Ever wonder why you don’t hear back from an employer once you’ve submitted your application? Employers are sorting through hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles that are sent after each posting.
“I want to say, ‘Why do you work so hard to make your resume and your LinkedIn profile sound exactly the way every single other job-seeker’s resume and LinkedIn profile do?’”, says Liz Ryan, a former Fortune 500 Human Resources Senior Vice President.
Another sign of employers’ growing frustration is the number of recent articles that list words you should never use.
Stephanie Vozza’s article in Fast Company suggests that candidates “…stay away from these buzzwords… because you sound like everyone else. These words almost lose their meaning the more that people use them.”
The problem, of course, is that employers use those buzzwords in their own job postings. Effective job seekers know that they have to show those employers that they have the skills and characteristics that those employers demand.
So, what should you do, to be noticed?
The bottom line is to be as honest and confident as possible — don’t undersell yourself.
1. Prepare interesting accomplishment statements
Make sure to share enough detail on your resume and LinkedIn so that you are able to give readers a genuine sense of the depth of your responsibilities. This works well in interviews, as well. Replace uninteresting mundane details with accomplishment statements that follow what Google’s SVP of People Operations, Lazlo Bock, offers as an effective formula:
But how do you make your accomplishments stand out? There’s a simple formula. Every one of your accomplishments should be presented as:
Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]
In other words, start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal.
Find examples that demonstrate your strengths and be ready to share them at interviews. Bock offers a number of excellent examples for candidates, which are worth checking out on his LinkedIn post.
2. Choose a likeable LinkedIn photo
Authenticity is also conveyed through the use of a good profile photo that is not too serious or formal, but rather projects a genuine, likeable yet suitably professional image. Dress as you would for an interview, and make sure to look toward the camera. Also, make sure the picture is current. You don’t want potential employers to notice when you walk into the interview, that you look 10 years older than your photo. Lydia Abbot, writing for LinkedIn, offers some useful tips for a good profile photo.
3. Demonstrate your strengths
Rather than simply listing your strengths, demonstrate them. Upload LinkedIn photos, web links, samples of work and other audiovisuals that showcase your work. Link to them on your profile. Gather good LinkedIn recommendations and professional references. Be active on LinkedIn, especially by participating in groups where employers might notice you. Volunteer, and make sure to point it out in your profile and resume.
To stand out from other “zombie” candidates, work on ensuring that in every interaction with potential employers — whether they find you online, talk you on the phone, read your resume or meet with you in person — you are able to come across as an impressive, compelling yet genuine person.