Finding a job isn't easy, but some job hunters can be their own worst enemies when it comes to getting hired.
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With a growing pool of candidates to pick from, mastering the resume and interview process has become more important than ever. Here are some tips on how to impress employers and get back to the work force.
Resumes should impress employers as quickly as possible. That's why it's important to put the information relevant to the job you're applying for at the top, according to Roxanna Peplow, instructor of professional development at Computer Systems Institute. "Your resume is valuable real estate; you need to use the space wisely. Only add experience that is relative to the job for which you are applying on your resume."
Peplow also says that resumes "are not one size fits all." She says that every resume should be made individually for a specific job so that it reflects you in the best possible way for that particular position.
Josh Tolan, CEO of SparkHire.com, says to show your creative side when designing a resume. "If you want to stand out, you might want to embrace a more creative resume to back up your traditional resume," he says. "For instance, graphic designers are beginning to use infographic resumes to show off their skills visually. Other job seekers are making video resumes to demonstrate their communication skills and personality earlier in the hiring process."
What not to do on your resume
S. Ronald Ansel, director of career services at Touro College in New York City, says to avoid inconsistencies and typos on a resume. He says job hunters should avoid "using words like charismatic, intelligent, even handsome unless the position specifically cites those attributes. Withholding information that resumes would normally contain such as address or GPA for a student or recent grad may cause employers to assume the worst, according to Ansel.
If your resume goes over well, it's time for the interview. Ansel suggests being as knowledgeable about the company and position as possible, but also to present yourself as friendly and easy to manage. "Smile! Good eye contact! You are looking to create a relationship where the interviewer will like you because no one will hire anyone they do not like," he says.
Ansel also says to present yourself professionally, paying close attention to your grooming, hygiene and clothing. "If the employer wants to send you out to meet a client or you are in any sort of publicly visible position, the employer wants you to represent them professionally," he says.
What not to do in an interview
Peplow says that everyone going into an interview should know what's on their resume and be able to talk about it. Job hunters should never mention what they can't do, instead focusing on what they have to offer and they should never lie, according to Peplow. Most importantly, yet potentially the most easy to forget, is to ask for the job. "If you don't tell them that you want the position, they will probably not offer it to you," Peplow says.
When to call back
Waiting to hear back from a potential employer can be the most stressful part of the process, and Peplow says it's fine to call a potential employer back first, but only after you've sent a formal thank you letter to your interviewer.
Peplow also says to give the potential employer time to reach you first. "First of all, that is one of the good questions that you should have asked during your interview, but I would say don't call any sooner than one week afterwards," she says.
When you get them on the line, remind them who you are, who you interviewed with and what position you interviewed for. "Just say you were calling to inquire about the status of the hiring process, and if they know when they will be making their decision. Inform them that you are still very interested in the job, thank them for their time, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon," Peplow says. "Wait another week and you may inquire again."