Job Search Toolkit

Alumni - Job Search Toolkit - Marketing Materials

Marketing Materials

What’s the key to strong marketing materials? Knowing your audience. This is why Marketing Materials is step three in this five step job search process, not step one. It is imperative to have a clear objective and a clear target before you dust off your resume.

  • Resumes

    The purpose of a resume is to gain a meeting or an interview with a decision-maker. Your resume must demonstrate that you have the relevant skills and experiences for the desired position; it is a marketing document, not a historical document.

    Creating your resume starts with understanding the market and positions that you are pursuing. The best resumes reflect market research. Look for job postings on the best job boards or company's website in order to see what skills and experiences are in demand. Identify the skills and experiences that employers seek, and match your own skills and experiences accordingly.

    Resume readers rarely spend more than 35-40 seconds skimming your resume, so it must be very easy to read and provide the needed information. Use the following resource to develop a resume that will get results:

    Resume Style Guide - Traditional

    Resume Style Guide - Modern

    Pro tip: It is important that your resume transmits well via email. To prevent distorted formatting, send your resume as a .pdf file instead of a Word .doc when possible.

    If you are a Darden alum and would like a word version of these documents or if you would like a professional resume review, contact us to schedule an appointment.

  • LinkedIn Profiles

    There are three purposes of your LinkedIn Profile:

    1. To manage your growing network, maintain contact with others and build your long-term brand presence throughout your career;
    2. For recent acquaintances (HR managers, recruiters or networking contacts) to validate and learn more about you after meeting you elsewhere; and
    3. For recruiters and contacts to find you amongst a larger pool of candidates.

    Build a Brand Presence

    LinkedIn is a dynamic brand presence that tracks your long-term growth and expanding network. The brand that your LinkedIn profile conveys deserves careful consideration.

    • Ensure that your headline (the title under your name) represents your brand. This will not necessarily be your job title. So instead of “Vice President, CitiBank”, consider “M&A Investment Banking” or “Data Analysis and Insights Professional”.
    • Be seen as a subject matter expert and thought leader. LinkedIn tracks three types of ‘Activity’: articles you author, posts, and documents you share.
    • Build connectivity. Routinely link-in with people you meet. Follow organizations and people that are prominent in your sphere of interest/activity.
    • Add to the Volunteer section (under Background), and/or the Accomplishments section (to list Publications, Patents Projects, Languages etc.) anything relevant that contributes to your brand.
    • Be sure to join the Darden alumni LinkedIn group.

    Consider Who is Landing on Your Page

    Most visitors to your profile will be people you meet along the way – through work, conferences, interviews, etc. They have already been introduced to you somehow and are coming to learn more about you.

    • Showcase a brand (see above).
    • Complete your About section. This summary gives readers the breadth and nature of your experience overall - much like your resume’s executive summary, or the personal website of independent professionals.
    • Keep your experience and education updated.
    • Have a professional headshot.
    • Note for active job seekers: while your resume serves a different purpose, to convey your relevant qualifications for a particular job, consistencies in both your history and general value proposition are very important. Contact ACS to speak with a coach about your specific circumstances.

    Increase the odds of being found

    • Have background photo (for instance, your city skyline) and ensure that your profile is 100% complete.
    • Have a current position. If you don’t have a job at the moment, wait to add the end date to your latest position until you’ve secured a new one. Alternatively, if you are freelancing or consulting in the interim period, put the LLC or small business you use at the moment.
    • Use keywords that are relevant to your target audience throughout your profile.
    • Grow your network on a continuous basis. When you have over 500 connections, LinkedIn gives you higher visibility in searches.
  • Cover Letters

    A cover letter is sent along with a resume to highlight how the accomplishments listed on your resume are relevant to the needs of the recipient. If your reader picked up your resume, would s/he immediately see a connection to the position?  If the answer is no, think of the cover letter as your opportunity to make that connection.

    The cover letter typically serves as an introduction, establishes for the reader what position (or assistance) you are seeking and hopefully entices them to read your resume. It is generally no more than one page in length. The cover letter should clearly describe your interest in the role -- why are you applying?  The letter should also highlight your relevant skills and experiences in regards to the position that you are seeking.

    Traditionally, a cover letter was written as a formal business letter with the resume as an enclosure. E-mail has changed the way cover letters are used and delivered. When submitting a resume via email, the body of the e-mail could serve as the cover letter. Alternatively the cover letter and resume may be submitted as one .pdf file as an attachment to an e-mail.

    Cover Letter Style Guide

  • Your Story

    The most common opening question asked in an interview is "Can you tell me about yourself?" Most interviewers decide if you are a fit in the first 30 seconds and whether they are really interested in pursuing your potential employment in the first five to eight minutes! How you answer this simple question can make or break a successful interview.

    Pro tips:   

    • Your story is an opportunity to explain why it makes sense that your professional path has led you to this interview. How does your experience prepare you for the job at hand?    
    • Don’t get buried in details of your achievements yet. Let those unfold later. You risk sounding desperate, boring your interviewer, and confusing the basic message of why you fit.    
    • Keep it short: 30 seconds for networking conversations and two minutes in an interview. Prepare both versions.   
    • Go chronologically; it is easier for your listener to follow.    
    • Go only as far back as you need to in order to convey relevance.    
    • Never speak negatively about a past job – when you describe a move, convey what you were moving towards, not what you were leaving behind.   
    • Practice your story with a coach or with friends before using it in a professional setting.   
    • Show energy and passion for your story. Even if you’ve said it a thousand times, it is new to your listener.
  • Profiles

    A profile summarizes your professional background and supports networking by giving others a quick picture of who you are and what type of position you currently hold or are seeking during a search. A simple single-page hard-copy profile statement is beneficial in many networking situations, especially when initiating a networking conversation during a job search; it makes it easy for your audience to understand your background and search objective. A Profile is not a substitute for your resume, however the themes that you portray in all your marketing materials should be consistent.

    Profile is provided to illustrate the sections that may be included:

    • Heading includes your name and contact information.
    • Search Plan Profile is a statement of your job objective.
    • Recent Positions is a top line summary of your most relevant 2-3 positions.
    • Targets include a list of industry segments and companies that interest you. This segmentation of targets can spur a networking partner to connect you with relevant contacts.
    • Education includes relevant degrees and institutions.

    Modern Social Media sites now allow for easier access and farther reaching networking. Having a consistent profile message, one that matches your marketing materials, current situation and what you want your networking peers to know, is all part of creating your personal brand.