Tag Archives: LinkedIn

How to choose the right keywords to secure your next job

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to choose the right keywords to secure your next jobApplying for a job these days usually involves sending your resume electronically, which may then be processed using an applicant tracking system. Recruiters and organisations are also increasingly using LinkedIn to recruit. This means that using keywords is an essential part of getting your application seen and demonstrating that you’re the best person for the role. Here’s how to identify the right keywords and use them effectively so you can get the job you want.

A high percentage of resumes are now scanned using applicant tracking systems (ATS), which means your resume may not even be seen by human eyes – unless it makes it through the initial round of scanning. More organisations are also using LinkedIn to find candidates. That means you need to use the right keywords in your resume, online profile and other content if you want your application to be seen.

A keyword is simply a specific word, set of words or phrase that relates to or describes a job, skill or experience. They can be general or specific – for example, ‘general manager’, ‘administrative assistant’, ‘report writing skills’ and ‘agile software development’ are keywords that a recruiter might use to search for candidates.

Regardless of the job you’re applying for, there are some common principles for selecting and using keywords effectively. Here are our top tips.

  • Your name: Use your full name and ensure your online profile is consistent with your resume and other application documents. For example, if your resume says Greg Smith but your LinkedIn profile says Gregory C Smith, you’ve made it difficult for a recruiter to connect the two. There’s no need to include your full birth name if that’s not your preferred name. While we don’t recommend using nicknames, we do advise shortening (for example, Christopher to Chris) if that’s how you’re known in the workplace.
  • Job title: Recruiters need candidates with experience that matches the role requirements. To get noticed, you should include your target job title. This doesn’t mean deceptively changing previous job titles, but simply tweaking title(s) to better describe what you did. With many of today’s organisations opting for more ‘interesting’ titles for employees, it can result in the title not necessarily articulating what you do (think ‘Director of First Impressions’ versus ‘Receptionist’). A good solution can be to use a slash to include two titles – for example, ‘Receptionist / Director of First Impressions’ or ‘Senior Administrative Assistant Executive Assistant’. This will help you get found regardless of which title is being searched.
  • Qualifications: Include relevant education, licences and certifications with the organisation that conducted the training as well as the year you completed it. Always include study you’re currently undertaking (with an estimated completion date/year). And translate difficult-to-understand qualifications (or those gained overseas) into the commonly understood equivalent. There’s no need to include high school qualifications unless you’re a recent graduate with no other training or education.
  • Skills: Include a succinct list of relevant skills and capabilities focused on those most frequently mentioned in the job ad. You should create a section in your resume called ‘Key skills and capabilities’ or similar, which could include up to 15 individual skills, if necessary. This helps a recruiter to match your strengths with the right opportunity. And it’s just as important for your online profile as your resume. According to LinkedIn, members with five or more skills listed are contacted (messaged) up to 33 times more by recruiters than other LinkedIn members, and receive up to 17 times more profile views.
  • Location: Many recruiters check your location so it’s important to include a city and state on your resume. If you’re searching for a new role in another state, you could say ‘relocating to Queensland in June’ or something similar. It’s also important to include your location on your LinkedIn profile. According to LinkedIn, more than 30% of recruiters will use advanced search based on location, so omitting it will reduce your chances of being found.
  • Industry: Be sure to use commonly used keywords in your industry, such as ‘sales’, ‘marketing’, ‘information technology’ and ‘customer service’ to describe your field and area(s) of expertise. For LinkedIn, select an industry and sub-classification from the ‘Edit Intro’ section to better define your focus.
  • Seniority: If it’s not clear from your job titles, use words such as ‘graduate’, ‘mid-level’, ‘senior’, ‘executive’ or ‘C Suite’ to show the level of seniority of past roles you’ve held or people you’ve dealt with.
  • Legislation and regulations: Many roles require an in-depth understanding of, or experience interpreting and applying, laws or regulations. If that’s the case for your role, include the names of these laws, acts, regulations and codes of conduct on your resume, including shortened and extended versions if possible. Including memberships of industry groups and specific licences can also demonstrate in-depth understanding of a specific area and provides another way to include relevant keywords.
  • Jargon: Include industry jargon and technical terms that are relevant and appropriate to your expertise and future goals. This includes acronyms, with the full description in brackets the first time they appear, so both versions are included.

When preparing your application and online profile, think like a recruiter filling the job you want. How is that job described in job ads? What skills, capabilities, qualifications and tools are required? Decide on your keywords based on the categories we’ve listed above. Then incorporate those keywords logically into your content.

Avoid madly listing or repeating keywords – this is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and applicant tracking systems can easily recognise it and may reject your application. But get your keywords right and you’ll be well on your way to your next great job.

Would you like help preparing a top-quality job application or LinkedIn profile that focuses on the right keywords? Our experienced writers can help you create a professional resume and LinkedIn profile designed to make employers sit up and take notice. To find out more, read about our Services.

 

 

How to get a professional headshot today

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to get a professional headshot todayIf you think you don’t need a professional headshot in your line of work, think again. We regularly view professional social media and other profiles that include blurry or inappropriate photos, or even no photo at all. This situation directly impacts whether or not someone decides to reach out to you.

According to LinkedIn, profiles with photos are far more likely to receive connection requests than those without. I’ve also read countless articles that point to profiles with photos being viewed up to seven times more by potential contacts or recruiters than those without a photo.

If you can’t afford a professional photographer, we’ve put together some tips on how to achieve a professional result with no budget at all:

  • Enlist a friend or family member to help who is good at taking photos – preferably someone with a camera but a late model phone will also do. Avoid taking a selfie!
  • Put on some professional attire – whatever you’d wear to work is best – and make sure you’re well groomed. We’re taking a head and shoulders shot so don’t worry too much about what you’re wearing below the waist. Make sure you wear a different colour to the background to create a good contrast. For example, if the background is white, avoid wearing a white top or shirt.
  • Find a plain background with great natural lighting – use the natural light from a window for indoor shots, however, avoid standing directly in front of a window or anything too busy. Try different rooms to see which area works best.
  • Stand just far enough away – making sure your face is level with the camera so it’s not shooting up your nose, or down from above. It should be far enough away so that your head and top of shoulders are included in the shot. You don’t want your face filling the whole frame.
  • Smile and go for it – take lots of photos so you can pick the best shot. Try to look natural, open and friendly. Smiling photos are best so as to avoid the ‘mug shot’ look. In my experience, most people hate having their photo taken so my only advice is to stand in front of that camera, look directly at it and smile – then have your friend take lots of photos.
  • Pick the best one – save it and use it for all your work-related profiles and bios.

Of course, you could also enlist a professional photographer if your budget allows for it. A good quality headshot can be used for so many situations in your professional life – your email account, email signature, LinkedIn profile photo, Twitter and Facebook photo, company bio/website, personal website or portfolio, for guest blogging or article writing. So just go for it and once you have one be sure to update it every couple of years. 

Are you interested in obtaining some career advice. If so our career advisors are experts in their field and can provide comprehensive Career Counselling. We also have experienced writers who provide professional Resume and LinkedIn Profile writing services designed for people who want to make employers sit up and take notice.

6 ways to clean up your social media

Article by Belinda Fuller

6 ways to clean up your social mediaWhile your active presentation of yourself is important to secure your dream job, the reality is that recruiters will explore your background more proactively through social media. That doesn’t mean changing everything about yourself and altering your online profile, but it does mean taking some steps to ensure it’s clean.

In a recent report on the current state of hiring in Australia, 9 out of 10 Australian hiring managers felt the need to look beyond active applicants to fill a role. 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. That means it’s essential to ensure your online presence matches what you wish to convey.

This doesn’t mean being ambiguous or vague about who you are, it doesn’t mean changing everything about yourself, and it certainly doesn’t mean deleting all records of yourself online. Conversely, while it is important to maintain a clean online profile, a positive online footprint can be an important aspect in securing your dream role. We talk a lot about consistency of message and maintaining that across all your job search tools. This includes professional online tools like your website, blogs and LinkedIn profile – but it also applies to your person 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.

Below are some quick tips that apply across all social media. While some are more relevant to certain sites than others – all can be leveraged in one way or another to help clean up your profile.

  1. Update your photo: This is particularly necessary if it is more than a couple of years old. Always go for a clear head and shoulders shot – taken against a white or plain background and not a cropped image from a social situation.
  2. Update your summary, bio or ‘about me’ section: Make it interesting and relevant, highlighting the personal or business traits you want to emphasise – and ensure it’s up to date with your latest and greatest accomplishments and interests. For LinkedIn, your professional headline automatically defaults to your most recent (or current) job title. Change this to brand yourself while adding relevant keywords to your profile. Decide what you want to be known for and make this your professional headline. For more tips on creating a great bio, read our article ‘How to write a winning bio’.
  3. Check your settings: Take some time to understand the different security and privacy settings across different sites. For example, on certain settings LinkedIn notifies connections when you’ve updated your profile. If you don’t want your employer to know you’re working on your profile – check these settings. Likewise, with Facebook and other personal social media, check your settings to maintain some level of discretion – but don’t depend on it as your security blanket because it’s not foolproof.
  4. Claim your vanity URL: A vanity URL is a custom URL address that is specifically branded for marketing purposes. Many social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Plus offer this facility. It helps users remember how to find specific pages – which means it should be easy to remember, use, and share. Often your name will be gone to someone who claimed it earlier, so we always suggest trying the best combination of your actual name rather than non-descript letters and numbers (which is what the system usually generates). Each site will have its own specific instructions on how to change this so simply search the site’s help section for instructions.
  5. Check your posts: Looking at what you’re posting and commenting on with an objective eye is really important. Think about the impression you might be giving to a potential recruiter – and be mindful of unnecessarily alienating people due to controversial beliefs or posts. If you’re not sure, ask someone you trust – preferably someone with different beliefs to you. Again it’s not about concealing who you are, but rather about being mindful of your public image.
  6. Clean up your friends lists and likes: For Facebook, this means unfollowing people or businesses that no longer interest you. Consider grouping individuals into the readymade ‘Acquaintances List’ which means they will show up less in your feeds. Review all your groups and leave if they are no longer relevant. In addition, consider ‘unliking’ pages that contain posts and/or conversations which could be seen as inappropriate. For other social media sites, a similar approach is needed – review groups, likes, follows etc. and clean them up as appropriate.

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. On a positive note, recruiters use social media to search for aspects about an individual that may demonstrate good cultural fit. Leverage your social media pages to improve your ‘online footprint’ and enhance your prospects through improved social responsibility.

Is your social media presenting the best version of you online? Would you like assistance auditing your online profile – perhaps developing a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile or bio that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors? If so please see our LinkedIn profile writing service or check out our job search coaching service.

Google your name before hitting submit

Article by Belinda Fuller

Google your name before hitting submitIf you’re searching for a new role, you should assume the recruiter will Google your name. If that’s the case – what will they find? In today’s digital age, your online presence is just as important as your formal Resume and Cover Letter. It’s a way for the recruiter to see who you really are, and the results of that search are likely to influence the outcome of your application. So what can you do to protect that view?

If you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall, wasting time sending out your Resume with no luck in securing interviews, now might be a good time to take control of your online profile. Google won’t reveal exactly how many queries it processes on a day-to-day basis but last year claimed it was ‘trillions’ – in other words at least 2 trillion! The search giant’s last ‘official’ figure was a claim in 2012 that 1.2 trillion specific searches were performed every day. With experts estimating the current figure is likely to include at least a billion specific name searches every day – that’s more than enough reason to take note of what comes up when your name is searched.

Since part of the recruitment process today will more than likely include some kind of online search, it pays to look at this aspect just as closely as you would your written material. We know that searches of social media platforms to screen job candidates before hiring them is high, but we also now believe a high proportion of employers are moving beyond social networks to perform more comprehensive searches on candidates’ entire online presence. While there are many reasons you may not secure an interview – there is no doubt that your online presence, or lack thereof, could be a contributor.

If you’ve never Googled yourself, do it now! What comes up? Here’s the fact – if an employer performs a search on you and doesn’t find something that accurately reflects your application – for example, a comprehensive and up-to-date LinkedIn profile; or worse they find something they don’t like such as a provocative or inappropriate Facebook post, the chances of you being invited in for an interview reduce. That’s why we all need to be proactive and remove and/or moderate the information you’d rather people didn’t see. This goes for information from sites you can control like Facebook but it’s also important to look at mistaken online reputation. If this is the case, ‘defensive googling’ is a way to differentiate your online presence. This involves claiming a distinctive version of your name, for example by including your middle name or initial, then using it consistently throughout all your online and other application materials.

In addition to getting rid of undesirable content and posts, you can also leverage your social media pages to improve your ‘online footprint’ and enhance your prospects. Think about what is going to make you stand out from the crowd and focus your content on positive hobbies and interests. This could mean including 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.

Ignoring your online footprint or brand these days will most likely hinder your job search efforts. Most organisations take background checks very seriously, and much of these are now performed online. Once something inappropriate is uncovered, it’s going to be difficult to recover from that – with the chances of you securing your dream role slim. To be proactive about monitoring your online presence, establish a Google alert with your name. This way, you’ll be notified via email whenever your name hits the web.

Are you applying for jobs and not hearing back? Do you think you need to audit your online presence or gain some assistance to ensure your online presence on LinkedIn is accurate and up to date? If so, click here for our LinkedIn Profile Writing or Coaching Services, or check out our Job Search Coaching Services.

 

 

 

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.

How to make a lasting first impression

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to make a lasting first impressionBuilding a network to become a valuable working asset is a key component of your future career success. So how do you turn those people you meet at industry events or conferences into strong connections that help you (and them) succeed in the future? Many people we talk to don’t have a problem meeting people – it’s the staying in touch in a meaningful way that they struggle with.

So you’ve just met a new contact at an event and you really hit it off – your like-mindedness on so many issues was surprising and refreshing. You exchange business cards or details and mention you’ll keep in touch. If you’re like most people, following that exchange, nothing much will ever come of it. Sure, if you run into them again, you’ll strike up a conversation, perhaps picking up where you left off, however in terms of creating any meaningful or long lasting relationship, following through on that initial meeting falls short.

Here’s a few quick tips on what to do to significantly expand your contacts and start to build a network that’s valuable for your career.

  • Be interesting AND interested: If you’re meeting someone for the first time and you are truly interested in learning about them – this will show. While it’s good to have something to offer in terms of advice or support, often when you meet someone for the first time professionally, simply being interested in them and what they do will have a positive and lasting impression. If you’re genuine in your interest about who they are and what they’re doing, your conversation and connection will often flow more easily.
  • Take notes: After meeting someone new, take some brief notes about your exchange and include both personal and professional information if you can. It’s a great idea to do this straight away while all those details are fresh in your mind because once life gets in the way, you won’t remember them. Store your notes anywhere that works for you – a list on your phone, in Outlook, under your phone contacts, in a purpose built database, on the back of their business card, in your diary or you could use one of the many purpose built tools out there like Evernote – whatever works best for you. You’ll be able to use that information to strike up a future conversation or reach out for a catch up when it feels right. If it feels appropriate, send them a short email thanking them for their time and mentioning how much you enjoyed the conversation. You could also suggest a future catch-up time (then set a reminder to follow up so you don’t forget).
  • Use LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the best tool for professional networking. As soon as you get back to your office, send your new connection a request to connect and include a short personalised message about your time together. Doing this makes it very easy to stay in touch in a personal but non-pressured way. You can comment or like their updates, share articles and announcements you think they might be interested in, or even send personal messages where it’s warranted.
  • Schedule a catch-up: It’s great to meet someone, get along, take notes and connect with them on LinkedIn but if you want to keep in touch and develop that relationship further – schedule a catch-up. Ideally you’d wait a couple of months before touching base. Contact could be in a variety of ways – examples include sending them a friendly email asking how they are; sharing a link to an article you think they might be interested in and suggesting you get together; specifically inviting them to meet up for coffee (don’t forget to remind them how you met and what you had in common in case they’re not as organised as you!); or use an upcoming industry event as an excuse to connect.

While networking is about meeting people, it’s also about making meaningful connections and developing lasting relationships that can help you (and them) with future career goals.

Are you interested in obtaining some career advice? If so our career advisors are experts in their field and can provide comprehensive Career Coaching. We also offer LinkedIn Profile Writing Services with experienced writers who can help you connect with like-minded industry experts and ensure your profile sets you apart from your competitors.

 

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.

 

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.

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.