Keys to a Winning Resume: A 101 for Millennials

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Career Advice

One of the toughest obstacles any millennial will encounter is stepping foot into the job market. It’s petrifying. Here you are with a bunch of skills and a wealth of knowledge that you hope will lead to a job that pays decently and includes benefits. But, you’re competing with tons of other freshly-minted higher education graduates or those with a few years under their belt. How can you stand apart from the rest? By having a solid, well-drafted resume.

How am I so sure about this? Because mine set me apart. And trust me, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re doing at least one of the following. Here’s how to get a winning resume…

Every great resume starts with a great template
Whether you’ve never drafted a resume in your life or you have a working model, it’s always good to check out what others look like. Maybe yours looks archaic with an older font and you want to modernize it a bit. It’s totally kosher to look at what formatting other sample resumes use — those could be the basis for your great resume. A quick Google search will render millions of results.

Your resume should tell your story
Before you draft a single word on your Word document, take a moment and ask yourself, “who am I?” You want your resume to achieve one goal: to tell your story in an effective manner. Remember that human resources departments and job recruiters will be reading your resume, so you want to tell them, in a succinct fashion, what your career aspirations are, where you went to school, where you interned or previously worked at, and all your other accomplishments. Yes, your resume is the one opportunity to boast about yourself. And remember that you have to achieve this goal within one page in most cases.

Including your social media profile could add some personality, but keep it professional
Social media profiles are very telling of who you are. Your online persona often mimics your offline persona and you may want a prospective employer to see that side of you. Now, this doesn’t give you license to share every link to every social media account you have on your resume. Stick to the basics — include your LinkedIn URL in the header of your resume. And, if you don’t have a LinkedIn page, create one ASAP. As for other sites like Facebook or Twitter, if they’re professional enough, it’s at your discretion to share those links too, but make sure that they’re clean first.

Draft, then revise. Then take a break. Then revise. Then take a break. Then revise again
As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That means that things take time before they take full form, and that is especially true for your resume. Draft as much as you can and then take a break. The next day, take another look at your resume, make any necessary revisions, and then take another break. Repeat this process until you are comfortable with the way your resume reads. Any level-headed person will tell you that this approach to resume review is important. Taking a break and reviewing your resume each day helps you view your work product with clear eyes each time.

Do you know someone older than you who’s working? Have them review your resume
Peer review is tremendously beneficial. If you already have a resume, find at least three people to review your resume. See what they say. If they all like it, great. If they provide feedback on ways to improve it, take their advice into serious consideration. Getting the perspective of others and getting an unbiased review of your resume, is very important.

Hire a career consultant
Does it feel as though all of this seems like a lot? Look into hiring a career consultant to help you draft your resume. This can be a lower-stress option in the end if you’re worried about feeling overwhelmed. Plus, they’re pros who know what they’re doing!

JobFlare is Changing the Job Hunt Game for Millennials

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Career Advice

Millennials, how do you search for jobs?

It’s possible you use Twitter to hunt for freelance writing opportunities among others, or accounts like Indeed that will lead you to a larger website. Or you sit at your laptop or desktop, endlessly scrolling through sites with job listings for a variety of fields.

Of course, you may use your smartphone. According to CareerArc.com, “about 28% of job seekers — including 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds — have used a smartphone as part of a job search.”

But… what if you were able to use one app to assist with your job search? And not only that, the app found the jobs for you instead of you looking for the jobs endlessly? What if this app knew what your strengths and weaknesses are, without you having to fill out an endless questionnaire? What if, instead… you got to play games on your phone that assess your skills?

I know, I know, this could sound too good to be true. But I’m not joking.

JobFlare — developed in California (I mean, where else would apps be developed…) by Criteria Corp — is not your ordinary job search app, millennials. Its “brain” determines your skills based on your performance while playing a set of six 90-second games.

“Verbal communication, quantitative ability, attention to detail, and other skills have long been identified as traits associated with job success,” said Josh Millet, CEO and Founder of Criteria Corp. “JobFlare lets users demonstrate these traits through fun games, showing off their potential to employers regardless of their job experience or educational background.”

I could read all I wanted about JobFlare, its uses and its incredibly perceptive sense of a person’s skill set — but I wanted to try it out for myself. As I’m currently not on the job hunt, I filled out my basic info and indicated that I would be open to any job that JobFlare found fit for me and my skill set.

So, what were some of the highlights?

The games were incredibly engaging.
Anything that reminds me of the “brain games” — and even the games that weren’t meant to test anything remotely academic or intellectual — that I loved as a child, work for me. I don’t feel like I’m doing work but rather, something fun that is not related to my job hunt.

The games are also meant to test different parts of your brain.
For example, I’ve always been more verbal-oriented rather than math-oriented. I knew I’d enjoy the verbal games but wanted to avoid the math games. But, as the games were naturally engaging, I enjoyed both.

You feel accomplished after earning a high score.
As you would with any video game or phone game, really.

It’s free — and your skills profile is created for you.
You’re able to look at a score analysis profile that highlights your skills and scores in each area and then — you are matched with potential jobs in your area!

 

JobFlare is available for download on iOS.

3 Steps to Writing Your LinkedIn Headline Like a Copywriter

Author: Brett Pucino, Career Advice

There’s an old copywriting adage that says 80% of the time spent on a piece of copy should be dedicated to crafting the headline. The reason? You could write the best copy in the world, but it will never get read without a headline that piques the reader’s curiosity enough for he or she to continue.

This same concept applies to your LinkedIn profile: You could have an amazing summary and tons of relevant work experience, but recruiters won’t click through to your profile if your headline doesn’t grab their collective attention.

So, how do you write a headline that gets your profile read? Follow these three steps.

Make a swipe file of headlines from people in your industry
Have you ever made a Pinterest board for a specific topic? If so, then you know how to make a swipe file.

Copywriters create swipe files of headlines, calls to action and otherwise memorable and effective sentences. As a job seeker, you want to create a swipe file of LinkedIn headlines from successful professionals in your industry.

Each industry is different. Designers may typically have more offbeat headlines, while lawyers may typically have more traditional keyword-based headlines. Creating a swipe file will give you a guide to the vibe your headline should convey.

To find relevant headlines to put in your swipe file, all you have to do is type your desired job title in LinkedIn’s search bar. Read through at least 25 and pick the ten that resonated most.

Use your examples as a template to craft a headline which conveys your unique value proposition
Your unique value proposition is the reason why a recruiter should pick you over your competition. It is comprised of your tangible skills and your intangible values. Here’s my own headline as an example:

brett-headline

On LinkedIn, you have just 120 characters to convey your unique value preposition in your headline. The main question that should drive your headline is: so what?

What about your headline will make a recruiter care enough to click through to your profile?

Spend at least 30 minutes brainstorming headlines. Remember how I said some copywriters spend 80% of their time writing headlines for a piece? They often write dozens of different headlines for the same piece before deciding on the best one. Aim for at least five headlines to choose from at the end of the 30 minutes.

Test, Tweak, Repeat
One of the most important things to remember about your LinkedIn headline is that it can be changed. You aren’t going to craft the perfect headline on your first try.

Take that list of five headlines from step two and narrow it down to your top two choices. You can now perform what is called an A/B test in the marketing world. An AB test looks at a piece of copy is published with two different headlines, and then the marketer analyzes the data to see which performs better.

For your A/B test, put each choice as your headline for a month. Apply to the same number of jobs each month through Linkedin’s job board, and then analyze your results.

What are some of your proven tips for creating a LinkedIn headline? Share your thoughts in the comment box!