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High-Impact Resume Strategies For Creative Professionals

iStockphoto.com |  scyther5

iStockphoto.com | scyther5

The most substantial asset graphic designers, art directors, interior designers, photographers, fine artists, marketers, and other creative professionals possess is their ability to translate a concept into an attractive visual presentation. It is both their tool and their trade.

When meeting with hiring managers or potential clients, creatives need to demonstrate their ideas and experience in a professional fashion.

The first piece of work such an applicant usually presents is their resume. A beautifully designed resume, with nice fonts, illustrations, layouts, and graphics can quickly demonstrate to a hiring manager at an advertising agency or within a corporate marketing department a candidate’s visual design and copy writing skills.

But, the realities of the corporate job application process get in the way. Companies often use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to gather and sort resumes, and on top of the challenges they present to every applicant, they can even more quickly derail applications for creative professionals.

Creative professionals tend to focus on form, building complex layouts in programs such as Adobe InDesign that incorporate graphic illustrations and other elements. Applicant tracking platforms, on the other hand, generally require a plain, simple design in order to parse resume data – this means a resume created in Microsoft Word, with a single column of text. These systems often disregard (or can’t read) anything presented in text boxes, graphics, or tables, and recruiters will generally pass over resumes that the system hasn’t been able to fully understand. A resume with a complex design will appear at the bottom of the applicant tracking system’s ranking of the applicants against the job description.

So, how can creative professionals increase their chances of securing an interview and, ultimately, the job?

  • Build an ATS-Friendly Version of Your Resume. In order to make it easier for the applicant tracking system to parse the data and, hopefully, give your resume a higher ranking, use a single-column format. Don’t include large tables or graphics, as these can make a resume hard to scan. Even if you follow these guidelines, there could still be issues parsing data – if so, try saving your resume as a .txt file and uploading that version. And use your ATS-friendly resume for all online applications.

  • Keep a Graphically-Designed Version of Your Resume Handy, Too. Yes, you’ll want to have two versions, because the hiring manager will use the designed version to evaluate your creative eye. If the applicant tracking system lets you upload attachments along with your resume, absolutely upload your graphically-designed resume, along with samples of your work. And print out copies of this resume to hand out during an interview.

  • Develop Your Portfolio and Put it Online. A nicely designed portfolio of your work is a fantastic way to highlight your skills and achievements. Create an online version with your best work samples, and include a URL link to your portfolio in the header of your resume. You can also post this in your LinkedIn profile for greater exposure.

  • Don’t Rely Solely on Your Online Application. There’s a lot you can do to get noticed. After applying online, try to identify the decision-maker for the position on LinkedIn. Then send him or her a brief note – via LinkedIn or through email – to inform them that you’ve applied online, and ask where you can send your resume and portfolio samples. A well-timed message can potentially improve your changes of being seen by the hiring manager, regardless of how the applicant tracking system scores your resume.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

5 Incidental Factors Impacting Your Job Search

iStockphoto.com ( Anetlanda)

iStockphoto.com (Anetlanda)

 

  1. If a company doesn't call you for an interview after applying for a job, it may not be about your qualifications. It could, however, be a comment on the sheer volume of applicants. A recruiter at a well known technology company told me she receives over 10,000 applicants (yes, that's four zeroes) for each job. Even if your resume checks all the boxes for essential skills and qualifications, this tidal wave of candidates can overwhelm your chances of getting a look by the recruiter. If you want to improve your chances of getting noticed, it helps to tweak your resume's keywords and terminology to better align with the job posting, and to network with key decision makers at the employer.
     
  2. Find the recruitment process exasperating? So does the recruiter. As companies push to do more with less, recruiters have increased responsibility. The typical recruiter works on filling 30 open jobs simultaneously. That's includes managing the process for 300,000 candidates (30 jobs x 10,000 applicants) from the initial job posting, filtering resumes, screening candidates, arranging and conducting interviews, preparing and negotiating the offer, and ensuring the person they hire shows up to work, as well as balancing the needs, demands, and biases of hiring managers. Recruiters spend as much time on customer service and internal negotiation as they do on recruitment. While there's no excuse for sloppy followup, bear in mind that it's incredibly stressful work and it's inevitable that things will fall through the cracks from time to time.
     
  3. There's a positive bias for "Passive" job seekers. There are two types of candidates considered for job opportunities – Active job seekers, as the word implies, actively apply to job postings online, while Passive job seekers are individuals who aren't looking tochange jobs and wouldn't have considered looking for a new position if someone hadn't tried to recruit them. Passive job seekers are believed to be more valuable – hiring managers often (incorrectly) rationalize this as, "If the person is actively looking for a job, how successful in their current job can they truly be?" Which is why companies pay dearly for premium subscriptions to LinkedIn, which they use to reach out to presumably Passive job seekers (just take a look at LinkedIn's marketing materials if you need further proof). It's absolutely in any job hunter's best interest to have a highly polished, keyword-loaded LinkedIn profile that increases the odds of a recruiter viewing their profile during searches.
     
  4. Companies often post internal positions for the whole world to see - because they have to. Many people think of these as "fake jobs," but they're really not. Company policy, union rules, or local law may dictate the practice of posting internal positions. While this can be frustrating to outside job seekers, the intention to provide current employees additional opportunities for growth and development should be considered a positive in terms of fostering employee engagement. Bear in mind that while the hiring manager may intend to hire an internal candidate for the specific role, a better qualified external may change their mind. If you're interested in a role and you have the qualifications, by all means apply; the intended internal candidate may fall through, and at minimum your resume will be in the company's database for future opportunities.
     
  5. Employers don't hold back on providing interview feedback out of arrogance or laziness. It's usually because they're crazy busy, and because they're afraid of offending by providing negative feedback in a potentially inappropriate or illegal manner and don't want to get sued by a disgruntled candidate. Human Resources departments often advise employees against providing feedback on these grounds. The lack of feedback may leave you feeling unfulfilled and disappointed, but it's important to preserve your professional brand to an employer, so don't push the issue.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn

iStockphoto.com ( Jirsak )

iStockphoto.com (Jirsak)

 

Did you know LinkedIn is a major recruiting tool?

There are more than 467 million user accounts in LinkedIn, all of which are professionally oriented; in other words, one in every 17 people on planet earth has a LinkedIn account, making the system fertile ground for recruiters to find potential candidates for open jobs.

If you'd like to get noticed on LinkedIn, it's important to know how these same recruiters use the system to search for talent.

Here are 3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn!

  1. THEY SEARCH THROUGH EVERY PROFILE TO FIND PEOPLE TO FILL THEIR OPEN JOBS. While nonpaying (i.e., free account) LinkedIn users have limited ability to see and contact individuals outside their first-level connections, companies pay dearly (around $9,000 annually, per user) to obtain universal access to almost the full population of members. Also, some companies use LinkedIn as their only recruitment platform; if you don't have a profile, you'll miss out on potential job opportunities.
     
  2. THEY BUILD PROFILE SEARCHES BASED UPON A VARIETY OF KEYWORDS. Have you ever wondered why LinkedIn encourages you to fill in all the fields on your profile? It's because recruiters fill out a combination of fields and Boolean searches with their criteria to identify qualified candidates. Keywords in your headline, summary, job description, education, skills, and other fields can all be searched and found. If you're serious about being considered for career opportunities, you should also be serious about building a profile sprinkled liberally with keywords and job skills.
     
  3. THEY DECIDE WHETHER TO LOOK AT YOUR PROFILE BASED UPON YOUR HEADLINE AND PICTURE. After running a profile search in LinkedIn, recruiters will be presented with a list of candidates; featured most prominently for each individual are their headline and picture. A snappy, descriptive headline and a professional, three-quarters profile photo will make a great impression and invite a deeper look. Fail to impress, and you may get passed over.

Rodney Apple, Managing Partner at SCM Talent Group, and Katie Kurz, Marketing & Recruiting Ambassador at SCM Talent Group, contributed to this article. If you're interested in learning more about how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for your career search, you can view our webinar on this topic here: https://youtu.be/zpfTYpupqUE

NOTE: In case you were wondering, I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn other than as a paying user, and for my subscription I pay rack rate. But I've been using the system since its early days and while there are things about it I don't love, I firmly believe in its power as both a job search and recruitment tool.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.