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Job Hunting Today

Job Hunting

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.

LinkedIn

Functioning like your digital resume, your LinkedIn profile is likely the first place people now go to check you out:

  1. Make sure your picture represents the professional you. This is not the place to show off your pet.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Include any relevant volunteer experience. Many recruiters consider this as important as your normal job.
  6. Make sure the information in your LinkedIn profile matches that in your resume. Think recruiters won’t check? Think again.

Resume

While recruiters are likely to check your LinkedIn profile first, a conventional resume is still crucial:

  1. Stick with normal format—black on white, standard margins, readable font, plenty of white space.
  2. Two pages maximum. That summer job you had at McDonald’s isn’t going to be a difference-maker.
  3. 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.
  4. Use a professional email address—not grandtheftautochamp@hotmail.com.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.

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