I talk to job seekers regularly who only depend on a few methods to find jobs. I find it interesting they prefer to rely on processes that could exclude them (uploading a resume without the right keywords, for example) rather than differentiate themselves based on their unique experience (in person). Networking still works, or people wouldn’t hold the events. Networking will take your career to the next phase faster and it’s better to get the attention of hiring managers, influencers, or employees of the company you want to work for when you can meet them in person.
You should know more about using a handbill to put in the hands of people you meet at networking events and job fairs. The handbill is an old school document used as a snapshot to market your career accomplishments. The reader will not have to sort through history, but his or her attention is drawn to what's important: Your career contributions amplified!
Jessica Dillard is the founder of Dillard and Associates, a national staffing firm and resume writing service. She says, "We're noticing three particular areas we're getting success results from—sales, marketing, and advertising." She has been adding a handbill to her clients' portfolios since the first quarter of 2016 and explained the keys to using them. Even if you don’t have design skills, there are easy ways to create a handbill that looks good and reads well. Some pro tips:
- You want your handbill (or what Jessica calls a "summary") to be a high-level document that can be quickly scanned in seconds. People have short attention spans, especially at networking events. Think of a handbill as the paper version of an elevator pitch.
- Strive for an eye-catching, relevant, and brief document aligning your experience and competency to the interests of a hiring manager. It doesn't hurt to have an aesthetically pleasing design to emphasize critical areas. Understand this document will not be scanned through an applicant tracking system (ATS) and disrupt the hiring flow. You want to encourage further conversation and to be memorable, so draw attention to what is important.
- Use a catchy headline such as "20+ years of sales experience" or “Award-winning marketer and speaker."
- Remember you're competing for time and attention, so the face-to-face is the best opportunity for connection. If it's short, then it's shareable. Dillard says it's referable if it is "a high-level, one-page view capturing the most relevant information." Numbers, percentages, data, and graphs will drive interest faster than cliches and generalizations.
- List your skills and knowledge with data and results but make it brief. Consider looking at this sample on Dillard's business website as a framework for your own.
- Dillard also states, "You can include a QR code to take the reader to your LinkedIn profile or biography." If you have an active blog, you can have it go to an article you wrote. Again, don't be afraid to stand out in ways others won't.
- Most resume experts will say a picture on a resume is a no-no, but Dillard says you can on a handbill as it is appropriate for your industry.
- Keeping a copy on your mobile phone is an excellent way to post to Instagram or Facebook. If someone doesn't want paper, then send the image via text to the person. It's easier for them to access it on their phone than email (If they're hiring, they have loads of emails to sift through of candidates who are competing for attention). You stand out because you've made it easier for them to forward it to decision makers.
- Speaking of Instagram, when I posted a copy of it on my feed, my friend and purveyor of all things career, Hannah Morgan, saw it as an infographic. If it's in many different forms for people to scan it and pass it on easier, then we could be talking about this for years to come.
Dillard says, "Don't be afraid to leave the computer to go where people are. Don't be afraid to go shake hands again." Job fairs and networking events are two places where you are expected to promote yourself. Standing out is critical in the job search today. The modern job seeker must learn to grab the attention of people who are directly or indirectly connected to the job you’re pursuing and show you're good enough to hire or the right person to refer.