|Resumes, Interviewing & More...
The following tips are provided to help you yield the best possible results in your job
You know what they say about "first impressions..." They really do make a
difference. As a candidate seeking employment in this fast-paced world, your resume
is your first impression on a company. Make it stand out. Make it one that will cause
an employer to slow down and take a second look...
The top of your resume should include your name, current address, preferred phone
number and e-mail address. Recruiters and companies will expect to be able to
contact you using the information listed on your resume. Therefore, it is a good idea to
provide phone number(s) and an e-mail address at which you do not mind being
contacted during the day.
Many candidates choose to include a short overview at the top of their resumes that
summarizes their experience, skills and objectives. This can be an effective way to
highlight some of your significant accomplishments and primary interests. This section
should be brief, no more than a few sentences, and should include no more than two
or three key messages. Think of this section as being the place where a recruiter
could look to gain an understanding of your primary skills and your current career
goals, if he or she only had one minute to review your entire resume.
List your employment in reverse chronological order starting with your current, or most
recent, position. Provide more detailed information about your most recent and
relevant positions. Include all of the jobs you have held since undergraduate school.
For each of the companies on your resume, be sure to include your title, using
"functional titles" if you believe that they would provide better information to a
recruiter. For example, if your actual title was "Information Technologist," but your
function was "Technical Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer," your better bet
would be to indicate the latter. Even with a clear title, however, you still need to
provide information about your specific role. Describe your role in helping your
organization achieve key targets. Be specific, referencing size, number of people,
money, time frame, technology used and project goals, where possible.
Additionally, describe your responsibilities using strong action verbs. Choose words
like "led," "directed," "managed"," improved," "delegated," "advised," "synthesized,"
"developed," "crafted," "created," "collaborated," "achieved," etc. Avoid soft phrases
such as "helped with," "played a part in," "assisted with," etc...
Finally, be concise. Provide as much information about your accomplishments as you
can, using as few words as possible. Ideally, your resume should be two pages or
List your schools and degrees in reverse chronological order with your highest, and
most recent degree first. Include "in-progress" education if you are actively taking
classes towards a degree.
You may wish to list specialized skills, certifications, affiliations and/or special
clearances in separate sections of your resume. Some examples of special skills
include technologies, software, methodologies or languages in which you are
proficient. Only list skills that you would feel comfortable employing if asked to do so
in a new position. If you have achieved certifications or a security clearance that sets
you apart from other candidates, clearly indicate these credentials.
Keep in mind that your resume is usually the tool that gets you an interview.
Therefore, make sure you take care of the basics...spell check, proofread, ask a
colleague to review it before sending it out, etc...
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Now that you have an effective marketing tool in the format of your resume and your
resume has helped you get an interview with the company on which you had set your
sights, your next marketing tool is...YOU.
Sticking with the theme of "first impressions," what you wear is the very first thing an
interviewer will notice about you. Keep it clean, neat and professional. You want
your interviewer to remember what you said, not what you had on.
Allow yourself enough time to get to the interview location. If possible, drive to the
location a few days in advance to be sure you understand the directions. Arrive 15
minutes early so that you will not be rushed when the interview begins. Do not arrive
too early, because chances are, your interviewer will not be prepared to receive you
before your scheduled time.
Most companies have a website that you can visit to learn everything that is publicly
available to know about them. Additionally, there may be recent news stories
available on the internet that can help give you a context for the company's current
corporate climate. In short, prior to the interview learn as much as you can about the
company. You will feel more confident when you are speaking to the people who
work there. Additionally, you may find opportunities to relate your skills and values to
your knowledge of the company's overall objectives.
During the interview, be yourself. Be calm, honest and forthcoming about your
previous work experiences and your reasons for your interest in the position for
which you are interviewing. Do not make the mistake of talking too much without
learning anything from your interviewer. Remember, the interview is as much an
opportunity for you to learn about the new company as for your interviewer to learn
about you. What both parties should be looking for is, "fit." By listening to your
interviewer, not interrupting him or her, and speaking truthfully about your
experiences, you can also find cues as to whether or not you believe the relationship
would be a good fit.
Thank You Letters
No matter how well you think the interview went (or did not go) be sure to send a
thank you letter afterwards. It is generally acceptable for the letter to be sent via snail
mail or e-mail, just make sure you do not forget it.
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As you have probably come to realize, searching for new employment is an
investment in yourself that takes time, dedication and energy. The companies that you
are pursuing are also making investments of time, energy and money to find great
people. Mutual respect for these investments is a must. We encourage you to follow
standards of employment etiquette when accepting or resigning from job positions. By
following standards of employment etiquette you are showing goodwill and respect
for the other party's efforts and investment.
Accepting an Offer
Prior to accepting an offer for employment, make sure you have all of your questions
about the new position answered. Consider the offer carefully and be confident
about your decision to accept. Once you accept the offer, the new company will be
looking forward to you joining the organization and making plans and arrangements for
It is common practice to give your current employer at least two weeks notice. Be
prepared for your manager to respond with any range of reactions. Be confident
about your decision and do not feel guilty for deciding to make a change. After giving
a verbal resignation, be sure to follow up with a formal letter of resignation as well.
It is not recommended that candidates use a new offer to solicit a counter-offer from a
current employer. Even if an employee is able to gain a short-term salary increase, or
promotion in this manner, studies show that the majority of people who do this end up
leaving their companies within a year anyway. Ultimately, this approach results in
burning bridges unnecessarily.
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