It doesn’t matter if you are currently employed and seeking to move to greener pastures, or if you’re an unemployed job seeker who wants to get back in the game, a proper resume is the best start for a successful job search.
I know…. bla bla …. yes we’ve all heard it hundreds of times before, so what else is there to do to secure more interviews?
Well, for starters, recognise that different job seekers require different tools. A Blue Collar Professional who is seeking a new position over $40k a year may benefit greatly by including 1 or 2 more documents in their job search whilst the professionals seeking a position over $75k a year may need to get more creative with their documentation attachments.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you flood your potential employer or recruiter with attachments upon your first contact, but you can highlight the availability of these documents and have them ready for deployment from your toolkit when the time is right.
Make sure to read the job ad and the requirements 2 or 3 times and create a tick list to ensure that you have what you need in your toolkit.
So what should you think of having in your toolkit?
A Reference Letter
A great tool if you are applying for jobs with unique skills. Find a suitable referee from a more recent job listed in your resume and obtain a one page written and qualified reference. Remember that it should be general enough so that it would be applicable for a variety of potential opportunities (at this stage you aren’t asking your referee to respond to the requirements of a specific job opportunity, but rather to provide a more general reference). You can refer to your reference letters via hyperlink in the text of your e-mail as an ice-breaker if you like.
One word of warning! Don’t hyperlink documents in your attachments such as your cover letter or your resume. Most recruiters and hiring managers (HR departments) use software to screen incoming documents and they don’t like attachments. Your nice cover letter or CV will leave them before it actually arrives L.
Trade or Volunteer Certifications
This is one of my personal favourites, since they are often the best tool to demonstrate your commitment to improve your experience. It generally doesn’t matter what kind of course, training or volunteer activity you have on record. Use them as a “value ad” to demonstrate that you’re a suitable candiate. They are particularly useful if you apply for positions with flexible job descriptions.
Bios are popular with Gen X & Y professionals who prefer to communicate via their mobile and online devices. A professional biography is a great networking tool to email out to people or casually acquainted contacts who know you through your work or your professional social networks such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, Vimeo, Facebook or Twitter (to name a few). I prefer to network with this tool and also prefer a bio or synopsis over old fashioned CVs and cover letters when I am approached for recommendations. A bio is also a much better tool for job seekers who want to maintain an air of confidentiality because it is prepared in a way that does not make them appear as an active job hunter but rather as a professional who has his or her ears open for the right opportunity. The bio format I find generates the best results is a full colour, 1 page – 3 column document that offers up essential information based on the desired profile for the position you’re applying for, and most often it will contain a headshot. Remember, it is a Bio, not a CV, so a headshot might work well for you!
Key Client Wins or Deal Lists
This is a must have in my world. I am an experienced sales & marketing professional and I know how helpful my Deal Lists is when I negotiate for a job or sometimes even a prospective client in my new job. Deal Lists are documents that describe and accentuate your most recent Top 10 or Top 15 deals or wins in detail. Keep it short and simple! I call it FFN (facts, figures, numbers) of the various deals you have been a part of so prospective employers can get a better feel for your ability to contribute to the bottom line. When you write your list, focus on highlighting the quality, complexity and financial volume of deals you have been involved in and the extent of your direct participation. You don’t always have to be the one “who brought home the bacon“, so be honest and clear about your involvement and role and don’t exaggerate the numbers. This type of document is ideal for people in financial services, real estate, sales and related sales & marketing fields.
If you have a creative mind like me, you will immediately know what I am talking about. Your Project Portfolio is the collection of documents that describe and accentuate in detail the various projects you have been a part of including your degree of participation, project leadership skills and your ability to impact the bottom line. A bit similar to the Dossier – only that you have to present visuals. Portfolios are the ideal documents for job seekers in project management marketing, architecture, engineering, design and other fields that are project oriented. We are in the 21st Century if I am not mistaken – so get creative and think about ways to present your portfolio.
My personal view on printed documents is: PRINT IS DEAD! Impress with online – mobile and visual portfolio presentations. You can always contribute to your carbon footprint at a later stage when your hiring contact requests a printed version.
Most of the leading search firms and hiring managers in larger corporations submit a candidate for consideration, rather than just present a resume. I know from experience that they will often prepare a comprehensive dossier (some call it synopsis) on the candidate that is a more in-depth overview of who the candidate is, their core qualities and key accomplishments, the reason they are available and much more. Some hiring professionals may also include salary and compensation package parameters. The most important part of these dossiers or synopsis documents is the fact that they contain a well written value proposition developed specifically for the available position. Always remember that these HR and recruiting professionals are dealing with C-Level client contacts and they can benefit from your pre worked dossier. All they have to do is copy and paste (and maybe amend) your info into their templates. You are doing 50% of their prep work and you help them to present you faster to the important decision makers
I am not kidding , You need a flavour. But all these tools should only come in one flavour and I mean one flavour only!
VANILLA! Avoid fancy or over the top formatting and effects in your documents. Deliver “vanilla” style documents to ensure that your hiring professional can easily copy and paste your content or all your hard work will land in the trash.
As always I am available to offer a professional critique of resumes or feedback and offer thoughts on how to improve your toolkit.