In our last blog we referenced a study by the Harvard Business Review detailing the prevalence of “hidden workers.” These individuals, who tend to be overlooked in the hiring process, make up an estimated 27 million people. If you identify with this group comprised of veterans, caregivers returning to the work force, those with disabilities, immigrants, those previously incarcerated, those with a career gap or without a college degree, or those who have had to relocate, you may be asking yourself what you can do to help yourself be seen!
Stepping Out of the Shadows
1. Consider setting up a LinkedIn profile.
While other social media platforms are largely that—social—LinkedIn is geared toward working professionals. The process to set up a basic account is fairly straightforward and free; however, like anything else there are ways to optimize your profile to make the most of it. Your LinkedIn platform should include your current skills and work history. By using your profile as a sort of electronic resume, you may attract the attention of those looking to hire who are searching for candidates on LinkedIn.
Building relationships takes time, but it can really pay off. Use LinkedIn to hunt for companies you’d like to work for. Follow them. Comment on their news to get your name out there, and use your own network to create opportunities too. By engaging in conversations, you are playing the “long game” of making inroads to a better future.
3. Take another look at your resume.
a. Do you have a career gap?
Perhaps you have educational or volunteer experience to fill in that time. What if you have neither of those because you were a caregiver for children, elders or battling an illness of your own during that time? Some recruiters suggest dedicating a line on your resume indicating the reason for the gap.
b. Are you missing a degree or other training that is required by the job description?
Keep learning. You may not have access to, or be able to predict, what new skills or technology any one company will be searching for, but continuing to educate yourself always looks good on a resume. It demonstrates initiative, gives you fodder for interviews and overall makes you more marketable.
c. Load your resume with results you’ve achieved, not a list of responsibilities you had.
Hiring managers love to see actual data: sales percentages, team sizes, number of publications, and revenue in dollars and cents. Not only do numbers catch the eye, but they demonstrate to those hiring what you have already done.
4. Fully utilize your cover letter.
Not only does your cover letter introduce the reader to who you are and what you can bring to their company, it also can explain some potential red flags. Did you step away from your career to serve as caregiver or stay-at-home parent? Did you have to relocate for work? Your cover letter is the ideal place to (succinctly) explain the reason for your career gap. You can also use your cover letter to highlight both hard and soft skills that are desirable to employers.
5. Don’t talk yourself out of applying.
Many people—especially women—refrain from applying for a job if they don’t meet every single requirement. However, the Harvard Business Review’s study suggests that many times companies simply add new qualifications to their job posting without actually reviewing it to see if any outdated ones could be removed. The result is an ever-growing list of “nice-to-haves” that very few people could aspire to. The study suggests that companies pare down their job postings to include only a few major “must-haves,” but until that happens, take a chance. You may not possess every qualification the business is looking for, but you may have enough to be capable of doing the job.
Need help? Revision Resume is here! We offer resume critiques and personalized Zoom sessions in addition to our standard resume writing services. Contact us and check out our other blogs for more useful tips!