It’s not just your current employer you have to worry about. According to a 2013 study by CareerBuilder, more employers are finding reasons not to hire candidates because of their social media presence. Some said they took candidates out of the running after finding various concerning content online. The top two negative behaviors mentioned by employers were 1) provocative/inappropriate photos and/or information (50%) and 2) information about candidate drinking or using drugs (48%). Remember that old adage about not saying anything bad –even if your boss is a first-class jerk? Many employers said candidates were crossed off the list for badmouthing a previous employer (33%).
There’s no true shortcut to securing a new job. Always make the extra effort. Whether it’s tailoring your resume for a job or sending a thank you message after an interview…the extra work you invest shows your interest and professionalism. Most importantly, it helps you stand out.
1. Work History in a Nutshell
Start by briefly introducing your professional story. Outline your experience, showing a trajectory from early career until now. Keep the focus on your current or most recent position—where you can speak directly to your proficiency as a leader– and stay away from personal details.
2. Your Unique Selling Points (USPs)
Of course, you will have done your homework before showing up for an interview, reading up on the company’s history and current business model. In a sentence or two, outline the hard and soft skills (USPs) that make you uniquely positioned to bring solutions to the organization. That means referencing not only your technical or subject-area expertise necessary for the job, but also your people and leadership skills; for instance, mention your knack for mentoring, communicating well at all levels, problem-solving, or turning around sagging team morale.
3. Make the Connection
Now it’s time to unite your experience and skills with the needs of the employer. Briefly address how you see yourself contributing to the company’s mission. Is the organization expanding? Describe how you’ve screened and identified talent in previous leadership roles, or how you’ve built a team from the ground up. Will the new hire be responsible for reorganizing or changing the status quo? Recount an experience when you’ve led subordinates during uncertain times, or ways in which you’ve managed delicate personnel situations, like shifting responsibilities among team members or letting go underperforming staff.
The only way you’ll ever take a risk in life is if you’re permitted to fail. And though many leaders give their employees permission to fail because they understand the critical nature of failure in success, human beings are much less likely to give themselves the same room they give others.
Allowing yourself to be wrong, to mess up, and to fail from time to time obliterates crippling defensiveness and opens your mind to new perspectives and wisdom. Additionally, it allows you to take career- or life-changing risks.
Donate time to share your insights at an industry or career workshop or a for a student club. While it can take time (and a little courage) to prepare a talk, move your butt to the event and speak to a crowd, it’s an awesome way to shed light on questions about your industry or professional development and help others take important next steps in their career.
Set clear goals
The very first step is goal determination: What exactly does “career” mean for you? Is this associated with a certain amount of money? Do you want to reach a particular position?
Only when you have a clear idea of what it means for you to “make a career” can you also work towards this purpose. Many people do not take the time to become aware of their own career goals consciously and systematically. Do it! Write down for yourself what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Imagine what it will be like when you reach your destination. Work out a very concrete and detailed plan of action to get you where you want to go. Take your career goal actively in hand.
Use LinkedIn Company Profiles to Learn About Employers
LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to glean at-a-glance information on a company in which you’re interested. Company profiles provide an excellent window to your connections at the company, past, current and future projects, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. What’s more, LinkedIn company profiles often provide solid insight into a company’s culture — events they celebrate, causes they espouse and the ways in which they support them, goals they set for themselves as a company and for their employees; and the paths they take to achieve them.
Consider following your dream companies on LinkedIn. This will allow you to keep up with their achievements (which will be useful to bring up in a cover letter or interview), and will help you spot any job openings.
Keep it Simple
We’ll talk about getting creative in order to stand out in a minute. But the most basic principle of good resume formatting and design? Keep it simple. Use a basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. Make your resume easy on hiring managers’ eyes by using a font size between 10 and 12 and leaving a healthy amount of white space on the page. You can use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked, but keep it simple and keep it consistent. Your main focus here should be on readability for the hiring manager. That being said, you should feel free to…
Carefully Stand Out
Really want your resume stand out from the sea of Times New Roman? Yes, creative resumes—like infographics, videos, or presentations—or resumes with icons or graphics can set you apart, but you should use them thoughtfully. If you’re applying through an ATS, keep to the standard formatting without any bells and whistles so the computer can read it effectively. If you’re applying to a more traditional company, don’t get too crazy, but feel free to add some tasteful design elements or a little color to make it pop. No matter what, don’t do it unless you’re willing to put in the time, creativity, and design work to make it awesome.
Be Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise.
Keep your eyes on the prize:
Every person you meet is a potential door to a new opportunity—personally or professionally. Build good bridges even in that just-for-now job, because you never know how they’ll weave into the larger picture of your life.
The best career or job is the one in which you’re using the skills you enjoy. But, not every job needs to address all of your passions. Use every job as an opportunity to learn something new and keep an open mind; you may find that you really enjoy something you never imagined would appeal to you.
Its not always easy:
If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them.
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