Hi there and welcome back to another exciting episode of Lounge Talk With Laz. In this week’s episode we’ll be discussing considerations for when you apply for a new position with the company and how to get a job interview. Let’s just jump right into it.

So this podcast episode, kind of spurred from a conversation that I was having with one of my peers who was looking for a new position in a different company that she currently works for, and it kind of got me thinking about my process after I graduated from college, and finished the Digital Marketing Clinic at Spark, regarding what I did to optimize my resume, my social media presence, my portfolio, my website and some other things that I included when I went to go interview or apply for a job. 

Optimizing Your Resume

The biggest thing that you should focus on is optimizing your resume based on the job that you’re applying for. Work experience is the main priority on your resume and you should only have relevant work experience when you’re applying for a specific job. So, if I’m applying for something in the digital marketing or advertising field, my journalism experience or my sales experience, I like Gordon Food Service or Bath & Body Works might not be relevant when listing, unless I am significantly lacking in jobs that I have that are relevant to the position I’m applying for. A lot of candidates struggle when listing their work experience in the resumes.

Each job position should have three to five job accomplishments that are concise and clearly demonstrate what an applicant did in their role. Quantifiable metrics are also great to include if they are available but key words are especially important in showing recruiters an applicant would make a great fit for the position. It’s also important to use active verbs, and make sure that every section in the resume is written in the same tense.

But when I’ve looked at resumes in the past with other peers, the biggest issue that I always saw was that their work experience had bullet points for three to five things, but they were basically re-hashing what was written on the application guide when you go to apply for the job.

Showcasing Your Job Accomplishments

They essentially just re-listed the job duties, and that really doesn’t prove anything to a recruiter and sure, they might work for the keywords that a recruiter is looking for when they’re pulling applications and resumes, but what your work experience should entail is again, it should be looked at as an accomplishment, and not just as a job, duty.

You should have the mentality going into it of what was I proud of that I did at this job and throw that into your resume. As an example, I won various awards when I was a news editor at the Eastern Echo, I increased the Facebook following presence by five hundred likes in the span of three to four months.

If we’re looking at it from my time as a district digital manager at General Motors, I increased year over year metrics for my district by as wide of margins as 42-100 percent year over year for email leads, phone calls, site visits, mobile traffic, that sort of thing. That’s significant, in my mind, and I’m very proud of the work that I put in. And that’s how it should be reflected in your job accomplishments on your resume.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Get a Job Interview | Ep. 16 Questions To Consider When Writing Your Resume
When I was at Spark and the Center for Digital Engagement, we had a talent recruiter who owns her own company, Amy Cell of Amy Cell Talent, come in and talk to us about how to optimize our resumes when applying for jobs and to help come up with these accomplishments, she had mentioned several questions that applicants should be asking themselves. What did I do that was above and beyond my normal duties?

How did I stand out among other employees? Was I recognizable by a supervisor for a job done? When, did I meet or exceed goals or quotas? Did I win any awards or accolades? Did I save the company money? What made me really great at my job?  Any software programs and tools that I used, which are necessary for the job? You should be asking yourself those questions and providing the answers as job accomplishments in your resume.

Work experience is the most important part of the resume but there are other things that you should be adding too, especially your education section.

What To Include For Education On Your Resume

The proper place for the education section, on a resume is dependent on the level of job experience and if a candidate recently graduated Those with a lot of work experience can place their education after the experience at the bottom. What with advance degrees, going before undergrad degrees GPAs may be included, but I personally don’t see it relevant, if you either have considerable work experience, or if you’ve been out of college for more than a year. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t care about your GPA, after you graduated. They care about the degree that you or that you earned, I should say, they care about your work experience, and what you’ve done, and GPA doesn’t mean anything. And I’ve kind of ragged on that in previous podcast episodes and posts where you can grind away at looking at books and learning in the classroom but that doesn’t necessarily carry into how functional you are in the real world.

Civic Engagement and Professional Certifications

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Get a Job Interview | Ep. 16 Checking Your Resume For Keywords/Buzzwords
After work experience and your education, you should be listing anything that you’ve been doing outside of work in terms of certifications that you’ve earned. So, as an example, I have certifications in the SPARK and Center for Digital Engagement and I earned that after the end of the summer clinic in 2007, I believe, and I also earned certifications in Google Analytics and Google Adwords.

And I’m currently working toward getting re-certified in those as well as earning certifications and HubSpot and Facebook blueprint.

And you definitely want to add those on your resume. It looks good. And especially if you’re going into digital marketing, you want to be certified in AdWords and Analytics. A lot of companies actually have certain criteria for the number of employees that they have, who are certified, so they can talk to clients and say, “Hey we have a 90 percent AdWords and Analytics certification rate with our employees, so we know what we’re talking about.”

It also looks good in terms of those keywords, that I mentioned. It’s kind of like search engine optimization to a point where recruiters are looking for certain keywords and buzzwords whether it’s in your education section in terms of where you graduated from, what you graduated with, when you graduated, where you’re located, as well as other jobs, including that of competitors for what they’re hiring for and this kind of ties in with the job accomplishments where you want to tie in those accomplishments with kind of the job duties or the skill section of what a job application or the requirement section of the application, has in what they’re looking for, for an employee who is applying for the job.

A lot of recruiters actually use automation systems, from what I understand, whether on LinkedIn or in their database to pull for those keywords. And if your resume is not loaded, or crawlable, for those keywords, then it’ll automatically be sent to the bottom of the list unless somebody hand picks and hand looks at it.

Two other things that you should be adding to your resume, in terms of those sections are skills that you have, again to show that you have the qualifications for the job and to make your resume crawlable or searchable through those keywords and to also include civic engagement or any professional groups that you’re part of, as an example. I am part of the Public Relations Society of America the Detroit chapter and I have that included my resume and I’ve also included the civic engagement that I’ve had doing volunteer work, whether for General Motors or during my time at the university, Eastern Michigan University.

The civic engagement part isn’t super important but it shows that you’re going above and beyond outside of work and kind of adds a bit of personality and color to your resume for when a recruiter is looking at it.

Different Resume Layouts to Consider For Work Experience

When looking at all these sections, there are a few formats to consider when laying the work experience on a resume; there’s a chronological functional and combination. Chronological is the most common format among job seekers, as the experience section, lists a candidate’s past jobs reverse chronologically. Functional resume focuses on skills and experience rather than the timeline of an applicant’s work history making it useful for job seekers who are changing careers have gaps or history or have experienced that isn’t related to the position.

A combination resume or hybrid is that kind of happy medium as it highlights relevant skills while providing enough information about a candidates history.

Beyond this, the aesthetic design of the resume is also kind of important.

You can either have it functionally designed, where it kinda is industry or business standard with 11 to point type face and very easy, readable font like even Times New Roman something boring like that.

Or if you’re aesthetically inclined, you can take the time to design your own resume to make it stand out amongst the dozens of other ones that are being sent in for recruiters to look at.

If you are not aesthetically inclined, then you can actually buy designs online at various websites. And the other consideration too, is to make sure that your resume, unless you have about five to seven years of experience, to have it only on a single page or so, and to effectively optimize the amount of space that you’re using on that one page to get as much in as possible without making it feel crammed or really messy. It should be neat, organized, and it should have everything important that you want just page one and all of our important accolades, and achievements, very easy, readable, bullet point, short concise sentences in the same tense and laid out either chronologically or reverse chronologically or just having all the important information at the top first.

It is especially important as recruiters may spend as little as three seconds reviewing a resume before they stop reading all together.

Building Out Your LinkedIn Account

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Get a Job Interview | Ep. 16 Getting Up Your LinkedIn For Keywords/Buzzwords
The next consideration that should have when applying for a job outside of your resume optimization is making sure that you have a LinkedIn that you’re connected with a lot of people and that it’s kind of built out like your resume.

Your LinkedIn is another chance to garner more recruiters looking at your page and it should be optimized just as efficiently and effectively as your resume is. Include all of your relevant experience, you should have your certifications listed, you should have your civic engagement there, you should try to get recommendations from other people and give recommendations. You should have your bio laid out, so that it is catered toward getting those keywords crawled for kind of LinkedIn’s SEO. You should have a professional profile picture.

You should also have your resume and any relevant professional social media handles, or pictures of your certifications, included on your profile for that authenticity and for recruiters to have a chance to look at your resume and potentially reach out to you and say, “Hey, we want this person as a candidate for this position.”

There are two other hacks that you can kinda have to get a leg up on the competition in LinkedIn. The first is turning on in your settings, the “looking for new opportunities” button. What this does is lets recruiters know that you’re looking for a new opportunity.

So as they’re looking for potential candidates who might make a good fit and they come across your profile they know that you’re looking for something and they will reach out to you and say, “Hey we have this job available. Would you be interested in applying for it, or sending your resume and cover letter into us.”

The second is making sure that whenever you update your profile, that it is shared to your connections and obviously you don’t want to spam them, as you’re building out your profile initially, but let’s say you change your job position or you add a new certification or add a new document to your LinkedIn, having this button or the setting enabled will share it with your connections and it will give you a potential bump and who is visiting your profile.

Creating A Digital Portfolio Of Your Work

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Get a Job Interview | Ep. 16 Showcasing Your Work With a Digital Portfolio
The third consideration that you should have when applying for a new job is to have a digital portfolio readily available showcasing your talents or your work. And I personally think that people who have a digital portfolio have a significant leg up compared to people who don’t because you can showcase to your recruiters or your hiring managers that you have relevant experience and have work that you can show them as to what you performed in previous positions compared to people who don’t have anything at all, and it’s just kind of them walking the walk and talking the talk, so to speak.

Without going into too deep of a dive here, it’s important that when you’re making your digital portfolio, that you have only the best work, posted on that portfolio.

As one of my peers had said in the past, you will be judged based on your worst piece, so to speak. If I was posting some design work and a lot of it is good and maybe one or two pieces are bad, you will be judged based on that worst piece that you posted on your portfolio, so just keep that mind, keep it up-to-date, relevant and just have your best work possible to have that perception of professionalism.

Adding A Cover Letter For the Final Touch

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Get a Job Interview | Ep. 16 Aligning Your Cover Letter With Your Resume
The final recommendation that I have, when applying for a job, is to have a cover letter attached to it. I personally feel as though cover letters are antiquated in that no one reads them, but it doesn’t hurt. It should just be quick concise to the point, you should talk about the job itself, a little bit why you think you would be a great fit, maybe the company culture or things that stood out to you when applying forward that job and just leaving it off saying, “I look forward to talking more with you as it pertains to your needs, best regards,” blah, blah, and your cover letter and your resume should kind of tie into one another. And you should also have your contact info listed on both so your name, your email, address, your contact for your phone number. And any professional social media handles.

Because social media is such a big factor nowadays a lot of people will look at your social media to see if you are a thought leader of sorts, and obviously they’re gonna look to see what kind of person you are, outside of work, if you’re bad mouthing companies and what have you. So, keep professional there. It doesn’t hurt to include your Instagram or Twitter handle if that is specially tying into your professional view points as a knowledge or thought leader in the industry. And I also have my portfolio and my website listed in my resume and my cover letter, to… and when you’re listing these links and these URLS, you should make them interactive. And so some if you were to go to click on them it would just instantly take them to that URL for that page instead of them having to type it in or copy and paste just to make it easier on them.

Again, recruiters spend so little time reviewing a resume, if they do take the time to stop and read and look at your stuff, you should make it as easy of a experience as possible, and that kind of ties into a digital marketing best practice, where you want to lead your user to your desired action and as few clicks as possible.

And that’s all the time I have for this week’s Lounge Talk With Laz. Hopefully you found the tips in this video to be helpful and if you did find them to be helpful, I can always do a bit more deep dive into the specifics with a cover letter building on your LinkedIn doing whatever with your portfolio and having that looking professional and ready to show hiring recruiters and hiring managers.

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Get a Job Interview Recap

What did you think of this week’s episode of Lounge Talk With Laz? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my podcast episode on how to repurpose content for social media and last week’s podcast episode where I explored the value of earned media with CDK Global.

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