With the New Year in full swing, many of us reflect on the past year and have a new and refreshed ambition to take on new challenges in the upcoming year.
Whether your goal is to eat healthier, save money, spend more time with family … whatever your new goals are, they cannot be achieved without a plan.
Today, I am happy to reveal some steps you can take to put you one step closer to landing that highly coveted job.
As an agency recruiter at a top IT staffing agency, I hope to be able to share some knowledge and insight into how you can sharpen your job hunt and interview skills!
Read on for a list of some of my quick tips.
1. First impressions - your resume
When you apply for a job, the first impression you make to a recruiter comes in the form of a resume.
Your resume should showcase your key accomplishments and experiences.
Make sure they relate to the job that you are applying for.
Keep your resume succinct.
Long essays should not have a place in your resume.
If we want to know more, we want to hear about it in the interview.
Add more than a maximum of five to six bullet points per section.
Your resume should look clean and easy to read.
Recruiters often spend less than a minute per resume since they have many other resumes to screen.
- Keep a space between each resume section.
- Try bolding or capitalizing titles to visually separate different sections.
- Get creative with borders, layouts, and border colors (depending on your industry).
- Add color to the borders only.
- Stick with just one color (or up to two different shades of the same color).
- Keep the colors a neutral shade that is easily readable and appealing.
Remember, keep it simple and organized.
(Check out Professional Resume Style - Headers, Fonts, & Themes for more on resume designs.)
2. Get past the recruiter's prescreen
Now, the recruiter wants to hear more about you after seeing your resume.
It is often surprising to me how casual some people take initial phone screens.
- Think of this phone screen like the talk with your date’s parents before the date.
- If you do not get past the screen, you do not get a "date" with the hiring manager!
This means that your conduct over the phone, the way you answer the questions, and how you sell yourself will determine whether or not you can interview with the manager.
Essentially, how you interview with a manager should be the same way you interview with a recruiter.
When a recruiter asks you to introduce yourself and elaborate on your experience, they're looking for a few key things:
- What is your motivation for this position?
- Are you passionate?
- What did you last do or learn from your experiences that can be translatable to this position?
Your goal here?
Paint us a story of who you are and what impact you can have on this position.
Note, do not rush when you are speaking.
You probably have said the same thing over and over again in past interviews.
But to the recruiter, this is his/her first time hearing it all.
Also, if we ask you if you know a certain technology or have done a certain type of project, elaborate on specific examples in detail (without going on a tangent).
This is your chance to tell us what we do not know from your resume!
(Read How To Answer The 16 Most Common Interview Questions for more interview essentials.)
3. Culture fit and preparation
Be sure to ask the recruiter what attire to wear for meeting the manager and team.
Culture fit is huge nowadays, so you definitely do not want to look as if you do not blend in before you even get the job.
If the attire is casual at the company, opt for business casual to show that you are serious about the interview but still aware of the company’s culture.
(For more on dress attire, check out Preparing For A Job Interview – What To Bring, What To Wear, & More.)
Be professional and cordial but also conversational!
Obviously, you'll want to prepare for what was told to you (such as a coding test, whiteboarding test, and so on).
Having prepared for the technical portion, focus on knocking it out of the park in terms of connecting with the manager and the team.
Try to show them your interest by asking thoughtful questions about them or about company practices and culture.
If you can have a "normal" conversation on the way from the elevator to the meeting room, it will make you more memorable.
You'll come across as someone who is a pleasure to potentially work with.
When you talk about your background, emphasize how your experiences will allow you to make a positive impact on the position.
Send a thank-you email to everyone you interviewed with.
- Mention specific parts of conversations.
- Don't be afraid to acknowledge stumbles in your interview.
- Most importantly, thank them for their time.
This is your last chance to make a final good impression.
When it is all said and done, what matters most is that you prepare and give it your best shot.
The job market is tough and the competition keeps getting tougher.
As such, I hope some of these tips will give you that extra confidence and edge.
Some of these tips may seem obvious now, but at the moment it can be easy to forget about these simple details.
Keep in mind that these simple details can separate the candidate who gets the job from the candidate who does not.
I wish you all the best of luck!
(Final note from the team at Find My Profession, if you need some extra help in your job search, contact us and find out how we can help you land your dream job with our legendary career finder service.)