Should You Attach Your Resume to Your LinkedIn Profile?

Have you often wondered if you should attach your resume to your LinkedIn profile? Maybe it would help boost your job search?

Don’t.

Why not?

1) If your home address is on it – which it shouldn’t be; only use city, state and zip or equivalent – you are putting your information at risk for identity theft.

2) You also may find (or never know) that people are borrowing your information and creating a resume that is essentially a copy of yours with another name on it. Because they do not need to post that publicly – unlike a LI profile – they can secretly trade on your goodwill and dilute your brand.

3) If you have one form of resume posted on LinkedIn and bring another (targeted) resume to an interview, you may compromise your credibility (i.e., if the two versions do not to match).

In other words, you will have less control of your personal branding in the interview because your audience will have already seen your resume. They may not even read a new one.

Instead of attaching a resume, put the important information and keywords directly into your profile, so the LinkedIn algorithm can do its work to match you to the right jobs.


Website Anne Marie Segal 2019 Barragan Square Say CheeseFor more LinkedIn tips, click here.

To find or follow me on LinkedIn, click here.

– Anne Marie Segal, Executive Coach


Image of Anne Marie: Copyright 2019 Alejandro Barragan IV. All rights reserved. 

Remaining images: Adobe Images.

Three Types of Resumes that People Don’t Want to Read

Your resume is a communication tool that tells people why they should refer, recommend or hire you. It is not a cruel ritual meant to torment you, and neither should you torment your readers.

In the countless resumes that I have reviewed over the years, and in those I have rewritten for clients, there are a few major flaws that stand out so often they merit their own post. These common resume mistakes aren’t limited to the folks who are unsuccessful in their careers. In fact, they are so ubiquitous among those who “should know better” that it prompts me to ask: why do smart people write dumb resumes?

Keep your city clean!

Beyond poor writing and lazy proofreading, here are three of the most common culprits in bad resume land:

The “Sherman Tank” Resume

Otherwise known as “let me put all of my accomplishments down on a page so I don’t miss anything someone might want.” An alternate description of this type of resume could be ClutterFest. The Sherman Tank or ClutterFest writer thinks he or she is sharing a diverse celebration of achievements, while the reader feels like it’s an exercise in sorting prized antiques in someone else’s dusty attic.

The Sherman Tank resume – durable and bulletproof but too bulky to zip around curves – doesn’t put a candidate in the best light. In fact, it doesn’t cast any light in any direction at all, so no depth or differentiation can be seen, only too many words on a page (and often in too tiny a font). 

Put yourself in the shoes of the reader. How much work would you want to put into deciphering if a candidate was a good fit for your open role (especially if it seems that he or she hasn’t bothered to do it either)? How hard would you squint to read past the first few words?

In my most extreme example to date, I turned a client’s five page resume into two pages.

Truth be told, she was an awesome candidate for her target job. She just couldn’t figure out how to edit her own experience or what to emphasize, so a reader couldn’t “get there” to see it. She had never given thought to what an employer might be looking for, focused only on the trees in her own forest. In addition, because of her inability to edit her own experience, she had included some very detracting information alongside the helpful points, which further diluted the effectiveness of her message.

The “Barely There” Resume

The opposite of the Sherman Tank is the Barely There resume. When I have worked with clients who have this type of resume, I spend a lot of time asking the same question: “And what else did you do?” They have great experience, but somehow they can’t seem to get it down on the page. They leave out key details, such as skill sets they possess – and can demonstrate – that are important for their target job.

Like the Sherman Tank writers, who are focused on their own experience, the Barely There writers have not put themselves in the position of an employer and asked what they can offer that would be valuable for the target position. In one recent case with a client, for example, we pulled out four different skill sets that she would need for a job transition and were not on her resume, without stretching beyond her legitimate experience.

In that case, the client hadn’t presented herself as a well-rounded generalist with a specialization, which was required for her target positions, because her current firm had pushed her in a single direction without valuing all she could offer. Although this push and the associated stress were the major reasons the candidate was seeking a change, she had internalized the pigeonholing by her current firm and was unable to see beyond it when it came planning (and drafting) her great escape.

The “Showed Up and Did My Job” Resume

A corollary to the Barely There is the resume that simply lists what a person did at a job, with no thought to prioritization or differentiation from other candidates in similar roles. Unlike the Barely There, which lacks enough detail, the Showed Up and Did My Job resume might be an appropriate length, and even look “right” at first glance, but ultimately the narrative is not compelling enough to prompt the next step: a job interview.

In many cases, my clients who have a Showed Up and Did My Job resume list tasks that were simply “part of the job” but indicate nothing that showcases particular sets of skills. As we talk through their major projects and accomplishments on the job, or how they pushed the envelope in the position, they realize that the resume is missing critical points because they had not put enough thought into the value they actually bring, as opposed to the tasks that a job entails. Often these clients are looking for a new job because the current one feels like they are on autopilot. But having a Showed Up and Did My Job resume is like putting your centerpiece job-search marketing document on autopilot navigation as well, with a few missed stop signs and on-ramps along the way.

If you are reading this post closely, you see a theme emerging:

Smart people write dumb resumes because they too heavily rely on their intelligence and natural instincts in the writing process (which serve them so well in other contexts), hoping that the reader will fill in the gaps when needed.

Then they waste weeks and months wondering why the phone doesn’t ring, putting their energies into thinking about their own situations and insecurities instead of the greater perspective of how to best present themselves to achieve their goals.

Instead, the smart resume writer steps back to reframe his or her experience so that the reader (recruiter, potential interviewer, friend of a friend, etc.) is enticed and excited about the potential fit between the individual as a candidate and the new role.

As I consistently say to clients, your resume is not an obituary, it’s a marketing document. I make this point with the full knowledge that these words may take some time to resonate:

Smart people can write smart resumes by thinking of them in terms of what the resume vehicle is meant to do – transport them from Point A to Point B – rather than getting caught up in their own discomfort with self-marketing or treating the resume as a retrospective or roadmap of their careers to date.

In short, writing is only the final iteration of creating an effective resume. Find your target, take aim, gather your arrows (of experience) and then write.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse as “Why Do Smart People Write Dumb Resumes?” Photo credit: Adobe Images.

Webinar Replay: Solve Your 20 Top Resume Challenges!

Thanks to those who attended my webinar today on 20 Top Resume Challenges. In this short half-hour course, I give you an overview of the major points you need to know to write a modern resume.

Here is the replay, and the slide deck and related Forbes article are referenced in the YouTube description.

Stop fighting. Start writing!

Image credit: Adobe Image

On Your Resume: Strategy Before Writing, Read More on Forbes.com

forbes-coaches-council-logo “Why You Need a Strategy Before Writing Your Resume”

Many business leaders and others struggle to write a compelling resume, even those who make multimillion-dollar decisions on a daily or weekly basis.

It is not an easy task to sum up one’s professional life in a couple of pages, whether you have scores of accomplishments or relatively few.

Read more in my first article on Forbes.com!

Anne Marie Segal, career and leadership development coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. For further articles and press, please click here.

Immature Email Addresses Need Not Apply (Resume, Meet Trash Can)

Address Strong Superhero Success Professional Empowerment Stock
Is your childhood fascination keeping you from your dream job today?

Are You Judged By Your Email Address?
A Resounding Yes!

If you have an email address that starts like any of the ones below, or something similar, and you have wondered why you have had a hard time getting any traction in your job search, this is a post you need to read.

superboy7

batmanrocks2014

777goldrush

pushmybuttons29

bestrunner550

krisandstevesmith

kevinandamysdad

tommmons7

I’ve called this post “Immature Email Addresses Need Not Apply” because I can tell you from countless conversations with recruiters and hiring managers that they LOVE to see goofy, inappropriate, overly personal or hard-to-read email addresses. It makes their job easier. Resume, meet trash can. (Well, they actually cringe to see them with otherwise highly qualified candidates, because it puts everything else about the candidate’s application into doubt.)

Recruiters and hiring managers LOVE to see goofy, inappropriate or hard-to-place email addresses. It makes their job easier. Resume, meet trash can.

One of the important vetting points for a job candidate is to determine whether he or she has good judgment. Whether you’ll be a law firm associate, marketing manager or receptionist, if you don’t have good judgment, you are missing one of the essential elements that makes a good employee. So demonstrating your bad judgment in the very document that is meant to market you is clearly counterproductive to, if not fatal for, your chances as a job candidate.

You would be surprised how often I need to say this to clients, and it is not only junior people who have never held a job before. I have had this same conversation with executive candidates who have been in the workforce for 20 years or more.  I would guess that everyone knows someone who has the “wrong” type of email address to grace a professional job application, but few of us know how to tell our friends that they need to change it.

Don’t use an email address that includes your street address, is awkward to type, alludes to your hobbies or religious beliefs, or is anything other than an easy derivation of your name. Outside of a professional context (a world that is admittedly getting smaller and smaller with social media, if not disappearing for most of us), you can email from butterfly2000@gmail.com, soccerhead4769@hotmail.com or whatever you like, but not in the job search or on work-related matters thereafter, if you want to be taken seriously.

Keep your resume out of the trash can.

Judgment. It’s that important. Review every aspect of your resume and other career documents to see if there is any hint (or shout) of bad judgment, from an immature, unprofessional, irrelevant or hard-to-spell email address or otherwise.

Email addresses are not the time and place to get creative.
Not when you are in job search mode.

People often want offbeat email addresses to express their individuality. That’s great, go crazy, but create a new one for your job search. In a very small number of highly creative fields, a call-attention-to-your-uniqueness style of email address can work (although none of the above addresses are actually creative, just off the mark). In almost all cases, however, the tried and true combination of firstname.lastname@emailserver.com is the best bet. In addition, some career experts recommend that Gmail and Hotmail are the best servers to show that you are a tech-savvy candidate. If the firstnamelastname combination is not available, lastnamefirstname, firstnamelastname10, firstnamemiddleinitiallastname and other combinations of one’s name and initials make your email (and, by extension, your job application) easier to find and retrieve among a pool of hundreds or thousands of candidates, so you can get the call for the interview and job offer.

On a similar note, if you use your married name professionally, don’t use your maiden name in your email. If you use your middle name as a first name, don’t start your email with your “real” first initial (unless it is also on your resume), so if someone wants to start typing your name, they know which letter comes first (which often populates the “To” field in their email message).  If you have a difficult to pronounce or spell last name that is 29 letters, consider shortening it to 5 or 8 letters in the email, cutting it off at a natural breaking point. In all cases, what you are trying to do is make it easier on the person recommending, interviewing (and, hopefully, hiring) you.

Keep your eye on the prize. The purpose of a job search is to get the job. 

Anne Marie Segal is a career coach and résumé writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She is currently completing her first book, on job interviews, which will be available in early 2017. To join her monthly mailing list and receive a preview of the chapter on value propositions, please click here and write “Book Preview” in the comments section.

 

[Note: Any reference to actual email addresses in the above is unintentional. These addresses are cited for illustration purposes only.]

© 2016 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.
Photograph above from Adobe Images.

Five Cures to Resume Writer’s Block

We all read the articles – some of us more than others – about how recruiters take 30 seconds or less to review a resume, making a snap decision about whether or not to delve in further and actually recommend someone for a job. One came across my email just this morning, “A top recruiter on what anyone can see after 30 seconds with your resume,” by Ambra Benjamin.

Ms. Benjamin echoed what others have written, with her own take on the matter and a very readable article, giving advice like including keywords but not “stuffing” your resume with them, showing a career progression and minding the gaps. Armed with her and other key advice, it should be easy to know how to put a simple two pages together, right?

So why is it that so many of us sit at our desks, writing away, deleting, rewriting and generally getting stuck on where to start, where to end and what to put in the middle? A friend recently suggested that the only way he could revise his resume on his own was to start with a blank piece of paper and try to imagine each role in his head, without worry about names, dates and details. While this might work for some, a blank page is an even greater source of anxiety and writer’s block for the majority of us, even those who call ourselves writers.

Getting a resume professionally written is another option, of course, although if you don’t choose a high end writer who really takes the time to get to know you and has an understanding of your field, combined with a feel for resume writing and knowledge of the career marketplace, your resume can come out stale, miss the mark or, worse yet, sound like every other candidate on the block. (Full disclosure: I do offer high-end, personalized services and can work with you to improve your clarity in thinking and writing, prepare you for interviews and generally ease this frustrating process.)

For those who are stuck and cannot entice the resume muses to give up their secrets, here is a five-point plan to help cure the craziness:

shutterstock_340110563 resume ball

1) Identify and focus on your target market. Who is your audience? What do they want to know about you? We tend to internalize and think about our resumes as an exercise in self-reflection. They are, but not to the point of self-indulgence. The very practical, immediate purpose of such self-reflection is to create a marketing document that communicates a narrative of our professional lives to others. To do that, take the attention off yourself and put it on your reader.

2) Take a current version of your resume, and cross off everything that doesn’t matter. Many of the resumes I read, especially ones from high-achieving candidates, are overloaded with information. If you follow my posts, you know that I have written about this. Emphasize the experience and skills that will make you the top candidate for the job you are looking for, which are also generally the ones that are the most important, complex parts of your job.

3) List your accomplishments. What did you accomplish in each role that went beyond showing up and doing what “anyone else in that same job could do”? Weave your accomplishments into the discussion of each job. Get specific, while still giving an overall picture of the role. Also, don’t forget that numbers are your friend. If you can quantify something, and it makes sense to do so, then include that information and be ready to talk about it in an interview.

4) Use a modern format. If you haven’t updated your resume for ten years, do your research to understand what modern resumes in your industry look like. If you are in a creative role, you can stand out with a creative format. If you are in a more conservative industry, stand out with substance, not form. In either case, don’t just dust off the old version and add new information. It’s like sporting an old suit that’s gone out of style.

Even if you are in the top 1% of candidates, don’t be fooled into thinking that you “don’t need a great resume” because “your experience speaks for itself.”

Stop and consider: who are you competing against for the same role?  

5) Check LinkedIn and other online sources about yourself. As Ms. Benjamin noted, recruiters scour the web to make sure your presentation about yourself is accurate and consistent across your resume and other sources. If your online materials are detracting – obnoxious, needy, overly political and the like – this information will become part of the portfolio for your candidacy. Match your resume to LinkedIn and other sources, so you tell a consistent story, and take the same care to present yourself online as you do in your offline written documents. Also, take a fresh look at what you have already posted on LinkedIn. Sometimes, there is inspiration from a lingering, helpful “prior version” of yourself that can recharge your resume writing.

Using the five-step plan, you will be much closer to starting and finishing a resume that jumps off the page and says HIRE ME.

As a final point (and echoing #1 above), remember that while your resume is all about you, more importantly, it is also about what you can do for the employer in your target role. As children, we are loved for being cute, funny, special or just who we are. As job candidates, we are there to solve problems. What problems do you solve and how can you convince your readers – the recruiter, hiring manager, etc. – that they should choose you?

Anne Marie Segal is a career coach and resume writer. You can find her website at segalcoaching.com. This article originally appeared on LinkedInPulse.

The Best Fonts to Get Your Résumé Read by Your Target Audience

Read Me Fonts cropped

Until I started drafting résumés professionally, I never imagined I would have an entire post devoted to résumé fonts. Yet after some lively conversations with clients about the best fonts to use, I realize it is quite a helpful point to cover.

Fonts depend on many factors, including industry and seniority. More “serious” fonts should match more serious roles. Safer (even boring) fonts match roles where that is appropriate – i.e., where your job is safety, risk management or the like – while more creative styles fit better with creative endeavors. As a result, there is no “one best font” for résumés generally. You should take your cues from the fonts you and your colleagues (or those in your target field, if you are in transition) are accustomed to using.

Here are some favorites and generally acceptable fonts, in alphabetical order:

Arial – clean and easy to read, safe choice, which some may view as boring

Calibri – the default Microsoft Word font, very familiar

Garamond – old style font, timeless, polished elegance

Georgia – traditional alternative to Times New Roman

Times New Roman – universal font and very popular résumé choice, also safe like Arial

Trebuchet MS – sans serif like Arial, a bit different but still comfortable for the reader

Résumé Fonts

A few more points before I close:

  1. Uncommon Fonts. If you choose a less common font, make sure the text is highly readable and accessible by most users of Microsoft Word and other word processing programs. The worst case scenario can come true – your font is not supported, and your document looks like a mess on their screen.
  2. Use of Space on the Page. If space is an issue in your résumé (either you have too many words or too few), the font can change the entire look of your document.
  3. Limiting Your Font Use. Don’t use too many fonts within the document. It doesn’t look fancy, it looks disorganized. I generally suggest only one font. If you use a second one as an accent, be sure to use it consistently throughout the document (i.e., only for your name and contact information on both pages). The same rule applies for capitalization, use of bold, italics, etc.
  4. Colors. Just as you are careful with font, be careful with (and don’t overuse) colors. Again, take a cue from what you have seen in your industry as a proxy for what your target audience will respond to and expect.

If you have any input or questions about fonts, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post. Thanks!

[Update July 2016: since writing this post, I have also started using Helvetica in résumés, so I’m adding it to my list of fonts. I continue to use Times New Roman generally in the legal field, as it is a font that lawyers are comfortable reading, and often (but not always) use a sans serif font for non-legal clients. I have generally stopped using Calibri as well.]

Copyright 2016 Anne Marie Segal.