Wednesday, February 15, 2006

5 Easy Steps for Resumes and Interviews

by Craig Setter

People often want career advancement for different reasons. Many of us feel the burden of our bills forcing us to desire more, yet for some the ambition alone will push them for advancement. The reasons “why” are many, however the answers of “how” are very few.

Up, Over, or Out?

If you are unemployed, your goal is simple… “to obtain a new job”. However, for those that are already employed there is a large grey area. The first step is to properly identify yourself honestly. By examining your work habits and accomplishments you can better determine the best course of action. More simply, if you have been unproductive you will not likely be up for any serious promotions anytime soon. Sometimes it is better to seek outside employment and start over again fresh.

If you are satisfied with your company, but would just like a smaller change, perhaps moving over to a new department within the company is a better option for you. However, if you have been a hard worker and are concerned that it may go unnoticed, perhaps the promotion you have been looking for isn’t too far away after all.

Prepare, Prepare, and Prepare…

Preparation is key for any career advancement. Most people would be amazed by the hordes of information that can be obtained over the course of a week. Even if you lack experience in your dream job, your vast knowledge in an interview could quite easily leave the other candidates in the dark. And we are not just talking “basic vocabulary” here, learn more than the “surface level”… even consider researching current trends for the industry.

If you have some extra time available consider adding professional certificates. Online training and certification is available in many industries and can quickly weed you out from your competition

Writing a Good Resume

Your resume will be the deciding factor for an interview. The golden rule of a good resume is “never submit the same resume twice”. Every job you apply for should have a customized resume tailoring to its description. It may sound like allot of extra work, but the results are priceless.

The focus of each resume should be on the skills that would make you the best candidate for that type of job. If the job is in international sales, than obviously any foreign language training and sales experience should be near the top. A designated area listing your skills is key for individuals that lack formal experience. Do not be afraid to list your solid understanding of the job duties (if you lack the solid understanding… much more research should be done).

The Interview

If all goes well you will soon be sitting across the table from your interviewer. The best preparation for your interview is to list everything in your experience (i.e. best achievement, hardest project, strengths, weaknesses, good work habits, poor work-habits, etc.). Reviewing this information just before an interview will leave you prepared to answer 99% of the questions asked.

You should be completely prepared to answer the "standard" questions. Many interviewers like to stick to the basics questions like “how would you describe yourself” and “how would your old boss describe you”. Be careful to avoid “badmouthing” your past employers. Often times this will raise a serious “red flag” with the interviewer and may suggest that you can be a difficult person to work with.

As for the other 1%, sometimes an interviewer is just trying to see if you will really be a “good fit” for the job. Many times the research you have completed is all the assurance they will need. Employers love nothing more than ambition, and staying on top of the market trends will obviously reflect it.

Stay Productive

With a little bit of luck you will have hopefully landed the job. Even if you stayed in the same company, with every promotion comes a clean slate. Hard work beginning right from the start is noticed quickly… and the impression it makes lasts a very long time. By staying productive you will quickly climb the ladder of success in no time.

Craig Setter is president of Aveta Solutions – Six Sigma Online ( Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and six sigma certification for 6 sigma black belt, green belt, yellow belt, lean and DFSS courses.