One of my favourite parts about introducing you to the next coffee date guest, is that we met on social media when I was tagged in a post by a business I worked with at the start of the year!

Talk about the power of social media for online networking and connections right?!

A coffee date, redundancy and LinkedIn.

A friend of mine had recently been made redundant and I spent some time with her talking through a content strategy for her LinkedIn profile; we focused on things like expanding her network through conversation and interacting with other people’s content, connecting with business’ she would like to work for, getting her recommendation section updated and her headline and profile statement; as well as creating content that positioned her as a thought leader in her field.

A few weeks later, I was out walking with that same friend and she was totally excited about the state of her LinkedIn account – connection requests, PMs, conversations in comments, ideas for LinkedIn articles and some meetings lined up with agencies and new connections! Winning at life stuff.

I applied the same methodology I would use for a business looking to grow their network on a social media platform for my friend, the results were very similar to the success I would see from a business after the first few weeks of upping their social game; and I was curious to explore how someone in the field of career coaching and HR would approach social media during the job hunting process.

The career coach, redundancy and LinkedIn.

Meet Iona Currie from Eye See Coaching, she is a certified Career Coach helping you find what it is you want to do next. Iona works with you to bring clarity and help you create an action plan for a career transition; through career coaching, CV writing and by helping you with your LinkedIn.

Iona and I have kept in touch via LinkedIn since we first connected before lockdown, but it was during lockdown and life-after-lockdown that I started to notice and applaud the content that Iona was putting out on her LinkedIn page around using the platform during a job search. Perfect coffee date Q&A right?!

Over to Iona.

Tell us about your work and Eye See Coaching.

Eye See Coaching is my baby, I launched it last December whilst going through my own Career Change.

I had what you might call a bit of an early mid-life crisis (well I think my family think that haha) and left my successful recruitment career to refocus. After going through the lengthy process myself I really wanted to help people do the same and be able to change career to do what made them happy. So, Eye See Coaching was born.

I coach Career Changers but to be even more specific I really help people struggling with knowing what they want to do next, usually they are people who no longer want to work in the career they have built but either cannot see options on what they want to do next, or sometimes they have an idea but it seems like a wild card. With the latter clients I help them explore all options and see if by the end this what is still what they want to do, usually by then it doesn’t seem like such a wild card.

I also heal current job hunters really focus, get their CV and LinkedIn in good shape and help some with the actual job search. It can be tough in times like now to keep hitting the apply button and getting rejections. So, I help people have a better chance of secure interviews by targeting companies and not just being another CV on the pile.

Talk us through a typical day.

I work Eye See Coaching round my day job these days, so a typical day is pretty busy, I get the kids and myself ready and off to school and work. Once I come home, I usually do dinner and do all my work after that. Evenings are pretty busy with a mix of clients, coaching, and prep for any programmes or sessions I have coming up.

Admin has slid since returning to work, so I spend some of the early evening replying to messages and emails and do my social media posts a bit later on.

During lockdown I wasn’t working so my sole focus was on Social Media, building a presence and helping people by posting content aimed at how to job hunt, write CV’s, Cover Letters, promote themselves, and spruce up their LinkedIn. I spent a lot of time in between clients reaching out and checking in on people I had either worked with or had conversations with to see how they were getting on. It is such a tough time for everyone and job hunting can be hard in normal times. This situation has created a bit of a bubble, so I like to check in on people and see how they are really doing.

I spent time with clients who were focused on returning to work, a lot of people deciding they want out of the Oil industry, no doubt some will return but I honestly feel a lot won’t this time.

I worked with clients who had not had to look for work in the last 20 years, had never used LinkedIn and now had to, and people who had no clue where to start. So, a real mix, but even my CV Writing clients were often looking for job search coaching without knowing that what they were looking for.

How do you use social media for your business?

Without Social Media I wouldn’t have a business. I launched the business in a post on LinkedIn last December, which really made me commit to doing it. Then when I stopped working in May within a couple of hours had launched my first real paid offer.

A lot of the delay there was confidence and the fact I was working but I have since focused on reaching out to my network and using helpful content to build on what I had in place. Initially all my clients and connections were from Oil and Gas but over time I have seen a slight shift in this so my content in reaching further afield.

LinkedIn has been my main platform in recent months. I tried (and still attempt) Facebook and Instagram but I knew LinkedIn well so decided that was the best platform to focus on to get started.

I am loving the latest LinkedIn features for bringing in some personality so watch this space for some stories and some advice on how to use them for your Personal Brand when job hunting. You’ve got to stand out and I think what better way.

Tell us about the connection between HR, coaching and social media?

I came from a Recruitment background and dabbled in HR, coaching comes hand in hand with leading any team. Within HR your role is to support the business objectives, providing advice and coaching to leaders and managers. So, in reality HR professionals are coaching anyway.  In my experience HR and social media don’t always go hand in hand although this is definitely changing. These days social media is a quick and easy way to find someone, to get a bit of a background, and to really grab attention. For the HR and recruitment world it is a main source of talent.

On the coaching side of things like any business Social Media is now essential but with coaching, people are only going to buy from you if they like you or if they feel like you will get along, of course recommendations help but even then the first two points matter more. So social media essentially lets people meet you and find out about you before they work with you.

How would you coach someone on using their LinkedIn during a job search or career change?

The first step is always looking at their LinkedIn profile, even now with so many people using LinkedIn well I still see things like no profile picture or minimal information on there.

One of the things I do try and get across is to make sure that your LinkedIn profile shows what you have accomplished and how you make impact in a role.

But just as important is making sure you are using LinkedIn in to engage with your network, the biggest LinkedIn myth is that your profile should be you online CV, it’s not just an online CV it’s your online brand and you need to show your personality, credibility, so employers can see who you are as well as what you can bring to a role.

What’s your favourite social media channel and why?

LinkedIn by far, I just think that I have been so used to using it, this years new features just add to it for me. I also love that there are so many people looking to connect and keep in touch. The LinkedIn community can get a bad rep for being to corporate and stuffy, but what I have seen in the last few months has been a community that has reached out to one another and tried to help as much as possible.

It does of course come with its trolls like any platform, but I just ignore.

Name one of your favourite brands or business’ to follow on social media.

So, I’m actually a bit rubbish with this but I do love a couple of more local businesses I follow, there is an Eco business in the highlands Eco Ness and I really like seeing their content and products.

I’m a bit fickle when it comes to Social Media other than some more personal development type people and of course the network I have built, I love a follow of an influencer or celebrity. I’m a Kardashian fan so follow them (🙈 whilst I lose all my followers 🤣)… I love a bit of downtime of rubbish TV and a good scroll through celebrity stories.

How do you switch off from social media?

I actually took a week off (well I think I posted twice) last week. I am bad for not switching off from it, specially since I have launched Eye See Coaching. I think going back to work has helped a bit with that, it has made me realise I can squeeze quite a lot into a few hours in the evening rather than being sat online all day.

I do now make sure I get up and go for a walk away from the computer and I often find myself leaving my phone somewhere just to make sure I am away form it all for a bit. It’s so easy to get caught up.

If you could give us one top tip for using social media to help with a job search what would it be?

Don’t just use it to apply for a roles, make sure you regularly connect/engage with your network. And get recommendations from former colleagues and supervisors. That’s two I know but we can call one a bonus tip.

You can find Iona on LinkedIn.