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13 Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You The Interview

HR

Written by er Saturday, 31 July 2010 17:11

1. A BLAND OR GENERIC OBJECTIVE: If your objective could be applied to a marketing resume as easily as a resume for an accounting position, then your objective says nothing and will get you nowhere. An objective is NOT some required paragraph at the top of the page that is an exercise in 5 lines of job speak. It's an actual and real description of your skills as they're related to who you are and what you want. It should vary with the type of job for which you are applying. 2. BLAND JOB DETAILS: "Responsibilities included overseeing construction of 4 Hilton Hotels in Tri-City Metro Area, each 50 floors in height." Yeah? So what? That doesn't say if they went up on schedule or if you brought the projects in under budget. It doesn't say if you took all four from site work up or if the guy handling two of the four hotels was fired and you were promoted to overseeing all four. Differentiate yourself from the others coming in to interview. If you don't tell the hiring company how you will be an asset to them, how will they know? 3. WHO'S THE MYSTERY COMPANY?: Don't assume the name and purpose of your company is common knowledge. If it's a competitor, it might be, and if it's in the same industry and located nearby, it might be. To be on the safe side, provide a sentence or two about the focus of your company's products or services. 4. ANOTHER JOB, ANOTHER PARAGRAPH: Don't keep adding on to your resume job after job, year after year. By the time you're in your 40s, you need to have weeded out some of the earlier stuff. You don't need all the college activities, just your degree. You don't need ALL 5 bullets for each of your first two jobs. 5. REFERENCES: Shouldn't be listed on your resume. "References available on request" is the proper phrase. You present them separately when they're requested. This isn't about protocol. This is about protecting your references so they aren't called until you and the company are serious about each other. 6. IT'S NOT A STORY!: Don't - whatever you do, DON'T - write your resume in the third person! 7. SKIP THE PERSONAL INFO: You might think your weekend baseball coaching or your church choir participation shows you're an interesting and well-rounded person, but they're irrelevant. If the interviewer wants to know who you are as a person, aside from the job interview and your qualifications, he'll ask. 8. DEGREE DATE: No matter how old you are, don't leave the date of when you were graduated off your resume. It looks like you're hiding something (well, you are, aren't you?), and then everyone counts the years backwards and tries to figure out how old you are. Sometimes you can be ruled out - just for leaving the date off. If you're trying to hide your age by not stating the date, what else might you not be forthcoming about? 9. SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK: Spell checking visually by you AND someone else, any fewer than three times, isn't enough. And don't forget to check your punctuation. 10. GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE - part one: Don't use one of those resume blaster things. Half those sites aren't even valid. You don't know how it will come out on the other end. You don't even know where it's going or if the landing targets are employment related. It's bad form and just....NOT the way to find your perfect job. Finding your perfect job takes focus, attention, detail, individuality, tailoring, specifics. Resume blasting is about as far from that as you can get. 11. GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE - part two: If it's an ad, you probably have instructions as to how to send it. If it says email, cut and paste it in the form, AND attach it. You never know what it can look like on the other end because of the variety of settings available to each user. Quite frankly, you're better off not emailing it at all, because it usually just goes into cyber space, and then it's all about the hiring company - but unfortunately, besides not sending it at all, sometimes that's your only choice. Emailing your resume takes any option for further participation right out of your hands, because often there's not even a name given for a follow up contact. You've no other option than to wait and wonder. (And half the time it's going to HR or an admin department to be scanned into an electronic database.) 12. GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE - part three: If you know the company, call and ask if they prefer email, fax, or snail mail. I know a recruiter who never even opened his email. Because he was listed in The Kennedy Guide to Executive Recruiters, he received so many resumes emailed to him cold (so NOT pro-active) that he just did a mass delete every morning. Candidates contacted for a specific search were requested to snail mail their resume to him. How about that? I'll bet less than 10% of those who emailed their resumes even bothered to follow up to see if it was received (this isn't a numbers game). 13. RESUME VISUALS: Ivory paper. Black ink. Individual pages. No plastic, 7th grade, science report cover with the plastic slider or metal push down tabs. Your name centered at the top, not on a cover page that says "Introducing Clifton Lewis Montgomery III". No exceptions. Your resume is a professional document, not a school book report or an art project. Until every resume is done this way, yours will still stand out in the crowd. You are the product, and your resume is the marketing piece. To find your perfect job you must differentiate yourself from the other people who will be interviewed. Your resume must be specific, individualized, easy to skim so it invites a closer reading, and focused on the differences you've made with your previous companies, as well as the accomplishments you've achieved with - and for - them. This tells the hiring company what you can do for them - and it IS about the hiring company, not you. Of course this assumes you meet the requirements for the job - otherwise it doesn't matter how good your resume is! The resume is what gets you in the door. If your resume is poorly written, looks sloppy, is difficult to read, is cryptic in any way, or necessitates being slogged through to learn your information (they won't bother), you won't even get in the door. And how can you decide whether you like the company, if they've already decided they don't like you?
 

A Sample Interview Thank You Letter

HR

Written by er Saturday, 31 July 2010 17:11

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 Dear Name, 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. Sincerely, 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.

Ace a Job Interview

HR

Written by er Saturday, 31 July 2010 17:11

If you are job hunting and want to land a great opportunity it is extremely important to ace the job interview. While a job resume is important to get you into the door, in order to get the job of your dreams, you must first ace the job interview. Here are some tips on doing well with the interview process. A job interview is for the employer to meet with you to make sure you have the skills necessary to perform the job competently and also make sure that your personality will be a great fit with the company. If you want to impress your interviewers there are a few things to remember. The top three things to remember is to be prepared to ask and answer questions, dress appropriately, and show off your personality in the best light as possible. Many people don’t come prepared for the job interview. They don’t know what they will be asked and they don’t have any questions to show the interviewer that they know about the company or that they are interested in the job that they will be asked to perform.. It is also important to dress properly. Many times people are dressed so inappropriately that the interviewer makes a negative first impression. If you have any doubts on your dress, change your outfit. It is also important to be personable. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but show the interviewer that you are a positive person that is responsible. Nobody wants to interview a negative or combative person. So in order to ace your job interview, follow the above tips. More informations are available at http://www.business-00.info/careers-employment/
 

Acing The Interview: The Positive Approach To Tough Questions

HR

Written by er Saturday, 31 July 2010 17:11

As a Career Consultant, I work with clients on all the tools and techniques that are needed to succeed in the job search – including interviewing skills. One thing I have noticed over the years is that candidates often get “trapped” in certain interview questions that are designed to make them say something negative or self-defeating (which generally leads to rejection). Indeed, job-seekers are not even aware of how negative many of their answers sound at interviews! So, I instruct all my clients to “never say anything negative, or anything that could possibly be construed as negative!” Candidates can avoid being disqualified by stating all their answers in positive (or, at least, neutral) terms. The following are some of the most commonly-asked interview questions, along with suggested approaches for answers. It is important that job candidates practice these responses until they are able to handle all the questions effectively. Why do you want to work here? How can you help our company? Why should we be interested in you? Answer is always based on information you’ve researched in advance about the company and their needs. If you were choosing someone for this job, what kind of person would you select? Answer is to generally state your own general qualifications, without being too “obvious.” Leave out the details. If you could have any job which one would you want at this company? Answer has to do with the most general description of the job – NOT A SPECIFIC TITLE. What weaknesses do you have for this job? TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Answer is to ponder for a while and then state that you can’t think of any weaknesses that would compromise your performance at this job; or negatively impact your performance of the job’s responsibilities. What do you expect to get in this job that you haven’t gotten in you current/previous job? TRAP QUESTION. Do not say anything negative. State that your current/previous jobs have met or exceeded your expectations. With the new position you would hope to have broader responsibilities and make greater contributions. What do you see as your future here? I would expect to be contributing at higher levels and have increased responsibility over time. Are you considering other positions at this time? TRAP QUESTION. Simply say “yes.” How does this opportunity compare? From what I’ve heard so far, very favorably … and I would like to learn more. What other companies/opportunities are you looking at now? As I’m sure you can appreciate, I’m not at liberty to say as I am still in discussions with these companies. I need to protect their privacy, as I would for your company under similar circumstances. What are your short and long term goals? Short range: To secure an appropriate new position where I can apply my skills and experience to increase the company’s productivity and profitability. Long range: Assume more responsibility and make greater contributions over time for my employer. What motivates you? Focus the answer on your core values, and also on the values and priorities of the company you are interviewing with (which you should have identified through your preliminary research). What have you done to improve yourself during the last year? Talk about professional development, training programs, educational curricula, study in your field, on-the-job training, skill-building, relevant books you’ve read, etc. How do you spend your spare time? Say something inoffensive, apolitical and innocuous. (reading, exercise, travel, home projects, gardening, family activities, home projects, etc.) Tell me about your health. My health is excellent. If you could re-live your last 15 years, what changes would you make? Nothing is perfect, but overall I would say that I’m quite satisfied with the way my life and career have developed – so I wouldn’t make any significant changes. Tell me about your greatest achievement/disappointment in your life. Give one personal example (like meeting your spouse and getting married; putting yourself through college and graduate school; or saving-up to buy your first house, etc.). Then give your best professional accomplishment story. As for the disappointment, give an answer similar to the one above, implying that “overall, I would say that I’m quite satisfied with the way my life and career have been developing, so I really can’t think of any major disappointments.” What did you like best/least about your last job? TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Explain what you liked best. Then say that while every job has its challenges, you have been fortunate enough to learn and grow professionally in each of the positions you have held. In your last position, how much of the work did you do on your own, and how much as part of a team? Which did you enjoy more? Talk in terms of your flexibility and adaptability – your ability to work in whatever mode seems appropriate to the situation. Make it clear that you have been equally effective in teams or working independently, as each case demanded. You enjoy both; it’s more about what will work best for the project and the company at that time. What are some of the more difficult problems you have encountered in your past jobs? How did you solve them? Tell two or more pre-prepared accomplishment stories. Keep it POSITIVE! Did you ever make suggestions to senior management? What happened? Say “yes.” Tell some accomplishment stories and results, in which you positively influenced senior management. At your previous job(s), what did you think management could have done to make you function more effectively as an employee? TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Say that the employer was very good in providing resources and support to your position, and that you have no complaints about this. What has kept you from progressing faster and farther in your career? TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! State: “I don’t know what could have given you the impression that I am dissatisfied with the progress and pace of my career. I am quite satisfied with where my career is at this point in my life. However, I am ready to take on greater challenges.” What else should we know about you? Tell one or two more of your best accomplishment stories. You can also repeat how well-suited you think you are for the opportunity, and how interested you are in the job. Tell me about the best/worst boss you’ve ever had. TRAP QUESTION: Never state anything negative! Say that while every boss has been different, you have worked productively with, and learned something from, each one. (Be prepared to give some examples of what you have learned.) Everybody likes to criticize. What do people criticize about you? TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Say that you can’t think of any criticisms you have received from colleagues on the job. Of course, there have been areas for development – such as when your supervisors would have given you your “employee review,” and they might have made a suggestion for improvement. State that you have always taken these kinds of suggestions seriously and have taken steps to make the improvements that were requested, and that this has made you stronger as a professional. (State at least one example). Everyone has pet peeves. What are yours? TRAP QUESTION. Never state anything negative! Turn this question around, by talking about your high professional standards. Your only “pet peeves” are with yourself – pushing yourself hard and not accepting mediocrity, for example – or how you are always striving to reach your full potential on the job, etc. What is your leadership style? Talk in terms of your flexibility and adaptability – your ability to lead in whatever mode seems appropriate to the situation. Explain that it’s more about what approach will work best for the project and the company at that time. Give an example or two, demonstrating different leadership styles, using your accomplishment stories. Are you geographically mobile? (or) Are you willing to put in a lot of extra time? Ask for clarification – what exactly does the interviewer mean? Then, according to their answer, either say, “that would be no problem at all,” or tell them “you’d like to give it some thought and get back to them within 24 hours.” You don’t have the experience/background for this position. How could you handle it? Say you’re confused by their comment, that you’re quite confident that you DO have the experience and background for this position, and that you’re a very strong match for the responsibilities. Ask what specifically concerns them about your background; what’s missing in your experience? (Sometimes the interviewer is just testing you.) Re-state your qualifications as needed, tying your accomplishment stories to the employer’s requirements. You’re overqualified for this position, aren’t you? (even if you are slightly overqualified) State: No – I see a lot of challenges in this opportunity, and I’m sure that I would find the work extremely interesting. Give some examples of what you mean, and talk about the new dimensions of experience and skill that you would bring to the position, almost as though you would expand the level of contribution in this job, thus making it more than it is at present. We have all the information we need. We’ll be in touch. Take the initiative. Ask such questions as: “Where do I stand? Am I being considered as a strong candidate? When should I expect to hear from you, or would you prefer that I contact you in a day or two? What is your time-frame for making a final decision? Is there anything else I can provide to facilitate the process?” etc. Then re-state your strong interest in the position and your confidence that your background is an ideal match to the job. In conclusion, I strongly recommend that you prepare for your interviews by studying and practicing these answers. Get someone to help you, by doing a “role play,” in which your friend can be the interviewer and you can play the part of the job candidate. You will reduce your anxiety, boost your confidence and perform much better if you “know your lines” in advance! And remember – never say anything negative in a job interview! ------------------------ Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2006, Ford R. Myers and Career Potential, LLC. ------------------------

Another Chance to Shine – Following Up on the Interview

HR

Written by er Saturday, 31 July 2010 17:11

The interview follow up letter can make or break your chances of becoming hired. For that reason it should become an essential part of your job hunting tool box, right in there with the other tools you use: resume, cover letter, thank you note, reference sheet and salary history. Think of the letter as a second chance. Some people don’t interview in person as well as they can write. Living up to the standards your resume set for you may be difficult. If that is the case, then the interview follow up letter will improve your appearance after the fact. Other people interview well in person, and are able to use this letter to reemphasize key points discussed with the hiring manager, and remind the hiring manager of the good points about the applicant. In either case the interview follow up letter is essential and if prepared properly will help the applicant get the job. The following sample interview follow up letter gives an idea of what should be included. The time I spent interviewing with you today gave me a clear picture of your organization’s operation as well as your work environment. I want to thank you for the thorough picture you painted of your organizational needs. I left our meeting feeling very enthusiastic about the scope of the position as well as its close match to my abilities. I believe the key strengths that I can offer you are: •Experience in dealing with people of all types and backgrounds through my life experience, education and training. •Proven ability to operate a business at a profit, supervise and train personnel, facilitate activities to improve morale and cash flow, and interact successfully with both staff and customers. •Excellent communication skills—particularly the ability to gain feedback and summarize succinctly. With my energetic work style, strong people skills and attention to detail, I believe that I am an excellent match for this position. I welcome a chance to meet with you further to elaborate on my background and possibilities of future association. Thank you for your time. I look forward to meeting with you soon. Sincerely, John Doe You’ll notice that it is written in a positive and upbeat style. In sales, many successful salesmen assume the close. This does essentially that. The applicant in writing this letter is controlling the conversation and steering it towards positive attributes that he or she possesses, which would make the applicant appear valuable to the company. In addition, by using an interview follow up letter an applicant is “walking the walk as well as talking the talk” simply because most applicants fail to use an interview follow up letter after an interview. Using a letter like this shows that the applicant is conscientious, thoughtful, intelligent, and just the kind of person the company needs. Using an interview follow up letter will lead to more job offers and more jobs.
 

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