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Career Advice – Cvwritingindia
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How to Blow the Interview Before You Say a Word

Interviewing is a multi-sensory experience. And if you inadvertently assault any one of the interviewer's five senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell – you could blow the interview before it ever starts.

1. Sight

Do not let your interviewer see:

  • You looking at your watch,

  • You looking at your Blackberry,

  • Your numerous unconventional piercings,

  • Your extensive body art gallery,

  • Your cleavage,

  • Your bare arms (guys, please no short-sleeve shirts with a tie)

  • Your excessive bling, or

  • The label on the sleeve of your new suit.

That label? Cut it off, along with the threads on the pockets and the back flap.

Step-by-Step Job Interview Preparation

You’ve landed a job interview. Now you need to make sure you’re ready for it. Follow our handy checklist to help you take the right steps before, during, and after a job interview to maximize your chance of landing the job.

When You Get 'The Call'
Things to remember when an employer phones to schedule a job interview:

  • Be positive and enthusiastic about the opportunity to interview.

  • If you’re caught off guard, be honest (for example, “Forgive me, but I’ve sent out several resumes this month. Could you refresh my memory about the position you’re referring to?”).

  • Write down the date and time of the interview you have scheduled.

  • Write down the Name, Title, and Department of the person you’ll be meeting.

  • Ask about parking lots or public transportation and where to enter the building – then write it down.

  • Ask if there is anything specific the interviewer would like you to prepare or bring to the meeting.

  • In closing, be sure to thank the caller and confirm the interview date and time (for example, “Thanks again, Ms. Lee, I look forward to meeting you on Monday the 16th at 9:00.”).

How to Explain Work History Gaps in the Interview

Not many people follow a seamless, unbroken career path. Many job seekers end up with an employment gap to explain at a job interview. And there's a simple, three-step method to explain this to your potential employer: acknowledge, reassure, and redirect.

Here's how it works:


1. ACKNOWLEDGE

Describe the situation very briefly and factually, and acknowledge that it is a valid concern. Keep your emotions out of it. Don't be detailed, defensive, or apologetic. Just stick to the facts.

Example:
Between 1999 and 2003, I was _____.  I can understand that the situation might concern you, Mr. Smith.

Top Ten Interview Blunders

People often spend countless hours working on their cover letter and resume to secure a coveted interview, but then make mistakes during the interview that can't be undone. This new guide focuses on preparing interviewees so they can shine during a job interview and avoid common blunders.

The Top Ten Interview Blunders are -

  1. Don't forget to carry your resume and work experience / qualification documents

  2. Don't come unprepared. Be ready to speak about yourself and your qualifications without rambling. Use appropriate terms and examples that match your abilities to the specific job for which you are interviewing.

  3. Don't be late. Map out how to get there or call in early.

  4. In a phone interview, try not to use a cell phone. If possible, use a landline phone instead. Cell phone connections can hiss, crackle, cut out, and may disconnect the interviewer. If a hiring manager gets dead air, they may become frustrated or not call back.

How to Answer the Salary Question

We all want to be honest and forthcoming in an interview. So when the question “What are you making now?” or “What kind of salary are you looking for?” comes up, it’s tempting to just cite a number or a range and move forward – but try to resist the urge. If you reveal your salary expectations too early in the process, you lose two big opportunities:

1. The opportunity to make them love you before they know your price.
2. The opportunity to demonstrate your ability to handle an uncomfortable situation confidently and respectfully, without caving (a prized skill in most jobs).

To Answer or Not to Answer?

If you’ve done your homework, you should have a fairly good idea of the typical salary range for someone with your level of experience in the kind of position you’re seeking within your market.

If you feel it’s in your best interests to avoid the question, your reply should respectfully and professionally communicate three general principles:

  • Your interest in the opportunity;

  • Your expectation to be paid in line with market conditions and your experience level; and

  • Your willingness to discuss salary history once you and the company decide you’re the right person for the position.

You Did THAT on Your Resume? Really!?

If these five resume errors were rare, there'd be no need to discuss them. Unfortunately, they're not only common, they're also forehead-slappingly obvious, once you think about it. So, in the sarcastic spirit we give you five really common Did you REALLY do that on your resume? resume mistakes that you really don't want to make.

1. You listed your email address as howruhoney @ howruhoney.com. Really!?!
Great job, Honey! Personal branding is important, and every company needs a real "Honey" on staff!

2. YOU WROTE YOUR RESUME IN ALL CAPS. REALLY!?!
NICE MULTITASKING! YOU ASSERTED YOUR AUTHORITY BY SHOUTING AT THE HIRING MANAGER WHILE DEMONSTRATING YOUR POOR TYPING SKILLS AT  THE SAME TIME.

3. You skipped the Professional Summary. Really!?!
Smart move! Make the hiring manager search for the stuff that's relevant. Your time is too important to spend it highlighting your unique value at the top of your resume.

Applicant Tracking System

Ever wondered what happens to your resume when you apply for a job online through a company's website?

Does your resume have keywords?

The above two questions my seem different however are very closely interrelated. 

Almost all organizations today use an Applicant Tracking System also known as ATS. An ATS is a database-type program that helps employers store, organize, screen, sort, track, and reply to all the resumes they receive. Small organizations don't use ATSs yet, but all of the really big employers—and a growing number of mid-sized organizations—use these systems. For each job opening, the employer programs specific, job-related words and phrases into the ATS. Roughly, what happens is your resume goes into the ATS, gets scanned, and if it doesn't contain enough of those words and terms, the ATS smacks you with a generic rejection email and stores your resume in the dreaded "future consideration" bin. End of story.

How to deal with closing questions at interview

Leaving the interviewer with the right picture is a vital step toward securing a job offer. That means being able to handle the questions in the last 5 minutes of the interview with a skilled, planned approach.

Search the internet and you’ll find mixed advice about how to close an interview. We asked a group of employers for the typical questions they ask and what they expect in a good answer.

If offered, will you take the job?

The consistent recommendation is to be enthusiastic and positive. You can go away and reflect later on whether you want the opportunity but above all, be enthusiastic in the meeting. Even if you think you don't want the job, keep your options open at this stage. Employers are looking to judge your level of commitment – if they put an offer out to you and you don’t accept it looks bad on their part.

How to ensure employers spend 30 minutes not 30 seconds reviewing your CV

We know the average CV gets reviewed in less than 30 seconds. We also know the average CV does not get to interview. The question this newsletter looks at, therefore, is how to ensure a recruiter or employer spends 5 minutes getting excited about your CV then 25 minutes talking to colleagues about what a great candidate they are about to meet.

If you can achieve this, not only will you (to state the obvious) get to interview, but the interviewer will be willing you to succeed.

Before sending off another CV, run through this quick checklist and determine if it needs adapting or re-writing.

Check your profile

Does your CV open with a list of skills and keywords? Don’t bore your reader. Employers want to know how you can solve their problem right now. Don’t annoy them by failing to answer this urgent question.

How to structure your CV

The purpose of your CV is simple; to get you the interview. To do this you need to consider two things. Firstly the structure – is it presented professionally, ordered correctly using suitable headings helping an employer to instantly spot the information they need. Secondly, the content – how do you structure sentences, what language do you use, is it concise and do you demonstrate achievement and value?

Having reviewed thousands of CVs it’s clear many have structural issues. This is a simple error easily fixed by following a few simple guidelines. Generating the content can be tough; following a sensible structure for your CV should be easy.

Whilst I’m not an advocate of templated CV’s, there are only so many sections an employer wants to read, so try following the below and tailor for your situation:

What is commercial awareness and how do you develop it?

From lawyers to shop-assistants, marketing executives to HR managers, candidates that are business-savvy often get the job. The trouble with commercial awareness is the term itself. It sounds scary and if you run a quick search online, you’ll get 50 different views as quick as Jack Robinson.

Well, it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Why? There’s no killer definition so don’t worry about searching for it. Commercial awareness is a broad concept meaning different things to different people. The general ethos is having knowledge of how issues affect each other, leading to the ability to identify tactics that move a business forward. Sensible definitions include:

  • How an organisation attracts and keeps customers and what impact the wider economy has on that particular business.

  • An interest in business and an understanding of the wider environment in which an organisation operates: its customers, competitors and suppliers.

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