Each year, I look forward to reading the results of the Career Thought Leaders Consortium’s Career Jam, a day-long meeting on a range of topics addressing job search trends. This week, the Findings of 2016 Career Jam: Where Experts Forecast the New & the Next, has been released by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium! This report summarizes the findings of a host of brainstorming sessions held on December 9, 2016 in the United States, Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Career Jam participants discussed topics with significant ramifications for job seekers: “best practices, innovations, trends, new programs, new processes, and other observations that are currently impacting, and are projected to impact, global employment, job search, and career management.”
The sections that most interest me in the report are “Career Marketing Communications” and “Social Media Profiles…” which include resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, as well as other career marketing communications. I also wanted to highlight a couple of items for job search strategy. Here are some of the findings and advice to keep in mind as you conduct your job search now or in the future:
Resumes, Cover Letters, and Other Career Marketing Communications: Current Trends
- Resumes are not dead! Most hiring managers still require a resume at some point in the hiring process, and your resume WILL make an impression.
- Resumes fulfill 3 important roles: Demonstrating a clear value proposition, introducing stories to spark interview questions, and a foundation for salary negotiations.
- The resume writing process is at least as valuable as the resume. Working on a resume or other career document forces you as a candidate to assess your specific value and accomplishments. This process builds confidence and leads to better interview performance.
- Attention spans are shrinking. So keep your resume short, focused and streamlined!
- Resume writers, whether professional or candidates themselves, must keep both ATS and humans in mind. Writing a resume has become a complex (but not impossible!) task as writers must satisfy both machines and humans with proper format and keywords.
- Use Microsoft Word for your resume. It’s hands-down the overall preferred format.
- Powerful, consistent branding and value propositions are essential. Use the top third of your resume to sell yourself and pique reader curiosity.
- Candidate brochures, creative formats, and marketing kits are replacing traditional resumes in some markets. This is especially true in technical and engineering fields, as well as creative fields.
- Skills-based resumes, or functional resumes, continue to be frowned upon. Don’t use them.
- Hard-copy resumes and cover letters can get the attention of hiring managers. You will stand out if you use snail mail as part of your job search strategy!
- Testimonials are becoming more common on resumes. Use authentic quotes from reputable references to make yourself stand out!
- Be careful with your address information. It’s okay to leave street address information off any resumes posted publicly. But if you’re sending a resume directly to a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s best to include full address details.
- Follow up after your interview! Write an email and snail mail thank you letter. “Stay top of mind without being aggressive or annoying.”
Resumes, Cover Letters, and Other Career Marketing Communications: What to Expect
- “Expandable resumes” – These resumes will consist of a main document that provides basic information and links that expand to view additional information. They will be easy to read on a screen, archivable, searchable, and print-friendly.
- “Splash pages” – Honestly I’m not sure why these are being referred to as “splash pages,” which I understand to be web-based marketing tools. But the consensus that in lieu of business cards, job seekers will create 1-page marketing sheets, which I call “one sheets,” similar to those used by speakers and authors.
- While employment application standards are aligning more across countries, applicants still need to be aware of geography-specific requirements. See 7 Essential Elements to Consider When Writing an International Executive Resume.
Social Media Profiles, Video Bios, Web Portfolios and Other Multimedia Tools: Current Trends
Many of these recommendations can be found in my book, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile. It’s good to see people are listening and also confirming what works!
- LinkedIn profiles should almost always be written in the first person. Tell your story personally to engage your reader, and use headings and/or highlights for an easy read.
- LinkedIn headlines must reflect your brand through titles and keywords that speak your potential employers’ language.
- The strongest LinkedIn profiles relay specific examples that connect your work experience to your overall brand. Go beyond what’s in your resume in sharing stories and examples.
- List a current position on LinkedIn to rank higher in search results.
- Include keywords not just in your LinkedIn headline but also in your job titles to appear higher in search results.
- Adding connections and expanding your network will improve your ranking on LinkedIn as well.
- Include a call to action in your LinkedIn summary. You do not have to reveal your employment status in the call to action unless you want to do so.
- Fill in all sections of your LinkedIn profile. This will not only increase your visibility on LinkedIn, but when you apply to jobs that pull in information from your LinkedIn profile, you will be sure to have a complete application with robust information.
- There are still a few professions where LinkedIn is not highly valued. These include medicine, education, and the arts.
- LinkedIn InMail is unlikely to get you in front of hiring managers and recruiters. Many of the people you’re trying to reach block their InMail or do not respond to unsolicited messages. Instead, use your networks to get connected with recruiters. Or use LinkedIn to get your intended recipient’s email address and write to them outside of LinkedIn.
- There is a direct correlation between activity and LinkedIn and a shortened job search! E-portfolios and a personal website are a great way to provide information the way you want it. These venues are particularly useful in design fields and for candidates with unconventional career paths.
- LinkedIn is very helpful for networking and research. Look at profiles of other people with positions like yours, and follow the activity of companies where you might like to work, as well as similar companies in your industry.
Social Media Profiles, Video Bios, Web Portfolios and Other Multimedia Tools: What’s Next
- It’s increasingly important to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. Post your original content on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, your personal blog, and (not mentioned in the Career Jam report) beBee!
- Don’t go crazy creating a video resume. Video resumes are not predicted to catch on. But you will gain a competitive advantage by including video on your social media profiles, demonstrating your expertise and creativity.
- LinkedIn might fade in importance, making personal websites and other social media and recruitment sites more popular. These alternative venues would be more flexible than LinkedIn and allow candidates to highlight their expertise more completely.
- LinkedIn groups have an uncertain future, while beBee is on the rise. I just joined beBee and will discover more about its effectiveness in the coming months.
Job Search Strategy
- Networking and referrals are still king for getting into a company. Employers prefer to hire internal candidates or external candidates with an internal referral.
- Candidates who access the “hidden job market” are the most effective in their searches. Want assistance on how to do that? Check out the Job Search Success System.
While all that advice might be overwhelming, you can break it down into bite-sized pieces and create a very effective job search. The Executive Expert and The Essay Expert are here if you want individualized assistance in creating the best possible career documents for your success!
Read more about the New and the Next in How Employees are Screened, Interviews and Hired; Personal Branding and Online Identity Management; Strategies for Workplace Success and Advancement; and other important career topics at Findings of 2016 Career Jam: Where Experts Forecast the New & the Next.