We are excited to welcome a guest blogger, Sharon Barney, to share with us her unique perspective on job search. Sharon is a senior executive with more than 20 years of experience leading organizations through transformation. She is contributing to the JVS blog from both the perspective of a job seeker as she is currently searching for a new career and from the perspective of a senior leader who has hired senior staff. Her dream job is a leadership position developing diversity in thought and action throughout an organization. She believes that human resources are strategic assets. She is particularly interested in how we create personal value through online networks.
This blog is about my experiences as a senior executive doing an online career search. I want job candidates to appreciate the many opportunities for personal growth through the process; and especially to maximize the opportunities of online communities and networking. I understand that most people view job search as a bad thing, and it certainly has its downside; however one of the key rules of job search is to stay positive!
JVS Toronto is an agency which runs five employment centres and welcomes job seekers from all backgrounds. The counsellors are excellent, sympathetic and totally honest about how to conduct a career search. I was asked to contribute because of my perspective from both sides of the career search process.
The first workshop that I attended at JVS was about Social Media Networking. I arrived at the Social Media Networking seminar hoping that the process would not be too difficult. The first thing that Karin Lewis told us is that we MUST develop our LinkedIn profile. She went on to tell us that 89% of companies use LinkedIn to recruit and so we don’t really have a choice. Whoa! It was overwhelming!
But, I’m happy to report that developing my LinkedIn presence has been a totally rewarding experience. I recommend that you get your basic information onto your LinkedIn page ASAP.
Once you sign in, LinkedIn will prompt you; so it’s a simple case of answering the questions. Once you get this done, then you can refine your profile, get your picture loaded up, and start networking. The most rewarding aspect is “seeing who you are.” I know this may sound strange, but you have a chance to see everything that you have done professionally and what motivates YOU.
You have to list your work history chronologically. However, if your most recent position is not relevant to your current job search, then highlight your successes in jobs and volunteer positions that are more relevant by developing those descriptions in more detail.
LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to join groups of like-minded professionals that show the world what is important to you. Joining groups is easy to do. You want to demonstrate to future employers that you are a dedicated professional. Your groups will be shown on your profile as well as any other groups you have volunteered for.
But the most rewarding aspect really has to be the networking.
By having a LinkedIn profile, you create an online professional network that allows you to meet new colleagues and to reconnect with old ones. You will feel enriched when you see what your professional colleagues are doing; and the career possibilities that are out there.
You can start your network by connecting with your email contacts. But this quickly expands through 2nd level contacts. I found colleagues that I had lost contact with. And even more rewarding was that colleagues I had “forgotten” found me. It is so great to get a LinkedIn notice that a friend and colleague wants to connect. It has truly been amazing.