Section 1: Resume Tips & Common Questions!

1. Does this actually work?

The template/format below, works EXTREMELY well.  All you need to do is edit it to be personalized to you. 

2. Can I export this as a .pdf?

Do NOT export your resume as a PDF document. some older applicant tracking systems cannot parse or upload PDF files. Also recruiters hate getting pdf resumes.  some hiring managers don’t even have Adobe installed which means they cannot view it. You are better off sticking with Word.

3.  Should I do a “designer” resume?

NEVER get your resume “designed”. You now have very solid content in a format that parses perfectly. Resumes with 2 columns and super fancy pictures can be viewed as trying to overcompensate for experience. it’s better to have solid content and limit the visual aspects.

4. Why isn’t my resume only one page? Aren’t those better?

NO! Maybe 15 years ago when applicants had to fax in resumes and the 2nd page got “lost”. but not now! showcase your skills! it’s hard to do this with only a page (this is in about 90% of cases, some professions can use 1 page resumes, or newer graduates).

5. Why don’t you include a header/footer?

Because not all HR systems can parse personal information into them, and it looks better without your personal information in that type of format.

6.  Should I lie about my location if I am far away?

Normally, if a recruiter sees someone applying but lives 30+ miles away, they simply will pass. What you can do on your resume to get around this is NOT list your zip code and just list the city & state. So, if you are in a big city, leave off your physical address and just list the City, State and NO zip code!

7. Should I really hype myself up this much?

Resumes are not a list of duties/tasks, but a list of accomplishments! This is why you see on the template accomplishments added as bullets. show how what you did helped your previous company!

8. Why the volunteer work? Why the activities/interests?

Recruiters want to know someone they are going to hire is human. Everyone LOVEs animals, so if you can list things likes volunteering for the SPCA, own 2 golden retrievers, love cats, etc. For example, I once saw a Director who absolutely LOVES Disney. There was a  non-qualified candidate who wrote that she volunteered at Disney one summer.  Long story short, she got the interview and the job!!!

9. Isn’t my resume too much – do I seem too good or is it just over the top?

NO! You have to brag on a resume.

10. Do I really need to read all this?

Yes!  Everything listed below will help you get the job (or jobs) of your dreams.  I know from personal experience that 99% of people looking for jobs don’t do even HALF of the things listed below.  Putting this information to work will put you first in line for the jobs you want.

Interview Template

Section 2: How to prepare for an Interview

Part 1: How to nail the interview and GET THE JOB!!!

1. RESEARCH the company you are interviewing at! In the interview, make sure to sprinkle in some facts you now know about the company. make sure you have 5-10 questions specific to the company and what you learned ready to ask as in your interview (some ideas for questions are below).

2. NEVER, ever, ever, ever, ever badmouth a former employee. If you left on bad terms, use terms like “company downsizing”, “relocation” or “looking for a new opportunity” as the reason. NEVER say you were fired or let go.

3. Dress professionally! Wear a suit, PERIOD.

4. Make frequent eye contact and try to compliment the company often. everyone loves a compliment!

5. Answer questions directly. You will be asked SPECIFIC questions, give SPECIFIC answers. One of the main reasons Hiring Managers do not move forward with candidates is their inability to answer a question.

6. Smile OFTEN! Be upbeat and make positive statements.

7. Arrive 10 minutes early, NO earlier (looks too anxious). Wait in the hall or a nearby facility if needed

8. At the end of the interview, ask “Do you have any concerns about my ability to succeed in this role?”.

9. NEVER ask about salary. If you have a recruiter or an HR contact, it’s Ok to ask them AFTER, but never, EVER, ask a hiring manger. This also goes for any benefits.

Part 2: Common Interview Questions and how to answer them!!!

1. Tell me about yourself. Combine your personal and professional life to answer this question. Example “I LOVE animals, rescue them; would have 500 if I had the space”.  Another example is “I have over 15 years of experience as a XYZ; I love what I do almost as much as I love animals!” Think of examples that show you have a kind spirit.  DO NOT mention kids, marriage or religion though as those terms can topics can cause issues during interviews.

2. What do you know about the type of work we do? This is your chance to tell what you know from the research you completed ahead of time. you will not get hired if you cannot answer this.

3. What is your weakness?  Always make this a positive answer. I think the best answer for this question is “I often take on too much at once”. This shows dedication to what you try to do.

4. Why did you leave your last job?  As mentioned above, NEVER ever badmouth a company or employee. Some common and believable reasons include “I relocated too far from the position”, “they asked me to travel more”, “the company was bought out and now unstable”, etc. Don’t say laid off or fired, EVER.

5. Why have you been unemployed for such a long time? tell me about this gap in employment?  always keep this positive. the gap can be you had a “family obligation” or “were traveling”. Another great line is “the employment span is because I do not like to bounce around between different jobs so finding a position where I can call home for the next 10+ years is very important to me.”

6. Tell me about a conflict with a coworker or supervisor?  You MUST be able to answer this quickly and confidently! The only real requirement is to make it positive. Try to focus on how you talked to them WITHOUT involving management and it turned into a very positive long term experience.

7. Why should we hire you?   You think they would already know the answer to this one!  But seriously this is important so practice in the mirror.  A great line is “I am more confident then ever about my ability to help your company after my interview!”. This is a great time to list key points of the interview and how you have those skills.

Part 3: I have interviewed, it went well, not WHAT?

1. Send an email thank you note RIGHT NOW!  The same day, no later. This should be a simple but detailed note and is extremely important! Too much or too little detail can be a detriment. This shows excitement and follow through.

2. Send a hand-written thank you note via snail mail TODAY!!! It works.

3. Call your recruiter (if you have one) and tell them how it went.  Make sure to let them know your interest level in getting this specific job.

Section 3: Questions YOU should ask Them

REQUIRED: Make sure to review the interview tips above BEFORE you read this next part.

An interview is meant to be a two-way street. What questions you can ask can mean the difference between getting the job or not! Print this out or save it as your phone screensaver. remember, you are interviewing them as well!  A great question you should ALWAYS ask is “Do you have any concerns about my ability to succeed within this position?”  You can then “resell” yourself based upon their answer and address any concerns before you leave!!!!

Questions YOU should ask during your interview!

1) What do you see ahead for your company in the next five years?
2) How do you see the future for this industry?
3) What do you consider to be your firm’s most important assets?
4) What can you tell me about your new product or plans for growth?
5) How do you rate your competition?
6) What happened to the last person who held this job?
7) What were the major strengths and weaknesses of the last person who held this job? OR: Tell me about someone who has succeeded in this role? what were their key strengths (you can then compare yourself)
8) What types of skills do you NOT already have onboard that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?

Questions about your department/section in the company.

Asking about your department’s workers and role in the company can help you understand more about the company’s culture and hierarchy. Suggestions include:

1) What is the overall structure of the company and how does your department fit the structure?
2) What are the career paths in this department?
3) What have been the department’s successes in the last couple of years?
4) How do you view your group/division/department?
5) What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this job?
6) What are the skills and attributes you value most for someone being hired for this position?
7) Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to within the company?
8) Could you describe a typical day or week in this position? The typical client or customer I would be dealing with?

Now you need to determine how and when you will evaluated. To do this ask the following:

1) What are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed in the first three months?
2) What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?
3) How will I be evaluated at XYZ company, and how often?

At the end of the interview, don’t forget to ask:

1) What are the next steps in the interview process?
2) Do you have any concerns about my abilities to do this job?  ASK THIS! Then you can address any concerns right then and there.  This showcases your confidence.

Finally, make sure to reiterate your interest, smile and throw in an additional compliment or two!

BONUS: How to GET HIRED using LinkedIn

If you have an amazing profile, catching summary and network, LinkedIn is the easiest way to get a job!

Your profile must be unique, professional and thorough. read below to see how to use this powerful tool to get HIRED!

1. Contact people who work at companies you are interested in! For EVERY resume you send out (via indeed, linkedin, monster, etc.), look up at least 2 people who work there. These can be anyone from their sales/marketing team to their IT programmer! Just send a note that you applied, and would love to know who to follow up with.

2. Join up to 30 groups! Post in these groups as well, and some groups have a job section that is ONLY visible there!  Each group has its own logo, and the logos of your groups are by default shown on your profile. However, you can hide any group you wish by going into the “Your Settings” option located in the “More…” menu within each group.

If you’re job hunting, you might want to have two or three logos visible to show that you are available. Having much more than that may send the “I’m desperate” message, which you want to avoid at all costs.

3. Avoid posting questions that simply demonstrate your neediness. It is NOT ok to post repeatedly “I’ve been looking for a job for X months without success. Can you help me?”

4. Share regularly and wisely. Much like Facebook, LinkedIn allows users to post updates. These can be simple messages, such as “I’m off to a conference in New York” or “Congratulations to my team for beating its monthly sales goal.”

Updates can also include links to articles and other content from around the Web.  Studies show that if you share something just once a week, LinkedIn has found you are 10 times more likely to have your profile viewed by a hiring manager.

5. Personalize your invitations to connect. When you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn, your request is accompanied by a brief note. You have the option of selecting a boilerplate message that reads, “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” However you need to craft something more personal. “Find some degree of connection, and a warm connection,” for example, you could point out that you share an alma mater, or you could mention a mutual friend or colleague.

6. Get recommended! The Recommendations feature allows people who’ve worked together in an organization or on a project to endorse one another. Each recommendation only has to be 2 or 3 lines: something like “‘Ms. Jobseeker is a very competent accountant and very easy to work with. She went out of her way to assist me” is enough to help a potential employer or client build up their picture of you.

How do you get Recommendations? Ask! On your profile page, click on the ‘Get Recommended’ link and fill in the form. Again, don’t be shy. if the feature’s there, you might as well use it.

7. Face to Face Networking. As useful as social networking can be, you don’t have to deprive yourself of offline networking. In fact, LinkedIn can even help you find events to attend. On the home page, roll your pointer over the More tab and select Events from the drop down menu. In Events Home, you can then see which events your Connections are attending or interested in and you can also view the most popular events on the whole of LinkedIn. Click on the ‘Find Events’ tab for a keyword search filtered by date, location and type. It’s a very handy way to quickly find local events connected to your specialities or chosen industry.

8. Tailor Your Profile To A New Career.  Carving out a new career when you’ve spent years in an unrelated industry can make it seem like your skill set will never be relevant. With LinkedIn’s Job Search tool you can construct a profile that’s right up a job advertiser’s street.  Pick out the key skills that are asked for in job adverts that you’re interested in. The chances are that you’ve used skills, such as time-management, organisation, team-work and flexibility, in other areas – so highlight when you’ve used these ‘transferable skills’ and make your CV tailored to their requirements.

9. Get active! In addition to a complete profile, you need to be active on the site to get noticed by recruiters.  share professional content such as an interesting article about something in the industry or information about an upcoming event. By sharing industry-based information, you demonstrate industry knowledge and it keeps you top of mind.  Professionals who share articles or content with their LinkedIn network at least once a week are nearly 10X more likely to be contacted by a recruiter for new opportunities than people who don’t make offerings.

10. Follow the companies in your industry that you want to work for!  Simply message any employee about an activity to show you have done your research. One message can make its way to the hiring manger who WILL be impressed!

11. Make sure your profile has a title, heading and skills listed that are applicable to your job search. Recruiters will search via key-words (similar to monster, Indeed, etc) so make sure you have keywords listed! Even simple ones such as “time-management” and “multi-tasking” can make a huge difference!

THE END

That’s it!  You now know everything you need to know to kill your interview!

Go out and start applying.  Assume that you will have about a 5% to 10% response rate so at a minimum you should apply to 10 jobs.  However, you want to be in a position where you get multiple offers and YOU get to pick the best one.

My rule of thumb is apply to 100 businesses.  Worst case, the multiple interviews are good experience!

If you have any questions, please comment below!