Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: social media

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

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


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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


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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


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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!


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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


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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)


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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?


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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


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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

Managing Your Job Search Footprint


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Managing Your Job Search FootprintIf you’re like many job seekers, you don’t stick to just one source when hunting for new contract opportunities. Instead, you start with a few of your favourites, contact some people in your network directly, and follow a few links to different sites. In the end, you’ve done a great job at submitting your name across the industry. What about all of those profiles you just created? Are you remembering to return to each one of them and make sure they’re still relevant? Here are a few simple tips to consider when managing your job search footprint.

Keep a Diary

The first step is to track every website and source you’re using to apply. It can be a notebook, a Word document, or a more sophisticated spreadsheet to track notes on the company, the roles to which you applied, the date you applied, and any other notes around the position. You can then use your diary to schedule when to follow-up with certain people. For future planning, you’ll know which sites to start at when searching for a new contract. You may even choose to update your notes based on results of each source so you can determine which are most valuable in your job search.

Bookmarks

Take advantage of your web browser’s bookmarks and keep them well organized. This way, even when your diary isn’t available, you can still easily visit your favourite sites whenever you have a moment. Google Chrome makes this especially simple because it saves your bookmarks with your Google profile. Regardless of which computer or mobile device you’re using, as long as you’re logged into Google, you can access your favourite places.

Password Managers

Believe it or not, “123456” and “password” are still used far too often.  Don’t be fooled thinking that a hacker can’t do much harm inside your job board profile. They may be able to get a small piece of information that will help them answer security questions or crack a password on your other sites. Instead of easy-to-remember passwords, consider creating something more complex.

There are dozens of great password manager apps available and many will allow you to securely sync data between your cell phone and desktop. You can use them to secure not just job search profiles, but your entire life. It may cost a few bucks, but the investment is very well it. To start, have a look at MSecure, LastPass or SplashID.

Update It or Close It

Our final piece of advice for managing your job search footprint is to literally manage it! Too often at Eagle, we see profiles that get created and then forgotten. The result is a stale resume with out-of-date skills. A large majority of the places that accept your application are going to keep your resume on file to review it for future opportunities. Make a habit of regularly revisiting all of the sites where you have a profile and ensure it’s up-to-date. If you decide the site wasn’t for you, close your profile. This provides security benefits, as well as ensures you don’t get phone calls from people you aren’t interested in hearing from.

In the end, managing your job search footprint all comes down to being organized. There are unlimited tools available across the Internet to help you organize yourself and effectively manage your job search footprint, so the question is, which ones will you take advantage of? Do you have any favourites you’d like to share? Leave them below!

Keep Up-to-Date and Improve Your Job Search


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3 Tools That Will Make You the Most Informed Contractor in Your Network

Having the right knowledge and information is a massive competitive advantage in the IT contracting market. The more up-to-date you are on client news, industry trends, and opportunities, the easier it is to find work and keep a steady flow of contracts. Unfortunately, there is no magical place you can go to that has all of that customized and readily available for you each morning… or is there? No, there isn’t.  At least not without a bit of work up-front.

What do you want to know?

The quest for being well informed begins with knowing what it is you want to be informed about. Take some time to plan out every source from which you want frequent updates. Consider your top clients or companies with whom you want to work, your top staffing agencies, some other job boards that have brought you success, and news websites or blogs that provide information on the latest trends in your trade. Now you have a list, albeit long, it’s a list. Your next step is to find a tool that will aggregate and organize all of the information for you.

LinkedIn

LinkedInThe simplest tool is probably LinkedIn because most contractors are already there. Go through your target client list, company-by-company, search out their page, and follow them. Now, updates from that company will appear on your newsfeed whenever you log in. As long as you’re in the habit of checking regularly (LinkedIn’s mobile app makes it very easy), you should be fairly up-to-date on your favourite companies.

Unfortunately with LinkedIn, “fairly up-to-date” is the best you can hope for. If you manage to find all of the LinkedIn pages for your favourite companies, you’ll also find that some don’t post updates. For those who are active, it’s almost guaranteed that they’re not posting all news and opportunities – they don’t want to spam their newsfeeds.

Speaking of newsfeeds, just because you follow somebody, it doesn’t mean their updates will appear in your feed. LinkedIn can’t show you everything, so it automatically filters posts based on what it thinks is more relevant to you.

Twitter

Twitter is the other social network where you’ll have good results with company updates. As with LinkedIn, there’s no guarantee that everybody has a Twitter account and, if they do, there is no guarantee that they’re active. The biggest differentiator between Twitter and LinkedIn is the posting etiquette. Where most pages on the professional social network only post a maximum of two to three times a day, Twitter profiles are more open, sometimes posting over twenty times per day. And Twitter feeds include all posts.

Many companies have a Twitter account dedicated to posting everything they publish — every article, every job opportunity, and all company news. Twitter is fantastic if you want instantaneous news, but it’s overwhelming, which is why lists are mandatory if you want to be organized. Twitter Lists allow you add certain profiles into a group, for example “IT Contract Opportunities.” Then, when you’re interested in learning more about that specific topic, you can view the news only in that list. We recommend using a tool such as HootSuite to manage and view your lists even more efficiently.

RSS Feeds

LinkedIn and Twitter are fantastic, but they are flawed in that they require a company to continually maintain their posts. Organizations often start with good intentions of posting everything, but those posts can start to fade. That’s what makes RSS Feeds the superior method of following a company.

RSS Feeds automatically publish frequently updated information from specific web pages, such as blog entries, job boards, press releases and news headlines. RSS Feeds are a great “set it and forget it” tool, meaning once an RSS feed has been created, as long as no other back-end code changes affect it, the feed is continuously updating. (For example, you can view the RSS Feeds for the Talent Development Centre, Eagle Jobs, and Eagle’s CEO Blog)

RSS IconIt takes a little bit more work upfront, but you can take advantage of RSS Feeds by subscribing to a feed reader (ex. Digg, Feedly, or any other app that you may find). Then, visit each company’s website to search for their feed (it’s often found by clicking on an image like the one to the right) or search out the company directly from your feed reader.  Like Twitter, you can then group all of your feeds, and all of the most up-to-date information is available to you each time you open the reader. If you’re still loyal to Twitter accounts but like the idea of RSS Feeds, this site will help you turn any Twitter feed into an RSS feed.

So what are you waiting for? It may take a time commitment to set yourself up properly, and you need to set time aside to keep up with all of your new information, but it’s well worth it. You’ll know about jobs as soon as their published, client news as soon as it breaks, and hot trends before they make it to the water cooler!