Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Whether you have lost your job due to the pandemic or you are choosing to change careers because of your pandemic experiences, the reality is that finding jobs is highly competitive right now. How can you stand out from the crowd?
The 2 ways you can maximise your career change success are by strategic networking and having a standout resume.
Do you know that 80% of new jobs are found by networking?
So how do you network during a pandemic when may of us are isolated or not meeting physically?
One way of networking that is becoming more and more popular is via LinkedIn. There are 700 million LinkedIn users.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, set that up first. Your profile is like your online resume so make sure it is professional with all your relevant qualifications and experience listed. Focus particularly on optimizing the top half of your profile as this is what will create the first impressions – if employers don’t see what they are looking for they will move on to the next profile.
It is likely that employers or human resource managers will search LinkedIn and find you, but you can’t rely only on that, so you have to be proactive and network.
Start by connecting with people you know on LinkedIn; you are sure to find some among the 700 million users. Then search for connections in your profession or in companies that you would like to work for. You may find people you are already connected with and that is a great place to start. Begin to build relationships, ask questions about the company, ask for advice. Extend your network further by connecting with new people with similar interests.
In addition to that you can join Industry or profession specific groups. Interact in the groups, comment on the posts and be genuinely helpful this will help you to make more connections and build more relationships.
Remember that building relationships with the right people is the key to your success.
A STANDOUT RESUME
First impressions really do count and the top third of the first page of your resume is where you create that impression. It is very important that you grab the prospective employer or HR manager’s attention. They are busy people. A single job posting might attract thousands of resumes—imagine having to read through all of them to pick out the best-looking candidates? And you can be certain that they don’t read all of every resume.
The career summary, which should be the first section after your contact details, will determine whether your resume gets read or put into the ‘not suitable’ pile!
So, to stand out from the crowd you must have a standout Career Summary section!
There are three things you can do to make your Career Summary competitive.
1. Use Key words from the job description
Don’t just send out the same resume with every application. Tailor each resume directly to the position you are applying for. Use exactly the same key words and key word phrases that are used in the job description. Yes, it is more time consuming for you to edit your resume for each different position you apply for. If the job description asks for someone who is ‘a good communicator’ but your Career Summary says you have ‘good communication skills’ – which let’s face it, we all know is the same thing – you would be wise to use their exact language.
It shows the company you are speaking their language and will also get you past the applicant tracking system if the company uses one.
2. Describe your achievements using strong action words.
Action words are specific, they clarify your contributions, and bring a confident tone to your resume and list of accomplishments.
Replace the weak ‘held’ in this statement ,
‘ Held weekly meeting to discuss sales targets.’’ with the stronger and more specific ‘ Initiated weekly meetings to discuss……………….’
Try to avoid overused action words such as ‘managed’, ‘led’ or ‘responsible for’. Instead of ‘managed’ a team try ‘mentored’, ‘facilitated’; or replace ‘led a project’ with ‘co-ordinated’, ‘headed’ or ‘oversaw’.
3. Use results driven achievement statements
Combine your selection of action verbs with quantifiable results to show both what you did and the effect it had.
Create more impact with your achievement statement. Combine your selection of action verbs with quantifiable results to show both what you did and the effect it had by using this formula.
Action verbs + task + quantifiable results
· Created and maintained office systems to assist with administrative tasks and improved efficiency by 20%
· Increased customer base by 30% during the year 2019 due to the delivery of quick service.
Following these 3 tips will help you get attention to the Career Summary section of your resume and create that all important first impression. Remember to think about how you can edit it to make it specific to each different position you apply for.
If the current situation is causing you to lose sleep you will find some useful strategies in my new free online course to help you manage your sleep, stress and immune systems during this very stressful time.
I am here to help when you are ready!