Sunday, October 16, 2011

WANTED! Telling LinkedIn Followers You've Been Laid Off

Many people who’ve been laid off feel like crawling into a deep, dark hole and hiding from the World, rather than broadcasting their new job status.

Fortunately, if you want to find another position, that’s precisely what you should do. Get over the past and get on with the future!

In the current economy, with so many talented people being let go, there is absolutely no shame or stigma whatsoever” in clearly indicating that you are 'out of work.'

You exude confidence by not being ashamed that you’re between jobs. LinkedIn, which functions as an electronic resume, is a valuable tool to help you spread the word.

Until they are laid off, some folks either don’t know how to use LinkedIn, or have a very skeletal presence on the site. Perhaps, mistakenly, they think of it as a job search tool and either aren’t looking or don’t want their bosses to know. Most just cop out and say they are 'too busy.'

LinkedIn has comeof age. Three years ago, senior people thought LinkedIn was for lower-level employees. Not any more. Now everybody is connected and checking each other out.

Hr personnel will look you up on LinkedIn, before they will consider asking you for an interview.

If you suddenly find yourself out of work, toughen up. Develop a “robust, 100% complete LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn claims that their site is so user-friendly that even firt timers and newbies can find their way.

Those who need guidance have to rely on LinkedIn’s online tutorial or enlist help from a more experienced friend or passing tech-savvy teenager.

In creating a new profile or editing your current one, be very public about the fact that you’re looking for new opportunities. No matter how difficult this is, it's an issue you have to address as you wind your way though the key sections of the LinkedIn template.

Where do you start? Try this approach;

Professional Headline

In this line, which goes under your name, give a generic description of what you do or a sample job title (for example, Chief Security Officer, Senior Human Resources Officer).

Use this label of yourself as a guide to what you aspire to be and feel confident about, rather than feeling limited by what your last job title.

Current Position
You’re now out of work, so the “Current” heading should be deleted but before you do, cut and paste your previous company and job title into the “Past” section.

Now click “edit” and “delete,” and make the “Current” heading disappear. Don’t be concerned that your job shows an end date. It’s very acceptable these days to be 'resting' or 'between' jobs.

In a couple of short, pertinent paragraphs, make sure you emphasise your key skills and submit good examples of major accomplishments.

Conclude with a sentence that says “I am currently looking for new opportunities in ......" and mention specific functions and industries where you can prove your worth.

When trying to fill positions that are now open, both headhunters and in-house folks with responsibility for filling a job routinely comb LinkedIn for people who are out of work; it saves them the trouble of having to convince someone who is currently employed to switch jobs.

So, instead of pretending and feeling sorry for yourself, it’s actually to your benefit to indicate that you’re open to new opportunities.

Make sure your descriptions of past jobs adequately convey what you did. Standard rules of resume writing apply here: use active verbs, amply convey your responsibilities, and show results.

Since words are scarcer in social media, aim for punchy, and currently applicable soundbites. Get recommendations from your current or most relevant jobs that reflect varying perspectives. Managers, colleagues and more effectively, a client.

For the over 40s and beyond, the dates and qualifications of a dark distant past are normally irrelevant. Experience counts for more when looking to recruit, unless the qualifications have been extended or form part of a professional code of conduct e.g. medicine, science, etc.

How do you know when you’re finished? 
Just remember you are not a artist painting a picture. There is a finite amount of information that you need to put in your profile but as a guide, LinkedIn tries to measure your progress.

When you’re in “Edit Profile” mode on LinkedIn, there’s a metric that attempts to show the percentage completeness of your profile.

Also, LinkedIn will make suggestions about what you’re 'missing' beit a job description, photo or recommendations. Keep revising until you get as near to hitting the 100% mark, as possible.

Then, to be sure, proof read it again vigilantly. you can also ask a friend or relative to check it for basic errors.

Good luck!

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