Updating our goals for the new year is a time-honored tradition, and if career success is on your 2018 agenda, a resume refresh should be on your resolution list. The job market is changing fast, and whether you’re actively seeking a new role or aiming for a promotion, you’ll want to sharpen your professional presence and digital footprint to keep up with today’s demands. We’ve polled our own recruiters and dug into some new scholarly research to compile the top three tips for upgrading not just your resume, but your professional clout, networks and personal pitch.
Manage your personal brand
Job seekers should treat their public social media profiles like a company manages its brand1. Maximum visibility will result from best practices such as using strong keywords, professional images and engaging summaries.
Social media is disrupting the recruiting process, as candidates and recruiters connect and build long-term relationships online and skip the middle men, such as job boards1. Online networks provide ongoing relationships through the power of connection, messaging, big data and forum discussion. While LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform1, platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are becoming more frequent sources for recruiters looking for top talent. Most CA Technologies recruiters have Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, where you can connect with them and see regular job openings and other CA career updates in their posts. You can find them easily with a quick search for #BringWhatYouBring on your favorite social network.
Don’t limit your connections on professional networks such as LinkedIn to people you have worked or gone to school with. It’s wise to search for others with similar skillsets and recruiting professionals at the companies on your target employer list. Pro tip: recruiting professionals have various titles that do not include the term “recruiter” – “talent acquisition,” “headhunter” and “sourcer” are all common versions of titles you should value in your professional network.
Connections are most valuable when you maintain and nurture them through discussion. Regularly sharing interesting thoughts on industry news and collaborating with others in your area of expertise will demonstrate a passion for your work and keep you top of mind for your connections. And don’t just share; add your thoughts and expertise to spark a conversation. If you enjoy writing, a LinkedIn article is an easy way to publish long-form thoughts on succeeding in your line of work. The point is to craft a strength-based narrative and authentically communicate your career identity. According to data expert Rachel Cohen and career counselor Rebecca L. Toporek, successful career narratives can be achieved through both positive and negative stories and experiences, which can shape strengths and assets2. Identify your career narrative by attaching your real-life successes and lessons to hot topics on your timeline.
Learn the key to keywords
Be sure to identify active, clear keywords to feature in your resume. Building a solid keyword list to describe your work value can be key to standing out and confidently communicating in interviews, cover letters and profile summaries. According to master resume writers, you can build a strong list of keywords by thinking through five distinct categories3:
- Hard skills and factual data
Include words that demonstrate key skills that apply directly to your tactical work, such as “media buying,” “programming” or “web design,” but don’t forget the specifics like “HTML,” “Java” or “data analysis.” These keywords should be featured in your skill tags on your LinkedIn profile as well.
- Soft skills and attributes
Think of how you work with others, and try to be more distinct than “team player.” Terms such as “networking,” “time management,” “critical thinking” and “conflict resolution” will stand out and clearly communicate those qualities that are difficult to display in a portfolio.
- Employment details
Give specifics on the types of projects, products or services you’ve worked with. “Agile project management,” “DBaaS sales” or “gamification development” are more specific and intriguing than the same terms without descriptive adjectives. Additionally, list attributes of the industries of your professional experience. “Retail,” “transportation” or “finance” can go a long way in establishing yourself as a strong match for a role that prefers that background.
- Education and training credentials
Give your schooling or certifications a plug wherever possible. You may have been an IT support technician for 10 years, but if you don’t have “A+” somewhere in your online profiles and in your resume, you risk getting missed on automated searches and algorithms that match talented people to open jobs.
- General information
Are you passionate about a cause, volunteer in your community or have an interesting hobby? Sprinkle some of that personality into your online profile summary to stand out amongst your peers.
Don’t just list skills, show them
You’ve probably been asked to show ROI on something in your professional career, and the same principal applies to “showing your work” on your resume and in your online profiles. There are two key ways to do this.
First, on a resume, you should add a few stats that show the results of the efforts you’ve listed under each title. Whenever possible, those stats should include a business result. If you managed a team, what specific steps did you take to develop them and what percentage of your total headcount were promoted? If you were responsible for ordering supplies, what did you do to improve that process and what percentage of your budget was saved as a result? Data is everything; be concise and specific about your impact.
Second, when it comes to your public online profiles, include links to case studies, blogs, Slideshares, images, gits, or videos displaying your work. If you don’t currently have any relevant professional content like this, you may want to consider compiling a portfolio for this purpose.
You can find many more tips on resumes, job search and interviewing in our Candidate Toolkit.
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- Macabe, M. (2017). Social media marketing strategies for career advancement: an analysis of Linkedin. Journal of Business and Behavioral Sciences,29(1), 85-89. Retrieved January 9, 2018. ISSN: 1099-5374
- Toporek, R. L., & Cohen, R. F. (2017). Strength-Based Narrative Résumé Counseling: Constructing Positive Career Identities from Difficult Employment Histories. The Career Development Quarterly,65(3), 222-236. doi:10.1002/cdq.12094
- Enelow, W. S., W, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW, & Kursmark, L., CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW. (n.d.). The Best Keywords for Resumes, Letters and Interviews: Powerful Words and Phrases for Landing Great Jobs! (2nd Edition). Career Planning & Adult Development Journal,33(3), 55-56. Retrieved January 9, 2018. ISSN: 0736-1920