Top 10 Résumé Tips
- 1 Before you begin the résumé process, examine the career direction you want to pursue. Reflect on your experiences, evaluate your strengths, and explore the type of positions you are best suited. This is the first step in creating a career-advancing résumé.
- 2 You have about 15 seconds to grab attention of the reader, so the top section of your résumé must be inviting while positioning you with distinction. Hard skills should outweigh soft skills, and power words will keep the reader engaged, wanting to know more about you.
- 3 It is a misconception that your résumé be limited to one page, unless you are an early workforce professional. As you progress in your career, your résumé should capture your major contributions and highlights which often support a two-page resume. If you are an executive, have publications, post-secondary teaching, research work, or key note speaking engagements, you might transition to a curriculum vitae (CV) which may be expanded to three pages or more.
- 4 Write in human voice without using the word “I”. “I” can be implied such as: “Demonstrated change agent leadership under organizational restructuring. Wrote operating procedures, conducted team training, and created recognition program based on metric achievement.”
- 5 Go beyond your tasks and responsibilities. Measurable results and contributions are essential within your resume, but avoid tables, graphs, and text boxes since these are not easily read by applicant tracking systems (ATS). Do incorporate difference-making and quantitative accomplishments within the content of the résumé itself.
- 6 Wordsmithery is the art of bringing words together to make something magical. Writing an attention-grabbing résumé requires some form of this skill, so strive to write concisely while delivering the greatest punch. Bullet statements that start with verbs are effective, and you may minimize article words such as ‘a’ and ‘an’ without losing impact.
- 7 Be consistent throughout your format related to spacing, bolded headings, font size, and date placement. Use the same font with compatible heading for your cover letter.
- 8 Proofread many times and use spellcheck. Recruiters will often nix a candidate if the résumé has typos and grammatical errors.
- 9 Take time to tweak your summary section to best match the job description in which you are applying. Take a few minutes to examine your most relevant skillsets along with keywords, as this extra effort could determine whether or not you get the call.
- 10 Follow directions precisely for online résumé submissions to optimize your success of getting through the applicant tracking system (ATS). While these software programs continue to advance, some still do not read PDF versions as well. When in doubt, use a Word document (or Text format if requested) when uploading your résumé onto job application sites.
Top 10 Interview Tips
- 1 As a candidate, your position is to promote your skills, talent, and experience as a solution to the hiring manager or company, regardless of the effectiveness of the interviewer. Confidence is key, demonstrated by eye contact, firm handshakes, proper dress, sincerity, and optimism.
- 2 A common misconception is that you are to react and answer only when asked questions during the interview. Actually, your role should be ‘active’ in the discussion. The best candidates are usually proactive in discussions, highly prepared, and engaged in a conversational approach during the interview.
- 3 Have an understanding of the position in which you are interviewing. If you don’t fully understand the responsibilities, ask some questions upfront so you can better match your skill sets to that position.
- 4 You should be prepared, in advance, for potential questions you may be asked.
There are two primary types of interview questions: Traditional Interview Questions and/or Situational Interview Questions. Some interviewers will use primarily one type, while others will use a combination. You should be prepared for both.
Traditional interview examples: Tell me about yourself? What makes you the best candidate for this position?
Situational interview examples: Tell me a time when you led a team of people to accomplish a time sensitive project. Tell me a time when a weakness interfered with you achieving your goal?
To make the greatest impression, Situational Questions should be answered in a STAR format
SITUATION, TASK, ACTION, RESULT
SITUATION: Describe the situation or specific experience you have had by giving great detail about the event. Paint a picture verbally so the interviewer can envision it. The situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event that you specifically were involved.
TASK: Define the goal or task that you were working to accomplish.
ACTION: Describe the actions you took to accomplish the task with detail about each step that YOU completed. What specific actions did YOU take and what was YOUR particular contribution? The interviewer is interested in what YOUR role was in the situation. In the interview, don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project, but what YOU actually did. Use the word “I,” rather than “we” when describing actions.
RESULT: Always conclude with the outcome or results of your actions. End your answer with a positive result, and don’t be shy about taking credit for your behavior. What did you accomplish or what did you learn? Concluding with a positive outcome will set you apart and you will truly be a STAR for the position in which you are interviewing.
- 6 Answer questions with a POSITIVE ending, even if the outcome was that you learned something. If the outcome is less than desirable, be brief.
- 7 Be well read on the company in which you are interviewing. Visit their website. Know about their products, and uncover information about key leaders within the organization and the people interviewing you, if possible.
- 8 Show interest in the interviewer(s) and establish rapport in the time frame you are given. Ask for their business card(s) and gain an understanding of their role within the company.
- 9 Take notes, have questions prepared in advance, and avoid asking about salary on the first interview. If asked what your salary requirements are, respond with a question such as “What is the salary range for this position?” Avoid naming a specific dollar amount if possible.
- 10 Be prepared to summarize your qualifications and compatibility for the position. Clearly communicate your desire for the position and ask regarding next steps. Smile, demonstrate appreciation, and send a follow up note within 24 hours of the interview.
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