Kristin Harty Barkley
Every job worth having has an application process and most applications start with a resume. Sheri Dean Sensabaugh, president of ACT Personnel Services, suggests these tips for resume writing:
• Unless you have 10 years of experience, your resume should be no longer than one page. Use a simple layout.
• Stand out from the crowd. Instead of just listing your job skills, describe the benefits and results of your performance.
• Sell yourself. You only have one shot to make a great impression. Your resume is a word picture of yourself. Showcase your strengths and one or two outstanding skills or abilities. List your education, training and any relevant awards.
• Never list the reasons for termination or leaving a job. The reader can find negative connotations for even the best reason. You’re far better off explaining employment lapses in person.
• Proofread, and have others proofread them, too. Make your resume understandable by avoiding jargon. Use plain English.
Once your carefully prepared cover letter and resume pay off, you will land an interview. Sheri Sensabaugh of ACT Personnel Service says now it’s time to get ready to make that good impression.
• Confirm the interview appointment. Do this one day before your interview. Know the date, time and location of the interview. Try to find out how long you’ll be there.
• Clear your calendar. If possible, keep your schedule free of any other commitments. The interview might run over or you could be asked to stay longer. Explaining that you have to be somewhere else could create an awkward situation.
• Say the interviewer’s name correctly. If you know the names of interviewers in advance, confirm the pronunciation and spelling.
• Be on time. Don’t arrive more than 10 minutes early and, most important, don’t be late. Arriving late not only labels you as rude, it also makes you seem unreliable.
• Dress to impress. How embarrassing to come to an interview and discover you’re underdressed. If possible, find out in advance what attire works. If you’re still not sure, wear a suit.
• Let them know you’ve arrived. Walk up to the receptionist, smile, shake hands, introduce yourself and state that you have an appointment. Offer your resume or business card, sit and wait.
• Shut off the cell phone.
• Use your mouth for talking only. Unless the interview is scheduled with a meal, nothing should be in your mouth but words. Drinking, eating, smoking and chewing gum don’t work during an interview.
• Be nice. Everyone you meet during your interview — from the receptionist to the interviewer — should be treated with respect and courtesy. The receptionist might not be conducting the interview, but his opinion of you might be solicited.
• Follow up. Send a thank-you letter within a day of the interview. Provide any documents that might have been requested, such as references, an employment application or samples of your work. A few days later, call to express your continued interest and to see if you could offer more information.