Leaving school this year? You should have a LinkedIn profile - Part 2

Part two – building a profile to get a job

Don’t forget the Golden Rule of LinkedIn – be professional at all times

But you knew that, didn’t you?

In our previous post, we walked through the process of setting up an eye-catching headline, summary and photo on LinkedIn. In this article, we’ll look at how to build a profile on LinkedIn that will help you get a job.

What to put if you don’t have a job?

It doesn’t matter if you aren’t currently working. It is likely to be clear that you have just left school and will they will read on, particularly if they are looking for apprentices, part-time, temporary or fixed-term staff. Use the ‘current position’ space to mention that you are a job seeker.

Summary

LinkedIn gives you the chance to add a summary over and above your qualifications and work experience. If you have an ideal job in mind, use this section to highlight why you want this career. If you haven’t quite decided on a dream job, describe your strengths, interests and skills.

In the summary, expand on your headline by showing what an employer would gain by hiring you. Write your first draft, then read it again and ask the question “so-what?” after every line. If you can justify leaving it in there, move on. For example, lots of people have something like this in their CV:

‘I work well as an individual as well as part of a team.’

So what? Be specific. Give an example of a time when you worked unsupervised to get a job done, or how your teacher or manager often asked you to lead on a project, this means a lot more. When did you work as an individual? Why was no one else involved? What motivated you? What was the goal? How did you plan your work? What was the outcome?

Complete your profile

Have a copy of your CV handy and make sure that the dates and key details match up. This will prevent any awkward questions at interview about whether or not you have tried to mislead a potential employer.

LinkedIn allows you to describe each job you have had and each school you have attended (only include secondary school and college here). Our advice is to avoid simply cutting and pasting copy from your CV, however tempting! Most employers know what you mean by ‘Waitress’, ‘Bar Staff’, ‘door to door salesperson’. Use the space to highlight your achievements. What were you praised for? What did you learn? If you can add in any facts or figures this might also help. For example:

Customer Services Assistant – Big Shop Co. Sept 2016 - Feb 2017

‘I was a customer services assistant at Big Shop Co. I served customers and kept the shelves stocked. Sometimes I had to work in the warehouse to sort out deliveries.’ (job description)

…. Becomes….

Customer Services Assistant – Big Shop Co. Sept 2016 - Feb 2017

‘In addition to my regular duties in store, I was singled out for praise by my manager for staying behind after a long shift to provide cover during the busy build up to Christmas. This was recognised by the regional manager and mentioned in the Big Shop Co.’s staff newsletter.’ (achievements and success, with evidence of effort, teamwork and high performance)

In our next blog post we’ll look at connecting to the right people and how to raise your profile with potential employers.

 

Leaving school this year? You should have a LinkedIn profile - Part 1

Part one - making the right ‘first impression’ online

You might have heard of LinkedIn. If you have, you probably know that it is a social media site for business. If you are leaving school or college this year, you should have a profile on there.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, where over 467 million people come to connect, find work, sell products and services and, most importantly, recruit new talent. According to KickResume, over 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find their next member of staff.

Most people don’t use the site every day and are content to let their profile just act like an online version of their CV. More active users are often trying to generate business or hire people with the right experience for their company.

So, at first glance, LinkedIn may not feel like the right place for a school-leaver to be. After all, you might not have a lot of work experience to talk about. If you have just left secondary education, you could only have your GCSEs to your name.

LinkedIn is more than just a place to showcase your CV, though. With some time and effort, getting a profile on there now will pay off for years to come.

The Golden Rule of LinkedIn – be professional at all times

We’ll keep coming back to this.

Drop the trout pout

Setting up a LinkedIn profile is pretty straightforward, but this isn’t something you should treat like any other social networking site. The golden rule is ‘professional at all times’. That means a smart, business-like profile photo; some people even have professional head-shots taken for this.

Remember the golden rule of LinkedIn? In this case, that means no photos of you in the middle of a group of friends / you with a drink in hand / you standing next to a car you don’t own / the last selfie you took. Our suggestion is to dress as if you were already working in an office and ask a friend or family member to take your picture.

Shout your headline

The first thing you will be asked to complete is a ‘Headline’ section. This is a short (120 characters) section that will be the first thing potential employers see about you – so it needs to be good! Here’s where you can set your stall out and make a potential employer read on. Don’t be afraid to ask for a job here! For example, you could say “Recent school-leaver. I’ve built my own PC and now I am looking for a job in Tech Support”. Or, “During my BTEC in IT, I built an app that tracked the hours I spent on homework. Am I your next developer apprentice?” Managers looking to hire often don’t have a huge amount of time on their hands – if you can catch their attention early on, they will happily spend more time looking at your profile.

No #fakenews

Not in work? Don’t fake a job. Didn’t do as well at Geography as you hoped you would? Don’t bump up your grades. Be honest about your school career and part time jobs, but follow the golden rule – be professional. Don’t talk down any jobs you have had that you didn’t enjoy. Instead, talk about the skills and experience you gained.

In our next blog post we’ll look at putting together a profile that will attract hiring managers and get you a start in your chosen career.

9 reasons to choose a career in sales

Let’s be honest. How many of your friends have said that they want a career in sales? Probably not many. Sales as a profession has always suffered from an image problem in the UK.

The idea of the fast-talking wide-boy trying every trick in the book to take as much money from his customer (‘victim’) is a tough one to shake off. The reality of working in sales, though, is very different to this image.

Sales is a rewarding, challenging career. Creating the most appropriate solution for your customer and then giving them the tools and motivation to buy from you needs detective skills, team work and an understanding of human nature – not to mention grit and determination. Here are nine reasons why sales could be the career choice for you.

  1. Sales is a performance-based career. The more you sell, the more bonus you earn. For anyone with a competitive streak or the desire to be rewarded for their hard work, this is a key motivator and something that will drive a successful career for years.
  2. Sales isn’t a combat sport, regardless of the impression given by films such as ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and TV shows such as ‘The Apprentice’. Great salespeople work with their customers, not against them. Think of it as a team game; you are playing alongside your customers but against the competition.
  3. You work with your customers to improve their businesses. This kind of consultancy work puts salespeople in front of lots of different people in a company; you rarely get the same day twice, and each department will have different needs and priorities.
  4. Working in sales means understanding psychology. What is your customer thinking? Can you bring everyone together to agree to a sale? What can you do to motivate them to complete the deal?
  5. For most sales jobs, there is no requirement for a degree to enter the profession. A passion and enthusiasm for learning is essential but the skills required for success are more often learned on the job or through bespoke training.
  6. Most salespeople start their career in an ‘inside sales’ role. This usually means making business development calls and selling over the phone to prospects. If the office environment suits you, then this type of work can provide a rewarding and sustainable career.
  7. You can gain plenty of respect for your industry knowledge from your colleagues and customers, but you must work hard to earn this and keep it. A career in sales rewards those who love to learn.
  8. Have you ever wanted to be your own boss? And not be stuck inside at a desk? Salespeople often travel to meet customers face-to-face, as well as to maintain relationships with existing customers. Managing your own time and being responsible for the revenue you generate is as close as any professional will get to running their own business. Sales can be a great training ground for going out on your own.
  9. Let’s face it, the money is good. Salespeople earn commission based on results. If you are interested in getting paid a good salary, few professions offer more opportunities than sales.

It’s not all sweetness and light, though. Every sales professional must learn to deal with daily rejections from customers and there are few salespeople who will tell you that their job is easy. Long hours and the pressure of deadlines and targets are not for everyone.

As a salesperson, you are a consultant, psychologist, team builder and customer service representative all in one. You will draw on your expert product and industry knowledge, colleagues, contacts and influencers to make the best deals for your clients. Understanding your customer’s strategic goals, their market, the financial and economical influences is endlessly fascinating.

Depending on your career path, you can work in an office, competing against colleagues or out on the road, working closely with your customers on site.

For those who love competition, who value rewards for effort and want a role that recognises success, a career in sales awaits you.

About Intequal

Intequal (formally IT Skills Management) has a wealth of experience in training and apprenticeships stretching over many decades. We help employers to participate in the Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship Program with consultation, shaping of apprenticeship programme as well as reactive/proactive recruitment activity of both employers and apprentice candidates. Intequal offer Technical Sales Apprenticeships with leading IT companies throughout England.

For information on how to recruit a technical sales apprentice, contact 023 9244 9730 or email info@intequal.co.uk. If you would to apply to become an apprentice, send your CV and a covering letter to microsoft.apprentice@intequal.co.uk.

Starting my Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with Intequal

My name is Gerda, I am 20 years old, and I recently began my apprenticeship at Intequal. Within the company, I am a Digital Marketing Apprentice, studying towards my Level 3 qualification. A few years ago, I studied a Foundation Degree in Art & Design before planning to go to uni after a gap year. Within the duration of my gap year, I realised University wasn’t for me. I was still keen, however, to carry on learning and gaining qualifications. So, therefore, decided to give an apprenticeship a go.

During the first week of my apprenticeship, I was taught about the company history and culture. This helped me develop an understanding of the partners Intequal work with, as well as all the different apprenticeships they have on offer, and the manner training is delivered. I was also given an insight into how Intequal manages their social media platforms and websites. Additionally, I was also set the task of arranging calls to meet the rest of the team over Skype for Business. This allowed me to find out more about each of my colleagues and their roles within the company. I was able to see how the skills and knowledge I will again in the duration of my apprenticeship can be used to help other members of the team.

Moving on from this, the next step was analysing all of our social media sites and websites. This allowed me to see the kind of information being posted, and the messaged being portrayed. During this part of my induction, I was also able to see how Intequal build, design and implement digital campaigns, used over several social media platforms. I have learned that this is used to drive customer questions and engagement. Part of this role involves looking at the people and companies we follow and who we should look out for. This helps improve our services by looking at competitor sites, allowing us to differentiate ourselves in the market. Strengths, weaknesses, and differentiators can be found in comparison to our competitors, helping with the process of continuous improvement through our USP’s.

Being a young person myself, similar to our target audience, helps me to see things in the same point of view as a potential apprentice. Knowing where I looked to find my Apprenticeship, what was trending, and what helped me most with finding this job will help me to reach out to one-half of our audience particularly well.

The first major project I have is to assist with the Graduation Ceremony that is being held at Microsoft HQ, Reading. This project is one of great importance to the company, and will also be beneficial to me. I feel taking on this challenge will allow me to learn more about my job role, and the day to day tasks I will be doing in the future. My first job to complete for the Graduation was to chase invited apprentices. Email invites had previously been sent, the next step was for me to follow this up with a call. Not having any previous experience on the phone, the calls were a challenging task. Calling the Apprentices had some success and allowed us to find out some more about the people that were interested, to keep more accurate tracking records.

The next task was to start posting on social media. The reason for this was to inform audiences that my colleagues were attending a Careers fair, promoting our attendance over several platforms. The main aim of this was, through the use of location-based services and the correct Hashtags, to encourage college student/guests to visit our stands to find out more about the Apprenticeships we have on offer. Therefore, helping them to decide what Apprenticeship is right for them. Posting the information was done over Hootsuite, reaching platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Whilst doing this I attached an image sent over, adding a relevant caption and Hashtag to boost the chances of people seeing my posts.

An Apprenticeship was definitely the right option for me. It is helping me learn new skills as well as gaining qualifications relevant for my future career. In addition to this, it is also allowing the company to benefit from the use of the skills I am learning in my training sessions.

Making new contacts is helping me at the start of my new career. As well as learning while getting paid, instead of getting myself into debt.

A review of my apprenticeship

Since finishing my IT college course, I found it quite difficult to find an apprenticeship which suited me and my need to grow within the IT sector. I came into contact with Louise who offered me a position on the Teacher’s Apprentice programme where I secured a position at Sacred Heart Primary School.

During August I was placed onto a 6 weeks’ traineeship, where I was taught the IT and teaching sides of my Apprenticeship. Throughout the traineeship, I not only made friends with other apprentices but I was given certificates and training which will help support me later on in life.

The support that Primary Goal has given me throughout this apprenticeship has been more than I could ask for, be it struggling to solve and IT issue, I would be able to contact Primary Goals professional helpdesk team who never hesitate to solve or walk me through the matter. Also if I’m ever asked to teach a lesson on a set subject using IT, I could contact Primary Goal and would be suggested a lesson idea or given plans to help me meet the end goals. Overall, I am very pleased with my placement and the support given to me throughout the apprenticeship. I hope to continue and further my knowledge with Primary Goal.

By Antonis