Making a good impression

It is your time to shine. Time to put your best face forward. You are going after that new career opportunity and nothing is going to stand in your way. You've done the research, you've gotten the education and you've got the experience...now you need to let your first impression wow them. With the following Resume Tips and Interview Tips, you will be sure to set yourself apart from other job seekers.

Resume Tips (click to expand)

A resume simply put, is you on paper. It is the first impression most potential employers and staffing agencies will have of you. When working on your resume, think about the person reading it and what it is they will want to see/read about you.

Resume Do's:

  • One resume does not fit all job opportunities. Your resume may need to be tweaked or additional items highlighted based on the position you are applying for at that time.
  • Keep your fonts simple and readable. Fonts should never be less than 11pt font.
  • Your name and contact info should always be listed at the top of the resume. It is not necessary to have your name/contact info on each consecutive page. If you have a gender neutral name, always include a Mr./Ms. before your name.
  • You should always have a professional email address. For example: sugarplum@gmail.com, demonchild@yahoo.com or tequilalvr@aol.com are not valid.
  • Always include a goals/objectives/professional summary statement at the top of your resume.
  • If the position you are applying for requires a certain education level (BS/BA/Master’s/Certifications, etc.), then you will want to list your educational background before your Skills/Core Qualifications. If only experience is required, educational background should be listed at the end of the resume. Do not list high school unless you are new in the job market or younger than 25.
  • Next should be a bullet point list of appropriate Core Qualifications/Expertise/Experience Summary/Skills.
  • Follow with a synopsis of your work experience starting with most current and going back no more than 15 years or to jobs that are not relevant. If you worked as a lifeguard 1992-94, there is no need to have that item on a current resume.
  • If you have worked for the same company for 10+ years it is always best to list all of the positions you have held while employed and their job descriptions.
  • Highlight the skills listed at the top of your resume in each job description. If you list Microsoft Office as a skill but you don’t mention it within any of your job descriptions, it will throw a red flag.
  • Include numbers if possible, to make your achievements more solid. For example, “Sales in my department increased by 50% in my first year of management.”
  • All resumes should be sent in a PDF format if sending to the hiring manager and a Word format is sending to a staffing/recruiting agency.
  • Manage the white space on your resume.
  • Spellcheck, Spellcheck, SPELLCHECK!
  • Ask 2 or more business professionals to review your resume and offer feedback.
  • Cover letters are not necessary. If you are delivering your resume directly to the hiring manager, you can include a cover letter directed at that specific manager, if you choose. If you are emailing your resume to an HR Dept., submitting it via a website or sending it to a staffing agency, you DO NOT need to include a cover letter.
  • If there are any gaps in time on your resume, be prepared to explain. Practice this.
  • List volunteer work or memberships last.
  • Proofread!

Resume Don’ts:

  • Do not refer to yourself in the third person. If your name is John Smith, nowhere on your resume should it read “John Smith is a very hard worker.”
  • Do not list jobs that are irrelevant. Being a lifeguard or working at a fast food chain while in high school is not important if you are now 40 and interviewing for an accounting position.
  • Do not use 4 fonts and sizes on a resume. Keep it clear and simple.
  • Do not include a personal photo or a graphic design on your resume.
  • Avoid being negative about past positions or employers.
  • Do not list hobbies or references on your resume. The interview is the time to discuss hobbies and develop rapport with the interviewer.
  • Present a list of references for the interviewer only if asked.
  • Do not lie! This will come back to haunt you.
  • No nicknames. If your name is John Smith and people call you “Buddy”, you can mention that in the interview but your name should be listed as John Smith on your resume.
  • Try to keep your resume to no more than 2 pages.
  • There is no need to use expensive paper for a resume. 
  • Do not use slang or jargon on your resume. For example, using slang terms such as Totes, Cray, Cool, Awesome, etc. are a no-no. Also remember that the person reading your resume may not know the lingo and will pass your over because they simply do not understand your references.
  • Limit your use of the pronouns “I” and “me”.

 

Interview Tips (click to expand)

Below are interview tips that range from common sense to those ah-ha moments. We like to list everything as a reminder. You could be on your 1st or your 15th interview, but we want you to read the following and see them as a refresher and maybe, just maybe, this interview will be your last.

 

  • Do some research on the business before the interview.
  • Practice interviewing.
  • Go alone. Do not take children or friends.
  • Greet the employer with a firm handshake.
  • Make frequent eye contact.
  • Smile, be polite, and try to relax. Do not rush.
  • Listen carefully to the questions asked. Ask the interviewer to restate a question if you are confused.
  • Answer questions as directly as possible.
  • Be upbeat and make positive statements about yourself and your talents. It is your time to brag on yourself.
  • If you've worked before, talk about what you learned from your prior jobs. Do not be negative about bad job experiences and never bad-mouth prior employers.
  • Use examples of how your skills and abilities would fit the job you are applying for with the company.
  • Bring your "Fact Sheet" with telephone numbers and addresses of your references and former employers, just in case you are asked to complete an application and provide references.
  • Bring several copies of your resume with you. This works well for two reasons. First, you have a copy in case your interviewer asks for one to attach to your application and secondly, this will give you something to hold during the interview to calm your nervousness if you are prone to fidget.
  • Do not chew gum or mints during the interview. If you are worried about your breath, have a mint prior to the interview but get rid of it before speaking with the interviewer.
  • Turn off cell phones before entering the office.
  • Always dress business for an interview. This goes for any job. If you are interviewing for a construction crew, you still need to impress your potential employer with your ability to look and act professional.
  • Ask for the job!
  • Always thank the interviewer for their time. Send a hand written thank you note after your interview thanking them again.