Give Your Career Management a 10-Point Tune-Up

Career Tune Up - Man with wrench in pocket
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We take our cars in for regular tune-ups, trusting the mechanic to make sure our vehicles are in tip-top shape, but many people fail to do the same thing for their own career management tools.

Here I’ll share the 10 things I believe every career professional should have instant access to. These 10 items are not only invaluable when you’re on an active job search, but also when an unexpected job opportunity lands in your lap with only 24 hours to respond.

I’ve listed my 10 points not in priority order, but categorized as traditional print documents (the first six points) and online tools (the final four points). Let’s begin.

#1: Current resume

As I’ve said many times, resume trends evolve. The once popular “Objective” statement has been replaced with personal branding.

Where once a resume was always reviewed by a human reader, it’s now the norm for companies to use computer technology to filter resumes, rejecting many and funnelling only those the computer accepted onto the HR designate.

Assess and update your resume, at least once a year. Align it with the latest resume trends and update it with current career achievements, what I call STAR stories.

#2: Suite of cover letters

Your resume portfolio should include a variety of cover letter types. Obviously, there’s the standard advert letter written when applying to an advertised job but there are other cover letter options including: direct mail, recruiter, networking, and pain. Similar to cover letters, we’re now seeing more use of an e-note which is a condensed version of a cover letter sent in the body of an email message or uploaded onto a job board.

#3: Thank you letter

Don’t leave an interview without asking for a business card from the interviewer and/or each interview panel member. Within 72 hours of the interview, send a personal note to each individual not only thanking them for their time but also reiterating your interest and qualifications for the role. Often, when the final decision comes down to two equally qualified candidates, the one that expressed gratitude receives the offer.

#4: Reference page

Never include references in your resume or cover letter but have them ready to provide in a separate document when asked. Your reference page should have the same look and feel as your resume and cover letters; use the same format and font. Ensure you Googled your references before presenting them to an employer.

#5: Networking business card

Constantly carrying copies of a resume with you to networking events and coffee meetings can be cumbersome. Instead create a networking business card, also called a job search business card or calling card. Using both sides of the card, display your: name, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile url. Add a tag line, list your areas of expertise, and state the title you are seeking.

#6: Key projects document or project profile

An experienced executive often has too many exemplary career achievements to document in a maximum 3-page resume. A projects document lets you expand upon your contributions and makes a great presentation tool during in-person interviews. You could create a simple project file in Word, make it a PowerPoint presentation, or if you’re more creative than I, design an infographic. Your project document is only limited by your achievements and creativity.

#7: LinkedIn profile

Social recruitment isn’t going away; in fact, in a 2014 survey, 73% of employers indicated they plan to boost recruitment efforts using social networks. You need to be where the hiring decision makers are looking, starting with LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows HR professionals and recruiters to search for and reach out to candidates, post jobs, stay in touch with potential candidates, and do some pre-interview screening. So, don’t just be on LinkedIn; maximize your profile and engage in dialogue.

#8: Facebook profile

Facebook as a job tool? You bet! Last year, almost half of companies surveyed posted job openings on Facebook. While companies look to LinkedIn to determine an applicant’s fit to the job, they look to your Facebook postings to determine your potential cultural fit with the organization.

#9: Twitter profile

It doesn’t end at Facebook! Last year, 39% of companies also used Twitter to post jobs, search for applicants, generate referrals, and vet applicants after an initial interview.

#10: Google+ profile

It was only a year ago in my presentations that I considered Google+ to be a static site, not particularly useful to career management. My 2015 opinion is entirely different. I now recommend every serious career professional also establish a presence on Google+.

Your resume, cover letters, thank you letters, reference page, and project document are your in-person marketing collateral. Your social media profiles are your online marketing tools. Once a year, give both your online and print vehicles a 10-point tune-up and drive your career to new heights.

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