Resume Blog

More than a mere showcase of your paper qualifications and achievements, nuances of your appearance and attitude, which affect the impression you give and the outcome of your job interview. Get pointers on what you should take note of when meeting your prospective employer and more..

Ten tips for the perfect LinkedIn profile

Linkedln Main Logo

LinkedIn is a great tool to find jobs, stay updated with industry goings on, network with professionals from relevant areas and generally stay within the radar of potential employers.

However, crafting a LinkedIn profile that does all this is not an easy task. Here are 10 tips to help you get it right:

  • Include a profile picture – It may sound shallow, but having a profile picture is imperative. When a recruiter sees a blank space where the profile image should be, it evokes a sense of mistrust right from the get-go. Also, it is important to make sure that the picture is suitable for a professional website. It doesn’t have to be shot in a studio, but should make you look professional yet approachable — somebody a recruiter might want to hire. Also make sure it’s a good quality image, not pixelated, blurred or too dark/light.
  • Summary – Recruiters or employers can have as many as hundreds of resumes and LinkedIn profiles to run through to find a suitable candidate for the job. Thus, chances are, they won’t spend too much time reading your entire profile. You must make the self-sale in the summary section. Ensure that the summary is impactful and describes sufficiently, in the limited space, who you are and what you can offer.
  • Settings – Change your settings while updating your profile or making any job search-related posts; the last thing you need is your current employer getting wind of it. Likewise, when making a new profile, turn off the updates; otherwise, LinkedIn will blast feed every little change you save, every time, to all your contacts, and this can be very annoying.
  • Headings and sub-heads – It is important to break up the text into short, descriptive headings and then describe the details under appropriate sub-heads. Large chunks of text can be boring and the recruiter might lose interest. Precise headings allow the recruiter to know what you are going to be talking about next.
  • Formatted, uniform look – Use bullets and pointers instead of long paragraphs to make your point. This makes it less tedious for a time-pressed recruiter to go through your profile, winning you brownie points
  • Lying – Do not lie in your profile. Industry folk tend to know each other on LinkedIn. So the next time you go for an interview based on false claims, not only will the employer realize that you have fibbed on your profile, he could also spread the word around, ruining any other chances you might have of getting calls from other places.
  • Update your profile – Remember to update your profile from time to time. The last thing a recruiter wants is to call you as a potential candidate based on the details you have revealed on your profile, only to realize that it hasn’t been updated and you do not meet his requirements. If you were a job seeker three years ago, make sure you change that after you get a job, otherwise you will keep getting jobs suitable for freshers, without understanding why that is the case. Likewise, if you are looking for a job but your profile says you already have a job, it could mean you aren’t getting calls you otherwise might have received, so change that.
  • Endorsements – Make sure you put up skills which you truly have. Being endorsed for the wrong skill-sets for the right job will not win you any brownie points. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 endorsements for a skill-set if it isn’t relevant to you. Instead, take time to think about which are the skills you want to be known for and list only those.
  • Words not to use – While it is important to remember that you must use words that are likely to optimize your profile and put you at the top of search results, going for the overkill or using words that have been done to death is not effective, either. As of 2012, words like ‘creative, organizational, effective, motivated, extensive experience, track record, innovative and responsible are considered taboo for using on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Connections and groups – This may seem innocuous, but be mindful of the people and groups that you have listed on your profile. If a potential employer sees your connections and groups scattered across completely unrelated industries, it will fail to impress him, the idea being that you aren’t focused enough. So, make sure to avoid having unrelated people and groups.

 

Let us help you

With these 10 tips, you can’t go wrong with your LinkedIn profile. But if you still think you can’t manage on your own worry not. Style Resumes will be happy to help you on your path to success. Simply contact Style Resumes and a useful, impressive LinkedIn profile can be yours.

 

 

StyleResumes Logo

 

4 Unconventional ways to get your dream job

You see a job posting, do research on the company and decide to apply. You fill out the run-of-the-mill application process and attach your resume.

Then you wait.

Maybe you resume didn’t get a second look. Maybe your resume was better-than-average, but simply got overlooked due to the hundreds of other resumes that the hiring manager had to go through. It’s never pleasant thinking about all the what-ifs after your resume is out of your hands, and the anxiety is only compounded when you applying to a dream job. What can you do to stand out from the crowd?

resume that stands out

That is a solution, albeit one that takes extra hard work and a dose of creativity. Here are 4 unconventional way of landing the interview that you want.

1. Go beyond the White Paper

try creative resume

Professionals in the creative industry shouldn’t be confined to a black and white resume. Your resume should be treated as part of your portfolio – something that showcases your skills and creativity. In fact, many marketing and communications professionals create ad campaigns with taglines on how their skills match the open position.

This approach obviously isn’t the right fit for every company or position, but creating a graphic resume can be a great way to make your resume stand out—literally—from the sea of others out there.

2. Create a Tailored Proposal

create proposalYour resume shows the value that you’ve brought to other companies—but what employers really want to know is the value you’ll bring to their company. So try answering that question upfront. Create a presentation that’s all about their specific needs and your ideas to solve them.

A candidate applying for a high-level marketing position reportedly managed to land an interview by sending in three campaign ideas, complete with ad mock-ups, target segments, and a financial forecast. The company was impressed with his research, attention to detail, and willingness to start solving problems, so much so that they promptly gave him the job!

These types of tailored presentations aren’t just for creative fields, either. If you’re applying for a sales job, send the company a new sales pitch with a forecast for the ROI. If you’re in accounting or operations, take a look at the company’s financials (if they’re publicly held) or the financials of a competitor, and build out a plan to help them reduce their overhead costs or improve their leverage. Wherever your expertise lies, impress them with a specific idea that you could bring to their organization.

3. Put Yourself on Camera

capture a video of yourself

There’s only so much an employer can learn about you on paper, so another strategy to consider is to showcase your abilities with a website or a video. If you do not have the skill to create a video resume, or simply a video that gives employers a visual representation of you, you can engage a service to do this for you. Using a different medium like video lets you show off many sides of you and your talents, and also helps potential employers see how your personality will be a great fit for their organization.

 

4. Create Your Own Campaign

Finally, some candidates take creativity to a whole new level, submitting their job applications or “resumes” in a completely nontraditional format. One marketing candidate decided to hire a boss, and launched a website with her requirements for a position, organization, and manager. Conventional? No, but her efforts resulted in 26 “applications,” 10 interviews, and a dream job offer.

think on a whole new level

In all these techniques, the key to success is going for quality over quantity. You just can’t create 20 awesome, highly tailored personal videos. So target a few select jobs you think would be a perfect fit, and focus your efforts there. By going above and beyond in that handful of job applications you really care about, you’ll be swarmed with call-ups in no time.

 

StyleResumes Logo

LinkedIn: The modern resume

linkedln logo

LinkedIn is a professional networking site with over 225 million members across 200 countries and territories making use of the services. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn has helped countless people find their dream job.

A legacy begins

What started out as a small website for professionals to keep in touch with each other, has grown into a reckonable force that brings guaranteed success. LinkedIn’s management team is made up of seasoned executives from companies like Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, TiVo, PayPal, and Electronic Arts.

As a publicly held and diversified business, LinkedIn’s revenues come from member subscriptions, advertising sales and talent solutions. Given its current growth and popularity, LinkedIn is now almost the new resume.

Replace or complement?

Some habits die hard; just as the older generations read physical newspapers out of force of habit till date, so does the paper resume continue to remain in existence. However, it wouldn’t seem too far-fetched to assume that LinkedIn today is as important if not more, than the traditional resume.

Studies show:

Head-hunters spend under six seconds of looking at a resume before deciding whether or not to call the potential candidate for an interview.

 So, the task for a job-seeker to get the recruiter’s attention is difficult enough. On top of that, most recruiter’s today also look up potential candidates on LinkedIn. In fact, it’s their first ‘go-to’ tool when it comes to checking up on an applicant’s background.

In such a situation it is important to have an optimized, updated LinkedIn profile. After all, the last thing you want is for your paper resume to impress a recruiter, only for him to find a shoddy LinkedIn profile and thereby kill any chance of you getting an interview call.

The Google of Employment

employment

We live in an age where ‘Googling’ something is commonplace, transforming Google into a verb. Just as Google is to information search, LinkedIn is to job search. While LinkedIn is a great place for job-seekers to find information and job leads, it also works the other way round. Whenever prospective employers want to hire a new person, besides going through the usual channels such as advertising on job portals and going through recruitment agencies, they also run a search on LinkedIn.

Imagine not having a LinkedIn profile in the first place! You’ve already taken yourself out of the running in this case. Thus, it is extremely important to have a LinkedIn profile. In such scenarios, it is almost like a substitute resume — it tells the employer about your past work experience, skill-sets, qualities you are adept at (by way of endorsements) and also your personality traits (by way of descriptions that you include about yourself, or through recommendations from others).

Case in point

Good social network

Stories abound about how LinkedIn has been useful in helping individuals and even companies carving out successful careers for themselves, thanks to this wonderful tool. For example, Jay Graves, a technology and marketing consultant, almost lost his client (a Fortune 500 company) because his company wasn’t listed as approved vendor for email marketing by any big consulting companies. He then found someone who gave him a step-by-step tutorial in going about the process of becoming a ranked service provider, at no charge. Needless to say, as a result of this gentleman’s help, Graves’ company was listed as a ‘strong performer’ in a major consulting company’s annual report on email marketing.

Networking first

Thus, LinkedIn is an important networking tool. You never know who you might come across or who might chance upon your profile in this virtual world. Just as you might hand out paper resumes at a job fair in the hope that some company calls you for an interview (and often companies ‘poach’ resumes from other companies’ databases and as a result people who might’ve applied to company A get call ups from company B instead), likewise, LinkedIn is a tool that can come in handy similarly. you never know where that call might come from; it could even be just someone from a shared interest group on LinkedIn (for instance a fellow ‘Freelance Writers’ group member).

The perfect LinkedIn profile

So treat your LinkedIn profile just as you would your resume — with diligence and attention to detail, and it just might land you a job. But if you don’t have a clue how to do that, worry not; we at Style Resumes will make sure that your LinkedIn profile reflects the best that you have to offer. Let us carve out the perfect LinkedIn profile for you and wait for those interview messages and calls!

 

StyleResumes Logo

 

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

“How do I go about writing a cover letter that employers will read? What do I include in it? How much do I write?”  These are some of the common questions that every applicant will ask during a cover letter writing process. However, being able to craft a cover letter is definitely not enough to land you an interview, since you will be competing with hundreds and thousands of other fresh graduates and job hungry professionals in the market.

writing a resume

So here are some useful tips on how to distinguish yourself from the crowd of job hunters!

 Use an impactful opener

Good InroductionResearch shows that prospective employers only take about 15 seconds to read through cover letters before making their decisions. It is thus imperative to have a memorable opening paragraph to capture your hiring manager’s attention.

 

Many applicants tend to use a standard structure in writing their cover letters. For example,

“Dear Sir/Madam,I would like to express my interest in [POSITION] at [COMPANY]. Although I’ve explored many options in my job search, I’ve come to respect the quality and integrity of the work that you do….”

While this example, like most cover letters tends to be formulaic and acceptable, it is also generic and ineffective. It fails to explain why the applicant is interested in the company, and does not show how he or she is able to stand out from the crowd. Hiring managers tend to lose interest quickly after reading such cover letters because they will have to devote their time to reading other cover letters. As such, it is wise to tweak your building statement to a more customized opening line:

“With more than 10 years of profit driven project management expertise, I believe I can be an asset to your company as a manager….”

The above example shows that you are addressing the company’s need for a manager, having experience and thus hitting the job title in the spot.

advantage

 Brief, direct and powerful

Cover letters are different from resumes because they are supposed to include short, brief and straight-to-the-point information. As such, it is crucial to limit the cover page to at most 3-5 paragraphs, not exceeding one page.

Most job applicants tend to make the mistake of using huge words in their cover letters to impress their hiring managers, but in truth, this is not useful. Hiring managers are not impressed with the use of superfluous words and flowery language.

Hiring managers mention that cover letters are the very first thing that they look at, so it is imperative that candidates that stand out usually use short, brief but powerful sentences detailing their past achievements, talents and contributions that they would like to bring to the company.

brief but meaningful

Avoid careless mistakes

Careless mistakes are one of the most important factors that irritate hiring managers. They lose interest when they spot “typos and spelling mistakes”. It is important to vet your cover letter multiple times and enlist the help of your friends and family members to proofread your cover letter. While spell checkers can be useful, you should not be too reliant on that tool and ensure that you go the extra mile to re-read the cover letter again and again.

mistakes

Get the perfect cover letter!

Now that you have understood and learnt some of the important pointers in writing the perfect cover letter, ensure that it describes you and how you will be able to contribute to the company. Having some tips in writing a cover letter will definitely help you understand better what hiring managers want to see in one.

Nevertheless, it is not easy perfecting the cover letter just once or a few times. Even professionals and executives face problems in coming up with the ideal cover letter that aptly captures everything about them. At Style Resumes, we are equipped with years of knowledge and experience to help clients craft the ideal cover letter. Many clients who engage in our services have successfully secured jobs in a short period of time because of their impressive cover letters. So worry no more about the mistakes to avoid or how to impress the hiring managers, we will do all those for you!

 StyleResumes Logo

 

How should you use a non-conventional resume to your advantage?

A lot of advice online absolutely beats up on non-conventional resumes. Critics say that non-conventional resumes distract hiring managers from the meat of your resume, being your skills and qualifications. Others say that they are merely gimmicky trends.

However, it is inferior products that undermine the effectiveness of creative resumes. Simply, most of the creative resumes that hiring managers receive are done by amateurs; these graphic resumes have no concept of design, while video resumes contain no video or editing skills whatsoever. These give the creative resume a bad name.

A good creative resume supplements your professional resume. It should highlight your creativity and ability to adapt to the changes of our tech-savvy society. A good creative resume makes your hiring manager sit up. It tells your hiring manager that you can go the extra mile. Here are tips and advice for using a non-conventional resume:

Consider Your Industry. Before creating a non-conventional resume, really think about whether or not the resume will benefit you in the job market. Are there skills you have that only a non-conventional resume will emphasize? Do you want to show recruiters your creativity and innovation? If so, a non-conventional resume may be right for you.

creativity-economy-explore-technologies

Follow the Job Application Guidelines. Follow the guidelines on the job application and be sure to comply with the company’s application directions. If they ask for a traditional resume, be sure to give them a great one. If they ask for a resume in a particular format (a Word document or a PDF, for example), make sure your resume complies with that format. Job seekers who do not follow directions are immediately weeded out of the applicant pool. Use your creative resume as a deal-clincher. For example, you can add your web resume link into the footnotes of your resume, or attach your graphic resume together with your professional resume.

Share Your Resume With Your Contacts. Use your non-traditional resume when you have a personal contact. If you have a personal contact with the recruiter or hiring manager at a company, you can feel more confident providing a non-traditional resume. Because you know that your contact will look at your resume, you don’t have to worry about the resume being rejected because of the format. However, if your contact specifically asks for a traditional resume, be sure to do so!

Promote Your Non-Traditional Resume on Social Networks. Post a link to your non-traditional resume on your Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn account, or any other social or professional networking sites you belong to. They are a great way to grab someone’s attention. Who knows – someone may check out your resume website or watch your video, and reach out to you as a networking contact.

Do it Well or Not at All. When a non-traditional resume is done well, the applicant comes across as creative and innovative. When a non-traditional resume is done poorly, the applicant comes across as unprofessional and sloppy. Only create a non-conventional resume by yourself if you have professional knowledge and can create a polished final product. If you can’t handle a camera, get someone who can! For example, if you aren’t comfortable with a camera, don’t do a video resume. If you lack the necessary film, web, or design skills, there are a number of companies you can hire to help you create your dream resume.

Organizations these days look for innovative problem solvers and employees who can think ahead of the competition. Be sure to show employers that you have intellectual finesse with creative resumes that highlight your best traits.