On March 21, 2018, WIB-San Francisco and UCSF OCPD co-organized the event “Leveraging Digital Tools to Advance Your Career and Job Search”. In honor of Women’s History Month and the “Lift While You Climb” theme, WIB-San Francisco invited a wonderful panel of women hiring managers and recruiters including Joyce Hu, Tamara Stevenson, Erica McCloud, and Patti Meyer, who shared lots of great tips and a look into the hiring manager and recruiter’s perspective on screening applications.
It comes as no surprise to the audience that Linkedin is the most popular digital tool used by hiring managers and recruiters regardless of the company size. Not only does LinkedIn lend itself as the ideal digital tool for showcasing professional achievements, it is also a platform with features tailored to allow recruiters and hiring managers reach out to prospective candidates easily.
The number one advice from the panelists when it comes to what to include in the Linkedin profile is to be strategic about every information you put online by making sure the information is relevant to the particular industry or role of your interest. The panelists advise that applicants should avoid using generic summary. Instead, be very specific about your headline and include descriptions that specify your skill sets. For example, use “Geneticist with programming skills” instead of the very commonly seen “Postdoc”.
It is also advised to include pertinent details from current and past positions to demonstrate experience in the area of your interest. For job seekers looking to transition from academia to industry, it's also crucial to include any volunteer experience or affiliation with related organization (even ones in the academia) to demonstrate personal interest.
When screening applications, hiring managers look for years of relevant experience and skill set and sometimes even geographical preference. Especially for the San Francisco Bay Area, companies tend to like to see that the applicant's profile mentions "Open to opportunities in the Bay Area" or that the applicant has previously lived in the area.
It's important to keep in mind that resumes and online profiles are now screened by both humans (i.e. recruiters) and bots (i.e. search engines). This means it's important to do your due diligence on the common keywords used in job descriptions and be sure to include them in your profile online. Do not have an empty LinkedIn profile!
Our panelists recommend to keep resumes to one page only unless you are applying for a senior director level position. Since every resume is skimmed by recruiters in about 30 seconds, it is recommended to keep the language short and concise. If you do have to go beyond one page, be sure to keep everything under two pages and always be sure to lead with a strong and specific summary to get the recruiters to read more. Regarding cover letters, smaller companies tend to pay more attention to cover letters while big corporations like Gilead simply get way too many applications for hiring managers to go over all the cover letters.
Lastly, for those who are looking for opportunities but wish to do so without drawing attention from current employers, a good tip is to become more active on LinkedIn by liking and sharing articles. This way, recruiters can easily find out you are active on LinkedIn and may be open to explore new opportunities. If a recruiter you don't know tries to connect with you, accept the invitation to connect because even if this recruiter cannot connect you to the right opportunity, he or she may know someone else who can.
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