How to Write an Effective Resume That Gets You Hired

If there is one crucial tool most job seekers need to master – it is their resume. This is synonymous to a carpenter’s hammer, a writer’s pen, and a surgeon’s instrument. It must work accordingly for the person in order to land a perfect job. Needless to say, ending up with the right career will not be feasible unless you have a ticket for entry. This is when the creation of an effective resume comes in. How will you do this? There are considerations that you have to ponder, of course.

Assembling the Perfect Resume

Assembling an effective resume requires a ton of self-reflection. What are the best ways to write a resume? How will you start? These are the usual steps:

Start with a plan

Prior to sitting down and writing your very own resume, it is vital that you have a plan in mind. Your plan will set the direction. As you do this, you also get to establish coherence which will be of great impact to your resume. Digging deeper to the field that you want to be a part of is also ideal. Once you have your aim clear in mind, materializing the resume will be the next priority.

Showcase your accomplishments and strong points

In resume writing, it is crucial that you know how to show case your strengths. You may do this by foregrounding your accomplishments. Among the information utilized for these are education, training, work history, accomplishments and certifications. Always remember that these will give you the edge over other candidates. As much as possible, highlight the turning point of your features. They should be realistic to the position you are eyeing for. If you can put them in summary, and then that is going to work accordingly.

Make it visually appealing

Little do people know that aside from the substance, the form of your resume will also have to be given attention. It is just safe to say that designing should also be a part of your resume writing and creation. Always glance at the whole document. Does it attract the eyes when placed side by side with other entries? You will not want its design to be a hinder to your qualifications. Do not ever let this cause a problem. It should not. If you can, it will not hurt to go for white spaces. These can be maximized. When it comes to the number of pages, your stand will also be studied. If you are in the middle of your career, and then summing up a two-page resume is just fine. For starters, a one-page resume will do just fine.

Remembering everything above will help a lot in resume writing. Starting from the top, a powerful CV can be the output. Do not ever underestimate the effects of this. Remember, this is the only way for you to get noticed. Give your best shot in it and you will be miles closer to your dream.

Additional Tips

Truth be told – employers do not spend much time going over resumes. They spare about 10 to 20 seconds on it. With this said, capturing their attention should be the name of the game. This is a chance to gain their interest and advance into comprehensive reading. As this is the case, do not fail to master the basic elements of resume writing.

Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

You might be qualified and well suited for a job but saying one wrong thing can make you lose the job altogether. There are times when people say the wrong things and assume that what they said is of no consequence. Here are a few things to avoid saying during a job interview.

1. Sorry I’m Late

This is one of the most common things that many people mistakenly say during a job interview. The only sure way to avoid making this mistake is by arriving for the interview at least an hour earlier. Being late for an interview indicates that you are unreliable and that counting on you is a mistake. An interview is an opportunity for you to prove that you are the right candidate for the job and that you are reliable. If you are late for an interview, when you still do not have the job, then how late will you be when you actually get it?

2. I Prefer Working Alone

This is a red light because all the interviewer hears is that you cannot work with other members of the team. Although there is nothing wrong with preferring to work alone at times, this is not something that you should tell your prospective employer. In addition, most companies require members of different departments to work together to achieve certain objectives or goals. By admitting that you prefer to work alone you are simply saying that you do not care about the company as a whole.

3. I am Leaving my Job Because I Hate my Boss/Company

It does not matter how bad your boss is, keep it to yourself during the job interview. In fact, avoid saying anything negative about your previous employer or company. Working in a toxic environment can be frustrating and you might be tempted to let the world and your prospective employer know. However, this is something that you can only tell your friends and family members. In case the interviewer asks why you would like to leave your current company, simply say that you feel the need to challenge yourself or the need to work for a bigger organization. Interviewers are looking to hire people with a positive attitude and not candidates who have nothing good to say about others. Expressing your negative attitude about your current or previous employer indicates that you are a difficult person who may not easily get along with others in the new company.

4. I am So OCD

Unless you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is a mental illness, refrain from using this statement during a job interview. Most people use this statement to mean that they are highly organized and pay attention to detail. However, if you do not suffer from the condition, but say that you are OCD about your work, you offend those who suffer from the condition and might just ruin your chances of getting the job. If you indeed have the condition, then you have the right to decide to tell your interviewers or avoid the topic altogether. However, some people take advantage of their health conditions or disorders to get people to do things for them or to get what they want. Therefore, avoid mentioning that you have a medical condition unless specifically asked.

On the same breath, do not mention your strengths as your weaknesses. For example, do not say that being a perfectionist is your weakness. Your interviewer will know that you are lying since everyone has a weakness. Portraying your strength as a weakness means that you prefer being seen to be right even when you are clearly on the wrong.

5. I am Applying for this Position Because it Will Enable me to…

These words make all the focus to shift from the job interview to you. To avoid making this mistake, talk about what you will bring to the business. Remember, most people are seldom sure that they will be employed after a job interview. Therefore, trust your gut feeling and just give your best shot. In addition, be sure to highlight your strengths and achievements.

6. I Would Like to Know About Your Vacation Policy

Please do not ask such a question during a job interview. Asking such a question indicates that you are mostly eager to go on a vacation even before you have proved your work. Prospective employers want to see that you are enthusiastic about your new role and not the organization’s vacation policy.

4 Critical Resume Mistakes To Avoid

4 Critical Resume Mistakes To Avoid

Sometimes it can seem impossible to create an effective resume that captures the hiring manager’s attention and gets you the interview. You’ve spent tons of time thinking about what to put on your resume and yet you still aren’t getting any calls. One simple reason for this could be that you are making common mistakes that are easy to miss, but can have a huge impact and cause the potential employer to toss your resume to the side.

If you are on the job hunt then you need to make sure you aren’t making these critical mistakes.

1. Not Proofreading Your Resume

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many resumes I have read that are littered with typos and grammatical errors. No matter how focused you are, how well you type, or how much attention you pay, you need to proofread your resume. Even if you think you did not make any mistakes, you would be surprised at what you will find. There are free programs online that you can use to make sure everything is grammatically correct and to check all of the spelling. For example, typing “than” instead of “then” could easily cost you an interview. Another easy way would be to have a family member or friend proofread your resume before you send it in. Some people get embarrassed when showing their resumes to their peers, but if you are not proud enough of your resume to show a friend then how can you be willing to submit it for a job?

2. Being too modest

This is another huge mistake many people make. They don’t want to look as if they are bragging or they think that anyone could have accomplished what they did. That is not what is going to get you hired. Humility is a virtue and many companies like for their employees to display humility, but that does not mean you need to let it cost you an opportunity for an interview. Submitting a resume is the time that you need to build yourself up. Remember, you are selling a product and you are that product. If you have great things you have accomplished, you need to include these so that the company knows what you are capable of.

3. Not Providing the Correct Contact Information

This is the most common mistake that people make when creating their resume. Today, most resumes are sent via email and you need to make sure that you include your email address at the top of your resume as well as a current cell phone number. One small typo and the hiring manager could be calling or emailing someone else for a job interview. You need to double check your email address and make sure that you are not using your work email address. You may want to set up a new email account to use when sending out resumes because if you still have the email account that you opened when you were 16, it may not look that great to an employer.

4. Not Making Sure Your Resume is Up-to-Date

If you do not have an up-to-date resume, it is going to make you look as if what you have to offer is obsolete. One thing I have found is that many people will think that they did not get an interview because they were over 50 but when I look at their resume, it looks as if it is over 50 as well. You need to make sure that all the information on your resume is updated to be as recent and accurate as possible. The format and layout of your resume should also match the most current formats available. You don’t want to be applying for a job in 2016 with a resume format from 1991.

If you are serious about getting hired, then it is important for you to make sure your resume and cover letter are perfect. One of the best resources I have found is a book called The Winning Resume by Steve Williams. It dissects every section of a resume and cover letter with visual examples explaining what you should and should not include to maximize your chances at getting an interview.

How do you keep your team motivated on a project?

In this question the hiring manager is trying to find out the value you place on a motivated team and how you keep the morale high on any given project.

A good answer could be:

I’m a believer that a motivated team can facilitate a successful project. On my last project I would debrief with my team at the end of the day. I try not to dwell on the tasks that went wrong and only mention it constructively as an area for improvement. To keep spirits high I would then turn the focus to the activities that went well and thank my team for their contributions. I also recognised and praised any stand-out co-workers whom have gone above and beyond.

Click here to download the complete “Interview Preparation Guide”.

5 Things You Should Avoid During Job Interviews

5 Things You Should Avoid During Job Interviews

Job interviews are crucial platforms for candidates to showcase their credentials and convince panelists on why they (candidates) are best-placed to fill advertised vacancies. Despite this, the conduct of interviewees during these important sessions may work against their impressive curriculum vitae.

The following are hazards you should avoid if you want a successful job interview:

1. Don’t dress inappropriately

As you prepare for a job interview, remember that you mode of dressing will play a crucial role in determining your success. How you dress on this important day gives people a glimpse into your deportment once you are hired. Your fancy clothes and extreme accessories have no place in that official meeting. No tight or ill-fitting clothes should find their way into the room where you will face the panelists. Leave your revealing clothes for an evening date. Dress decently.

 

2. Don’t panic

For a few crucial minutes, you will come face-to-face with a group of mortal human beings who will ask you questions about yourself. You don’t need to panic because you have all the answers with you. Remember you will still be alive after the interview. Further, this may be one of the many interviews you are going to attend before you finally find a job. Start getting used to the normalcy of attending these kinds of platforms and expressing yourself before interviewers.

3. Don’t speak too much

It is true that you have the opportunity to blow your trumpet as you compete with other equally able individuals. However, do not appear to lecture the panel or dominate the session with endless and repetitive speeches on what the panelists already know. Talking too much may give the impression that you are trying to cover up some weaknesses. You may even end up mentioning irrelevant issues that may jeopardize your chances of finding a job. Compose yourself, say exactly what you have to say, and when you are done, keep quiet.

4. Don’t interrupt panel members when they are speaking

When some people attend job interviews, they tend to become so comfortable with interviewers that they begin to interrupt the latter. You etiquette and communication skills will be questioned if you cannot keep quiet and let others talk. Irrespective of how much you know and how eager you are to get employed, do not destroy your chances by appearing to be a know-it-all. Learn to listen before you respond if you must have a successful job interview.

 

5. Don’t lie or present inaccurate information

A formal meeting where you discuss your suitability for a job is the culmination of a long process during which the organization has gathered a lot of information about you. Most of this is contained in your resume and academic and professional papers. Similarly, your conduct and past will be under scrutiny throughout the time you will be employed, in case you pass the interview. Consequently, as you prepare for a job interview remember that the information you volunteer has legal and social consequences.

What is your favourite project management methodology?

In this question the interviewer is trying to test your knowledge of the many industry standard methodologies and their advantages & disadvantages, and whether you’re able to apply the right methodology for the given project.

The best way to answer it is to pick two opposing methodologies which you’ve used when delivering a project. Then state a positive attribute of both methodologies whilst placing a greater positive emphasis on the favourite methodology of the two.

For example for a project manager delivering an IT project a good answer could be:

I like the structured approach and the sense of control I get with the waterfall methodology, however in this industry changes to the specification are sudden so an iterative methodology like Agile is my favourite for technology projects.

Click here to download the complete “Interview Preparation Guide”.

7 Resume Mistakes to Avoid

7 Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Many job-seekers, with impressive academic and professional qualifications, are not invited for job interviews owing to various errors and inaccuracies in their resumes. A document that encapsulates your suitability for a job should be error-free. A resume is the first significant contact between a prospective employer and a potential employee. Unfortunately, for thousands of job-seekers, this becomes the last interaction because this vital document portrays them as being irresponsible and careless.

The following seven biggest resume mistakes are obnoxious and detrimental to job hunting and should be avoided.

1. Grammatical and Spelling Errors

Job-seekers who present resumes replete with spelling and grammatical errors stand little chance of succeeding. Potential employers detest such blunders considering the owners had time to design and write the documents. Language-based blunders portray a job applicant as being thoughtless and unworthy of responsibility. If you cannot identify and rectify faults in such a vital personal paper, how will you handle organizational responsibilities?

2. Illogical Arrangement

Many job-seekers sequence the items on their resumes in an inconsistent or illogical manner. It is crucial to appreciate that potential employers read through numerous solicited and unsolicited documents. One of the most common resume mistakes is to use functional chronological styles in one document. For example, if you are at the job entry-level, arrange work experience and educational background chronologically to avoid annoying potential employers.

 

3. Inaccurate Information and Lies

To forge inaccurate or untruthful information, and to insert it in a resume as means to having an edge over competitors, damages a candidate’s credibility. If an employer discovers a lie, the employee may lose a job or even be jailed. Committing such mistakes, deliberately or otherwise, may have lifelong repercussions. These are resume writing errors that may return to haunt you long after you are hired.

4. Unexplained gaps

Inexplicable gaps in a resume contribute to the downfall of numerous job-seekers. It is normal to undergo periods of unemployment. However, when designing and writing your document, you should never assume that the employer will gloss over such omissions. Interviewers might attribute this to crime, misbehaviour or ineptitude in a previous job, thus making this one of the biggest resume mistakes.

5. Incomplete information

Closely related to unexplained gaps in resumes is the error of presenting incomplete information. For example, if you were working in a certain firm, state the duration and the responsibility assigned. Moreover, when using a pattern in which you state the duration, title and responsibility in a sequence, ensure that every entry in your resume adheres to this categorization. Similarly, referees’ contact details should be comprehensive and accurate.

6. Clueless Referees

One of the most common resume mistakes is failing to inform your referees that you have assigned them that significant role. Potential employers will call these people to ascertain the information you have given and to understand your suitability for a job from another person’s point of view. What would happen if your referee tells a potential employer that your name is not familiar or he has no current or relevant information about you? To avoid such situations, talk to referees and request them to be your backers before including their names in a resume.

 

7. Fancy Internet Templates

The internet contains several resume templates you can adopt. However, avoid unnecessary excitement concerning formats as this may cause you to forget the crucial intention of impressing a prospective employer. One of the resume mistakes to avoid is to accentuate a template at the expense of the content. A wise job-seeker would rather have a simple format that communicates effectively than a fancy one devoid of content.

How to Avert Resume Blunders

To ensure a resume is error-free, print a copy and edit it thoroughly. You can also proofread it using a spellchecker or online software. A friend who is well-versed in language and grammar issues can also correct the resume. Unless you don’t desire a job, you cannot forget or ignore the editing of your document.

These are the most detestable resume writing mistakes job-seekers commit. The next time you are preparing a resume, create time to edit it. Remember that your chance of being invited for an interview largely depends on having an error-free resume.

What are you looking for in a job?

To answer this successfully you need to understand the company well enough to link the job’s positive qualities to your own personal criteria.

Be careful not to say things which are inaccurate or not part of the job specification otherwise your answer could be used against you as ammunition.

For example, it’s counter-productive to say you are looking for a role balancing the project budget if the job description doesn’t involve any financial responsibility. Equally, don’t say you want to progress to a Programme Manager or Director because those opportunities are not common, unless the job description says-so.

A good answer could be:

I want to be part of a vibrant team whom I have a good synergy with. This makes it easier to share expertise and resources to achieve a common deliverable.

Click here to download the complete “Interview Preparation Guide”.

How to Pass Job Interviews From a Communication Point of View

How to Pass Job Interviews From a Communication Point of View

Job Interviews are intimidating for many candidates, but this could change if you think about them from a communication process point of view.  Sometimes, looking at an issue from a different perspective may change your reaction and the expected outcome. Instead of approaching interviewers like crime investigators, think and prepare with the communication process in mind. Here’s how:

 

You are the sender

As you sit before those menacing individuals, remember you are the center of interest. You are the guest of honor in this auspicious ceremony. Everyone is here to listen to you as you showcase your communication skills in an interview. Transmit that important message about your strengths and virtues. Send out positive signals on why you are the best candidate for the job. Even if you don’t get the job, let the panel members remember there was a confident and capable candidate before them.

Craft your message to convince and impress

As a sender, prepare the message you will deliver before the material day. Don’t forget that you are a significant part of the message. You have been shortlisted for the interview because your academic qualifications are in tandem with the requirements. Validate the content in your papers by proving you have communication skills for job interviews. Anticipate the questions to be asked and gather the right information. Package yourself attractively and win the interviewers over from the moment you step into the interview room.

Clarity in communication in mandatory

Now that you are the message to be delivered to the panel and you are also the sender, do not transmit mixed signals. If you have not researched well on the pertinent organization, dressing well for the occasion will not save you from disappointment. Proper dressing and information gathering are complementary communication skills in an interview. Further, demonstrate intelligence, initiative and creativity. This is what clarity in the interview process entails.

Watch your Non-verbal cues

Communication experts opine that 55% of all communication is non-verbal. The interview panel will be interested in what you don’t say as much as in what comes out of your mouth. You may not announce loudly to the panel members that you lack confidence, but they will decipher this from your gestures, pitch and tone of voice, sitting posture and general appearance. Many people, when asked to comment on how to pass job interviews, emphasize academic and professional papers at the expense of non-verbal communication. This is a grave mistake.

Know your audience and what it is looking for

Your audience or receiver is the panel and you must offer it the information it is looking for you to have a viable chance of getting employed. The people in front of you want to know why you think you can fill the vacancy and deliver expected results. Remember the panel is interested in how the pertinent organization will be more productive and you must prove you are the right person to help achieve desired results. Summon all your communication skills for job interviews to bridge this information gap.

Respect non-verbal feedback from your audience

Your non-verbal communication is as important as that of the interviewing panel. In any communication process, the sender and the receiver are indispensable. Moreover, the roles of sender and receiver are interchangeable. Decipher the tone and pitch of each of the speakers. Watch how they express themselves as you answer questions. Only then will you will realize when your time is almost up or when your message has reached its destination.

Listen

An often forgotten element of communication is listening. Listen to both verbal and non-verbal cues. Don’t rush to answer questions if you have not understood them. Seek for clarification where necessary. Practice role-taking. Allow questions to be asked fully before you answer.

Make use of these tips on how to pass job interviews today and you might be luckier in your quest for a job next time you appear before a panel.

Your Definitive A-Z Guide to Interviews: Part 2

Your Definitive A-Z Guide to Interviews: Part 2

Money

Unless asked, refrain from asking about money/salary or any other job perks at the interview. If you are asked any salary related questions by the interviewer, then by all means answer appropriately.

What you want to avoid is to be seen as only wanting the job for the money. Even in a sales environment where salary and bonuses are a huge motivating factor; interest in the company and product are vitally important and are very appreciated.

Nerves

We all get nervous prior to an interview even the interviewers. Nerves are good, it means adrenalin is pumping which will help you focus and think on your feet.

Avoid using negative coping mechanisms such a drugs and alcohol to calm your nerves. Instead, you can look to Bach natural flower remedies, deep breathing exercises or positive affirmations to help you feel really confident.

Openness

Especially to other people’s opinions. This is particularly important if you are in a group interview setting and you have to deal with other people’s opinions as well as your own. It is important to be able to express yourself without alienating others.

With certain interview techniques, some very emotive questions may be asked just to see how you react. Be honest but fair and if in doubt use something like the ‘sandwich technique’ where you say something positive prior to saying something controversial (or negative) and then follow up with something positive or neutral at the end. This will ensure the interviewers are under no illusion that you can handle opinions in a balanced way.

Preparation

Like all things in life, preparation is key to success. Please don’t go into an interview thinking you can wing-it!

You may want to consider some of the following:

  • Working out the travel times to the place of interview
  • Research on the company and position
  • Presentation (if required)
  • Your interview questions to ask interviewers
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Getting a good night sleep the night before
  • Eating something at least 30 minutes prior to the interview
  • Keeping hydrated (good for the brain)

Quirky

Now this is an interesting one and really depends on which industry you are going for an interview in. I have had clients in the past who are very individual and quirky in their appearance and lifestyle. They are keen to show their true selves at an interview, but unfortunately this can go against you. So if you fall into this category please be aware of the industry you are trying to get a job in.

If you are going for a job in the fashion or media/music industry individuality is crucial, it would be perfectly acceptable to show piercings, tattoos, modern hair cuts and hi-fashion clothing at your interview. However if you are going for a role in an industry slightly more conservative, for example, the pharmaceutical or banking industry, sporting a Mohican or wearing fetish stilettos to your interview would not be advisable.

If you are unsure of your interview ‘look’, check out the company’s website, have a look at the photos of the staff (even if it is just stock footage), this should give you a feel for what they expect of their personnel. If there are no clues from the website, by all means check back with the recruitment agency or ask a reliable friend for advice on your attire.

Resist

Resist the urge to tell the interviewer(s) your whole life story. Nerves can play havoc with self censorship and you might feel the urge to share that really ‘funny’ story when you were really drunk on B52 cocktails in Turkey and ended up at a nightclub waving your pants in the air….

Resist the urge to be really, really honest, saying that you only want the job is because you need something to pay the bills, this is not acceptable.

Resist moaning and complaining especially about your previous or current employers (or role). Warning! Many industries are small, and the chances of your interviewer knowing someone at your old or current place of work is very likely – so you could find your self slagging-off their best friend.

Smile

Smiling instantly builds rapport with the interviewers, and don’t be put off if they don’t smile back. You may have found yourself in an old fashioned interview technique of god cop – bad cop. Ensure your smile is genuine – a fake smile will be spotted a mile away.

Take your time

Don’t gabble your words and if you feel like you are rushing, then ask for a few moments to gather your thoughts or better still ask if the question could be repeated at the end of the interview so you can buy yourself some time to think.

Understand what is expected of you

Will there be a test? Will there be a group interview with other candidates? Will you be interviewed by a panel of interviewers? Will you being attending a lunch etc. These are all important aspects of the interview that you know before you step into the interview….remember ask and gather the information that you need.

Value who you are

High self esteem is important and body language and grooming will do well for you here. There is nothing wrong with saying how good you are at something, how successful a project was or what fabulous process you implemented in you current role.

The trick here is to be confident without being arrogant. Interviews are a great opportunity to tell the world how good you are and why you are the right person for the job. No one else can do that for you, so get comfortable in talking about yourself in a positive way.

Wading in

You might find a combination of nerves, and enthusiasm might cause you to wade in with answers before the interviewer has even finished the question. STOP. Slow down, let them finish and then take a few seconds to think about what you are going to say. It’s better to take a few moments and seem thoughtful, than to rush in and regret what falls out of your mouth.

X-rated

It is absolutely totally unacceptable to use expletives (swear words) during your interview. This may seem like common sense but I am always amazed, or rather shocked at some of the language used during interview process. If you are someone who has a natural habit of using strong language in your everyday dialogue, then please be aware of this and self censor accordingly. Some interviews can be very laid back and even if the interviewer uses mildly offensive language, please do not follow suit.

You

It is important to bring an essence of you to the interview. It is very likely that all the candidates for the interview will say roughly the same thing in their responses to interview questions. What’s important is bringing your own experiences to the interview so they get a sense of you, who you are and how you will fit into to the organisation. It is also vital that you know your strengths and weaknesses.

Be careful here, if asked what your weaknesses are, make sure they are relevant to work (no need to say you cry every time you watch a Disney film) and also end it on a positive note.

For example, “I like to have things organised really well so spend extra time on planning and preparation, some may think this is a weakness because of the time I spend doing this, however it can also be considered a strength since good preparation work is vital and saves time in the long run“.

Zest for life

It is important to show you have a life outside of work; the key here is to make sure you have a good life-work balance. It’s absolutely fine to show you are sociable, but take care you are not describing yourself as a party animal. The interviewers will unfortunately have visions of you rolling into work with hangovers or not being focused on your work.

If asked about your hobbies please feel free to express what you do. Team sports are good, as are hobbies or interests that are very different from your working subject. If you love your work so much that you don’t have any outside interests it might be advantageous to consider bringing some balance to your life and discover some outside interests.

And finally… always thank the interviewers at the end, ask when you would hope to hear from them and say that you are still very interested in the role, even if you are not. It is better that you make the decision if you want the job, rather than the interviewers deciding if they want you!