We all come to the job search arena from different places. Whatever your reason for entering the job market, one thing you can know is that, as a job seeker, you are in the company of a lot of other qualified candidates seeking the same position you want. Remember that your interview process actually starts with the documents you submit, including online applications, cover letters, resumes and any other supporting documents.
How are you going to stand out from the crowd? Online, you can find a lot of advice, some good, some bad and much of it contradictory. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about some simple things you can do to improve your chance of landing the all-important job.
Applications should be completely filled out, ensuring accurate facts and impeccable grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization. Make sure that you don’t slip into texting mode (IMHO, LOL) or other casual habits. After you have filled out the application completely, go back to the top and review each and every answer you’ve provided. If possible, have someone else carefully review the document before you send in your resume. If your reviewer can read the questions and answers aloud to you, even better!
There are a lot of articles and books about preparing a strong and successful resume. Here are a few of the suggestions most will have in common:
- Your header should include your full name, your city and state (street and mailing addresses can be excluded, as so little is done through the mail anymore), one phone number and one email address. This is also a great place to put your LinkedIn address.
- Depending on your particular situation, you may want to prepare a strictly chronological format, a strictly functional format or a hybrid of the two. If your career has essentially followed a single path – lateral and vertical moves within the same career path, without significant gaps in employment—a strictly chronological resume may fill the bill. If, however, you have gone back and forth between being an undercover spy and an astronaut then your resume should group your jobs and expectations separately.
- Remember that your resume is not just a collection of job descriptions. It should specifically talk about what you brought to the job. How did you change the job with the special gifts and talents you brought to the table? How did you improve the situation of your employer during your tenure? Be specific.
- Each of the words in your resume should help you to tell your story. Be prepared to talk in detail about each part of your resume with specific examples.
- Make sure that your resume, and all of your other documents, are easy to read and professional looking.
The Big Day
A week after you’ve submitted your resume, it’s time for the interview! The way you talk to and treat that receptionist will influence the impression you make. When the boss finds out that you treated her receptionist courteously and professionally, you’ve scored your first points.
Don’t forget interview basics:
- Dress for success: Interview dress should be a step up from your expected everyday professional wear.
- Arrive early: Plan on parking your car thirty minutes before the interview and walking into the office fifteen minutes before the scheduled time for your interview.
Here at Bishop & Co., we have been working with and helping our neighbors connect with their next employers since 1986. To find out more about how we can help you, please contact us.