Resumes, Interviews and New Jobs … OH MY!

Job Search PrepWhether you are new to the labor force, looking for a career move or out of work struggling to get hired, finding a job can be a bit overwhelming. Allow me to provide you a few quick tips to help in your quest to find a job.

Let’s start with your resume. I like to define a resume as being a document that outlines a clear and focused understanding of who you are as a professional. By doing this, begin by understanding your professional goals, aspirations and personal integrities. Finding a job is a 2 sided street, you must be just as happy with your decision as your future employer, therefore outlining your REAL objectives vs. spewing a canned paragraph is a must. Sure you will need to list your backgrounds and skill sets, but don’t let a long, tedious dissertation of your past put the reader to sleep.

Tailor your resume to fit the key items the company is looking for and prominently display them in the forefront of your resume. Don’t get carried away here and start fabricating the truth of your actual experiences. This will certainly come back to haunt you either on the interview or on the job if you were selected. Next, provide easy to read bullets that closely align your skills and experiences with the job at hand. Relevant keywords will not only allow you to stand out in the sourcing process, but your resume is now searchable when a position within your category is being sought after. Lastly, check your resume for errors. Don’t let a carelessness ruin your first impression.

Now that your self-discovery is complete and your resume is solid, you are ready for distribution. The positive of today’s job search capabilities is the extraordinary reach we are provided through social networking, job boards and online connections. The big negative is that job boards are making it too easy to apply for a job. You click, you submit and that’s it. Though they simplify the process for the job seeker, it makes it harder for the recruiter to filter the unqualified; therefore you must not forget the art of targeting your application to a desired job.

You know your hard work has finally paid off when you get that first request for an interview. Here’s my view on this both from my pre-staffing days and now reinforced in the staffing industry. 99% of the time, if a company wants to interview you, it’s because they think you would be a good fit for the job. This instinct is gained by the impression you made on your resume and your appeal on the phone screen. It’s one of the few situations in life where you almost always automatically start out in a positive light. In other words, if you are invited for an interview, that job offer is yours to either lose or decide you don’t want it.

The problem with interviews is that they are a double edged sword. You can’t walk in aggressively assuming the job is yours, yet you have to have enough self confidence to know you can do the job. Now, let’s take a look at how easy it is make a bad first impression from your interview.

1) You oversold yourself on paper: Turns out, you really don’t know what you need to know for the job. They thought you did based on your resume, but you don’t have the experience level they want.
2) You choked: Either you didn’t communicate your experience well or didn’t connect with the interviewer.
3) You were unprepared: If you show up late, looking like a slob or bringing your favorite childhood teddy bear, you are likely to not to get a call back.

One last piece of advice: come to an interview with an “Elevator Pitch” on yourself. Focus your self-pitch on “what is in it for the company” you are applying for. How can YOU help them solve their problems, what would YOU do to achieve their corporate goals and ultimately how can YOU allow them to make more money! In all reality, it doesn’t matter what experience, industry knowledge or certifications you have obtained … what matters is how your credentials will help your future employer become more profitable and assist in furthering their success. I have found this to be one of the most important things you need to know when preparing to enter the world of job searching.

Josh Kaplan blogs on a variety of subjects including IT Staffing and IT Healthcare Staffing.

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