Have a question for our experts? This line is open until Friday, Sept 24th. NCAC will then answer a few questions and we’ll post their answers right here and on the forums.
Q: Dear Connie: I have been job searching for a while, but I have had very few interviews. I want my résumé to grab the attention of the recruiters so I have been thinking about ways to do that. I thought it might be a good idea to put my resume on some fun paper (like hot pink!) and draw some pictures in the margins. What do you think?
A: Dear Pink Lady: Have you ever heard the phrase “less is more?” This is a good rule of thumb to use when creating a résumé. You do want your résumé to get noticed, but you want it to be noticed for the right reasons. Recruiters will notice a hot pink résumé with flowers in the margin, but most recruiters do not want to interview the person who sent it. Most recruiters will consider this type of résumé to be unprofessional.
It would appear that your résumé needs to be fired. The job of the résumé is to get you an interview. You need to find out why your résumé is not working. Evaluate your résumé to see if the skills and qualifications listed are truly a match for the jobs for which you are applying. Evaluate the format of your résumé to see if you are using the best type of résumé for your skill set and work history. Have someone proofread your résumé to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. Also make sure you are highlighting your strengths.
The best way to attract attention from a recruiter is to have a résumé that is clear and concise and that shows them on paper why you are the best person for the job. Recruiters often receive a large volume of résumés so they do not have the time to review in depth each one. Design your résumé so that your strengths and qualifications jump off the page when someone is viewing it. This will do far more to attract attention than anything else.
For additional help, you can visit the Career Center and attend the “Helpful Hints for Résumé Writing” workshop. Have others read your resume and tell you what the resume says to them about your qualifications. A NCAC coach can critique your resume and give you feedback on ways to improve your chances of getting an interview as a result of having an outstanding resume.
Getting noticed is your goal but you want to be noticed for all of the right reasons.
Q: Dear Connie: I have been applying for jobs and several companies have said the first step will be a phone interview. I have not done an interview on the phone. Can you give me some tips?
A: For most companies, a phone interview is the first step. You may do several phone interviews with different groups at a company before you are invited to come in for a face-to-face interview.
The phone interview has become an excellent way for employers to screen out applicants who are not a good match for the position they are trying to fill. This allows them to “meet” the applicant without the time and expense of a face-to-face interview. Here are some tips that can help you use phone interviews to your advantage:
- Have a friend call you and roll-play a mock phone interview to gain confidence in presenting your skills over the phone.
- Make sure that the room you are in is quiet with no pets, children, or TV, music or cell phone interruptions.
- Have a copy of your resume, a pen, and paper for notes by the phone. The interviewer will probably have a copy of your resume, and this will help you focus on the areas the interviewer is asking questions about.
- Dress up before your interview to put yourself in a business frame of mind.
- Try standing as you talk. You will tend to do a better job of projecting your voice and sound more confident.
- Over enunciate your words. If the interviewer can not understand you, he may assume that potential customers will not be able to understand you either.
- Answer the question clearly and then be comfortable with silence. Your interviewer may be writing down your answer. You do not need to keep talking to prevent silence.
- Prepare a short summary of your skills and how you can benefit the company so you can end your conversation on a positive note.
- Have your calendar with you and be prepared to schedule a face-to-face interview if one is requested.
When you have finished your interview, thank your interviewer for his consideration.
Q: Dear Connie: I lost my job and am very depressed. How do I get to the stage that I can accept my job-loss?
A: Dear Depressed: Feeling depressed after losing your job is normal. We go through different stages of grief after job loss because we have lost a part of our identity, our income and the place we go each day to contribute and succeed in the workplace. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Once you have identified the stage(s) of grief that you are in, you can begin to work on some techniques to help you cope with your feelings. One way to cope with stress is to talk to people about your feelings.
Draw strength from the relationships in your life and give others a chance to be supportive. Another helpful tool is to find a support group. It is helpful to talk to people who are job searching and facing the same challenges. You may also hear some helpful hints by listening to others share their experiences. The Career Centers have weekly Career Connection meetings for this purpose.
You need to resolve guilt resulting from being unemployed. Feeling like we have let our family down can cause feelings of guilt. Often, job loss is a result of a business decision that is based on the profitability of the company, not on your performance. Even if you are unemployed because you did not perform well, learn from your experience and forgive yourself knowing you can do better the next time.
Now is the time to exercise and eat properly. More than ever you need to keep yourself healthy. Exercise is a great stress reliever and is a positive way to release energy that may be a result of feelings of anger.
Be sure you keep your sense of humor. Look for things to laugh at during your day. This will help you to keep your spirits up. We always feel better after a good laugh.
Finally, develop a job search plan and start taking steps to find that next job. Once you begin working toward your future you may realize you have accepted the past and are ready to move on with your life.
All answers courtesy of Connie Humphreys, the Career Development Manager with Nashville Career Advancement Center (NCAC) serving Davidson County.