Why LinkedIn is Part of Your Career?

LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and launched in 2003. It is an employment-orientation tool that functions using websites and mobile apps. We are told that it has almost 600 million registered users in over 200 countries. Used for networking and posting jobs, it’s primary and most usage is for employees to share the following main details about themselves (including a picture) in order to source a new employment / new business and indeed inform interested people where they are now in their career/business:

  • Career History
  • Education
  • Training Courses
  • Accomplishments
  • Interests
  • Testimonials

LinkedIn is like your CV On-Line i.e. called a Profile and unlike a CV needs to be updated consistently. We tend to update our CV when we want to change job or career, however with LinkedIn, you don’t know who is looking at your profile and when including:

  • Recruiters
  • Headhunters
  • Previous bosses
  • Previous work colleagues
  • Friends
  • Academics
  • Business associates
  • Existing clients
  • New clients


As with the last two points above, the self-employed, especially people working on their own, need to be on LinkedIn as many potential new clients make an opinion of whether or not to meet you, based on your LinkedIn Profile (and testimonials).

Updating your LinkedIn Profile on a regular/consistent basis has many advantages:

  • You can include the updates details when it is fresh in your mind
  • Your profile will rank higher if people look for someone of your skills, talents and background
  • People who read your profile are getting the latest, most up-to-date version of you
  • It gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement as you update it, for example, a new job, promotion, education/training course, a new project
  • It can make it easier to update your CV when you wish to apply for new job opportunities that may have short closing date notices


Stay linked to the world that can help you achieve your job/career/business goals using LinkedIn…

competency-based application form

Are Competency-based Application Forms making the CV Redundant?

Competency-based Application Forms

For many people who work in the public sector and want to ‘career or job’ progress through its various departments / sections or people who want to work in the public sector, the now new norm is to apply by completing a competency-based application form. Rarely nowadays is a CV requested. A Covering Letter i.e. an expression of interest may be requested, but the CV is simply not required, as the application form covers everything that the hiring managers need.

For many people who work in the private sector and want to ‘career or job’ progress in the organisation or people who want to work in the private sector, the norm is still to apply by developing a Cover Letter and a CV. The private sector has not yet embraced competency-based application forms, though there is a huge focus on competencies at interview stage, similar to the private sector.

One would have thought that by now the private sector would have embraced and designed competency-based application forms for their specific industry / departments. However, as the use of competencies in recruiting and selecting are over 20 years in existence now, it is unlikely that the private sector will use them now, like the public sector do.

Competency-based application forms have the following advantages over CV’s:

• Allows the applicant give actual examples of where they have used a key skill in the past that is relevant to the role on offer
• There is consistency in the application forms for the interviewers
• It allows the interview to be more structured

CV’s have the following advantages over competency-based application forms:

• Are never more that 2-3 pages in length, whereas competency-based application forms can be over 20 pages
• They can give the interviewer a quicker overview of the applicant
• It is easier for the applicant to apply for the role, as competency-based application forms can take days / weeks to complete.

Competency-based Interviews

Competency-based Interviews…?

Competency-based Interviews have been around a long time. However in recent years, they are becoming more formal and becoming part of an overall recruitment and selection process, where each candidate is required to complete a Competency-based Application Form first. Competency-based interviews are usually based on the contents of the Competency-based Application Form, though employers would design a competency-based interview upon receipt of CV’s. The competencies usually discussed at interviews are skills, talents, abilities that the successful candidate must have in order to carry out the duties and tasks of the role as outlined in the job advertisement / job description / job specification. The interview board would ask each candidate to give them an example i.e. tell them a story of an achievement, project, task that would best convince them that they have this competency in their natural possession. In order to convince them, the candidate would need an example that is preferably linked to a current or previous employment over the past 5-7 years (10 years maximum). The candidates with the best examples that are well structured, narrated and have a start, middle and end usually are selected or paneled.

The most common and well known format for sharing competency examples with interviewers in an interview situation is the STAR format i.e.:

  • S = Situation
  • T = Task
  • A = Action
  • R = Result

The Situation is the background to the competency example and gives the interviewers an overview / introduction of the where, what, who of the story.The Task tells the interviewers what you done (you, not we) in the competency example and what you had to do.

The Action shares with the interviewers how you done what you had to do. This is the detail of what you had to do i.e. how did you do it? The Result is the outcome i.e. what happened at the end. Was there a saving made, a project completed, increased turnover, a new client brought on board, an award achieved for example. When it comes to interviews today, competencies are what it is all about; the interviewers want to hear stories…!

Leadership – Moving on Up in Your Career!

Leadership is now becoming a paramount competency whether you are leading people or not. Every business / management / human resource magazine always has an article or two or indeed section dedicated to leadership. This is because most people who read these are career-orientated and therefore want to progress in their career; and in order to progress in their career, they must have excellent leadership skills, talents and abilities, so as to help their organisation achieve their business goals.

High potential employees who want to be the future leaders of or in their organisation need three key skill sets to realise their career ambitions namely:

  1. Business acumen
  2. Strategic acumen
  3. Financial acumen

Where is the organisation going, what strategy do they have and how do they plan to achieve their financial targets? Having this acumen (knowledge and expertise), will propel you to new heights in your organisation.

High potential employees need to be smart, hardworking committed, trustworthy and resilient; they need to be great with their customers, be able to empower their teams, negotiate effectively, manage conflict and be great communicators.

High potential employees (who want to be leaders) need to understand the business, where it is going and their role in taking it there, have the ability to scan the external environment and identify risks, opportunities, make strategic recommendations, understand the financials of the business, the story they tell and take appropriate action or make appropriate recommendations. This is the door-opener to career-advancement in your organisation i.e. business, strategic and financial acumen. All the other competencies are what make you different.

So, if you aspire to leadership i.e. going from middle management to senior management you need to develop the skills, competencies and acumen in business, strategy and finance. This can be achieved through mentoring, further education, training, reading and initiating / leading innovative projects…

Source: Susan Colantuono (TEDTALKS – Audio – November 2013) 

Be Your Own Best Careers Coach…

Be your own best careers coach…I read a book a number of years back called ‘Be Your Own Best Career’s Coach’. It always stuck with me in that nobody is more interested in you and your career than you! People care (of course they do) and help (of course they will), but they have their own challenges in life that takes priority over everybody and anything else. So, when it comes down to it, you have to make it happen by coaching yourself to realize the ideal in a career that meets all of your values and job criteria. How do you do this? Read more

Looking for a job after a long illness…

Looking for a job at any time is a challenge, even in the prime of your health. Looking for a job after a long illness is doubly challenging. If you are someone who after an accident, disability or sickness needs to / wants to return to the world of work, don’t think about all the time you have been out of work, don’t think about how things may have changed and certainly don’t think about giving up before you start. What can you do? Who will pay you for your skills? Can you help an employer make money or save money? Are you employable at all? It is ‘Yes’ to all of these questions. Read more

You got to keep going…

You got to keep going, you really have to, in whatever business or career you are in. There isn’t much more choice especially if you have your own business and are self-employed. The words stoic, resilient and determination come to mind as words that describe what you have to be, do and act. When significant challenges face you or creep up on you, you have to have the right attitude of dealing with them or better still your hard work up to now helps you to deal with these challenges. They will give you the confidence to believe that things will improve because of your strong business sales, marketing and financial models. Let’s talk about these business sales, marketing and financial models under the following: Read more