Your qualifications and experience are important factors that will certainly help you land a job. However, optimizing your job search strategies and how you present yourself is a crucial component in your search for new opportunities. Whether you’re new to the workforce or a seasoned professional, these four tactics can help open up doors of opportunity for every job seeker.
Redesign your resume
If you’ve already updated your resume with your most recent experience — that’s great! However, you can do more to ensure that your resume stands out for the right reasons.
- Ensure your resume stands out to automated applicant tracking systems used to determine which candidates will make it to the next step of the hiring process. Tailor each resume you submit to match keywords and phrases used in the job advertisement. Try using a tool like Jobscan to find out how well your resume matches a job description.
- Look to professionals within your industry for resume design inspiration. A graphic designer’s resume template might look creative and fun, but if you work in finance, you’ll probably want your resume to look more conservative.
- Just because you don’t work in an artsy field doesn’t mean you can’t use strategic design to make your resume more attractive to humans and application tracking systems. Colton from Design Pickle recommends using simple design elements like colour, font style variations, bullet points, and numbering to improve your resume’s readability and appearance.
If a hiring manager does look at your resume, you only have a few seconds to capture their interest. Your resume should be concise, highlighting your most relevant experience and accomplishments at the top of the page. Try to cut the length of your resume down to a page unless you need more space to list qualifications that are incredibly relevant to the job for which you are applying.
Including a custom link to your LinkedIn profile and a link to your portfolio website are excellent ways to give employers opportunities to learn more about you.
Create a rockstar LinkedIn profile
After you create a rockstar LinkedIn profile, make sure you stay active on the site. Just like building your presence on any other social networking platform, you’ll want to like and comment on other user’s posts. Actively participating on LinkedIn also includes following industry leaders and joining relevant groups, but there’s a lot more you can do to engage with your LinkedIn community.
- Post relevant updates. Share a quote from your favourite leader, talk about an industry event you’re attending (or would like to attend), and talk about what you’re reading and learning to help advance your career.
- LinkedIn is also the perfect platform to share your expertise by publishing articles, which will help establish you as a thought leader in your field, gain new followers, and make new connections.
- Send personalized invitations to connect. Don’t use LinkedIn’s default invitation request message. Personalize each request with where you met each prospective contact and why you’d like to add them to your network. You don’t have to be coworkers or have even met someone in person to invite them to be part of your LinkedIn community. However, you should still personalize your request to connect. You may have other connections in common; you are looking for an industry mentor, or you previously exchanged ideas in the comments section of a LinkedIn article.
- LinkedIn tells you when your contacts are celebrating career milestones. This is an opportunity to stay in touch with your contacts by congratulating their achievements.
- Take notes on your connections. LinkedIn has helpful relationship management tools. LinkedIn will tell you when you connected with each person in your network, and you can add notes (that only you can see) to help keep track of essential details about each connection. You can even set reminders to check in on connections at regular intervals.
- You can also export a list of your connections contact data, which is a lot more convenient than copying information from business cards.
Finally, be willing to help others with their profiles as you work to buildup your own LinkedIn presence. Write personal requests for recommendations for specific aspects of your career that you’d like to highlight on your profile. Write endorsements for people you’ve worked with, and they will be more likely to recommend you in return. Skill endorsements are another way for you to support connections and politely encourage them to return the favour. Ensure that all endorsements are genuine, don’t endorse a colleague for a skill they’ve never demonstrated to you, and if someone endorses you for a skill you don’t have or don’t want to advertise, you can remove it from your profile.
Build an eye-catching portfolio site
When you’re thinking about purchasing a product or service, chances are you head online before you make a final decision. Having an up-to-date resume and LinkedIn profile is an essential first step. Still, building an online portfolio to showcase your work will set you apart from other job seekers.
Unless you’re a web developer or digital media expert, building an online portfolio can feel like an intimidating task. Maintaining a portfolio site will require more effort and creativity than simply updating your LinkedIn profile. However, you want prospective employers to know that you’re willing to go the extra mile with your work.
Fortunately, you don’t need to know much (or anything) about coding to create a beautiful online portfolio.
- Wix is a flexible portfolio building option for people working in any field. You can choose from 100s of templates and drag and drop content to customize your portfolio’s design. Not a design expert? Wix Artificial Design Intelligence can produce a great-looking website for you.
- Squarespace is another option for creating a professional-looking portfolio, even if you don’t know the first thing about web design.
- For people who work in design industries, Behance is a great place to showcase your work and help get it discovered. You can also connect with other creatives and browse their work for inspiration.
- WordPress is a traditional and high performing content management platform for job seekers looking to showcase their writing talents through blogging. However, with a wealth of themes to choose from, building a WordPress portfolio is a versatile and affordable option for people looking to succeed in all types of careers.
- For more portfolio-building tools and suggestions on what type of work to highlight on your website, here’s a guide to creating an impressive online portfolio (with Examples).
Don’t forget to drive traffic to your portfolio through your social media activity. It’s okay to let your personality shine through when posting on social so that recruiters can get a better idea of whether you’d be a good fit for their company’s culture. If you’re new to social media or recently created an account under your full/professional name, highlight your skills in a specific area of expertise by participating in conversations around relevant topics and posting original content.
The truth is that building your professional profile can be a stressful and lonely process. Even with a partner supporting you through a career pitfall, you may want to call in additional resources. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your networking efforts and job search is to call in a professional recruiting agency.
Recruit recruiters who know your field and can help you make valuable connections to companies and hiring managers within it. Many recruiters have insider knowledge of relevant positions that haven’t been publicly advertised yet. Recruiters can also serve as personal career coaches, help you prepare application materials, and build upon your skills while actively marketing your talents to hiring managers.
Check out these ten ways a professional recruiting agency can help you land your dream job from the Robert Half recruiting agency.
Now that you know how to improve your chances of getting a foot in the door with a job interview, it’s time to put these strategies into practice. Mastering the art of job applications and marketing yourself to employers takes perseverance. Still, your chances of success will be far higher than if you were to paste the same resume into every job application and hope for the best. As a proactive job seeker, you will be able to adapt these techniques to showcase your unique aptitude for new career opportunities.