When embarking on a job search, it’s common knowledge that a resume is usually a must-have. However, an impressive resume isn’t the only tool job seekers can use to their advantage, and in many scenarios, shouldn’t be the only one. While it’s often debated how long a hiring manager typically scans a resume, the general consensus is that it isn’t very long. So how else can you make a good first impression with that employer, a new addition to your network, or whomever you’re connecting with?
Be sure to use these six tools, which every job searching professional should consider just as vital as their resume:
- A recruiter-friendly resume template. It’s not enough to just have a resume—since it’s considered a best practice to tailor your resume to almost every job you apply for, it’s important to have a generic template with your core skills and experience that you can easily arrange and mold to each submission. This base resume should be one that stands out to recruiters and is easily read in a mobile format, so they can review your qualifications from any device or location.
- A top-of-the-line LinkedIn presence. According to Jobvite, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet candidates, yet only 36% of job seekers are active on the site. If you fall into the majority of professionals who don’t utilize this powerful resource, what are you waiting for? Every job seeker should have a complete and professional LinkedIn profile, and this profile should be linked to on your resume and in your email signature, so it is easily accessible to all relevant parties. To help your connections see that you can back up your credentials with expertise and interest in your field, it’s also important to join and participate in groups, share updates, and utilize LinkedIn’s publishing tool.
- A blog, website, or online portfolio. Another great way to showcase your work and your involvement in the industry is to create an online portfolio, website, or blog. Just be sure to follow blogging best practices, as blogging can hurt your job search as easily as it can help it if you make any unprofessional blunders.
- An elevator pitch. Whether you’re attending a career fair or an interview, having an elevator pitch prepared is always helpful to your job search. It can be used when making new connections at a networking event, or when an interviewer uses the almost inevitable “tell me about yourself” tactic. Your pitch should last 30-60 seconds, and encompass who you are, as well as your abilities and experience. When reciting it, be sure to sound as natural as possible.
- Business cards. Whether you’re currently employed or not, having a personal business card is a great way to ensure those you’re networking with remember you and have a means of contacting you later. Pick a simple and professional layout, and make sure you include all of your contact information, as well as a link to your website and/or LinkedIn profile. Leaving one of these with a hiring manager or the latest addition to your network is sure to solidify a great first impression.
- A positive, prepared attitude. Last, but certainly not least, is a positive outlook! While a job search can be stressful and frustrating at times, keeping a sense of optimism, showing your personality, and being prepared (and open to) opportunities that may come your way is essential to success.