Giving Yourself An Edge During The Interview Process
There’s more to successful interviewing than writing a resume and showing up, but most people either don’t know or can’t be bothered to do those extras that may set you apart from the hundreds of applicants competing for your dream job.
One of the first things you should do is to make sure your resume is clear, concise and easy to read. As a hiring manager, I preferred to look at resumes that were in chronological order with the most recent accomplishments and job duties first. It’s best to keep the resume to 2 pages and write more about your latest jobs, but only a few bullet items about jobs you held 5 years ago or more.
Once your resume is polished, you should come up with a template for a cover letter. This will change for each job that you submit your resume to, but a basic template can prevent you from having to rewrite the whole thing every time. It should be in a formal style and very short – 2 small paragraphs where you briefly state your experience relevant to the job description and why you think you would be a good fit. Don’t go into huge details about either, but make sure you make them particular to the description of each job that you are sending them to. Along those lines, you can also tweak your career goals or objective to include some of the buzz words that were in the job description.
When you do land that interview, do some research on the company first. If you can ask intelligent questions about the products (or services) the company makes and other details relevant to the company then this will show that you are really interested in working there and can go a long way in setting you apart from other candidates. If you are a bit weak in some of the skills required brush up on them so you can talk intelligently, but be honest about your skill level and show them that you are willing to learn or do what it takes to come up to par. Attitude is important and there have been many times when I have considered candidates with a good attitude over ones with better skills.
After the interview, follow up with a thank you letter. This formality seems to have been lost in recent years but it can show that you are a professional, and, more importantly get your name in front of those that are hiring again. As with the cover letter, make it brief. Thank everyone for their time and state aspects of the job that you are particularly interested in or feel that your skill set is a perfect match for. Tell them why you think you are the best man for the job – but not in so many words. Again, this should be customized to have information pertinent to each job you interview for.
The interview process reveals not only your skill set but what type of a person you are. Going the extra mile will show prospective employers that you take your career seriously and will do what it takes to get the job done. A little bit of extra work can go a long way in making a good impression.