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Tag Archives: linkedin

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian IT Contractors relating to linkedin.

How to Take the Perfect LinkedIn Photo by Yourself, Without Paying a Penny

How to Take the Perfect LinkedIn Photo by Yourself, Without Paying a PennyHopefully this doesn’t come as a shock to you, but Recruiters use LinkedIn… a lot. They look for new candidates, research applicants before calling them, and generally use it as one of their primary recruiting tools. It’s safe to say that if your LinkedIn profile is not up-to-date, you’re kissing opportunities good-bye.

This Fast Company article further outlines the importance of an updated profile and when you need to make sure your profile is updated which pretty much translates to “always”.  For example:

  • When you’ve landed a role but haven’t started
  • When you’re just starting a new role
  • When you’re several months/years in
  • When you get promoted
  • When you’re ready to move on (but don’t want people to know)
  • When you’re obviously job searching

There are plenty of sections in your profile to prioritize and keep updated, but your profile photo is the only element that creates a visual first impression and can make or break you. Getting that perfect picture doesn’t have to be as daunting and expensive as you may think, but it does take a bit of time if you want to get it right. This LinkedIn post by Michele LaCagina might be the most detailed and helpful advice on taking pictures by yourself that we’ve ever come across. It’s quite lengthy but extremely worth the read (and entertaining). Here’s a summary of the steps:

  1. The Set-Up: Prop your phone or camera up so it’s the right height and will perfectly capture your headshot, including shoulders and upper torso. Set the timer for about 3 seconds and run multiple tests to make sure it’s working as expected.
  2. Make Yourself Look Great: The author gives advice both for putting on make-up and selecting the right wardrobe. If you decide to wear make-up, she recommends making it heavy, and everybody should wear a blazer while avoiding any jewelry or accessories.
  3. Getting the Best Shot: When you’re looking your best, it’s time to take 50-100 shots (if you don’t feel silly, you’re doing it wrong). For something that sounds easy, LaCagnina proves that there are a lot of details on how you pose and what to do, but she stresses plenty of times that smiling is the most important.
  4. Selecting and Testing: What are you going to do with all of those pictures of yourself? If you’re a narcissist, print them all and hang them up around your house. For everyone else, you need to narrow it down to your favourite few, then let strangers judge away. The article links to Photofeeler, a helpful app where people you’ve never met look at your pictures and rate them on competence, likeability and influence. It sounds terrifying, but certainly is the best way to get a subjective opinion.
  5. Photo Editing: The final stage is optional, but can make a huge difference. Even without Photoshop, there are free online tools that will help you perfectly crop your photo and adjust the lighting as suggested in the article.

Can your LinkedIn profile picture, or any other professional headshot for the matter, use an upgrade? If so, why not get started today and let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear about your experience creating the perfect picture.

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.

Job Seekers: It’s Time to Get Social!

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

In this competitive market, recruiters know that independent contractors are on the go and don’t always have time to speak with them on the phone or read large emails containing job specs.  In the technical savvy world we live in, social media is something that we ALL use.  With more and more millennials hitting the job market, recruiters are aware of how they find their information.  Sure, most people check their email and texts first thing in the morning but the vast majority of us check Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram as part of our daily routine… over and over and over again.

While recruiters are always trying to broaden their network and be in contact with their independent contractors, contractors can take a look at this infographic from Betterteam and find ways to make communication on the go in a more reliable and time saving way.  Yes, this is an infographic that is geared towards recruiters, but this is something that contractors should be aware of — recruiters like technology too!

Speak with your recruiters about how to share information through social media accounts.  For example, with recruiters whom you have built trust, give them your twitter handle so that they can send you a direct message with a link to the job description.  If you trust your recruiter to know your resume and your particulars when looking for a role, this is an easy way of cutting through the fat and communicate on the go. Here are a few additional tips to leverage social media:

  1. Use skype or periscope to talk with your recruiters about the roles that are coming across their desk.
  2. In your LinkedIn profile, add a description of the role you are looking for with some key skills that make you stand out from the crowd.
  3. Include career and job-related hashtags that directly relate to the roles you are looking to pursue.
  4. Add photos or quick stories on Instagram about your past experiences at companies that you have worked with to show how engaging you are when at work or the interesting projects that you have been a part of.

Work with your recruiter on these steps; afterall, they are doing it too.  Add them to Instagram, share twitter handles and LinkedIn profiles. Above all, get SOCIAL!

Can Social Recruiting Work for Your Office Space?

Are You Really “Detail-Oriented”?

Are You Really "Detail-Oriented"?There are a number of buzzwords and phrases that show up on resumes and LinkedIn profiles across all industries, whether you’re an IT contractor, a fast food worker or anywhere in between. Perhaps one of the most over used is “detail-oriented”.

Most people do pay attention to detail to some degree, but if everyone does, then is it really a differentiator worth putting in your profile summary? If you truly want to stand out as a detail-oriented person, then you need to demonstrate it in everything you do. Here are a few places you can show that you’re detail-oriented before you even start your project with a client.

The Application

Applying for a job through a job board, recruitment agency or directly through a client is usually a simple process but you’d be surprised at how many candidates miss a field or add the wrong information because they failed to read instructions properly. When a recruiter notices this, they immediately laugh at your “detail-oriented” claim in the first line of your resume.

Your Resume

Speaking of your resume, that may be the easiest way to show you pay no more attention to detail than the average person. Spelling and grammar are obvious must-haves, but consistency is another crucial element. Are you using the same fonts throughout? Do you keep the same format for each of your headers, bullets and body text? Does the tense remain the same as you describe your experience? The unfortunate part of a resume that achieves these points is that people rarely notice, but you stick out like a sore thumb when you don’t consider it.

Social Media

Often when creating social media profiles, we quickly fill out the information to get started and promise ourselves we’ll go back later to enhance it. When this next step gets forgotten, it leaves a blank, non-detailed profile for the world to see. Another area to review, especially LinkedIn, is how often you update it. It’s no secret that recruiters compare resumes and LinkedIn profiles to verify honesty, so they will notice if it’s outdated.

Completing Forms and Contracts

Similar to the job application process, but usually more complex, when contractors are asked to complete forms — contracts, security clearances, client policies — we sometimes see them miss important sections or insert the wrong information. More often than not, it’s because the form wasn’t clear on what it was asking. In these cases, it’s best to ask for clarification than make assumptions. Asking for help and admitting to trouble understanding the form may require some humility, but showing that you’ve read it demonstrates your attention to detail, and it’s better than submitting the wrong information.

The Interview

When detail-oriented people attend a job interview, they’re well prepared at a minimum. This means arriving on time, knowing who they’re meeting with and having a copy of their resume and portfolio available. Those who stand out demonstrate their attention to detail throughout the interview. They take extensive notes and ask good questions, building on what the interviewer has told them and proving they’ve been absorbing every word that’s been said.

The First Day

Finally, your first day on the client site plays an important role on showing that you didn’t just add another cliché to your resume. After all, first impressions will form how a client rates you through the entire project. As with the interview, being organized is a minimum requirement. Truly detailed people will have already done their homework on the project and organization so they’re ready to start immediately. Like the interview, ask questions based on what you learn and dig deep into the layers of the project as you familiarize yourself with it.

The term “detail-oriented” makes regular appearances on resumes, but it’s also in many job descriptions, proving clients do believe it to be important. With everybody claiming to have this trait, your challenge is to prove that you are above average and that needs to begin immediately.

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

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.

Does a Great LinkedIn Profile Really Matter?

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

Does a Great LinkedIn Profile Really Matter?100% YES!  I wrote a post several months back about the importance of a good LinkedIn profile and how to get noticed.

Recently, I was at a client meeting to discuss some upcoming needs and potential candidates we had sourced for a role.  We brought copies of the resumes for reference.  Much to our surprise, the client looked at the candidates’ resumes and immediately went on to LinkedIn.  He pulled up the first candidate’s profile and started to read the candidate’s credentials on LinkedIn, rather than the resume!

I asked the client how often he did this when reviewing potential candidates for an opening and he said he always checked LinkedIn first, prior to even considering the resume.

We walked through the candidate’s Linkedin profile and I asked him what he thought of the candidate.  The first thing he said he looked for was to see if they had a picture.  He felt that candidates who did not have a picture had something to hide.  We further discussed that determining a candidate’s skills and trustworthiness was linked to not only having an updated picture but also to the following

  1. Picture quality and professionalism of the picture
  2. How much information they had on their profile, including dates
  3. Who endorsed them
  4. If there were any common connections

The client also looked to see if the data on the resume was consistent with the data on LinkedIn.  I asked the client if the LinkedIn profile had a lot of impact on whether or not they would interview the candidate, and they said that it absolutely had an impact.  If the online profile does not match what is on the resume, the candidate is quickly discounted.

As mentioned in my previous post, it’s essential to invest the time to create a professional profile and ensure that it is kept up to date.

Quick Poll Results: Reading Your LinkedIn Newsfeed

LinkedIn offers a number of services for job seekers and independent contractors. It lists job openings, offers second-to-none networking opportunities, and professionals around the world share a wealth of knowledge with each other. Overall, simply being active on LinkedIn can help you grow professionally.

Last November, our Contractor Quick Poll asked how you use LinkedIn. Not surprisingly, nearly everybody said they keep and up-to-date profile and picture, but a lower percentage of people did much more than that. What we didn’t ask on that survey was if you log into LinkedIn to take advantage of the information shared in your newsfeed and how often. So, almost a year later, we finally asked the question. Here are the results:

How often do you read your LinkedIn news feed?

Quick Poll Results: How Often Do You Read Your LinkedIn Newsfeed?

Contractor Quick Poll: Your LinkedIn Newsfeed?

Millions of professionals around the world use LinkedIn as their one-stop social platform for networking, professional development, and job searching. Depending on how often you visit it, your LinkedIn newsfeed alone can be a very powerful tool in your IT business. In this month’s Contractor Quick Poll, we want to know how often independent contractors log into LinkedIn and read through the feed of news, articles and opportunities shared by members of their networks.