Archive for October, 2011

Personal branding – the balancing act

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you ever had a work colleague add you on Facebook? If so, you may have experienced a slightly awkward butterfly feeling whilst admiring the ‘accept’ and ‘not now’ buttons. Maybe you immediately began thinking about the possible implications of accepting. Or maybe you were not really bothered about it at all.

Your online presence is something you should spend a little time thinking about. Consider what sort of image you may be conveying to your employer, colleagues, and anyone else who’s opinion you appreciate. Life would be so much easier if we did not have consider the implications of what one statement, or misguided comment can have. But life is not that simple. One has to protect their own brand.


Your brand is the image you portray to the world. You are your own PR manager. Employers have an insatiable interest of looking into potential employees’ backgrounds. And now is the time to take ownership over your online personality.

The first step in managing your online presence, is to ensure privacy settings are secure enough so you know who can see what. I use the following set up:

  • Facebook – Private (personal friends and close friends through work)
  • Twitter – Public
  • LinkedIn – Public (mostly professional)
  • Flickr – Public

If I had more sites, I would lose my mind trying to update it all. I would warn you though – as much as you would like to, you are never going to be able to separate your work and private life completely. Nowadays the lines that separated these two typically different presences have blurred, and they continue to do so. Make sure you get into the routine of thinking before doing.

We hear how comments made online can impact peoples professional lives, and I would be interested to hear if any of you have had similar experiences?

Categories: Andi, Job Seeking, Social Media

Why graduation is the worst time to look for a job

October 26, 2011 4 comments

If you are as unlucky as the most of us, you will know exactly how stressful looking for work can be. Especially with such a dismal economic climate. Holding off the job search until after graduation is a sure way to go grey prematurely, and get yourself extremely wound up.

With regards to the job search, you should be on top of your game at all times. Looking for work doesn’t have to feel like you’re pushing a car up a hill! The best advice I can give is draw up your job search strategy as early as possible, especially if you have recently begun, or you will soon be embarking on a degree course. There are an innumerable pool of resources to help you, but following the guidelines below will set you well on your way.

1. Create a LinkedIn profile – If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn, Google it. Basically, it is Facebook for professionals, and an extremely powerful tool for any job hunter or networker. Whenever the opportunity arises in the applications you are completing, find ways to insert your LinkedIn public profile URL. I usually put it in the closing paragraph of a cover letter, referring the recruiter to browse my LinkedIn profile for further details on my background and my recommendations. There is also the option of customising your URL, which puts you closer to the top of search results. You can find more details on how to do this here. It should look something like this

2. Manage your online brand – Being internet savvy is one of the most critical skills in today’s professional world. I guarantee that the majority of people will Google you once they have your name. What sort of impression will they get from your Facebook pictures, your Twitter rants, your  blog? Even if you don’t use these sites, maybe Google yourself and see what comes up. Put yourself in the recruiters shoes. What would you want to see online from potential employees?

3. Decide on your USP – Why would anyone want to employ you? What makes you stand out from the crowd? How do you describe yourself? Enthusiastic, a team plater, motivated, proactive, customer focused, tenacious? There’s hundreds of different adjectives and phrases to choose from, and it might be worth getting a little creative. A little ‘out of the box’ thinking might just get you that call-back.

4. Practice your elevator pitch – Opportunities can arise anywhere. Imagine discovering mid-conversation that you are talking to the head of recruitment from one of the big four consultancies (if consultancy interests you). You may not get another opportunity to sell yourself, so make sure you have a think about what makes you a prime piece of employable meat. Your personal elevator pitch should be short, and make sure its interesting enough to form a firm impression on the individual you are speaking with.

5. Narrow your career focus – It’s no good applying for every job under the sun. Think about what interests you, and try to identify the sorts of industries and companies you would enjoy working for. Be strategic, and research the companies and industries you are looking into.

6. Phone when you can – Always pick up the phone when the option is available. This is extremely important when it comes down to applying for a position. Apart from slight differences in your application from another, making yourself known to a recruiter before applying gives you an opportunity to get your foot in the door before it’s even unlocked. If you have not been able to identify a named individual from the organisation who processes applications, call the company up and ask. Be curious and ask questions.

7. Ensure you follow-up – After meeting someone you want to keep in touch with, reinforce that first meeting as soon as possible. If you happen to get talking to a speaker at an event for example, go up and speak to them after the talk. Send them an email later that day affirming how well you thought the presentation went, and recover a few points you thought important. The point here is always be proactive, and don’t let any opportunity pass you by. Reinforce your interest in the individual and their content, and establish a firm foundation to what should hopefully turn out to be a mutually beneficial relationship. The same goes for after a you have submitted a job application.

8. Keep on trucking – The job search can be a demoralising process, and requires strategy. The more people you interact with the better. You may hit set backs and rejections, but in the end things tend to work out, most often than not, through sheer luck. Keep smiling. Keep optimistic. And remember to take a break every now and again.

Please comment and share your job seeking experience. The comment button is at the top of the post or you can press here

Categories: Andi, Graduation, Job Seeking