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Jun 14, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

A professional sourcer will look through hundreds of different candidate resumes and LinkedIn profiles a day, and therefore are highly attuned to noticing candidate’s mistakes. Some errors are minute and forgivable, some are too funny to ignore, and others can be an absolute killer to a candidacy. The key is to know the differences and know how to make sure your candidate profiles works to your advantage.

  1. Minor Mistakes: Depending on the type of work you do, minor spelling and grammatical errors can be forgivable. We’ve all been guilty of proofreading in a hurry and missing that comma. That being said, proofread all documents that will go to a prospective employer, and, if possible, have someone else look at it as well. Why let a fixable mistake keep you from your dream job?
  2. Creativity Can be a Killer: While showing some creativity on a resume or profile can be engaging and a breath of fresh air, it does have its limits. The average sourcer or recruiter starts every search by formulating a search string that contains all the keywords they would expect the target candidate’s profile to possess. For example, if a sourcer is looking for a mid-level sales professional they will most likely search simple terms such as “Sales,” “Sales Leader,” and “Sales Management.” So if your resume is full of titles like “Sales Guru Extraordinaire” your profile is going to rank much lower on the list and is likely not even to be seen.
  3. Photos Matter: Since most of the searching we do these days is on sites like LinkedIn, we have the privilege of adding a photo to strengthen our profile. Now a photo can be a great way to brand yourself as a professional, but the wrong picture can be bad news. What we mean by wrong photos are the pictures that are fundamentally inappropriate for a professional networking site such as pictures of heavy drinking, non-work appropriate clothing choices, or simply looking generally grumpy or unpleasant. These photo mistakes tell us two main things; one you have a hard time understanding what it means to be “work appropriate,” and two, you lack the fundamental ability to market yourself. Along these lines, know what’s searchable about you on Facebook, Twitter, and other Social sites. That picture of you mooning someone may not be your LinkedIn profile, but if I can find it, you can assume that I saw it….
  4. You Reap what you Sow: If a sourcer reaches out to you about a potential position it is never appropriate to respond rudely. We understand you may get many similar messages, but we are just trying to do our jobs. Burning a bridge by responding with things like “get lost” or “did you even read my resume?” doesn’t hurt a sourcers’ feelings, it simply disqualifies you from any future searches they may have. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in your industry, people want to work with well-mannered professionals, and no sourcer or recruiter worth their salt is going to supply a hiring manager with a candidate without manners.
  5. Not So Actively Looking: If you’re in a place where you’re not in a hurry to make a change, but more than open to hear of potential opportunities, make it easy on the sourcer to contact you. This is as simple as providing a public email address on your “contact me” section of your LinkedIn (we’ll get the hint). If there’s one thing we all like it’s low hanging fruit, the easier you are to reach, the more you’ll hear. If you’re worried about being spammed, create an email specifically for this purpose.
  6. Location, Location, Location: As discussed in the importance of keywords regarding titles and positions, having your location accurately reflected can be crucial. Many positions we are working on are ones that the client is trying to fill locally without the expense of a relocation. Even if the client is willing to relocate they will often prioritize a local candidate for sheer logistical and financial ease. If you are planning on relocating to an area in the next few months, be sure that your resume information reflects that new location. You’ll be much more likely to get contacted and less likely to be dismissed from an applicant pool.


By following these six tips, a candidate will strengthen their candidacy as a whole and reap the benefits of having employers knocking at their door. After all, more choices yields better-fit opportunities and more bargaining power at the negotiation table, something no one will turn down.


This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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