In today's competitive market, job seekers can't afford to take anything for granted. The resume, interview and presentation all have to be polished, professional and focused.
"Good Morning America's" week-long career series, "Good to Go to Work," kicked off by offering a resume and interview boot camp to three prospective employees.
Tory Johnson, chief executive officer of Women for Hire, along with workplace expert Steve Viscussi and Stern Business School recruiting director Lizette Hernandez, conducted mock interviews with women the day before their real interviews, and then critiqued their performance and gave them tips to wow an employer. Johnson's advice for job seekers is below.
Think of your resume as a marketing tool, and the product you're promoting is you. You want to tout all of the benefits as they relate to the needs of the buyer -- your prospective employer. Here's how to do that:
Target a Specific Position or Industry
One size rarely fits all in life, and that's true with resumes as well. The Internet has enabled us to get somewhat lazy about job searching. We can just click and apply in a flash, which means most of us don't take the time to customize our resume for positions that we're really interested in.
Resist the urge to rush. Print a copy of the job description and compare it to your resume. Make sure that someone reading both documents could easily see a likely connection between the two. Tout the skills, education and/or experience that the employer is looking for, so that it's clear that you intended to apply for this job.
This means you can have multiple versions of your resume. Maybe you have extensive marketing and technology experience. You don't want to send a technology-focused resume for a marketing-driven position, and yet people make this mistake all the time. Similarly, show your commitment to an industry. For example, a hospital looks to hire people who are committed to healthcare, not people who want any job just to pay the bills.
Celebrate your Successes
Many resumes mistakenly focus only on previous responsibilities, instead of prior achievements. The best way to demonstrate that you can do the job is focus on your capabilities and your results. Instead of telling me that you were responsible for sales in the Northeast territory, tell me how well you performed in that role. If you're in public relations, instead of telling me that you wrote and distributed press releases, tell me what kind of media coverage you've been able to secure. Go through every bullet of your resume and ask yourself if there's a way to tweak your resume to reflect a success and not just a responsibility. This shows that you're results oriented, which every employer loves.
In terms of interviewing, it all comes down to one word -- preparation. Even if you're an ideal match for the job -- even if you think they're desperate to hire you -- never underestimate the need to prepare.
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