Tips For Getting Back Into The Workforce
Whether you have not worked in a while, or are looking to make a career change, it takes some finesse to find the perfect job. Over the years the act of landing a job has become much more complicated and ruled by computer algorithms.
The first place to start is with your resume. Your resume, also known as a C.V. (curriculum vitae), is a detailed history of your work experience. Below are some tips on brushing up your resume to help you land your dream job.
Streamline Your Job History
If you are like most people, you realize that you either don’t have enough work history or that you have so much that a potential employer can figure out your not 30 years old. This is where a clear and concise job history, starting with the most recent and focusing on the achievements at each job, will set you apart from the pack.
Don’t put long sentences under each job, but instead create quick bullet points that list the actions/improvements you made while employed at each company. For instance, “increased revenues by 20% each year”. It may be hard to self-promote, but you are your own best cheerleader in trying to get past the resume gatekeepers to land that first interview.
What’s in a Font? Everything
Sometimes the simple things can be some of the biggest detractors when eyes are on your resume. Selecting the right font will ensure the Hiring Manager takes the time to view your job history. The best fonts to use are Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. Since many prospective employers scan resumes, the more you use an easy-to-read font the better your chances of getting that interview.
Resume Writing Services
If you still feel like you could use a little help in writing your resume there are resume writing services available. These services usually charge a fee to write your resume and you could pay anywhere from $125 to $750 depending on the level of complexity and services. When you sign up with a resume writing service most will provide you with a FREE cover letter template as well. We do advise that you compare the services and look at reviews or testimonials before you make a decision.
Adding Job Keywords
When applying for a job, remember to add specific keywords from the job description into the body of your resume. If there are unique words pertaining to certain job industries, then make sure you edit your resume to reflect those keywords. You can also go online and do a quick search to see the most relevant keywords for that industry to double-check you are using the most accurate ones.
I know we think that just applying online with a resume is enough to land a job, but these days you still need to add the personal touch of a cover letter when you submit your resume. The cover letter sets you apart, allows you to reveal your personality, and build your brand: You.
It also helps you to align your values and beliefs with that of the company you are applying to, possibly indicating you could have longevity. There are some hiring managers who will dismiss an application if not accompanied with a cover letter. Although writing customized cover letters is time-consuming, this could be the edge you need to help you land the interview and then the job.
Useful tip: Ladies, if you are divorced and changed your name back to your maiden name, you need to update your resume to reflect that change. If you worked before you got married, it might be a good idea to hyphenate your last name to make sure that the human resources department can find all your accurate employment records.
In an article for Business Insider, author Áine Cain came up with six questions that job seekers should ask during an interview. They are as follows:
"Why is this position available?"
This is an important question for a few reasons and by understanding the need for the position, you can figure out how things are going internally. Is this a new opportunity? Did someone leave this position? If it is a new opportunity, then you can likely determine that the business is growing and there is a need for more help. If someone left the position, figuring out what you could do differently in the role is also a benefit.
"What makes people stay at this company?"
These days it is very common for people to have multiple careers, compared
to having one career for 20+ years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
the average worker currently holds 10 different jobs before the age of forty,
with that number projected to grow. If a company has employees there for
multiple years, asking this question is a way to get a sense of the company’s
"If hired, what are the three most important things you'd like me to
accomplish in the first six to twelve months at the company?"
When a company is looking to hire someone, there is a need for more help in
that area of the business. If there were no goals expected of the new hire to
meet and accomplish, there would likely be no need to bring on another
employee. Therefore, by asking this question it shows that you are
forward-thinking and goal-oriented looking to help the company achieve its goals. This will also make it easier for you to show that you are a fit for the job and tailor the conversation accordingly.
"What will make someone successful in this role?"
This question builds on the previous one in that it establishes a metric for you to determine company goals and how you could achieve them. It shows that you are driven and want to achieve success, whatever that may look like.
"Is there anything I've said that makes you doubt I would be a great fit for this position?"
Many people, including myself, might not have the courage to ask this question. Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert for our friends at TopResume says, “If you can find the courage to put your interviewer on the spot, it can help you get a quick read on the situation, provide you with valuable feedback on your candidacy, and give you the opportunity to address any objections the hiring manager may have while you still have that person’s full attention.”
"What is your timeline for making a decision? May I call or email you to follow up on my candidacy?"
Believe it or not, many candidates forget to ask this question at the end of interviews according to Augustine. If you don’t ask this, you could very well be left in the dark in terms of when to expect to hear regarding a hiring decision. It also places a deadline of sorts on the company to reach out and let you know. In the job search, it is becoming more common for job descriptions and applications to say “No phone calls, please,” so by asking what the proper form of follow-up should be you can cater to the company’s communication preference. By following up properly, you can remain at the front of the hiring manager’s mind.
Preparing for a job interview is a pivotal part of the job search process. Not only should you be prepared to answer the interviewer’s questions, but you should also be prepared to ask some questions of your own. While researching the company and the position, write down questions as you come across them. You do not necessarily need to take these into the interview with you, but by writing them down it is easier to remember the questions that you have.