Resume Writing Tips
You only get one chance to make a first impression! So make sure your resume makes a great first impression on your behalf.
To do this you need to follow a few simple rules:
- Be Relevant
- Be Brief
- Be Flexible
Your resume needs to be a flexible document. Don’t be afraid to change it every time you send it to somebody. Think about what they need to know about you and make sure that it is easy to find:
- Add relevant achievements if you think it will increase your chances of being interviewed
- Expand a little on relevant information and cut down the less relevant points.
- Be Accurate
- Be Consistent
Make sure you are consistent throughout the document:
- Make sure that when you change jobs and re-visit your resume you change information about your previous job into the past tense.
- Use the same layout and typeface for every job.
- Be Generous
Keep your formatting consistent throughout the document with adequate spacing between sections.
- Be Brave
If you are interested in a job, give it a go. The worst thing that they can do is say “No”.
Make sure what you write is relevant to the job you are applying for. Review your resume before you send it to anybody. Be willing to change your resume a little (or a lot) to make sure that you tell the reader all they need to know and no more than that.
There is no need to provide your entire life story and no need to include a complete job description for every job you’ve ever had. An easy guide is to think of each job you’ve had and set out the information roughly like this:
Dates Employed: Your Title
Organisation Name: A paragraph of no more than two short sentences briefly describing the organisation and its size. Another paragraph of no more than two sentences briefly describing the key aspects of your position with the organisation.
Achievements: List your achievements. Use the Achievements section to really sell yourself. But don’t tell fibs – you’ll get caught out. As you go back through your employment history you need to include less and less information about each of your jobs. People will hire you because of your recent experience, not because of what you were doing ten or fifteen years ago.
How to Improve Your Performance at Interviews
The time you spend at a job interview will have a profound effect on your future career. This guide, combined with the advice provided by your Consultant, will equip you with valuable information on how to conduct yourself during the interview and improve your chances of securing the job you want.
Before the Interview
Preparation is the most important step towards a successful interview.
- Know the time and place of the interview
- Know the interviewer’s name, including correct pronunciation and title
- Be clear on why you want to work there
Dress for Success:
- Pay attention to all aspects of your dress and grooming. If unsure its best to present in formal business attire. Men are advised to wear and suit and tie.
- You both need to look professional and appropriate
- Where are the offices based
- What the organisation’s products and services are
- Future plans for the organisation
- What its growth potential is for the future
- The Internet is an excellent source of information if used wisely. Find out the organisation website address and browse through its site, social media and any links with relevant organisation information.
It is a good idea to have your questions prepared before the interview. This will let you determine whether the organisation will give you the opportunity for the growth and development you seek.
Here are some ideas on what to ask:
- For detailed description of the job
- Why the position is available
- The culture of the organisation
- Induction and training programs
- Who has done well in the job before
- Are advanced training programs available and what are the criteria
- Organisation growth plans
- Best-selling products or services
- What the interviewer likes about the organisation
- The next step?
Be prepared to answer a variety of questions, such as:
- Why you chose this particular role
- What you really want to do in your next career move
- Why you would like to work for this particular organisation
- Where would you like to be in your career 5 years from now, and why
- Details about your last salary package and bonuses
- What style of management you work best with
- What interests you about their products and services
- Who you nominate as referees, and what you think they will say about you
- What you have learned from some of the jobs you have held. Which you enjoyed the most and why
- What you have done that displays initiative in your career
- What you think determines a person’s progress in a good organisation
- Your willingness to relocate
- How you spend your spare time i.e. your hobbies
- What teamwork means to you
The Common Sense Do’s and Don’t of a Successful Interview
Through the interaction which takes place during the interview, they will be searching for your strong and weak points. The interviewer will be evaluating you not only on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities, but also on your ability to handle pressure. They will probe deeply to determine your attitudes and motivation, competence and professionalism.
- DO arrive a few minutes early
- If presented with an application, DO fill it out completely
- DO greet the interviewer by name. If you aren’t sure about the pronunciation, ask them to repeat it
- DO shake their hand firmly
- DO wait until you are offered a chair.
- Be alert – a good listener as well as a good talker
- DO maintain good eye contact
- DO follow the interviewers leads, get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position
- DO be confident – you are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire somebody, not because he/she wants to trip you up or embarrass you
- DO be as prepared as possible in terms of your knowledge of the organisation, products and services
- DO make sure you are answering the question being asked. Listen carefully!
- DO be enthusiastic and interested. What’s the point in being there otherwise?
- DO show the interviewer that you have plans and goals for your career
- DO ensure that your expression, diction and grammar are correct. Interviewers often take this into account, as well as your concept/thought formation
- DO be mindful of your personal presentation
- DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make them realise the need for you in their organisation
- DO conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in the position where you can choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.
- DO Smile!
- DON’T be evasive, making excuses
- DON’T make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers
- DON’T be aggressive or overbearing
- DON’T smoke prior to the interview because your breath and clothes will smell
- DON’T forget to ask educated questions about the job and the organisation
- DON’T answer with a simple “Yes” or “No” – explain whenever possible. Tell the interviewer those things about yourself which relate to the position
- DON’T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as much to the point as possible
- DON’T “over-answer” questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics. Since this can be rather sensitive, it is best to answer the questions honestly, trying not to say more than is necessary
- DON’T enquire about salary, holidays, bonuses and so on in the initial interview, unless they raise the topics first. You should however know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range when asked.
- If you are interested in the position, ask for it! Ask for the next interview if the situation demands. If they offer the position and you want it, accept on the spot. If you need some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite date when you can provide an answer and keep to it.
- Don’t be too discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with their office first or interview more applicants before making the decision.
- If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don’t let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in you may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
- Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration. You have done all you can if you have answered the questions uppermost in his/her mind:
- Why are you interested in the job and the organisation?
- What can you offer and can you do the job?
The last and the most important – call your consultant who referred you to the position immediately after the interview, and tell them how it went! They will want to talk with you before the interviewer. If you are interested in progressing further it will assist if your feelings towards the position are known, together with your perception of what the client’s reaction is likely to be.