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Becca Ly

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Becca Ly

Group Marketing Manager

With over 10 years of experience within recruitment firms ranging from FTSE 250 companies through to niche sector specific service offerings. I now head up the marketing operations for Pro-Group, working closely with the leadership team to deliver UK wide marketing initiatives to drive brand recognition, customer loyalty and lead generation.

Originally from London, I moved to Cheshire for school and university, which included a year in Canada to complete my Marketing and International Communications Degree. After graduating, I moved back to London and into the wonderful world of recruitment.

Outside of work, I love to travel! I spend a lot of time exploring all of the wonders London has to offer. You’ll also find me taking random road trips around the UK in the weekends.

becca's articles

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10 Body Language Tips To Help You Succeed In Interview

Posted by Becca Ly

Everyone knows good interview preparation is key to succeeding in that first step to finding that new job. We all prepare for those tough interview questions to increase our chances of getting through to the next stage of the recruitment process. But how many of you focus on the importance of nonverbal communication? Research shows that when we communicate feelings and attitudes, only a small percentage of our overall message comes from the words we use: 55% of our message comes from body language (especially from movements of the small muscles around the eye which can convey shock, disbelief, doubt or disgust) 38% of our message comes from tone of voice Only 7% of our message is conveyed by the words we use (Mehrabian, 2007) Here are 10 body language tips to help you succeed in your interview: 1 - Walk the walk >> 2 - Sit up and back in your chair >> 3 - Look at their face, not constant eye contact >> 4 - Use your hands when speaking >> 5 - Keep your feet firmly grounded >> 6 - Breathe calmly >> 7 - Nod whilst you listen >> 8 - Lean in when speaking >> 9 - Mirror your interviewer >> 10 - Smile >> 1 - Walk the walk How you walk into an interview can speak volumes to an interviewer. To give an air of confidence, you should walk with pace (but not too fast or slow) with your head up and shoulders very slightly back. Be careful not to be too casual, you want to portray confidence, not arrogance! 2 - Sit up and back in your chair A good posture shows assertiveness and eagerness. Research shows that sitting at a slight angle, rather than straight on and directly facing them allows you to take in more of what the interviewer is saying and lessens the feel of intimidation and discomfort. 3 - Look at their face, not constant eye contact We use our eyes as a level of communication with other people. We also avoid a direct look from another person if we have something to hide. Maintaining a good level of eye contact in an interview portrays sincerity. However, to avoid constantly drilling into the interviewer's eyes, the most effective way to stay engaged is to look different parts of someone's face every two seconds, rotating from eyes, to nose, to lips. 4 - Use your hands when speaking Be careful not to cross your arms because that signals anger or a lack of openness. Your hands can be a very useful tool in an interview. They can help you emphasise key points; highlight your enthusiasm for a role, and show your belief and confidence in the points you are expressing. Open palms are often considered as signs of honesty and openness, traits that are very respectable to an interviewer but be careful not to use your hands too much as it can also be distracting. 5 - Keep your feet firmly grounded You may think that because you’re sat down in an interview, no one looks at your feet. But keeping both feet firmly to the ground generally shows a lot more confidence than having your legs cross. Sitting with both feet on the ground will also help you avoid any fidgeting which can be portrayed by the interviewer as nervousness. 6 - Breathe calmly Remember to speak clearly, confidently and at a good pace. Breathe. There’s an easy tendency to feel pressured to speed through your answers, but the best thing to do is listen to the question - pause - breathe - and deliver your response in a moderate speed and tone. This will help keep yourself calm as well as allowing your interviewer to take in your response. 7 - Nod whilst you listen Nod when you want to encourage and hear more, signal an understanding or when you are in agreeance with your interviewer. Be careful though, nodding too much loses its effect, as with anything you do too repetitively, you just start portraying yourself as unconfident and phony. 8 - Lean in when speaking Naturally, we all lean into a conversation when we’re passionate or engaged with the topic. Leaning in with your shoulders back and down demonstrates that you’re interested. With your posture being an important part of your non-verbal communication, this simple trick will help the interviewer see that you’re fully engaged. 9 - Mirror your interviewer By matching your interviewer’s positive body language, you can quickly get on good terms with them. Mirroring is a way to bond and to build understanding. It’is a very powerful body language tool that we use instinctively without even being aware of it. The most obvious forms of mirroring are yawning and smiling - let's hope the yawn doesn’t make an appearance! 10 - Smile You want to show you have a personality and you’re paying attention to what’s being said. However, many of us smile when nervous, so be mindful not to overdo it! You want to smile when you first meet the person and shake their hand when you talk about subjects you are passionate about and at the end of the interview while saying goodbye. Here are a few other blogs which will help you to prepare for your interview: How to handle interview questions like a pro >> Do you have any questions? >> Interviews - What not to do! >> 9 Rules for dressing for an interview >> For more interview tips or information about this article, speak to one of the team about your recruiting needs, contact us here!

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4 Tools to Amp up Your Job Search

Posted by Becca Ly

Finding a new job can be tough. There are so many aspects to the whole job search process, writing a killer CV, preparing for your interview and even dressing appropriately, that it can often at times be overwhelming. But did you know that there is a wealth of tools out there on the web to help you nail that job search process and land your dream job? Here’s a breakdown of our top 4 tools to amp up your job search. 1. Glassdoor It’s reported that 83% of job seekers are likely to research company reviews and ratings when deciding where to apply for a job. Glassdoor is an invaluable tool for any job seeker. Essentially it’s an online company review platform and the best part is the reviews are anonymous. Without fear of repercussion, employees (and ex-employees) are able to give honest, unfettered and revealing information. This site is a goldmine for a number of reasons. Firstly, you are able to screen any prospective company that you may want to work for. One star out of five and a particularly scathing review from Terry in accounts? Probably best to give it a miss. Once you’ve found an employer you actually want to work for and have been invited for an interview you are able to dig deep and find out some juicy nuggets of information that are going to help you when it comes to your interview. Company culture, values and competitors are all things that you’ll probably be asked in your interview. Wow, your interviewer by not only answering each question without hesitation and confidence but by formulating a few of your own questions based on your knowledge of their company. Guaranteed brownie points. 2. LinkedIn Ok, ok this may be an obvious one but there are a few tips and tricks that you may or may not have used to amp up your current job search. First off, head to your LinkedIn profile just under your basic information you’ll see this box: Boom! Three amazing tools that are going to supercharge your job search. The first, Career Advice is a nifty addition to LinkedIn. By filling out a brief form and a short paragraph on what you’d like advice on you’ll be connected with industry leaders relevant to your sector who are happy to advise. Next up, Career Interests. Now you’re going to want to switch this one on if you’re actively looking for a job, don’t worry they don’t advertise your status to anyone who you're working with. You can update your information on what you’re looking for, when you’d like to start and how interested you actually are in a career move. This information can then be picked up by hiring managers and recruiters. Now you have relevant people directly approaching you based on your LinkedIn profile and experience. Finally, Salary Insights. This is great for understanding what you are actually worth. Based on your job title, location and sector LinkedIn can tell you the average salary of your peers, which companies pay the best for your skillset and the top paying locations too. Whilst LinkedIn is trying to become a one-stop shop for all your job needs we suggest you use it in conjunction with a few of these other tools. 3. Google for Jobs The new kid on the block. Many are predicting Google for Jobs to be a major turning point in the advancement of job searching. The jury's still out on how user friendly this tool is. Being one of the biggest companies in the world and processing an obscene amount of data it was kind of inevitable for Google to enter the realm of jobs at some point. With this aggregator, Google scrapes job boards from across the web and presents you all the options in a tidy little dashboard ready for you to go through. With the sheer scale of positions on this site, it can be a little overwhelming and impersonal at times. An added bonus is the alerts feature. Setting up alerts means you get an email digest delivered straight to your inbox based on your search specifications. With the growth of digital growth in recruitment will this take away the personal touch? 4. A Recruiter So to clarify, not strictly a tool but the most useful asset nonetheless. In an age of digital takeover, searching for a new role has become less personal, but speaking to a specialist will help you with your decision making. Recruiters do the legwork so you don’t have to, saving you time. Recruiters ask the questions that you don’t want to and a good recruiter knows their client and knows what that client is looking for, this allows our consultants to prepare you prior to interviews for everything that the interview process involves. Whilst job seekers looking to apply directly have to wade through the internet looking for companies that are hiring for live roles, recruitment agencies have spent years building relationships with the decision makers of these firms, meaning we know what they want, even if they aren’t publicly recruiting for it. Give some of these tools a go and your job search journey should be much more efficient and maybe even enjoyable. And as always, feel free to contact us if you would like to speak with one of our expert recruiters about the opportunities available.

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Why employee benefits are the best thing since sliced bread

Posted by Becca Ly

One of the biggest problems facing companies is the attraction and retention of top talent. And let’s face it, with companies clamouring over each other to offer ever more enticing benefits and perks, competition is hotting up. So how important are workplace benefits and how do you stand up and be counted when competing to attract new talent? Millennials have impacted the UK workplace This is no secret. It is their increasing influence that has led to a shift in attitudes towards employer/employee relationship. In a study conducted by PWC, it was found that Millennials are placing a greater emphasis on being supported and appreciated than previous generations of workers. As a result, companies are looking for ways in which they can show support and appreciation to their employees that take a step away from the traditional method of remuneration and holiday time. This has given rise to the boom of employee benefits that employees are increasingly expecting when looking for a new role. 84% said that company culture is key Having surveyed Pro’s recruitment consultants, a large majority mentioned that company culture and benefits were one of the key factors in influencing a professionals decision on whether they would apply for a job or not. At this juncture, it’s important to point out that these benefits aren’t exclusively for Millennials, older and more traditional professionals are benefitting from this cultural shift too. For example, popular offerings such as flexible working time give parents more opportunity to spend time with their families without the need to take holiday or unpaid time off. It has also been noted that 2018 has seen employers recognise healthcare, both physical and mental, as a key driver for employee benefits. Employee wellness benefits are mutually beneficial with a healthy and happy workforce resulting in increased productivity whilst reducing presenteeism. So how do you get in on the action? Well, whilst there is no one size fits all package available it is important that a benefits package is carefully designed and supports the business’ goals by attracting the right type of talent. You also need to ensure that you work within your parameters both financially and logistically. If you’re thinking of rolling out a benefits package it is really important to think of who you are trying to target and what their wants and needs will be. Once you have done this, time to build an attractive plan and watch the applications roll in and your existing employees high five you and tell you how happy they are!

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Is your recruiter asking you these questions?

Posted by Becca Ly

Trying to find the right recruiter can be a daunting task. Inevitably you’ll have been called by at least one or two recruiters and as soon as you pick up the phone your mind fills with doubts and your defences go up until you can work out who this person is and whether they’re trustworthy or not. The key to whether a recruiter is any good or not lies within the questions they ask when they’re talking to you. Now whilst the following is not a comprehensive list it is a very good indication into what information recruiters need to demonstrate you at your full potential and show that you are a serious contender. Is your recruiter asking you these questions? Reasons for leaving There are a hundred and one reasons for wanting to leave a job. They could be professional or they could be personal, either way, a good recruitment consultant will ask why you want to move on. It is important that you are honest and transparent with them, they’re not going to judge you and they’re not going to stop working with you. They are, however, able to understand where some of your key motivators lie and use this to start profiling suitable jobs for you. No career progression at your current company? No worries, let’s look at roles that have clear and fast progression paths. And it goes without saying that your potential employer will want to understand your reasons for leaving, was it voluntary, on good terms, for a good reason and most of all they’ll want to know what your work values are. Key drivers Staying on the subject of key drivers, recruiters will want to know what it is exactly that motivates you the most. Again, could be professional, could be personal or it could be a mixture of the both. It is important that you take a minute and carefully pinpoint what it is driving you to better yourself. The more of a profile that can be built up of you, the more targetted the roles will be. Are you looking for a shorter commute, flexi-time so that you can spend more time with your family or are you simply motivated by a greater remuneration package? Potential employers always like to understand a candidate's key drivers, if they’re able to address these then happy candidates tend to make the best employees. Whatever your motivations are, tell us! Salary Expectations Finally, salary expectations. Now, we know that sometimes it can be uncomfortable to talk about your salary but without knowing recruiters can spend hours sourcing roles that they think match your profile only for you to reveal that they are way-way off what you were hoping for or even what you ’re already earning. Don’t forget, this isn’t an interview. Recruiters will be able to tell you if your expectations are in line with the current market or industry. They may even be able to secure you more than you were expecting as they’ll know what hiring managers are willing to pay to secure top talent. These questions are just a snippet of what a recruiter should be asking you, if not, beware! Basically, a good recruiter will want to know if you’re in committed to finding a better role, if you’ll be a good culture fit in your new firm and whether they can help you satisfy your personal and professional goals. So be open, transparent and honest with them, this will play to your favour and you’ll start seeing the types of role that interest you appearing in no time!

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Why Your Cover Letter Is Killing Your Chances

Posted by Becca Ly

You've mastered your CV. You’ve got your killer references. You’re good to go right? Hmm not quite… You’ve neglected your cover letter and in doing so ruined your chance of securing that dream job! Often the cover letter is the very first impression of a candidate, this is the shop window, the opening as it were. But all too often candidates undersell themselves and blow their big chance. We surveyed experienced recruitment consultants about their top peeves when reading a cover letter as well as gathering their advice on how to make the most of it. So what’s the secret to crafting that winning cover letter? 1. Not tailoring your cover letter to the job you’re applying for 100% of all the Recruitment Consultants we polled agreed! Cover letters should specifically tell the client why you are good for the particular role you’re applying for. Sending out generic cover letters to multiple roles shows a lack of preparation and attention to detail. Be concise, specific and always bring it back to the role and company you’re applying for. 2. Grammatical and spelling errors Now, this should be obvious but it is amazing how frequently mistakes crop up. 82% of the Recruiters we surveyed mentioned that this made them less likely to continue reading. Such a simple and quick fix as running a spell checker over your letter will pick up any glaring issues you may have overlooked. However, you shouldn’t just end it there though. Actually, read it. And read it again. And then read it one more time. Give it to someone else to read! I’d suggest downloading Grammarly as an addition to all of the previous steps. 3. Waffle Not the delicious continental treat but endless, generic and often irrelevant content. Too much 'waffle' and explanation of your whole work experience rather than writing content that is targeted towards the company and the role is going to make the reader switch off quickly. Try to keep your cover letter to no longer than two-thirds of a page. Whilst writing your cover letter always consider how you would benefit the firm hiring you. If you have the mindset of 'how will this cover letter separate me from the crowd' you are on the right lines. Now by no means is this a comprehensive list however if you follow the basics your cover letter should improve tenfold. Now that you’ve incorporated these three simple steps into your cover letter process it’s time to ensure that your CV is up to scratch too. Speak to one of the team about more ways to improve your cover letter.

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6 Undeniable Signs you should start looking for a new job

Posted by Becca Ly

Feel like you're stuck at a dead end? Here are six undeniable signs you should start your search for a new job. 1. You are bored There’s nothing worse than feeling bored at work. Time drags, you’re constantly clock watching and find yourself doing literally anything to get through the day. On the whole, people need mental stimulation, a challenge, a goal to work towards. Boredom is such an issue in the workplace and shares many similarities with feeling stressed. Emotionally, people feel trapped and helpless when bored at work because they have fewer ways to occupy themselves as they would in their free time. Interestingly, in 2016 Frédéric Desnard took his employer to a tribunal for giving him so little to do that he became “bored out of his mind”. Your employer owes it to you to have a steady flow of tasks that are suitable to your skillset and title. 2. You are stressed As I mentioned earlier stress shares a lot of similarities with boredom. Whilst the difference is an overload of work rather than a lack of it the effects are the same, helplessness, a feeling of being trapped and ultimately unhappiness. In an evergrowing age of connectivity, people are finding it harder to detach their personal lives with their work lives, which in turn, has led to an increase in stress-related illnesses. In fact in the UK, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17. If you’re feeling stressed or burnt out it then maybe it’s time to find a new job. One with better work/life balance and wellbeing incentives. 3. You aren't making progress If Jimmy the Tea Boy has progressed to Senior Exec with his own office and company car and you’re slogging away in the same position after the same amount of time then you need to start to look elsewhere. Lack of advancement is one of the leading causes of people searching out new employment. Employees need to keep moving forward and a key indicator of how they are progressing in their job title. If you don’t have set goals to work towards and a clear path to progress then what’s the point? It’s easy to become disenfranchised with your employers and the company if you’re not progressing. Find somebody who’s going to challenge you and reward you fairly for your contribution. 4. You are underappreciated You have a big project, you put your absolute everything into it and get it completed on time. You’re chuffed to nuts with your efforts and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, you are expecting a phone call, email or a face to face well done from your boss. You wait, and wait, and wait a little bit more… Slowly it dawns on you that no recognition is coming and the daily grind continues. Your masterpiece is a mere speck in the distance as another large project comes across your desk. A simple “thank you” or “great job” from higher-ups goes a long way, it costs nothing and takes a couple of minutes. If your boss can’t see your worth and is unwilling to acknowledge your hard work with a simple gesture then maybe it’s time to find a new job. 5. You are underpaid Doing a little bit of research on your worth can pay dividends, literally and figuratively. If you are busting your gut doing a skilled job for very little pay then something has to give. Knowing your self-worth is key here. There are a number of surveys and wage calculators out there that can give you an average banding of what you should be earning or even better speak to a recruitment consultant who will be able to give you an even greater insight into salaries. Time for a frank an honest conversation with your higher-ups on why you should be earning more and what you bring to the company. If your boss is unwilling to meet your valuation or even compromise with little explanation as to why then maybe it’s time to look for a new job. 6. You are reading this article Ok, ok maybe I’m being a little presumptuous. However, if you are reading this because you are unhappy and looking for another job then please do get in contact with us. Our specialist consultants are more than happy to discuss career paths, salaries and current opportunities.

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5 Movies with Unbelievable Scenes About Interviews

Posted by Becca Ly

The thought of a job interview can put even the most seasoned professional into a mild panic. The number of things that can and will go wrong hangs heavy over many people’s preparation. Whilst Hollywood can be quick to revel in the comedic hilarity of others misfortune in interview situations, there are some valuable lessons to be taken advantage of in the most unbelievable interview scenes in the movies. 1. Step Brothers The titular characters have been unemployed for their entire adult lives and upon reaching middle age it’s decided that it is time for them to grow up. What follows is a series of disastrous interviews highlighting their complete ineptitude and how out of their depth they really are. WHAT WE LEARNT - Whilst it is safe to say that all of these interviews are absolutely calamitous, you should always make sure you get the interviewers name right. Not only does it show that you’ve done your research and know who they are, it’s just common courtesy too. Also, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t wear a tux, but you already knew that. 2. The Internship The unusual and often surreal questions that have been widely reported to be used by the likes of Google to screen potential candidates have the potential to perplex even the smartest applicants. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are posed a brain teaser and ultimately wing it, ramble on and avoid the point in their interview for Google during The Internship. Whilst amusing to watch, we don’t think they’d get very far in the interview stages. WHAT WE LEARNT - These questions are devised to test the way you tackle problems on the spot. Whilst it is unlikely that you’ll encounter these abstract questions it is important that you are prepared. Research common questions that interviewers like to ask, Glassdoor often has users posting specific questions that they were asked by companies at interview. Compile a few concise thoughtful answers and practise them until you are well versed. 3. The Wedding Singer Adam Sandler portrays a very desperate character in this scene from the wedding singer. Whilst he is up front and open about his experience and main motivations for applying for the job it is safe to say he falls flat on his face. Money is a big motivation for many people when looking for a new role and his brutal honesty strikes a chord with many. WHAT WE LEARNT - It is considered very unprofessional to talk about money straight away in a first interview. That conversation should be left until later in the interview process and is normally prompted by the hiring manager or interviewer. Your recruiter should be able to give you an indication of what the position is paying before you apply. Also, when asked about your experience it’s never advised to appear to offer absolutely nothing! 4. Devil wears Prada The fashion industry has long been known to be cut-throat. Many have serious ambitions to make it big and unfortunately many fail. Anne Hathaway’s character shows a shocking lack of interest in the role that she’s applying for and is promptly put in her place by Meryl Streep’s character. WHAT WE LEARNT - Andy Sachs comes across as very unenthusiastic, uninterested and completely unprepared. When attending an interview you should have done your research. Research the company, what they do, who they work with, what they’ve previously done, what they’re going to be doing, who’s in charge, who’s interviewing you etc. Look up as much as you can, the more you find out the better your chances. Interviewers like people who show an interest in actually working for them. 5. Me Before You The nightmare interview plays out in this movie and boy does it have it all. Louisa concludes her interview with the lines “When I’m nervous I just say stupid stuff”. Remarkably her bumbling, loveable and awkward characteristics manage to secure her the job despite her lack of knowledge, experience or aspirations. Unfortunately, this is movieland and we’re pretty sure a genuine interview wouldn’t play out the same way. WHAT WE LEARNT - To cover her nervousness Louisa begins answering the interviewer's questions with dad like jokes. Dodging the questions with humour is a red flag to an interviewer, it shows that you haven’t fully prepared and gives the impression that you aren’t really taking the process seriously. It's ok to be nervous but answer the interviewer's questions directly, clearly and concisely. When prompted give more details to support your answer. Also, make sure you have given your career path some serious thought. Not knowing what you want to do is a warning to employers as it demonstrates a lack of direction and aspiration. People who have something to work towards are driven to reach their goals and make great employees.

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9 LinkedIn Tips You Should Be Using To Boost Your Profile

Posted by Becca Ly

LinkedIn is an invaluable tool of the trade for recruiters. With a few carefully selected keywords a whole host of potential candidates is immediately at the recruiter’s fingertips. With so much choice readily available how do you stand out in the crowd? There are a few top tips that are often overlooked that will help boost your profile and make you a LinkedIn superstar. 1. First impressions count With your picture featuring prominently at the top of the page a snap judgement will be made on the quality and context of your photo. Get somebody to take a photo of you. You want to make sure it is well lit, in focus and with a neutral background. Professional attire is recommended as it instantly gives off the right message. Finally, you don’t want a clinical picture so try and relax a little and remember to smile. 2. Next up is your headline While the LinkedIn default will be your job title you can leverage this box to make yourself more noticeable as it shows up in searches. Firstly, customise it to your audience. Include your value add. Use your prospects language. And most of all don’t brag. For example Director – Tax Recruitment (Commerce & Industry and Practice) | Helping Tax professionals find their ideal job 3. The summary This is a great opportunity for you to recap who you are and what you do. Keep it succinct and to the point, but be sure to include those keywords that people will use to find you. 4. Do some housekeeping on your network. LinkedIn is eerily good at recommending people you may know. Whether they be professional connections, family or even old school friends make sure you connect with them, you never know who they could introduce you to. Look up industry leaders and follow them to keep abreast of current trends. Add a quick note when connecting as it is more personal and increases your chances of them accepting. 5. Career history Ensure that your experience and job history matches that of your CV. LinkedIn is often used to examine applicants and having inconsistencies doesn’t reflect very well even if there was an honest mistake. 6. Good job description Following on from this, include a description of your work. You don’t need to give as much detail as you would on your CV, but a few bullet points of key responsibilities and accomplishments will give a good indication of what you have accomplished and what you can do. 7. Get personal with your URL A trick that is often missed out is the personalised LinkedIn url. This allows you to put your name in the url in place of the randomly assigned numbers and letters. This is a nice touch as when the link to your profile is shared with recruiters, clients and hiring managers your name is clearly displayed in the Link and makes it more recognisable and professional. 8. Stay active on your LinkedIn. An active LinkedIn account demonstrates that you are up to date with the current trends and it also displays that you are contactable and likely to respond. Those with a large network and regular posts/likes/shares is much more appealing to recruiters. 9. Remember to note contact details Although it may sound simple be sure to include your contact details in your profile. There are countless great candidates out there but when it comes to actually reaching out to them recruiters are tied to using LinkedIn’s messaging service. Some opportunities are easier to convey through email or over the phone. Don’t miss out on that opportunity but neglecting this small feature. These may seem like small changes but they make the world of difference when they are compared to hundreds of other professionals of similar position and experience.

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