Are Paper Resumes Becoming Extinct?

The first time a prospective employer views your resume, it will be on a computer screen. Doesn’t it make sense to leverage technology in ways that help you cut through the clutter and more creatively showcase your skills? Why not start thinking about how you can create an electronic portfolio of your credentials…one that people can interact with electronically?

As a starting point, there are some relatively simple things you can include to make your resume more interactive and engaging:

  • Links to the websites of employers
  • Links to your LinkedIn page, blog, articles you’ve authored, conference presentations…… anything online that enhances your professional brand
  • More use of color and simple graphics to creatively present your skills and accomplishments.

Furthermore, charts, graphs, photos, and even case studies can be powerful attention-getters—you can include them as attachments or better yet, post them to your blog or personal website with links from your resume so people can easily view them.

Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a powerful branding tool, so make sure you have plenty of references for people to view. Instead of ending your resume with the vague “Resumes Available Upon Request”, close with “LinkedIn references available at:” followed by a link to your LinkedIn page. Alternatively, see if you can find a way to weave LinkedIn references into your resume.

In some situations, you might want to consider more advanced uses of technology. For example, some people are making their resumes more visually interesting through the use of infographics. Examples can be viewed at: www.pinterest.com/rtkrum/infographic-visual-resumes/.

Video also seems to be getting a lot of press these days. Some candidates are adding pre-recorded video content to their credential package. Sites like BriteTab.com, OptimalResume.com, InterviewStudio.com, and ResumeBook.tv allow job seekers to build and publish video resumes. You may also want to consider creating 1 minute personalized video messages at http://why57.com/. Remember that you can include links on your resume that will connect the reader to content anywhere on the internet, even videos on YouTube.

There’s more about going beyond the boundaries of traditional resumes in my post on May 16, 2013 on Professional Portfolios. My blog contains other resume and career advice, as well as examples of what I consider to be outstanding resume formats. Don’t do away with the paper version entirely–many interviewers will want that hard copy when they talk with you face-to-face.

If you want to stand-out from the crowd, you’ll want to present yourself as more than a series of jobs listed on a piece of paper. Smart use of technology makes it possible for you to create a more comprehensive and compelling portfolio of your credentials. Take advantage of those tools and put a new shine on your old resume!

6 Steps to a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile

First and foremost, LinkedIn helps you create a personal brand, not just a listing of the jobs you’ve had. If you want to increase your chances of being contacted for any potential career or business enhancing opportunities, this article is a good place to start. I also recommend that you look at LinkedIn’s apps–they’re a great way to help you stand out from the crowd and most people don’t bother to use them. (View the article here: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-to-market-yourself-with-linkedin-profile-6-steps.html)

OWNERS’ MANUAL

6 Steps to a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile

Somewhere along the line you started treating it more like a resume. It’s time to fix that.

By Jeff Haden |  @jeff_haden   | Dec 7, 2011

Overall, LinkedIn is the best social media platform for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals. Unfortunately, your LinkedIn profile may not be helping you to create those connections.

So let’s tune yours up with six simple steps:

Step 1. Revisit your goals. At its most basic level LinkedIn is about marketing: marketing your company or marketing yourself. But that focus probably got lost as you worked through the mechanics of completing your profile, and what started as a marketing effort turned into a resume completion task. Who you are isn’t as important as what you hope to accomplish, so think about your goals and convert your goals into keywords, because keywords are how people find you on LinkedIn.

But don’t just whip out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and identify popular keywords. It’s useful but everyone uses it—and that means, for example, that every Web designer has shoehorned six- and seven-digit searches-per-month keywords like “build a website,” “website templates,” “designing a website,” and “webmaster” into their profile. It’s hard to stand out when you’re one of millions.

Go a step further and think about words that have meaning in your industry. Some are process-related; others are terms only used in your field; others might be names of equipment, products, software, or companies.

Use a keyword tool to find general terms that could attract a broader audience, and then dig deeper to target your niche by identifying keywords industry insiders might search for.

Then sense-check your keywords against your goals. If you’re a Web designer but you don’t provide training, the 7 million monthly Google searches for  “how to Web design” don’t matter.

Step 2. Layer in your keywords. The headline is a key factor in search results, so pick your most important keyword and make sure it appears in your headline. “Most important” doesn’t mean most searched, though; if you provide services to a highly targeted market the keyword in your headline should reflect that niche. Then work through the rest of your profile and replace some of the vague descriptions of skills, experience, and educational background with keywords. Your profile isn’t a term paper so don’t worry about a little repetition. A LinkedIn search scans for keywords, and once on the page, so do people.

Step 3. Strip out the clutter. If you’re the average person you changed jobs six or eight times before you reached age 30. That experience is only relevant when it relates to your current goals. Sift through your profile and weed out or streamline everything that doesn’t support your business or professional goals. If you’re currently a Web designer but were an accountant in a previous life, a comprehensive listing of your accounting background is distracting. Keep previous jobs in your work history, but limit each to job title, company, and a brief description of duties.

Step 4. Reintroduce your personality. Focusing on keywords and eliminating clutter is important, but in the process your individuality probably got lost. Now you can put it back and add a little enthusiasm and flair. Describing yourself as, “A process improvement consultant with a Six Sigma black belt,” is specific and targeted but also says nothing about you as a person—and doesn’t make me think, “Hey, she would be great to work with.”

Share why you love what you do in your profile. Share what you hope to accomplish. Describe companies you worked for or projects you completed. Share your best or worst experience. Keep your keywords in place, leave out what doesn’t support your goals, and then be yourself.

Keywords are important but are primarily just a way to help potential clients find you. No one hires keywords; they hire people.

Step 5. Take a hard look at your profile photo. Say someone follows you on Twitter. What’s the first thing you do? Check out their photo.

A photo is a little like a logo: On its own an awesome photo won’t win business, but a bad photo can definitely lose business.

Take a look at your current photo. Does it reflect who you are as a professional or does it reflect a hobby or outside interest? Does it look like a real estate agent’s headshot? A good photo flatters but doesn’t mislead. Eventually you’ll meet some of your customers in person and the inevitable disconnect between Photoshop and life will be jarring.

The goal is for your photo to reflect how you will look when you meet a customer, not how you looked at that killer party in Key West four years ago. The best profile photo isn’t necessarily your favorite photo. The best photo strikes a balance between professionalism and approachability, making you look good but also real.

Step 6. Get recommendations. Most of us can’t resist reading testimonials, even when we know those testimonials were probably solicited. Recommendations add color and depth to a LinkedIn profile, fleshing it out while avoiding any, “Oh jeez will this guy ever shut up about himself?” reactions. So ask for recommendations, and offer to provide recommendations before you’re asked.

Jeff Haden

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry from forklift driver to manager of a 250-employee book plant. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest innovators and leaders he knows in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list. He’d tell you which ones, but then he’d have to kill you.

Using LinkedIn Apps to Enhance your Online Presence

From “The Digital Nirvana” newsletter, here’s an article that suggests some basic ways to enhance the way you market yourself on LinkedIn and more strongly present your value as a candidate.

Take Advantage of LinkedIn Applications

By John Foley on May 4th, 2011

LinkedIn has great applications that you can add to your profile that can make it very informational to your online audience.  They help mold your LinkedIn profile into an online portfolio of your past and current work, and what your business is all about.  Here are some of my favorite applications to use for my LinkedIn profile and why:  Take Advantage of LinkedIn Applications

Personal Branding

Good article for anyone in a job search who wants to make sure their tactics are keeping pace with the times and staying ahead of the pack.

2010 Top 10 Executive Personal Branding and Job Search Trends

by Meg Guiseppi on December 22, 2009 · 27 comments

Things have changed in the world of work and executive job search.

Tried and true methods still apply, but the impact of the Internet and our recovering job market require building a different kind of job search strategy and becoming much more proactive.

In a nutshell, what you need to do along with real-life networking, is embrace and leverage personal branding, social networking at sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, and social media, while building a strong, brand-evident online presence . . . or get left behind.

Your peers who finesse the new tactics already have a competitive advantage over people who don’t. They’re strategically positioned to accelerate their job searches.

Here’s how things are stacking up for executive job search in 2010 – some new rules, some old rules:

Read more…..