You have spent a lot of time developing your resume (see my blog 5 Elements of a Compelling Resume for Recent Grads). You now need to ensure that everyone of your “touch points” – places where you connect with people where they will find you – reflects the image and feel you have created with your resume.
- Web Site
Set up your own website. Get your own domain – www.firstnamelastname.com/ca or some version thereof. Make it easy to spell to avoid errors. There are dozens of free personal website templates available. Chose one that fits with the image and feel that you want to communicate. Get a photo of yourself in a “power pose”. Men – wear a suit or jacket and tie. Women – wear a dark suit with a jacket and light coloured blouse buttoned at the collar. Personalize the information on your resume and put it on your website. Use “I” i.e., “I graduated last year from Dalhousie University’s Co-Op Commerce program where I focused on Marketing”.
Use your URL to set up your personal email address i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org – it is much more professional than Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook, and shows initiative, setting you apart from your competition.
Clean up your Facebook page – make sure that there is nothing on it that a prospective employer would find off-putting. Do not delete it – the absence of a Facebook page among your peer group infers it was so bad that it had to be destroyed.
LinkedIn is the “go to” place for information on people – anyone who is interested in you will look for you on LinkedIn.
Your profile picture is critical – research indicates that hiring managers look at profile pictures and that they play an important role in their decision making process. Your picture should be professional – it’s not Facebook. Here are some guidelines:
- No sunglasses.
- No selfies.
- Smile – if your teeth are visible when you smile – even better.
- Squinch your eyes slightly in a smiling way. Wide-open eyes suggest fear, or a sociopath. If you don’t know what ‘squinch’ is, Google it.
- Head and shoulders is better than face only.
- Dress for the job you want.
- No party or vacation pics.
- Keep your head upright and straight. Apparently women, in particular, tend to tilt their heads in photos, which can make you look less self-assured.
Remember, it only takes 100 milliseconds for someone to draw conclusions about who you are based on a photo.
You can have your photo assessed at PhotoFeeler – www.photofeeler.com.
Use your resume as a starting point to build your profile however, personalize it by putting a call to action immediately under your name, for example, “Seeking entry level marketing role in the consumer goods industry”. In the Skills and Endorsements section, list the elements of your Personal Value Proposition. Get bosses, colleagues and friends to endorse you for those skills. Get some recommendations if you can. Join appropriate groups – your alumni associations and groups in your sectors of interest.
- Business Cards
Get business cards to hand out in your networking meeting. On the card put:
- Email address
- Cell Phone Number
- Personal Website URL
- LinkedIn URL
Add a small icon if you like to add some interest.
- Voice Mail
Set up a professional voice mail message – not “You know what to do”. Commit to responding to messages within 24 hours and honour that commitment.