Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Create a Professional Portfolio Utilizing LinkedIn

Creating a professional portfolio is a great way to stand out from the crowd. A strong portfolio tells your unique professional story in a visually appealing way showcasing your work, accolades received, and professional and educational accomplishments.  LinkedIn is the perfect platform from which to showcase your online portfolio. You can create a profile that goes beyond you resume providing your network and potential employers with a compelling picture of who you are as a professional.  To turn your profile into a professional portfolio, consider the steps below.
  1. Edit your profile. Under Edit Profile, you will see that for each section and for each entry under experience and education, you can add media including documents, photos, links, videos, and presentations. You can select content living online or files stored on your device. For ideas on what to include, review this list of potential content.
  2. Market your content. Once you have added the content, you can edit the title and include a description. The title serves as a caption, visible on your profile, and the description will appear when the content is selected. You can include several types of content and media under each section, if applicable.
  3. Be creative. There are numerous ways to use content and media to tell your story. You can scan in thank you notes or accolades received, take screen shots, create infographics, link to blogs or websites, incorporate photos, showcase superior academic tasks, the list is endless. However, remember to keep all content professional and relevant to your career goals and aspirations. For creative inspiration, check out the LinkedIn Official Blog Don’t Just Say It, Display It: Visually Enhance Your Professional Story on your LinkedIn Profile
  4. Share your portfolio. Include a customized LinkedIn URL on your cover letter and resume. Consider referring to specific portfolio content in your cover letter, inviting employers to visit and review your work. Also, through LinkedIn, reach out to recruiters and hiring managers, inviting them to take a look at your new and improved profile that showcases your unique professional story and what you have to offer. 
For individualized assistance with your professional portfolio and any additional career questions you may have, please contact WGU Career & Professional Development

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a software application that enables the electronic handling of employer recruitment needs. Nearly all major corporations use some form of an applicant tracking system to handle job applications and to manage resume data. Applicant tracking systems are error-prone and if your resume isn't formatted a certain way or doesn't contain the right keywords and phrases, your resume can end up in a black hole, never to be seen by a human eye, despite your qualifications.

To increase the chances of your resume getting through an applicant tracking system,
consider the following tips:

Utilize Key Skills and Qualifications
  • An ATS runs on keywords. Start with the job description and make sure to incorporate key skills and qualifications directly from the job posting. 
  • Don’t stop with the job description. Check the Skills section of the LinkedIn profile builder for keyword skills that relate to your industry/profession. 
  • Research the industry and similar job descriptions from different companies to ensure you have a comprehensive set of key skills and qualifications included in your resume. 
  • Use unusual words at your own risk! ATS software is programmed with common words. If you choose to use unusual synonyms, they may not be caught by the ATS.
Focus on Formatting
  • A single column, Word document is best, as PDF’s are easily misinterpreted by an ATS.
  • Avoid tables and graphics. An ATS can’t read graphics and tables are typically misread.
  • Length does not matter to an ATS. A resume should be as long or as short as you need it to be without going over 2 pages. 
  • Avoid excessive creativity. ATS software is not creatively savvy. Consider having a couple versions of your resume – one for the ATS and one in a more creative, eye appealing format for humans.
Tap into the Power of Networking
  • Employee referrals from a well-respected employee are often given priority over the online-generated candidate pool. Look to your network to see if you know anyone within the company who can help get your resume in front of a recruiter or hiring manager. 
  • Schedule informational interviews at companies of interest with individuals in roles similar to those you in which you are interested.
  • Expand your network. Utilize social media like LinkedIn to connect with recruiters and hiring managers. Attend networking events and professional meetings, conferences, or conventions. Join professional associations. 
  • Networking is the best use of your time. Learn, engage, and follow up!
Contact WGU Career & Professional Development for a personalized resume review and career assistance. We are here to help!