To family and friends, I've always been the resume girl. You need someone to proofread your resume and offer advice? You call Julia. My boyfriend even had a manager tell him that his resume (that I made him rewrite and heavily edit) was the reason he got hired. And you know what I've noticed in my years of hiring? A lot of people have no idea how to write a resume! However, all is not lost. Here's my top 5 tips on how to fix your resume:
1. Keep it Brief
Your resume is a marketing document, not a biography. There is no need for you to have more than two pages. In the first 5 years of your career? Then you probably don't need more than one! You r resume should show the highlights of your career, not a detailed description of every detail of your prior employment.
2. Get Rid of Your Objective
In all my years of hiring, I can confidently say that I've never seen an objective that added to a person's application. In most cases, it simply tells me that they are interested in the job that they applied for- or that they are not if the objective states a job other than the one they're applying for. I know you want the job, that's why you applied. Skip the objective and leave that space for more valuable info.
3. Focus on Accomplishment, not Responsibilities
The best way to frame your experience is in what you accomplished, not the day-to-day tasks you completed. So instead of "sold spa memberships," say "maintained a 25% sales closing on spa memberships and coached others to increase their sales." Make it objective and measurable. Numbers or outcomes are ideal!
4. Use Skills Mindfully
Most skills sections tell me things that I could learn from your accomplishments instead. Want to show me you're detail-oriented? Tell me about a project you completed with 100% accuracy and write me an error-free cover letter. Don't just list "detail-oriented" or "proficient in Microsoft office" under skills- I have no way to verify that. The one exception to this is fields like computer science where you need to list skills like programming languages. However, for most of us, leave this section off.
5. Keep it Relevant
Don't be afraid to remove details that aren't going to help your candidacy. I likely don't need to know your GPA five years after graduation, and your love of knitting may not be relevant to your PR job. Do keep in mind transferable skills though- your work in a library may show your organizational skills and that year in fast-food shows that you work hard and are great at customer service.
With these 5 tips, you can revamp your resume and have a successful job hunt! Comment below with one thing you're going to change on your resume today.
I've been doing video interviews all week to fill an open position and while some of them went seamlessly, others were less successful. While the concept of a Skype or other video conferencing software interview isn't brand new, it certainly has become far more common in the past few years. Personally, I prefer them to a phone interview as they allow you to connect with the candidate more fully. I tend to come away with a better sense of who the candidate is. However, some candidates don't realize that while it's from the comfort of your home, these calls are still interviews. Here are my top pieces of advice for prepping for a video interview.
1. Treat It Like an Interview
Yes, you're at your home, but i can still see if you're wearing pajamas or haven't brushed your hair yet today. Dress like you would for any other interview- the interviewer will appreciate that you put the effort in to present yourself well. You'll also feel more confident- personally, I tend to present myself more professionally when I dress formally.
2. Location is Key
Try to find a neutral background with few distractions. When a candidate is in a busy room with lots of activity, it detracts from my ability to focus on them. Lock any cats, dogs, or wandering tiny humans out of the room- while I may want to meet Mittens, it does distract from the interview and show a lower level of professionalism. If you must do it from your car on your break, try to park somewhere with minimal distractions and keep the phone level and steady.
3. Test, Test, Test!
Make sure you have the software needed for the conference downloaded ahead of time- I use Blackboard Collaborate, but other companies may use Skype, Zoom, or other platforms. Ensure that you have a working webcam and decent quality audio. If possible, test your equipment ahead of time! While we all know tech issues happen, you'll be more relaxed if the interview goes off without a hitch and you're not panicking, trying to get the conference to even start.
Job interviews are stressful! However, with the proper preparation, you'll feel more confident and go in with your best foot forward.
1. Do Your Research!
Make sure you read through the job description and are familiar with what you're interviewing for. I know- this sounds silly, but I've had candidates show up with no idea about what the job description even says. Make sure you know about the company as well- browse their website and get a general idea for what they do and what their values are. Many employers will want to feel like you want to work for them, not just any job you can get. While arguably not a fair expectation, it still pays to make sure that the employer feels you're invested in them.
2. Practice, Don't Script
Look up some common interview questions and go over what your answers are to them. Write down your accomplishments and think of examples of projects you did well or customers who you went above and beyond for. The key here is getting a general idea of what you want to say, but not memorizing a script- that can sound awkward in interviews and may be off-putting to the interviewer.
3. Dress the Part
Make sure you have clothes ready, ironed, and good to go the night prior. There is nothing more stressful than finding a run in your tights or your dryer breaking the morning of the interview and having to make a panicked run to pick up new clothes. As a rule of thumb, dress one step above the normal dress for the office- so for a business casual office, dress slightly more formally. For a casual office, business casual is typically fine.
As a hiring manager, I’ve seen some pretty interesting resumes. Some have been fantastic- concise, achievement-focused, and well edited. Others have been less successful. From easily discovered false claims to long narratives about personal hobbies, some applicants don’t market themselves in the best light. Here are the top 5 pieces of advice I have as a hiring manager to help avoid these blunders.
1. Keep it Concise
Many jobs have hundreds of applicants. As a hiring manager, I may only glance over your resume for a few seconds before deciding what pile it goes in. Make sure that the document clearly lays out education, employment, and other relevant achievements and does so in bullets, not text blocks. It doesn’t need to list everything- just what makes you most marketable for the job.
2. Skip the Objective
In all the resumes I've reviewed over the years, I've never seen a successful objective that improved an applicant's candidacy. However, I have seen objectives that hurt their chances- many forget to update for each job and I’ll get an objective that says “seeking a nursing position” when I’m hiring for a library job. Most people use the section to state that their objective is to be hired for the job I’m hiring for. However, I already know that, since you applied. Skip this section to keep that resume concise and focus instead on crafting a great cover letter.
3. Proof Read- Then Proof Read Again
While one error or typo isn’t going to take you out of the running for the job, you certainly don’t want to claim you’re detail-oriented, but then have numerous typos and formatting issues. My favorite example is how I once submitted my resume where “ask” was auto corrected to “ass”- I certainly didn’t get that job!
4. Use the Skills Section Mindfully
Most people can safely skip including a skills section. Now, this doesn’t apply to fields like computer science, where you want to list the coding languages you know. However, if your skills section is filled with terms like “detail-oriented” and “proficient in Microsoft office suite,” it’s safe to say you can save the space and cut the section. Instead, focus on communicating these skills through your experience section.
5. Focus on Achievements
Your resume is a marketing document. To show yourself in the best light possible, focus on achievements, not responsibilities. For example, “sold clients spa memberships” sounds far more accomplished if you phrase it as “maintained a 23% membership sales closing and was recognized as the top salesman for 2015.”
As a disclaimer, this advice goes out the window when applying for government or academic jobs. This fields are weird beasts of their own that deserve a book on how to best apply.