I had a Career Launch Lunch with a talented job seeker who said something that struck me. When I asked him why he hadn’t included a major success story in his resume (that he had mentioned over lunch), he humbly responded that his work had always spoken for itself.
I said to him if a recruiter doesn’t know you, hasn’t seen your samples, and doesn’t understand your line of work; your work isn’t saying a thing. You have to SHOW and TELL hiring companies why you are the top candidate. Here’s how.
SHOW your abilities!
- Post your work samples on your LinkedIn profile (in your summary or education section) using Box.net and your PowerPoint presentations and videos using Slide Share. As you can see on my profile below, these useful (and free, at the basic level) applications can help you stand out.
Don’t have samples or feel you can use proprietary documents from a former company? Use this next tip …
- Go beyond the expected. When I graduated from college, I realized my tiny body of work was not strong enough to land me an ad agency creative job. So, I created a campaign for a mythical product, a Wite-Out ®-type solution I named Blunder Blender that simply dissolved errors instead of leaving a residue. I created a TV commercial storyboard, newspaper ad and radio script for the product, all of which I included in my portfolio. The effort paid off! Not only were agencies impressed by the creativity and quality of my campaign, they were amazed I had undertaken such extra work to prove my abilities.
Likewise, accountants can show their flair for spreadsheets; contractors can display photos of their before and after construction projects; and financial advisers can detail how they helped a client invest successfully. Think about it. How can you go beyond the expected to shine the very brightest to recruiters?
- Send samples to hiring companies. Applying online should just be the first step in landing a job. Improve your chances with a target company by sending a relevant person within the company an e-mail that includes your resume, samples, and referral letter or list of recommendations. Here’s how | Create a LinkedIn recommendations sheet
TELL your abilities!
Sell yourself as if you were being paid to market you. Assume you are one of hundreds of applicants and unless the hiring manager knows you and your abilities intimately, your good reputation DOES NOT precede you. Here’s how to stand out:
- Use your resume to convince hiring companies your background matches the job description. Look hard at your resume. Does it really state why you are the best, or merely recite your past duties? Improve your resume
- Redo your cover letter to convey why you are uniquely qualified. Closely review your standard cover letter. Does it create an aura about you or merely convey that your resume is attached? Improve your cover letter
- Use power words and quantifiable results
- Enhance your LinkedIn presence
- Improve your LinkedIn profile to spotlight your abilities and quantifiable results.
- Bring up interesting topics and request job leads regularly using your status bar
- Join and participate in LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your field
- Seek out recommendations from former coworkers
The bottom line: Don’t assume your work (or your reputation) speaks for itself. SHOW and TELL hiring companies you can do the job better than anyone else … doing so can help you Get a Job!