Tips for Job Seekers
Craft A Winning Resume
A strong resume can open the door to opportunity in any field– it’s typically the first impression you’ll make, and the one that will pave the way to an interview. Here are a few tips for creating a resume that gets noticed–and gets you called back.
- Resume Length. There is no ‘right’ resume length. The “one page” standard is a thing of the past, however, an overly lengthy resume won’t do you any favors, either. Remember: bullet points are your friend. They help with ease of reading, pinpointing key information about your experience. Five to ten bullet points per job is a good starting point.
- Consistent Formatting. A lack of consistency and uniformity throughout a resume looks unprofessional. You want your resume to stand out, but using multiple fonts, sizes, colors, etc. isn’t the way to do it. As a rule of thumb, if highlighting text doesn’t accent an important point you wish to get across – avoid it! Keep your spacing, bold type, fonts and other variables consistent throughout. For example, if you single-space your content in one section, then the whole thing needs to be singled spaced. If you bold the title of one company you worked for, keep it consistent and bold all of them.
- Stick to the Point. No Hiring Manager wants to read a novel on every career experience you’ve had. Include only your main responsibilities, achievements and relevant awards that stand out. Metrics and/or numbers that demonstrate your success can be effective, along with certifications, tests and/or training courses you completed that illustrate your capabilities.
- Employment Dates. Try to be as precise as you can with dates – each job must have one. It should be easy to gain an understanding of how much experience you have. Be transparent and explain any gaps, and don’t leave unanswered questions for the hiring manager.
- Spelling/Grammar Errors. This is typically a major issue and one that needs to be watched carefully. Always, always go back and do a spell check when you finish editing your resume, but don’t stop there. Spell check tools are not foolproof– they frequently miss common errors. Nothing replaces a couple of good read-throughs to ensure everything is correct. Lastly, it never hurts to have a fresh set of eyes read over your resume before sending out.
Ace the Interview
Now that you’ve landed the interview, show up ready to land the job. Interviews can be stressful, but good preparation can help take off some pressure. Here are a few ways to prepare you for the big day:
- Research the company. Take a look at their website and social media accounts to get insight on how they run their business, their accomplishments, and their goals and values. Employers will expect you to have done basic research on the company, so the more time you spend preparing the better. If you walk into the interview with no idea what the company does, you will come off as unprepared and uninterested in the position.
- Find potential questions the interviewer might ask. If you feel uncomfortable with any common interview questions, write them down and put some thought into preparing your answers. If you need to, write out your answers and reread them a few times. Think about your strengths and weaknesses, your future goals, and how you can be an asset to the company. Being able to answer questions confidently will impress your interviewer and prove you are serious about the job.
- Prepare questions to ask during the interview. If the employer asks you if you have any questions for them, make sure you have a few ready. This will show them you are engaged in the conversation and have taken time to think about the position. Some good questions to ask are “What is the environment of your company?,” “Is there room for growth?,” and “What are the future plans for your company?” You’ll show the hiring manager you’re interested in the company, and you’ll get a better sense for the opportunity, as well.
- Grab a friend and have a mock interview. Sit down with a peer you trust and have them ask you a list of common interview questions. You’ll get a chance to rehearse your answers out loud and on the spot; if you take it seriously, the mock interview can boost your confidence, too! Try focusing on eye contact, body language, and a good volume. Your friend can also point out areas they think you can improve.