The Science of the Job Search, Part VI: Job Applicants With Resume Objectives Were ~30% Less Hireable

Today, we’re looking at the age-old question: Do you need an objective for your resume? Lots of folks say yes, lots of folks say no. We sampled 6,231 recent job applications, resumes and applicants across 681 cities and 115 roles and figured out the real-world answer for you.

tl;dr: Don’t put an objective on your resume (minus a few exceptions, see below). Not only are they unnecessary, but job applicants whose resume contained an objective were 29.6% less hireable than those who didn’t specify an explicit objective.

Objectives Hurt Everyone (Except Recent Grads)

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After 1+ year of experience, job applicants whose listed an objective were 20% to 67% less hireable (varying based on experience) than those who didn’t.

Controlling for experience, job applicants whose resume included an objective got 20.1% to 67.1% fewer job interviews compared to those who didn’t.

The only exception to this rule was for recent college graduates: for job applicants with <1 year of work experience, listing an explicit objective got ~7% more interviews. This isn’t a statistically significant gain, but it’s a significant contrast to everyone else.

Resume Tip: If you have less than ~8 months of experience, you might want to consider adding an objective. [+7% HIREABILITY BOOST]

Resume Tip: If you have 1+ years of experience, you should delete your objective. (See one more exception below.) Although it varies based on your specific experience, you’ll likely see a big hireability boost. [+20-67% HIREABILITY BOOST]

What’s Going On?

With the usual caveat that no one has any idea (anyone who claims otherwise is lying), I can give you my best theory as an experienced hiring manager. Here’s the short version: Most objectives are crap.

For example (anonymized to protect the innocent):

Focused and hard-working individual looking to develop new skills to serve the greater good.

Ambitious student working towards a B.S. in Epidemiology (pending graduation May, 2019).

To acquire, and maintain employment. To utilize the training and skills I’ve received in the past 5 years.

Like, really? As a hiring manager, I don’t really care if you want to “maintain employment.” (And honestly, this is a bit like saying your hamburger is 100% beef. If that’s the best compliment you can give yourself, you might have a bigger problem.)

What I do care is that you can do the job. Your objective gives me zero information about that and it’s something I have to wade past to get to the real stuff. But, if while wading past, I see something… well, it can definitely rule you out. For instance: spelling and grammar mistakes (rare), mismatch of interests (possible), a seed of doubt (common).

Here’s my theory: Most objectives convey zero information to hiring managers. At best, you can hope hiring managers will ignore it. At worst, it’ll give hiring managers an excuse to disqualify you.

This theory also explains why recent grads with objectives get slightly more interviews. Entry-level jobs get a deluge of applicants with no work history, and there’s basically no way to tell apart good applicants. If you can write a good objective (see below), you can squeeze out an edge over your competition.

Does Your Industry or Role Matter?

Controlling for role and industry, having an explicit objective still hurts (or doesn’t help) the overwhelming majority of job applicants.

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Listing an explicit objective doesn’t help for 106 out of 116 job roles — 91% of all roles out there.

It’s hard to make definitive claims about every specific role or industry (underwater welding, anyone?), but the overall trend is clear:

  • Only 2 out of 116 industries had statistically significant [*] higher hireability for applicants with an explicit objective. (Marketing Managers were statistically insignificant with a p-value of 0.902.)
  • There was a clear pattern for where it helped: they (a) were over-saturated, entry-level jobs where it was hard to distinguish good applicants, or (b) were in mission-driven fields where applicants’ motivations were especially important.

[* This of course doesn’t mean it only helps for 2 industries in reality, it just means that it either actually doesn’t help or the difference wasn’t big enough to be statistically detectable.]

Based on our holistic knowledge (we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people with their job search) and this analysis, here’s the full list of roles and industries where we believe an explicit objective might be helpful (even if there wasn’t a statistically significant difference):

RoleHireability Gain (%)P-valueWhy?
Budget Analysts121%0.187Hard to distinguish good applicants.
Credit Analysts144%0.456Hard to distinguish good applicants.
Financial Analysts105%0.410Hard to distinguish good applicants.
Counselors~500%-Mission-driven field.
Social Workers~500%-Mission-driven field.
Elementary Teachers~250%-Mission-driven field.
High School Teachers~250%-Mission-driven field.
Writers154%0.060Hard to distinguish good applicants.
Retail Salespeople50%-Hard to distinguish good applicants.
Customer Service Representatives62%-Hard to distinguish good applicants.

Which Kinds of Objectives Work In The Real World?

We took a look at the underlying resumes where objectives were correlated with increased hireability. Here are 3 objectives (details modified again to protect the innocent) from applicants who were 1+ standard deviation more hireable than their industry means:

Seeking a customer service position where I can utilize my multi-tasking abilities and attention to detail to assist in a fast-paced environment. Skills: real-world clerical experience, organizational skills, interpersonal skills.

Summa cum laude graduate with BS in communications studies, graduated May 2015. Proficient in Spanish.

Experienced with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux OSes; popular social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram); OpenTable, AldeloPRO, and NoWait restaurant management software

And here again are the 3 mediocre, low-hireability ones from above (these were all 1+ standard deviation below their industry hireability means):

Focused and hard-working individual looking to develop new skills to serve the greater good.

Ambitious student working towards a B.S. in Epidemiology (pending graduation May, 2019).

To acquire, and maintain employment. To utilize the training and skills I’ve received in the past 5 years.

What do you see? Here’s what I see in the low-hireability objectives:

  • They were generic and basically conveyed zero information to a hiring manager.
  • They spoke to the applicants’ wants & desires (not the hiring managers’ wants & desires).
  • Worse, they sometimes contained spelling or grammar mistakes. (Strictly speaking, the above weren’t grammatically incorrect, but two had awkward punctuation.)

On the other hand, the increased-hireability objectives all name-drop specific qualifications. In fact, they’re almost not even real objectives! They’re objective sections acting as a trojan horse to casually name-drop qualifications in the first few words of the resume. That’s brilliant!

In other words, good objectives weren’t actually objectives at all: rather than summarizing their own personal objectives, well-crafted objective statements gave their audience (hiring managers) what they wanted instead.

Resume Tip: If you have to include an objective, don’t talk about your own wants and desires. Instead, use it to casually name-drop a few of your skills that might appeal to hiring managers (in over-saturated fields) or summarize your motivation (in mission-driven fields).

What Can You Do?

We understand sorting through all the conflicting job search advice (and, hell, even the sheer amount of advice) can be overwhelming. That’s why we try to boil everything down to specific, actionable tips for your resume and back up everything we can with real-world data and concrete examples [*].

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On average, job applicants whose resume included an explicit objective or professional summary were ~30% less hireable than those who didn’t.

Resume Tip: Barring a few exceptions (less than 8 months of work experience, the list of industries above), you should delete your objective ASAP. [+30% HIREABILITY BOOST]

[* If they’re mining your data to sell you crap you don’t need, why not mine their data to help you get a job instead? That’s what we think at least.]

Even so, in just this post itself, we suggested 4 new resume tips. In total, across our six The Science of the Job Search posts this year, we’ve suggested a total 39+ real-world resume & job search tips. (I stopped counting after awhile.) They’re all highly actionable, data-driven tips but honestly, it’s just hard to keep track of it all after awhile.

If you’re looking for a job, you might be interested in signing up for TalentWorks. Among other things:

  • Our AI-driven ApplicationAssistant automatically pre-fills personalized cover letters for you from a template so you don’t have to worry about writing nice things for each of the 100+ job applications you’ll have to submit.
  • Our ResumeOptimizer will instantly scan your resume for all of 39+ tips we’ve written about to date, including optimizing your objective section.

For most things job search, we can just take care of it for you. And if not, one our wonderful TalentAdvocates can help you.


Methodology

First, we took a random sample of 6,231 recent job applications, applicants and outcomes across 681 cities and 116 roles and industries from recent activity on TalentWorks.

For each resume and job, we respectively calculated the MAP global parse tree using a custom, dynamic-vocabulary PCFG (our ResumeParser) and extracted the objective subtree if present and extracted the MAP job role along with 10 other bits of metadata from our index of ~91 million job postings. Finally, we independently regressed hireability for each sub-population with a blended constant-Matern kernel using a Gaussian process.

We did all of the analysis with in-house algorithms and sklearn/scipy in python. All plots were generated with Bokeh in python.

Why Are We Doing This?

With ApplicationAssistant right now, we can boost the average job-seeker’s hireability by ~5.8x. But, what makes ApplicationAssistant work has been an internal company secret until now. We’re fundamentally a mission-driven company and we believe we can help more people by sharing our learnings. So, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Creative Commons

We’re not only sharing this but also sharing all of it under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. In other words, as long as you follow a few license terms, this means you can:

  • Share: Copy, redistribute the material in any medium or format.
  • Adapt: Remix, transform, and build upon the material.

 

Here’s A Trick That Will Instantly Make Your Resume Better

Looking for help in the job search can be nearly as overwhelming as the search itself. There are a million different articles full of billions of tips and tricks that will help push your resume to the top of the pile (and we’re just as guilty in creating the clutter).

There’s checklists, templates and run-downs of Never-Ever-Evers. There’s recommendations on everything from how to format a resume on down to file type and font. It’s a lot to take in. So, knowing that you have a few more tabs open to look at, we’re here to offer one simple piece of advice. No top 5, no samples to download, just one tip that will get your resume noticed.

Use task/result sentences.

That’s really it. Fix your sentence formatting in your resume and your callbacks will increase. Hiring managers are looking for people who get results and this one trick of sentence structure will make you that person.

How it works:

A resume is a list of work you’ve done. Because of that, it lends itself to rote listing of your duties and responsibilities in the past. Even if your resume is impressive, laying out your daily to-do list to a stranger is bound to make their eyes gloss over.

Task/result sentences avoid this trap by telling the manager what the outcome of your work was and the ways in which you helped the company. Rather than telling them what you did, you’re telling them how the company fared because of your work. That’s bound to stick out in a sea of drab responsibility-listing.

Any examples?

The way you’re probably writing your resume currently looks something like this:

JOB A

  • Ran the Etcetera, Etcetera Campaign
  • Handled social media outreach
  • Organized the office space

But with task/result sentences, it can look like this:

JOB A

  • Launched a fundraising campaign that raised $10,000 in 8 weeks which extended runway for X months
  • Created a social media influencer outreach campaign that led to 10K new Twitter followers and 11% increase in monthly revenue
  • Led a space planning and reorganization workshop that freed up 160 square feet of office space for the company
    Here’s an additional job search tip. Always use numbers where you can. Quantifiable impacts are much-loved by hiring managers. It makes it that much easier to pitch your worth to the people in the company.

Of course, there’s more than just sentence structure to the job search. That’s where we can help. Our ResumeOptimizer and fully automated job search suite is only $10 and guarantees that you’ll hear back from a job you want.

What To Know On The Day Of Your Job Interview

Every job interview is going to be slightly different. But there are a few key ways in which they will always be the same. We’ve already gone over common questions that you should have a solid answer to before any interview, but don’t forget that an interview is a face-to-face interaction.

Getting wrapped up in your rote answers isn’t the way to go. The interviewer is there to have a conversation with another person and see if they’re a fit for the job, not listen to a series of monologues. Basically, you need to remember that the person on the other side of the desk is just that, a person. Treat them the way you’d expect to be treated and try and talk to them as naturally as possible.

Not to worry, though. If rote memorization is more your style, we have a handy checklist of day-of interview tips for you to run through.

Arrive On Time

You don’t want to start off with the person in charge of hiring you thinking you don’t value their time. If you arrive late and throw off their schedule for the rest of the day, they probably aren’t going to leave the interview with the most glowing portrait of you as a candidate. Plot your route and give yourself plenty of time to get there.

Good enough, Smart Enough and, Gosh darn it…

…people want to hire you. Don’t psych yourself out. If you weren’t qualified enough to catch their eye, they wouldn’t have called you at all. Keep it in mind to keep your confidence up throughout the interview.

Mirror, Mirror

If your interviewer is curt and formal, be curt and formal. If your interviewer is casual, be loose. If your interviewer sits backwards in their chair, they’re probably going to tell you about avoiding drugs. Let them and meet them where they are.

Be Polite

Please and thank you. Yes, sir and no, ma’am. Hold doors and shake hands firmly. Tell people it’s nice to meet them. If it helps, pretend your grandparents are in the room.

Remember Names and Follow Up

People like when you remember their names. People like when you express interest. Do both. Show that you’re committed to the job by asking after it and thanking them for talking to you.

You Gotta Get There First

To wow them, first you need to get in the room. That’s our specialty. We can optimize your resume and send it to the jobs you want for you. For just $10, we’ll turn the scrap parts of your application into a well-oiled machine, get it up and humming and let it generate results.

How To Research A Company Before A Job Interview

We know that the job hunt can be exhausting. All the digging, applying and letter-writing can really take a toll. But that doesn’t excuse shoddy research. If you’ve done enough to wow the hiring managers into calling you up to talk about the position, be sure that you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about. Nothing kills a job interview faster than not knowing about the company you’re trying to join.

Beyond the fact that it demonstrates basic competency and it’s just good manners, you definitely should do a little looking around to get a feel for a company before you’re standing in front of a recruiter’s desk. They can tell when you haven’t prepared and it’s a red flag for them that signals you might not be taking the position seriously.

Of course, if you don’t come from a research-heavy background, knowing how to find the information you need to effectively stunt on an interviewer can be tough. What questions should you even be asking? Luckily, as with all things job-search-related, we’re pros and we’ve got your back.

What To Ask

You can’t find the right answers without asking the right questions. So, here’s a few stock queries that you’ll want to know before any interview.

  • How did their company mission come to be, and does the press around the company support it?
  • What’s their primary product, and who is their customer?
  • Who are their direct (and indirect) competitors?

How To Find It

The company mission is almost always a simple find. Take a look around the website with an eye toward an “About” section. These typically include not only a plain statement of their company’s core values and what they wish to be, they also tend to feature biographical information that will let you know why they felt the need to start the company in the first place.

The primary product can typically be discerned via similar methods. Just look around their online presence to see what it is they are selling. Read over the copy to try and get an idea of who they are talking to if their customers aren’t immediately apparent.

Competitors can be found via a quirk of Google. Type in the name of the company followed by “vs.” and the search will auto-populate with companies that people are considering as an alternative to whatever Company X is offering.

For a deeper dive, search the news for stories about the company to see if it’s fulfilling its core mission or has made any big moves in the recent past. Beyond that, scanning the company’s profile on Crunchbase can give you crucial info about who is supporting the company and who works within it.

How To Use It

Try and incorporate your knowledge of the company into the discussion at an interview. Mention that you saw their most recent positive news in an answer. Ask what they’re doing to fight Competitor Y and offer a few ways that you could join in that scuffle. Talk about the ways that you find their product or mission useful.

If you appear to be engaged with the company, recruiters can’t help but notice.

Of course, you can’t wow a recruiter if you never get in the room with them. That’s where we come in. We can optimize your resume to guarantee that it catches the eye of potential employer and automatically send it to jobs matching your skill set. For just $10, we guarantee that you’ll get your shot to knock off some HR socks.

The Three Job Interview Questions You Should Have Down Pat

Preparing your resume for a new job is difficult, but not impossible. You have the benefit of time — no one is going to burst into the room and demand to look at your CV before you send it — and the comfort of multiple edits to help you feel alright about the part of your history you’re showing to the world.

Interviews are an entirely different beast. You only get one shot one opportunity to look great and whether or not you do is entirely based on your ability to improvise around an interviewer’s pet questions.

Here’s a sampling of a few odd questions I’ve personally been asked:

  • Can you fold a fitted sheet?
  • How do you feel about your name?
  • What kind of animal would you want to reincarnate as?
  • Thoughts on karaoke?
  • (In a windowless room) Which way is north?

These questions are meant to startle, to get you thinking creatively or to get a sense of your priorities without asking about them directly. And because they are so rare they can be hard to prepare for, leading to the dreaded moment of actually having to sit and think about your words before you say them (a big no-no in the job hunting world and nowhere else).

But you can smooth over any potential speed bumps by preparing yourself with a few solid answers to questions you know are going to be asked. I know we just said that interviewers are trying to rattle you with let-field queries, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few questions that almost every recruiter is going to ask.

Tell Me About Yourself

This is the opener for 99% of interviews for obvious reasons. It’s a good, open-ended way to get started talking about the subject at hand, allowing multiple jumping-off points for the interviewer to move forward with the conversation. Or, at least, it will if you don’t completely bungle it.

Knowing that this question is coming is half the battle, as a long-forgotten war hero said. And since you can almost guarantee that this question will kick off any interview, there’s no excuse for flubbing it.

The interviewer wants you to recap your experience in your own words, hopefully leading up to the point that you’re clearly qualified for this gig and ending in an explanation of why you decided to apply.

Job Search Tip: Write out your response, going through your history chronologically and run through it a few times until it feels natural.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This question is truly tough. It flies in the face of a lifetime of home training, asking you to talk bluntly about things you’re good at. It’s akin to straight-up bragging, but within limits.

Both knowing how to brag on yourself and knowing when to stop are difficult, but that can be fixed if you think of it in terms of resume bullet points. What they want to hear is your most relevant skill backed by an example of you using that skill in the past. “I’m really good at X and I got that way doing Y.” Keep this formulation in mind when practicing for your next interview.

Weaknesses can be even trickier. You don’t want to share anything that might disqualify you, but you don’t want to give a non-answer that will leave the interviewer rolling their eyes. Be honest here and share something that you have struggled with in the past, but follow that up with an explanation of the steps you took or are taking to change that. They want to know that you’re self-aware and adaptable.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is a great one for all the dungeon masters out there, because it’s plotting out a bit of a fantasy. Imagine a magical land where job security is assured and you’ve found a job you like doing. Might as well throw in some orcs at that point, right?

What the interviewer wants to hear from you here is how you plan to grow at the company. What do you see yourself doing when you outgrow the position they have offered? What skills will you have honed by that time? And what passions will the job be fulfilling for you? You need to show that there’s something about the job that interests you and that you’ll be willing to grab that part of the gig and run with it.

Job Search Tip: Plot out several trajectories based on the requirements of the job at hand and try and use the one that you feel will resonate the best with the interviewer. If you need to know which skills they are looking for, look out for the points where they ask follow-up questions.

To even get to these questions, though, you have to leap some pretty big hurdles. That’s where we can help. Allow us to optimize your resume and automate your job search to ensure that you’re sweating over interview questions quicker. For just $10, we guarantee that we can land you the interviews you’ve been after.

 

How should I explain my layoff in my job interview?

Dear Sarah,

I was laid off 5 months ago due to a company merger and it has been tough finding work. I’ve finally managed to snag an interview recently, but now I’m struggling to prepare how I’m going to frame my layoff. Any advice?

Thanks,

Laid Off and Out

Hey LOO,

First of all, congrats on the job interview!

Secondly, you’re not alone having had a tough time getting an interview. At Talent.Works we’ve actually found that the job hunt is tougher for those that have experienced layoffs/firings; having either on your resume is the equivalent of losing 5 years of work experience. (It’s especially hard if you were fired, quit, or laid off in the first 15 months of being there).

The good news is, you’re past the hard part! This company has already viewed your resume, liked what they saw, and decided to start the conversation. At this point, it’s all about communication:

Be Transparent  

Understand that there is nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to a layoff. There are a multitude of reasons that someone will get laid-off in their lifetime and it happens to everyone from star employees to 80% of an entire sales department, for example. (In other words, don’t take it personal as there are business decisions.)

Be honest and transparent about communicating your situation, for example, include the correct start and end dates to your jobs. In your case, explaining the circumstances surrounding your layoff (RE: merger) will also eliminate this as being a performance issue. Whatever the reason, keep it brief.

Explain your value add

Regardless of the amount time you spent at your job, hiring managers want to know how you contributed. Make sure you list out your accomplishments such as raising funds or saving money and tie it back to the bottom line. Even if you were there for 6 months, emphasize your skills and how you contributed to departmental goals.

Make available past work

If you haven’t already considered it, crafting a specialized blog, website, or portfolio showcasing your work is a great way to convince hiring managers you have the skills necessary for this position regardless of past circumstances. Case studies, writing/design samples, and lesson plans are all great examples of what a manager would find helpful in making their decision. Of course, don’t share anything of a proprietary nature.

Gather your references

Social proof! Colleagues willing to provide testimonials as to your work ethic and past performance is incredibly valuable, especially if it’s coming from the job where you experienced the layoff. It will offset potential concerns and they’ll be able to briefly speak to the situation, if asked. If they’re not able to provide a phone reference, send them a reference request via LinkedIN and make sure your hiring manager has access.

All the best!

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Speed Up Your Job Search With A Cover Letter Cheat Sheet

We all know that sending the same canned cover letters to every job opening is a waste of time. Even if we ignore the fact that every job is different, making it impossible to meet all the requests of every posting in one single document, there’s the person on the other end to consider. Scanning cover letters is their actual job and they’ve developed a strong sense of when they’re being fed a form letter.How Long Should A Cover Letter Be?

It would be a  waste of time to send out letters about your [INSERT SKILLS] to [HR MANAGER NAME GOES HERE]. But writing custom letters from scratch for every application is an equally unjustifiable timesuck. Luckily, there’s a happy medium: a cover letter cheat sheet.

Whazzat?

A cover letter cheat sheet is a form of plug-and-play elements that you can insert into any letter depending on the asks and qualifications of the position you’re throwing in for. It gives you the ability to address the needs of every posting without writing out every last letter by hand.

Beyond the need to save time, a cheat sheet can also save you from costly mistakes. The more you have to type out, the greater chance of typos and other errors appearing in your application. With a cheat sheet, you only have to proof your premade paragraphs.

How’s It Work?

Make a list of skills that you think are relevant for the jobs in your field. It should be easy to find these, they are probably in the “Skills” section of your resume. For every skill, write out a paragraph explaining how you have used or came to possess that talent in the past.

Check out two examples below:

Skill Relevant Experience
Organization & Administration I honed my administrative and organizational skills during my time at SaveTheWhales.org. Tasked with taking minutes, case management, phoning patients, data entry and general filing, I’m able to handle any administrative duties given to me with little to no supervision.
Clinical Interviews During my time at the King County Health Department, I conducted hundreds of clinical interviews with AIDS victims. By being sensitive, sympathetic and understanding of their situation, I was able to distill useful information that subsequently helped educate the community on risk factors of the disease.

With this list of skills in hand, you can quickly customize any cover letter to address the needs of any position.

 

Of course, cover letters aren’t the only thing that need to be tweaked in order to catch a recruiter’s attention. And they are far from the only bit of the application process that can be a pain. Luckily, we can help!

For just $10, we can optimize your resume to make sure that it’s landing on the top of the pile. And we can take that clean, new resume and send it out to jobs you’re interested in on your behalf, automating your job search and landing you an interview that much faster.

Why Smaller Companies Are Better Early on in Your Career

The allure of large, name-brand companies such as Google, Edward Jones, Deloitte and Hyatt (all included in Forbes 100 Best Places to Work 2018) is understandable. Great perks, brand association, more resources, and exposure to the workings of core business on a large scale (i.e.: processes, performance, making an impact, etc.) make for an environment that can help you reach your career goals…maybe.

Although the corporate mold has major benefits in some respect, applying to smaller or medium-sized companies (<200) especially early on in your career will not only increase your transferable skillset but foster a ‘think outside the box’ mentality that will serve you in any working environment.

You’ll quickly learn a ton.

With varied responsibilities that don’t always fit your job description, you’re expanding your skillset on a regular basis. Getting to wear multiple hats and work cross-functionally with different departments is a highly sought after professional attribute in any business setting.

Creatures of habit will balk at change in responsibility, and if not presented correctly (i.e.: not being offered the proper resources to help you succeed) this type of transition can be stressful. Ultimately for your budding career, more opportunity is best and employees that work in smaller companies are visible and less likely to be siloed where they can’t professionally grow.

You’ll have more influence.

In a small business setting, the work you do is naturally more visible. For this reason, you’re able to make a tangible impact on a daily basis. Larger companies may offer a built-in support system but the connections you make at a smaller company where your immediate team and beyond are regularly witnessing your wins and contributions arguably makes for intimate references and networking connections.

Your professional success is vital to the success of a small business and this is a huge motivator for managers to make themselves to you. Your first job(s) are learning experiences and your boss/mentors have a great deal of information and experience to share. In larger companies (perhaps where the bottom line isn’t the #1 goal) it may be more difficult to gain access to your manager.

More flexibility to discover what works for you.

Larger businesses have corporate policies and regulations that are put in place regarding what an employee can and cannot do; not doing so would absolutely burden a corporate structure of 500+ employees. Smaller companies inherently have the wiggle room to offer things like flexible work schedules/breaks, adaptability in hiring, and even work from home options. This fosters a certain work ethic early on in your career where trust between yourself and your manager/co-workers is vital. There is no room to take advantage of long breaks everyday as your presence is noticed.

Applying to smaller businesses and start-ups requires a different approach. If you’re looking for guidance in how to get a small business interview (or what jobs would best fit your skills), we can help.

For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).

Searching For A Job? You Should Have A Portfolio

Listen, you need a portfolio. This isn’t some moment at the open mic where you can pretend the person on stage is talking to someone else. This isn’t a stage production of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. If you’re reading this, you should know that you need a portfolio.

How do I know you need one? Well, for one, you’re looking for a job and a clean-looking collection of all your accomplishments can only help. But mostly, a portfolio is just something that every person, no matter their field or job, should have.

The Big Reason Why

I know I’ve been telling you that you need a portfolio, now let me show you why they’re necessary. That’s actually exactly it: showing over telling.

Literally every single person who is applying for the same jobs as you is saying that they’re the right fit for the job. After a while, it’s all so much white noise. A portfolio showing that you’ve handled the exact sort of work that they’ll expect from you at this new gig is a surefire way to stand out among all the people who are just saying “trust me.”

If they are looking for leaders, go ahead and share a few projects you’ve lead. If they’re looking for someone with an eye for design, wow them with your work on a website that looks great. There’s no reason not to have examples of your work contained in one easy-to-navigate space.

But I’m Not A Creative

Doesn’t matter. Even if you don’t have copies of projects to share, a personal website with crisp and clean photos of yourself alongside you accomplishments is bound to make the right impression. As we’ve mentioned before, being heard above the din can be hard. You want to do anything that will help you stick out in a hiring manager’s mind even a tiny amount.

Knowing What Type Of Portfolio To Create

Since everybody needs one, quite a few places have cropped up that work well to host portfolios. Which portfolio works for you depends entirely upon what type of work you’re looking to do.

Behance works well for creative work, Medium is the spot for written words and Dribbble is for all the graphic designers. For the B.S. types, GitHub is great for engineering work. If your jobs have been a bit more nebulous, try out Squarespace or WordPress and fill the pages with stories about your experience.

What Should I Share?

Only your best. Seriously, go over all of your potential best projects and ding them. Be as ruthless to your own work as you possibly can. When you get done, you’ll probably be left with 3-5 really good examples and that’s what you want to build around.

Job Search Tip: While you’re in the mood for criticism, pass your portfolio off to friends and have them critique it. A fresh set of eyes never hurt.

While You’re Here…

We’re sure your portfolio is great, but that isn’t going to matter if your application never grabs a recruiter’s interest in the first place. For just $10, we can optimize your resume to make sure that it’s what hiring managers are looking for and automate your job search, sending out applications to all the jobs you want without wasting any of your time. We even offer a money-back guarantee because we know that our portfolio would be stacked with successfully placed candidates.

Making Sure Social Media Doesn’t Hurt You In The Job Search

We all preach keeping our personal life and work life separate. But in this endlessly interconnected age, that’s not always possible. Your personal online life will absolutely intersect with your professional online life at some point. It’s unavoidable.

But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With proper planning you can make sure that the crossroads at Facebook & Your Resume isn’t the site of a flaming wreck. Knowing that hiring managers are going to snoop on your social media profiles gives you the upper hand, allowing you to craft your online presence in a way that will show them what they want to see when they come digging.

To make it a little easier to snoop-proof your socials, we’ve put together a few tips.

Visit Like A Stranger

This is the most important part of any steps you might take to make your social media profile more presentable. You have to visit your page as an outsider if you want to have any hope of finding all the things that might pop up and scare off a prospective employer.

Dig around. Click on links that you wouldn’t if you were just using the platform in your day-to-day life. Double check what friends have tagged you in. If anything comes up that you think might throw off an employer, delete it ASAP.

Job Search Tip: Visit your pages in incognito mode to see what they look like to everyone else.

Make Sure You Match

Everyone stretches the truth during the job application process. You’re trying to make the best possible case for yourself, so you go ahead and look at your experience through rose-colored glasses and share that idea of yourself with recruiters. But that carefully constructed rosy reality can come crashing down quick if it doesn’t jibe with your social media profile.

Make sure that any recruiter who would stumble upon your page will find something roughly consistent with what you sent them. Your page doesn’t have to match your resume line for line. People do present themselves differently in different spaces, after all. But your employment history should match in a way that’s not going to send up any red flags.

Use A Professional-looking Profile Photo

This one’s easy. Try and get yourself a headshot. The first picture that any snooper might see should be a clean, clear photo of just you. Bonus points if you’re professionally dressed and smiling in a way that seems candid.

It Ain’t All Bad

I know we’ve made it seem like social media is nothing but a minefield meant to blow up any chances you have at landing your next gig. But social media can do at least as much helping as it does hindering, if you know how to make it work for you.

LinkedIn can be a great resource to provide you with legs-up and ways in if you regularly make a point of connecting with the people you’ve worked alongside. Growing your network (and maybe getting a few recommendations for skills you claim to have along the way) is a great way to show recruiters that real, live people enjoyed working with you.

Beyond that, Twitter is an excellent resource to find out who is hiring in the first place. Following people from the companies you want to work for can provide an inside scoop on a new gig, allowing you to get your resume in ahead of the horde.

We Can Help!

While we can’t paper over the pitfalls in your profile, we can help with everything else. For just $10, we will not only optimize your resume to guarantee that it’s giving hiring managers what they want, we’ll also automate the application process and send out that resume for you. We’re so confident in our method that we’ll put your money where our mouth is. If you don’t land an interview, we offer your money back. Luckily, our success rate makes this an easy bet to make.