(Closed) Share your best resume / cover letter / interview / career tips!

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 33
Member
2609 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

Based on my experience interviewing here are some what NOT to do:

  • Fill out your application with sloppy handwriting. If it looks like your two year old is apply for this job, I’m not really interested. Please type things and spell check/proof read everything a few times.
  • Don’t waste my time. Be on time to an interview, and please don’t go on for an hour about your job as a pastry chef intern in high school when your applying for a mid level scientific research position. 
  • Don’t sell yourself short. So you haven’t worked in your chosen field yet, any job can be relevant. I don’t need every last detail, but tell me how working retail while in school really helped you develop good personal skills, organizational skills, customer service etc. It’s better than saying you’ve done nothing and have NO job experience. Any experience is better than nothing. Especially good for recent grads.
  • Don’t put yourself down. I’ve heard a lot of people say you need to know your weakness and that you’ll be asked about them. Admitting your skills are only “okay” when it comes to something but that you’re looking forward to improving them is one thing…I’ve had people sit and tell me a whole list of things they just cannot do. Why tell me how horrible you are? Do you not want the job? Okay, you’re done.

Those are just a few from a memorable summer of applicants. A lot were recent grads who just didn’t know better. Many were very nervous and very unprepared. Especially the applicant who had no work experience. Never worked one job paid or unpaid. Her best examples of work were turning in her assignments on time. You’re 25, it makes me nervous if you’ve never worked a day in your life. I’d take a 3.5 gpa with great experience over a 4.0 perfect student who has never had a job.

Post # 34
Member
802 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

im trying to get to another dept within my company but it seems like its all based on the buddy system here, i had a killer interview 3 weeks ago where they responded how much they liked the answer i gave to each question and they would reference something i said in a follow up question. i was personable, smiled, honest, didnt fidget, sent the thank you email an hour later, followed up a week and a half later and sent another follow up this week. its been 3 weeks alredy and im just depressed. i’ve applied to numerous positions within my company and either i cant even get an interview or they always go with someone they previously worked with. its very discouraging. i dont know what else to do. Im at my wits end with the position im in now. i really dont want to leave the company because i’m almost 32 and want to stay somewhere. sigh

Post # 35
Member
1769 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’ve spent a LOT of time on both sides of it – my field is HR so I’ve interviewed and hired a TON of people, and I’m currently unemployed due to a relocation, so….I got this!

My top three tips are:

1) It’s okay to be nervous! If you are like…pukey, can’t talk nervous, that’s NOT good, but just know that some nerves mean you WANT the job – that’s good! Just remember that NO ONE will interview perfectly, so it’s okay if you flub up, and that you have NOTHING to lose in an interview. The worst thing that could happen is that you don’t get the job – well guess what, you don’t have it now, so it’s really not that big of a deal. (And I’ve had a candidate puke during an interview, so seriously…there are always people worse off than you ;))

2) Say you want the job! It’s okay (and good!) to end your interview saying “from everything I’ve heard, this position sounds like exactly what I’m looking for, based on xyz.”. HR/Hiring Managers/whomever like to hear that you want the job! 

3) On a related note, send thank yous! Ask for business cards when you interview, find who interviewed you on linkedin, whatever – get their names and contact information and either email or write a thank you note. Thank them for their time, reference back to something you spoke about during the interview, say how much you want the job, and thank them again. Sure, if you’re unqualified you won’t get the job just because you wrote a thank you, but if you’re tied with someone, a thank you might help you out!

Post # 36
Member
1762 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Commenting to follow.

Post # 37
Member
2529 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

So here’s a question. I prefer to go into interviews with a folio notebook that I’ve written a few questions or company research pointers in, and in the case that I forget a question (nerves) would prefer to check my notes rather than seem unprepared and stammer. I haven’t had to do this yet, but I guess my question is: if I ever did, is that acceptable?
I’m sure it depends on the person, but I am such a huge note-taker that it provides me a bit of comfort to know my notes are within reach if I need them.
I work in architecture, interviews are not as formal and (depending on your experience) can be heavily based on your design portfolio, which can be both good and bad.

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@vorpalette:  Oh yay for you! Good luck!

Post # 38
Member
1812 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013 - Pavilion overlooking golf course scenery, reception at banquet hall

Disclaimer: Not HR, but I spent a year job-searching and read every resume “dos and don’ts” example on the entire internet, it seems. These are the tips that turned my boring horrible resume into something concise, to-the-point, and useful.

1. Graduated in the last 5 years? Stick to a 1 page resume. Seriously, you don’t have enough to talk about in 2 pages. Trim the fat, eliminate buzz words, just explain exactly what your duties were and specific achievements you were responsible for. Try to come off as “no-nonsense” as you possibly can on paper – if you use an adjective, make it count (not “very”, “extremely”, etc) and if possible, quanitfiable (“38% increase”).

2. Nix the “objective” on resumes. It’s all filler and everyone has the same objective anyway: make money doing something related to your degree/experience. Use that precious space to expand on another job duty on your experience list, or add another few (specific!) skills to your skill list.

Post # 39
Member
11231 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

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@CakeyP:  Thank you!

I do the same thing with interviews. I go in with a pen, folio/paper, copies of my resume, and anything else I might need (typically a print off of the job posting and my questions written down). 

Post # 40
Member
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I often have to interview people:

Don’t lie (I know thats what you are told at school but people still do) dont even exaggerate. If you have a basic skill insomething say you have no point saying you are better than you are. I once had someone say on their CV they had conversational German so I talking to german to them turns out they had stopped German at 14 and basically knew How are you and What is your name? I dont think they were expecting to be tested by a German

Research the company. I dont expect you to know our sales in 1989 but look up what the main bits we do. At the very least know who the Managing Director is (CEO) 

Be kean but not too keen. Too keen comes across as desperate and I dont do desperate

Try or try to keep your CV on one page, 2 at max. I want facts not expanations. Cater the look of your CV to the job. I want something plain and direct, yes change the font up and do the heading a bit different but keep the rest simple. It is all about catering it to the job. (that wouldnt fit if you were going for a design job)

Dress smart 

Have a wash and smell nice but do not put too much smell on.

Have questions about the job not about the benefits

For christ sake SMILE

Post # 41
Member
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

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@CakeyP:  

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@vorpalette:  

I wouldnt care if someone had to pause to think or stammered. I would rather that that someone be super rehearsed and things. Sure have the job info printed out but from my view you don’t need to have your CV with you. Also when I ask ‘do you have questions?’ I would feel way way of putted and on the back foot if someone pulled out a pad with it all written down. I’m meant to be doing the interview.

(obviously there are some jobs that you need to bring a portfolio with to show but some really really dont)

Post # 42
Member
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@MrsPanda99:  Yes! No two resumes should be exactly alike when applying to different jobs and positions! I’ve re-written my husbands, mother in law’s and other family members’ resumes. I have changed each one to cater for that specific job. So, for instance if you are seeking a job in finance or real estate than your cover letter should have a title reflecting so. Also, when describing the specifications of your career history, I move around the specs according to what the desired position is. 

For instance, if you are applying to work at XYC Credit Union then then I would put the 1st qualification as it relates to your position. If you want to be the manager of ABC Burgers, then the 1st qualification of each job history section should be manager or supervisory experience, and so on.

 

Post # 43
Member
3768 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo

My favorite question to ask at the end of an interview is “Is there anything you feel reserved about after speaking with me that maybe I can aleviate now?”

Also my best tip for new college grads or those seeking internships is to keep your resume to just one page.  All the recruiters who I got tips from in college said that the first page is pretty much all they’ll look at.  I don’t think this is as true once you have more years of experience under your belt, though.

Post # 44
Member
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@elysion:  Yep, all of the resumes I’ve written were only one page. I had to convince my mother in law to axe her 4 page resume. She didn’t trust me, and was like “But the one in 1966 was my favorite job!” I was like, but the industry has changed so much since then, so work history back that far most likely is irrelevant. Anyway, I ended up putting her most recent history, and I always put something like “Older work history is available upon request…” at the bottom. In the end her resume was fabulous! I had to go back and redo mine it looked so good, LOL! And, the best part is she was hired on the spot! 🙂

 

 

 

Post # 45
Member
1461 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I spend a lot of my time at work during the late summer months interviewing students for the year long internships. 

Here are my tips

– Arrive early and PLAN to get lost. I understand that our building is hard to find, but that’s why you should have left earlier! When applying for a real job, drive to the interview location a day before so you know how to get there. 

– Don’t touch yourself during the interview. This takes practice in the mirror. Soooo many people touching their face, twirling their hair, stoppppp it.

– RESEARCH. Know as much as you can about the organization.

– KNOW what you can bring to the position. Sometimes people don’t like to share their marital status (which I understand) but if your husband is a graphic designer or photographer you may sound more attrative than you think

– Ask questions. I always ask “What is something unexpected that occured when you first started working here?” 

– Dress as conservative as possible. People know that you can dress down, but they want to see you at your absolute BEST. 

– Be grateful, gratitude goes a long way

Post # 46
Member
3768 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo

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@chocolatejazz:  Nice!!  Good to hear that the one page rule is still applicable!

Post # 47
Member
11231 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

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@mallo:  We are told to always take copies of our resume with us to interviews–I have definitely been in interviews and been asked for a copy (especially if you end up being interviewed by more than one person). We are also encouraged to ask questions of the interviewer–how else am I supposed to remember my questions if I don’t have them written down?

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