Resume Building & Interview Skills to Help You Get the Job You Want
Sometimes the toughest part of the job is getting the job! Below are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to resume building plus interviewing tips so that you can feel confident applying to your next job.
Resume Dos & Don’ts:
Do customize your resume for each job
One size does not fit all! You should alter you resume each time you apply for a job because your resume needs to target the employer you are sending it to and emphasize the parts of your background that most fit the role.
Do use the proper resume format
A chronological resume where you list your work history from past to present is usually the best, but if you don’t have a lot of work experience, consider a functional resume. A functional resume lists your skills and experiences first to highlight the best of what you have to offer. In other words, put your main qualification for the job first. There are plenty of templates of both formats online that you can check out to get you started.
Do include unpaid work/activities that show leadership
Volunteered with a well-known organization? Worked for an important cause? Awesome! Make sure to include it under “experience” on your resume.
Do tie your previous job responsibilities to measurable data
When listing previous job responsibilities under work history, it is always best to show what you have done in a measurable way when applicable. For example, instead of writing that you loaded trucks on your resume, write that you loaded 10 trucks an hour with 100% accuracy.
Don’t send a resume with typos
The fastest way to get your resume thrown in the trash is to send a document riddled with misspellings, formatting problems, or with mistakes. Look it over multiple times for errors.
Don’t use crazy fonts or colors
Using “crazy” fonts or unusual colors might get your resume some attention-but probably not the kind you want. Keep it to one or two fonts and neutral colors.
Don’t go over one page
You probably don’t have enough experience to justify a longer resume. Focus on your bestselling points and use bullet points to keep it clear and concise. Don’t include every class you ever took and every summer job you’ve ever had, unless they’re relevant to the job you are applying to. You want to include enough information to get the interview but not so much information that the employer doesn’t need to interview you.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Preparation is a great way to boost your confidence! You should start preparing for the interview the moment you schedule the interview. Start googling frequently asked interview questions and practice answering them in your mirror. Research the company so that you have a general understanding of the employer. Make a checklist of what you’ll need to take with you and gather the materials together the night before the interview. It is always a good idea to bring a notepad and pen to the interview in case you need/want to take notes and to show you are prepared and interested. Make copies of your resume/cover letter and any other documents you may want to pass out at the interview. Look up directions the night before so you are sure of where you are going. Plan on arriving to the interview at least 15 minutes early. This will give you time to account for any unplanned difficulties. Doing all these preparation steps will help ensure that you arrive on time and are prepared for the interview.
Make sure you are professionally dressed. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an interview. You want to present a tidy and confident appearance while wearing a professional yet comfortable outfit that allows you and the hiring manager to remain focused on the interview. Try not to wear bold clothing or strong perfume as it can be distracting. Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before to ensure you feel and look alert and focused.
Be respectful to everyone you encounter
Everyone who works at the company may be a potential reference for you. You will most likely be arriving early to the interview and may have to wait until they are ready for you to interview. You never know who you will encounter while you are in the waiting room and more importantly you never know who is giving the hiring manger detailed accounts of how you acted outside of the interview. For example, when you arrive you will most likely be greeted by a receptionist before you are brought into the interview room. The receptionist may be asked by the interviewer how you treated him/her while you were waiting in the room.
Answer questions with examples
Try to draw on your past experiences whenever you can in order to answer situational questions. Showing that you have experience doing something separates you from someone who says they “would” do something if they were in that situation. You can use examples not only from past work experiences but also from past school or relationship experiences. Just try to always make sure it relates back to the situation or question that was asked.
At the end of the interview, you will most likely have the opportunity to ask your own questions. This is a good time to show that you are interested in the job and show that you are truly considering the opportunity. It is always good to have one or two preplanned questions that directly align with the company or position you are trying to obtain.
For more tips, check out these YouTube videos from Indeed: