Posts Tagged ‘job search advice’
The part of the hiring process known as the interview is something that scares most people to death. It doesn’t have to if you have thought of prospective questions before hand and prepared yourself accordingly and also thought of some questions you may have for the interviewer.
Here is a brief list. We kept it brief because the list could be four pages long if we so desired, however you would not read it and it would be very frightening. So we pared it down to the most likely ones:
- How would you describe yourself?
- To be successful in this career, what do you think it takes?
- Do you have the qualifications and personal characteristics necessary for success in your chosen career?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your long-term goals and objectives?
- What major problem have you handled recently? Did you resolve it? How?
- What characteristics do you think make a manager successful?
- Why did you apply to our company?
- How do you approach critical assignments?
- If you had to think on your feet to solve a difficult situation, what would you do?
- Why were you fired?
- What steps do you take before making an important decision?
- Name the most difficult assignment you had and how you finished it.
- What kind of supervisor do you prefer?
As you can see, the questions are open-ended, not allowing for a simple yes or no answer. The more you talk, the more the hiring authority learns about you. That’s why you need to be prepared before you utter one word. Each answer must be crafted carefully to maximize your chances of being hired. You can become more prepared for interview questions and answers by looking online there are several great interview resources like Resumeindex.com and Monster.com
A friend of mine who was looking to change careers asked me last week for some ideas of tailoring his resume to expedite his search. Here’s what I told him, and this advice is for you too. Here are two examples but there are many; always keep in mind whether you are in sales or management this applies; “sales are sales”; if you know how to sell the product is incidental. Same is true of management. A personal friend of mine worked in management in six or seven different companies, all different products. If you understand people, “management is management”, only the product changes. If you are a machinist and run a lathe; you can be easily trained to run a mill or drill-press.
If you are seeking a job in a new area, you should first identify and describe any previous work experience in the best light possible while identifying the most relevant duties performed. Job descriptions are no longer seen as helpful ways for employers to evaluate potential employers, and many of them are looking for accomplishment-focused phrases and results-oriented statements. So tailor your resumes toward this.
Using Action Verbs in Resumes
Use action verbs. These are words that are used specifically in resumes to accurately and succinctly indicate what a job applicant accomplished in their last position. These phrases begin with an action word such as designed, sold or instructed and leave out unnecessary words such as the, a and also. The phrases sound crisp and leave the distinct impression that you have been active.
The best action verbs depend on the specific job duties you performed, but some example action verbs could include: billed, wrote, supervised, managed, analyzed, directed, trained, planned, taught, developed, maintained, organized, initiated or produced. When you write your resume you should pick one verb for each line and then elaborate.
Accomplishments to Mention on a Resume
If you haven’t had to look for a job for several years – you may have a difficult time figuring out which of their past accomplishments are best to focus on when choosing the action words for their resumes.
These questions may help when trying to determine which verbs are best to describe the results of each pertinent job duty:
- Did I improve efficiency – how?
- How did I perform the job better than expected?
- Did I implement anything new that benefited the organization?
- Did I receive any awards or special recognition as a result of past performance?
Tips When Changing Careers
Researching the new field or profiling the specific job the applicant is looking for is the most important aspect of changing careers. The more knowledge you have about the company the better your chance to market your existing skills. By using the Internet, research has never been easier. Employers are impressed by applicants who have taken the time to find out about their businesses.
All too often data in resumes is presented quite vaguely, leaving the hiring manager to wonder what the candidate really knows and what skills s/he actually has. This is especially true regarding computer skills, whether the applicant is an office worker or an IT professional.
For example, an office worker may feel it’s enough to list skills in this manner: Technically proficient in Microsoft Office and other software.
After reading the above, the hiring manager may very well wonder what other software? What part of Microsoft Office—all or only Word and Excel? And, what version?
When your data raises more questions than it answers, it’s no longer effective. To maximize your information, be specific. For example, the previous statement should say this:
Technically proficient in Microsoft Office (Premium 2000), including Word, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, Access, PowerPoint, Front Page, and Photo Draw. Additional expertise in Word Perfect, Quicken, Peachtree Accounting, Lexis-Nexus, and Westlaw.
At a glance, the above provides instant and specific data to a hiring manager. However, a candidate—especially in the IT field—should go one step further by providing years or months of experience.
In today’s competitive job market, hiring managers demand that information on resumes be well-prioritized and specific. It’s not enough to state that you have proficiency in Microsoft Word. You must state how many months or years of experience you have or your level of expertise, whether it’s beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Hiring managers will not call you for an interview, nor will they test your skills unless they are first provided this essential data.
The nature of IT is ever-evolving. Therefore, an IT professional should showcase relevant skills as specifically and completely as possible.
Organize technical data into subheadings such as:
- Operating Systems
- Programming Languages
- Software Packages
- Any other technical proficiencies
One way to present this data would be a simple listing. For example:
- LAN Administration: Windows 2000 Server, Windows NT 3.51/4.0, Novell 3.12/4.1
- Operating Systems: Windows 2000/NT/XP, Windows 98/95, Macintosh OS
- Software: Microsoft SQL, SNA, SMS , Site Server & IIS, CA XCOM, SAS, Microsoft Visual Studio, Source Safe, Cognos Enterprise Server, Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, AS/400-Windows Connectivity Applications, cc:Mail , Multiple Windows Communications Applications
- Productivity Software: Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Project
- Hardware: PCs, Compaq Servers, HP NetServers, IBM NetFinity Servers, AS400 20, SCO Unix OpenServer, Macintosh
- Certifications: Candidate for MCDBA, Candidate for CCNA/CCDA, Candidate for MCSE, Microsoft Certified System Administrator, Novell Certified Administrator, Novell Certified Engineer
An even more effective way to maximize technical data is to provide specific information in an easy-to-read format. For example:
Oracle 8/8i/9i, 4 years
SQL Server 6.5/7.0/2000, 6 years
Microsoft Access, 6 years
MySQL, 6 months
UNIX , 4 years
LINUX, 4 years
Windows Operating Systems, 12 years
DOS, 12 years
Macintosh, 4 years
ShellScript, 3 years
PL/SQL, 4 years
ASP, 5 years
JAVA/JSP, 1 year
DHTML, 3 years
SQL Navigator, 4 years
TOAD, 2 years
Oracle *Net, 4 years
Import/Export, 3 years
SQL *Loader, 3 years
Enterprise Manager, 3 years
Performance Manager, 2 years
The above example is specific yet easy to read and understand quickly and enhances an applicant’s candidacy for an IT position.