Tips from headhunting experts on how to stand out from your competition.
A new year means new goals and new opportunities. Perhaps one of your new opportunities is a part-time or summer internship, or maybe you’re on the search for that elusive first job after graduation. Well, with the help of some of Georgia’s Own Credit Union’s exceptional human resources and head-hunting employees, i[x] has compiled some useful resume and interview tips to help you stand out from your competition.
By the very nature of job-seeking, there are always more candidates than openings, so potential employers will look for ways to rule you out. Avoiding careless mistakes can help you get past the first rounds of elimination and increase your chances of landing a position. This means ridding your social media of any unflattering pictures, tweets, or postings. In the context of resumes, this means proofreading to ensure there are no typos or grammatical errors.
If you’re sending your resumes out electronically, make sure that your email address is professionally presentable; “pinkponies1259” or “laxbro2015” might have been passable for your friends and family, but they don’t give a great impression to working adults. Bear in mind that for each opening, employers receive a tremendous surplus of resumes, so make your resume as readable as possible. This means listing skills relevant to the position at the top of the page, and highlighting your accomplishments with bold font and eye-catching formatting (bullet points, separate sections, indents, etc.). Keep cover letters concise and pertinent. You’re not going to win the job by writing something extravagant, you’re just trying to avoid elimination at this stage; there will be plenty of time to impress during the interview.
Before you land an interview in-person, you’ll likely have to undergo a telephone interview. Again, this is a technique implemented to help employers eliminate more than evaluate, so avoid making any glaring mistakes. If you’ve sent out resumes, you should be expecting phone calls from prospective employers, so don’t get caught off guard. Answer numbers you don’t recognize professionally in a room free of distracting background noise. “Yo!” or “’Sup?” is not the first word you want your interviewer to hear. Also, in case you can’t answer the phone at the time, ensure that your voicemail is passable for a working professional. Your Christopher Walken impression won’t impress someone looking for a reliable employee. Standing up during a phone interview will help you project better and give a more confident and impressive tone. Also, be sure to have your resume and all your notes on the company handy so you can access them easily and use the information to your advantage. Don’t be panicked by silence, remember your interviewer is likely taking notes or sorting through information on paper or the computer, so just be patient. Making a good impression during your phone interview can greatly help your chances of landing an invite to an in-person interview.
Nailing the in-person interview has as much (if not more) to do with what you’ve done before you arrive as it does with the interview itself. Make sure you’ve done your homework on the position and the company itself. Be aware of the company’s primary function, their biggest competitors, and what your position does to contribute to the company’s objectives. Memorize the layout and contents of your resume so if you’re asked any questions about it you can answer them without needing to break eye-contact or waste time scanning for the information. Make a trip to the interview location so you’re aware of things like traffic, parking, and construction that could potentially make you tardy on the day of the interview.
After completing your prep work, it’s time to impress. This means arriving slightly early, well dressed (always dress up a little nicer than the company’s dress code for the interview), and with your phone turned off. Receptionists are often asked their opinions of candidates’ demeanor, so be sure to use your best manners when you check in, and wait with patience in a professional posture. When you greet your interviewer, shake hands and establish eye-contact. In order to present yourself positively without sounding boastful, provide examples of accomplishments instead of mere adjectives like “smart” or “diligent.”
While most people have the ability to say something good about themselves, what can set you apart is your ability to effectively answer the inevitable question, “What is your greatest weakness?” No one is perfect, so do not feel shy about answering the question honestly, and don’t try to be too cute: “Sometimes I work too hard” is not a response that’s going to do you any favors. Instead, provide an example of how you are working on improving on that weakness, or how you have done something extra to compensate for a particular shortcoming.
Remember, you will be working for this company, so the ability to demonstrate servitude is important. At the same time, you will be dedicating a significant portion of your time to this position, so be sure to ask some questions that pertain to your curiosities about the company. Remain tactful, and avoid uncomfortable questions like salary or vacation. Instead, inquire about the culture of the workplace. Conveying an honest portrayal of your personality is just as important to an interviewer as the skills you have. Many aspects of your position are likely things you will be trained for after you are hired. Regardless of qualification, companies don’t want to hire a poor fit for their current work environment, nor do you want to commit to a position that will make you miserable. Being prepared, honest, and respectful will put you in the best position for consideration. Following up with brief and sincere thank-you letters adds a nice final touch. Keeping your resume up to date and staying in contact with your professional network is the best way to obtain the most quality employment opportunities. If you consistently give an exceptional impression through your paperwork and interviews, it’s only a matter of time before an opportunity pans out and becomes an offer.
CareerChallenge.com Job Seeking Statistics:
90% of Recruiting Firms do a Google search of prospective candidates. 45% of Hiring Managers screen social networking websites of applicants. Only 36% of interviewees regularly send Thank You notes, 75% of companies expect or at least appreciate such letters. Over 90% of employers seek their assistant’s opinion of interviewees, 70% of employers eliminate candidates based on what they find online about them, only 7% of surveyed applicants were concerned about their online reputation.
JA of Georgia and Georgia’s Own Credit Union are bringing you a great opportunity this summer to become a part of our team and earn some real-world experience.
We will be bringing on a team of interns to help us develop programs that educate, empower and encourage Georgia’s youth. These programs and initiatives are focused around teaching Generation Y to work hard, give back and learn to manage their finances.
The internship program begins in early June and will run for two months through the beginning of August. Applications are due by June 8, 2011. Click here to apply!
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Monitor the Credit Union’s virtual presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and web
• Develop creative campaigns, promotions and giveaways to build social media interaction, followers and fans
• Plan and execute a minimum of 2 i[x]ga events
• Hand out branded materials at events and talk to individuals to solicit feedback
• Capture video footage of individuals at events
• Help in the creation of the i[x]ga marketing plan for upcoming season
• Write press releases regarding i[x]ga events and issues
• Write and develop content for monthly i[x]ga e-newsletter
• Aid in the development of new i[x]ga products and service offerings, including branding and naming of the products
Must be a self-motivated High School Junior or Senior with strong writing, communication and organizational skills. Must also be creative and proficient in Microsoft programs. Well rounded knowledge of Adobe suite of programs is a bonus. Useful character traits include a dynamic and outgoing personality.