Clearly, there is no end to amount of advice offered on resume writing. However, every day I read resumes that have glaring mistakes. Not simply grammar or spelling. There are resume pitfalls that can cause doubt to arise about you. It may seem unfair. At the same time, can you really expect a perfect stranger to know how well you fit the job if you’re conveying a different message?
Although there are many who can provide advice on resumes, including professional resume writers, I thought it would be helpful to share a few of the common errors I see. Check out my latest article at Job-hunt.org to learn more. Feel free to add your own advice by commenting on this article within my blog.
One of the most popular requirements listed for an open job posting is “good communicator.” Most people immediately think something along the lines of “Yes, I am good at communicating my message clearly to individuals and large groups.”
But this is only half of being a good communicator. Hiring managers want to know you are also a good listener. And an interview is a great chance to demonstrate your skills in this area.
Check out my first article for a blog site dedicated to coaching you through your career path: Work Coach Cafe. If you have additional tips on listening skills, please share your comments on either blog.
In this article written for Job-Hunt.org, I cover five popular misconceptions about working with agency recruiters. The article also references several links that may be helpful in understanding how this process works and what to expect. These misconceptions include:
- Recruiters will find me a job.
- All recruiters are the same.
- Recruiters are career counselors.
- Apply for all the jobs the recruiter has listed.
- All I need is a simple LinkedIn profile and the recruiters will be banging on my door.
If you’ve never worked with a recruiter before, this article is a “must read.”
Article: Working with Agency Recruiters
I have stated many times that external recruiters can be helpful to you even though you do not pay them. I know this may seem counterintuitive, but the reality is, they cannot do their job without you. Even so, many job seekers keep them in the dark about their job situation or requirements. It is important to realize, it is hard for a recruiter to do their job well (on your behalf) when they are unsure of your specifics. Take a look at my latest article for job-hunt.org for more details on this tedious balancing act.
When an employer asks you what your salary expectations are during the early stages of the interviewing process, you are trained to say you are open-minded on salary and are more concerned about the overall opportunity. Many say, “I look at the entire package and opportunity before I make decisions about salary.” And from there, the conversation may go in a few directions, hopefully leading to an ideal result.
When working with an external recruiter, the process is slightly different. Read this article I wrote for Job-Hunt.org to learn more about how to manage this aspect of the interviewing process when a recruiter is involved.
Article: The Starting Salary Question
New grads are accustomed to interacting with on-campus recruiters representing hiring companies. But not nearly as many external recruiters help place new grads within their clients’ organizations. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward, but does this mean New Grads should not include external recruiters in their job search? Read the article I wrote for Job-Hunt.org for insights:
Article: Recruiters and New Grads
Being stressed about job interviews (and let’s face it, in this age of joblessness, who wouldn’t get a little worked-up over an upcoming interview?) comes with its fair share of psychological afflictions. If you’ve been making the rounds at various interviews long enough, you may even start to have interview-related dreams or even nightmares. And that’s pretty rough. Of course, it’s nothing compared to the sheer terror of seeing those nightmares become realities.
Here’s one that’s actually been happening more and more often, at least if the correspondence of various HR representatives is to be believed.
You sit down for a job interview, perhaps your last one after a grueling cycle. This is the job you are most eager to land, the position that excites you the most. And you feel like the interview has been going smoothly. Then, all of a sudden, a taboo topic emerges. For whatever reason, the interviewer steers the question toward politics. And you panic. Ducking out to the restroom would look bad, and feigning choking isn’t going to fool anyone. So what do you do?
Well, for starters, you should know that the interviewer really shouldn’t be asking this question. In fact, it’s wrong for any employer to discriminate based on political or religious beliefs. So if they ask you any direct and possibly contentious question about your deep-seated values, it could well be an illegal question, and you’re well within your rights to politely decline answering it. You should also know that, unless you are applying for a position as a political science professor, your political opinions are probably not relevant to the job, and the employer probably doesn’t really care what you think; rather, the interviewer is probably asking the question to gauge how you respond.
In other words: It’s about you and your character, not about the politics themselves. So if you do answer the question, think about what your answer is saying about you as a potential employee. Think first about the way in which you answer. Does it indicate a willingness to be honest but also eloquent and tactful? Does it show that you are able to be respectful to a superior without completely cowering to them? Does it demonstrate free thought, but not insubordination? And perhaps most importantly: Does it indicate that you are able to remain calm under pressure? This actually might be what the interviewer is really looking for–not the answer itself, but your ability to offer it without breaking into a sweat or developing a sudden stutter.
As for the answer itself, simply consider what it might reveal about your own, personal values and how those values square with those of the company itself. Certain political stances might come across as being contemptuous of corporate America or of big business. If you’re applying for a job at a big corporation, this is probably ill-advised. Likewise, taking a position that seems radical in a work environment that tends to emphasize a strong, unified corporate mindset is also a bad idea.
For example, earlier this year there was a big skirmish about unions, and the issue was hot enough that many HR representatives reported the topic arising in different job interview scenarios. This is a great example of a question that’s probably best to simply not answer. It’s controversial, and it’s directly related to a business’ bottom line. The best response is going to be a tactful and eloquent one that doesn’t actually indicate what you truly believe: “I think unions can be a complicated matter,” or, “Unions are a mixed blessing.” You’ll probably want to think up a similar response for questions related to, say, business tax cuts or outsourcing.
More than anything else, it’s simply important to remain poised, even if the question feels like a bit of a sucker punch. Again, politicians are not the ones who are auditioning here–you are. So your top priority should be to make yourself look good. Respond to the question in a way that makes it clear you are thoughtful, respectful, and discerning. And perhaps that you are ultimately less interested in politics than you are in performing your job to the very best of your abilities.
Terry Crenshaw is a writer for www.peterorszagsite.net who has focused her attention on what political professionals and their advisors, such as Peter Orszag, have to say about current economic policy. Through her work, Terry hopes to develop the public’s understanding of how politics can influence the economy.
I’ve talked about asking the right questions in interviews before. It’s an important topic. Especially when you consider it’s towards the end of the interview–part of the lasting impression you’ll make after you’ve worked out of the office.
If you have a recruiter involved (or even an HR representative at the company), asking the wrong questions of the hiring manager could be squandering a great opportunity to shine. Read more about this in my latest article for Job-Hunt.org.