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How to Use LinkedIn to find your next Assignment

Interim Managers are unique individuals on the employment landscape as often they may find themselves seeking work (assignments) 3 or 4 times a year. As such, they need to become ‘job search’ experts in order to maximise earning potential and minimise the frustration of ‘gap weeks’ between assignments. When utilised to its potential, LinkedIn can be a fantastic resource for Interim Managers to find assignments.   

Hiring Managers, Company Directors, In-house Recruiters, and Recruitment Consultants are increasingly using LinkedIn to identify suitable candidates for both Interim & Permanent Jobs. As an Interim Manager there are certain things you can do to improve your LinkedIn profile and ensure you get on the radar of people and companies looking to appoint an Interim Manager. 

LinkedIn produce free webinars specifically for jobseekers and those looking to maximise the impact of their LinkedIn profile. It is worth investing the time to view the webinars, particularly when you consider that recruiters (both external and company recruiters) perform thousands of searches each day for candidates to fill mid-to-senior level jobs through LinkedIn, for both permanent and interim roles. Also, LinkedIn want to help jobseekers and make it as simple as possible for people to find suitable positions on their platform; Their business model depends on it, as they earn much of their revenues through recruitment advertising.

As an Interim Manager I would recommend building up your connections on LinkedIn to 500+ as this will provide plenty of exposure to the right kind of people, such as peers, recruiters, in-house recruiters, and line managers at companies that interest you. When crafting your LinkedIn profile, I recommend using a similar approach to writing your CV. I.E. List achievements, assignments completed by sector/discipline and use ‘buzz words’ or ‘industry speak’ on your profile to pique the interest of recruiters. Where confidentiality permits, I recommend detailing key deliverables achieved on interim assignments completed.  

As an Interim Manager, you will need to keep on top of your LinkedIn profile, more so than an individual seeking a permanent role, and will need to update it after every assignment. Focus on the most recent assignments you have completed, as well as stating results and achievements, cover the skills you can offer a client. Try and convey an element of your personality as LinkedIn profiles can be quite dry. Get involved with content, either reading and commenting or publish your own articles and invite feedback. Again, this allows you to convey further information about yourself.

Every professional Interim Manager should have a LinkedIn profile because interim assignments are often filled by ‘passive candidates’ – those who are not actively searching for work but meet the criteria and are approached directly. To ensure it is you who is approached directly, when you are coming to the end of an assignment help yourself get noticed and approached by updating your LinkedIn status. Start the process of searching for a new assignment before completing your current assignment. If you know when your current assignment ends, change your Job Title on your LinkedIn profile, as this will be viewable to employers or recruiters, without them having to click to view your full profile. Change the Job Title to something punchy that gets the message across, i.e. “Interim Finance Director Available from 1 May 2019 UK-Wide”.

With LinkedIn you can also set up Job Alerts to be informed of suitable interim roles by email. You can also do this on the Interim Management Jobs.net website. Once you receive an email notification of a relevant assignment utilise LinkedIn as a research tool to ascertain whether you know anyone who works at the company or has done so in the past. Contact them and ask for advice about, the assignment, the business, the people, the challenges etc. This will give you information not available to other Interim Managers interested in the assignment, enabling you to tailor your pitch using this information to your advantage.

Use LinkedIn Groups such as the Interim Management Jobs.net group for support or advice from peers. Ask fellow group members what they are doing to find assignments? Ask what has worked for them? What has failed? Which recruitment consultancies are particularly proactive or helpful? Through online discussion on LinkedIn, you can gain useful job search tips and make new connections. LinkedIn also has many ‘Job Coaching’ and ‘Career Advice’ groups that you can join and gain free advice on anything from: improving your CV, improving your LinkedIn profile, what to include in cover letters, job search strategies, interview skills etc.

Don’t be afraid to ask an experienced Interim Recruiter on LinkedIn for feedback on your LinkedIn profile or CV and whether it contains the right type of information. Ask if your Profile impresses and makes you stand out as someone they should be talking to. Recruiters at the mid-to-senior level spent a lot of time searching on LinkedIn, so are well-placed to offer advice on what they look for and what type of profile ‘stands out’ from the crowd.  

According to recent research 98% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, and 86% of hiring managers look at applicants’ LinkedIn profiles. These statistics further compound the need to utilise your LinkedIn Profile wisely and make sure it’s up-to-date with your most recent assignments listed.

LinkedIn tracks how active your account is, so make sure you update your Profile as soon as you commence a new assignment, as this will send an alert to all your Connections, keeping them updated on your professional activities. Also, showing that you’re active is important, because when a recruiter is searching for someone with your skills/experience, it will get your name higher up the search results.

A basic mistake some interim managers make is having inconsistencies between their LinkedIn Profile and their ‘official’ CV. On two occasions recently when searching LinkedIn, I have come across a good candidate for an interim role where their CV and LinkedIn profile didn’t quite compute, as when I viewed their ‘official’ CV, I noticed factual inaccuracies and inconsistencies when compared to their LinkedIn profile. This mistake should be avoided at all costs as it can lead to mistrust at the beginning of the relationship, and lead to an application being immediately rejected. With 86% of hiring managers viewing an applicants LinkedIn profile, and I suspect a high proportion of those will cross-reference the applicants CV against their LinkedIn profile, inconsistencies or inaccuracies will be frowned upon at best and may create trust issues.

LinkedIn has also conducted research that concludes that hiring managers and recruiters like to see that job applicants at the professional or management level have a professional photo, recommendations and endorsements from former or current clients and co-workers. I would therefore encourage Interim managers to ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. "social proof" as it is known is becoming more important in how people make decisions and an example of this is recommendations on LinkedIn. To ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn, go to your profile, look for the “View Profile As” button, then click the arrow to the right of that. You’ll see “Ask to be recommended”—click that and follow the prompts.

In terms of who to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn, the obvious ones to ask are those who you have completed an assignment for, and I would suggest always asking these individuals, as soon as the assignment has been completed, whilst it is still fresh in their mind. Don’t limit yourself to just asking the main contact at the client company or person you reported to, if you got on well with someone or felt someone was particularly interested in what you were doing or were receptive to your ideas or way of working, ask them for a recommendation too.

When you ask for a recommendation, don’t use the standard generic email message that will appear on LinkedIn. Customise the message, make it clear why you are asking for the recommendation, and the specific information you feel is important to be conveyed within the recommendation. Remember, the person who will provide a recommendation is doing you a favour, so mention how much you enjoyed working with them whilst on the assignment and offer to provide a recommendation for them. Proposing a mutually beneficial reciprocal offer such as this, will result in more people providing you with a recommendation, even if they never get around to requesting a recommendation from you.  

A potential downside to LinkedIn for the job seeker, can be the ease in which hiring managers and recruiters can contact Interim Managers on the LinkedIn platform. This is because you are not only in competition with those who apply for an interim assignment, you are in competition with ‘passive candidates’ also. Your competition therefore includes hundreds of ‘candidates’ who never even applied for the job but can be contacted by recruiters and hiring managers at the click of a button through LinkedIn. Today, many jobs are filled through LinkedIn without ever being advertised, as companies will use LinkedIn as a quick and efficient method to approach people directly to discuss an assignment.

As recruiters and hiring managers are likely to contact you directly on LinkedIn, “Social Proof of Performance” on your LinkedIn profile becomes very important. In the recent past, the only proof an Interim Manager needed was a CV with references from 2 or 3 “satisfied customers”. Today, evidence of excellence comes in many additional forms – including: Recommendations (as covered above), Whitepapers, Articles, Presentations, and Case Studies. The good news is that showcasing this proof on LinkedIn is quite easy as you can upload a: Video, SlideShare document, PowerPoint presentation, PDF or other type of file. Being able to quickly showcase your expertise is becoming crucial for Interim Managers as this ‘proof of performance’ shows you can ‘hit the ground running’, a key requirement for those seeking to appoint an Interim Manager.

Mobile Apps have also become a big part of the job seeker experience on LinkedIn, and you can apply for jobs directly through LinkedIn's Job App. Many people aren’t aware that LinkedIn has different Apps for job seekers and the list of positions in the "Jobs" section of LinkedIn's app are tailored to your interests (customised from your own LinkedIn data), and you can apply for a position just by submitting your profile – A further reason to make sure you have a well-crafted LinkedIn profile. 

For further advice on using LinkedIn to find Interim assignment, contact Interim Management Jobs.net

Friday Dec 7, 2018