If youre navigating your way through the job market, no one needs to tell you that it is a highly competitive universe. The ratio of job seeks still outnumbers the available jobs, so you need to develop a strong, self-marketing campaign that will bust your application out of the crowd. It starts with a quality, contemporary resume and an easily accessible, memorable online presentation. Heres a five-step strategy from an employment guru to get you started.
1. Communicating your personal brand. Whats a personal brand? Well, what do you think of when you conjure up companies like Nike and Apple? One look at the Nike logo or a mention of the Apple name, and their market identity and value spring to mind. Thats what you need to do in the job marketplace use your profile or summary at the head of your resume to showcase your worth as a brand by highlighting your achievements in a clear, concise message.
2. Choose your resume vocabulary carefully. A resume is your personal mission statement, communicating you clearly have the qualifications to do the job. This is where the smart, effective use of keywords comes in they give a perspective employer the clues that can make you a top candidate for the job, telegraphing your experience, knowledge and expertise. It is important to note that computers as well as humans are used to scan resumes, so it is essential to list keywords that resonate with both. For instance, if you are human resources professional, spell it out and also use the acronym HR.
3. Talking accomplishments not tasks. Okay, your resume landed you an interview now dont fall into the stuff I did trap. Reciting a litany of your previous jobs responsibilities does little to make you a compelling candidate. When you go for your interview, think CAR. C stands for the challenges you faced at your previous job, A is the actions you took to meet these challenges, and R equals results. If you remember the CAR formula, youll develop a narrative that tells your interviewer you have the potential to be a valuable employee.
4. Give your paper resume a facelift. Says one expert, You only have a certain amount of space to communicate your message (1-2 pages), so consider that space precious real estate and use it wisely. Yes, you want your resume to be crisp and professional, but you also want it to stand out. So take a look at some of the online sample resumes, and start thinking about how to use text boxes, boldface and spacing to highlight important information. Naturally, this means with in the bounds of good taste, so resist hot pink resume paper or teddy-bear borders!
5. Your online profile and resume. Your paper resume is one thing, but these days Web 2.0 has a growing role in the job hiring process. HR personnel, recruiters and perspective employers routinely use internet searches to vet perspective candidates. So it is time to review your on-line presence and make sure your virtual resume and profile are an accurate reflection of you, your achievements and your goals and that this information dovetails with your paper resume.
LinkedIn is the top online business tool, so make sure you take the time to build a dynamic (remember the CAR formula!) online profile and you might want to add your LinkedIn URL to your paper resume. And while youre at it, check out other online tools like VisualCV, ZoomInfo, and Plaxco can expand your network and even use devices like video and podcasts to showcase your professional achievement.