Changing jobs can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve been in your job for a long time. Many people remain in jobs they are not particularly happy in, simply because the very prospect of entering the job market is more terrifying than another day at work.
Of course, the IT job market has changed a lot in the last few years. Advances in mobile technology means it’s much easier to search and apply for jobs than it was even five years ago. This means, however, that there is often a lot of competition for roles.
This means you need to give yourself an edge over the competition – and the best place to start is with your social media presence. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are frequently used by recruiters like us to identify and approach talented IT professionals on behalf of clients.
Ask yourself, what would they find right now if they stumbled across your LinkedIn profile – would they stop to read it?
Don’t know where to start? That’s ok – we’ve got it covered. Our social media cheat sheet has lots of tips for perfecting your online presence, ready for the next stage in your career, including a couple of secrets we’ve uncovered in our own searches for the best IT talent.
Top Tips for LinkedIn
If you are considering changing jobs then it’s essential to have a presence on LinkedIn. It’s best not to think of it as Facebook’s duller cousin, but rather an extension of your CV and a fantastic opportunity to show off your skills in a professional setting. The things you absolutely must do are as follows:
- Take the time to fill out your LinkedIn profile. If there is little or no information on it, it won’t feature in search results when recruiters are looking for individuals just like you, so you’ll miss out. Recruiters can search on locations, industries, skills, companies, or accreditations, so all of this information ought to be in your profile.
- Now, sell yourself. What makes you better than the competition? If you’re a hobbyist programmer with your own website, make sure you have a link to it on your profile. LinkedIn allows a lengthy cover statement – this is your chance to cram in lots of interesting (professional) information about yourself.
- Add a picture. It might not seem important to have a LinkedIn Photo, after all we tend not to put photos on our CVs here in the UK – but it matters. If a recruiter is searching for candidates and their search results show that the candidate has a picture, it indicates their profile is likely to be completed. More clicks, more potential opportunities. A simple headshot with a smile is fine.
- Get connected. The more connections you have, the more likely it is that your profile will appear at the top of search results. LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook; you don’t need to consider yourself to be a friend of the people you connect to, although you ought to know them, of course. Start with colleagues, former colleagues, and friends from other social networks. Any clients or suppliers that you work with are worth connecting with as well, even from the distant past – it’s often a good way to rekindle business relationships that have lapsed. Additionally, if you are looking for a role that involves networking with people, it’s a great way to show that you are actually good at networking!
- Ask for testimonials. It’s not as awkward as you might think, and it’s reciprocal as well, so if you write a glowing testimonial for someone you’ve done business with, the likelihood is they will write one back. So take the initiative and get the ball rolling!
- Be an influencer. You can post your own articles on LinkedIn, attach them to your profile, and share them across multiple social networks. It’s best to steer clear of anything too personal but if you’re passionate about IT, this is a great opportunity to show it! Alternatively, you can also track down and read articles others have written in your area of expertise, share their articles and comment on them. Engaging with other IT professionals is a great way to show you know your stuff.
“I receive several emails a week from recruiters trying to headhunt me. I’m not looking for a job but it proves that my LinkedIn profile is working for me and that THESE TIPS WORK!”
Shhh… Secret LinkedIn tips for job seekers
- Cross reference! Be sure to cross-reference your LinkedIn profile with your CV and make sure they match one another. Our clients look up prospective candidates on LinkedIn, and if they identify inconsistencies they’ll want to know which one is the truth and why the other one isn’t.
- Use LinkedIn to nail the interview. If you are attending a job interview, look up the people who you are meeting on LinkedIn. This is such an important tip – you can find out how long they’ve been with the company, where they worked previously, and gain insight into their background.
Facebook… time to get your social halo on!
There’s not much point having a slick, professional LinkedIn page if your Facebook page shows an altogether unprofessional side! It’s worth mentioning at this point that most of our clients will have a look at your Facebook profile before they make a job offer. So if you don’t want employers to see it, make sure you adjust your privacy settings accordingly.
However, it’s a good chance for them to see a different side of you – and to back up what you’ve said at interview. Increasingly, our clients are interested in finding the right personality fit for the team, rather than just a technical match. So if LinkedIn is your professional side, Facebook is your sociable and friendly side. It’s worth giving some consideration to what a prospective employer would see if they were to look at your Facebook page, and ensuring it sends a message about you that you would be proud to broadcast.
Twitter… another chance to get noticed
If you’re a Twitter user, it’s a good platform to share interesting stuff relating to your area of expertise. You can post a link to your Twitter feed on LinkedIn – if you do, there is a good chance prospective employers will have a look, so this is another opportunity for you to show off your passion and knowledge about IT! Think about influencers you can follow, and re-post interesting bits and pieces. Also, it’s worth thinking about businesses you would like to work for and following them too – Twitter is the most up-to-date news source on earth, so if they are looking for someone like you to join the team, you’ll be the first to know!
… and the rest
Although some of us have a bit of catching up to do, many of us are avid social media users with prominent presences across multiple sites. As a rule, just be prudent about what you have posted in the past, and make sure there is nothing out there that you wouldn’t be proud for a prospective employer to see.
P.S. For a downloadable copy of this Social Media Cheat Sheet, click here.
P.P.S. Thinking about changing jobs? For a free report on what NOT to do when you’re next in IT job seeking mode, click here.