Step out from the shadows and shine

“Cellophane, Mister Cellophane
Should have been my name, Mister Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me and never know I'm there.”

If you’ve seen the musical “Chicago” you’d recognise the song ‘Mr Cellophane’ sung by the much-overlooked character, Amos Hart. Often, even his wife doesn’t notice him. Pretty sad, huh?

What’s also sad is that, when applying for jobs, most of us become ‘Mr Cellophane’ too. We are there, but we don’t get noticed. Does that sound like you?

Be where the jobs are

To be seen, you must be in the places employers are looking. But where are these places? Let’s have a look at the numbers.

According to the Australian Government’s JobSearch website, in 2014/15:

·      45% of jobs were advertised online.

·      32% of vacancies were not formally advertised (up to 50% in regional areas).

·      17% of employers used word of mouth for recruitment.

·      13% of vacancies were filled by job seekers who approached employers about potential job opportunities.

These stats tell us that job-seekers need to be pro-active about approaching potential employers, let others know that they are available and be ready when opportunities arise.

Social professional networks are the key

LinkedIn Talent Solutions have given us some more figures to complete the picture in their ‘Australia & New Zealand Recruiting Trends 2016’ survey.

Top Sources of quality hire (2015)

·      Internet job boards - 57% (steady decline from previous years).

·      Internal hire - 37% (slight decline from previous years).

·      Social professional networks (including LinkedIn) - 35% (steady increase from previous years).

Survey forecasts

·      40% of recruiters say utilising social professional networks is an essential and long-lasting trend.

·      Social professional networks will remain dominant.

·      Employee referral programs and internal hiring will increase.

The message here is clear, too. To capitalise on these recruitment trends, job-seekers need to know how to use online networks effectively.

Each day, many thousands of jobs are listed on LinkedIn but only a small percent of members use it effectively to find work. Why is that?

What’s the problem?

Recruiters and social media experts believe the reasons for this gap include people:

·      Not knowing how to use LinkedIn properly or how valuable it can be for finding work.

·      Having incomplete profiles. Often, members only list their basic details and resume. They don’t stand out or show that they are interested in looking for work at all.

·      Not connecting with other members or being active on the site in any way. Joining interest groups and making connections with others in your industry is a valuable way to make yourself known and to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

·      Not using keywords throughout their profile. Recruiters use keywords to scan LinkedIn for potential candidates. These are like signposts that say “Here I am! I’ve got the qualities you are looking for!” If your signposts aren’t up you will certainly be overlooked.

Learning to use LinkedIn

It’s up to you to learn the skills that will turn your profile into a valuable asset.

LinkedIn Learning is a library of video tutorials on the LinkedIn website. It includes courses on how to use LinkedIn and much more. You can also use the Help Centre to look up FAQ’s or ask questions.

Another excellent (and free) resource for online tutorials about using LinkedIn is the GCF Learn Free website.

Some community colleges offer short courses in using LinkedIn for job-seeking. Or, if you’re lucky, you may know someone who will sit down and show you what to do. However, this is only beneficial if they teach you how to continue using it on your own with confidence. Using a professional LinkedIn consulting service may be a better option for many people.

“Be prepared”

The Boy Scout motto is very relevant for all job-seekers on LinkedIn, regardless of if you are looking for work or not. These days, jobs come and go and people regularly move from one career to another. You may be happy in your job now but what happens if you get made redundant or you see another opportunity you’d love to apply for?

If your LinkedIn profile is complete and shows positive signs of your engagement in your network, you won’t need to waste weeks (or months) setting it all up from scratch. It will be there, ready to go when you are.

Ok, so here’s your challenge! Don’t just read this article or bookmark it to come back to ‘sometime’; take a few minutes now to start an action plan for making yourself not only visible online, but hard to miss.

Break it up into small, manageable tasks and give them each a deadline (marked in your calendar). This makes the goal less daunting and easier to achieve. You won’t see results overnight, but by investing your time to create this resource for yourself, you’ll be setting the stage for opportunities you haven’t even dreamed of yet.

Call to action…

Want even more tips on getting your online profile working for you?

Susan Burke is a global careers coach and author of ‘Get Companies Chasing You: Job Search Re-Invention’. Susan believes people need to promote themselves as though they were a business. In her podcast interview on The Mentor List, she shares the strategies she uses to help her clients create their own personal ‘brand’.

Susan’s podcast overflows with valuable insights and advice for those looking to stand out amidst a sea of job-seekers. If you’re ready to step up, then be sure to tune in today.

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List.

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