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The nation’s famed modesty could be stopping people getting what they want from their careers, according to a new study released by LinkedIn UK. The findings show that almost a third (32%) of Brits shy away from talking about their own achievements in interviews and job reviews, whilst as many as 40% admit to feeling uncomfortable when networking with people they don’t know.

This modesty and shyness is effecting people’s professional relationships online, as well as in the workplace, with one in four Brits (28%) admitting that they feel uncomfortable connecting with someone more senior on LinkedIn too. The study, which surveyed 2,000 Brits and observed how people behave on LinkedIn, found that this may be impacting people’s careers and job satisfaction, with more than half (56%) of those surveyed believing they’ve missed out on promotions because of their modesty, whilst almost a quarter (24%) admit to feeling unfulfilled at work and nearly half (46%) regularly suffer the ‘Sunday Night Blues’.

LinkedIn has also observed that men and women differ when it comes to networking, with four in ten (43%) feeling uncomfortable networking with people they don’t know, compared to 33% of men. Women also feel less comfortable than their male colleagues in talking about their own professional achievements. With half (51%) of the survey respondents admitting they don’t have a career plan, despite a similar number (58%) feeling that they’re in the wrong industry.

LinkedIn UK announced the launch of a ‘Career Control’ campaign to help professionals take control and plot a path to their future career. For career control, LinkedIn recommends:

  • Have a plan – To be fulfilled at work, you first need to decide what you want from your career – what are you passionate about, and what’s going to get you out of bed in the morning? Once you’ve got an end goal in mind, it’s much easier to prioritise the connections you need to make, and the skills you need to develop, to get there.
  • Plot your path – Looking at people’s careers that you admire can help you plot your own career path. Whether it’s Richard Branson or your boss, use LinkedIn to look at the path that they took – this will help you sketch out your career “to do” list.
  • Do your research – Whether you’re networking on or offline, the same golden rule applies – do your research. If you know who’s attending an event, for example, you can come armed with conversation starters, likewise having a bit of background on the people you’re networking with online can help you tailor your patter.
  • Big up without bragging – To show your skills without showing off, be selective. You don’t need to mention everything you’ve ever done on your CV, LinkedIn profile or in job interviews. Cherry-pick your best achievements, and make sure you’ve got tangible examples to back them up. Finding a colleague to endorse your achievements can also be incredibly useful.
  • Make sure your on and offline personas match – With employers increasingly checking candidates out online as part of the hiring process, the online world is your career “shop window”, so make sure your profiles are up to date and engaging. Also make sure the prospective employers can only access the things that you want them to – checking your privacy settings on social sites is important to make sure your personal and professional lives don’t mix.

I had the pleasure of discussing this study with our great friend Aimee Bateman of Careercake, an expert on all things careers and job search. In this video she shares her thoughts about LinkedIn and some very useful job search tips. If you have any questions at all, please let us know in the comments below!

RELATED: 10 Tips for the Perfect LinkedIn Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]

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