7 Tips To Make Your Profile Picture Professional

Facebook social media profile picturesBy Justin Thompson

In past posts, we've offered up best practices for using social media in your job search. That's because more and more recruiters and hiring managers are utilizing social networks to learn about and even contact potential candidates.

While most know how to lock down their profiles through privacy settings on sites like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is a little different. The point there being that the information you're putting on the site is critical and relevant to your job search; therefore, your picture should also be professional and relevant to your job search. Even with your career transparency on LinkedIn, for all three sites (or however many you may be using), your profile picture is the one constant that's nearly always visible.
"Your image is conveyed through your photograph, and it's part of the first impression you make on others," says Barbara Pachter, a business communications and etiquette expert who's authored numerous books on the topic of social media professionalism. "You want to post a photograph that is professionally appropriate. You want to look like a credible, approachable person, not like you just came from the beach."
The beach would be a treat, honestly. Some of the photos I see? For shame, people, for shame I say. So let's go through some examples of what you should and shouldn't be doing in your profile picture.
1. Use a head shot. This means that it should be head and shoulders, highlighting your face. It should not be some weird photo from a party.

2. Your photo should be flattering. Who wouldn't want to be portrayed in the best light? However, this doesn't mean you should use butter on the lens to give that soft glamour-shot style effect.

3. Your face is the focus, not the background. Again, this is a headshot. That means you posing near the Great Wall is probably not the best choice for a main picture. Is it cool? Absolutely. Professional? Not unless you're an ancient bricklayer. Keep your face in focus too – there's nothing worse than a blurry photo. Well...

4. Be fully-clothed. The amount of people I've seen without clothes or who post images of others sans clothing is appalling. Remember, your profile is seen by everyone, so clean up your act and keep the more risqué photos for "Missed Connections."

5. Don't make any funny faces. Pachter says, "If you are frowning or scowling, why would someone want to hire or work with you?" This is equally true for those who try to use more suggestive pictures. What kind of work would an employer assume you're interested in? So while this ties in with No. 4, I still see photos of people with clothes on who are making weird goofy faces. A smile will work nicely, thank you.

6. Keep your photo current. Make sure your photo actually looks like you. Stop using a photo that you love from 5+ years ago. Again, not only is this off-putting, but if people meet you and realize you're being deceptive, why would they trust you as an employee?

7. Find a photographer. Whether you pay or find a friend or student to take your photo, it'll be better than your mirrored self-portrait with your phone or a webcam shot. Trust me, the effort in having a professional shot will be worth the trouble in setting it up.

The moral of the story is this: If your account is locked down, put up any drunken/Halloween/inappropriate photos you want in your "Shameful Moments" gallery. But keep your profile image respectable, even if you are not using it as part of your job search. Google and other search engines will pull in your profile images when recruiters or managers search your social profiles (especially Google+).

Please note all the photos above are of me, even though I so wanted to put certain people on blast for their awful photos. You know who you are.

Tell me about the worst profile picture you have ever seen or if you've ever judged candidates based on their profile pictures in social media!

Ridiculously Clever Resumes

clever and creative resumes If you've read our resume tips, you might think every resume consists of one white piece of paper, with 10-point Times New Roman as the font of choice and a carefully-selected smattering of numbers, statistics and accomplishments.

We set out to find examples of resumes that broke the norm in one way or another. Obviously, these outside-the-box resumes aren't for everyone, or every job. Have you ever submitted a "not quite normal" resume to a job posting? Tell us about it in the comments.

Please find Infographics Resume here: Ridiculously Clever Resumes

Tips for Improving Content of Targeted Resumes

There are several tips you can follow to improve upon the content of your targeted resume, such as eliminating anything that doesn’t support the job you’re after and making your objective specific.
Follow these tips to add sparkle to your targeted resume:
  • Match your resume to the job: To dart past job software filters, a resume must closely meet the requirements in the job description. If you know what company recruiters are looking for, make sure you put it in the top quarter of your resume. If instead you’re posting your resume in databanks, research the career field for typical requirements and include those that apply to you.
  • Use bulleted style for easy reading: Using one- or two-liners opens up your resume with white space, making it more appealing to read. Professional advertising copywriters know that big blocks of text suffocate readers. Let your words breathe!
  • Discover art of lost articles: Although using articles — “a,” “an,” and “the” — in your resume isn’t wrong, try deleting them for a crisper and snappier end result. Recruiters and employers expect to read resumes in compact phrases, not fully developed sentences.
  • Sell, don’t tell: Forget sticking to the old naming-your-previous-responsibilities routine. Merely listing “Responsible for XYZ” doesn’t assure the recruiter that you met your responsibility or that the result of your efforts was worth the money someone paid you.
    Try to imagine what’s running through a recruiter’s mind when you relate that you were responsible for XYZ: So what? Who cares? What’s in it for me? Anticipate those questions and answer them before a recruiter has a chance to toss your resume.
  • Show off your assets: Recruiters are wild about snaring the cream of the crop. If you’re in the top 5 percent of any significant group (graduation, sales, attendance record, performance ratings) make sure that fact appears prominently on your resume.
  • Make sure your words play well together: Use action verbs to perk up reading interest in resumes and include nouns — the keywords that ward off anonymity in resume databases. Just don’t mix noun and verb phrases in the same resume section. Writing instructors call this agreeable notion parallel construction.
  • Reach out with strength: Highlight the qualifications and past job activities that speak to the kind of job you want and the skills you want to use. If, for instance, you want to transition from military training to civilian training, remain riveted to your training skills without diluting your message by mentioning your ability to use several simple computer programs.
    Don’t muddle your resume’s message with minor skills or skills you no longer wish to use; stay on message.
  • Trash a wimpy objective: Avoid weak construction that leaves everyone wondering whether you’re a washout. Your statement can be simple, yet effective: “Management position in finance where more than ten years’ experience will strengthen the bottom line.”
  • Ask about resume submission procedures: Call the HR department where you want to work and are about to submit your resume. Ask: “Before I send you my resume online, I want to get the facts. Do you accept MS Word attachments, store them as formatted documents, and route them to line managers as images?” If the answer is yes, send the attractive version of your resume instead of the ugly ASCII plain text version.
  • Eliminate clutter: Remove useless information from your resume that doesn’t support reasons you’re a qualified candidate. These include: references, your Social Security number, the date your resume was prepared, your high school — if you're a college graduate, and dates spent involved with college extracurricular activities or civic organizations.

Spelling and Grammar Tips for Resumes

9 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Preparing a Resume
When developing your resume, always pay attention to grammar and spelling throughout the document. A resume with proper grammar and no spelling errors is essential in a job search. Of all the reasons causing recruiters and hiring managers to shoot down resumes, carelessness with spelling, grammar, and choice of words rank close to the top.


Get a grip on resume grammar

Resume language differs from normal speech in several ways. In general, keep the language tight and the tone professional, avoiding the following:
  • First-person pronouns (I, we): Your name is at the top of each resume page, so the recruiter knows it’s about you. Eliminate first-person pronouns. Also, don’t use third-person pronouns (he, she) when referring to yourself — the narrative technique makes you seem pompous. Simply start with a verb.
  • Articles (the, a, an): Articles crowd sentences and don’t clarify meaning. Substitute retrained staff for retrained the staff.
  • Helping verbs (have, had, may, might): Helping verbs weaken claims and credibility — implying that your time has passed and portraying you as a job-hunting weakling. Say managed instead of have managed.
  • “Being” verbs (am, is, are, was, were): Being verbs suggest a state of existence rather than a state of motion. Try monitored requisitions instead of requisitions were monitored. The active voice gives a stronger, more confident delivery.
  • Shifts in tense: Use the present tense for a job you’re still in and the past tense for jobs you’ve left. But, among the jobs you’ve left, don’t switch back and forth between tenses. Another big mistake: dating a job as though you’re still employed (2008-Present) and then describing it in the past tense.
  • Complex sentences: Unless you keep your sentences lean and clean, readers won’t take time to decipher them. Process this mind-stumper:
    Reduced hospital costs by 67% by creating a patient-independence program, where they make their own beds, and as noted by hospital finance department, costs of nails and wood totaled $300 less per patient than work hours of maintenance staff.
    Eliminate complex sentences by dividing ideas into sentences of their own and getting rid of extraneous details:
    Reduced hospital costs by 67%. Originated patient independence program that decreased per-patient expense by $300 each.
  • Overwriting: Use your own voice; don’t say expeditious when you want to say swift.
  • Abbreviations: Abbreviations are informal and not universal — even when they’re career-specific. Use Internet instead of Net.
    The exception is industry jargon — use it, especially in digital resumes. Knowledge and use of industry jargon adds to your credibility to be able to correctly and casually use terms common to the industry in which you’re seeking employment.

A few words about spelling in resumes

Employers especially recoil from impaired spelling when the job seeker botches the interviewer’s or the organization’s name. You can Google your way to the company’s Web site to spell the organization’s name; you can call to confirm the spelling of the interviewer’s name.
Use a computer spell checker and the dictionary, in print or online at Dictionary.com. Ask someone to carefully proofread your resumes to pick up grammar mistakes or misused words.

Here is a sampling of frequently misspelled words to watch for.
accommodate guarantee personnel
address immediate recommend
all right independent referred
bureau its/it’s reference
calendar judgment relevant
category maintenance schedule
column millennium sergeant
committed miscellaneous their/they’re/there
conscientious misspell truly
definitely nuclear until
experience occasionally your/you’re
government occurrence weather/whether

How to back out of being a job reference

Back out of being referenceIn the later stages of the hiring process, it’s common for employers to ask candidates for references.
If you’re asked by a job seeker to serve as a reference, you may get a call from the employer, who will ask you some questions about the job seeker. It sounds simple enough but can become more complicated if your view of the job seeker isn’t as rosy as the job seeker may think.
If you’re asked to be someone’s job reference, but for various reasons, you don’t feel comfortable doing it, you may wonder whether you should decline or go ahead with it and give the employer your honest opinion. It’s a sticky situation, because you don’t want to cause friction between you and the requester, but you also don’t want to be put in an awkward position when faced with the employer’s questions.
The circumstances surrounding the situation may impact your decision — how well you know the person, what policies your company has about giving references, the depth of information you’ll need to provide. Yet the general consensus is that if you don’t have something nice to say, it’s probably best to say nothing at all.
“If you are approached to be a reference, but you feel you cannot speak appropriately or positively about a person’s work ethic and supporting skills, the best possible thing you can do is politely decline,” says Adrienne Tom, lead résumé strategist at Career Impressions. “If you do not feel 100 percent confident addressing someone’s work history or working style, you should never offer to be a reference for them.”
As Tom points out, references play an important role in the recruitment process and may even make or break a job offer. “Since references are a chance for employers to add to the information they learned from the candidate’s résumé and in the interview, what they find out from the references will either confirm their desire to hire the job seeker or make the decision not to extend the job offer. You do not want to be the one that prevents someone from getting a job offer simply because you don’t know them well enough or because you had a difficult working relationship to them.”
Consider your company’s policies
Sometimes, it may not be you who has the problem with giving a reference. It could be your employer. “Employees need to be aware of their employer’s policies regarding giving references,” says Keith Wolf, managing director at recruiting firm Murray Resources. “Some employers prohibit their employees from giving negative references, while a growing number of companies restrict giving any information at all, other than confirming the former employee’s dates of employment. Beyond the legal implications, it comes down to a matter of preference.”
Consider the level of the job seeker
Charley Polachi, partner at Polachi Access Executive Search, says that the impact your recommendation has may depend on the level of the job seeker. Polachi notes that for junior to mid-level employees, references may only be asked basic questions, such as dates of employment, positions held and compensation. In situations like this, you may be more inclined to agree to serve as a reference. However, you won’t always know what types of questions you’ll get, so keep that in mind when making your decision.
When it comes to references for senior-level executives, more information is often requested. “References are a critical component of vetting top-level candidates,” Polachi says. “In some cases, as many as 14-15 professional contacts can be approached for a finalist. Since the basics of these types of leaders are basically in the public domain, the value-add of in-depth reference checking can be a game changer in selecting the best candidate.” So if the job seeker requesting your reference falls into this category, and you’re not completely comfortable speaking on his behalf, you may want to find a way out.
Declining the request
If you’ve decided that you don’t want to serve as a reference, you may be tempted to come up with some sort of excuse. Resist that urge and lead with politeness and honesty. “When asked to give a reference that one would rather not give, the best policy is to be honest with the requester,” says Arron Grow, author of “How to Not Suck as a Manager” and founder of business consulting company Workplace Sanity Group. “How open to be about this will depend on the rapport between the two individuals. If there is not a close connection, a simple, ‘I’m sorry I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that’ should suffice.”
Grow goes on to say that if you do feel comfortable sharing more, you should. It will only help the job seeker in the long run. “A better way to go … would be to explain why there is hesitation about giving a reference. People cannot grow if they do not know what areas they need to work on. Hearing about an area that might be in their blind spot will likely hurt at first, but not knowing where they could do better will hurt them even more in the long run. For this reason, people should rather want to know than not, so if the conditions are appropriate, share your reasons for not being willing to give a reference. Tact and diplomacy are the keywords in this situation.”
While the hope is that any request you receive to give a reference will be from someone you had a good working relationship with, it may not always be the case. By assessing the situation and being open and honest with the requester, you should exit the conversation with your relationship intact.

Man Gets Job When He Adds 'Mr.' To His Resum

By Kim O'Grady

It was the late '90s, and I was at an interesting phase of my career. For the first time in my life, I possessed relevant qualifications, experience and could also show a successful track record in my chosen career path. I had the job seeker's trifecta. It was also summer and my current employer was pissing me off with their penny-pinching ways, so after three years of ball-busting effort I decided a break and a job change was in order. Displaying characteristic overconfidence in myself, I quit my job (without burning any bridges) and set about applying for others.

I was experienced in managing technical and trade-supply businesses. I also had engineering experience and sales experience and had demonstrably exceeded every sales and profit target I had ever been given. I started applying for roles that would stretch me and lift my career up a notch. There were plenty of opportunities around and I usually had a few applications on the go at any one time. I was an experienced guy in an experienced guy's world, this wouldn't be hard. Then the rejection letters trickled in. I could take rejection, it goes hand in hand with business, but after the first few months I was frankly confused. I hadn't had a single interview. Instead of aiming high I lowered my sights and started applying for jobs in which there was no career advancement. Now I had everything these employers could possibly want, I would be a shoo-in. But still not one interview came my way, not even a phone inquiry.
Somewhere after the four-month mark my confidence was starting to take a hit. The people rejecting me were business people too. How could my reasoning that I was perfect for these jobs be so different from theirs? Putting on my most serious business head I went back and scoured my curriculum vitae. It was the only contact that any of my potential employers or their recruitment companies had had with me. My CV was the common denominator and if something was wrong it must be there.

I had fortunately seen a number of CVs in my time. I was happy with the choice of style and layout, and the balance of detail versus brevity. I was particularly pleased with the decision I made to brand it with my name, with just enough bold positioning to make it instantly recognizable. And as I sat scouring every detail of that CV, a horrible truth slowly dawned on me. It was my name.

My first name is Kim. Technically it's gender neutral, but my experience showed that most people's default setting in the absence of any other clues is to assume Kim is a woman's name. And nothing else on my CV identified me as male. At first I thought I was being a little paranoid but engineering, trades, sales and management were all definitely male dominated industries. So I pictured all the managers I had over the years and, forming an amalgam of them in my mind, I read through the document as I imagined they would have. It was like being hit on the head with a big sheet of unbreakable glass ceiling.

My choice to brand the CV with a bold positioning of my name actually seemed to scream that I was a woman. I could easily imagine many of the people I had worked for discarding the document without reading further. If they did read further, the next thing they saw (as politeness declared at the time) was a little personal information, and that declared that I was married with kids. I had put this in because I knew many employers would see it as showing stability, but when I viewed it through the skewed view of middle-aged men who thought I was a woman, I could see it was just further damning my cause. I doubt if many of the managers I had known would have made it to the second page.
I made one change that day. I put "Mr." in front of my name on my CV. It looked a little too formal for my liking, but I got an interview for the very next job I applied for. And the one after that. It all happened in a fortnight and the second job was a substantial increase in responsibility over anything I had done before. In the end, I beat out a very competitive short-list and enjoyed that job for the next few years, further enhancing my career.

Where I had worked previously, there was a woman manager. She was the only one of about a dozen at my level, and there were none on the next level. She had worked her way up through the company over many years and was very good at her job. She was the example everyone used to show that: It could be done, but most women just didn't want to do it. It's embarrassing to think I once believed that. It's even more incredible to think many people still do.

No. 1 Way To Make Your Resume Irresistible To Employers

By Donna Fuscaldo

Resumes are a dime a dozen, so making yours stand out is critical. But the way to capture the attention of hiring managers isn't through graphics, colorful language or a headshot. Employers care about what's in your resume, not how it looks. "It's really all about content as opposed to style," says Pamela Skillings, co-founder of job coaching firm Skillful Communications. "Substance comes over style." When it comes to substance, the number one way to ensure your resume gets looked at is to use the same terms in your resume that's in the job description. Often, companies use automated software to scan resumes before an actual person looks at them, which is why using keywords is so important.

"You need to make sure you address all the requirements for the job in the resume," says Robin Schlinger, a career expert and founder of Robin's Resumes. "Applicant tracking systems check for the relevant keywords so if you don't put the phrases in your resume, yours may not be selected."

Equally important is the way you describe your experience in your resume. Conventional wisdom says a resume is a marketing tool and thus should have lots of adjectives and colorful descriptions, but hiring managers are trained to look beyond the fluff. "Everybody is a hands on executive and results driven," says Mark Jaffe, president of Wyatt & Jaffe, the executive search firm. "Tell me what you've been responsible for, tell me what you accomplished and leave off the poetry."

Many people make the mistake of listing all their skills, but don't explain what they were able to do with them. Listing your accomplishments instead of a bunch of fluff will help your resume stand out because it lets the person know you have a proven track record, and not only possess the skills needed for the job. If you've managed 100 people or boosted sales by 25% in a year, make sure that's in the resume, says Schlinger.

Given the current state of the job market, employers are inundated with thousands of resumes, so another way to have your resume stand out is to keep it short, simple and easy to read. "The whole world has a bad case of ADD. Attention spans are down to two or three seconds," says Jaffe. "The way to stand out is to be elegant and concise and keep things very simple and clean."

According to Skillings, since employers are known to quickly scan resumes having a summary section on the top of your resume is a great way to capture the hiring manager's attention. Skillings says the summary should pull the "greatest hits" of the resume and put them up top in a bullet format or in short paragraphs. You can have an introductory sentence telling a little bit about your experience and then bullet points of your greatest achievements and accomplishments. "People are lazy and have a short attention span," says Skillings. "They are going to look at the first few sentences and if they don't see what they want they are going to move on."

One area of the resume that is hotly debated is whether a cover letter is necessary anymore. One thing they agree on is that if you are sending a cover letter, keep it short. According to career coach Dorothy Tannahill Moran, use the cover letter to whet the appetite as to what the person will see in the resume. Your resume should speak for itself and the cover letter should inform the person of what job you are applying for. "Don't spend too much time on it," says Tannahill Moran. "A lot of companies simply ignore them while other companies may electronically store them but not access them," she says.

Get your résumé in shape

Get your résumé in shapeStaying in shape is good for your body and your résumé, and in both areas you want to push yourself. Just like fitness, not every approach in job-searching works for everybody. Some people do better with groups, others have personalized goals or sometimes an old routine has worn itself out. Decide which goal you want to focus on and you’ll learn how to find a job without breaking a sweat.
You’re just getting started
If you’ve been out of the job search for a while or are just getting started, begin with the basics. Most job-searching is done online now and requires a résumé that can be uploaded. Many positions require a cover letter as well. Establish a list of references you can count on for support and check in with them. Keep your job search organized by tracking the jobs you apply to in a spreadsheet document, as well as the date applied and the materials you sent. Also investigate social media tools and mobile apps that can help job seekers.
You need immediate results
Sometimes the most important factor in job-searching is how quickly a paycheck will be available. If your focus is on the money first, entry-level positions and jobs that provide on-the-job training are a good place to start. These roles are more lenient about prior experience requirements and often can lead to new career paths. If you do have prior experience and have a specialized talent, consider freelance, consultant or contract work, which gives you the power to choose your clients and salary, as well as how often you want to work.
You’re trying to bulk up your résumé
Is your résumé on the lean side? A crowded page doesn’t necessarily equal a qualified job candidate, but hiring managers do look for candidates with experience and demonstrated knowledge. Include education and relevant experience and know the importance of résumé keywords. Also look for ways to add muscle to your résumé by finding relevant volunteer opportunities, related certifications you can complete and professional associations or groups you can join. Your goal should be to create a balanced, well-rounded résumé that highlights your experience and capabilities that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
You’re trying to slim down your résumé
If your résumé has gained excessive information over the years, it may be time to cut the fat. The first step is to remove all content that’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you can’t make a direct connection to how a previous role prepared you for the prospective job, it shouldn’t take up your résumé’s valuable room. Also cut out dated résumé categories like your “objective” or the inclusion of references—even the line “References available upon request.” Your goal size should be keeping your résumé to one page, as hiring managers rarely take the time to do more than skim your information and likely won’t look at a second page.
You need outside support to see progress
Having the discipline to dedicate time and effort to job-searching can be tough, and making the right contacts to find a job can be equally challenging. Sometimes outside help is the answer. If one-on-one might work better for you, consider finding a job-search mentor or working with a recruiter. These options can provide the same discipline and encouragement as working with a personal trainer, and offer equally impressive results. Also consider networking, volunteer opportunities or group workshops to make potentially beneficial connections and learn new skills.
Your old routine isn’t working and you want something new
Sometimes a dramatic change is just the answer for a stale routine. If you’re feeling burnt out from your current role or industry, a career change is worth considering. Identify your strengths and interests and strategize how you can connect your current skill set to a different industry. Try volunteering or shadowing roles that you may be interested in to find out what you do and don’t like, then start switching careers.
Just like any fitness routine, a commitment to progress and hard work will be the most successful way to see success and transform yourself. Find what approach works for you and dedicate your time to your plan. You’re sure to see impressive results.

Presumes: An Unconventional, Yet Effective, Way To Land An Interview [Infographic]

In today's competitive job market, even the most finely honed of resumes can wind up in the recycle bin. To better the odds of landing an interview (and a job!) some workers have turned to a more inventive way to get the attention of hiring managers: the presume.
The presume, pronounced just like résumé, is essentially a visual introduction, produced using slide-show software that features the applicant's voice, describing personal and work history along with a cogent pitch that highlights why the candidate should be hired.

 Hanna Phan recently used a presume to apply for a job with SlideRocket, a San Francisco-based maker of presentation software, similar to Microsoft's PowerPoint.
Having been laid off in 2008 from her position as an IT engineer, Phan was keen on finding not just a new job -- but the right job.
With that in mind, Phan, 32, started to examine what it was she wanted to do and began targeting companies that had those kinds of jobs. That led her to SlideRocket, which recently was looking for a product manager.
Phan tells AOL Jobs that the idea for her presume began with "something that didn't work" -- her resume. "And when something doesn't work, over and over again," she says, "you decide you have to change up your game plan."
Phan produced her presume using SlideRocket's software and then sent the presentation via Twitter to company CEO Chuck Dietrich.
Dietrich received Phan's presume just as he was boarding a plane for New York, he tells AOL Jobs. Upon viewing it, Dietrich was so impressed with the presentation, "If I had time to call Hanna before I took off I would have," he says. "But I called her right when I landed."
Phan's presentation and the method by which she reached out to Dietrich "was indicative of a successful entrepreneur," Dietrich says.
In today's economy, he says, employers are increasingly looking for employees who think and act like entrepreneurs, by finding ways to get things done more efficiently.
Still, Phan says that putting together her presentation took a lot of soul-searching and risk-taking.
It took about two weeks to hone the concept and write several different scripts, says Phan, who was hired as a product manager at SlideRocket in early September.
"But it all came down to one week of just pouring my guts out, and putting myself out there," she says.
Phan's approach at identifying one company and going after it with her heart and soul, served her well, Dietrich says.
For anyone looking for work, focus is key, he says. "Spending more time on getting the job you want will probably serve you better than the [scattershot approach] that a lot of job applicants take."
Along with the presume, SlideRocket offers these five unique ways that can help job seekers stand out from the crowd.

Developing Portfolios, Video Resumes, and Web Resumes

11 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Preparing a Resume
Non-traditional resume formats such as portfolios (with work samples), video resumes, and Web resumes are often effective in career fields such as arts or technology. Take a look at some possibilities that aren't mainstream methods but may be just the format you need in your job search.


Samples of your work, gathered in a portfolio, have long been valuable to fields such as design, graphics, photography, architecture, advertising, public relations, marketing, education, and contracting. Often, you deliver your portfolio as part of the job interview.
Some highly motivated job seekers include a brief version of a career portfolio when sending their resumes, although recruiters say that they want fewer, not more, resume parts to deal with. If you must include work samples to back up your claims, send only a few of your very best.
The portfolio is a showcase for documenting a far more complete picture of what you offer employers than is possible with a one- or two-page resume. Getting recruiters to review it is the problem. When you determine that a portfolio is your best bet, take it to job interviews. Put your portfolio in a three-ring binder with a table of contents and tabs separating its various parts.
Mix and match the following categories in your portfolio:
  • Career goals (if you’re a new graduate or career changer): A brief statement of less than one page is plenty.
  • Your resume: Use a fully formatted version in MS Word.
  • Samples of your work: Include easily understandable examples of problem solving and competencies.
  • Proof of performance: Insert awards, honors, testimonials and letters of commendation, and flattering performance reviews. Don’t forget to add praise from employers, people who reported to you, and customers.
  • Proof of recognition: Attach certifications, transcripts, degrees, licenses, and printed material listing you as the leader of seminars and workshops. Omit those that you merely attended unless the attendance proves something.
  • Military connections: The U.S. military provides exceptionally good training, and many employers know it. List military records, awards, and badges.
Your portfolio should document only the skills that you want to apply on a job. Begin by identifying those skills, and then determine which materials prove your claims of competency.
Make at least two copies of your portfolio in case potential employers decide to hold on to your samples or fail to return them.

Video resumes

A video resume (or video podcast) actually is a canned video interview in which a candidate speaks about her qualifications, goals, and strengths. Employers shy away from video resumes because they fear a candidate’s image and sound could bring discrimination charges against them.

Web and multimedia resumes

A Web resume (or e-portfolio or HTML resume) is an electronic document that you post on a personal Web site. The format may simply display credentials, or it may go glamorous with links to sound and graphics of your work samples. Job seekers in cutting-edge technology fields, theater, marketing, and design are attracted to the presentation.
A multimedia resume is similar to a Web resume, but it's on a disk that can be sent by postal mail. An attention-getting novelty in the 1990s, multimedia resumes are rarely used today.

Avoiding Common Resume Blunders

If you want to write the perfect resume for modern recruiters you need to know what irritates them as they sift through piles of job applications. Here’s a list of resume mistakes that really irk recruiters.
  • Omitting contact details: This sounds like a no-brainer but always include your name, address, telephone numbers, email address and URL (if applicable) in your resume. List your contact details at the top of the page, so they stand out.
  • Putting in unnecessary personal details: Leave out information such as date of birth, marital status, gender and religion in your resume. This information is irrelevant and not job-related.
  • Telling all: Don’t divulge personal information in your resume. Nobody cares what your partner does, how many children you have, what schools they attend, the number of pets you own.
  • Using silly email addresses: Stick to using conservative email addresses that sound professional.
  • Sending your resume off to the wrong person: This creates a bad impression and recruiters won’t take you or your resume seriously.
  • Including photographs: You may have been blessed with good looks but that won’t get you a job.
  • Including salary information: Remuneration matters are best brought up in the interview.
  • Making typos and grammatical errors: Recruiters have zero tolerance for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Don’t rely solely on the spellchecker to catch errors.
  • Making your resume too long: Recruiters don’t want to read a novel. Limit your resume to around four pages (unless you’re an executive).
  • Attaching wads of paper: Only attach certificates and reference letters when requested.