We usually try to cram as much information as we can into our resumes in hopes that more information is equivalent to landing the job…you couldn’t have been more wrong!
Here are a few things that you need to strike off your resume immediately if you’d like to be taken seriously at your next interview:
- Objective – if you’ve applied, it’s clear your obrjective is to land the job!
- Sift through your work experience and tailor all work experience to suit the experience required for the job that you are currently applying for.
- Refrain from including personal details like marriage status, home address, religious preference, social security numbmer, etc.
- Only one working phone number is necessary. Listing more than one forces the employer to have to “work” to call you back for an interview.
- No-one needs to know your hobbies if it’s not relevant to the job for which you are applying.
- Blatant lies – remember that any good employer fact checks all the information you provide on your resume, so honesty is the best policy here.
- Illegible text – try to keep your fonts and text size simple and legible. Leave enough white space around the edges of your submission, use simple fonts, nothing smaller than 11 point font and get to the facts! Also, try to minimize the number of bullets in your resume as it becomes overbearing for the reader and seems like nothing stands out. Bullets should only be used to draw attention to specific details within your resume.
- If you took time off to travel or raise a family, your prospective employer does not need to know this. This type of information will come out during the interview and should only be noted if it is asked.
- Details that give a way your age – Graduation dates are a tell tale sign of age. Remember that some employers may put your application aside if you seem too young or too old for a specific position even though you may possess all the required qualifications.
- References: Let your references know ahead of time that you’re using them on a resume and what position you’re applying for so that they are fully prepared to answer questions relevant to your job search. Refrain from putting “references to be furnished upon request” at the bottom of your resume. Either you list your references and their contact or just don’t have a references section. If a list of references was not requested in the vacancy advertisement, then it is not required and can be left off a resume.
- Don’t write your entire resume in the third or first person, it is only natural that everything on your resume is about you.
- Tense and formatting – Never write about your past job in the present tense and keep all formatting uniform. This makes it easy for the employer to quickly scan your resume and still be able to identify key qualifications and career goals.
- An unprofessional email address – don’t use email address on your resume that are less than professional. Consider creating a new one that’s simple and can be utilized solely for the purpose of submitting job applications.
- Do not put the number of your current place of employment as your contact number.
- Your current boss’ name – Do not include your current boss’ name in your resume unless it is someone noteworthy and would be otherwise impressive with your prospective employer.
- Company-specific jargon – Avoid referencing applications and software that was specific to the previous company with which you worked.
- Anything exceeding 15 years ago – Try not to list any work experience that happened 15 years or more in the past. On the same note, never include dates on education and certifications that are older than 15 years.
We’ve all been there, we sit in interviews, pour our hearts out and are certain we got the job, then…never get a call back. Don’t feel dismayed, this is a regular occurrence because of some common mistakes we make on a daily basis.
Here are a few points to help you avoid these pitfalls:
- Network to get the job: Don’t be afraid to work the floor if you know a friend our two in the establishment to which you’re applying. Knowing someone that’s already “on the inside” can help give your application a boost.
- Forgetting to tell the Employer the whole point of your application: we tend to clutter our resume with education, work experience, hobbies, and-the-like, but completely forget to ensure that our work experience actually matches the job we’re applying for. Each application MUST be tailored to the specific job that you’re CURRENTLY applying for. This way, you clearly reflect that you’re the best person for the job simply because you meet all their requirements, and more! Just as a website needs good keywords to be found on the worl wide web, so too must we strategically place keywords within our resume that reflects the unique skills you possess.
- Your resume isn’t legible: Don’t try to fit all your information onto one page. Space out your words appropriately and use a simple font that’s not too small.
- Don’t forget your measurable accomplishments: Though your responsibilities give a good view of you on paper, it’s always best to utilize numbers and show a potential employer just what sets you apart from the others. Don’t be afraid to illustrate in numbers just how much you’ve increased revenue for your past employer, or how many employees you’ve successfully recruited. You need to emphasize the value you bring to the organization!
- Don’t reference jobs held for only a few months: This gives the impression of instability. Of course, don’t hide your start and end dates if your potential employer inquires about any gaps in your employement history during the interview.
- Always use a professional email address: I believe this speaks for itself. Don’t be surprised when firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t get a call back. You may even consider opening an email account just to conduct your job search to provide a professional front.
- You forgot to say “thank you”: Most people tend to say “thank you” after they’ve landed the position, but a little courtesy goes a long way. It adds a touch of class to your application and shows potential employers what they can possibly expect in the customer service arena. Even if you don’t land the job, a little “thank you” note will go along way with getting your foot in the door for future vacancies.
Recruitment is a very expensive and time-consuming process. This is why it is wise to begin only after you’ve assessed your needs, identified your requirements and established a plan of action.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when your next recruitment arises.
Assess your requirements. When advertising a vacancy, be specific. Don’t limit the duties of the position with only immediate requirements, think ahead and make sure you include any future duties that tie into your business growth. Separate the skills and abilities that are essential from those that are desirable.
Find Prospective Employees. It is common practice to advertise in the local newspapers. But, with the evolution of technology, you can now post your vacancies on a local job portal like bridge.com.bz, or even on your business’ social networking pages like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like. Utilizing these obvious options will save you valuable time and money.
If you choose to advertise in local press, assess who reads the publication and see if they match your target candidate. Just remember that internet-based portals and social networks may reach a far wider audience. In the end, your announcement must be concise to ensure that you won’t waste time receiving CVs and calls from candidates who are over or under qualified for the position.
Filtering Through Applications. In an effort to save time, it is probably best to review your applications and make personal notes on each as you receive them. This saves time and allows you to get right into the interview process. Call interviews with those candidates who successfully meet all of your requirements.
Interviewing. Once you’ve shortlisted and called in your candidates, it’s time to start interviewing. This is your opportunity to find out more about these candidates. You already know most of their employment history from their CV, so ask questions about their personality, their interests, hobbies, work ethic, etc. These types of questions will give you a better idea about the candidate and to decide if they are right for your business. If you are undecided between candidates, feel free to invite them back for a second round of interviews.
Do your homework. Be sure to conduct reference checks on your selected candidate. Ask previous employers about their time-keeping, work ethic and how well they worked as part of a team.
Many times we prepare for an interview and overlook the little details that leave a lasting “bad” impression. Here are a few tips to help you avoid those pitfalls and prepare for a successful interview:
- Plan ahead
If you are unsure of the location and/or travel time for an upcoming interview, take a test run. Being on-time and having a little time to calm down and settle in gives a good first impression. If you must be late or absent, try to call within 10-15 minutes of the proposed interview time to reschedule.
- Bring along neat copies and/or originals of documents
Try not to present the employer with wet, dirty, torn or crumpled documents. This tells the employer a lot about your character.
- Dress in a presentable manner
An untidy personal appearance tells the employer that you don’t really care about the way the world looks at you. This immediately tells a prospective employer that you may be coming to work everyday in this manner.
- Try to become engaged in the interview, even if the employer is boring you
Lack of genuine interest or enthusiasm tends to show on a person’s face even when they aren’t trying. Looking all over the room, tapping your feet, swinging the office chair, or even slouching gives a bad impression of you.
- Be optimistic
Having a negative attitude immediately turns off the employer. Be open to suggestions and/or work environment, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that the employer is only trying to see how flexible you can be in certain situations.
- Do your research
Be ready for anything during the interview. Employers prefer candidates who have a general sense of what their business does on a daily basis.
Try not to enter the interview room with gum in your mouth and be sure to turn off your cell phone before you enter the interview venue. These are common oversights that distract the employer from what you have to say.
- Greet the Receptionist/Secretary with courtesy and respect
Remember that even though they may not be the employer, they are potential co-workers and you want to ensure that you leave the establishment with a good overall impression. This way, everyone has something good to say about you.
- Don’t rely on your application package to do the selling for you
No matter how qualified you seem on paper for a position, the determining factor is how you present yourself to the employer. You NEED to sell yourself during the interview!
- Show a little interest/courtesy for the employer
Greet the employer by title (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) along with their last names. It’s true many times we forget the name of the employer or don’t know the proper pronunciation of their name. Show some initiative and interest and clarify with the receptionist prior to the interview.
- Avoid being humorous during the interview
Many times, nervousness seems to directly affect the funny bone. Try to avoid unnecessary distractions with humor. This is a big turn-off when employers have a full day of interviews.
- Watch your language
Avoid slang, poor language, pause words and being soft-spoken. A strong voice and good presentation projects confidence and shows that you are capable of working under pressure.
- Be nice about former colleagues
Be cautious about negative comments toward former employers, supervisors and colleagues. This raises many questions about your ability to work with a team.
- Don’t stop at “yes” or “no”
Try to elaborate a little when responding to the employer’s questions. Answer sincerely, truthfully, frankly and succinctly. Don’t babble or bring up personal issues or family problems. As much as you can, try to stress your achievements and show off whatever research you have done on the company as it relates to the employer’s questions.
- Compensation and benefits
Never inquire about salary, vacation time, bonuses, benefits and the like until after you’ve received an offer for the position.
End the interview by reassuring the employer that you want the job and inquire about next steps in the recruitment process. Ensure that you’ve got contact names spelt right for future reference.
Many times, employers receive hundreds of resumes in response to advertised positions. But, how can you be sure that your resume will stand out from the crowd? Here are a few tips to help you secure your next job interview:
- Formatting counts
As much as you can, try to turn in a type-written resume. At first look, your resume can either intrigue the employer or immediately make them put it away. Try to review for spelling, appropriate grammar, missing words and typing mistakes before hitting send or print. A clean envelope, lots of open space, a clear font and coherent sentences will also entice the employer to continue reading.
- Contact information
Don’t hold back information. In this era with messaging, email, cell phones and the like, there is absolutely no reason to make contacting you difficult. Still, many job application letters make it to prospective employers with only a return address and/or home telephone number – and half the time, you’re not even home. Try to avoid frustrating an employer with trying to reach you.
- Customize an “objective” for each specific job application
An objective should clearly connect your skills, experience, traits and job requirements with those specific to the job applied for.
- Make sure your résumé includes a section specific to your qualifications and past work experience
Be sure to emphasize your most important career experiences, job-related training, personality traits, characteristics, and skills and accomplishments pertinent to the job to which you’re applying.
- Clearly list all previous work experience
Clearly and briefly state exactly what you did for each company in chronological order. Don’t make the employer “search” for information.
- Education statements matter
State specific dates of attendance, major, minors, degrees, and certificates received. Don’t make the employer have to guess whether you have a diploma or not.
- Include a section that clearly lists awards and other recognition received throughout your career
This catches the eye of the employer faster than a résumé that doesn’t contain this section, as this shows the employer that you are a well-rounded employee.
- Remember to attach letters of recommendation from past employers
Previous employers/supervisors are your safest bet when trying to secure employment, as they are the ones who know your performance better than anyone else.
- Do a little research about the Company before the interview.
This will allow you to be prepared in the event you are faced with basic questions about their line of work.
- Always try to attend an interview alone.
Bringing along friends or children tend to cause unnecessary distraction.
- Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.
This gives the impression that you are comfortable and prepared for whatever awaits you during the interview.
- Try to maintain frequent eye contact.
This tells the interviewer that you are attentively listening to what they are saying and are actively analyzing their statements and questions.
- Smile, be polite and try to relax.
Remaining calm during the process allows you to think more clearly and to emit a healthy sense of confidence.
- Listen to the interviewer’s questions carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to restate the question if you are unclear about something.
Try not to hurry the interview along with one-word answers. Try to elaborate a little when being interviewed, this will allow the interviewer to gain better insight into the type of employee you will be. Answer directly, be upbeat and be sure to make positive statements.
- If you’ve worked before, tell the interviewer a little about how you’ve grown from that experience.
Use direct examples of how your skills and abilities would fit the current position being interviewed for.
- Be sure to prepare one or two questions to ask your interviewer about the company.
This shows that you have genuine interest in the company and would like to become a part of its success.
- At the end of the interview, thank your interviewer for their time and be sure to use the same enthusiasm as when you first entered.
This will leave your interviewer with a lasting impression of you.
- Shake hands in closing and maintain eye contact.
This again shows confidence in a successful interview and leaves the interviewer with a good impression.