Published March 13, 2013
Spring cleaning shouldn’t be limited to your closets, budget and yard. Now is also the time to give your career or job search a fresh start.
“If you’re not keeping your resume or professional online profile current, you’re likely missing out on some opportunities,” says Scott Dobroski, community expert at Glassdoor. “It’s a good idea to do a resume check-up every six months.”
Everyone has an online brand, whether it’s intentional or not, so it’s in your best interest to harness it and make it work to your advantage. According to social tracking website Jobvite, 85% of human resource professionals and recruiters said a positive online presence influenced hiring decisions while 70% turned down candidates because of online discoveries.
“If you’re not managing your online brand, you could unknowingly hurt your chances of landing that dream job,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at career website TheLadders.
Consistency is important with your online brand. “Your online brand should tell the same story as your resume,” says Augustine. If your resume and online profile don’t support the same career goals, you may confuse recruiters on what your desired career path.
To help you land your next great opportunity, experts recommend the following spring cleaning tips for your online profile and resume to make your job search easier.
Polish Your Resume
Experts advise only including information on your resume that’s applicable to the job you’re applying for to highlight your strengths. “Job seekers need to customize a resume for every job they’re applying to,” says Dobroski. “It’s time consuming, but that’s how you’ll stand out.”
Keep it short. Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert, recommends only listing experience and skills that are listed in a job posting and only going back to jobs that offer related experience.
Experts agree that two-page resumes are common if you’ve 10 years experience and a few career changes while one page is generally sufficient for applicants with less than five years experience.
Use examples. For each bullet detailing job experience, experts suggest paraphrasing and using actionable verbs like “Saved the company $1 million” or “Produced three times the product than expected.” Try to use specific examples, says Dobroski. “This will act as a teaser for a hiring manager who wants to know more about that bullet.”
Freshen Your Online Profile
“While there may be some overlap, your online profile should be an extension of your resume that provides a well-rounded picture of who you are as a candidate,” says Brent Rasmussen, CareerBuilder’s president of North America. He suggests including additional accolades, interests and community involvement in your online profile.
Employers are no longer posting job descriptions waiting for the perfect candidate to come along, according to Williams, they are being more proactive with their outreach. “Employers are doing the matching. You’re not doing the matching.”
Rasmussen suggests making yourself as visible as possible online. Post your profile on general and niche job sites and social and professional networking sites to increase your visibility,” he says.
Use the right tense. The summary for your online profile should be in first person while job experience written in third person, suggests Williams. “Resumes should be in third person but it depends on your job and industry.” When choosing tense, use present or past tense depending on whether you’re still at the position.
Leverage social media. “You can also leverage other social media forums so you can build a reputation and be asked for a resume,” says Williams. Since many employers conduct Google searches on potential candidates, you may lose an opportunity if you don’t have an online presence.
Monitor your brand. Augustine suggests setting up Google Alerts so you can actively monitor anything posted with your name or online brand. “Clean out or update any outdated profiles related to your work or job search – including job boards where you’ve uploaded your resume.”
When evaluating what to post, Rasmussen advises not making anything public that you wouldn’t want your boss to see. “Convey a professional image wherever an employer may find you online.” Remove inappropriate posts or photos, avoid negative comments about previous employers and monitor what others post about you.
Display talents and interests. Include hyperlinks to portfolios and information about jobs and volunteer organizations that aren’t on your resume. “You don’t know if someone looking at your profile will put you over the top because of something on your LinkedIn profile,” says Williams. Talk about volunteer organizations and groups that you belong to.
Spruce Up Your Networking Skills
As the world becomes more connected, when it comes to landing a job: it’s all about who you know.
Maintain relationships. “Relationships get you the job, not the resume,” says Williams. Have an affinity with your connections and don’t collect connections like you do followers. Connections who you don’t know may not be willing to help you. “It’s based on trusted referrals and meaningful connections,” says Williams.
Identify where you want to work. Figure out the top five companies in your industry that you want to work at, says Dobroski. “There’s a difference between finding the right job versus finding a job.” Do your research on the position you want and learn about the corporate culture at multiple companies.
Track your interactions. Along with keeping a list of who’s in your network, it’s also important to track when you’ve contacted them, says Dobroski. “Always know who you’re already talking to. Keeping it one master tracker is incredibly helpful.”