The Purpose & Value of Career Materials
Creating and preparing your career materials is HARD! But it is even harder when you don't understand the purpose or see the value of the items you are creating. I am breaking down the purpose and value of the following items to help you overcome overwhelm and procrastination while helping you create strong materials that help communicate YOUR personal brand so you stand out from the rest.
EFFORT NOW, MEANS EFFORT LATER
If someone can see effort in everything you share during the application process,
it shows the effort you will do in the job.
To get the interview
Many times professionals think that the purpose of the resume is to get a job or to communicate all of your experiences. It is actually a very refined and focused document (usually 1 page) that highlights your most applicable and strongest experiences, education, accomplishments, service, and skills.
That means you share:
Your professional information (no personal information like hobbies)
Your highlight reel not your professional biography so that the employer wants to know more
Content that speaks the language of the employer so they know enough to know you can do the job
For more free tips on writing your resume, check out this video.
To tell how and why you are qualified
If you think of the resume as communicating the “what” of your professional experience, the cover letter communicates how you can do the job based on other experiences and why they should consider you over others.
This document takes effort when first writing it. Once you have a strong “template” you need to customize based on the job posting and what they want. Speak their language! It is easier to put effort and time to an item like this when you realize that it makes you stand out. It is your competitive edge. If you need help writing your cover letter, check out our online course that gives you an outline, examples, and a template.
To validate and reinforce credibility
Your list of 3 references should be on a separate page from your resume or cover letter. You do not want to waste precious space on your resume with your reference information and you don’t want to be sharing your reference’s contact information with everyone. If the employer does not ask for a list of references in the application, save it and use it when you are following up after the interview. Make sure you pick professionals who are reliable and professional themselves. Pick professionals who can speak to your skills and character as a professional. No family members as they are probably biased!
To connect & learn
LinkedIn is an incredible resource for EVERY professional no matter the industry. As with all things, you get out of it what you put in. Meaning you need a completed profile in order to fully utilize the platform. LinkedIn can help you connect to others and find job opportunities if your profile is filled out with strong keywords for your industry.
The most successful professionals base their careers on relationships.
LinkedIn is a platform that fosters relationships virtually.
For more information on creating a profile, Download this free checklist.
For more information on utilizing LinkedIn, check out this Blog Post.
To learn if you are a fit for the job (from both perspectives)
Your goal for any interview is to make it a conversation and not an interrogation. The way you do that is to research and educate yourself on the company, position, and people of the company. Remember, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you! This is your livelihood and professional fulfillment.
If you need help correctly and successfully preparing for an interview, I have a workbook and video tutorial to walk you step by step through the process. I also include preparing for phone, video, and in-person interviews. CLICK HERE.
To be memorable and show intention
A business card is not required or necessary for all professionals but if you are going to have one, make it memorable! Those who are in creative fields, network often, or attend events need a strong business card. We love printing our cards with moo.com because the paper stands out in a stack of cards.
If you need help designing your card, contact us!
WEBSITE or PORTFOLIO
To showcase work and prove abilities and experience
Designing a portfolio website can be done using platforms like www.wix.com. I recommend picking a platform like wix.com that is easy to use so you can focus your time on showcasing your work, and not learning how to code or develop a site.
The portfolio website can help differentiate you from others. It can impress because most people don’t take the time to have a strong portfolio website. Keep this in mind and don’t skimp on the mobile side of the site, the URL, and the functionality of the site. Too often I have seen websites that look thrown together and the overall result does not impress. Many times the content is unorganized and doesn’t tell a story so the employer doesn’t know what they are viewing.
I promise you it is worth it to pay for your URL. Don’t make an employer type a long URL to go to your site. You can buy a domain for as little as $2.99/year.
If you are going to pay for anything, I would recommend investing in someone to help you with your site. We do website reviews and help students and professionals refine their sites.
Here are some examples:
To communicate personality and quality
A headshot or profile picture is oftentimes your first impression because much of our networking and applications are digital. A profile picture on social media, LinkedIn or in your email signature can say A LOT about your personality, quality of your brand, and your attention to detail.
You can hire someone to take your headshot (like us!) or you can get someone with a high-quality phone camera to take your picture outside with natural lighting.
My hope is that understanding or being reminded of the purpose and value of each item will help you get motivated. If you need help to work on your resume, cover letter, reference page, or LinkedIn - check out our online course here.
If you need help with the design of your personal brand, email Eloise at firstname.lastname@example.org