This post was developed with input from Bill Franks, internationally recognized thought leader, speaker, and author focused on data science & analytics.
Let’s say a contact, recruiter, or random person sees your profile on LinkedIn and decides you are a good fit for a great role that they know of. They reach out to inform you about the role and ask if you are interested in pursuing it. What happens next? Traditionally, the follow-up to this interaction would require you to send over an updated resume and provide your availability to speak with a hiring manager. Are you ready to quickly respond and land your dream job? For many, the answer is no. Let’s talk about how to be prepared to strike when the opportunity comes knocking.
LinkedIn is a Must
“If you’re not on LinkedIn, you don’t exist” – this statement is very true. It is vital for all professionals in this digital age to have some sort of presence on LinkedIn. For starters, it is very important for you to keep your profile up to date. If you have recently gotten a promotion that hasn’t been reflected, then you may miss out on the jobs that are looking for a candidate with more seniority. If you’ve switched companies and don’t have that indicated on your profile, those looking at your profile won’t get the full picture. If you’ve completed any further education or certifications relevant to your current role (or the roles that you are pursuing), be sure to include those as well. We encourage you to be at least moderately active in both posting and commenting so that when someone visits your profile, it is obvious that you are giving your LinkedIn presence attention. All in all, LinkedIn can have a huge impact on your future job search, and so you should make sure that your profile adequately depicts the full scope of your personal and professional achievements.
Perfect your Resume
Your resume, especially as a senior level professional, must be perfect. What do we mean by perfect? It needs to be fully updated, free from typos, and must contain no grammar errors. It is very easy to update your resume with each notable change immediately after it occurs rather than waiting for years and then attempting to do a full revamp – so stay dedicated to the practice of continuous updates. It is also important to keep in mind that it is very possible for you to forget details of your job duties, key performance facts, and projects that you’ve worked on as time passes, so be sure to get it all documented while the information is fresh. When someone is interested in hiring you for an open role, the first thing they will ask for is a resume. The longer you make them wait, the more unprepared you will look. If you take too long, there is also a chance they might move on and begin pursuing other candidates – don’t let this happen to you. It is rare, and therefore impressive, when someone says they have a resume that is ready and can be sent out immediately.
Prepare a Solid Elevator Pitch
Professionals are always advised to have an elevator pitch prepared at every point in their career. The reason for this is that you need to be able to succinctly explain what you’ve done over the course of your career, what you have gained from it, and what the impact for your employer(s) was. You also need to be able to explain what you are aiming for, why you are considering making a change (if applicable), and what success would look like for you in the long-term. Let’s face it, you could bump into someone who knows of a job opportunity at any time, whether at a conference, a meeting, or even just a coffee shop. When they present you with their opportunity, you need to be ready with your narrative or you’ll miss the chance.
In the professional world, an opportunity can come knocking at any moment – and the best often come your way when you aren’t looking. It is to your advantage to be prepared to aggressively pursue any opportunity that comes your way. This requires giving attention on an ongoing basis to your LinkedIn profile, your resume, and a narrative that explains your future plans and goals. If you are disciplined about regularly spending a little time to keep your information up to date, you will be prepared to respond quickly and strongly the next time you hear an opportunity knocking at your door!
We hope this information was helpful, please reach out the Burtch Works team if you would like any further advice on how to prepare for the next big step in your career.