In part 1 of this series, I spoke about things you can do to prepare for your job search. After you have followed those, especially the coffee chats, you would hopefully not need a resume or a resume would be just a formality. But job search is daunting and you do end up taking an all-out approach. So a good/updated resume will still be useful. And so would be an updated LinkedIn profile. A majority of the recruiters today look at your LinkedIn profile to assess what your network says about you. If you have an outdated resume or an old profile on LinkedIn, it speaks volumes about how invested (or rather un-invested) you are in your own career.
During my job search last year, I spoke to professional recruiters and career coaches about what they like to see in a resume and in a LinkedIn profile. While the content is similar in a resume or in a LinkedIn profile, there are some key principles that a career transition coach helped me understand. I wanted to share what I learned here in the hopes that these help you as well.
Few common principles apply to both resume writing and LinkedIn.
- Be concise and clear – use simple, easy to understand language, and not long winded sentences. An average recruiter spends 6 seconds per resume. If it is too complicated, they will move to the next one. So KISS it (keep it simple silly).
- Less is more – you don’t have to include every task/project you did in every single job you ever had. Keep the most relevant ones where you had tremendous success. Similarly on LinkedIn, while you can include all jobs you did, don’t include too much detail about each job. Max 2-3 bullet points per job, but most impactful ones.
- Grammar, spell check, formatting – As obvious as it may seem, there are still an unbelievable number of people who don’t check their grammar or spell check or fix the formatting. These are basics, don’t distract your reader with these rookie mistakes, they would very quickly move to the next resume if they any of these.
- Use the STAR technique to write (and tell your story ) – This is a very effective technique to tell your story, oral or written. Star stands for situation, task, action and result. Use this technique in every bullet point you include in your resume (and preferably bullet points, not sentences)
- DO NOT LIE or MAKE UP STUFF- Last but the most important – please do not make up stuff or lie on your resume. Sooner or later you will get caught and it ruins your credibility.
Now for some specific tips.
- Title and opening paragraph– The title could be a combination of what position you currently have and what you are looking for. The paragraph right after is your elevator pitch, in writing. It talks to what makes you qualified to put that title in. This is also the section you “tailor” and add relevant skills from your experience for every job that you apply to! Yes, tailor for every job you apply for!
- Job descriptions – Put your jobs in reverse chronological order. Add only those details in the description that create most impact and support your title. Remember the STAR technique!
- Education – This is straight forward, but do include any certificates or achievements you have
- Professional Development – This is certainly more important these days. Please don’t just include Microsoft Office. While that is a good skill, Take some training or complete certifications especially in the fields you are working in or looking to work in
- Eminence Activities: Believe it or not, a lot of companies are interested in how well rounded you are, what have you published and how well known you are in the industry.
This is a place where potential recruiters want to see not only how good you are, but how well-known you are and what are people saying about you. So in addition to adding to your LinkedIn profile, work on getting recommendations and writing articles on LinkedIn. Few additional things to keep in mind:
- Get a great photo – This is very important for people to relate to you. Get a professional photo, not a cut-out from a party where you were looking great
- Get a Custom URL – This looks super professional and makes a good impression. Shows recruiters that you are invested in your career. Here is how you can get it – on the Edit Profile screen, at the bottom of the window that shows your basic information, you will see a Public Profile URL. Click “Edit” next to the URL, and specify what you would like your address to be, click Set Custom URL when done.
- Headline – Much like in the resume, this needs to grab attention, and can be a combination of what skills you have and where you would like to be
- Get Personal – In the headline and the following paragraph, unlike your resume, you can get personal and informal. This is where you can experiment with how you would like your story to be told
- Recommendations – Write as well as request recommendations. Writing recommendations shows that you invest in people and receiving recommendations establish your credibility and brand
This is a lot to digest, so if you want to talk about any aspect of this, please comment and we can set up some 1:1 time to connect. Job search can be very daunting and having someone to help you and talk through with you during the process, is amazing!
Good luck and keep us posted if any of these strategies helped you!