Today’s post is written by Christina Miller, a current MBA student with some fantastic career advice. Besides studying for her MBA, Christina is a freelance writer who primarily covers issues related to job search in the digital age. Need more job hunt tips? You can reach her at writer_chris[at]yahoo[dot]com.
I use technology all the time – whether I’m Instagramming pictures, scrolling through my Facebook feed or catching up on my favorite blogs. My phone or tablet is always in hand, and I’m not sure how I survived before the Netflix app.
For me, technology used to be a way to pass the time when I was waiting in lines, stuck in traffic or just bored at home. But as a twenty-something and a recent college grad, I’ve also realized that using technology is a great way to make myself stand out in the job market.
If you’re on the job hunt, follow these tech tips to stay ahead – every step of the way.
Step one: the resume
When you’re competing with hundreds of applicants for the position you want, the standard resume format you learned in high school isn’t going to cut it. Your resume is the first impression you make with a company, so it has to be good. To make yours show off in the stack, think original.
With technology, you can do a lot more than just Times New Roman in black-and-white. First, make sure your resume is available online, whether it’s on your LinkedIn profile or a personal website. You can always sign up for a free website from tumblr or google sites, and some internet providers like verizon.com even offer free site builders to their subscribers. You don’t need mad design skills to use these services so be sure to customize your site. Link to examples of your work. Use fonts, formats and even colors that reflect you and your goals.
Applying for a job in a more creative field? Then you have even more freedom to think outside the box. Make sure employers remember your application with a video resume. Keep it short, but pack a punch. Be yourself, highlight your accomplishments and demonstrate your skills.
Step two: the interview
So, your resume passed the test. The next step? An interview. But it may not be the in-person interview you were expecting. More and more companies are opting to save time and money by speaking with potential candidates online over Skype or Google+ Hangout.
Don’t panic if an employer sets up an video interview – you still have just as much of a chance to impress your future boss (fingers crossed). Set your computer up in a clean, neutral area. Make eye contact with your interviewer – not your own image. And even if your interviewer can only see you above-the-waist, dress to impress like you would for any other interview.
You’ve got the atmosphere, the attire and the attitude. But even more important? Your tech tools. Don’t blow your chance to land your dream job with blurry picture quality, fuzzy audio or a spotty signal. Make sure your laptop – and your Internet service – is up to speed. For the best result try hooking up with your Ethernet connection; a ‘hard’ connection will be much more reliable than a wi-fi connection.
Step three: the follow-up
If you want an employer to remember you after you walk out the door – or hit “End Video Chat” – follow up with him or her after the interview. Before the days of video resumes and Skype interviews, it was the norm to send a thank you note – and that’s never a bad idea. But now, you can also use technology to leave your mark.
Rather than (or in addition to) penning a note and sending it through snail-mail, send a brief email to your interviewer the same day. But don’t turn it into a tweet just because it’s online. Be formal and professional. Mention how enthusiastic you are about the opportunity, thank him or her for taking the time to speak with you, and offer any additional materials. Then, just hit send.
An easy way to take your follow-up to the next level? Check out the company’s presence online. Follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Like their Facebook page and subscribe to their newsletter. Just make sure you clean up your own online presence before you interact.
What are your tried-and-true, tech-savvy tips for standing out?