From Resume Writing to Landing a Job

Quick Tips on Resume Writing

1. Make sure to include only related information. I have several resumes that I created which showcase my different job skills. I use one that matches the need of a position I am applying for. If not, I can show how a previously gained experience can relate to the job opening. For example, applying for an administrative position I wrote down how I managed my own office when I was a youth director, created correspondence, utilized various office equipment in creating newsletters and flyers and accepted and entertained visitors.

2. Make sure the related information is also current. Even if your experience closely matches the job requirements, I didn’t need to know if you’ve done it in 1985. Many employers want skills that are up-to-date.

3. Avoid using robot language. It is now okay to use the first person pronoun “I.” So, you will write “I directed a team tasked in streamlining production processes that generated 30% increased productivity and resulted to 40% net profit hike for the third quarter” instead of “Directed a team…”

4. Highlight accomplishments instead of job responsibilities. What hiring managers look for are concrete examples of successes and milestones in your most recent jobs, not the content of your performance description.

5. For the inexperienced or lack of, include your volunteer experiences or schools attended to continually upgrade your skills. Write down some of your skills that can be found useful in the job your are applying for. Many of these valuable skills are computer/data entry, human relations, customer service, language, etc.

6. Use proper capitalization and punctuation marks. Please! Please! Please! Regardless of how fancy your resume is, I would likely skip over yours or reject it if you didn’t use these very basic English construction rules. Your resume reflects the level and type of work quality you are going to bring in to the organization. So, please don’t hurt my eyes. And, use a spell checker!

Remember, a good resume/application is your first tool in landing that interview that could potentially land you that job you are aspiring for. Another set of eyes will be very beneficial, so ask a friend to check your work, proofread and re-write before you click that “Send” button.

9 Tips for a Successful Interview

In this time of economic hardships and tight competition in the job market, it pays to prepare for an interview.

I wrote the following tips one day after I came back from disappointing rounds of interviews. Please read on and never make the same mistakes:

1. Know about the company you’re applying for. Search about them – the history, organization, purpose statement, goals, mission, core values and even its community involvement. When I interviewed for a position at a military-related company while stationed overseas, the interviewer was surprised that I knew a lot about their goals and financial contributions to the morale and recreation of the military – more than what their employees actually understand about it.

2. Know about the position you’re applying for. Read the job description. Our first question to each applicant today was “Have you read the job description?” Surprisingly or not, none of those 9 people we interviewed has ever read it, although it was posted online during the application process. The worse part of it was that most of them answered Yes, but when we asked them about the content, they didn’t have a clue! We had to give them a few minutes to read it in front of us.

3. Rehearse and be confident! It really makes a difference if you rehearse some possible questions and be able to answer them confidently.

4. You are the driving force! Remember that the mood of the interview depends on you. There were a couple of applicants with impressive resume, but could not sell themselves on the interview. I even had to beg them to expound on their answers. One candidate was too energetic that bordered cockiness and there was one who almost lulled me to sleep.

5. Basic stuff: dress appropriately (it really looks impressive when you wear business attire with a briefcase), be on time, bring your credentials with you (resume, references, diplomas, awards, etc). One time we were interviewing for a front-line customer service position and this internal candidate (from another department) was wearing a sweater and jeans and was slouching on the chair. That’s a bad signal! Also, if you are going to be late or not going to make it, please let us know. It is rude not to, and trust me, we will place you on the “Ignore” list.

6. We are professionals so act professional. Don’t point your finger on my face when making a point. And, please don’t refer to us, members of the panel, as “guys!”

7. Be prepared with some questions to ask us. Remember that an interview is a two-way street – you would want to get to know us as much as we are trying to get to know you. Sensible questions only tell us that you are really interested. But, that doesn’t mean you are going to ask us about compensation packages and vacation right away. Save the former when you are offered the position as part of the negotiation and the latter when you already are part of the team.

8. Have fun at the interview! I say it again, “Have fun!” This will help loosen you up a little bit and at the same time project a fun, positive aura to the interviewers. It can also boost your confidence level. So, have fun!

9. Send a “Thank you” letter! This is one thing I always hope I’d get from the candidates. This is a good tool to not only thank the hiring managers for their time, but will give you a chance to highlight things about you and areas you might want to reinforce that you failed to do so during the interview. A neatly, handwritten note is preferable, but an e-mail will also do the trick.

Lastly, when you are offered a job and decline it, do not expect that we will give you a chance to compete again in the future for the same job. When I was conducting an interview for a supervisor position at the bank and offered it to a candidate, she declined because of the compensation package. A few months later, another supervisor position was posted and this same candidate applied again. She was lucky she was given another chance to sit down in an interview, but that was the best we could do for her. She was not offered a position the second time.

There you go, folks! Follow these simple steps coming from a hiring manager. Let’s not waste each other’s time. Come prepared and have a great time during the interview. Good luck!


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