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Your Guide to a Rock Star Resume + Cover Letter

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers, White Papers by .

You never get a second chance at a first impression. In the job seeking process, your first impression (usually) relies on your resume and cover letter. While you may think these are ready to go, your dream job chances can be dashed before you get the opportunity to show them who you truly are: 1 out of 5 recruiters will reject a candidate before reading to the end of their resume (New College of Humanities).

We’re one of the largest staffing companies in the nation, so we see thousands of resumes and cover letters every week. Here are our tips to create the most professional and effective resume and cover letter.

Resume

Your resume is intended to serve as both a snapshot and an invitation. It’s a snapshot that shows how your past will indicate your future potential, and it’s an invitation to find out more.

Curating and presenting the best resume possible is crucial, especially when 75% of candidates are eliminated by their résumé alone (CIO). And with more organizations incorporating Applicant Tracking Systems, the odds are getting slimmer and the need for a killer resume is even higher.

Check out our tips for creating the ultimate resume:

Length

Your resume should never be longer than a page. A typical medium-large company gets around 100-200 job applicants per position – making the amount of time spent on each resume very limited.

When recruiters are reported to only look at a resume for less than 10 seconds, the odds of them turning the page are low, and the odds of them getting frustrated are high. Reminder: 47% of recruiters will throw out a resume if it is too long.

Cutting your resume down to a page can be difficult if you’ve had a long career, but recruiters are only interested in what’s recent and relevant. You can bring up your other career experience on your LinkedIn page and in your interview. But always keep your resume to one neatly formatted page.

Content

Now that you know how long your resume should be, you can focus on what you want to include in it. Remember, you have a limited time frame to make an impression, utilizing bullet points and creating easy-to-read content is vital.

Additionally, if you want to increase your odds of getting an interview – and the job – cater your resume to each position you are applying to. That means emphasizing your past experience to best match the position. Don’t lie or overly embellish, 51% of recruiters claim they will automatically dismiss an applicant who was caught in a lie. Simply give them the information they are looking for and always write in the first person (I, me, we, etc.).

But most importantly, DOUBLE/TRIPLE/QUADRUPLE/QUINTUPLE CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. We cannot stress this enough. It matters more than you think.

Typically, these are the sections that you will include in your resume:

Contact Information

You’d be surprised how many resumes we receive with incorrect contact information – how are we supposed to hire them if we can’t find them?! Full name, phone number, and email are absolutely required. Addresses can be clunky and take up too much space, it’s best to include your general metropolitan area. Claim your vanity URL on LinkedIn and include that as well.

Super Ambassador

(714) 939 – 8600

ambassador@rothstaffing.com

Orange County, CA

Linkedin.com/super.ambassador99

We cannot overemphasize the importance of a professional email address (this applies to LinkedIn vanity URLs as well). It’s best if it reflects your name in some way, rather than being funny or clever.

Double and triple check this section is both current and accurate.

Objectives/Executive Summaries

These can feel helpful but often end up as vague and confusing mashups of corporate zombie talk. “An efficient team player seeking opportunities…” what does that even mean?! This hollow language doesn’t speak to how amazing you are.

When space and time are precious, it’s best to avoid this section all together. You can tell a recruiter your true objective in person.

Experience

This is the meaty part of your resume. Your experience section will speak loudest to recruiters. However, it is still important to make sure this section is easy for consumption. Keep this section short and sweet by getting straight to the point.

Introduce each position in reverse in chronological order, with your most recent position first, followed by your second most recent position, and so on.

List the position, the organization, and the time spent working there. You can lead with a quick sentence that describes the position, then use bullet points to describe your accomplishments and responsibilities.

Lead with your accomplishments first, followed by your responsibilities. Use action verbs to describe these (oversaw, managed, analyzed, increased, etc.) and introduce quantitative information whenever possible.

Also, don’t forget to speak in the correct verb tense (present tense for current positions, past tense for former positions).

Ambassador, Roth Staffing Companies (2014 – 2017)

Served as a temporary employee on a variety of short-term and long-term assignments within the administrative and clerical space.

  • Simplified data entry process for weekly reports, decreasing time spent from 10 hours to 2 hours.
  • Greeted visitors from Fortune 1000 organizations and coordinated their daily activities
  • Coordinated inventory orders, office supplies, and daily office activities
  • Organized daily meetings for CEO
  • Scheduled weekly flights and travel itinerary for a team of 12 executives

There’s no need to list past salaries. This can hurt your salary negotiations.

Some like to list a reason for leaving each position. Only do this if you had a job for an unusual amount of time or have had several jobs in a short time frame. Reasons to cite include: temporary or contract work, organization closing or outsourcing, and layoffs.

If you were fired, quit, or were recruited out, there’s not much reason to cite a reason for leaving.

Education

Be proud of your education, no matter the level. However, your graduation date will affect how much you include. Always include the school, dates of attendance, and majors and minors.

Roth University

2005 – 2009

B.S. Business, Minor in Communications

Feel free to include major projects like dissertations, theses, research, and honors and awards. Go further, if and only if, you are less than 5 years out of school. Additional elements can include GPA (ONLY if it’s over 3.5), consulting projects, organizations, clubs, and notable positions.

Education and graduation are two very different things. We live in the age of technology and checking on a graduation status doesn’t take much time or effort. Catching yourself in a lie, or even a half truth, does not look good. Even “suggesting” that you might have graduated can cost you the position and your reputation. If you haven’t graduated, list your degree as “In Progress” or list the number of credits you have completed.

In the interest in time and space, if you attended community college, do not include high school. If you have a Bachelor’s degree, don’t include community college. In essence, list the highest earned.

Skills

Use this section to display your professional skills. Include work-related technical skills required to be successful in a position. Add in programs and other technologies you are skilled in.

Again, don’t lie. Don’t include skills you are not versed in or out of date. Only include it if it meets the skill rule: if you were in an interview and the interviewer asked you to demonstrate a skill on the spot, you could perform it with flying colors.

Do not include “soft skills” – they don’t mean much to recruiters and there is no way to measure them. Your experience section should have already demonstrated those skills.

Extras: Awards/Hobbies/Volunteering/Side Hustles

Include these if you have them and they are professionally relevant. These add dimension and create a more well-round vision of you as a candidate.

Format & Design

How your resume physically looks can have a big impact. Make sure you create clear sections and employ bullet points in each one. Keep spacing consistent and keep a good balance of white space.

It is imperative that you use a legible font – nothing fancy, trendy, or crazy. Standard fonts are clean and easiest to read. Size 12 font is best for formatting. Make your headings and other major points stand out.

If you are a designer, or work in the creative space, your resume design should be a demonstration of your talents. If you’re not, simplicity is key. Feel free to get a little creative, but make sure it’s printer-friendly. This means predominantly black text and being wary of colored accents. If a recruiter prints it out to share with someone else, you want to make sure it’s crystal clear. Save it as a PDF to make it easier for recruiters to view across platforms.

How much design flair you add should reflect who you are and the organization you are applying for.

Cover Letters

We’re seeing the demand for cover letters less and less now. But that doesn’t mean they have lost their value. Cover letters give you one more shot to make a good impression, add some depth to your resume, indicate your intent, and illustrate why you want that position and that organization.

Cover letters are much more structured and absolutely must be tailored for the the position and organization.

Again, recruiters have limited time to indulge in the written word. They just want the information they are looking for, 70% of employers prefer half a page or “the shorter the better” (the Harvard Business Review suggests even shaving it down to 5 sentences). A half a page comes out to about 250 words. This can feel intimidating. You either finally get a chance to express yourself and you’re limited OR you’re worried about even reaching 250 words.

William Shakespeare once said, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” meaning getting your point across efficiently is more impressive than taking the long way to express something.

To keep it in this frame, here are some of our tips.

The Template Temptation

Templates are everywhere and can be tempting. However, your cover letter should really be custom made for every position.

But fear not, there are some basic points you should address in your cover letter.

Typically:

  • 1st paragraph: Who you are
  • 2nd paragraph: What you can do for them
  • 3rd paragraph: Why this company
  • 4th paragraph/closing: Close with an action item

It’s best to address the letter directly to someone, rather than relying on “To whom it may concern:”. If you are responding to a job post with no clear recipient, it’s okay to make a general address or use “To whom it may concern:”.

Write Normal

Again, it can feel tempting to shift back into corporate zombie speak. This is your chance to speak in your true voice. Make sure your content is honest and genuine, while still being professional. Feel free to match your tone to their culture. A startup in Silicon Valley will require a very different tone than a financial firm in New York.

It can feel awkward to brag about yourself. Simply imagine someone who is proud of you is writing it. What would they emphasize? Never self-deprecate or sell yourself short, you don’t want to give them reasons to excuse you before they’ve even met you. Focus on your passions and what makes you great.

Resume Regurgitation

This is not your chance to repeat your resume. They already saw that. However, you can elaborate on some impressive projects or explain a gap.

Focus on your skills and continue to provide quantitative support. Establish what you can do for the organization and flaunt your skills. Remember to avoid soft skills unless you have concrete evidence.

Try and steer away from your educational experience unless you have something really important to emphasize.

Talk about Them

Recruiters want to know if you’re invested in their organization. Reference articles the company has written or programs they’ve implemented and relate them back to yourself. Mention connections you have to the organization (if you have one) and briefly discuss why you want to work for them.

Now that you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, take a deep breath. You have plenty to flaunt and now you know how.

Go get your dream job!

Check out open jobs with Ledgent »

How To: LinkedIn Open Candidates [video]

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This entry was posted in Infographics, Job Seekers, Video by .

How to let recruiters know you are available on LinkedIn – without your boss knowing.  LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in your job search.  But what happens when you like your job and your open to new opportunities?  Watch our video to learn how to privately signal to recruiters on LinkedIn that you are looking for a new job – without anyone at your organization knowing.

Informational Interviews – what is it and how do I get one?

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers by .

So, what exactly is an informational interview? It’s kind of like a job interview, where your pursuit is not a job, but advice. It’s an educational conversation between two people. Typically, someone will pursue an informational interview with someone who has a career that they’d like, works at a company they’d like to work at, or in an industry they are interested in.

Informational interviews are like cheat codes for your career. They’re an inside look at what it takes and what it’s really like to work like that person. How they got to this point, what life looks like in that role, where they are going next – all act as a roadmap to get what you want in your career.

Nothing can match experience. And people are more than happy to share it. While you may think that an executive wouldn’t want to spend an hour talking with just anybody, you’d be surprised. People love to talk about themselves. And it’s actually a new trend in entrepreneurship. Watch enough YouTube videos and soon enough an ad from Tai Lopez or the Laptop Entrepreneurs will pop up offering you a free class in how to be like them. They worked hard to get where they are and they are eager to share what they have learned.

Informational interviews can give you more than just a roadmap. They are a vital source of connections. They’re not just a resource for you, you are a resource for them! In 2015, 75% of workers with new jobs hadn’t actively applied for the position, they were “poached” or referred (FRBSF Economic Research). When you set up an informational interview, you learn about them and they learn about you. They can act as a referral or they can connect you with opportunity within their own company.

But you have to ask them in the right way. Here are a few tips to secure an informational interview and make the most of it:

Selection Process

Think of anyone you admire and reach out to them. Start by looking to your initial network – maybe it’s someone in your professional network or a friend of a friend. You can also reach out to total strangers. Social media has eliminated traditional social boundaries and has increased accessibility. Networks like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to search by name and organization, making a once random process streamlined. LinkedIn can be your ultimate tool, giving you access to their entire career timeline. Search for potential contacts based on everything from their alma mater, to company they work for, or positions they hold.

Don’t be afraid to dig…

Once you’ve picked someone, do your research – just don’t stop at LinkedIn. When researching someone for an informational interview, follow the Google rabbit hole to find everything you can. A knowledge of the articles they’ve written, organizations they’ve volunteered for, or events they’ve spoken at can help you really stand out when asking to set up an interview.

Approach respectfully

How you reach out to a contact will depend on how you know them. If you share a mutual connection, that connection will get you in contact with them. If they are strangers, LinkedIn might be your best approach. However, with the right Google technique, you can likely access their email. If it’s not listed on the company website, you can try common iterations of emails. For example, if someone is named Mickey Mouse, these can include:

  • MickeyMouse@company.com
  • Mickey.Mouse@company.com
  • MMouse@company.com
  • Mouse@company.com
  • MouseMickey@company.com

Infiltrating a space like email, especially unexpectedly, requires a respectful approach. The research you did earlier can help this feel like less of an ambush. Here is an example of an email approach:

 

Hello Mickey,

My name is Super Ambassador, and I have been working in cartoons for 5 years now. I have been following your career on LinkedIn, and I am in awe. Your career seems to be the perfect combination of science and art. Your work in Alice in Wonderland contrasts so beautifully with your work in Steamboat Willie, while your article on your new Star Wars campus in Anaheim had such an in-depth analysis of qualitative data that could truly change Southern California tourism. Inspiring.

I’d love to learn more about your career journey and position within the Disney organization. With so much happening, I imagine you are busy. A 15-minute phone call, or even a quick cup of coffee, would be so appreciated.

Thank you,

Super Ambassador

 

Starting with a compliment and following it up with evidence to support that you know who they are, is flattering and demonstrates your intent and investment. Doing your research can go really far. Throw in commonalities, like companies you’ve worked for, schools you went to, or events you attended – anything that can strengthen the connection. We like people who are like us.

Be gracious and humble, and most importantly, patient. Their schedule may be packed, so be patient in scheduling and accommodate their schedule. Not everyone will be able to meet you in person, or they may schedule a call for 5 AM. Take every opportunity.

Be prepared

When you do schedule an appointment with your contact, research and have your questions ready. Remember, this isn’t a job interview, it’s not so much about selling yourself. It’s about learning from them.

Physically write down your questions so you can keep the conversation on track and more effectively utilize their time. Here are a few examples of questions you might ask:

How did you get into the field?
What do you think made you so successful? (ie characteristics, connections, education, etc)
What do you see happening in this field over the next few years?
How would you describe the culture at your organization?
What advice would you have for someone starting out in this field?
What are some next steps I should take if I want to enter the field?
Is there anyone else you recommend I talk to on this topic?
Are there any questions I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Then write down their answers so you can reference them in the future. Also, be prepared to answer questions about what it is you’re looking for. This is your chance to talk about your own career goals.

The dreaded elevator pitch

While this conversation is about them and not you, they will want to know who you are and what you want. This is where your elevator pitch comes in.

If you are unfamiliar with the elevator pitch, it’s a succinct and concise introduction, intended to capture your audience in the time it takes to ride in an elevator. In so many words, you have less than 30 seconds to introduce yourself and establish your value, making your audience want to continue the conversation.

This is where you sell yourself. These can feel dreadful, but they shouldn’t! You have a lot to offer, but you must be prepared. When they ask, “So what do you do?” Be ready.

Your pitch will capture their attention and make them say, “Interesting. Tell me more.”

To craft your pitch, start with a paper and pen. List 5-10 of the accomplishments or traits you’re most proud of, emphasizing what you can do for your audience. They should answer these questions: Who are you? What do you do? How much or how many (quantitative points support your statements)? What are you looking for?

Then continue to shave them down into a more concise conversation. It should be very natural, yet professional. It should feel like an average conversation:

I’m Super Ambassador, and I am the world’s greatest temporary employee. Most people don’t brag about that, but in the past year, I’ve rescued 7 businesses when talent got short. My most recent assignment, I came in as an administrative assistant where I coordinated a 3-day gathering of the organization’s top leaders from across 10 states, on top of my basic duties. Now I’m hoping to expand my work into a permanent role in the HR space, helping to build culture and maintain compliance.

In the pitch above, the speaker drew their audience in with a hook, provided quantitative support for their top accomplishments, and concluded with what they are looking for next. It’s quick, succinct, and natural.

Continuously update and practice your pitch so you are always ready, in and out of informational interviews.

Once you deliver your pitch, it will be up to your contact to respond. Hopefully, they will offer to aid in your next step.

Follow-Up

After your meeting has ended, always always always send a thank you card. Send a real, handwritten card thanking them for their time. When they feel appreciated, they are more likely to help out even more in the future.

If they connected you with others in their network, promptly follow-up with your next informational interviews. Don’t allow too much time to pass.

Be Fearless & Act Accordingly

Do not feel daunted, reach out to who you really want to learn from. Some may be harder to get in contact with than others, but do not underestimate who will be willing to spend a moment with you.

This includes being persistent in contact and scheduling. If they say they are too busy, check in with them monthly and regularly. If they decline, politely thank them and move on to the next person on your list.

Once you have that advice, put it in action! Take their tips to heart and immediately act them out.

Two very different and very successful people know the value asking: business magnate and billionaire, Warren Buffet, and Canadian DJ & Journalist, Nardwuar. Nardwuar has interviewed everyone from Kurt Cobain to major political figures. In his TED Talk, he insists the reason he got those interviews was because he asked for them. That’s it. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, Warren Buffet said, “You can really learn a lot just by asking—that sounds like a Yogi Berra quote or something—but it is literally true.”

Informational interviews hold advice and insight you cannot get anywhere else. If you want to interview the most famous and influential, or become a billionaire, the solution lies within the ask. You can get the roadmap to the career – and life – you want.

Social Skills: Rules for LinkedIn

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers, White Papers by .

On LinkedIn, social media meets professional networking. It’s like a giant networking event combined with a resume megaphone. If you’re a regular user of Facebook, we have lots of tips on how to use that platform for your job search,  but LinkedIn is viewed by employers as the “go-to” destination for finding the most professional candidates.  We recommend using a multi-channel approach to give you the most options in your job search. Currently, 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting (Jobcast) and amongst those who found their job through a social network, 40% cite assistance from LinkedIn.

If you use Facebook in your job search process, you must balance a pseudo-professional and a casual social presence. LinkedIn allows you to present yourself solely as a formal, professional entity. Everyone on the site has the same intentions: to present and build themselves professionally. That makes the rules much easier to follow, and much easier to be noticed by the right people.

Currently, LinkedIn has 128 million users in the United States alone (DMR), and recruiting, sourcing, and HR professionals account for 5% of all U.S. LinkedIn Profiles – that’s 1 in 20! With so many eyes on you, you must be prepared to wow them. Remember, this is a candidate’s market, the odds are in your favor as recruiters are on the hunt for the best talent. Even if you are a passive candidate (still working, but open to new job opportunities), your profile and activity should be ready to flaunt.

Not having a LinkedIn profile, not being active on the platform, or not using it properly can be equally detrimental. Employers now expect you to be tech savvy and connected to the online community.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, don’t let yours be unprofessional. Check out our tips to make the most out of LinkedIn.

Prepare: Are you ready?

LinkedIn serves as an internet-based version of your resume, with a little extra personality. You must prepare your profile to be eye-catching and effective. This may very well be your first impression on a recruiter or organization.

Disclaimer: These are only recommendations. There are no requirements on your social media behavior. The tips listed are only intended to be helpful, and we have a lot of inside information speaking from an organization comprised of hundreds of recruiters.

Privacy: Go Public

On LinkedIn, there is almost no reason to not make your whole profile completely public. On other sites like Facebook or Twitter, it makes sense to reserve most information for your friends. However, on LinkedIn, almost exclusively, strangers will be looking you up.  Reserving information for an exclusive audience can lead them to move on to the next candidate.

(1) To change your privacy settings, log in and click on your profile.

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(2) Then click on “Edit your public profile

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Here, you can select what you want to make public. It’s best to click every box, but if you had to choose only a few, we recommend at the very least including your:

  • Picture
  • Headline
  • Current Positions
  • Past Positions
  • Education

(3) While you’re in this section, edit your public profile URL.

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When you signed up, LinkedIn gave you a random URL to share. Edit this to something a little easier on the eyes, also known as a vanity URL. Just as you would with a professional email, make sure it is appropriate and reflects your name. For example, if your name is Bob Smith, try something like linkedin.com/BobSmith1234 or linkedin.com/BobSmithLosAngeles, not linkedin.com/badboy97 or linkedin.com/pro4ubsmith.

Once you have your vanity URL, you can include it on your paper resumes. Recruiters can check out your profile and have a more dimensional view or see features that wouldn’t fit on paper.

Intro

Your Intro is the section at the top of your profile. The information here is what others will see when you post or what recruiters will see when they search for candidates and land on a result page.

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This section includes your photo, name, title, current position, and location. You can customize nearly every aspect of this – just click on the little pencil in the corner.

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Make sure this is an accurate representation of you. Never make up a title or refer to yourself as a “Guru” or “Ninja.” These phrases don’t mean anything to recruiters, and sound like made-up positions. They aren’t searchable and don’t speak to what you have done.

Picture Perfect

Your picture can make all the difference. While it may feel superfluous to feature a picture on a professional site, a photo can be the difference between landing the job and not. LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages (DMR).

Embrace the human element of LinkedIn and use a professional photo. Don’t just copy and paste your current Facebook pic. Having the right picture is crucial.

A professionally taken photo will always be best. It’s a worthy investment, but if you need to get out there right now, here are a few tips to help you get the perfect, job-winning LinkedIn profile picture:

  • ALWAYS wear professional clothes in your photo. The term “professional clothes” can vary from industry to industry, so pick what is appropriate.
  • You can take a photo of yourself, but be wary of the angles you employ. For a selfie, take it straight on, preferably from the chest up. It’s usually best to grab a friend and have them take the picture, that way your arms aren’t awkwardly positioned in the frame. Additionally, a photo that is too close can make viewers uncomfortable.

Whatever you do… NO CAR SELFIES. NEVER. NO MATTER WHAT. ABSOLUTEY NOT. The lighting may be in your favor, but it’s so incredibly unprofessional, looks lazy, and can even suggest narcissism. Don’t do it, you’re worth so much more.

  • Do NOT take a photo from a past event and crop other people out of the frame. This photo is part of your digital resume, and resumes are strictly solo. Employers can totally see your friend’s shoulder.
  • Just because you did get professional photos taken, doesn’t always mean they are appropriate. Do NOT use photos from your wedding, graduation, or any other non-professional event. However, if you have a professional photo session coming up, bring a shirt and blazer with you and get a couple specialty business shots.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… Say cheese!

  • Your picture is supposed to look like you! What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone? You smile. It’s a natural human emotional cue to indicate that you are safe, nice, and welcoming. No matter how artsy you are, no staring pensively into the distance, no duck face, and no maniacal laughter either. Humans rely heavily on eye contact for social relationships, so look in to the camera and no sunglasses, ever. A nice warm, regular smile is all you need.

Experience

If you have a resume, you know how to do this section. Fill it out just as you would a resume. Make it easy to read, quick to reference, and accurately reflective of your past positions.

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To add experience, click the little plus sign and add all relevant experience.

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To optimize this section, consider these tips:

  • Link each position to its respective company page
  • Start descriptions with a brief and prompt overview of your position
  • Utilize bullet points to further describe the position and achievements
  • Employ action words (managed, created, grew, reduced, etc.)
  • Include supporting documents and links to other media
  • Use the appropriate tense (past-tense for past jobs, present-tense for current jobs)
  • Always double, triple, and quadruple check spelling and grammar

The key here will be prompt, effective language that speaks to your skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments. If you need help with your resume, reach out to your [Ultimate] representative for general resume tips and apply them to your LinkedIn profile.

Education

Your education section will be affected by how long you’ve been out of school.

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To add to this section, click the plus sign. Include all levels of education. If you have a college degree, you do not have to include high school. Be sure to include activities, societies, and major projects (if they have a professional application). Include accomplishments like awards won, research conducted, or honors received – but unless you’re working in education, employers likely aren’t too invested in day-to-day activities from long ago.

You don’t have to go nearly as in depth as you do in your Experience section, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. If you are a recent graduate with little experience, make sure to go more in depth.

Volunteer Experience

This section can give your profile dimension and shine light on some of your passions. Include your past and present repeat volunteer experience. One Saturday serving at a soup kitchen is great, but it may come off as you trying to fill up space. However, if you coordinated a big event, like a charity walk, include that and the responsibilities and actions that were required.

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Skills & Endorsements

Recruiters can search by skills, so make sure you flaunt yours! LinkedIn users with skills listed received 13 times more profile views than those who don’t. And those with at least five skills listed on their profile receive up to 17 times more profile views (DMR).

Only add current skills, don’t include ones that you “kinda know.” A good rule of thumb: If you were in an interview and the interviewer asked you to demonstrate a skill on the spot, you could perform it with flying colors.

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Your connections can then endorse these skills. A good way to increase your endorsements is to endorse others.

Recommendations

Your connections can write recommendations for you that will show up on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations are extremely powerful when searching for a job.

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You can ask the connections you’ve worked closely with to recommend you. Click on “Ask to be recommended” to reach out to your connections.

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It’s best to reach out to your connections and ask prior to submitting this request.

Follow each step accordingly and customize your message at the bottom. Check out our tips here on asking for a reference.

Accomplishments

LinkedIn is the place to brag about yourself. In your Accomplishments section, list relevant recognitions and associations. Don’t shy away from “softer” accomplishments that could highlight your cultural fit with an organization.

In this section, you can add:

  • Certifications
  • Courses
  • Honors & Awards
  • Languages Spoken (only add a language if you are fluent)
  • Patents
  • Projects
  • Publications
  • Test Scores
  • Organizations

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Interests

This section highlights the Influencers, companies, groups, and schools you follow. Definitely expand this area, but try to avoid potentially controversial figures or causes – anyone can see who you follow.

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Join groups that pertain to your interests or experience and follow any and all organizations you may be interested in working for in the future. When their posts pop up in your feed, like and comment, making sure the organization sees you and you stay in front of them – follow the same rules for posting, sharing, and commenting below.

Be sure to add in plenty of publications so informative articles will show up on your feed – you never know what kind of information you’ll be able to exhibit in an interview! Employers want to make sure they hire those who have a pulse on the industry and the current work space.

Engaging Usage

Now that your profile is ready to mingle, your activity will continue to build your persona as a professional and an employee. It’s not enough just to have a profile. When they click on your profile, recruiters can see your recent activity. No recent activity, or the wrong type of activity, can leave the wrong impression.

Adding Connections

When adding connections, begin with people you know. But don’t be afraid to branch out to others in the industry or even recruiters at organizations you’re interested in working with. When reaching out to somewhat random profiles for a connection, always go beyond the template and include a custom message.

Professionally and promptly, tell them why you are interested in connecting with them and include aspects of their profile that caught your eye. Quickly get to the point and don’t be afraid to compliment them. A good message can mean the difference between a connection and a bad first impression.

Here are a few examples of typical messages you might send:

A Casual Acquaintance

Hi ______,

I’m glad we had the chance to meet through [connection]. I’d love to learn more about your work in [industry], particularly [topic]. Is LinkedIn your preferred method of contact?

Thank you,

Someone you met at a Networking Event

Hello _______,

It was great speaking to you at the [event] last month. I enjoyed hearing your ideas about [topic/industry], and I am very intrigued to see what will happen next. I’d definitely like to stay in touch and keep up on the latest in your career.

Thank you,

A Recruiter

Hello ___________,

I have been following [organization] and I came across your profile and couldn’t resist reaching out. I have been working in [industry] for ___ years, and currently seeking new opportunities. I’d love to talk about whether my background might be a fit for the organization – and also keep up on the latest within [organization] from your perspective.

Thank you,

Recruiters get a lot of messages, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get a response. Once you’ve connected, comment and like their posts and continue to message without being overwhelming.

Messaging

You can freely message anyone you’re connected to. However, if you want to message someone you’re not connected to, you will have to purchase InMail capabilities. If you are wary of dropping the cash, check out these tips from our Social Media Manager, Valerie Killeen.

Tips from Within: InMail

Valerie Killeen is our Social Media Manager. She oversees and sets the guidelines for all of our social media channels. Check out what she has to say about InMail:

“No InMail, no problem!

For professionals without a premium LinkedIn subscription, communicating on LinkedIn can be a bit frustrating. If you’d like to send a message to someone that you’re not connected to, you can join their LinkedIn group (members of a common group can send 15 free messages to fellow group members, per month).

  • LinkedIn group memberships are identified at the footer of each profile.
  • Once you’ve been approved to join the group you can search for their name within the group and select the envelope icon near their name to compose an InMail message.
  • The best part?  If your InMail receives a response, you can communicate back and forth as many times as you’d like without deducting from your 14 remaining InMail messages.

Posting & Sharing

Posting on LinkedIn increases your visibility and the reach of your profile, but only if you do it right.

Anything you ever like, comment, or post, can be seen by every single one of your connections. And if someone in your network likes or comments on that, then it is visible by every single person in their network. It does not take long for a single like to find its way around the world.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when posting on LinkedIn:

Generally speaking, these are the best reasons to post on LinkedIn:

  • Professional accomplishments
  • New ideas or inspiration that relate to work life
  • New development in your career or in the market
  • Industry announcements or trends
  • Job postings
  • Professional events that you are attending or promoting

Experts recommend posting a few times a week, but no more than once per day. If it doesn’t fall into any of these categories, it may be better suited on a different platform.

Post articles.  It’s a quick and simple way to engage with your connections, as long as you remember your R’s: Recent, Relevant, and Reliable.

You can also create your own articles. Share your expertise with the world, just remember to keep it Recent, Relevant, and Reliable. Don’t underestimate the power of your perspective.

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Make sure outside articles and sources you post are coming from a reputable, professional source. For maximum engagement, include a quick sentence on why you find the article interesting, or one of your personal insights.

Pro-tip: People love to interact and share ideas, so pose a question at the end of your post. Ask a question that can lead to more than a yes or no answer; it has to get the conversation going. For example, you can say, I find it interesting that this expert discusses x and y as the driving factors, what have you found in your experience? Now the conversation is flowing and you’re learning from your connections.

When posting, make sure you monitor your post appropriately. Don’t check it every 5 minutes, but be sure to correspond with those who comment in a timely manner. If someone is acknowledging your post, acknowledge them – engagement goes both ways.

A quick “Like,” a “Thank you,” or “Totally Agree” can go a long way. Reciprocity is key.

Beware the 7 B’s:

  1. Better Half: Unless you’re connecting your significant other with one of your online connections, or highlighting a professional accomplishment — there’s really no need to post about them or your relationship. No anniversaries, no wedding photos.
  1. Booze: it’s no secret that your crazy weekend stories have no place in the office, and there’s no place for them on LinkedIn.
  1. Barack: Politics are a sensitive subject for a lot of people, and can lead to heated arguments quickly. Quite simply, it’s just unprofessional to discuss in a professional space.
  1. Bucks: Discussing your salary publicly on LinkedIn is a big no-no. This may scare away potential employers.
  1. Beliefs: For many, religion, or lack thereof, is a very personal topic, and it should remain personal. Avoid religious posts, even if they are positive.
  1. Battleground: Do not start arguments on LinkedIn, as that would be incredibly unprofessional. Also, avoid complaining about any current or past jobs.
  1. Blades + Blasters: Weapons have no place in the workspace. Weapon-related posts can make people feel uncomfortable, so it’s best to avoid these.

The rule should be: if I wouldn’t share it in an interview, I probably shouldn’t post it publicly.

NO. SELFIES. EVER. NEVER EVER EVER – unless they depict something else business related going on in the background. Otherwise, you wouldn’t stop a coworker as they walk down the hall to show them a selfie you took in your car, so don’t post it on LinkedIn.

Posts that include a photo will get more attention, but the photo must be appropriate. If you won an award or attended an exciting professional event, by all means post. However, you must make sure you still uphold professionalism, outfits included. That means no photos of you in a bathing suit poolside at a conference, or in any other outfit you wouldn’t wear to the office.

 

You may be saying, “but the posts that violate all these rules are the ones who get the most Likes and Comments,” and that’s true. It’s not necessarily a good thing that the post received so much attention.  Don’t try to go viral for the sake of going viral. You shouldn’t be posting for Likes, you should post to educate and share ideas with your connections. Meaningful connections will always beat Likes.

Liking & Commenting

A friendly reminder: all of your connections can see everything you like and comment on. We repeat this twice since some people don’t seem to realize that… Off-putting comments or liking inappropriate posts can ruin your professional image for a lot of connections and recruiters.

 

You have a lot of insight. Courteously share your ideas and learn from your connections.

Tips from Within: Don’t be that guy

Our social media specialist Victoria Hayes spends most of her day on LinkedIn. Check out her list of the 10 most annoying people on LinkedIn. Her advice? “Don’t be that guy.”

  1. The Facebook Police – These are the ones who berate others for inappropriate posts, or simply comment “Facebook” (insinuating the post should only be on Facebook and not LinkedIn). No one likes a party-pooper – if a post is truly inappropriate, report it.
  2. The Complete Stranger – These users try to add connections with absolutely no connection or introduction.
  3. The Selfie Queen – Let’s face it – you’re not fooling anyone by captioning your (usually somewhat provocative) selfie with an inspiring quote or recap of a recent career success. You wouldn’t pull that out in an interview!
  4. The Social Spammer – We don’t need to see your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts ALSO on Linkedin. Post appropriately on each channel
  5. The Creep – They comment inappropriately on selfies. Or, they post inappropriately on articles or accomplishments. Again, if you wouldn’t say it in the workplace, don’t say it on LinkedIn.
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  6. The Narcissist – The person who likes their own posts. Of course you like it – you wrote it!
  7. The Troll – We’ve seen this guy on just about every social media platform. They disagree with every post and aren’t shy about saying so – and usually not in a respectful manner. It’s okay to introduce differing ideas, it’s not okay to start an argument. If an exchange of ideas gets heated, know when to tap out.
  8. The “Guru” – “HR guru” and “recruitment ninja” are not real job titles. Just be yourself!
  9. The Philosopher -These users are always liking/sharing quotes. There’s nothing wrong with a few every once in a while, but you should be focused on sharing your ideas.
  10. The Over-Sharer – They share their professional stories, but weave in way too many intimate details.

Job Searching

Once your profile has been established and your activity has built it up, you are ready to hunt for a job.

Head to the top menu bar and click Jobs.

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Here, you can search for jobs of any kind, anywhere.

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Every job posting will have its own requirements and its own process for application.

In the jobs section, you can also indicate to recruiters that you are open to new opportunities – without anyone at your organization seeing. LinkedIn’s new Open Candidates feature privately signals to other organizations what you have to offer and what you are interested in.

Go to the Jobs tab and click on Update Preferences.

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Then you can fill out their guided form. Your “Note to recruiters” should read like a message/InMail meets Resume Summary, speaking to your skills and letting them know you are interested. Add any and all job titles you are interested in and qualified for. You can also include locations, including general, “Greater” areas, like the “Greater Los Angeles Area.” You can even specify the type of work you’re looking for, including Full-time, Part-time, Internship, Remote, Freelance, and Contract.

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Then, recruiters will have the opportunity to reach out to you. However, this does not mean that you should sit back and relax. Continue to reach out and apply for jobs.

Should I go Premium?

Looking for work is an area where a Premium membership might be most beneficial. A premium membership allows you to:

  • Reach out directly to any recruiter or job poster with 3 InMail credits
  • See who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days and how they found you
  • Move to the top of recruiters’ applicant lists
  • See how you compare to other candidates
  • Gain access to online video courses
  • See salary details when browsing jobs without sharing your personal data

The first month is free, but monthly payments range from $25+.

Continued Engagement

It will be most important that you continue to have an active involvement on LinkedIn, even when you are not looking for a job. While 70% of Facebook users engage daily, only 13% of LinkedIn users do the same (Pew Research). Make sure you’re not only active when you need something. Recommend others and endorse their skills, assure you have a symbiotic relationship with your connections.

Comment, like, and post even when you are happily employed. Engage with your employer and boast your current work and other workplace events. Share company content and don’t be shy about your accomplishments.  LinkedIn is not just for job searching, it’s primarily an online network for professionals to share expertise, get inspired, and a place to build your professional credibility.

Ledgent Finance & Accounting is passionate about helping you in your job search. You have the smarts, experience, and the passion to catch the eye of top employers – use Ledgent Finance & Accounting and LinkedIn to make sure you get there.

Productivity Slam Dunk: March Madness and Beyond

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers by .

As March arrives, so does March Madness. The college basketball tournament is an exciting time of year for a lot of Americans, and it can have a big presence in your workplace. Last year, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated that more than 50.5 million American workers participated in office pools. All this excitement can lead to a lot of distraction, leading to a big dip in productivity. The loss of productivity in the opening week alone could cost employers nearly $4 billion in lost revenue. Continue reading

Ledgent’s Parent Company Named a “2017 Best Staffing Firm to Work For” and a “2017 Best Staffing Firm to Temp for” by Staffing Industry Analysts

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This entry was posted in Awards, Business Clients, Job Seekers by .

For the seventh consecutive year, Roth Staffing Companies, L.P. (the parent company of Ledgent) has been named a “2017 Best Staffing Firm to Work For” and this is the fourth year they’ve been named a “2017 Best Staffing Firm to Temp For” by Staffing Industry Continue reading