Education for Employment Q&A with Expert Judy Parks

Judy Parks, Staffmark Staffing Services since 1997. Managed both Gallatin and Lebanon Branches most of her career helping both employees and companies by matching the right person to the job through coaching and skills assessment. Currently she is an Account Executive in the Nashville and Brentwood markets, finding companies who are looking for great employees. Originally from Massachusetts, Parks moved to Tennessee in 1991 and currently lives in Mt Juliet.

Q: What are important factor when building a resume?

 

A: The most important piece of information on your resume is the contact information. Be sure that you can be contacted at any time either via cell, home or email. Do not list your relatives, or significant others phone number. List only direct lines where you answer the phone or respond back personally.

Potential employers pay attention to the company name of past employers, so if you worked for a subsidiary of a larger corporation; you should list both company names. Be specific and informative when describing your job duties. Sometimes bullet points work well. If you can state specific and measurable achievements, you should do so. Please be sure to explain any gaps that may exist in employment.

A skills list is very useful that includes proficiency in software programs, technical skills or any specialized training. Certifications should be listed along with education, and any awards or honors at the end of your resume. References should not be included. You will be asked at a later time to provide them.

Do not include highly personal information such as special interests or hobbies. It is
not relevant to your job search.

The exception to using a general resume is if a potential employer has a specific position that we are considering you for. You may want to provide a Specialized resume. This will increase your chances of being considered for employment.

Specialized resumes highlight certain types of job experience and skills. An example of this is an Accounting resume. This type of resume would highlight only the past jobs that you had showing your accounting experience. Each position held would have a more detailed explanation of job duties and industry specific software like (Peachtree) and any (CPA) relevant certifications.

Q: How do I prepare myself for an interview?

 

A: The job interview can be a stressful and intimidating process. The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself so be prepared. Interviewing is a skill and can be learned. Through practice your confidence will grow. The interview creates impressions – consider your dress, communicate your strengths, show your personality. Remember your purpose, to let an employer learn about you and for you to learn about the employer. You need to be sure that this is the place for you. Know who you are interviewing with. It sends a positive impression when you are knowledgeable of an employer’s products, locations, history, services, etc.

The interview: Be on time (15 minutes early), dress appropriately, be positive, smile, maintain eye contact, speak with confidence (practice helps), maintain your posture, answer the questions and be yourself.

During the interview: Emphasize your strengths and abilities (not where you are weak) to demonstrate how you can benefit your employer. Never criticize a previous employer, teacher, etc.; it sends the wrong message. Do not discuss your personal issues and always say thank you to the interviewer.

Regarding the salary question know your worth. There are several ways of finding out what people in certain career fields and with certain skills and education levels earn. Be realistic. Often people hurt themselves on the salary question as asking for too little money can hurt your chances as much as asking for too much.

After the interview: Make sure the employer knows how to get in touch with you. Follow up with a thank-you note to the interviewer and stay positive. Understand that if you do not get the job that it’s okay and learn from the experience. Rejection is a very real part of a job search and in many ways teaches persistence

Q: What should I wear to an interview?

 

A: This information focuses on two critical aspects of the job interview which are your appearance and the message your body language is sending.

Dress: Remember that when you market your job skills it all starts with the first impression. How you look is imperative as an interviewer’s assessment of you has already begun when you walk in.

Some key principles include: Your attire should be appropriate to the industry. This means dress professionally for your interview. Even if a company has a casual dress code, wear a suit to the interview. Chances are your competition is. Your attire should be conservative – both navy and black work well on men or women, with a simple white or off-white colored shirt or blouse. Jewelry, ties or other accessories should be limited and tasteful. Your dress sends a message about yourself, your attitude and it’s those small details that help gain an impression. Use your dress to your advantage by making the right first impression.

Non-Verbal Communication: The clothes you wear create an impression which is an important part of non-verbal communication, but so is body language. Here are some key principles as they relate to non-verbal communication. Maintain eye contact. If you must look away do not look down as this is sometimes perceived as being submissive. If you are asked to sit down, sit with your body leaning forward. Leaning back shows a relaxed attitude while leaning to either side looks awkward or evasive. If you shake hands at the beginning or end of the interview, do so firmly while maintaining eye contact.

Q: Where do I begin when looking for a job?

 

A: Consider a staffing agency like Staffmark, Staffing agencies work with many companies and can help you get your foot in the door.

Personal Networking – Call and email everyone you know with your resume and a general description of what you are looking for. Carry your resume with you on a flash drive and have hard copies at all times. Don’t sound like a hard luck case but be assertive and confident when informing people that you are in a job search.

Churches and Community Organizations often have job placement meetings or personal counseling available. Many have community job boards. Some may even have paid internships to offer.

Schools and Universities often have job boards. In addition, you can research any job trends and education or training opportunities.

Internet Job Boards are great but due to the shear volume of resumes submitted, the chances of getting a job lead are slim. They are generally useful to observe which companies and what types of industries are hiring and then approaching the companies directly.

Have a question for our expert? This line is open until Friday, July 29th. Our expert will then answer the top questions and we’ll post their answers right here and on our Facebook page.

There are no comments yet.

Leave a Reply