Crunchmoms speaks with job search coach Michele Ross who has more than 10 years of experience in career development, recruiting, resume writing, training, and negotiation. Read her tips on how job seekers can make their goals come true by refining their resumes and LinkedIn profile.
What are some of the biggest mistakes job seekers make when creating their resume?
Most individuals write a lot but don't incorporate key accomplishments or quantitative data. Both make a significant impact with a small amount of space on a page.
Job seekers also seem to think they need just one version of their resume. Each person should have two resumes, one that is ATS (Applicant Tracking System) friendly for applying online that’s keyword-rich, and one resume that is formatted in an infographic style. Infographic resumes are visually stimulating, colorful, shorter, and are used to send directly to key decision-makers.
Objectives, references, and personal hobbies are wasted space. The most important thing about a CV is that it's easy to read and straight to the point with a beautiful skillset snapshot on the first page.
Also, job seekers are not spending enough time tailoring their resumes. Once you have two exceptional resume designs, make small tweaks to highlight skills specific to the job that you're applying for.
What do most people overlook when searching and applying for jobs?
This is an interesting question. Most job seekers are very reactive. They see a job posting, they apply, and then they wait. Individuals need to broaden their resources of where to find job postings. A lot of large organizations don't get a generous budget to post every open position on LinkedIn. There are a lot of other great job boards to find open positions.
How can we all use LinkedIn effectively while searching for work?
Having a dynamic personal brand on LinkedIn is critical. 94% of decision-makers will review a LinkedIn profile several times before reaching out to a candidate. Having a keyword-rich page will allow individuals to find profiles through searching. The most effective way to use LinkedIn is to identify key contacts to connect with to increase visibility with their job search.
What are some tips you can share when updating LinkedIn profiles for success?
When you're updating your profile, first turn off notifications so that your professional network doesn't get an update with each area within LinkedIn that you're updating. Focusing on the 'top fold' portion of LinkedIn and the banner, profile photo, and the 'About' section have the most significant immediate impact when the proper keywords are used, and settings are modified for increased visibility.
How important is it to have a cover letter?
Every application should have a cover letter...ALWAYS. The cover letter allows one to eliminate any doubt or assumptions that a gatekeeper (recruiter) or hiring manager could make about your profile. You want to address the job requirements and speak to how your skills add value based on the organization's needs. The cover letter should tell a story so that your resume should never have to be reviewed to understand what you do and how you add value. Finally, your cover letter should reduce assumptions by telling the reader when you're available for work, if you require sponsorship and, if you're re-entering the workforce, include your motivation behind that.
On the topic of recruitment, what are some of the biggest mistakes candidates make when negotiating salaries?
Revealing how much money you would accept. Most employers will ask a desired salary to pre-qualify if they’ll be able to hire individuals within their desired budget. Always decide ahead of time how you’re going to answer the dreaded question and be as non-committal as you can be. Sometimes you can give a range and specify that it's challenging to provide an exact figure without having details on the total compensation package and benefits.
Weak research. Most people focus on what they need instead of their value. Research is essential to see what organizations pay within your skillset, industry, and location. Salary.com and Salaryexpert.com are both great research resources.
Asking for too much. Employers expect counteroffers. Focus on the top two things that really desire improvement within the offer. Sometimes pay isn't the only factor – vacation time, equity, sign-on bonuses, and stock options are great additional things to add to a written short counterproposal.