LinkedIn Cheat Sheet

LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media professional network, used by everyone from checkout chicks to CEOs. It’s not a platform to update your friends on your weekend antics or repost funny memes, it’s a serious tool to help you find your dream job, rise up the ranks in your current workplace or network and connect with like-minded professionals. In short, think of it as an extension of your CV.

Now you know LinkedIn in a nutshell, here’s how you can optimise your LinkedIn profile:

Step 1: Set up your profile properly

One in every two LinkedIn uses hasn’t completed their profiles properly, which is poor form. One of the most basic, fundamental things you can do to market yourself is fill everything out correctly. Recent work experience, education history and job skills are all musts for your online CV. Omitting these basics makes it seem as though you’re not actively engaged or pursing opportunities. At the least, make sure people can understand the general gist of your career through your profile page.

Step 2: Upload a suitable photo

No, not the one from Saturday night. And definitely not the one of you and your bestie/boyfriend/cat! If you want to come across as a professional, you have to look the part. LinkedIn profiles with photos see more traffic than those without, but it’s important to remember that we humans are a fickle bunch. If you don’t look the part, recruiters will keep scrolling. You wouldn’t go to a business meeting wearing your weekend getup, so keep your LinkedIn photo a visual snapshot of your professional persona.

Step 3: Network

According to latest stats, two people join LinkedIn every second. And with a total user base of more than 414 million, a lot of people out there can help you on your path to success. But keep in mind, using LinkedIn merely as a tool to ‘look for a job’ is a big mistake. Instead, focus on networking and connecting with like-minded professionals from your industry, and joining professional groups. Tap into second- and third-level connections. Once you’ve built a solid network, leverage it to look for job opportunities – not vice versa.

Step 4: Seek endorsement

On LinkedIn, people in your network can endorse your skills. LinkedIn uses these endorsements to determine how to rank certain individuals in its search results. A person with a lot of endorsements for a particular skillset, for example, will rank higher when someone searches for those keywords. Additionally, your current and ex-colleagues can leave recommendations on your profile.

Step 5: Share you knowledge

Post some of the more thought-provoking and conversation-stimulating articles you’ve read to share your knowledge. By doing so, you’ll slowly but surely position yourself as a valuable source at the forefront of your industry.

Follow these five tips to see your profile views increase, and over time you may hear from more recruiters.  Good luck!

 

Category: 
Interview, Job Search, Resume

Knock-off time: What successful people do after work

How you spend your time outside of work – and who you spend that time with – is a defining factor in your career trajectory. As tempting as it may be to binge-watch Netflix with a bottle of vino on hand, the hours after work are just as important as the time you spend at work.

Successful people know they need to relax, eat well, exercise regularly and plan ahead if they want to bring their A game to the office every.single.day.

With 168 hours in the week – minus the 40 you spend at work – you have about 128 hours left in the bank to sleep, eat, and do whatever the heck you want. But if you want to succeed in your professional life, you have to use your personal time wisely.

In no particularly order, we’ve mapped out five ways successful people spend their time after work.

Now you know these not-so-secret methods, it could be time for a new post-work ritual!

They plan ahead:

Rocking up to work frazzled because you have no idea what your calendar looks like for the forthcoming day is not a good look. To ensure you’re ready for tomorrow, take a few minutes to review your diary and make a to-do-list every night. If you have a morning meeting, pack your briefcase with everything you need the night before, such as business cards, iPad and brochures, and don’t forget to check you have the name, phone number and address of the person you’re meeting.

They keep fit:

Ambitious people tend to excel in all areas of life, and that includes rocking a tight rig!  In all seriousness, people who work out are more alert, focused and energised, meaning they get more bang for their workday buck. Following a consistent fitness regime can also boost your creativity, confidence and resilience, both personally and professionally. Another upside of regular exercise is that it strengthens the immune system and helps keep you healthy so you have less sick days. After all, you can’t win employee-of-the-month if you’re always at home nursing a cold!

They chillax:

While most successful people seem to live and breathe work, in reality, the most successful people work hard at their career but then leave the office behind. They recognise the importance of spending time with their family and friends, hitting the gym and getting a good night’s sleep. This self-awareness keeps them from suffering burnout and becoming resentful if their career becomes all-consuming.

They unplug:

Much like the above-mentioned point, being ambitious doesn’t mean you can’t switch off. In fact, more and more people are choosing to spend their weekends and holidays on a “digital detox” – meaning no emails, no social media and definitely no Wi-Fi. Technology tends to dominate our lives nowadays, but highly successful people know that it’s essential to unplug from time to time too.

They self-invest:

Whether it’s a leadership course, an acting workshop or a certification in your field, ambitious people know that by investing in themselves, they will become a more well-rounded and successful professional. On the other hand, successful people also look for inspiration in unlikely places. Immersing yourself in a unique experience activates your brain in new ways and can lead to a burst of creative genius.

In summary, it’s important to recognise productivity doesn’t end when you clock off. You just need to get the balance right and ensure you’re being productive in other areas of your life – ultimately paving the way to a kick-ass career!

Volunteering: Soup for the soul, gold for your career

Picture this; you’re a long-serving public sector employee with a burning desire to enter the not-for-profit sector. Problem is, every job you’ve applied for has gone to someone with NFP experience (eye roll).

You have two options; give up and resign yourself to the public sector forever, or persevere and fight for your dreams.

A highly successful yet often overlooked way of getting your foot in the door of any industry, not just the NFP sector, is by volunteering.

Aside from racking up stacks of karma points by being a complete do-gooder, there are heaps of career bonuses that come from donating your free time to help others.

Here are some of the ways volunteering can boost your career:

You’ll learn new skills. Volunteering will help you develop new and transferable job skills as well as apply your current skills in new ways. For example, a mid-career media professional working in the education industry could use their skills to help boost the public profile of a not-for-profit charity. At the same time, they might be rewarded with an avenue to develop project management or leadership skills. Winning!

You’ll expand your professional networks. If you’re struggling to reach 500+ on LinkedIn, volunteering is a great way to go about it! In all seriousness, volunteering helps you build your professional relationships by meeting new people in an area that might be completely foreign to you. Whether you’re serving at a soup kitchen or designing brochures for a welfare organisation, chances are you’ll be rubbing shoulders with an entirely new group of like-minded individuals. Aside from the social benefits of a few new friends, one of these contacts might be the key to future employment opportunities and career development.

You’ll explore the big wide world. Volunteering allows you to taste-test different organisations, roles and issues, in turn helping you to identify how you want to spend your 9-5. While volunteering isn’t the same as being on staff, it can expose you to the work of an organisation in a deeper way than by just being a Facebook follower. In short, volunteering enables you to try new things, challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone, thereby showing employers that you’re not afraid of change.

You’ll fill in resume gaps. If you’re not employed, volunteering with a not-for-profit is a great way to fill a gap in your resume. It’s always easier to get a job when you’re in a job. By volunteering, you’ll be able to draw examples of skills used in your current role when interviewing for potential jobs.

If you’re still interested in volunteering, the next step is to think about what opportunities you’re best suited to. There are a number of factors to consider at this point, including:

What’s in it for me? It’s important to consider your motivations for volunteering before you take the plunge. Are you hoping to utilise your skillset to help others, or is climbing the career ladder you’re main game?

What do I value? Are you passionate about the plight of children, or are animals more your thing? Consider your personal values and interests so that your position aligns with an area that appeals to you. This will make volunteering a deeper and more enriching experience for you.

What skills can I bring to the table? Think about what skillsets and expertise you currently have, and how you could use these in a voluntary capacity. For example, you might have a certain university degree, and have a strong knowledge in one particularly area. Volunteering could be an excellent way to put some of this knowledge and skills into practice. Similarly, you should also consider the skills and attributes you want to work on, as well as the areas of your craft you want to hone.

How much time have I got on my hands? Some volunteer roles require a minimum number of hours per week. Before applying for such roles, think about how much time you can realistically invest in the organisation, especially if you’re already juggling full-time work. It’s also important to consider how flexible you’re prepared to be with this commitment. For example, are you only ever free on a Friday night after work, or can you spare a few hours on the weekend?

Will I be in it for the short term or long haul? Are you looking for a short-term opportunity, or something more permanent? Short-term opportunities might include volunteering on a once-off occasion, such as a charity fun-run. Alternatively, you might consider working on a long-term project, thereby allowing you to gain end-to-end project management skills while having the satisfaction of seeing a project to fruition.

In summary, no two volunteering opportunities are the same. Similarly to applying for a job, every role will have different requirements. Some might require a minimum time commitment or a specific skill set, while others could require you to hold a form of certification, such as a police check. It’s important to consider whether you will be able to successfully meet the requirements of the opportunity, including the time required, before you commit.

Category: 
Job Search

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About Us

The Institute of Careers is a leading career development and advisory support service, equipping Australian job-seekers and employees with the know-how to supercharge their careers. We offer a wide range of resources, including cheat sheets, FAQs and customisable templates, covering all aspects of professional development – from writing a cracking cover letter, searching for a job and selling yourself in an interview, to landing a promotion and becoming a great manager.