What do you think makes a candidate stand out as exceptional in the eyes of a potential employer? Why do some of your peers regularly get headhunted for great roles, and appear to progress almost effortlessly up the career ladder?
Sure, qualifications, skill set and capability all stack up with employers and are highly important. But outside of these tangible criteria, employers in Public Practice are now more regularly looking for specific ‘soft skills’ and more ‘intangible qualities’ in their team.
As accountancy firms are reviewing their services in a bid to ‘future proof’ their practice against the changing demands of their clients, and the advances of technology, they are also changing their criteria in terms of employee selection.
But how do employers assess soft skills and other personality traits if they are ‘intangible’?
The answer lies not just in the evolution of the interview process (which we cover in the next blog), but in what happens even before a candidate is invited for an interview. Although you will most likely be aware of the number of Employment Agencies sourcing candidates via LinkedIn, it may surprise you the number of decision makers within practice using Social Media as part of both their sourcing and hiring process.
CareerBuilder.com conducted a survey over 2000 hiring managers and found that an amazing 37% used Social Media to pre-screen candidates before even letting them set foot in the interview room. Which means that essentially your Social Media presence could be the ‘make and break’ factor in you getting your foot through the door of your ideal firm.
Whilst some Employers may look at your Facebook and/or Twitter profiles (which incidentally you need to set to private or be sure that they are ‘squeaky clean’) – many hiring managers will look to LinkedIn as their research tool of choice.
So, what can you do to ensure that your LinkedIn profile portrays you in the best light?
Here are our 5 top tips;
Optimise your headline : Using key words and descriptive language within your ‘Headline’ can help you stand out from the crowd and help both potential clients and hiring managers to find you more easily. Think about what key words someone would use in the search function within LinkedIn when looking for an employee like you. To just insert your job title in here is a waste of valuable characters.
Stand out via the use of ‘Social proof’: People buy from people, and whether you like it or not we all also make decisions based on another person’s opinion. Even those we don’t know.
Think about sites like ‘Trip Advisor’ – if others speak highly of a particular Hotel or Resort we are much more likely to believe it will fulfil our needs. It’s the same when choosing future employees.
Do use case studies and examples of where you have achieved within your previous roles, as these will illustrate your potential worth to a prospective employer.
Also, it’s well worth taking the time to ask for recommendations from past employers, peers, and even clients. This will act as strong ‘Social proof’ and create a positive unconscious bias in the eyes of those viewing your profile.
Use the right photo: Your photo is the first impression that a potential employer will have of you, should they decide to search your LinkedIn profile upon receiving your CV. Make sure that impression is a good one.
If you are a job seeker your LinkedIn photo should be clear, professional, in business attire, and of you only (rather than a group).
Do remember that when someone first searches your profile, the first two things they see are your photo and headline! Get them badly wrong and it could cost you a potential interview.
Position yourself as an expert using Published posts, Updates and White papers: It does take some time, but those who take the time to use the publisher functionality within LinkedIn will set themselves apart. Particularly in terms of more Senior roles.
By writing articles which demonstrate your opinion and your understanding of the current business environment, you are already proving to a potential employer that you have a good grasp of the knowledge required to advise clients. By showcasing your commercial and/or technical knowledge in this fashion it will help you to ‘bring to life’ this element of your skill set.
Make your Summary your USP: Your Summary section is an opportunity to tell viewers of your profile exactly what makes you tick. Why are you different to other Senior Accountants? or Junior Auditors? Just listing your skills is a waste of an opportunity to reach out to Employers.
Working through the above should help you to stand out, and help to make sure that you are not ‘ruled out’ by prospective Employers at the first hurdle.
For more advice call 0333 577 7787 or email us on email@example.com for a prompt call back. One of our dedicated consultants will be happy to talk through a bespoke approach to market which is suitable for your needs.