Compared to other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, many Latinos today are still not showing a strong presence or strong use of LinkedIn. Among the world of social networks, LinkedIn is the social media outlet most devoted to business and business topics. It is because of this, that LinkedIn is the best place for job seekers to showoff their professional acumen to hiring managers and Recruiters.
As an HR professional who often gives workshops on "LinkedIn for Job Seekers", I can’t stress enough how much unemployed candidates need to have a strong active presence on this media outlet. Let’s face it job boards are almost dead, and they certainly are no longer the number one preferred choice for Recruiters looking for talent. That coveted spot has now gone to LinkedIn and before long, it too will be replaced with newer innovative recruiting tools.
One of the most ignored facts that Latino job seekers need to embrace in today’s job market is that candidates really need to have a strong brand. I won’t use this blog post to get into the topic of individual branding, but be aware that we will talk about it in the future and it will certainly be among the many workshops that members of The H.I.L.L. can look forward to participating in during 2013.
One of the reasons LinkedIn has become such a powerful recruiting tool for job seekers and Recruiters alike is because of its reciprocity in allowing candidates to be an active participant in the job/job seeker hunt. Candidates with great LinkedIn profiles display a variety of badges that all come together nicely to really say a lot about their individual brand.
At the top of the list is the job seekers resume or work history which should always be initiated with an executive summary of skill sets and experience. Second is the personal photo. A photo can be a powerful representation of an individual when done correctly. Third are recommendations which serve as reference letters from previous supervisors, peers or clients. Fourth are community contributions through listings of local volunteer assignments. And last but not least a show of organization affiliations which can be displayed through groups you belong to.
Of course the above list is not all inclusive, but surely explains nicely what we mean when we say that Recruiters can tell so much more about your brand through your LinkedIn profile vs. your resume. As most job seekers should know, landing the job is not just about having the job skills needed for the job, but also about fitting nicely with an organization’s culture. A Recruiter can only begin to pick up on the latter attributes of a candidate by scanning the bits and bites a broader tool like LinkedIn can offer. It’s up to the candidate to ensure those pieces of the picture are there for the grabbing.
Whenever asked, what are some of my recommendations for a solid resume, these five always top my list:
1. Make sure that you are using a current e-mail service provider for your personal e-mail address. Your e-mail address is typically located among the top 3 to 5 lines of your resume; don't blow the first impression by telling the reader that you've been slow to adapt to change. If you're using an aol.com account or any other outdated e-mail service provider you're telling the reader that you're not keeping up with the latest trends being adapted by mainstream America. The use of an obscure e-mail provider could start making people have red flags about you. For mature job seekers aol.com is not obscure, but for that 23 year old Recruiter, it could be. Stick with the trendy stuff, like g-mail, yahoo, or local phone company providers. Lastly, do not use cute or funky names as e-mail addresses. It shows bad judgement. Stick to e-mail addresses that include a combination of your name or initials and numbers.
2. Create a LinkedIn Account as well as a LinkedIn URL and use it within your contact info at the top of your resume. Any job seeker who does not have a profile on LinkedIn is missing a huge opportunity to seek and be seen by Recruiters and potential hiring managers. LinkedIn in now among a Recruiter's most invaluable tools for searching talent. Regardless of whether its their primary tool or their supplemental tool for sourcing, chances are the Recruiter will look for you on LinkedIn. Make it easy for them by immediately telling them "Yes, I'm there, and here is my profile link". In doing so you immediately invite the Recruiter to check out the rest of your brag book and to see that you have many more dimensions to your work history.
3. Start your resume with an Executive Summary paragraph. Like all things in business that evolve over time, the Executive Summary is the result of an evolution to what use to be called the Objective Paragraph. Currently the Executive Summary is designed to quickly tell the reader what makes you so unique or different from the other 500 candidates that are also vying for the role you seek . It must be packed with punch if anyone is going to keep reading beyond for more. Everything else in your resume technically must support the claims you make in this critical section. If you are a seasoned professional in your industry then focus on describing the individual in you that is highly familiar with the business principles colleagues in your field live and die by each day.
4. Don't use your resume space to mimic what would be seen in a typical job description. Outlining the daily tasks you were responsible for through your work history is always insulting to the reader. Its like the feeling you get when you go to a workshop and the presenter just stands there and reads each bullet point to you. When outlining your work history give a 1 to 3 line summary description of your overall role. Under that narrative, pick 2 to 4 bullet points that were the highlight of your job successes in that role. If you were an Admin Assistant don't list that you answered the phones and answered e-mails That would be a given, everyone knows that. Instead use bullet telling that you planned an annual conference single handed or that you wrote a standards and policy manual from scratch. For as many things as possible use quantifying language that describes degree of complexity, dollars, value, caliber , urgency, volume, speed, standard etc. Doing so shows that you understand business is about numbers and the things that separate a great performer from a non performer.
5. Make sure the overall look of your resume is clean and professional. My husband once brought home a friend's resume for me to proof read. Although I can't remember the content of the resume, to this day, I can remember what the resume looked like. The document was so busy, so flashy and so full of varying sizes and styles of font that I could not get passed it to read it. When you pick up a resume it should look like a business suit. Clean, crisp, well fitted and consistent in its overall look. Stick to one font style and to 2 to 3 font sizes to vary the impact of sections and their content. There should be plenty of white space, meaning that you do not want to cram 3 pages worth of material into 2. This is why wasting paper space on bullets or sentences that don't ad value to your credentials is critical; turns out in the end, the white space is just as valuable for overall look and presentation.