As my project is gearing up to go into Production, we are starting to review a lot of applications. Considering how many resume and job search resources are available online, it is both funny and frustrating to see how many potentially promising candidates sabotage their chances of getting an interview. Even with the competition for talent here, we have options. If you are not presenting yourself in the best way possible, you may not get a second look. So, I thought I would add to my earlier post on surviving the resume triage and give some more tips to get an interview.
1. Your LinkedIn profile is as important as your resume. You do not need to repeat your entire resume on your LinkedIn profile, but you certainly need to write more than your company, title and dates. LinkedIn is increasingly being used as a screening tool. Because it is in a standard format and very quick to load and scan, we are looking at that before we even open your resume. In addition, it is the tool recruiters will use to find you. So, put a brief description of your job and accomplishments for each position to make us want to look at your full resume.
2. Artists, it’s all about your portfolio and/or demo reel. If you are an artist or designer, make sure your portfolio and/or demo reel shows the very best of your work and features both on-the-job and personal work. It’s the first thing we look at, even before your LinkedIn profile or your resume. If you are good at more than one style, show it. Make sure you are proud of every piece that you show. Find a more senior mentor who can give you feedback and help you improve your portfolio. Also, don’t use the same web templates as your friends and colleagues. There are many free, easy-to-use web templates you can use to feature your work. When we see several people use the same template, and they worked on many of the same projects, our impressions of the portfolios start to blur. As an artist, you are expected to have your portfolio stand out from the rest. Finally, never, ever claim someone else’s work as your own. Ever. You don’t know who is looking at your portfolio. This is a very connected industry and a reputation as a plagiarist will last a very long time.
3. Learn to sell yourself. Both of the above points are connected to this one. Your profile, your portfolio, your resume and your cover letter all need to work together to help you sell yourself. Unless you are a natural salesperson, it is probably one of the hardest things to do. Feature your accomplishments, not just bland job descriptions and a list of software you’ve used. If you are lucky to have someone in your trusted network who is involved with hiring people, ask for their feedback. If a friend is referring you for a job, ask for their feedback on what you’re presenting before they pass it on. Even to friends, family and colleagues I have helped, I still recommended Alison Green’s e-book: How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager. I’ve been following her blog for a while and respect her no-nonsense advice.
If any of my readers have other tips to share or questions about how to best sell themselves, I welcome the discussion in the comments.
Update: To read more tips on succeeding in the hiring process, please read my other posts on the subject:
- Hiring From A Manager’s Perspective – Part 1: Surviving The Resume Triage
- Hiring From A Manager’s Perspective – Part 2: Phone Interview Tips
- Hiring From A Manager’s Perspective – Part 3: Nailing The Interview