Interview with Kate Williamson for the Women in STEM, Reimagined masterclass.
You already know all the technical parts of your field; It’s marketing yourself professionally when looking for the next career step that is the missing piece.
Today, I share some key points from my interview with former Chemist and Engineer turned Certified Professional Resume Writer Kate Williamson on best practices for STEM job search. Specifically, we discuss common mistakes in resume writing and LinkedIn optimization for making the next step in your career.
Common Resume Mistakes:
The number one mistake when writing your resume? Lack of positioning. All too often, people position themselves for the role they have versus what they want. “So when they look for the next step in their career,” Kate shares “they end up getting roles similar to what they have, and not what they want to get in the future.” The takeaway: position yourself for the job you want, not the job you are in.
The second point where people can go wrong is one that women are seen making more than men, although men can also fall into this trap. The problem: being too modest or downplaying achievements. “The ones that accomplish the most tend to downplay the most,” laughs Kate. “It’s not bragging if it’s true!” You can communicate strengths without feeling like you are bragging.
How to use your resume for a career pivot?
Say you want to pivot your career from your current position as a research scientist and change to a career in product development. How do you translate your experience into a new role you haven’t had before?
Most people haven’t held the position they are applying for, so it is not as much of a stretch as you may expect. You will need to include keywords for the desired position to get into the recruiting databases, that much is a given. What is next is to frame your achievements to your new goals. How did you contribute to your last position in a way that would be beneficial in the new position? Put your experience into the context of the new position. Explain the logic behind the switch and why it makes sense for employers to help you make that switch by hiring you.
When you are making a pivot, you may not have all the skills listed on the job description. Some people won’t even apply if they don’t think they fulfill 100% of the “required skills”. There is the statistic circling that men apply for positions if they meet 60% or more of qualifications, whereas women will only apply if they meet 100%. Applying means there is a risk of failure, especially when you already know that you aren’t a 100% match on paper.
But Kate says that this is due to a fundamental misunderstanding and mistaken perception of the hiring process.
“Job postings are usually poorly written,” shares Kate. “They’re also not usually written by someone who has actually done the job. They’re more like wishlists. In fact, if you do meet 100% of the “required” qualifications, you’re likely overqualified, and you’ll probably get bored.”
At the end of the day, the price of failure is quite low: The worst that can happen is that you won’t get selected or score an interview.
How to rock LinkedIn:
Both resume writing and LinkedIn are important for the hiring process.
However, where a resume is given to each job prospect at a time, LinkedIn reaches a much bigger audience.
LinkedIn is the place to connect with people, establish relationships, and essentially build your presence in your specific industry. Whereas resumes are part of the active job searching process, LinkedIn is the place to search passively, letting your profile do the work for you. If your profile is optimized for your goals, it will generate interest and serve as a living billboard for you, showcasing your skills, expertise, thought leadership, personality, and quirks.
You can also discover new opportunities not listed on job boards through networking on LinkedIn. When done right, your LinkedIn profile will generate interest with recruiters and other people that can benefit from knowing who you are. “It’s really easy to get noticed on LinkedIn,” states Kate. “It can be intimidating at first, but it can become fun and engaging to be part of those conversations”.
Missed Women in STEM, Reimagined?
Kate Williamson. Kate’s industry career began in polymers and coatings, where she worked in R&D and product development roles at GMP sites in the US and the Netherlands for 5+ years. Driven to help people personally, she established Scientech Resumes, a career management firm that works exclusively with STEM professionals worldwide.
Her former industry experience makes her a strategic partner to STEM professionals looking to communicate their unique value, credibility, and expertise to prospective employers. Kate is one of a few career management professionals with specialized resume writing credentials in engineering, science, and IT. She also has a Master’s in applied chemistry.
Dr. Nicole Tschierske is a positive psychology coach who helps women in STEM get noticed in their company so they attract their next opportunity with total ease.
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