Kick-Start Your Job Search 2016 Lesson 2: Beyond the Resume

Kick-start Your Job Search 2016: Beyond the Resume

Thinking beyond the resume can give employers more than one way to find and reach you.

From May 26th – July 2nd, we are dishing up some savvy tips for job seekers from all backgrounds that will have you ready to conquer the job market with confidence, or accepting an offer for a coveted job in no time. School may be out, but neteffects’ Kick-Start Your Job Search 2016 Summer Session is in! Join us!

In last week’s lesson, we covered Professional Reputation Management and provided two easy homework assignments to get your online life in order and ready for a search. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to check out that post here. This week, we will dive into presenting your professional profile beyond the typical resume that will have hiring managers and recruiters taking notice of you.

Kick-Start Your Job Search Lesson 2: Beyond the Resume

Beyond the Resume – LinkedIn

If you completed last week’s 2nd homework assignment, you should have set up social media profiles and become active on them. Or if you already have social profiles, done a clean sweep to make sure that what you are presenting to your network and a future potential employer is how you want to be perceived. One of the profiles that we mentioned, was LinkedIn. LinkedIn as you probably already know if the largest social network for professionals and an excellent tool used by millions.

LinkedIn offers great pointers to help you whip your profile into shape over on their help page. For more great tips, check out Kathy Bernard’s WiserUTips website. In addition to numerous article on the LinkedIn subject, Kathy also offers job seekers LinkedIn profile writing amongst many other services. Another industry expert who tackles LinkedIn profile writing and other personal branding services is Mark Greenspan of Two Feet in the Sand. If you would like LinkedIn assistance beyond what you can accomplish on your own, or would rather have outside expertise, be sure to look into Kathy or Mark’s services. Having a well-polished and informative profile is a big advantage for job-seekers. Profiles with optimized profiles garner more traffic than those that don’t. And the more eyes you can get on your profile, the better for you!

Beyond the Resume – Personal Website

No matter what your professional title or line of work is, anyone online can benefit from having a personal website, which we’ve discussed before in a previous post. In addition to upping your professional perception factor with potential employers, you’ll also give the search engines more content to rank on you (thus helping you to appear higher in a search and increasing the odds that you will be found.)

A personal website doesn’t have to cost, either! There are numerous free online tools that are simple to use. A few of our personal favorites are:

  • Strikingly
  • Jimdo
  • Squarespace
  • Weebly
  • Wix
  • IMCreator 
Homework assignment: set up a professional website & blog

Setting up a personal website is something you can easily knock out in a weekend, or less (depending on how elaborate you go.) Most personal websites include pages such as: about, portfolio (showcasing examples of your work or case studies), services (if you consult on the side – which is becoming more widely accepted by employers whether the talent is actively employed or not), blog, and a contact page. Be sure to set up an email account dedicated to emails coming from your personal site and for your job search. Google’s Gmail is the gold standard, even if you’re using a email service through your website (your personal website’s email can be easily forwarded to your professional Gmail account.)

While not all of the above listed platforms offer a “blog” section, you absolutely should blog! In our first lesson, we discussed Medium and it’s benefits for job seekers. Again, if you haven’t done so already as we recommended in lesson 1, you should get posting on Medium. Although it is a fairly newer platform, it has millions of users, including companies and individuals. The content you share there can also be shared over on your LinkedIn profile and on your website (if it has that feature.) You can also set up a free WordPress blog and place your content there, too.

Once you have your new website and blog up, be sure to proofread it thoroughly before publishing it live. Just like a resume, cover letter or content on your social profiles, grammar and punctuation count!

If you’re a programmer (you write code as part or all of your job) check out the Guest Post from Jason Lownethal, a Software Engineer who discusses other tips and tools especially relevant for programming professionals including Stackoverflow and GitHub.

Beyond the Resume – Calling Card & Business Cards

Let’s say you’re out at an industry or networking event, or even just out running errands and happen to strike up a conversation with someone who could potentially help you in your search or at the very least, expand your professional network. (Note: everyone knows someone who could very well be your next employer, or help you with a job lead.)

While you may have a vCard that you can quickly send to them, presenting them with a personal calling card (a business card not supplied by an employer) is also another way to quickly share your personal contact information. This is an especially valuable tool for anyone conducting a stealth-mode/private job search where a current job could be at risk. Your calling card should be professional and polished, and supply essential contact information: your first and last name, personal non-company issued phone number, personal email (your website contact or Gmail preferably!), website URL, LinkedIn vanity URL and your profile info for other social media accounts that are relevant to your industry (your Twitter account handle, for example.)

A calling card doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either! Many companies such as VistaPrint, Moo and Overnight Prints offer very cost-effective options; many with free design services and shipping. A personal calling card (or personal business card) also comes in handy during interviews, too. While resumes can get filed away, a business card often sits on the desk of the person or persons who interviewed you. It can help to set you apart from other candidates as well; especially if you were the one doing the presenting and have a unique card to boot. And furthermore, most people are reluctant to pitch a business card. Whomever said print is going by way of the dinosaur hasn’t checked out the desks or desk drawers of the millions of professionals who keep calling cards…

Homework assignment: order professional calling cards/personal business cards

Final Thoughts: While resumes are still a very important tool for your job search, many employers also review talent online through LinkedIn and personal websites. What was once considered setting yourself apart online is now becoming increasingly standard practice for job-seekers. Calling cards or personal business cards can turn any chance or deliberate encounter into an opportunity to expand your network instantly without opening your mobile device, app, or email.

Be sure to join us for next week’s lesson as we cover Researching Employers.