5 biggest mistakes on your profile

Hi everyone! Welcome to another VH podcast episode. Today we’re going to discuss the 5 biggest mistakes on your international profile and some tips to help you.

First, let me introduce myself. I’m Camila Ferreira – Premium Community Manager at VanHack – and I invited Marina to discuss this topic. She’s a Success Specialist at VH and among other tasks,  responsible for reviewing Premium members Profiles.

Hey, Marina! Would you like to introduce yourself?

Thank you, Camila!

Hi everyone! My name is Marina Goes and I’m a success specialist at Vanhack.

So, my job is to help vanhackers to do well in the recruitment processes. 

I’m the one doing your profile reviews, preparing you through mock interviews, advising you all through by answering your doubts, and also offering behavioral interview practice and grammar and pronunciation classes.

Camila

Thanks, Marina! 

We receive a lot of questions like: “Hey VH team, I’m the perfect match for this job position and I don’t know why I am not being called for an interview.” And sometimes, it’s all about showcasing their experiences in their profiles.

A profile is literally the first contact that companies and recruiters have with candidates. And we all know that you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

Let’s now start discussing some common mistakes candidates make when filling their profiles. 

So, Marina, what would be the top 5 biggest mistakes you’ve seen while reviewing profiles?

Marina

1) PHOTO

Well, Camila, let’s start from the very beginning of a VanHack profile.

The first mistake I come across frequently is in the photo chosen for the profile.

Many people publish a photo wearing sunglasses or a cap – Oh… you do appear good looking for your Facebook or Instagram profile. Nice eh! 

There are also people who display their photos at the beach, or in the mountains. Maybe they want to show they’re adventurous…

But this is NOT the idea of a good professional photo. You must use a headshot, preferably a square one, with 200 x 200 pixels. What you need to show is your face. Ah! and remember to smile. In my many years of life, I have always noticed a huge truth – smiles DO open doors!

But you don’t need an expensive camera or go to a photographer for this – a  simple headshot taken from your mobile or computer will do the trick very well.

Camila

Ow! I see… Interesting tip, Marina! I really enjoy seeing the photo when I’m talking with some candidates, cause it helps me feel closer to them as well! 

And it’s muuuch better when they’re smiling, for sure.

So, let’s move on to the second mistake you’ve seen so far. What would it be?

Marina

2) EMAIL

The second big mistake is when you choose an email address.

I’ve already seen people using those teen-kind email addresses such as wild-cat, or cute-blonde.

Pleaaaaase, don’t do this! If you don’t have one, create a professional email address.

But what’s a professional email address?

I think the best bet is to use your first and last names. Mine, for example, is marina goes – my first and last names. This kind of address connects with you and your name and it’s very easy to remember.

Another thing that is very, very and VERY important – keep checking this email daily – VanHack may send you important messages regarding your recruitment applications. For example – did you know that you may get shortlisted and chosen for a job opening even if you didn’t apply for it? Great news, isn’t it? And how are you going to learn about this opportunity? We are going to contact you by email – you don’t wanna miss this, do you?

Also, configure your mailbox to recognize VanHack’s emails as “not spam”. By doing this you make sure you’ll receive our messages.

Camila 

That’s so important. We’ve seen hundreds of candidates missing opportunities and deadlines because they don’t check their emails or because it goes to their spam. Great reminder!

And, Marina, what would be the third one?

Marina

3) PROFESSIONAL OVERVIEW

The third mistake, Camila,  appears in the professional overview.

Many people just scatter their skills randomly through this section.

But remember that this is the first information seen by ATS and recruiters when you apply for jobs. Well, automated systems will pick what you informed, but what about matching these skills with the job descriptions?

You need to have a clear idea of what kinds of jobs you’re applying for and customize this section accordingly. Go to the job description of those jobs and see what kind of skills the companies are looking for. Then you add the relevant ones in a way that will be seen by ATS and recruiters – the three main skills first. Then the other 5 skills the company regards as “nice to have”.

But then you tell me – different companies ask for different skills!

This is true.

And that’s why you cannot start shooting everywhere – you need to choose 2 or 3 companies with similar demands and customize your profile according to their requirements.

So, choose jobs with similarities and then tailor your profile accordingly.

Camila

That’s true, Marina! It’s important to think about your focus on job applications, right?! What are your strengths? What is your position target? This is something for candidates to think about while building their profiles as well as applying for jobs.

Now, let’s move on to the fourth one! Tell us, Marina!

Marina

4) SOCIAL PROFILE

The fourth mistake will be shown in the social profile section of your VH profile.

Many candidates seem to be afraid of disclosing their links to different professional media.

But you are probably aware that when you apply for jobs, the company will search your name in many different kinds of media.

Recruiters will go through your LinkedIn, GitHub, your site, facebook, google, etc, etc, etc.

I remember in the past when I was teaching English to a HR manager in a big company here in my country and he told me that they’d even search the name of candidates in the Labour Ministry site!!!     I’m sure you didn’t know about this one…

So, be careful with the things you’ve been posting!

And then, why not show companies you’re open to be searched?

Display the links where they can learn about your professional successes! Show them what you’ve been working on, your interests, your professional activity as displayed in social media.

It’s also essential to add your resumé link – many companies demand to see your resume. If you don’t display your resumé link, our recruiters may not be able to consider you for jobs in these companies.

So, don’t forget – LinkedIn, GitHub and resumé links at least!

Camila

That’s a good one, Marina. Also, it’s really important to keep all the platforms up to date, right? Some candidates only build a strong resume, for example, and forget to do the same on their LinkedIn and VH Profiles. 

Let’s now jump to the last big mistake you’ve seen so far. 

Spoiler alert: I’ve heard this is the most important one, right Marina?

Marina

5) WORK EXPERIENCE

Yeah – true Camila.

Last but surely not least is what you display in the work experience section.

And as Camila rightly pointed this is THE most important section of your profile.

It’s also the most difficult to write for most people.

While doing profile reviews, I’ve already seen people just listing the stack they work with in each company – an endless list of computing languages…

This is the minimum you need to have when you’re applying for a job – it’s the skills requested in the job description. But what does this show recruiters, but a pile of language names?

Your work experience must demonstrate your achievements, your successes. This is what companies are interested in, this is how they measure your worth!

And what is the best way to give them what they are looking for?

Well, first of all, disclose the name of the company you’re working or worked for.

Then give information of what industry this company belongs to – is it a pharmaceutical, e-commerce, accounting, automotive company?

Also choose the company size – startup, midsize or corporate?

And finally your job role in this company. Surprisingly enough, many people forget to mention their role!

It may happen that you have performed different roles in the same company. Then you need to list all of them and the work involved in each one. This is a great way of showing you progressed in your career.

Then comes the description of your job in each company and role. I know it’s not easy, I know…

The idea here is to start with a powerful action verb – Achieved, Consolidated, Established, Exceeded, Streamlined, Outperformed, etc. Sites such as Indeed, zetty or the balance careers have lists of these verbs to help you.

Then start describing your work using the STAR method – remember the STAR structure? Situation, Task, Action, Result? If you don’t know or don’t remember what this is you can search for it on the internet and many sites will teach you about it.

Our premium members also have access to videos, courses and classes where STAR is explained in detail and also used in concrete examples..

In short, you’re going to write what the job is or was about, what you actually did, which is your contribution to this job, and what the results were after finishing.

This information should fit into 3 lines, so, you may need some trying until you get to the right format.

All through your description, include the keywords you see in the job description, and, if you have the name of the company, their site – most probably in the “about” and “careers” pages. These are the keywords ATS systems and recruiters will pinpoint.

So, this is the second filter you’re going to go through, and you don’t wanna be left aside, for sure.

So, spend some time on perfecting this description.

Again, when it comes to the human part of the shortlisting, your work experience will show your achievements, your successes, and the results obtained through your good job.

Don’t forget that the result is usually the apple of the companies’ eyes. So, use numbers, percentages, appraisals to show that the result was a success! You may, for example write that this application you created increased the company’s revenue by 10% last year, or that the response time for the user was reduced from 8 to 2 seconds, or even that the application is being used by thousands people. If you don’t know or don’t remember those numbers, you can always use appraisals you received from your manager or clients.

Choose the most meaningful work you did that match the the requests and culture of the company you’re applying for.

Show them you’re unique, you stand out from the others and are the right fit for their vacancy.

Well, I think these are the main problems most candidates face when working on their profile.

And sometimes, not being able to sharpen your profile may lead you to not receiving job proposals.

And then, you know you’re a good professional, but nothing happens. This can be really frustrating.

But think about what I said here today and have a good look at your profile, work on perfecting it – your chances will be much higher then!

By the way, you can apply the same principles outlined here to your LinkedIn profile and resumé.

Camila

Awesome, Marina! Thank you so much for sharing those valuable tips.

So, it’s really important to showcase background in a way that recruiters and companies can understand your experiences. 

Remember: candidates with empty profiles are never shown in searches made by companies, and go to the bottom of the candidates’ list when they apply for a job, getting less visibility from recruiters.

If you still need some help to craft a successful profile, you can join our Premium Academy and have access to our Profile Review service. 

  • Our experts will review your VanHack profile and send you complete feedback highlighting areas for improvement and sharing some tips to make your profile stand out!
  • Also, all the tips you’ll get from our experts are 100% applicable to your Resume and LinkedIn Profile as well.

Our core value is PREPARATION! Because we firmly believe that when well-prepared and with an outstanding profile and resume, you can have better chances of being successful in your job search. 

So, if you want to become a member of our Premium Academy, you can go to vanhack.com/premium 

Also, I am here to help if you have any questions, email me  > > [email protected]

Thanks for joining us today! See you around.

Marina

Don’t forget – Vanhack is here to help you get your dream job abroad!

Thank you, Camila for this opportunity.

Goodbye everyone.

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