Crafting the perfect resume has always been one of the most vital and frustrating steps in the job search. From font and format to using “active” verbs, there’s a lot that goes into that single sheet. So much rides on the brief descriptions of education and work history, and often you are left wondering if you really provided a full picture of yourself. After all, a good hire needs more than just experience; personality, outside pursuits, and social influence can be valuable to know before offering employment. With the increasing ubiquity of the Internet, paper resumes are falling to the wayside. They are being replaced by professional profiles. This online format isn’t restrained by the physical parameters of a page and allows for more information to be shared with a potential employer. Now you can present a well-rounded snapshot of who you are, what you can do, and why you fit a given position. There are a number of sites on the Internet that provide the framework and marketplace for professional profiles. LinkedIn is a reliable tool for the white collar community, allowing a clean and simple way to display credentials and job background. Their connection feature allows job seekers to reach out to companies that may have been difficult to reach otherwise, giving them a wider span of opportunities. Shiftgig provides this kind of easy connection and outreach for the service community, with profiles that reflect the values of personality and social influence that play big roles for bartenders, servers and other industry professionals. Facebook, while still seen as primarily a casual social network, has also become a tool for employers to find staff, allowing them a deeper view into the character of a potential hire. This shift towards the dynamic professional profile underlines the changing values of employers. While experience is still paramount, personal details can be a huge help in deciding which applicant is right for a company’s culture. So, how do you make the most of the online profile? It is a balancing act; you need to provide the right kind of insights without completely compromising your privacy. Focus on elements that will display skills or characteristics that could be valuable in the workplace. Volunteer activities, travel, and participation in a club or on a team show off not only your personal interests, but attributes that could translate into an asset on the job. Don’t shy away from pictures, as being able to “put a face to a name” can make employers more likely to feel comfortable reaching out to you. While casual photos can work, stay away from party shots or selfies; they do not suggest professionalism. Social media is becoming a widely-used and powerful tool for business, so inclusion of your social networks will provide value. However, once you make them a part of your professional profile, they become an extension of the image you are presenting to an employer. You don’t have to turn your Twitter into a marketing machine overnight, but make sure the tone of your posts on any forum is something you feel comfortable sharing with a potential boss. Evidence of social influence can be big point in your favor, but only add it if you’re ready to put those networks to work. A paragraph or two describing yourself, your strengths, and what you hope to accomplish adds personality and a sense that you are, in fact, a person, not just a piece of paper. Just a few sentences might provide a connection with an employer that makes you stick in their mind. This “About Me” will be a more general introduction, so cover letters tailored for each employer are still a wise idea. However, that little human touch can really make you stand out from a pile of black-and-white resumes. Online professional profiles offer a lot of opportunity to wow an employer right from the start. With a little thought and effort, your dynamic and personalized profile can present a more complete picture of what kind of employee you will be and increase an employer’s confidence in handing you an offer of employment.
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