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The dreaded job interview
Job interviewing
Interview time
After you have constructed the perfect resume and applied for the perfect job you will hopefully receive that favourite phone call congratulating you on receiving an interview request. Typically when you apply for a job you can expect your competition to share similar skills, education and experiences as yourself. This is why you need to demonstrate to the interviewer that you not only possess the right skills, and that you are also the right fit for the company. Considering the importance of your job interview, there are a few key factors you need to do to ensure that you give yourself the greatest opportunity of finding success. Conduct Research Researching the company that you are interviewing for is a great way to acquire a sense of knowledge about your potential future career. When you show that you have done a good amount of research, an employer will see the enthusiasm that you have about the particular position as well for the company and this will aid you in developing a good first impression. When you are performing your research, don't just use the company website for information. Use your imagination and look at anything from past market shares to any philanthropy or humanitarian involvement that the company is currently engaged. Practice Makes Perfect The days before your interview you should research popular-asked interview questions. This way you can rehearse your answers, which can help you to phrase them in the most beneficial way. The more practice you put into your interviewing, the greater your answers will flow when it comes time for the main event! If you bring forth a comfortable aura to the interview, your potential employer will see how relaxed and confident you are. Contact Your References Prior to going into the interview, it is a good idea to contact the people that you have placed on your reference sheet. More often than not you will be asked to bring in your resume and a copy of your references and so it is imperative that these people know that they may be receiving a phone call. Prepare Your Outfit in Advance Don't wait until the day of the interview to determine what you are wearing. Keep in mind that you will want to pre-plan your travelling route in order to arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes early. Arriving late is the greatest mistake you can make! Planning your outfit the day before your interview gives you time to wash, iron, and hang up your clothes so that they are in pristine condition for your interview. Preparing correctly for the job interview will give you the greatest opportunity of getting the job. If you are hoping to succeed in your interview, you must ensure that you are sufficiently prepared in advance. Do not let yourself down. Leave no stone unturned in your interview preparation.
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253
Key ingredients to preparing an Aussie resume
Australian job market
Australian resume writing
I decided this week to bake a double chocolate chip cake. It was so delicious and cooked to perfection that I only managed one piece before my friends had collectively finished off the rest of the cake. Before I baked the cake, I prepared the ingredients and even added in a few "extra" items to make my cake as tasty as possible. When it comes to resume writing the exact same process is required: Key Ingredients: Strategic Keywords Using strategic keywords throughout your resume is imperative for a number of reasons. Recent reports suggest 80% of companies use some kind of software or scanning program to search for candidate resumes. In today's society it is no longer good enough to target your job toward the role you are applying for - you also need to target your resume toward software programs that are now performing first rounds of candidate selections. In this technological world where applying for a job can literally take a couple of clicks of a button, hiring managers are seeing hundreds of resumes (sometimes thousands) for one particular job. As much as we would like a hiring manager or recruiter to read through our entire resume, this rarely happens. As such, using strategic keywords will help your resume rank higher and ensure that it passes the first test of being read by either a recruiter or hiring manager. Highlighting Achievements Resume writing and job seeking has changed a lot over the past couple of years. With new online networking sites such as LinkedIn being available and making it easier for a job seeker to network with a potential boss, highlighting your achievements on your resume and cover letter is more important than ever. When a boss or hiring manger decides to employ a new person to their staff, the first thing they want to know is how this person is going to add value to their organisation. Including basic duties and responsibilities is not enough to make you stand out as the perfect person for the job. You need to prove that you are the best person by highlighting your skills and achievements. Presentation and Format Your resume is the first impression a hiring manager will make about you. A well presented and structured resume that is written in a clean font will portray your resume in a professional manner and immediately give your resume application a higher ranking. Alternatively, a resume application that has spelling and grammar errors, different sized fonts, long sentences (as opposed to bullet points) and a lack of headings will not portray a positive image to the reader, and you won't look like the right person for the job. A lack of professionalism may even lead to your resume being deleted without even being read. No matter how good your skills and experience may be, once your resume is deleted, it will never be read again. In order to prepare the perfect resume follow these three main ingredients. Take time to prepare your resume and ensure that you give yourself every opportunity to succeed!
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539
How resumes differ from country to country
Australian job market
Australian resume writing
Just how important is having a country-specific resume to your chances of getting employed? Can the resume that got you a job in the UK be used for the Australian job market? Do you really have to design a new resume depending on the country? The answer is simple. Just as every resume and cover letter you write needs to be targeted and focused toward the company you are applying for, the same concept is applied toward the job market you are applying for. Different countries expect and require certain information to be present on resumes, and therefore it is critical that your new resume meets the unique requirements of that country. Just because one country requires including personal details such as marital status or date of birth does not mean this standard applies to others. Not only can this be seen as inappropriate, it can also possible be illegal, and your resume will be deleted before it has even been read! European requirements Recently in Europe, the rules for resume writing changed substantially. As part of the European Union (EU), all members follow the same resume criteria and format. The Europass CV was created to "provide citizens with the opportunity to present in clear and comprehensive way information on their qualifications and competences". This is a fantastic idea for people applying for roles in Europe as there is a standard template to complete that avoids issues such as cultural differences and different requirements between the countries. While this may be good for a French national applying for a role in Belgium, the rules change when applying to countries such as the USA, Australia or Asia. It is typical to see information such as nationality, date of birth and gender on European and Asian resumes. In South Africa it is even required to have even further personal information such as ID number and ethnicity (the latter to clarify one's BEE or affirmative action status). In Australia and the US, however, stricter privacy laws make this personal information unnecessary. In the US, an employer has no legal right to know your age. (They do have a right, however, to ask your age only if local, state, or federal law requires that employees be over a certain age.) USA differences In today's society the terms "CV" and "resume" are often used interchangeably. Take note, however, if you are applying for a job in the USA, as there are major differences between a "resume" and a "CV". An American Curriculum Vitae (CV) is NOT the same as a CV from countries around the world. What countries outside of the USA know as a "Curriculum Vitae" (or "CV") is called also called a "resume" In the USA, the "Curriculum Vitae" is not a resume - it is a longer document and is usually written only by a researcher, educator, or academic. Thinking of including a picture? When it comes to putting a picture on your resume, different countries have different approaches. In the UK you would never attach a photo, whereas in Germany or France you would. Many Asian countries also include pictures with their applications. In the US and Australia it is not recommended or encouraged. My personal opinion is to leave your picture off your resume. The most important aspect of your resume is the content and it's vital to ensure that the reader of your resume is more interested in your skills than what you look like. With all the differences between resumes around the world, it's important that you do your research into the country before submitting your resume. A professional resume writer can often help you with the "dos" and "do nots" of resume writing in a certain country, and he or she can also provide assistance with resume format, structure and presentation. With any resume (no matter where you are applying in the world), focus your content on achievements and value-added duties you have performed. At the end of the day, the employer wants to know how you can add value and what skills, experience and expertise you can bring to the business. And finally, never embellish or fabricate achievements or qualifications. These will often be exposed sooner or later and can result in dismissal, expulsion or even criminal prosecution in those countries with punitive legal codes.
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289
How important is your resume?
Students and grads
Resume preparation
When the time comes to looking for a job, your resume is by far the most important link between you and your potential new job. Once you interview and are given the two greatest words of "you're hired," your resume becomes a worthless document. That is, until years later when you decide you want a new challenge, and you reach back into the drawer, dust off the resume and start again. In a recent college poll, over 90% of college students said they had no idea about how to write a good resume. Even more alarming was that 95% of the students interviewed did not list achievements on their resumes. In the current economic climate, it is imperative that your resume is not only structured and formatted correctly, but that it is also easy to read and pleasing to the eye. For every single job you apply for, there are potentially 100, 200, and maybe even 300 other people with similar skills who are applying for the very same position. With so many applications it's no wonder that a candidate who has written an incorrect resume is not getting the interview requests. In my experience, the main reason candidates finds their applications continually rejected has nothing to do with their skills or experience (or even with the lack of skills or experience) - it is because their resumes are just not good enough to get them an interview. Don't let this happen to you. If writing your resume is stressing you out, think about using a professional resume writer. Many applicants these days use professionals to help them get a leg in front of their competition. Remember - your resume is the most important tool you have to get a job. A professional writer knows how to highlight your strengths and portray this on your resume. In the competitive world we live in, you need to be one step ahead of your competition. A professional writer can help take your resume to the top of the pile.
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32
Secret cover letter tips
Resume writing
Cover letters
It's no secret that the job application process has changed significantly in the past 10 years. Applicants used to send hard copies of their resumes and cover letters to hiring managers via email or fax, but most jobs today are posted online and applications are sent to hiring managers via email. Applications still consist of cover letters, but the format of cover letters has changed a little bit in the online revolution. Cover letters used to be written in a standard letter format, and while this standard format is still widely accepted today and is by no means wrong, a lot of people are adapting their cover letters to complement the use of email in the application process. One thing I always encourage people to do is to place their cover letter in the body of their email in addition to attaching a copy. I suggest this for 2 reasons. One, it speeds up the process for the recruiter (as they will only have to open up one attachment instead of two) and two, it helps eliminate the possibility (in the recruiter's mind) that your email could be spam. Think about it - if you received an email with attachments, you would be more likely to open the attachments if there were some personalized text in the body. There will also be times where the recipient is unable to open your resume attachment, and they are much more likely to respond and request another copy if there is some text in the body of your email. I do also suggest that you ALSO include a copy of your cover letter as an attachment just in case the recruiter would like to print it and show it to people. In the grand scheme of things, these suggestions seem pretty minute, but with the competition as high as it is right now, why not pull out all the stops?
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This month's top rated article
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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Popular questions
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Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

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