Part of self care is developing yourself both personally and professionally as well as learning how to tell both sides of your story.
Throughout the past few years, I have met with interns and paralegals – those just starting in the legal profession – about “what it’s like” to be a lawyer. This summary includes just a few tips I find myself sharing every time.
When job searching, everyone wants to stands out – but how? While I do not believe in any set of hard rules for drafting a resume or creating a professional profile, I have learned a few general tips to begin establishing yourself in print and the digital space.
Keywords and Summaries
Being a professional requires strong communication and writing skills where precision in word choice and order is critical. The words you use to create a resume or LinkedIn profile should match the language you use in your job search. Become familiar with the terms commonly associated with the role you seek in the company and region you seek it. Read job descriptions in the field you are looking to get an idea of the vocabulary currently used in the industry. Then, try to connect your experience, education, and skills to the descriptive words you have identified by drafting a summary about yourself to place near the top of your resume. This helps show a potential employer that you already have demonstrated knowledge or experience in the role you are seeking. If your experience is limited, that’s okay. This is still a valuable exercise that will help you position yourself to start moving in the direction you want to go by identifying relevant experience and skills for the job or industry you wish to pursue.
Building a professional profile requires not only a polished, thoughtful, and genuine resume but also an online presence. Consider spending time developing a LinkedIn profile by filling out all of the sections relevant to the next step in your career: include publications, leadership positions, a link to your blog, languages, etc. to demonstrate credibility and tell your story further. A link on your resume to your LinkedIn profile will provide a potential employer the opportunity to gain additional insight into who you are and why you want (and should get) the job for which you are applying.
What makes you different? We all have a story. Perhaps you studied abroad and acquired language skills or knowledge about a particular issue important to a potential employer, or maybe you served in the Peace Corps or military. If you have had a unique experience – especially if relevant to the position for which you are applying – be sure to add it. At the very least, it may help you establish a personal connection with the individual reviewing your resume, which could help make a lasting impression.
Stay away from ambiguous adjectives and verbs when describing professional experiences. Use precise adjectives, verbs, and numbers to provide concrete information about what you have done and what you can do. Always be honest, and aim for specificity to avoid appearing vague or misleading.
Keep in mind that your resume is only part of your professional profile, and it should be consistent with (1) the message you want to send about yourself, and (2) any other material about you that may be accessible (cover letter, letters of recommendation, online articles you have written, online articles about you, your online presence, etc.). Connect your previous experiences and skills to the job you are searching for with detail and accuracy to put forth the best version of yourself.
© 2016 Melanie Glover. All rights reserved.
First image above: Shutterstock.