A dream job usually isn’t something conventional. Nor should your approach to getting hired. Have you ever thought of the whole resume process? You spend many hours, and in some cases many dollars, creating – fabricating – a document for that your potential employer is going to probably dedicate less than 30 seconds to reading it. Sure, there are going to be some occasions where they will read the whole resume because they are hoping to find that you have listed your hobbies, and you share a love of butterfly collecting. But a happy coincident like that is a tad rare.
Does a resume truly reflect what you have accomplished in your previous jobs? Are the skills listed on your resume a reflection of what you actually know, or are they just what you have heard of?
“Resume: a written exaggeration of only the good things a person has done in the past, as well as a wish list of the qualities a person would like to have.” – Bo Bennett
Maybe today is the day to burn your resume.
Okay…before you break out your matches, let’s just make sure you have a few things in place to achieve this goal. You have many tools available to you that can help you present a better example of who you are, what you know how to do, and most importantly, why you are worth what you want to be paid.
If you are a professional of any kind you should must have a LinkedIn profile (as we’ve mentioned here recently). This profile is not the same as your Facebook or Twitter profile. This is the place to show the professionalism, experience, and accomplishments that you have had in your past. This is where you can keep in contact with others in your current industry, or the industry that you want to be in, to engage in relevant conversations, building networks, and making a name for yourself.
At a bare minimum, your LinkedIn profile needs to be completed fully. Your profile should have accurate descriptions of your responsibilities, a few solid examples of projects that you were a part of, and a minimum of three professional references.
You don’t need to be an artist or a writer to have a portfolio. If you work in an office, do a white paper on a few projects that you are proud to have worked on. If you are self employed, get a few testimonials from your clients. If you are in administration, provide some examples of how you have saved your company money through your own initiatives. I bet you do at least one project a week that you are proud of. Take a moment to find a way to share that with your future employers.
There are many ways to share your portfolio online. If you already have a blog or website, add a page to host your portfolio. You can create a WordPress.com account, and post them there. Tumblr and Posterous are even easier ways. Then go get a domain to point to your portfolio. Which is more professional –”www.mybestportfolio.com” or “mybestportfolio.wordpress.com”? For $12, it shouldn’t be a tough decision.
Online Community Sites
If you are serious about your profession, whether it’s the one that you are currently in, or the one that you want to be in, be an active member in the forums that are discussing it. Make sure your profile has all of your current information, including how to contact you. I’m amazed at how many people leave comments on WorkAwesome, but haven’t bothered to complete their profile. This is a lost opportunity to attract visits to their website or portfolio. If you are contributing positive information, in the form of posts or comments, chances are the other readers are going to have a look at your profile to see if you have other shared interests. If an employer noticed that you are in the same city, and then clicked on your link to find examples from your portfolio, what do you think your chances of working with them might be? And all because you were a contributing member in an online community.
If you don’t know anyone at the company you want to work for, you aren’t trying hard enough. With a minimum of effort you can find out who the key players are in any industry, and you will probably find you are at most two degrees of separation from them. Find some of the folks in the company and chat with them about what’s great, and not-so-great, about working there. Find out what the expectations are from the team that you would actually be working with. Are they the people that you want to spend more than 40 hours per week with? Are you the type of person that they want to work with?
This list isn’t just for job hunters – it’s for employee hunters, too. If you are looking to find good people, go where the good people are. Stop asking for people to submit resumes. Ask them for their portfolio. Hold events like this summer schmooze to find the right person for the job – not just the best of the ones that applied. Jason Fried, cofounder of 37signals, has some excellent thoughts on hiring procedures.
“I don’t expect to go hungry if I decide to leave the University. Resume: Linux looks pretty good in many places.” – Linus Torvalds
Given the ability to research and dig into the background of potential employees, a bit of time should be spent making sure the positive information is what comes up first. Followed by your spring break at Daytona Beach photos on Facebook. You wouldn’t want to blow your crack at the dream job for lack of due diligence.
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