Recently I wrote a blog about how difficult it is for some to find new jobs in today’s job market. Well, that wasn’t really the point of the blog, but I touched base on that subject briefly…so I thought that I would expand on that a bit.
Here are some things that you probably didn’t know about resume writing, first off, less is more. Do not send out a resume that is several pages long. You only need one page and only include relevant information to the job that you are applying for. What I mean by this is that if you are applying for a job in retail for instance, there is no need to add work history for jobs that specialized in chemical engineering. I know that is a bit farfetched as far as scenarios go, but I’m sure you catch my drift.
Another thing that you may not know is that many places of employment now use computer programs that scan your resume and look for keywords based off of desired transferable skills, non-transferable skills, and the like. So for instance, the computer scanner is going to look for the number 3 more readily than the number 5. It is more desirable to say, “I have over 3 years of customer service skills,” versus, “I have over 5 years of customer service experience. Why, you ask. Well, because in today’s competitive job market, they want skilled people, but not so much so that they will expect a hefty wage.
When listing skills, most jobs require typing skills, if you do not know your wpm, google a free timed typing test and take it. It can give you a pretty accurate word count. DO NOT exaggerate your skills, because it will only work against you. Some employers require that you take a timed test in the office prior to being hired. If you only type 40 wpm and you say that you can type 65, it will not work in your favor. Also, list any computer programs and your efficiency in those programs typically used in an office. Other keywords that are searched are things such as; friendly, fast learner, efficient, etc.
When listing previous work history, you do not need to make this elaborate, keep it clean and simple. I always recommend that you use a resume builder template and go from there. It is easy to replace the information with your own and make your resume clean and simple. Try starting with an entry level position resume template. Also, keep your objectives clear. With anything, do your research and know the company that you are applying for.
Now, that we have covered resume writing in some length, let’s talk about the interview process. Many people find this process confusing. First and foremost, have confidence in yourself. If they ask if you have experience in sales, you may think that you don’t. Truth is, you really do. Maybe not the kind relevant to the position, but in an interview you are selling yourself. You are showing why you are a good fit for the company, again research the company and make a list of at least 3 questions to ask. The interviewer will likely ask you if you have any questions at the end of the interview. It’s better to have something to ask them. Avoid the conversation of pay unless you are offered the position. You can negotiate, but make sure that you are being reasonable.
This again has everything to do with selling yourself. If they offer you $10.00 an hour, that is the lowest they are going to pay for that position. If you have many years of experience you can negotiate this, but do not go too high. You can start by saying, “Well, I definitely appreciate that you start at $10.00, but if possible I would like to negotiate that figure slightly. Considering that I have had many years experience in this field and can provide great references, I think that you will find that I am worth the $11.00 I am asking for.” This is where the employer can counter offer. I will say that this is a bold move, and depending on the size of the company will determine whether or not to negotiate. If it is a small company I would say do not overreach and ask for an extra dollar an hour, because someone else is more than willing to do the job for $10.00 an hour. However, is that person as skilled and qualified as you are?
There are variables to consider in an interview and there are several standard questions that they ask, such as; Name a time that you helped resolve an issue, and how did you resolve it? What are some of your strengths? What is an area in which you feel that you can improve? That last question is one that I particularly hate, because I’m not perfect, but I again I don’t want to say, “Well, technically anyone can try to improve on everything they do.” Find a happy medium and pick one area of working in which you can improve, but at the same time let the employer know that you have already begun the process of improving in that area. It shows that you can own your weaknesses and are proactive to improve upon them.
If you go into an interview and you are nervous, the interviewer will feel nervous. Do not swivel in chairs, mess with your hands, twirl your hair, etc. It’s unprofessional. Sit up straight, keep your phone shut off until you leave the building, dress in business or business casual attire, make sure you are well groomed, do not wear a bunch of perfume or cologne and I would not recommend spraying right before leaving the house. Many people are sensitive to smells, and an overpowering scent may cause you to be overlooked. You don’t want the only lasting impression that you leave on that individual to be, “Man, he/she wore far too much perfume.” Same goes for make-up ladies. Wear it, but lightly. If you have a watch, wear it. It shows that you are aware of the time and are more likely to show up early or on time. Also, speaking of subliminal messages in appearance, if you are applying for a job that wears a uniform, wear something that mimics the colors of the uniform. It puts the idea in their mind that you already work there, they can visualize you wearing that uniform.
Always have at least three professional and three personal references. A lot of jobs require a total of five references, so you should be prepared. If you have any emails from a supervisor commending your good work, print them off and store them so that you can bring it with you to interviews. That way they can see that you really work hard to try to do a great job. If you have any other questions, please feel free to post them and I will respond.