Making the most of LinkedIn

Making the most of LinkedIn

I attended a course on making the most of LinkedIn the other day. Here are the main points that I noted down:

  • Turn Off Update Notifications to your network when making updates you don’t want to share TurnOffUpdates
  • Create a custom short url to link to your profile

    You can set up a Public Profile URL by clicking the gear underneath your profile.

  • Use the public profile URL in your Email Signature.
  • The Profile Description should advertise What You Are. Think of covering these 3 points at least in the 120 chars: Job Title, Key Skill, Strength.
  • The Location can be anywhere. It’s better to highlight where you work/want to work rather than where you live. You can put in any postcode.
  • The Ranking you have influences how high up you list on searches so improve it by doing things like filling in as many sections as possible and making updates.Ranking
  • Ask people to write Recommendations for you. These are basically short personal references.
  • Join Groups and join in Discussions.
  • Blog some interesting updates.
  • Follow Companies you are interested in.
  • Get Endorsements from people. Move endorsed skills higher up the list.
  • Add Interests but the Key Words should match your Profile and Skills/Endorsements .
  • Make sure Key Words are Consistent across your:
    • CV
    • Skills / Endorsements
    • Profile Summary
    • Interests
  • Use a Word Cloud generator to analyse a bunch of Job Descriptions to check your Key Words match what you want to apply for. This one uses WordItOut but there are others. This example is just using the text from one description.worditout
  • Add old/other Email Addresses. These help people find you if they only have an old email address, e.g. at an old company.
  • Fill in Advice for Contacting to describe what you are looking for.
  • If you don’t know someone, consider calling a new contact request first before accepting.
  • The advanced Search in LinkedIn can be used to find things like, the locations of IT departments
  • Have a Smiley Picture 🙂

Working From Home

Working From Home

One ironic thing about being made redundant was that in terms of job satisfaction the timing was awful. I had pretty much finally got to a place where I was doing what I wanted. In fact, my JOB SATISFACTION had been on a steady UPWARD TREND for the last few years. There were two main reasons for this.

The first reason was that I was doing more HANDS-ON DEVELOPMENT. I went into IT to code and build stuff. If you are good, the inevitable thing in a corporation is that you end up team leading, project managing and people managing. When you add on supporting, testing, advising, investigating, meeting, Firm bureaucracy, dealing with clients etc, there becomes precious little time for coding. The nature of the business and the squeezing of costs over the last few years, however, had meant that I had ended up working on my core business functions and systems pretty much by myself. That was great! Well by myself in the sense that I was the only dev/support resource supporting a client base in Hong Kong, London, Budapest, and New York, and working with my broader team, and the other quant, testing, IT, and infrastructure teams needed to get things done in a large organisation dealing with Equity Derivatives Risk. So there was still plenty of people to deal with on a daily basis!

It’s also not lost on me that the downsizing and relocation of resource that led to my happy position also contributed to my redundancy, as my job was ultimately moved to another country too, to be absorbed by a team there.

The second reason for my increasing JOB SATISFACTION was that over 8 years I had moved from working in the office with a 4 hr round commute 5 days a week, to WORKING FROM HOME pretty much 5 days a week. The move from 2 to 5 days WFH had happened quickly towards the end of that period.

I’m EXCELLENT at working from home. Some people aren’t. An office is just a desk, chair, phone and computer in my mind. Doesn’t matter where it is. It’s actually harder for me to not work, hence the “Please work responsibly” graphic. It’s a lot easier to work until 22:30, like I did the other night on some research, when you are at home than when you have to leave to get a train home and still function the next day. Conversely, it’s a lot harder to dump that work stress in the split second it takes you to cross the doorway between the study and the rest of the house.

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Personal Competencies

There are a tonne of resources under the Penna Sunrise program. I intend to work through this although the total estimate of the time required seems large to me. We’ll see. Currently, I’m on the tools they have to identify Skills & Achievements. I’ve just done the Personal Competencies test which gave the Results below.

To use the results, one should:

  • Bring out Strong Competencies in CV and Interview
  • Reflect on how to turn important and weak competencies into strengths

The importance was based on my past job. I think it would be useful to review this list based on the job I apply for when targeting CVs/prepping for interviews as the importance may be different depending on the role.

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How about back to your roots?

How about back to your roots?

The joy of being unemployed is that you can go off on a tangent. I was pondering a plan I’ve had for a while to fence off a bit of garden for a veggie patch. I started wondering what would be the best money-saving plants to grow. A quick search of the internet before I started some more traditional job-related work became a few hours.

I found a few sites on this. This one is the most thorough, listing crop value per square foot of ground required to grow. It’s US based but I’ve highlighted crops wich are recommended elsewhere.

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The Job Spec

The Job Spec

When I met my career advisor, we did an exercise with cards of job characteristics. I thought this would be helpful in defining the general specification of what I want from work. The exercise is to place cards in columns from Very Important to Not Important. However, you can then move them into just 2 columns to make it more black and white.


  • Short travel distance to work (< 1hr). Or WFH AT LEAST 2 days a week.
    • 2 days at home would allow 4 work outs a week and a dog run every other day
  • Being able to balance work and home life
  • Being independent and making my own decisions but also having someone for support
  • Being given the opportunity to develop my skills
  • Demonstrating expertise and skills
  • Doing a variety of things. Being creative and generating ideas.
  • Being independent
  • Being respected for honesty and integrity
  • Doing exact and detailed work
  • Not being away from home alot
  • Being able to work at own pace
  • Stretch and challenge in my role
  • Flexibility both ways
  • Not being put under a lot of personal pressure
  • Not micro managed
  • Clear rules for development/role

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Study that works around you and your life

Study that works around you and your life

Open University

Sticking with Software Developer from the Adult Directions_ My Careers list, the next interesting link was to the Open University which offers a WIDE range of Undergraduate computing courses  and Postgraduate computing courses. In IT, I feel I definitely want to improve and probably formalise my programming skills. I’m certain I don’t want to do this by going back to University and I’m almost certain I don’t want to study full time. In this context, the OU has an appeal as their courses offer Study that works around you and your life. I also like the idea of doing shorter rather than longer courses. However, the various courses, paths, and entry requirements are a bit of a maze so I would need to get some advice.


If I study I want it to tick these boxes:

  • Study from home
  • Study part-time
  • Study short courses, i.e. not degrees in one go

Plan UK

Another good development today is that I am now supporting Plan again! Remember I mentioned that I cancelled ALL my direct debits on R-day. Including all my charities 😦 Well, it didn’t take me long to regret that knee jerk reaction. The good news is Plan has now reinstated my direct debit and I asked them quick enough so I’m still sponsoring my  little’pen-pal’ John Mike in Uganda, who I’ve been sponsoring for the last 5 years.

The best way to impress an interviewer is with technical ability

Quote of the day comes from this New Scientist article:

” The best way to impress an interviewer is with technical ability”

The 2nd interesting suggestion on my Adult Directions_ My Careers list was the hilariously original:

Software Developer

There’s just no fighting it I guess so I started exploring the resources suggested with it, the first of which was BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT.

For the classically trained this is probably no surprise but for those of us that stumbled into IT it offers a HUGE AMOUNT of career based info.  It’s prompted me to kick off a whole page on Personal Development and Career Planning, as well as these notes:

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