Resume and Interview Tips

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Resume and Interview Tips


Application Letters should be tailored to the job for which you are applying. It is a good idea to send one whether or not it was requested. Remember to address in an application letter any points which you are specifically asked to provide in such a letter. This is often the first stage in the sifting process. A letter which does not provide the information required may result in your application being immediately dismissed without any attention to your carefully crafted resume.

Cover letters also enable prospective employers to assess the standard of your written English, so write them with great care. Keep cover letters to no more than one page in length.

Make sure you explain what you are applying for, why you are qualified for the post and how you can add value, and why you are approaching this particular employer. Tables, graphics or other objects. Use a serious sounding email address.  If you've been invited to an interview your prospective employer already believes that you can do the job.


You are at the interview for the following reasons:

  • Remember - a resume is aimed solely at getting you to the interview.
  • Every word on your resume should assure your prospective employer that you could do the job well.
  • Concentrate on those aspects which can bring most benefit to the employer and tailor your resume to the job.

You can think of preparing a resume as a part of a sales pitch where you are the benefit that you are trying to sell. Your resume is your written sales proposal and the interview is your chance to present your proposal (yourself) in a compelling way.

You first need to get the recruiter interested in the benefit - you - so that you get the chance to make your presentation. The four main elements of a resume are your skills, your work experience, your education and contact information.

There is no single perfect order in which to include these 5 elements. You should start with those which your prospective employer will find most important. Typically this will mean including your skills or work experience at the beginning with the most recent experience first. If you do not have any work experience you may want to start with your educational achievements. Naturally your contact details are important - but only if everything else fits. Contact details are the last thing an employer will look for and should be at the end of your resume.

Keep your resume to a maximum of two pages. Leave out any experience that is not relevant. If you have just left school or graduated a single page would be better.
Ensure that your resume is easy to read. The employer should be able to scan it quickly and obtain the key points. Check your resume several times. Bad spelling or formatting reflects poorly on you. A recruiter will not employ somebody in a job which requires the skilled use of language if the candidate is unable to spell.
If you are replying to a job advertisement, carefully analyze the wording of it and make sure that your resume as far as possible addresses every requirement. In the absence of an advert obtain as much information as far as is possible about the post so that you can evaluate what skills and experience is likely to be required and ensure that your resume addresses those requirements.

Once you have finished writing your resume put yourself in the position of your prospective employer. Imagine that you were faced with a hundred or more resumes from applicants for a job of which yours was just one. Imagine also that you had only a very limited amount of time in which to evaluate and short-list the applicants - 30 seconds per applicant. Would you select your own resume for the short-list? If not, don't expect the employer to do so.
The way to interview success is via thorough preparation. Learn as much as you can about the employer. Illustrating how you can be of benefit by direct reference to aspects of the employer's business or activities will make a very strong positive impression. Rehearse answering a range of questions that you anticipate being asked several times and out-loud to yourself or others. You may find that this a strange experience at first but it will make a tremendous difference to how well you perform at the interview.
Remember that everything you say at the interview has to illustrate the benefits that you can bring to the employer. Every time that you have the chance to respond to a question is an opportunity to impress. Every response lets you illustrate how well you could perform the job. However, not all questions should be answered directly. For example, the adequacy of your experience may be questioned in some respects. Do not simply agree that you do not have the right experience. You would not be at the interview if the employer thought that you could not do the job. Acknowledge the interviewers' concerns but illustrate how the experience and skills that you do have will enable you to carry out the job to a high standard.

Do not criticize your previous employer. This will only reflect badly on you. For example, instead of saying that there were insufficient training opportunities where you were working previously, say that you are looking for more training opportunities.

If asked about your weaknesses choose a genuine weakness, but one that is not relevant to the current job if possible. In addition, illustrate what you are doing or did to overcome that weakness. In that way you will be seen as a pro-active individual. Remember, the employer does not care so much about what the weakness is but rather the manner in which you handle the question.

Dress to suit the organization. If in doubt about what is appropriate then wear a dark suit. Make sure that you arrive in good time. Do not smoke before or during an interview. Interviewers will not appreciate smelling your cigarettes. Do not accept drinks if you can avoid it. If absolutely necessary accept a glass of water. Do not chew gum.

Body language is very important. Do not slouch. Make sure that your handshake is firm but not excessively so. Try to keep your hands relatively still so as not to distract the interviewer from what you are saying. If you can make the interviewer smile during the interview this will help you to form a helpful bond. However, do not tell jokes. Maintain appropriate eye contact so that you appear confident, but do not stare.

If you are asked whether you have questions say yes
. Ask about for example, the organization and training opportunities. Do not ask about salary or benefits until you are made a formal offer of employment. At the end of the interview thank the interviewer for seeing you. Assume that you are being assessed from the moment that you have contact with anybody from or connected with the organization until the moment that all contact ceases - reception staff, among others, may also be asked for their opinion of you.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 August 2010 12:51  

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