'Am I Money?' #9, Melissa Has No Degree, Needs To Leverage Her Skills
June 04, 2009
Dear J.T., After working for the same company for close to four years, I was laid off eight weeks ago. While I amazingly dedicated, fast to learn and willing to take on just about any task, as a family-oriented 26-year old with no college education, I am worried that perspective employers won't bother to give me a second look. I recently began focusing on personal branding, my social media presence, etc., and when I saw Careerealism offering the Am I Money project I simply couldn't refuse to send my information over! I'm ready to hear it all. The good, the bad, the great and the terrible!! Thanks and regards! Melissa LinkedInFacebook Dear Melissa, When I read your request above, my first thought was, "Oh dear, she probably doesn't have much to market." But then I looked at your materials and thought, "Wow. She's got something here!" I'm going to give you 4 and tell you that with some minor changes, you should be snagging some interviews, even WITHOUT the college degree. Social Media: Your LinkedIn profile is very good. 6 recommendations is excellent! Also, the amount of info you have filled in is a perfect balance of enough to get a sense of your accomplishments, but not so much that the viewer loses interest. That being said, I would like to see you quantify your accomplishments some more. For example, how many people did you assess in your last job? Give them an idea of the magnitude of your responsibilities in each role you've held by add ing numbers to the accomplishments. Your Twitter account is my favorite. I think it is very original of you to create a username that reflects you are job searching right now. The only challenge is going to be later when you get a job. Then what? The username won't be applicable. So, just keep in mind you'll need to eventually create one that you can use long-term. In the meantime, the content you are tweeting is EXCELLENT! And I'm not just saying that because you've tweeted Careerealism.com items. You've chosen to post and comment on Twitter in a way that shows you are very professional. I get an immediate sense that you would be a good person to put in front of others. Intelligent and composed comes to mind when I read your Twitter feed - a very attractive way to present yourself to employers. Way to go! Your Facebook account is locked (very good),so only your picture shows. I think the picture of you is very nice, but I feel like it's a bit casual. I'd suggesting choosing a new headshot that has you looking straight ahead, with better lighting and in professional attire. Something that shows your confidence a bit more. You should use the same picture on all three accounts to brand yourself as well. Resume: Okay, the resume is beautifully formatted and the font is a great choice too. My challenge is that I don't get a sense of your strengths when looking at it. An employer should know within 10 seconds of glancing at your resume what you are about. In your case, I'd change a few things. First, take out the objective statement at the top. They already know what kind of job you want - it's implied when you apply. Second, change the summer of yourself from a paragraphy to a bullet-point of your top skill sets. (i.e. Customer Service, Behavioral Assessment, Administrative Assistant, etc.) But listing these at the top, the reader immediately processes what you are capable of. Next, please make your job titles the first thing in each work history and bold the text. It's less important where your worked and more important you list what you did. Just look at how LinkedIn lists it. That's a good guideline. Finally, like the suggestion for the LinkedIn text, add some numbers to your accomplishments for consistency and to make it easier to understand the depth of your work at each job. Cover Letter: I'd just like to see the first paragraph removed. It's clear you are applying to a position. You could use that paragraph in the e-mail you send when you submit. Instead, open with a paragraph that highlights what you love about the company. What do they do particularly well in your mind and how do you know this is something to admire in an employer? Share that with them so they can get a sense of how/why you connect with them and they'll be more likely to read on. Overall, in spite of not having a degree, you present yourself better than most young professionals who do have one. So keep at it because you are definitely MONEY! Good luck! And fellow career experts, feel free to share some thoughts for Melissa below - the more feedback the better for our 'Am I Money?' participants!