by Angee Linsey
The résumé is dusted off and updated, and you’re ready to begin your job search. Or are you? In today’s competitive market, a résumé is not the only tool you need to help you stand out and ensure your search efforts are successful.
Here are two tools for your career transition toolbox.
Social media is the “hot topic” of the times – especially among professional communicators. And because of the focus on the various social media tools used for both personal and professional purposes, the ability for potential employers to evaluate that online presence is likely.
Now is a good time to do a search on your own name using Google, Bing or other search engines, and see what comes up. There is obviously content that you are aware of because of your own updates. But it’s also important to know of other content such as photos or comments from friends.
If you blog, tweet or have an open Facebook page, your activity online is open for review by potential hiring managers. If the content includes great writing, creative ideas and a sense of your personality and style, you may draw the interest of that employer. In contrast, if your online presence is controversial or your blog is filled with grammatical errors, you risk turning someone off before you get the chance to interview.
In corporate communication roles, the tone and content of your online presence becomes even more important because employers are taking into account that you may be the voice of the company. The media and the public are able to conduct the same search on your name, and it could become relevant if your personal activities or opinions are in opposition to the mission of the company you represent.
Bottom line: be aware of your online content, be true to your own personal values, and understand how our transparent culture can help or hurt you based on what is published on the internet about you.
There’s no better way for a hiring manager to evaluate the quality of your work as a communicator, than to see the work you’ve done in the past. Employers want to know you can write, create a plan and be creative.
There are a few ways to show your work throughout the hiring process.
Having a small, well organized portfolio that you can pull out during an interview to illustrate your qualifications is a nice touch and something visual to discuss with the hiring manager. Be sure the presentation of the samples is professional and easy to review quickly.
When it comes to following up with samples outside of the interview itself, it is perfectly acceptable to use either hard or soft copies.
If doing hard copies, it is not necessary—in fact, not recommended—that you create an expensive “leave behind” binder of materials for the hiring manager to peruse. Instead, have a simple folder with quality prints of your work that can later be discarded by the hiring manager once the interview process is complete.
When doing soft copies, e-mail attachments or links are fine—but no need to “overkill” with too many examples. Three or four samples of a variety of work types (a speech you wrote for an executive, an article or press release, a white paper, a “scrubbed” communication plan that has already been implemented and does not contain confidential information) are all worth using.
Angee Linsey is the managing director of Linsey Careers, a search firm specializing in finding the very best corporate communication, public relations and marketing talent for companies nationwide.