Resume and Interview: Tips and Tricks
Searching for a new job can be a very stressful endeavor. Below are a series of tips and pointers to help you as you set out for a new career.
1. Understand that Everything on Your Resume May Come Up During the Interview
Your resume will be spring board for probing questions from interviewers. While some interviewers may ask about your most recent out directly relevant experience, understand that everything in your resume may come up in a question. Overall, make sure you look through the items on your resume prior to the interview and can at least at a high level speak to each item.
For example, if you said that you handled complex transactions while working at Joe's Electronics. Be prepared to be asked, "You mentioned that you handled complex transactions at Joe's Electronics can you elaborate on these transactions and why they were complex?"
Or alternatively, if you listed a role in school extracurricular program or a professional committee or organization, be prepared to talk about what your role was and the value of that work.
This does not mean that you have to remember everything about everything but just that you should be prepared to talk about items on your resume.
2. Demonstrate Competencies Rather Than Stating Them
One common groan worthy issue when interviewing candidates or reviewing resumes is stating attributes. By themselves, someone stating that they are trustworthy, hard working, competent, or friendly does not mean much and can be stated or listed by any number of candidates.
In your resume and your interviews you want to make sure there are foundations to back competencies. Ultimately, this boils down to having examples and showing them (with examples) rather than telling them.
If you say that you are hard working, then try to tie that back to an anecdote where you did a large amount of work, persevered over a deadline and helped your team, boss, organization, and etc.
3. Highlight Your Value in Your Resume
When possible try to show what your efforts were worth. Depending on what job you are applying for, competition can be stiff and it is important to try and differentiate yourself from other candidates. Plus where you have personal wins to showcase you want make them stand out.
For example, if you worked in food service, instead of saying:
Managed orders for customers correctly and efficiently
Managed orders correctly and efficiently averaging 10 tables per shift (or $500 in sales per shift)
Adding some sort of qualifier enables the reviewer to distinguish you from other candidates. The first selection could be found on anyone's resume the second is more specific to you.
4. Concise, Compact, Focused
Make information easy to find on your resume and keep it short. It should not be hard for potential employers to find key information. For example, if you are applying for jobs in a specialized field and do not have prior experience, employers are going to want to see your GPA and degree on your resume. If you keep it off or try to hide it, employers may skip over your resume.
If you are fresh out of college or only a couple years in working, aim to stay within 1 page. Some Doctoral candidates with a project/thesis may need a second page too. Adding fluff is not going to help you and will dissuade reviewer. Try to use bullets and avoid paragraphs. People are going to want to skim.
On your resume, folks are going to generally want to see:
Name, Phone Number, Address, E-Mail
Ranking/Grade Point Average, Institution, Degree/Certification, Year Obtained
Work Experience (If varied, assentuate relevant roles)
Employer, Job Title, Time of Employment, Key Responsibilities, Key Accomplishments
Note: If you have large gaps in your resume for employment and have a good reason you may want to briefly note that in a line so recruiters don't make their own assumptions. I.E. 2013-2014 Care Giver for Grandmother, Assisted Parents in Business Start Up/Farm, Personal Medical Issue Since Resolved, or etc.
Organizational/Extracurricular/Volunteer Experience (if varied focus on ones where you either took a leadership role, generated value for, gained relevant experience from, or had a continued involvement)
Organization Name, Role, Key Responsibilities, Key Accomplishments
Institution, Title of Distinction, Year Awarded, Status (Active/Inactive/Expiration Date)
If you completed major projects as a Capstone Project or part of a degree program or etc that may be relevant to a particular employer you may include those as well. If you got a major project that you played a key role in and you are knowledgeable in the subject go for it. However, don't try to fill space with this especially if this will cause you to go over a page.
5. Take Some Time to Prime Yourself for Interviews
If it has been a while since you last interviewed, you may be a little rusty. Take some time to google interview questions online and practice answering them. It may be good to practice giving answers to a friend. Don't memorize canned responses or write out answers. Just get used to the type of questions that get asked and get in the swing of answering them.
© 2016 Daniel Gottlob