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Upon graduating from college or university, you might think that excellent grades and academic achievements will help make your job search easier. However, not as easy as it sounds, job hunting is always challenging. You have to compete with hundreds, if not thousands, candidates before actually get the job you want.

Looking for a job is not an exact mathematical science that is as simple as 1 + 1 = 2, but there are more factors that come into play. Those factors will determine whether you are the best candidate who can fill the position or not. A survey conducted by Future Workplace shows that there is a gap between job hunter’s perception of recruiting process and the company’s human resources department’s expectations. This means that sometimes, you can only wonder what hiring managers want and go through with the hiring process without knowing exactly what they are looking for from a candidate.

Here are seven important things you should do before starting your search:

Clean your social media presence – Recruiters are increasingly using social media to ‘stalk’ potential candidates’ personality and determine whether they will be culturally fit the existing company culture. That being said, it is better to spring clean your social media profiles from any sensitive or embarrassing posts and unnecessary information. If potential employers find something that they think negative such as posts containing bad words or controversial issues, it might lessen your chances of getting the job offer.

Find referrals – Most HR professionals would agree that employee referrals can be the best method for finding top candidates. It was said that applicants that are hired form referral start their work faster that those who apply via job boards or career sites. So, before landing a job, it will be better if you get in touch with someone who has been working in the company or other professionals in your expertise who can give you recommendation.

Learn technical skills – According to U.S. News, a quarter of employers rank technical skills as the most skills they are looking for in their candidates because nowadays. By learning technical skills, it will greater your chance to land a job in a position you want. Moreover, developing skills you are lack will boost your self-confidence and candidacy.

Find out the most wanted skills and highlight it – If technical skill is crucial, then so are other skills such as communication, adaptability, or result-driven. These are soft-skills that a hiring manager seek in their candidates. Other top skills company usually look for are leadership and teamwork. Therefore, you better highlight one of those skills so your resume can grab employer’s interest.

Highlight your internship, not GPA – If you are a recent graduate, you probably think that good grades are what employers seek most in candidates’ resume. The truth is, employers are more interested in applicants working experience such as internships and social achievements like volunteering. So, do not just highlight in what you have achieved because experience wins most attention.

Prepare yourself for a sudden test – In some interviews, the hiring manager might want to give you a sudden test because they want to see how prepared you are. Therefore, you should always be ready and prepare yourself for it. As best as possible, try to find out what the test will be about.

Learn the company’s background and history – This is the very last and crucial thing you should always keep in mind before pressing the ‘Apply’ button. Lack of information can cost you your job application. Recruiter might think that you are not serious with the application or you just want to test yourself. So better to prepare rather than regret later.

Read also: Maximize Your Job Search with Matrix Decision

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Finishing your study and graduating from university can be both exciting and daunting. Now that you have gained necessary skills and knowledge at school, it is time to implement the theories into practices in the workforce. During your study, you might have good GPA, actively participate in student organisations, and achieve recognition from the university for your contribution. However, the working world is different from school. With the burgeoning talent pools, you might find it more competitive and fiercer to land a job.

What should you do, then?

One of the easiest way to help you get out of the overwhelming job hunting is to keep moving and change your strategy. Searching for jobs via job platform or ads on newspapers is effective, but it might drain up your energy as you need to scroll through so many jobs and companies. Not to mention, not everything you find is the one you are actually looking for. However, a method called “matrix decision” can help you simplify your job search while still receiving the best result.

Using matrix isn’t something new. It is a decision making process people often use when making other decisions, such as deciding where school to go or evaluating which car to buy. It’s not a rocket science but doing what comes natural in a rigorous way can improve your career assessments. Matrix decision is useful when you have several choices of jobs and it can actually give a satisfactory result. There are more advantages you can get by using matrix, such as identifying new job opportunities faster while helping you think clearly and use time efficiently.

Without further ado, here are 3 easy steps you can do to create your own matrix decision.

Mainly, you should set objectives. Objectives will help you determine how successful your matrix will be. For example, you graduated with a BA degree in literature. After knowing your qualification, you should decide which objectives are the most important. There are five factors of objectives you should consider in your future career: field you want to take, role you want in the workplace, impact on your future such as salary or job status, personal growth, and what kind of organisation you want to work in.

Secondly, you decide from the most important to the less ones. At this point, you should be able to rate your decision either as high, low, or medium. To make your choice obvious, you can rate it from 1 to 5. To help you in making better decision, you can ask your friends or family members to share their thoughts and give suggestions to your career matrix because sometimes, close family or friends can see your quality better.

Remember, when rating your objectives, you should also be able to evaluate alternative against objectives. Your objectives are the primary concern in this decision. Therefore, judge how each alternative meets each category and think how it might affect your future. Also, consider what you might do if things do not work out. If possible, jot down the reasons of picking up certain job in each relevant box of matrix.

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Lastly, you can interpret the result. Your matrix structure is a stepping rock to lead you for a brighter career, but it is not the final answer. You must understand and figure out what it tells you. Matrix decision is as good as you want it to be and by using it, you’ll likely to know what job would be better and know what questions to ask in future career.

It is hard to decide what’s best for your future. But by assessing your career objectives and defining which are most important, you can make decisions with confidence as structured plan such as matrix decision can help you ease all your doubt in one place.

 Read also: Passion versus Skill: What Comes First in a Job Search?

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Just like a resume, a cover letter is a weapon to “sell yourself” to the hiring managers. What differs between the two are the format and content. Resume is a brief description of your cover letter. In cover letter, you should write in detail about personal information and professional quality in order to attract recruiters to shortlist your job application.

Tim Windhof, an executive resume writer at Windhof Career Services in Columbus, Ohio, advices that your cover letter should address the following: how you learn about the opportunity, how your qualifications match the job requirements, your possible availability in the area and how you can be contacted. In brief, your cover letter must describe “why it should be you and not others”.

Take a look at the following tips on how to write an appealing cover letter for successful job search:

01 Choose wording that mirror the ad language  

Before writing a cover letter, you should review the job ads carefully and underline the main points. If your cover letter will be read by hiring managers, they are more likely to skim brief at first to see whether you are a good fit or not. You can increase your chance of getting shortlisted when your cover letter matches most requirements listed in the job ads.

Don’t embellish your qualifications if you don’t really meet the requirements. Only write down real information and present yourself in the best manner by describing as many qualities as you can. You never know which qualifications employers value most.

02 Pay attention to readability

This is important as a cover letter written in readable format will likely to win employer’s heart. In a cover letter, you should only use business letter format. This will make the recruiter to only focus on your content rather than on the writing style. Business letter format usually comes along with 1” – 1.5” margins, 12-point font, professional font, uniform alignment (justify).

03 Address it to specific person

Do your homework and find out who will be responsible to receive and check your job application. Calling or sending email to the contact person provided in the job ads can be an effective way to get such information. You can also ask questions or confirm certain information related to the job opportunity to the right source instead of wondering around.

If you are sending the cover letter via post mail, make sure to write both the employer’s and your address. It usually contains first and last name, street address, city, state zip, and postal code, phone and email for applicant.

Example:

Your Name

Address

City, State, ZIP code

Your phone number

Your email address

 

Date

 

Name of Hiring Manager

Name of Company or Organization

Street Address

City, State, Zip Code

On the other hand, if you send the cover letter via email, you can simply start by writing the hiring manager’s name. This is much better than writing with to whom it may concern. Yet, in a situation where you can’t find the name of the hiring manager or head of HRD, you can address your letter to “Dear Hiring Manager.” It’s a better choice than starting with Dear Sir/Madam.

04 Brief introduction

In this part, you should start with when and where you find the job opening. Make sure to specify job position that you want to apply, especially when the company post multiple job positions. Make it into a paragraph that contains two to four sentences.

05 Compelling content

To grab the hiring manager’s attention, you should start by writing your educational background, followed by your achievements such as related training or internships you have completed and work experiences. However, if you are a fresh graduate with no job or internship experience, you can emphasise other skills such as organisational, leadership, or even time management skill, etc.

You can write it in two to three paragraphs for the content. However, you should not be wordy or  spill too much information. Sometimes, giving too much information can hinder you from getting the job offer.

06 A-Okay closing

Always finish your cover letter by asking for an interview and reiterating how much you want to proceed to the next step of hiring process. Also, do not forget to always provide your phone number so the recruiter can contact you with ease.

07 Signature

Always give signature to either written or email cover letter. Use complimentary closing sentence such as best regards, regards, sincerely, yours respectfully, etc. In a written letter, just simply write your full name. Meanwhile in an email, always type your name followed by contact information.

Example:

Sincerely,

(your signature)

Your full name

Mobile: (66) 987-98787

Email: andie@andiejone.com

08 Proofread, proofread, and proofread

Lastly, you should give the right amount of time to proofread your work – in this case, your cover letter, maybe two or three times proofreading. Find out spelling or grammar errors that might lessen your chance from getting shortlisted. Again and again, cut out the flowery words as too much description or information will make your cover letter look unprofessional. As best as possible, keep your cover letter only in one page.

Read also: Passion versus Skill: What Comes First in a Job Search?

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You have graduated from uni with an excellent GPA. Now, you need to prepare yourself to enter the workforce and land a job in your dream company. Before applying for a job, first you have to ensure that you already have the most important weapon in a job hunt: an attractive resume.

A good resume should be more than just a dull list of your academic achievements and personal information. That being said, to write a resume that will get shortlisted by recruiter is not the same as writing a caption for your Instagram updates. There are things you should consider such as the template, opening statement, and career overview. You must put all the best qualities on a single paper to sell yourself because usually a recruiter only give a brief 10 seconds looking at each resume.

Therefore, you should be smart enough to write only relevant qualifications or else you will lose the opportunity to catch the hiring manager’s interest. If you are a fresh graduate seeking to get that dream job, here is a guide to write your first professional resume:

1. Know the audience

Resume is a marketing tool to sell your ability, experience, and accomplishment in order to snatch a job. You should make sure that its message is targeted to right recipients: employer and recruiter. Therefore, before writing a resume for job application, you should consider:

  • The company: including its history, products, services, culture, and recent developments.
  • The specific requirements: skills and experience.  

2. Choose the right style  

You should choose the best style for your resume. There are 3 styles of resumes in general: chronological, functional, and combination. Chronological resumes focus on work experience and list of professional experience from the most to the least recent. Functional style focuses on skills more. Yet, normally, a combination of both styles will work on your first resume. You can point out your professional experience while still draw attention on your skills.

Moreover, you should not forget to certain format on your resume. Normally, resumes have header, career objectives, statement, skills and abilities, work experience, education, and interest. Don’t forget to always highlight the skills and abilities that are relevant to the job.

3. Start with the basic

Before we move to the more complicated task, let’s start by writing the most basic information that should be written on a resume: name, address, phone number, and email address. Make sure to give a professional email address. An email address like mixblond113@gmail.com will not work and the recruiter might think that you are just joking around. Therefore, you should create a professional email right away if you don’t have any.

4. Personal statemen

Recruiters are not only interested in why you are applying for the position and what you can do. They are also curious in who you are as a person. Therefore, providing a personal professional statement on your resume is always a good start to let them know who you are. You can use these questions as a guide to write your statement:

  • Do you fit the company culture?
  • Is your personality and attitude a good match for the company and team?
  • What makes you believe you will land a job in that company?
  • What is so interesting about your life?

5. Job posting as a guide

The best way to summarise your skill and experience is to tailor it with job description. Many recruiters use applicant tracking system (ATS) to shortlist resume, especially if there are so many jobseekers applying. Therefore, you should be able to keep it simple and make sure to include some ‘keywords’ in your resume so the ATS can scan it. Usually, the keywords recruiters use are: hard skills and soft skills. The more you can match with those skills in the job description, the more chances you can get that job.

6. Keep it one page

The average duration recruiters spend to review a resume is 10 seconds. You should make it concise and lean by getting rid of all the fluff. As your first resume should fit in one page, you can only write relevant information in it. For example, if you are applying for a design graphic programmer but you have worked at a McDonalds for 1 year, it will be better if you don’t include that experience in your resume unless it is relevant.

7. Professional look

To impress the recruiter, you should give it a professional look. Make sure that your resume is easy to read by using: common font styles (cambria, calibri, or helvetica styles), give 12 to 14 font size, use appropriate spacing, no more than six highlight and bullet points, margins 1” all around, and left aligned format. However, if you are a graphic designer, you can impress recruiters by designing your resume as creative and unique as possible.

8. Use action and power words

Recruiters are more interested in reviewing resumes that are really dynamic and impressive in action. In order to give that impression, you should use the right action verbs and powerful words. Few examples of those words are achieved, created, generated, initiated, organized, introduced, identified, improved, resolved, launched.

9. Proofread your resume

Finally, never submitted raw resumes that have not been proofread. Before submitting your resume, make sure to always double check or ask your friend to review it. This process will give you clues whether your resume is A-okay to be read by recruiter or not. Also, you can be aware of the misspelling words that will make your resume look unprofessional.

Read also: Passion versus Skill: What Comes First in a Job Search?

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“Follow your passion when you look up for a job.”

There are two different responses people usually give upon hearing this advice. Jobseekers and fresh graduates with more ideals and less work experiences are more likely to accept and follow the idea. Meanwhile, those who have been in the workforce long enough might be rolling their eyes when hearing the same advice.

Then the question pops up: is following your passion a bad advice? What about working following our skills? Is it better?

Before judging whether it is right or wrong, let’s see what passion and skill actually are:

Passion is something that you love doing or spend time doing it.

Probably you are wondering why your friends can work in a prestigious company with flashy job title and it seems that they really enjoy their jobs, despite the fact that the job does not match their true passion. But believe it or not, there are chances that they might feel restless inside as if something is ‘missing’ from them.

Needless to say, working while following your passion gives you more satisfaction and happiness because you really love what you are doing ‘at that time’. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, believed that passion is the key to satisfaction. He also mentioned that we need to pursue our passion first but never settle. When you find a job you are passionate about, you feel amazing and satisfied but after long months of dealing with the same routine, you might feel tired and want something new.

Another downside of working according to your passion is that it might get you nowhere because it limits your choice. For instance, you are interested in literature, it is easy to think that being a writer will give you a satisfying career, and thus you ignore other options such as being an accountant or teacher. That being said, rather than having a single passion, you can be more than what you expected to be because your interest grows from time to time.

Skill is an ability that you can acquire or learn after lots of practice or hard work.

Focusing on your skill can give you a rewarding career given that skilled talents are highly sought-after. Yet, it might feel like you are lack of happiness when the job does not suit your interests. You can receive fat paycheck for the skills that you contribute to the job, but is that all you want? No satisfaction or happiness in your job?

For example, you are working as a writer because you have great communication and English skills. However, you do not find any meaning or pleasure in your job. In this case, you might consider to choose passion over skill when it comes to finding a job.

All in all, you can see that passion and skill occupy different parts of your life. You can find a professional work according to your skills, but you can also explore your passion freely if it gives you satisfaction in the workforce. Caro F., a team leader for Tech Companies 3YOURMIND and a coach, suggests that instead of giving confusion to yourself whether you should follow your passion or skill, you can answer these questions to help clearing the confusion.

  • What do you want out of job?
  • Do you want financial security to travel the world or maybe you want provide for your family?
  • Do you want a challenge, something that makes you grow? Or something that comes easily to you, routinely and that you can predict?
  • Do you value working environment as a contributing factor for your happiness, working with amazing people? Or do you value own space or progression more?

In conclusion, there is no right or wrong in choosing your career path because it is all up to you. Just the same as when you go to career advisors, they will only give you options and you need to choose one. The best thing you can do now is explore which one is the most suitable for your own career personality and characteristics.

Next read: Got an Interview? Get Rid of These 9 Behaviours

How do you spend your weekend or holiday? Be it trying out a new cake recipe, planting your favourite flowers in the garden, or bringing your camera for a photoshoot, there are good chances that you want to use your spare time to engage in something you’re passionate about. Not only a good and positive way to let off steam from your weekday work, you can also turn your hobby into a side hustle that allows you to earn additional income.

A side hustle does not have to be something big and ambitious. For a start, you can begin with simple ones, such as making regular vlogs on culinary trip and uploading them on YouTube, or selling items related to your hobby on eBay. If taken seriously, all these little things will eventually take you to a bigger place.

Picking up a side gig does not only give you an opportunity to make more money, but it also widens your knowledge and experience, especially if you deal with something completely different from your primary profession. Moreover, the advancement of internet and technology has made it easier for you to have two or even three jobs at the same time. Many opportunities allow you to work remotely from home, which means that you can be arrange your schedule more flexibly as you do not have to stay at the office all the time.

Still doubtful whether you should have an extra job or not? Worry no more. Below, we share five good reasons why you need to start a side hustle. Hint: it is not necessarily about the paycheck.

  1.    Gain valuable skills

Doing a part-time job can help you hone and grow valuable skills. For example, you have a main profession as a financial consultant in a finance company. If you want to share your knowledge while learning for more, you might want to start making a blog or website where you can write useful articles about financial management for your readers. This way, you can hone your writing skills while contributing for more people.

  1.    Learn and discover new things

At some point in one’s career journey, there are good chances that you will end trapped in a job role with boring and menial tasks that make you unable to make full use of your utmost potential. For example, you are a senior web developer for a giant company. While you are happy with your current role, it is rather discouraging that your boss is not really interested in exploring new ideas. If you want to try out new things outside your niche, a side gig is a good opportunity for you to learn and discover new arena while revealing your hidden talent you never know before.

  1.    Build a sense of purpose

Do you find your current job no longer give you a sense of purpose in your life? If the answer is a ‘yes’, you should not rush sending that resignation letter right away. Instead, getting yourself a side hustle can help you find more meaning from your day job. Even when it seems that you are more passionate about your side gig, it does not mean that you should necessarily let go of your stable, full-time job. You can use the excitement from your side hustle to come to your office with a new zest and energy, thus help you do better at your main job.

  1.    Expand your network

Having more than one job gives you the privilege of getting to know more people and expand your professional network. Building a network base with people from your area of expertise is proven to be handy not only when you are in the process of job search, but also a good strategy to maintain a solid personal brand.

  1.    Get paid for doing your hobby

Earning extra money from your side job is nice. It is even better when you actually love doing it. This will not only give you a sense of fulfillment, but also a financial security as you do not have to always rely on what you receive from your day job. Not to mention, a side gig can open a new career opportunity when you decide to pursue it further.

Next read: Stressing about Work Even at Home? Tips to Leave the Work at Work

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After sending your job application to your dream company and waiting for days, finally a recruiter calls to invite you for an interview. With mixed feelings of both enthusiasm and anticipation, you are preparing yourself physically and mentally to face the interview session. Most interview tips found on the internet merely talking about how you should demonstrate eagerness  to join the company, the reasons why you apply for the jobs, as well as what makes you the best fit candidate for the position.

However, it is duly noted that while the hiring managers want to see your passion and potentials for the future job role, they might want to dig up your past employment, too.

There is no doubt that having a good track record in your employment history is beneficial for candidates. Recruiters often throw several questions regarding the candidate’s previous career to assess their suitability with the job offered. From the candidate’s answers, hiring managers can learn about their past behaviour and commitment towards the job, as well as predict their attitude and response towards particular circumstances if accepted.

Some people leave their jobs peacefully as they are simply encouraged to seek for better opportunity in other company. Some others might leave in less good smooth process due to a conflict or issue with their previous employer. Meanwhile, an interview is the time where you should emit positive energy instead of the negative ones. No matter how much you resent your previous job, you should not let such negativity stay on your mind. Telling bad things about your past employer will not make you look any better. Instead, your future managers will think that you are being disrespectful to your old boss. And thus, this will affect how they see your candidacy.

To prepare the right answer when asked about your past experiences, check the following list of most common questions related to previous job:

Why do you leave your job?

This question is meant to gauge your commitment at work. While the truth might say that you leave your job because you hate your demanding boss or toxic environment or even that you are fired for some reasons, you should not express it bluntly. Avoid using negative tones and choose more neutral words to share your reasons. For example, you can say that while actually you love the job, you believe that you will have better opportunity to make use your knowledge and skills in this company. You can say that all you expect to find better career path which you might not get in the previous job.

What do you learn from your previous job?

Recruiters want to see how candidates grab the opportunity to achieve personal development as well as their willingness to learn through this question. By knowing the interviewee’s capabilities, this question will help hiring managers see the candidates’ future potentials when offered the job at the company. To tackle this query, you can mention about both technical and soft skills you have gained from the previous job, while emphasising how those experiences have shaped your character.

Tell me the challenge and conflict you have faced in the previous job

This question aims to reveal your ‘survival’ skills at work, such as your attitude towards challenge, your mentality when dealing with problems and challenges, as well as how you handle pressure in a job. At this point, you do not need to exaggerate the answer to make it sound great or dramatic. The most important thing is that you just have to explain the actual problem, how it affects you, then how you solve and learn from it to do better.

How did your previous boss and your coworkers describe you?

The recruiter needs to know how you manage good relationship at work and adapt with the working environment. While actually you might not know exactly how your previous boss and coworkers see you as an individual, you can try to deter this question by praising your colleagues instead. For example, you can tell the hiring manager that they have solid teamwork and you are able to form good relationship with them. In the end you can say how you appreciate them and you believe that they appreciate you the same way.

Read also: Competing with a Friend: What to Do When You and Coworker Aim for the Same Promotion

Getting your first interview can be a daunting experience, let alone when you have to do it online. Yes, the internet has been much of a game changer in employee recruitment, including in how hiring managers conducting a job interview.

Nowadays, conducting virtual interview becomes increasingly popular among employers. Embracing video and web-based technologies for screening interview with prospective candidates has been an alternative besides the traditional in-person meeting. Not only time-saving and cost-effective, conducting video job interview allows employers to widen the talent scope across the world.

However, the problem is quite classical. Not everyone is ready for video job interview. While many people are perfectly comfortable with the idea of talking in front of webcam, there are others who are totally webcam-phobic. The later type, webcam-shy person, usually displays symptoms such as being overly-nervous, stiff, and awkward when talking to the interviewers thorugh their laptops.

If you belong to the second type and need some advices for your next meeting, here are seven ways to ace in video job interview.

Prepare your devices

It might be quite obvious, but you have to make sure that you have everything you need for video job interview. Before the interview takes place, you have to ensure that all functions you need are running smoothly.

Turn on the computer at least 15 minutes before the scheduled, such you can check once again that all is well. It will include testing out your webcam, turning on the audio recorder, charging the battery, as well as checking the internet connection. If you are required to use certain video call software, make sure that you have installed and tried it out before the day.

Set the scene

You want the interviewers to keep their eyes only on you, not your surroundings. To help you get their full attention, you have to set proper background for video job interview.

Make sure that the lighting is good so it will not cast undesirable black shadow of your face. As for the room, make sure that it is quiet enough to do a conversation. If needed, you can put on ‘do not disturb’ or some notes about the interview on your door to prevent any unwanted visitor. People get distracted easily. Hence, ensure that nothing bizarre fills your background. Conservative white and plain background is the best option for it. You want the interviewers to assess your qualifications, not wondering who the funky singer poster on your wall is.

Pick up the right attire

While it is true that most video job interview do not require you to show full body, do not risk your employment opportunity by wearing casual bottom. Wear something dense and professional from head to toe, not only for the waist-up. You don’t want the interviewers to accidentally sneak peek your worn-out pajamas, right?

Avoid wearing clothes with busy prints, as it does not look good on screen. Instead, pick something plain in light colours. If you want, you can choose colours that you think you look good in it. Not only the attire, you also need to pay attention to your hair and face as well. Make sure that you have the look of their next hire.

Maintain eye contact

Most common mistake done in video job interview is that candidates tend to look out at the screen. However, you should stop doing so. Eye contact is not only applicable in face-to-face interview, but also in video job interview as well. Just pretend that the webcam is the interviewer sitting in front you. Hence, looking at it is like looking directly at the interviewer.

Stay calm all the time

Human makes mistakes, so do you. Don’t be thrown off by small errors you might make along the interview. When you realise providing wrong answers and would like to correct it, admit the mistake and re-state the answer calmly.

Be honest. If you think you cannot find a proper answer to particular question, just say so. Rather than rambling about something else, interviewers will appreciate your honesty. Focus on your answer, state it clearly and confidently, such that will make the interviewers nod their heads and thinks, ‘This is the talent I have been looking for’.

Start practicing

Just like the old mantra saying, ‘practice makes perfect’. To prepare for tackling questions, take advantage of various interview practice hacks scattered on the internet. Make sure to do your research about the company and everything related to the job you are applying.

Video job interview is an effective medium to demonstrate your proficiencies to the hiring managers. Although you might do it at your home, bear in mind that video job interview is no different from usual interview. So keep smile and be confident!

Next read: Should You Announce that You’re Seeking New Opportunities on LinkedIn?

When it comes to using social media to build professional personal brand, most people will agree that LinkedIn is the best platform that can be harnessed to serve that purpose. Unlike Facebook or Twitter wherein you can use made-up names and casual photo profiles, LinkedIn encourages users to build a professional official brand on their account. You can even upload your resume online, network and market yourself to attract potential employers.

In this increasingly digitised world where everything has become virtual, social media accounts such as LinkedIn often becomes your first medium to meet employers and hiring managers. Owing to which, you have to make sure that you deliver positive first impression through your profile.

When someone checks on your LinkedIn page, they want to learn more information about you, especially regards your professional skills and experience. Therefore, in order to spark people’s interests towards your profile, it becomes crucial for job seekers to build a powerful and impressive LinkedIn profile.

If you need some advice on how to create an impactful LinkedIn account, here are the 8 things that you should not miss out on your profile:

  1.    A profile photo with a smile

While you do not have to get professional photographer to take your picture, it is important to put on high-quality and recent photo. Do not use old pictures of yourself on LinkedIn, taken way back when you were in college. Your profile pic should be recent to reflect your current maturity, age and style. Additionally, it is highly recommended to wear a smile but not those that flash your pearly whites. A smiling photo profile will make you look more friendly and approachable.

  1.    Customise headline on our LinkedIn profile

Other than your photo, name, and current job position, your profile headline is the first thing that shows up on your LinkedIn profile and attracts employers attention. Therefore, work on unique catchy headlines that describe your personality in a brief. While, every time you update your position or company, LinkedIn automatically updates your headline to suit your professional bio.  It is advisable to customise your headline using certain keywords that are regularly searched on Google to draw visitor traffic to your profile.

  1.    Detailed work history

LinkedIn profile might not be a resume, but it is similar to one. To complete your profile, you are required to fill in your work history to include job experiences, skills, past employers, as well as current position and company. Make sure that you provide detailed information on your profile, such that employers will know your qualifications better.

  1.    Updated information

Do not leave your page in cobwebs. Even if you are employed and not actively looking for a job, it is good to keep your LinkedIn updated. If you are pursuing a higher degree while working, you might want to update your master’s degree qualification on your educational information. Such as when recruiters are searching for candidates with particular degrees, your name will pop up in the search.

  1.    Credible recommendations

Recommendations are powerful tools to validate the information stated on your profile, and thus makes you professional profile more credible. It is good to build a positive personal brand. You can ask for recommendations and endorsements from someone who knows you well about your key strengths and qualities. Such as for example, you can ask for your coworkers or supervisors to add you to their professional networks and offer recommendations.

  1.    Compelling summary

Before going on to read your whole information, people will check out your profile summary first. Therefore, your summary should clearly tell people who you are, and what makes you different from other talents with same qualifications in the market. Create a compelling summary that will enforce your bargaining power in the job market.

  1.    Relevant connections

Just like other social media platforms, you can follow influential leaders and respected players in the industry who are your source of inspiration. This strategy will not only allow you to stay updated with the latest news, but will also give you relevant information on your newsfeed.

Hence, it is imperative to pay attention to your circle of connections. While you should not easily discredit somebody just because you do not know much about them, you need to be careful on how you connect on LinkedIn.

  1.    Personalised profile URL

Basically, LinkedIn will give you long, random, and impersonal profile URL. However, you can always personalise this URL to reflect your professional self. Pick out the best name that bears your name, such that people can easily associate the URL with you.

Do you have any other ideas that will enhance LinkedIn profile? Share with us!

Are you a fresh graduate in the process of job hunting? Every job seeker can imagine the strenuous process and experience of landing a job the regular way: graduating from reputed university, searching for job openings, applying for the job, going through tests and interview, and finally, the job offer from one of the companies.

The problem however is, sometimes reality bites. Regardless of how meticulously you plan out everything, unexpected things do happen and scatter your plans away. Should you just go with the flow, then?

Upon finishing your education, you might start thinking of what the future brings to you. After the graduation day, you create a career plan as a guide along your journey to the professional world. However, you should bear in mind that everything doesn’t always turn out as anticipated. Since, life is not merely a checklist that follows your instincts and will to succeed, there are times when you have to compromise and negotiate with the current circumstances.

Professional world is full of uncertainty. As the old adage goes, ‘Man proposes, but God disposes.’ It means, no matter how prudently you have arranged everything in your life (including charting out a professional career pathway), there is no solid guarantee that your life will function smoothly as you initially wished for.

Here are reasons why you should say goodbye to your rigid career plans and just go with the flow:

  1.    It releases you from limiting beliefs

Have you ever thought of something similar like this, ‘Oh, I can never be a leader, as I don’t have supporting leadership skills’? Such negative thoughts are formed from limiting career beliefs that comes within yourself.

Fear of failure and criticism is one of the most common limiting beliefs, that stops you from trying something new. When you decide to go with the flow, you will be freed from your limiting beliefs and ready to seize every challenge that lies ahead.

  1.    It helps you trust yourself

Before you can trust anyone else, it is critical to trust yourself first. Going with the flow will help you have faith on your own ability, to deal with everyday problems. When something is out of your control, you might be anxious about the future.

However, when it turns out to be fine towards the end, it will give you a greater sense of confidence. You will be convinced that you can handle everything better than you might have thought.

  1.    It helps you focus

When you create a list of everything, sometimes it makes you pay attention to trivial details more than the important ones. For example, when you are preparing for a job interview, you might list everything out, so you should bring from A to Z.

But you forget to bring the most important thing: your heart and passion at work. When you go with the flow, you can focus on something that matters in your life, more than anything else.

  1.    It makes you enjoy life

What is the joy of living out of scripted life? You can enjoy life more when you just go with the flow. No matter if you have to start your career right from the scratch you will find that every job is meaningful. Job search is hard. It becomes even harder when you feel that you have no idea of what you would do for longevity in career.

However, no matter what you do for living as a job or nurturing a silent dream and passion for life, you should think of the job as an experience that will enrich your soul. The trick is to see something things from different point of view, and you will find the job more enjoyable.

Rather than getting stressed up and anxious about the future, all you have to do is to accept what life brings and go with the flow. Take a deep breath and relax, because towards the end, everything will happen naturally.

Next read: Unconventional Ways to Land Your Dream Job