Archive for November, 2015

Your Resume Shouldn’t Play Games

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Why unconventional resumes drive hiring managers and recruiters nuts.

Recruiters are no strangers to goofy resumes, some more off the wall than others (scented parchment, anyone?). Unconventional resumes are frequently featured in news reports and in social media as being innovative and clever and successfully landing professionals great new jobs. However, most hiring managers and recruiters find them unacceptable and 99 times out of 100 will request a standard Word version resume instead. It’s far better to go the traditional route than to be outlandish to get attention.

But before you dismiss these warnings as irrelevant to your own, tamer resume, read on. Resume tricks employers reject can be as subtle as tinkering with your text size. Recruiters, resume pros, and hiring managers pretty much loathe them all.

They don’t want to work to figure you out

As a hiring manager, unconventional resumes don’t work for several reasons and it’s not always aesthetics. Often, these resumes have poor usability: they simply make the hiring manager work too hard, either by forcing them to click through websites, piece together information that is collected in unusual formats, or focusing too much on style over substance.

By making employers search to find what they need, you are far more likely to see your resume rejected.

An unconventional approach also breaks the hiring manager’s process. Instead of the typical PDF or Word document, a hiring manager has to put some energy into reviewing an unconventional resume to uncover what they need and many people will just dismiss it out of hand as too time consuming.

The old hide-the-work-gap trick

The most common trick is when job seekers try to cover up work-history gaps by omitting years of employment or by submitting a functional resume that leaves out a chronological job list.

It never works because someone always asks about the timeline; it’s often the first question to come up. And not seeing a chronological format upfront makes a hiring manager suspicious from the start.

Tricks don’t make up for lack of experience

One hiring manager recalled looking for a lower-level software/firmware programmer. One resume that stood out was printed on thick, beige, textured parchment with brown ink, three pages long and sent in a 9-by-12-inch envelope instead of being folded. HR staff noticed that one stack of resumes had a particular odor. The parchment was the culprit. “I’m not sure what cologne or perfume was used, but it did get our attention — though not in a positive way,” the hiring manager said.

Still, smelly-resume guy seemed to have the requisite experience and keywords, so the candidate was brought in for an interview. During the interview, they realized he must have used a resume service but not studied his own document, since the candidate had almost no working knowledge of any of the buzzwords on his resume and likely someone else had composed most of it for him. He perhaps knew that his meager qualifications would not warrant any further attention without some sort of trick.

Hiring managers are on to the big-fonts trick

Some job seekers who don’t have much to say try to mask it with fonts. They use a 14- or 16-point font, a trick that only highlights the lack of content on the page and the inability of the candidate to market himself or herself.

If you really, really have to be unconventional

Hiring managers want something clear, concise, and compelling. But if you insist on ditching the conventional, bear this in mind: You’d better make it spectacular.

“It’s got to be great,” one hiring manager is quoted as saying. “It’s got to be easy to process. You’ve increased the hurdle for yourself by going outside the norm. It better hit your target.”

10 Tips to Boost Your Interview Skills

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Even the smartest and most qualified job seekers need to prepare for job interviews. Why, you ask? Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. So study these 10 strategies to enhance your interview skills.

Practice Good Nonverbal Communication

It’s about demonstrating confidence: standing straight, making eye contact and connecting with a firm handshake. That first nonverbal impression can be a great beginning — or quick ending — to your interview.

Dress for the Job or Company

Today’s casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as “they” do when you interview. It is important to know what to wear to an interview and to be well-groomed. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. If possible, call to find out about the company dress code before the interview.


From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information, either directly or indirectly. If you are not hearing it, you are missing a major opportunity. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. Observe your interviewer, and match that style and pace.

Don’t Talk Too Much

Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time, you may ramble when answering interview questions, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position’s requirements and relating only that information.

Don’t Be Too Familiar

The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. This is not about making a new friend. Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer’s demeanor. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions, but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.

Use Appropriate Language

It’s a given that you should use professional language during the interview. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation — these topics could send you out the door very quickly.

Don’t Be Cocky

Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. There is a fine balance between confidence, professionalism and modesty. Even if you’re putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved.

Take Care to Answer the Questions

When interviewers ask for an example of a time when you did something, they are asking behavioral interview questions, which are designed to elicit a sample of your past behavior. If you fail to relate a specific example, you not only don’t answer the question, but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills.

Ask Questions

When asked if they have any questions, most candidates answer, “No.” Wrong answer. Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions that demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what you’re asked during the interview and asking for additional information.

Don’t Appear Desperate

When you interview with the “please, please hire me” approach, you appear desperate and less confident. Reflect the three Cs during the interview: cool, calm and confidence. You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can, too.

Original from Monster.