Social media is increasingly used to check out employers and job hunters. HR managers and recruiters use your resume first and then search for selection criterias, before they jump on the social media bandwagon to scour the net so they can cross check and scope out potential employees.
Once an employer scans your resume, they cross check and reach for your online profile(s) looking for some key things they would like to know right away. So, it is imperative for you to understand what recruiters are looking for on your resume and online, how this impacts your job search and what you need to do about it.
# 1 What do you do? (Now … not in general)
First, hiring professionals need/must/want to know what you do. They need to understand how you earn your living. You have no choice, you must make this clear right at the top of your profile, where you can fill in a professional headline. It’s the first 5 seconds on your resume, cover letter and your online profile. Don’t waste that space.
# 2 What makes you credible? (No fluff please)
There’s one major place employers look to when wondering how credible you are: your work experience. Fill it out to the best of your ability. List where you’ve worked, cite what titles you held and provide a cohesive list of your responsibilities. When done, it’s time to quantify your responsibilities. Don’t just say “wrote code” or “sold houses”. Prove it. No proof – no job interview – no job. Simple as that! Another place where employers look for credibility is your recommendations and references – we’ll have more on that later.
# 3 What’s the right title for you?
LinkedIn is full of “multi – talents”. There is nothing wrong with that and chances are strong you’re not a one-trick pony. You may be a project manager who also handles the human resource function of your business. You could be an IT expert who owns a food & beverage business. It’s not that hard, so don’t make it complicated.
When you meet someone new, you talk about your careers. What would you tell that person about your work? That’s the job title that suits you. If all else fails, you can list 2 or 3 titles that would fit you perfectly in your summary, but try to narrow it down and avoid the ‘Jack or Jill of all trades’ stigma.
# 4 Do you have a personal brand?
Like it or not job hunting is all about marketing yourself. Your application tools are your personal branding and they act like a commercial for you. I tend to flip channels when I see bad commercials and a resume or social profile without branding statements usually gets the same treatment. Your branding needs to indicate what separates you from the rest. Create a tagline that is targeted towards your ideal employer.
# 5 Do you really know your field? (The Big Show Stopper)
I read hundreds of resumes every month and trust me I can spot bragging in a nanosecond. You can brag all you want about your skills and experience but hiring professionals see hundreds of resumes and online profiles and they will know when you’re going over the top. It will show in your work.
Recruiters seek out candidates who are both comfortable and confident enough in their field to talk about it clearly and concisely on their resumes and profile. In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, no fluff – no one buys a complicated story. Keep It Simple – your target employer should know exactly what you’re talking about when they read your material. Nothing should be ambiguous!
Here’s an example. Her profile clearly conveys her role as the founder of her own business and shows what she did to work her way up to that position. Her posts about the latest industry news promote her as a thought-leader in the field – something that’s critical if you want to catch the eyes of a recruiter. Don’t tell! Prove it! Demonstrate your knowledge of the industry in the posts you share, the updates you make, the companies you follow and the media you add. Oh, and one last thought, DO NOT just ‘copy paste send’.
# 6 What’s your real accomplishment? (Tangible stuff)
You started your own business. You helped navigate a company through a rough year. Whatever you have achieved or delivered, and that made you feel great about your profession and your work – share a little of that awesome feeling. But please, refrain from “I won an award for best employee”. It’s very 80’s. If you did win a significant award, be specific about what it was for – surely not just ‘employee of the month’.
When you make your greatest professional accomplishment clear, it sends a message that you can work through challenges and that you want to achieve.
# 7 Do you know your tools? (Including current and new ones)
So you’re a web designer? Yeah! The recruiter checks through the resume and online profiles to see the tools and programs you know and work with… and doesn’t find anything. Enough said. There’s no proof. Next… oh and please stop mentioning software from the 80s and 90s unless you are servicing the hardware at some old dying business in woop woop. Your profile should include the tools, programs and systems you know. It only improves your chances.
# 8 What do you really care about?
Your resume and your professional and social profiles are an emotional investment. You have to convey your passions through words and pictures to someone who has never met you before. It’s time consuming and takes effort to make your profile appealing. If you need help, hire a professional. If you care about your work in real life, chances are it will show on your resume and social profiles.
Finally, and I know I just used it, avoid the word PASSION unless you are truly a Change Maker and if you are a prolific review writer on social media or otherwise, watch your language , what you claim and your temper. What you post online stays there forever and could be the one thing that makes or breaks your career opportunities.
Get on it – check your story – review how your present your skills, experience, knowledge, and the communication and proof of your work and other achievements you present on and offline – and you will find the right job that suits you. Just remember to hunt wisely!