Do you hate updating your resume all the time? Or are you confused about how HR resume parsing software works? That makes at least two of us. Or rather, it did makes two of us until my close friend told me the secret of LinkedIn.
Resumes are notorious for being confusing and a pain. Because…. well they just are. And as an occasional job hunter, it is hard to master the skill. We typically rely on professional resume writers to assist us, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense to shell out money.
After reading this blog, you will be able to easily update your resume, quickly apply for high-quality job postings, and attract recruiters to your profile.
People commonly ask about resumes:
These are all great questions that I plan to answer today. One of my awesome friends, who, by the way, is a recruiter, turned me on to this technique, and I want to share it with you today! The answer is LinkedIn.
Yes, the social media platform you can’t help but come across in the professional world. Get ready to dive into setting up a professional profile and attracting recruiters like bees to honey.
1. Actually Use LinkedIn
First off, if you aren’t on LinkedIn and you are a professional, you should be.
The site has single-handedly given my career life. No joke, I have found most of my jobs through using LinkedIn. If that isn’t enough evidence that LinkedIn is an excellent tool for job hunting, I don’t know what is.
If you don’t know what LinkedIn is, it is a mix between Facebook and Indeed. LinkedIn themselves describe the platform as “primarily used for professional networking and career development, and allows job seekers to post their CVs and employers to post jobs.”
Because the platform is for professionals, people actively seek out others they would like to connect with. This means recruiters are actively looking for candidates like you. For them to find you, you have to make it easy for them.
Build Your Profile
Now that you know what LinkedIn is, it’s time to build your profile. And not just any profile, an eye-catching profile that will attract jobs to you.
I am so strongly opinionated about LinkedIn because my first infosec job came from an internal recruiter reaching out to me. They were using the platform to find entry-level candidates just like me.
If you doubt whether to be on LinkedIn, do yourself a favor and put the hesitation aside. This is the place to be. Your profile will act as a living resume representing you on LinkedIn attracting opportunities even while you have a job. What better time to look or build a relationship with a recruiter?
This means that even without actively seeking out jobs, you will get solicitations from recruiters. You never know when a great opportunity will come along.
Without further ado, let’s get your profile set up.
2. Fill Out the Basics
The first step in building your profile is to fill out the usual stuff:
These should be pretty straight forward although we will come back to your jobs. Do your best we will come back to these later.
3. Boom! Headshot!
Next, add a profile image.
Your image should be a professional-looking headshot. It doesn’t have to be professionally done by any means but, you should be the focus of the image. Most articles agree that an image should have clear with good lighting and a neutral background.
This image represents who you are to potential employers, so be yourself and smile.
For more tips, check out this blog called “10 Tips for Picking the Right LinkedIn Profile Picture.”
4. Write an Attention Grabbing Headline
Headlines are an advertisement for who you are on LinkedIn. You want to attract attention to whatever your cause is. Because you are reading this blog, you are obviously a job seeker.
Some examples of good headlines are:
Make sure to convey what you are looking for, something important about you, and what kind of position you are looking for.
You will notice Security+ in my examples. This is because certifications are essential for entry level-candidates. However, any other infosec certification will work. You want to show the recruiters that you have been working hard to break into the industry.
For more ideas on headlines, check out these resources:
21 LinkedIn Headline Examples for Job Seekers
12 Impactful LinkedIn Headline Examples from Real People
5. Write a Captivating Summary
Summaries are always difficult for me. I have to talk about myself, and I don’t really like doing that. Most of you can probably relate.
You have 2,000 characters to tell the world about who you are and what makes you a great candidate in a LinkedIn summary. No stress.
If you are a student, focus on what you love to do and courses that you have excelled in. Feel free to mention what you are working on outside of school. This could be where you mention the online courses you are taking. As an entry-level technical role seeker, you want to focus on the technical skills you are actively building.
Remember, you lack experience, but you can make up for it with passion.
For those changing careers, feel free to mention skills that translate well to the new role you are seeking. For instance, companies like the fact that I am a business owner. Things such as project management, contract work, and presentation skills set me apart.
Think about skills that you have that could set you apart from the crowd.
For both types of candidates mentioned, I caution you not to overly focus soft skills. Candidates make the mistake of assuming soft skills can compensate for the lack of technical skills. False. They never will.
Soft skills are important. I won’t argue against that. But someone with great soft skills and zero technical skills is absolutely useless in this field. Future employers want to know that you have what it takes to learn the next job quickly. Show them that you are actively engaged in learning independently.
As an employer, when I see independently completed course work, I think to myself, “they don’t have the skills, but boy, are they really working on it.” The candidate now looks like they will bust their tail to learn. Make sure to support this part of your summary with completed classes in your profile.
For more tips on your summary, check out these resources:
5 LinkedIn Summary Examples for Job Seekers
5 LinkedIn Summary Examples To Give You Inspiration To Write Your Own
6. Get Recommendations
Recommendations are always a good thing. They tell potential employers that you were a solid enough student or employee, that someone took the time to write something nice about you. Similar to a normal resume, these recommendations act like references.
You want to focus on getting recommendations to speak about skills that are useful for your ideal job. I will use a Junior SOC Analyst as an example.
If you are a student, ask your professors for a recommendation. These will be especially beneficial for classes related to IT, ethical hacking, networking, servers, etc. If you were a great student, you shouldn’t have a problem getting them to do this for you. One or two recommendations will suffice.
If you are already in IT, perhaps at a help desk, get your manager to write a recommendation for you. Again, if you are a hard worker, people will want to help you.
For interns, do the same. Have them talk about what a great worker you have been and how you have been helpful to the organization. Most interns help with specific projects, and these could be things the manager speaks on. If they mention info skills that you flexed while interning, even better.
Fine Tune Your Work Experience Section
Some people on the internet say that the resume should look different than your LinkedIn profile. And that is not necessarily bad advice. To each their own.
However, as I said before, I am in the camp that your LinkedIn profile can be both. First off, this is a huge time saver. And secondly, seriously, why can’t it be both? But don’t take my word for it. Recruiters were the people that revealed this secret to me.
If you already have a polished resume, then perfect. You can simply use all that hard work to fill out this section. If, however, your resume is lacking in finesse, we need to work on it.
Many of the tips that apply to resumes apply here as well.
7. Write Great Descriptions for Your Work Experience
Based on several articles, two of which will be listed below, the best practice here is to use one to three sentences to describe the role.
In your description, focus on the skills you used while employed. These words are important because the skills will sometimes be used in keyword searches by recruiters. If skill is listed in your profile and the recruiter searches with it as a keyword, they will find you. Easy. Help them help you.
We will discuss keywords in more depth in the next section.
Next, make sure to show progress between your different roles. How did you grow as a practitioner? What made this role different from the last? Everyone likes a good story, and employers like people who aren’t stagnant.
For more information on your job descriptions, see these resources:
LinkedIn Work Experience Section
How to Create the Experience Section of Your LinkedIn Profile
8. Talk about Your Achievements
Followed by the descriptions should be your achievements for that role. Online articles on this topic recommend using three to five bullets achievements.
For your bullets, you should show your achievements. Undoubtedly, while you worked at the company, you did a couple of things that were noteworthy. List these.
Melissa Llarena recommends using the PARS framework for your bullets:
Her example of a good bullet is, “Managed and led a team of six in cost reduction initiatives that reduced labor costs by 12%, overtime by 24%, and material waste by 43%.”
Yes, our bullets will not look like that but, the principle still holds true in tech. For a help desk position, maybe something like,
“Enabled the successful launch of a new software offering by being the only qualified support engineer to complete a last-minute 40-hour course over a single weekend.”
9. Use Proper Keywords for Your Role
Now, it’s time to fine-tune your resume further. Make sure to use words that commonly show up in job listings for roles you are looking for. This helps catch the eyes of recruiters looking for people like you. The more you speak to their job description, the more likely they are to look at you and see a great candidate.
Take some time to go through job listings and collect a list of keywords that make sense for your profile.
This can be a difficult task for entry-level analysts, but you will have an easier time if you worked at a help desk. Make sure to speak to the operating systems used and the networking aspects of your job. If you worked on servers or in Active Directory, even better.
As an analyst, your job is to convert what you see in logs into a story. The more you IT knowledge you have, the easier time you will have. Businesses are looking at your resume and thinking, do they have the potential to be great SOC Analysts. Give them a reason to say yes.
If you don’t have any experience to rely on, leverage your education, online courses, and certifications to tell this story for you.
10. Use the correct tense.
This is an easy one. If you worked at a place in the past, use past tense. If you work there now, use the present tense. Makes sense, right?
Periodically, make sure to go back and update the language as you change jobs as well
11. Link to Previous Employers
If an employer has a LinkedIn page, make sure to link it to your profile. With the popularity of LinkedIn, if you have a position that is not linked, it looks kind of sketchy. Almost every business has a profile; therefore, they should be linkable.
LinkedIn makes it easy to do this as you are building out the work experience section. They do this by bringing up suggestions as you start typing the name. Just choose the right company, and you are good to go.
Sometimes multiple companies have the same name. If you find yourself in this position, when looking for a past employer, simply look for the correct logo. This should help you find your way through the generic name haystack.
LinkedIn profiles are a no-brainer to have these days. But are you doing it right? Hopefully, after reading this post, you can transform your profile and start attracting the types of jobs you want.
To be successful, you have to have multiple things working for you. Your LinkedIn profile is just one of those tools. Keep following our “Get a Job Series” to learn more ways to stand out and enable yourself to get your first infosec job!
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