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FOR CANDIDATES

Effective Resume Do's and Don'ts
The Do's

  • Include contact information including email, phone and address on the first page and in the header or footer on additional pages. Side note: your voicemail message and email address needs to be professional. "beerboy@example.com" does not convey a professional image.
  • Use reverse chronological order whenever possible for your resume. Hiring managers want to know what you accomplished when and where. They do not like to guess.
  • Be thoughtful about your objective. It can screen you in, as much as it can screen you out. You cannot state that you want to work for a large multinational organization and apply for a position at a small start-up.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Use bullet points to outline accomplishments, outcomes, what you did. Include sales increases, successful promotions, people you recruited/promoted, saved money, effective budgeting, new products, increased productivity, cut overhead, etc.
  • Devote more space to your most recent jobs versus the earlier ones.
  • Include months and years for all dates.
  • Proofread the resume. Better yet, have 3-4 different people proofread it.
  • If you were promoted at a company, make sure you include it and the time you were in each role. It highlights career progression.
  • Account for time between jobs. (ie Sabbatical)
  • If relevant, include languages, licenses, certifications, military experience, technical skills (programming, software experience) and titles of publications you have written.

The Don'ts

  • Include a picture.
  • Include personal information such as age, marital status, or number of children.
  • List references or include the phrase “References available upon request." You will obviously supply them upon request.
  • Use I statements or refer to yourself in the third person. Use action words to start each phrase or sentence.
  • Use acronyms or abbreviations unique to your company
  • Use past tense to describe your current position unless it is about something that has already been implemented or achieved.
  • Waste too much space on explaining/listing job duties. Highlight the accomplishments.
  • Make it difficult to open your resume electronically. Save it in a word or pdf file. Zipping it will make it more likely to be deleted or not even received due to company firewalls.
  • Use odd sized paper, overly fancy font, color, or style. No one wants to edit a resume by changing the font or type color just to read it.

Your resume should include the following information:

Contact information. Include phone, mail and e-mail contact information. Your voicemail message should be professional. A message that is too casual can create a negative impression.

Summary statement. Your summary should be brief. First, include your title and years of experience. Second, list pertinent skills. Third, discuss your character traits or work style.

Professional experience. List each position held in reverse chronological order, dating back through your complete retail career. If you held multiple positions within the same company, list them all to show advancement and growth. The body of each position description should describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. Never leave gaps in your history or begin with your resume at mid-career. Companies want the full picture of your background and experience.

Other components. Include education, professional training, affiliations/appointments, licenses, technical skills and languages.

FOR INTERVIEWS

Interviewing Do's and Don'ts
The Do's:

  • Do research on the company and the interviewers if possible before the interviews.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early. Tardiness is never excusable. If you have to be late because of an emergency – CALL as soon as you can.  
  • Be professional. Smile, make eye contact, and maintain good posture.
  • Be polite to everyone including the receptionist and security.
  • Answer the interviewer's questions as specifically as possible. Relate your skills and background to the position requirements throughout the interview.
  • Ask questions and be an active participant in the interview. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.
  • Give your qualifications. Focus on accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job.
  • Anticipate tough questions. Prepare to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths.
  • Dress appropriately. Make your first impression a professional one.
  • Actively listen. Concentrate not only on the interviewer's words, but also on the tone of voice and body language.

The Don'ts:

  • Don't interrupt the interviewer. If you don't listen, the interviewer won't either.
  • Don't be disrespectful. Don't chew gum or place anything on the interviewer's desk.
  • Don't be overly familiar, even if the interviewer is.
  • Don't wear any perfume or cologne. The anxiety of an interview intensifies fragrances, especially in closed offices.
  • Don't ramble. Overlong answers may make you sound apologetic or indecisive.
  • Never lie or embellish your history. Answer questions truthfully.
  • Don't speak negatively about former employers or bosses.

Closing the Interview. By asking good questions you can reduce post-interview doubts. If you feel that the interview went well and you want to take the next step, express your interest to the interviewer by asking, "After learning more about your company, the position and responsibilities, I'm definitely interested in the opportunity. Do you have any concerns about my ability to achieve your goals for this position?"

This is an effective closing question because it opens the door for the hiring authority to be honest with you about his or her feelings. If concerns do exist, you may be able to create an opportunity to overcome them, and have one final chance to dispel the concerns, sell your strengths and end the interview on a positive note.

A few things to remember during the closing process:

  • Don't be discouraged if an offer is not made or a specific salary is not discussed. The interviewer may want to communicate with colleagues or conduct other scheduled interviews before making a decision.
  • Make sure that you have thoroughly answered these questions during the interview: "Why are you interested in our company?" and "What can you offer?" Express appreciation for the
  • interviewer's time and consideration.
  • Ask for the interviewer's business card so you can write a thank you letter as soon as possible.

Follow-up. After your interview, follow-up is critical. When you get in your car, immediately write down key issues uncovered in the interview. Think of the qualifications the employer is looking for and match your strengths to them. A "thank you" letter should be written no later than 24 hours after the interview.

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