Research has shown recruiters only spend an average of six seconds looking at your resume. With that said, let’s talk about how to make our resume's six seconds the most liveliest, and how to invest in every chance to blow your future employers away.
Resumes Are Just The Anchor
Although named Resume Strategist, Inc., Alyssa’s approach is focused on your personal brand and teaching clients how they can best market themselves. Remember that resumes are just one part of your brand, not the end all, be all. Instead of solely focusing your time on your resume, be sure the rest of your brand is aligned as strongly. This includes your LinkedIn profile, cover letter, business cards, email language, and even how you present yourself in interviews or networking events. “You can have the greatest resume in the planet,” Alyssa explains, “but if you can’t back it up, what good was that resume?” You need a lot more to get out there, especially as a millennial in the competitive work field of 2016.
Your LinkedIn profile is 14 more times likely to be viewed with a professional picture, yet there is always a time and place for a headshot. When asking Alyssa if she recommended having pictures on resumes, she shared, “It’s actually not legal in the U.S. to have your picture (in addition to age, marital status, kids, race) on your resume, as employers are not allowed to ask those questions.” However, for international candidates, it’s very common to have your photo on your resume. Thus, it is crucial to upload an appealing photo on LinkedIn; it creates a visual of who we are, plus it validates that we are a real person.
Link Your Relevance
You can certainly link social media profiles like LinkedIn on your resume, in addition to Twitter and beyond, but only if it’s relevant. One way to know if the content is relevant is by researching norms in your chosen field or deciding on what fits in your brand. By putting your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even LinkedIn on your resume, you’re proactively telling someone, “Here, go look at this!” Remember to make sure everything is current, relevant, or shows another positive aspect of who you are.
Resumes or Works of Art?
When asking Alyssa about whether resumes, especially for twenty somethings, needed to be works of art, she broke down how it works. “It depends – if it’s a job in visuals, you do need something [artful], but you still need a basic version for when you cut and paste your resume into an application.” While having a nicely designed PDF of your resume is solid, it’s more contingent on what you want to do. No matter what, though, you always need to make sure you have a more plain, reliable resume ready to use on any job application form.
To View or Not To View
LinkedIn is fabulous for countless reasons, especially for reading up on a company or employee before an interview or networking event. However, what about that worry that someone will know you’ve viewed their profile – is this a bad thing? Luckily, Alyssa said, “No, not at all.” In her experience working with clients, she explained how companies are often flattered and impressed when a client or prospective employee looks them up. “Anyone that does their research, it shows interest; I love that they took the time to look me up,” Alyssa says. So go ahead and stalk away--you know, in a non-creepy way!
Show Your Best Self
When asking Alyssa what the most frequent mistake she has found millennials make is, she shared the following: “I think it’s two things: one, too much information, where you don’t need to put everything that you’ve done; and two, making you out to seem more senior than you are. You want to strike a balance. Be careful of the language you use! If you’ve only been out of college for two years, you want your resume to also look believable.”
Find the most crucial points and tailor that to your background. Likewise, with LinkedIn, you don’t need to include everything you’ve ever done – but instead only the most relevant to who you are now, and where you want to go. Additionally, do your best to keep your resume to one page only.
Opportunity In Groups
“There’s a lot of really obvious groups people don’t take advantage of, like alumni groups, which are incredibly powerful,” Alyssa says. This includes not just social groups like sororities, but larger groups where you can meet people of all ages. There are numerous associations to gain, and when you walk into a room, you’ll have an instant commonality, a.k.a. a guaranteed starting point for conversation. Thus, you will automatically feel more confident in how you approach a room full of strangers you’ve never met! These connections can do so much more for your resume than a routine job application ever could.
Remember, your resume is just one piece of your brand. If you forget about all the other pieces, then your resume will never be able to truly shine.
This article by Eve Stern was originally posted on Her Agenda’s website. It is re-posted with the permission of the Her Agenda team.
Her Agenda is an award-winning inspiration and information hub for ambitious millennial women providing the best resources found online to motivate them to reach their full potential. Recently named a top website for millennial women by Forbes.com, their content-driven resource portal attracts driven women and gives them the tools to become accomplished women. Her Agenda curates, collects and creates the latest news, events, career advice, jobs, workshops, panels and conferences to help women with their careers. Her Agenda also features interviews with powerful, successful women to offer direct advice from their career journey to their readers. For more, visit www.HerAgenda.com.