Forbes - Leadership

How To Maximize Your Chances Of Getting Hired

By Nabanita De, Founder and CEO of Returnships.org

Returnships.org’s new free Returnships course, led by Founder Nabanita De, features a one-stop shop career resource, which aids individuals struggling to get started with their job hunting process. This comes with more than 3 million women out of the workforce during the pandemic, driving the women’s labor force participation rate down to 57%. This is the lowest mark since 1988, according to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).

Our aim is to simplify the job hunt process as applying for jobs online doesn’t ensure a call back and explaining the gap in your resume is often a roadblock from getting started. Through this article, we will explore the precise guidelines regarding how to build an online presence, reach out to employers and maximize your chances of getting hired, even with a notable career gap. So, let’s get started!

1. Start with building a stellar resume

The first thing needed to build your presence in the industry is to update your professional profile. If you don’t have a resume, create one in no more than ten to fifteen minutes using various online services, like ResumeBuild and MyPerfectResume.

On the contrary, if you believe your resume is stacked with too much information, create a portfolio site instead. You can accomplish this task using websites like WordPress and Wix. These platforms don’t require their users to know coding to use them and you’ll be able to use them to present your resume in a way that makes it stand out.

To put things into further context, you can check out the following authentic resources around developing resumes and cover letters, created by MIT, Harvard, and Stanford:

2. Explaining a gap in your resume

A possible way to give the impression in your resume that your career gap hasn’t rusted your skills is to show how you have exhibited leadership or initiative in your day-to-day activities. For example, you may think having organized a dance show for your kids can’t be something you can put into your profile. However, in actuality, this experience may translate into “the individual was successful in organizing and seamlessly handling logistics for an event with “x” participants with various backgrounds and ages” on your resume.

You should also cite any training sessions or courses you took in between the gap, especially highlighting your side projects. These courses could be on different topics and skills, anything from working on home-based and other freelancing assignments to posting social media blogs for awareness. Moreover, you can even add podcasts that resonated with you or a volunteer activity that you participated in, where you showed initiative or helped someone in the community.

Listing activities in your resume reflects your learning temperament, while your personal growth achievements convey your strengths and perseverance. You should never be afraid to be candid about your journey as employers specifically look for authentic personalities to hire in their company.

Plus, you should keep up with the industry trends and continue to learn and upskill yourself by applying the new expertise you mastered on your side projects. Since YouTube has a plethora of videos for almost any field you want to get into, you can feel free to leverage it at your convenience.

3. Treat LinkedIn as your strongest ally

In today’s age, applying online for jobs and hoping for the best is just not enough. To make a promising stand, pop the bubble that’s limiting your abilities and get socially connected. One way of doing this is by creating your LinkedIn profile and keeping it updated with your latest career updates. As a bonus, LinkedIn allows you to enable the ”Open to Work” option, which lets recruiters know that you’re currently available for hiring when in search of new opportunities.

Below are a few tips you can leverage to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile:

  • Build an All-Star LinkedIn Profile – Add your experiences, education, certifications, projects, awards, skills, and recommendations to your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have any recommendations yet, you can feel free to ask your former coworkers to endorse your existing skills. Adding a LinkedIn summary to encapsulate your work and achievements can catch the attention of potential recruiters and hiring managers. Additionally taking a LinkedIn skills assessment test can also provide better credibility of your proficiency in the skills that you’ve listed on the profile.
  • Show impact – The primary purpose why recruiters analyze your profile is to see how you have added value to the companies you’ve previously worked with. Therefore, it’s crucial to lead by different examples.
  • Lead with action-oriented verbs while incorporating numbers and key achievements in your experiences. Examples – “built, installed, computed, programmed, programmed, restored, fabricated, converted, specialized, replaced, studied, debugged, assembled, regulated, rectified, restored, formulated, analyzed, evaluated, diagnosed, inspected, clarified, located, and summarized.”
  • Key achievements could include productivity improvements and positive impacts on a company’s revenue. For example, instead of “working on developing something”, lead with delivering to “x” number of customers or that increased the company’s productivity by “x” percentage.  On referencing collaborations, mention the number of teammates you worked with.
  • Get referred – Broaden your network with your alumni from your school, workplaces you have been part of, and other groups with which you have been associated, especially those working in companies you want to be hired for. Send them a connection request and attach a two-to-three sentence introduction in that request, explaining why this person should connect with you. You should put this tactic into practice frequently since individuals receive several requests per day, and you would want to stand out when looking for jobs.

Connecting with employees in your dream companies can reap huge benefits as they could refer you, potentially advancing your job application to interviews. However, before asking for a referral, it’s best to make it a point to acquaint them with your current work achievements. This way, if they do end up referring you, they can add those pointers to give your application an extra edge. Shoot an InMail like, “Hey, I am [Name], and we used to work/study together at <abc> organization. I see we have “XYZ” skills in common, and since I’m interested in your company for this “particular” position, I was wondering if we could chat more about the company culture and opportunities for this role. If this isn’t your forte and you think someone else could be a great fit to help me out, I would be extremely glad if you could connect them with me.”

One of two things will happen this way. Either you will learn a bit more about the company, or you will get an introduction. Often, these introductions and informationals can lead to interviews and get you hired directly through LinkedIn since many open positions never make it to the online portal because someone gets hired beforehand.

Talk to as many people as possible from companies of all sizes and get to know those companies’ cultures while looking for jobs to find the right fit. Seek mentors through LinkedIn and build a long-term professional relationship. Such mentors can turn into sponsors when job opportunities do open up in the future.

  • Look for the keyword “hiring” on LinkedIn – When job hunting, search for the keywords “Hiring <whatever position or company you are looking for> on LinkedIn.” Often, managers or recruiters who are open to hiring add these keywords to their bio and posts. When that’s the case, you can send them an InMail saying, “Hey, I saw you are hiring for the “XYZ” position for the “ABC” company. I have relevant skills and am very interested to learn about the designated role. I would love to connect and hear more from you.” Showing interest in getting to know the role and gaining more information about the company can sometimes be the deciding factor in your interviews.

So, identify potential employers, reach out to them, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back. Remember, it is a numbers game, and ultimately, all you need is one positive response to get a job. Utilize the LinkedIn filter feature to look for jobs by selecting experience level and remote options. Certain job postings are linked with the profiles of associated recruiters or hiring managers, so you can directly reach out to them.

4. Tailor your experience and conversation

  • Tailor your resume to the role – Find job-specific keywords from the job description and incorporate in your relevant experience, to your resume. Often companies use Artificial Intelligence algorithms to scan resumes and this can help boost your application. Cultivated Culture can help provide a matching percentage between the resume and the job you are applying for, to optimize your resume better.
  • Research the role – Levels and Glassdoorcan be great resources to determine the average compensation for your role. Acquaint yourself with the company, its products and what you are interested in working on, before hopping on a call with the recruiter.
  • Talking to the recruiter – In the compulsory “Tell me about yourself” question, highlight the most relevant skill set to the job you are applying for. Be prepared to ask follow up questions, especially targeting the company products you are interested in working for. Take notes throughout the conversation to evaluate your options afterward.

5. Tips for Informationals

Informational is the first meeting scheduled to follow up on your inquiry about a certain position, which takes place between the candidate and the potential recruiter or hiring manager. Before going into the Informational, go through the job posting and look through the qualifications and responsibilities section, create notes of your relevant experiences in the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) and make sure to highlight those experiences to show why you would be a great fit for the open post. Also, you need to highlight the particular skills on your resume that the company is searching for, considering you have the expertise.

6. Take time to prepare for the interviews

Take time and prepare for your interviews thoroughly. For instance, if you are preparing for technical interviews for Software Engineers, LeetCode, its YouTube channel, and the book – Cracking the Coding Interview could be some of the best resources you can lean toward to get ready. Moreover, practice your interviewing skills with industry professionals through platforms like InterviewBit and Pramp. On the other hand, if you are in program management, looking into the resources from WIP can help magnificently.

For more tips, you can visit our website at Returnships.org or connect to us on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates.

Finally, you can also donate to the Returnships.org fundraiser by clicking on this link.

This is a content marketing post from Returnships.org, a Forbes EQ participant. Forbes brand contributors’ opinions are their own.

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