If you ask what is one of the most important necessities for getting a job, I wonder how many will opt for ‘Having a good resume”?  I would suspect that the majority of those asked would agree; – in fact I have heard quite a number claim that their resume got them the job!

 So, do you agree?

Well, I don’t!!  I am in complete agreement with Richard N. Bolles of “What Colour is Your Parachute”[i] fame – the real objective of having a good resume is getting your foot in the door. Resumes do not get you the job; they might (if they are good) get you the interview.  It is the Interview that gets you the job.

If we understand that, then we will understand that we cannot have just one, all purpose resume that we send off, unedited, to every HR Manager we can find mailing addresses for!

Each resume must be tailored specifically for the company we are sending it to, and if we are applying for a specific vacancy, then it must be designed for that vacancy alone. Everything that we include in a resume must be included only because it highlights your suitability for this job in this company; anything else needs to be excluded.  There may be things that you can bring up in the interview, but in that case leave them for the interview.

Richard claims that an employer will only give a resume about 8 seconds of his time; 8 seconds!; that isn’t long enough for them to understand the detailed reasons you so carefully included as to why you want to work for them.  Leave that for your interview.  Consider your resume your calling card, and make it brief, but visually effective.

If we only have 8 seconds to impress our personality on the employer, then we need to grab their attention immediately and that means flair, style and texture!  Yes; Texture!! Can you imagine how different a slightly embossed paper would feel to someone who has to sift through about 100 resumes; most of which will be on A4 White Bond?  You would have their attention as soon as they felt it.

And this is why never take the short cut and send your resume by email!  A delete button is an opportunity you don’t want your prospective interviewer to take.  With the amount of emails being received per day, you can easily get lost in the throng; so make sure yours is posted directly. Strangely enough, most people will give a mailed resume at least the courtesy of opening, and being in the hand, it is felt that there is a requirement to read at least the first paragraph!

Again; break the mould and opt for pictures; a photograph of yourself adds a personality to the resume, and if (for instance) placed outside of your school or university – immediately give the employer two pieces of information for the price of one!

What you are aiming for is for your resume to be put with those to be called for an interview. If you can achieve that, then your resume has done its job and the rest is up to the interview.

OK: so your application has been successful and you have been called for an interview.  You may now have to supply the names of at least two people who will vouch for you; to be your references.  

People in business know that word of mouth is the best advertising ever invented!  Your references are your word of mouth; and an endorsement straight from personal experience.  So take time to make sure your referees are willing and primed to support your application for this job.  The reference addressed ‘to who it may concern’ may be OK, but just think how effective it would be if it was addressed personally to the one responsible for hiring? Don’t know who that is?- then give the company a ring and ask!!

Instead of generalities, you will be streets ahead if your referee hones in on the exact qualities being sought for this job.  So take some time to brief your referees and let them know what are the criteria; and how they think you would qualify. Then ask them to write you a reference with those qualities highlighted.

And finally, once the interview is over, do not switch off.  You will learn much about yourself and your strengths and weakness in a job interview if you take some time to review your performance.

This needs to be a little more than a quick cup of coffee, and some little thought about how the interview went.  It needs to be a formal written appraisal of what you feel went well, and even more important, what you feel did not go well.  Think why that was; was there something you could have done prior to the interview to avoid that particular mishap? Is there something you need to do to ensure that it doesn’t happen again? – if so, make sure you do it.  Maybe you need to tap into the experience of the experts

It is only through undertaking this full review that you will learn how to avoid such issues again.  Each time we go for an interview; whether we achieve the job or the promotion or not, is a learning opportunity; and if we do not go that extra step we will not improve our chances of succeeding the next time we have to face the interview.

So, are you ready to revamp your resume, refresh your references and commit to reviewing your performance?  Then you are going to be one of the outstanding applicants responding to the offer of an interview, and ultimately rejoicing at the offer of a job. 
Michele @ Trischel

[i] Bolles, Richard N. 2010, What Colour is Your Parachute (Hard Times Edition), Ten Speed Press, New York

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