According to a recent article by Onrec (Online Recruitment Magazine): “The recruitment landscape is facing significant changes with the rise of social media as a tool to recruit and search for jobs”. Leading the way is LinkedIn, with an estimated 94 per cent of recruiters using the professional networking platform to find and appraise potential candidates for their vacancies.
Since its launch in May 2003, LinkedIn has attracted over 300 million members in 200 countries and territories. There are more than 16 million members in the UK alone.
Carrying out a search for people within the UK Real Estate industry brought about 160,633 results (as of August 2014) so a large number of property professionals are already a part of this fast-growing network. The majority of members (47,356) are London based, with Birmingham and Manchester coming in second and third, then a number of the regions in succession.
So, why is it important to join this social media trend and what are the benefits?
As the property recruitment market continues to gain momentum, there has never been a more opportune time to take stock of your career. Over the past few weeks, there have been some high profile moves from Investment Agency into 'client side' Transactions roles, and this has prompted a few discreet hires in the industry as a whole. Subsequently, the market is once again becoming ‘candidate driven’ as companies vie for the best recruits.
As a multitude of new vacancies arise, Hiring Managers are forced to ‘think outside of the box’ in order to find and attract talented people to their organisations. Inevitably, social media is playing a crucial part in this evolution and LinkedIn has become a key resource in every recruitment process. It widens the net of potential candidates substantially and gives employers a brief synopsis of each person’s career history before they even make contact.
Given the value that Recruiters are now placing on LinkedIn, it is by far the fastest and most efficient way of advancing your career, effective immediately. Luckily, all you need is access to a computer and broadband, and you can start straightaway; the basic site is free to join and easy to navigate without asking much in return.
The key is to create a ‘findable’ and appealing profile. This starts with a professional headline that shows your picture, name, job title and company. Upload a headshot that is as professional-looking as possible (i.e. not a recent holiday swimwear shot) and ensure that there are no spelling errors in the main headline.
The next step is to fill out the description areas, including the character description under each job title and in your overall summary. Like creating a CV, this takes time but it is worth investing in - LinkedIn has a search algorithm that picks up key words in your profile, so the more facts, skills and achievements you can include, the better.
Once you are happy with your profile, it is time to put it to work. Start by connecting with existing professional and personal contacts – friends, current and former co-workers and other people in your industry that you know – by sending them a ‘LinkedIn Request’. Try to remain selective; it can be all too easy to send out mass requests, but it is better to grow your network slowly than to risk annoying potential contacts.
Once you are up-and-running you can continue to grow your network organically by connecting to new contacts as you meet or speak with them. Each new connection leads to several more as, inevitably, you will be linked to the same group of people.
Another way to gain exposure is through joining relevant Membership Groups within your industry. Again, these are free to join although some will ‘vet’ your profile before allowing you access to their members. This is a good way of keeping informed of the latest industry news, events and trends. It also allows you to participate in group discussions, if you are so inclined.
If you want to go that extra mile, you can post your own status updates and start discussions. This is free PR for you and your company, as you can talk about what you are working on and who you are working for. The key is to make these updates relevant and valuable to your industry contacts, rather than just posting random thoughts. Also, make sure that this is non-sensitive information as it will be available for public consumption and you cannot control the responses.
As the world becomes more technologically advanced, so too must we embrace this change and make the most of these online benefits. LinkedIn is a great way of showcasing your professional image and building a visible profile on an international scale. Once you have registered, you can participate as much or as little as you want, but it is worth being part of this important platform, both for your existing and future career.
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