Update Your Resume: 6 Tips for Traditional and Modern Styles

This was originally posted on LinkedIn, accessible at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/update-your-resume-6-tips-traditional-modern-styles-erica-tew-cprw

Everyone needs a resume. It isn’t only for those searching for work. This document can launch your career, market your experience, open up networking opportunities, and land you interviews for your next move. If you’re dealing with conflicting advice or are unsure where to start, I have some suggestions for you.

So what is a resume?

A resume is a combination of your skills, results, work experience, and education. Consider it a brief snapshot or advertisement about you, developed for a specific audience.

If your resume is a generic list of your past jobs and daily responsibilities, then it is time to update. This resume style may have worked well enough in the past, but if you want to reach out to new people, build your network or develop leads, then your resume will need a targeted focus.

laptop notebook camera

(image via DeathToStockPhoto)

Your development strategy should reflect your audience.

Identify the purpose of your resume: Who do you want to see it? What do you want to showcase? Where do you want to grab their attention? Think of your audience as you write your content and remove anything that does not speak to them. This extraneous information can waste space. For example, if you are changing careers, explain your career history in a way that relates your skills and abilities to the new position. Focus on transferable skills and accomplishments of your past roles.

Create media that would impress your audience. This doesn’t have to be developed for printed paper either: think larger. You could create a website (about.me is a great free resource for developing your own biographical page), develop an infographic (canva.com has low-cost or free resources to make effective visuals), film a marketing video (use YouTube, Vimeo, or Vine for free!) there is such a wide variety of ways in which you can express yourself and share information.

Get Social

If you are active on social media, share that on your resume. Provide URL links and cross-link from one account to another to allow your audience to connect with you on their preferred platform. You can even promote your resume, be it paper, infographic, or video, across those social links to gain a wider audience.

Some social accounts are used distinctly for marketing yourself as a job seeker. For example, Pinterest can be a resource to those in visual fields. You can share your resume, showcase your work, and follow companies. For a job search related Pinterest, take a look at the Connecticut Career Guidance Pinterest here.

Writing Tips

  1. Avoid “shortcuts.” When it comes to paper resumes, never use a generic template. Why not? Because most of them have a large amount of white space and put all of your information into tables. This makes updating the resume down the line an arduous process (where I normally will just eliminate all formatting until I have plain text outside of tables). Further, this type of resume may have difficulty being “read” for scanning in an online application.

(image via Flickr )

2. Stay focused. Although you may feel a need to explain all the details of each job and why you left, save that for the interview. Keep cutting and editing information until you can get to the root of the matter in a few sentences. A few key ways to do this are to eliminate sentences that don’t start with an action. Cut out references to “Responsible for…” and keep in mind you want to describe the past job. Think of what you did every day in the form of an action (Ex. Resolved customer concerns at call center), not a list of semi-related skills, such as, “customer service, phones…”

3. Make it readable. Now that you have developed your content, find a way to make it easy for someone to quickly scan it. Make use of bullet points or use lines to separate sections. Use bold or italics or small caps to draw your eye in to key sections. For contrast, what you want to avoid is a document that looks like a wall of text. Break it up so it is easier to digest.

 If you’re creating a video or infographic, remember less is more. For an infographic, use minimalist shapes and lines to lead the eye across the image as you tell your career story. Overwhelming the image with graphics and icons can be too distracting.

For videos, make sure you have a quality camera with good lighting and audio pickup. Definitely work with a friend to film yourself: rarely do self-made videos from a laptop camera look professional. There are plenty of software programs where you can edit scenes or delete bad takes. Use minimal graphics to emphasize key words or points throughout. For each scene, stick with the rule of 3: you don’t want to have more than 3 bullets during a scene. More than 3 bullets in a presentation or video can make information hard to retain.

4. Create your own sections. Feeling locked in by the traditional standards? “Objective,” “Work History” and “Education” are not the end-all of resume sections. Some writers call these sections “functional headers,” which allow you to break up your resume content in a way you see fit. If you want to emphasize technical skills, career accomplishments, or volunteer experience, create your own sections and expand on the areas. This can be a great way of getting to your matching job requirements or displaying your experience across the years in one cohesive section.

(via printwand.com)

5. Don’t repeat. For example, if you create a “Career Accomplishments” section, do not copy and paste the same accomplishment and then list it again under the appropriate job in your “Work History.” Find a way to reword it and keep it brief. Choose one section to expand on this accomplishment and leave it there.

6. Proofread. Then have someone outside your field review it. Are you speaking in a lot of jargon? Try to make it understandable in case there are initial gatekeepers reviewing the material first. And of course, please do your best to avoid spelling or grammatical mistakes. Keep an eye out for formatting inconsistencies.

Most importantly: Don’t fret over “rules.”

Everyone has an opinion on resume writing, but you will develop the document or media you feel most comfortable sharing. When people use words like, “Always” or “Never,” take their advice with a grain of salt. There are no set rules in this project- only to create media that impresses your audience and furthers your goal. That goal may be an interview, a new client, or a new connection. Keep the media or document alive and change it every now and again to see what gains you the best results.

What strategies do you use when updating your resume? Let me know in the comments below. Our American Job Centers offer free resume writing resources, critiques, and workshops. Check out our Connecticut locations here.

Not the same: LinkedIn vs. Resume Summary

Every job seeker needs a strong resume, and more job seekers are getting onto LinkedIn. You can use your resume to begin building your LinkedIn profile, but the two are very different. I am going to break down the differences between these two sections and show you ways to promote yourself on both.

 

WHAT IS A RESUME?

Marketing document used to highlight your background and match you for a target job.

 

WHAT IS A LINKEDIN PROFILE?

Online profile used to market your experience and goals to connect with like-minded professionals and expand your network.

 

GOAL

They both share a similar goal, with a few minor differences. The goal is to provide a “big picture” view of your experience, achievements, skills, and expertise.

WRITING STYLE

RESUME

  • Business/professional writing that uses an understood “I” and starts with adjectives or verbs. (Sometimes even written in third-person… the horror!)

LINKEDIN

  • Professional, but natural writing. Write your profile similar to how you would introduce yourself to someone.

  

AUDIENCE

RESUME

  • Provides the “big picture” of your skills and experience, typically customized and sent to one targeted employer.

LINKEDIN

  • Explain the “big picture” of who you are, who you would seek to connect with – a general overview that is available to fellow professionals, recruiters, and employers to view.

FORMAT

RESUME

  • Can lead into Core Skills or Career Highlights sections.
  • Option to add images or graphics limited by venue (online job applications, email, printing).

LINKEDIN

  • Can use functional headers within Summary to highlight achievements or skills, but avoid duplication in sections on LinkedIn such as Skills or Experience.
  • Ability to add rich media (links to work, news, slideshare, PDFs, images, etc.) open to user.

OVERALL

The resume and LinkedIn profile will be readjusted throughout your career. Both are living documents that change as you gain experience and knowledge. Although the resume is still widely viewed as a traditional document, use the writing style and language you feel best represents you. LinkedIn offers the flexibility to show a little more into your personality: make the best of it. As long as you are getting results (interviews, connection requests, page views, call backs, etc.) then you edit these sections as you see fit.

Now since these sections may be hard to visualize- below I have captured some samples created by myself and my team here within the American Job Center network. Contrast the traditional, formal style of the resume summary with the more conversational tone of the LinkedIn sections.  I hope you find the samples helpful!

RESUME Samples:

1 2 3

LINKEDIN Samples:

4 5 6

Our Current #LaborMarket: Where do we stand?

By George Bernocco

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I figured I would not only do an update, but rather update us all on our current labor market. Questions still remain as we have transitioned out of the recession. Are there jobs and where are they? Let’s take a quick glance as 2014 begins to close out.

Unemployment Rate is down

The numbers show that, as of September 2014, unemployment rate is at 5.9% for the national rate (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm). Just so you can see the decline of the rate:

September 2011 = 9.0%

September 2012 = 7.8%

September 2013 = 7.2%

September 2014 = 5.9%

(http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/unemprateCTUS.asp)

The number suggests that the labor market is getting better nationally. Now for Connecticut, the numbers are as follows:

August 2011 = 8.9%

August 2012 = 8.5%

August 2013 = 7.8%

August 2014 = 6.6%

Although the numbers show a decline, the unemployment rate in Connecticut is still above the national number.

images

Want vs Need

As the layoffs hit during the recession, no one envisioned it might take a long time for them to return to work. As a result, employment gaps among the unemployed population became the biggest concern of an “employer” market. As employers were much more selective in determining their candidates during the recession, more and more people became “discouraged” unemployed. This process occurred over about six years, where unemployment extensions came and went.

And then, everything started to get better. Numbers started to fall back below pre-recession rated. Jobs started to come around. The result was people taking jobs they needed rather than wanted, as support benefits at state and federal levels were not enough for not long enough. Jobseekers, unable to get into the field they wanted for so long during the recession, began picking up employment opportunities as they were offered to them.

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“College Graduate working as wait staff”

The labor market has changed since before recession levels. Jobs are not quite up to where they were before the recession hit, especially when we talk industry specific. If we looked at hospitality and restaurant workers, there is practically a job out there for every single job seeker. These are jobs that some, not all, would be willing to take, or have obtained in the wake of the great recession. However, these employees may have never left “job seeker” status.

The job seeker today, which may be you reading this article, might be employed. Might be at a job they don’t see a future at. The job may have been something to pay the bills, and had little or nothing to do with the career you have in mind. The job may be part time. The job might be in your career field but pays significantly less than what you made before or what you were expecting. You might be a recent Computer Engineer college graduate working as a waiter. As a result, the job seeker is looking to get back on that path towards their career as they receive a pay check from their job.

employer_sponsorship

Employer Market vs Job Seeker Market

What has been predominantly an employer market is in the process of changing towards job seeker market. As the jobs begin opening up across career fields, job seekers (whether employed or not) will be more in control. Employers will still be selective of who they want, but may have to go out and find their candidate. Employers will have to create more incentives (Pay amount, vacation, bonuses, perks, etc) to hire people, and job seekers will have more of a choice of where and who they want to work for.

The process of transition from employer market to job seeker market has already begun. Which is why as a job seeker it is important to let the employers know that, even if you are employed, you are interested in a career with them. Making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are out on the internet is crucial right now. Employers might be contacting you without you even having applied to them. This is a stark contrast from the recession era, where one would apply for a job over the internet and may never hear from the employer.

In conclusion, the job market is improving. The average job seeker varies from the job seeker of four years ago. Make yourself marketable now so that employers can find you and reach out to you for a career. When we talk about this recession, not only can we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can begin to feel some of the warmth the light provides.

How to use the #Top10 #SocialMedia sites to help you find a job.

By George Bernocco, CPRW

 

woman-on-computer-small

When looking for work on the internet, a lot of the same sites come up. LinkedIn, for example, is one site people tie social networking with job search. Facebook, however, is more tied to losing jobs. My argument in this post is that you can use any and all social media sites to help you find a job. In this article, I will break down the pros and cons for all the major social media sites to help you get a job (or even keep a job). Lastly, I also will discuss showing personality on your social media profiles.

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DISCLAIMER BEFORE WE GET STARTED: I contemplated adding this section to every single cons section below, but I figure I’d rather not repeat it over and over again:

 

spider-man-with-great-power

 

All these sites are powerful ways to connect, but you always have to be aware of what you post. Images, videos, tweets, status updates or personal information can be shared with everyone. With that, job offers can be retracted, you can be terminated from a job and some people have even faced legal consequences for what they’ve said on these sites.

 

Yes, these sites all have privacy settings that sometimes are difficult to navigate and correctly manage. Your best bet is to just be aware of what you say and do on the internet, and remember that the delete button doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone for good. Internet sites keep records (caches) of themselves which may have something you thought you deleted. Also with online websites there is always the potential of scams. Always be aware of anyone asking for your personal information over the internet.

 

  1. LinkedIn ( www.LinkedIn.com )

LinkedIn

Pros: LinkedIn a website that comes up on our blog a lot. More and more employers, job seekers, network contacts are joining this social networking website. Whether you want to connect with former employees, follow your favorite company, apply for jobs, build your interactive resume (profile) or join groups related to what you do, this website is for you. By creating a profile, you’ve notified employers that you have computer skills beyond e-mail and that you have social networking skills, something that has been building and building since the internet began. A lot of jobs allow you to fill out their online application using your LinkedIn profile to show you how advanced and almost required it has become. This website is also great to network! (surprise surprise for a social networking site). Get in contact with people to help you find a job, including career advice people such as myself.

 

Cons: LinkedIn doesn’t have many cons, and it has changed vastly throughout the years. LinkedIn does expect you to know what career you want (what industry you’re in) and does not allow you to select multiple categories. It is strongly advised that you know where you want to go career-wise and build your profile based upon that.

 

  1. Twitter ( www.Twitter.com )

Twitter

Pros: Hello Tweeters! Twitter has to be one of the most explosively popular sites out there because of the relatively short period of time it’s been around (since 2006). And with that popularity comes people to network and companies to follow. A lot of companies have accounts on Twitter and sometimes they may even have a separate account just to tweet jobs to followers. Twitter is a public forum, which even allows you to directly talk to company’s (or at least the person/people managing their social networking account). You can also question or comment to career experts for advice to help you with your job search. Bottom line is that Twitter can help promote your product and brand to make you stand out and be found by employers.

 

Cons: Twitter is a great site but there are some setbacks that can hinder your job search. The only thing someone needs to create an account is an e-mail address. Because of this, false accounts (sometimes called troll accounts) are created. Some accounts are verified (usually happens with celebrities or major corporations) and you’ll see a blue check mark that shows someone verified that this account is tied to who or what they represent. Other than that it may be difficult to determine if a person and/or a job posting are real (same problem with craigslist jobs).

 

  1. Facebook ( www.Facebook.com )

Facebook

Pros: The most popular networking site has a bad reputation when it comes to jobs. Facebook has tons of potential connections on one site to network with. This can help you easily find a job if you use it correctly. After all, networking has been the best way to find a job even before computers existed. Websites like Facebook let you connect with people, maybe former coworkers or friends of friends, to see if they know of any job postings, help with cover letters/resumes, or creating/joining career-related groups. Posting information related to your career can help you stand out amongst your friends and they can assist you with finding a job. Also a lot of companies have Facebook pages which you can follow and interact with them to assist you in job search.

 

Cons: Its worthwhile mentioning the disclaimer from above again because of the bad reputation Facebook has received regarding people LOSING a job offer or a job because of Facebook. Be careful of what you post and what other people post about you. Be careful who you’re friends with and who can see your profile. Even simple things like your birthday can possibly alter you opportunities for a job. It’s worthwhile digging into your privacy settings on a regular basis. Remember that no employer wants to see that embarrassing Christmas photo from last year.

 

  1. Pinterest ( www.Pinterest.com )

Pinterest

Pros: A visually stimulating site, Pinterest comes to mind for a lot of artists and visually creative fields. With this site, it can be geared towards job search and developing your brand. By managing images (and videos) related to your field, you can network with other people and use your Board to demonstrate knowledge of your field or create a portfolio for employers to review your work. An example for me, as a resume writer, would be to save images of resumes I’ve assisted with (minus the contact information, etc) to demonstrate my work as a living Portfolio.

 

Cons: Pinterest may not apply to everyone’s field because it relies heavily on visual media, and this problem can come up with a few other social media sites (i.e. Instagram, Vine). Employers do like someone who is creative so if you can manage to use this site to your advantage you would really stand out.

 

  1. Google+ ( www.GooglePlus.com )

Google+

Pros: Google+ can be mentioned in the same context as Facebook when we are talking about job search. Although only having less than a quarter as many users as Facebook, you can connect with people you’ve worked with, as well as others, to assist you finding a job. Google+ has your “circles” which you can create an organized group of network contacts. Circles allow you to share content to only specific groups of people, which helps maintain your privacy. Also you can follow companies and join communities related to your field allowing you to network with other people. Google+ lets you connect by adding someone to a circle of choice, without the person necessarily having to reciprocate the offer (this is more like Twitter than Facebook). Google+ also allows for free video conferencing in their “Hangouts” section which can be useful to practice teleconference interviews and share documents with people and employers.

 

Cons: Google+ has a following of people who use it and it is listed as the second largest social networking site after Facebook. However there are reports that people who are subscribed to it do not use it as often which may be difficult to use for networking. There are some career pages for companies on Google+, but not as many as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. However, Google+ is becoming a strong contender amongst social networks, and a job seeker should keep an eye out at how it can help you find a career.

 

  1. YouTube ( www.YouTube.com )

YouTube

Pros: A video sharing site, YouTube lets you upload videos to their site for others to view. Besides being in the artistic fields such as being a Director, YouTube can help you obtain a job by means of informational videos from job services professionals, or recording a “video resume” for employers to see. Employers also have accounts on YouTube which allows you to connect with them. You can also use videos on YouTube to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities about a subject related to your field to build your portfolio. You can conduct seminars and informational videos to share with employers and your network. You can also do research about company’s and job hiring.

 

Cons: YouTube has a wealth of information and comes from a variety of different sources. You may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of videos there are. People use YouTube for fun as well as seriously. You may have to sort out the videos you don’t need to find the ones you do.

 

  1. Tumblr ( www.Tumblr.com )

  2. Blogger ( www.Blogger.com )

  3. WordPress.com ( www.WordPress.com )

    Tumblr  Blogger  WordPress

    Pros: I incorporated some of the top blogging sites together to express how great blogging can be. Most people know of blogging as a diary or a journal of sorts. As you are reading this on a blog, you can see how it can be used to help you find a career. Not only can you find career advice, but you can develop and create your brand with your own blog. By demonstrating knowledge of your career through a blog, you can show employers that you are active. It also showcases your writing ability which is very important for any career that requires you to write regularly. By following blogs related to your field you can also network, comment and communicate with others in your field to help land you a job.

     

    Cons: Having a website that allows you to speak your mind can be dangerous. While reminding you of the disclaimer above, by having a blog you may get users commenting on your blog with unwanted remarks. Also, scammers and “troll accounts” can advertise their products on your page. You may have to restrict privacy settings and require approval before someone posts something on your page.

     

  4. Instagram ( www.Instagram.com )

Instagram

Pros: A visual social networking tool, Instagram can be used just like Pinterest as a visual portfolio to show off your creativity and work. I would say that Instagram would truly benefit those who work is really based upon visual art because it also adds the means of filters and image alteration. Instagram really demonstrates your ability for photography. Companies do have accounts on Instagram (i.e. Starbucks, IBM, Disney) so you can follow them and communicate with them. Having an Instagram account geared towards employment would have images related to your work to help build your online brand.

 

Cons: I debated about adding Instagram to this list because it really is based entirely upon photos and videos….but it has sharply increased in popularity. Major companies do have accounts on there just to keep up with social media trends and to market their products to users. Instagram really was designed to have fun with photos (and videos), so you’d have to be creative to think of ways it may help you land a job.

 

As you can see you can use your profile accounts for these sites to help land you a job. It is ok to demonstrate in your profiles for these websites your personality. For example, if on your Pinterest board you have ideas for decorations for your house don’t feel the need to delete it just because you want your board to be more professionally oriented. Same goes if you are a sports fan and you use Twitter to talk about games. If you’d rather not use your Facebook account (or any of the other accounts listed above) towards obtaining employment, just make sure you adjust your privacy settings.

Old School vs New School #GenerationCompany: 5 Tips to get #Hired

By George Bernocco, CPRW

old fashionednew

One of the most important steps to getting your ideal career with your ideal company is research. Understanding the company will give you an advantage during the hiring process. But we must also look at a company’s hiring process on the whole. Is the company up to date with technology? Are they still trying to catch up? Do they rely on “standard” methods of communication? Does the position you are applying for require you to assist with the transition into newer technology?

Although some of these questions I’ve posed require “insider” knowledge, others can be deduced by you noticing the company’s and it’s employee’s behavior. Also being very aware of what the job posting is requiring from you, especially computer skills may help you get a better idea about where the company is in today’s technological age. Gaining insider knowledge involves listening to any current or former employee’s perspective about their work can also give you clues into the company’s culture.

We are at a stage where more and more careers require some method of computer interaction. However, some companies are still trying to advance themselves into the technological age. Recognizing where a company you wish to work for stands on the spectrum of technologically advancement will give you insight into the job laid before you.

Here are some basic tips to give you an advantage with your job search:

  1. You’ve Got Mail

mail

More and more companies are cutting down on the length of time for the application process. If a company is asking you to submit your application over regular mail, it should immediately notify you that they are not up to date with technology. Also, I would even go as far as to say that because everything is done over mail, the pace of the company is much slower. Asking for your application information over e-mail tells you they are more advanced. In this case, I would recommend sending a “thank you” e-mail after the interview. If you sent a “thank you” e-mail to a company who required everything over fax or postal mail, they might view it negatively.

  1. What’s Up, Doc?

Doc

Understand your file types! When applying for a job on the internet, the website or e-mail instructions may require you to upload a file for your resume or application package. Depending on what they ask for can give you a hint to how advanced they are. For example, asking for a .DOCX file format can tell you they expect you to know Microsoft Word 2007 or later. Asking for a .PDF may require you to have understanding of Adobe Reader and conversion of your resume into that format. Asking for a .DOC or .RTF would signify to me they are not as advanced when it comes to Microsoft Office.

  1. Socialite

social

Any mere mention of social networking sites during the application process should give you a big clue that the company is more advanced. Most likely you might see a way to use LinkedIn to apply for the job on their website (a feature becoming more and more popular). Also, if the company has social networking profiles gives you an idea about where they are on the technology spectrum. Some companies, particularly large companies, will have multiple profiles on a website like Twitter (some geared specifically towards their career openings). Knowing that a company consistently utilizes social networking should get you bonus points when you are asked during the interview: “What do you know about our company?” Getting yourself involved in social networking sites can also assist you with standing out. On the other hand, knowing about this information for a company who is behind can produce a selling point on your behalf. Let the company know you are more than willing to assist in the transition to the technology age.

  1. Have You Heard?

newspaper

How you heard the job and where you found it will provide basic clues to the company. An extreme example would be finding a job in the newspaper versus finding a job on LinkedIn. If the job was in the paper, I might stick to more traditional ways of applying. For example, mailing in my resume (or dropping it off in person) and calling for an interview.

  1. Show Off

webcam

Communicating with the company through the computer may mean interviewing through the computer as well. Teleconferencing gives you a big indication of the company’s stance on technology. Some companies may require you to travel long distances (flight and all) for an interview, as opposed to conferencing over the internet. Having the capability to teleconference and understanding how to use Skype and other teleconference services would be an advantage for you. Fumbling around with your computer during a teleconference interview because you can’t get the audio to work would work against you.

A company is an intricate and complex organization which relies on procedures to function. Companies that fall behind in technology will see themselves struggle to stay afloat. Knowing where a company is technologically will be a great advantage to you in the hiring process. Make sure you are up to date with current technology. Some companies will be hiring to help transition themselves into the technological age. Make sure that is a topic you cover during the interview to really make you stand out.

Re-Boot Your #OnlinePresence

Every new graduate should see the value in maintaining a solid, professional online presence.  Hiring managers and recruiters could be searching for you online at any point in the job search process. Are they seeing digital gold or digital dirt? Your online presence can validate your candidacy and effectively market you to stand out against the competition.

 

  1. Google Yourself

 

Take control of your online reputation. Try Googling yourself to see if you have any digital dirt in cyberspace. Growing up with the internet means you’ve been going online long before you thought about your career. Information about you (good or bad) may still exist in the form of online journals, games, forums or personal websites.

 

  1. Create Profiles on Social and Professional Networks

 

It’s time to re-boot your online presence. Develop new content on social networking sites, blogs, or personal pages to market yourself and your value as a candidate. To show up on the first page of search results, join sites that have a high Google ranking like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Use social media to your advantage: remove any content under your control that is no longer relevant.

 

  1. Complete Your Profiles

 

So you’re on LinkedIn and Twitter. The only way they will help you stand out is if you complete your profiles. Many sites have step-by-step instructions for completing profiles on these networks. These sites are an opportunity to market yourself and complement your resume. They will only be worthwhile if they contain information that isn’t simply a copy and paste of your resume. LinkedIn can showcase your recommendations, endorsements, previous work history, awards, or skills that you didn’t have the opportunity to discuss in the interview.

 

Not completing your profile or leaving sections blank may not hurt your job search, but it is a missed opportunity that most cannot afford in this competitive market.

 

  1. 3 P’s: Public, Professional, and Presentable

 

Employers want to learn more about you and see if the person they interviewed is the same out of the office. If you prefer to keep your profile private, just remember that everything online has the potential to go public. A friend can retweet you from your private Twitter, you can be tagged in posts on Facebook, and friends can take screenshots on any app or platform.

 

Nothing online is ever truly private, so be proactive. Try finding a way to refine your regular use of social media.  Improve your chances of securing a second interview or job offer by showing hiring managers you present yourself professionally.

 

Some employers look up candidates to determine cultural fit.  Sharing your love of hiking may work in your favor, but your political views may be another story. Make sure any questionable content is removed. Leave any groups or unlike any pages that stir controversy or could be seen as a red flag to an employer.

 

And Remember…

 

Taking extra steps to ensure you market yourself effectively will make you stand out from the competition. Don’t overlook these details – start managing your online reputation today!

#JobSearch: You are the #Brand; Your Skills are the #Product

By George Bernocco, CPRW

Brand-Story

If you’ve ever tried to sell something to prospective buyers before, you may understand the concept of marketing. Trying to match what the buyers are looking for with the goods you have to offer. When you create a “Brand”, you are not only trying to match the buyer’s needs but you are trying to distinguish yourself and your merchandise from other vendors/products out there. Making your product stand out from the rest sells your product and thus creates a brand.

When we apply the concepts of marketing and creating a brand to job search, not much has changed. The product you are trying to sell is your skills. To create your brand essentially means that you get your brand name out into the market so that it can be found by interested parties. Word of mouth is a very popular marketing tool, which is why job search networking is crucial. The idea behind having a strong network is to have network contacts recommending your brand name product (your skills) to a prospective buyer (employer). By having more and more people discussing your product, your brand name has begun to develop a “presence”. By having a presence, you’ve become recognizable, memorable, relatable and authentic.

Let’s step back to think about some of the day to day items we purchase. There are some brands I prefer over others, and it depends upon my experiences with these brands. Commercials we see on television, or even before a YouTube video, are all about trying to make a company’s product real to you. When you are applying for work, you are on the business end of trying to make yourself real to a company. Interviews can be viewed as a live-action commercial, or “infomercial”, to the employer. Some commercials are more interesting and relatable than others, which is why we don’t buy everything that we see on TV.

So we’ve established network contacts that will also provide “word of mouth” recommendations about you. Now what is the next step to getting our brand out there? We can follow the business model of how companies get their name out there. Business cards, for example, sell a company’s product easily because they can be passed on to interested parties who have a reminder of their services. They are small little reminders about services and goods that are portable and easy to carry. Networking cards are identical to business cards and with the only difference being that you are the brand and your skills are the products being offered.

To take your brand development to the next level, technology has the potential to move your brand name through the world. Much like commercials have expanded from billboard ads to radio to television and now online videos, we must get our brand out there and up to date with current trends. The internet is an exceptional tool for you to utilize to get your name recognizable. As soon as you created any sort of profile that is visible to anyone else on the internet, you’ve started what we call a “digital presence”. Facebook, LinkedIn, a personal blog, Twitter, and much more can be all tied to your digital presence. You should select each social networking site carefully with the goal of controlling your digital presence. How you market yourself on these websites is imperative to your brand name. An employer wouldn’t hire an potential employee who has images of them doing drugs on Facebook much like you wouldn’t buy a car that catches fire in their commercial, nor would you probably trust the car-maker brand name. To sell your product, you must protect and maintain an “image” for your brand. In regards to your job search, your image should be professional, interesting and relevant.

Be aware of what may hurt your image when it comes to your digital presence. Much like a bad review at a restaurant can hurt its business; a negative search with your name can hurt your chances of getting a job. Your brand must be solid and dependable, which will reflect your product (the work you do).

Being a member of organizations and being published in relation to the work you do also assist with developing your brand. If your name is out there where employers can trace your work, you have successfully developed something that the potential employers can identify with. Just be aware that other information outside of your field could help or hurt. It is important to know what is out there regarding your product.

When you create your own brand and market your abilities as your product, you are answering the employer’s question: “Why should I hire you over the other candidates?” Identifying your strengths as brand name recognition will put you ahead of the candidates. In the end, the employer will select a brand (candidate) that is most in line with their goals and fits well with their corporate environment.