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Resume and Interviewing Tips

Resume

Your resume is your personal advertisement. Make it work for you. Emphasize your strengths. Given the opportunity, you should tailor your resume to the particular organization or position you are applying for. Highlight experience that is most relevant to the specific position you are interested in. Focus on your successes. For example:

  • Point out what sets you apart from other candidates (education, experience, community or military service).
  • Be sure to include the names of the clients and brands on which you have worked.
  • Focus on specific achievements in your previous jobs rather than merely listing generic job descriptions.

An achievement-oriented resume is far more interesting to read and is a better reflection of your abilities.

If you've had a perfect job history, you won't need to be creative. However, if you've had a lot of jobs or gaps in your employment, you need to explain the discrepancies. For example, you might put in parenthesis before the chronology section: "This chronology has a logical explanation-my first three jobs were with companies that were bought out by larger companies." Or in advertising, "Through no fault of mine, two of my jobs were on accounts that the agency lost almost immediately after my arrival." Be straightforward with dates of employment and responsibilities.

If you are a woman returning to the work force after family leave, you might want to list your volunteer work and the fact that you are skilled at multitasking. For example, "What appears to be a gap in my work history was time taken to raise my two young sons. During that period, I managed several interesting projects," etc. Finally, review your resume carefully for typos and grammatical errors. Have someone you trust proofread it again before you send it. Your resume should tell your unique story and tell it in a powerful and accurate way. If there are errors, mistakes, ambiguities, or large gaps in the information provided, the resume will be discarded.


Interviewing

Familiarize yourself with the corporate culture before interviewing so that you can tailor your attire and approach to the look of the company. Companies tend to have a style of their own. Being conscious of that style will help you present a good first impression. Be prepared to ask intelligent questions and offer opinions on their current business.

Before the interview begins, observe your surroundings. It will help you to relax and it may also tell you something about the person with whom you are interviewing.

If the interview is being conducted in a neutral space, like a vacant office or a conference room, chances are that there will be little to comment on. However, if it's in a more personal space, items like magazines and family pictures will give you an opening to have general conversation with the interviewer - commenting on his/her apparent interests or adorable children.

When an interviewer asks, "Tell me about yourself," you need to define the parameters. Outline for the interviewer what you are going to say with the focus always on why this particular job interests you.

For example, "I'd like to briefly tell you about my upbringing, how I became interested in marketing, and why I think my unique qualifications suit this particular company."

Keep it brief but insightful. This is your opportunity to advertise yourself. Conclude by asking if the interviewer would like you to expand on any particular area.

Sometimes you might find that you have answered a question that wasn't asked. Maybe you misunderstood the question or you were just nervous. If this happens to you, stop, regroup, and tell the interviewer that you realize you didn't answer the question that was asked. If possible, restate the interviewer's question or request that it be repeated and then respond. In most cases, the interviewer will appreciate your candor.

The best way to answer a question is not unlike writing a theme in college: 1. State your purpose. 2. Prove your statement, using a personal example, success, or accomplishment. 3. Reaffirm your purpose, or restate the original problem and its solution.

If an interviewer asks you a question that you cannot answer, don't fight it. Tell the interviewer you would like to do some research and follow up as soon as possible. Ask how you can best contact him/her in the future with an answer. This shows the interviewer that you will use good sense when dealing with a client. It will also give you a chance to present yourself to the interviewer once again.

Closing an interview: Never be afraid to ask the interviewer how you stack up against the other candidates. Ask when you can expect to hear back from him/her and what the decision-making involves. Reiterate how interested you are in the position and company. Ask if he/she needs more proof of your qualifications, be willing to provide what is asked of you, and follow up promptly. Always send a letter of thanks.

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