- The purpose of your resume is to get an interview. You want to focus your resume to the perspective of the specific audience: a recruiter, a networking contact or a potential employer.
- Your resume is a document that focuses not just on what you did, but on what you want to communicate about your experience. It is not a review of everything you have ever done.
- To personalize your resume, be sure to communicate your accomplishments: who or what benefited or was impacted by your efforts; what was achieved. Quantify results whenever possible and relevant.
- In a brief summary section focus on your position, years of experience and the focus of your expertise. Using a job posting, identify their language and expectations to include in your resume.
- Beneath the summary, include a section to list your expertise and a brief sentence to illustrate that experience.
- Yes, you will want to target your resume to a particular position.
- If you don’t have a focus yet, create a resume template that includes the experience and accomplishments you enjoy. Then cut and paste the appropriate experience you want to include when you have a focus.
- When you are moving between industries or companies, be sure to change the language in your resume from company or industry jargon to either something more generic or the language of the new industry.
- Proofread your resume for typos, grammar and spelling one more time.
- A 2-page resume is fine.
- Identify your strengths along with your experiences and the stories you want to communicate to illustrate your accomplishments.
- Prepare what you want to say about why you are leaving your current job and want this new job.
- Communicate clearly how you will use your past experience in this new job–and you will be convincing.
- Smile with your eyes as well as your mouth; be present and focused.
- Body language is very powerful, use it to your advantage; show interest, enthusiasm and respect.
- Respond to questions succinctly, but with enough information to create a picture for the interviewer. When you have completed your response you might ask, “Is there anything else you would like to know?”
- Use numbers to keep both you and the interviewer organized and focused. “I have 2 things I’d like to say in response your question.”
- Follow up with an emailed thank you note.
- Take care of yourself before the interview – do what you need to do to relax so that you can be yourself in the interview. For instance: take a short walk, try some deep breathing, or think about the success stories from your career…
- The night before the interview, rehearse your stories with a friend, or in front of a mirror. Remember to prepare the stories most germane to this new opportunity.
Networking/Information Interviewing Tips
- Be clear about the purpose of your meeting before you make contact.
- Information interviewing means speaking with people to learn about a specific job, career field, employer or industry. The focus is on getting information.
- Conducting an information interview about the occupation, position, company or industry can sometimes open doors to unpublished opportunities.
- Networking means telling your story: where you are and what you are looking for. Reach out to everyone you know asking for appropriate contacts and places to research.
- Focus on establishing a relationship with your contact as well as inquiring about the information you are seeking.
- Be prepared to discuss 3-4 strengths along with relevant stories, which highlight your talents and emphasize what you want to communicate about yourself.
- If you tend to be shy, focus first on people you know so as to gain some comfort before expanding your network.
- Let your contacts know you would be willing to help them, too.
- If you are changing careers and not sure what you want to do, say what you do know: describe the experiences that are engaging; your areas of interest or industries that you would like to explore.
- Use email or LinkedIn to elicit information from your network. For example, you might ask for potential contacts in your field; you might ask for information about companies you are interested in; or you might ask if your network knows anyone working at a company you are targeting.
- Have an on-line presence. Create a professional profile on a social networking site, like LinkedIn, and use it to establish contacts related to your job search.
- Two great questions to be sure to ask whether you are networking or conducting an information interview: 1. What suggestions do you have for me or what resources do you recommend? 2. Who else would you recommend that I talk to?
Survival Tips — Be Prepared During Difficult Economic Times (and any time)
- Maintain an updated resume.
- Maintain contact with your professional and personal network and stay informed and connected through your professional association or trade association.
- Stay abreast of new ideas, products and services related to your field.
- Update your skills and knowledge regularly through education and training, which will instill confidence and build credibility.
- This is a good time to re-assess skills and interests to prepare for a change when economic circumstances recover, which will enhance both your confidence and a sense of empowerment.
- Meet regularly with your boss to determine how you can add value, develop new skills, or be involved with new projects.
- Seek out a career counselor for a career “tune-up”. The career counselor will help you to take stock of your career and accomplishments thus far. Discuss strategies to maximize the contribution your current job can make to your career goals, identify potential changes and develop a plan to move forward.
- Pay attention to your physical and mental health. Stay healthy through regular exercise and maintain close contact with your support system, including family, friends and colleagues.
- Regularly evaluate your financial health, making adjustments to lifestyle and savings when appropriate.
Thoughtful, clear, organized communication that focuses on what you want to articulate about your talents, strengths and purpose will contribute to your confidence in your resume, your networking story and at your interviews.