Portfolios & Resumes: What Clients Are Looking For

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Your resume is often the first contact you make with employers and potential clients, and this first impression can either wow them and lead to you getting the job or not so much. For this reason, mastering the art of resume writing is so important–learning how to craft a killer resume is truly an investment in your future!

All too often, hiring managers see the same mistakes time and time again in applicants’ resumes. Unfortunately, making these mistakes can automatically put your application in the ‘no’ pile. So what does it take to create a resume or portfolio that stands out from the crowd?

Here at Bloguettes, we know how important it is to create a resume that showcases you and all of your amazing accomplishments! So, we’re bringing in expert Alli Manning to lead a session at our 2018 Workshop! Alli is the Director of Talent & Editorial Services at Contently, and she’s got quite a few tips and tricks up her sleeve when it comes to resume writing. Keep reading to get to know Alli and get a sneak peek at what her session will be like!

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today!

I graduated from the University of Southern California on a Tuesday and moved to London on that Thursday. I spent nearly 10 years there. For the first six months I worked as a recruiter for the financial services industry, a time I like to look back on as my resume reviewing ‘classical training’. I probably went through two hundred CVs a day in that job!

After that, I did my MBA at Oxford Brookes University, where I graduated top of my class. I then moved into London and got my first job as the Assistant to the President of Conde Nast International. I was horrible at keeping someone else’s calendar tidy and organized, but luckily my boss saw potential and moved me into an editorial role. I worked my ass off for the next 5 years, trying to help old-school print editors understand and get excited about what we at that time, called “digital transformation.” That seems so funny looking back.

What’s one of the biggest mistakes you see people make when creating their resume?

THE biggest is design. People don’t think about the reader when they’re formatting their Resumes, and it can be absolutely exasperating; it can make a promising candidate go into the no pile faster than anything else.

What are 3 things that you can do to make your resume stand out from the crowd?

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    Brand yourself. Use a unique font, color, alignment, capitalization, or some modern punctuation; it should not be anything crazy or exotic, rather it should be subtle and professional. For example, try putting a space between all the letters in your name, and capitalizing it. It can make your candidacy stand out just a touch, and shows the reviewer that you’re aesthetically minded and have good taste.

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    Keep it brief. No one cares about every little thing you did at your last job. You should be ruthless at editing, and only include the things that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

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    Show personality. I’m a fan of the hobbies or interests section, but only include it if you have something interesting to say. “Reading” is boring, but “Victorian novel enthusiast” is enticing.

Nowadays, your social media profile can serve as your portfolio. Do you have any tips for using social media to generate business for your brand?

Post thoughtfully and consider separating your personal from your professional online identities. If you mix them, you run the risk of alienating your professional prospects with your sassy personal expression. Get really honed in on what your professional profiles will posts, at Contently we call this a ‘content strategy’.

Here’s a crash course: think of 3 topics that your audience is interested in that you have a unique perspective on, then think about (even jot down) a description of your intended audience. Include a few adjectives about their personality, something like “prestigious, academic, and cautious.”

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When you’re writing a post, ask yourself: is this something my audience would find interesting? Is this something that will inspire or help them? Keep those adjectives in mind, and test every post against that target audience.

"When you’re writing a post, ask yourself: is this something my audience would find interesting? Is this something that will inspire or help them?"

Where should your resume and portfolio live? (like on your website, LinkedIn, etc.)

I think Linkedin is probably the best place for a business resume; it’s good to show chronology and to associate yourself with impressive employers. It’s obviously horrible for showcasing artistic or project-based work.

I’d always recommend having a personal website for your work and your contact information. Key tip though: KEEP EVERYTHING UPDATED! If one site contradicts another (for example if your LinkedIn doesn’t match your personal site), you loose your viewers’ trust in a heartbeat.

How can we all make use of the tools we have today to show our skills and generate business from the web and social media?

Hootsuite is a great free tool that allows you to schedule posts and customize them for the channel on which they’ll be published. I’m also a huge fan of Zapier for connecting Typeform to Slack. Typeform has completely changed my life for the better, check it out!

What can our attendees expect to learn at your Workshop?

I’m going to try to give the audience a ‘stream of consciousness’ about how people read resumes, and balance that out with really specific tips about how to improve that experience for your reader.

When you’re not busy at Contently, what can we find you doing?

Walking my dog Grace through the parks of NYC, eating mac & cheese, listening to Fleetwood Mac and/or James Taylor.

Want to attend Alli’s session at The Workshop? Tickets are going fast, so be sure to grab yours today!

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