Time to launch the career you want – using LinkedIn

A Careers Consultant colleague of mine has over 200 LinkedIn connection requests from students in her inbox while she decides what to do with them.  The delay is because, contrary to what LinkedIn recommends, most of the requests arrived without a personalised introduction – a short note explaining why the student thought the connection might be useful or how the student had become aware of the consultant. Probably because the connection requests were sent from LinkedIn’s mobile app which does not have this facility rather than its desk top version.

This was just one point highlighted by Charles Hardy of LinkedIn during a webcast on how students can use the site more effectively. LinkedIn is moving rapidly on from its misleadingly reputation as ‘Facebook for adults’.  It is becoming  a jobs and internships board, a research tool, a discussion forum for groups of all kinds, a recruitment platform for small as well as large companies and an increasingly important resource for students looking to forward their careers.

Advice for students 

Identify – Create a clear identity and when you are ‘found’ on LinkedIn make sure what is found is impressive. ‘Be found and be great’ in Charles’ words.

  • Identity. Create an identity that makes it clear who you are, what you have achieved and what your aspirations are.  Qualifications and even experience alone don’t differentiate you.
  • Be foundKeywords.  Consider the keywords you want to be found by on searches.  Especially in ‘Headline’, ‘job titles’ and skills section.  For example the ‘Headline’ phrase ‘student at Queen Mary University of London’ won’t make you stand out – nor will ‘Business Studies Student at Queen Mary, University of London’.  Consider something like, ‘Business Studies Student with accountancy, audit and client experience’.  What are the keywords used by people in the roles you aspire to?  Do a search yourself and see who is coming on top of the searches and why they might be there.
  • Be found – summary section.  The first three or four lines of this section especially are the opportunity to make your ‘elevator pitch’.  Showcase your aspirations plus a link or file in your summary.
  • Be found – skills and endorsements. Skills are super powered keywords.  While endorsements may be issued too easily having them can still help get you further up search results.  They at least testify to your networking capacity. Recommendations, on the other hand are very important. Make an effort to acquire them  – from lecturers, placement supervisors and employers because recruiters do look at them.
  • Get connected. Students should aim for breadth rather than depth at the early stages of their career.  You may not have much common ground with people in business but you should still try and build a network of connections.  You could at least connect with your tutors and it is recommended to do this from early on in your course. It won’t help with your grades but could help to keep you informed. Make sure you have an extended network by connecting with your peers, friends and family.  Your Aunt may have some fabulous connections.  Students should also join groups – this helps you become more informed about sectors and individuals working within them.  And of course once you create your profile that includes Queen Mary you automatically become a follower of the official Queen Mary University of London group
  • Aim for 100% complete profile. Fully completed, 100% profiles are 40% more likely to receive  job opportunities. Your profile is so much more than an online CV. Go beyond work experience. Consider projects you have been involved with, languages you speak  (a prized skill), voluntary work you have done. Flag up specific research you have done or even  include a video introduction –  make yourself eye catching. Consider what attachments you can include. Consider what is particularly relevant about your education  and what keywords you can include?
  • Have an appropriate photo. Charles gave us another powerful fact.  You are 7 times more likely to get a response with an appropriate photo.   

Other Tips.

Research destinations. You can find out what students  on LinkedIn from your university and course have gone on to do and possibly make a connection with them.  For example you can visit the Queen Mary University of London page, click on ‘Students and alumni’.  Scroll along the interactive graphs for ‘What They Studied’, click on the subject you are interested in and then  you can further select on criteria such as ‘where they work’ or ‘what they do’ to get a selected list of potential contacts.  You may find you are already have some connections with them or are in some of the same groups.

Manage your settings. Review your privacy and settings . There are advantages in being completely open. Not least because people are curious about who has viewed them.  However,  you may not want people to know when you have been viewing their profiles. Reviewing your settings will also allow you to cut down on the amount of emails you get from LinkedIn – by default many of their services are designed to send daily updates but you can change this.

Finally – remember when making connection requests use the desk top version because this will allow you to make personalised connection requests.

LinkedIn have also produced a guide for UK students where you can get more advice on using the service.

 

Jeff Riley

Careers Consultant, Careers and Enterprise Centre

Using social media to get hired: Part 1

Thanks to social media we now have access to more real-time news, more pictures of kittens and more information about what our random acquaintances are up to than ever before.

But social media can also be a useful tool in job searches; the trick is to engage with the various platforms in a thoughtful and organised way. You should aim to use the different networks together to create and communicate a coherent set of ideas about yourself – your ‘brand’ – to potential employers.

To find out how your brand looks at the moment, Google your name. What are the results like? How would they look to your ideal employer? Remember that many recruiters do actually Google applicants’ names.

One imaginary second-year Business Management student called Alice, who wants to work in Human Resources, does just this, and searches her name on the internet…

Facebook

The first thing Alice sees is a link to her Facebook page. Even though she’s logged out from her Facebook account and using a college computer, she can still visit the page and see a number of photos. Her potential employer could do this too. Some of the photos are from her recent holiday in Ayia Napa. What does she do?

  • She makes sure she understands how Facebook’s privacy settings work, and she sets them to hide anything she wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.
  • Then she thinks about ways of using Facebook proactively in future job searches. She joins careers groups and likes particular companies’ careers pages, so that she can see their updates and receive regular information about job opportunities.
  • In future, she can use Facebook to keep in touch with people she meets during internships or work experience.

LinkedIn

None of the search results indicate the career path Alice plans to follow, the work experience she already has or her enthusiasm for her chosen field; for this reason, her online presence is uninformative and uninspiring for potential future employers. What does she do?

  • She joins LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the most important social media network for professional purposes and it allows Alice to create a profile summarising her career experience and goals.
  • She familiarises herself with the tone and style of the discussions, posts and profiles. Then she uses it to:
  • make connections with people working in her field
  • read company pages to find information about job opportunities and
  • join groups relevant to her career interests.

Alice has now taken steps to hide anything potentially embarrassing on Facebook, and to develop her career-focused internet presence on LinkedIn. In part 2 of this post, she’ll think about how to use Twitter and blogging for career purposes.

Part 2 to follow soon…

Emily Hogg
Application Adviser
QM Careers & Enterprise Centre

 

Degree over? Job search just beginning? How LinkedIn can help you have success in the job market

If you’ve just finished your degree and started your job hunt you may be unaware of how LinkedIn can help you in your search for jobs.

A world away from the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn is a professional online social networking tool. Creating and maintaining an online profile on this site can help you market your skills and experience to employers. It will also enable you to build a professional network, opening up your access to job opportunities, events and knowledge and advice on your preferred career path.

This LinkedIn blog post highlights three ways that recent graduates can use LinkedIn to succeed in their job search.

Find out how to:

  • Make your profile stand out
  • Build a professional network
  • Get results from LinkedIn

If you would like more tips on how to get the most out of LinkedIn, search the QM Jobs Blog, or pop in to the Careers & Enterprise Centre and browse our resources.

Find employers in the industry you are interested in: how to make the most of LinkedIn

Almost everything has gone digital and that includes networking. Attending events and meeting employers in person is still a great way to make connections and find out possible job vacancies; but, when you’re not out and about you can have your online profile doing all the this on your behalf. But you’ll have to put in some work first.

Online networking etiquette

In contrast to Facebook, which is designed for you to socially interact with your friends, LinkedIn is designed for you to professionally network with employers. In essence it is an online board for you to market yourself.

With this in mind, the way that you communicate with employers via LinkedIn needs to be appropriate. When requesting an email introduction from an intermediary contact make sure that you are polite and avoid text speak. Our recent post on navigating LinkedIn is a great place to find out how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile.

Keeping your LinkedIn profile updated is essential. In a recent survey conducted by Recruitment Revolution, employers named LinkedIn as the top social network that they used to check out candidates. In the same way that you research companies before applying to them or attending an interview, employers look at your online profile to get a sense of who you are before deciding whether to employ you or not. This is why it is important to make sure that your online presence is an accurate representation of you.

Making connections: joining groups on LinkedIn

Simply having a LinkedIn profile isn’t enough, you need to connect with existing members and groups related to your employment interests. Groups vary in size and nature, large groups can offer a lot of expertise and a greater amount of contacts; whereas, smaller more specialist groups can offer better engagement between members. So it’s useful to join groups of varying types. Here are a selection of groups you may want to join:

Inside Careers Actuaries Group- Open to students, advisers and recruiters to discuss the profession and share opportunities:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4871936&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
Inside Careers also have a group for those working as or interested in Patent Attorney work http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4871964&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

TARGETjobs Graduate Jobs Feed Group- For those looking for jobs and work experience, Jackie from TARGETjobs responds to members’ queries highlighting relevant opportunities: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/TARGETjobs-Graduate-Jobs-Feed-4173022?gid=4173022&mostPopular=&trk=tyah

Social Media Marketing- With over half a million members, there’s potential to make contacts and develop your industry knowledge:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Social-Media-Marketing-66325

Materials Science Engineer- A specialist group with around 5000 members, for those wishing to discuss the sector and build a professional network:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Materials-Science-Engineer-2543530/about

Navigating LinkedIn with Grace, Poise and Productivity

LinkedIn is a great resource for networking, finding information & job hunting. You have the world at your fingertips thanks to the internet and its power is near limitless. If you know how to use it.

Job seeking on LinkedIn can be more intimidating than traditional processes. Gone are the days of skipping to the post office, CV in hand and happy in the knowledge that there is a whole wall of process between you and your future boss – you’ve now got to make connections and engage real people, just like this chap, who scored an information interview with a recruiter by being brave (and considered). It’s important to remember the social gems that will set you apart from the swell of fresh-faced former students looking for their big break. As with real life, it’s important to put your best foot forward.

Addressing the elephant in the room – how to tell people you’re looking for work.

There’s no point skirting around the issue. It’s important in your job hunt to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s equally important to remember that Rome wasn’t built via telepathy. The only way a recruiter is going to know you’re job seeking is by telling them. There is, however, a way to get your message across with dignity.

Phrase yourself well: it’s useful to know that you’re “looking for work”, but it’s even more useful to know that you’re “looking for experience in the media industry” or “seeking new opportunities in policy research”. We all know that at this stage fortune favours the flexible, so don’t tie yourself too tightly to a specific job title – references to your preferred industry or line of work is enough.  For example, looking for work in the “Media industry” is sufficiently focussed, “production assistant for Channel 5 factual programming” is too specific and “need a new job” is so vague it’s virtually useless. Also, it’s useful to remember that the synonyms button on Microsoft Word (you know the one I mean) isn’t always your friend. I’ve seen many headlines on LinkedIn that bear no resemblance to the writing style of the subsequent text underneath, and it can look false and pretentious – “exploring novel prospects in the field of arithmetic” simply sounds silly.

Keywords, keywords, keywords

Want to produce content in your new job? Use the word “content” in your profile! Want to become a laboratory technician? Again, I need to see the word laboratory (and preferably the word technician) in your profile. This goes back to my point about the absence of telepathy in recruitment methods. You may be the perfect candidate for a role, but a recruiter won’t inexplicably know your name to search you by. Having key words relating to your skills, ambitions and experience will help you to be found when recruiters search for these. Just try not to sound contrived in your construction of your profile.

Links

If you have an (appropriate) blog, why not put it on your LinkedIn? Being fresh out of university, you’re unlikely to have picked up formal work experience amongst all the lectures, bar work, pub golf sessions, etc., and self-promotion can be a beautiful thing, when done tactfully. If one of your connections is discussing East-Asian markets, why not join in with an intelligent response and a link to your blog on interning in China?

If you’re going to upset people with your websites, you need to think carefully before you make them available on LinkedIn. Your next job might be as a communications assistant in a Law Firm, and they might not take kindly reading about any less-than-legal past times, or your extended rants on the capitalist machine and how it crushes the worker’s soul.

Be a person

With all these airs and graces it can be hard to hold onto your authenticity. One of the main reasons a candidate stands out on social networks like LinkedIn is because they display something that is unlike everyone else. It sounds romantic, but your individual humanity can be a key strength in the social recruitment world. Let it shine through, but channel it appropriately. If you’re an extrovert, start conversations about relevant topics on LinkedIn, whilst remembering to moderate the tone and quantity of your opinions. If you’re highly political let recruiters see your integrity, but don’t hiss at every corporation that comes your way. The recruiter may have worked at that political think-tank you want to work at, and it won’t do to make enemies in such a highly connected world.

There are a number of websites available for you to get some tips about how to work the virtual room of LinkedIn. One of our favourites is this article. Before you post your profile, show it off to people you can trust. Show your friends, show your family, show your pets, and show us. You can come in and chat about anything careers related, and how to market yourself on LinkedIn is part of that. Give us a call – 020 7882 8533.

Job hunting – tips from employers and recruiters

Job hunting can seem to be an all-consuming challenge and it’s all too easy to lose your head when browsing job boards. However with a little bit of planning you can ensure you make the most of your time. Here are a few tips  inspired by a number of blogs written by employers and recruiters…

Do your research – this is an absolute given, but internet blogs written by recruiters are still rife with complaints that applicants either fail to grasp the concept of the role they are going for, or don’t even mention the organisation’s name in the covering letter they write for it! Remember, employers use job titles and descriptions to sell their company in the same way that you use your CV and covering letter to sell yourself. Look past the sales pitch and get to grips with what you’ll really be doing in the role. There’s no harm in asking the recruiter for more information! It’ll help your application and it will ensure you’re applying for the right role.

Be choosy – in the current careers market it seems counter-intuitive to pick and choose what you are applying for. However, applying for everything that passes under your nose means that your applications will probably be mediocre. The reality of the job hunt is that for every role, there will be a handful of excellent candidates, and a sea of average ones. Your job is to make sure you fall into the excellent category by focussing your efforts on a selection of jobs.

Be ready tell people about yourself – at any moment you could be interviewed, formally or informally. This could be at a careers fair, on an insight day, even in a pub or café! It never hurts to be ready to network. If you have a portfolio of work, be sure to know the link for people to view it off by heart, just in case the opportunity arises.

Join LinkedIn – don’t just join, but take advantage of the access you have to thousands of professionals. You know how you spend 10 minutes looking over the life story of someone you barely know on Facebook and then make no further contact with them? You can do the same on LinkedIn. Search for a job title you are interested in and look through the career histories of people who are working in that role. It’s very interesting to see how they got to where they are and can provide some great hints to maximise your job-hunting efforts.

Weigh up your ambitions – consider the possibility of moving for your job. With spiralling rents in London, many organisations are based outside the capital. The more flexible you are prepared to be in terms of location, the more options you will find available to you.

Job-hunting can be  intimidating, but with a focused attitude it’s much easier to produce brilliant applications. And remember, if you need help focusing your job search or preparing to apply for a role, you can come and see a Careers Consultant – give us a call on 020 7882 8533 or come and speak to us in Queens Building WG3.