Having a rock-solid resume is critical to landing your next job.
If possible, keep it under two pages. Bots and humans alike prefer shorter, more concise resumes.
Top Skills to Include on Your Resume
Employees need to be able to figure things out, so you will need to have some analytic skills to succeed in the workplace. The skills you need and the level of skills required will vary depending on the job and the industry. In conjunction with being able to analyze, employees are expected to be able to organize, plan and prioritize effectively.
The ability to communicate effectively — both verbally and in writing — is essential, no matter what job you have or industry you work in. You will need to be able to communicate effectively with employees, managers and customers in-person, online, in writing and/or over the phone.
Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are the skills you use to interact and engage with others. I just heard about someone who was hired because of his ability to connect with people. That trumped the other skills the employer was seeking, so be sure yours are up to par.
When companies hire for leadership roles, they seek employees who can successfully interact with employees, colleagues, clients and others. Even if you're not applying for management jobs, leadership is a valuable skill to bring to the employer.
5. Positive Attitude
Attitude may not be everything, but it’s extremely valuable. Employers want employees who are positive — even in stressful and challenging circumstances. They want to hire applicants with a “can do” attitude who are flexible, dedicated and who are willing to contribute anything extra, if necessary, to get the job done.
Regardless of the job, employers want to hire people who are team players — people who are cooperative and work well with others. They don’t want employees who are difficult to work with. When you are interviewing, be sure to share examples of how you worked well on a team.
The technical skills you need will vary, of course, depending on the job. However, most positions require at least some technical skills.
1. Conduct Research on the Employer, Hiring Manager, and Job Opportunity
Success in a job interview starts with a solid foundation of knowledge on the jobseeker’s part. You should understand the employer, the requirements of the job, and the background of the person (or people) interviewing you. The more research you conduct, the more you’ll understand the employer, and the better you’ll be able to answer interview questions. Scour the organization’s website and other published materials, search engines, research tools, and ask questions about the company in your network of contacts.
2. Review Common Interview Questions and Prepare Your Responses
Another key to interview success is preparing responses to expected interview questions. First, ask what type of interview to expect. Will it be one-on-one or in a group? Will it be with one person, or will you meet several members of the organization? Your goal is to try to determine what you’ll be asked and to compose detailed yet concise responses that focus on specific examples and accomplishments.
A good tool for remembering your responses is to put them into a story form that you can tell in the interview. No need to memorize responses (in fact, it’s best not to), but do develop talking points.
3. Dress for Success
Plan out a wardrobe that fits the organization and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. Remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than under and to wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum. Try not to smoke or eat right before the interview and if possible, brush your teeth or use mouthwash.
4. Arrive on Time, Relaxed and Prepared for the Interview
There is no excuse ever for arriving late to an interview. Short of a disaster, strive to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to complete additional paperwork and allow yourself time to get settled. Arriving a bit early is also a chance to observe the dynamics of the workplace.
The day before the interview, pack up extra copies of your resume or CV and reference list. If you have a portfolio or samples of your work, bring those along too. Finally, remember to pack several pens and a pad of paper to jot notes. Finally, as you get to the offices, shut off your cell phone. (And if you were chewing gum, get rid of it.)
5. Make Good First Impressions
A cardinal rule of interviewing is to be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet from the parking attendant to the receptionist to the hiring manager. Employers often are curious how job applicants treat staff members and your job offer could easily be derailed if you’re rude or arrogant to any of the staff. When it’s time for the interview, keep in mind that first impressions the impression interviewers get in the first few seconds of meeting you can make or break an interview.
Make a strong first impression by dressing well, arriving early, and when greeting your interviewer, stand, smile, make eye contact, and offer a firm but not bone-crushing handshake.