Whether you’re actively searching for a new job or you just want to be kept in the loop of potential opportunities, standing out among the crowd is the key to attracting the attention of a recruiter.
When creating your résumé and social media profiles, keep these tips in mind:
Dan Ogden, principal of Omnibus Consulting, a knowledge economy executive search firm, says the “I can do this for you” approach that most of us use on our résumés is flawed. “The biggest mistake that so many people make is they say, ‘I have a passion for x,’ ‘I’m a hard worker,’ or ‘I’m a team player,’” says Ogden.
“The perfect cover letter for any position would say, ‘I have done the exact job you are advertising for your business,’” he says. To stand out, Ogden recommends candidates think about how to demonstrate to the employer that they will have to invest the shortest possible ramp-up time to fulfill the position. Look at the job description and show how you have done this job in previous positions.
While most job applicants tend to list responsibilities on their résumés, Ogden recommends a slightly different approach. “If you’re a 90th percentile performer and a colleague is a 10th percentile performer, if you both describe your responsibilities, your résumés will look identical,” says Ogden.
Showing what you have accomplished relative to the responsibilities, and quantifying those achievements, is key to standing out. Stating, ‘I was responsible for client service and reduced turnaround time by 20%’ is much more effective than simply stating, ‘I was responsible for client service.’
“The résumés that stand out are the ones that show what (the candidate) did with the responsibilities they were given. Not just what they were responsible for, but what they achieved in context,” says Ogden.
Gaps in work experience and choppiness on your résumé is a red flag for any recruiter. “If I invest my time and resources to get them to do what I need them to do, are they going to be around long enough for me to get ROI on?” asks Ogden.
If you have a choppy résumé–such as three jobs in two years, for example–Ogden recommends highlighting on your résumé your reasons for leaving or the circumstances surrounding your departure. Perhaps the company was restructuring and you were laid off or the company moved to another location. Also highlight if you were ever rehired by a former manager to another company. That type of job jump reflects positively in the eyes of a recruiter.
Joshua Janicek, director of talent acquisition for the advertising agency Arnold Worldwide, says job seekers should focus on building a personal brand to help set them apart from peers and competing applicants and catch the attention of recruiters. “Your personal brand speaks to who you were, who you are, and who you’d like to become in the future,” says Janicek.
Janicek says your LinkedIn profile is the best place to start building a personal brand. “LinkedIn is the standard and the core platform for recruiters looking for passive talent,” says Janicek. Complete your profile with a picture and update it at least monthly. Then, once your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, focus on other channels that make sense for your industry.
Follow recruiters or employees that work for the company you’re hoping to join on Twitter or Instagram, and direct-message, “like,” and comment on their posts or pages. While starting a dialogue is a great way to get noticed, Janicek says to make sure that what you say is relevant and adds value.
Be use to include your passions and interests on your social media pages to create a fully rounded personal brand that gives recruiters a better sense of your personality and who you are. “This information will set you apart from your peers,” says Janicek.