5 Ways to Make Yourself More Attractive to Potential Employers, From Your Couch
No matter what career path you’re on, knowing how to present yourself to prospective employers is key to landing a job. “Employers are attracted to candidates who know exactly what they can offer to an organization or project, and who can articulate their value effectively,” Kayme Canaii, a career breakthrough coach at Your Career Girl, tells Apartment Therapy.
Fortunately, a little effort can go a long way when you’re trying to make yourself more marketable. “Taking some time to create an inventory of your skills, knowledge, career experiences, and the environments you have worked in is a great place to start,” Canaii explains. “This way you can be crystal clear with employers about what you can bring to their team.”
Curious what other baby steps you can take to stand out to potential employers? From the best ways to brush up your résumé to tips for an eye-catching LinkedIn profile and more, here are five things career coaches say you can do from the comfort of your couch.
Brush up your résumé
The average recruiter only spends seven seconds scanning your résumé. That’s why Patricia Figueroa, owner of The Career Glow Up, says it’s crucial to present your professional accomplishments in a concise, easy-to-read way. “Create an impactful, five-sentence summary statement that incorporates action verbs and skills from the job description, followed by brief, bulleted summaries of your past professional experience that effectively convey your key strengths and achievements.”
You can also make your résumé more attractive to potential employers by avoiding a few old-school mistakes. “Unless you have decades of experience, there is no need for your resume to be longer than a page,” says Sarina Virk Torrendell, founder of withSarina Career Coaching. “Also, having ‘references available upon request’ at the bottom of your résumé is an unnecessary use of space.”
Update your LinkedIn profile
More than 87 percent of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn to search for qualified candidates. Regardless of whether you’re actively looking for a job or not, it pays to have an eye-catching profile. “Customizing your LinkedIn headline is an often-missed opportunity to make a great first impression on employers,” says Nii Ato Bentsi-Enchill, founder of Avenir Careers. “Without customization, your headline, which appears underneath your name on your profile, will default to Your Name at Company X, which means that you’re missing out on being able to use the 220-character limit to tell employers something interesting and/or compelling about you that would make you more attractive.”
To create a commanding headline, Bentsi-Enchill recommends incorporating as much effective information as possible. “Instead of a headline that simply reads ‘Director of Finance’, using one that with branding, metrics, and keywords, such as ‘Director of Finance fluent in Revenue Generation & Cost Savings | Generated $225K – $8M annual savings, and boosted sales 9% YOY…’ will compel people to want to read more,” he says.
Along with an attention-grabbing headline, Torrendell recommends using a headshot with a clean background and an updated “Experience” section that aligns with your current résumé. “Ensure you have an ‘About’ summary that highlights your skills and expertise, since this helps with Linked SEO,” she says.
For an impactful “About” section, Figueroa says the more conversational, the better. “Start by using the summary statement on your résumé as a foundation, and then flesh it out by adding keywords from the industry and role that you are targeting,” she advises. “However, it should not be a carbon copy of your résumé—it should promote conversation by showcasing your personality.”
Learn more about your profession
Employers are attracted to candidates who demonstrate a deep knowledge of their industry, which is why Canaii suggests researching your respective field online as much as possible. “Take some time to identify the major professional publications and trade associations, as well as the leaders and influencers in your industry,” she says. “Follow these resources attentively to stay up-to-date about new players, breakthroughs, and trends, so you can speak passionately and knowledgeably about your profession to potential employers.” This way, you’ll be able to easily point to concrete examples when hiring managers ask your opinions about competitors, and even the company itself.
Increase your skill set
Whether you’re venturing down a new career path or simply trying to stand out from others job-seekers in your current field, Torrendell says learning a new skill from home is easier than ever. “There are several online resources, like Udacity and Coursera, where you can become certified in something completely new,” she explains. “Learning a new skill not only makes you stand out but also shows initiative. You can take this a step further by starting a side project with your new skill, which then shows the potential employer how you’ve put your new skill into practice.”
If you don’t have the funds to pay for an online certification course, no worries. Online resources like DuoLingo, an app that teaches you a foreign language from your smartphone, and edX, a site that streams live course lectures from schools like MIT and Harvard University, can help you to acquire an impressive new skill for free.
Expand your virtual network
The more you engage with other professionals on sites like LinkedIn and even Twitter, the more you increase your visibility to prospective employers. “Every time you like or comment on someone else’s post, that like or comment is displayed to that person’s network,” Torrendell explains of LinkedIn. “This could help you stand out to hiring managers or recruiters in that person’s network and lead potential employers directly to you.”
Participating in an online networking event is another easy way to expand your professional network. “It shows you are interested in your industry and willing to listen and learn from others,” career and executive coach Maggie Mistal explains. “Whether it’s attending a virtual industry night held by your alma mater or joining an online meet-up you discovered on LinkedIn, it’s an opportunity to connect with other professionals and showcase your knowledge to potential employers.”
To find online events to attend, you can start by browsing networking sites such as Meetup, Eventbrite, and Facebook Events for upcoming seminars, conferences, and meetups relevant to your profession. You can also join a membership-driven organization, like AllBright or Ivy, for access to exclusive virtual networking events in your respective field—just be prepared to pay a monthly fee.