Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: social media

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

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.

Contractor Quick Poll Results: How often are contractors checking social media at work?

One of the biggest productivity killers in offices is social media. Apps are readily available on phones, viral videos are being discussed by co-workers, and the ability to connect with friends is always just a browser tab away.

Fortunately, according to last month’s contractor quick poll, networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t distracting very many IT contractors while they’re working for clients. In fact, nearly half said they never check social media and another 25% said they only check once per day or if they receive a notification. Here are the complete results from our readers:

Quick Poll Results: Checking social media at work

Contractor Quick Poll: Do you check social media at work?

Don’t worry, responses to this quick poll remain anonymous! Social media is one of the greatest tools for job seekers and independent contractors who want to network with like-minded job seekers, professionals and employers around the world. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the greatest time-wasters in today’s workplaces.

This month’s contractor quick poll, we’re digging to learn how often our readers check social media at work (be honest, we won’t tell). Do you think social media is a hindrance on the office where you work or should it be accepted as a necessary evil? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

2017 in Review: Finding New Opportunities

Finding new opportunities is an endless job for an independent contractor. In fact, if you’re on holidays right now, you may be working at it today. There are many strategies you can take to find the best opportunities and we talk about them frequently on the Talent Development Centre. 2017 did not lack in these posts. If you missed any, here’s a summary of our favourite ones:

It’s important to always develop skills, regardless of your trade, if you want to remain competitive and stand out among your peers. Here are a few posts on that topic…

Most people search for jobs online but not everybody uses the World Wide Web to its fullest potential. If you think you can improve there, check out these posts…

Finally, these posts will help you think outside the box a bit more and look to areas you may not have yet considered…

How IT Contractors Can Track and Improve Social media Success

An independent contractor's online presence is a valuable way to improve your professional image, gain attention from recruiters and clients, and ultimately get more work. Strengthening this snapshot of yourself, especially on social media, is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are up-to-speed with the latest, relevant trends in your field, something particularly important to organizations who require competitive IT teams. It is also what will take a recruiter from "This person could be qualified, I'll try calling them" to "I need to meet this professional so I can present them to my clients". Knowing that you need to improve your online image and social media presence is one thing, but doing it can be an entirely different challenge. As with any strategy in business, you need to start with a plan and, once it's carried out, measure the results to ensure it's working. What exactly should you track to ensure you're taking the right steps on your social networks? Tracking Your Social Followers The first and obvious number people like to follow when evaluating their social success is the number of people who follow them -- friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn or followers on Twitter. It is an easy item to watch and see trends if you're successful, but in reality, does not give a proper snapshot of your success. Take a look at your list of followers. How many of them are going to help you get a job? Are they even in your industry… or your country? Having a lot of followers makes us feel good about ourselves, but it doesn't necessarily mean your network is valuable. Tracking your social followers is often referred to as tracking a "vanity metric". Tracking Your Engagement on Social Media The real metric you want to track is engagement. This includes clicks, likes, shares and comments on the posts you share. It is how you know if your network is finding value in what you post, or if you're just sharing a bunch of spammy articles that become clutter in a news feed. These could be considered misleading vanity metrics if the engagement is from irrelevant people; but at the same time, even a share from somebody who is separate from your profession may get shared again and seen by your future client. Overall, engagement is what you want to strive for. Engagement is also more than just the clicks, likes, shares and comments. More valuable are the conversations that may result from your social presence. When evaluating your success, ask yourself if anybody struck up a conversation based on something you shared. Or did a connection contact you out of the blue for some sort of advice? Another tool to understand engagement is a combination of a personal website and Google Analytics. When sharing a detailed opinion, why not make it a blog post and link to a website that also has your resume? You can then use Google Analytics to understand how many people are visiting your page and where they're coming from. Improving your Social Media Engagement If you start tracking your engagement and realize it is not very positive, nor is it showing signs of improvement, there are a few simple tasks you can try: •	Engage as well. Like every conversation in life, social media is a two-way street. Remember to respond to comments and engage with other people's posts. •	Track what was successful. Review the posts that saw the most engagement and identify trends in topics or the time of day it was shared. Continue to build from that momentum with similar posts. •	Encourage people to follow you. Add a link to your social profiles everywhere, including signature blocks, business cards and resumes. Just remember to leave off the networks where you don't always portray a professional image or you share political posts (ex. Facebook and Pinterest). Over the last decade, businesses, governments, and charities have proven over and over that a successful social media presence results in major success. Many independent IT contractors have also jumped on board and no longer need to search for work, the work finds them. When you will begin?An independent contractor’s online presence is a valuable way to improve your professional image, gain attention from recruiters and clients, and ultimately get more work. Strengthening this snapshot of yourself, especially on social media, is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are up-to-speed with the latest, relevant trends in your field, something particularly important to organizations who require competitive IT teams. It is also what will take a recruiter from “This person could be qualified, I’ll try calling them” to “I need to meet this professional so I can present them to my clients”.

Knowing that you need to improve your online image and social media presence is one thing, but doing it can be an entirely different challenge. As with any strategy in business, you need to start with a plan and, once it’s carried out, measure the results to ensure it’s working. What exactly should you track to ensure you’re taking the right steps on your social networks?

Tracking Your Social Followers

The first and obvious number people like to follow when evaluating their social success is the number of people who follow them — friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn or followers on Twitter. It is an easy item to watch and see trends if you’re successful, but in reality, does not give a proper snapshot of your success. Take a look at your list of followers. How many of them are going to help you get a job? Are they even in your industry… or your country? Having a lot of followers makes us feel good about ourselves, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your network is valuable. Tracking your social followers is often referred to as tracking a “vanity metric”.

Tracking Your Engagement on Social Media

The real metric you want to track is engagement. This includes clicks, likes, shares and comments on the posts you share. It is how you know if your network is finding value in what you post, or if you’re just sharing a bunch of spammy articles that become clutter in a news feed. These could be considered misleading vanity metrics if the engagement is from irrelevant people; but at the same time, even a share from somebody who is separate from your profession may get shared again and seen by your future client. Overall, engagement is what you want to strive for.

Engagement is also more than just the clicks, likes, shares and comments. More valuable are the conversations that may result from your social presence. When evaluating your success, ask yourself if anybody struck up a conversation based on something you shared. Or did a connection contact you out of the blue for some sort of advice?

Another tool to understand engagement is a combination of a personal website and Google Analytics. When sharing a detailed opinion, why not make it a blog post and link to a website that also has your resume? You can then use Google Analytics to understand how many people are visiting your page and where they’re coming from.

Improving your Social Media Engagement

If you start tracking your engagement and realize it is not very positive, nor is it showing signs of improvement, there are a few simple tasks you can try:

  • Engage as well. Like every conversation in life, social media is a two-way street. Remember to respond to comments and engage with other people’s posts.
  • Track what was successful. Review the posts that saw the most engagement and identify trends in topics or the time of day it was shared. Continue to build from that momentum with similar posts.
  • Encourage people to follow you. Add a link to your social profiles everywhere, including signature blocks, business cards and resumes. Just remember to leave off the networks where you don’t always portray a professional image or you share political posts (ex. Facebook and Pinterest).

Over the last decade, businesses, governments, and charities have proven over and over that a successful social media presence results in major success. Many independent IT contractors have also jumped on board and no longer need to search for work, the work finds them. When you will begin?

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?

Contracting in a Competitive Market

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

The contracting space is getting more and more competitive.  As organizations demand more from their contractors and more candidates enter the workspace, one needs to know how to stand out from the rest.

Contracting in a Competitive Market

Media and Social Media are Your friend

 

To stand out in a competitive market, you need to self-promote.  Social media and repositories like GitHub are the perfect place to display your work with like-minded individuals.  Promoting your work on social media or places like GitHub allow you to speak and display your work wherever you are, whether that be a meeting with a recruiter or in an interview with a client.  You’ll seem more prepared, invested and motivated in the project that you are applying for because you believe in your skills/abilities and you want to showcase them.

Invest in relationships and network

Referrals are becoming more and more beneficial to contract workers.  Positive recommendations from others in your field go a long way in getting calls from recruiters and getting you further along in the process.  The more people you know in your field (i.e.: Program Managers, fellow developers at other organizations etc.) the easier it is to get a foot in the door.  Take time to foster relationships from your past contracts and make sure to attend networking events. Know what projects organizations are working on before you attend these sessions so that you can speak to individuals about them and show off your knowledge and interest.  Never burn bridges and work harder in the last week of your contract then you did in the first!  If there is no extension, make sure to leave a last impression.

Certifications and Continuing Education

Certifications are mentioned on almost every job description that a recruiter sees.  Most of the time, these certifications are in the nice to have section.  Nowadays, anything in the nice to have section is code for “these will make you more competitive”!  Contracting can be hard work and breaks after 6 month or 12 month contracts can seem like the perfect time to take a vacation.  During breaks between contracts, you need to be aware of how to effectively fill that time.  Breaks for R&R are totally necessary but as a contractor in an ever changing market you need to have time to build new skills and show that you were productive during larger gaps between contracts.  Taking courses or getting certifications during breaks shows that you continue to self-improve and want to become more competitive for that next role.

Money Isn’t Everything

It is easy to say YES or NO to a role solely based on pay rate.  Recruiters understand that you have bills to pay and deserve a fair rate for your skills and abilities.  In a competitive market like today, you need to weigh your options.  If a role is paying you less than the last, ask youself the following:

  • Will this be a role where I can broaden my skills and expand my network?
  • Is this a role with a new organization/company that I have not yet had the chance to work in that will open doors in the future?
  • Will this role keep me in the tech space and engage me?

The key is not to short-change yourself but also understanding that the benefits to contracting is not always financial but to improve your own professional development.

How do you remain competitive in today’s contracting market?

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.

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.

Stay Informed with these Twitter & RSS Feeds

Our Favourite People to Follow to Keep Up-to-Date in Business, Job Searching, Tech Trends and IT Contracting

Our Favourite People to Follow to Keep Up-to-Date in Business, Job Searching, Tech Trends and IT ContractingIn recent months, we’ve promoted the practice of building a list of Twitter or RSS Feeds to follow your favourite sources and keep on top of the latest trends. You may now be a pro in setting up your feeds but, what we neglected to tell you are some suggestions on who to follow.

Below are some of our favourite sources, and a link to their Twitter and RSS Feeds (if available). Feel free to use as many of these as you wish. If you have any suggestions on companies you like to follow, please share them with our audience in the comments below.

Eagle

General Interest and Business Articles

Job Search/Workplace Tips

Tech Trends

Running Your Business