It’s been a really tough year for employment. All over the country, people at all stages of their career progression have been affected by the impact of Covid-19 on the job market.

Whether you’re a current pupil who is anxious about the future, or a former student or staff member who has fallen onto hard times, we understand how difficult it has been to look for new opportunities.

Breaking into or progressing within your desired career can be daunting at the best of times, let alone when the job market is oversaturated and many sectors have become more competitive.

We know how disheartening this can be. If you’re currently out of work, it’s easy to become dejected and worried about the future. It’s also difficult to stay positive – and productive – in your job search.

How do you stand out from other applicants?

How can you catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers?

How will you get hired if your usual means of applying for jobs are currently unsuccessful?

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to use LinkedIn to answer all of these questions, and bring you closer to your next opportunity.

Step One: Create a Strong LinkedIn Profile

The first step to using LinkedIn for your job search is to create a profile that captures the right attention. Maybe this means creating your first account, or perhaps you’re already a user, but your profile is sorely neglected, your most recent updates years out of date and gathering digital dust. Either way, we can get you on the right track.

Picking an Appropriate Profile Picture

When you’ve created (or revived) your LinkedIn account, first thing’s first: picking an appropriate picture. This can feel daunting if you’re new to professional networking, but don’t dwell on it too much. The most important thing is to appear approachable. While you want an element of professionalism (maybe don’t choose a photo taken at the pub, for example), showing that you are warm and personable should be prioritised. Also ensure you share as much of your face as possible.

Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to skip this stage. LinkedIn research has shown that having a picture can make your profile up to 14 times more likely to be viewed.

Creating an Enticing Headline

Your headline will be the first thing that a potential employer sees. Even without viewing your profile, your headline is visible. This is the first chance to be enticing, engaging, and stand out.

Try to use keywords for your desired industry that’ll appear in the LinkedIn search algorithms. Use a combination of these, or create a short, snappy statement that resonates with the pain points that an employer at your dream role might be hiring to solve.

Make Use of LinkedIn’s Additional Features

While you should incorporate your skills, interests, and experience, try not to think of your LinkedIn profile as a digital CV. You have the opportunity here to create something much more engaging.

Use the media tool to attach examples of your best work or showcase any knowledge you’ve accrued. You could write articles or create graphics or videos on any specialist subjects.

There’s the LinkedIn Jobs feature too. This is a great place to look for exciting roles in your field that may not necessarily be advertised elsewhere. You can toggle jobs by sector and  location and get email alerts for relevant listings.

Step Two: Build Your Network

Again, LinkedIn isn’t just a digital CV. It’s a professional social network. Growing that network can not only make your profile appear more active and engaged, it can make the algorithm work in your favour.

It could also help to open more doors than you might think. If you’re actively looking for a new role, you could make connections aware – someone may be able to give you the head’s up on a new opportunity. Personal recommendations or referrals are always helpful.

Make Connections

Start by connecting with those that you already know such as former colleagues, fellow pupils, or anyone you have previously met through offline networking.

Using alumni search, you can connect with fellow Old Blues who are working in the same sector. While ‘mass adding’, connecting with a multitude of strangers with no mutual connection or interest, isn’t recommended, there’s no harm in reaching out to those that inhabit similar spaces. Especially if you take the time to create personalised connection messages.

Gather Endorsements

Listing your skills is great, but can you prove them? If you feel comfortable, ask close connections or former colleagues to leave you an endorsement, or even a recommendation to showcase proof of those skills. This will help you to build credibility.

If you don’t have anyone to ask, you can use LinkedIn’s Skill Assessment feature to earn skill badges on your profile.

Be an Active User

It may sound obvious, but don’t be afraid to make use of LinkedIn’s simplest feature: sharing or creating posts.

Being an active, engaged user will help you. Whether that’s sharing or engaging with the content of others, or creating your own, it’ll show prospective employers that you are actively engaged with your desired industry. It’ll demonstrate that you have experience, passion, and something to add. Don’t hesitate to share your personal and professional achievements.

Step Three: Be Discoverable

While LinkedIn’s Jobs feature is useful, the popularity of ‘passive recruitment’ is growing. Often, recruiters use LinkedIn to search for prospective employees who haven’t applied – and may not even be actively looking for work.

If you want them to find you, you have to make sure you can be found. Ensure that the appropriate keywords are scattered throughout your profile – in your headline, in your ‘About’ section, in the content that you post, even in your skills and experience. You can set your profile to open to new work and list relevant positions that you’re interested in.

This is where building your network helps. The algorithm is more likely to pull up profiles that are closer connections to the searcher. By having a broader network, you may be more likely to show up organically when a hiring manager is looking for potential applicants.

Job seeking can be difficult, disheartening, and daunting. But using LinkedIn can give you an edge and help you to stand out. Try your best to stay positive, and remember, whether you’re still a Blue or an Old Blue, the Benevolent Society of Blues was designed to help you through any hardship. Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice or for further assistance, and you can find our additional resources here.

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How to prepare for an interview

Top Interview Tips: Common Questions, Body Language & More

What’s the worst thing you can do at an interview?

The Best Ways To Answer Behavioural Interview Questions / Competency Job Interview Questions

How to prepare for an interview

What is an interview?

When applying for jobs through job sites or recruitment agencies you will have to complete an interview stage before being offered any type of work. This is standard practise and can vary depending on the field of work you are looking for. When you submit applications or send your CV to an organisation/agency that is looking to recruit, you may be invited to interview along with other applicants.

You should take registration interviews with recruitment agencies just as serious as you would a regular interview, this is pre-screening and where first impressions begin. Remember, you can sign up and become a candidate with as many agencies as you like, just ensure you keep note of these, stay in contact and outline if you are looking for temporary/permanent employment.  (More on this below)

Recruitment Agency Interviews

Recruitment agencies may book appointments with job seekers to ‘interview’ you for registration.

A good recruiter will coach you through an interview registration explaining all the details of what a recruitment agency can provide, they will stay in touch with you over the phone and via email and update you on any organisation they would like to send your CV too (with your permission). They will arrange interviews for you with clients.  Do not be alarmed if the registration doesn’t take too long it’s the impression you make that’s important.

Registration interview preparations:

Bring with you:

Some recruitment agencies specialise in different sectors of job vacancies so ensure that you are prepared, and the visit is relevant for you. If anything, else is needed that is not mentioned above, the recruiter will have this on your appointment email.

Agency Interview preparations:

Make a note of the agency you have visited, if you see a role they have advertised in the future and you are interested you can contact them, and you will already registered.

Further detail in links below.

Direct Interviews

Either directly applied by you or sourced by your recruiter.

There are many types of interview process’s out there but for a standard interview Its important to know how to prepare.

An interview can be a formal or informal conversation, one to one or virtual. Consider it an invitation into the organisation to discuss the potential job opportunity you applied for.

Interviews can also be done over the phone, or in small groups. In a face-to-face meeting environment, the interviewer will ask you questions, and explore your attributes in line with the role they are recruiting for.

Useful job sites to search for vacancies:

If you have specific skills, a simple google search will assist with relevant job sites.

Interview Preparations

Prepare answers to these Top 10 Interview Questions 

  1. Tell Me About Yourself.
  2. Why Do You Want This Job? …
  3. Why Should We Hire You?
  4. What is Your Greatest Strength?
  5. What is Your Greatest Weakness?
  6. Why Do You Want to Leave (or Have Left) Your Job?
  7. What Are Your Salary Expectations?
  8. How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?

During the interview:

The 5 Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer

  1. What do you expect from team members in this position?
  2. Will those expectations change over time?
  3. What is a typical day like at [company name]?
  4. Where do you see the company in five years?
  5. What are the next steps in the interview process?

Remember an interview is an opportunity for both you and the interviewer to get to know eachother, with the right amount of research, the right questions and being yourself, you will both have a better understanding on whether the role is a correct fit.

Useful links: