12 Game Changing Tips for LinkedIn and Resume Building Strategies

As one of my favorite professors mentioned in class one day – it has never been harder to get employed in the US than now. One could think that LinkedIn and online applications should automate and thus facilitate the process, and they do – but only for the employers. Those on the opposite side of the barricade – like us, the typical job-seekers – end up facing higher barriers to entry thanks to technology powering soulless bots that mercilessly rule out hundreds of applications per minute. Given how much power recruiters have over the hiring process with the expanded access to myriads of professionals exposed online, no wonder it only takes 60 seconds for a recruiter to make up his/her mind about the applicants’ CV – at the end of the day prestigious firms get hundreds of applications that are hard (but not impossible) to differentiate between.

While solving this problem is beyond our capabilities, what we can do is to share the handy tips from our Resume Building Workshop that we think are especially helpful in terms of resume advancement in general and using LinkedIn for job search in particular.

Here are our key learnings that we hope will help you soar in your job hunt.

  • Change perspective: A lot of people underestimate the importance of strategy in the job search and find it especially challenging to articulate what differentiates them from competition. One of the winning strategies in such case could be to really treat yourself as a brand and identify the area where your professional brand image (what others think about you) and your brand identity (what you think about yourself) overlap reflecting your uniqueness as a professional. Having that knowledge at hand you can even write your brand’s positioning statement and use it as an “elevator pitch” – 30-60 networking brief formulating who you are.

  • Have a consistent approach to your online presence: Just like any respected conventional brand does, perform a frequent brand audit:

    • Run a Google search for your name and check for surprising or unwanted results.

    • Be conscious of how you use each social platform – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Ensure that the message communicated through these platforms correlates with your brand. Review your content and make sure anything controversial is eliminated.

    • Stay current with your achievements and update your LinkedIn profile on regular basis. This helps to maintain a competitive edge.

    • On LinkedIn don’t just observe – engage with shares, comments and likes, or better – write your own posts and articles. Expand your network by making connections through LinkedIn. Introduce yourself and mention how you know the person you have just added. This includes having met him/her, reading his/her article, having common connections, etc.

    • Keep your photo professional: headshot format, blue/white background, business (or other appropriate in your field) attire, quality lighting.

    • Be authentic, because ultimately it is the only thing that will set your apart (and put ahead) of competition, and be candid about your achievements, because in today “small world” facts are easy to check.

  • Having the above knowledge in mind, use these tips to organize your resume properly:

    • Cap its length to 2 pages maximum; exclude date of birth & graduation dates if there is a risk that you might be ruled out based on your age. Same with address & zip code – make sure not to mention them if you are applying for a job in a different geography. Limit your description to 10-12 years’ job history. Use action verbs in past tense and specify the results brought by your efforts.

    • Since decision-making in largely based on first impression, reassure that your CV is stylistically appropriate: use conventional font types, limited number of colors, refrain from informal elements such as emojis. Even if you are not applying for a job that requires extensive writing, people would expect you to be at ease with grammar. Use apps like Grammarly to check spelling and proper vocabulary usage.

    • Keep in mind that in the majority of companies (especially large) nowadays the resume screening is performed by robots, not human beings, so try to use resources like TagcrowdWordsift and Jobscan to see how close your resume matches the job description.

    • Be advised that while resume talks about your past achievements, cover letter should focus on future benefits that a firm acquires upon hiring you. It should not exceed one page and may even include a small chart showing how you match to the requirements mentioned in the job Ad.

    • If you consider changing the field and lack professional experience, to build up credibility in the new space consider joining relevant professional organizations, taking up freelance projects or even volunteering. This is also a great way to build a network that can potentially help to pave the way to the company you want to join.

    • Ultimately, Jessica H. Hernandez, named 2016’s Best Resume Writer, recommends avoiding overused verbs. Here is a list of synonyms that you can employ to make your CV stand out.

We are hoping that whoever couldn’t make it to the workshop still managed to learn something from this post. If you are willing to share your resume building or LinkedIn improvement advice, please don’t have to engage with comments below.

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