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LinkedIn: Tips for the Passive User

When it comes to LinkedIn, I often hear statements such as, “I have an account but I don’t know much about its use” or “can you really find jobs on there?” In February of 2015, statistics showed 3 million jobs posted on LinkedIn. The opportunity certainly exists however; it seems to be an untapped resource to many. After creating an account and adding a few job titles and skills, many are left asking, “Now what?” Here are a few ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile and become more relevant to recruiter searches.

The All-Star Profile:

To attain an optimal level of exposure on LinkedIn’s ‘Advanced People Search’ used by recruiters, it is necessary to meet the preference of its search engine optimization (SEO): profile completeness and connections. To achieve this, you must complete the following:

  • Summary
  • Profile photo
  • Industry
  • Postal code
  • Education
  • 5 Skills
  • 3 Job titles (1 current position with description and 2 previous)
  • A minimum of 50 connections

Resume writing and self profiles can be daunting. Some find it difficult to write about themselves. Where do you start?  I find it best to think of yourself as a product. Create a brand that represents your unique skills and knowledge and use this for the basis of your profile.

Your Headline:

Capture your target employer with a unique branding statement. For example, “Jane Doe: Reducing turnover by 70% using recruitment strategies, employee engagement and compensation management” is more effective than “Jane Doe: HR Generalist”. Use this formula as a guide: (accomplishment) using (skill 1) + (skill 2) + (skill 3).

If you are currently job hunting, while it may seem ideal to state “looking for new opportunities”, this fails to feature your main attributes. If a company selling cars used “looking for consumers” as its tagline, would you be interested in purchasing? Toot your own horn. Tell us what you do and how.

Your Summary:

Expand on your headline by summarizing aspects such as career highlights, accomplishments, certifications and industry preference. Think of this as a brochure featuring the bells and whistles that set you apart from your competitors. List your core competencies using keywords specific to your target industry in bullet style form for easy reading.

Remember to let others know how they can contact you. This is critical since only your first degree connections are able to see your contact information. Include an email address or phone number and a line stating that you open to discussing new opportunities if applicable.

Your Profile Photo:

Many a profile are without a photo, which is limiting because having one increases your credibility, forms a personal logo, aids consistency with other forms of social media and makes you 14 times more likely to be viewed. Ensure that your photo illustrates your best professional self. Choose work-appropriate attire, a business-like pose and have the photo taken by someone else in good lighting. Selfies excluded.

Building Your Network:

Although the All-Star profile strength requires only 50 connections, great power is in the numbers. A greater sized network increases your ability to find people, information, and jobs and in turn and increases the likelihood of others finding you. Recruiters receive numerous search results when looking for candidates; to avoid becoming invisible on those double digit pages, forge connections to work your way to the top of the ranks. Easier said than done some may say. To grow a small network and increase your reach, use these tips:

  • Join groups popular within your industry and companies you wish to work for. This will connect you with like minded individuals to begin conversation. Also, start or participate in discussions. Be seen and be heard. Recruiters and hiring managers will take notice when you frequently appear on their newsfeed with meaningful contributions.
  • Make friends with a LION

LIONS, (an acronym for “LinkedIn Open Networkers”) have thousands of connections. Once you are connected with one, you can connect with anyone on their list as a second-degree relationship. Then, connect with a second-degree contact and their list now becomes…well, you see where I am going. This is a great way to expand your network if you are new with few connections.

Pauline Rampersaud is a Human Resources professional working in Toronto and has 5 years experience in a predominantly generalist capacity. Pauline enjoys learning of the latest industry trends to promote continually professional growth and innovative ideas. This is her first blog posting with hopes of becoming a regular contributor.

The Value of Mentorship

“One good mentor could be more informative than a college education and more valuable than a decades income.” – unknown

I have been in the human resources field for over eight years.  I have found that the last four years of my career I have been the most confident, productive and creative compared to when I started my career.  When I look at what has changed for me over the last four years, the answer is very evident…mentorship. Over the last few years I have partnered with three individuals (one specifically in my industry, a community leader and a leader from outside my industry) who have offered their time, knowledge and support to help me grow professionally and personally.

Below are 3 types of mentors you should seek out and the benefits to each:

Industry Leader – Having a mentor in my field who understands the day-to-day challenges associated with it is invaluable.  Someone who has been in my shoes, has learned the challenges of the industry and can offer guidance on how to get to the next step in my career has been a valuable resource to me. A mentor from the same field of work is important as they understand and can relate to the day-to-day challenges that you are going through.

Community Leader – I am currently in a leadership role in my organization, but being a leader to me extends outside of the workplace.  Having someone in the community who is knowledgeable and connected has really helped open my eyes to the strengths, challenges and potential in my local community.  Having a mentor that is a community leader has given me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and has encouraged me to get more involved and make a difference in the community in which I live and work.

External Leader– It is great to have an opportunity to share challenges and ideas with someone not familiar with your industry or company as they typically provide an honest and unbiased perspective. Having a mentor that is a leader outside of my industry, has provided me with a different approach to situations and an alternative point of view to scenarios that arise in my daily interactions with employees and customers.  It also has given me the opportunity to understand how other companies operate and bring different approaches back to my workplace and team.

Mentorship is not a title to be taken lightly.  It is a process and with that comes a lot of time, work, understanding and challenges. Finding the right mentor for me has helped guide me on my career path and will continue to push me to achieve the success I am striving for.

Jennifer Charron is the Director of Recruitment Services at Lucas Professional Search Group.  She oversees the team of recruiters in Windsor, London and Kitchener. She is an active member of the Windsor community participating in multiple Chamber of Commerce events, Junior Achievement, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Jewish National Fund.

 

Futureproofing the HR function

Are HR hiring managers creating future skills shortages by failing to provide entry-level positions for new graduates?

Almost half of the HR managers surveyed for the Hays Canada 2016 Salary Guide said they were experiencing at least a moderate skills shortage. This is interesting because in our experience recruiting we’re seeing quite a few available candidates in the market. However, the difference seems to be that these candidates don’t have the exact skills that employers want.

For example, one pattern we’re seeing is a desire to find candidates with hybrid skills in combinations that could be difficult to find, such as compensation and talent acquisition. These types of combination roles are becoming more common, and one-third of employers say they are combining roles to manage internal talent gaps. But when employers want one candidate to do two jobs, is it surprising that they’re not finding the exact skills they need?

A surprising number of HR respondents (34%) cite fewer people entering the industry as the reason for skills shortages. However, we have seen high numbers of new graduates struggle to find their first HR role and interpret the survey response as reflecting the difficulty finding those with two to five years of experience. Many employers have essentially done away with entry-level roles, looking for at least two years of work experience for what in previous years would have been filled by a graduate.

HR professionals with a few years’ experience can hit the ground running faster than new graduates, so it’s understandable that given the choice many employers are looking for that experience. However, if employers continue to be hesitant to hire entry-level candidates, this mismatch between employer demand and market availability will worsen.

We asked employers about how they were attracting candidates, and most are focused on salaries and company culture, rather than on offering career progression and training opportunities. Training is no longer a nice-to-have. It is a necessity, not only as a candidate attraction tool, but as a crucial step towards reducing internal skills gaps and creating a leadership pipeline.

HR leaders need to look at their current teams and future plans to ensure they are nurturing the talent they will need in the future. While every organization will have its own hiring needs, if the trend away from hiring new graduates continues we could see a serious skills shortage for junior and intermediate HR talent, especially in niche areas where opportunities for on-the-job training are becoming scarce.

Learn more about the HR labour market. Request a copy of the Hays Canada 2016 Salary Guide.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.