The main purpose of your resume is to gain an interview. In order to give the person reviewing your resume the best possible impression, make sure you watch your “ACES”.
A – Appearance
C – Content
E – Evidence
S – Sizzle
Appearance – The layout and design of your resume. Your resume needs to be easy to read and easy to follow. It is easy to put together, modify for specific jobs, and paints a concise picture of your work history in less than 10 seconds.
Content – A resume is considered a sample of your “best work”; therefore, it needs to be flawless. With resumes, it’s the little things that matter. Before you actually begin to write your resume, there are a few things you need to consider as you gather the information required to format a compelling resume. For any specific opening, a hiring manager could easily receive dozens of resumes. Your resume will be judged on a “first glance” level. Some people like to call it “the 10 second rule” which means this – if the reader of your resume does not see a match between your background and the position available in a 10 second glance, odds are your resume is heading towards the trash can and not a hiring manager’s desk. Therefore, you have to remember the following rules to increase your odds of passing the 10 second rule:
- Your resume should be reformatted to each specific job for which you are applying.
- The devil is in the details – misspellings, formatting, missing information, bad grammar, talking in the first person – any one of these mistakes is likely to be enough of a slip to cause your resume to be discarded.
- It has to be easy to read and easy to follow.
- Never assume the reader knows what you are talking about – do not use acronyms or insider jargon in your resume.
- Have someone proofread your resume multiple times!
Evidence – Provides proof that you have the skills and experience required for the position. Focus on your actual skills and experience, not just past responsibilities. The company is going to be asking itself very specific questions: Do you already possess the skills required to do the job successfully? Does your education support the skills required? Do you demonstrate a strong work ethic? Do you go above and beyond what is expected of you? – And the list goes on. Below we will examine the best way to answer all of these questions and how to lay out your resume in a fashion that accomplishes our primary purpose – getting that interview!
Sizzle – Answer the question…”Why do you HAVE to bring me in for an interview”? A compelling, well-written resume should make the reader excited to call you in and speak with you in person.
The purpose of the interview is to sell yourself as the perfect match for the job opening for which you are interviewing. The interview is your one and only chance to make a good first impression. The interviewer is looking to see how you conduct yourself is an unstructured, yet stressful meeting. Several important issues will be addressed with several questions to answer. You should be prepared by doing the following:
Plan Ahead – Double check the time and location of your interview. This will ensure that you are prompt and less stressed on the actual interview day. Try to arrive early, dress for the desired position, and make sure your cell phone is off. First impressions are critical!
Body Language – Maintain professional body language, eye contact, and posture. Introduce yourself and shake hands before sitting.
Educate – Familiarize yourself with the position for which you are interviewing, as well as the company with which you are interviewing. Sell yourself as one already invested in this new opportunity. As you tell them about yourself, remember that this is your chance to show your positive side, describe your strengths, and explain your career goals. Prepare yourself ahead of time for exactly how you want to describe yourself, so you can do so comfortably.
Attentive – Remain focused and engaged. Pay reasonably enthusiastic attention to every aspect of the discussion. Make eye contact and convey a professional level of interest. You want to show how your skills and experience qualify you for the position. Sell yourself with a specific example. Have a brief, one minute anecdote account illustrating what a good self-starter, motivator, leader, etc. you are.
Negative to Positive – You are likely to be asked about how you have handled personality conflicts in the business world in the past. Do not say you have never had a personal problem at work, which would be difficult to believe. Instead, explain how you have successfully dealt with these issues, what you have learned from them, and how they have made you stronger. If asked about past failures, know that the interviewer will think your level of experience is pretty shallow if you have had no failures. He or she is trying to gain insight into how you will handle, take responsibility for, and rebound from mistakes. We learn from our mistakes.
Personal – You may be asked about your life outside work. Most companies want well-rounded, balanced employees, who know how to relax.
Exit from Last Job – You will almost certainly be asked why you left your last position or company. Be honest, but not overly detailed, critical or negative. Be prepared with an example of something positive you bring with you.
Questions – Have your own questions to ask about daily tasks attached to the position, performance reviews, technical equipment, and the company’s 5-year plan.
Confidence – Companies prefer an employee who portrays him or herself with a high level of confidence. Appear poised and sure of yourself, without seeming arrogant. Come across as passionate about what you see as your future at the potential new company. End on a positive, enthusiastic note. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and the informative, helpful discussion.
After the Interview – Always follow the interview with a thank you note; immediately!