Looking for a job is the easiest part of the process. Our classifieds offer several pages devoted to listing vacant job positions. Being well-prepared, though, is a little more demanding. There will probably be a lot of competition for the job, and you will need to find ways to be better-prepared than most.
Having a very good resume will immediately increase your chances of getting the job. Make sure you use good quality paper, a good font style and size, and write a very cordial and interesting cover letter. These documents are your introduction to the employer and will be their first impression of you. Therefore, you have to make sure you seem an organized and methodical person.
Tailor every resume to the job you are applying for, a generic one will not do. Use a standard format and include all the relevant details of your education, training and past employment. Remember, you want to sound like the right person for the job, so show the employer why they should choose you.
Not all resume formats are the same! Here are some of the formats and who should use them:
- Chronological – These are the most commonly used resumes. They list work history preferred by most employers with the most recent positions on the top. These are best when you have a solid work history with no lapses and your experience fits the job you are applying for exactly.
- Functional – These resumes focus on your skills and experience first. Employment history is listed under the details of your skills. This format is effective for those who have lapses in their employment, are in the middle of a career change, are recently graduated college students with limited work experience, or have a very diverse background with no single career path.
- Combination – These resumes combine both skills and experience while still providing a chronological listing of work history. This allows you to more easily tailor the resume to the prospective job. This is great for those who want to detail their work experience.
- Targeted – These are customized in detail to the job being sought. Everything from objective through the qualifications directly mirrors the job requirements. These are the most time-consuming to create but can generate the best results as the resume is made to closely match the job listing. With these resumes, you should avoid embellishing career highlights just to match the job. Make sure you accurately list your skills.
Be well prepared for the interview mentally and physically. After your resume, this is your final chance to make a good impression. Dress appropriately for the job, make sure you have neat hair and nails, and turn up a little before the appointed time. A clean smell and muted accessories are much better than loud clothes and accessories and an overpowering perfume.
Mentally, be relaxed and well-prepared. Rehearse the interview a few times in your head. Breathe in a relaxed way and remember to smile and seem quietly confident. Do not be loud and opinionated, or talk at length about yourself without letting the interviewer fit in a word. Remember: Confidence is key.
Do some research about the company before the interview date. Look at their website or read their internal newsletter/publication. You need to know the main facts about the company such as how long it has existed, who the key people are, if they are present in other countries, policies and other relevant information. They may ask you at the interview how you see yourself as fitting into the company. By showing that you know a little about the company, and giving specific and relevant answers, you will be ahead of the game.
Many employers also expect you to have some questions about the company and the job. Knowing important information about the company will enable you to make intelligent and relevant questions.
Finally, remember that there is an element of luck to every job application, too. And by luck, we mean preparedness. Do not be too downhearted if you did not get the position. Just be more prepared. A company may receive tens or hundreds of applications from suitably qualified people, but they have to make a choice, no matter how difficult that may be.