You may dream of blazing a trail into a new career, you’ve graduated with a good degree in hand, and you’ve researched everything there is to know about your dream company. Doing your homework is one thing, but that isn’t going to cut it when it comes to getting that first foot firmly wedged in the door.
Having an inside contact might be exactly what you need to get that initial leg-up you so desperately need. Except, you’ve already tried asking everyone you can think of – family, friends, old university tutors – and you still haven’t found that vital ‘it’s who you know, not what you know’ contact.
Fortunately, there are ways to find that all important contact and get recognised by the company of your dreams – as long as you’re prepared for a bit of hard work.
Network and Engage on Social Media
In our social media savvy world, everyone is tracking their Facebook engagement, checking their Twitter analytics and making connections on LinkedIn. Engaging with companies that you are interested in working for is a good way to get noticed. That doesn’t mean mindlessly liking and retweeting every single update they make though.
Effectively networking on social media means following updates, making insightful comments and offering thoughtful opinions when the moment presents itself. Check back to see if there are replies to the comments you make and, if there are, be sure to contribute to the conversation. However, remember not to overdo it. Social media isn’t a platform for writing a job application and verbosity might work against you.
Build a Killer LinkedIn Profile
We already know that making connections on LinkedIn is an essential way to find friends in high places, but it isn’t as simple as just sending out requests. On LinkedIn, you’re only able to connect with people you know and send messages to connections of your connections. That means you’ll need to start building up your network.
The first step is creating a killer LinkedIn profile that replicates your CV, uses a professional profile photo and lists all of your relevant skills. After that, add people you know from university, previous work or even friends. They will be able to endorse you for the skills you’ve listed, and open up further possibilities for connecting with more people.
78% of recruiters have hired through a social network and the clear leader of the pack is LinkedIn, which is used by 92% of those recruiters. Being active on the site is key to being noticed by recruiters, headhunters and companies. You can join groups relevant to the career path you’re following and/or skill sets, where you have the opportunity to ask for and offer advice and join in with discussions. This can also be a great way to get spotted by other professionals in your industry.
Have a Strong Online Presence
Having a strong online presence is key to selling yourself. You need to show off your skills, your personality and your energy. Having an impressive LinkedIn profile and a Twitter feed that shows your engagement with the issues relating to your field of interest is a great start, but there are bigger and better ways to strengthen your online presence.
One of the best ways to do this is to get blogging. Running your own professional, current and topical blog can be a really effective way to market yourself. Whether you want to write about working in the NHS, share teaching tips for other NQTs, or even show off your photography portfolio, a blog is the perfect platform. If you’re not confident about running and maintaining your own blog, don’t let that stop you. Contributing as a guest writer to other blogs is a really popular way to get your voice heard on issues and ideas that interest you.
Be Active in Your Field
You still need great credentials to support your online presence, no matter how much of a social media butterfly you are. Part of creating that killer CV that you’ll be replicating on your LinkedIn profile is ensuring that you are active in your field. If you’ve not been able to walk into a good job, read through some job advertisements to see what employers are looking for and if you have any skills gaps that could be filled.
Volunteering, internships and extra training can be a great way to fill those gaps, and they are further beneficial in showing that you are passionate about your field and keen to be learning and involved even when you are still job hunting. The plumper your CV gets, the better it will be for you and the more likely you are to gain the recognition you deserve.
At the end of the day, getting your foot in the door is about persistence, determination, motivation and a little bit of luck too. Know what it is you want and work toward it little by little everyday. If you’re constantly chopping and changing your mind, you’ll find that making connections and securing a job that much harder to handle. When job hunting, ask to have your CV kept on file by employers you’re interested in working with and inquire regularly to see if there are any new positions to keep your name fresh in their minds for when a relevant opportunity does come up.
Ron Stewart | CEO Jobs4Medical | Jobs4Medical
Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.
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