Gamification is not a new concept but according to a recent survey by Metro and IBM only one in four are familiar with the term and just 7% of people are confident that they know what it means. Put simply, it means making existing tasks more fun by turning them into a game.
So how could gamification translate to you finding your next role or even if you are recruiting for someone for your team? In my experience, things are more fun if they are optional; being forced to find a new role because your current position has become untenable or because your current contract has come to an end gives you an added pressure and put into the context of a game you’d probably be on your "last life" or you’d have to complete the level before the time runs out - not particularly enjoyable!
So, again within the context of a game in order to score extra points, buy extra time or extra lives there are some things that you can do:
1. Create an avatar - but make it a realistic one. Have an on-line presence that reflects your skills, your experience and (if possible) your implied potential. Don’t give away everything on your LinkedIn profile - create a bit of mystery and allure. It should also go without saying that Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc all count too- consider what your photos say about you to a prospective employer. Make sure your privacy settings are set high on anything personal - you are allowed a personal online presence, but it’s not advisable to "over share" to a prospective employer.
2. Have fun creating content, sharing interesting information, joining relevant groups and contributing to discussions online. You want to get noticed - head hunters, in-house recruiters, industry specialists should be able to find you and feel able to approach you to join their networks.
3. Set yourself some "off-line" targets - 10 points for each ex colleague or friend of a friend you meet up with for a coffee or for a drink over the course of a year. Everyone you meet could be useful to you for networking purposes.
4. Make sure you are well networked internally. It’s often the way that the hardest workers are over-looked for promotion in favour of the people who are "in the gang". Those who play the game effectively make sure they know the key decisions makers well and what they want. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must attend every social event in the calendar but pick a few that you feel will get you noticed and make sure you set yourself goals of who you need to get into conversation with.
5. For senior commercial tax, treasury or finance professionals who are planning a move within the next 24 months make sure that you are scoring yourselves on how many connections you have within the profession. Big firm Partners will often be the first to hear about new "head of" roles and will often be asked for recommendations. Candidates who are within their networks but aren’t actively looking will be able to negotiate better packages and better roles than those who are "desperate to move". A good exercise would be to draw a spider diagram with yourself at the centre and branch out with contacts who could help to further your career. If you need a few more branches decide who you want to connect with, work out who can introduce you to "get to the next level".
Employers can apply similar processes. A line manager with an on-going need should target themselves to join relevant LinkedIn groups and send invites to pipeline candidates. Meet prospective candidates speculatively if you have the time and the opportunity arises - so long as the expectation levels for both sides are clear, most people will happily go for a coffee for networking purposes.
Job searching can be a long and sometimes tiresome process but by setting out the tasks you need to do in order to get to where you want to be, and by rewarding yourself for completing these steps it can help make it a much more enjoyable process.