In a crowd of job applicants, how do you stand out? If reading this question made your heart flutter with uncertainty, we’re here to tell you that you’re not alone and that catching the eye of a recruiter is possible with a descriptive resume and strong LinkedIn profile.
Before you can craft your resume and LinkedIn profile, decide what career path you want to pursue. This step is often overlooked by job seekers but should not be skipped! Taking time to understand your career choice will help you frame your strengths and experience, and industry research will help you discover valuable buzzwords to utilize. Be open when exploring possibilities, your strengths and experience may have prepared you for something you never imagined yourself doing. Brainstorm interesting possibilities that may pertain to you. A career in journalism may draw your eye, but your communication and writing skills can also serve you well in a career in public relations. If you find there are gaps in your experience, determine what those gaps are and how to fill them whether that be through an online course or a professional mentorship. Completing these steps will help you confidently tell your story and expand on your qualifications, strengths, and value.
How to Build Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
1. Summary Statement
Your summary statement is your story—think of it like an elevator pitch that outlines your purpose and what you can offer. Avoid generic descriptions such as ‘hardworking’ and ‘team player.’ Be clear about who you are and what type of position you are seeking while confidently highlighting your achievements. Now is not the time to be humble or shy! And remember: Numbers provide context to your achievements. ‘Increased sales’ has a much lower impact than ‘increased sales by 20% over a six-month period.’ Lastly, tailoring these accomplishments to the role you want will help recruiters see how closely you align with the star candidate they had in mind.
An effective summary statement sets the tone for the rest of the process by letting recruiters know who you are, your key accomplishments and strengths, and what you are looking for in a next role. So, rehearse it often and let this personal statement guide you through the entire process, starting with the application, interviews, and even the first day of your new position. Tip: Read your summary statement to others in your field or ask a former boss, colleague, or mentor how they might describe you. They can help ensure you are clearly communicating your intended message.
2. Job Experience
Fill your resume and Linkedin profile with key roles and experiences using terminology associated with your desired profession. This should be carried over into supplemental categories on your resume including: your education and certifications, as well as community involvement or charity work. Once your resume is complete, transfer the same information to your LinkedIn profile. It is important this information is cohesive, clear, and consistent.
3. Format and Design
While formatting and design may differ slightly depending on the industry you’re entering, there are some best practices you should adhere to. This includes: Using professional font that is readable (sorry, fans of comic sans!), embracing an appropriate amount of white space, and putting your most recent experience first in job history. If you’re unsure where to start, there are many resume building services online that can create a resume or other interview materials for you.
Your resume and LinkedIn profile provide a summary of your accomplishments and strengths. Often, this information is the first impression you can make on recruiters. Make it a positive one by enlisting the tips above and viewing “Session 3: Telling Your Story: Resume & Social Media Tips” on our Take Your Job Search to the X-Level Webinar Series page.