in my LinkedIn status updates, Facebookesque style, went live, and being the social media geek that I am, I am already playing with it… you knew I would.

LinkedIn tagging

In the same way as you may on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter etc. you can attach first connections and companies to your updates.

Here are a few examples of how I have used it.

This morning I saw a photo on Facebook that I knew would appeal to several of my (pedant) LinkedIn connections so I added the photo to my board on Pinterest, this gave me a URL to use, and I then shared it on LinkedIn.

Then as I wrote my LinkedIn status I tagged my talented friend Stephen Hogg, who had initially shared it because it gives positive insight into his character, and I tagged Carole Seawart, because she is an excellent copywriter and we’ve bantered on her Facebook page before about the misuse of few and less.

 

LinkedIn tagging

(In the future Carole and I could be seen participating in a flashmob with fellow pedants correcting the “5 items or less” signs in supermarkets! Let me know if you’re in. 😉 )

 

This is my first tagged post; by tagging Viv Oyolu and linking to her Audio Byte service I was able to recommend her in real time. (I am so excited about the podcasts series we’ve just done together!) It’s then easy for my connections to find her profile or see the service.

LinkedIn tagging

Word of warning

Before you start using the tagging facility, remember:

  1. The best interaction on social media is one of sharing, supporting, and offering help.
  2. Your content now matters more than ever! Think about what you’re sharing and who you’re tagging. What does it say about you? Is it showing you or them in the best possible light?
  3. Be creative!

 

Ideas for using LinkedIn tagging in your job search

I regularly recommend that my job seeking clients use LinkedIn Today. Found at the top of your LinkedIn home page, it is a hub of news from 489 sources around the globe that you can customise to suit your needs.

Find an article that is relevant to your industry and that is topical and then go to the actual article. Does this show you in the best light? Assuming it does, add the URL into your status and tag the company you think it is relevant for.

 

LinkedIn tagging

 

In my example here, I may want AdMore Recruitment to see my experience so by sharing their blog post they feel great that I saw its value and I will stand out from the crowd. Perfect. (They’ve already thanked me on Twitter and I’m still writing this! 🙂 )

This time, I have aimed my update directly at potential companies I may want to work for.

LinkedIn tagging

 

It was easy to tag Skype and Google as they have LinkedIn company pages. Sqwiggle haven’t got that far yet so I included their Twitter handle and a hashtag because I know the guys at Sqwiggle are active tweeters.

 

So what do you think of LinkedIn tagging?

 

 

How To Manage LinkedIn Endorsements

Love ’em, hate ’em, manage your LinkedIn endorsements.

I read this post on Inc recently, Why LinkedIn Endorsements Will Vanish, and thought, “yeah, that may be true” but little else.

Then today I noticed that a brand new connection, who knows me not, had Endorsed 15 of my skills which in itself isn’t that annoying but then I looked at my profile, ugh!

manage LinkedIn endorsements

 

Though I have a few ideas, I really don’t understand why someone would endorse another connection’s skills without knowing if they possessed the talent or not but obviously it reduces their value and inspires blog posts.

As authenticity is extremely important to me and because I’ve been asked about this a few times lately… this is how you can hide your endorsements.

Under Edit Profile roll down to Skills & Expertise and click on the pencil.

manage LinkedIn endorsements

 

You’ll then be able to click the option to Manage Endorsements, simply scroll through your skills and un-tick the box next to the person who gave you the endorsement.

manage LinkedIn endorsements

 

Hit save and hey presto, all better!

manage LinkedIn endorsements

 

If you feel you strongly you may even want to drop a note to your connection to explain your reasons for hiding their endorsements.

I’m with the author of the post on Inc, Rena Shimada Siegel, if LinkedIn users continue to endorse people they don’t know they’ll lose their value and become obsolete. Which is a shame ’cause they look smart in the middle of my profile!

Do you manage LinkedIn endorsements?

 

 

 

It’s OK To Connect To LinkedIn Strangers

LinkedIn vs. Facebook for job search

I feel sFacebook vs. LinkedIno confident using LinkedIn that sometimes I forget that not everyone understands its uses until I hear of their confusion. Then I remember that others may not be as comfortable as I am connecting with a stranger. Yet, it is perfectly OK to do so, as long as you tell them why you’re wanting to connect.

Take my recent job seeker, I couldn’t understand why she was only connecting to her colleagues and then feeling frustrated at the lack of results. Then it dawned on me, I’d missed explaining a fundamental. I’d explained how to contact potential new employers and find hidden opportunities but omitted explaining the purpose of LinkedIn.

I should have explained that LinkedIn is very different to Facebook! LinkedIn was established for business networking.

 

It’s not a place to show off your holiday photos just as your personal Facebook profile isn’t a place to tout for business.  (Which I hasten to add is different from asking your friends if they know of any great job opportunities!)

Therefore LinkedIn is the place to connect to a stranger who you’d like to get to know in business… whereas doing that on Facebook would be plain creepy!

What will a stranger see if they connect to you? Pretty well the same stuff that’s on your public profile with the addition of your email address &/or phone number.

LinkedIn vs. Facebook

 

You can see your public profile by clicking edit profile & then clicking edit next to your custom URL.

What will they think of your invitation to connect if they don’t know you? It’s unlikely to be negative, if you’re explaining why you’re connecting.

In my previous post Want to connect? Then tell me why! I recommended that you always tailor your invitation to connect and the related LinkedIn poll results agreed. There were 295 votes and 86 comments, it’s clearly a touchy subject and some of the remarks are simply brilliant. Overall, people think that you should write a personalised note and that it’s perfectly acceptable to contact a stranger.

 

As a job seeker you have a choice, you can choose to sit and wait to hear the phone ring or you can take control of your job search and get networking on LinkedIn.

For example, if you are an IT Project Manager looking for a new contract, you could  look at industries that suit your experience or look for companies of the right size, and conduct a search for Programme Managers.

 

Option 1. Invite them to connect

You could then simply add them as a connection saying something like “I’m sending you an invitation to connect because I see we’re in the same field and I am very interested in project opportunities at [insert their company name]. Who would be the best person to speak to?”

Likely outcomes:

  1. You’ll be accepted as a connection and receive a reply,
  2. You’ll receive a reply pointing you in the right direction, or
  3. They’ll ignore you, hey they may be busy or not a LinkedIn aficionado like you …and hence you also try other possibilities in the company like the In-house Recruiter, HR Manager, IT Manager, Senior Project Manager etc.

 

Option 2. Ask to be introduced

If you’re uncomfortable with such a direct approach, you could ask to be introduced to them via a mutual connection or even via a connection’s connection. You receive 5 per month on a free account.

LinkedIn vs. Facebook

 

Option 3. Pay for an InMail

If you want to invest a few quid in your job search, is to send an InMail, using words along the same lines as above. The drawback is it costs money but if they don’t respond within 7 days you will be re-credited, which is a bonus. You’ll find LinkedIn InMail and paid account information under your settings, which are located in a drop down menu under your name, top right.

So remember, LinkedIn is a business networking tool. It’s all about creating opportunities. Get in there and make your own.

If you’re yet to be convinced let me know in the comments or give me a call to hear more.

 

Have a LinkedIn vs. Facebook success story to share?

 

Are Speculative Job Applications Good?

Are you sending your CV speculatively as part of your job search?

Today’s guest blogger Robert Wright, thinks speculative job applications could hinder your job search.

 

In my experience, I have found that when middle to senior management job seekers send speculative job applications it actually prevents them getting a job.

It does sound counter intuitive so here are the top 6 reasons for my thinking:

  • Speculative interviews: Your interesting CV could lead you to being interviewed for a role that does not exist, which could mean you waste your time and end up with dashed hopes.
  • The danger of generalisation: A mailshot of your standard CV and your usual covering email sent to multiple recipients will not evoke a great response. Tailored applications, highlighting your suitability and the fact that you’ve done your homework, will have a better impact.
  • Danger of ubiquity: Hiring companies like to feel special and they don’t like to see you hawking your wares everywhere.
  • Impact of failure: Time wasting speculative interviews and directionless speculative job applications are likely to leave you feeling rejected. Rejection that could undermine your confidence, hovering in a miasma of failure. Putting yourself through this is not the way to keep strong, positive and ready for action.
  • Stigma of Desperation: You may strike it lucky with your speculative job application but often it will send the message of desperation. Wanting a job too much can lead some interviewees to come across as too keen and, because they really want the job, they don’t ask probing questions, come across as lightweight and get rejected.
  • Going in blind: There is a danger that in your eagerness to circumvent the hiring process that you miss out on the vital qualification stage, your opportunity to really gauge if this is the right position for you. Act in haste and repent at leisure as they say.

 

So what should you do?

1. Speculatively prospect for opportunities

Through effective networking you will discover the hidden job opportunities in an informed and considered fashion, armed with good background knowledge, where you are able to interface with the hirer on a more equal and less desperate footing, where you can qualify and judge the opportunity to see if it’s right for you and where (if you’re really good at it) you can make the hirer come to you.

 

2. Selectively partner with a few recruitment agents

Not just any agent but one that you have formed a bond of trust with, who knows the market that you operate in, has taken the time to understand your job search requirements and can act as a useful conduit to the hiring companies.

I’m not talking about a desk-jockey who will mailshot your CV over to their top 50 clients and repeat all the mistakes I’ve highlighted above. Rather, an agent who can reliably inform you of a handful of companies, that they know well, who have vacancies they feel you’d be suited to and importantly, why they think their client is right for you!

Good hirers will have trusted third-party recruitment agents who will recognise what suitable talent looks like and inform them of its availability when it arrives on the market.  The agent can act on your behalf to ensure the hiring process is undertaken professionally, consultatively and equitably.

For example, recently my client found he was facing redundancy, so over a coffee we drew from an original list of 20, 1 company that was worth approaching because a) I knew they needed someone like my client on their board structure b) I knew the decision maker well and could go directly to them with the CV and c) we both knew the decision maker and the applicant had a mutual friend/colleague that could be used for a quick and reliable reference point. The end result was a stellar appointment to a FTSE board in a far better and bigger post than the one my client was leaving.

 

Do you agree or do you think blanket speculative applications work?

Have you networked your way to a job? Can you share a great experience of partnering with a recruiter to score a fabulous new role?

 

Robert WrightToday’s post is written by Robert Wright, a soft southern grammar school fop hiding in the North. He likes to hire interesting people for interesting companies and blogs and tweets on recruitment, job hunting, news, views and sometimes snippets of poetry. Follow him on Twitter @robmwright or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

Tell Me Why You Want To Connect On LinkedIn!

Be polite when you connect on LinkedIn!

I am a LinkedIn connection tart. I do not feel that I am being judged for the company I keep so I don’t vet too much.

However, I am not going to accept your invitation to connect without hearing your reason behind it.

connect on LinkedIn

CartoonsBySpud (with humorous intent)

 

The reputation of recruiters who use LinkedIn is getting steadily worse, and on both sides of the fence. I regularly hear complaints from people about blanket messages, group invasion and spam.

However, I am specifically focusing today’s rant on invitations to connect.

Would you walk up to a stranger in the pub and say, ‘let’s connect?’

Ok, maybe some of my bolder readers would… and I’d love to be there to see the reaction But in reality it won’t get you very far.

 

 

 

So why send blank invites?

While Twittering on the subject with Billie Graham, the Social Panda at Cranberry Panda, I heard this golden nugget:

 

It’s like a man asking you for your number… hang on you’re the one who’s interested in me, give me your number and I’ll decide if and when I want to call!

 

In fairness though, Billie did point out that the LinkedIn iPhone app does not allow you to tailor your invitation.

connect on LinkedInThis is handy if you don’t share a group and don’t want to use the friend or we’ve worked together option but it’s also poor form and won’t help your reputation.

Deciding I’d illustrate Billie’s point, I ventured into my iPhone app and scanned my “People You May Know” I just had to pick Michael Wright, how could I resist connecting with an Opportunity Broker?

Figuring clicking the “plus person” symbol would not allow me to the tailor the invitation, I went into his profile but even pressing “invite to connect” does not give you the option to tailor your connection request. Hopefully, LinkedIn will change that one day…

Pre experiment I sent Michael an inMail warning of the imminent arrival of my blank invite. This led to some lively emails and, as he is Head of Talent Acquisition at GroupM, it’s worth hearing his rule of thumb.

 

He says, ‘if:

  • I know the person and like them –> will definitely accept.
  • I know the person and feel neutral about them –> will probably accept.
  • It’s a blank invite from a recruiter in an agency, anywhere in the world –> will probably ignore
  • It’s a personalised invite from a recruiter in an agency –> will probably accept if they have made an effort.
  • If it’s a prospective candidate from a related industry –> will definitely accept, even if it’s blank and even if I don’t know the person.
  • If it’s someone from an unrelated industry just looking for a bigger network –> will ignore.
  • If it’s about winning an iPhone or related –> will report as spam.’

 

To connect on LinkedIn, add a personal touch!

…and if per chance you haven’t, and your invitee takes the time to reply asking why you want to connect, be courteous and answer them.

Do blank LinkedIn invitations annoy you too?

 

Your Personal Brand (Reputation) Matters

Do you monitor your personal brand?

personal brand

Many buzz words have appeared since the explosion of social media and one of the most popular is personal branding. When I first heard the term I pulled a face, “Personal what? Why not just call it your reputation?!”

Your personal brand is you. It is what everybody thinks of you. Online. Offline. Everywhere.

It affects everyone.

Wiki defines it as “a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands…. Further defined as the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual; this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.”

Differing in opinion with this slightly, I feel the lines between personal and professional are now so blurred that it would be foolish to see it as career specific.

Your personal brand is affected by your behaviour and your attitudes. Your offline actions can end up online but it’s often the ill thought through online actions that linger and gather momentum. That can go viral. That the press can take hold of it. That can be misconstrued publicly.

An action without thought can have big consequences.

And if you’re thinking, ‘”but I am not online.” I’d recommend reading this post But I’m not on Facebook…

 

Illustrating personal brand with Twitter

You may have heard the news that the 17 year old author of those malicious tweets, aimed at Olympian Tom Daley, has been arrested. This is a perfect real life example of personal branding going tragically wrong.

A flippant remark. A careless 140 character tweet has damaged this boy’s reputation.

How does his retraction tweet make you feel? ‘please i don’t want to be hated I’m just sorry you didn’t win i was rooting for you pal to do britain all proud just so upset.

(To my pedant readers, I really did want to correct his punctuation but, as it is all part of the impression he makes, I left it untouched.)

Yesterday, a footballer was also arrested for abusive messages sent to Tom Daley, in this instance it appears the tweeter left his phone unattended, to serious consequences.

Not that Olympians are above reproach either, a careless tweet from Voula Papachristo, cost her her dream of competing this year, and today ex-Google China head, Kaifu Lee, was forced to apologise for his emotionally fuelled post, in defense of Olympian Ye Shiwenon, published on China’s micro-blogging site Sina Weibo .

 

How to get it right:

  • As you would before you speak, think before you tweet, comment, post…
  • Don’t broadcast. You wouldn’t walk into the pub and yell, ‘Give us a job!’ or ‘Hey, I’m hiring one of these!’, so why do it online.
  • It’s OK to be controversial but think about the consequences. Can it be misconstrued? Will it cause long term damage? Is it discriminatory?
  • Be thankful, be polite, be considerate, offer helpful advice and generally add value.
  • …and don’t leave your phone unattended! 😉

 

Katie McNab, European Talent Acquisition for Pepsico, is always generous of her time and advice. She has a “be yourself” policy, and her tweets highlight her company and share insights, with a twist of humour.

 

Kerri-Ann Hargreaves, of rec-to-rec company Qui Recruitment, also gets the balance right. She offers advice, gives thanks and they even run a weekly question time called #AskQui

 

Matt Fryer, QlikView Consultant, gets the balance right by sharing articles of interest that highlight his expertise and posting very helpful blogs.

 

You’ll see from their Twitter streams that they can only be seen in a positive light because they have the right attitude.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t have an opinion… and I can hear those of you who know me well having a chuckle at that… I am simply saying, beware the permanency of online and think before you hit enter.

Do you agree or do you think I’m being melodramatic? Have you had a post backfire?

What’s the best piece of personal brand advice you use?

 

What Is Your Profile Picture Saying?

Your profile photo deserves your attention

Here’s how people look at your profile – literally, it seems I best share it!

It’s interesting talking to people about profile photos because there is such a difference of opinion over whether you should or shouldn’t include one. Personally, I like to see a photo and I encourage my clients to use one but others think that they may be leaving themselves exposed to discrimination, of some sort or another, so prefer not to.

Either way, if you’re going to use one you must think about the message you’re sending!

 

profile photoXenia Demetriou is a professional photographer running Xenia Photos and not-for-profit social enterprise Eye4Change, who aim to stimulate social change and meet the need for positive social inclusion through unique workshops that combine technical knowledge with creative expression. Xenia has taken my photo on more than one occasion so I asked her for her thoughts on profile pictures.

 

Why do you think it’s important to have a profile picture on your social media networks?

To use an old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Essentially your profile picture should be a visual representation of YOU, in a professional manner.  The profile shot is a key marketing tool that should instantly engage the viewer to want to know more!

 

What do you think makes a good profile shot?

Less is more, keep it simple in terms of background, dress appropriately for your industry, generally no t-shirts with logos that will distract and convey someone else’s message… head and shoulders shots are fine with a bit of a tilt or slight angle to avoid the mug shot look!  Might be good for passport control but not when you want to appear approachable and personable. In a nutshell, a good profile shot should echo and enhance all communications.

 

What are some of the absolute no-nos and why?

Definite no-nos are shots of you drunk at the christmas party however jolly you may appear… or a shot from your last holiday, wedding, birthday etc.  Also, group shots, even professional ones, that you have cut should also to be avoided. Fit for purpose and on purpose is what you should strive for.

 

Tell me about about your latest project Eye4Change?

Our latest project was the installation of a pop-up photo booth with professional lighting and equipment at an awards event. People were invited to picture themselves using a cable shutter release to capture authentic moments related to the theme of the event giving them the opportunity not only to be the audience but also to take part.

 

Do you think companies could use pop-up photo booths to unite & develop their teams and promote themselves as an employer of choice?

Absolutely! Not only can we empower people using technical and creative photography workshops, the money raised from the pop-up photo booth goes to a variety of charity projects that create positive social change. They’re fun, they’re liberating and they pull teams together.

 

So what do you think? Are you for or against including your photo?

 

 

profile photoUpdated 5th July 2012

I just came across this similar post on Canadian career site redcanary, Is Your LinkedIn Profile Revealing More Than Just You Assets and as it made me laugh, I just had to share it with you! Well is it?

 

 

Are We Judged For The Company We Keep?

The places I can be in when I am inspired to write a blog! Working hard during my Spinning class, a new tune started and I kept hearing the words “Get Connected”. Actually, if I’m honest, I thought the singer was saying “Get Knackered”, which seemed more apt, but on checking I was assured that it’s a song called “Get Connected” by Midnight Juggernauts.

Well anyway, it got me thinking….

Yesterday, I was speaking with job seekers at Skillscentre Bucks about using Social Media, in particular LinkedIn and Twitter, to network effectively and find hidden jobs. We were discussing the ways to “get connected” and interact appropriately when a member gave an example of being judged incorrectly because of a photo, that someone else had added, on Facebook.

Outside of work, this gentleman is a member of a professional British shooting team and the photo on Facebook was of the team after a professional event. He went into the interview and was hit with “I see you’re pro gun” and, needless to say, he was not offered the job. In my humble opinion, he was probably saved from working for a company that would not have been a good fit but when you’ve been looking for work for a while each knock back can be hard to take, whether the company is suitable or not.

 

Are we being judged by the company we keep?

company we keepI’ve heard stories of people not being offered roles due to the inappropriateness of their profile picture or losing a job because they panned the organisation online but this appears to be worse.

If I look around my connections and my friends, included are one of my best mates who loves going roo shooting (pictured), a goth, a rather pierced and tattooed aeroplane engineer and an eclectic mix of people who all add value to the world. Should I be judged that my husband sings with a German rock band who all wear monks attire?

Frankly, no.

Yet, if you did not know me you could see the pictures of all these people in my Facebook profile and pre-judge.

 

Have we taken this too far?

According to Socialized HR, “a survey, funded by Microsoft and conducted in December 2009, by Cross-tab Marketing Services, found that 70 percent of HR and recruiting professionals in the U.S. had rejected job candidates due to what they found regarding those individuals online”. On the basis of that finding, Socialized HR have actually developed a tool to make it easier for HR professionals to drill into our Social Network information. So the judging could get worse!

So what should a jobseeker do? Avoid networking altogether and miss out on a potential opportunity or network but with an awareness of what could happen?

Personally, I have found it extremely beneficial being connected to my network on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc and I would rather be on there, monitoring my reputation with the available free tools, than not.

But what do you think?

 

 

Conversation not broadcasting… huh?

Conversation leads to social media success!

Having attended many Social Media Marketing & Recruitment events I understand that social media is about conversation not broadcasting. But in this new world, of using social media in job search, do job seekers know or understand this?

The Evian Babies are a great example of the difference between Traditional Media (broadcasting) and Social Media (conversation).

This was an experiment for Evian and was designed exclusively for release on YouTube. It was hoped that cute babies doing cool moves may become a hit and would go viral by being passed on and on. The idea being that if you are sent a video recommended by a friend you will then be far more likely to watch it, watch it by choice and possibly pass it on.

The video was well liked, went viral and has entered the Guiness Book of Records as the most viewed online advertisement in history!  Just in case you weren’t one of the 45 million worldwide to have seen it….

 

So as a Twitter user how do you get your Tweets passed on, by choice, to a captive and interested audience?

Compare these two Twitter feeds

The first is an example of broadcasting. Though the hashtag has been used well in this stream the constant repetition is poor form. It appears to be fed from another site and it appears that opportunities to enter into conversation are being missed.

The second example is a great Twitter stream from Jonathan Krass, Jonathan excels at conversation on Twitter. He re-tweets, comments on articles and shows plenty of appreciation to his followers.

conversation not broadcasting

conversation not broadcasting

 

So are you standing on a street corner shouting out your message hoping someone will listen or are you entering into conversation, offering advice and assistance, and becoming known, liked and trusted?

Do you hold a conversation or broadcast?