You’ve heard the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s particularly true during your job search
Certainly, having the right skills, experience, and, in some cases, education is essential. However, recruiters and employers may not notice if you don’t make a good first impression.
Good enough to make them want to learn more.
Recruiters and employers meet you different ways. It might be when they receive your resume. It might be when they view your profile on LinkedIn. Since you have no way of knowing, it’s important to cover all fronts.
Replacing your task-focused resume and bare-bones LinkedIn profile will certainly make you more marketable. (Think achievements-based, strategically written resume and robust, optimized LinkedIn profile.)
In the meantime, there are a few simple steps you can take to make a better first impression.
LinkedIn Background Photo
Put a background photo on your LinkedIn profile. The beginning of last year, LinkedIn changed the interface. One of the changes was the addition of a background photo.
A year later, many people still have the bland, blue, background because they have failed to put up something else.
Leaving the default background in place makes you look unsavvy, technology challenged, and, worst of all, generic. There are a lot of choices, make one today.
Dated Email Address
AOL was one of the early email providers. It was cool to have an @AOL email address 20 years ago. I had one before most of my friends had email.
It isn’t cool today. Neither is @Yahoo.
Either makes you look out-of-date, even old.
Keep your old @AOL or @Yahoo email for friends and family. Adopt a new, more modern email address, like @Gmail, for your job search. If you need to use numbers because your “firstlastname” is taken, don’t use digits that reveal your age.
Not much makes your resume look more dated than an Objective statement. The possible exception is using a Times New Roman font.
For one thing, employers aren’t interested in YOUR objective, they are interested in what you can do for them.
In addition, you’re wasting valuable resume real estate that can be filled with information that will be relevant to employers
If you don’t have a LinkedIn photo already, get one. If you come up in a recruiter’s or employer’s search on LinkedIn and they don’t see a photo he or she will wonder, why. Are you hiding something? Too lazy to bother? Maybe not savvy enough to realize the importance?
Many will just move on.
While you may choose to invest in a professionally-taken photo, you don’t need to. A clear head shot, preferably smiling, in business attire is fine. Check it out on photofeelercom to get objective feedback before you post.
In most cases, e-notes have taken the place of cover letters. The key is to get the employers attention and sell yourself in a concise manner. You don’t want them to have to scroll.
Just as with resumes, recruiters and employers will be scanning, not reading, your email. Try to limit your content to 99 to 120 words.
It’s more difficult to write a brief note than a long letter, but it will be worth the effort.