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 2017. 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
When you apply for a job, your first impression to a recruiter comes in the form of a resume. Ultimately, a resume should showcase your key accomplishments and the duties of your experiences. Make sure they relate to the job that you are applying for. Resumes should be 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. There should be no more than a maximum of five to six bullet points per section.
The overall look of your resume should be clean and easy to read at a glance. 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 these titles to visually separate different sections.
You can definitely get creative with different borders, layouts, and border colors depending on your industry. But remember, keep it simple and organized. I would suggest adding color to the borders only and to stick with just one color. Using up to two different shades of the same color can also be an option. Make sure to keep the colors a neutral, darker shade that is easily readable and appealing to most people.
For more on resume designs, check out Professional Resume Style - Headers, Fonts, & Themes.
2. What’s Your Number?
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. This phone screen should almost be thought of as the talk with your date’s parents before the date. If you do not get past his/her parents, then 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 one? Your goal is to 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 the past. 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!
For more interview essentials learn How To Answer The 16 Most Common Interview Questions.
3. Culture Fit
Be sure to ask the Recruiter what is the best attire to wear before meeting the team and the Manager. 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 still 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.
Obviously, prepare for what was told to you such as a coding test, whiteboarding test, and so on. Having prepared for the technical portion, be sure to knock it out of the park in terms of connecting with the Manager and the team.
Be professional and cordial but also conversational! If you can show them your interest with thoughtful questions about them, the company, or even if you can have a normal conversation on the way from the elevator to the meeting room, it will make you more memorable and seem like someone who is a pleasure to potentially work with.
When you talk about your background, be sure to emphasize how your experiences will allow you to make a positive impact on the position you are interviewing for. Lastly, send a thank you email to everyone that you interviewed with. Acknowledge parts of conversations, stumbles in your interview even, and 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, so I hope that some of these tips will give you that extra confidence and edge. Some of these tips may seem obvious now, but in the moment it can be easy to forget about these simple details that separate the candidate that gets the job from the candidate that does not. I wish you all the best of luck!