Category Archives : Career Zone

Resume Writing Tips

Creating a Résumé

You probably have about 30 seconds to convince a potential employer that you deserve an interview. When looking at your résumé an employer should see, at a glance, how you can contribute to the workplace. Keep in mind your résumé is your No. 1 marketing tool and it should be professional, polished, and perfect. Your résumé outlines your accomplishments, education, work experience, and should indicate your strengths.

Your résumé should at least include the following sections: Contact Information, Objective, Professional / Work experience, Education, Computer skills and Language skills.

Contact Information

  • Include your full name
  • Permanent and local addresses
  • Telephone # (this number can either be home or cell, use a contact # where you will be readily accessible)
  • Email address (if applicable)

Objective

Write a brief statement summarizing the career field you are interested in and the nature of the position you are seeking.

Examples of Résumé Objective – MARKETING MANAGER
“Seeking a position as a Marketing Manager that utilizes my writing skills and enables me to make a positive contribution to the organization”.

Professional Experience / Work Experience

In this section you will provide details of current and previous work experience.

  • This section should include company name, your job title, dates of employment, and a brief description of your responsibilities, but don’t go into too much details – just consider your major functions and duties for each position.
  • Start with your most recent work experience and work backwards chronologically, listing the name of the employer, your job title, the dates you worked there, and your responsibilities, tasks and achievements. Make sure you include everything that is relevant to the job.

Education

In this section summarize your educational achievements (colleges attended, locations, graduation dates, certificates, academic majors, and course concentrations).

  • Start with most recent degree awarded and work backward in time. Unless you are a recent graduate (i.e. with 3 years or less work experience) you do not need to list high school.
  • GPA is optional. Include it if you feel it will enhance your résumé.
  • If a recent graduate, you may wish to include relevant coursework or training workshops attended (i.e. ‘quantitative research methods’) if this improves your credibility.

Skills

This will include skills such as computer and language.

  • Computer – List the programs you are familiar with (i.e. Outlook, Internet Explorer, Excel, Word, Publisher, Adobe Photoshop, Accounting Software (name the specific software).
  • Language – If you speak more than one language then you should consider including language skills.

References

This section is entirely optional, however it is effective because it verifies if you have the proper skills and assures the employer he is making the right decision to hire. If you choose to include references, it is best to make sure they are aware that they may be contacted by a recruitment agent and inform them as to the type of job you are applying for.

Résumé Writing Do’s And Don’t

Here are some keys to successfully preparing and writing a résumé.

Do’s

  • Do consider a bulleted style to make your résumé as reader-friendly as possible. To be effective, your résumé needs to be consistent, concise, and clear and easy to read.
  • Do proofread! This cannot be stressed enough. Look your résumé over several times and have other people review it, too. Typos and misspellings tell the employer you don’t care about the quality of your work. It’s a sure way not to get a job offer.
  • Do double check your résumé for essential information. Include as much contact information as possible – any information that would enable an employer to reach you during business hours.
  • Do list your jobs in reverse chronological order.

Don’t

  • Don’t create résumé on odd-size paper or loud colors, use cutesy fonts, and include childish e-mail addresses, these all scream unprofessional and are a turn off to employers.
  • Don’t submit a résumé that has misspellings and typos.
  • Don’t include on your résumé any personal information such as height, weight, age, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, sex, ethnicity/race and health. As well, hobbies and other irrelevant information. If these points of information don’t pertain to the job in question, there’s no need to include them.
  • Don’t ever lie on your résumé and leave gaps in your work history.

Cover Letter Writing

A cover letter is an introduction letter of yourself that accompany your CV/Resume when applying for a job.  In this letter you are making an important first impression, explaining who you are, why you are writing and why you are a good fit for the job.

Below are some tips for writing an effective Cover Letter:

Target the Right Person

Address your reader correctly.  Avoid using generic salutations such as “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom it May Concern” this sound incredibly informal and reflects the interest of the writer to the employer. Start by making sure that you have the proper company name, address, and contact name included on the top of the letter.

Brief and Simple

Your cover letter should be brief and simple to hold the reader’s interest. It should be one page in length and must contain a font that offers a clean appearance and is easy to read, such as Times New Roman.

Components of the Letter

The body of your letter should be three paragraphs long:

  • The first paragraph is your introduction and should state the position you are applying for and the name of the publication in which you saw the job posting.
  • The second paragraph states why you are the best person for the desired position. In your letter use action verbs to emphasize one or two of your greatest skills or accomplishments that is an asset to the organization you’re applying to.
  • In the third paragraph you are closing the letter. It should be a very brief and powerful closing, leaving the employer feeling confident about hiring you. Once again express your interest and request for an interview and suggest at a time that is convenient for the employer.

Proofread 

Proofread your letter for errors. Proper spelling and grammar are essential. Incorrect grammar and spelling errors are signs of carelessness and gives the reader a poor impression of the type of employee you are.

Job Interview Tips

Congratulations!!! You have landed an interview. Now you have an opportunity to impress the employer in person. The following tips are to help you to leave the right impression.

Before The Interview

Company Research

  • Research should always be your first step. Find out as much as you can about the position and the company. This can be done in many ways: telephone the receptionist and ask for copies of company brochures, review the company’s web site and even Google the company to see what other information is available online. You will need to be prepared to answer the questions “What do you know about our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?” Knowing as much as possible about the company can make your interview more interactive.

Practice

  • Practice answering interview questions and practice your responses to the typical job interview questions most employers ask.

Look the Part

  • First impression counts! Make sure you dress professionally in conservative clothing and appropriate shoes. Avoid strong or ‘loud’ colors, excessive jewelry, make-up or perfume/cologne. Even if the office is casual, you should dress in business attire. Do not chew gum or smoke.

Be on Time

  • Don’t be late! There is no worse way to begin an interview. Allow extra time for traffic and parking. On time means ten to fifteen minutes early. When you arrive for your interview, greet the receptionist and let him or her know why you are there. You will be showing your interviewer that you value his or her time.

Avoid Distractions

  • Leave the gadgets at home or turned off in your bag or briefcase.

During The Interview

Body Language is Powerful

  • Greet your interviewer with a handshake. Use your body language to show interest, use eye contact, keep a warm, natural smile and sit up straight with both feet on the floor, don’t slouch. You should also control nervous habits such as fingernail biting and giggling. These can help you overcome nervousness; develop a personal rapport and project confidence.

Watch Your Grammar

  • Use proper English and avoid slang. Speak clearly and enthusiastically about your experiences and skills.

Answer Questions Calmly

  • Try to relax and stay as calm as possible. Listen and pay attention to the entire question before you answer. Ask for clarification if you’re not sure what’s been asked and remember that it is perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to structure your responses so you can be sure to fully answer the question.

Show What You Know

  • Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions.

Be clear about your strengths

  • You’re almost certain to be hit with questions pertaining to your strengths and weaknesses. Know your strengths and emphasize those that relate specifically to the position for which you’re being considered.

Emphasize What You Can Do For the Organization

  • At the end of the interview, you would be asked “Why should I hire you?” At this point you should emphasize your skills. Focus on your ability to tackle new situations, your communication skills, interpersonal abilities, analytical thinking talents, and other skills developed while in college or in previous positions.

Closing the Interview

Leave a Lasting Impression

  • Ask about the next step in the selection process. Clarifying this information not only lets you know what is happening but also shows the interviewer that you are professional and organized. Ask for the decision date, if possible.
  • Express your gratitude to the interviewer for the opportunity you have been given – no matter how the interview went.
  • Thank the interviewer sincerely when you are about to leave. Give a firm handshake and make confident eye contact when doing this.