by Charlotte Gurney
There is no such thing as a perfect resume — every hiring manager has their own preferences — but there are essential elements that can improve your chances every time you apply.
Organize Your Information
Most recruiters give your resume a cursory glance to see if it’s worth reading more closely, so make sure the relevant information is presented clearly and concisely.
Customize the Content and the Keywords
Keywords are the terms employers use to find good resumes in their databases. The keywords they’re looking for are all in the job posting, so make sure your resume uses the same language.
Show How You Made a Difference
Don’t just recap your job duties – explain the value you brought to each position. Use action verbs to capture how you made an impact and show that you can bring similar value to their company.
Know What to Leave Out
Emphasize the experience that is relevant to the position you’re applying for and use less space for jobs that aren’t. The goal is to show why you are the right person for this job.
Be Easy to Reach
You might prefer email, but recruiters use the phone, so include both. If you use LinkedIn and have a common name, consider including a link so they know which page is yours.
Proofread, and Proofread Again
A typo is hard to explain away in an interview, and worse, it could keep you from getting the interview. Proofread, and have someone else (someone smart) proofread it, too. Details matter.
Everyone gets nervous about interviews, but remember, it’s a conversation, not a test. The interview is a chance for them to learn about you, and for you to learn about the company. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the opportunity.
Organize Your Information
First impressions matter. You may have great skills, but many hiring managers will be less impressed if the first thing they see is unkempt hair or dirty fingernails.
Dress It Up a Notch
If possible, find out what the dress code is at the company and dress a bit better than that. They wear jeans? You should be business casual. They’re business casual? You should be business professional.
Sharing irrelevant information can overshadow what really matters. Make sure your response answers the question they asked, and never bad-mouth any previous employers or colleagues.
If They Ask If You’ll Accept the Job, Say “Yes”
The interview is not the time to tell them you are waiting on other offers. Saying “yes” is not a binding contract, and anything else will make them wonder if you want the job.
LinkedIn Comes Later
Requesting to connect on social media with someone you just interviewed with puts them in an awkward position. Leave that until after they’ve made a decision.
Say “Thank You”
Whenever possible, send an email to your interviewer thanking them for their time and reinforcing your interest. Be brief, keep it simple, and check your spelling (especially names).