Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
Celebrations are set to take place across all Austin Fraser offices, following our second consecutive placement in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. 2018 sees us come in at 20th in the ninth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
 
Growing our international presence
How have we achieved this? In the qualifying two year period, we’ve seen exponential international growth, with revenue rocketing up over 115%. Global locations have doubled in the past 18 months, too, opening offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas. And we have more ambitious plans for Europe and the US in place.
 
Strategic leadership
As many of you will have seen in the media, earlier this year, we announced a significantly expanded leadership team, with the aim to propel Austin Fraser’s organisation’s global growth. At the same time, the business has been developing deeper relationships across our specialist sectors across Technology, Automation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries
 
Strengthening our culture
International growth comes with its own set of challenges. So we were delighted to see other regional players like the Bullit Group and Westcoast in the league table.
We’re a people-led business to our core and have nurtured a culture that supports, fosters and rewards success. As a recruitment partner, our teams are genuinely motivated by a core desire to ensure both our clients’ and candidates’ success. We couldn’t be prouder of every team member for making this happen and look forward to celebrating and thanking everyone in person.

Dave Howard - Marketing Director - Austin Fraser in Thames Tower's roof garden - The Roost

Life at AF: Why I joined Austin Fraser as Marketing Director

Why I joined Austin Fraser as Marketing Director

What an exciting time to be in recruitment, what an exciting time to be a marketer.
Recruiting’s a competitive business, and it’s getting even hotter. The job market continues to evolve. Recruiters need to do the same or risk being left behind. But recruiters are nothing if not persistent, adaptable and innovative. Mastering the new recruiting landscape and associated best practices that find and secure those competitively skilled and experienced candidates in demand today is irrefutably at the core of effective talent acquisition and recruiting.
 
Austin Fraser not only recognises these challenges but has the ability and appetite to tackle them head on and turn obstacles into opportunities. Success will be based on networks and networking. Consultants’ networks need to be extensive, varied and full of amazing talent. Whether you’re working in a talent-driven or job-driven market, the best consultants are those who network the most. And today, the mediums of networking are ever evolving too. Consider digital platforms, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, GitHub, Stack Overflow. Where are your candidates? You need to be wherever they are.
 
When it comes to showing up at work each and every day it takes more than an outstanding service, exceptional year-on-year growth and glowing customer reviews – all of which Austin Fraser has. It takes a fantastic team. Pete, Del, Jacob, Alice, Hannah, Rich, Tom, Ash, Brad, Laffers, Simmo, Jon and the 150+ global team are all exceptional people, and they are the reason I accepted Austin Fraser’s offer. It is these very people and their accomplishments that get me out of bed each and every day.
 
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that in order for any company to succeed, they need to anticipate customer needs and stay nimble in the face of change while remembering what made them special in the first place. This is true especially with our customers who pivot quickly and value a consultative approach to skills and staffing. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, the best recruitment companies provide services that are built to fit their customer’s’ needs and predict where they and the marketplace are going. Most importantly, they always remain dedicated to providing experience, insight, and service in order to help their customers succeed. Why? Because the recruitment ecosystem is complicated and ever-changing. What works today may or may not work tomorrow.
With one of the highest customer retention rates in the industry, Austin Fraser shares all these attributes.
 
Businesses increasingly prefer the ‘master of one’ to the ‘jack of all trades’. While it might sound convenient to just write one check, more and more businesses have realised that they’re better off looking for best-of-breed recruitment partners. That’s why one of the biggest trends in recruitment right now is a shift away from generalists that do a lot of things just okay, to specialists like Austin Fraser who have deep and demonstrable sector knowledge.
 

Creating a workplace of the future in our Reading HQ!

The launch of our brand new office refit in our Reading HQ!  
We partnered with design firm Area Sq to create a workspace of the future in our new, Reading-based HQ in Thames Tower. Throughout the initial briefing process, Area really got to grips with our why. They understood that our people are at the core of our business and helped us create a dynamic space, to accommodate our equally dynamic workforce. Our space deliberately encourages collaboration and innovation in the way our teams approach their work and each working day, ensuring our employees the resources and support to truly succeed in their roles. We’ll take you on a tour of our office and the progression of our refit in the video below.
 
Our break out area where we spend our lunch times, monthly meetings and host local Meetups and events
 
Our recent move of our Reading HQ into Thames Tower coincides with our tenth year of business. Over the last ten years we’ve expanded internationally, opening offices across Europe and the USA within the digital, technology, aviation, automation and life sciences industries. As a business, we were keen to set a precedent and create a truly inspirational space for our centralised hub in Reading. We’ve really considered the long term and ensured our space facilitates growth for each of teams to expand into.
We have a versatile range of meeting spaces for our teams to collaborate in
Thames Tower offers a 360 panoramic view of the Thames Valley, a rooftop garden where we regularly host and attend events, as well as a prime position in Reading Town Centre, with access to all the town, has to offer. Our office refit had to maintain these incredible standards and Area accomplished this and made our vision a reality.
 
Our classroom, where we provide immersive training experiences for our staff
CEO, Peter Hart says, “We really believe that what Area Sq has created represents the future workplace. It will play a huge role in helping Austin Fraser reach the next level of growth with the right people, technology and environment. It was important for us to have an office environment which offered different types of space to accommodate the different types of people and working practices that run throughout the business. This inspirational workplace will play a key role in helping us to continue to attract and retain the very best talent.”
 

Want to take a look for yourselves? Take a look at this video we worked on with Stanton Media and Area Sq…
 

Delivering new opportunities for tech talent in Denver, Colorado

Delivering new opportunities for tech talent in Denver, Colorado
We are delighted to announce that mid-2017 we’ll be launching a new office in Denver, Colorado, USA. From this new base, Austin Fraser will be able to deliver highly skilled staffing services to the thriving digital and technology scene of Colorado. We’ll be establishing a team of consultants with expertise in specialist staffing within the tech and digital space. It’s our in-depth approach to understanding the markets, businesses and people we work with and how we develop deep long-lasting relationships that mean we’re able to work with employers and candidates to deliver exactly the right talent just when it’s needed.
 
Commenting, our USA Business manager, James Lafferty, tells us: “We’re genuinely excited by the opportunity that expanding the business to Denver presents. It’s a fantastic city that is rapidly becoming one of the key digital hubs in the US. With businesses like ComCast, Lockheed Martin, DISH Network, IBM and UPS all significant employers in the area and a fast growing number of start-ups, the possibilities for business and personal growth are fantastic.
 
“Denver is widely recognised as one of the top cities in America to work and live in right now. 300 days of sunshine and a great living standard make it a destination city where the expected influx over the next five years is a further 200,000+ people. Establishing a new base in Denver builds on the success we’ve had in Austin, Texas, where we’ve established a strong presence within the local community and been recognised by the Austin Business Journal as one of the best places to work, one of the Coolest Companies in Austin and on the 50 on Fire list – all within 24 months of starting up.”
 
Our CEO, Peter Hart explains more: “Austin Fraser is a brand with a strong heritage – we’ve been providing staffing solutions for ten years, and our staff are dedicated, hard-working trusted advisors to some of the world’s leading tech companies. We’re looking forward to becoming a key partner to the businesses in Denver and playing our part in shaping the digital economy of the area. We see this move to Denver as an important step in the growth of our business.”  

Our co-founder shares what it means to him to place 3rd in the Best Companies listing!

Find out why we placed 3rd in the Best Small Companies Listing and what it means to us.
 
Every year, the Sunday Times collaborates with Best Companies to publish the Top 100 Best Companies to Work For. These listings cover a range of sectors from small to big companies and Not-For-Profit organisations. We enter the listing for small companies, along with over 400 other firms employing 50-250 people, in total collating the views of over 31,000 employees…now that’s a lot of people! Feedback from employees is based on ranking eight key factors of a company: My Manager, My Company, Leadership, Personal Growth, My Team, Wellbeing, Fair Deal and Giving Something Back.
 
For the fifth year running we’ve placed in the Top 25. But this has been our highest placement to date, this year we made it into the Top 5 and placed 3rd! Clearly, we’re proud of this achievement, but what we really wanted to do is give you an insight into what it really means to us to receive our highest placement to date and how this will impact our business throughout the next year.
 
So, who’s best placed to give you this insight? Here’s Derek Simpson, our CDO and co-founder…
 
We’ve placed in the Top 100 five years in a row and this is our highest placement so far! What does that mean to you?
 
I love it! We use our employees’ happiness and engagement as a key measure of how successful our business is, so knowing some of the improvements we’ve made over the last year have made a real difference is the best feedback we could ask for!
 
Getting our highest place is great, but that’s really just a bonus. We’re more pleased that we have achieved our highest score so far. This is a great indicator that we have made our company a better place to work over the 5 years we have taken part in the awards. We also know that if we’re scoring well, that means our people are happy, and so they’ll be delivering a great service to the people we work for – clients and candidates.
 
How does it impact AF as a business?
 
It impacts us massively as a business, we can only continue to grow if the people we employ are happy and proud of where they work. The real benefit to us is the wealth of unedited feedback we get from our people about how they really think we’re doing business. It’s also worth noting we make an effort to get the feedback from our offices in Germany and USA even though it doesn’t contribute to our score.
 
First off we really encourage our teams to be as honest as they like so we can get a true reflection of how they feel. Our People and Culture team then take the time to analyse the information and identify opportunities for us to make improvements. There’s no point in getting the feedback if you don’t intend to do something positive with it. Although our score this time was our best ever, I’m sure there will be things we can look to improve again throughout this year.
 
It gives us an invaluable opportunity to work out where in our business we can improve, I mean why wouldn’t you want to improve your company?
 
What do we have planned this year then?
 
We want to make sure we’re always creating opportunities for people to achieve their potential, we make sure this support for our people relates not only to their time spent working with us but also in their lives generally, providing support to them and their families if and when they need it.
 
This is going to be a year of global growth and we’re looking for ways to achieve this as smoothly as possible so all of our teams can do what they do best and enjoy working for us.
 
We will continue to ask people for their feedback throughout the year. This will allow us to make sure our people strategy not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our teams globally.
 
 

Relocating our Reading HQ to Thames Tower!

 
 
Our journey from humble beginnings in a garage to becoming a leading international technical recruitment consultancy, takes another leap forward today, as we announce that we’re moving into Thames Tower, a brand new 14,000 sq ft office right in the heart of Reading. Our new UK home will support the development of our increasingly global business and provide a fantastic workplace for our consultants as we continue to grow.
 
Thames Tower sits in a great central location in Reading, a two minute walk away from the station, it’s easily accessible for commuting and right next to the restaurants, bars and gyms. With 360 degree views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, a communal sky garden, a range of meeting spaces and relaxation areas our consultants will have a great space from which to work. We’ll be fitting the office out with the latest tech, creating an environment that supports the way we work best.
 
 

We’re proud to remain in Reading and contribute to the development of both the local economy and the growing tech scene through local business initiatives and meet-up groups. Seeing direct impact and progress is extremely rewarding and we’re excited to be part of the further development of Reading. The Elizabeth Line opens in 2019 and will make the town much more accessible to the surrounding areas and London also having a huge influence over the influx of both people and businesses into Reading.
 
Peter Hart, CEO of Austin Fraser, commented: “We’re growing rapidly and need office space that will enable us to continue to deliver the opportunities to candidates and the talent to clients that we’re renowned for. Thames Tower, a stylish, modern building, in the heart of Reading, with great access to the town’s restaurants, shops, bars, and gyms, fits the bill perfectly. It provides us with the space we need to meet our ambitious recruitment plans and fits with our desire to offer a fantastic place for our people to work. After all, in a business like ours, it’s the people who are the bedrock; when they’re happy they’re able to do a fantastic job and are trusted by clients and candidates alike.”

 
 

In these 10 years we’ve won a number of industry awards and accolades including being shortlisted in the Top 25 of The Sunday Times Best companies To Work For, five years in a row! We’ve also been given a Gold accreditation from Investors in People. We’re always striving to provide an outstanding working environment for our employees and this new office will definitely aid us to help everyone create a good balance between work and their home lives, as well as injecting a bit of fun into the work day which is what we do best.
 
Derek Simpson, CDO adds, “We’re looking for both experienced and aspiring recruitment consultants who want to help drive our growth. It’s the start of the year and despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit and other political events we’re seeing increased demand for the talent  in the digital, technology, life sciences, aviation and automation sectors. Moving to Thames Tower will help create the right environment for our consultants with a range of modern meeting areas and social spaces that will encourage even more collaboration within the team.”

DevOps

New Year, new job? Make sure you stand out.

New Year, new job? Make sure you stand out.
 
It’s New Year and you’ve decided the time has come to get out there and get yourself a new job. Here are a few simple pointers on what to do now.
 
Keep your ear to the ground
 
Are you looking in the right places? With competition heating up at this time of year make sure you’re on the ball. Look through job boards and LinkedIn and then extend your search. Where you look will depend on the industry you’re looking to enter but why not get creative? What company would you like to join? Who’s the hiring manager? Use tools like LinkedIn to your advantage.
 
Consider your skills and how they may be transferrable
 
If you’re thinking of a career change, consider the transferable skills you can use to reassure the employer that you’ll have the ability to perform. Be upfront and honest, maybe you don’t have the right experience but that’s not to say that the employer isn’t looking for a junior to help upskill and support as they embark in their new career. You are a blank canvas, sell yourself as adaptable and willing to learn. Be ready to answer the question…why do you want to work here and what can you bring to the table.
 
Stand out
 
Once you’ve found the ideal job you’ll need to make sure your application stands out from the crowd. Write a clear cover letter that explains why you’d be right for the job. You’ll need to answer specifically the points they’re looking for in the job ad and demonstrate where you have succeeded in the past with the required skills. The more tailored you are, the better they’ll understand why they should talk to you.
 
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
 
Specialist recruiters work with the industry’s most well-respected managers, it’s their job to keep their ear to the ground and get to the nitty gritty of the roles they’re working. They’ll be well informed about where this role has the prospect of going, what the company’s growth plans look like and most importantly what exactly it is that the hiring manager is looking for in a new recruit and how they plan on interviewing them. If you need someone to do the leg work for you, hit us up! Whether it’s a role across the IT, Automation, Aviation or Life Sciences industries, we’re here to help.
 

Jacob McCulloch

Next stop for Austin Fraser? Berlin!

Jacob McCulloch, Sales Director, leads our second German expansion to Berlin!
 
We’re proud to announce in 2017 we’ll be launching a new office in Berlin. We want to continue to create new opportunities for our teams as well as providing a thorough offering for our clients in the North of Germany.
 
This expansion will be led by our Director, Jacob McCulloch, who says, “As one of the top tech cities in the world, Berlin is a rapidly growing market. We’re excited to be able to help more clients be part of this huge tech expansion and ensure they have the best talent to propel them forward. Austin Fraser has come a long way since we opened our German office just over three years ago, growing from a team of two to a truly national player.”
 
We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, we will recreate this again in Berlin.

 
We’ve spent four years building our presence and markets throughout the Bavarian region in Germany with a centralised base in Munich, venturing up to Berlin for several business opportunities, we are keen to build and maintain more of a presence there. We’ve created an incredible infrastructure of people who are continually pushing themselves and their colleagues around them. The environment we’ve created encourages everyone to strive to achieve. We have perfected the balance of great salespeople with a fantastic support team, this is a balance we will emulate again in Berlin.
 
Our people are vital to our success, one of our primary focuses in our 2020 vision is to continue to shape our business around them and enable them to travel, progress and diversify their careers. What this means is investing in our people and creating opportunities for them to develop both their skills and themselves in progressive roles and have the option to work internationally.
 
„We want our team to have a sense of limitless possibility.“ Pete Hart, CEO
 
“We get under the skin of new geographies by investing in the local market, from the grassroots up, bringing in the best people on the ground, while also enabling our UK teams to make a real difference and fulfil professional ambitions. Creating exciting career opportunities for our people is as important as the commercial outcomes. We want our team to have that sense of limitless possibility. Our new Berlin venture is a major part of this story and we’re thrilled to be taking our offer to this rapidly growing market as well as giving our people the chance to work and live in this incredible city.” – Pete Hart, CEO.

Are you investing in future management?

The importance of investing in future management

 
In order for a business to succeed it needs to have solid foundations of senior members of staff who have the knowledge and willingness to lead and develop teams to help push the business forward.
 
What happens when the good manager’s begin to hand in their notices, or retire? We typically go to job boards, post an advert or look for internal candidates and start the recruitment process. This brings us back to the issue of attracting the most talented and engaged candidates to fill these roles.
 
These traditional hiring methods are not always effective in terms of longevity due to the demographic of the market.  If we continue hiring from the very small pool of candidates that is currently available, we’ll effectively be recycling the same management throughout the industry.
 
We need to modernise our teams. We need to start thinking about are our future management.
 
One of my favourite examples of future management is one I featured in my previous blog, Brit Rocks – Women in Quarrying. I successfully introduced an Assistant Quarry Manager to a business in October 2015. This young woman has since been promoted to Quarry Manager and is highly spoken of by her peers and management. The business she’s joined genuinely believes she will positively contribute towards the continual development of the company.  
 
It’s reassuring to know that with time and commitment a junior member of management can make such a huge impact. Many businesses neglect to see the value in hiring junior members of management as they typically are not able to make an impact on the business immediately. However, this example shows that through the support of her business and her personal willingness she has found her feet and is excelling in her role.
 
I’m by no means saying that we shouldn’t employ people straight into managerial positions…that would be ludicrous! If you have a vacancy we need to recruit. However, what I am saying, is that whilst we have teams in full operation, it’s important to focus on bringing in skilled and determined candidates. These need to be people who have the ambition to develop into management but are also passionate about our sector. We need to create a team of potential managers who truly care.
 
This will create a cycle whereby great managers will create great teams. If the cycle is successful, these teams will then go on to create their own teams of future management through coaching and support. If we get people in early doors, who are eager to learn and determined to succeed, it puts us in the best possible position to enable this cycle.  
 

 
Stop thinking about the now, and consider the future. How can you utilise the strongest members of your team to help you, to create your next generation of management?.
 
Personally, I find these three hiring methods help my clients to identify the best candidates for said generation.

Assessment Centres
Open Days
Trainee Programmes

 
Throughout my career I have successfully introduced six future managers to various business via these methods. Having followed up with them all, it’s great to see that they are showcasing promising signs of a bright career ahead.  It’s prompted me to think about why other businesses aren’t focusing more effort on securing their future too.  
 
It’s all well and good now while we’re all fit and healthy and willing to manage our business, but why not start thinking about our successors?  These are the people we can to train and mould to ensure the continued success of our business after we’ve left.
 
I implore you to consider the importance your businesses’ demographic, and if hiring from a different pool of candidates could bring success to your business.  It’s time to start equipping our industry with the talent it needs to succeed in the future.  
 
If you want any further advice on a hiring strategy we’re always happy to help.
 
 

Conducting an interview? Are you prepared?

Here at Austin Fraser, we understand the necessity in obtaining and retaining the highest calibre of staff for our clients. We share our top three tips for interviewers based on interaction and feedback at a round-table talk that we hosted at the PHP Berkshire Meetup.

1. Always be prepared
First things first, it’s not just the candidate who should be preparing for an interview – remember the Scout motto „be prepared“. Preparation on your side is also crucial for a successful outcome. Your time is precious and the cost of a bad hire is one that you will want to avoid. You may have a widely sought after candidate on your hands, so you need to make sure that not only are they right for your role but that you are the right choice for them.

Conducting research on a candidate prior to an interview can make the world of difference. So where do you start? A quick scan over their social media pages can tell you a lot. It should help you begin to paint a picture of what your interviewee is like and whether or not they will be a good company fit.
Online portfolios are a great indicator of the investment someone has in their skills. Stack Overflow and GitHub are great for showcasing people’s personal projects outside of work, and a quick-fire way for you to judge their technical skills.

Research should be a two-way thing, so make sure that when it comes to the interview stage that your candidate has replicated your efforts by researching the company and the role in hand.

2. Use your time effectively
The interview process can be time consuming and as a manager, time is not something that comes in abundance, so make it count. Do not compromise the quality of your interviews, instead, consider how efficiently you can turn a potential hire into a new employee.

Kickstarting the interview process with a phone or video call is a great way of starting the interaction. You are able to get a general feel for what they’re like and whether or not they stand up against what they have written on paper. This method will take minimal time out of your day and will get the ball rolling.

Remember, an interview is your chance to make a great first impression, so the friendlier and more hospitable you can be, the better. Video conferences can create an extra dimension through face-to-face interaction. Video will help you pick up on character traits through body language that you may not have picked up over the phone. It will also give the candidate a more personable impression of the business.

3. Sell the dream
The constant evolving nature of the tech industry provides a nonstop demand for tech talent, with a speedy turnaround. This demand creates strict time constraints when sourcing the best talent, especially on a contractual basis. You need to act fast. Skilled contractors can be on and off the market within days and permanent employees tend to sign new contracts within two weeks of applying.

Once you have invested time, money and resources into the hiring process, you want to make sure it is a sure deal when you get to the point of offer. This is why it’s essential to establish a balance between the candidate selling themselves in and you selling the company to them. Highlighting company benefits such as training opportunities, a positive working environment and state of the art technology could help give you the edge over competing companies. People don’t just take the jobs they can do…they take the jobs they really want! Even if the candidate is not successful, you want them to want to work for you.
________________________________________________________________________
We pride ourselves on being consultative recruiters. If you’d like some further advice on how to alter your interview methods in order to optimise your results, please contact any of our specialist recruiters.
Josh Reeve is always on hand at the monthly PHP Berkshire meetups held at our offices in Reading. 
Contact Joshua Reeve:  +44(0)1189520159 – [email protected] – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/joshreeve

Top 3 TED Talks On Successful Leadership

Here’s Our Top 3 TED Talks On Successful Leadership
We’ve chosen three of our favourite TED Talks by industry experts – Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg and Simon Sinek. Their undeniable leadership skills have helped them establish their careers and gain worldwide recognition for their successes. These three business leaders have also coached others to emulate their success. Each one of them defines crucial aspects of leadership, that will give you a well rounded picture of what you can do as a leader.
 
Richard Branson:
Branson’s TED Talk will give you a real insight into what it takes to become a pioneer in business. He really knuckles down into what he sees as the the most important values to have. He shares lessons he has learnt throughout his career through amusing anecdotes ranging from jumping out of a hot air balloon into the sea, to his brief stints in prison.
 
“All you have in life is your reputation – and it’s a very small world. I don’t think putting people down in order to succeed actually works…As a business leader it’s best to treat people well and fairly.”
 

 
Sheryl Sandberg:
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, recognises the progress for gender equality over recent years, but highlights that women are significantly underrepresented in the C-Suite across the vast majority of industries. She emphasises the importance of recognising this and also explores three very interesting and relatable factors that can contribute to the reasons why this may be.
 
Sheryl emphasises the fact there are normally common denominators that frequently restrict the progression of women. As a leader you need to be aware of these factors and make sure you are making a conscious effort to combat them.
 

 
Simon Sinek:
Simon Sinek is renowned for his concept ‘start with why.’ We all know it’s easy to get caught up in our work, but Simon encourages us to take a step back and focus on the reason why we are doing something and make sure this is at the heart of every action you take. This is a seemingly simple concept but it is one that can create incredible success and help take a good leader and make him into an incredible one.
Simon will give you an insight into how you can harness passion to massively transform the outcome of your actions. He uses well known examples of Apple, The Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King to reinforce how this concept has worked in the past and can work for anyone.
 

 
 
 
 

LinkedIn job search

How to harness the power of LinkedIn for your job search

 
The digital age has revolutionised the way we look for jobs. The rise of tools like email, digital CVs, job boards and social media means that candidates have access to more job vacancies than ever before. With so many methods available, the challenge for candidates is working out which platform is right for them and how they should go about presenting themselves in the best light. 
 
LinkedIn is one particular platform that has changed the way we look at recruitment. As the professional social networking site of choice for most, we thought it was the perfect starting point for advice on your career development journey.
 
Initially launched in 2003, LinkedIn quickly gained momentum and is now the third most visited social networking site, only falling behind Facebook and Twitter.  It’s a goldmine of opportunity if used correctly and  with over 400 million users worldwide and two users joining every second, harnessing LinkedIn effectively should be the key to making sure you seize every opportunity available to you.
 
A picture is worth a thousand words.
 
Personalise your account with a high quality profile picture and cover photo. Great images will always help draw people to your profile and demonstrate that you’re a serious professional. If you’re a creative, make sure it comes clearly in the media you upload. Perhaps upload a portfolio or examples of previous work. Remember, keep it visual. Your profile is your shop window for potential employers, it’s important to get your personality across.
 
Whatever you do, always choose appropriate photos. LinkedIn is a professional social network, so selfies with your friends or those pouting photos in front of the mirror shouldn’t make the cut. Instead, keep it simple and professional. Make sure people are drawn to your profile for the right reasons! Take a look at these profile photo tips from entrepreneur.com.  
 
Never underestimate the power of a first impression.
 
First impressions are essential. Once you’ve tackled the imagery on your profile, you need to think about the content. Make sure your profile is complete before you begin connecting with important industry professionals. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
 
Make sure you do your research. Looking at a range of job descriptions for your ideal role will highlight commonly sought after skills and experience that employers are looking for. Once you’ve done this, you can tailor your profile specifically.
Fill out each section, keeping it short but sweet. Bullet point your key skills and expertise to make sure anybody who views your profile can find this information quickly. Recommendations and endorsements are an excellent way to build your reputation quickly too – Don’t be afraid to ask!
 
Get creative.
 
Your LinkedIn profile can be so much more than just a CV. It’s important to maximise the additional capabilities of your profile. Do you have a portfolio of previous work? Attach it! What about a website or blog? Link to it! Perhaps you comment through your own YouTube channel…Include it!
 
The goal is to make yourself known to the people that count and to stand out whilst doing it. This is your time to shine, invest the time now in creating the content and it’ll pay dividends in the long run.
 
Use your initiative.
 
Now you’ve created your profile, it’s time to look for some opportunities. A great general rule of thumb is, ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’. If there’s not a job publicly advertised then why don’t you search for employees in the company you’d like to join. Connect with them.
 
Once they’ve accepted your connect (which of course they will, your profile is now awesome), message them directly enquiring about upcoming opportunities that may be in the pipeline. It’s OK if there aren’t any available immediately, they could still offer valuable insight or tips as to how you could get your foot in the door in future.
 
LinkedIn is all about building relationships. You never know what’s around the corner or when these connections could come in handy. Either way, people admire the use of initiative, so don’t be afraid of being bold. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, create your own.
 
Influence and engage.
 
Once you’ve gained the attention of your connections, maintain it. Like, share and create engaging and well-informed content that is relevant to your industry. Videos and images are great for drawing an idol scrollers’ attention to your profile which, after all, is the objective.
 
Join relevant groups too. This is a great way of interacting with wider industry debates and topics, allowing you to demonstrate your market knowledge.
 
Above all, always remember to remain professional and respectful. Save political rants and emotional statuses for your other social media, or better still, keep them to yourself or your significant other.
 
LinkedIn is an excellent tool for developing your career if you use it correctly. Follow these little snippets of advice and put yourself in the best position for the next step in your career.