Branding, Social Media and Resumes….Your Key to Success Print E-mail

Many people don’t think about their career brand until they are in the job search and then scramble to coalesce their professional identity. Polishing your career reputation, professional networks, and online image once you are unemployed places you behind the curve in managing your career brand. Keeping your professional profile polished should be something you maintain on a regular basis. Your resume is your presentation of that profile.

Employers are turning to the Internet for hiring and they are not just accessing job boards. They are running search engine queries on candidates, looking at social media profiles, and reading blogs. Your resume is the core marketing tool for your career brand. It impacts your online profile because it is out there in cyberspace linked to your life. Your social media link may appear on your resume and your resume may be on your online profile. They are interconnected.

Companies may find you via your social media or online presence but the bottom line is always “send me your resume”. If your resume is not a powerful, persuasive document, the hard work you have done in establishing and maintaining your online presence will be wasted. The resume will either open the door or shut the door. You certainly don’t want your resume to shut the door for you. You want it to smooth the way and be your representative in words. That means it needs to be the absolute best it can be! Answer these questions to see if your resume is up-to-snuff:

Do you make it easy for people to find you? Make sure you have your phone numbers included along with your email. It is also a growing trend to have the URL of your online profile on your resume. Job seekers with very visual work such as graphic designers, web technologists, architects, or even engineers may have an online portfolio that visually displays their work and accomplishments. A link to that online portfolio is a good thing to include on a resume.

Are you clearly focused? One of the most common complaints voiced by employers and recruiters is lack of focus. Your resume needs to clearly show your expertise and your experience. Employers look for candidates with specific backgrounds, skills, and knowledge. If you present yourself as a “Jack of all trades”, you frustrate the employer and do yourself no favors. A strong resume has a very clear focus.

Is your resume written with high-quality language? The sentence structure, vocabulary, use of terminology, and readability level of your resume says a great deal about you. Remember, the resume represents you and a document written in a basic, elementary fashion won’t portray your communication skills well. Industry buzzwords, correct terminology, and solid sentence construction make a huge difference in how you are perceived by the employer.

Is your resume modern? Numerous subtle things can make your resume appear or sound stale. Employers want candidates who are savvy regarding modern markets and how business operates in a global environment. Including things such as a fax number, hobbies, and older skills that are no longer needed can make you seem out of touch. For example, if you list Windows 2000 as one of your technical skills, that can place you a decade behind in the eyes of the reader! Resumes and their guidelines change over time so you need to make sure you stay abreast of the latest trends.

Is your resume compatible with applicant tracking systems? Like it or not, every company and most recruiters use an applicant tracking system as part of their hiring practices. It is very important that your resume be compatible with these systems. Format, file type, organization, and even how career history is presented in the resume impact how the resume is parsed and presented to the human reader on the other side. It is vital to use a resume that will integrate seamlessly into the applicant tracking systems employers use.

Your resume is a key component of your career brand. It is the representation of your brand in words. The resume is the tool you use to grow your brand and to open doors. It can be a positive tool or it can be just the opposite. Make sure it works as a stepping stone for you and as a stumbling block!