What you were taught in school no longer applies to the job searching skills needed in today’s market. The rules have changed…from the resume through the interview. Don’t be caught with an “objective statement” on your resume, or asking the interviewer questions you should have researched on the web on your own.
Here are some hot tips for being a savvy career planner:
1) Identify your top competencies, strengths, demonstration situations and high point stories – Different behaviors for different jobs are needed. Today there are sophisticated career planning assessments on the market to help you identify your ideal work environment. It is important for you to become very familiar with your strongest skills. Then, whether it is a resume, a job application, or a job interview, you’ll be able to articulate them succinctly and professionally.
2) Identify your competitive advantage – the single most important job search skill is your ability to communicate what you can do for a company! When the hiring manager believes that you can help solve the type of problems they face, you dramatically increase your chances of being offered the job. The fact is, companies will hire someone when they believe that the person will bring more value than they cost.
3) Selling yourself using high point stories and demonstrating your skills through examples – Your accomplishments or achievements can be identified in your demonstration situations. Using accomplishments in your letters, resumes and interviews gives a convincing picture of you in action. Employers today want do-ers. Your high point story should illustrate a contribution that you made to something that had a positive outcome.
Effective Resume Writing
Creating an effective resume is a crucial step in the career planning process. Most job seekers rush into creating a resume before they fully understand their product (themselves). A resume advertises you – it sells ability, experience, potential benefits and value. It stimulates the interest of prospective employers to find out more about you and invite you to an interview. A common myth is that a good resume will get you a job. The reality is, however, that a resume will at best interest the reader enough to want to meet you. Here are some helpful tips on writing an effective resume:
• Keep your resume brief – especially in describing responsibilities. Describe the key outcomes or accountabilities of the position, not the tasks! (This is what a guerrilla resume is designed to do.)
• Eliminate any information which is extraneous or that could create a negative effect; for example, marital status, religious or political affiliations, sports or hobbies, salary and references.
• Make sure it is formatted neatly with the latest software to help you. Be sure it has plenty of white space and use the grammar and spell checker. Final copies should be printed on at least (20) pound bond paper in ivory or white – if you use a Guerrilla Resume it should be in full color too.
• Check to make sure you use a consistent format throughout your resume. If you used bold headings, make sure all headings are bold. Also make sure your verb tense is correct.
• Have your resume reviewed before finalizing it. Typos and spelling errors are almost guaranteed to eliminate you from being considered.
• Do not underestimate the importance of using a cover letter in your job search! Cover letters reflect the time, care and preparation you have given to your search. They also demonstrate enthusiasm and confidence which can help you begin to develop a rapport with the reader.
The interview is a bus9ness meeting, an exchange of information between the candidate and the company for the purpose of determining if there is a fit for the open position. You have certain qualifications to offer and they have certain needs to fill. Your qualifications have already separated you from the pack and brought you to the final selection process. The following tips will provide you with some techniques and information to help you fine-tune your presentation:
• Dress conservatively. Men: wear a suit and tie, dark colors. Women: wear a suit or a dress with a jacket, conservative colors, simple jewelry, little makeup and perfume. Neatness is critical!
• Arrive about 5-10 minutes early. Be nice to everyone you meet at the company.
• Sit up straight, leaning forward slightly; this helps to convey an attitude of high interest and energy.
• Be positive, friendly, enthusiastic and sincere. Practice will help you to relax and be yourself. Be positive about previous employers and managers.
• Maintain good eye contact.
• Rest hands comfortably in your lap; gesture appropriately as you speak.
• Speak at adequate levels and avoid monotone patterns; don’t drift off at the end of sentences. Speak with assurance.
• Be an attentive listener; ask questions and clarify meanings; answer concisely and clearly, do not ramble.
• Anticipate general questions and those related to your experience. Prepare answers ahead of time. Picture yourself answering these questions confidently.
• Anticipate behavioral interviewing questions that demonstrate you have the behaviors, competencies, and attitude to do the job.
Once you have won the job you want, it is important to maintain your competitive advantage. The world of employment is dynamic. You need to become just as competitive and strategic about your career as employers are. More significantly, employees need to take responsibility for their own careers. If you want to continually compete and win in today’s job market, you must maintain a competitive edge in your job performance in order to do so. Just as everyone has strengths, everyone has weaknesses or hindrances to performance that they must manage and overcome in order to grow professionally.
The best of luck on your search!
A sample thank you letter that you use after an interview, as a guideline or template, will save you a lot of time when preparing this type of correspondence. Since you’ll prepare it before the job interview when you are not nervous and have a clear head, the letter will really increase your chances of making or reinforcing a good impression.
Trying using this for your own uses.
Date Name Company Address City State Zip
I enjoyed the chance to visit with you in your office today concerning career opportunities with ABC Company. After discussing the future of the company I am convinced that I can make a positive contribution, and believe our association could be mutually beneficial.
I was especially impressed with the information you provided concerning expansion into other markets and a need for an invigorated marketing effort. With my background in advertising and insurance sales and experience as a carnival promoter, I believe I have a lot to offer.
ABC Company has an outstanding reputation in the field and is the type of organization I wish to associate myself with. I pride myself on being an outstanding salesman and promotional specialist, and look forward to a chance to make a positive contribution during this period of growth.
If I can provide any more information that would be of assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to call me at the phone number listed above, or email me if that is more convenient. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
Again, thank you for your time.
John J. Doe.
Using this sample letter will save you time and lead to more second interviews and more job offers. However, if your field is not sales or marketing it may not be perfectly suited to your needs. It should be easy to analyze the thank you letter and see which sentences and paragraphs can be changed to make it fit your needs and your profession. With modern word processing software you can customize one version, and then copy the file and make another letter geared towards a different type of job completely. For instance, if there are three or four types of jobs you would consider then creating a thank you letter for each is probably a good idea. The same of course is true with your cover letter and resume. Different versions for different types of jobs, emphasizing different aspects of your skills and experience will make you more versatile. If, however, you are determined to pursue only one type of job, then you obviously need only one sample letter, one type of cover letter and one type of resume. This is a personal choice and you are the only person who knows exactly what job would be best suited for you and if there is more than one type you’d consider.
We’ve all received bad career advice at some point. Mine came from an aunt who said: “You should be a chemical engineer. You’d be good at it.” Two years of advanced math and 627 headaches later, I decided she was wrong.
Here’s some bad career advice on resume writing that my clients have received from friends and co-workers. My suggested solutions follow. And feel free to share your own tidbits! You can email them to me at kevin at gresumes dot com.
Bad Resume Advice #1 — Don’t sell yourself too hard in your resume.
Nonsense. You should claim the highest levels of skill and achievement possible in your resume. This is not being pushy or aggressive. This is being competitive. You’re not the only one who wants that job, after all.
Corollary: Selling yourself strongly is not to be confused with making “factually inaccurate statements,” i.e., lies. Stick to the truth. It’s easier to remember.
Bad Resume Advice #2 — People don’t have time to read a two-page résumé.
“By saying less you are saying more,” is what one colleague told a client of mine. Rubbish.
People don’t have time to read a BORING resume or one that’s ILL-SUITED to the job opening. But 95 years of advertising research and five years of my own resume writing experience tell me that long, interesting copy always outsells short copy.
You can say a lot in two pages, which is the maximum length I recommend. Try to shoot for a mix of 30-40% duties and 60-70% achievements when describing your experience at each job.
Bad Resume Advice #3 — Include your salary and reasons for leaving each job.
Never include your salary, and include reasons for leaving in rare cases only.
For example, a recent client of mine was prevented from working in his industry by a non-compete agreement. Here’s how I explained his transition from the seafood business back into computers: “Sold firm at twice original revenue and re-entered high-tech sector upon expiration of three-year non-compete agreement.”
You can use similar language to explain why you left a job or left your industry.
Remember what Satan, as played by Al Pacino, once said: “The worst vice is advice.” While that’s not always true, be sure to consider the source the next time you get a hot tip on resume writing from someone who doesn’t do it full-time ….
Best of luck to you!
Resume before and after that’s what this post is about.
Kevin and I have been working on his job hunt not for about 3 weeks. He got serious about it after Christmas. The plan came first. That took a couple of days. Then we began work on his resumes. Yes, he has more than one but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Kevin’s heard me say a thousand times, The most qualified job hunter is rarely the one who gets the offer! Yup that’s right. It’s not a typo. I’m not crazy. The best positions go to the people who do the best job at positioning themselves as the best solution to an employer’s problem — once in they’re in the interview. And that’ s the rub.