Resume Writing & Interviews
The classic resume and passive interview no longer work very well in today’s job market. There are too many people seeking too few positions and you have to shine above the noise.
The first step is to really think about your strengths – your accomplishments, skills, personality and how these set you apart from others. When writing your resume and cover letter, you want to show how these come about. Show – not tell. By that I mean you need to share enough information so that people know you are not just spouting bragging clichés.
Next, or perhaps first: Get rid of the clichés. When you use specific examples of what you’ve accomplished you no longer need to say you are “a hard worker” or “dedicated” etc. Not even “looking for a position that is challenging and allows you to grow.” Everyone says those things.
Next: Do your homework. Do not apply for a job without having learned about the company, the specific needs that you might be able to fill, the culture, and anything else you can learn about that potential employer. This is where informational interviews with those who work there – or who have worked there can be helpful.
Be careful though that you are really only seeking information when you request an informational interview – don’t ask for a job at that time – you will ruin it for yourself and for others who might really be honestly asking for an informational interview.
Just as you proof read your resume and cover letter – proof read your grooming and image before you go for your interview. People will judge you by how you look.
When you have the interview – on the phone – or face-to-face, listen more than you talk, but when asked a question take the opportunity to expand on your answers. When you ask a question, make sure it is about the work – the company – but not about what’s in it for you. DO NOT ask questions about salary, benefits, time off, the expertise of the caterer in the cafeteria or any of those questions during preliminary interviews. They might be negotiating tools at the end of the process after the offer is made to you.
You are there to persuade the interviewer that you are the best person for the position.
In short, you need to stand out as more interested, better qualified, and more interesting than the others also seeking employment.