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Interim Manager: Job Seeking Advice

Interim Managers are unique. They may find themselves actively seeking work (assignments) 3 or 4 times a year. As such they need to become experts in searching for assignments to maximise their earning potential and minimise the frustration of sending countless CV’s, sifting through job ads and attending numerous interviews before finally landing an assignment.

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 those looking to appoint an Interim Manager.

A free webinar is offered by LinkedIn to introduce users to its various features including tips for job seekers. The webinar is highly recommended, particularly because recruiters (both external and company recruiters) now do most of their candidate searching for mid-to-senior level jobs through LinkedIn.

As an Interim Manager I would recommend having at least 400 LinkedIn Connections and you should use a similar approach to writing your LinkedIn profile as you would writing your CV. I.E. List achievements, assignments completed by sector/discipline and use ‘buzz words’ on your profile to pique the interest of recruiters.

As an Interim Manager searching a variety of media for assignments, when you do find an opportunity you are interested in, check LinkedIn to see who you know at the company who can help you get your CV/Profile noticed, or tell you what the company are looking for, or who is responsible for recruiting for the post. You can approach them on LinkedIn (or through a direct email).

Use LinkedIn Groups such as the Interim Management group for support or advice from peers. Ask fellow group members what activity they are doing to find assignments, ask what has worked for them? What has failed? Through online discussions, 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: your CV, how to improve your LinkedIn profile, what to include in cover letters, job search strategies, interview skills etc.

Don’t be afraid to ask a Recruiter (who recruits in your sector) on LinkedIn for feedback on your LinkedIn profile and whether it contains enough information to be ‘picked up’ by them, and 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 85% of hiring managers look at applicants’ LinkedIn profiles. These stats further compound the need to utilise your 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 list result.

A basic mistake some people make is having inconsistencies between their LinkedIn Profile and their ‘official’ CV. On two occasions recently when searching LinkedIn I have come across good candidates to fill a vacancy. However, when they have provided their ‘official’ CV I have noticed inaccuracies and inconsistencies when it is 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.

Virtually every professional Interim Manager has a LinkedIn profile, and interim assignments are often filled by ‘passive candidates’ – those who are not actively searching for work but meet the criteria and are approached directly. When you are coming to the end of an assignment help yourself get noticed and approached by updating your LinkedIn status to ‘Available from ….date’. Recruiters are also more likely to approach someone if they know they are available.

Recruiting Managers have also indicated that when searching for candidates on LinkedIn they like to see that people have a decent number of connections (100+), a professional photo and endorsements from former and current co-workers.

Because you are in competition with ‘passive candidates’ on LinkedIn, this means your competition includes hundreds of ‘candidates’ who never even applied for the job! Today, many jobs are filled without ever being posted, advertised or sent to a recruiter, as companies will use LinkedIn as a means to approach people directly.

Proof of Performance - In the recent past, the only proof an Interim Manager needed was a CV and a list of references from ‘satisfied customers’. Today, evidence of excellence comes in many additional forms – including whitepapers, articles, presentations, case studies. The good news is that showcasing this proof on LinkedIn and Mobile is quite easy. LinkedIn’s recent enhancement to the Summary and Experience section makes it easier to showcase your experience by uploading a SlideShare document, PowerPoint presentation, PDF or other type of file.

For those Interims who want to take this a step further, LinkedIn have just (2 October 2014) released an iOS App for SlideShare, a first for the company’s presentation service. The App includes a personalised feed of decks shared and likes by people in your network.

Being able to quickly showcase your expertise is becoming crucial for Interim Managers as this ‘prove of performance’ shows you can ‘hit the ground running’ which is often a key requirement for those seeking to appoint an Interim Manager. And don’t worry about privacy or ownership of your information, as LinkedIn have recently updated their User Agreement (effective October 23, 2014) to reinforce their commitment to respecting what's yours. Whether it's an update, photo, comment, post, presentation, portfolio, or anything else, they will not use anything without your permission.

Mobile Apps are becoming 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 profile.