A truly effective resume presents your credentials, experience and career accomplishments in a logical and unambiguous format that “hooks” the reader and creates a desire on their part to learn more about you. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it takes some solid effort and careful thought to prepare a resume that makes a prospective employer “want” to know more about you or set up an interview with you.
- Accomplishments!!!! Remember this word. Many resumes are unorganized narratives that frequently spell out an individual’s responsibilities in their current or prior jobs. Trust me, employers seeking to fill open positions are not interested in responsibilities. They ARE interested in knowing what a candidate has actually done or accomplished in each of their career stops.
- Accomplishments should be clear and quantifiable. To present your accomplishments effectively, cite specific figures in a clear and concise manner. Try to find an action verb such as “improved, reduced, managed, developed, initiated” to begin each accomplishment narrative. Here’s a good example: “Reduced annual regional operating expense by over 1.5 million dollars over the course of three years”. Don’t you think a prospective employer would be interested in knowing how you accomplished that? You should be able to list some significant accomplishments for each position you’ve held during your career.
- Your resume should inspire confidence in your abilities and create a strong interest by the reader in wanting to know more about you. Having strong, quantifiable and credible statements about your accomplishments is critical.
- Can every statement on your resume be substantiated in some way? Honesty and truthfulness are a must when creating your resume. With the advent of the internet, employers have many resources at their disposal to check whatever information you include on your resume. And believe me, many employers will check or verify your information.
- Constructing a credible and compelling resume takes time and careful thought. Be prepared to invest the time needed to yield a drop-dead resume. A well done resume will be your most valuable asset when seeking your next career opportunity. And, even better, it can also mean more money in your pocket over the long run.
- What are the other components of a good resume? Depending on the length of time you’ve been in the workforce, a summary statement or list of credentials or “tools” can enhance the resume, if well they are well done, clear and concise. A logical presentation of your educational information is also important. Make sure to include any continuing education or professional designations, along the date they were achieved.
- An effective resume is always visually appealing, making good use of space, with normal sized margins. Some people try to “decorate” their resume with underlining, symbols, pictures, etc. which really become a deterrent to making the document visually appealing. Leave off your involvement in “youth soccer and Cub Scouts”….it’s just fluff and is not needed on a resume. Apply the KISS principal….keep it simple. An often used phrase applies in the design and layout of your resume; “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”. How your resume looks is almost as important as the wording you include to describe yourself.
- If you need some examples of well-done resumes, just ask us. We’d be more than happy to provide you with a few examples that do a great job of selling your credentials, experience and accomplishments. Likewise, we’ll provide you constructive feedback on any resume you care to share with Premier Careers.
Interviewing Tips That Can Make a Difference
Research on the interviewing process has yielded insights into what job candidates struggle with most often during the interview process. The following material is intended to help enhance your interviewing skills. Much of this material is common sense, but reviewing it and putting it to use will help you portray yourself in the best possible light during any interview.
- PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE INTERVIEW
- Have a solid introduction, which you can always use to get off on a good footing when you are asked to speak about yourself. Remember, your introduction should be tailored to fit each situation. Know yourself, your skills, accomplishments, likes and dislikes. You are the one who knows this “product” the best.
- Anticipate what may be asked of you. For example, what are your greatest strengths as an employee? What are your greatest developmental needs (weaknesses)? Are goals an important part of your life? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What has been the most difficult thing you ever had to tackle on the job? What obstacles have you overcome in your career? Why should I hire you as opposed to another candidate?
- Some companies use an interviewing technique known as “Behavioral Interviewing” where they will ask you to give specific details about accomplishments shown on your resume. Be prepared to specifically address anything you include on your resume.
- There also are books available that can help you prepare for a job interview. Depending on your skills in this area, consider buying such a book or using a library copy. If it’s been a while between interviews, consider a “practice” interview with a friend. You can prepare the questions and they can give you a critique on your performance.
- Importantly, take the time to research the company’s history, their business focus, their culture, their customers, their methods or ways of doing business, etc. by visiting the company website. Some questions in the interview may focus on information on the company’s website. If asked whether you had been to their website, it would always be better if you can say you had visited and reviewed the website. Saying you didn’t can be very painful and often fatal in terms of your job prospects.
- DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE INTERVIEW
- Very simply, look professional. Business suits, white shirts, polished shoes, neatly trimmed hair and a good looking tie are a must for men. Women should consider a business suit or dress that would be typically worn in a business setting. Nice shoes, and neatly coifed hair are also important. In both instances, avoid too much jewelry or overly flashy jewelry…it’s a turn-off. And lastly, even if you know the business has a business casual attire policy, you should still follow the advice given above.
- ARRIVE BEFORE THE INTERVIEW, AVOID BEING LATE, DITCH THE CELL PHONE
- This is a must. Make sure you know how to get to the interview site on time and have the phone number of the individual you’ll be interviewing with. Sometimes, circumstances will prevent your timely arrival. In these instances, you need to contact the interviewer with a reasonable explanation of your delay and when you expect to arrive.
- And a quick mention about cell phones…leave them in the car or turn them off (and make sure it is). A ringing, chirping, buzzing or some other sound signaling an incoming cell call, in the middle of an interview, is awfully hard to explain away.
- HANDSHAKES, EYE CONTACT AND POSTURE
- These are key components of the interview. You are being evaluated on more than your answers to questions. A good handshake is an important start for the interview. Eye contact is absolutely critical during the interview….it demonstrates confidence. Likewise, good posture sends a positive message. Avoid fidgeting or too much movement in the chair, doing so sends a negative message.
- ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE
- What type of person do you prefer to spend time with …….someone who is upbeat and enthusiastic or someone with a laid back or low key personality? Confidence and enthusiasm go hand-in-hand in an interview. You can win over an interviewer by displaying these traits. An interviewer will project your personality into a job; what they “see” will be measured against the ideal traits required to be successful in the position. Most importantly, be genuine. Don’t overdo the enthusiasm but don’t think it’s not important. Most hiring authorities will admit that “chemistry with the candidate” is a key consideration when they are making a hiring decision. In some cases, chemistry may weigh in at as much as 65% in the final decision versus ones technical skills and experience.
- LISTEN CAREFULLY AND GIVE COMPLETE ANSWERS
- Poor listening skills and a lack of focus can easily sabotage an interview and many regrettably, people fall victim to this peril. Focus on the interviewer and let them ask a question without interrupting them. Make sure you answer their question…. many fail to do so. If you’re uncertain about the question, it’s okay to ask that it be repeated or re-phrased. Don’t try to bluff if you don’t know how to answer a question…..a good interviewer will see right through any attempt to do so. Just say you don’t know the answer but can probably find out. Your answers should be complete but not rambling or go off on unrelated tangents. Make your point to the best of your ability and allow the interview to proceed.
- Finally, some people simply can’t stop talking…and they will actually talk themselves out of consideration. If you are prone to this, be aware that it is a potential pitfall that must be avoided.
- AVOID THE NEGATIVITY TRAP
- You may be questioned about a job or supervisor that you disliked. This question may arise from the interviewer’s review of your employment application and the reasons you gave for leaving a prior job. Be careful how you state your reasons for leaving on the application and be especially careful if asked to answer such a question in an interview. If you speak negatively about a prior manager or a company, this will often raise a red flag for the interviewer. A better approach is to mention the problems you may have encountered in a matter-of-fact approach and give an example of how you overcame the obstacle or problem.
- BRING ALONG ANY MATERIAL THAT WILL SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS
- Oftentimes, you may be able to enhance your interview by providing the interviewer with materials that confirm or support your career achievements. Excellent performance reviews, letters of commendation or recognition, ranking among peers (sales), etc., can all be used to your advantage. Have copies available that can be left behind with the interviewer. Look for an appropriate moment in the interview to present such items.
- You may be asked to complete an application as part of the interview process. Make sure you bring along information that will enable you to fully complete an application. References and their contact info is important. Likewise, having a copy of your resume enables you to have the proper information and dates about your prior employers.
- DON’T DISCUSS MONEY DURING THE INTERVIEW
- In most cases, this won’t come up. If asked, tell the interviewer your current compensation information and that you’d consider any offer that’s fair and reasonable. I’m here to help you maximize your income, so try to leave this portion up to me.
- ASK YOUR QUESTIONS
- Prepare your questions about the company, their culture, the job, what are the short-term and long-term job expectations, future careers opportunities, benefits, etc. The interview is a two-way street and it’s your opportunity to get your questions answered while learning more detail about the position you are interviewing for, the company’s expectations of you, travel requirements or anything else you wish to know. Most clients are more than willing to answer your questions, and asking “good” questions can reflect positively on you.
- FOLLOW UP WITH THANK YOU LETTERS
- Every recruiter can tell you stories about candidates that fell by the wayside because they failed to FOLLOW UP on the interview. Sending a professionally done letter of thanks, stating the reasons you’re qualified for the position and asking for the job (again), is a great way to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment. This is one of the easiest parts of the interview process and one of the most critical. IT IS VERY ACCEPTABLE TO SEND THESE VIA E-MAIL. Ask for the business card or contact info of everyone you interview with and make sure they receive a letter that is to-the-point and grammatically correct and free of typos. For some employers, failure to send a thank you / follow-up letter can doom your chances regardless of how the interview went. Hand written “thank you letters” are still very acceptable but they must be written immediately and delivered promptly.
Good preparation will help you be able to relax in an interview and that is a key to doing a good job when you’re in front of the hiring authority. You should be confident of your abilities and enthusiastically convey all of your positive qualities and strengths during the interview.
Remember to relax and enjoy the process. After all, these people are not the enemy! They may want you to be join them as a new team member and business associate. They are hopeful that you succeed in the interview process…..because they are ready to fill the job with a qualified candidate like YOU!
- Do your research
- Be prepared
- Be on time
- Be conscious of your image
- Relax and be yourself
- Give concise responses
- Mention concrete, quantifiable data
- Repetitively hit on your key strengths
- Envision yourself as an employee
- Maintain a conversational flow
- Ask questions
How To Handle A Counteroffer
Say you’ve decided to accept a job offer. But when you attempt to resign, the boss throws out numbers instead of a farewell handshake. “Will you stay for $5,000 more?” “What if we give you more money plus an office with a window?”
Be honest–you’re not leaving because your office doesn’t have a window. Remember at this point why you planned to leave, and ask yourself why your boss is showing his or her appreciation for you just now. Is it only because keeping you on staff is less bother than going through a job search?
Still, for employees who aren’t planning to seek a counteroffer out of a resignation, this can all be unnerving. It’s flattering to have the boss beg you to stay, but “taking a counteroffer when you’re resigning is like having an affair to improve your marriage,” says David Moyer, of Moyer Sherwood Associates, a retained executive search firm.
Ultimately, if you stay, you’re perceived as disloyal to management. “You’re the person who put the boss over a barrel rather than work it out in nice fashion,” he says.
Michael Watkins, author of Shaping the Game: The New Leader’s Guide to Effective Negotiating, likens it to the breakup of a romantic relationship when one person has planned the end for a while and the other is caught off guard. “What you’ve done has damaged the relationship, and it’s never going to be the same,” says Watkins. “The person across the table knows you’ve been an inch from leaving. The next time you get a better offer, does that mean you’ll be gone?”
Chances are, the answer is yes. So when you resign, don’t burn bridges–especially if the boss tries to entice you to stay. Tell the boss you’ve made the difficult decision to take another job, and that you came to it after much thought.
This is not the time to say that you felt undervalued and that you had a miserable experience at the company. “Your boss has lots of influence on references in the future,” says Karyl Innis, president of the Innis Company, a Dallas human resources consultancy. Tell him or her that you learned a lot and had a great time there.
Some employees believe the only thing that gets a boss’s attention is a threat. Still, using another job offer as a negotiating technique is risky. “It’s like holding a gun to someone’s head,” says Jay Gaines, president of the executive search firm Jay Gaines & Co. If you’re willing to take the risk, go in knowing exactly what you want. Most important, ask for it in a way that’s not perceived as bullying. It’s all in the delivery.
Open the conversation by saying: Another company is pursuing me, and it’s interesting to me for the following reasons. I haven’t decided to accept it. I’m torn. It caught my ear because the offer seems to be addressing the exact thing I feel like I’m missing here. I want to understand what you’re thinking in that regard. “Get a dialog going, but don’t demand,” says Innis. “One of the greatest career accelerators in the world is to ask.”
Research shows that most employees don’t leave their jobs because of money issues; they leave because they don’t think their career development needs are being met. To that end, Gaines’ firm tries to anticipate a counteroffer from the employee’s current job and builds it into their offer in the form of job training, money and other perks.
“People are unprepared for the emotions and the craziness that comes with resigning,” says Gaines. “Even senior people get caught in a tug of war. They lose their ability to make their decision.”
The best way to avoid all of that: Anticipate your boss’s reaction and plan what you’re going to say accordingly.