Hey job seeker! It’s not about the CV stupid!

The world of job search has changed. This might seem pretty obvious, but a scary few haven’t quite noticed. Not only has job search changed, but it’s been completely and utterly transformed into something entirely new.

It’s these same people who when they join linked in, think that it’s sufficient to merely input their company and job title. And possibly, their responsibilities. But that’s OK, they have a job. They’ll sort it out once they need to find a new one. Oh please! Wake up and smell the coffee! Are you serious?! You’re not going to get a job if you can’t be bothered to make an effort. All the time. Whenever you do get round to looking for work, the first thing recruiters are going to do is Google you. And putting positive content online is not an overnight process.

In case you haven’t heard there are a shed load of people just like you looking for work. You might be unemployed or, or on the verge of redundancy, or maybe just bored of being treated like crap in your current job. Whichever it is, if you want to find work, you’re going to have to make an effort.

OK, so you think you have. You think you’ve done a pretty good job with your LinkedIn profile. After all, your CV has been perfectly re-created in the LinkedIn environment. You struggled a bit with the summary, but other than that, you’ve managed to fill it out quite nicely. Well, I hate to break to you, but you’ll never get that time back.

Now some of you are probably thinking “No! Hang on a minute! My summary rocks! I spent ages writing that – it’s awesome!” Well I’d like to invite you for a moment to see if you have included any of these words in your LinkedIn profile

~ Extensive experience ~ Innovative ~ Motivated ~ Results oriented ~ Dynamic ~

~ Proven track record ~ Team player ~ Fast-paced ~ Problem solver ~ Entrepreneurial ~

Well, have you? Did you check?

If you did, punch yourself. These phrases are the top 10 most used phrases in LinkedIn profiles. And that means that they are meaningless. Meaningless because every other lemming is using them which means you all look the same. And if you all look the same, you don’t stand out. And if you don’t stand out you don’t get picked. You don’t get picked you don’t get the job. Got it? So, if this is you, you need to overhaul your profile.

I know. I’m beginning to sound a bit harsh. But, life’s like that. Right now it’s competitive out there and if you want to stand out you need to start taking notice of the best ways of doing that. And to start with that means that you need to ditch the idea of a CV and think more along the lines of a marketing campaign. What’s your headline? What value do you add in a team? What can you be relied upon time and time again? For those familiar with marketing, you’ll notice how all these things are pieces of a brand. Yup! You need to start thinking about YOUR personal brand. And every good brand needs a good story.

So what’s your story?

If you can tell your story in an interesting, compelling and engaging way then you’re more likely to stand out. You want to know why? We all love a good story. Stories engage on an emotional level in a way that dry facts don’t. Coming up with your story isn’t a quick process. A great story will help to communicate your values, what you’re great at, who you do great stuff for and what you’re aiming for. When you have a great story you’ve then got the beginnings of what you need to stand out both online and offline.

If you want help transforming your online profile, there’s a great product that can help you do that. It was developed by @walterakana and @carolross .

If this piece has inspired you to sort out your LinkedIn profile, that’s great. But before you do, you might want to see what other people are doing out there to get a job. Like Kyle. Hopefully, you’ll realise how much the job search game has changed. And how much more you need to be doing to stand out and get chosen.

If you would like to receive articles and tips on personal branding then you can sign up to my newsletter. There’s a FREE 9-page guide to your personal brand waiting for you if you do.

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Why using the same status update is a bad idea

With use of social networking becoming even more popular, apps are springing up everywhere enabling you to update all your social networks in one go. This feature is even being incorporated into certain social networks. For example Twitter enables you to update Facebook and LinkedIn simply by adding #in or #fb to your tweet. Great news, right? Wrong!

But before I go on to explain myself, let me first ask you this. I want you to think about the following question: 

whatpersonareu1“What sort of person are you?”

Now, you might find it tricky to answer this question. Well, for a start, who’s asking? Do they know you already? How well do they know you? What sort of person are they? How long have they got? Your answer will very much depend on the conclusions you reach in answering these questions. Not only that, what is the reason that you’re answering this question. Is it conversational, or are you trying to sell yourself or are you trying to get rid of someone? Again, depending on your objective, you will have different answers.

Put simply, your answer will depend on your audience and your objective. So, now, think about who your audiences are on each of your social networks and what your objectives are for each network.

Facebook is likely to be your friends. If they’re not friends, then they’re at least people that you’ve met. LinkedIn on the other hand is going to be people in your professional network. You may have worked with them, met them at networking events or linked up with them through a group. Twitter, well, who knows who follows you on Twitter. They could be anyone, but essentially they’re interested in what you’ve got to say.

It might be easier to think about how what we say differs based on where we are. So, if we were to try and draw an analogy with real places, you know in the real touchy-feely non-digital world, what would that look like?

nottinghamyeoldesalutation

Well, Facebook is like being at the pub with your mates. LinkedIn is like being at a networking event, and Twitter is like being at a social event where you don’t really know many people, you might even be on a long train journey!

So, you’re in the pub. Your mate next to you is wittering on about stuff he always witters on about. He’s pretty dull when he gets going. But, you’ve known him for ages, and, he’s a really nice guy, so you put up with it. If you were at a networking event and you didn’t know him, you’d be making a beeline for the drinks table. The same goes for the social event. So, back in the online world; on Facebook, this means your status feeds are full of boring dross (sounds familiar?) But you can’t un-friend them, because they’re your friends. On LinkedIn, maybe you don’t care, because you only visit it once or twice a week and you probably miss most of it. On Twitter, you un-follow. Period.

Now the same applies to you. Speaking in a networking stylie at the pub will make everyone roll their eyes. They probably don’t even know what you do let alone care that you pitched to such-and-such and presented to whoever. On Facebook, you’ll share certain stories because people know you already. You feel safe saying certain things, offloading your crap day, because they’re your mates. And you’re not trying to impress in the way that you might be on LinkedIn. But, you whinge too much on Twitter and you come across as a whinge-bag. Your followers haven’t met you and don’t know that you’re usually the life and the soul of the party.

Now let’s go back to the real world. Imagine you’re at a wedding. Maybe you have some friends there. But if not, you think it might be a great time to meet some new people, you might even pick up some new work contacts. To avoid being sat on your own all night, you might be keeping your ears peeled for some interesting conversations that audienceyou could join in, or you might just strike up some random conversations. Either way, your goal here is to come across as interesting, so that you get to meet people. After all you never know who you might meet. The things you decide to say in this environment will be very different to those that you talk about at the pub, or indeed at the networking event.

Thinking about your environment, your audience and your objective is crucial in forming your response to a question.  So, the next time you answer the questions “What’s on your mind?” or “What’s happening?” are you going to give the same answer?

You might want to read these other posts on personal branding…

Personal Branding and your digital identity

Why Personal Branding isn’t all about the digital space

Why Personal Branding is relevant to business

3 reasons why you should NEVER use video on your site

Don’t hire a Personal Branding Pro until you’ve answered these 5 questions

The 5 perils of personal branding

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7 ways that social media can damage your personal brand

A report out today has highlighted just how careful employees and job-seekers need to be in their use of social media.

With more than half of recruiters saying that they check social networking sites as part of their research.

Interestingly, 43% stated that they had information that had caused them NOT to hire the candidate. Top reasons include:

  • no_jobLying about qualifications - 38%
  • Demonstration of poor communication skills - 31%
  • Making discriminatory comments - 13%
  • Posting content about them drinking or using drugs - 10%
  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information - 9%
  • Bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients - 9%
  • Sharing confidential information from previous employer - 8%

Glancing through this list, it’s easy to see why employers would react in this way. The transparency of social media means that you need to be very clear as what you stand for and what you want to be known for. If you choose to undertake questionable and unethical behaviour (lying, bad-mouthing, leaking confidential information) and live your life in the open, then you need to accept the consequences.

bothways

Social media can be incredibly powerful in helping you to build a strong personal brand, but it works both ways.

So, if you’re an employee or a job-seeker, here are some top tips for avoiding personal brand meltdown online:

  • Be honest about your achievements and your experience. The truth is easier to remember.
  • Decide who your audiences are for your personal brand and ensure that what you project to those audiences is consistent.
  • Don’t be negative, deliberately provocative or discriminatory in public. This is just bad form wherever you are, online or offline.
  • Seek out testimonials for work that you’ve done and show them off. LinkedIn is great for this.
  • Check your public photos! Make sure that all the embarrassing ones are removed, hidden or private.

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