Job-Seeking Step 3: Crafting Your Image

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Step 2: Setting Your Goals

Job-seeking is you marketing yourself as a product

All the rules of marketing apply to your job search

Hiring managers can see anything you’ve made online and available to the public

  • Look at the online image you’ve crafted, even portions you feel are private
  • Take time to clean up your informal social networks
  • Many employers have passed over a candidate from what they found on a social network

Social network presence has become a critical portion of the job search

  • Display great photos throughout your social networks that enforce your “personal branding”
  • Bring your creative works into your public image

Avoid slang or casual speech and abide by proper writing rules whenever you type anything

If you’re changing industries

Observe differences between the industries

  • Culture and norms
  • Values and concepts
  • Personalities types you’ll likely encounter

Make a quick response to describe why you changed or are changing industries

Resumé crafting

A resumé is a living document, and therefore should adapt and change across your life’s career

  • Make a gigantic list of every skill you have, even irrelevant ones
    • Specify which of these skills you are good at and love doing
    • Think about environments that most foster those skills
  • Look at current job titles in the industry you want
    • Search job boards and write down any that interest you
    • Make a list of the concrete skills each title requires
    • Think of how your seemingly unrelated skills can help you look better on a resumé

A resumé can be more than one page but should correspond with how much work experience you have

  • Intentional conciseness with your thoughts is the most critical business writing skill

Your resumé is a creative work designed to show your education, accomplishments, skills, and goals

A resumé frames your professional career like a photograph

  • Ask what they will think when they see your career’s picture
  • The resumé is telling an unfinished story the hiring manager wants to conclude by hiring you

Bring your personality into the resumé

  • Templates should be an inspiration, not the standard
  • How you choose what you say reflects enormously about yourself

Recruiters look at resumés all day long and want to throw out as many as possible

  • Find ways throughout the resumé to set yourself apart tastefully
  • Make yours more fun if your industry is open to it

Break apart the resumé chronologically, functionally or any other way the reader will understand

A resumé should be about 600 to 700 words

  • Too many details will turn off a potential employer
  • Don’t make it short enough to create lots of white space
  • Don’t make it long enough that your focus becomes confusing or unclear
  • Make every single word matter, which will mean consulting a thesaurus

Each resumé is a customized marketing tool tailored to an employer

A resumé’s entire purpose is for the employer to ask you in for an interview

  • You may want to share your full career story, but it has to wait for the interview
    • A resumé’s focus is less often what you say than what you don’t say
    • Only include relevant information for the reader and remove anything else
  • However, writing a resumé conversationally in some industries can intrigue the hiring manager
  • Modesty doesn’t pay in a resumé because you’re competing against everyone else who wants the job
  • Most employers expect candidates to lie on their resumé, so positively spun truth ensures originality without the risk of damaging your reputation

Employers aren’t looking for an interesting person; they’re 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?

Make a “boilerplate” resumé to adjust to each employer’s needs

  • If the job you’re applying for requires a particular skill, educate yourself on that skill and include it in your resumé
  • Directly imply you know the position you’re trying to get
  • Precisely clarify what you can do for that employer
  • Avoid word processor templates since most recruiters have seen them

Most resumés are skimmed and rejected on the following within twenty seconds

A. New graduate

  • School accomplishments
  • Amount of time in volunteer activities and unrelated work experience

B. Last job role

  • Whether they’re currently employed and why they want a new role
  • Whether their most recent experience can meet the employer’s needs

C. Company recognition

  • The reputation of that company’s corporate culture
  • Assumptions about the candidate based on the company

D. Overall experience

  • Trends of improvement or stagnation
  • The look and feel of the person’s career trajectory

E. Keyword search

  • Looks for specific words directly tied to the job with the software’s word-finding feature

F. Gaps of time

  • Must have a sufficient explanation
  • No explanation allows employers to assume the worst

G. Personal online footprint

  • If the resumé has a web link, they will use it

H. General logistics

  • Location, eligibility to work in the country
  • Mostly to figure out their story instead of “weeding them out”

I. Overall organization

  • Spelling, grammar, and ease of reading
  • Length shouldn’t exceed two pages

Employers often overlook other elements of resumés


  • Education varies tremendously in resumés by industry and company
  • Sometimes employers will look at the degree (e.g., BS, MBA) but are looking for skill more than formalized education

Fancy formatting

  • A well-formatted resumé might be enjoyable, but won’t compensate for no perceived experience

Specific personal details

  • Family status, weight, height or citizenship don’t matter to employers

Outside of acting jobs, photographs don’t matter for much

  • Many employers could discriminate from prejudices in your photograph
  • Employers can often fear legally discriminating from seeing a photo

Add keywords in your resumé for skills and terms relevant to your target industry

Use specific words to your industry and avoid general terms

  • e.g., don’t put “MS Office” when the requirement states “knowledge of Word, Excel, etc.”

Be as direct as possible and avoid florid writing

Pass up self-promoting terms

  • Profit-focused
  • Savvy
  • Senior-level
  • Strategic
  • Strong

Avoid words that imply inexperience or inability, overused phrases or vague words

  • 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
  • Anything on this list

Find more creative ways to label your titles than the standard “Objective” or “Work History”

Personal profile

Personal profiles need to be neat and tidy because they’re the first thing the employer sees

Name and contact information

  • Include a website or social network handle if it represents your desired image
  • If you’re moving or applying to a job in a different town, use a local address and local phone number
  • Don’t include your street address, since it’s not relevant to the employer

Show core strengths in an attractive and seamless format for the first 1/3 of the resumé

  • The rest of the resumé should echo these strengths, a bit like a persuasive essay

Many people make an objective a general statement of what they want

  • Uses prior facts to make a statement of how your skills can benefit the company
  • Avoid listing industries you’ve worked in
  • Your statement should directly address the hiring manager, not the industry or type of job

Work history

The truth will come out, so don’t exaggerate your titles and responsibilities

The work history should tell an unfinished story that uses common themes to support the objective and skills, not a list of tasks and duties

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

Specify your performance by clarifying who, what, and how many

  • Describe the result, outcome or benefit from the experience
  • Use measurable numbers when possible

Focus more on your general experience and not on detailed descriptions of your duties and experiences

Employers want to hear more about accomplishments, outcomes, and results than duties, tasks, and responsibilities

  • Most of the time, they’re already familiar with the duties of your job title
  • Add achievements into work responsibilities to show the results you’ve accomplished

Leave out work experience which makes you look uninteresting

  • Anything less than a few months unless your work made a significant impact
  • Old jobs from long ago which draw out the resumé length

Other history

Only list hobbies and volunteer information that directly pertain to the job

  • However, a career-relevant hobby on your resumé will distinguish you

Don’t share your religious affiliation, age, marital status, children or anything else that may turn off potential employers

  • Save any of those details you want to share for the interview

Don’t include your high school unless you’re still going to it

  • Going to college implies you graduated

Share your skills under your Work History, but some highly technical fields may not tie to specific roles

  • If you add a Skills section, only use hard skills like foreign languages or software programs and avoid soft skills like leadership or strength

Add a Volunteer Work section if you have a few relevant volunteer roles

Wrapping up the resumé

Work hard on the formatting

  • Half of the resumé’s presentation is formatting and design
  • Imitate resumés in your target industry
  • Use formats like Georgia over Times New Roman
  • Set line spacing to 120% of the font size
  • Avoid indentations since they will make the reader’s eyes wander
  • Find creative visuals like timelines or graphic elements to make the formatting more visually appealing

Add internet links to other documentation of your success

Online portfolios

Writing samples

Professional network profile such as LinkedIn

Consider linking a video resumé to distinguish yourself

  • Keep the video short
  • Describe why you bring value to the position
  • Explain why you’re the best fit for the job
  • Use a storytelling format
  • Take the time to do it right before uploading to a video sharing site

Double and triple check for any errors

  • All writing looks unprofessional with typographical errors or lousy formatting
  • Observe present and past tense throughout the document
  • Ask others for feedback

Save your finished resumé in three file formats

  • Always send PDF format unless specified otherwise to avoid formatting errors from the reader’s word processor
  • Many job portals can’t process PDF and require DOC format
  • Some job portals ask for text-only format copy-pasted into a box

Buy business cards

Business cards are cheap and the easiest way to appear networking-savvy

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
    • Get a professional-sounding email before you print them
      • Make an email with your website domain if you have one
    • Don’t put your work phone number on the card, since that will change if you find a new job
  • Links to any relevant work or websites
  • A LinkedIn profile link

LinkedIn profile improvements

Your LinkedIn profile is more a living document than your resumé

  • LinkedIn expresses much more information than a resumé, so don’t copy-paste information from your resumé into LinkedIn
  • A resumé records the past, but LinkedIn profiles show a pattern through the present and future
  • A LinkedIn profile changes with career moves, new skills, life events, and accomplishments, so update any significant career changes

Fill out your profile as thoroughly as you can to show the multiple dimensions of your talent

Since LinkedIn is a social network, use the “I” pronoun and a personable tone frequently

  • If you have the writing skill, make a story with your profile to attract potential employers with the human element

LinkedIn profiles let employers browse through search results

Use proper keywords, industry-relevant terminology, and great resumé words throughout your profile

  • Accomplished, created, developed, improved, increased, on time, reduced, researched, under budget, won

Avoid overused LinkedIn profile keywords

  • analytical, creative, driven, effective, expert, innovative, organizational, patient, responsible, strategic

These words will change over time, so adapt your terms to avoid sounding stale

Upload a good-looking profile photo

People are far more likely to visit a profile with a photo

Pay for a professional photographer to take your photo

  • Consider grooming, the lighting, camera angles, and any camera distortion or editing that may affect the story from your photograph

Don’t wear sunglasses and dress formally

Smile in the photograph

Customize your profile’s URL

Use a specific title like your name to make it more intuitive when creating links

Make yourself available to contact

Show your email address and links to other social networks

Link to your company blog if you contribute to it

Accept connections with people you haven’t necessarily met yet

Optimize your location

Clarifying a specific city will enable local employers to find you

Title and introduction

Use professional titles

  • People who view your profile are looking for solutions, not gimmicks
  • You have 110 characters in the headline to grab someone’s attention

The title and introduction should answer who and how you can help the hiring manager

Professional summary

Expand on your professional headline

  • A robust professional headline will close the deal

You have up to 2,000 characters to sell yourself and the context of the profile

Make a 3×3 summary: 3 paragraphs with 3 or fewer sentences each

  • Reiterate your headline’s purpose in the first paragraph
  • Specify your work in the second paragraph
  • Give a concise call to action that indicates your long-term goals and clarifies why someone should get in touch with you

Make the profile visually appealing to skim through

Keep your current position updated

Align yourself with your industry

Fill in your work experiences

  • Describe in paragraph form how you impacted the organization
  • List about five of your key accomplishments or duties under your paragraph
  • Show three previous jobs in your work experience

Show two to four examples of your work

  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Documents
  • Website content
  • eBooks

Showcase other items

  • Projects
  • Test scores
  • Awards & honors
  • Patents
  • Certifications, college degrees, any other courses
  • Publications
  • Volunteering and causes
  • Languages you can communicate with

Share a rounded view of other elements of your background

  • Interests and professionally relevant hobbies
  • Knowledge about your industry
  • Involvements with professional or personal organizations

Connect as much as possible with current and old contacts

  • Real-life connections not in LinkedIn won’t show second-degree connections they know directly

Open doors for networking by joining relevant LinkedIn groups

Add meaningful discussion to comment threads on message boards

Avoid any arguing or disrespect at all costs

  • Public conflicts and prejudices are highly unprofessional and will publicly shame you

Manage your endorsements and recommendations

Add at least five skills connected to your desired job

Add any “soft skills” you’re an expert in

  • Always punctual, creative thinker, critical thinker, easily adapts, friendly personality, good communicator, interpersonal communicator, social, team player, well-organized

Boldly ask for recommendations from people who know your work

  • Endorsements are quick “likes” of others’ skills while Recommendations are searchable and communicate more than endorsements
  • Don’t ask a Recommendation from a co-worker or boss you’ve worked with for less than six months
  • Ask clients who genuinely love your work

Freely give Recommendations to people you value

  • Provide specific and helpful Recommendations to others you’ve worked with

Keep your profile current

LinkedIn, like other social networks, changes frequently, and will often affect your image

  • Follow along with alerts and notifications about your profile

Refer to your profile in email signatures, web pages, business cards, and anywhere else it would make sense

Update your status consistently with appropriate industry-related news

  • The best time to post is in the morning on weekdays
  • Add links, images, and videos when applicable to improve the posts
  • Only repost content with your opinion expressed with it
    • Share industry insights or new products and services
  • Avoid over-posting
    • Post less than twenty times a month
    • Don’t auto-post other social channels to LinkedIn
    • Don’t auto-post a website feed unless it’s industry-relevant
  • If you have any writing skills, write on LinkedIn about a career-relevant passion
Next: Step 4: Finding Leads