Resumes and Interviews That Get Results
Key steps in the successful job search process include
These tips and resources will help get you there.
The resume is the document that “gets you in the door.” Considering there may be dozens of applicants for the job you are interested in, it’s important that your resume grabs the attention of the person who may be interviewing you. Consider your resume great practice for the actual interview – it gives you an opportunity to think about what you can offer the potential employer.
Employers in many areas prefer the chronological (traditional) resume, which lists places of employment in reverse chronological order with brief job responsibilities and descriptions of your accomplishments. You will also include any important education, training, and certifications on a chronological resume.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD RESUME?
- Easy to read.
- Clearly states your skills, knowledge, and experience.
- Shows your accomplishments in numbers and facts.
- Grabs the reader’s attention, so you will be invited to interview.
- Encourages questions during an interview.
- Provides visibility after your interview.
- ½” margins all around, if necessary.
- Font no smaller than 11 pt.
- Use numerals instead of spelling out the number – example; 25 instead of twenty-five.
- Use bullet points instead of paragraphs to describe your accomplishments. Keep each bullet point to one line, when possible.
- Use the dollar sign instead of spelling out “dollars” – example: $8 million instead of 8 million dollars.
- Use capitals in state abbreviations – example; FL instead of Fl.
- Dates on right side, including months.
- Whether or not you use periods at the end of statements, be consistent.
- No “s” on verbs – example; supervise (if current position), not supervises…personnel.
- For past positions, use –ed on descriptions: supervised, not supervise or supervises.
- Use a summary statement at the top instead of an objective.
- Don’t use industry jargon or acronyms – spell it out.
Many websites can be helpful in finding the correct wording for your resume, researching salary guidelines, information about particular industries/companies, and other helpful information. Depending on only the internet to find a job, though, will not only limit your options, but may also prevent you from finding the local job that is right for you. It can also cause confusion, simply because of the vast amount of information available online.
CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK
- Spell check, double check, and have someone else read your resume.
Careless errors can eliminate your chance for an interview, even if you are well-qualified.
- Read statements aloud to make sure they make sense.
See the Resume Tips attachment for:
- Sample resume
- Networking worksheet
- accomplishment statement worksheet
- Keywords for Accomplishment Statements
- Summary statement worksheet
INTERVIEWING TIPS AT A GLANCE
(adapted from Monster.com)
1. Make a good first impression. Demonstrate confidence: stand straight, make eye contact and connect with a good, firm handshake. Practice your handshake with someone who will give you honest feedback.
Don't appear desperate. When you interview with the "please, please hire me" approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Maintain the three C's during the interview: cool, calm and confident. You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can, too.
2. Dress for Success. Look professional and well groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking.
3. Listen. From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not listening, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what he said. Observe your interviewer and match that style and pace.
4. Don't Talk Too Much. This is most job seekers’ downfall. Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake. Because you are nervous, you may tend to ramble, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position's requirements and relating only that information.
5. Don't Be Too Familiar. The interview is a professional meeting to talk business - not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer's demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not to overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.
6. Use Appropriate Language. Use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual preferences – these topics could send you out the door very quickly.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: the S-A-R Formula
Tell me about a time when you …
Most interviewers want you to give them examples of how you have used your strengths in a previous job or volunteer position. However, they don’t always ask the questions in a way that would encourage you to do that. Instead, it is your role to give them specifics that help them relate what you have done in the past to how you will perform if they hire you.
- You say you are “organized.” What did you do in your previous job history that required you to be organized?
- You say you are “dependable.” Give an example of how dependable you were in a former job. What makes me know that I can depend on you?
- You say you are “customer service oriented.” Give an example of a difficult customer situation you faced and how you handled it.
Use the S-A-R formula to provide examples for your answers to interview questions:
Situation (or Task): Where were you? – the place, company, organization
Action: What did you do?
Result: Were you successful and how do you know?
To answer questions appropriately, remember these guidelines:
- Listen carefully. If you feel the question is unclear, ask politely for clarification.
- Pause before answering to consider all facts that may substantiate your response.
- Always offer positive information.
- Get directly to the point. Do not ramble. Use the S-A-R formula.
- Discuss only the facts needed to respond to the question.
- Do not open yourself to areas of questioning that could pose difficulties for you.
- Be truthful, but do not offer unsolicited information.
- Focus attention on your successes.
See the Interview Tips attachment for:
- common interview questions
- "Tell Me About Yourself" worksheet
- Tips for attending a Job Fair (Hint: it's a "mini-interview"!)
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