Monthly Archives: June 2015

How to write a LinkedIn profile summary

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to write a Linkedin profile summaryIn today’s digital world, online is where many people will first meet you. They’ll form an opinion about you very quickly based on your digital profile and if you have a LinkedIn profile, that’s usually where people in business start. After seeing your photo and reading your headline, they will move onto your summary.

Your summary is probably THE most important part of your LinkedIn profile. Why? Because it’s one of the first things people read and if it doesn’t interest them they may choose not to read on and discover who you really are. Don’t just copy and paste the content from your Resume though. Instead, create a short, sharp summary of you – start from scratch and mention all the important points – and focus on the ones that matter most in helping you get to where you want to go.

Your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to capture the reader’s attention and showcase who you are and why you’re good at what you do. Follow these tips to ensure your summary is compelling:

  • Work out who your target market is: Ask yourself who you want to read your profile and what you want them to think or do? Once you’ve identified this you can start to think about the content.
  • Identify your keywords: This task requires time and effort. Think about what skills you want to be known for but also consider job titles and location. Brainstorm ideas and then hone it down to the most important. Online job postings can help you understand how recruiters are describing the jobs that you are after. This is an important step in understanding what your keywords might need to be.
  • Decide how you want it to sound: It’s your profile so own it. Think of your LinkedIn profile like a cover letter – you would usually open with a first person statement which is how we recommend LinkedIn is written. Writing in the third person can create less impact with the reader, whereas writing in the first person often evokes a stronger connection. Your summary doesn’t need to be as formal as a Resume and it should showcase some of your personality. If you’re funny you can inject some humour, but unless you’re a stand-up comic keep it professional.
  • Break up the text: Online content needs to be easy to read so break it up – with bullet points, sub-headings and white space.
  • Include ‘proof’: Information that validates who you are and why you’re good at what you do. This could include accomplishments, recommendations, awards, accolades, and/or testimonials. Anything that authenticates your expertise.
  • Specify what you do best: We recommend including a sub-heading of ‘specialties’ or ‘areas of expertise’ – these are the things you do best and should provide the reader with a good sense of what you have to offer.
  • Include a call to action: LinkedIn includes an area for contact details, however it can be hard to find. Include a way for people to contact you – personal email and / or phone details work best – and invite them to make contact.
  • Write 2000 characters: The summary has a limit of 2,000 characters so take advantage of this space to showcase yourself. Don’t forget to follow all the previous tips – break up the text, include keywords and proof and make it sound like you.

Are you lacking a good quality LinkedIn profile summary that engages your audience and clearly articulates what you have to offer? If you would like assistance writing a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors, our Professional LinkedIn Writers can help! Please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

 

10 things you should be doing while you’re unemployed

Article by Belinda Fuller

10 things you should be doing while you're unemployedMany successful clients who become unemployed don’t realise how long it can take to secure a new role. Despite indicators the job market is improving, redundancies and unemployment continue to dominate news.

Regardless of your background, or previous success, if you’re unemployed, you can feel a little lost, anxious or lacking in confidence. Even if you chose the period of unemployment by leaving a previous role voluntarily, it can still be difficult. Despite this, there are ways to feel better. Whether you’ve been searching for a new role for a while or just taking a planned break, there are many things you could be doing to boost your chances to secure that next role.

  1. Stick to a schedule: While it might be tempting to sleep in every day and while away the days reading a new book or catching up on your favourite TV series, it’s best to treat Monday to Friday like a working week. Get up at a reasonable hour, dress like you’re leaving the house (even if you don’t), and aim to complete some job search tasks every day. By all means take some time out, but sticking to a schedule is a great way to introduce some positive new habits like regular exercise or a healthier eating regime; or tend to those activities that you never had time for while working full time.
  1. Consider your future. Take this opportunity to really think about whether you are in the right career. Research your market and decide if it’s in good shape. Think about whether you could undertake study or work towards diversifying your skills to move into another area.
  1. Prepare yourself: Think about what your perfect job looks like. Research job sites and the careers sections on individual company’s websites. Meet with recruitment companies and revamp your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile or enlist a professional to prepare a resume and cover letter for you. Develop a job search strategy and start submitting applications.
  1. Think positively: When faced with challenges, we can be prone to negativity. Accept it may be a challenging period and this is a natural emotion, then try to encourage positivity by engaging in activities that help you think clearly and optimistically.
  1. Volunteer: This is an excellent way to use your extra time while helping to feel valued and more confident. It can also provide opportunities to gain valuable experience and contacts if you volunteer in an area related to your job qualifications. At the very least it will look great on your Resume since it shows initiative.
  1. Consider Contract Work: Another way to fill time between full time employment, is to find temporary work through an agency or previous work contact. Not only that, it can help you find a full time role by exposing you to new areas, helping you develop new skills, increasing your contact network, or even as a result of the temp role turning into a full time opportunity.
  1. Network. The more people you talk to, the better. If you’re not on LinkedIn, now is a great time to create a profile. Invite colleagues to connect and let them know you are seeking new opportunities.
  1. Complete a course: Decide on any certifications or courses that would contribute to your employability. Don’t forget to check out free online courses if you’re not in a position to commit to paid courses. Again, at the very least, it will help you stay busy and focused on something worthwhile, while hopefully helping to develop some new relevant job skills.
  1. Get your finances in order. Depending on your financial situation, you may need to seek financial advice or talk to your bank about loans. Do this quickly, so you have one less thing to worry about.
  1. Seek professional help. Career Consultants provide independent advice and up-to-date information on current job markets. They can help with career transition by advising how to position yourself in the market, identify job opportunities and present yourself effectively to employers. They’ll also help boost confidence and ease some of the anxiety.

There are many things you can do to keep yourself busy, improve your skills and aid your job search. Don’t forget to take some time out to treat yourself now and then and use the time off to attend to personal tasks or home projects that you often put off because you’re too busy.

Would you would like help developing a winning resume, detailed job search strategy, or update to your LinkedIn profile? Perhaps you’d like to work on your interview skills. If so, please see our Career Counselling, Professional Resume Writing Services and LinkedIn Writing services.

If you are an employer and would like to assist employees through redundancy to help them secure a new role, please see our Outplacement Services.

How to get a job with no experience

Article by Belinda Fuller

PrintWhile it is fantastic to aim high, applying for jobs you’re simply not qualified for can be counter-productive. At the moment, competition for roles seems so intense that often highly qualified candidates aren’t even getting interviews. If you would like to change careers or move into an entirely different area, it can be difficult to overcome the barrier that you have no experience. In this article, we explore some strategies for success.

It’s the old catch 22 situation – how to get a job without experience when you can’t get experience without a job. The easiest way to overcome this issue is to gain the experience you need – easier said than done huh? This problem doesn’t just affect recent graduates, it also affects immigrants, people who are changing careers, and those trying to re-enter the workforce after a period off. Most job ads specify some kind of experience required – even for entry level positions – so how can you get around this?

  • Volunteer: the best way to gain experience is through volunteering or internships (paid or unpaid), which is especially so if your career area is very competitive. Often companies offering internships will employ people that show promise at the end of their term since they know what you have to offer and you’ve proven yourself during the period you’ve worked there. Even if you have to work for free, it is important to dedicate this time even if it doesn’t result in a job offer, because now you have some experience that you can add to your resume.
  • Network: one of the best ways to get a job with no experience is through your networks. Try to network with people that you’d like to work for, and at local community, or relevant industry events. You may not land your dream job because of your networking, but it may help you get an interview or introduction that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Identify transferrable skills: it can be a challenge when you don’t have the ‘listed experience required’ but here’s where you need to think outside the square. Think about all your transferrable skills and demonstrate to the employer why they matter. You need to convince them that you’d be an asset in the role. List all the skills that might be valuable in the role you’re aiming for. Think about skills you’ve gained working in part time roles during school or university, while studying, in volunteer roles, and even during times you helped family or friends. Think about communication like writing, training people, preparing and facilitating presentations; computer skills such as proficiency with a variety of applications or operating systems (Windows / Mac), typing speed, blogging experience, digital content management, graphic design, use of spreadsheets, database skills etc.; as well as other skills such as problem solving; research and analysis; numerical; creativity etc.
  • Articulate your achievements: show the employer how valuable you are by listing all your achievements. Even in part time completely unrelated roles, you can identify things that you achieved to demonstrate your work ethic and dedication. Volunteer work will help here because you can show relevant achievements, but importantly you’re also demonstrating passion. Don’t forget formal awards such as an employee of the month or academic awards received. Even high school competitions can be included if the results were good and you’re a recent school leaver.
  • Showcase your work: if it’s a creative field you’re trying to break into, you could create a portfolio. As a writer you could start a blog or write some sample articles or content. As a graphic designer, you could create some designs to show potential employers. As a service provider, you could volunteer your services for free for family or friends and document the process and eventual outcome to include in your portfolio.
  • Revamp your resume: traditional resumes are written in chronological order with your most recent role first. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, this can be tricky – so you could consider a functional format. A functional resume focuses on skills which requires identifying and articulating those transferrable skills in order to demonstrate your capability.

Do whatever you can to get an interview and once there, nail it. Companies really value cultural fit these days so show the employer what you have to offer – make up for your lack of experience with passion and commitment. If the recruiter likes you and sees how hard you’ve worked to get there, your experience (or lack of) might just become a little less relevant.

Are you struggling to demonstrate how you can add value in roles where you have very little experience? Would you like help maximising your experience and qualifications to give yourself a better chance at your dream job? If so, please see our Resume, Cover Letter and Selection Criteria Writing or Career Counselling Services.