Getting a job these days can be difficult. As the percentage if young people out of work continues to rise, we need to look beyond conventional methods. So can our online profile aid our job search?
I believe it can. And here’s how:
Boosting the CV with LinkedIn
A CV is a great thing. It’s a summary off our experience and a great way to showcase what we can do.
But that’s all it is. A brief showcase of our most recent experience presented in a very static way.
The benefit that LinkedIn has for the job seeker, and the employer, is that it is dynamic. Our LinkedIn profiles grow and develop as we do, so long as we use them well, and allow us to show our potential employers our skills, interests and recommendations as well as our previous employment.
So, how do we get the most out of LinkedIn?
The first thing is a full and complete profile. Unlike Facebook, this is a place to capture your business self and showcase your talents. Be sure to include all relevant employment and give full descriptions of tasks, projects and responsibilities.
Recommendations on LinkedIn are references for your work, associated to your job. They’re a great way of showing not only how your CV referees rate you but also what your colleagues and clients thought of you in that position. They give a lot more insight than your CV could.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations – they’re a great record of your value and are more easily available to potential employers than references.
The best way to get a recommendation (aside from doing well in your job) is to recommend other people. Try to get recommendations from fromof the relevant people you work with – whether you’re planning to leave or not.
Allowing potential employers to see what people think of you can really help you stand out.
Groups and Interaction
Just as you “like” Pages on Facebook, you can join groups on LinkedIn.
These groups help you in two main ways, the first being to provide you with a forum to discuss matters relevant to you and the second being to enable you to showcase your expertise and network with like minded professionals.
You should join and interact in groups which are relevant to the line of work you are in or looking to move into. Showing you are aware of current isses and generally interested in the industry will help you stand out from other candidates and also give you something to talk about in your interview.
The Benefits of Blogging
Just as interacting in groups on LinkedIn will show your interests, blogging too provides a medium through which to show your expertise, share your thoughts and communicate your personality and passion.
And your blog doesn’t need to take a lot of time; don’t feel you need to labour over it to constantly provide the most in depth analysis and revolutionary thought. Instead, see it as a way of improving your own understanding of topics whilst showing that you genuinely are interested in whatever topic (relevant to your line of work) you cover.
You can then add the URL of your blog to your CV, giving your application an extra dimension that others might not have.
Blogs give you great exposure too. You never know; your blog may br spotted by people in the industry you seek to progress in before you even send your CV which would put you in a great position before the application process even starts!
Follow and comment on the blogs of others
Following other people’s blogs and commenting on them is another way to get benefit from blogs. Try to identify the influential people in your sector and listen to what they have to say. Learn from them and provide your insight in return. Being aware of current issues and understanding them from an insiders point of view will really help you stand out.
The importance of the internet
Blogging is also a great way of showing you understand the importance of the internet in today’s business world.
No matter the sector, businesses everywhere are using or seeing the need to use the likes of social media to engage their audience and achieve their goals. By demonstrating your online prowess, you’ll be identified as someone who knows what they’re doing and who can help the company progress in the online sphere.
Networking through Twitter
Twitter is a micro blogging platform where users share updates and links and conduct conversations in 140 character messages (see my guide to Twitter for beginners to learn more).
Through Twitter, you can follow influential and interesting people in your sector. This will provide you opportunities to see what they think about things and follow the links they share.
Interacting with those people in an intelligent manner will also get you noticed and help you increase your knowledge. Retweet the tweets you find interesting and reply from time to time; that way, the person you’re following gets to learn more about you too.
Your Twitter feed can also link to your blog so every time you upload a new post, your followers will be aware, once again increasing your exposure in your industry and building up your networks.
It’s not all about business cards these days you know!
Manage your personal networks
Using social media in a job search also means managing the networks you wouldn’t class as business.
For example, if you’re anything like me your Facebook profile is full of photos of you and your friends and you wall is covered with interactions with those friends that may not portray you as the professional you want to be seen as.
Having those kinds of profiles, whether on Facebook, Google Plus or anywhere else is fine. Just be aware that any potential employer can find those pages, so spend a bit of time checking your privacy settings and seeing what other people can see. It takes a bit of time but it’s well worth the effort to ensure the perception potential employers have of you is shaped only by the things you want it to be.