One of the biggest skills lacking in many job seekers is also one we take most for granted: good communication. Because everyone is a “Strong Communicator” and has “stellar interpersonal skills” right? Only according to our resumes!
I’ve seen it all, personal branding faux-pas’ ranging from static language to using words that aren’t even in the English language (or any other), and not bothering to correct or research them. And that’s just on the resume!
And yet that is the biggest failure I see from job seekers. You want to know what I see as the biggest mistake people are making, even those with mad writing and editing skills, across any platform, hands down?
Their content and messaging is all about them, and not about their audience.
Way too many job seekers – 0n their resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, social media streams, websites, and so much more – talk about “I’m looking for…” or “I’m targeting a job at…” or “I have 5 years of experience doing X and I’m ready to do Z…”.
Don’t get me wrong – this is insightful information. But, as written, it’s holding you back!
Hiring managers are interested in your qualifications, and in creating a win-win situation where it’s a good fit for all parties involved. But, they’re even more interested in receiving return on their investment in hiring you. And they look for candidates who make that ROI crystal clear in their branding.
So here’s what you want to keep in mind:
On Your Resume
You are selling yourself to a prospective employer, and not vice versa. So ditch the “Seeking a position in…” Objective Statement and go with a Summary Statement instead that gives a brief snapshot of your skills, strengths, and experience that you bring to the table, and any other unique aspects that would add value to an organization. Whenever possible, tailor those skills so the exact position you seek at that company.
In Your Cover Letter
Many job seekers seem to feel the need to address personal aspects in detail, such as why they’ve been unemployed for 11 months, or took a sabbatical, or decided to change careers. It is important to address any employment gaps, shifts, or transitions; it is just as important to do so in a non-defensive way that highlights your unique value.
Did you take a year off to travel abroad? Don’t talk about how you needed to take time off to figure out what you wanted to do next. DO position it as an excellent opportunity that allowed you to gain valuable global experience and interface with a lot of different personality types, and then state how that experience will directly benefit the employer.
On Social Media
Avoid seeming like you’re begging for attention “Available Account Manager right here – email me for my resume…” Instead, position yourself as a subject matter authority.
Post relevant articles, share interesting content, and create/participate in industry conversations with other thought leaders to give your visibility a boost. Be consistent about the topics and interests you speak to, and eventually you’ll begin to organically build a reputation around those areas. Bonus: you’ll make some solid connection in the process, relationships you will likely be able to leverage.
So many LinkedIn users misuse LinkedIn. They approach it as a numbers game, searching for key contacts at the right companies, and then trying to slip a connection request in so they can cut the line and pass their resume along to the decision maker.
Connections are based on rapport, and this is the core of LinkedIn’s platform. Instead of reaching out to random contacts you know asking for favors they’re likely not to grant, approach people with a genuine interest in them. Connect on the basis of wanting to learn more about the industry, and how they got to where they are, and perhaps what advice they might offer to someone with similar aspirations. That is, by far, the best way to use LinkedIn to your advantage!
Yes, you need a job. Yes, you need to make people aware you’re looking for your next opportunity. But instead of throwing down the “Me!” card at every opportunity, make your communications all about the other guy, and the potential employer.
In today’s job market, that is how you get noticed!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio!
About the Author: Dana Leavy has helped hundreds of professionals in advertising, marketing, design and other industries execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities, and her advice has been featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!
Recently, Dana debuted the Job Search Marketing Resource Kit, a package of in-depth guides and resources to walk you through the self-marketing process. If communication has you drowning in confusion, these guides will be your lifesaver!