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Your resume just isn’t about past jobs, it’s about you and what you accomplished in those jobs. A good resume is very important in helping to show an employer how you might perform in the desired job you are applying for. Here are some important resume writing tips:
Know the purpose of your resume
The purpose of your resume is to get the job interview, and the interview will hopefully get you the job. Have a clear focus with your resume.
The basics of the resume
The first thing on your resume should be your name. Make it bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed. Also be sure to include both the name and contact details on all the pages of the resume, if your resume is more than one page.
Put the most important information first
Typically your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your strengths, list the most important ones first.
Show your strengths
Show off your past (create a work history that shows your strengths, make sure any promotions are noticeable at a glance, Quantify your experience. List numerical figures, time periods/efficiency improved, or things that demonstrate accomplishments due directly to your work.
Use descriptive titles
Make sure the titles you list grab the attention of the person reviewing your resume. Employers typically make an opinion about your resume in 5 seconds.
Use action verbs
Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned. (Stick with past tense, even for descriptions of currently held positions to avoid confusion.)
Use bullet points
Employers do not have time or patience to read long paragraphs. Use bullet points and short sentences to describe your accomplishments, experiences, education, and objectives.
You don’t need to list all your work experiences
If you have job experiences that are not relevant to the current opportunity, omit them. If you haven’t had any working experience, include summer or volunteer jobs. If you don’t have a degree yet, include the estimated date of completion.
Don’t include irrelevant information
Social security number, marital status, health, citizenship, age, scholarships, irrelevant awards, irrelevant associations and memberships, irrelevant publications, irrelevant recreational activities, a second mailing address (permanent address is confusing and never used), references, reference of references (“available upon request), previous pay rates, previous supervisor names and components of your name you really never use (middle name), pictures, fancy designs, etc.
Be sure to catch spelling errors, grammatical weaknesses, unusual punctuation, and inconsistent capitalizations. Have someone review your resume to critique your writing and give honest feedback.
First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smallest you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices.
Do not include information employers already know
Avoid including things like “Available for interview” or “References available upon request.” Employers already know these things.
Different resume for each employer
Tailor your resume for each employer; a standard resume to different employers will decrease your chance of getting the interview.
Seems simple, a large amount of people lie in their resumes. Even small lies should be avoided. Apart from being wrong, HR departments do background checks and if things do not check out, it may ruin your credibility.
Update your resume often
It is a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis. Add new information that is relevant, as well as courses, training programs and other academic qualifications that you may have received.
List all your positions within the same company
If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it.
Do not use jargon or slang
Slang should never be present in a resume. As for technical jargon, do not assume that the employer will know what you are talking about.
Create an email proof formatting
Most companies have online applications, so it’s likely that you will have to send your resume via email to most companies. Apart from having a Word document ready to go as an attachment, you should also have a text version of your resume that does not look disfigured in the body of the email or in online forms. Attachments might get blocked by spam filters, and many people just prefer having the resume on the body of the email itself.
Length of your resume
Be concise. As a rule of thumb, resumes reflecting five years or less of experience should fit on one page. More experience can justify a second page. Consider 3 pages for 15 years of experience or more as an absolute limit.
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Preparation is the first step toward having a successful interview. Here are some tips:
- Research the company.
- Look your professional best. Wear business attire in neutral colors and be conservative in your use of fragrance, cosmetics and jewelry.
- Get organized the night before.
- Know your resume and have several copies of your resume and list of references with you.
- Arrive on time or a few minutes early.
- If presented with an application, fill it out neatly and completely.
- Greet the interviewer by last name if you are sure of the pronunciation. If not, ask the employer to repeat it.
- Project energy and enthusiasm. Smile and shake hands firmly.
- Wait until you're offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright, look alert and interested at all times.
- Listen carefully and respond succinctly and articulately. Look the hiring manager in the eye while speaking.
- Early in the meeting, try to get the interviewer to describe the job and the duties to you so you can focus your responses on your background, skills, and accomplishments that relate to the position.
- Prepare to answer behavior-based interview questions. Rather than just the typical interview questions on your background and experience, you will need to be prepared to provide specific examples of your work experiences.
- Be sincere and truthful while focusing on communicating your specific professional achievements that relate to the job opening.
- Don't answer with a simple "yes" or "no." Explain whenever possible.
- Don’t have your cell phone with you or be sure to turn it off before your interview.
- If you don't understand a question - or need a moment to think about it - say so. Never pretend to know something or someone when you don't.
- Don't rely on your application or resume to do the selling for you. Interviewers will want you to be convincing.
- Don't make negative remarks about present or former employers. When explaining your reasons for leaving, communicate your rationale professionally.
- Don’t ramble. Keep your answers to the point and focused.
- Don't inquire about salary, vacations, benefits, bonuses or retirement on the initial interview unless you are sure the employer is interested in hiring you. If the interviewer asks what salary you want, give a range based on your research of the job market, but indicate that you're more interested in the opportunity for continued learning and professional development than in a specific salary.
How to be Prepared to do a Phone Interview:
Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Also, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.
- Keep your resume in clear view to refer back to.
- Have a list of your accomplishments available to review.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
- If the time isn't convenient, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternative times you are available.
- Clear the room and turn off the stereo and the TV.
- Consider using a landline rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call.
During the Phone Interview:
After the Interview:
- Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
- Smile. Smiling projects a positive image and will change the tone of your voice.
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
- Don't interrupt the interviewer.
- Take your time - it's acceptable to take a moment to collect your thoughts.
- Give short answers.
- Your goal is to get a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.
- Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
- Remember to say "thank you." Follow with a thank you note which reiterates your interest in the job.
Waiting for a decision – Companies can take along time to offer a job. Some companies will conduct more than one interview before choosing a candidate.
Follow up – Keep in touch to stay informed about the interview process and also to stay fresh in the recruiters mind. Typically waiting time before following up is a week. When you do follow up reiterate your interest in the position and ask what the next step is if you don’t already know, or ask if they have a time frame before a decision is made.
Keep Searching – don’t rely on just this one job interview. Even if you are confident that a job offer is coming, keep looking. This may also increase your chances of getting another job offer which may be helpful to you in negotiating job offers.
Keep Positive – If you don’t get the offer, don’t think of it as wasted time. You have been able to make contacts within the company. This may lead to an offer at a different time. It doesn’t hurt to seen a brief note to the recruiter and hiring manager to thank them for their time and to keep you in mind for future openings.
Show Your Strengths
Use Actions Verbs
Put Important Information First
Include Only Relevant Information
Update Your Resume Often
Research the Company
Prepare to Answer Behavioral Based Interview Questions
Thank the Interviewer