Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Networking

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to networking.

5 New LinkedIn Features for the IT Contractor

5 New LinkedIn Features for the IT ContractorLinkedIn is the best social network for professionals in all industries to connect, network, share information and, of course, find new job opportunities. Recruiters frequently search LinkedIn to build relationships with IT contractors and when you’re not active there, you are missing out.

Did you know that even if you are diligent at keeping your LinkedIn profile updated and connecting with recruiters, you could still be falling behind? That’s because, like any technology-related company, LinkedIn makes ongoing advancements and updates to their product. The IT contractors who know about them can quickly set themselves apart from those continuing with the status quo. Here’s a look at some of latest LinkedIn features from the past year:

Find People Nearby

Have you ever been at a large conference or networking event and wondered who in your network is there? LinkedIn’s new “Find Nearby” will help with that. All you need to do is open your mobile app and go to the My Network section. Turn on the “Find Nearby” option and give permission to show your location. The tool does have its limitations because you have to remain on the Find Nearby page in order to be discovered and others have to be doing the same. In other words, this is only useful at a large event where many people are also interested in connecting and know about the feature.

Give Kudos

This might be the most interesting feature LinkedIn has added — being able to publicly thank a connection on one of 10 subjects (Amazing Mentor, Inspirational Leader, Going Above and Beyond, Great Job, Great Presentation, Making an Impact, Making Work Fun, Outside the Box Thinker, Team Player, Thank You). To use the feature, visit your connection’s profile and under “More” select “Give Kudos”. From there, choose the topic and follow the rest of the instructions. You only get to give kudos three times per week, so use them wisely, but what a powerful way to build a relationship!

Select “Remote Jobs” as a location

Independent contracting is all about flexibility, including the location where you work. Depending on your local economy, finding IT gigs locally may not be easy and uprooting your family for a 5-month contract also isn’t feasible. Now, when you search for jobs on LinkedIn, the location field includes a “Remote Jobs” option that will display opportunities you can do from anywhere in the world. You can also add remote work to your career preferences so recruiters on the other side of the world will know to contact you for opportunities.

QR Codes to Connect to Your Profile

It took long enough, but it appears LinkedIn has finally adopted QR codes. Customizing your LinkedIn URL is a must when you want to easily share your profile, and QR codes give you one more way to share your credentials. From your mobile app, the search bar now has an icon to the right of it that looks like a QR code. When you touch it, a new page opens up to either scan somebody else’s QR code or view your own code. Download your code and place it on business cards, signature blocks, resumes or anywhere else you may want to share your LinkedIn profile.

Ask for a Referral

There is no better way to get a recruiter’s attention than by a warm lead and LinkedIn now makes it even easier to get them. When you see a LinkedIn job posting, it will also tell you if anybody in your network is already working for that company. If they are, LinkedIn shows a “Ask for a Referral” option, which generates a message to your connection asking them to share your profile with the recruiter or hiring manager, and links back to the original job posting.

What newer LinkedIn features are you most excited about? Or, are their any tried and true classic features that you can’t live without? We’d love to hear more about how you use this powerful social network to increase your opportunities. Please share in the comments below.

Avoiding Networking Events? These Are Some Benefits You Could Be Missing Out On

Crystal Nicol By Crystal Nicol,
Delivery Manager, Eastern Canada at Eagle

Networking is the interaction of people exchanging information and developing contacts, especially to further one’s career. It’s the art of creating and strengthening mutually beneficial relationships over time and is often said to be critical for professional growth and business development.

Most often networking events are free. It’s full of like-minded people that you can work with or learn from in some way, including peers, industry associations, business groups, and even personal contacts. Networking events can range from trade shows or conferences to social gatherings. A Google search will most likely reveal an abundance of networking events in your area for you to connect with business people. There are also plenty of opportunities to network online, like LinkedIn, which are particularly useful for business networking.

By attending a networking event you are opening the doors to a room full of opportunities, not just a room full of people. It’s a chance for you to meet business owners and influential people all together in one environment, many of which you may not otherwise meet.

Some of the rewarding benefits of attending a networking event include:

  1. Branding and Marketing Yourself– It’s important to be visible and get noticed at these events. Networking will help you become a familiar face in the community and a top of the mind person regarding your area of expertise. Use these events to demonstrate that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your craft.
  2. Building Business – By expanding your network and meeting new contacts you acquire new customers and suppliers and explain and grow your business. Fellow businesses know your name and what you’re about. One of the greatest benefits of networking is that it can generate leads and referrals.
  3. Gaining Industry Knowledge –Networking events allow you to exchange the latest industry information and any developments. It also opens the doors to discussing best business practices, guidance from experienced peers, and advice on how to avoid challenges and pitfalls.
  4. Connecting with Industry Experts –These events provide you with an opportunity to meet with some of the biggest influencers in the industry and create connections with these monumental leaders.
  5. Personal and Professional Development –By attending networking events you have the opportunity to be coached indirectly by others and learn new skills to enhance your own professional development. By listening to others, sharing ideas in discussions, or even asking for feedback and advice, it allows you to expand your knowledge and helps you to see things from a different perspective.
  6. Uncovering Opportunities –Attending a networking event could mean meeting your new business partner, dream employer, life-altering mentor, or even a like-minded person who you can bounce ideas off of. It can be the key moment that leads to many opportunities that you otherwise may not have been presented.
  7. Socializing/Mingling –Remember, networking should be fun! It isn’t all work and no play. Let your hair down, relax, and just shoot the breeze with like-minded individuals. It’s a place for you to be social in your industry and community. And who knows, you might just create some positive outcomes for your business.

Keep in mind that you’re marketing your business and yourself and best of all you’re creating connections. These connections become your own personal network. In today’s day and age, no matter what tools or technology you use, your network is priceless. These are the people that will help make your career a success.

Contractor Quick Poll: Do you participate in the Developer Community?

Development trends and best practices are always evolving. There will always be new coding languages, advancements in technologies, and user behaviour trends that drive a need to change. Essentially, there will always be new problems and need for innovation.

Developer communities help overcome many of these challenges by opening up networking and providing the ability to share and work on solutions together. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we’re curious to know how developers participate in communities, if at all.

15 Networking Tips for the Introverted

Networking and meeting people face-to-face is one of the most beneficial and effective job search strategies there are. Regardless of how advanced technology becomes with fancy ways to get your name in front of employers and recruiters, nothing will ever compare to the personal conversation.

Unfortunately, as great as it is, networking can be an uncomfortable, awkward experience for any professional. For introverts, it can be even more agonizing. That’s where this infographic from GetVoIP stands out. It provides 15 networking tips for anyone, but particularly introverts, to help build relationships and advance your career.

The Top 5 Sections of a LinkedIn Profile that Recruiters Care About Most

Earlier this month, we shared a LinkedIn Checklist that will we said, once complete, will do wonders in helping you connect with more recruiters and finding more IT contracts. While we stand by that claim, we also understand that busy contractors don’t have time to update every element of their LinkedIn profile. As such, you need to prioritize.

We surveyed Eagle’s recruiters to learn what they believe are the most important parts of a LinkedIn profile and what they consider most. This video quickly sums it all up for you.  Are these five elements of your LinkedIn profile up-to-date?

This LinkedIn Checklist Makes Social Networking Easy

For many time management and productivity experts, checklists are the ultimate tool to guarantee you stay on top of your tasks and finish everything in good time. But they’re so much more than just time management! Did you ever think that the right checklist would improve your social media presence and help you find a job? Because this one from Bootcamp Digital does just that!

Scroll through this LinkedIn checklist to make certain your profile is up-to-date with all of the must-have components. As with any checklist, you don’t have to complete it all at once. While you may choose to spend a Sunday afternoon crossing items off the list, you may also tackle one a day or a few a week. Regardless of how you do it, when this checklist is complete, you can expect more messages and phone calls from technology recruiters.

This LinkedIn Checklist Makes Social Networking Easy

Both Recruiters and Contractors Can Benefit from this Email Etiquette Infographic

We’ve all been in a situation when we sent or received an email that was perceived the wrong way. Especially when we’re in a hurry, it’s easy to unintentionally send a quick note that comes across as rude, delivers the wrong message, or is confusing. The result is hurt relationships or a miscommunication that results in nothing productive.

Both recruiters and contractors can be guilty of sending out emails that have not been thought out. Given the fact we all often use email for tasks as important as job searching, we should all take the time to review proper email etiquette and ensure we send only  quality emails. This infographic from the Business Backer will help you with just that. It’s quite thorough and provides dos and don’ts for every aspect of sending an email. Where can you improve?

Courtesy of: The Business Backer

Facebook and LinkedIn Groups for Contractors (Part 1)

Part 1: Which Network Has Better Groups for Independent Contractors — LinkedIn or Facebook?

Why Facebook and LinkedIn Groups are Perfect for Independent Contractors in Technology (Part 1)Social media groups are rooms or forums within a social network where like-minded people gather to share discussions, pictures and connect with each other. They have the option to be private or public and are used for unlimited reasons, from planning a family party to school projects to business networking. Depending who you ask, groups on social networks are either a productive way to network or a waste of time filled with garbage. That’s because everybody’s had a different experience with groups. While some experiences are beyond your control, when you know what you want to get out of a group and how to do it, your chances of a positive experience are higher.

Most of the major social networks have some sort of Group functionality, with the most popular being Facebook,  LinkedIn and Google+. A Contractor Quick Poll conducted in March 2015 concluded that 75% of independent contractors log into either LinkedIn or Facebook more than any other network, so let’s look closer at those two options.

LinkedIn Groups

You already know that LinkedIn is the professional social network. Those who use it correctly understand that they need to maintain a professional image, so content and discussions are generally business-related (some people like to bring in politics and fluffy content, but we’ll save LinkedIn etiquette for a future post). In addition, you will find senior professionals who are willing to connect with you on this network more than any other, making it the prime choice for business networking. So, naturally, one would think that LinkedIn groups are the best option for independent contractors in the technology space. In the November 2015 Contractor Quick Poll, only 33% of independent contractors said they use LinkedIn for Groups. There are many valuable groups; however, there are unfortunately more groups that have been filled with SPAM and sales people trying to take advantage of their captive audience. In fact, this combined with the fact that engagement in LinkedIn groups is at an all-time low have many people across the internet wondering if LinkedIn Groups are dying a slow death.

Facebook Groups

The Facebook Groups functionality was popular about 10 years ago, during Facebook’s earlier days, and started to trickle away for similar reasons as LinkedIn — engagement wasn’t there. Recently, Facebook Groups have been making a “comeback” and communities are embracing the functionality all over again. Because of its mainstream popularity, professional networkers may not believe there is as much success. Facebook is used less by senior professionals than LinkedIn and those who do use it tend be more hesitant about connecting with anybody who is not a close friend or family. Therefore, finding a valuable networking group may not be as easy to do.

So which social network should you use for business networking? LinkedIn or Facebook? In typical cliché fashion of most comparison articles you read online, we’re going to recommend the grey area in the middle. Every situation is unique, with factors such as who you want to connect with and the types of topics you’d like to discuss. As such, review the pros and cons above, as well as review the groups on both networks before deciding. If anything, we strongly discourage joining multiple groups and hoping for the best — this will either result in lot of lost productivity or you will be so overwhelmed that you will ignore it all and be no further ahead.

The biggest question you may be asking yourself right now is “Why would I want to join a group at all?” We’ll answer that and provide some tips on how to use social media groups as a technology contractor in the second half of this series.

Become a Master Networker and Improve Your Job Search

Independent contractors should always be seeking their next gig, and maybe even the one after that. The more opportunities you have in the pipe, the more secure your business will be. Perhaps the best way to continuously have technology contracts flowing your way is to grow your network as much as possible.

Networking, though, isn’t something that comes easily for most people. In fact, it can be downright awkward until you have enough practice and experience with it. If you’re serious about improving your job search and want to become a master networker, look no further than this infographic from Business Insider.

Become a Master Networker and Improve Your Job Search (Infographic)

How to Leave a Voicemail Message (Video)

Do you ever wonder why recruiters or clients aren’t returning your phone calls, or when they do, they seem confused? It could be because they were pressed for time or didn’t listen properly, but perhaps it’s because you left a terrible message.

These situations happen more than you think and, as a contractor, a solid voicemail may be the distinguishing factor that gets you a call-back for an interview. If you’d like some tips to improve your voicemail skills, check out this video from Howdini, where communication expert Alexa Fischer provides advice for leaving a confident message.