How can professionals stand out from the crowd and score a job this year? According to a new survey from global staffing firm Accountemps, senior managers are most impressed when candidates network on social media with employees at the company of interest (49%) and provide access to an online portfolio or personal website (47%). The tactics that hurt workers’ chances most are including cartoon images like Bitmojis or caricatures (35%) and using colorful fonts or backgrounds (25%) on application materials.
The research also suggests professionals shouldn’t overlook writing cover letters: 58% of senior managers said it’s very helpful to receive these documents.
“A strategic job search requires much more than putting together a polished resume. In addition to learning about candidates’ skills and experience, employers want to see a strong online presence and passion for their work,” said Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “Steer clear of including anything that could be considered distracting or unprofessional, such as flashy fonts and images.”
- Four in 10 senior managers said highlighting accomplishments in an infographic can tip the scales in a candidate’s favor.
- Among the 28 U.S. cities in the survey, Seattle executives most commonly rated social networking (64%) as the top job seeker tactic. San Diego has the highest percentage that value linking to an online portfolio or personal website (60%).
- While managers, in general, identified including cartoon images on application materials as the biggest deterrent when deciding whether to move forward with a candidate, respondents in Denver and Tampa pointed to excessive color as the leading no-no.
- Charlotte tops the list of cities where executives are most critical of the use of cartoon graphics (53%) and colorful fonts or backgrounds (33%).
- Austin and San Diego (66% each) have the highest percentage of managers who find cover letters valuable.
Steinitz added, “If you have in-demand skills, now is the time to consider your career options, whether at your current company or elsewhere. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a new position, take stock of your professional accomplishments and get your materials in order in case the right opportunity comes along.”
For more job search tips, visit the Robert Half blog.