by I.J. Schecter
The landscape of job-seeking has changed. Today, prospective employers increasingly use LinkedIn as their first step in scanning for candidates, which means your self-promotion needs to be two-pronged, consisting of both an online presence and the traditional resume. Here’s how to make the most of both sides of the current job-seeking coin.
Functioning like your digital resume, your LinkedIn profile is likely the first place people now go to check you out:
- Make sure your picture represents the professional you. This is not the place to show off your pet.
- Populate the Skills and Endorsements section so that recruiters can quickly see your core competencies. Focus on those that highlight your strongest assets and align most to your career goals.
- Take the time to solicit recommendations—they act like advance references. Approach people who know you well, like former bosses, colleagues, clients and professors. Not your Uncle Steve.
- Use the Accomplishments section to highlight projects you’ve worked on, publica- tions you’ve contributed to, languages you know and certifications you’ve earned.
- Include any relevant volunteer experience. Many recruiters consider this as important as your normal job.
- Make sure the information in your LinkedIn profile matches that in your resume. Think recruiters won’t check? Think again.
While recruiters are likely to check your LinkedIn profile first, a conventional resume is still crucial:
- Stick with normal format—black on white, standard margins, readable font, plenty of white space.
- Two pages maximum. That summer job you had at McDonald’s isn’t going to be a difference-maker.
- If you’re seeking a creative role and/or in a creative industry, you can make the resume a bit more creative: different formatting, some iconography or graphics, more modern style.
- Use a professional email address—not firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The only two mandatory sections are Experience and Education. Optional sections include Objective (a statement about your desired field and/or role), Profile (a summary statement of your background and creden- tials), Skills (for example, expertise with specific software programs or ability to speak
a second language), Volunteer Work (which can be helpful in conveying things like leadership experience or communication skills) and Hobbies/Interests (only if relevant to the position you are applying for).
- Most important: Make absolutely, totally, completely sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
This is the first of Ignite’s Career Smarts Series. Next issue: Job Interview Tips.