Alex Lockey, Managing Director, Bolt

It’s happened again. Another large provider has gone to the wall. The outcome has been dreadful; 500 staff redundant without notice, 1,000s of learners left in the lurch and a boatload of negative press around the apprenticeships brand.

Thankfully, the response on social media from those in the sector has been inspirational with many finding new jobs already and plenty of offers of support to apprentices.

With this bolt of the blue, and whispers of continuing uncertainty for others on the wind, what can you do to protect yourself against unexpected redundancy?

Your Core Assets – CV & Social Media Profiles

In Churchill’s words “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Echoing this sentiment, a good starting place would be to make sure that your CV and your digital footprint are up to date and ready to share. They travel with you after all.

Think of your social media profiles, in particular Linkedin, as its own website. When prospective hirers land there, what do you want them to see and what you want them to do?

It’s imperative that you complete your profile - a clear/professional headshot, a headline, summary and that your job history is filled out. 

Your summary should be an extension of your headline – a short punchy bio written in the first person alluding to the depth of your experience and your achievements. Conclude in a call to action (e.g. contact me via email or phone).

Remember that only the first two lines of your summary are shown before the box is expanded so make that introduction enticing enough for a reader to expand your summary.

Linkedin Overview Bolt

It’s imperative that you complete your profile - a clear/professional headshot, a headline, summary and that your job history is filled out. 

Your summary should be an extension of your headline – a short punchy bio written in the first person alluding to the depth of your experience and your achievements. Conclude in a call to action (e.g. contact me via email or phone).

Remember that only the first two lines of your summary are shown before the box is expanded so make that introduction enticing enough for a reader to expand your summary.

Only publicise a dedicated email address, that way you can track any approaches and you can protect your personal email address.

Recruiters and talent acquisition have premium Linkedin accounts where they can search via keywords. Make sure that your job title matches a searchable term and that keywords feature in your summary. This should boost your search appearances.

In your Linkedin settings, set the option to let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities. It costs nothing to say you’re not interested but at least you’ll have finger on the pulse of the jobs market and the line of communication is easier to access when you need it.

You can save time by using similar text on your CV and your Linkedin profile just make sure that it is edited and formatted correctly.

Leveraging Social Media – Engaging, Posting, Connecting

There are 3 cornerstone activities I’d recommend on a weekly basis to maintain a level of profile traffic and expand your network.

1. Engaging

This means being part of the conversation wherever it is active. This could be a Twitter hour like #UKFEChat, a Facebook group like The Assessor & Trainer Council, or just general Linkedin activity.

Linkedin being the business staple here are a few tips. Comment and like content from your network. Commenting is far superior to just liking, if you can generate discussion then you will increase your profile views.

If the unfortunate has happened like a large-scale redundancy, jump onto the relevant hash tags in order to find content and post about your own search.

2. Posting content

Posting engaging content to drive interaction with your network is a great way of generating profile traffic.

“Start with the question; Will this content add value for my network?”

This will demonstrate authority consistently and serve you well during interview processes. Social media algorithms love consistently produced authentic content.

If the worst happens, threading in the odd post about your job search (i.e. about you and what you can offer) is more likely to gain traction through shares, likes and comments.

Don’t forget to reply to and engage with everyone who engages with your content as it will super charge your posts

3. Connecting

Get connecting and widen that network on a regular basis. For Linkedin, this is best done on the phone app for speed. The bigger your relevant network the more likely your profile will attract the right attention if needed.

Using Your Network

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network if you’re looking for something more secure. Even if they don’t have any relevant opportunities they may refer you on so make it as easy as possible by describing yourself and what you can offer. You can even attach your CV if you feel it’s appropriate.

Most recruiting organisations would prefer to hire through their own network so applying through an employee can further your chances in comparison to advert response or via a recruiter. The social proof of a perceived recommendation works wonders and employees can be incentivised to introduce new hires so everyone wins.

Job Hunting – Job Boards, Recruiters and Hunting

It’s wise to maintain a profile on a relevant job board like FE Careers. If under threat, make sure to register or login as it will move your CV to the top of the recently active list on the job board database.

Job board databases, along with delivering valuable content, share their CVs recruiters so you’ll be widening your audience of potential hirers.

Make sure to register for job alerts containing keywords of potential job titles that you’d be interested in either if worst happens or roles that represent progression.

Don’t forget to use a dedicated job hunting email address and strip out personal details if you would like to protect some of your personal data

This is a good time to dust off your cover letter template - it’s so easy to apply for roles these days that applying with a cover letter/email really does make you stand out

Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Teams

Stay connected with and, if necessary proactively contact recruiters. Go for sector specialists as they’re more likely to have relevant industry insight and suitable vacancies to discuss with you.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to have a general chat about your situation, they should be able to offer some advice and perspective, most will give you some pointers on your CV or Linkedin profile if needed.

Be wary of giving permission to a recruiter for your CV to be used in an email broadcast if you’d like details of your job search to be kept confidential. Without knowing exactly where it’s going your profile could end up in the wrong inbox very easily.

If you spot a business you admire but they aren’t advertising you should seek out either their talent acquisition or HR team to register your interest.

You can do this through search in Linkedin:

  1. Search for the business
  2. View all employees
  3. Pop HR or talent into the search box, connect then message…

Be careful not to overuse this as you will only have limited search functionality on Linkedin without a premium profile. Save it for your top targets!

Finally….

The FE jobs market is an unpredictable beast at the moment so make sure to keep your finger on the pulse by maintaining your presence on social media and up to date with what’s happening in the news.

I’ve written lots about job hunting and your digital footprint but offline, it would also be a good idea to keep an eye on your CPD. Check out opportunities related to your job role, for example the Assessors Guild, or gaining higher level qualifications in your specialist subject area. This will make you more employable.

The sector really pulled together recently demonstrating the power of social media to affect positive change, follow the tips above and don’t be left behind if the worst happens!

Alex Lockey, Managing Director, Bolt

About Bolt: Bolt supports leading FE, HE and Training Organisations to hire better people, 3x faster and with higher retention. If you want to know more, get in touch This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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