I’ve recently had a great experiencing mentoring people at Pitch Bootcamp Porto, an event integrated on series named So You Think You Can Pitch, targeted to help people gain conscience of their strengths and use them to change themselves and their world. On the ultra-competitive market which we face today, people must come out of their comfort zone and dare to go beyond what they think is their area of expertise because they simply have a degree on a particular field.
Over the last years, as part of my job, I’ve been involved in the recruitment process and reviewed hundreds of resumes and interviewed many candidates. From my personal experiences, here’s some tips:
Your Resume is your promotional leaflet
- Be honest: never lie on your resume or it will come back to haunt you later. References are not critical and you can provide them in a separate document.
- Go beyond stating which jobs you’ve done: establish what you’ve accomplished on those jobs.
- Keep dark stories out: your resume is a promotional document and needs to be positive.
- Don’t list every job you’ve ever held: include the work you’ve done that tells an employer you’re skilled and reliable for the job. Notice that it is important not have gaps therefore you should include unrelated jobs to support your history but make sure you list the accomplishments in that job that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Use active verbs: while describing your job positions, make the sentence tight and active.
- Forget about templates: innovate and create a graphical image that relates to your persona. You don’t need to be a graphic designer: keep it clean, simple and beautiful to ensure it will stand out from the pile!
- Make sure your resume has no typos, grammar goofs or factual errors: review your resume several times for grammatical or spelling errors. A simple typo will negatively impact the message.
Be ready of an interview
Interviews will largely depend on the company and people that you have in front of you. Your ability to read other people is key to smoothly drive the process but you should be prepared:
- Be sure about why are you applying: interviews take time from you and the company who is willing to hear you so make sure you make the most of it!
- Research the company: learn about the company, their mission and envision how and why you should fit in the organization. What can you bring and how can you add value?
- Develop your personal pitch: keep it short but focus on clarify your background, your accomplishments and your future goals.
Beyond what you write and say, how you behave and what you do tell a lot about yourself.
- Network: companies tend to rely on employee referrals. Make a list of all of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances and reach them. Don’t be too humble or apologetic, tell them what you’re looking for, but let them know you’re flexible and open to suggestions. Touch base with all of your references.
- Volunteer: if you aren’t already, start volunteering for an organization that focuses on something you’re passionate about. Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll also be gaining references.
- Check your attitude: there’s a huge difference between making phone calls and going to interviews thinking “I’m looking for a job” versus “I’m here to do the work you need to have done”. Everything that you write and say should be preceded silently by the statement “This is how I can help your business succeed.”
- Be mindful of your social media profile online: it’s not uncommon for employers to check Facebook pages and other social media. Ensure they reflect the right image of you.
- Dress for success: when you go to a job interview, dress like it is your first day at the job. (Remember, you are not dressing for a night out!).