I’m interrupting our series on employee engagement to let you know we’ve formed a new group on LinkedIn called Encore Careers.
We created the group to serve as a community for older workers to provide support and to share their experiences with age-related employment issues. We’ll also be sharing articles that will be of interest to older workers – and invite members to share as well.
We invite you to join our community at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8483842
If you’d like to post something on the Group Discussions, here are some guidelines to bear in mind:
- When you join, you’ll receive an email suggesting you post an introduction to yourself as a first step in making contacts with the community. It’s a great way to start a conversation.
- Share articles that relate to age-related employment issues. Articles about Retirement Planning are welcome.
- Articles about changing careers are always welcome. They’re helpful to people of all ages.
- If you have a question about employment issues, please feel free to post. Your peers can probably serve as a good sounding board or offer helpful advice.
- Please do not use the discussions to advertise or make sales pitches.
Membership is free, so please do not hesitate to join our community!
Our last post dealt with techniques for increasing awareness about you in your job search.
Here are two things you MUST do.
Ensure you have a complete LinkedIn Profile
According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Here are some other facts about LinkedIn:
- Photo. People with a photo in their profile receive 14 times the profile views of those who don’t.
- Volunteering. 42% of employers say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience.
- Industry. Specifying the industry you work in generates 15 times the profile views vs. someone who doesn’t.
- Education. You’ll get 10 times the profile views of someone who does not include any details about education.
- Skills. People hire for skills. Skills in a profile increase your profile views 13 times.
Basically what you are doing by completing your profile is providing facts about you that could serve as reasons for further consideration. Apply the same principles to other social media sites you belong to to maximize the impact: LinkedIn isn’t the only tool used by recruiters or hiring managers.
Participate in LinkedIn Groups
It’s not enough just to join groups on LinkedIn to increase your visibility.
To persuade fellow group members to be interested in you requires some degree of participation in the group’s activities.
When you see an article that might be of interest to members of one of the groups you belong to, use the LinkedIn share button on the online version of the article. This will bring up a box that will allow you to do two things: post an update and secondly, you can share the article with selected groups.
Doing the update indicates you’re active on LinkedIn. You should add a few comments about why the article is of interest to group members.
Similarly, for the groups’ discussions, get involved. If you see a discussion on a topic you’re passionate about, offer up some comments and develop a dialogue with fellow group members. You may make some new connections this way. There’s a bar chart that indicates your degree of participation in the group. Try to become a key influencer in the group.
Whereas a complete profile on LinkedIn provides facts about you, participation in the groups provides some insights into how you think (and write) and this can significantly step up a hiring manager’s interest in looking at you as a potential candidate. Active group participants receive 5 times the profile views of people who don’t participate.
There are plenty of other things you can do to cultivate interest, but these two are so central to the process we wanted to focus on them. We’ll follow up with some other tips for cultivating interest in future posts. Stay tuned!
We said it before: when you are in transition you need to know how to sell yourself to land that next opportunity.
If you’re in a sales or marketing role, you probably have a good idea how to proceed. But, if your background is in some other field, you may not fully realize the steps required to find a new employer and close the deal.
One of the simplest models for advertising or selling is called AIDA – an acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. It’s not the only model for the sales process, but it’s intuitive and easier to understand than the others.
We’re going to focus today on the first part – awareness.
To the right you’ll see a magazine ad from 1958 that was run by McGraw-Hill Magazines. It shows someone – presumably a purchasing manager – who is trying to understand why he should buy what you’re selling.
He’s saying, “I don’t know who you are”, “I don’t know your company”, “I don’t know your company’s reputation”. The ad may be old, but the message hasn’t changed.
The message is that, unless someone knows about you, they can’t develop any reasons why they should do business with you. You have to build awareness of yourself.
So, as a job seeker, what can you do to help potential hiring managers aware of you?
Social Media Presence
One place you can start is by ensuring you have a profile on the primary social media sites that employers and recruiters search to find potential hires.
Here are what are considered to be the Top 5:
ZoomInfo creates profiles by extracting data about people from public sites. Unlike the other platforms, you need to CLAIM your profile to take ownership over it. Go into ZoomInfo and search for your name to see if a profile exists that looks like it could be you. You’ll find an option to claim the profile by setting up an account and password.
SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY
Just having a presence on one of these sites is not sufficient for someone to find you easily. You need to be an active participant.
LinkedIn has literally thousands of special-interest groups you can join. Your regular LinkedIn membership allows you to join up to 50 groups. Choose ones that are relevant to your industry, your profession or others that just are of interest to you. Many groups have job postings and/or job discussions, so it’s one way for you to become aware of employment opportunities.
You also can increase your awareness within these groups by participating in the discussions. Clicking on a “Like” icon is a start, but not very effective by itself. It’s more important to start discussions or add comments to discussions posted by other group members.
TRADE SHOWS and CONFERENCES
Most professions have some kind of conference program and most industries have trade shows. You probably attended these while you were employed.
It’s important to continue this kind of activity – especially if you are in some kind of leadership role. Conferences and Trade Shows also provide networking opportunities and attending allows you to inform people you meet about your search for a new position – which brings us to our last suggestion.
NETWORKING GROUPS and EVENTS
Try to identify networking groups for your industry and/or profession and join them. Sometimes, these can be events put on by a professional association. Sometimes they’re related to alumni from your college or university.
Try to supplement these by finding groups that have diverse membership, and so you are not networking with potential competitors for the kind of role you are seeking.
The important thing about networking is that, as you expand your network, the number of potential contacts within your network grows exponentially. This is why networking is considered the most important job search activity of all.
For people already in sales, this isn’t much of a problem. But, for people in other disciplines, it can be hard to adapt to this new role.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts on the process of searching for a new position. Our goal is to help job seekers focus their activities on high value activities instead of low-payoff activities and introduce you to the underlying process behind the JobSearch GPS™ tool we use in our outplacement programs.
This week, we’ll start out by describing the landscape of the job market – specifically how jobs are found and suggest how best to manage your time while in transition.
If you think a recruiter is the answer to all your job search problems, guess again. Recruiters actually fill only about 10 – 15% of all jobs.
Here’s how jobs are actually found, according to US Labor Department statistics:
- 70% of all jobs are found through networking (personal/professional contacts and research)
- 15% are through search firms (and these are primarily managerial and executive positions, not entry-level)
- 10-12% through want ads/classified ads
- 4% by people going into business for themselves/creating their own jobs
- 2% by blindly sending out resumes
(It may be US data, but we couldn’t find reliable estimates from StatsCan that are comparable. You may hear other numbers being cited by other sources but, overall, they all agree networking is the most important technique and recruiters and job postings are secondary.)
So, what does this tell you?
First, while it may seem like you are generating a lot of activity by sending out resumes en mass, the reality is that it has a very poor payback on effort (as well as out-of-pocket costs.) Think about it. Postage for lettermail in Canada is now $0.85. Envelopes cost $0.06 . Four sheets of printer paper will cost $0.07. Ink/Toner is another $0.03, which means each mailing costs about a dollar.
Therefore, focus most of your time on networking and, if you don’t feel you network very well, try to find a course or a coach who can help you improve networking skills.
Recruiters and job postings/ads together represent about a quarter of the jobs found. So it’s entirely appropriate for you to allocate 25% of your time to cultivating relationships with recruiters and scanning job boards. You can even make the time you set aside for job boards more productive by setting up alerts for the types of position you’re most interested in.
By prioritizing your job search activities as we’ve suggested above, you’ll be making most effective use of your time. And time is one resource you can’t make or create.
Next week, we’ll give you a short course in sales strategy that you can apply to your job search.