Your resume and interview are your best opportunities to present yourself as someone who is a good “fit” for the position and will be an asset to our organization. Here are some tips creating a strong resume and honing your interviewing skills to make the strongest impression possible.
As the enrollment team for Post University’s accelerated degree programs has grown from one full-time employee (me!) to more than 300, I have learned a lot about what it takes to achieve my own personal goals, as well as to help others achieve theirs. The first step to success in any career is landing the right career opportunity. Here are some recommendations for making a great impression during you job interview at Post University.
Whether this is your first job interview or your 51st, it’s essential to take some time to prepare. Are there any areas where your experience and skills will add significant value to the organization or help solve a current business challenge? In a tight job market, employers often have many qualified candidates to choose from, so it’s important to identify areas where your skills and experience are an excellent match.
Think about what you’ll bring to the position and what you’ll need to be successful. If you know someone who is already part of the Post University team, ask questions about the culture and think about how you will fit within that culture. Spend some time on the website, learning about our students, faculty, staff, programs and campus.
Once you are offered an interview, remember to focus heavily on what you do well, providing concrete examples of your past successes. Explain how your previous experience applies to and will benefit this new organization. If there are gaps in your employment be prepared to explain why and what you did in the interim.
At Post University, ‘fit’ is just as critical as skills. Come to the interview prepared to discuss how your ‘soft’ skills compliment your ‘hard’ skills. How well do you communicate, collaborate, and handle conflict? How can you demonstrate that you’re creative, innovative and/or a strong leader? Are you more a ‘big picture’ or a ‘detail’ person and how will those qualities help you make an immediate difference in this organization? Set yourself apart from other candidates with similar skills sets by showing how you will have a positive influence on our culture.
The hiring manager will give you time to ask questions. In addition to asking questions about the position and the University as a whole, use this opportunity to learn how the interview went and if there are opportunities to better explain your qualifications. Do not be afraid to say something like, “I am really excited about this position. How do you feel my skills and qualifications meet your criteria? Is there anything that I can add or clarify to help you make a decision?”
It’s common knowledge that sending a thank you note is a smart job-search technique, yet many people fail to take this important step. In the letter, reference something the two of you discussed, and briefly mention the most valuable skills you will bring to the position. Send the letter within 24 hours, and make sure it is error-free. It’s also a good idea to send a thank you letter to the Human Resources office.
Your resume is typically the first impression that a hiring manager has of you. Make sure it says the right things about you! Employers often receive hundreds of resumes for a single position. To make sure your resume isn’t overlooked or worse yet, discarded, be sure you have paid attention to the details.
The fastest way to be eliminated from the list of eligible candidates is to submit a resume that has typos, misspelled words, and grammatical errors. Hiring managers will likely think you are not someone who is going to be conscientious and focused on doing the right things. It is always a good idea to have at least two other people review your resume before you send it off to a prospective employer.
Hiring managers are looking for concrete examples of your knowledge, skills and abilities. For your work experience, do not include a list of “tasks” such as answered the phone or scheduled meetings, rather list results and accomplishments, and quantify the results if possible. Including something like, “worked in department store for three years” on your resume says very little about your skills and experience. “Managed scheduling, training and supervision of 12 employees in an upscale suburban department store with average daily sales of $20,000”, on the other hand, provides some evidence of your ability to manage others in a customer-focused environment. Better yet, would be to add “achieved 97% customer satisfaction and increased cross selling BY 28%”. Use strong action verbs to demonstrate what you contributed to your previous employers.
It only takes a few minutes to customize your resume and it can make the difference between being moved to the top of the pile or being rejected. Make sure your Profile or Summary of Qualifications at the top of your resume focuses on the key skills and experience that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying. In this section you want to use words and/or short, concise phrases to add power to your résumé and convey what you have to offer an employer. This section sets you apart from other applicants and shows the hiring manager why you're special. Your resume is not about what YOU want; it’s about what you can OFFER.
Hiring managers are often put off by 3-page resumes from people with only 2-3 years of experience. The length of your resume should be dictated by how much experience you have, and should give an accurate picture of the knowledge, skills and abilities you have developed throughout your career. If you have recently graduated from college, include information on any part-time jobs, volunteer projects, or campus activities that helped you develop some of the skills needed in the position you’re seeking. Be specific, but don’t overstate. Savvy hiring managers will see through resumes that are “padded” with information that doesn’t say much of anything. Remember, everything you write on your resume is fair game for questions/ discussion during the interview.