Your resume is often the first impression you make on a recruiter. First impressions begin forming immediately when recruiter opens your resume and according to a study completed by The Ladders, you only have about 6 seconds to convince them of your awesomeness as a candidate before they move on to the next resume in the pile. In order to help the recruiter make the decision to bring you in for an interview, it is very important that your resume have a clear structure and an organized layout. Also, the study found that recruiters focused most of their attention on the applicant’s name, education, job experience and job start and end dates. Taking time to improve content organization and formatting can help recruiters quickly locate the main information they are seeking from that first 6 second review.
Action Steps: Visit the Auburn University Career Center during walk-in hours M-F noon-4pm for one-on-one help with your resume and use the AU Career Handbook for tips and samples.
2. Rid the skeletons in your social media profiles
Your past actions on the World Wide Web can come back to haunt you and with more companies reviewing applicant’s online profiles than ever, taking time to clean up your online presence is vital to the job search. First, Google your name to see what displays in the first two pages of results. Don’t like what you see? Check your Facebook privacy settings if you don’t want that information readily available to anyone and everyone. Keep in mind though that even the strictest privacy settings will not prevent recruiters from getting information. Remove any unwanted pictures, status updates and comments. Lock your Twitter feed if not using in a professional manner. Check your Pinterest account settings to turn off the search ability function in Google if you don’t want your latest pins popping up in a search of your name. Increase your activity in professional networking sites like LinkedIn to push your professional profile higher in Google search results.
Action Steps: Go to Google and search all variations of your name. Clean up social media profiles and build a professional profile in LinkedIn. Consider starting a professional Twitter handle or blog related to your industry. Sign up for Google Alerts when new information with your name is posted on the web.
3. Brew up a killer elevator speech
When meeting a recruiter face-to-face, a well prepared pitch or elevator speech can make a great first impression. Think about how you would wow a recruiter in a limited amount of time if taking a quick elevator ride with them. The elevator speech is a brief pitch of who you are, what you do, why you’re good (or the best) at what you do, and where you want to go from here. An ill prepared introduction makes it easy for a recruiter to pass up on reading your resume and inviting you to interview for a job. If you can’t sell your best skills and assets, why should he or she take time to read between the lines.
Action Steps: Prepare and practice your elevator speech before the next career fair, employer information session or networking event. Visit 15secondpitch.com for help writing your pitch.
4. Scare up some professional references
Most recruiters will ask for references at some point in the hiring process. And unless specifically stated otherwise, they don’t mean character references from your favorite Aunt Josephine or your best friend Sara’s mom who’s known you since preschool. To prepare for this request, think about 3-5 people who can serve as professional references and can speak about your skills and qualities as an employee or student. Start with current or former supervisors from your internships and part-time jobs who can talk about your on-the-job skills. Think about professors that you have developed a good relationship with or advisors who have gotten to know you well as a student. Talk to each person first to verify that they are willing to be a positive reference for you. Supply your references with a copy of your resume and the description of the job you are seeking. They will be better prepared to answer questions about your skills and abilities to perform that job when contacted by a recruiter.
Action Steps: Develop your list of professional references and discuss your job search plan with each to prepare for a call from an employer.
5. Develop hauntingly good interview skills
The interview is a chance to show your fit for the position and with the company. More than likely, if the recruiter has invited you to interview, he or she is fairly confident in your ability to do or learn to do that job. Now they are assessing your overall fit. Researching the position and company prior to the interview is a great way to learn about the organizational culture (i.e. conservative, zany, laid back, structured, etc.) and communicate your fit. Also, preparing for the interview by practicing typical questions may help you feel more confident about your skills when the interview time arrives. Know your best skills and qualifications and how they will benefit the company. Communicate how your previous experiences have prepared you for this new position. Make sure the employer knows why you are the best candidate for the job.
Action Steps: Develop your interview skills through online resources like Interview Stream or schedule a Mock Interview with a career counselor. Research the company by reviewing the website and talking to people you know who currently work or have previously worked for the company.
Wishing you a job search that is filled with treats and no tricks!