Job-Seeking Step 3: Crafting Your Image

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Step 2: Setting Your Goals

If you’re changing industries

  • Be aware of the differences between the industries
    • Culture and norms
    • Values and concepts
    • Types of personalities you will encounter
  • Have a quick response to delineate between your old and new industry

Resume crafting

  • Before you start
    • Make a gigantic list of every one of the skills you have, even the ones that aren’t relevant
      • Specify which of these skills you are good at and love doing
      • Think about the environments that most foster those skills
    • Look at current job titles in the industry you’re looking at
      • Search job boards and write down any that interest you
      • Make a list of the concrete skills each job title requires
        • Think of how your seemingly unrelated skills can help you look better on a resume
  • A resume is a living document, and therefore should adapt and change across your life’s career
  • It can be more than one page, but should correspond with how much work experience you have
    • The number one skill in business writing, which includes the resume, is to be concise and intentional with your thoughts
    • Your resume is a creative work that is meant to show your education, accomplishments, skills and goals
      • A resume is meant to “frame” you professional career, similar to a photograph
        • You need to ask what they will think when they look at the “picture” of your career
        • More accurately, the resume is telling an unfinished story that the hiring manager wants to fill in with hiring you
      • Bring your personality into the resume
        • Use templates as inspiration, not as the standard
        • How you choose to say what you say reflects a lot about yourself
      • Recruiters look at resumes all day long, so you should make it more fun if your industry is open to it
      • You can break apart the resume chronologically, functionally or in any way that the reader will understand
    • Find ways throughout the resume to set yourself apart in a tasteful way
    • A good approximate resume length is about 600 to 700 words
      • Too much detail will turn off any potential employer
      • Don’t make it so short that there’s a lot of white space
      • Don’t make it so long that it is confusing or unclear about your focus
  • Each resume is a customized marketing tool tailored to an employer for them to call you for an interview
    • Employers are not looking for an interesting person, they are looking for someone to fill a job by asking specific questions
      • How effectively and efficiently did you do your job duties?
      • What was the outcome of you doing your job duties?
      • What benefit did you bring your past employer while you worked for them?
      • In short: Why should I hire you over anyone else?
    • It may be helpful to create a “boilerplate” resume to adjust to what you will need
      • If the job you’re applying for requires a particular skill, then make sure you know that skill and then include it in your resume
      • Make it obvious that you know what the job you are applying for entails, and be specific about what you can do specifically for them
    • Most resumes are rejected within 20 seconds
      • Usually employers skim the following within those 20 seconds
        1. If the person is a new graduate
          • School accomplishments
          • Amount of time in unrelated work experience and volunteer activities
        2. Most recent job role
          • What their status is any why they’re interested in a new role
          • If their most recent experience pertains to the employer’s needs
        3. Company recognition
          • The reputation of that company’s corporate culture
          • Assumptions about the candidate based on the company
        4. Overall experience
          • Trends of improvement or stagnation
          • The look and feel of the person’s career trajectory
        5. Keyword search
          • Looks for specific words using the software’s word-finding feature
          • Specific words directly tied to the job
        6. Gaps of time
          • Must have a sufficient explanation
          • An absence of an explanation allows people to assume the worst
        7. Personal online footprint
          • If there is a web link in the resume, they will use it
        8. General logistics
          • Location, eligibility to work in the country
          • Mostly to figure out their story instead of “weeding them out”
        9. Overall organization
          • Spelling, grammar, ease of use
      • There are some things that are commonly overlooked
        • Education
          • This varies heavily by industry and company
          • Sometimes they will look at the degree (BS, MBA, etc.) but they’re more looking for skill than formalized education
        • Fancy formatting
          • Though it can be enjoyable to go through, a well-formatted resume will not make up for a lack of experience
        • Specific personal details
          • Nobody cares about family status, weight, height or citizenship
          • Photographs don’t matter for much
          • In the USA, it can make employers feel uncomfortable out of fear of discriminating
      • Be concise and direct and make every single word count, which may mean using a thesaurus
      • Try not to use a word processor template, since most recruiters have all seen them
  • The entire purpose of a resume is shameless self-promotion to land an interview
    • Though you may want to share your full career story, that can come during the interview
      • Many times it’s more about what you don’t say than what you say
      • Don’t include any irrelevant information, but only what is necessary for the viewer to read
      • By writing a resume like you’re talking, it can draw the hiring manager in and intrigue them
        • This should be tailored to each employer as well
    • Modesty never pays when creating a resume
      • You’re effectively competing against everyone who wants the job
      • It’s expected that people lie on their resume, so positively spun truth will take you much farther
        • By lying, you risk damaging your reputation in the long run
  • Fill the resume up with keywords for skills and terms in your target industry
    • If there are specifically used words for what you are applying for, avoid general words
      • e.g. don’t put “MS Office” when the requirement states “knowledge of Word, Excel, etc.”
    • Avoid overused words and phrases, vague words and words that imply inexperience or inability
      • Aggressive
      • Detail-oriented
      • Develop
      • Experience working in…
      • First
      • Flexible
      • Goal-oriented
      • Hard-working
      • Myself/me/I
      • Need
      • Proactive
      • Problem-solving skills
      • Professional
      • Reliable
      • Responsible for…
      • Team player
  • Throughout the resume, label the titles differently than the standard “Objective”, “Work History”, etc.
  • Personal profile
    • This is the first thing the employer sees, so it needs to be neat and tidy
    • Name and contact information
      • Include a website or social network handle if it represents what you want to show
      • If you’re moving or applying far away, use a local address and local phone number
    • Make the first 1/3 of the resume about expressing key strengths in an attractive and easy format
      • The rest of the resume is meant to echo these strengths, a bit like an essay
    • Many people state an objective that says what you want, but it’s better to put a statement or profile that demonstrates with facts from your background how you can benefit the company
      • Don’t use florid writing; be direct as possible
  • Work history
    • Do not exaggerate your titles and responsibilities, since the truth will come out
    • The work history should tell an unfinished story that supports the objective and skills by using common themes
      • Use action verbs to tell the story
        • Communication
          • addressed, advised, answered, apprised, arbitrated, assessed, authored, briefed, clarified, communicated, composed, conducted, constructed, consulted, contacted, conveyed, corresponded, counseled, critiqued, deciphered, deliberated, demonstrated, developed, documented, drafted, edited, educated, elaborated, explained, facilitated, familiarized, formulated, guided, handled, illustrated, informed, instructed, interpreted, interviewed, introduced, lectured, led, mediated, moderated, negotiated, officiated, planned, prepared, presented, projected, promoted, proofread, publicized, published, reconciled, recorded, recruited, reported, responded, scheduled, screened, spoke, solicited, summarized, synthesized, taught, trained, translated, updated, wrote
        • Creative
          • acted, arranged, authored, composed, conceived, conceptualized, conducted, created, designed,  developed, devised, directed, edited, envisioned, established, fashioned, formulated, illustrated, initiated, integrated, invented, launched, modernized, orchestrated, originated, performed, planned, presented, produced, revitalized, revolutionized, shaped, stimulated, visualized
        • Helping
          • aided, assessed, assisted, attended, coached, collaborated, comforted, contributed, counseled, educated, empowered, facilitated, fostered, guided, helped, instilled, mediated, mentored, moderated, provided, recommended, reconciled, rectified, referred, rehabilitated, screened, settled, supported, translated, treated, tutored
        • Leadership
          • administered, advocated, appointed, approved, assigned, authorized, conducted, consolidated, contracted, coordinated, counseled, defined, delegated, determined, developed, diagnosed, directed, disseminated, elected, enforced, enlisted, ensured, evaluated, examined, executed, explained, formed, founded, governed, guided, headed, hired, implemented, improved, increased, influenced, initiated, inspired, installed, instituted, instructed, integrated, launched, led, managed, mentored, mobilized, modeled, moderated, monitored, negotiated, operated, originated, oversaw, pioneered, planned, presided, prioritized, processed, produced, promoted, recommended, recruited, represented, reorganized, resolved, responded, reviewed, secured, spearheaded, sponsored, staged, started, streamlined, strengthened, supervised, taught, trained
        • Marketing
          • arbitrated, attained, augmented, boosted, broadened, calculated, centralized, consulted, convinced, decreased, developed, dissuaded, documented, educated, ensured, established, exceeded, excelled, expanded, expedited, familiarized, gained, generated, identified, implemented, improved, increased, influenced, integrated, launched, led, maintained, marketed, mediated, negotiated, performed, persuaded, produced, promoted, proposed, publicized, published, purchased, researched, resolved, revamped, revitalized, secured, sold, solicited, strengthened, supplemented
        • Organization
          • allocated, appointed, arranged, assembled, balanced, catalogued, charted, clarified, collected, compiled, consolidated, coordinated, detailed, developed, disseminated, distributed, ensured, examined, executed, explained, formalized, formed, implemented, indexed, initiated, installed, maintained, measured, minimized, monitored, operated, organized, planned, prepared, prioritized, processed, recorded, reorganized, routed, scheduled, set goals, sorted, surveyed, streamlined, strengthened, updated
        • Technical
          • administered, analyzed, applied, assessed, audited, charted, classified, compiled, computed, concluded, conducted, consulted, deciphered, designed, detected, developed, devised, diagnosed, discovered, documented, drafted, edited, evaluated, examined, expanded, extracted, formed, formulated, gathered, generated, identified, improved, increased, inspected, installed, instituted, integrated, interfaced, interpreted, interviewed, investigated, launched, maintained, measured, operated, organized, programmed, reduced, researched, restored, reviewed, searched, streamlined, summarized, surveyed, systemized, tabulated, tested, wrote
        • Teaching
          • adapted, advised, assessed, assigned, challenged, clarified, coached, communicated, coordinated, defined, demonstrated, designed, developed, diagnosed, educated, encouraged, enriched, established, evaluated, facilitated, fostered, guided, identified, informed, inspired, trained
      • Be specific about your performance by saying who, what and how many
      • Describe the result, outcome or benefit that came from the experience
        • Use measurable numbers when possible
    • Focus more on your general experience, not on detailed descriptions of your duties and experiences
    • Employers want to hear about accomplishments, outcomes and results more than duties, tasks and responsibilities
      • When putting work responsibilities, put achievements into it to show the results accomplished
        • The employer will probably already know the duties of the job itself
  • Other history
    • Don’t list hobbies and volunteer information unless it directly pertains to the job
      • However, if you do have something you enjoy that is career-relevant, you will stand out to put it on the resume
    • Do not share religious affiliation, age, marital status, children or anything else that may turn off potential employers
      • If you have something you want to share in that range, save it for the interview
      • Depending on the industry, you can put your photo in the resume, but it can be a severe risk
    • Unless you are young do not include your high school, especially since the fact that you’re going to college implies you graduated
  • Wrapping up the resume
    • Work hard on the formatting
      • Half of the resume’s presentation is in the formatting and design
      • Imitate resumes that are in your target industry
      • Pay attention to details that will lead the reader across the document
        • Use formats like Georgia over Times New Roman
        • Set line spacing to 120% of the font size
        • Avoid indentations, since they will make the eyes wander
      • Find creative ways to make the formatting more visually appealing, such as timelines or graphic elements
    • Insert internet links to other documentation of your success
      • Online portfolios
      • Writing samples
      • LinkedIn or other professional network profile
      • Consider a video resume that can be linked from the resume to stand out from the crowd
        • Keep the video short
        • Describe why you bring value to the position
        • Explain why you are the best fit for the job
        • Use a storytelling format
        • Take your time to do it right before uploading to a video sharing site
    • Double and triple check for any errors
      • Nothing else looks as unprofessional as typographical errors or bad formatting
      • Pay attention to present versus past tense throughout the document
      • Ask others for feedback
    • When you’re done, save three different file formats
      • PDF format avoids formatting errors that may come from the reader’s computer
        • Always send this one unless specified otherwise
      • DOC format is useful for many job portals that don’t take PDF
      • Text-only format is necessary for many job portals that ask for text to be copy-pasted into a box

When you are looking for jobs, you are marketing yourself as a product

  • Take some extra time to clean up your personal social networks
    • Hiring managers can see your website and anything else you’ve made online and available to the public
      • Pay attention to the image you are crafting for yourself online, even the parts that you feel are private
      • Many employers have chosen not to hire someone because of something negative on a social network
      • Avoid slang or casual speech whenever you type anything that someone might see
    • A social presence on networks has become a critical aspect of the job search
      • Have good photos throughout your social networks that enforce your “personal branding”
      • Bring your own creative works into your public image

LinkedIn profile improvements

  • Keep in mind
    • Unlike a job-seeking document, LinkedIn profiles are built to be searchable and operate more as “bait” for employers
      • Use proper keywords and industry relevant terminology throughout your profile along with good overall words
        • Accomplished, created, developed, improved, increased, on time, reduced, researched, under budget, won
      • Avoid the most overused keywords that LinkedIn profiles are filled with
        • analytical, creative, driven, effective, expert, innovative, organizational, patient, responsible, strategic
    • LinkedIn is a social network, so it is a good thing to be personable and necessary to use the pronoun “I” regularly
      • Create a story with your profile if you have the writing skill, it makes it more attractive to potential employers because they see a person behind the profile
    • Your profile is as much (if not more) a living document than your resume, and changes with your career moves, new skills, life events and accomplishments
      • While a resume is a record of the past, a LinkedIn profile shares a pattern that is extends into the present and into the future
        • Update any new major career or lifestyle changes to your LinkedIn profile
      • LinkedIn is not a resume, and expresses much more information than a resume could
        • Don’t copy-paste the information from your resume into LinkedIn
      • You should fill out your profile as fully as you can to show the multiple dimensions of your talent
  • Upload a good-looking profile photo
    • People are far more likely to visit a profile with a photo
    • Pay to have a photo taken by a professional photographer
      • Consider grooming, the lighting, camera angles and any camera distortion or editing that may affect the story your photograph tells
    • Don’t use sunglasses and dress formally
    • Smile in the photograph
  • Customize your profile’s URL to something specific like your name to make it more intuitive when creating links
  • Make yourself available for contact
    • Provide your email address and/or links to other social networks
    • Give a link to your company blog if you’re a contributor
    • Accept connections with people you haven’t necessarily met yet
  • Optimize your location
    • The location can be searched, and clarifying the specific city will help employers find you
  • Title and introduction
    • Use professional titles
      • People who view your profile are looking for solutions, not gimmicks
      • You have 110 characters to grab someone’s attention in the headline
    • Have the title and introduction answer who you help and how you help them
  • Professional summary
    • Expand on your professional headline
      • If done right, this will “close the deal”
    • Unlike a resume’s summary, you have up to 2000 characters to sell yourself and the context of the surrounding information
      • Aim for a 3×3 summary: 3 paragraphs with 3 or fewer sentences each
        • Reiterate your purpose from your headline in the first paragraph
        • Get more specific about your work in the second paragraph
        • Provide a concise call to action that makes it clear why someone should get in touch with you and indicates your long-term goals
  • Make the profile visually appealing to read through
    • List your current position and keep it updated
    • Align yourself with your industry, and be specific about it
    • Fill in your work experiences
      • Describe in paragraph form how you impacted the organization
      • List about 5 of your key accomplishments/duties underneath your paragraph
      • Ideally, you should have 3 previous jobs in your work experience
    • Show about 2-4 examples of your work
      • Videos
      • Presentations
      • Documents
      • Website content
      • eBooks
    • Show off items such as
      • Projects
      • Test scores
      • Awards & honors
      • Patents
      • Certifications, college degrees, any other courses
      • Publications
      • Volunteering & causes
      • Languages you can communicate in
    • Share a rounded view of your
      • Interests and professionally relevant hobbies
      • Knowledge about your industry
      • Involvements with organizations, professional or personal
    • If you want, put that you were Time’s 2006 Person of the Year, since “Everyone” is the Person of the Year
  • Connect as much as possible with any current or old contacts
    • When real-life connections are not maintained in LinkedIn, they will not show up as 2nd-degree connections like they should
  • Join relevant LinkedIn groups to open doors for networking
    • Get engaged with the comment threads on message boards and provide meaningful additions to the discussion
    • Avoid any arguing or disrespect at all costs; it is highly unprofessional and will publicly shame you
  • Manage your endorsements and recommendations
    • Put at least 5 skills pertaining to the job you want
    • Add proficient “soft skills” that you are an expert at as well
      • Always punctual, creative thinker, critical thinker, easily adapts, friendly personality, good communicator, interpersonal communicator, social, team player, well-organized
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for them from those who know your work
      • Endorsements are quick “likes” of others’ skills, while Recommendations can be searched and will speak more loudly than endorsements
      • Don’t ask for a Recommendation from a co-worker or boss unless you have worked with them for at least 6 months
      • Ask clients who genuinely love your work
      • Give Recommendations out as well to people you value
    • If you are in the position to, it is a very kind gesture to provide a specific and helpful Recommendation to someone you’ve worked with
  • Keep up to date with your profile
    • LinkedIn, like many other social networks, changes on a regular basis, and this can affect your image
      • Stay up to date with Alerts and notifications to your profile
    • Use your profile as a reference in email signatures, web pages, business cards and anywhere else that it would make sense
    • Update your status regularly with appropriate news from your industry
      • The best times to post are in the morning on weekdays
        • When applicable add links, images and videos to liven up the posts
      • Don’t repost content without your own opinion expressed in it
        • Share industry insights or new products and services
      • Avoid over-posting
        • Limit your posts to no more than 20 a month
        • Don’t auto-post other social channels to LinkedIn
        • Don’t auto-post a website’s feed
    • If you have any writing skills, try out blogging on LinkedIn about something career-relevant that you are passionate about

Buy business cards

  • Business cards are cheap and are the easiest way to look like you understand networking
  • Make the business card a consulting business card by sharing what you want to do instead of your current job title
  • Include everything the person would need to get in touch with you and your work
    • Your name
    • Contact information like e-mail and phone number
      • Before you print your cards, get a professional-sounding email
        • If you have one, make an email that uses your website’s domain
      • Don’t put your work phone number on the card, since that will change if you succeed at the job search
    • Links to any relevant websites or work you have made
    • A link to your LinkedIn profile
Next: Step 4: Finding Leads