Secure Your Ideal Job Faster by Leveraging Your Digital Resume
By Veanne Smith
In today’s competitive tech job market, your digital resume is more important than a traditional resume document. Recruiters and hiring managers spend more time evaluating online profiles and rarely print a resume. Why? Because the digital resume provides a more complete picture of who you are – it jumps out at you much more than a printed resume.
A professional online profile is an ideal way to share more about yourself and give the employer more than a listing of past positions and education. Endorsements, recommendations, videos, specific expertise, opinions, and a professional photo are the elements of a strong digital profile. Think of it this way: your online profile IS your resume! If you haven’t been cautious about or attentive to your digital footprint in the past and plan on staying in the job market, now is the time to revamp and upgrade your online profile.
A Strong Profile on LinkedIn is Essential
Many tech employers use LinkedIn to search for employees that might be appropriate for filling their tech openings. If your profile is not getting the attention it deserves, remember a compelling, interesting, complete digital resume on LinkedIn is now more important than your traditional resume.
Savvy recruiters and hiring managers don’t spend much time looking at paper/traditional resumes these days. Instead, they go to LinkedIn where they get that first feeling of connecting by looking at you via your LinkedIn picture, note how well connected you are, see what thought leadership you bring to the table (as illustrated by your blogs, videos, posts, comments), and learn what others say about you.
Having a robust LinkedIn profile is a much more engaging way for someone to review your credentials than reading a flat, one dimensional traditional resume. How much time do you spend reading boring job descriptions that don’t exude the company’s personality or enthusiasm for the position? It is much more informative to browse a company’s website to get a better understanding of its direction, perspective, services, mission, and more. Well, that is exactly why recruiters prefer a digital profile on LinkedIn versus a flat, personality-less resume.
If you are wondering how your professional brand is scored on LinkedIn and weighs up against your connections, you can get your Social Selling Index (SSI). The SSI is an excellent gauge to measure how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, engaging your connections, and building relationships on LinkedIn. Once you know what you need to work on to improve your LinkedIn profile, you can get started on making the changes.
We’ve gathered together the following guidelines that will help enhance or revamp your current LinkedIn profile to make it more engaging and visible.:
- Keep Profile Content Professional: Recruiters and hiring managers are watching, researching, and noting the content of your posts and pages. Keep in mind that even with separate professional and personal profiles, some employers will check both to learn more about you. So remain mindful when posting, joining groups, commenting, and always compartmentalize business and personal input.
- Update Profile Photograph: Your picture is extremely important. We recruiters are not looking for glamour shots, black-tie formal attire, pets, children, or family shots. Employers want to see you as a professional. We want to feel a connection, so your eyes should be looking straight ahead at the camera. A professional, high-quality image (not pixelated) that highlights your personality and presents yourself as intelligent and approachable is critical. Also, be sure to wear appropriate attire, sit against a simple background, and don’t forget to SMILE!
- Highlight Titles and Duties: Spend time including unique and successful parts of your past positions and how you were able to bring added-value to each company. Stand out by promoting your unique talents and abilities which brings life to each job you are listing.
Do not include jobs, recommendations, or positions that are fabricated. It is too easy for others to validate that who you say you are on online is actually who you are. It can ruin your chances of getting a great job that is suited to your skills, and possibly diminishes your reputation among peers and potential employers.
- Add Contact Info: Include your email address, cell phone and professional web address, if applicable. If you would rather not reveal personal information, consider setting up a separate email address for business purposes. Some platforms allow a forwarding function, which can send incoming professional emails to your private account to ensure you are receiving every email in a timely manner.
- Build Connections: You need to have at least 500 connections. Your network is THE most valuable tool in your arsenal when looking for a job. And if the recruiter/hiring manager is not connected to you directly, he/she will often reach out to a mutual connection to ask about you. People want to hire people they are connected to somehow. We are living in a digital world. If you are a tech professional with not many professionals in your network, it sends a red flag to the hiring manager.
- Get Recommendations: Having stellar recommendations from past employers, colleagues, and industry authorities is more important than many tech job-seekers think. Recruiters and hiring managers are keenly interested in reading above-average recommendations. Avoid just adequate recommendations, reciprocal recommendations between you and 1 other person, and recommendations all within a few days or weeks of each other, as this comes across as being fabricated.
Make it “Sticky”
Many LinkedIn members are not aware of the platform’s sophisticated search engine so their profiles are not optimized properly. Including keywords in the appropriate areas can help boost visibility. Although the quality of your overall profile is paramount, the following tips are equally important.
- Your Professional Headline (the phrase below your name) This is one of the most highly rated fields in your profile. Therefore, words that are listed in the headline can hold more weight than those that are placed within the remainder of the profile. Your headline is an opportunity for you to more clearly describe your expertise.
- For example, instead of listing the title, “Software Engineer”, include keywords that more aptly describe your skills or accomplishments. For example, “Full Stack .NET Engineer specializing in Financial Services”. Including your specific industry expertise will help get included in any industry-specific searches.
- The Job Title: The job title field is also indexed for searches, so consider adding keywords to the job title. For example: “Full Stack .NET Engineer specializing in Financial Services” can become “Full Stack .NET Engineer specializing in Financial Services for Cloud-based Applications”, or whatever your particular expertise includes.
- The “About” Section: Although this area is not as indexed as the headline or job title, it is another area where keywords can be added to help describe the specifics of your proficiencies. Use this area to broaden the reader’s impression of your skills and ability to hone in on company goals. For example: “As a Full Stack .NET Engineer specializing in Financial Services for Cloud-based Applications, I have developed third-party merchant processing systems, which allowed the company to save 25% of the past processing expenditures.”
Create a Video to Include in Your Profile
Including a short video on your professional page can be an outstanding addition. A good profile video can be very engaging to the hiring manager when produced appropriately.
Keep in mind that tech recruiters and hiring professionals have to weed through a batch of profiles to find a solid list of candidates, so there is no extra time to watch a lengthy “video resume”. We recommend keeping your video to under 60-seconds.
A few tips that will help you nail it quickly:
- Act professional and use a professional background.
- Prepare a script or bullet points that are short and to the point.
- Remember your audience is busy, so keep it brief.
- Articulate your message and if you have examples you would like the recruiter to see, show, don’t tell. Visuals are always more interesting than a talking head.
- Use urban slang, buzzwords, slur, or use bad posture
- Be long-winded or ramble
- Allow distractions to get in your way. Turn off your mobile phone to avoid incoming calls during the video.
Spend the time necessary to make your profile stand out from your peers. Provide facts and give examples – make your profile come alive with interesting information that gives recruiters a better understanding of who you are, your professional skills, and your goals. However, less is more – keep it short and to the point. Adding too much extraneous content means the important information is going to get diluted or lost by the time the recruiter is finished reviewing the entire profile.
Make it a priority to get at least one solid LinkedIn recommendation every 3 to 4 months. If you are working contract projects while unemployed full time, be sure to update your profile frequently to include them, preferably with a link to the project.
If you are on the job hunt and are looking to improve and maximize your interviewing skills, read our latest article: What are the Most Common Job Interview Mistakes.
Veanne SmithCo-CEO & Co-Founder
Veanne Smith serves as the co-CEO and co-founder of SOLTECH – Atlanta’s premier software development, technology consulting and IT staffing firm.
Prior to founding SOLTECH, Veanne spent more than 10 years in the technology industry, where she leveraged her software development and project management skills to attain executive leadership responsibilities for a growing national technology consulting firm. She is passionate about building mutually beneficial long-term relationships, growing businesses, and helping people achieve their personal life goals via rewarding employment opportunities.
Outside of SOLTECH, Veanne is considered a thought leader in Atlanta’s IT community. Currently, she serves on the Advisory Board for The College of Computing and Software Engineering at Kennesaw State University. In addition, Veanne helped launch the AxIO Advisory Council, has been a member of Vistage for 20 years, and created Atlanta Business Impact Radio – a podcast that showcases some of Atlanta’s most innovative businesses and technology professionals.
As an influential figure in the technology and IT staffing industry, Veanne consistently produces insightful articles that address both the opportunities and challenges in IT staffing. Through her writing, she offers valuable tips and advice to businesses seeking to hire technical talent, as well as individuals searching for new opportunities.
She holds a degree in Computer Science from Illinois State University.