Stand out in competitive market

By Donna McIntyre

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Actively promoting yourself and building networks key when seeking employment.

Networking can get you in the race for a good job.
Networking can get you in the race for a good job.

In today's competitive employment landscape it's important to actively promote yourself, build networks and be known for your specific skills and experience. Your skills are your calling card, but they're not much use if no one knows who you are or how to track you down.

Jane Kennelly, director at Frog Recruitment, says it is vital to keep professional profiles and CVs up to date, even if you are not actively looking to change jobs.

"We had one person who was approached by four different outfits that simply found her on LinkedIn," she says. "So rule No1 is to keep uploading the freshest, latest version of you to LinkedIn - a major forum where potential employers window-shop for talent."

She advises job hunters to be aware of information, changes and trends in the world of work. "It is a smart way to show your enthusiasm and forward-focus. For example, social media is having a huge impact on the way we communicate, so would you hire an HR practitioner with no knowledge or understanding of social media into your business?"

In a tight employment market especially, job seekers need to make use of all opportunities, from tried and tested newspaper ads and job boards through to online networking with LinkedIn and Facebook.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to give yourself a head-start:

CVs

A succinct CV is your marketing tool. It needs to be easy to read with a consistent format that looks professional. Your resume should be two to four pages. Keep it achievement-focused and relevant to the job you're applying for.

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is essential to your search strategy for finding a new role. By searching LinkedIn you will find contacts from your current and previous employers, clients and suppliers. All these contacts have the potential to help you find a new job.

The keywords in your LinkedIn profile should relate to specific job requirements, including skills and competencies, relevant credentials and previous employers. And don't overlook the importance of endorsements.

SOCIAL MEDIA

With the advent of social media, recruiters are engaging with talent across networking platforms. Recruitment agencies are using Facebook to launch job boards, enabling Facebook visitors and friends to search opportunities. But before you start using your Facebook page professionally, ensure your settings are set to "private". You do not want potential employers or colleagues seeing your weekend antics, advises Kennelly.

"Set up a Facebook page to display your professional side. The beauty of a Facebook page is that it's searchable via Google, so when a prospective employer is checking you out, your Facebook page should rank high in the search terms because Facebook pages are quickly indexed."

Another way to professionally benefit from Facebook's enormous user-base is Facebook Groups which allow users to connect, discuss and network with each other within the context of a common interest or topic.

Also, follow companies you would like to work for; and add your network links to your email signature.

Another trend is the upsurge of mobile recruitment. Kennelly says Frog Recruitment has launched a mobile optimised career site so job candidates can apply for vacancies through mobile devices.

NETWORKING

Practice networking by attending different networking events. It's another way to meet interesting people and contacts.

The key is to maintain regular and consistent contact with people in your networks. Although networking can appear overwhelming to the uninitiated, it is about connecting with people, building and nurturing relationships, sharing information, tapping into the hidden job market, learning about career opportunities, pooling resources and expanding contacts.

Kennelly says a genuine networker is one prepared to offer advice and help, while also making a genuine approach to ask for assistance or sage advice.

RESEARCH

Assess 10 companies you might want to work for. Visits their websites and register your interest and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook - so you are advised the moment they advertise.

Talk to people you know who work there to see if they can refer you to the right person to speak to.

And set up alerts on the employment website SEEK so you are advised immediately a position is uploaded that suits your skill set.

More information here.

JOB SEEKING ESSENTIALS

CV and cover letter: Effective CVs achieve higher cut-through and are worth the investment.

LinkedIn: In January, LinkedIn had more than 782,537 members in New Zealand. This social networking platform is a great way to increase your visibility, build your personal brand and show your expertise.

Need advice?

If you have a career related question we have a new advice column. Simply send your question to careers@nzherald.co.nz with Career Specialist question in the subject line.

- NZ Herald

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