Category Archives: LinkedIn

Tis the season! Holiday job search tips

Article by Belinda Fuller

Tis The SeasonIt’s about this time of year that people begin to think it’s too late to start applying for new roles. Even if you believe you won’t be able to secure a new role between now and the new year, there are things you can (and should) be doing over the festive season to help you gain a great head start come January. Whether you’ve been at it for a while, or are just starting your job search, keep it up during the holidays.

While it may be unlikely you’ll be offered a job between now and the new year, that doesn’t mean you should cease all activity. On the contrary, using this time could pay huge dividends down the track. Here’s our top five things you can do now to help your job search in the new year:

  1. Know what you want: Go through job search sites such as Seek and LinkedIn and search for specific titles, companies, industries and keywords. Play around with combinations and open your search out to other geographical locations or industries to expand results. While the market may be quiet and you might not find exactly what you’re looking for, there’s a strong chance that some positions will be a close match to what you’re after. Read the job ads closely and get a feel for what’s required. Doing this allows you to decide what’s important to include (and just as importantly exclude) from your application – as well as determining if you have any major gaps in your capabilities.
  2. Get organised: Today’s job market is not only competitive, it’s complicated. There are many avenues to tap into – including advertised and unadvertised job markets. Getting organised will help you to more efficiently find and apply for all the positions you may be suitable for. Set up automated job searches, identify relevant recruiters, update your application materials, polish your interview skills, use LinkedIn, check your social media settings, and think about who you could be networking with. Read our previous article Winning Job Search Strategies for detailed tips on developing a structured job search strategy.
  3. Update your materials: This includes your LinkedIn profile, Resume and Cover Letter. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find suitable candidates, so it’s important to optimise your profile with keywords, so you can be found. Include comprehensive and up-to-date content, a current and professional photo, and try to complete every section. Make sure to leverage the summary section – use it to introduce yourself, provide an overview of your key skills, experience and strengths – a picture of who you are and the value you could bring to an organisation. Your Resume should also be updated and we recommend writing a customised cover letter for every job you apply for – addressing as many ‘job requirements’ as you can. Use the holidays to prepare sample letters and/or paragraphs that can easily be modified to suit specific roles as you apply. While you will have to tailor them for each position, getting these documents into shape now will make the job much easier when the time comes.
  4. Prepare for interviews: The biggest mistake you can make when searching for a new job is not preparing for the interview. Ways you can do this in the holidays include brainstorming the types of questions you might get asked and coming up with some examples that demonstrate your success. Think about examples that demonstrate strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and how you’ve handled different work situations. Having a bank of these examples will ensure you feel more confident and prepared during the stressful interview process. Read our previous article here that talks about using the STAR approach to help you formulate them for an interview.
  5. Network: Think about who you know that you can connect with now. Let your network know you are seeking new opportunities. While it may not be the best time to reach out to everyone who might be of assistance to you in your job search, that doesn’t mean you can’t get the ball rolling. Do your research, brainstorm and scroll through LinkedIn for potential people to contact, then start drafting emails that can be sent in the new year. Be mindful of people taking time off and coming back to an inbox full of emails which may get overlooked – think about your timing before sending. Remember all the different ways to connect with your network and use them – phone calls, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, face-to-face and online networking groups.

Today’s job market is competitive and complex so being organised and prepared will help ensure your success! With so many avenues to pursue, using the quieter holiday period to plan your strategy will ensure you are ready and raring to go in the new year.

Would you would like help developing a winning resume, detailed job search strategy, or professional LinkedIn profile? Perhaps you’d like to work on your interview skills? If so, please see our Resume Writing, Job Search Coaching, and Interview Training services.

12 mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn

Article by Belinda Fuller

12 Mistakes to Avoid on LinkedInWith over 7 million registered users in Australia, and more than 92 million across the Asia Pacific region, LinkedIn is definitely the number one online tool for professional networking. Whether you’re searching for a new role, seeking to make the most of the one you have, or building your professional network to identify business development or partnership opportunities, there are certain mistakes you need to avoid while using LinkedIn.

Despite the fact that LinkedIn has been around now since 2002, and is used so prolifically, there is still a lot of confusion around how to get the best out of your profile. As consultants, we are often asked why we are making certain recommendations, but the mistakes we see time and time again are all too common. LinkedIn is different from other social networks, and you can’t use the same techniques that you use elsewhere. Here are 12 things you want to avoid doing on LinkedIn.

MISTAKE # 1 – Not having a photo: LinkedIn now states that profiles with a photo are 14 times more likely to get viewed that those without. In addition, recruiters are more likely to skip over a profile in their search results if it doesn’t include a photo. So it pays to have one. It doesn’t have to be a professional shot, although it’s great if you can manage it. A simple photo of your head and shoulders taken against a white or plain background is fine. And don’t forget to smile – it’s not for a passport.

MISTAKE # 2 – Having an inappropriate photo: Just as bad as not having a photo, is having an inappropriate photo. I once had a client tell me that their photo wasn’t the best representation of them because he “was at a wedding at the time and had probably had a bit too much to drink” – really? That is not portraying your professional best. We recommend a nice shot of head and shoulders in professional attire – for some that might be a suit, for others it will be a work t-shirt.

MISTAKE # 3 – Using it Like Facebook or Twitter: LinkedIn is a professional medium. It’s meant for professional communication. Don’t post ‘what’s on your mind’ unless it relates specifically to your career goals, and don’t vent about ANYTHING on LinkedIn! Keep your posts specific and positive. Posting a link to an article that adds value to your industry is also a great idea.

MISTAKE # 4 – Lying: about anything – it’s a public forum so if you didn’t do it, don’t say you did. If you helped do something – say so. Lying on your Resume is bad, but lying on LinkedIn is even worse. It is likely you will get found out and the consequences probably just won’t be worth it.

MISTAKE # 5 – Having an incomplete profile: Having a complete profile not only helps you get found more often by recruiters, it also sends a great message about your professionalism to the people that do end up viewing your profile. If you don’t complete your profile, you’re indicating that you’re just not that serious about your career.

MISTAKE # 6 – Waiting till you need it to pay any attention: Try to use LinkedIn to connect with others when you’re comfortable in a role. Waiting until you need it (i.e. you’ve just lost your job, or had a huge argument with a superior and need to get out quick) will put pressure on the situation. If you have to connect with someone and ask for something straight away – it can be difficult. Instead, by gradually building up your contacts, learning from them and providing them with opportunities to learn from you – the relationships that you develop over time can then be more easily leveraged once you actually need them. 

MISTAKE # 7 – Having a static profile: Once you establish your LinkedIn profile, don’t forget about it! Make the effort to regularly review the content, make updates where appropriate, and share status updates and other information with your network. While you don’t have to feel pressured to provide constant updates like other social networking platforms, you do need to make some regular effort.

MISTAKE # 8 – Not including supporting information: make sure you link to blogs, websites, presentations, and projects etc. where people can learn more about you and the professional successes you’ve achieved. Anything that supports your career can be included.

MISTAKE # 9 – Not making it easy for people to contact you: inviting people to connect, contact you for advice and including information like volunteer and charity work will all help you engage with like-minded people. Make sure you provide details on how people can connect and offer to help or provide advice where you can.

MISTAKE # 10 – Not responding: As a LinkedIn user, you will receive emails and connection requests from others. Not responding in a timely manner is bad business. Likewise, making judgements about people’s motives could be a mistake. Try to treat the enquiry in the same way you would if they contacted your business through the usual channels. Don’t waste time obviously, but try not to ignore people that you initially perceive as not being able to add value.

MISTAKE # 11 – Trying to connect with random people: While you don’t have to restrict your networking efforts to people you’ve done business with, you do need to provide context if you’re sending a connection request to someone new. We recommend personalising all connection requests, so do this by providing a personal message explaining your reason for the connection request. Don’t be tempted to send out random connection requests because if too many of those people click “I don’t know this person”, LinkedIn could suspend your account.

MISTAKE # 12 – Forgetting to customise your LinkedIn URL – the automated personal URL created when you set up your profile usually includes a combination of your name with lots of letters and numbers at the end. Take advantage of the vanity URL and customise it to reflect the best version of your first and last names or your business name.

LinkedIn is a valuable professional networking tool that has a raft of features and benefits that you need to be taking advantage of in order to achieve the best results. If you’re making any of these mistakes, they’re very easy to fix – go ahead and make some changes today.

Do you have trouble networking? Are you lacking a good quality LinkedIn profile to help you find and connect with like-minded industry experts or maximise your job search? 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, please click here for our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

Facebook or LinkedIn? Which one for career development?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Facebook or LinkedIn Which One for Career DevelopmentBoth popular social networking sites designed to connect individuals online, the two represent different types of connections with different goals and objectives. LinkedIn is focused on professional networking, and is currently the highest used tool for professional networking, whereas Facebook is considered more social with a focus on personal use.

The fact is that LinkedIn was designed specifically for the global business community – to enable members to establish networks of people they know and trust professionally. Your LinkedIn page emphasises employment history, education, professional memberships and other associations. So which one should you be using for career development purposes?

Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward. While LinkedIn definitely remains the global standard for professional networking online, both sites may have a place in your career development process – particularly if you are a consultant, freelancer or run a small business. There are certainly advantages to LinkedIn that could never be as easily achieved with Facebook – the fact that LinkedIn was designed specifically for business networking makes it very easy to connect with past and present colleagues, build relationships with potential partners, find a new job, discover prospective sales leads, influence your customers, and find viable candidates for roles within your organisation. However, Facebook can also provide an ideal way to share content and build your brand, reputation, and community of interested potential customers.

In addition, it’s important to remember the reach of Facebook is far greater with an estimated global active monthly user base of 1.59 billion, compared to LinkedIn’s 100 million. That means Facebook may be more relevant in business than many people believe. Some of the ways you can tap into the professional community on Facebook include:

  • Establishing a business page to share content and drive traffic to your website or LinkedIn profile (to sell products, educate your target market, or influence buying decisions);
  • Establishing a Facebook group focused on your business and regularly sharing content;
  • Participating in existing relevant Facebook groups to connect, discuss, share content, and network with others in order to grow your professional network; and
  • Using Facebook advertising as a way to reach new customers.

Although some people have debated which one is better, we believe a LinkedIn profile carries more weight professionally than Facebook for the majority of people – however as mentioned above there is certainly a place for Facebook. Your LinkedIn profile content is focused on professional experience and qualifications with a clean, structured and organised presentation and appearance. In many situations, this makes it easier for people to quickly identify whether or not they should be working with you.

If you are seeking a new job, it’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch – according to LinkedIn, “users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.” Likewise, if you’re seeking to network with colleagues and potential business partners, LinkedIn is probably your best bet. However, if it is new customers or improved business branding you’re after, then Facebook might be the way to go.

Do you have trouble networking? Are you lacking a good quality online profile to help you find and connect with like-minded industry experts? 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, please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

 

How to generate traffic to your LinkedIn profile

Article by Belinda Fuller

10 ways to improve your LinkedIn profileIf you think LinkedIn is a place to simply copy your Resume content and connect with industry colleagues, think again. As the world’s largest professional network with more than 8 million members in Australia, it’s an essential personal branding tool. More and more people are leveraging LinkedIn to boost their online profile, develop their reputation as an industry expert and/or generate leads for their business.

Since most recruiters and many employers use LinkedIn to source candidates – it is essential that your profile can be easily found. Even if you’re not currently searching for a new role – as a professional in any industry, you need to effectively manage your online presence since it provides the first impression to people doing business with you.

A professional LinkedIn profile will support your current role, demonstrate credibility, and validate your expertise to potential customers or business associates. Also, a well-developed LinkedIn profile and vanity URL will support Google searches and help ensure your profile is returned at or near the top when people search for you.

LinkedIn certainly helps if you’re seeking a new role, but it is also essential to help you build your profile as an expert in your field, generate leads for your business, and drive traffic to your website. So how can you generate the much needed traffic to ensure you are one of the chosen few?

  • Decide on keywords and develop your LinkedIn content around these. Think about the skills and abilities you want to be known for. What will people search for when looking for someone like you?
  • Include a professional-looking photo (head and shoulders) that enables people to recognise you. Profiles with pictures are much more likely to generate traffic so don’t skip this step. No picture doesn’t instil any sense of trust or engagement from the audience – in fact many people may wonder what you’re hiding.
  • Create a custom headline and make sure to use up all 120 characters to describe what you do and the market(s) you serve. Don’t let LinkedIn default to your current title – make it descriptive, engaging and personalised to you.
  • Ensure your profile content positions you as the ideal person for the opportunity. This means being very definitive about what you offer and not trying to be ‘all things to all people’. Many people believe they may miss an opportunity if they don’t ‘cover all their bases’ however the problem we see with this approach is that you will never be the right person for anyone – because people look for experts in their field. Decide on what you want to go after and focus!
  • Prove your expertise with evidence – people love proof because, again it creates credibility and professionalism and a desire to do business with you. Evidence could include specific statements detailing what you offer, skills endorsements, recommendations from others, and links to websites, presentations and articles you have written.
  • Create a vanity URL using your full name or area of expertise.
  • Share content including articles, industry news, accomplishments, and your own articles – it takes minutes but helps you become more visible while providing opportunities for others to engage with you. Sharing your own content helps build your credibility and allows people to get to know you (and your offer) better to support their decision in working with you. According to LinkedIn, users who share content on the professional social network at least once a week are much more likely to be contacted for new opportunities than people who don’t share.

If you would like more tips on how to optimise your LinkedIn profile to position yourself in your market, increase your chances of being found and generate more traffic to uncover job opportunities, contract/freelance work and/or word of mouth referrals, our team of Professional LinkedIn Writers can help! Please see our LinkedIn profile writing service for more information.

Want the job? Audit your online profile

Article by Belinda Fuller

iStock_000018975885_SmallIn a recent report on the current state of hiring in Australia, 9 out of 10 Australian hiring managers felt the need to look beyond the active applicants to fill a role. That means it’s never been more important to make sure your online presence brands you for the job you’d like to achieve.

While your active presentation of yourself is important to secure your dream job, recruiters can now explore your background more proactively through social media, which really has changed the recruitment world forever.

There are two sides to the story though – while it is important to have a clean profile on social media, and ensure your privacy settings remain tight, a positive online footprint can be just as important in securing you your dream role. We’ve spoken before about the importance of thinking about yourself as a brand and maintaining consistency with your message throughout all your job search tools. This includes your Resume, social media profiles and other online content. A negative and unappealing presence can result in you missing out, even if you’re a great candidate in all other areas.

By exploring a person’s online activity, recruiters can determine if the face you put forward in your application is a representation of your true self. Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs and other social media can be easily accessed by recruiters and usually don’t lie. If you are expressing strong opinions or comments and sharing controversial photos or topics, this could ruin your chances of securing your dream role. For example, using social media to ‘voice’ negative feelings over situations at work, or bragging and sharing photos about questionable things you get up to at work, or worse still posting nasty comments about bosses and co-workers is a definite no no.

Perhaps more importantly though, recruiters are using social media to find the positives – searching for cultural fit through positive aspects of your life and activities. I’ve heard many stories of recruiters having two or even three equal candidates but narrowing it down to the ideal candidate based on a final review of their social media profiles. Leverage your social media pages to improve your ‘online footprint’ and enhance your prospects through improved social responsibility. Take out photos or comments that may be offensive or suggestive to others. Think about what is going to make you stand out from the crowd and focus your content on positive hobbies and interests. Make sure you include any additional interests, volunteer work or charities you support. Don’t be afraid to use positive statements as part of your social media, since it encourages yourself and others.

Social media cuts both ways. Most companies have websites, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Take some time to research the companies you are hoping to work for. Immerse yourself in their culture by following them on social media – it’s a great way to get to know the company before you get to the interview stage. You can also research current employees on LinkedIn to gain a better understanding of their backgrounds and skillsets.

Overall, it’s important to ensure your online footprint reflects the best version of you. Tidy up photos and content, and adjust privacy settings if need be. If you know someone who recruits staff, ask them to look over your social media profiles and give you feedback.

If you would like assistance auditing your online profile – perhaps developing a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors, please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service or check out our Job Search Coaching Service.

10 ways to improve your LinkedIn profile

Article by Belinda Fuller

10 ways to improve your LinkedIn profileMany people are still not convinced of the value of LinkedIn. With Australia now boasting almost 100% penetration of use amongst professionals, now is the time for those standing back to take the plunge. With almost every professional in Australia on LinkedIn, your career will certainly suffer if you continue to ignore it. This article provides quick tips to improve your profile.

For anyone in business whether you’re an employee, small or other business owner, you need to have a LinkedIn profile. There are so many benefits – the main ones focusing on the career opportunities and professional networks that LinkedIn offers. Even at a graduate level, employers are using LinkedIn to find viable candidates.  If you already have a profile, there are many very quick tweaks you can make which will improve your overall presence. Many of these tips take less than five minutes to implement but they will make all the difference to your profile. Try them today:

1.  Customise your headline: your professional headline automatically defaults to your most recent (or current) job title. Change this simply by clicking the edit button next to the headline. Editing your headline is a great way to brand yourself while adding relevant keywords to your profile. You have 120 characters so make the most of them. Decide what you want to be known for and make this your professional headline.

2.  Upload a photo: according to research, a photo makes your profile 7 – 14 times more likely to be viewed. It is the first thing people see when they are browsing, and if you don’t upload your image, the standard generic outline of a head won’t create a lasting impression! A professional shot is great, but not essential – just don’t use a cropped out photo from a social situation or an obvious ‘selfie’. Get someone to take a clear head and shoulders photo against a white or plain background – look professional and smile!

3.  Write a summary: it contributes to your LinkedIn ranking and is also one of the first things people read. Create a clear picture of you and ‘your brand’. Look forward by describing your background, experience and skills in a way that highlights your potential for the types of roles you’d like to achieve in the future.

4.  Add skills: again these help build your brand and improve your ranking – select skills that already exist in LinkedIn’s database by starting to type a skill – then LinkedIn will make relevant suggestions. List up to 50 skills and change the order by dragging them up and down.

5.  Create a “vanity URL”: LinkedIn assigns you a cumbersome, hard-to-remember default URL with a combination of your first name, last name and random numbers. By creating a vanity URL, you’ll achieve a cleaner image with the best combination of your first and last name that’s available at the time.

6.  Share content: try to do so regularly – make sure it is relevant and valuable to your network. Since each profile edit and update you share gets broadcast to your entire network, you’ll constantly be top of mind.

7.  Build your network: connecting with others helps you keep track of industry trends and news and creates more opportunities for introductions.

8.  Make your content web friendly: aim for short paragraphs and concise bullet points. To improve readability and highlight certain points, use bullets and sub-headings. Consider adjusting the order of your experience, skills, education etc. to suit your target role or industry.

9.  Achieve recommendations and endorsements: they are invaluable and certainly boost your profile’s strength and personality. Try to gain recommendations for each role and aim to include a range of superiors, clients and colleagues since this will add credibility to your personal brand.

10.  Complete your profile: aim to complete as many sections as possible to achieve an ‘All-Star’ level indicated by the strength metre at the right of your page. A complete profile will help strengthen your brand/image, increase your visibility and provide you with more networking opportunities.

If you would like assistance developing or optimising your LinkedIn Profile to help you improve your profile and stand out from the crowd, see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

How to Tap the Hidden Job Market

Article by Belinda Fuller

How.to.Tap.the.Hidden.Job.MarketWe often get asked about the hidden job market by our clients. Everyone wants to know the ins and outs of where to find it, how to leverage it and what to actually do to find their dream job. The hidden job market can be defined as all those jobs that are never actually advertised in the traditional way (such as through an online job site, via the company’s own website, or in hard copy format like a newspaper ad).

The reality these days with social media, online networking and our generally ‘connected’ world, means that companies simply don’t need to advertise every role on offer. Many companies still outsource their recruitment to specialist recruitment firms, but these firms are also now using other less traditional strategies to source candidates.

So what can you do to find this market and how do you take advantage of it? You need to be known to somebody in order to be discovered as the ideal candidate for a specific role. There are a number of ideas here to get you started – in no particular order of importance:

1. Establish a LinkedIn Profile: recruiters regularly review LinkedIn Profiles and conduct searches to find previously unknown candidates – so make sure your profile is up to date and includes relevant information and keywords, as well as a current, professional photo. Include as much detail as you can across as many sections as possible. This ensures a comprehensive view of you, as well as additional opportunities to connect with others. Use LinkedIn to research recruitment consultants and HR managers from companies you’d like to target. Join relevant groups, follow companies you’d like to work for, and connect with others in your industry. It’s not only an important job search and networking tool, but an essential resource that enables you to further develop your brand and reputation.

2. Identify Relevant Recruitment Consultants: identify recruiters that specialise in your area of expertise. Develop a great resume and cover letter and target them with your information. Make sure you include detail about the kind of value you can add to an organisation – without a job to target it can be hard to know what to focus on so make your content punchy and relevant to the types of roles you are seeking.

3. Engage in Traditional Networking: don’t ignore traditional networking in favour of social and online networking. You should still maintain contact with industry experts and others in your area – think about who you know and who you could connect with, then let them know you are seeking new opportunities. Determine different ways you could connect with people in your industry in addition to LinkedIn and use them – phone calls, emails, Facebook, face to face catch ups, relevant professional associations and groups, seminars and industry events, as well as other online networking groups etc.

4. Identify Potential Referrers: many companies prefer to recruit through existing employee recommendations. Think about specific companies you’d like to work for then research and network with others in your industry who may work there. Ask friends and family to keep an eye out for you as well, so you’re top of mind when a potential opportunity arises.

A systematic and consistent approach to staying in touch with a broader network will maximise your chance of success. Remember, there are many aspects to securing your next opportunity and if you’re finding it tough – you are not alone.

If you would like assistance from a LinkedIn Profile Writer to develop your LinkedIn Profile and help provide access to the hidden job market, please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

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

13 Mistakes to Avoid on LinkedIn

Article by Belinda Fuller

13.Mistakes.to.Avoid.on.LinkedInLinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network being used in ever increasing numbers by recruiters to source suitable candidates. With over 300 million worldwide members and 50 million across Asia Pacific, it is essential that your profile not only stands out, but that it follows the rules in terms of relevance. Your LinkedIn profile is often a recruiter’s first impression of you, but many people are still making lots of mistakes.

So what are the biggest mistakes we see?

  1. No Summary – you’ve listed your previous roles but haven’t provided a summary. This is a big mistake. The summary provides a great opportunity  to capture the reader’s attention and show them why you’re good at what you do. Don’t just repeat your Resume, create a short, sharp summary of you – start from scratch and mention the important points – the ones that matter most in helping you get to where you want to go.
  2. Not Including Enough Detail – a bare bones profile won’t cut it in today’s job market. List all your previous roles with detail about what you did. While there is no need to list every responsibility or task under each role, a brief description of the results you achieved is important. Also, LinkedIn provides sections for much more information than a Resume – take advantage of these and add information wherever applicable. Don’t forget to optimise your profile with keywords to make it easier for people to find you.
  3. Not Including a Photo – a professional profile photo will significantly improve your chances of being viewed. Since this is often the first impression people get of you, make it count. Spend the money on a professional photo if need be, but just make sure it’s a good clear shot of just you, your head and shoulders, preferably taken against a white or plain background and in professional attire.
  4. Talking in the Third Person – 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 like “I wish to apply for this position because I have blah blah….”. Writing your LinkedIn profile in the third person is not a good idea since the reader is less likely to connect with you.
  5. Being Too Formal – it’s a professional networking tool, so your profile content should be professional, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stuffy or formal. Inject some personality so the reader gets a feel for who you are as a person.
  6. Not Taking Advantage of the Headline – the content within the LinkedIn headline section defaults to your current or most recent role. BUT you can customise this to anything you like. We always recommend a customised headline – make it descriptive, use up all the characters and tell people what you’re capable of. Remember this headline (combined with your photo) provides the very first impression people have of you.
  7. Not Personalising Your Connection Messages – never just send out the standard ‘I’d like to add you……..’ message. Take the time to personalise your message to remind the person how you know them or let them know why you want to connect.
  8. Not Connecting With People – you may be amazed at just how many people you know on LinkedIn. Seek them out and connect with them and try not to wait until you need something. You should constantly build your network – adding and accepting connections from people you know professionally or personally.
  9. Not Using a Vanity URL – the automated personal URL created when you set up your profile usually includes a combination of your name with lots of letters and numbers at the end. Take advantage of the vanity URL and change it to the best version of your first and last name as possible.
  10. Using it as a Resume – your LinkedIn profile should be more personal, more intimate and less formal than your Resume. It also contains additional information that your Resume may not. It’s a great resource to apply for jobs posted through LinkedIn but should never replace your Resume. Most companies still want to review your Resume which is why your LinkedIn profile should provide slightly different content.
  11. Failing to Create a Brand – not thinking about who your target market is will diminish the value you achieve. Think about your ultimate goals for your LinkedIn profile, who you’re trying to reach or influence and what they are most interested in. How do you want to be perceived? Are you seeking employment or do you want to build connections to help your business grow?
  12. Not Using Keywords – the use of keywords right throughout your profile is essential if you want to be found by people who don’t already know your name. Think about the words and phrases that relate to you and your career and make sure you populate your profile with them – put them in your headline, summary, individual role summaries, skills and endorsements, projects – everywhere you can. Make sure your profile is optimised for people conducting searches and make those phrases count!
  13. Not Asking for Recommendations – recommendations are the modern day version of a written reference. Most of us have at least a few people in our professional world who will say good things about our work. However, you need to ask those people for a recommendation. Approach your contact with a goal in mind – so tell them what you’re after in terms of the skills or expertise you’d like them to highlight – be specific and most people will oblige. In my experience people don’t write recommendations without being asked, but if you ask the right person, they’re usually more than happy to do it.

LinkedIn is a valuable professional networking tool that has a raft of features and benefits that you need to be taking advantage of in order to achieve the best results.

Do you have trouble networking? Are you lacking a good quality LinkedIn profile to help you find and connect with like-minded industry experts or maximise your job search? If you would like a LinkedIn Profile Writer to help you create a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors, please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service.

SEO and LinkedIn – What’s it all About?

Article by Belinda Fuller

SEO.and.LinkedInExplaining SEO (search engine optimisation) to a non-tech person can be tricky. I’m not technical so I can’t really explain the in depth technicalities of it anyway! What I do know is that your LinkedIn profile needs to be optimised for search engines if you want to be found by people that don’t already know you – that’s all those recruiters, potential clients or business contacts that need your expertise. Having a keyword optimised profile can have a significant impact on your page views.

SEO with regard to LinkedIn can be defined (at a basic level) as the way(s) in which you can change your profile to affect its visibility. The higher your profile is ranked when someone searches, the more visits or views your profile is likely to receive.

To optimise your profile for SEO purposes, there are several things to consider. First and foremost, we need to consider how LinkedIn ‘ranks’. LinkedIn, like most ‘search engines’ uses proprietary algorithms to rank and order the results you receive when you search for people on the site – and these are not usually divulged. It generates relevance scores uniquely for each member, and even though a query will return the same results for everyone, the order is determined by various factors. This could include the profile content, user activity, connections, and relevance to the person searching but it is complicated. In short, there are many factors that can affect your SEO and ultimate ranking when someone searches for the skills and expertise you have. Some of these could include:

  • The number of connections you have
  • How complete your profile is
  • The relevance of your job history
  • The number and type of endorsements and recommendations you have
  • The types and quantity of ‘keywords’ you have in your profile
  • How relevant your general content is

10 tips to help your profile rank higher include:

1. Identify your keywords – these are the words that a recruiter looking for someone like you would use in their search. They can include job titles, skills, expertise, geographic area etc. but try to keep it simple and include only the most important keywords based on your specific skill set.

2. Complete your profile – fill out as many sections as you can with clear and concise information that includes the keywords identified. Try to leave as few sections as possible blank.

3. Change website links to ‘anchor text links’ – where you include a company or other website address, you can customise the ‘anchor’ or ‘search’ text to a title that makes sense. Anchor text is usually ranked highly by search engines – so your personal blog’s URL might be ‘http://www.xyz.com.au’ but you could change it to something more descriptive that contains your keywords.

4. Optimise your job titles – ensure they make sense and are optimised for the job that you did and the roles you are seeking. Including keywords in your job titles will assist. If your title doesn’t accurately reflect what you did, consider changing it so that it does.

5. Join relevant groups – and participate – this may improve your profile’s visibility, while also helping to expand your network with like minded individuals.

6. Invite people to connect – the more connections you have, the better your chance of being found – LinkedIn elevates results for connections based on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level connections. It therefore makes sense that the more people you are connected to, the wider your network and the better chance you have of being found.

7. Include detail under each job – again use your keywords to explain truthfully and accurately what you did and what you achieved. Consider using bullet points rather than paragraphs and format the text so it’s easy to read.

8. Change Your Public Profile URL – LinkedIn provides a way to change your URL to your name. Do this and it will be easier for people who know you to find you, and you can add it to your email signature, business cards and other marketing material without it looking too complex.

9. Ask for Recommendations – recommendations may help increase your ranking as well as helping potential recruiters or business partners evaluate the success and value you’ve created in past roles. Don’t be shy to ask colleagues, superiors, customers etc. for recommendations on work you have done in the past.

10. Include a Photo – make sure it is clear and high resolution and taken against a white or plain background – head and shoulders is fine in professional attire.

Follow these simple tips and start seeing your activity rise. LinkedIn provides a feature that enables you to discover who has viewed your profile in the last 90 days and also provides access to trends and insights on viewers. You can use this to monitor your success.

If you would like assistance from a professional LinkedIn Profile Writer to ensure your LinkedIn Profile is search engine optimised, click here for our LinkedIn Writing or Coaching Services.

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to Find a Job on LinkedInLinkedIn recently announced it had crossed the 50 million member threshold across the Asia Pacific region with more than 5 million members in Australia. That’s a big percentage of our population – yet we still get asked on a daily basis what LinkedIn is really all about. Would you like to make better use of LinkedIn to find a new role or boost your personal brand and/or career profile? With LinkedIn recently crossing that 50 million member mark within the Asia-Pacific region, it is becoming more important to better understand how you can use it to better your chances of securing your dream job.

1.  Get Noticed: your profile should be optimised with content in as many sections as possible. Even if you don’t voluntarily supply recruiters with your LinkedIn profile URL (which you should), most will search for and find it. It has been proven that information found online has a big influence on hiring decisions and LinkedIn is the perfect place to help you stand out from other candidates. At a minimum, include a strong headline that showcases who you are, a high quality keyword optimised summary, together with a detailed list of work experience which includes achievements and successes, courses, and any other relevant information. Make sure to personalise your profile and inject some personality because that is what will differentiate you. And contrary to what we advise for resumes, always include a current, professional photo (head shot only and preferably taken against a plain background).

2.  Get Engaged: Once you’ve addressed the basics, aim to add sections on a regular basis – look at your ‘profile strength meter’ and try to achieve (and maintain) an ‘all-star’ profile. Join groups, follow companies that interest you, use LinkedIn to research companies or people that you might be interviewing with, comment on articles, post interesting links yourself. The more engaged you are, the more value you will achieve from LinkedIn.

3.  Get in The Know: Understand how recruiters are using LinkedIn’s Talent Services, which include LinkedIn Recruiter enabling recruiters to search the membership base in a targeted way and LinkedIn Jobs where companies post job ads to automatically target relevant candidates.

While LinkedIn will regularly send you a list of advertised jobs you might be interested in, you should also make a habit of visiting the ‘Jobs Section’ to identify suitable vacancies. To do this, simply click on ‘Jobs’ in the menu at the top of your profile. You’ll then be able to search for specific titles, keywords or companies that interest you, and view a list of ‘jobs you may be interested in’. Keeping your content current and defining your specific skills and expertise well will help ensure roles are more accurately targeted towards your experience and skillset.

4.  Get Connected: Build your network by sending invitations to connect to anyone you know and trust. You can also send introductions through one of your direct connections which will help you to connect with other members who might be two or three degrees away from you. In addition, InMails are available for purchase. These are private messages you can send to members with whom you are not currently connected. You should also ask for recommendations from previous managers, clients and colleagues.

5.  Get the Word Out: We don’t usually advise sending out a blanket message to everyone in your network, but being selective about advising your network that you are seeking work is important. If possible, you could consider updating your headline or summary or even post an update stating that you are ‘seeking new opportunities’. You never know who might see that and realise you are the perfect candidate for a role they are trying to fill.

6.  Consider Upgrading to a Jobseeker Premium Account: If you’d like access to premium tools, tutorials and tips, the ability to contact key decision makers in your industry, the ability to become a ‘featured applicant’, and access to exclusive groups then you might also consider becoming a Jobseeker Premium member. For more information about that solution, you’ll need to research whether it’s relevant by clicking on ‘Upgrade’ within your LinkedIn profile.

The more complete your LinkedIn Profile, the more jobs LinkedIn will be able to suggest to you. This is a two-fold exercise, because obviously the more complete your profile, the more relevant and appealing it will also be to potential recruiters actively viewing your profile, so focus your attention here first, then start to explore the other ways you can tap into jobs within your LinkedIn network.

Are you confused about the value that LinkedIn can offer during the job search process? Not sure where to start? If so, a LinkedIn Profile Writer can help! For more information, please see our LinkedIn Writing or Coaching Services, or check out our Job Search Coaching Service.