LinkedIn: 4 ways to make the most out of your profile

Whether you love or hate it, LinkedIn is a necessary form of social media for professionals to connect, share, and learn. The site can be used for various reasons, from finding a new career opportunity to promoting your business.

Utilising the site all depends on how you want to use it. However, regardless of if you’re on a job hunt or if you want to use it to grow or communicate within a business, there are several things you should do as standard when using LinkedIn to its full potential.

1. Upload a profile picture

By this, we don’t mean stick any random photo of yourself from a party ten years ago. In contrast, the image you choose doesn’t have to be a professional headshot (although always favoured); always make sure it looks professional.

Try taking a neutral photo of yourself with a background that won’t overly distract the person looking at it. Another approach could be to upload a candid shot; for example, this image could be you hiking in nature or you enjoying a day out with your family. Likewise, the photo you choose for your LinkedIn profile picture can also depend on the industry you work within or the sector you wish to work within. If you’re applying to be a photographer, for example, why not choose a candid shot that captures you in the moment of doing your job (an image of you taking a photo).

While you’re there, why not go ahead and upload a cover photo/banner too? Suppose you are already attached to a business. In that case, your LinkedIn banner should reflect this- the company will usually provide you with a suitable image to use that reflects their brand. If not, you can put another image in its place- use your common sense to choose a photo (keep it simple and try and match the colours and tone of your profile picture.

2. Avoid clogging up your feed.

Try not to connect with every single person you know (or don’t even know); while it is good to have a lot of connections on LinkedIn, try to keep them relevant to your industry. Even though it’s inevitable to some extent, you don’t want random content clogging up your home page feed, especially if you’re trying to find a job! https://www.zenithpeople.com/three-ways-to-utilise-social-media-in-your-job-search/

Try to keep your connections on LinkedIn, either industry-relevant or your friends (you probably want to keep up with them as well!); this way, your feed is a good mix of work and other content you’re interested in. In the same respect, make sure the content that you’re posting is also an even good balance of work-related content and personal. If someone has connected with you on LinkedIn because you’re a respected recruiter, they expect content around recruitment, not 100 snaps of you on your most recent holiday. You’ve got to think, if you would be cringed out by someone else doing it, then don’t post it yourself. Check out this article by ranker.com. 28 Of The Most Cringeworthy LinkedIn Posts We Found On The Internet (ranker.com) 

3. Share relevant materials

Do not let the abundance of people oversharing on LinkedIn stop you from sharing at all. No matter the industry you’re in or the job you’re trying to bag, consistently share relevant materials to your page. These materials could be insightful posts by other people or marketing materials to raise awareness around your business or the business you work for.

As we’ve discussed, keep the clogging to a minimum when it comes to sharing posts; only share what you actually think is quality material, and you have an interest in. You never know, a news article or video could be discussed within a job interview as small talk!

4. Use it!

A little bit self-explanatory, but actually use LinkedIn to your advantage and for its intended purpose. If you want to utilise LinkedIn, then don’t just log in once a month for a quick check but actually consistently use the site. That doesn’t mean you have to spend hours a day on LinkedIn but check in daily- it could be an excellent morning task to ease yourself into your work day!

Productivity at work: How to make the most of your work day

We all want to finish work and feel like we’ve been productive at work, the satisfying feeling of knowing you’ve achieved what you set out to do by the end of the working day feels good. Even though we chase that feeling, its sometimes difficult to come by; we’re humans not robots and working to 100% efficiency constantly throughout the work day is unattainable for most people- its all about finding a comfortable balance! Follow these tips for a productive, yet balanced work day!

1. Don’t take on too you much you can’t handle 

You may think that taking on extra tasks is productive as you’re getting more done, but if you know the inevitable overwhelm is coming then taking on too much will probably be counter productive in the long run as the quality of work produced will probably not be the highest. Likewise, sometimes when you have a lot on your plate you have to learn how to say no to people, as nice as it is to assist people and help them out, you have your own work to complete.

 2. Prioritise your most important/hardest tasks (Do them first!)

Getting your most important tasks out the way early in the day not only will help you in your role in general, but it also utilises your brain and attention span. The early afternoon slump of 2pm probably isn’t the best time of day to go over that proposal, tackle these harder, more important tasks with fresh eyes (and a fresh brain). Another good tip similar to this, is if smaller tasks pop up throughout the day try and do them straight away to avoid letting them linger. Working out when your productivity peaks the most throughout the day can also be useful as you can use this to judge when to do these tasks. For some people this could be first thing on a morning, for others it could be at 4pm.

3. Struggling to concentrate? Use the Pomodoro Technique.

This time management technique was coined in the 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo, the technique uses a timer to break work into intervals, typically 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks in between (typically 5-10 minutes). This is a useful technique (especially for creative tasks) as it encourages concentration in short bursts which is a more realistic way to work, the technique helps to train your brain away from distractions. This is also a great technique for individuals who struggle with concentration a lot such as people with ADHD, to ensure you reap the benefits of this technique never skip your breaks, if you do this then you’re not executing the technique! For more information check out this handy guide over on indeed A guide to the Pomodoro technique and how to use it | Indeed.com UK

4. Take breaks

Even if the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t work for you, taking breaks throughout the work day is essential. Even if the break is just making a cup of coffee or going for a 10 minute breather outside, it all counts. Taking regular breaks actually helps your brain to process and break down information, meaning it can be more easily retained in the long term. Don’t feel guilty for taking breaks or needing a break, your brain needs it! During this time, make sure you eat and hydrate, particularly if you have a busy, non stop work day.

Three ways to utilise Social Media in your job search

Social Media is always there, it’s there for your mid-day scroll, there when you’re walking your dog, and you probably even reach for the mindless distraction of it when on the toilet. Since its inception, social media has also gotten a pretty bad reputation; all we hear about is creepy people online and how the internet fries your brain with memes and compilations of cats. However, social media isn’t all bad; it can sometimes provide an outlet for creativity and opportunity. Would you ever think of looking for a new job on social media?

While yes, technically, sites like Linkedin are classed as social media, for the average person, it’s probably not the first thing you scroll through on a morning. Social media such as Linkedin are often used with purpose, whether that be to find a job or keep up with your industry throughout the work day. We’re talking the classic Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram- but mainly Facebook.

  1. Check out the Facebook Jobs page and marketplace.

This is your best first port of call for finding a job on social media; businesses utilise these areas of social media to advertise any roles they may have available. Often, jobs posted here will have to include a brief outline of the duties of the job, as well as salary and working hours-sometimes including a link to the business’s website for further information.

  1. Join job boards and groups

Job boards and groups are also good for clear role outlines to be posted; an advantage is that these groups on social media sites such as Facebook can be made especially for your industry. For example, if you are looking for a job in marketing, you could join a group or job board that focuses on marketing in your area. Make a good impression in these groups; this way, social media can become social networking, and many businesses and recruitment agencies also hang around in these groups to lend a helping hand in your job hunt!

  1. Ask your friends

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen individuals post jobs on Facebook for a business they work for; even though these job postings, compared to the others, may not seem like the most professional, they can be a good lead toward a role- word of mouth works. A lot of the time, these jobs are for quick starts.

Regardless of how you choose to find a job on social media, always make sure you clean up your page by erasing any offensive content or anything you would not want a potential employer to see. This doesn’t only mean your personal profile but also any other profiles and pages you have interacted with; with a simple name search, employers can find any post you may have interacted with in the past, even if your personal profile has no connection to it. This may all seem like a lot of effort, but it could be the difference between a job offer and rejection.

Give social media a chance throughout your job hunt! You’d be surprised at the opportunities you may find.

 

 

 

How To Ask For A Pay Rise

Talking openly about money has always been a complicated subject that many people shy away from. To some, asking your employer for a pay rise is considered cheeky; the idea is unfathomable; how could you ever ask for MORE money?! Asking for a pay rise is 100% acceptable in most work environments. As an employee, you should be compensated fairly for your hard work, primarily if you have worked the same role for many years without a pay increase.

Be prepared to plead your case.

Before you consider setting up any meeting with your manager or supervisor, you must prepare your reasoning for the pay rise. Think of why you deserve a higher salary. Have you completed a big project? Doing the job of more than one person? or maybe you have done something so well within your role that it has brought more money into the businesses or positively impacted similarly. 

Make sure when you do this that you bring actual evidence of your accomplishments with you, whether it’s data proving you’ve helped the business grow or copies of projects you have completed since your time at the business.

What is considered a reasonable salary increase?

A reasonable salary increase lies at about 10-20% of your current salary; the percentage of increase should reflect the reasonings for your pay rise, as well as how long you have been with the business and your experience within the role. Asking for more than a 20% increase in your current salary can be slightly unrealistic, especially if you’re new to the business/your industry.

Time it right

Don’t ask for a pay rise on a hectic Monday morning when your boss is stressed and in between meetings; the result with more than likely not be positive. Your manager will feel bombarded and pressured, which is not the mood you’re looking for when asking for more money.

Use your initiative and time it right; schedule a formal meeting with your boss. This gives you time to prepare effectively and creates a more relaxed atmosphere. Even if you usually are chatty and informal when talking to your manager, use this time to get your formal head-on. Not only will it be easier to get your points across, but it will also display confidence and seriousness, which will take you seriously.

What if they say no?

Sometimes a pay rise isn’t always possible for justified reasons, such as the business struggling financially; if this is the case, it’s time to explore some other options for the time being. If a pay rise isn’t possible, always ask why and when one may be possible; always ask for a time frame for this, as it lets your employer know that the possibility of a pay rise will still be on your mind.

Alternatively, if a cash pay rise isn’t possible- explore other options and perks your employer might offer you, for example, a few days extra holidays or flexible working options for a greater work/life balance.

If you aren’t satisfied with the outcome of your pay rise meeting, you must think about your career prospects. Maybe a new role may be your only option for you if a salary increase is the only option for you right now.

Even though it’s difficult and a little awkward, asking for a pay rise shouldn’t be shameful; the topic of money should be more transparent within the workplace, especially with the UK’s financial struggle as a result of the pandemic as well as the ongoing energy crisis.

Don’t be hesitant to raise the possibility of a pay rise if you believe your efforts at work warrant one.

 

 

 

How to get a Work Permit in the UK

Before applying for a job of any kind, it’s important to understand all the necessary paperwork and forms you need. This is especially important when it comes to legal documents such as work permits. In the UK, there are a variety of different Work-Permits and Visa Options for non- UK residents, this depends on various factors, including your intended work and nationality.

Different Types of UK work permits/Work Visas:

  • Long-term visas (Skilled Worker), (Intra-company- Trainee or Graduate Trainee)
  • Temporary (Seasonal worker, Graduate, Creative and Sporting)
  • You are also able to gain a work visa if you are self-employed

How to apply:

When you’ve chosen what kind of Work Permit/Visa, you’ll be able to apply and pay for it online. The earliest you can do this is 3 months before your employment start date, so it’s good to do it well in advance and give yourself enough time to apply!

You may also be instructed to go to an appointment or a visa application, this is all depending on where you’re from and the type of passport you hold. Alternatively, there is also an option to use the UK Immigration ID Check Smartphone app to prove your identity. Something to take into consideration- the wait time for a decision to be made on your visa typically takes 3 weeks. (For work visas)

For an in-depth breakdown of everything work permit/visa related, visit the government website Browse: Work in the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Cost:

The cost of Work Permits/ Visas can differ greatly depending on the type you require, and the length of time, they are required. Check out this page outlining all the prices and requirements UK work permit: requirements, how to apply and cost (2021) – Wise, formerly TransferWise

If you would like any friendly advice surrounding a work permit when applying for a job, contact our team at Zenith People, they will be happy to give you some friendly and professional advice.

 

How To Prepare For A Job Interview

Job interviews can be highly nerve-wracking; it’s normal to sit twiddling your thumbs the night before the big day because you imagine where you might slip up, or what if they don’t like you?

‘Just relax’, well, that’s easier said than done. The best thing you can do to calm those pre-interview nerves and come across as your best self is to prepare as much as you can.

Prepare, then prepare again.

Preparing for the interview not only allows your nerves to calm down a little but also helps to build your confidence pre-interview.

Suppose you don’t know what you’re going to say in the interview; jot down a few key points about what you expect to come up with (think classic interview topics),  have a browse of the most common interview topics over at Indeed, 31 Common Interview Questions and Answers | Indeed.com UK. In that case, you can even prepare some questions to ask in the interview beforehand. Check out our blog post about what to ask in an interview: https://www.zenithpeople.com/what-questions-should-you-ask-in-an-interview/

Prepare and take an ‘Interview Cheat Sheet’, AKA your notes. To remind you of some key talking points you think you will forget throughout the interview.

An excellent tip to help build your confidence (especially if you think you may stumble over your words), is to speak these questions aloud, role-play if you will. You could do this online or even ask a friend to help out and conduct a mock interview. Mock interviews are also a good way for you to practice how you naturally display your body language. Positive body language is essential in an interview as sometimes we don’t realise how our body language is being portrayed to others.

Eat, sleep, and…plan your commute?

Try to eat a good breakfast before the interview, as well as a good night’s sleep the night before. Not only will this make you feel more refreshed and less groggy, but it will also help to ease some of those feelings of anxiety, stress, and dread for the next day.

Also, make sure you plan your commute! Work out how you are going to get to the interview, whether you are going to drive, walk, or use public transport. It’s also a good idea to work out how long the commute will take, and allow extra time if the interview location is slightly farther afield than you’re used to.

If you dress the part, you will feel the part, dress accordingly as per the role/business you’re applying for, and wear clothes you feel comfortable in. Take a look at our article about what to wear to a job interview for some helpful tips, https://www.zenithpeople.com/what-to-wear-to-an-interview/

If needs must, picture them naked.

Your interviewers are human; just like you, there is no need to type them up to be these giant, scary monsters that just interviewing you to catch you out somehow. You have landed the interview because you’re qualified, and the employer clearly thinks you and your skills would potentially be a good fit for the role. They just want to get to know you better.

The age-old ‘Picture them naked’ trick seems to work in finding people less intimidating- so it’s worth a shot. Oh, and don’t be scared of other candidates; they’re also human and probably will not give a completely flawless interview.

Building your confidence is one of the best things you can do before a job interview; you may not feel 100% confident (nobody ever is), but you will be able to display enough confidence for the interviewer to pick up on this, furthering your chances of landing the job.

 

 The Importance of Mental Health Awareness within the workplace

In England, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year, with over 792 million people being affected by a mental health condition worldwide. Ignorance often dominates mental illness, as people who are not educated in mental health awareness are quick to dismiss conditions as they don’t fully understand them. 70-75% of people with diagnosable mental illnesses receive no treatment at all, usually going about life masking their symptoms, often not seeking treatment as they are unaware they have a diagnosable mental health condition themselves.

Having reasonable adjustments within the workplace to accommodate mental health conditions is an excellent step in the right direction by not only helping to relieve the impact of mental health conditions but also helping to combat chronic stress within the workplace (which can lead to burnout). 1 in 5 people take a day off due to stress, yet 90% of people cited a different reason for their absence due to stress and mental health-related reasons not being fully understood.

A shocking 9% of employers who disclosed mental health issues to their line manager reported being disciplined, dismissed, or demoted. Which is no surprise considering 69% of UK line managers say that supporting employee wellbeing is a core skill, but only 13% have received mental health training.

Zenith Training offers a free* distance learning course in ‘Mental Health First Aid & Mental Health Advocacy in the Workplace’ More info at Health and Safety, First Aid & Fire Safety Training – Zenith Training.

How can the workplace make reasonable mental health adjustments? 

Having these adjustments in place also makes sense from a business perspective, as ill mental health is responsible for 72 million working days lost, which equates to £34.9 billion each year nationally. It is also the law, under The Equality Act 2010, it is a requirement that an employer makes reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities to do their jobs. The act states that a person is disabled if: they have a mental or physical impairment, which has substantial and long term adverse effects on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

Reasonable adjustments include: 

  • Adjusting the recruitment induction stage by allowing more time for tests, inductions, and interviews. This can help individuals on the neurodivergent spectrum, such as those with Autism or ADHD.
  •  The potential to adjust working hours and patterns. Allowing variations in working hours or flexible working enables people to work and function at their best and most productive time of day. Similarly, splitting a more extended break or adding shorter breaks throughout the day would benefit someone who cannot concentrate for long periods.
  •  A change of workplace environment. Some people may not be able to work effectively in noisy environments with endless distractions.
  • Making the office a bright, airy environment may also be beneficial.

Alongside reasonable adjustments, the workplace must be a mentally healthy environment; this can be implemented by establishing a health-conscious mental culture by promoting good mental health practices all year round.

Mental health is just as crucial as physical health, so it is vital that it is looked after, and we all take the time to do so.

We are fortunate to live in a society that is now more open to change than ever; as the stigma around mental illness, especially more severe diagnoses, decreases, more people recognise the signs and symptoms of mental illness and can seek help for themselves and others. We exist in a world where TikTok and YouTube are able to provide educational resources that compete with official mental health services. Advocates for mental illness exist on all platforms, both online and in real life; it is up to us to continue to fight the stigma around mental illness, both in the workplace and out.

For further information, take a look at these educational, mental health resources below:

Local Minds – Mind

resource1_mentally_healthy_workplacesfinal_pdf.pdf (mind.org.uk)

Your Stories – Mind 

What questions should you ask in an interview?

Interviews of any kind can be incredibly daunting. Whether you’re interviewing for your dream job or a side hustle, it’s essential to prepare yourself and know what you want to gain from an interview- other than landing the job! The most straightforward way to achieve this is by simply asking questions! Asking the right questions at the right time in an interview shows the recruiter that you are confident while allowing you to gain more knowledge of the role. 

What should you ask exactly?

It may seem obvious what to ask in an interview; you would expect to ask about salary and working hours right? While knowing these factors is important, maybe don’t lead with these questions as these self-orientated questions may give the wrong impression to the recruiter.

Timing is vital when asking the recruiter questions in an interview; using your initiative and finding a natural point in the conversation to bring up your questions is your best bet, and focusing on questions linked to the role. When the relevant topics and discussions arise within an interview, some good questions to ask include the likes of:

  • Who will I report to directly?
  •  Can you tell me more about the day to day responsibilities of the role?
  •  Can you tell me more about the team I would be working in?

Once the interview has concluded, it is also good to ask some follow-up questions; these questions can be more varied since the central part of the interview is now over. Some good ones include:

  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  •  Can I answer any final questions for you?
  • What gets you excited the most about the company’s future?
  • Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?

These sorts of questions make you come across as genuinely interested in the role and the company; if you’re feeling particularly bold, you could ask riskier questions in the interview, such as:

  • Is there anything that concerns you about my background being a fit for the role?
  • If after 12 months I’ve failed, where did we go wrong?
  • Can I see your calendar for the week?
  • How could I impress you in the first three months?

If you ask questions like these, an employer will either think you are too forward or admire your confidence; go with your gut in the interview once you assess the person’s mood.

What not to ask in an interview?

There are questions you should avoid asking at all in an interview; never ask what the company does or questions similar to this. You should have already researched the nature of the company before attending the interview; asking this can make you come across as not entirely interested in the role- which you want to avoid.

Also, refrain from asking questions such as ‘Did I get the job?’ this puts the recruiter on the spot and makes you appear very impatient while lacking social cues; these attributes could go against you.

Asking questions in an interview can make you stand out; however, you want to stand out in a good way and make a positive impression on the employer. You don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who made a lasting impression for all the wrong reasons.

How to accept a job offer

How to accept a job offer

You’ve slaved away for countless hours, working hard on CVs, cover letters, and rehearsing what you’re going to say in the interview in front of the mirror. Receiving a job offer can be one of the most relieving and rewarding feelings in the world, especially after you’ve put in all the work.

But have you taken a moment to think about how you may actually respond to the offer, or if you will even accept?

There are a few key things to keep in mind while considering accepting a job offer. A lot of it depends on the job’s industry and the conditions of the role being offered to you- whether or not the offer is unconditional or subject to certain conditions.

Why settle for less?

An unconditional job offer tends to leave more room for potential contract negotiations; these negotiations can refer to salary, working hours and sometimes aspects of the job specification.

However, an offer subject to you meeting certain conditions within the role does not leave as much room for negotiation. If it is you plan to be brave and negotiate, this stage would be a good place to ask as you and your skills are in high demand at this stage.

Tips on how to accept:

You could be offered a job either in person, over the phone or via email.

If your goal is to negotiate, receiving a job offer over the phone or in person would be pretty tricky, especially if you’re not great at reacting on the spot. This can be a bit awkward, especially with the employer’s pressure ahead of you. Your best bet for negotiation is to receive a job offer over email, as it gives you a chance to come up with a response. However, this is unfortunately out of your control and probably the least likely way you’d be offered a job. Go with your gut and respond in the best way you see fit.

If you’re pleased with the offer and you plan on accepting, there are some key points of information to ask the employer before starting your role, such as:

  • Always ask for a copy of your contract
  • A confirmation of your salary
  • Working hours
  • Job specification (what your duties will be)
  • Any necessary onboarding information and a start date

Getting ahead of this list will equip you to start your new role confidently and make a great first impression on your employer.

In a similar respect to the negotiation, you may find yourself in a position where you may not be 100% on whether you want the job or not. If your offer is over email, you can buy some time by asking questions or getting additional clarification about the job.

It’s harder to do this in person or over the phone, you could ask for more time, but a word of warning, this is a risky move. The employer could potentially take it the wrong way and may consider another applicant during this time.

But…what if you’ve changed your mind and you no longer want the job?

Politely declining a job offer is perfectly okay. It’s pointless accepting a position you don’t want simply in the name of being polite or feeling guilty. Thank the recruiter for the opportunity and let them know you are no longer interested in the role. This is a well-mannered response that does not waste the time of both you and the employer. An employer would rather you be open and honest at this stage rather than accepting out of awkwardness and quitting a week later.

Job offers are exciting; starting a new job is an excellent opportunity to potentially progress within your career or to begin a new workplace endeavour.

What to wear for an interview graphic

What to wear to an interview?

First impressions count. The moment you walk through the door for an interview, your interviewer perceives your character and level of professionalism from the first glance. What you wear to an interview is an important aspect of the entire interview process. Knowing what to wear and how to present yourself can enhance your chances of impressing your potential employer and landing yourself the job.

Dress for the job you want

What you choose to wear to your job interview should reflect the job you’re applying for. Understanding the industry you are interested in helps a great deal with this. For example, if you were going to interview for a job at a bank, you would dress in smart attire as the employer would expect this from their employees and prospective employees (you).

On the other hand, it wouldn’t really make sense to wear this type of outfit to an interview for a job within a creative sector, such as a job in art or a creative role at a creative agency. Always be wary of the sector the company works in, but more than likely, for these types of roles, a suit and tie/formal dress wouldn’t be necessary. 

This is an excellent article from The Balance that outlines what to wear to a variety of types of job interviews The Best Outfits for Job Interviews (thebalancecareers.com)

Find out what the interviewers will be wearing

If you’re not sure what the employer will expect, try to find out what they’ll be wearing. You can best do this by looking for your potential employers’ LinkedIn accounts, where they will probably have some photos of them at work. You can also check the company website, what do the current employees wear? Does the website have a Meet the team page or pictures of the team? The last thing you want to do in your interview is worry about what you’re wearing and feel out of place. Dressing similarly to your interviewers shows that you understand the company and would fit in as a great asset to the team. Doing a little bit of research can also be helpful in understanding the company’s dress code for when you do (hopefully) get the job.

If all else fails, keep it formal

Regardless of the type of job you are interviewing for, always ensure you’re clean and presented well. After all, this is the first impression, you will be judged initially on how you look and what you’re wearing, and you want to put your best foot forward. If you are unaware or confused about the specific attire within the field of the job you’re interviewing for, it is always best to dress smartly. This can also be in the form of a smart/casual outfit. 

Never show up for a job interview of any kind in tattered jeans, dirty shoes, and an inappropriately graphic t-shirt, as this is a clear example of what not to wear to a job interview.