Ensure your LinkedIn profile is a key ally in your search for flexible working with these top tips from award-winning City CV. You may have a love/hate relationship with social media, but LinkedIn is essential. It is the world’s largest professional network so you simply can’t afford to ignore it. Just take a look at these figures: 610 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates for vacancies 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet job candidates. But, LinkedIn is much more than a jobs board. It is also one of the most important and influential platforms for connecting with like-minded professionals, keeping up-to-date with industry news, and personal brand building. If you’re stepping back into your career after taking a break, or heading in a whole new direction, LinkedIn is the perfect place for your re-launch campaign. It takes some time and effort. You won’t transform into a globally recognised thought leader overnight. But, here are three ways you can use LinkedIn as a platform to run your own career marketing campaign. 1. Optimise your profile to make a great first impression You’ll need to do more than just cut and paste your old CV to be noticed on LinkedIn. Recruiters search for candidates based on specific keywords and algorithms. According to LinkedIn’s own figures, a complete profile, tailored to the jobs you want and including specific, search engine optimised keywords will get 132% more views. Most people don’t take the time to optimise their profile. That’s a big mistake. Here’s how to start. There are the certain words or phrases a recruiter types into LinkedIn when they are searching for candidates. Look at some job ads you’re interested in and make a list of the specific keywords used. They could be job titles, skills, knowledge or expertise that a company needs. Then, review your headline. Most people just throw in their current job title but LinkedIn allows 120 characters here, so use them all if you can. A powerful snapshot of your strengths, with appropriate keywords, will significantly increase the odds of people clicking on your profile. Sprinkling keywords throughout your profile will make it easier for recruiters to find you. But use them in a natural, engaging style. Your profile still needs to read as though it has been written by a human, for a human. A photo makes your profile seven times more likely to turn up in searches. It is worth investing in a professional shot. But, at the very least, make sure you look presentable and approachable. Use a plain background and face forward so you look like you are making eye contact. 2. Use LinkedIn as a learning tool If you’re taking a career break, it’s always a smart move to keep a foot in the door. LinkedIn is an easy and convenient way to keep up with developments in your field and maintain your professional network. That way, you’ll have the tools to navigate the challenges of returning to work and re-igniting your career in the future. 3. Be your own cheerleader You can use LinkedIn to become more visible in your chosen field. You have up to 2,000 characters for your summary section; use them wisely to tell a keyword optimised story that captures your personality. Your LinkedIn profile can reflect the tone, style and level of detail that best suits you and your audience. You can also add links to examples of your work. The more connections you have, the higher your LinkedIn ranking. That makes it easier for recruiters to find you. You can start by re-establishing contact with former colleagues and university friends. Social media is all about engagement and your LinkedIn profile should not be static. Take the opportunity to join industry or professional interest groups. You can build your credibility by posting updates, sharing articles and commenting on other members’ updates. When you share articles by or about people and their companies – be sure to tag them in your post. You can do this on LinkedIn as you would on Facebook or Twitter, by using the @ symbol before their name. This encourages people to share your posts, which will increase your profile views. If you want to showcase your more detailed expertise, you can write and publish your own content. This can help boost your presence on the network and establish you as a thought leader or industry expert. Remember, you can make the posts more engaging with images and videos. LinkedIn is a valuable and convenient tool to help you get your career back on track after a break. But it’s not as easy as just setting up a profile and leaving it there. To stand out on LinkedIn, you need to showcase your range of skills, expertise and experiences, not just create a boring list of job titles. Career Returners Career returners can actually have an advantage here. By including your career break activities - voluntary work, interests or boards you sit on – you can demonstrate the new skills you’ve gained. That could be how to cope under pressure, multi task, evaluate information, make decisions and build networks. But, remember to keep your profile relevant to a professional audience. Even if you’re not actively job hunting, don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. It’s definitely worth taking the time to ensure you’re using every opportunity it offers to create a powerful network and learn from established experts in your field. This will provide you with the perfect platform to share your expertise, make connections and boost your personal brand, ready for when you decide to re-launch your career. If you want more LinkedIn advice check out the nine most common mistakes you'll want to avoid to ensure you stand out on this platform for all the right reasons. We're thrilled to be working with City CV on a series of webinars designed exclusively for our mothers in the 2to3days hood. Our aim is to help you present your skills and experience so you feel really proud and confident of your CV and LinkedIn profile when applying for jobs. Make sure you're signed up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about future events and webinars. SIGN UP NOW
How to support your Line Manager to love the fact you work flexibly! Perhaps you need to start later in order to do the morning school runs. Or you want to work three longer days so you can spend precious time with your young children on the other two. Whatever the reason, it’s not something you can easily do without your line manager’s support. While all employees who have been working for an employer for 26 weeks or more have the right to request flexible working, the reality is that getting buy-in can take a bit of work. But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of experience on that front. Remember that it’s not just for your benefit When it comes to negotiating flexible working, remember that this isn’t just about you. While your employer hopefully does care about your wellbeing, they also have a duty to the business. So the best way to approach a flexible working request is to set out the business benefits. And there are lots of them! For a start, offering flexible options gives businesses a real competitive advantage for attracting and retaining top talent. Think about it - if you had two job roles open to you, one that was flexible and one that wasn’t, which would you choose? But that’s not all. For larger companies, flexible working can help tackle diversity issues by encouraging more women into the workplace while also addressing the gender pay gap by allowing women to rise to more senior roles. And then there’s the fact that home working can allow businesses to downsize their offices, saving money on overheads while creating a more agile workforce. Whether you’re approaching your current line manager or going for an interview, remember to make the business case for the flexible working options you’re negotiating for. And be prepared to explore all the options so that you can find a middle ground where both your needs and those of the business are being equally served. Show your line manager they can trust you It’s our opinion that employers should, by default, trust their members of staff. After all, why would you hire someone if you thought they were going to start slacking off the moment your back was turned? As Ernest Hemingway is reported to have said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” But trust is also a two-way street and is something that we can accelerate through our actions. If your line manager offers to trial home working for a set period, for example, make sure you reassure them appropriately. That could be by checking in at set times, agreeing to keep an online log of work completed or using project tracking software to keep them in the loop. Keep communicating with key stakeholders We’ve found that line managers can sometimes struggle with overseeing flexible teams because it undermines their feeling of being in control. If the employees they’re responsible for are all working in different ways, on different days and across different locations, how can they be sure that the work is really getting done and getting done properly? The key to dealing with these worries is to ensure that there is regular communication between you as a flexible employee and both your line manager and other members of your team. It’s important that expectations are established in advance and that there are project management tools in place that allow everyone to check in on progress whenever they need to. Your line manager might find it easier to give you flexibility over your hours if you track them on a timesheet, for example. Or it might be easier for them to monitor your home working if you’re able to agree set output targets or project deadlines. Remember, communication goes both ways - if you can’t pop over to your line manager’s desk to ask them a quick question because they’re not in the same room as you, you need to ensure there is some way of getting your answers. There are plenty of great apps for this, such as Trello and Slack, not to mention WhatsApp. Help them to understand flexible working better When it comes to flexible working, every company - and every line manager - will sit somewhere on a spectrum. At the one extreme there are those that are passionately embracing this hugely beneficial way of working. At the other there are the risk averse organisations that haven’t fully understood the business benefits it can bring. If you’re already in a role then you’ll probably know where your employer sits. If they’re at the less flexible end then it could be that they simply need educating about the benefits that flexible working can bring. Because as we’ve already seen, there are plenty. These businesses may well be operating under the assumption that changing the way they work will be too difficult, expensive or time consuming to be worth it. Perhaps they think flexible means working less when actually it means working differently. At 2to3days we’re passionate about supporting mothers to find roles that help them use their skills and experience and find fulfilment at work without having to compromise on their family life. That’s why we’ve created Managing flexible teams: The Ultimate Guide for Line Managers. If you’re keen to encourage your workplace to be more flexible, why not flag it up for your line manager’s attention? It may be the start of a whole new way of working. And do have a read of it yourself. You’re far more likely to secure a flexible working arrangement if you understand your line manager’s perspective and know how to best support them in creating a culture of flexibility. Have you joined the 2to3days hood? We’re on a mission to get mothers into fulfilling flexible roles that use their skills and experience without forcing them to compromise on their home life. So far 28,000 people have joined our movement. If you’re not yet one of them, join today.