We all know that it is important to put together a solid résumé in order to get a great job, but what exactly should you include on your résumé to get you noticed?
Highlight Your Skills
The number one way to get your résumé noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager is to focus on skills that you bring to the position that other candidates cannot. Be sure that any skills you have that are related to the position are featured at the top of any job history. If the skills are such that you have developed them over the course of your career in a variety of positions, consider setting up a “Skills” section at the beginning of your résumé.
If an employer doesn't know that you posses the skills they are looking for, they will never bring you in for an interview, left alone offer you a job so get those out there where they can see them.
Don’t Include Unnecessary Information
One of the biggest mistakes I see in résumés is that there is too much information. A general rule of thumb is that no résumé should be longer than two pages and if you can find a way to get all the important information on one page, I strongly encourage it. Being able to have one concise page with all the pertinent information in one place can be a huge asset.
By eliminating anything that doesn't apply to the job in question, you naturally bring more attention to what remains. This is the classic rule of addition by subtraction.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Just because you didn't hold a specific job title in a previous position doesn't mean there aren't skills that you can apply to a new one. Look at the example of a teacher. Someone who has been in education for ten years applies for a job as a training manager at a Fortune 500 company. He has never had formal management experience, but as a teacher he has learned to manage the diverse backgrounds of 20-30 students on a daily basis. Additionally, he has experience teaching a variety of subjects and adapting the curriculum to his current set of students.
These are all qualities that directly apply to a training manager position and could make the teacher described above an excellent candidate for the position. He may even get more attention than someone who just has management experience and doesn’t bring any teaching/training background with them.
Spend some time focusing on what you bring specifically to the position at hand and always be sure to tailor your résumé to that position. Remember that one résumé does not fit all.
Last week I wrote about the importance of reading as it related to becoming a better writer. Today I wanted to bring you some thoughts on reading as part of career growth. A few things to consider:
Read About Your Field
This applies for someone who is settled in a job or someone who is just starting out. If you've been in your position for several years, make time to sit down and read something related to what you do so that you can keep up on the current developments in your field.
On the other hand, if you are trying to get a job in a particular field, make sure you are reading about that field before your interview. Take note of the things that are going on and if you find the opportunity, mention them in the interview. This will show the interviewer that you know what’s new in the industry and are care about the position.
Read About the Companies You’re Applying To
This one is critical when looking for a job. Showing the interviewer that you not only have some background about the industry, but that you also have some basic knowledge of the company itself is a huge feather in your cap. The less time they need to spend onboarding you and tell you about the company, the sooner you can get down to the business at hand once you walk in the door.
This applies regardless of where you are in your career. Take a walk down the Self-Improvement/Career/Business aisle at your local library or book store and you will be sure to find something that will help you. From books about leadership to starting a new business, parenting to increasing your productivity, there is something out there for everyone. And if you can’t find what you want to read already in print, a new door may be opening for you…write the book yourself!
Read With Your Ears
This kind of reading for growth doesn't have to be visual. There are thousands of great audio books out there. Check out Audible.com for a huge selection read by some excellent voice talent.
If you’re looking for free audio content, check out iTunes podcast library and simply search for leadership. Just make sure you are taking advantage of your long drive to work or those spare minutes while you’re waiting for your kids to get out of soccer practice.
To help you out a little with determining your next reading assignment, check out the resources below as well as the resources page:
There is no one part about writing a résumé that is THE hardest part. Many people have trouble talking about themselves and especially lauding their accomplishments. They think that they are bragging and will be seen as pompous, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your résumé is designed for one thing, to land you an interview. In order for someone to know if you’re worth interviewing, they need to know a bit about what you have done in the past.
My question to you today is what is the hardest part of writing or updating your résumé? Do you struggle with your objective statement? Does your education look too basic? Do you have trouble pinpointing what experience to include? Post a comment below with your biggest struggles.
Is any of this easy? Not really. But keep in mind that you may end up working at your new job for many years. You want to make sure that it’s a positive experience and that you’re not the one posting rants on Facebook once a week because you’ve had “another one of those days.”
By checking things out ahead of time, you will know if the company is a good fit for you.
Sometimes, one of the best ways to learn how to do something well is to practice it over and over again. Other times, the best way is to read about how others have done it successfully and try to emulate that.
In looking at how to interview, I posted a link to an article the other day that listed things you must never do and things you must do in an interview. This could certainly help you out if you’re prepping for a big interview, but what if you got to look at it from the other side of the table.
If you have had a chance to conduct interviews in your past, you can probably remember some interviews that were great and what you liked about them. But if you've never interviewed people, maybe you don’t know what interviewers truly look for when they speak with a candidate. You may think you know, but how can you be absolutely sure? Try this great resource for finding out what is in the minds of interviewers.
There are plenty of things that can be considered dumb, especially when interviewing for a job. Normally I would try to work on my own list, but I found this recently on LinkedIn and decided to just pass the word along.
Check out the Five Things You Must NOT Do in an Interview and Five Things You Must
Photo Credit: Ruben G.S. via sxc.hu
One of the most overlooked things in the world is saying “Thank you.” It seems so simple, yet people don’t do it often enough.
When you’re done with your interview, handwrite the interviewer(s) a short thank you note, and make sure it IS handwritten. Keep it brief (2-3 sentences) and simply thank them for the chance to meet them and let them know that you hope to hear from them again soon. Send it in the mail a day or two after your initial interview. Once they receive it, they will be forced to revisit your information and think back to your interview. If you and another candidate are both on the verge of being selected, this simple action could be the thing that tips the scales in your favor.
Image Credit: Billy Alexander via sxc.hu
I posted a few weeks back about preparing for an interview and wanted to offer a bit more insight here on that topic. My main point here is to make sure that you are prepared to answer any question that the interviewers will throw at you. Of course we can’t predict every question, but I’ve listed some samples of popular questions below along with explanations of what interviewers are often looking for when they ask them.
Photo Credit: Razvan Caliman via sxc.hu
We've all heard the saying “practice makes perfect” but when was the last time you practiced a job interview? If you’re like most people, it was probably DURING your last job interview and you were sweating the entire time because you felt you were out of practice.
Don’t let that happen again. If you’re on the hunt for a new job and see yourself interviewing in the near future, set some time aside to do some practice interviews. It doesn't have to be anything too structured. Ask a trusted friend or mentor to be the interviewer and generate 5-10 sample questions. Make sure it’s someone that will not go easy on you since the actual interviewers sure won’t.
Practice this even if you are only looking at a phone interview to start with. Having possible answers lined up for questions that might come your way will make a better impression on the interviewer whether you are meeting with the face to face or just speaking with them over the phone. When you’re on the phone, you can also use any notes that you may have made prior to the interview. (I recommend NOT bringing a list of notes to a face to face interview however)
Finally, regardless of the interview being in person or over the phone, do jot down some questions to ask the interviewer. Keep them specific to the job and definitely avoid asking about benefits of the position like pay rate, vacation, and sick time. Those are questions for when you are signing a job offer or even when you start a training period. Asking what challenges the company or department face, the specific types of work that you’ll be doing, and what the goals are for the position are all good starting points.
Don't forget to read part 1 and part 2 of this series.
Continue on to part four.
Jonathan Ytreberg is the owner of Best Word Forward, committed to providing the best resume advice and services to clients around the globe.