What Do Recruiters Look At When Looking At LinkedIn Profiles?

Dear RSL,

I hear you mention LinkedIn quite often, that you use it to recruit people.  What do recruiters look for when they are looking at people’s LinkedIn profiles?

You’re right; I do use LinkedIn very heavily!  What can I say; it’s been a great recruiting tool for me to find great candidates.  It’s also worked out very well for me as my profile on LinkedIn has led to 2 jobs finding me.

LinkedIn is a tool that should be used by all job seekers.  Think of the profile you create as a ‘casual’ resume.  What I mean by that is you will still want to have all of the relevant information contained in your resume as part of your LinkedIn profile including work experience, significant accomplishments and education but you also are able to be more casual with things like your summary.  For example, in my summary I state that in addition to being a recruiter/resume writer/blogger that I am also a superhero wife and mother 24/7.  Now that might make you laugh, but
quite often I will get comments on it and people remember who I am.  Just today I received an email to connect with the person requesting the connection saying they always wanted to know a superhero.

In addition to the typical “resume info” you will want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is 100% completed to increase your visibility to those looking for people with your skill set.  This will include making sure you have a summary, list specialties, have contact information and references and belong to LinkedIn groups.  LinkedIn gives preference to those users who complete their profile by listing them higher in the rankings during searches and enable more people to find you.

As a recruiter I look at the groups that people belong to. I like to know that people I am recruiting are active networkers with others in their chosen profession.  It’s always good to show that you are keeping up on current industry standards and I think that belonging to and contributing to appropriate groups is extremely important for not only potential employers to see but to also network with others in your field.

Bottom line with LinkedIn: make sure you include all of your career history/education and include personal referrals.  If you don’t currently have any referrals, ask current and former colleagues/managers/clients if they will write a referral for you.  Make sure your profile is 100% completed.  If you’re interested in what a completed profile looks like, feel free to view mine:  www.linkedin.com/in/billye  Also make sure you have joined groups appropriate for your profession and are active in them.

Lastly, let me know if you have any questions and how it’s working for you.  Good luck!

Resume Survis Lady is written by Billye Survis. To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your
questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com Feel free to also connect with Resume Survis Lady through twitter:  resumesurvisldy her LinkedIn group: Resume Survis Lady and on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Resume-Survis-Lady/150368705033497

Is There Something Wrong With My Resume?

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

Is there something wrong with my resume?  I’ve applied to over 100 jobs over the past 6 months and have gotten only a handful of responses which haven’t led anywhere.  I understand that I don’t have a lot of “real world experience,” but I do have an MBA along with 5 internships.  I’m at my wit’s end; any help would be greatly appreciated!

It can be extremely frustrating when you’re putting a lot of time and effort into something, in this case your job search, and getting very little in return.  Let me start by asking a few questions.  What type of positions are you applying to?  Are you sending out a generic resume for each position you are applying to?  What type of networking and self marketing have you done?

Let’s start with the positions that you are applying to.  With 5 internships, you’ve probably accumulated about 1-2 years of “real world experience” so you will want to make sure to target your search for positions that require a degree and require minimal experience.  If you are interested in a position but it’s requiring 5 or more years of experience, I can pretty much guarantee you will not get a call for an interview.  Know your skills.  Make sure the positions that you are applying to are positions that you are qualified.  Often times I have clients wonder why they’re not getting calls on positions they’ve applied to only to find out after some probing that they are applying to positions that “sound like something I’d be good at” but in reality do not have any of the required experience.

Have you changed up your resume for the different types of positions you are applying to or are you sending out the same resume for each
position?  Are you including a cover letter?  In addition to writing a customized cover letter for each position, it’s also very important that you customize your resume for each position that you apply to.  When I say customize, I mean change your heading to the title of the position that you are applying to, change your summary/objective to match the position and make sure your bullet points are showcasing the things that you have done in past positions that make you a strong candidate for the one you are applying to.  You want your resume to be focused.   If you need help, you might want to talk to a professional resume writer for ideas or take a resume writing class that teaches you how to customize your resume for each position.

Have you started networking yet?  No one can market yourself with more passion than you.  Make sure you join professional networks like LinkedIn or professional organizations in your area.  I can’t tell you how often I hear from people who have found their job through networking; myself included.  The last two positions I’ve had were due to being on LinkedIn, the jobs found me.  Don’t be afraid to join groups on LinkedIn or other professional organizations and be active.  These are professionals all there to help each other.  Ask questions and learn from others.

Is there something wrong with your resume?

To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com or on twitter: resumesurvisldy or connect with her directly on LinkedIn by sending her an invite to connect:  resumesurvislady@gmail.com

Help!!! Who do I follow up with?

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

I’m totally confused at this point on how and who to follow-up with directly after filling out an application and submitting a resume online.   Aside from following-up with HR to be sure they have your information, what advice can you give on taking it a step further?

Finding out who the hiring manager is and following-up directly with that person seems to be logical, but isn’t always the best scenario. I’ve had some people react very badly (rude and abrupt reaction to a direct call) and that has kind of made me think twice about this approach.

This is a great question and one I get often.  I hear from many clients that they have been told to find out who the hiring manager or decision maker is regarding the position they have applied to and contact them directly.  From my experience working with hiring managers, this is only a good idea if you either know the hiring manager personally or if you have a direct connection to the hiring manager through a friend or acquaintance.  Typically, hiring managers are extremely busy and don’t like dealing with tasks that they consider to be “HR’s” responsibility and that includes communication with candidates and status updates. 

Candidates that have interviewed for a position are a different story.  If you’ve already had an interview with the hiring manager, it’s completely acceptable, in fact I encourage for you to follow up with the hiring manager by sending a Thank You note after your interview thanking them for their time and letting them know your interest level in the position.  Now days, in the age of technology, it’s completely acceptable to  send a Thank You note via email if you have their email address or via professional networking such as LinkedIn.  Once the Thank You note has been sent, your next follow up is with the recruiter or the person that made the initial contact with you for the position.

I got sidetracked, back to the original question of who to follow up with.  If you’ve submitted your resume/application and have not heard anything back after 1-2 weeks, it is acceptable to follow up with the HR department/recruiter to make sure that your application has been received and to ask where your resume is at in the process.  During this initial follow up, I would also ask the recruiter if for future communication they prefer to communicate via email or the phone.  A rule of thumb with this is that if the recruiter’s initial contact with you is via email, they probably prefer to communicate via email and if their initial contact is via phone, they probably prefer phone.  Moving forward, you’ll know which method of communication to use with them.

To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com or on twitter: resumesurvisldy or connect with her directly on LinkedIn by sending her an invite to connect:  resumesurvislady@gmail.com

The Cover Letter Mystery

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

What do I need to include in my cover letter or is it no longer necessary to have a cover letter?

While a cover letter is not required, it definitely is a nice thing to have.  Think of it like the bow on top of a present.  It’s not something that is required, but it brings everything together and makes it look good.  The same can be said for a cover letter, it pulls together your resume, the position you are applying for and why you are interested in the position.

Now that it’s decided a cover letter is a good idea, what all needs to be included?  First and foremost you are going to want to individualize each cover letter for each position that you apply for.  Remember a few posts back when I talked about key words in resumes?  Well, key words are also important in cover letters.  You will want to make sure that you read, read and re-read the job description of the position that you are applying for, highlighting the key skills that are listed.  Once you have the skills highlighted, you will want to incorporate them into your cover letter and how they match up with your experience. 

Another tip with cover letters is to use the same or similar verbiage in your cover letter that was used in the job description.  Often times when recruiters are searching their database of past applicants, they will use verbiage or phrases used in the job description in their search.  Using their verbiage will help to ensure that your resume comes up in their search.

In addition to skills and keywords taken from the job description, be sure to include why you feel you would be a good fit for the position. If the position would require relocation, state why you’re open to relocation.

Now that you know what needs to be included in your cover letter, time to get busy!

To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com or on twitter: resumesurvisldy

Incomplete degree….list it???

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

I’m working on updating my resume since I went back to school and will be completing my Master’s degree within a few months.  My current job was fine while I was going to school, but now I want to find a position more suitable to what I’m going to school for.  How can I add my new education to my degree without “lying” and saying I have a Masters”? 

You definitely want to “get what you paid for” so to speak and let potential employers know about your intentions to graduate shortly with your Master’s degree.  It’s no easy feat to go back to school at any age, especially if you’re working at the same time.

More times than I can count I have come across resumes that state:  “Bachelor degree candidate” leading me to believe the candidate is a few credits short of a degree.  Most times I am disappointed (although I really should no longer be surprised when it happens) to find out the candidate is far from completing their degree with no intention to complete their degree.  I have always felt it best to be completely honest on your resume.  I don’t believe in “smoke and mirrors” as the truth eventually will come out anyways.  You’re looking to build relationships with potential employers and you do not want to give them any reason to not trust you, so be honest.  How you will want to address your soon-to-be Masters degree is as follows:  MBA (anticipated graduation May 2011).  By listing your education in this fashion you are letting your employer know two things.  The first is that you do not yet have your Masters degree, the second is that you are currently pursuing it and plan to graduate shortly.

I cannot stress enough the importance of open and honest communication with any potential employer.  Anything on your resume, in this case the example of how to list education, that could be seen by a potential employer as trying to hide something or as something that might not be entirely truthful will only hurt you in the end.