LinkedIn as a Job Search Tool

linkedin-911794_960_720People are telling you to get on LinkedIn it’ll get you a job. You open a new or existing account, upload a photo of yourself, set up a profile, fill in some sections, and wait for ‘it’ to happen. And wait … and wait … and wait. So what is it you’re doing or haven’t done that needs your attention? How will your profile be found among so many?  The following steps may help.

  • Log into Linkedin and go to the menu at the top of the page
  • See your photo with Me written under it? Click on the drop down arrow
  • Go to Settings & Privacy under Accounts
  • Scroll down to Job seeking Preferences and work through each section shown there

Before you address this section make sure all other details in your LinkedIn profile are up to date and look professional. If you are using LinkedIn as a job search and networking tool, regular maintenance is essential.

Important! … Have I got your attention?

Do you know you have an additional referee to those listed on your resume? Well you do and that referee is called Google. When you apply for jobs, at some stage of the process, over 90% of recruiters and potential employers will Google your name to see what comes up. They aim to look at what you say and how you behave on social media. When clients come to a consultation with me I talk to them about this, and how it can have an adverse effect on their job search.

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their Facebook account is the belief they have set the privacy settings correctly to make their posts private. The quickest way to check this out is to do the following.

In Facebook, click on your Profile, now go to the little dots beside View Activity Log and click on View As. Go to the top of the page and you should see “This is what your profile looks like to: Public”. Now look at your posts. What do you see? What will a recruiter see? Have you shared or posted content which may potentially harm your career?

If you are now worried about what has been shared publicly and want to clean it up, go to Settings, click on Privacy and in the second section is an option to ‘Limit Past Posts’. If you click on that and select Friends, the previously public postings will now be private and no longer visible to the public. Check out all privacy settings while you are there. Repeat the process periodically to make sure nothing slips through.

Choose Referees Wisely

I took a phone call recently from a recruiter doing an applicant reference check.  I was listed as a referee on the applicant’s resume. The only trouble is I’ve not worked with the person for about ten years, and nor have I spoken to them in that time. Nothing I could say would advance the applicant going forward as I couldn’t speak to a decade of their employment, or even say they’d been working. It brings me back to what I have spoken about before in relation to referees. I can’t emphasise it enough, where possible, they need to be your most recent supervisors, and you need to maintain regular contact checking your referee details remain unchanged, and keeping them up to date with what you are doing. There are a few, but a very few exceptions.

Using Your Work Experience Reports Smartly

toolsIt’s nearly four years since I wrote a post on Tips for School Leavers Looking for Work which can be found here. If you are preparing your resume and wondering how to give it a point of difference, try re-visiting your Work Experience Reports. If you did well in your placements and received good feedback, those comments can be quoted at the top of your resume. How does that help with your job search? While potential employers are looking for aptitude they are also looking for the right attitude. Work Experience Reports can be a good source of detail about your character and personality. They may describe how well you commit to tasks, interact with others and fit in to a team. Don’t forget sporting or school awards either, but only from your time at secondary college and focus on the most recent ones.

One Risk in Using Headers

21st century resumes can be read in multiple versions of software, via e-recruitment tools, or on a range of devices. It’s important to understand then, that the use of headers in your resume, as with other formatting, needs to be managed carefully.
When I opened a resume recently there were no personal details showing, even though they showed quite clearly on the printed copy. The personal details were contained in a header on the first page and it didn’t show up when I opened the document.The question immediately arose as to how many times this had happened when opened by various tools or differing versions of software.Having not used any other headers or footers the document was lacking name and contact details, so in an environment where resumes often don’t get printed out, this document would be rendered useless on various occasions.If you want to use headers and footers on your resume, that’s fine, I would just suggest that you don’t use a header on the front page, unless you are prepared to take a risk.

White Card vs. Red Card

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Monitoring jobs ads every day as I do, you come to notice trends and changes as to which skills, tickets and licences are being most sought. One current basic requirement for individuals working in construction, whether in mining, oil and gas or civil construction, is the OHS Construction White Card. A significant number of people seeking work hold the Red Card, which, as I have checked with Work Safe, is still a valid card. Even though the Red Card is valid, I suggest to my clients that they update to the White Card, as what we are seeing is an increasing number of companies rejecting the Red Card. This is possibly due to the timeframe in which they were acquired which is now a long time ago in the world of 21st century work. Again, having checked with Work Safe, I have ascertained that if you present yourself with your Red Card, and photographic proof of identity, such as your Driver’s Licence to a Registered Training Organisation authorised to deliver the White Card qualification, for a small fee a new White Card may be issued by Work Safe if you are eligible (without the need to repeat the training).

More on Speculative Cover Letters

Given the current climate in the job market, I thought I would revisit a previous post on Speculative Cover Letters with an added suggestion to what is already there. As well as searching job advertisements for clues to what potential employers are looking for, it would also be useful to visit the website of the company you are applying to. Take a look at their values, their mission statement, how they say they operate and speak to that in your cover letter, e.g. if safety is one of their stated values and you have been part of a team that achieved a safety award, include that in your letter.