Thu, 09/10/2015 - 12:21pm
You don’t want your first impression to be your last when it comes to the job interview process. A good first impression is the critical foundation of successful employment seeking from resume submission to the face-to-face meeting with a hiring manager.
The resume: grammar and spelling
Before you hit “send” on that resume submission, review your content one last time for any obvious grammatical errors. Run a computer spell check, but conduct your own internal spell check too – don’t solely rely on your software to save you from spelling or punctuation faux pas.
Another resume misstep is poor formatting, including:
• Fonts that are too big, too small or are difficult to read
• Long, unbroken content blocks that are not conducive to a quick review
• Strange font or background colors
DO use white space and bullets to break up content so your resume is easy on the eye. Additionally, use adequate margin space, and make sure everything is aligned.
The length of a resume can also be a vital consideration. Younger candidates fresh out of college or a career training program should keep the length at a page, while those with more experience can get away with up to two pages.
Clarity in your professional objective is critical. On the other side of this, it’s important to encapsulate this objective succinctly in one or two sentences near the top of your resume. Your objective should be specific to the job you are applying for. Vague objectives might leave a hiring manager wondering if you are really interested or understand the particular role you are applying for.
Accuracy is the backbone of your resume. Whether you are outright falsifying your experience to get a leg up on the competition or just sloppy or vague in your employment dates or contact information, inaccuracy in your submission package can come back to haunt you and potentially cost you that dream job role.
The big interview
Your resume was green-lighted, and you’ve been invited to meet with the hiring manager in person. The question is: Are you prepared to avoid common interview pitfalls? Here are a few do’s and don’ts.
Don’t overdo or underdo it
If you are nervous and tend to become quiet or shy during interview situations, practice beforehand so you can express yourself confidently and articulately to a hiring manager. On the other side of this coin, if your personality tends to be overpowering, tone it down. If you have a tendency to turn a dialogue into a monologue, make sure the interviewer has the opportunity to speak in between your responses and/or questions.
Do dress to impress
How you dress is a critical part of your interview presentation, so make sure you understand individual company dress code expectations so you can leave your interviewer with a good impression. Some companies or fields tend to be more casual while others are very formal in their expectations for professional attire.
It seems obvious, but stretching the truth – a little or a lot – during an interview can boomerang to bite you in the long run. Hiring managers have easy access to your education and professional experience background and will most likely discover if you were fibbing.
Do maintain a social media presence
An estimated 80% of recruiters and hiring managers use social media to identify job candidates, so it’s important to maintain a professional profile on sites such as LinkedIn. This goes for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts as well, so if you’re constantly posting inflammatory remarks or sharing controversial information, a potential employer could be turned off. Cleaning up your social media could mean improving your shot at that dream job role.
Leave the backstabbing and bashing to the political arena. Don’t speak negatively about a former employer or coworker as you will come across as indiscreet and even a complainer who could potentially depress morale in a new job setting.
Whether you’re crafting your resume or dress rehearsing for your audition across from the hiring manager, invest the time in preparing for both.
Please visit the resources below to find out more about how to be successful in your employment search.