Part of my job these days is to sit on interviews, and consult on making hiring decisions based on what the companies need. The sad thing is even with our economy not being so great, people still decide to come into interviews unprepared. As a result, I will be doing a series of posts on how to get hired by someone like me, because, lets face it, I’m the only reference I have.
Preparation goes a long when it comes to impressing a potential employer. However, we aren’t talking about scripting out every possible way your interview could go and having a note card ready with a response for each. Instead, focus on knowing what skills you have so that you can be confident talking about what you can bring to the table.
Parts of a Resume
Crafting a thorough and accurate resume is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that you land an interview. At the very least, your resume should include the following sections:
- Cover letter. Remember, this is not the time to attempt humor – be brief and concise about your achievements and what you can bring to the position. Many employers will scan through a stack of cover letters to determine which resumes they will further consider.
- Contact information. This should be placed in the header of your resume; sometimes, it is also included in the footer, as well. Make sure you use accurate contact details, like your name, phone number and email address, so that a potential employer can easily reach you.
- Objective. This is where you concisely state what you employment goal is. For example, if you want to go into the construction field, you could write, “Skilled welder and laborer seeking full time employment.”. While some believe that this section is deemed unnecessary, some fields still require it.
- Skills. These are typically listed best in a bulleted format. Make sure you tailor your list of skills to the job you are applying for.
- School history. Include pertinent high school experience, as well as time spent attending college and, if applicable, trade school.
- Work history. When listing out your last three employers, don’t forget to include a summary of your work duties and contact details for your supervisor.
- Professional references. Ideally, your references should include professional and school contacts; not family members. However, if you don’t have any one else to list, then a relative that can vouch for your professional capacity is acceptable.
Successful Resume Brainstorming
It’s important to accurately explain why you’re the person for the job. Writing an awesome resume that will land your dream job is not the time to be shy about your achievements. That being said, it’s also important to ensure you aren’t boasting about skills and traits that you do not have. Although they may look good on paper, it will become painfully obvious that you lack them during your first day on the job.
If you’re having difficulty writing objectively about your skills and accomplishments, try using some of the following tips:
- Ask a friend to list your prior achievements and special skills.
- Take five minutes to brainstorm. Write down everything that comes to mind, even if it seems like a silly skill or accomplishment.
- Ask a former teacher or coach for help.
Final Thoughts on Preparing for a Great Resume and Interview
If you are applying to multiple jobs in different fields, then it never hurts to draw up a custom resume for each field. This looks more professional because you can list all of the pertinent skills that are useful for that trade. It’s also important to remember that above all, you should be yourself at your interview – employers aren’t looking to hire robots, and you don’t have to memorize what you’re going to say word-for-word. Instead, let your personality and unique skills do the talking.