The number one question I get from professionals is – why am I not getting hired? Whether you are in job transition, looking to move on from your current company, or trying to change industries, there are a few fundamental tips to landing the job, but you may be going about them all wrong.
First, redesign your resume for keyword search. Online recruiting systems are built to make it easier for recruiters to source job requisitions; not for you to display all of your competencies and accolades in calligraphy font.
Next, make sure your resume isn’t verbose – think more elevator pitch than dissertation. If a recruiter can’t summarize your awesomeness in 140 characters or understand your greatness after a 30 second glance, it’s too wordy. Keep it simple – get rid of graphics, special characters; choose a web friendly font, pepper your skills section with popular keywords from the actual job description, and avoid spelling errors to bypass the Applicant Tracking System.
Lastly, make sure your resume isn’t lengthy. Keep your resume between 1-2 pages and have up to three different versions. Resumes are generally lengthy because you try to squeeze everything in rather than creating multiple versions to suit your jobs of interest. Using the same resume and cover letter for every job you apply for is a mistake.
For example, you don’t have a great professional picture so you use a car selfie, a cropped prom photo, a picture of you featuring your dog, child, or younger sibling. If this is you, abort mission. I repeat, abort mission. When in doubt, go pro—professional photographer that is. Hire a professional photographer to snap quality shots of you. You can even hire someone who will complete your LinkedIn profile for you, if you are unwilling.
You will get more LinkedIn contacts if your photo stands out and is instantly recognizable. In fact, researchers at PhotoFeeler, a site that enables you to receive feedback on your LinkedIn photos from real people, recently analyzed 60,000 ratings of perceived competence, likeability, and influence across 800 profile photos to identify the winning element and determined that great pictures increase the likeliness of clicks. And according to Inc, LinkedIn profiles with headshots get 14 times more profile views then those without profile photos. It’s not only advantageous to clean up your LinkedIn profile photo, but also to scrub anything that’s not consistent with the personal brand you want to convey.
If you actually land an interview make sure you ask very specific questions like . . . when can I expect to hear back regarding next steps? When do you anticipate this role being filled and what is the start date? And, always follow up with a thank you letter.
Content originally featured on Black Enterprise